The man turned and advanced a step to meet the person in question. John’s eyes involuntarily followed the movement, and as he saw her approach his heart contracted sharply: it was Mary Blake. He turned away quickly, and as the collar of his ulster was about his face, for the air of the January day was very keen, he thought that she had not recognized him. A moment later he went aft around the deck-house, and going forward to the smoking-room, seated himself therein, and took the passenger list out of his pocket. He had already scanned it rather cursorily, having but the smallest expectation of coming upon a familiar name, yet feeling sure that, had hers been there, it could not have escaped him. Nevertheless, he now ran his eye over the columns with eager scrutiny, and the hands which held the paper shook a little.
There was no name in the least like Blake. It occurred to him that by some chance or error hers might have been omitted, when his eye caught the following:
William Ruggles New York. Mrs. Ruggles " " Mrs. Edward Ruggles " "
It was plain to him then. She was obviously traveling with the people whom she had just joined on deck, and it was equally plain that she was Mrs. Edward Ruggles. When he looked up the ship was out in the river.
John had been late in applying for his passage, and in consequence, the ship being very full, had had to take what berth he could get, which happened to be in the second cabin. The occupants of these quarters, however, were not rated as second-class passengers. The Vaterland took none such on her outward voyages, and all were on the same footing as to the fare and the freedom of the ship. The captain and the orchestra appeared at dinner in the second saloon on alternate nights, and the only disadvantage in the location was that it was very far aft; unless it could be considered a drawback that the furnishings were of plain wood and plush instead of carving, gilding, and stamped leather. In fact, as the voyage proceeded, our friend decided that the after-deck was pleasanter than the one amidships, and the cozy second-class smoking-room more agreeable than the large and gorgeous one forward.
Consequently, for a while he rarely went across the bridge which spanned the opening between the two decks. It may be that he had a certain amount of reluctance to encounter Mrs. Edward Ruggles.
The roof of the second cabin deck-house was, when there was not too much wind, a favorite place with him. It was not much frequented, as most of those who spent their time on deck apparently preferred a place nearer amidships. He was sitting there on the morning of the fifth day out, looking idly over the sea, with an occasional glance at the people who were walking on the promenade-deck below, or leaning on the rail which bounded it. He turned at a slight sound behind him, and rose with his hat in his hand. The flush in his face, as he took the hand which was offered him, reflected the color in the face of the owner, but the grayish brown eyes, which he remembered so well, looked into his, a little curiously, perhaps, but frankly and kindly. She was the first to speak.