It was about noon of a day in early summer that a westward-bound Atlantic liner was rapidly nearing the port of New York. Not long before, the old light-house on Montauk Point had been sighted, and the company on board the vessel were animated by the knowledge that in a few hours they would be at the end of their voyage.
The vessel now speeding along the southern coast of Long Island was the Euterpe-Thalia, from Southampton. On Wednesday morning she had left her English port, and many of her passengers were naturally anxious to be on shore in time to transact their business on the last day of the week. There were even some who expected to make their return voyage on the Melpomene-Thalia, which would leave New York on the next Monday.
The Euterpe-Thalia was one of those combination ocean vessels which had now been in use for nearly ten years, and although the present voyage was not a particularly rapid one, it had been made in a little less than three days.
As may be easily imagined, a vessel like this was a very different craft from the old steamers which used to cross the Atlantic--"ocean greyhounds" they were called--in the latter part of the nineteenth century.
It would be out of place here to give a full description of the vessels which at the period of our story, in 1947, crossed the Atlantic at an average time of three days, but an idea of their construction will suffice. Most of these vessels belonged to the class of the Euterpe-Thalia, and were, in fact, compound marine structures, the two portions being entirely distinct from each other. The great hull of each of these vessels contained nothing but its electric engines and its propelling machinery, with the necessary fuel and adjuncts.