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Hurstwood recovered himself, pale and trembling. It was
becoming serious with him now. People were looking up and
jeering at him. One girl was making faces.
He began to waver in his resolution, when a patrol wagon rolled
up and more officers dismounted. Now the track was quickly
cleared and the release effected.
"Let her go now, quick," said the officer, and again he was off.
The end came with a real mob, which met the car on its return trip
a mile or two from the barns. It was an exceedingly poor-looking
neighbourhood. He wanted to run fast through it, but again the
track was blocked. He saw men carrying something out to it when
he was yet a half-dozen blocks away.
"There they are again!" exclaimed one policeman.
"I’ll give them something this time," said the second officer,
whose patience was becoming worn. Hurstwood suffered a qualm
of body as the car rolled up. As before, the crowd began hooting,
but now, rather than come near, they threw things. One or two
windows were smashed and Hurstwood dodged a stone.
Both policemen ran out toward the crowd, but the latter replied by
running toward the car. A woman-a mere girl in appearance-was
among these, bearing a rough stick. She was exceedingly wrathful
and struck at Hurstwood, who dodged.
Thereupon, her companions, duly encouraged, jumped on the car
and pulled Hurstwood over. He had hardly time to speak or shout
before he fell.
"Let go of me," he said, falling on his side.
"Ah, you sucker," he heard some one say. Kicks and blows rained
on him. He seemed to be suffocating. Then two men seemed to be
dragging him off and he wrestled for freedom.
"Let up," said a voice, "you’re all right. Stand up."
He was let loose and recovered himself. Now he recognised two
officers. He felt as if he would faint from exhaustion. Something
was wet on his chin. He put up his hand and felt, then looked. It
"They cut me," he said, foolishly, fishing for his handkerchief.
"Now, now," said one of the officers. "It’s only a scratch."
His senses became cleared now and he looked around. He was
standing in a little store, where they left him for the moment.
Outside, he could see, as he stood wiping his chin, the car and the
excited crowd. A patrol wagon was there, and another.
He walked over and looked out. It was an ambulance, backing in.
He saw some energetic charging by the police and arrests being
"Come on, now, if you want to take your car," said an officer,
opening the door and looking in.
He walked out, feeling rather uncertain of himself. He was very
cold and frightened.
"Where’s the conductor?" he asked.
"Oh, he’s not here now," said the policeman.
Hurstwood went toward the car and stepped nervously on. As he
did so there was a pistol shot. Something stung his shoulder.
"Who fired that?" he heard an officer exclaim. "By God! who did
that?" Both left him, running toward a certain building. He paused
a moment and then got down.
"George!" exclaimed Hurstwood, weakly, "this is too much for
He walked nervously to the corner and hurried down a side street.
"Whew!" he said, drawing in his breath.
A half block away, a small girl gazed at him.
"You’d better sneak," she called.
He walked homeward in a blinding snowstorm, reaching the ferry
by dusk. The cabins were filled with comfortable souls, who
studied him curiously. His head was still in such a whirl that he
felt confused. All the wonder of the twinkling lights of the river in
a white storm passed for nothing. He trudged doggedly on until he
reached the flat. There he entered and found the room warm.
Carrie was gone. A couple of evening papers were lying on the
table where she left them. He lit the gas and sat down. Then he
got up and stripped to examine his shoulder. It was a mere
scratch. He washed his hands and face, still in a brown study,
apparently, and combed his hair. Then he looked for something to
eat, and finally, his hunger gone, sat down in his comfortable
rocking-chair. It was a wonderful relief.