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morbid in its intensity, of missing the train—that was so very likely in that place !-that Great-heart was obliged to start many minutes before it was necessary. So they spent a long half-hour at the station in company with the engineless train, all the doors of which stood invitingly open, a few, very few, other nervous travellers, a porter or so, and the boy who presided over the bookstall and seemed at that moment to be far from overburdened with work or customers. At five minutes to the hour a man stepped forth and rang a bell violently, so much so that it must have been heard all over the town. Then the station seemed suddenly to wake up a bit. The fly drove up in a hurry with lots of luggage, and emptied it and the owners thereof into the station; the station-master appeared and looked at his watch; the guard, who had taken so many short journeys backwards and forwards over that line, came out from somewhere; a good deal of silver coinage changed hands between passengers and officials, the engine jerked itself on to the carriages, a whistle sounded, and they glided off punctually to the minute. It was wonderful how they got everything in order so quickly.
They were hardly in the train before they had to get out again, at the place where the boats started from and where the dismal hotel stood.
“You see we are in good time, Trixie,” said Great-heart.
“Yes; but there is nobody here!” cried that maiden, disappointed. She had anticipated an enormous crowd. It could not have been too
great for her.
Patience, little one; it is full early yet. You will see enough and to spare, presently. Come, let us go on board the boat.”
They picked their way over another level crossing (this was not a dangerous one, and was unavoidable) through a shed with lots of announcements of the “Service" they went by, and past a room for examining luggage in, the “Customs," over lots of ropes, which kept the ships moored in their places, close to great ugly cranes busy pulling merchandize up or down from the boats, then up a narrow precipitous ladder with a rail to it, on to that vessel which was to bear them across the sea.
A fine ship indeed, with two white funnels belching forth black smoke ; with decks, upper and under, a noble saloon, a bridge up above to walk on (when the captain would let you), and a gay awning to keep the sun off. Some few travellers had like Great-heart prudently come on board early, before “i the rush,” and taken up, after many shiftings and changings, those situations which seemed most desirable to them; but there were not many. Things were very quiet at the moment. The stewardess, as it appeared afterwards a very noisy woman indeed, was peacefully eating her early dinner on deck, her parrot in its cage beside her, both taking in a little fresh air before being consigned, as they would be soon, to the stuffy cabin below. A smart mate instructing his men as to the stowage of some goods, the smarter captain smoking his pipe and talking to a Customs' officer, a boy vainly offering books and papers for sale from a wicker tray that hung round his neck, and a few of those people to be found always on quays and bridges gazing at—well, nothing—aimlessly, -this was about all the “life" there was in the place just then.
But when the “tidal” was seen pulling up, things quickly changed, as if by magic. The station and the quay woke up, indeed. People, hidden from view before, started forth and made for the train, -officials of all sorts, porters, customs' officers, and idlers. Above the sound from the hissing engine arose a hum of many voices in the distance, with cries of “This way for the boat,” oft-times repeated. Great-heart took the children up on to the bridge, that they might get a better view of it
all. First, out of the wooden shed rushed the vanguard of that army of tourists, two headlong travellers, armed with hand-bags. On they came, as if their very existence depended on their being on board the boat before those who followed them. But these two had no long start of the others, for hardly had they turned the corner when more appeared, not in two or threes even, but in shoals, one struggling, pushing, luggage-laden, excited crowd, men, women, and children, all filled with great excitement, each one eager to be upon that steamer before his neighbour, everyone, it would seem, filled with a morbid dread (like Trixie had been) lest they should be left behind. The first half-dozen or so got on quickly, and either rushed down into the cabin at once, and were seen no more until they appeared, pale and helpless, at the journey's end, or secured those seats on deck they had so fondly coveted. But the line of people very soon got blocked at the mouth of the narrow bridge, which only drained them off in single file, one by one, on to the steamer, so that from the shed to the boat there reached a mass of heavily-encumbered humanity, chafing under the restraint, and, it must be owned, anything but quiet or orderly. There seemed little politeness or patience, all being alike selfish. Great men, who ought to have known better, jostled rudely against unprotected ladies and children, offering them no assistance whatever ; rough young men even set up shrill whistles, calling loudly the one to the other, or venturing upon muttered gibes at the servants and arrangements of this particular “Service" they had chosen to come by,—as if it were their fault! It really was most diverting, safe up on that bridge, to see the travellers get blocked in that small gangway, which sifted them thus on to the boat; how, laden with their wraps, bags, and parcels, they were either pulled on board bodily by the seamen, or gently propelled onwards against their will by the crowd behind. Many disasters occurred. A bag or two flew open and disclosed its varied contents. A gentleman, armed to the teeth with sticks and umbrellas, whisked round suddenly, and sent a fellowtourist's hat into the water, whence it was subsequently taken, soaked and ruined. An old lady stuck in the middle of the passage, looking indeed as if she were really a fixture there for ever, so tightly was she wedged in; but two men got her out safely at last, and led her on board, hot and agitated. (Probably that good woman would not come abroad again in a hurry!) Then the angry, surging crowd began to flow on once more. It was most amusing to watch all this out of all the scrimmage yourself, of