Wesley and Stephen each grabbed a kerosene lamp off its hook and went in search of a lifeboat. A quick examination of the Apollo revealed all the longboats had been deployed. Stephen stared at Wesley, stricken.
“We’re dead men,” he said.
“Look, there has to be something buoyant we can use as a raft,” Wesley said, desperate. “Perhaps we can lash a few doors together and float until a ship passes by and picks us up.”
“The City of New York is long gone, Wesley. Just how long do you think we’d last in that water? For heaven’s sake, I nearly froze to death in the longboat as it was!”
“They’ll notice we’re missing and come back for us.”
“Surely everyone but the crew has turned in by now. By morning, the City of New York will be a hundred miles from here and we’ll have drowned.”
“Belle won’t have gone to bed,” Wesley said. “She’s waiting for us.”
“Quit being so damned…hopeful!” Stephen snapped. “We’re done for. Even if they wanted to look for us, we’ve no generator. Without lights, we may as well be invisible!”
“The Apollo might not sink after all,” Wesley said. “It seems like the waves have diminished.”
A huge wave broke over the side of the ship at that moment and sprayed both men with frigid sea foam. As he dried his face with his sleeve, a crooked grin crept across Stephen’s lips.
“You’re right, Wesley. The ocean has grown calm and the ship won’t sink. It’s also possible a dirigible airship flown by leprechauns will pass overhead and pluck us off the Apollo. Anything could happen.”
For some strange reason, Wesley grinned back. “That’s the spirit. You never know, perhaps an iceberg will happen by. We could jump on and ride it all the way to South America.”
“Could be. Or a pod of whales might offer to give us a lift to Greenland.” Wesley and Stephen dissolved into hysterical laughter.
“Let’s…let’s go find those cork jackets and put them on,” Wesley said finally.
Stephen looked at him, askance. “More optimism?”
“No.” Wesley swallowed hard. “It’s just that should anyone come searching for us, they’ll have a better chance of finding our bodies if they’re afloat. I’m thinking of my mother.”
When American-born Wesley Parker inherits a dukedom in 1890, he must learn to be an aristocrat. Assigned to the task is his attorney’s daughter, prim Belle Oakhurst. As they travel to England together on a luxurious ocean liner, their tempestuous relationship encounters more than rough seas. Although Wesley is increasingly attracted to Belle, she is already engaged. While Belle begins to regret her hasty promise to marry, she is bound by honor and duty to keep her pledge. Furthermore, a thoughtless fabrication on her part threatens to expose her as a liar. Neither Wesley nor Belle can foresee that their voyage across the Atlantic will be fraught with peril, and will cost more than one man his life.