Story of Chester Lawrence
Being the Completed Account of One who Played an Important Part in "Piney Ridge Cottage"
By NEPHI ANDERSON Author of "Added Upon," "The Castle Builder," "Piney Ridge Cottage," etc.
THE DESERET NEWS Salt Like City, Utah 1913
Books by Nephi Anderson.
ADDED UPON, Fifth and Enlarged Edition. A story illustrating "Mormon" teachings regarding the past, the present, and the future states of existence.
THE CASTLE BUILDER. The scenes and characters are from Norway, the Land of the Midnight Sun.
MARCUS KING, MORMON, is the story of a convert to "Mormonism" who came to Utah in early pioneer days.
PINEY RIDGE COTTAGE, the love story of a "Mormon" country girl.
A YOUNG FOLKS' HISTORY OF THE CHURCH. The story of the "Mormon" Church is told in simple, interesting chapters.
All bound in beautiful cloth, with gold titles, Price, 75 cents each.
DESERET NEWS BOOK STORE, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Story of Chester Lawrence.
It was raining when the ship was ready to sail; yet on the pier a large crowd of people stood under dripping umbrellas, waving and shouting farewells to their friends on board. The departing passengers, most of them protected by an upper deck, pressed four deep against the rail, and waved and shouted in return.
The belated passenger, struggling with heavy hand baggage, scrambled up the gang-plank. The last visitors were hustled ashore; amid noise and bustle, the plank was drawn away, and the ship was clear. A tremor ran through the vessel as the propeller began to move, and soon there was a strip of water between the pier and the ship. Then a tiny tug-boat came alongside, fastened itself to the steamer, and with calm assurance, guided its big brother safely into the harbor and down the bay. The people on shore merged into one dark object; the greetings became indistinct; the great city itself, back of the pier, melted into a gray mass as seen through the rain.
Chester Lawrence stood on the deck of the departing vessel and watched the interesting scene. He stood as one apart from the crowd, having no portion with either those on board or those left behind. He was a spectator only. Not a soul in that mass of humanity on the pier, not one in the big city, knew Chester Lawrence or had a thought for him. No one cared whether his voyage would be pleasant or otherwise. There were no tears for him, or fears that he would not return in safety. Of the hundreds of waving handkerchiefs, none was meant for him; but as a last show of good-fellowship and as a farewell greeting to his native land, Chester waved once with the rest.
The rain continued as the ship dropped down the bay and came safely into the open sea. Some of the passengers then hurried below, while others lingered on deck to see as long as possible the fast-receding land. Chester took his time. He had seen that his grips had been safely stowed away in his state room, so he had no worries, as others seemed to have, regarding his belongings. The ship hands (sailors they cannot now be called) were busy clearing the deck and getting things into their proper places. The vessel pointed fairly into the vast eastern sea. The land became a dark, fast-thinning line on the western horizon, and then even that was swallowed up in the mist of rain.
"Well, good-by, old home, good-by thou goodly Land of Joseph," spoke Chester, half aloud, as he stood for one intense moment facing the west, then turned to go down into his room. The rain must at last have reached him for his eyes were so blurred that he bumped rather abruptly into an elderly man who was standing at his elbow.
"Oh, I beg your pardon," said Chester.
"It was nothing, sir. I, too, was just bidding farewell to the Land of Joseph, and I fear my sight was also rather dim."
Chester paused and looked at the man who had heard and repeated his remark. No one but a Latter-day Saint would call America the Land of Joseph. He was a pleasant-looking man, with hair and beard tinged with gray, clear blue eyes, a firm mouth, about which at that moment there played a faint smile. Apparently, he wished to make further acquaintance with Chester, for he asked:
"How far west were you looking just now?"
The question went deeper than Chester thought possible. He colored a trifle, but there was no time to reply, for the other continued:
"Mine was farther than that gray blot called New York, farther than the Alleghany mountains; in fact, it extended across the plains of the west to the Rocky Mountains—"
"So was mine!" exclaimed the younger man. "Let's shake hands upon it. My name is Chester Lawrence, and I'm a Mormon."
"My name is George Malby."
"Elder George Malby?"
"Yes; I am a Mormon elder going on a mission to Great Britain."
"I'm mighty glad to meet you, Elder Malby. I thought there wasn't a soul on board this vessel that I could approach as a friend; now I have a brother."
"Three of them," corrected the elder. "There are two more missionaries on board. Not a large party of us this time. Would you like to meet them?"
There was no more land to be seen now. The sea stretched all around, with clouds above, and the rain. There was more comfort below, so the two newly-made friends went down. Chester met the other elders who were younger men, one destined for Scandinavia, the other for the Netherlands. It did not take long for the four men to become acquainted. Presently the dinner gong sounded, and all became interested in the first meal on ship-board.
Practically every one sat down to that dinner, and did full justice to it. For many, that was the only meal eaten for days. Chester was not seated at the same table as his friends. At his right was a chatty old gentleman and at his left a demure lady who ate in silence. Strangeness, however, is soon worn off when a company of people must eat at the same table for a week; that is, if the dreaded sea-sickness does not interfere too much with the gathering together at meal-time.
Towards evening the rain ceased. As the darkness came on, the clouds billowed across the vast upper expanse. Chester and his new-made friends paced the deck and watched the night settle on the water, and enclose the ship in its folds. They talked of the strange new experience on ship-board, then they told somewhat of each other's personal history. The sea was rough, and the ship pitched more and more as it met the swells of the Atlantic. The question of sea-sickness came up.
"I have crossed the ocean three times," remarked Elder Malby, "and escaped the sickness each time. I hope for as good luck now."
"It is a matter of luck, I understand," said Chester. "Sea-sickness is no respecter of persons, times, or so-called preventatives. The weak sometimes escape, while the strong are laid low. I feel all right yet."
The two younger men were fighting bravely, but it was not long before they excused themselves hurriedly, and went below, and to bed. Chester and Elder Malby displayed splendid sea-legs, so they walked until they were tired, then took possession of some chairs in a sheltered corner, wrapping their coats well around them.
"I wish I were going on a mission, as you are," Chester was saying. "My trip is somewhat aimless, I fear. For a year or more I have had a notion that I ought to see Europe. I have seen a good deal of America, both East and West. I lived for some time in Salt Lake City, though I became a Church member in Chicago. But about Europe," he continued as if he did not then wish to speak of his Western experiences, "you know, one must have seen somewhat of the Old World to have the proper 'culture,'—must have seen Europe's pictures, old castles, and historic places. I know little and care less about the culture, but I have always had a desire to see England, and some of France and Germany, and the Alps—yes, I want to see the Alps and compare them with our Rockies. Rome, and other Italian cities, are interesting, too, but I may not get to them this time. I do hope some good will come of all this—somehow I think it will not be wholly in vain."
The older man let him talk without interruption. There was something uncommon in the life of this young man, but it would not do to show undue haste in wishing to know it. It was easily to be seen that Chester was helped in this opportunity to talk to a friend that could understand and be trusted. They sat late that night. The sea roared about them in the darkness. There was a fascination about this thing of seeming life—the ship—forcing itself against wind and wave into the darkness, and bearing safely with it in light and comfort a thousand precious souls.
Chester slept fairly well, and was awake next morning at daylight. Though the ship was pitching and rocking, he felt no indications of sea-sickness. He gazed out of the port-hole at the racing waves. Some of them rose to his window, and he looked into a bank of green water. He got up and dressed. It was good to think he would not be sick. Very few were stirring. A number who were, like himself, immune, were briskly pacing the deck. Chester joined them and looked about. This surely must be a storm, thought he. He had often wished to witness one, from a safe position, of course, and here was one. As far as he could see in every direction, the ocean was one mass of rolling, seething water. At a distance it looked like a boiling pot, but nearer the waves rose higher, the ship's prow cutting them like a knife.
"Quite a storm," said Chester to a man washing the deck.
"Storm? Oh, no, sir; just a bit of a blow."
No one seemed to have any concern regarding the safety of the ship, so Chester concluded that there was no danger, that this was no storm at all, which conclusion was right, as he had later to acknowledge. The sun came up through a wild sea into a wild sky, casting patches of shifting light on the waters to the east. Chester kept a lookout for his friends, the elders. When the breakfast gong sounded, Elder Malby appeared.
"Where are the others?" asked Chester.
"They'll not get up today; perhaps not tomorrow. I see you are all right. You're lucky. Come, let us go to breakfast."
Most of the seats were vacant at the table that morning. A few smilingly looked around, secure in their superior strength. Others were bravely trying to do the right thing by sitting down to a morning meal; but a number of these failed, some leaving quietly and deliberately, others rushing away in unceremonial haste. Chester was quite alone on his side of the table. If there had been a trifle of "sinking emptiness" in him before, the meal braced him up wonderfully. In this he thought he had discovered a sure cure for sea-sickness. One day later he imparted this information to a lady voyager, who received it with the exclamation, "Oh, horrors!"
All that day the wind was strong, and the sea rough. Even an officer acknowledged that if this weather kept up, the "blow" might grow into a storm. From the upper deck Chester and Elder Malby looked out on the sublime spectacle. Like great, green, white-crested hills, the waves raced along the vast expanse. Towards the afternoon the ship and the wind had shifted their course so that the waves dashed with thunderous roar against the iron sides of the vessel which only heaved and dipped and went steadily on its way.
A number of ladies crowded on deck, and, aided by the stewards, were safely tucked into chairs in places protected from wind and spray. The deck stewards tempted them with broth, but they only sipped it indifferently. These same ladies, just the day before had carried their feather-tipped heads ever so stately. Now, alas, how had the mighty leveler laid them low! They did not now care how their gowns fitted, or whether their hats were on straight. Any common person, not afflicted with sea-sickness, could have criticised their attitude in the chairs. One became so indifferent to correct appearances that she slid from her chair on to the deck, where she undignifiedly sprawled. The deck steward had to tuck her shawls about her and assist her to a more lady-like position.
"That's pretty tough," remarked Chester.
"All the wits have tried their skill on the subject of sea-sickness," said his companion; "but it's no joke to those who experience it."
"Can't we help those ladies?" asked Chester.
"Not very much. You will find the best thing to do is to let them alone. They'll not thank you, not now, for any suggestion or proffer of help. If you should be so foolish as to ask them what you could do for them, they would reply, if they replied at all, 'Stop the ship for five minutes.'"
"Then I'll be wise," said Chester.
The night came on, dark and stormy. The two friends kept up well. They ate the evening meal with appetite, then went on deck again.
Night adds awfulness to the sublimity of a storm at sea. The world about the ship is in wild commotion. The sky seems to have dropped into the sea, and now joins the roaring waves as they rush along. The blackness of the night is impenetrable, save as the lights from the ship gleam for an instant into the moving mass of water. Now and then a wave, rearing its crested head higher than the rest, breaks in spray upon the deck. The wind seems eager to hurl every movable object from the vessel, but as everything is fast, it must be content to shriek in the rigging and to sweep out into the darkness, and lend its madness to the sea and sky.
But let us leave this awe-inspiring uproar and go down into the saloon. Here we come into another world, a world of light and peace and contentment. The drawn curtains exclude the sight of the angry elements without, and save for the gentle rocking of the ship and the occasional splashing of water against its sides, we can easily imagine that we are a thousand miles from the sea. Passengers sit at the long tables, reading or chatting. Other groups are playing cards or chess. In the cushioned corners, young men and maidens are exchanging banter with words and glances. A young lady is playing the piano, and over all this scene of life, and light, and gaiety, the electric lamps gleam in steady splendor.
Elder Malby soon retired. Chester remained in the saloon for a time, studying the various aspects of life about him; then he made a good-night visit to the deck. He looked into the men's smoking room, where a few yet sat with pipes and beer, playing cards. Among them were two men, fat-cheeked, smoothly shaven, who were dressed in priestly garb. There was an expressive American in the company, an Englishman and a quiet German. Before the American could carry into effect his intention of asking Chester to join them, the latter had passed by and out beyond the stench of the tobacco smoke.
"This air, washed clean by a thousand miles of scouring waves, is good enough for me," thought he.
The wind was not blowing so hard. The sky was nearly clear of clouds. The moon hung full and bright above the heaving horizon. Here was another aspect of the wonderful sea, and Chester lingered to get its full beauty. The steamer rolled heavily between the big waves. The young man leaned on the railing, and watched the ship's deck dip nearly to the water, then heave back until the iron sides were exposed nearly to the keel.
Chester was about to turn in for the night when he heard a commotion, apparently among the third class passengers. He walked along to where he could look down on the forward main deck. A number of people were running about shouting excitedly. Chester ran down the steps to get a nearer view.
"What's the matter?" he asked.
"I don't know. Someone overboard, I think."
People were crowding to the rail at the extreme forward end of the ship. Someone with authority was trying to push them back, using the old-fashioned ship-board language to aid him. Chester drew near enough not to be in the way, but so that he could observe what was going on. By leaning well over the rail, he could see what appeared to be two persons clinging to the anchor, which hung on the ship's side, about half-way down to the water. One was a dark figure, the other appeared in the moonlight to be a woman dressed in white. Other ships-men now rushed up.
"Clear way here! Where's the rope? Hang on, my man; we'll soon get you"—this down the side of the ship. There came some words in reply, but Chester did not hear them. A rope was lowered. "Slip the loop around the lady," was the order from above. The man on the anchor tried to obey. He moved as if cautiously and slowly. "Hurry, my man!" But there was no haste. Limbs and fingers made stiff by long exposure and cramped position, clinging desperately to prevent himself and his burden from falling into the sea, were not now likely to be nimble; but in a few minutes, which, however, seemed a long time, some words were spoken by the man on the anchor, the command to haul in was given, and slowly the nearly-unconscious form of a young woman was drawn up to safety.
"Now, my man, your next," shouted the officer. The rope soon dangled down again, the man reached out a hand for it. The ship cut into a big wave, whose crest touched the man below. He grasped wildly for the rope, missed it, and fell with a cry into the sea. Chester tried to see him as the ship rushed on, but the commotion and the darkness prevented him.
"Man overboard! stop the ship!" came from the excited passengers. "Man overboard!" What could be done! The man was gone. He had not one chance in a thousand to be rescued. Had he fallen overboard without much notice, the ship would have gone right on—Why should a world be stopped in its even course to save one soul?—but too many had seen this. Signal bells were rung, the engines slowed down, and then stopped. Lights flashed here and there, other officers of higher rank came on the scene; a boat fully manned was lowered. It bobbed up and down on the waves like a cork. Back into the track of the ship it went, and was soon lost to view.
The search was continued for an hour, then given up. No trace of the man could be found. The small boat was raised to the deck, the engine moved again, and the big ship went on its way.
Chester lingered among the steerage, passengers and listened to the story of the lost man who, it seems, had been one of those unfortunate ones who had failed to pass the health inspector at New York and had therefore been sent back to his native land, Ireland. He was known as Mike, what else, no one could tell. And the woman? Poor girl, she had wandered in her night dress to the ship's side, and in some unknown way had gotten overboard as far as the protruding piece of iron. How Mike had reached her, or how long they had occupied their perilous position, no one could tell. He was gone, and the woman was saved to her husband and her baby.
The night was growing late; but there was no sleep for Chester. Many of the passengers, having been awakened by the stopping of the ship, were up, hurriedly dressed, and enquiring what the trouble was. Chester met Elder Malby in the companion-way.
"What's the matter?" asked the Elder.
"A man has been lost at sea," replied the other. "Come into the saloon, and I'll tell you about it."
Chester was visibly affected as he related what he had seen. At the conclusion of his story he bowed his face into his hands for a moment. Then he looked into the Elder's face with a smile.
"Well, it's too bad, too bad," said George Malby.
"Do you think so?"
"Well—why—isn't it a terrible thing to die like that?"
"I hope not," replied Chester. "I think the dying part was easy enough, and the manner of it was glorious. He was a poor fellow who had failed to land. He had no doubt thought to make fame and fortune in the new world. Now he has gone to a new world indeed. He entered it triumphantly, I hope. As far as I know, he ought to be received as a hero in that world to which he has gone."
Chester's eyes shone and his face was aglow. "Elder Malby," he continued, "I remember what you told me just yesterday,—To our immortal soul, nothing that others can do, matters much; a man's own actions is what counts. Neither does it matter much when or how a man leaves this life; the vital thing is what he has done and how he has done it up to the point of departure. The Lord will take care of the rest."
As the two men went slowly along the narrow passage way to their state rooms that night, the older man said to the other, "I guess you're right, my brother; yes; you are right. Good night, and pleasant sleep."
The next morning the sky was clear and the sea was much smoother. The sun shone bright and warm; more people came on deck, rejoicing that they could live in the vigor of the open rather than in their stuffy state rooms. The two seasick elders thought it wiser to remain quietly in their berths for another day, so Chester and Elder Malby had the day to themselves. As the accident of the night before became known to the passengers, it was the topic of conversation for some time.
That afternoon Chester and his companion found a cosy corner on deck away from the cigar smoke, and had a long heart to heart talk. The fact of the matter was that the young man found comfort in the society of his older brother. For the first time in nearly two years Chester could pour out his heart to sympathetic ears, and he found much joy in doing this.
"Yes," said Chester to a question, "I should like to tell you about myself. When my story gets tiresome, call my attention to the porpoises, or declare that you can see a whale."
"I promise," laughed the other.
"Well, to begin at the very beginning, I was born in a suburb of Chicago, and lived in and near that city most of my life. My mother's name was Anna Lawrence. I never knew my father, not even his name. Yes, I can talk freely about it to you. The time was when I shunned even the thoughts of my earthly origin and my childhood days, but I have gotten over that. I have learned to face the world and all the truth it has for me.
"When I was but a child, my mother married Hugh Elston. Shortly after, they both heard the gospel preached by a 'Mormon' elder, and they accepted it. I had been placed in the care of some of my relatives, and when my mother now wished to take me, they would not give me up. They were, of course, fearful that I, too, would become a 'Mormon.' Mr. Elston and my mother went west to Utah. I was sent to school, obtained a fairly good education, and while yet a young man, was conducting a successful business.
"I had nearly forgotten that I had a parent at all, when one day, my mother, without announcement, came to Chicago. She had left her husband. Mother did not say much to any of us, but I took it for granted that she had been abused among the 'terrible Mormons.' After a time I took a trip out to Utah to see about it, meaning to find this Mr. Elston and compel him to do the right thing for my mother. Well, I went, I saw, and was conquered. Mr. Elston was a widower living in a spot of green called Piney Ridge Cottage amid the sage-brush desert,—living there alone with his daughter Julia. And this Julia—well—Do you see any porpoises, Brother Malby?"
"Not yet. Go on."
"Mr. Elston is a fine, good-hearted man,—a gentleman in very deed. He soon found out who I was and invited me to his home. Julia was mistress there. In the midst of the desert, these two had created a beautiful home. I went to their Sunday School and their meetings. I read Mormon books. My eyes were opened to the truth, and I was ready to accept it."
"Thanks to Julia," suggested the listener with a sly glance at Chester.
"Yes; thanks to Julia, Brother Malby; but not in the sense you hint at. I think I would have accepted the gospel, even had there been no Julia mixed up with the finding of it. But Julia helped. She was a living example of what 'Mormonism' can do for a person, and when I looked at her, learned her thoughts through her words, and saw her life by her every-day deeds, I said to myself, 'A system of religion that produces such a soul, cannot be bad.' Yes; she was a wonderful help; but I repeat that had the truth come to me by other means and other ways, I believe I should have accepted it."
"Forgive me for the thoughtless remark," said Elder Malby.
"O, I know how justifiable you are for it, so you are forgiven."
"Did you join the Church in Utah?"
"No; I went back to Chicago. Away from Utah, from Piney Ridge Cottage and its influence. I pondered and prayed. I found the elders there and was baptized. Then I went to Salt Lake City, where Julia had gone to attend school while her father was away on a mission to England." Chester paused, looking out on the sea. "You don't blame me for falling in love with Julia, do you?" asked he.
"I don't blame you a bit."
"But there was someone else, a young fellow who had grown up as a neighbor to her. He also went on a mission, and then I believe Julia discovered that she thought more of Glen Curtis than of me. I do not now blame Julia for that. She told me plainly her feelings. I persisted for a time, but in vain—then I went away, and have never been to Utah since."
"And that's the end of your story?"
"Oh, no; while I was roaming aimlessly about the country trying to mend a broken heart, mother, becoming uneasy about me, and thinking I was yet in Utah, journeyed out west to find me. The team on the stage-coach which took her out to Julia's home, ran away from the drunken driver, and just before they got to Piney Ridge Cottage the wagon upset on a dug-way, and mother was mortally hurt. She died under Julia's care, and now lies in Mr. Elston's private graveyard near Piney Ridge Cottage beside Mr. Elston's other wife. Let us walk a little."
The older man linked his arm into Chester's as they paced the long reach of the promenade deck. They walked for a few minutes, then sat down again.
"I hope you'll not think I'm a bore, to continue my personal history; but there is something in here," said Chester, striking his breast, "that finds relief in expression to one who understands."
"Go on; tell me all."
"Do you know, I was tempted to 'chuck it all' after I had failed with Julia. I even went so far as to play devilishly near to sin, but thank the Lord, I came to my senses before I was overcome, and I escaped that horror. Oh, but I was storm-tossed for a while—I thought of it yesterday when we had the rough sea—but in time I came out into the calm again, just as we are coming today on this voyage. But not until I had said more than once 'not my will, but thine, O Lord, be done,' and said it from my heart, did I get peace. Then I began to see that the girl had come into my life, not to be my wife, but to turn my life into new channels. I, with the rest of the world of which I was a part, had no definite views or high ideals of life, death, 'and that vast forever;' and something was needed to change my easy-going course. When I realized that Julia Elston had been the instrument of the Lord in doing that, I had to put away resentment and acknowledge the hand of God in it. I read in the parables of our Lord that a certain merchantman had to sell all he had in order to get the purchase money to buy the Pearl of Great Price. Why should it be given me without cost?"
"We all have to pay for it."
"And I who had made no sacrifice, railed against fate because I had been asked to pay a trifle—no it was not a trifle; but I have paid, and hope to continue to pay to the last call. Now, what do you say, brother? Tell me what you think."
"Well, you have an interesting story, my brother, and I am glad you look on your experiences in the right light. To get the woman one thinks he ought to get, is, after all, not the whole of life. There are other blessings. To have one's life changed from darkness into light; to have one's journey turned from a downward course to one of eternal exaltation; to obtain a knowledge of the plan of salvation,—these are important. If one is on the right way, and keeps on that way to the end, He who rules the world and the destinies of men, will see to it that all is right. Sometime, somewhere, every man and every woman will come to his own, whether in life or death, in this world, or the next."
"Thank you for saying that. Do you know, I am now glad that Julia did not yield to my entreaties, and marry me out of pity. Think how I would have felt when the realization of that had come to me. * * * * I found this expression of Stevenson the other day, purporting to be a test of a man's fortitude and delicacy: 'To renounce where that shall be necessary, and not to be embittered.' Thank the Lord, I am not embittered. Some time ago I chose this declaration of Paul for my motto: 'But this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.'"
The light of a soul of peace shone from the countenance of the young man. The smile on the lips added only beauty to the strength of the face. He arose, shook himself as if to get rid of all past unpleasantness and weakness, and faced the east as though he were meeting the world with new power. Then the smile changed to a merry laugh as he ran to the railing and cried:
"See, sure enough, there is a school of porpoises!"
* * * * *
The ship was in mid-ocean. The rough weather had wholly ceased. The sea lay glinting like a vast jewel under the slant of the afternoon sun. It was a day of unflecked beauty. The decks were gay with people, some walking, some leaning idly on the rail, some sitting with books in their hands. A few were reading, but most sat with finger in closed book. Why bother to read about life when it could be seen so full and interesting all around.
A day on ship-board is longer than one on shore, and provision must be made to pass it pleasantly. If the weather is fair, this is quite a problem. Of course, there are the meals in the well-appointed dining saloon. They break pleasantly into the long monotony. Then there are the deck games; the watching for "whales" and passing vessels; the looking at the spinning log in the foaming water at the stern; the marking of the chart, which indicates the distance traversed during the twenty-four hours; the visit to the steerage and the "stoke hole," or boiler room in the depths of the ship; and last, but not least, the getting acquainted with one's fellow passengers. "Steamer friendships" are easily made, and in most cases, soon forgotten. The little world of people speeding across the deep from shore to shore, is bound together closely for a few days, and then, its inhabitants scatter.
Chester Lawrence was enjoying every hour of the voyage. On that day practically all sea-sickness had gone. The vacant places at the tables were being filled and the company looked around at each other with pleasant contentment. The steamship company no longer saved on the provisions. The chatty old gentleman at Chester's right was back again after a short absence, and the power of speech had come to the demure lady on his left, with the return of her appetite.
Two places opposite Chester were still vacant at the table. That day as the crowd hastily answered the dinner gong, Chester, being a little tardy, encountered an elderly man and what appeared to be his daughter making their way slowly down the companionway towards the dining room. Chester saw at a glance that neither of them was strong, but both tried to appear able and were bound to help each other. He smiled at their well-meaning endeavors, then without asking leave, took the man's free arm and helped him down the steps, saying,
"You haven't quite got your sea-legs yet—Now then, steady, and we'll soon be there. Get a good dinner, and that will help."
The steward showed them to the two seats opposite Chester which had been vacant so long.
"Thank you very much," said the girl to Chester, with a smile, when the elderly man was well seated. Chester bowed without replying, then went around the table to his own seat.
Somehow that gracious little smile had made Chester's heart flutter for an instant. As he realized it, he said to himself, "What's the matter with me? Am I getting foolish? It was, certainly a sweet smile, and the thanks were gracious, too; but what of it?" The first courses were being served. She was sitting opposite him, just a few feet away. He might take a good look at the girl to see if there was anything uncommon about her. He looked down the table, glancing just for an instant opposite. No; there was nothing striking, or to be disturbed about. The girl was still solicitous over her companion, meanwhile eating a little herself. "I musn't be rude, thought Chester, and then looked again across the table. The man was past middle age. His face was clean shaven, and he was dressed in the garb of a minister. He was a preacher, then. The girl had evidently suffered much from sea-sickness, because her face was pale and somewhat pinched, though there was a tinge of red in her cheeks. That's a pretty chin, and a lovely mouth—and, well, now, what is the matter! Chester Lawrence, attend to your chicken."
The minister and his daughter did not remain for the dessert. As they arose, he said:
"Now, that's pretty good for the first time, isn't it?"
"Yes, father, it is," she replied. "You're getting on famously. Shall we try the deck for a while?"
"Yes; it will do us both good to get into the air. Run along into your room for a wrap."
Chester was tempted to leave his dinner to help them again; but he resisted the temptation. They walked quite firmly now, and as they entered the passageway, the girl glancing back into the room, met Chester's eyes and smiled once more. Again Chester's heart fluttered. It would have been a cold, hardened heart indeed not to have responded to such an appeal.
On the morning of the fourth day out, Chester Lawrence stood watching the antics of a young man, who, coatless and hatless, and made brave by too many visits to the bar, was running up the rope ladders of the mast to a dangerous height. He climbed up to where the ladder met the one on the other side, down which he scrambled with the agility of a monkey. The ladies in the group on deck gasped in fright at his reckless daring. The fellow jumped to the deck from the rail, and made a sweeping bow to the spectators:
"Ladies and gentlemen," he said, "'tis nothing at all, I assure you. On shore I am a circus performer, an' I was just practicing a little. Have no fear. See—"
He was about to make a second exhibition when a ship's officer seized him, threatening to lock him up if he did not desist.
"O, certainly, if its against the rules," he replied meekly. His hat and coat were lying on a chair by some ladies. He put these on again, and then sat down and began talking to the one nearest him. Chester, who had followed the fellow's capers with some interest, gave a start when he saw that the lady with whom the man was trying to carry on a conversation was the minister's daughter. She was visibly annoyed, and looked about as if for help. Chester thought her eyes fell on him, and without hesitation he determined to assist her. He went up to them, and without appearing to see the girl, reached out his hand to the man, saying:
"Halloo Jack! Didn't know you were on board till I saw your capers just now. I want to talk to you a moment. Come along and have a drink first."
The fellow stared at Chester and was about to deny any acquaintanceship with him, when the insistent manner of the greeting changed his mind. He excused himself to the lady, arose and followed. Chester took his arm as they walked along.
"Which is your state-room?" asked Chester.
"It's 340; but what you want to know for? Aren't we going to have a drink?"
"Not just now, my man. You're going to your room, and to bed. You got up too early. Listen,"—as the sobering man began to resent the interference,—"there's an officer looking at us. He will do nothing if you will go along quietly with me, but if you make a scene I'll hand you over to him."
They found the man's room and he willingly went in and lay down. "Now," said Chester to him, "remain below until you're sober. And don't bother that young lady again—do you hear. Don't you do it."
Chester went on deck again, somewhat in wonder at his own conduct. He was not in the habit of interfering in other people's business, and never mixed with drunken affairs. But this surely was different. No man would have refused that appeal for help. Yes; he was sure she had pleaded with her eyes. Perhaps he ought to go back and receive her thanks, but he resisted that impulse. He walked to the extreme rear of the boat and stood looking at the broad white path which the ship was making in the green sea. He stood gazing for some time, then turned, and there sitting on a coil of rope was the girl who had been in his mind. She saw his confusion and smiled at it.
"I—I came to thank you," she said; "but I did not like to disturb your meditations, so I sat down to rest."
"The sea has used you up quite badly, hasn't it?"
"O no; I was dreadfully ill before I came aboard. This trip is to make me well, so papa says."
"I hope so." There was a pause, during which Chester found a seat on a bit of ship furniture. This girl's voice was like an echo from far-away Utah and Piney Ridge Cottage. And there was something about the shapely head now framed in wind-blown hair and the face itself that reminded him of someone else. Just how the resemblance came in he could not tell, but there it was. Perhaps, after all, it was just the look in her eyes and the spirit that accompanied her actions and words that moved him.
"Is that man a friend of yours?" she asked.
"You mean that drunken fool? No; I've never met him before."
"That was just a ruse then—that invitation to drink."
"I had to do something, and that came first to me."
"Then you didn't go and drink with him?"
"Why no, of course not. I took him to his berth, and told him to stay there."
"Do you think he will?"
"Yes; until he sobers up."
"Well, I don't like drunken men."
"Neither do I."
"We're agreed on one thing then, aren't we?"
Chester laughed with her. Elder Malby was pacing the deck, awaiting the call for breakfast; but Chester did not join him.
"The man bothered me yesterday," she said, "and again last night. He wished to get acquainted, he claimed."
"You don't know him, then?"
"I've never seen him before. Papa has had to remain very quiet, and I haven't been around much. That fellow made me afraid."
"Well, he'll not bother you again. If he does, let me know."
"Thank you very much—"
The call for breakfast came to them faintly, then grew louder as the beaten gong came up from below to the deck.
"I must get papa and take him to breakfast. Let me thank you again, and good morning."
He might have accompanied her down, but he just stood there watching her. Elder Malby came up, and the two went down together.
The minister and his daughter got into their places more actively that morning. Chester wished heartily that his seat was not opposite. She was at too close range to allow of any careful observation. He could not very well help looking across the table, neither could she, although she had her father to talk to. Chester was really glad when breakfast was over that morning, and they all filed up to the sun-lit deck again.
Had Chester been a smoker, he would no doubt have taken consolation in a pipe with the majority of the men; but as it was, he withdrew as much as possible from others that he might think matters over and get to a proper footing; for truth to tell, he was in danger of falling in love again, and that, he said to himself, would never do. He avoided even Elder Malby that morning; but to do so he had to go down to the main deck forward out to the prow. He went to the extreme point, where from behind the closed railing he could stand as a look-out into the eastern sea. Gently and slowly the vessel rose and fell as it plowed through the long, gleaming undulations.
"What am I coming to," said Chester half-aloud as if the sea might hear and answer him. "Here I am running away from one heart entanglement only to go plump into another. She is not Julia, of course, but she has Julia's twin soul. A perfect stranger, an acquaintance of two days! The daughter of a minister, a minister of the world!" What was he thinking of? Who were they? He did not even know her name. She was not a well girl, that he could see. The roses in her cheeks were not altogether natural and her face was pale; but those red lips, and that smile when turned to him! Well, the voyage was half over. Another four or five days and they would be in Liverpool, where they would go their different ways forever. He must keep away from her that long, seeing there was danger. No more playing with the fire that burns so deep. And all this which he seemed to feel and fear, might be undreamed of by her and very likely was. A girl like that would not take seriously a "steamer friendship." She was only doing what all young people do on such trips, making pleasant acquaintances with whom to pass away the monotonous days. "Sure, sure," said he, as if to clinch the argument, but nevertheless, deep within his soul there was an undercurrent of protest against such final conclusions.
Chester tried to seek refuge in Elder Malby, but as he was not to be found, he opened up a conversation with the missionary for Scandinavia. The missionary was but a boy, it seemed to Chester. The going from home and the sea-sickness had had their effects, and the young fellow was glad to have some one to talk to. He came from Arizona, he told Chester; had lived on a ranch all his life; had never been twenty miles away from home before,—and now all this at once! It was "tough."
"But I'm feeling fine now," he said. "Do you know, I've had a peculiar experience. All the way across the United States from home, something seemed to say to me, 'You can't stand this. You'll go crazy. You'd better go back home.' Of course, I was terribly homesick, and I guess that was the trouble. The cowardly part of me was trying to scare the better part. But all the time I seemed to hear 'You'll go crazy' until once or twice I thought I would.
"Well, it was the same in New York, and the same when we came aboard. I didn't care much one way or other while sea-sick, but when I got over it, there was the same taunting voice. At last I got downright angry and said, 'All right, I'm going right on and fill my mission, and go crazy!' From that moment I have ceased to be bothered, and am now feeling fine."
"Good for you," said Chester. "You'll win out. I wish I was sure about myself." He went no further in explanation, however.
Ship board etiquette does not require formal introductions before extended conversations may be carried on. The New England school ma'am and the German professor were in a deep discussion ten minutes after they had met for the first time. Many on the ship were going especially "to do Europe," so there were themes for conversation in common.
As it happened, Chester was alone again that afternoon and he met the minister and his daughter on the promenade deck. They were taking their exercise moderately, pausing frequently to look at any trifling diversion. Chester tipped his cap at them as they passed. At the next meeting in the walk, the minister stopped and greeted the young man.
"I wish to thank you for your act of kindness to my daughter," he said. "She has told me about it."
"It was nothing, I assure you, sir," replied Chester. "I don't think the fellow will annoy her again."
"I hope not. On these ocean voyages one is thrown so closely into all kinds of company. We, of course, must suppose all our fellow-passengers are respectable people, until we find out otherwise—but let us sit down. Where are our chairs, Lucy?"
"They're on the other side, I believe, where we left them this morning."
"It's a little too windy there."
"I'll bring them around to you," said Chester. Lucy followed him, pointing out which of the chairs belonged to them.
"May I not carry one?" she asked.
"You do not appear strong enough to lift one."
Chester carried the two chairs around to the side of the sheltered deck, then found a vacant chair for himself which he placed with the other two.
"Thank you very much," said the minister, as they seated themselves. "The day is really fine, isn't it? After the sea-sickness, there is something glorious in a pleasant sea voyage. This is my third time across, but I don't remember just such a fine day as this. Are you a good sailor?" this to Chester.
"I've not missed a meal yet, if that's any indication."
"I envy you. I have often wished I could be on deck in a bit of real bad weather. We had a little blow the other day, I understand, when that poor fellow lost his life."
"Yes; I saw the accident," replied Chester; whereupon he had to relate the details to them.
"Well, such is life—and death," was the minister's only comment on the story.
The minister did most of the talking. Perhaps that was because he was used to it, having, as he told Chester, been a preacher for twenty-five years. The daughter commented briefly now and then, prompting his memory where it seemed to be weak. Chester listened with great interest to the man's account of former trips to Europe and his description of famous places. The speaker's voice was pleasant and well-modulated. His clean-cut face lighted up under the inspiration of some vivid description. Chester found himself drawn to the man nearly as much as he had been to the daughter.
"You're an American," announced the minister, turning to Chester.
"A western American, too."
"Right again; how can you tell?"
"Easily enough. How far west?"
"My home is in Chicago."
"Well, Lucy and I can beat you. We came from Kansas City. Ever been there?"
"I've passed through twice."
"Through the Union Depot only?" asked Lucy.
"You must have received a very unpleasant impression of our city."
"Well, happily I did get away from that depot. I took a ride on the cars out to Independence, and I saw a good part of the city besides. It's beautiful out towards Swope Park—"
"There's where we live," exclaimed the girl. "I think the park's just grand. I live in it nearly all summer."
At this point of the conversation, a party to windward, among whom were the two Catholic Fathers, lighted their pipes, and the smoke streamed like from so many chimneys into the faces of those sitting near. The minister looked sharply towards the puffing men, while Lucy tried to push the denser clouds away with her hands; but no notice was taken of such gentle remonstrances.
"I'll speak to them," suggested Chester.
"No; don't. It would only offend them," said the minister. "They think they are strictly within their rights, and it does not dawn on their nicotine poisoned wits that they are taking away other peoples' rights,—that of breathing the uncontaminated air. We'll just move our chairs a bit," which they did.
"You don't smoke, I take it," continued the clergyman, addressing Chester.
"No; I quit two years ago."
"Good for you. It's a vile habit, and I sometimes think the worst effect smoking has on people is that it dulls the nice gentlemanlyness of a man's character. Now, those men over there, even the Catholic Fathers, are, no doubt gentlemen in all respects but one; it's a pity that the tobacco habit should make the one exception."
Chester agreed in words, Lucy in looks.
"You say you have passed through Kansas City," continued the father. "How far west have you been?"
"To the Pacific Coast."
"Lucy and I should have made this trip westward, but the doctor said we must not cross the mountains, because of her heart. So an ocean voyage was advised."
"And I did want so much to see the Rockies," added the young woman. "I have always had a longing to see our own mountains as well as those of Switzerland. Next summer we'll take that western trip."
"I hope so, daughter."
"I assure you they are worth seeing," said Chester.
"No doubt about it. Lucy and I have planned it all for some day. Were you ever in Utah?"
"I lived for some time in Salt Lake City. Be sure to see that town on your trip."
The minister looked somewhat queerly at Chester for a moment. Then his gaze swept out to the water again as if a momentary disturbing thought was gotten rid of. Lucy was interested.
"Tell us about Salt Lake City, and, and the Mormons,'" pleaded she.
"Never mind the 'Mormons,' Lucy," admonished her father.
"It's difficult to speak of Utah and Salt Lake without mentioning the 'Mormons,'" added Chester.
"Then let's talk of something else, something more pleasant."
Evidently this minister was like all others, Chester concluded; sane and intelligent on all subjects but one,—the "Mormons." Well, he would set himself right before these two people, and do it now.
"I can say," said Chester, "that my experience among the 'Mormon' people has been among the most pleasant of my life. In fact, I don't know where I can go to find a more honest, God-fearing, virtuous people. I—"
"Young man," interrupted the clergyman, looking keenly at him, "are you a 'Mormon'?"
"Yes, sir; I have that honor."
Lucy gave a cry, whether of alarm or gladness, the young man could not then tell. The minister arose slowly. "Lucy," he said, "let us walk a little more," and without another word the two resumed their promenade.
But in Lucy's face there appeared concern. The tears, glittering in her eyes did not altogether hide the reassuring glance which she turned about to give Chester as he sat alone by the vacated chairs.
The next day was Sunday. Even on ship-board there are some indications that the seventh day is different from the rest. There is always a little extra to the menu for dinner, and then religious services are also held; and are not these two things frequently all that distinguish the Sabbath on the land?
That morning neither Lucy nor her father was at breakfast. Immediately after, Chester sought out the chief steward, and by insistency and the help of a small tip, he got his seat changed to the table occupied by Elder Malby and the two other missionaries. "No one shall be annoyed by my near presence, if I can help it," Chester said.
At the noon meal, the minister and his daughter appeared as usual. Chester watched them unobserved from his changed position. They looked at the vacant place opposite, but as far as Chester could determine, his absence was not discussed.
That afternoon services were held in three parts of the vessel at the same time. On the steerage deck a large company of Irish Catholics surrounded the two Fathers. One of the priests stood in the center of the group while the people kneeled on the deck. The priest read something in Latin, the others repeating after him. Then a glass of "holy water" was passed among them, the worshipers dipping their fingers in and devoutly crossing themselves. Chester watched the proceedings for a time, then he went to the second class deck where a revival meeting was in progress. The preacher was delivering the usual exhortation to "come to Jesus," while yet there was time. Presently, there came from the depths of the ship the sound of the dinner gong being slowly and solemnly beaten, no doubt to imitate, as nearly as possible, the peal of church bells. The steward who acted as bell ringer did his duty well, going into the halls and on to the decks, then disappearing again into the saloon. This was the official announcement to service. Chester and his friends followed. Quite a congregation had gathered. Two large pillows had been covered with a Union Jack to serve as a pulpit. A ship's officer then read the form prescribed for services on ship-board from the Church of England prayer book. It was all very dry and uninteresting, "Verily a form of godliness" and a lot of "vain repetition," said Elder Malby.
Then the minister—Chester's minister—arose. He had been asked, he said, to add a few words to the regular service, and he was pleased to do so. He called attention to the accident which had happened on their voyage, and felt to say something on the providence of God, and His watch-care over His children. The preacher's voice was pleasant, the ministerial tone not being so pronounced as to make his speech unnatural. Chester listened attentively, as also did Lucy who, Chester observed, was sitting well up towards the front.
"God is the source of the being of all men," said the preacher. "He has brought us all into existence, and made us in His own likeness, and is a Father to us in fact and in feeling. He owns us and owns His responsibility for us. He cares for us and overrules all things for our good. He is worthy of our love and confidence. Since we are His children, God desires us to be such in very deed—in fellowship and character, and is satisfied with us only as we are giving ourselves to the filial life. This relationship which we bear to God cannot be fully explained. There is a mystery in it beyond the understanding of finite minds; but of this we are sure that the God of Creation has brought us all forth into being, and He will take care of us if we will let Him. We cannot reasonably and reverently think otherwise of Him.
"Is it not a comfort to think that we cannot get away from the ever-present watchfulness of God? As the Psalmist puts it: 'Whither shall I go from thy spirit, or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.' Yes, yes, my friends, 'God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear—'"
Somehow, what the minister said after that came very indistinctly to Chester Lawrence. He heard the words, but was aware only of a peculiar feeling, a dim perception of where he was and what he was hearing. There seemed to him to be a genuine feeling in the voice that uttered those beautiful words of scripture. They clung to his heart, and the minister himself became transfigured for an instant into some other being,—stern of countenance, yet loveliness in the depths of his soul, spiritually far away, yet heart yearning with nearness of love. Chester came fully to himself only when Elder Malby took his arm and together they paced a few turns around the deck.
That same Sunday evening as Chester stood alone on the promenade deck watching the moonlight lay as a golden coverlet on the placid sea, his attention was attracted to the figure of a girl mounting the steps leading to the deck where he stood. She paused half way as if to rest, then came slowly up to where he was standing. Her breath came heavily, and she looked around to find a place to rest. Chester instinctively took her arm and led her to a deck chair.
"O thank you," said Lucy, "I—my heart bothered me pretty badly that time. I am forbidden to climb stairs, but I couldn't find you on the lower deck."
"Did you wish to see me?" asked Chester.
"Yes; I—you'll not think me over bold, will you, but I had to find you—won't you sit down here—I can't talk very loudly tonight."
Chester drew a chair close to hers. A light wrap clung about her and the moonlight streamed on head and face. The young man, in the most matter-of-course-way adjusted the wrap to the girl's shoulders as he said:
"You are not well, tonight."
"Oh, I'm as well as usual—thank you." She smiled faintly. "Will you forgive us?"
He was about to reply, "Forgive you for what?" but he checked himself. Somehow, he could not feign ignorance as to what she meant, neither could he use meaningless words to her.
"We were very rude to you yesterday, both father and I; and I wanted to make some explanations to you, so you would understand. I am so sorry."
"You and your father are already forgiven. If there were a grain of ill-feeling against him this afternoon, it all completely vanished when I heard him talk at the services."
"You were there?"
"Yes. Now don't you worry." He was nearly to say "Little Sister;" but again he checked himself. "I am a 'Mormon,'" he continued. "I am not ashamed of it, because I know what it means. Only those who don't know despise the word."
"Neither am I ashamed of it," she said as she looked him fairly in the face. "I know a little—a very little—about the 'Mormons,' but that which I know is good."
"What do you know?"
"I'll tell you. One evening, in Kansas City I stopped to listen to two young men preaching on the street. They were just boys, and they did not have the appearance of preachers. You must know that I have always been interested in religion, and religious problems. Perhaps that is natural, seeing my father is a minister. I read his books, and many are the discussions I have had with him over points of doctrine,—and we don't always agree, either. He, however, usually took my little objections good naturedly until one day he asked me where I had obtained a certain notion regarding baptism. In reply I handed him the booklet I had received at the 'Mormon' street meeting. He looked at it curiously for a moment, wanted to know where I had obtained it, then locked it up in his desk. He was really angry; as that was something he had never been before over any religious question, I was surprised and impressed. I had, however, read carefully the booklet. Not only that, but I had been secretly to one of the 'Mormon' services. I there learned that an acquaintance of mine belonged to the 'Mormon' Church, and depend upon it, I had her tell me what she knew."
"And your father?"
"He objected, of course. At first, I told him everything. He had always let me go to any and all religious gatherings without objection. He even laughingly told me I could don the Salvation lassie's bonnet and beat a drum in the street, if I wanted to; but when it came to the 'Mormons,' O, he was angry, and forbade me from ever going to their meetings or reading their literature. I thought it strange."
"It's not strange at all,—when you understand," remarked Chester, who was intensely interested in her story. "I suppose you obeyed your father."
"Well, now, you want me to tell you the truth, of course—I—I wasn't curious—"
"You're laughing at me. But I wasn't, I tell you. I was interested. There is something in 'Mormonism' that draws me to it. I don't know much about it, to be sure, for it seems that the subject always widens out to such immensity. I want you to tell me more about Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon and the new revelations."
"But your father will object. What would he say if he knew you were sitting here in this beautiful moonlight talking to a 'Mormon'?"
"I'm of age, I guess. I'm doing nothing wrong, I hope."
"I hope not. Far be it for me to harm you—or any living soul. But I don't know much about the gospel as we call it—for you must know it is the simple gospel of Jesus Christ revealed anew. There are three other 'Mormons' on board, missionaries going to Europe. One of them at least could tell you much."
"But I'd be pleased to hear you tell me—is, is that father? I wonder if he is looking for me."
Chester looked in the direction indicated. A man came up, then passed on; it was not the minister. The girl crouched into the shadow, and as she did so her shoulder pressed against Chester's. Then she sprang up.
"Well, I was foolish," she exclaimed, "to be afraid of dear old daddy!"
Chester also arose, and the two walked to the railing. They stood there in the moonlight. Great clouds of black smoke poured from the ship's funnels, and streamed on to windward, casting a shadow on the white deck. They looked out to the water, stretching in every direction into the darkness. Then as if impelled by a common impulse, they looked at each other, then blushed, and lowered their eyes. The girl's hands lay on the railing. Chester saw their soft shapeliness, and noted also that there were no rings on them.
"I'm glad I've met you," said Chester honestly.
"And I'm glad, too," she breathed. "Some other time you must tell me so much. I've so many questions to ask. You'll do that, won't you?"
"Why do you ask?"
"Now I must go to father. He may be uneasy." She held out her hand. "Good night—what do you think of me? Am I a rude girl?"
"I heard your father call you Lucy. That's your name, isn't it?"
"And I may call you that, may I not? You know these ship-board acquaintances don't wait on ceremony."
"But I don't know your name, either. Think of it, how we have been really confidential and we don't even know each other's name."
"I know yours."
"Only half of it. I've two more. How many have you?"
"And they are?"
"Well, mine is Lucy May Strong—and now, goodnight."
He took her arm and helped her down the steps, gently, for she seemed such a frail being, one who needed just such stout arms as Chester's to lean upon. He risked the danger of meeting the father by helping her down the second flight of steps to the state-room deck.
"Good night, Lucy."
"Good night—Brother Lawrence."
All Monday forenoon, Chester sat on deck reading a book which he had obtained from the ship's library. It was a most interesting story, and yet the world of gray-green water and changing clouds drew his attention from the printed page. He was beginning to realize what the fascination for the sea was which took hold of men. It would have been difficult for him to analyze or explain this feeling, but it was there; and it seemed to him that he would have been content to live out his life on that boundless ocean which presented a symbol of eternity continually before his eyes.
Chester started, then turned. It was Lucy's father who found a chair and drew it up to Chester's.
"Is the book interesting?" inquired the minister.
"Not so interesting as this wonderful sea and sky," was the reply.
"You are right," said the other, following the young man's gaze out to the distance. "Our universe is now but water and air, and we are but specks floating between the two layers."
"But we know that ocean and air are not all. We know there are plains and mountains, forests and growing fields; so after all our universe must include not only all we can see with our eyes, but all that comes within view of our comprehension. Do you know," resumed Chester after a pause, "I have come to this conclusion, that our universe is limited only within the bounds of our faith. As we believe, and strive to convert that belief into a living faith, so shall we know and realize."
The preacher looked keenly at the "Mormon," as if he would see the fountain of these thoughts. Chester continued:
"But you, as a minister of the gospel, understand all these things. However, I like to think about them and express them to those who will listen"—and as the minister was listening, the young man went on:
"I reason it out this way: The Spirit of God—that is, His presence in influence and knowledge and power, as you so beautifully put it yesterday at the services, is everywhere in the universe. There is no place in heaven or hell, or in the uttermost bounds of space but God is there. As you also stated, we may not fully understand this infinite magnificence of God, but this has been done to help us: the Father has revealed Himself to us through his Son. The Son we can comprehend, for He was one of us. We learn from scripture that this Son had all power both in heaven and earth given him; that He was, in fact, 'heir of all things.' Now, when that fact is fixed in my mind, I connect this other with it, that we, God's children also, are joint heirs with Christ; and in fact, if we continue on in the way He trod, we shall be like Him. Now, then, what does this chain of argument lead us to? That we may follow in the footsteps of God, and where He has gone, or shall go, we may go. Think of it—no, we can't. Only for an instant can our minds dwell upon it, then we drop to the common level again, and here we are, a speck on the surface of the deep."
"What is that book you are reading?" asked the minister. He had evidently also dropped to the "common level;" or perhaps he had not soared with his companion.
"This? O, this is Kipling's 'Plain Tales from the Hills.' I like Kipling, but I wish he hadn't written some very untruthful things about my people."
"Yes. It seems he made a flying visit through Salt Lake City, and took for gospel truth the lurid stories hack drivers tell to tourists so that they may get their money's worth."
"Well, I don't know;—but that brings me to the point of my errand. I sought you out especially today to ask you not to talk religion to my daughter. I understand she and you had a discussion on 'Mormonism' last evening, and she slept very little all night as a result."
"You are mistaken, sir; I said nothing to her about 'Mormonism.' She told me a little about—"
"Well, whatever it was, she was and is still ill over it. Let me tell you,—and I am sure you will believe me,—my little girl is all I have. She has been ailing for years, heart trouble mostly, with complications. A comfortable voyage with no over-excitement might help, the doctors said; and that's the main reason for this trip. She has always been interested in religious questions, which I naturally encouraged her in; but when she got mixed up somewhat with the 'Mormons,' that was quite another matter."
"Why, may I ask?"
"Well, it excited her. It brought her in contact with undesirable people, people not of her class and standing—"
"Like me, for instance."
"I did not say that."
"You inferred it. But pardon me. I would not, for the world, do anything that would unfavorably affect your daughter."
"I knew you would look at the matter sensibly. Perhaps it would be for the best if you did not meet her oftener than possible. I know it is difficult on ship-board, but for her sake you might try."
"For her sake, why certainly, I'll do anything—for I want to tell you, Mr. Strong, you have a good, sweet daughter."
"I'm glad you think so."
"And I think a whole lot of her, I may just as well tell you. We have met but a few times, but some souls soon understand each other."
"What! You don't mean—!"
"That we have been making love to each other," laughed Chester. "O, no; not that I know; but there is such a thing as true affinity of souls, nevertheless, the affinity which draws by the Spirit of God. And so I say again plainly, that you may understand, I regard your daughter highly."
"Young man, I thank you for your open manner and speech, but I beseech of you not to encourage any deeper feeling towards my daughter. She can never marry. She lives, as it were, on the brink of the grave. Now, I have been plain also with you."
"I appreciate it, sir; believe me; I am profoundly sorry for her and for you; but, let me say this, seeing we are speaking plainly, if I loved your daughter, and we all knew she would die tomorrow, or next month, that knowledge would make only this difference, that my love would become all the holier. If she returned that love, we would be happy in knowing that in the life beyond we would go on and bring that love to a perfect consummation."
The minister looked closely again at the young man. Then, giving voice to his thoughts, asked: "Have you studied for the ministry? Are you now a 'Mormon' missionary?"
"I am not an authorized 'Mormon' missionary. My studying has been no more than is expected of every 'Mormon.' Every member of our Church is supposed to be able to give a reason for the hope that is within him,—and I think I can do that."
"Do you live in Utah?"
"No, sir; my home is in Chicago."
"Chicago!—well, I—are there 'Mormons' in Chicago?"
"A few, as I suppose there are a few in Kansas City. I joined the 'Mormon' Church in Chicago, but I was converted in Utah."
"You have been to Utah, then?"
"O, yes; I spent some time there and got very well acquainted with the people; and they are a good people, I tell you, sir. I know—"
"Yes, well, Mr.——, Lucy did tell me your name, but I have forgotten it."
"My name is Lawrence—Chester Lawrence."
The minister had arisen as if about to go, but he now sat down again. Chester did not understand the strange twitching of the minister's lips or the pallor of his face. What had he said or done to agitate the man so much?
"Chester Lawrence!" repeated Mr. Strong under his breath.
"You have never met me before, have you? Perhaps—"
"No; I have never met you before. No, no; of course not. There was just something come over me. I'm not very well, and I suppose I—"
He stopped, as if he lacked words.
"May I get you anything, a drink of water?" suggested Chester.
"No, no; it was nothing. Sit down again"—for Chester also had arisen—"and tell me some more about yourself. I am interested."
"Well, my life has been very uneventful, and yet in a way, I have lived. As a boy in Chicago, I suppose, my young days passed as others; but it was when I went out west and met the 'Mormons' that things happened to me."
"I don't mean that I had any adventures or narrow escapes in a physical way. I lived in the mountains as a miner for a time, but there are no wild animals or Indians there now, so my adventures were those of the spirit, if I may use that expression,—and of the heart. Isn't that your daughter coming this way?"
Sure enough, Lucy had found them, and came up to them beaming. Chester failed to see in her any symptoms for the worse, as her father had indicated. In fact, there certainly was a spring to her step which he had not seen before.
"Well, I've found you at last, you run-away papa. Good morning," she nodded to Chester, who returned the greeting. "Don't you know, papa, you have kept me waiting for half an hour or more to finish our game."
"I'll go right now with you," said the father, rising.
"Well, I don't care so much now, whether it's finished or not. I believe someone else has it anyway."
"Oh, we'll go and finish the game," persisted Mr. Strong.
"Perhaps Mr. Lawrence will come along," suggested the girl, as it seemed very proper to do.
"Not now, thank you," replied Chester. "I must finish my book before the lunch gong sounds."
The minister took his daughter's arm and they went along the deck to where a group was laughing merrily over the defeat and victory in the games. Chester watched them mingle with the company, then he opened his book again; but he did not complete his story at the time he had appointed.
To those who can possess their souls in peace, life on ship-board in pleasant weather is restful, and may be thoroughly enjoyed. A little world is here compactly put together, and human nature may be studied at close range. From the elegant apartments of the saloon to the ill-smelling quarters of the steerage, there is variety enough. Representatives are here from nearly "every nation under heaven:" every creed, every color; every grade of intelligence and worldly position, from the prince who occupies exclusively the finest suite of rooms, to the begrimed half-naked stoker in the furnace room in the depths of the vessel; every occupation; every disposition. And yet, even in this compact city in a shell of steel, one may seclude himself from his fellows and commune solely with his own thoughts or his books.
The three "Mormon" elders, reticent and quiet, had made few acquaintances. The Rev. Mr. Strong and his daughter, not being very well, had not been active in the social proceedings of the ship's company.
Chester Lawrence had formed an acquaintance which seemed to him to fill all requirements, so that he cared not whether he learned to know any more of his fellow travelers. And now further association with this pleasant acquaintance must stop. Well, once again he said to himself, he would be glad at sight of Liverpool, and again some deeply hidden voice protested.
Chester tried to keep his word with Mr. Strong. He made no efforts to see Lucy or talk with her, and he even evaded her as much as possible. This he could not wholly do without acting unmannerly. All were on deck during those beautiful days, and twice on Tuesday Lucy and Chester and the elders had played deck quoits, the father joining in one of them. Lucy beamed on Chester in her quiet way until she noted the change in his conduct towards her. The pained expression on the girl's face when she realized this change, went to Chester's heart and he could have cried out in explanation.
That evening Lucy found Chester in a corner of the library pretending to read. There was no escape for him as she approached. What a sweet creature she was, open-hearted and unafraid! His heart met her half way.
"What is the matter with you, Brother Lawrence?" she asked.
"There is nothing the matter with me."
"Then what have I done?" She seated herself, and Chester laid his book on the table. He would be plain and open with this girl. In the end nothing is gained by mystery and silence. He told her plainly what had taken place between himself and her father. She listened quietly, the tears welling in her eyes as he progressed. Then for a moment she hid her face in her hands while she cried softly.
"I shall not ask you to break your promise," she said at last, "but I did so want to learn more of the gospel—the true restored gospel. It isn't true that a discussion of these things affects me unfavorably. I am never so well as when I am hearing about and thinking of them. Perhaps father thinks so, however; I shall not misjudge him."
"So I shall keep my word," said he, "and if I keep it strictly, I should not now prolong my talk with you. But I have a way out of your trouble. You know Elder Malby. He is a wise man and knows the gospel much better than I. He will gladly talk to you."
"Thank you. That's a good suggestion; but you—"
"I shall have to be content to look from afar off, or perchance to listen in silence. Good night."
And so it happened that the very next morning when the passengers were looking eagerly to the near approach to Queenstown, Lucy and Elder Malby were seen sitting on deck in earnest conversation. Chester promenaded at a distance with some envy in his heart; but he kept away. For fully an hour the girl and the elderly missionary talked. Then the minister, coming on deck saw them. He, no doubt, thought she was well out of harm's way in such company, for he did not know Elder Malby. When he caught sight of Chester he went up to him, took him by the arm and fell into his stride.
Their conversation began with the common ship-board topics. Then the minister asked his companion more about himself and his life. It seemed to Chester that he purposely led up to his personal affairs, and he wondered why. There were some parts of his history that he did not desire to talk about. What did this man wish to know?
"How long did you live in Utah?" asked the minister, after receiving little information about Chester's birth and parentage.
"Altogether, about a year."
"And you liked it out there?"
"Very much. The mountain air is fine; and that is truly the land of opportunity."
The two swung around the deck, keeping in step. Chester pressed his companion's arm close. They reached in their orbit the point nearest to Lucy and Elder Malby, then without stopping went on around.
"I knew a man once by the name of Lawrence," said the minister. "I wonder if he could be related to you."
Chester did not reply.
"I don't know whether or not he ever went to Utah."
"My parents were not with me in Utah. I went alone, after I was a grown man. My mother had lived there many years before, but had left. She lived in Chicago the latter part of her life; but she made a trip to Utah when she was old and feeble,—and she died there. * * * * Her grave is there now."
The minister now was silent. His lips twitched again. Chester once more wondered why such things should affect him. The man's arm clung to Chester firmly as if he wished support; and Chester's heart warmed to him. Was he not Lucy's father? Should he not know all he desired to know about the man who had expressed deep regard for his daughter?
"I think you are tired," said Chester. "Let's sit here and rest."
"Yes; all right."
"The man Lawrence whom you knew was not my father," continued Chester. "That was my mother's maiden name. I don't know—I never knew my father; and shall I say, I have no wish to know a man who could treat my mother and his child the way he did. No; much as I have longed to know a father's love and care, I cannot but despise a man who becomes a father, then shirks from the responsibility which follows—who leaves the burden and the disgrace which follow parenthood outside the marriage relation to the poor woman alone. Such baseness, such cowardice, such despicable littleness of soul!—do you wonder why I don't want to know my father?"
Well, he had done it. Lucy's father knew the truth of his dishonorable beginning. This highly cultured Christian minister was no doubt shocked into silence by his outburst of confidence. But he must know also that this occurred among a Christian community, long before either of the parties concerned knew of or were connected with the "Mormons." So Chester explained this to the man at his side, who sat as if deaf to what was being said. His gaze was fixed far out to sea. His lips did not now quiver, but the lines in his face were rigid.
Chester beckoned to the daughter, and when she came, he said:
"I think your father is not well. Perhaps he ought to go below and rest."
"Father," cried the somewhat frightened girl, "what is it? Are you ill?"
The father shook himself as if to be freed from some binding power, looked at Chester and then at Lucy, smiled faintly, and said:
"Oh, I'm all right now, but perhaps I ought to rest a bit. Will you go down with me, Lucy?"
The daughter took his arm and was about to lead him away. He stopped and turned again to Chester.
"Excuse me," he said, "but what was your mother's full name?"
"Thank you. All right, Lucy. Let's be going."
Chester watched them disappear down the companionway, then looked out to sea at the black smoke made by a steamer crawling along the horizon, from Liverpool outward bound.
A number of men and women were sitting on the promenade deck forward engaged in an earnest discussion. Just as Chester Lawrence came up and paused to listen, for it seemed to be a public, free-for-all affair, he noticed that Elder Malby was talking, directing his remarks to a young man in the group.
"What is your objective point?" the Elder asked. "What do you live and work for? What is your philosophy of life by which you are guided and from which you draw courage, hope, and strength?"
"Oh, I take the world as it comes to me day by day, trusting to luck, or to the Lord, perhaps I had better say, for the future," replied the young fellow.
"What would you think of a captain of a vessel not knowing nor caring to know from what port he sailed or what port was his destination? Who did not know the object of the voyage, knew nothing of how to meet the storms, the fog, the darkness of the sea?"
"Well, I'm not the captain of a ship."
"Yes, you are. You are the captain of your own soul, at least; and you may not know how many more souls are depending upon you for guidance in this voyage of life which we are all taking."
"That's right—true," agreed a number of by-standers.
"Say, mister," suggested one, "tell us what you think of the propositions. You seem able to, all right."
"Well," responded the elder, "I don't want to preach a sermon that will bore you; but if the ladies and gentlemen here are interested I shall be pleased to give my views."
"Sure—go on," came from others.
One or two found seats, as if they would rather sit through the ordeal, others following their example. "Yes; it's more comfortable," agreed Elder Malby, as they drew their chairs in a circle. Two people left, but two others came and took their places.
"I hope we are all Christians," began the speaker, "at least so far that we believe the Scriptures; otherwise my arguments will not appeal to you."
A number acknowledged themselves to be Christians.
"Then I may begin by saying that the purpose of this life-voyage of ours is that we might obtain the life eternal. 'This is life eternal' that we might know God and His Son Jesus Christ who was sent to us. If we know the Son we know the Father, for we are told that the Father has revealed Himself through the Son. This Son we know as Jesus Christ who was born into the world as we were. He had a body of flesh. He was like us, His brethren; yet this Being, the Scriptures tell us, was in the 'form of God;' that He was the 'image of the invisible God;' that He was 'in the express image of His Father's person.' When Jesus lived on the earth, one of His disciples asked Him, 'Show us the Father.' 'He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father,' was the reply. 'I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh to the Father but by me.'"
At this point the Rev. Mr. Strong and his daughter came sauntering along the deck. They paused to listen, then accepted the chairs which Chester hurriedly found for them.
"I am not stating where in the Scriptures these quotations can be found," continued the elder, "though I shall be pleased to do so to any who wish to know. Well then, here we have a glorious truth: if we wish to know God, we are to study the Son. Jesus is the great Example, the Revealer of the Father. He is the Father's representative in form and in action. If Jesus, the Son, is meek and lowly, so also is the Father; if He is wise and good and forgiving, so is the Father; if the Son is long-suffering and slow to anger, yet not afraid to denounce sin and call to account the wicked, so likewise may we represent the Father. All the noble attributes which we find in the Son exist in perfectness in the Father.
"Picture this noble Son, the risen Redeemer, my friends, after His battle with death and His victory over the grave! In the splendid glory of His divine manhood, all power both in heaven and earth in His hand, He stands as the shining figure of the ages. Why? Because He is 'God With Us.'"
There was perfect stillness in the group of listeners.
"Thus the Father has shown Himself to us. There is no need for any of us to plead ignorance of our Divine Parent. The way is marked out, the path, though at times difficult, is plain. The Son does the will of the Father. 'My Father worketh hitherto, and I work,' said Jesus. 'The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father do; for what things soever He doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.' We, then, are to follow Christ, as He follows the Father. Isn't that plain?"
"Do I understand," asked one, "that you believe God to be in the form of man?"
"Rather that man is in the form of God, for 'God created man in His own image.'"
"In His moral image only. God is a spirit. He is everywhere present, and therefore cannot have a body, such as you claim," objected one.
"I claim nothing, my friend. I am only telling you what the Scriptures teach. They say nothing about a 'moral image.' What is a moral image? Can it have an existence outside and apart from a personality of form?"
There was no immediate response to this. Some looked at the minister as if he ought to speak, but that person remained silent.
"The attributes of God, as far as we know them, are easily put into words; but try to think of goodness and mercy and love and long-suffering and wisdom outside and apart from a conscious personality, an individual, if you please. Try it."
Some appeared to be trying.
"Pagan philosophers have largely taken from the world our true conception of God, and given to us one 'without body, parts, or passions.' The Father has been robbed of His glorious personality in the minds of men. Christ also has been spiritualized into an unthinkable nothingness. And so, to be consistent some have concluded that man also is non-existent; and it naturally follows that God and Christ and man, with the whole material universe, are relegated to the emptyness of a dream."
"If God is in the form of man He cannot be everywhere," suggested one of the ladies. "And that's not a pleasant thought."
"Our friend here," continued the speaker, nodding to Mr. Strong, "quoted a passage in his splendid sermon last Sunday which explains how God may be and is present in all His creations. Certainly God the Father cannot personally be in two places at the same time any more than God the Son could or can." The elder took a Bible from his pocket.
"I had better read the passage. It is found in the 139th Psalm. David exclaims, 'Whither shall I go from thy spirit, or whither shall I flee from thy presence?' You will recall the rest of the passage. Is it not plain that the Lord is present by His Spirit always and everywhere. His Spirit sustains and controls and blesses all things throughout the immensity of space. Fear not, my friend, that that Spirit cannot be with you and bless you on sea or on land. We cannot get outside its working power any more than we can escape the Spirit of Christ now and here, even if His glorified body of flesh and bones now sits on the right hand of His Father in heaven where Stephen saw it."
As is usual in all such discussions as this, some soon retire, others linger, eager not to miss a word. Lucy, you may be sure, was among those who remained. Her father also, sitting near to Chester, listened with deep interest.
"Just one more thought," continued the "Mormon" elder, "in regard to this lady's fear that God may not be able to take care of all His children always and everywhere. God is essentially a Father—our Father. The fathering of God gives me great comfort. By fathering I mean that He has not only brought us into existence, but He has sent us forth, provides for us, watches over us. In our darkness He gives us light, in our weakness He lends us strength. He rebukes our wrong actions, and chastens us for our good. In fact, He fathers us to the end. Is it not a great comfort?"
"It certainly is," said Lucy, unconscious to all else but the spirit of the Elder's words.
"In this world," said the Elder, "the God-given power of creation is exercised unthoughtfully, unwisely, and often wickedly. A good-for-nothing scamp may become a father in name; but he who attains to that holy title in fact, must do as God does,—must love, cherish, sustain and make sacrifices for his child until his offspring becomes old enough and strong enough to stand for himself,—Don't you think so, Mr. Strong?"
All eyes were turned to the minister who was appealed to so directly. Had the reverend gentleman been listening, or had his thoughts been with his eyes, out to sea? His face was a study. But that was not to be wondered at. Was he not a dispenser of the Word himself, and had he not been listening to strange doctrine? However, he soon shifted his gaze from the horizon to his questioner.
"Certainly, I agree with you," he replied. "Father and fathering are distinct things. Happy the man who combines them in his life—happy, indeed."
The afternoon was growing to a close. The sun sank into the western sea. The Elder, carried along by the awakened missionary spirit, continued his talk. He explained that the Father had by means of the Son pointed out the way of life, called the plan of salvation, or gospel of Jesus Christ. He spoke of faith, repentance, and baptism for the remission of sins; for, said the Elder to himself, even the minister has need of these things.
Lucy drank eagerly the words of life. Her father sat unmoved, making no comment or objection. He had never been one to wrangle over religion; had prided himself, in fact, on being liberal and broad-minded; so he would not dispute even though he could not altogether agree. The Elder's words came to him in a strange way. Had he heard all this before? If so, it had been in some long-forgotten past; and this man's discourse only awakened a faint remembrance as of a distant bell tolling across the hills. Away back in his youth, he must have heard something like this; or was it an echo of some pre-existent world—he had heard of such things before. Perhaps it was the man's tone of voice, his mannerism that recalled, in some way, some past impression.
The Elder stopped. Lucy touched her father's arm.
"Father," she said, "I believe you are cold. I had better get your coat."
The minister arose, as if stiffened in the joints by long sitting. He reached out his hand to the Elder. "I have enjoyed your gospel talk," he said. "May I ask your name, and to what Church you belong, for evidently you are a preacher."
"My name is George Malby, and I am an elder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly known as 'Mormons.'"
"A 'Mormon!'" a number of voices chorused.
Some confusion followed, and the party broke up. Lucy, her father, and Chester, still lingered.
"Father," said Lucy, "I had intended to introduce you to Elder Malby, but I wanted you to hear, unprejudiced, what he had to say. What he has been teaching is 'Mormonism,' and you'll admit now that it is not at all bad. You never would listen nor read."
"Lucy—that will do. Good evening, gentlemen. Come Lucy."
Later that same evening when most of the passengers had retired, the Rev. Mr. Strong came up on deck again. He took off his cap so that the breeze might blow unhindered through the thin, gray locks. He paced slowly the length of the promenade deck with hands behind his back and eyes alternatingly looking into the dark sky and to the deck at his feet. The old man's usual erect form was bent a little as he walked, his step broke occasionally from the rhythmatical tread. There was war in the minister's soul. Conflicting emotions fought desperately for ascendency. Memories of the past mingled with the scenes of the present, and these became confused with the future. As a minister of the gospel for half a lifetime, he had never had quite such a wildly disordered mind. He wiped the perspiration from his brow. He groaned in spirit so that moans escaped from his lips. The sea was beautifully still, but rather would he have had it as wild and as boisterous as that which was within his heart.
The man paused now and then at the rail. The Irish coast was not far away, and the lights of ships could be seen, westward bound. The minister tried to follow in his mind these little floating worlds; but they were too slow. Like the lightning he crossed the Atlantic and then with the same speed flew half way across the American continent to a big, black, busy city roaring with the traffic of men. Then out a few miles to the college, where he as a young divinity student had spent some years of his early manhood—and there and then he had met her—Also, years later, the woman whom he had married—and at each big milestone in his journey of life there had been "Mormons" and "Mormonism."
"'Mormonism,' 'Mormonism,'" the man whispered hoarsely. "Anna—Clara—Lucy—Chester—and now—and now what! O, my God!"
It was nearly midnight when Lucy, becoming alarmed at her father's long absence from his state room, came slowly on deck, stopping now and then to rest. She saw him by the rail, went up to him, took him by the arm and with a few coaxing words led him down into his room. As he kissed her good-night with uncommon fervor, he looked into her upturned face and said:
"Are you going to love this young man—Chester Lawrence?"
"Father," she cried, "what do you mean?"
"Just what I say. I am not blind. I made him promise not to seek your company or talk religion to you. Tomorrow I shall relieve him from that promise."
"There now, child,—and Lucy, he may talk of religion and love all he wants. I think those two things, when they are of the right kind and properly blended, are good for the heart, don't you?"
"Yes, thank you, dear daddy—we are so near England now that I may call you daddy."
"Then good-night, my girl;" and he kissed her again in the doorway.
But next morning there was no time to talk of either love or religion for Chester and Lucy.
The coast of Ireland had been sighted earlier than had been expected, and there was the usual straining of eyes landward. Chester was among the first to see the dark points on the horizon which the seamen said was the Irish coast, and which as the vessel approached, expanded to green hills, dotted with whitened houses. This then was Europe, old, historic Europe, land of our forefathers, land of the stories and the songs that have come down to us from the distant past.
"Good morning. What do you think of Ireland?" Lucy touched his arm.
"Oh, good morning. You are up early."
"I am feeling so fine this morning that I had to get up and join in the cry of 'Land ho.' No matter how pleasant an ocean voyage has been, we are always pleased to see the land. Besides, we get off at Queenstown."
"What!" exclaimed Chester. "I thought you were bound for Liverpool?"
"Yes, later; but we are to visit some of our people in Ireland first. Papa has a brother in Cork. We intend to remain there a few days, then go on to Dublin, Liverpool, London, Paris, etc., etc.," laughed the girl.
Chester's heart sank. The separation was coming sooner than he had thought. Only a few more hours, and this little sun-kissed voyage would end. He looked at the girl by him; that action was not under embargo. Yes; she was uncommonly sweet that morning. Perhaps it was the Irish blood in her quickening at the nearness of the land of her forefathers. Cheeks and lips and ears were rosy red, and the breeze played with the somewhat disheveled hair. There was a press of people along the rail which caused Lucy's shoulders to snuggle closely to his side. Chester was silent.