The evening of a clear summer day was darkening when the carriage conveyed them into Vauxhall station. The gas jets flared high up but were little needed still; even under the shadow of the platform roof one could see what was going on without artificial aid.
And there was so much going on. Sarnia had been in railway stations often enough, but never for so important an occasion as the departure of a boat train. The bustle of passengers and their friends, of porters and hawkers and entertainers, was unlike anything she had witnessed. A group of three officers swaggered past, brilliant in their scarlet uniform, and Mrs Jelain whispered that they were of the 54th, at present garrisoning the island but due soon to be relieved. Sarnia keenly felt the excitement of it all, and the misgivings she had suffered during the day were completely banished. It was unthinkable that she might have missed this!
The opulence of the First Class carriage was another welcome novelty: Mr Jelain installed them in it and departed. The oil lamps were already lit, and the guard himself came to check that they were properly trimmed and burning well. He affected to remember Mrs Jelain from the inward journey, and inquired after her holiday in London. He was a merry-looking, portly man, with curling white side-whiskers, and he promised them a good crossing to the island. The sea that morning had been calm as a pond, and there was no sign of the weather breaking. Then, touching his cap, he passed on down the train.