Hugh Searles, his son, however, had known only London life since he graduated from Cambridge. His office was in Chancery Lane, and his surroundings and teachings had been of the speculative kind, hence he was a fit agent for his firm. Already he had acquired a sunny suburban home in Kent, and was ambitious to hold a seat in Parliament. As he walked the steamer’s deck, he looked the typical Englishman, five feet ten inches in height, broad shoulders and full chest; his weight about two hundred pounds, or “fifteen stones” as Searles phrased it.
His face was round and ruddy, his beard closely cut, and his hair light and fine, indicating quality. His step was firm, and he seemed always in deep study. When addressed by his fellow passengers however, he was courteous, always talked to the point in his replies, and was anxious to learn more of America, or as he expressed it, “of the Anglo-Saxon confederation.” He was very proud of his Anglo-Saxon origin, and Empire, and believed in the final Anglo-Saxon ascendancy over the world.
On board ship were several young Englishmen, who were on their return to various posts of duty. Three were buyers for cotton firms in Liverpool and Manchester, and they were hastening back to Norfolk, Va., Memphis, and New Orleans. Two of the passengers were English officers, returning to their commands in far away Australia. Others, like Searles, were crossing the Atlantic for the first time in search of fame and fortune. These adventurous Englishmen thought it fine sport as the “Majestic” sighted Fire Light Island to join the enthusiastic Americans in singing “America.” So heartily did they sing, that the Americans in turn, using the same tune, cordially sang “God save the Queen.”
At first Hugh Searles was a little disconcerted, when the whole Harris family approached him in the Waldorf reception-room. Colonel Harris cordially extended his hand, and said, “Mr. Searles, we are all glad to meet you, and bid you hearty welcome to America. Please let me make you acquainted with my wife, Mrs. Harris, my daughters, Gertrude and Lucille, and my son, Alfonso.”
“An unexpected greeting you give me, Colonel Harris,” said Hugh Searles, as he gave each person a quick hand-shake, thinking that to be an American he must grasp hands cordially.
The family were much interested in the details of Mr. Searles’s voyage, as they expected soon to be en route for Europe. Mr. Searles said, “The cause of the ‘Majestic’s’ delay was a broken propeller in rough seas off the Banks of Newfoundland. I am glad to reach New York.” He had arrived at the Hotel at ten o’clock and already had been to lunch.
Mr. Searles gladly accepted an invitation from Colonel Harris for a drive, Mrs. Harris and Lucille to accompany them. Searles expressed a wish to see the famous Roebling suspension bridge, so the coachman drove first down Broadway to the post office, then past the great newspaper buildings, and out upon the marvelous highway or bridge suspended in the air between New York and Brooklyn. When midway, Mr. Searles begged to step out of the carriage, and putting his arms around one of the four enormous cables, inquired of Colonel Harris how these huge cables were carried over the towers.