A Bicycle of Cathay (Chapter 3, page 1 of 21)


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Chapter 3

Thinking thus, I almost forgot the storm, but coming to a slight
descent where the road was very smooth I became conscious that my
wheel was inclined to slip, and if I were not careful I might come to
grief. But no sooner had I reached the bottom of the declivity than I
beheld on my right a lighted doorway. Without the slightest hesitation
I turned through the wide gateway, the posts of which I could scarcely
see, and stopped in front of a small house by the side of a driveway.
Waiting for no permission, I carried my bicycle into a little covered
porch. I then approached the door, for I was now seeking not only
shelter but an opportunity to dry myself. I do not believe a sponge
could have been more thoroughly soaked than I was.

At the very entrance I was met by a little man in short jacket and
top-boots.

"I heard your step," said he. "Been caught in the rain, eh? Well, this
is a storm! And now what're we going to do? You must come in. But
you're in a pretty mess, I must say! Hi, Maria!"

At these words a large, fresh-looking woman came into the little hall.

"Maria," said the man, "here's a gentleman that's pretty nigh drowned,
and he's dripping puddles big enough to swim in."

The woman smiled. "Really, sir," said she, "you've had a hard time.
Wheeling, I suppose. It's an awful time to be out. It's so dark that I
lighted a lamp to make things look a little cheery. But you must come
in until the rain is over, and try and dry yourself."

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