So they walked until lunch-time, and then enjoyed hugely the novelty of the first meal on shipboard. After this, the young people went aft to look down upon the steerage passengers, and forward to the bow of the noble ship, while Mrs. Douglas took her little nap downstairs.
But alas! as the steamship took her course further into the open sea, and the wind grew more and more fresh, the three girls sank into their chairs, grew silent, and before dinner-time were among the great suffering company that every ship carries during the first days and nights of her voyage.
Across Two Oceans.
Nobly, nobly Cape St. Vincent to the northwest died away; Sunset ran, one glorious blood-red, reeking into Cadiz Bay: Bluish ’mid the burning water, full in face Trafalgar lay: In the dimmest northeast distance dawned Gibraltar grand and gray ... While Jove’s planet rises yonder silent over Africa.
[Illustration: A BIT OF GENOA]
“Betty!” called Barbara.
“What, dear?” answered a weak voice from the berth below.
“Do you know how much more quiet the water is? and, Betty, I think Mrs. Douglas looked really disappointed when she saw us still immovable in our berths.”
It was the third morning at sea. The fresh wind of the first afternoon had blown a gale before morning. A storm followed, and for two days the larger part of the passengers had been absent from saloon and deck.
Among these were Barbara, Bettina, and Margery. Mrs. Douglas and Malcom had done their best to keep up the spirits of their little party, but had found it difficult. Now for the third time they had gone to breakfast alone.
Barbara was thinking hard; and, as she thought, her courage rose.
“Betty,” said she again, “perhaps if you and I can get up and dress, it may help Margery to try, and you know how much her mother wishes her to do so, she so soon loses strength. And Mrs. Douglas is so good to you and me! I wonder if we can take the salt-water baths that she thinks help one so much on the sea. You remember how much pains she took as soon as we came on board to get all our names on the bath-stewardess’s list for morning baths!”
“I believe I will try!” added she, after a long silence.
And when the broad-faced, smiling stewardess came to see if the young ladies would like anything, Barbara gladdened her heart by saying she would have her bath.
“Oh, Betty, Betty dear! you have no idea how nice it is! The ship is quiet, the port is open in the bath-room, and it is just lovely to breathe the fresh air. Do try it. I feel like a new girl!”
Before another hour had passed the girls said good-by to poor Margery after having greatly encouraged her spirits, and climbed the stairs to the deck, where they found Malcom just tucking his mother into her chair after their breakfast and morning walk on the deck. Such a bright smile as Mrs. Douglas gave them! It more than repaid for all the effort they had made.