Saturday, June 23, 2012

In A Gray Motor Car

by Mollie McMaster

Evans sat in his mean looking little car and gloomed.  He had passed no less than a hundred motors, and in one and all of them there had been fragments of the feminine world.  He alone, in all the vast creation, seemed without a companion.

The day was glorious, and the nigh twould be perfect with a full moon waning into dawn, and still Evans was alone in his car.  He swerved quickly to one side as a car as mean looking as his own and of the same make, hurled itself along the road.

"Idiotic driver!" muttered Evns and felt a little less gloomy.

He watched the gray car ahead of him careening across the road and was fearful for the occupants.

Evans quickened his own speed that he might better keep the other car in sight.

That man knows about as much about the car he's running as I do about making  blouses!" was Evans' next comment as the car came within an inch of a farmer's wagon.

"He has no business taking a woman out with him," growled Evans.  He drew a quick breath.  The gray car had come to a jerky stop.  Whether it had collided with something or not Evans was not near enough to see.

"They got a jolt, anyway!"  He put on greater speed and finally drew near the other car.

A sign of relief escaped Evans' lips.  Tthere was no accident; something wss wrong with the engine.  He went slowly past and turned a glance at the sole occupant of the machine.  Control of his own car for a second was lost to Evans.

The girl in the car was the most beautiful woman in the world.

But what did it matter.  Three Weeks ago, the light of the universe had been snuffed out for Dave Evans.  What did it matter how beautiful the woman in the car was now?

He went slowly past.  The head of the girl was averted and she spoke to the man who was crawling in a helpless sort of way under the car.

Evans swore under his breath as he caught a fleeting glimpse of the man's legs.  Even they expressed inadequacy to cope with the situation of a broken engine.

Evans put on  speed and swept rapidly along the road, and as he reached the less frequented roads his speed grew to an alarming rate.  And through it all, in the swiftly-sighted then vanishing scenery, the face of the woman in the gray car haunted him.  Yet he flung himself farther and farther from her.

After a half hour of speeding, the nervous energy had in a measure exhausted itself, and Evans began to review the situation more calmly.

The sight of the girl had certainly wrought havoc in his heart, yet he felt loath to present himself in the capacity of succor.  The man, sprawling under the car might take his offer as an insult.

Evans found that he was turning again in the direction of of that gray car.  He went slowly, intending to go past without apparent interest. 

As he drew near, his heart pounded.  the girl had descended from the car and was sitting on a comfortably established boulder.

That the man sitting on the step of the motor and the girl on the boulder had had a slight difference of opinion was evident to Evans.  There was airy indifference expressed in every line of the girl's attitude.

Evans looked at the man.  Then he brought his own car to an abrupt stop.  Jumping out he took off his great goggles with one hand and held out the other to the man on the step.

"Evans!"  They gripped hands joyously.  "I would have known you anywhere."

Reminiscences of college days followed for the next 15 minutes.  Evans kept a wary eye on the girl on the boulder.  After one quick glance from beneath her eyeglasses she maintained a haughty indifference, and hummed  while the two men talked.

With tardy politeness Danny Wood turned to the girl.

"Miss Turner - I have run across an old friend - Mr. Evans, Miss Turner."  He made the introduction over the intervening space.

The girl's color rose, and she inclined her head slightly and went on with her humming.

"It's a wonder you didn't run across a chicken - or something important," Evans said by way of breaking a chilly, awkward silence.

Wood winked and said in low tones, "Miss Turner is a bit peevish because I refused to walk ten miles to the garage for help."  He drew out is watch.  "By Jove!  I absolutely must catch the 10:30 train for the west tonight!  It means my position.  That blamed machine is out of commission ... "

"You don't seem to know much about a car," Evans said.  "I will have a look."  He went down under the gray car, but came quickly up.  "No more go in this car for the present!"  He looked straight at the girl on the bulder.  "If Miss Turner will be so good as to remain here I will run you to town and return for her."

"Oh I say!  I don't care much for that!"  Wood expostulated, but cast hopeful eyes toward Heaven.  "Couldn't we manage three in your car ... I could sit on the step?"

"Too risky," Evans shook his head.  "We will have to make a dash for it now, and I won't chance putting anyone on the step."

"What do you say, Helen"? Danny Wood turned to the girl.  "I am sorry the thing has happened -- but it was unavoidable.  I can trust you to Evans."

The blood mounted slowly to Helen's cheeks, but her smile was politely sweet.  Dave Evans felt his teeth clinch and determined to break that spirit.

"Since there is no other way," she said in a voice that made Evans' heart beat quickly, "I will wait here."

"I don't exactly like the way you said that," laughed Danny.  "Promise me - you will wait."

Helen threw an indignant glance at him and blushed for what she had in her mind.  "I promise."

Evans sprang into his car while Danny made his adieu and, without a backward glance at the girl, Evans was off down the road.

Twilight was settling down over the fields when he again approached the girl.  Her attitude was much the same save, perhaps, that her eyes were a trifle less cold, and her lips had a little wistful curve.

"Did it seem long?" Evans asked in his most polite voice.

"No," she returned, and permitted him to help her into the car.

They were crawling slowly along through the twilight.  The girl turned half way toward Evans, who looked straight ahead.

"Was the other car badly damaged?" she asked.

"I could have fixed it in one second," Evans said.

The girl cast a startled glance at him.  She was silent, then, and after a moment Evans felt that a trembling emotion had swept through the girl's figure. The strain of the afternoon, he decided, and the long wait on the lonely road had told upon her.  He turned, intending to tell her that he was taking her to a little inn not far distant where she could get a cup of tea.  He looked into her eyes and his own said that which she had been looking for.

"Davie, dear," she said, quickly and with the light of the world shining in her expression, "I have spent three miserable weeks ... I am sorry I told you I didn't ..."  She stopped confused, and hid her eyes on the broad shoulder so near.

"Didn't what?" Dave asked and gripped hard at the wheel of the mean looking little car.

" ..... love you,"  Helen concluded.

Found online in an edition of the Clinton, NY Advertiser.  Date cut off, but between 1910 and 1913.

No comments:

Post a Comment