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Excursion to the Orkney Islands
Chapter XIX. Conclusion

The sea was very smooth, and the air calm, on the day that Mrs. Morelle and her party made the voyage back from the Orkneys to what may be called in relation to them, the main land. Mrs. Morelle and Florence having some misgivings in respect to the effect which the sea might produce upon them, thought it best to remain below, at least until the steamer should arrive at Wick, because they could lie down while they were below, and a horizontal position is found to be the best means, both for guarding against the approach of sea-sickness, and for alleviating the sufferings produced by it when it comes.

“But we will not go into our stateroom, Grimkie,” said Mrs. Morelle. “We will lie down upon the sofas in the great cabin, and then if we can not read we can amuse ourselves with observing what is going on.”

Grimkie accordingly accompanied his aunt and cousin below, and found nice sofas for them there. He put two or three soft cushions at the head of each sofa, and when Mrs. Morelle and Florence had come down, he spread shawls over their feet, and gave them their books. Then leaving them to themselves he went unon deck again to join John.

Grimkie and John remained upon the deck all the afternoon, except that from time to time they went below to see if the ladies were doing well in the cabin. They watched the different islands as the steamer passed along their shores on her way to the southward, identifying them one after another by means of the map. When at length they came opposite to the Pentland Firth, John looked in that direction long and earnestly to see if he could discern any signs of the whirlpools, or foaming breakers that he read accounts of in the books, but excepting a white line of surf which often appeared along the rocky shores at the margin of the water, nothing was to be seen.

In the meantime the coast of Caithness, the northern part of Scotland, had come fully into view, and presently the steamer, drawing nearer and nearer to the coast began to follow the line of it, at a little distance in the offing, toward Wick.

The steamer remained several hours at Wick, and the boys were at first very anxious to go on shore during the interval, but Mrs. Morelle thought it not prudent for them to do so. They afterward concluded, however, that they liked quite as well to remain on board, for a great many boat loads of cattle, sheep, and other animals were brought out and hoisted on board, and they were very much entertained in watching the operations.

At length, about nine o'clock in the evening, the steamer sailed again, and now her course led her out quite into the open sea, as will appear by an inspection of the map, which shows a great bay entering into the land between Wick and Aberdeen, across the mouth of which the track of the steamer lay. Mrs. Morelle and Florence determined to go into their stateroom at once, and go to bed, hoping to sleep during the whole time of passing across this bay. Grimkie and John remained on deck till eleven o'clock, and then, though it was still very light, they went below and took their places on the couches or sofas where Mrs. Morelle and Florence had lain during the afternoon, and were both soon sound asleep. They slept without any intermission until morning.

After this brief and prosperous voyage the whole party landed safely in Scotland, which seemed to them like a continent in comparison with the smaller islands that they had been to visit. There was a railway station very near the quay, and after spending a few hours at the hotel to take breakfast, and to rest a little from the voyage, they took places in the train for Perth and Edinburgh, and set out upon their journey about ten o’clock. They met with a great many entertaining adventures on the way toward London, but they can not be related in this volume.


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