“You know you like Jarvis. He is one of the best.”
“That’s all right, Polly. He’s as fine as silk, but he isn’t fine enough for our Jane yet.”
“I TOLD YOU SO”
It may be the limitless horizon, it may be the comradery of confinement, it may be the old superstition of a plank between one and eternity, or it may be some occult influence of ship and ocean; but certain it is that there is no such place in all the world as a deck of a transatlantic liner for softening young hearts, until they lose all semblance of shape, and for melting them into each other so that out of twain there comes but one. I think Polly was pleased to watch this melting process, as it began to show itself in our young people, from the safe retreat of her steamer chair and behind the covers of her book. I couldn’t find that she read two chapters from any book during the whole voyage, or that she was miserable or discontented. She just watched with a comfortable “I told you so” expression of countenance; and she never mentioned home lot or garden or roses, from dock to dock.
It is as natural for a woman to make matches as for a robin to build nests, and I suppose I had as much right to find fault with the one as with the other. I did not find fault with her, but neither could I understand her; so I fretted and fumed and smoked, and walked the deck and bet on everything in sight and out of sight, until the soothing influence of the sea took hold of me, and then I drifted like the rest of them.
No, I will not say “like the rest of them,” for I could not forgive this waste of space given over to water. In other crossings I had not noted the conspicuous waste with any feeling of loss or regret; but other crossings had been made before I knew the value of land. I could not get away from the thought that it would add much to the wealth of the world if the mountains were removed and cast into the sea. Not only that, but it would curb to some extent the ragings of this same turbulent sea, which was rolling and tossing us about for no really good reason that I could discover. The Atlantic had lost much of its romance and mystery for me, and I wondered if I had ever felt the enthusiasm which I heard expressed on all sides.
“There she spouts!” came from a dozen voices, and the whole passenger list crowded the port rail, just to see a cow whale throwing up streams of water, not immensely larger than the streams of milk which my cow Holsteins throw down. The crowd seemed to take great pleasure in this sight, but to me it was profitless.