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The day book. (Chicago, Ill.) 1911-1917, September 03, 1914, LAST EDITION, Image 13

Image and text provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045487/1914-09-03/ed-1/seq-13/

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HOW AMERICAN GIRL, PENNILESS, FOUGHT HER
WAY BACK HOME WHEN WAR BROKE OUT
CHAPTER V UP FLIGHTS OF
DARK STAIRS
By Louise Townsend Nicholl.
We stopped In front of a shamb
ling old, black house. A drunken
fellow who had been following us
opened the cab door and began to
take our bags to the sidewalk.
An old man's head peered out of
the door. I told him we wanted a
respectable place to stay, and asked
if we would be safe there. He said
we would, so I paid the drunken fel
low and the cabby, and we followed
the old man up flight after flight of
dark stairs, he going ahead with a
half-burned candle. He took us to
a large front room at the top of the
house.
"Bolt your doors, ladies," he called
back to us-from the darkness. He
had left the candle in the room. I
slept for three hours and was awak
ened by my companion's voice. She
was leaning out of the window and
asking a policeman the time.
"Six o'clock, lady," came the an
swer. She had not slept at alL
We were at the White Star Line be
fore seven, camping outside the door
on our suitcases. Being half asleep
I. was not sure whether nor why I
was, and I found myself wondering
with the factory workers who passed
us whether 1 had or had not been sit
ting there all night
At eight the office opened and we
began our struggle to get our Phila
delphia tickets changed for steerage
places on the Celtic, for steerage was
all that was left. The tender which
took the steerage passengers to the
boat was to leave at quarter to
twelve. At 11 :30 we had accomplish
ed nothing.
Because our tickets were for an
other boat and another line we were
left until the last. I did not dare to
.think of not getting that boat.
, .We were almost worn out with lack
of food and sleep, and the strain of
the last day. We had barely money
to kecv-us another night, not nearly
enough to take us back to London.
I looked at the clock and found it was
11:30. And the woman who was
with me looked at the clock, too, and
then at me.
"I'm going to the manager of the
line," she announced.
When she came back our yellow
tickets were written over with red
ink. We picked up our bags and
walked through the Liverpool mud
and rain, and with the rest of the Cel
tic steerage herded aboard the ten
der. I pulled myself and my luggage
on board and put myself on the lug
gage and closed my eyes and waited
to "be taken home. I felt that my
troubles were over; but I had not
reckoned with the steerage. It was a
hot morning, or was it afternoon?
It was exactly twelve o'clock noon.
The tender filled with people, Amer
ican and immigrants, and the first
warm breaths of the unnatural' at
mosphere which was to surround me
for nine days closed in.
Almost every one sat on his bags,
for there was no other place to sit,
and so, a humbled, grafeful, and ex
hausted company, we were taken out
to where the Celtic -was anchored. I
took away no picture of the Liver
pool harbor, for my eyes were shut
at the time.
But I heard some one say that a
Cunarder was lying at anchor with
her stacks painted a dark clor and
her names painted out. I realized
that this was interesting, but I did
not look.
On the second-class deck we show
ed our tickets, declared that we were
American citizens, and then had our
berths assigned to us. And then we
went below to see the berths. At this
time we were so profoundly ,glad to
be "on the boat that we were not critf-
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