A Bicycle of Cathay (Chapter 2, page 2 of 6)


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Chapter 2

"Don't trouble yourself in the least," I said. "I can take you to your
home without any difficulty whatever. If you will mount your machine I
can push you along very easily."

"But then you would have to walk yourself," she said, quickly, "and
push your wheel too."

Of course it would not have been necessary for me to walk, for I could
have ridden my bicycle and have pushed her along on her own, but under
the circumstances I did not think it wise to risk this. So I accepted
her suggestion of walking as if nothing else could be done.

"Oh, I do not mind walking a bit," said I. "I am used to it, and as I
have been riding for a long time, it would be a relief to me."

She stood perfectly still, apparently afraid to move lest she should
hurt her foot, but she raised her head and fixed a pair of very large
blue eyes upon me. "It is too kind in you to offer to do this! But I
do not see what else is to be done. But who is going to hold up my
wheel while you help me to get on it?"

"Oh, I will attend to all that," said I, and picking up her bicycle, I
brought it to her. She made a little step towards it, and then
stopped.

"You mustn't do that," said I. "I will put you on." And holding her
bicycle upright with my left hand, I put my right arm around her and
lifted her to the seat. She was such a childlike, sensible young
person that I did not think it necessary to ask any permission for
this action, nor even to allude to its necessity.

"Now you might guide yourself with the handle-bar," I said. "Please
steer over to that tree where I have left my machine." I easily pushed
her over to the tree, and when I had laid hold of my bicycle with my
left hand, we slowly proceeded along the smooth road.

"I think you would better take your feet from the pedals," said I,
"and put them on the coasters--the motion must hurt you. It is better
to have your injured foot raised, anyway, as that will keep the blood
from running down into it and giving you more pain."

She instantly adopted my suggestion, and presently said, "That is a
great deal more pleasant, and I am sure it is better for my foot to
keep it still. I do hope I haven't sprained my ankle! It is possible
to give a foot a bad twist without spraining it, isn't it?"

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