Nor was it remarked, when the luggage came to be sorted out and put on board the boat express, that Dick’s porter under his direction collected and wheeled off Mr Markham’s; while Mr Markham picked up Dick’s suit-case, walked away with it unchallenged to a third-class smoking compartment and deposited it on the rack. There were three other passengers in the compartment. ‘Good Lord!’ ejaculated one, as the millionaire stepped out to purchase an evening paper. ‘Isn’t that Markham? Well!—and travelling third!’ ’Saving habit— second nature,’ said another. ‘That’s the way to get rich, my boy.’
Meanwhile Dick, having paid for four places, and thereby secured a first-class solitude, visited the telegraph office, and shrank the few pounds in his pocket by sending a number of cablegrams.
On the journey up Mr Markham took some annoyance from the glances of his fellow-passengers. They were furtive, almost reverential, and this could only be set down to his exploit of yesterday. He thanked Heaven they forbore to talk of it.
In the back-parlour of a bookseller’s shop, between the Strand and the Embankment, three persons sat at tea; the proprietor of the shop, a gray little man with round spectacles and bushy eyebrows, his wife, and a pretty girl of twenty or twenty-one. The girl apparently was a visitor, for she wore her hat, and her jacket lay across the arm of an old horsehair sofa that stood against the wall in the lamp’s half shadow; and yet the gray little bookseller and his little Dresden-china wife very evidently made no stranger of her. They talked, all three, as members of a family talk, when contented and affectionate; at haphazard, taking one another for granted, not raising their voices.
The table was laid for a fourth; and by-and-by they heard him coming through the shop—in a hurry too. The old lady, always sensitive to the sound of her boy’s footsteps, looked up almost in alarm, but the girl half rose from her chair, her eyes eager.
‘I know,’ she said breathlessly. ‘Jim has heard—’
‘Chrissy here? That’s right.’ A young man broke into the room, and stood waving a newspaper. ’The Carnatic’s arrived—here it is under “Stop Press”—I bought the paper as I came by Somerset House— “Carnatic arrived at Southampton 3.45 this afternoon. Her time from Sandy Hook, 5 days, 6 hours, 45 minutes.”
’Then she hasn’t broken the record this time, though Dick was positive she would,’ put in the old lady. During the last six months she had developed a craze for Atlantic records, and knew the performances of all the great liners by heart.