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for a moment they wondered if this could of handkerchiefs was like a sudden flurry really be a ship. The main companion- of snow. Thallie, tears rising into her way, with its office, its wide staircase eyes, waved a response. backed by large oil-paintings, and its ele- “But you don't know any of them!" vator, suggested the lobby of a fine hotel. "Leave me alone! I 'm saying good-by On the deck above, a succession of draw- to my dear old America." ing-rooms, music-rooms, and card-rooms Then they saw that Mr. Goodchild, completed the explorers' bewilderment. his face twitching, was also waving to But when they descended to their own the crowd. cabins, they perceived that if all above "Good-by! Good-by!" was sumptuous and ample, here was And he was moved to quote in a deep enough constriction to make up for it.
voice: Yet they were pleased by the novelty
"Each heart recalled a different name, of their close quarters. Mr. Goodchild
But all sang Annie Laurie!". contemplated his one-berth cubbyhole with the remark, “At any rate, if I fall
Slowly they floated down-stream, past out of bed, I 'll fetch
the tugs all tooting their salutes; past the something." The girls, in their own com
ferry-boats, with their watching passenpartment, vowed the discomfort of the
gers; past the busy docks, the clamberplace was going to be a lark. But the
ing signs, and, behind all the rest, rising steward abased them by complaining that
against a turquoise sky, the towers, like there was no room, in these cabins, for
great vertical shafts of sunlight. A visuch trunks as theirs. Good heavens!
bration spread gradually throughout the they had never realized what "steamer
vessel. Now they moved faster. Looktrunks” were actually for.
ing back, one saw, across scintillating They went up to cool their cheeks in the
waves, the sky-scrapers converging, turnfresh air.
ing misty, fading. The promenade-deck was crowded with
Aurelius removed his black felt hat. the seagoers and their friends. On all
The salt breeze lifted his long locks and sides appeared elaborate hats, costly furs,
stirred his tangled beard of ruddy gold large bunches of flowers. Straightway the
and silver. His lean face was illumined girls felt the lack of flowers of their own,
with a look of reverence as he repeated : of friends or lovers who might have sent such parting tokens. Timid among these
"Thou, too, sail on, O Ship of State, chattering and laughing favorites, dis- Sail on, O Union strong and great! tressed by the sight of so much gay atten
Humanity, with all its fears, dance all for others, they retreated into a
With all its hopes of future years, writing-room. And there they set about Is hanging breathless on thy fate!" composing letters full of tenderness to those whom they had left behind in Ze
Their own ship, gently quivering all nasville, and till this moment of loneli
over, headed for the open sea. ness had neglected. Without the slightest warning, right
CHAPTER III overhead a whistle gave a monstrous
HENCEFORTH THALIA WILL LIVE ONLY roar, and shook the Goodchild family to the marrow.
FOR HER ART "We 're starting!"
For two days the stewardess admitted Clutching their letters, they rushed out there was a bit of a sea. on deck.
"A bit of a sea!” Every time their The ship began to creep forth into the berths sank beneath them, -the curtains river. On the wharf innumerable faces swaying far over from the rods, the woodwere upturned to them, and the agitation work creaking, the port-holes darkened by
wave-crests, – the Goodchild family be- dinner. All at once, platsch! and that lieved the ship was going down. But on number-ten storm was present! And we the third day, determined not to drown three? Ha, there was little talk of escap“like rats in a trap,” somehow the girls ing then to our proper rooms! We lay got their dresses on, staggered up the com- where we found ourselves, and rolled and panionway, plunged into the open air. rolled, and now and then groaned, 'Art At last, prostrate in their steamer-chairs, thou still alive, Luisa?' 'Art thou still they saw, to their amazement, that the alive, Regne?' The captain, of course, promenade-deck was alive with people was on the bridge, defying the storm. But apparently in the best of health and spir- you may believe he did not get back his its.
cabin till that business was over. So now Some, curled up among cushions and I always try to engage the captain's room rugs, were gossiping and reading. Others, for myself. It is more considerate, nicht untroubled by the pitch of the ship, wahr?" marched round and round. Forward, "But that," ventured Thallie, timidly, young girls and youths were merrily play- "was a bigger storm than this one." ing shuffle-board. The sun shone on the Mme. Linkow's eyes started to twinkle, long, olive-colored swells, spread with but she saved her solemnity. intricate traceries of foam, that extended "Well, perhaps a little bigger, my to the see-sawing sky-line.
dear." The sisters felt their disgrace. They Now Aglaia and Frossie were staring, recalled the fact that all the sea-going their misery half forgotten. The prima heroines of fiction were "splendid sail- donna embraced the three, so to speak, ors.” For that matter, could one imagine with a maternal smile. Cleopatra suffering qualms at Actium, or “See how you are, from this fine air, Helen's fair cheek turning yellow on the already better becoming! And the -- the voyage to Troy? Yet when a steward storm is calming down every minute. So! presented under Thallie's nose a tray set Presently I shall prescribe a walk on the with cups of fat bouillon, the poor child deck." could not repress a moan of loathing. As That afternoon, indeed, the sisters did she averted her face, the woman in the manage to walk the deck with Mme. next chair replaced a full cup on the tray, Linkow. and brusquely commanded, with a Ger
They could hardly convince themselves man accent:
that this rare distinction was theirs. They "Take it away, all this stuff, from these could not help looking askance at those young ladies!”
they passed, to see if others appreciated Where had Thalia seen her neighbor the company they were in. before? Could it be Mme. Bertha Lin- moment they were amazed afresh to find kow, the prima donna?
that the great Mme. Linkow was not unYes, it was really she, her abundant like other mortals. Presently she deblonde tresses pressed down by a modish clared : turban, her wind-whipped cheeks more “As for me, I like what I like. You, vivid than on the stage, her physical as it happened, I liked no sooner I saw wholesomeness going out from her like a you the day we sailed. 'Those three beneficent aura. And this wonderful per- beautiful shades of red hair,' I said to sonage was talking to Thallie as kindly as myself, and those three young faces, all if the young girl, too, were a celebrity! alike, yet all so different!' Therefore I
"I know. I also have prayed the ship had the chairs of an awful family reto sink. One night when a number-ten moved from alongside of mine, and your storm was brewing, three of us, Mme. chairs put in their places." She uttered a Morelli, Mme. Lodbrok, and I, had gone clear peal of laughter in recalling that up to the captain's cabin for coffee after trick. "You see, anything that interests
And every you.”
me I must do, no matter what happens. The sea grew calmer, or else seemed But where is your papa, with his face of a calmer to them. The keen air revived their saint in some well-known painting or bodies; the mirror showed their color reother?"
stored, their eyes brightened, their charms Mr. Goodchild was still below, Aat on regained. They began to enjoy the his back.
strangeness of sounds and odors, the "Ach, this will never do! Here, stew- moods of the ocean, the sight of a distant ard! Go down to Mr.-yes, Mr. Good- steamship or porpoises or a whale. Now child-and tell him his daughters are quite fellow-passengers smiled and bowed to well again, and expect him to be the them, and a dozen times a day the prima same.'
donna, holding court in her chair, inSo Aurelius, with an agonizing effort, cluded them in the talk. tumbled into his clothes and tottered up The girls had confessed their ambitions on deck. He found the girls seated in a to Mme. Linkow. row beside a strange lady, and all three "So! A painter of pictures, this little sipping champagne.
Thallie! And Frossie a writer of books? The prima donna met his look of dis- How nice that will be! And Aglaia ?" may with the words:
"A singer. "Please note that these young ones are
The prima donna's glance, running not wine-drinking for pleasure, but only rapidly over Aglaia's face and form, lost to cure their collywobbles. One glass for a shade of its brightness. each, that 's all; and here is another for "What sort of singer, my dear? The
opera, I suppose? Of course; that is what Aurelius, despite swimming head and we all desire. You shall sing for me one weak limbs, achieved a courteous bow. of these days. See, there comes a sailing
"Ma'am,” he quavered, “I beg you to vessel! Wunderschön! How her sails accept my thanks and excuses. I am not are gold in the sun! Like a ship of used any more than my daughters
dreams, nicht wahr?" "Oh, I knew you would not take any
Meanwhile Mr. Goodchild had made before I said it. Thank God! your chil- friends in the smoking-room. There he dren have already swallowed theirs down, endured the fumes of tobacco and liquor and now it will do them good. But you for hours at a time to listen to tales of must not think, for all this, that I want voyages weathered and lands skimmed to give them bad habits.”
through. The man who had crossed most "On that point, ma'am,” Aurelius often drowned out the rest: he spoke the stammered, while mopping his pallid jargon of sailors and tourist-agents, bebrow, "I am doubly at ease.”
an oracle from whom might be "Very well. For the rest, I am Mme. learned everything about foreign travel. Linkow, and a great chum of your daugh- But soon, prompted by envy, some parters. I like them, and I like you, and I venu of a dozen trips would shout: tell you, as friend to friend, it is useless "Steward! A fresh pack of cards, and to stand on all this ceremony with me. take the orders!” There is your chair. Lie down. You, One day there entered the smokingFrossie, wrap him up in this rug. To- room two young men whom Aurelius had night I am going to have some light foods not seen on deck. sent up to you here.
He thought there was something forshall eat small, but well: I shall see what eign about the cut of their clothes, which that ought to be. Also, if your steward- produced an effect of elegant negligence. ess is as clumsy as mine, you had better Smoking cigarettes, they lounged into an borrow my maid"
alcove as far as possible away from the So it was that Mme. Linkow took the rest. Obsequiously a steward ran forGoodchild family under her wing.
ward. Everyone stared. Aurelius