Free Air (Chapter 3, page 1 of 12)


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Chapter 3

"Huh! Such an auto! Look, it break my harness a'ready! Two dollar that
cost you to mend it. De auto iss too heavy!" stormed Zolzac.

"All right! All right! Only for heaven's sake--go get another harness!"
Claire shrieked.

"Fife-fifty dot will be, in all." Zolzac grinned.

Claire was standing in front of him. She was thinking of other drivers,
poor people, in old cars, who had been at the mercy of this
golden-hearted one. She stared past him, in the direction from which she
had come. Another motor was in sight.

It was a tin beetle of a car; that agile, cheerful, rut-jumping model
known as a "bug"; with a home-tacked, home-painted tin cowl and tail
covering the stripped chassis of a little cheap Teal car. The lone
driver wore an old black raincoat with an atrocious corduroy collar, and
a new plaid cap in the Harry Lauder tartan. The bug skipped through mud
where the Boltwoods' Gomez had slogged and rolled. Its pilot drove up
behind her car, and leaped out. He trotted forward to Claire and Zolzac.
His eyes were twenty-seven or eight, but his pink cheeks were twenty,
and when he smiled--shyly, radiantly--he was no age at all, but eternal
boy. Claire had a blurred impression that she had seen him before, some
place along the road.

"Stuck?" he inquired, not very intelligently. "How much is Adolph
charging you?"

"He wants three-fifty, and his harness broke, and he wants two
dollars----"

"Oh! So he's still working that old gag! I've heard all about Adolph. He
keeps that harness for pulling out cars, and it always busts. The last
time, though, he only charged six bits to get it mended. Now let me
reason with him."

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