At eight o’clock the next morning the Harrises met promptly at breakfast. Promptness was one of Reuben Harris’s virtues, and fortunately all his party were agreed as to its absolute necessity, especially when several journey together, if the happiness of all is considered.
“George’s eyes look like burnt holes,” whispered May to Gertrude.
Overhearing his sister’s remark, George added: “Yes, May, and they feel worse after my two hours last night in the stokehole of the ‘Campania.’”
“We thought after our long railway ride and the concert yesterday, that you would gladly welcome a little sleep,” said Gertrude.
“I did sleep four hours, Gertrude, but my owl-visit to the steamer was highly instructive, and when we get to sea, you all will be delighted to help me complete the study of the marine engines on the ‘Campania.’”
A SAFE PASSAGE AND A HAPPY REUNION
Gertrude and May never knew what happiness was before. One maiden had her lover, and the heart of the other was pledged to music. George too was happy in Gertrude’s happiness and joyous in his own thoughts that perhaps he had already entered upon his life work, the development of plans which would bless humanity. Colonel Harris’s chief joy was that he had earned a rest, was soon to see the absent members of his family, and to behold the work of men in Europe.
People crowded the gangway, the same as on a previous occasion when duty forced him suddenly to leave the “Majestic.” It was almost two o’clock; visitors were no longer admitted to the steamer, except messengers with belated telegrams, mail, packages, and flowers for the travelers. On the bridge of the “Campania” stood the uniformed captain and junior officers. The chief officer was at the bow, the second officer aft. The captain, notified that all was ready, gave the command, “Let go!” and the cables were unfastened. The engineer started the baby-engine, which partially opens the great throttle-valves, the twin-screws began to revolve, and the “Campania,” like an awakened leviathan slowly moved into the Hudson River. Hundreds on both the pier and steamer fluttered their handkerchiefs, and through a mist of tears good-byes were exchanged, till the increasing distance separated the dearest of friends.
For twenty-four hours George Ingram was seen but little on deck. Most of his time he spent with Carl Siemen, the engineer. The colonel took great delight as the escort of two appreciative young ladies. Before the voyage ended every available part of the “Campania” was explored.
Gertrude was surprised to find an engineer so cultivated a gentleman. He was surrounded in his oak-furnished office by soft couches, easy chairs, works of art, burnished indicators and dials. Mr. Siemen received his orders from the captain or officer on the bridge by telegraph.