But the exhilaration of the day persisted. She felt like doing something out of the regular routine. Even a preliminary walk of a mile or so before she should cross over and take the elevated, would serve to satisfy her mild hunger for adventure. And, really, she liked to be a little late for dinner. It was always pleasanter to come breezing in after things had come to a focus, than to idle about for half an hour in that no-man’s-land of the day, when the imminence of dinner made it impossible to do anything but wait for it.
So, with her note-books under her arm and her sweater-jacket unfastened, at a good four-mile swing, she started north. In the purlieus of the university she was frequently hailed by friends of her own sex or the other. But though she waved cheerful responses to their greetings, she made her stride purposeful enough to discourage offers of company. They all seemed young to her to-day. All her student activities seemed young. As if, somehow, she had outgrown them. The feeling was none the less real after she had laughed at herself for entertaining it.
She noticed presently that it was a good deal darker than it had any right to be at this hour, and the sudden fall of the breeze and a persistent shimmer of lightning supplied her with the explanation. When she reached Forty-seventh Street, the break of the storm was obviously a matter of minutes, so she decided to ride across to the elevated—it was another mile, perhaps—rather than walk across as she had meant to do. She didn’t in the least mind getting wet, providing she could keep on moving until she could change her clothes. But a ten-mile ride in the elevated, with water squashing around in her boots and dripping out of her hair, wasn’t an alluring prospect.
She found quite a group of people waiting on the corner for a car, and the car itself, when it came along, was crowded. So she handed her nickel to the conductor over somebody’s shoulder, and moved back to the corner of the vestibule. It was frightfully stuffy inside and most of the newly received passengers seemed to agree with her that the platform was a pleasanter place to stay; which did very well until the next stop, where half a dozen more prospective passengers were waiting. They were in a hurry, too, since it had begun in very downright fashion to rain.
The conductor had been chanting, “Up in the car, please,” in a perfunctory cry all along. But at this crisis, his voice got a new urgency. “Come on, now,” he proclaimed, “you’ll have to get inside!”
From the step the new arrivals pushed, the conductor pushed, and finally he was able to give the signal for starting the car. The obvious necessity of making room for those who’d be waiting at the next corner, kept him at the task of herding them inside and the sheep-like docility of an American crowd helped him.
Regretfully, with the rest, Rose made her way to the door.