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interpreter had said—there was no danger. A man with a six-story title could hardly be distinguished from the rest of his countrymen except when he tried to sign it. But a thing like that must be valuable in Germany; otherwise he would not go to the trouble and expense of lugging such a burden around on a trip like this, when one usually wants to travel light.
The ship gave us a surprise that night, and it was worth while. When we got to the dining-room we found it decorated with the interwoven colors of two nations; the tables likewise radiant, and there were menus with the picture of Abraham Lincoln outside. We were far out in the blackness of the ocean now, but here was as brilliant a spot as you would find at Sherry's or Delmonico's, and a little company gathered from the world's end to do honor to the pioneer boy of Kentucky. I think many of us there had never observed Lincoln's Birthday before, and it was fitting enough that we should begin at such a time and place. I know we all rose and joined in America and the Star-Spangled Banner at the close, and we are not likely to forget that mid-ocean celebration of the birth of America's greatest, gentlest hero.
DAYS AT SEA
W E have settled down into a pleasant routine of
lazy life. Most of us are regularly on deck now, though one sees new faces daily.
We have taken up such amusements as please usreading, games, gossip, diaries, picture-puzzles, and there are even one or two mild flirtations discoverable. In the “booze-bazaar” (the Diplomat's name for the smoking-room) the Reprobates find solace in pleasant mixtures and droll stories, while they win one another's money at diverting games. They are an attractive lot—the Reprobates. One can hardly tear himself away from them. Only the odors of the smokingroom are not quite attractive, as yet. I am no longer seasick—at least, not definitely so; but I still say “Mind is all” as I pass through the smoking-room.
We are getting well acquainted, too, for the brief period of time we have been together. It does not seem brief, however. That bleak day of departure in North River is already far back in the past-as far back as if it belonged to another period, which indeed it does. We are becoming acquainted, as I say. We are rapidly finding out one another's names; whether we are married, single, or divorced—and why; what, if anything, we do when we are at home; how we happened to come on this trip; and a great deal of useful information-useful on a ship like this, where the voyage is to be a long one and associations more or less continuous. We form into little groups and discuss these things-our own affairs first—then presently we shift the personnel of our groups and discuss each other, and are happy and satisfied, and feel that the cruise is a success.
There are not many young people on the shipa condition which would seem to have prevailed on these long ocean excursions since the first Oriental pilgrimage, forty-two years ago. I suppose the pros
pects of several months on one ship, with sight-seeing in Egypt and the Holy Land, do not look attractive enough to the average young person who is thinking of gayer things. One can be gay enough on shipboard, however, where there is a good band of music; a quarter-deck to dance on; nooks on the sun-deck to
flirt in; promenades and shuffleboard, with full dress every night for dinner. No need to have an idle time on an excursion like this if one doesn't want it; which most of us do, however, because we are no longer entirely young, and just loaf around and talk of unimportant things and pretend to read up on the places we are going to see.
We need to do that. What we don't know about history and geography on this ship would sink it. Most of us who have been to school, even if it is a good while ago, keep sort of mental pictures of the hemispheres, and preserve the sound of certain old familiar names. We live under the impression that this is knowledge, and it passes well enough for that until a time comes like this when particular places on the map are to be visited and particular associations are to be recalled. Then, of course, we start in to classify and distinguish, and suddenly find that there is scarcely anything to classify and less still to distinguish. I am morally certain that there are not ten of us on this vessel who could tell with certainty the difference between Deucalion and Deuteronomy, or between the Pillars of Hercules and the Golden Horn. The brightest man on the ship this morning asked if Algiers was in Egypt or Spain, and a dashing highschool girl wanted to know if Greece were not a part of Asia Minor.
We shall all know better when we are through with this trip. We shall be wonders in the matter of knowledge, and we shall get it from first hands. We shall no longer confuse Upper and Lower Egypt, or a peristyle with a stadium. We are going to
know about these things. That is why we are here.
In the matter of our amusements, picture-puzzles seem to be in the lead. They are fascinating things, once one gets the habit. They sell them on this ship, and nearly everybody has one or more. The tables in the forward cabin are full of them, and after dinner there is a group around each table pawing over the pieces in a rapt way or offering advice to whoever happens to be setting them. Certain of our middleaged ladies in particular find comfort in the picturepuzzles, and sit all day in their steamer-chairs with the pieces on a large pasteboard cover, shifting and trying and fitting them into place. One wonders what blessing those old Quaker City pilgrims had that took the place of the fascinating picture-puzzle.
We are getting south now, and the weather is much warmer. The sun is bright, too, and a little rainbow travels with the ship, just over the port screw. When the water is fairly quiet the decks are really gay. New faces still appear, however. Every little while there is a fresh arrival, as it were; a fluttering out from some inner tangle of sea magic and darkness, just as a butterfly might emerge from a cocoon. Some of them do not stay. We run into a cross-sea or a swell, or something, and they disappear again, and their places at the table remain vacant. The Diplomat continues his fight and his inquiries. Every little while one may hear him ask: “Is it better for a seasick man to walk or to sit down?” The Diplomat never denies his condition. “Oh, Lord, I'm seasick!” he says. “I'd be sick on a duck-pond. I'd be sick if the ship