THE HARRIS-INGRAM EXPERIMENT
By CHARLES E. BOLTON, M.A.
AUTHOR OF "A MODEL VILLAGE AND OTHER PAPERS," "TRAVELS IN EUROPE AND AMERICA," ETC.
THE BURROWS BROTHERS COMPANY
TO MY WIFE SARAH KNOWLES BOLTON AND MY SON CHARLES KNOWLES BOLTON
This volume was ready for publication when my husband died, October 23, 1901. In it, in connection with a love story and some foreign travel, he strove to show how necessary capital and labor are to each other. He had always been a friend to labor, and there were no more sincere mourners at his funeral than the persons he employed. He believed capital should be conciliatory and helpful, and co-operate with labor in the most friendly manner, without either party being arrogant or indifferent.
Mr. Bolton took the deepest interest in all civic problems, and it is a comfort to those who loved him that his book, "A Model Village and Other Papers," came from the press a few days before his death. He had hoped after finishing a book of travel, having crossed the ocean many times and been in many lands, and doing some other active work in public life, to take a trip around the world and rest, but rest came in another way.
Sarah K. Bolton
Mr. W.D. Howells, in reply to a literary society in Ashtabula County, Ohio, said that most people had within their personal experience one book.
I have often quoted Howells's words to my best friend, who has written a score of books, and the answer as frequently comes, "Why not write a book yourself?" Encouraged by Howells's belief, and stimulated by the accepted challenge of my friend, to whom I promised a completed book in twelve months, I found time during a very busy year to pencil the chapters that follow. Most of the book was written while waiting at stations, or on the cars, and in hotels, using the spare moments of an eight-months' lecture season, and the four months at home occupied by business.
I am aware that some critics decry a novel written with a purpose. Permit me therefore in advance to admit that this book has a double purpose: To test the truth of Howells's words as applied to myself; and to describe a journey, both at home and abroad, which may possibly be enjoyed by the reader, the inconveniences of travel being lessened by incidentally tracing a love story to a strange but perhaps satisfactory conclusion; the whole leading to the evolution of a successful experiment, which in fragments is being tried in various parts of the civilized world.
Chapter I The Harrises in New York
Chapter II Mr. Hugh Searles of London Arrives
Chapter III A Bad Send-off
Chapter IV Aboard the S.S. Majestic
Chapter V Discomfitures at Sea
Chapter VI Half Awake, Half Asleep
Chapter VII Life at Sea a Kaleidoscope
Chapter VIII Colonel Harris Returns to Harrisville
Chapter IX Capital and Labor in Conference
Chapter X Knowledge is Power
Chapter XI In Touch with Nature
Chapter XII The Strike at Harrisville
Chapter XIII Anarchy and Results
Chapter XIV Colonel Harris Follows his Family Abroad
Chapter XV Safe Passage, and a Happy Reunion
Chapter XVI A Search for Ideas
Chapter XVII The Harrises Visit Paris
Chapter XVIII In Belgium and Holland
Chapter XIX Paris, and the Wedding
Chapter XX Aboard the Yacht "Hallena"
Chapter XXI Two Unanswered Letters
Chapter XXII Colonel Harris's Big Blue Envelope
Chapter XXIII Gold Marries Gold
Chapter XXIV The Magic Band of Beaten Gold
Chapter XXV Workings of the Harris-Ingram Experiment
Chapter XXVI Unexpected Meetings
Chapter XXVII The Crisis
THE HARRIS-INGRAM EXPERIMENT
THE HARRISES IN NEW YORK
It was five o'clock in the afternoon, when a bright little messenger boy in blue touched the electric button of Room No. —— in Carnegie Studio, New York City. At once the door flew open and a handsome young artist received a Western Union telegram, and quickly signed his name, "Alfonso H. Harris" in the boy's book.
"Here, my boy, is twenty-five cents," he said, and tore open the message, which read as follows:—
Alfonso H. Harris, Carnegie Studio, New York.
We reach Grand Central Depot at 7:10 o'clock tomorrow evening in our new private car Alfonso. Family greetings; all well.
Alfonso put the telegram in his pocket, completed packing his steamer trunk, wrote a letter to his landlord, enclosing a check for the last quarter's rent, and ran downstairs and over to the storage company, to leave an order to call for two big trunks of artist's belongings, not needed in Europe.
A hansom-cab took him to the Windsor Hotel, where he almost forgot to pay his barber for a shave, such was his excitement. A little dry toast, two soft boiled eggs, and a cup of coffee were quite sufficient, since his appetite, usually very good, somehow had failed him.
It was now fifteen minutes to seven o'clock. In less than half an hour Alfonso was to meet his father, mother, and sisters, and after a few days in the metropolis, join them in an extended journey over the British Isles, and possibly through portions of Europe.
Alfonso was the only son of Reuben Harris, a rich manufacturer of iron and steel. His father, a man naturally of very firm will, had earnestly longed that his only son might succeed him in business, and so increase and perpetuate a fortune already colossal. It was a terrible struggle for Harris senior to yield to his son's strong inclination to study art, but once the father had been won over, no doubt in part by the mother's strong love for her only boy, he assured Alfonso that he would be loyal to him, so long as his son was loyal to his profession. This had given the boy courage, and he had improved every opportunity while in New York to acquaint himself with art, and his application to study had been such that he was not only popular with his fellow artists, but they recognized that he possessed great capacity for painstaking work.
Alfonso jumped into a coupe, having ordered a carriage to follow him to the Grand Central Station. It was ten minutes yet before the express was due. Nervously he puffed at his unlighted cigar, wishing he had a match; in fact, his nerves were never more unstrung. It was a happy surprise, and no doubt his youthful vanity was elated, that his father should have named his new palace car "Alfonso." At least it convinced him that his father was loyal.
As the coupe stopped, he rushed into the station, just in time to see the famous engine No. 999 pull in. She was on time to a second, as indicated by the great depot clock. A ponderous thing of life; the steam and air valves closed, yet her heavy breathing told of tremendous reserve power. What a record she had made, 436-1/2 miles in 425-3/4 minutes! Truly, man's most useful handiwork, to be surpassed only by the practical dynamo on wheels! It was not strange that the multitude on the platform gazed in wonder.
There at the rear of the train was the "Alfonso," and young Harris in company with his artist friend, Leo, who by appointment had also hastened to the station, stepped quickly back to meet the occupants of the new car.
First to alight was Jean, valet to the Harris family. Jean was born near Paris and could speak French, German, and several other languages. His hands and arms were full to overflowing of valises, hat boxes, shawls, canes, etc., that told of a full purse, but which are the very things that make traveling a burden.
By this time Alfonso had climbed the car steps and was in his mother's arms. Mrs. Harris was more fond, if possible, of her only son than of her beautiful daughters. She was a handsome woman herself, loved dress and was proud of the Harris achievements. Alfonso kissed his sisters, Lucille and Gertrude, and shook hands warmly with his father, who was busy giving instructions to his car conductor.
Alfonso in his joy had almost forgotten his friend Leo, but apologizing, he introduced him, first to his mother, then to Gertrude and finally to his sister Lucille, and their father. All seemed glad to meet their son's friend, as he was to take passage in the same steamer for his home near Rome.
Leo Colonna was connected with the famous Colonna family of Italy. From childhood he had had access to the best schools and galleries of his peninsular country. He also had studied under the best masters in Paris and Berlin, and was especially fond of flesh coloring and portrait painting. He had studied anatomy, and had taken a diploma as surgeon in the best medical college in Vienna, merely that he might know the human form. Alfonso, aware of all this, had invited Leo to join their party in making the tour over Ireland, England, and through the Netherlands.
As Lucille left the car, Leo offered aid, taking her blue silk umbrella with its wounded-oak handle, the whole rolled as small as a cane. Lucille never appeared to better advantage. She was tall, slender, and graceful. Excitement had tinged her cheeks and lips, and her whole face had a child's smooth, pink complexion. Wavy black hair and blue eyes revealed the Irish blood that had come from the mother's veins. She wore a traveling suit of navy-blue serge. Her hat, of latest style, was made of black velvet, steel ornaments, and ostrich tips. What artist could resist admiring a woman so fair and commanding! The dark eyes of Leo had met those of Lucille, and he at once had surrendered. In fact, a formidable rival had now conquered Leo's heart.
Together they led the way to the front entrance of the station, while Harris senior delayed a moment to exhibit the car "Alfonso" to his son. "I had this private car built," said the father, "that the Harris family might be exclusive. Napoleon once said:—'Let me be seen but three times at the theatre, and I shall no longer excite attention.' Our car is adapted for service on any standard gauge road, so that we can travel in privacy throughout the United States. You notice that this observation room is furnished in quartered English oak, and has a luxurious sofa and arm chairs. Let us step back. Here on the right are state and family rooms finished in mahogany; each room has a connecting toilet room, with wash stand and bath room, hot and cold water being provided, also mirrors, wardrobe and lockers. The parlor or dining room is eighteen feet long and the extension table will seat twelve persons. Here also is a well selected library and writing desk."
"But where is the kitchen?" asked Alfonso.
"Beyond," said the father. "The pantry, china closet, and kitchen are finished in black walnut. Blankets, linen, and tableware are of best quality. Here are berths for attendants and porter's room for baggage. Carpets, rugs, draperies, and upholstery were especially imported to harmonize. Nobody amounts to much in these days, Alfonso, unless he owns a private car or a steam yacht. Henceforth this car, named in your honor, may play an important part in the history of the Harris family."
Mrs. Harris, Leo, and Lucille, took seats in the carriage; Gertrude and her mother were on the back seat, while Lucille and her artist friend faced Mrs. Harris and daughter.
Jean sat upright with the coachman. Colonel Harris and Alfonso rejoined their friends and together entered the coupe. Reuben Harris once served on the governor's staff for seven weeks, ranking as colonel, so now all his friends, even his family, spoke of him as "the Colonel." It was well, as it pleased his vanity.
The coachmen's whips left their sockets, and coupe and carriage dashed along 42nd Street and down Fifth Avenue. The ten minutes' drive passed as a dream to some in the carriage. Mrs. Harris's mind revelled in the intricate warfare of society. She had often been in New York, and in the summers was seen at the most fashionable watering places with her children. Her mind was burdened trying to discover the steps that lead to the metropolitan and international "four hundred." She was determined that her children should marry into well regulated families, and that the colonel should have a national reputation. So absorbed was she that her eyes saw not, neither did her ears hear what transpired in the carriage. Gertrude was equally quiet; her thoughts were of dear friends she had left in Harrisville. The occupants of the front seats had talked in low tones of recent society events in New York, and a little of art. Lucille herself had dabbled in color for a term or two in a fashionable school on the Back Bay in Boston.
The colonel had become enthusiastic in his talk about his own recent business prosperity. Suddenly coupe and carriage stopped in front of the main entrance of the Hotel Waldorf. How fine the detail of arch and columns! How delicate the architect's touch of iron and glass in the porte-cochere!
The Harris family stepped quickly into the public reception-room to the left of the main entrance adjoining the office, leaving Jean and the porter to bring the hand-baggage. The decorated ceiling framed a central group of brilliant incandescent lights with globes. Leo directed attention to the paintings on the walls, and furniture and rugs.
The colonel excused himself and passed out and into the main offices. The sight about him was an inspiring one. The architect's wand had wrought grace and beauty in floor, ceiling, column, and wall. Gentlemen, old and young, were coming and going. Professional men, not a few, bankers and business men jostled each other. Before the colonel had reached the clerk's desk, he had apologized, twice at least, for his haste. The fact was that metropolitan activity delighted his heart, but it disturbed just a little his usual good behavior. Nervously, he wrote in the Waldorf register plain Reuben Harris, wife and two daughters. He wanted to prefix colonel. His son added his own name. Colonel Harris, at his request, was given the best apartments in the Waldorf.
Leo excused himself for the night, Lucille saying the last words in low tones, and then, liveried attendants conducted the Harris family to their suite of rooms. It was half past eight when the Harrises sat down to their first meal in their private dining-room. As Mrs. Harris waited for her hot clam soup to cool a little, she said, "Reuben, this exclusiveness and elegance is quite to my liking. After our return from Europe, why can't we all spend our winters in New York?"
"No, mother," said Gertrude, "we have our duties to the people of Harrisville, and father, I am sure, will never stay long away from his mills."
But Lucille approved her mother's plan, and was seconded by her brother. Colonel Harris was interested in the views expressed, but with judicial tone, he replied, "The Harrises better wait till the right time comes. Great financial changes are possible in a day."
The dinner, though late, was excellent. Before ten o'clock all were glad to retire, except the head of the family, who hoped the night would be short, as the next day might witness very important business transactions.
Colonel Harris took the elevator down to the gentlemen's cafe, adjoining the beautiful Garden Court. For a moment he stood admiring the massive fire-place and the many artistic effects, mural and otherwise. The cafe was furnished with round tables and inviting chairs. Guests of the hotel, members of city clubs, and strangers, came and went, but the colonel's mind was in an anxious mood, so he sought a quiet corner, lighted a cigar, and accidently picked up the Evening Post. Almost the first thing he read was an item of shipping news:
"No word yet from the overdue steamship 'Majestic;' she is already forty-eight hours late, and very likely has experienced bad weather."
The "Majestic" is one of the largest and best of the famous White Star Line fleet. Colonel Harris expected an English gentleman to arrive by this boat, and he had come on to New York to meet him, as the two had business of great importance to talk over. "I wonder," thought the colonel, "if such a thing could happen, that my cherished plan of retiring with millions, might possibly be frustrated by ship-wreck or any unlooked-for event?" Whereupon he pulled from his pocket a cablegram, to make himself doubly sure that his was not a fool's errand, and again read it in audible tones:
London, May 24, 18—. Col. Reuben Harris, Hotel Waldorf, New York.
Hugh Searles, our agent, sails May twenty-fifth on Majestic. Meet him at Hotel Waldorf, New York.
Guerney & Barring.
The signers of the cablegram were young bankers and brokers, occupying sumptuous quarters on Threadneedle Street, in sight of the Bank of England, the Exchange, and the Mansion House or official residence of the Lord Mayor of London. The fathers of each member of the firm had been at the head of great banking houses in London for many years, and after herculean efforts, their banks had failed. These young men had united families and forces, and resolved to win again a financial standing in the world's metropolis. Shrewdly they had opened a score of branch offices in different parts of London and county; besides they had added a brokerage business, which had drifted into an extensive specialty of promoting syndicates in America and the colonies. Their success in handling high grade manufacturing plants had been phenomenal. Already at this business they had netted two million pounds. Reliable and expert accountants were always sent by them to examine thoroughly a client's ledgers. Already, bonds that carried the approval of Guerney & Barring, found ready market on Lombard, Prince, and other financial streets near the Bank of England.
Colonel Harris relighted his cigar and queried to himself, "What ought I to charge these Englishmen for a property that cost barely two millions, but that has brought to the Harris family, annually for ten years, an average of 30%, or $600,000?" At first he had fixed upon six millions as a fair price, and then finally upon five million dollars. While he thus reflected, he fell asleep. It was after eleven o'clock when the Waldorf attendant caught him, or he would have fallen from his chair to the floor. Colonel Harris gave him a piece of silver, and retired for the night.
HUGH SEARLES OF LONDON ARRIVES
The next day was Sunday, and the Harris family slept late. Jean was first to rise, and buying the morning papers left them at Colonel Harris's door.
It was almost nine o'clock when the family gathered in their private dining-room. The night's sleep had refreshed all. The mother was very cheerful over her coffee, and heartily enjoyed planning for the day. She liked New York best of the American cities. Brown stone and marble fronts, fine equipage and dress, had charms for her, that almost made her forget a pleasant home and duties at Harrisville. She was heart and soul in her husband's newest scheme to close out business, and devote the balance of life to politics and society. Naturally therefore the table-talk drifted to a discussion of the possible causes of the steamer's delay.
Lucille looked up, and said, "Father, the Tribune says, 'Fair weather for New England and the Atlantic coast.' Cheer up! The 'Majestic' will bring your Englishman in, I think. This is a lovely day to be in the metropolis. Come father, let me sweeten your coffee. One or two lumps?"
"Two, my dear, if you please. Now what will give you all the most pleasure to-day?"
Alfonso answered, "Why not take a drive, and possibly attend some church?"
This plan was approved. Breakfast over, the Harris family entered a carriage, and the coachman, with Jean by his side, drove through Washington Square, under the American Arch of Triumph, and out Fifth Avenue, the fashionable street of New York. Alfonso acted as guide. "This white sepulchral looking building on the left at the corner of 34th street is where A.T. Stewart, the Irish merchant prince, lived."
Gertrude remarked, "How true in his case, the proverb 'Riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away, as an eagle towards heaven.'"
"You should quote Scripture correctly, my child," said the mother. "'Riches take wings.'"
"No, no, mamma—I am sure that I am right. 'Riches make themselves wings' and the proverb is as true to-day as in Solomon's time."
"Well, Gertrude, we will look at the hotel Bible on our return."
"Yes, mamma, if the hotel has one."
Colonel Harris responded, "I think Gertrude is right. Stewart's millions have changed hands. Dead men have no need of dollars. No wonder Stewart's bones were restless."
"Here at West 39th Street is the sumptuous building of the Union League Club. It has over 1500 members, all pledged to absolute loyalty to the Government of the United States, to resist every attempt against the integrity of the nation, and to promote reform in national, state, and municipal affairs. The club equipped and sent two full regiments to the front in the Civil War."
Alfonso pointed out Jay Gould's old residence, more club houses, libraries, the Windsor Hotel, Dr. Hall's handsome Presbyterian Church, and the brown stone and marble palaces of the Vanderbilt family, two miles of splendid residences and magnificent churches before you reach Central Park at 59th Street.
The walks were thronged with beautiful women and well dressed men. It was now 10:30 o'clock. The chimes had ceased their hallowed music. People of all nationalities were jostling each other in their haste to enter St. Patrick's Cathedral, a copy of the Gothic masterpiece in Cologne, and the most imposing church building in America.
The Harris carriage stopped; Lucille's heart suddenly began to beat quickly, for she saw Leo Colonna hastening from the Cathedral steps towards the carriage. "Good morning, Mrs. Harris! Glad you have come to my church," Leo said; then taking her hand cordially, he added, "And you have brought the family. Well, I am pleased, for you could not have come to a more beautiful church or service."
As Leo conducted his friends up the granite steps, all were enthusiastic in their praise of the Fifth Avenue facade; white marble from granite base to the topmost stones of the graceful twin spires.
All passed under the twelve apostles, that decorate the grand portal, and entered the cathedral. The interior is as fine as the exterior. The columns are massive, the ceiling groined; the style is the decorated or geometric architecture, that prevailed in Europe in the thirteenth century. The cardinal's gothic throne is on the right. The four altars are of carved French walnut, Tennessee marble and bronze. Half of the seventy windows are memorials, given by parishes and individuals in various parts of America. The vicar-general was conducting services. His impressive manner, aided by the sweet tones of singers and organ, and the sun's rays changed to rainbows by the stained-glass windows, produced a deep religious feeling in the hearts of the several thousand persons present.
As the party left the church, Leo said, "In 1786, the Kings of France and Spain contributed to the erection of the first cathedral church, St. Peter's, in New York." The Harrises having invited Leo to dinner, said good-bye to him, and in their carriage returned to the Waldorf for lunch.
While the colonel waited near the reception-room, he chanced to look at the stained-glass window over the entrance to the Garden Court. Here was pictured the village of Waldorf, the birthplace of the original John Jacob Astor. This pretty little hamlet is part of the Duchy of Baden, Germany, and has been lovingly remembered in the Astor wills. Here formerly lived the impecunious father of John Jacob Astor and his brother. Both gained wealth, very likely, because the value of money was first learned in the early Waldorf school of poverty. It was not an ill north wind that imprisoned young Astor for weeks in the ice of the Chesapeake Bay, as there on the small ship that brought him from Germany, he listened to marvelous tales of fortunes to be made in furs in the northwest. Shrewdly he determined first to acquire expert knowledge of skins, and on landing he luckily found employment in a fur store in New York at two dollars per week. This knowledge became the foundation of the vast fortune of the Astor family. The colonel was told that the Waldorf occupies the site of the town-house of John Jacob Astor, third of the name, and was erected by his son, William Waldorf, ex-minister to Italy.
It was two o'clock when the Harrises entered the main dining-room for their lunch. The colonel led the party, Alfonso conducting his sister Lucille, the light blue ribbon at her throat of the tint of her responsive eyes. Mrs. Harris came with Gertrude. The mother wore a gray gown, and her daughter a pretty silk. This first entrance of the family to the public dining-room caused a slight diversion among some of the guests at lunch, where not a few rightly surmised who they were.
Few markets in the world rival that of New York. The coast, streams, and valleys of New England and the Central States, send their best food by swift steamers and express, that the exacting cosmopolitan appetite may be satisfied.
Before the lunch was over and while Reuben Harris was making reference to the delay of his English visitor, the waiter placed a white card by his plate. The color in the colonel's face suddenly deepened, as he read upon the card the name of Mr. Hugh Searles, representing Messrs. Guerney & Barring, London.
"What's the matter, Reuben?" anxiously inquired Mrs. Harris.
"Oh, nothing," said the colonel, "only that our overdue English visitor, Hugh Searles, has sent in his card."
"How surprising," said Lucille; "you remember, father, that I said at breakfast, that the weather was to be fair. Probably the 'Majestic' quickened her speed, and stole in unobserved to the docks."
"I will send him my card;" and upon it Mr. Harris wrote in pencil, "I will soon join you in the reception room."
The black coffee disposed of, it was agreed that all should accompany Colonel Harris, and give Mr. Searles a cordial welcome to America.
The English agent was a good sailor, and had enjoyed immensely the ocean voyage. Mr. Searles, of late over-worked in England, was compelled on board ship to rest both mind and body. A true Englishman, Mr. Searles, was very practical. He comprehended fully the importance of his mission to America, and possessed the tact of getting on in the world. If the proposed deal with Reuben Harris was a success, he expected as commission not less than five thousand pounds. Before the "Majestic" left the Mersey, that his mind might be alert on arrival at New York, he had measured with tape line the promenade deck of the steamer, and resolved to make enough laps for a mile, both before and after each meal, a walk of six miles per day, or a total of forty-eight miles for the voyage.
A sturdy Englishman, taking such vigorous and methodical exercise, created some comment among the passengers, but it was excused on the ground that Englishmen believe in much outdoor exercise. Searles came from a good family, who lived north of London in Lincolnshire. His father, the Hon. George Searles, had a competency, largely invested in lands, and three per cent consols. His rule of investment was, security unquestioned and interest not above three per cent, believing that neither creditors nor enterprise of any kind, in the long run, could afford to pay more. His ancestors were Germans, who crossed the German Ocean, soon after the Romans withdrew from England.
A large area of Lincolnshire lies below the level of the sea, from which it is protected by embankments. This fenny district gradually had been reclaimed, and to-day the deep loam and peat-soils, not unlike the rich farms of Holland, are celebrated for their high condition of agriculture. What mortgages the Hon. George Searles held were secured upon Lincolnshire estates, some of England's best lands.
Hugh Searles, his son, however, had known only London life since he graduated from Cambridge. His office was in Chancery Lane, and his surroundings and teachings had been of the speculative kind, hence he was a fit agent for his firm. Already he had acquired a sunny suburban home in Kent, and was ambitious to hold a seat in Parliament. As he walked the steamer's deck, he looked the typical Englishman, five feet ten inches in height, broad shoulders and full chest; his weight about two hundred pounds, or "fifteen stones" as Searles phrased it.
His face was round and ruddy, his beard closely cut, and his hair light and fine, indicating quality. His step was firm, and he seemed always in deep study. When addressed by his fellow passengers however, he was courteous, always talked to the point in his replies, and was anxious to learn more of America, or as he expressed it, "of the Anglo-Saxon confederation." He was very proud of his Anglo-Saxon origin, and Empire, and believed in the final Anglo-Saxon ascendancy over the world.
On board ship were several young Englishmen, who were on their return to various posts of duty. Three were buyers for cotton firms in Liverpool and Manchester, and they were hastening back to Norfolk, Va., Memphis, and New Orleans. Two of the passengers were English officers, returning to their commands in far away Australia. Others, like Searles, were crossing the Atlantic for the first time in search of fame and fortune. These adventurous Englishmen thought it fine sport as the "Majestic" sighted Fire Light Island to join the enthusiastic Americans in singing "America." So heartily did they sing, that the Americans in turn, using the same tune, cordially sang "God save the Queen."
At first Hugh Searles was a little disconcerted, when the whole Harris family approached him in the Waldorf reception-room. Colonel Harris cordially extended his hand, and said, "Mr. Searles, we are all glad to meet you, and bid you hearty welcome to America. Please let me make you acquainted with my wife, Mrs. Harris, my daughters, Gertrude and Lucille, and my son, Alfonso."
"An unexpected greeting you give me, Colonel Harris," said Hugh Searles, as he gave each person a quick hand-shake, thinking that to be an American he must grasp hands cordially.
The family were much interested in the details of Mr. Searles's voyage, as they expected soon to be en route for Europe. Mr. Searles said, "The cause of the 'Majestic's' delay was a broken propeller in rough seas off the Banks of Newfoundland. I am glad to reach New York." He had arrived at the Hotel at ten o'clock and already had been to lunch.
Mr. Searles gladly accepted an invitation from Colonel Harris for a drive, Mrs. Harris and Lucille to accompany them. Searles expressed a wish to see the famous Roebling suspension bridge, so the coachman drove first down Broadway to the post office, then past the great newspaper buildings, and out upon the marvelous highway or bridge suspended in the air between New York and Brooklyn. When midway, Mr. Searles begged to step out of the carriage, and putting his arms around one of the four enormous cables, inquired of Colonel Harris how these huge cables were carried over the towers.
Colonel Harris explained that each cable was composed of over five thousand steel wires, and that a shuttle carried the wire back and forth till the requisite strength of cables was obtained. The expense of the bridge was about $15,000,000, which the two cities paid. Its great utility had been abundantly proved by the repeated necessity of enlarging the approaches.
The drive to the Central Park was up Fifth Avenue, home of America's multi-millionaires. An unending cavalcade of superb family equipages was passing through the entrance at 59th Street. Colonel Harris explained that "Central Park had been planted with over half a million trees, shrubs and vines, and that which was once a waste of rock and swamp, had by skill of enthusiastic engineers and landscape gardeners blossomed into green lawns, shady groves, vine-covered arbors, with miles of roads and walks, inviting expanses of water, picturesque bits of architecture, and scenery, that rival the world's parks."
The ride and comments of Mr. Searles afforded the Harris family an opportunity to study their guest, and on returning to the hotel, all agreed that Hugh Searles was thoroughly equipped to protect his English patrons in any deal that he might decide to make. It was planned that all should dine together at eight, and Leo was to join the party by invitation of Lucille.
Evidently the Harrises were well pleased with their English visitor, but their pleasure was also quickened with the bright prospect of several millions of English money for their manufacturing interest. Then after their visit to Europe might follow the long looked-for residence in delightful New York. Already rich Americans, famous authors and artists gravitate as naturally to this new world metropolis, as the world's elite to London and Paris.
A BAD SEND-OFF
It was almost eight o'clock when the dinner party assembled in the reception-room of the Waldorf. Leo was first to arrive, and Lucille was there to receive him. At ten minutes of eight, solicitor Hugh Searles came; then entered Colonel Harris and his daughters, Alfonso following with his mother. Mrs. Harris wore a black satin dress with jet trimmings and Van Dyke lace. Lucille's dress of light blue faille silk, garnished with pearls and guipure lace, was very becoming. Leo so told Lucille, and she thanked him but hid behind her lips the thought that Leo never before seemed half so manly. Mr. Searles evidently admired Leo, and he talked to him of Italy's greatness in literature and art. He sat at Colonel Harris's right, opposite Mrs. Harris. Leo and Lucille occupied seats at the end of the table, and at their right and left sat Alfonso and Gertrude.
Guests of the hotel and their friends chatted in low conversation at the many tables of the model dining-room. Electric lights shone soft in the ceiling, and under pretty shades at each table, which added much to the general effect.
Long before the sweets and fruits were reached, the conversation had drifted from one conventional topic to another, until Mrs. Harris asked Hugh Searles what he thought of higher education for women.
"Yes, yes, Mr. Searles," said Gertrude, "please tell us all about the English girl."
"Does she go to college, and does she ride a bicycle!" queried Lucille.
Mrs. Harris was eager to listen to the Englishman's reply for often she had earnestly talked the matter over in her home. Mr. Searles was very frank in his views, and surprisingly liberal for an Englishman, and well he might be, for his own mother was a power, and his sisters were strong mental forces in Lincolnshire. Aided by tutors and their scholarly mother, they had pursued at home, under difficulties, about the same course of studies, that Hugh, their brother, had followed in the university.
Searles believed that absolute freedom should be given to women to do anything they wished to do in the world, provided they could do it as well as men, and that nobody had any right to assert they should not.
Colonel Harris, even for a business man, was also advanced in his ideas. He had advocated for his daughters that they should possess healthy bodies and minds, and be able to observe closely and reason soundly.
Lucille said that she favored an education which would best conserve and enlarge woman's graces, her delicate feeling and thought, and her love for the beautiful.
Then Leo and Alfonso both declared that Lucille had expressed fully their own opinions.
Colonel Harris added, "Come, Gertrude, tell us what you think."
Her face flushed a little as she replied, for she felt all that she said, "Father, I like what Mr. Searles has told us. I think higher education for women should develop purity of heart, self-forgetfulness, and enlarged and enriched minds."
"Well spoken, daughter," said Colonel Harris. "Now, dear, what have you to say?"
Mrs. Harris had listened well, as she had been a slave in the interests of her children, especially of her daughters. She thought that the last twenty-five years had proved that women in physical and intellectual capacity were able to receive and profit by a college education. Often she had longed for the same training of mind that men of her acquaintance enjoyed. The subject was thus discussed with profit, till the Turkish coffee was served. Closing the discussion, Searles thought that America led England in offering better education to woman, but that England had given her more freedom in politics; the English woman voted for nearly all the elective officers, except members of Parliament. He believed that the principle of education of woman belonged to her as a part of humanity; that it gave to her a self-centered poise, that it made her a competent head of the home, where the family is trained as a unit of civilization.
He felt that woman possessed the finest and highest qualities, and that it was her mission to project and incorporate these elevating qualities into society. He thought man had nothing to fear or lose, but much to gain; that to multiply woman's colleges everywhere, was to furnish the twentieth century, or "Woman's Century" as Victor Hugo called it, with a dynamic force, that would beget more blessings for humanity than all previous centuries.
Gertrude thanked Mr. Searles for what he had said, and the party withdrew to the Winter Garden Cafe, pretty with palms, where Lucille, Leo, and Alfonso talked of society matters, of art and music.
Gertrude read to her mother, while Hugh Searles and Colonel Harris stepped outside into the gentlemen's cafe for a smoke, as both were fond of a cigar. There the conversation naturally drifted upon the tariff question.
Mr. Searles asserted that he favored free trade, and that he was sorry America was not as far advanced and willing as Great Britain to recognize the universal and fundamental principle of the brotherhood of mankind, and the inborn right of everybody to trade as he liked in the world's cheapest markets. He added that he sometimes felt that Americans were too selfish, too much in love with the vulgar dollar.
Colonel Harris, wounded in his patriotism, now showed that he was a little disturbed. He thanked Searles for his deep interest in Americans, adding, "We are glad you have come to study Americans and America." Then looking the Englishman full in the face he said, "Mr. Searles, you will find human nature much the same wherever you travel. Nations usually strive to legislate, each for its own interest. You say, 'Americans work for the almighty dollar.' So they do, and earnestly too, but our kith and kin across the sea worship with equal enthusiasm the golden sovereign. Look at the monuments to protection in your own city."
"What monuments?" asked Searles.
"Monuments to protection on all your streets, built under British tariff laws. Every stone in costly St. Paul's Church, or cathedral, was laid by a duty of a shilling a ton on all coal coming into London. A shilling a ton profit on coal, mined in America, would create for us fabulous fortunes. Selfishness, Mr. Searles, and not brotherly love, drove your country to adopt free trade."
"I do not agree with you," said Mr. Searles.
"'Tis true, and I can prove it," answered Harris. By this time several patrons of the hotel stood about enjoying the tilt between tariff and free trade.
"Give us the proof then," replied Searles.
"To begin with," said Harris, "I must reply to your first assertion, for I deem your first statement a false doctrine that 'everybody has a right to trade in the world's cheapest markets.' Nobody has a right to trade in the world's cheapest markets, unless the necessary and just laws of his own country, or the country he dwells in, permits it. Now as to the much abused 'brotherhood argument' let me assert that, like England, any nation may adopt free trade, when it can command at least four important things: cheap labor, cheap capital, and cheap raw material. Now Mr. Searles, what is the fourth requisite?"
Searles did not answer. Clearly, he was interested in Harris's novel line of argument for free trade.
"Well," said Harris, "England is inhabited by a virile people, who evidently believe in God's command to 'Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it.' England, with her centuries of rising civilization, her charm of landscape, and her command of the world's affairs, offers at home magnificent attractions for her sons and daughters, that make them loyal and law-abiding citizens.
"It is true that annually many thousands seek fame and fortune in new countries, but most of her citizens prefer poverty even, and, if need be, poverty in the gutters of her thriving cities, to a home of promise in distant lands. Hence, a rapidly increasing and dense population obtains in all the British Isles, and labor becomes abundant and cheap, and often a drug in the market. The repeal of the Corn Laws first became a necessity, then a fact, and the cheaper food made cheaper labor possible. Lynx-eyed capital, in the financial metropolis of the world, was quick to discover surplus labor.
"Already English inventors had made valuable inventions in machinery for the manufacture of iron, cotton, woolen and other goods, which further cheapened labor and the product of labor.
"England with cheap capital and cheap labor, now had two of the four things needed to enable her to go forward to larger trade with the world. The third requisite, cheap and abundant raw material, she also secured. Material, not furnished from her own mines and soils, was brought in plentiful supply at nominal freights, or as ballast, by her vessels, whose sails are spread on every sea.
"For three centuries Great Britain has vigorously and profitably pursued Sir Walter Raleigh's wise policy: 'Whosoever commands the sea, commands the trade, whosoever commands the trade, commands the riches of the world, and consequently the world itself.'
"On the ceiling of the reading-room of the Liverpool Cotton Exchange is painted the pregnant words:—'O Lord, how manifold are thy works, in wisdom hast thou made them all; the earth is full of thy riches.' Under divine inspiration, therefore, English capital seeks investment everywhere, and with cheap capital, cheap labor, and cheap raw materials, she finds herself able to compete successfully with the world. It is possibly pardonable then that the British manufacturer and politician should seek earnestly the fourth requisite, viz., a large market abroad. Hence the necessity of free trade.
"To advocate publicly that other nations should adopt free trade, that England might have an increased number of buyers, and consequently greater profit on her products, perhaps would not be judicious; so the principle of free trade for the world at large must be sugar-coated, to be acceptable. Therefore your philanthropic and alert Richard Cobden, and John Bright, and your skilled writers, both talked and wrote much about the 'brotherhood of mankind,' hoping that the markets of the world might willingly open wide their doors to British traders. Of course, advocates of free trade reason that the larger the number of buyers the larger the prices.
"Mr. Searles, whenever America can command, as Great Britain does to-day, cheap capital, cheap labor, and cheap raw materials, she too may vociferously advocate free trade, and that other nations shall open wide their markets for the sale of American products.
"Don't you see, Mr. Searles, that protection and free trade are equally selfish and not philanthropic principles?"
"Mr. Harris you are right," shouted several of the by-standers.
But Hugh Searles did not reply. Possibly because it was late or, it may be, he did not wish to further antagonize Colonel Harris with whom he hoped in the morning to drive a good bargain, and it may be that he hoped some time in America to operate mills himself and make money under a protective tariff.
Both Searles and Harris retired for the night with an agreement to meet at nine o'clock in the morning and talk over business. Searles rose with the sun, and after eggs, bacon, and tea, he walked to the Battery and back, before nine, the appointed hour for his first business conference with Reuben Harris.
A good sleep had refreshed Colonel Harris and at breakfast he appeared in a joking mood. While he smoked, he glanced at the Tribune and again examined Searles's letter of introduction from Messrs. Guerney & Barring. At nine o'clock promptly, Mr. Searles came and Colonel Harris exhibited to him a brief statement of the business of the Harrisville Iron & Steel Co., extending over the last ten years, and showing the company's annual profits.
"A very good business your company did, and you made large profits, Colonel Harris," said Searles. "And am I to understand that you have made in your statement a proper allowance for depreciation of values in buildings and machinery, also for all losses and cost of insurance, and that after these deductions are made the company's net profits annually amounted to an average of over one hundred thousand pounds, or a half million dollars?"
"Yes," replied the colonel.
And Mr. Searles remarked, "Colonel Harris, if your arguments last evening did not fully convert me to the decided advantage which Americans gain by protection, this statement of the Harrisville Iron & Steel Co. does. A year ago, some Americans in London called our attention to your profitable plant, hence our first letter of inquiries. Your replies confirmed the report and so we cabled for this initial meeting between us.
"Messrs. Guerney & Barring have been most successful in financiering some of the largest business interests in the world, and thus they have achieved a splendid reputation. It was their wish that I should secure for them your most favorable terms with an option of purchase of your plant, the same to hold good for two months, or for a sufficient length of time to allow them to organize a syndicate, and float necessary debentures to buy the stock, or a controlling interest in your company, and so continue the business."
"Mr. Searles, we Americans are not anxious to sell, especially to foreigners, our best paying concerns. We ought to keep them under our own control. However, of late, I have been inclined to indulge my family in a little foreign travel, and myself in more leisure for books, and possibly for politics, believing that not enough of our good citizens enter Congress. I might, on certain conditions, name a price for all the stock of the Harrisville Iron & Steel Co."
"Please state the price and the conditions."
"Well, let me think a moment. The capital stock of the company is not now as large as it should be.
Total Capital Stock $2,000,000 Par value of shares 100 Present Value per Share, 300
"The entire property and good-will of the Company is worth at least $6,000,000, and my "fixed price," as the English say, is $5,000,000."
Mr. Searles looked puzzled, for he had hoped to get the stock for less money. He hesitated, as if in deep study, but not long, for he believed that, if the Harrisville Iron & Steel Co. for ten successive years could pay $500,000 or an average annual dividend of 25% on its stock of $2,000,000, the plant re-organized could easily be marketed at a neat advance, say for L1,400,000 or $7,000,000, in London, where even sound 3% investments are eagerly sought; so Mr. Searles inquired again: "Colonel Harris, you omitted to state your conditions." Harris answered, "I must have cash enough to guarantee the sale, and short time payments for the balance."
"Well, Colonel Harris, how would the following terms please you?
One-eighth cash $625,000 One-eighth 30 days 625,000 One-fourth 60 days 1,250,000 One-fourth 90 days 1,250,000 One-fourth, Preferred Shares, 6% dividends guaranteed 1,250,000 Total price named 5,000,000
"Colonel Harris, before you answer, please let me outline our London plan. Suppose I should take for Messrs. Guerney & Barring a contract, or option of purchase on the property with payments as named, the purchase to be conditioned upon a verification of the correctness of your statements. Our experts can examine and report soon on your accounts for ten years back, and on buildings, machinery, stock on hand, land, etc."
"Mr. Searles, please explain further your 'London plan' of reorganization."
"Colonel Harris, we would modify the old firm name, so as to read—'The Harrisville Iron & Steel Co., Limited, of London, England,' and capitalize it at L1,400,000, or $7,000,000.
Par value of shares L20 or $100 Number of shares 70,000
"When our experts shall have verified your statements at Harrisville, then the option of purchase is to be signed by us and forwarded to London, where it will be signed by Messrs. Guerney & Barring, the first payment made, and the contract underwritten or guaranteed by the Guardian, Executor & Trust Association, Limited, of London, whose capital is $5,000,000. The association will also underwrite the bonds and preference shares. This will practically complete the purchase."
"But what about the last one-fourth payment in preferred shares of $1,250,000?"
"Pardon me, Colonel Harris, that is just what I desire to explain further. The new company will issue debentures or bonds, running 30 years, at 4%, for L800,000 or $4,000,000; preference shares L400,000 or $2,000,000; with dividends 6% guaranteed, and a preference in distribution of property, if company is dissolved. Ordinary shares L1,200,000 or $6,000,000. And our London prospects will show that the ordinary shares can earn at least 5%. For the last one-fourth we wish you to take 12,500 preferred shares, or $1,250,000.
"London holders, of course, will elect all the officers, a managing board of directors, with general office in London. For a time they will expect you to advise in the management of the business at Harrisville."
After some further explanations, Harris agreed to sign a contract or option of purchase, drawn as specified, if after investigation, he should become satisfied with the responsibility of the London parties. On Tuesday morning, contracts in duplicates were presented for Colonel Harris's inspection. After twice carefully reading the contract, he gave his approval and wrote Mr. Searles a letter of introduction to Mr. B.C. Wilson, his manager at Harrisville, requesting the latter to permit Mr. Searles and his experts to examine all property and accounts of the Harrisville Iron & Steel Co. for ten years back.
It was also arranged that on Wednesday, at 12 o'clock noon, Mr. Searles should see the Harrises off to Europe, then Mr. Searles and his experts were to go to Harrisville in Colonel Harris's private car. Later Mr. Searles and Colonel Harris were to meet in London, and then, if everything was mutually satisfactory, all parties were to affix their signatures to the agreement, and the cash payment was to be made at the London office of Guerney & Barring.
Wednesday, Colonel Harris rose early as had been his habit from childhood. He was exacting in his family, and also as a manager of labor. Every morning at six o'clock all the family had to be at the breakfast table. Colonel Harris always asked the blessing. Its merit was its brevity: sometimes he only said—"Dear Lord, make us grateful and good to-day. Amen." Thirty minutes later, summer and winter, his horses and carriage stood at his door, and punctually at fifteen minutes of seven o'clock he would reach his great mills. His first duty was to walk through his works, as his skilled laborers with dinner pails entered the broad gates and began the day's work. Devotion like this usually brings success.
After breakfast, Mrs. Harris and her daughters walked down Fifth Avenue to make a few purchases. Alfonso and Leo hurried off to get their baggage to the "Majestic," while Jean busied himself in seeing that a transfer was made to the steamer of all the trunks, valises, etc., left at the depot and hotel.
At ten o'clock Jean called at the dock to learn if the half-dozen steamer chairs and as many warm blankets had arrived, and he found everything in readiness. It was 10:30 o'clock when the Waldorf bill was paid, and the good-bye given. The young people were jubilant, as the long hoped-for pleasure trip to Europe was about to be realized.
The carriages for the steamer could not go fast enough to satisfy the old, or the young people. Several schoolmates, artists, business and society friends met them on the dock. Many fashionable people had already arrived to say "Bon Voyage" to the Harrises and to Leo. Hundreds of others had come to see their own friends off. It was all excitement among the passengers, and carriages kept coming and going.
Not so with the English officers and sailors of the "Majestic." They were calm and ready for the homeward passage.
The last mail bag had been put aboard, and the receipts to the government hurriedly signed. Mr. Searles had said good-bye, and last of all to Colonel Harris. As the colonel went up the gangway, the bell rang and the cries "All aboard" were given. For once, Colonel Harris felt a sense of great relief to thus cut loose from his business, and take his first long vacation, in twenty-five years from hard work.
"Now, I shall have a good time, and a much needed rest," he said. But just as he stepped into the steamer's dining-saloon, Mr. Searles, who had hastily followed, touched him on the shoulder and said. "Here, Colonel Harris, is a telegram for you."
Harris quickly tore it open. It was from Wilson, his manager, and it read as follows:—
Harrisville, June 9, 18—. Colonel Reuben Harris, Steamer Majestic, New York.
Our four thousand men struck this morning for higher wages. What shall we do?
Harris was almost paralyzed. His wife and daughters ran to him. The steamer's big whistle was sounding. All was now confusion. There was only a moment to decide, but Harris proved equal to the situation. He stepped to the purser, surrendered his passage ticket, kissed his wife and two daughters, saying to his son, "Alfonso, take charge of the party as I go back to Harrisville."
Gertrude, insisting, accompanied her father, and remained ashore. On the dock stood Colonel Harris, Gertrude, and Mr. Searles, all three waving their white handkerchiefs to Mrs. Harris, Lucille, Alfonso, and Leo. What a bad send-off!
The best laid schemes o' mice an' men, Gang aft a-gley, And leave us nought but grief and pain, For promised joy.
The Harrises on the steamer, and the Harrises on the pier had heavy hearts, especially Colonel Harris and Gertrude so suddenly disappointed. It was soon agreed that the three should start that evening for Harrisville.
ABOARD THE S.S. MAJESTIC
Mrs. Harris was naturally a brave woman, but the telegram, and the sudden separation perhaps forever from her husband and Gertrude, unnerved her. She sank back into an easy chair on the steamer, murmuring, "Why this terrible disappointment? Why did I not turn back with my husband? This is worse than death. Mr. Harris is in great trouble. Why did I not at once sacrifice all and share his misfortunes? How noble in Gertrude to go ashore with her father. It is just like the child, for she is never happy except when she forgets self, and does for others."
Mrs. Harris sobbed as if her loved ones had been left in the tomb. Lucille tenderly held her mother's hand, and spoke comforting words: "Cheer up, mother, all will yet be well. Father can now take Mr. Searles to Harrisville."
"To see what, child—men misled and on a strike and the mills all closed down! It means much trouble, and perhaps disaster for the Harrises."
"Oh, no, mother, all will soon be well. Let us go on the deck."
Alfonso led his mother, and Leo took Lucille up among the passengers.
They were just in time to see the white cloud of fluttering handkerchiefs on the pier. Leo said that he could distinguish with his field-glass Colonel Harris and Gertrude, and tears again came into Mrs. Harris's eyes.
European steamers always leave on time, waiting for neither prince nor peasant. A carriage with foaming horses drove in upon the pier as the tug pulled the steamer out upon the Hudson. Its single occupant was an English government agent bearing a special message from the British embassador at Washington to Downing Street, London.
"Now what's to be done?" the British agent sharply inquired.
"Two pounds, sir, and we will put you and your luggage aboard," shouted an English sailor.
"Agreed," said the agent, and to the surprise of everybody on the pier, two robust sailors pulled as for their lives, and each won a sovereign, as they put the belated agent on board the "Majestic."
This race for a passage caught the eye of Mrs. Harris. At first she thought that the little boat might contain her husband, but as the English agent came up the ship's ladder, she grasped Alfonso's arm, and said, "Here, my son, take my hand and help me quickly to the boat; I will go back to Mr. Harris."
"No! No!" said Alfonso, "Look, mother, the little boat is already returning to the dock." Later the purser brought to Mrs. Harris an envelope containing the steamer tickets and a purse of gold, which the colonel thoughtfully had sent by the English agent.
Mrs. Harris re-examined the envelope, and found the colonel's personal card which contained on the back a few words, hastily scribbled: "Cheer up everybody; glad four of our party are on board. Enjoy yourselves. Gertrude sends love. Later we will join you in London perhaps. God bless you all. R.H."
Sunshine soon came back to Mrs. Harris's face, and she began to notice the people about her, and to realize that she was actually on shipboard. Foreign travel had been the dream of her life; and she felt comforted to have Alfonso and Lucille beside her.
"Mrs. Harris," said Leo, "see the stately blocks that outline Broadway, the Western Union Telegraph Building, the Equitable Building, the granite offices of the Standard Oil Company, the Post Office, and the imposing Produce Exchange with its projecting galley-prows. Above its long series of beautiful arches of terra cotta rise a tall campanile and liberty pole from which floats the stars and stripes."
Leo's eyes kindled in brilliancy, and his voice quickened with patriotism, as he made reference to his adopted flag. "Lucille, behold our glorious flag that floats over America's greatest financial and commercial city. I love the stars and stripes quite as much as Italy's flag.
"Annually over thirty thousand vessels arrive and depart from this harbor. New York is America's great gateway for immigrants. In a single year nearly a half million land at Castle Garden. Sections of New York are known as Germany, Italy, China, Africa, and Judea. The Hebrews alone in the city number upwards of one hundred thousand, and have nearly fifty synagogues and as many millionaires. The trees, lawns, and promenades along the sea-wall, form the Battery Park. The settees are crowded with people enjoying the magnificent marine views before them."
Alfonso pointed to the Suspension or Brooklyn Bridge beneath which vessels were sailing on the East River. Its enormous cables looked like small ropes sustaining a vast traffic of cars, vehicles, and pedestrians.
To the right of the steamer's track on Bedloe's Island stands Bartholdi's "Liberty, Enlightening the World," the largest bronze statue on the globe. From a small guide book of New York, Lucille read aloud that the Bartholdi statue and its pedestal cost one million dollars; that the statue was presented by the French people to the people of the United States. The head of Liberty is higher than the tall steeple of Trinity Church, which is 300 feet high, or twice that of the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the seven ancient wonders.
"Look," said Lucille, "at the uplifted right hand holding an electric torch. How magnificently the statue stands facing the Narrows, the entrance from Europe, and how cordial the welcome to America which Liberty extends."
"Yes," said Leo, "if you wish to see Bartholdi's noble mother, observe the face of the statue. Bartholdi owed much to his mother's constant encouragement."
"How true it is," said Mrs. Harris, "that most great men have had splendid mothers."
Many on the deck thought of loved ones at home, of their country, and wondered if they would return again to America. This was true of many aboard who were now starting on their first ocean voyage, and their thoughts no doubt were akin to those that filled the minds of Columbus and his crew when they left Palos.
Craft of every kind kept clear of the giant "Majestic" as she plowed down the Narrows. Historic but worthless old forts are on either side, and far down into the lower bay the pilot guides the wonderful steamer. Sandy Hook lighthouse, the low shores, and purple mountains of New Jersey are left behind, as the "Majestic" is set on her course at full speed.
The gong for the one o'clock lunch was sounded, and Alfonso, glad of the change, as his mother seemed unhappy, led the way below. Colonel Harris, when he bought the tickets, had arranged that his family should sit at the captain's table. As Alfonso entered the saloon, the steward conducted him and his friends to their seats. The captain's seat was unoccupied as he was busy on deck. The grand dining-room of the "Majestic" is amidships on the main deck. At the three long tables and sixteen short side tables, three hundred persons can be accommodated.
The sea was smooth, so every chair was taken. The scene was an animating one and interesting to study. A single voyage will not suffice to reveal the heart histories and ambitions of three hundred cosmopolitan passengers. Everybody was talking at the same time; all had much to say about the experiences in reaching and boarding the steamer. Everybody was looking at everybody, and each wondered who the others might be.
So many new faces which are to be studies for the voyage, arrested the attention of Mrs. Harris. Her appetite was not good, so she ate little, but closely watched the exhilarating scenes about her. Many wives had their husbands by their sides, and this pained her, but she resolved to keep brave and to make the most of her opportunities. Lucille and the young men were so interested in the pretty faces all about them, that they had little time for an English luncheon, and most of their eating was a make-believe.
Amidship the movement of the boat is reduced to a minimum, and in fair weather it is difficult to realize that you are out upon the ocean. Each passenger at the table is furnished with a revolving chair. Choice flowers, the gifts of loving friends left behind, were on every table, and their fragrance converted the dining-saloon into a large conservatory. The Corinthian columns were fluted and embossed, the walls and ceiling were in tints of ivory and gold; the artistic panels abounded in groups of Tritons and nymphs; the ports were fitted with stained glass shutters, emblazoned with the arms of cities and states in Europe and America. Behind the glass were electric lights, so that the designs were visible both night and day.
Surmounting this richly appointed saloon was a dome of artistic creation, its stained glass of soft tints, which sparkled in the warm sunlight and shed a kaleidoscope of color and design over the merry company of passengers. Mirrors and the gentle rolling of the steamer multiplied and enlarged the gorgeous colorings and perplexing designs.
In the midst of this new life aboard ship, so novel and so beautiful, Mrs. Harris's heart would have been happy had her over-worked husband and Gertrude sat beside her at the table. Very little of this life is enjoyed without the unwelcomed flies that spoil the precious ointment.
After the lunch Alfonso and his friends had time to examine a little further the great steamer that was to float them to the Old World. When his party hurriedly entered the dining-saloon, the grand staircase was entirely overlooked. How wide and roomy it was, and how beautifully carved and finished, especially the balustrade and newel posts, the whole being built of selected white oak, which mellows with age, and will assume a richer hue like the wainscoting in the famous old English abbeys and manor houses.
Again the Harris party was on deck, final words hastily written were in the steamer's mail bag, and a sailor stood ready to pass it over the ship's side to the pilot's little boat, waiting for orders to cut loose from the "Majestic."
The engines slacked their speed, the pilot bade the officers good-bye, and accompanied the mail bag to his trusted schooner. No. 66 was painted in black full length on the pilot's big white sail. All the passenger steamers which enter or leave New York must take these brave and alert pilots as guides in and out the ever-changing harbor channels.
The gong in the engine-rooms again signaled "full speed" and the live, escaping steam was turned through the triple-expansion engines, and the "Majestic" gathered her full strength for a powerful effort, a record-breaking passage to Queenstown.
The life on board the transatlantic ferry is decidedly English, and Mrs. Harris closely studied the courtesies and requirements. She soon came to like the ship's discipline and matter-of-fact customs. The young people, some newly married, and some new acquaintances like Leo and Lucille, had moved their steamer chairs on the deck, that they might watch the return of the pilot's boat.
Loving letters were read, the leaves of latest magazines were cut, and many words were exchanged before the big "66" disappeared entirely with the sun that set in gold and purple over the low New England shores.
Quite apart from the young people sat Mrs. Harris and Alfonso. They talked earnestly about the ill-timed strike of the millmen at home. "Why did the men strike at the very time when father wanted his mills to glow with activity?" queried Mrs. Harris.
"Oh, mother," said Alfonso, "that is part of labor's stock in trade. Some labor organizations argue that the 'end justifies the means.' Our men were probably kept advised of father's plans, and strikes often are timed so as to put capital at the greatest disadvantage, and force, if possible, a speedy surrender to labor's demands. 'Like begets like,' mother, so the college professor told us when he lectured on Darwin. It was Darwin, I think, who emphasized this fundamental principle in nature.
"See, mother, how this labor agitation works. Labor organizations multiply and become aggressive, and so capital organizes in self-defense. One day our professor told the class that he much preferred citizenship in a government controlled by intelligent capital, to the insecurity and uncertainty of ignorant labor in power. The professor inclined to think that the British form of government rested on a more lasting basis than that of republics.
"Usually the more of values a person possesses, the more anxious he is for stable government. Labor has little capital, and so often becomes venturesome, and is willing to stake all on the throw of a die. But labor in the presence of open hungry mouths can ill afford to take such chances. Labor with its little or no surplus should act reasonably, and on the side of conservatism, or wives and little ones suffer."
Mrs. Harris listened to her son's comments on capital and labor, but the independence of her race asserted itself and she said with emphasis, "Alfonso, I hope Mr. Harris will insist on his rights at Harrisville."
"Very likely he will, mother, as he is that kind of a man, and the New England independence that is born in him is sure to assert itself."
For a few moments neither mother nor son spoke. Suddenly both were awakened from their reveries by the call for dinner. The waters were still smooth, and the ocean breezes had sharpened appetites, so the grand staircase was crowded with a happy throng, most of whom were eager for their first dinner aboard ship. The Harrises were delighted to find Captain Morgan already at the table.
Long ago Captain Morgan had learned that wealth is power. His own ship had cost a million or more, and England's millions enabled his government to control the globe. Not only was he keenly alive to the fact that capital and brains guided most human events, but naturally he possessed the instincts of a gentleman, and besides he was a true Briton. His ancestors for generations had followed the sea for a livelihood and fame. Some had served conspicuously in the navy, and others like himself had spent long lives in the commercial marine.
In Lucille's eyes Captain Morgan was an ideal hero of the sea. He was over six feet in height, and robust of form, weighing not less than 250 pounds. His face was round and bronzed by the exposure of over three hundred ocean passages. His closely cropped beard and hair were iron gray, and his mild blue eyes and shapely hands told of inbred qualities. That he was possessed of rare traits of character, it was easy to discover. Loyalty to the great trusts confided to him, was noticeable in his every movement. "Safety of ship, passengers, and cargo," were words often repeated, whether the skies above him were blue or black.
Captain Morgan addressing Mrs. Harris said, "We shall miss very much your husband's presence aboard ship. Nowadays managers of great enterprises ashore, involving the use of large amounts of capital, encounter quite as many stormy seas as we of the Atlantic."
"Yes," replied Mrs. Harris, "and the causes of financial disturbances are fully as difficult to divine or control."
"It was fortunate, however, Mrs. Harris," said the captain, "that word reached the steamer in time to intercept the Colonel so that he could return at once and assume command of his business. Aboard our ship, you must all dismiss every anxiety as to matters at home or on the "Majestic." With your permission, Colonel Harris's family shall be mine for the passage. Please command my services at all times."
"Thank you," said Alfonso, and the captain's cordial words, like sunshine, dispelled the clouds.
"Captain," inquired Leo, "do you think we shall have a pleasant voyage?"
"Yes, I hope so, for the sake of those aboard who are making this their first voyage, otherwise we may not have the pleasure of much of their company."
"Captain Morgan, then you really promise a smooth passage?" said Lucille.
"Oh no, Miss Harris, we never promise in advance good weather on the ocean. Smooth water for us old sailors is irksome indeed, yet I always consider it very fortunate for our passengers, if Old Probabilities grant us a day or two of fair skies as we leave and enter port. With gentle breezes the passengers gradually get possession of their 'sea legs' as sailors term it, and later brisk breezes are welcomed."
"Captain, have you a panacea for seasickness?" inquired Mrs. Harris.
"Oh, yes," he replied, "take as vigorous exercise on the ship as is taken ashore, eat wisely, observe economy of nerve-force, and be resolved to keep on good terms with Old Neptune. Don't fight the steamer's movements or eccentricities, but yield gracefully to all the boat's motions. In a word, forget entirely that you are aboard ship, and the victory is yours."
"This is Wednesday, Captain, and do you really think you will land us in the Mersey by Monday evening?" Lucille enquired earnestly.
"Monday or Tuesday if all goes well," the captain answered. Captain Morgan drank his coffee, excused himself, and returned to his duty on the bridge.
"What a gallant old sea-dog the captain is," said Mrs. Harris. "We shall feel perfectly safe in his keeping. How cheery he is away from home."
"How do you know he has a home, mother?"
"Perhaps not, my dear, for he seems really married to his ship."
The Harrises and Leo joined the passengers who had now left the dining saloon. The light winds had freshened and the skies were overcast and gave promise of showers, if not of a storm. After walking a few times around the promenade deck, most of the passengers went below, some to the library, some to the smoking room, and some to their staterooms, perhaps thinking discretion the better part of valor. The steamer's chairs were taken from the deck and only a few persons remained outside. Some of them were clad in warm ulsters. They walked the usual half-hour. Most of these promenaders were men of business who were required to make frequent ocean passages. They were as familiar with moistened decks, cloudy skies, and heavy seas as the land-lubbers are with stone pavements and hotel corridors.
DISCOMFITURES AT SEA
The green and red lights on the starboard and port sides and the white light on the foremast now burned brightly. The boatswain's shrill whistle furled the sails snugly to every spar, leaving the sailors little time or spirit for their usual song, as barometer-like they too sensed the approaching storm. The ship's watch forward was increased as the wind grew strong, and the weather ahead had become thick and hazy.
The captain quickly left the table when the steward placed in his hand a bit of writing from the first officer, which read, "The barometer is falling rapidly." Captain Morgan and an officer paced the bridge with eyes alert. Heavy clouds of smoke from the triple stacks revealed that a hundred glowing furnaces were being fed with fuel, assistant engineers were busily inspecting, and oilers were active in lubricating the ponderous engines that every emergency might be promptly met.
Ports were closed and every precaution taken. The anxiety of officers and sailors and the increased agitation of the sea was soon noticed by the ship's gay company. Before ten o'clock most of the passengers were glad of the good-night excuse for retiring. The smoking room, however, was crowded with devotees to the weed. Old-timers were busy with cards, or forming pools on the first day's run from Sandy Hook, or speculating as to the time of arrival at Queenstown.
The atmosphere of the room was as thick as the weather outside. It is no wonder that a club man of New York, making his first trip to Europe, inquired of his Philadelphia friend, "Why do Americans smoke so continually?"
He answered, "It is easier to tell why the English drink tea and why Americans drink coffee. But to answer your question, I suppose the mixture of races quickens the flow of blood and produces the intense activities we witness. Besides, the enlarged opportunities offered in a new and growing country present attractive prizes in the commercial, political, social, and religious world. To attain these the Anglo-Saxon blood rushes through arteries and veins like the heated blood in a thoroughbred horse on the last quarter. After these homestretch efforts Americans feel the need often of stimulants, or of a soporific, and this they try to find in a cigar."
"Your views are wrong, I think. One would naturally infer that the use of tobacco shortens life. Let me relate to you an incident.
"I was once in Sandusky, Ohio, and spent an evening at a lecture given by Trask, the great anti-tobacconist. In his discourse he had reached the climax of his argument, proving as he thought that tobacco shortened life, when a well dressed man in the audience rose and said, 'Mr. Trask, will you pardon me if I say a few words?'
"'Oh, yes' said the lecturer, 'give us the facts only.'
"'Well, Mr. Trask, there is living to-day in Castalia, southwest of here, a man nearly a hundred years old and he has been a constant user of tobacco since early childhood.'
"For a moment Mr. Trask stood nonplussed. To gain time for thought he fell back upon the Socratic method, and began asking questions. 'Stranger, won't you stand up again so that the audience can see you? Thank you! Evidently you are an intelligent citizen and reliable witness. Did you say you knew the man?'
"'O yes, I have known him for over fifty years.'
"'Did you ever know of his favoring schools or churches by gifts or otherwise?'
"'No,' said the stranger.
"'There,' said Trask to the audience, 'this man's testimony only strengthens what I have been attempting to prove here this evening, that tobacco shortens life. This Castalia centenarian is dead to all the demands of society and humanity, and his corpse should have been buried half a century ago.' So the laugh was on the voluntary witness."
"Hold on, my friend, your Castalia centenarian proves just what I said at the outset, that the use of tobacco prolongs life, but I am half inclined myself to feel that the less tobacco active Americans use, the better." Then throwing his cigar away, he said good-night and left the smoking room.
Others stacked their cards, smoked cigarettes, and then sought their staterooms, and finally the ship's bell rang out the last patron and announced the midnight hour; the steward was left alone. He had been unusually busy all the evening furnishing ale, porter, and beer, a few only taking wine. The steward was glad to complete his report of sales for the first day out, and turn off the lights and seek his berth for the night.
The "Majestic" shot past Cape Cod and was plowing her way towards the banks of Newfoundland. The strong winds were westerly and fast increasing to a moderate gale. The north star was hidden and now failed to confirm the accuracy of the ship's compasses.
The first and fourth officers were pacing the bridge. The latter was glad that the engines were working at full speed, as every stroke of the pistons carried him nearer his pretty cottage in the suburbs of Liverpool. Captain Morgan had dropped asleep on the lounge in his cozy room just back of the wheel. Most of the passengers and crew off duty slept soundly, though some were dreaming of wife and children in far away homes, and others of palaces, parks, and castles in foreign countries.
It was difficult for Mrs. Harris to get much rest as the waves dashing against the ship often awakened her, and her thoughts would race with the Cincinnati Express which was swiftly bearing her husband and Gertrude back to Harrisville and perhaps to trouble and poverty. While Mrs. Harris knew that her husband was wealthy, she was constantly troubled with fears lest she and her family should sometime come to want. Her own father had acquired a fortune in Ireland, but changes in the British tariff laws had rendered him penniless, and poverty had driven her mother with seven other children to America.
A rich uncle in Boston enabled her to get a fair education, and the early years of her married life had been full of earnest effort, of economy and heroic struggle, that her husband and family might gain a footing in the world. The comforts of her early childhood in Ireland had given her a keen relish for luxury. The pain inflicted by poverty that followed was severely felt, and now, the pleasures of wealth again were all the more enjoyed.
Mrs. Harris was not a church member, but woman-like she found her lips saying, "God bless the colonel and my precious children." Then putting her hand over upon Lucille, and satisfied that she was there by her side and asleep, she too became drowsy and finally unconscious. Alfonso and Leo occupied the adjoining stateroom, but both were in dreamland; Alfonso in the art galleries of Holland and Leo in sunny Italy.
Before morning the storm center was moving rapidly down the St. Lawrence Valley, and off the east coast of Maine. Long lines of white-capped waves were dashing after each other like swift platoons in a cavalry charge. The "Majestic," conscious of an enemy on her flank, sought earnestly to outstrip the winds of AEolus. When Captain Morgan reached the bridge, the sea and sky were most threatening. The first officer said, "Captain, I have never seen the mercury go down so rapidly. We are in for a nasty time of it, I fear."
Early the sailors were scrubbing the ship while the spray helped to wash the decks, and they tightened the fastenings of the life-boats. The firemen too were busy dropping cinders astern. Fires in the cook's galley were lighted, and the steerage passengers were aroused for breakfast, but few responded.
Mrs. Harris often tried to dress, but every time she fell back into her berth, saying, "Stewardess, I shall surely die. Isn't the ship going down?"
"No, no, madam," the stewardess replied, "I will return with beef tea, and you will soon feel better."
Lucille was helped to put on a dark wrapper; and after repeated efforts at a hasty toilet, she took the stewardess's arm and reached an easy chair in the library. Alfonso and Leo, who were both members of a yacht club in New York, came to the library from a short walk on the deck. It required much urging with Lucille before she would attempt an entrance into the dining-room. Several men and a few ladies were present.
"Good morning, Miss Harris, how brave you are," were words spoken so encouragingly by Captain Morgan that Lucille's face brightened and she responded as best she could.
"Thank you, captain, I believe I should much prefer to face a storm of bullets on the land than a storm at sea; you courageous sailors really deserve all the gold medals."
Leo, who was fond of the ocean, said to Alfonso, "Why can't we all be sailors? What say you to this? Let us test who of our party shall lose the fewest meals from New York to Queenstown. You and your mother or Lucille and I?"
"Agreed," responded Alfonso, thinking it would help to keep the ladies in good spirits.
"But what shall count for a meal?" inquired Alfonso.
"Not less than ten minutes at the table, and at dinner, soup at least." Lucille thought Leo's idea a capital one. It was agreed that the contest should commence with the next lunch, and that Alfonso and Leo should act as captains for the two sides.
By this time Lucille had eaten a little toast and had sipped part of her chocolate. A tenderloin steak and sweet omelet with French fried potatoes were being served, when suddenly the color left her face. Another lurch of the steamer sent a glass of ice water up her loose sleeve, and, utterly discomfited, she begged to be excused and rushed from the table.
"Oh dear, mother, how terribly I feel; let me lie down. Oh dear! I wish I were home with father and Gertrude."
"If the colonel were only here to help," murmured Mrs. Harris. "Stewardess, where are you? Why don't you hurry when I ring? Go for the doctor at once." It was now blowing a gale and the steamer was rolling badly.
It was a long half-hour before the doctor entered the stateroom of Mrs. Harris. Dr. Argyle was perfect in physical development and a model of gentlemanly qualities. His education had been received in London and Vienna, and he had joined the service of the "Majestic" that he might enlarge his experiences as practitioner and man of the world. He had correctly divined that here he was sure to touch intimately the restless and wandering aristocracy of the globe.
While Dr. Argyle was ostensibly the ship's doctor, he was keenly alert for an opportunity that would help him on to fame and fortune. Of the two he preferred the latter, as he believed that humanity is just as lazy as it dares to be. Therefore stateroom No. —— was entered both professionally and inquisitively. The doctor was half glad that the Harrises were ill, as he had seen the family at Captain Morgan's table and desired to meet them. Captain Morgan had incidentally mentioned to the doctor the great wealth of the Harris family, and this also had whetted his curiosity. Before him lay mother and daughter, helpless, both in utter misery and the picture of despair.
"Beg pardon, ladies," said the doctor as he entered, "you sent for me I believe?"
"Yes, yes," replied Mrs. Harris, "we thought you had forgotten us, as the half-hour's delay seemed a full week. My daughter, Lucille, and I are suffering terribly. How awful the storm! Last night, doctor, I thought I should die before morning, and now I greatly fear that the ship will go down."
"Do not fear, ladies," the doctor replied, "the wind is only brisk; most people suffer a little on the ocean, especially on the first voyage."
"What is the cause of this terrible seasickness, doctor, and what can you do for us?"
"Frankly, Mrs. Harris, no two physicians agree as to the cause. Usually people suffer most from seasickness who come aboard weary from over-work or nervous exhaustion. Most people waste vital forces by too much talking or by over-exertion. Americans, especially, overcheck their deposits of vitality, and as bankrupts they struggle to transact daily duties. Wise management of nerve forces would enable them to accomplish more and enjoy life better."
"I am a bankrupt then," said Mrs. Harris, "but how about my daughter Lucille?"
"Your child, I fear, is the daughter of bankrupts and doubtless inherits their qualities."
"But, doctor, can't you do something now for us?"
"Oh yes, madam, but first let me feel your pulse, please."
"Ninety-eight," he said to himself, but he added to Mrs. Harris, "you need the very rest this voyage affords and you must not worry the least about the storm or affairs at home. Our vessel is built of steel, and Captain Morgan always outrides the storms. Ladies, I want you to take this preparation of my own. It is a special remedy for seasickness, the result of the study and experience of the medical force of the White Star Line."
The faces of mother and daughter brightened. They had faith. This was noticed by Dr. Argyle. Faith was the restorative principle upon which the young doctor depended, and without it his medicine was worthless. The White Star panacea prescribed was harmless, as his powders merely inclined the patient to sleep and recovery followed, so faith or nature worked the cure. Soon after the door closed behind the doctor, Lucille was asleep, and Mrs. Harris passed into dreamland.
The winds veered into the southwest, and, reinforced, were controlled by a violent hurricane that had rushed up the Atlantic coast from the West Indies. The novice aboard was elated, for he thought that the fiercer the wind blew behind the vessel, the faster the steamer would be driven forward. How little some of us really know! The cyclone at sea is a rotary storm, or hurricane, of extended circuit. Black clouds drive down upon the sea and ship with a tiger's fierceness as if to crush all life in their pathway.
Officers and crew, in waterproof garments, become as restless as bunched cattle in a prairie blizzard. All eyes now roam from prow to stern, from deck to top mast. The lightning's blue flame plays with the steel masts, and overhead thunders drown the noise of engines and propellers. Thick black smoke and red-hot cinders shoot forth from the three black-throated smoke-stacks.
The huge steamer, no longer moving with the ease of the leviathan, seems a tiny craft and almost helpless in the chopped seas that give to the ship a complex motion so difficult, even for old sailors, to anticipate. Tidal wave follows tidal wave in rapid succession. Both trough and crest are whipped into whitecaps like tents afield, till sea and storm seem leagued to deluge the world again.
Captain Morgan, lashed to the bridge, has full confidence in himself, his doubled watch ahead, his compasses, and the throbbing engines below. Dangers have now aroused the man and his courage grows apace. Moments supreme come to every captain at sea, the same as to captains who wage wars on the land.
The decks are drenched, great waves pound the forward deck and life-boats are broken from their moorings. Battened hatches imprison below a regiment of souls, some suffering the torments of stomachs in open rebellion, others of heads swollen, while others lose entire control of an army of nerves that center near and drive mad the brain.
To the uninitiated, words are powerless to reveal the torments of the imprisoned in a modern steel inquisition, rocking and pitching at the mercy of mighty torrents in a mid-ocean cyclone. Mephistopheles, seeking severest punishment for the damned, displayed tenderness in not adopting the super-heated and sooted pits where stokers in storms at sea are forced to labor and suffer.
All that terrible second day and night at sea, the Harrises and others tossed back and forth in their unstable berths, some suffering with chills and others with burning heat. Some, Mrs. Harris and daughter among them, lay for hours more dead than alive, their wills and muscles utterly powerless to reach needed and much coveted blankets.
The dining saloon was deserted except by a few old sea-travelers. Before dinner, Leo ventured above and for a moment put his head outside. The gale blowing a hundred miles an hour hit him with the force of a club. When he went below to see Alfonso, his face was pale, and his voice trembled as he said, "Harris, before morning we shall all sink to the bottom of the Atlantic with the 'Majestic' for our tomb." Half undressed, Leo dropped again into his berth where he spent a miserable night.
Few persons find life enjoyable in a great storm at sea, for the discomfitures of mind and body are many. The ship's officers and crew are always concerned about the welfare of the passengers and the safety of steamer and cargo.
True, Leo, with the instincts of an artist, had stood for hours on the deck, partially sheltered by a smoke-stack, to study wave motions and the ever-changing effects of the ocean. Never before had he known its sublimity. When the sea was wildest and the deck was wave-swept, he in his safe retreat made sketches of waves and their combinations which he hoped sometime to reproduce on canvas. At other times, conscious of storm dangers in mid-ocean, Leo's conscience troubled him. For a year he had been much in love with a pretty Italian girl, daughter of an official, long in the service of the Italian government at the port of New York.
Rosie Ricci was fifteen years old when she first met Leo. Dressed in white, she entered an exhibition of water colors on W. 10th street with her mother one May morning, as Leo had finished hanging a delicate marine view sketched down the Narrows.
Glances only between Leo and Rosie were exchanged, but each formed the resolution sometime, if possible, to know the other. Rosie's father had died when she was only fourteen years old, and existence for Mrs. Ricci and her little family had been a struggle. For the last year, a happy change had come in their condition. A letter had been received from a rich senator by Mrs. Ricci, which was couched in the tenderest language. The senator explained in his letter that at a musicale, given on Fifth Avenue, he had heard a Rosie Ricci sing a simple song that revived memories of an early day. This fact, coupled with Rosie's charming simplicity and vivacity of manner, fixed her name in his mind; later he was reading the New York Tribune, and the name Ricci arrested his attention.
The item mentioned the death of Raphael Ricci, ex-consul, and the senator's object in writing was to inquire further as to the facts. Did he leave a competency? If not, would the family receive such assistance as would enable the daughter, if Rosie Ricci was her daughter, to obtain a further musical education?
The senator's letter dropped from the mother's hands; she was overcome with the good news. Rosie picked it up saying, "Mother dear, what is the matter? What terrible news does it contain?"
"Not bad news, child! possibly good news; a letter from a stranger who offers aid in our distress, a letter from one holding a high position. I wonder what it all means? Has the senator been prompted by the spirit of your anxious father, or is there evil in the communication?"
"Tell me, mother, tell me all about it!" But before the mother could speak, Rosie was reading the letter aloud. She threw up her hands in delight and flew into her mother's arms. "How good the Lord is to us!" Rosie exclaimed. She had been eager for a musical education and to win fame on the stage.
In June, by appointment, Mrs. Ricci and daughter met the Senator at the Fifth Avenue Hotel. It was arranged that Rosie should have the best musical education obtainable in Boston, and further that the senator should pay her expenses in Boston and New York, and that the mother's rent should be included in his liberality. At times, the mother questioned the senator's motives, but he always seemed so kind and fatherly that she spurned the thought as coming from the Evil One.
The senator as he left, put several bills in Mrs. Ricci's hand, saying, "You and Rosie will find need of them for clothes for the daughter and for other expenses."
Never was a girl happier than Rosie the morning she and her mother left the Grand Central Depot for New England. Rarely, if ever, did a girl work harder than Rosie at her studies. Her soul often had burned with ambition for fame and for money so that she could assist her mother. The way was now open and success was possible. At the sunset hour she often walked with a friend among the historic elms on Boston Common and in the beautiful flower gardens.
Often young men longed for her acquaintance, but they could never get the consent of her pretty eyes. She was petite, her hair black, her eyes dark brown, her lips ruby-red, and her nose and chin finely chiselled. She had a cameo-like face and complexion of olive tint that told of the land of vines and figs in sunny Italy. Her step was elastic, her manner vivacious and confiding. Her dress was always tidy and stylish. Usually she carried a roll of music in one hand as she left the conservatory, and lovely flowers in the other that had been expressed either by the senator or Leo.
On the completion of her course in the conservatory, Leo had pressed his suit so devotedly that Rosie consented to an engagement without her mother's knowledge. The ring of gold contained a single ruby, and Leo had had engraved on the inside of the ring, "Et teneo, et teneor." When Rosie saw the old Roman motto she said, "I hold, and am held. How appropriate, Leo! Your love for me, devotion to the beautiful, and our bright memories of artistic Italy shall bind us together forever.
"But Leo, why do you put the ring on the third finger before marriage?"
Leo answered, "Because I have read somewhere that many centuries ago the Egyptians believed that the third finger was especially warmed by a small artery that proceeded directly from the heart. The Egyptians also believed that the third finger is the first that a new born babe is able to move, and the last finger over which the dying lose control."
"Nonsense," replied Rosie, "once the wedding ring, studded with precious stones, was worn on the forefinger; Christianity moved it to the third finger. Its use was originated in this way: the priest first put it on the thumb, saying 'In the name of the Father'; on the forefinger, adding, 'in the name of the Son;' on the second finger, repeating, 'in the name of the Holy Ghost;' and on the third finger, ending with 'Amen,' and there it staid."
Abelard and Heloise were not happier in their unselfish affection than Leo and Rosie in their love. Colors on Leo's canvas now sought each other in magic harmony. At single sittings in his studio Leo made Madonna faces, and glowing landscapes, that evoked words of warm praise from his fellow artists, who were blind to the secret of Leo's remarkable power.
For a Christmas present Leo brought Rosie a picture of his own of Rosie's beautiful hand holding lilies of the valley; and while she thanked him in sweetest words, he pinned at her throat a Florentine cameo once worn by his mother. All these things, and more, came flashing into Leo's mind as he struggled on the ship's deck to keep his footing in the storm.
A week before the steamer left New York Leo and Rosie had quarreled. Leo's invitation to accompany the Harrises had come to him from Alfonso only three days before the "Majestic's" departure, and such was his momentary ill-humor toward Rosie that he sailed from New York without even advising her of his new plan, or saying good-bye. Leo, alone on the sea, often severely rebuked himself that he could have been so unkind to the woman to whom he had given his heart and his mother's favorite bit of jewelry.
A thousand times he wished he could ask Rosie's forgiveness, for it was in a fit of anger that Rosie had snatched the ruby ring off her hand and the cameo from her throat, and had thrown them into Leo's lap saying, "Take them, Leo, you will easily find another girl to share your family name and your poverty as an artist while I have need of wealth." Leo had turned from Rosie's home without the power to reply, he was so taken by surprise.
Leo was never so happy as when Rosie was present in his studio to encourage him by word or song, but now all was changed.
Sometimes Leo in his secret thoughts feared that Rosie's beauty and charming manner would command riches, and sometimes he dared to think that possibly his talent and fame might command a handsome dowry. Then his mind turned to Lucille. She was taller than Rosie, not so vivacious, but like Rosie enjoyed a happy time. He even ventured at times to say mentally of Lucille that "it is she or none on earth," and then as he recalled the ring given to Rosie, the old love would assert itself and he would shut his eyes, ashamed of an affection that was false hearted. It was fortunate for Leo that he was a good sailor, as it enabled him to do many thoughtful things for the Harrises, and thus show his appreciation of their great kindness to him.
On the third day out from New York, the storm moderated somewhat and the passengers at breakfast visibly increased in number, but before the lunch hour was over the fury of the gale returned. The steamer in her course had crossed the center of the cyclone where the force of the storm was diminished for a short time only. All that afternoon and night the gale increased in force till it seemed as if volcanic powers under the sea were at work turning the ocean upside down.
Pent up forces in the west were loosed, and Neptune, deity of the ocean, with his three-pronged trident stalked abroad. The bombardment of waves was terrific, and the twin propellers raced so fiercely that speed was reduced to a minimum.