There was not a waver in the clear brown eyes, nor a quiver in her voice as she replied. Instead, there was a flicker indicating injured pride, followed by the sweetest, tenderest smile that he ever had seen on her face.
“Dear old Hugh! Did I not tell you that I would go to the end of the world with you?”
“But we may go to the bottom of the sea,” he interposed, seizing her hands, his face lighting up gladly.
“Then I shall go to the bottom of the sea with you. I never have felt the faintest desire to turn back. It has been my greatest happiness to think that some day we shall reach Manila, where our dear adventure may have its second and most delightful epoch. Would I turn back? Would you?” She looked divinely happy as she answered her first triumphant question with the second.
And so they sailed again.
As on their first voyage, their staterooms adjoined. Passage and accommodation had been booked for H.B. Ridge and Miss Ridge, Chicago, U.S.A.
The following morning, Grace was awakened by a rattling at her stateroom door.
“How are you feeling?” called a well-known voice rather anxiously.
“Quite well, thank you. Is it time to get up?”
“I should say so, Sis.”
“All right; in ten minutes.” As she set her feet upon the floor she observed a tendency on their part to touch twice before settling finally. A momentary dizziness came over her. She closed her eyes quickly and waited a moment before reopening them. Suddenly Hugh’s photograph, which was leaning against her hat on the steamer trunk, ducked slowly toward her as if bowing a polite good-morning, and then fell face downward. Miss Vernon rubbed her eyes and stared at the overturned picture for a full minute before resuming her toilet. Then she laughed nervously and made all haste to get on deck. She was one of the few women who dress quickly and yet look well. Attired in a becoming gown, a jaunty cap, checked raincoat and rough brown gloves, she ventured forth expecting to find Hugh waiting for her. At the same time she was thanking her lucky stars that no longer need she fear the authorities.
Slightly dismayed and a little bewildered, she looked to the right and left, trying to remember which stateroom Hugh occupied. The left, she concluded, and forthwith applied her pretty knuckles to the panel; vigorously. The door flew open, almost taking her breath, and a tall, dark man stood before her, but he was not Hugh Ridgeway. He looked askance in a very polite way.
“I beg your pardon,” she stammered in confusion. “I have made a mistake. This isn’t Mr.—my brother’s room, is it? Oh, dear, how absurd of me.” She was turning away as she concluded.
“Can I be of service to you?” asked the stranger, stepping forth. He had a very pleasant voice, but she did not remark it at the time.
“No, I thank you,” she hastily replied. “His room is on my right, I remember. Sorry if I disturbed you,” and she was pounding on the other door. She glanced back at the stranger’s door involuntarily and then away instantly. He was staring at her in a most uncalled-for manner.