“Oh!” grumbled Trent. “I can’t afford sea-voyages.”
“I can!” said Edward Henry. “And I shouldn’t dream of letting it cost you a penny. I’m not a philanthropist. But I know as well as anybody that it will pay us theatrical managers to keep you in health.”
“You’re not going to take the play off?” Trent demanded suspiciously.
“Certainly not!” said Edward Henry.
“What sort of a sea-voyage?”
“Well—what price the Atlantic? Been to New York?... Neither have I! Let’s go. Just for the trip. It’ll do us good.”
“You don’t mean it?” murmured the greatest dramatic poet, who had never voyaged further than the Isle of Wight. His eyeglass swung to and fro.
Edward Henry feigned to resent this remark.
“Of course I mean it. Do you take me for a blooming gas-bag?” He rose. “Marrier!” Then more loudly: “Marrier!” Mr. Marrier entered. “Do you know anything about the sailings to New York?”
“Rather!” said Mr. Marrier, beaming. After all, he was a most precious aid.
“We may be able to arrange for a production in New York,” said Edward Henry to Carlo, mysteriously.
Mr. Marrier gazed at one and then at the other, puzzled.
Throughout the voyage of the Lithuania from Liverpool to New York, Edward Henry, in common with some two thousand other people on board, had the sensation of being hurried. He who in a cab rides late to an important appointment, arrives with muscles fatigued by mentally aiding the horse to move the vehicle along. Thus were Edward Henry’s muscles fatigued, and the muscles of many others; but just as much more so as the Lithuania was bigger than a cab.
For the Lithuania, having been seriously delayed in Liverpool by men who were most ridiculously striking for the fantastic remuneration of one pound a week, was engaged on the business of making new records. And every passenger was personally determined that she should therein succeed. And, despite very bad June weather towards the end, she did sail past the Battery on a grand Monday morning with a new record to her credit.
So far Edward Henry’s plan was not miscarrying. But he had a very great deal to do, and very little time in which to do it, and whereas the muscles of the other passengers were relaxed as the ship drew to her berth, Edward Henry’s muscles were only more tensely tightened. He had expected to see Mr. Seven Sachs on the quay, for in response to his telegram from Queenstown the illustrious actor-author had sent him an agreeable wireless message in full Atlantic; the which had inspired Edward Henry to obtain news by Marconi both from London and New York, at much expense; from the east he had had daily information of the dwindling receipts at the Regent Theatre, and from the west daily information concerning Isabel Joy. He had not, however, expected Mr. Seven Sachs to walk into the Lithuania’s music-saloon an hour before the ship touched the quay. Nevertheless, this was what Mr. Seven Sachs did, by the exercise of those mysterious powers wielded by the influential in democratic communities.