On the afternoon of the eighth day George Morris and Katherine Earle stood together on the deck of the tender, looking back at the huge steamship which they had just left.
"When we return," he said, "I think we shall choose this ship."
"Return?" she answered, looking at him.
"Why, certainly; we are going back, are we not?"
"Dear me," she replied, "I had not thought of that. You see, when I left America I did not intend to go back."
"Did you not? I thought you were only over here for the trip."
"Oh no. I told you I came on business, not on pleasure."
"And did you intend to stay over here?"
"Why, that's strange; I never thought of that."
"It is strange, too," said Katherine, "that I never thought of going back."
"And--and," said the young man, "won't you go?"
She pressed his arm, and stood motionless.
"'Where thou goest, I will go. Thy people shall be my people.'"
"That's a quotation, I suppose?" said George.
"It is," answered Katherine.
"Well, you see, as I told you, I am not very well read up on the books of the day."
"I don't know whether you would call that one of the books of the day or not," said Katherine; "it is from the Bible."
"Oh," answered the other. "I believe, Kate, you will spend the rest of your life laughing at me."
"Oh no," said the young lady, "I always thought I was fitted for missionary life. Now, look what a chance I have."
"You have taken a big contract, I admit."
They had very little trouble with their luggage. It is true that the English officials looked rather searchingly in Katherine's trunk for dynamite, but, their fears being allayed in that direction, the trunks were soon chalked and on the back of a stout porter, who transferred them to the top of a cab.
"I tell you what it is," said George, "it takes an American Custom-house official to make the average American feel ashamed of his country."
"Why, I did not think there was anything over there that could make you feel ashamed of your country. You are such a thorough-going American."
"Well, the Customs officials in New York have a knack of making a person feel that he belongs to no place on earth."
They drove to the big Liverpool hotel which is usually frequented by Americans who land in that city, and George spent the afternoon in attending to business in Liverpool, which he said he did not expect to have to look after when he left America, but which he desired very much to get some information about.
Katherine innocently asked if she could be of any assistance to him, and he replied that she might later on, but not at the present state of proceedings.
In the evening they went to a theatre together, and took a long route back to the hotel.
"It isn't a very pretty city," said Miss Earle.
"Oh, I think you are mistaken," replied her lover. "To me it is the most beautiful city in the world."
"Do you really mean that?" she said, looking at him with surprise.
"Yes, I do. It is the first city through which I have walked with the lady who is to be my wife."
"Oh, indeed," remarked the lady who was to be his wife, "and have you never walked with----"
"Now, see here," said Morris, "that subject is barred out. We left all those allusions on the steamer. I say I am walking now with the lady who is to be my wife. I think that statement of the case is perfectly correct, is it not?"
"I believe it is rather more accurate than the average statement of the average American."
"Now, Katherine," he said, "do you know what information I have been looking up since I have been in Liverpool?"
"I haven't the slightest idea," she said. "Property?"
"No, not property."
"Looking after your baggage, probably?"
"Well, I think you have got it this time. I was looking after my baggage. I was trying to find out how and when we could get married."
"Yes, oh! Does that shock you? I find they have some idiotic arrangement by which a person has to live here three months before he can be married, although I was given some hope that, by paying for it, a person could get a special licence. If that is the case, I am going to have a special licence to-morrow."
"Yes, indeed. Then we can be married at the hotel."
"And don't you think, George, that I might have something to say about that?"
"Oh, certainly! I intended to talk with you about it. Of course I am talking with you now on that subject. You admitted the possibility of our getting married. I believe I had better get you to put it down in writing, or have you say it before witnesses, or something of that sort."
"Well, I shouldn't like to be married in a hotel."
"In a church, then? I suppose I can make arrangements that will include a church. A parson will marry us. That parson, if he is the right sort, will have a church. It stands to reason, therefore, that if we give him the contract he will give us the use of his church, quid pro quo, you know."
"Don't talk flippantly, please. I think it better to wait until to-morrow, George, before you do anything rash. I want to see something of the country. I want us to take a little journey together to-morrow, and then, out in the country, not in this grimy, sooty city, we will make arrangements for our marriage."
"All right, my dear. Where do you intend to go?"
"While you have been wasting your time in getting information relating to matrimony, I have been examining time-tables. Where I want to go is two or three hours' ride from here. We can take one of the morning trains, and when we get to the place I will allow you to hire a conveyance, and we will have a real country drive. Will you go with me?"
"Will I? You better believe I will. But you see, Katherine, I want to get married as soon as possible. Then we can take a little trip on the Continent before it is time for us to go back to America. You have never been on the Continent, have you?"
"Well, I am very glad of that. I shall be your guide, philosopher, and friend, and, added to that, your husband."
"Very well, we will arrange all that on our little excursion to-morrow."