It was late at night when Jimmie left the Socialist local, and took the trolley out into the country. He had to walk nearly two miles from where he got off, and a thunder-storm had come up; he got out and started to trudge through the darkness and the floods of rain. Several times he slipped off the road into the ditch, and once he fell prone, and got up and washed the mud from his eyes and nose with the stream of fresh water pouring about his head. While he was thus occupied he heard the sound of a horn, and saw a glare of light rushing up. He jumped into the ditch again, and a big automobile went by at a fast pace, spattering showers of mud all over him. He plodded on, swearing to himself. Some of them munition-millionaires, no doubt—tearing over the country at night honking their horns like they owned the roads, and covering poor walking people with their splashings!
And so on, until Jimmie came round a turn of the road and saw the white glare of light again, this time standing still. It seemed to be pointing up into the trees; and when he got nearer he made out the reason—it had run off the road into the ditch, and then up the other slope, and there rolled over on to its side.
“Hello!” said a voice, as Jimmie came slopping up.
“Hello!” he answered.
“How far is it to the nearest house?”
“Maybe half a mile.”
“Who lives there?”
“Have you got a horse and buggy?”
“There’s one at the big house, just a piece beyond.”
“Do you suppose we could get enough men to turn this car over?”
“I dunno; there ain’t many about here.”
“Damn!” muttered the man to himself. Then, after a moment, “Well, there’s no use staying here.” This to his companion, whom Jimmie made out to be a woman. She was standing still, with the cold rain pouring over her. The man put his arm about her, and said to Jimmie, “Lead the way, please.” So Jimmie set out, slopping through the mud as before.
Nothing more was said until they reached the “tenant-house” where the Jimmies lived. But meantime the little Socialist’s mind was busy; it seemed to him that the man’s voice was familiar, and he was trying to recall where and how he had heard it before. They came to the house, which was dark, and the couple stood on the porch while Jimmie went in and groped for a match and lighted the single smoky oil-lamp on which the household depended. Carrying it in his hand, he went to the door and invited the couple in. They came; and so Jimmie got a glimpse of the face of the man, and almost dropped the lamp right there where he stood. It was Lacey Granitch!
The young lord of Leesville was too much occupied with his own affairs to notice the look on the face of the yokel before him; or perhaps he was so used to being recognized, and to being stared at by yokels. He looked about the room and saw a stove. “Can you get us a fire, so this lady can get dry?”