“Now you can speak if you want to, Rosamond,” she said in a strained, tense voice; “or no, perhaps you’d better not, either. There’s something the matter! The engine thumps; but it’s all right, I know what to do. If only the road keeps smooth,—if we come to no ditches,—if we don’t burst a tire! speak to me, Rosamond, do for goodness’ sake say something!”
“It’s all right, Patty,” said Rosamond, in a quiet voice, for she knew that the greatest danger that threatened Patty was her own over-excitement. “You’re all right, Patty; keep on just as you are; be careful of this down grade, and you can easily take the next hill.”
“Good for you, Rosamond,” said Patty, with a really natural laugh; “you’re a brick! My nerves are strained, but I won’t think of that, I’ll think only of my car. Oh Rosamond, if only the road isn’t bad in any place!”
“It isn’t, Patty, the road is perfect. Steady, now, dear, there’s a motor coming, but you can easily pass it. Don’t you reverse or something?”
“Keep still, Rosamond, do keep still! I know what to do!”
Rosamond kept still.
On they flew, the wind in their faces cutting like a cold blast; their hair became loosened as it streamed back from their foreheads.
It was the excitement of danger, and ’way down in their hearts both girls were enjoying it, though they did not realise it at the moment. What the statuesque groom who sat up behind felt, nobody will ever know. He kept his head up straight, and his arms folded, and his face showed a brave do-or-die expression, though there was nobody to notice it.
“Oh, Rosamond,” Patty went on, still in that breathless, gasping voice, “if I only knew what time it was. There’s no use whizzing at this break-neck speed if we’re not going to make the train after all! If I thought it would be of any use I’d coast down this hill, but why should we kill ourselves if we don’t accomplish our object?”
“Patty, don’t be a goose!” and again Rosamond’s cool, common-sense tones acted as a dash of cold water on Patty’s overstrung nerves. “I’ll tell you what time it is. You keep right on with your knitting, and I can get out my watch as easily as anything, and the next time we pass a light I’ll inform you the hour.”
Reassured by Rosamond’s sense and nonsense, Patty drove steadily on.
“It’s five minutes to seven,” announced Rosamond quietly, “but we can already see the railroad lights in the distance, and besides, the train is sure to be late. But, Patty, you can’t go quite so fast as we get into the town. You musn’t! You’ll be arrested!”
“They can’t catch me,” cried Patty, as she flew on, “and do keep still, Rosamond, for goodness’ sake keep still!”
Rosamond smiled to herself at Patty’s command to her to keep still, for she well knew it was merely a nervous exclamation and meant nothing.
On they went, Patty sounding the horn when it was unnecessary, and failing to sound it when it was needed, but this made no difference in their speed. Fortunately they met very few vehicles of any sort, and had the good luck not to run over any dogs, but as they came in full view of the station, they saw the train also approaching from the other direction.