Often the driver throttled his car to a snail’s pace or brought it to a full stop to avoid running over one of those children who, so far as self-preservation goes, appear to be deaf, dumb, blind, and without powers of locomotion; and during one of these halts a little girl, walking slowly backward, her eyes upon another little girl who for no apparent cause was making a series of malevolent faces at her, collided with one of the tires and fell on her back directly in front of the stationary car. Instantly she began to screech, and the street, hitherto but scatteringly occupied, filled with raging people.
The driver from his seat, Bruce from one window, Savage from the other, attempted to explain to deaf ears. Their voices were drowned in a torrent of abuse.
Barbara, at first only exasperated by the stupidity of the crowd, sitting very still and erect, had upon her face that expression of bored contempt with which aristocrats in the French Revolution are said to have gone to the guillotine. Then that was shouted in her ear which, though but half, understood, turned her scarlet with anger. Unfortunately Savage, hitherto patiently self-controlled, had heard the compounded epithet hurled at Barbara, and in a moment his fighting blood was beyond control, and he was out of the cab raining heavy blows upon a bloated chalky-white face, and receiving worse than he gave from a dozen fists and feet. Strong as a bull, always in training, his strength was beaten and kicked from him in twenty seconds, and with Bruce and the driver—who, bravely enough, if reluctantly, had leaped to his assistance—things were no better.