Mrs. Harris, naturally proud, was slow to respond to the colonel’s new ideas, but he felt that under Gertrude’s generous influences his wife would prove a help rather than a hindrance. Mrs. Harris knew that Gertrude and George, who had received a broad education, were ambitious to do good, and besides she trusted and loved them both.
It was clear to George and Gertrude that little or no hindrance would be offered to wise plans of usefulness. It was finally agreed that Colonel Harris and George should spend a week or two visiting some of the great industrial centers of Europe, and that Alfonso and Leo should accompany the ladies to Paris, and then visit the haunts of the old portrait painters of the Netherlands.
It was also decided by George and Gertrude that they would be married in Paris. This made the two lovers happy; for soon the two diamonds and ruby would be advanced to the ring finger, as promised by Gertrude on Mt. Holyoke. Each felt that an inexpensive marriage in Paris would be a fortunate escape from possible criticisms at home. Colonel Harris had promised Gertrude a special gift of a thousand dollars for the approaching nuptials, she to do what she desired with the money. So she decided to use only one-fourth of the gift for herself, to send one-half of it to the Relief Society, and the balance to two ladies’ benevolent societies of Harrisville.
The discussion of these plans made the last night in London a happy one. Happiness comes when we warm the hearts near us. When selfishness leaves the heart, the dove of peace enters. Early next morning at the Victoria Station, Colonel Harris and George saw their friends off for Paris. The route taken was the one via the London, Chatham & Dover Railway, an hour’s run to Dover, thence in the twin steamer “Calais-Dover,” an hour and a half’s ride across the English Channel to Calais, and from Calais via railway to Paris, capital of the French Republic.
Then Reuben Harris and George Ingram left Victoria Station to pay their respects to Henry Bessemer, civil engineer, who lived at Denmark Hill south of London. They desired to study the conditions which make the British people powerful. Both were aware that England was richly stored with the most serviceable of all minerals, coal and iron, in convenient proximity; that her large flocks of sheep supplied both wool and leather; that Ireland had been encouraged in the cultivation of flax; that the convenience of intercourse between mother country and her neighbors, especially America, had enabled England to engage largely in the manufacture of the three textile staples, wool, flax, and cotton. But material resources are only one element in great industrial successes. Both labor and capital are equally essential.
Englishmen have strength and skill. In delicate and artistic manipulation, however, the Englishman may be surpassed, but he possesses in a rare degree great capacity for physical application to work, also tremendous mental energy and perseverance. Most of the world’s valuable and great inventions, as successfully applied to the leading industries, were made by the English.