The Wedge of Gold eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 204 pages of information about The Wedge of Gold.

CHAPTER XX.

The Occident and the Orient meet.

The ship was twenty-four days in reaching Melbourne.  It caught a gale crossing the stormy Bight, and for two days no progress was made.  It was all that the men in charge could do to hold the plunging craft up into the face of the storm and meet the big seas as they rolled, furious, up against her stem.  But the winds were laid at last, the ship was put upon her course and her natural speed resumed.  On the afternoon of the twenty-fourth day the ship passed between the heads of Port Philip, and two hours later came to anchor before Sandridge, three miles below Melbourne.  Going ashore, Sedgwick cabled to his wife his arrival on his way to San Francisco, “as first letters from Port Natal would explain,” and added:  “Hope to be with you in one hundred days.  Write, care Occidental Hotel, San Francisco.”  Then he took the night train for Sidney, and arrived there the next night about nine o’clock.

Going to a hotel, he found that the first steamer for San Francisco would sail on the next day but one.

He then sought his first sleep in a comfortable house, with modern improvements, that he had found since he left London.

Next morning he went early and secured transportation on the steamer, then returned and wrote a long letter to his girl-bride; then engaging a rig took in as much of Sidney as he could.  Next morning he cabled his wife that he was just going to sea again, and boarded the steamer early.  The ship sailed promptly at midday, and as it passed out of the beautiful harbor the islands and shores beyond were just putting on the vestments of spring.  Sedgwick had never before seen spring approaching in October; never before had he heard the love-calls of mating birds at that season, and apparently had never before realized so keenly that he was on the other side of the world from those whom he loved and knew.  After dinner he went on deck.  He knew no one on board, and he was nearer being homesick than he had ever been before.  It was a balmy night.  The sea was tumbling a little from the effects of a far-off storm, but the ship was riding the waves superbly and making rapid progress, and the stars were all out and sweeping grandly on in their never-ending, stately processions.

In the midst of his thoughts, when he was fast giving way to a mighty fit of the blues, he happened to glance upward. Corona Australis was blazing with unwonted brilliancy, and, it seemed to him, the constellation was making signs to him from its signal station in the heavens.  Instantly he thought of the night that he and Jordan had particularly noticed it, and of what the great-hearted man had said.  Then he thought of his friend; how unselfishly he had turned his face away from the ship that would have carried him to a pleasanter country, and had voluntarily gone back into that profound wilderness to work out a trust which would require months of time; and he said to himself:  “What a selfish creature I am to repine, when I have been so blessed; when in England an angel is waiting for me; when in the depths of Africa a brave soul by his every act is teaching me lessons of self-abnegation.”

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The Wedge of Gold from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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