Detroit, Michigan, March 81, 190—.
To H.B. Ridge:
Got away safely. Meet me Forty-second Street, New York, to-morrow at three. Feel awfully queer and look a fright. Sympathetic lady, next compartment, just offered condolences for loss of my husband. What are the probabilities of storm? Be sure and find out before we start.
“Isn’t that just like a girl!” he muttered to himself. “Where else would Forty-second Street be but New York! London?”
They had decided to travel as brother and sister and to adopt Ridge as the surname. Hugh had taken passage for Liverpool on the liner Saint Cloud, to sail on the second, having first examined the list of passengers to ascertain if there were any among them who might know him or his companion in the adventure. The list was now complete, and he, assured that there was no danger of recognition, felt the greatest weight of all lifted from his mind.
He had also considerately inquired into the state of the weather and learned that it promised well for the voyage. The whole affair was such a glorious lark, such an original enterprise, that he could scarcely restrain himself in his exhilaration from confiding in his chance hotel acquaintances.
Purposely, the night before, he had gone to an hotel where he was unknown, keeping under cover during the day as much as possible. According to the prearranged plan, they were to go aboard ship that evening, as the sailing hour was early in the morning.
He was waiting for her train. Every now and then his glance would shoot through the throng of people, somewhat apprehensively, as if he feared, instead of hoped, that some one might be there. This searching glance was to determine whether there might be any danger of Chicago or New York acquaintances witnessing the arrival of the person for whom he waited. Once he recognized a friend and dodged quickly behind a knot of people, escaping notice. That is why he audibly muttered:
Every nerve was tingling with excitement; an indescribable desire to fly, to shout, to race down the track to meet the train, swept through him. His heart almost stopped beating, and he felt that his face was bloodless. For the twentieth time in the last two hours Ridgeway looked at his watch and frowningly exclaimed:
“Only five after two! Nearly an hour to wait!”
He sat down for a moment, only to arise the next and walk to the board announcing the arrival of trains. Almost immediately one pulled into the station. Perceiving a bystander—one of the sort that always give the impression of being well-informed—he inquired casually where it was from.
“Chicago,” was the ready answer.
“Great Scott! Lucky I came early! Grace’s idea of time—oh, well, only the small matter of an hour out of the way.”