“For a moment Mr. Trask stood nonplussed. To gain time for thought he fell back upon the Socratic method, and began asking questions. ’Stranger, won’t you stand up again so that the audience can see you? Thank you! Evidently you are an intelligent citizen and reliable witness. Did you say you knew the man?’
“‘O yes, I have known him for over fifty years.’
“’Did you ever know of his favoring schools or churches by gifts or otherwise?’
“‘No,’ said the stranger.
“‘There,’ said Trask to the audience, ’this man’s testimony only strengthens what I have been attempting to prove here this evening, that tobacco shortens life. This Castalia centenarian is dead to all the demands of society and humanity, and his corpse should have been buried half a century ago.’ So the laugh was on the voluntary witness.”
“Hold on, my friend, your Castalia centenarian proves just what I said at the outset, that the use of tobacco prolongs life, but I am half inclined myself to feel that the less tobacco active Americans use, the better.” Then throwing his cigar away, he said good-night and left the smoking room.
Others stacked their cards, smoked cigarettes, and then sought their staterooms, and finally the ship’s bell rang out the last patron and announced the midnight hour; the steward was left alone. He had been unusually busy all the evening furnishing ale, porter, and beer, a few only taking wine. The steward was glad to complete his report of sales for the first day out, and turn off the lights and seek his berth for the night.
The “Majestic” shot past Cape Cod and was plowing her way towards the banks of Newfoundland. The strong winds were westerly and fast increasing to a moderate gale. The north star was hidden and now failed to confirm the accuracy of the ship’s compasses.
The first and fourth officers were pacing the bridge. The latter was glad that the engines were working at full speed, as every stroke of the pistons carried him nearer his pretty cottage in the suburbs of Liverpool. Captain Morgan had dropped asleep on the lounge in his cozy room just back of the wheel. Most of the passengers and crew off duty slept soundly, though some were dreaming of wife and children in far away homes, and others of palaces, parks, and castles in foreign countries.
It was difficult for Mrs. Harris to get much rest as the waves dashing against the ship often awakened her, and her thoughts would race with the Cincinnati Express which was swiftly bearing her husband and Gertrude back to Harrisville and perhaps to trouble and poverty. While Mrs. Harris knew that her husband was wealthy, she was constantly troubled with fears lest she and her family should sometime come to want. Her own father had acquired a fortune in Ireland, but changes in the British tariff laws had rendered him penniless, and poverty had driven her mother with seven other children to America.