“Yes, Gertrude, read for yourself. A friend at court is a friend indeed.”
The two sisters were delighted and heartily congratulated George. “Of course, you will accept the position?” inquired Gertrude.
“Your father, Gertrude, is very kind to me, and I believe I could fill satisfactorily the position of chemist now offered by the steel company. Later, Gertrude, we can talk this matter over.” Three happy young people bought tickets for home and took seats in a Pullman car.
After a week’s rest, George Ingram assumed the duties of assistant chemist for the Harrisville Iron & Steel Co. Two weeks’ initiation by the old chemist, whose health was failing, sufficed to give young Ingram efficiency and confidence in his desirable position.
IN TOUCH WITH NATURE
The school vacation of the Harris young ladies came and went on wings. The mother was too ill to leave her home; she stood in her door-way, and gave her farewell, “God keep and bless you, children!” The father had gone to Chicago, so George Ingram saw the daughters off touching Gertrude’s hand, with a hearty good-bye as she stood in the car door.
As George returned slowly to his task at the steel mills, he resolved to use his evenings in post-graduate work. The more he studied iron ores and steel-making, the more he felt that he must conquer the whole intricate subject, if he would be of greatest service to his employers. The intense competition in the trade demanded it.
The Empire State Express, the fastest train in the world, carried Gertrude and Lucille through New York state with speed and ease to delightful New England. Secretly Gertrude loved George, and she resolved to study chemistry and electricity and keep pace with his studies, and if ever asked to become his wife, to aid him in every possible way. She thought that she discovered in him the material for a noble man, a statue which she hoped to chisel. Too often marriageable young women and their anxious mothers demand the complete statue at the outset, and are not content to accept and chisel granite.
At Smith College the months sped rapidly, as earnest study and bright expectations occupied Gertrude’s time and satisfied her heart. Every week brought a letter and a reply was promptly sent. George wanted to write twice a week, but Gertrude checked him, saying that both needed their time, and that too frequent correspondence, like too much intimacy, often brings disfavor.
“More details of the doings at the steel mills,” wrote Gertrude. She cared more about the welfare of her father’s employees and their families and George Ingram’s plans than to know the latest fad in society. George was equally anxious to keep her informed, and to learn of her intellectual advancement, what books she read, and her views on the leading topics of the day.