Christopher and Columbus HTML version
When the St. Luke was so near its journey's end that people were packing up, and the
word Nantucket was frequent in the scraps of talk the twins heard, they woke up from
the unworried condition of mind Mr. Twist's kindness and the dreamy monotony of the
days had produced in them, and began to consider their prospects with more attention.
This attention soon resulted in anxiety. Anna-Rose showed hers by being irritable.
Anna-Felicitas didn't show hers at all.
It was all very well, so long as they were far away from America and never quite sure
that a submarine mightn't settle their future for them once and for all, to feel big, vague,
heroic things about a new life and a new world and they two Twinklers going to conquer
it; but when the new world was really upon them, and the new life, with all the
multitudinous details that would have to be tackled, going to begin in a few hours, their
hearts became uneasy and sank within them. England hadn't liked them. Suppose
America didn't like them either? Uncle Arthur hadn't liked them. Suppose Uncle Arthur's
friends didn't like them either? Their hearts sank to, and remained in, their boots.
Round Anna-Rose's waist, safely concealed beneath her skirt from what Anna-Felicitas
called the predatory instincts of their fellow-passengers, was a chamois-leather bag
containing their passports, a letter to the bank where their £200 was, a letter to those
friends of Uncle Arthur's who were to be tried first, a letter to those other friends of his
who were to be the second line of defence supposing the first one failed, and ten
pounds in two £5 notes.
Uncle Arthur, grievously grumbling, and having previously used in bed most of those
vulgar words that made Aunt Alice so miserable, had given Anna-Rose one of the £5
notes for the extra expenses of the journey till, in New York, she should be able to draw
on the £200, though what expenses there could be for a couple of girls whose passage
was paid Uncle Arthur was damned, he alleged, if he knew; and Aunt Alice had secretly
added the other. This was all Anna-Rose's ready money, and it would have to be
changed into dollars before reaching New York so as to be ready for emergencies on
arrival. She judged from the growing restlessness of the passengers that it would soon
be time to go and change it. How many dollars ought she to get?
Mr. Twist was absent, packing his things. She ought to have asked him long ago, but
they seemed so suddenly to have reached the end of their journey. Only yesterday
there was the same old limitless sea everywhere, the same old feeling that they were
never going to arrive. Now the waves had all gone, and one could actually see land.
The New World. The place all their happiness or unhappiness would depend on.
She laid hold of Anna-Felicitas, who was walking about just as if she had never been
prostrate on a deck-chair in her life, and was going to say something appropriate and