The hotels in London which the English consider the best I consider the worst. If an American wishes to be comfortable let him eschew all other gods and cleave to the Cecil. The Cecil! I wish my cab was turning in at the entrance this very minute!
Finally the Kaiser Friedrich burst something important in her interior, and they gave her up and put on the Trave. Instantly there was a maddened rush for the Liverpool steamer. The Cunard office was besieged. Within two hours after the North German Lloyd bulletined the Trave every berth was taken on the Etruria. I arrived too late, so, in company with the most of the Kaiser Friedrich’s passengers, I resigned myself to the Trave.
We were eight days at sea, and some of those I remained in my berth. I was happier there, and yet in spite of private woes I still think of that delightful captain and that darling stewardess with affection. The steamship company literally outdid themselves in their efforts to console their disappointed passengers. They put the town of Southampton at our disposal, and the Trave’s steady and spinster-like behavior did the rest.
I held receptions in my state-room every day. The captain called every morning, and so did the charming wife of the returning German Ambassador, Mr. Uhl. The girls came down and sat on my steamer-trunk, and told me of the flirtations going on on deck. And every night that dear stewardess would come and tuck me in, and turn out the light, and say, “Good-night, fraeulein; I hope you feel to-morrow better.”
When the pilot reached us we were at luncheon, and every man in the dining-room bolted. American newspapers after eight days of suspense! One man stood up and read the news aloud. Dewey and the battle of Manila Bay! We did not applaud. It was too far off and too unreal. But we women wept.
As we drove through the streets of New York I said to the people who came to meet me, “For Heaven’s sake, what are all these flags out for? Is it Washington’s birthday? I have lost count of time!”
My cousin looked at me pityingly.
“My poor child,” she said, “I am glad you have come back to God’s country, where you can learn something. We have a war on!”
I gave a gasp. That shows how unreal the war seemed to me over there. I never saw so many flags as I saw in Jersey City and New York. I was horrified to find Chicago, nay, even my own house, lacking in that respect.
But I am proud to relate that two hours after my return—directly I had done kissing Billy, in fact—the largest flag on the whole street was floating from my study window.