Leo fell insensible and was removed from the death-chamber by his servants. Womanly courage returned to the mother after a few moments of intense grief, and aided by others the necessary preparations were made for the removal of Lucille to America.
Captain Harry Hall with his yacht en route to Athens had called at Brindisi to get a reply from a most important letter of his mailed to Lucille at Palermo. As he stepped ashore a telegram was handed him announcing the sudden death of the woman he loved. He was so shocked that his friends were alarmed. After a short conference Harry wired Colonel Harris the use of his yacht to carry back to America the remains of beautiful Lucille.
While Colonel Harris was writing an acceptance of Captain Hall’s services, a second telegram came announcing the death, by drowning, of his only son Alfonso in the Zuider Zee at Amsterdam. How true that misfortunes never come singly!
Beneath the pillow on which Lucille died, were found two unanswered letters, proposals of marriage, one from Leo and one from Captain Hall. The broken hearted mother took charge of these letters, and before the metallic coffin was sealed, the unanswered letters were placed in Lucille’s white hand, over the heart that could not now decide.
Later the casket was put on board the yacht “Hallena” at Rome, and Captain Hall with his flag at half-mast steamed towards America with the woman, who could never on earth accept the tribute of his heart. Leo, now Marquis Colonna, true chevalier that he was, insisted that he be permitted to accompany Colonel Harris to Amsterdam in search of his son Alfonso.
COLONEL HARRIS’S BIG BLUE ENVELOPE
The honeymoon of George and Gertrude included not only the two delightful weeks in Switzerland, but also the ten or twelve days on a slow steamer returning to New York. The weather at sea was all that could be desired. The longer a smooth sea-voyage, the better lovers are pleased. Return ocean passages usually furnish the much needed rest after a so-called vacation abroad. Overworked Americans need, not so much an entire cessation of activities, as a change of occupation, which usually, brings the desired results.
George and Gertrude made but few acquaintances on the steamer. The thought that each possessed the other was enjoyment that satisfied, and both were happy. Each lived as in dreamland, and scarcely observed even the daily runs made by the steamer. The death by accident of a sailor, and his strange burial at sea, served only for a brief time to arrest a happiness made complete by each other’s voice and presence. The two weeks on the ocean came and went as softly as flowers unfold and disappear. Thus far, married life had been ideal.
It was after eleven o’clock, and anxious passengers were pacing the decks, hoping to sight native land before retiring. Suddenly the officer on the bridge discerned the dim Fire Island Light, bearing north by west, twenty miles distant. Ten minutes later, five points on the port bow, a pilot boat was sighted. Her mast-head light was visible, also the torch, which soaked in turpentine, burnt brightly at intervals.