Three other items of his eulogium I remember: The breath of Pan inflated my tires, I could climb Olympus in high, and he, James Todd, a mere professor in a college, while sitting at my wheel, would not bare his head to Zeus himself, no, nor even to the chairman of the college board of trustees.
His nonsense appeared to be as popular in that part of town as it was unpopular in another. They gave the varsity yell with his name at the end.
The day came when Mrs. Todd risked her life in our sportive company. She made it clear to us that she went protesting. She began her pleasantries by complaining that my doors were trivial. Straightening her hat, she remarked that the John Quincy Burtons’ car top never took a woman’s scalp off.
“But theirs is only a one-man top,” Todd hinted vaguely.
“Whatever you mean by that is too deep for me,” she said, adding bitterly, “Yours is a one-boy top, I presume.”
He waived the point and asked where she preferred to make her debut as an automobilist.
“Back roads, by all means,” she answered.
As we gained the street a pea-green Mammoth purred past, the passengers putting out their heads to look at us.
“Goodness!” she sighed. “There go the John Quincy Burtons now.”
“We can soon join them,” said Todd confidently.
She expostulated. “Do you think I have no pride?” Yet we went in pursuit of the John Quincy Burton dust-cloud as it moved toward the park.
“Since you have no regard for my feelings,” said she, “you may let me out.”
“Oh, no, Amanda, my dear. Why, I’m going to give you a spin to Mountaindale!”
“I do not care to be dragged there,” she declared. “That is where the John Quincy Burtons ride.”
“Aren’t they nice people? It seems to me I’ve heard you sing hosannas to their name these last twenty years.”
They were nice people indeed. That was just it, she said. Did he suspect her of yearning to throw herself in the way of nice people on the day of her abasement? If he chose to ignore her sentiments in the matter, he might at least consider his own interests. Had he forgotten that John Quincy Burton was chairman of the board of trustees of the college? Would the head of the department of classical languages acquire merit in Mr. Burton’s eyes through dashing about under Mr. Burton’s nose in a pitiable little last-century used car that squeaked?
Todd gripped the wheel tighter and gave me gas.
“You missed that storm sewer by an inch!” she exclaimed.
“My aim is somewhat wild yet,” he admitted. “Perhaps I’ll get the next one.”
“My dear, we have a horn, remember.”
“You did not see that baby carriage until we were right upon it! Don’t tell me you did, sir, for I know better.”
“I saw it,” said Todd, “and I was sure it wouldn’t run over us. As you see, it didn’t. Trust a baby carriage my love.”