“It was from over one of those open decks that the cry ‘A Light!’ rang out upon the night; it was from one of those decks that the vision of the New World materialized before the eyes of the great Italian; on one of those decks he knelt as the vision grew brighter in the dawn, and his soul was thrilled as souls are when they feel that a visible answer to prayer has been vouchsafed.
“But the man was there, Jordan; the man who could charm the terrors from the hearts of a fear-stricken crew; who could convert a meteor’s fall into an augury of good instead of an omen of terror; who could quell the mutinous spirit which was awakened by a varying needle and raging storms.
“It is not the great ship that counts, but the motives in the souls of those who build and navigate the ship.
“When on the shores of this sea men first built boats and went forth on these waters, they were but rude boats indeed.
“Who knows how many were lost, how many brave souls were drowned?
“But each calamity gave new thoughts to those who escaped; they kept on improving, building better and better boats and making longer and longer voyages; they found islands and the shores of far-off mainlands; they carried back the products of those lands, and so Commerce was born.
“They made at last their ships meet the caravans from the East; the ideas as well as the products of the East and West were brought together; manufactories were established, robes and dyed garments and flashing blades were made that became immortal, and those people made such an impression on the world, as brave and capable and alert men of affairs, that the impression still remains; even as the strong and true men of Venice renewed the impression twenty-five hundred years later.
“The same spirit worked three thousand years ago that has been at work in making the transformation from the bungling ships that Nelson fought Trafalgar with to this ship under our feet, from the carrying up of ore from the deep mines on the heads of peons to the hoisting engine and safety cage of to-day.”
“That is good, Jim,” said Jordan, “it is ther soul of man, after all, soul of courage that counts ’nd all ther advancement is only because we has better tools ter work with than ther old-timers hed.”
The soul in the clay.
At Port Said the travelers left the French steamer to wait for the English ship which was on the way from Southampton. It came in on the evening of their arrival, and they went on board. They were glad to do so, for the few hours in Port Said convinced them that it was a tougher place than they had ever seen on the frontier.
At daylight next morning the ship proceeded on her way through the canal.
Our travelers were on the deck, watching the scenery.