So Max Wilson was taking Sidney to Schwitter's, making her the butt of
garage talk! The smiles of the men were evil. Joe's hands grew cold, his
head hot. A red mist spread between him and the line of electric lights.
He knew Schwitter's, and he knew Wilson.
He flung himself into his car and threw the throttle open. The car jerked,
"You can't start like that, son," one of the men remonstrated. "You let 'er
in too fast."
"You go to hell!" Joe snarled, and made a second ineffectual effort.
Thus adjured, the men offered neither further advice nor assistance. The
minutes went by in useless cranking--fifteen. The red mist grew heavier.
Every lamp was a danger signal. But when K., growing uneasy, came out into
the yard, the engine had started at last. He was in time to see Joe run
his car into the road and turn it viciously toward Schwitter's.
Carlotta's nearness was having its calculated effect on Max Wilson. His
spirits rose as the engine, marking perfect time, carried them along the
Partly it was reaction--relief that she should be so reasonable, so
complaisant--and a sort of holiday spirit after the day's hard work. Oddly
enough, and not so irrational as may appear, Sidney formed a part of the
evening's happiness--that she loved him; that, back in the lecture-room,
eyes and even mind on the lecturer, her heart was with him.
So, with Sidney the basis of his happiness, he made the most of his
evening's freedom. He sang a little in his clear tenor--even, once when
they had slowed down at a crossing, bent over audaciously and kissed
Carlotta's hand in the full glare of a passing train.
"How reckless of you!"
"I like to be reckless," he replied.
His boyishness annoyed Carlotta. She did not want the situation to get out
of hand. Moreover, what was so real for her was only too plainly a lark
for him. She began to doubt her power.
The hopelessness of her situation was dawning on her. Even when the touch
of her beside him and the solitude of the country roads got in his blood,
and he bent toward her, she found no encouragement in his words:--"I am mad
about you to-night."
She took her courage in her hands:--"Then why give me up for some one
"Why is it different? I am a woman. I--I love you, Max. No one else will
ever care as I do."
"You are in love with the Lamb!"