“She really ought to have thought of that for herself, if she’s as smart as she thinks she is,” said Edward Henry, privately.
Though he was on the way to high success his anxieties and solicitudes seemed to increase every hour. Immediately after Isabel Joy’s arrest he became more than ever a crony of the Marconi operator, and began to dispatch vivid and urgent telegrams to London, without counting the cost. On the next day he began to receive replies. (It was the most interesting voyage that the Marconi operator had had since the sinking of the Catherine of Siena, in which episode his promptness through the air had certainly saved two hundred lives.) Edward Henry could scarcely sleep, so intense was his longing for Sunday night—his desire to be safe in London with Isabel Joy! Nay, he could not properly eat! And then the doubt entered his mind whether after all he would get to London on Sunday night. For the Lithuania was lagging. She might have been doing it on purpose to ruin him. Every day, in the auction-pool on the ship’s run, it was the holder of the lower field that pocketed the money of his fellow-men. The Lithuania actually descended below five hundred and forty knots in the twenty-four hours. And no authoritative explanation of this behaviour was ever given. Upon leaving New York there had been talk of reaching Fishguard on Saturday evening. But now the prophesied moment of arrival had been put forward to noon on Sunday. Edward Henry’s sole consolation was that each day on the eastward trip consisted of only twenty-three hours.
Further, he was by no means free from apprehension about the personal liberty of Isabel Joy. Isabel had exceeded the programme arranged between them. It had been no part of his scheme that she should cast plates, nor even break violins on the shining crown of an august purser. The purser was angry, and he had the captain, a milder man, behind him. When Isabel Joy threatened a hunger-strike if she was not immediately released, the purser signified that she might proceed with her hunger-strike; he well knew that it would be impossible for her to expire of inanition before the arrival at Fishguard.
The case was serious, because Isabel Joy had created a precedent. Policemen and Cabinet Ministers had for many months been regarded as the lawful prey of militants, but Isabel Joy was the first of the militants to damage property and heads which belonged to persons of neither of those classes. And the authorities of the ship were assuredly inclined to hand Isabel Joy over to the police at Fishguard. What saved the situation for Edward Henry was the factor which saves most situations—namely, public opinion. When the saloon clearly realized that Isabel Joy had done what she had done with the pure and innocent aim of winning a wager, all that was Anglo-Saxon in the saloon ranged itself on the side of true sport,