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Shortly after 4, von Huenefeld, monocle anchored in his right eye, sat down to a hard-boiled egg breakfast. Then he lighted a cigar and offered another to the Irishman, who smilingly declined; he could "wait till we get to New York."
Provisions were packed aboard: six unsalted beef sandwiches for each, six bananas, and six peeled oranges wrapped in buttered paper and placed in a biscuit tin with some chocolate. Half a dozen other oranges, prepared at the Baron's special request, had to be left behind to make room for nine vacuum flasks, five filled with beef tea, three with strong tea, and one with black coffee.
The motor was whirled. Once it spat and died, again it sputtered and coughed, finally it roared action. A man picked up the butt of von Huenefeld's discarded cigar for a souvenir.
For 15 maddening minutes the engine "rested," then Koehl gave her the gun, Fitzmaurice waved, and five tons of man, hope, and machinery lumbered down the long runway. Once they rose and bumped, but, with the ditch in sight, the Bremen took the air, swung sharply to the right to avoid the hills encircling Baldonnel, climbed to 2,000 feet. . . . Men and women fell to their knees, as their eyes followed the vanishing ship into heaven.
At 7:07 the Bremen passed over Costelloe, Galway, so high that only the conduct of other people remained discernible. Then
¶ On the Atlantic steamship lane, thousands of passengers on 24 ocean liners looked.
¶ In Berlin, Mrs. Koehl stayed in her room, refusing any and all unofficial news.
¶ In Dublin, Mrs. Fitzmaurice put Baby Pat to bed, and kept an all-night vigil.
¶ In Times Square, Manhattan, drivers of busses which nightly carry yokels to Chinatown changed their signs to read "Mitchel Field"; made money.
¶ At Mitchel Field, 25,000 swarmed up to the landing field, bought out sandwich stands, played with the cat which was abandoned by Charles Augustus Lindbergh.
¶ In a locked room at 455 East 135th Street, Manhattan, Uncle August Koehl, music teacher, composed a march for his nephew, entitled "Mitchel Field or Heaven."
¶ In Washington and elsewhere, smart Germans recalled to each other the gallant War record of much-wounded von Huenefeld. The monocled eye is said to be almost sightless. The heart, loyally Hohenzollern, has never recovered gaiety since 1918.
¶ On Greenly Island, in bleak Belle Isle Straits, southern Labrador, the population of 14 slept a long night's worth.
Thursday passed cheerily for the three men in the plane, and Thursday night. Friday morning they were west of mid-Atlantic. Their drinks were still warm. Weather was cold and foggy.
Friday afternoon they headed into a gale. Ice began to cover their vessel; wind heaved it roughly about. Darkness was coming on; their benzine was almost gone. So they dipped in a cautious glide toward the earth's surface, not knowing whether below the fog's bed was land or water.
There was land, an island. And on it, or between it and another island, was a stretch of level ice, perhaps over a lake. With practically no fuel left, they were obliged to try a landing.