But, as it happened, they were. After some difficulties at the start, Romeo had engineered “The Yellow Peril” out through a large break in the fence. The twins wore their brown suits with tan leather trimmings, and, as planned long ago, the back seat of the machine was partially filled with raw meat of the sort most liked by Romeo’s canine dependents.
Two yellow flags fluttered from the back of the driver’s seat. One had the initials “C. T.” in black, on the other, in red, was “The Yellow Peril.” The name of the machine and the monogram were strikingly in evidence on the doors and at the back, where a choice cut of roast beef, uncooked, dangled temptingly by a strong cord.
Just before they started, Juliet unfastened the barn door and freed nineteen starving dogs, all in collars suited to the general colour scheme of the automobile, and bearing the initials: “C. T.” When they sniffed the grateful odour borne on the warm June wind, they plunged after the machine with howls and yelps of delight. Only Minerva remained behind, having five new puppies to care for.
“Oh, Romie, Romie!” shouted Juliet, in ecstasy. “They’re coming! See!”
Romeo looked back for the fraction of an instant, saw that they were, indeed, “coming,” and then discovered that he had lost control of the machine. “Sit tight,” he said, to Juliet, between clenched teeth.
“I am,” she screamed, gleefully. “Oh, Romie, if uncle could only see us now!”
“Uncle’s likely to see us very soon,” retorted Romeo grimly, “unless I can keep her on the road.”
But Juliet was absorbed in the joy of the moment and did not hear. A cloud of dust, through which gleamed brass and red, appeared on the road ahead of them, having rounded the curve at high speed. At the same instant, Allison saw just beyond him, the screaming fantasy of colour and sound.
“Jump!” he cried to Isabel. “Jump for your life!”
She immediately obeyed him, falling in a little white heap at the roadside. He rose, headed the machine toward the ditch at the right, and jumped to the left, falling face down in the road with his hands outstretched, Before he could stir, the other machine roared heavily over him, grazing his left hand and crushing it into the deep dust.
There was almost an instant of unbelievable agony, then, mercifully, darkness and oblivion.
“How she will come to me”
The darkness swayed but did not lift. There was a strange rhythm in its movement, as though it were the sea, but there was no sound. Black shadows crept upon him, then slowly ebbed away. At times he was part of the darkness, at others, separate from it, yet lying upon it and wholly sustained by it.
At intervals, the swaying movement changed. His feet sank slowly in distinct pulsations until he stood almost upright, then his head began to sink and his feet to rise. When his head was far down and his feet almost directly above him, the motion changed again and he came back gradually to the horizontal, sinking back with one heart-beat and rising with the next—always a little higher.