A jarring ride on hard wooden benches, an endless rattle, scorching cinders that
blow in the windows and attack the eyes whenever the train rounds a curve: his
train trip West had not been a pleasant one.
"Shut the window," holler half a dozen passengers, several ladies among them.
Despite a facade of gentility, the ladies holler the loudest, for they are the most
concerned about the appearance of their clothing.
"No," shouts back the fat balding salesman who sits in the seat behind Arthur
Marsall. The salesman sweats continuously and the odor of his sweating body is
reason enough to keep the window open.
Arthur says nothing. He cares little for his fellow passengers, save one Mary-
Ellen Mills who sits four seats back en route from St Louis, while the open
window represents Arthur's only relief (and that merely partial) from the odor of
salesman and the scorching heat of the train. With luck, Arthur can feign sleep
until the train has passed through the curve. At worst, some would-be-gentleman,
anxious to ingratiate himself with the womenfolk, will slip past Arthur's prone
figure and attempt to lower the frame. The man will fail, of course, for the train
windows tend to stick fast. He will rouse Arthur from his make-believe slumber
and ask for his aid. "It's the women, you see," the man will explain, "messes up
their clothes," though the man himself will be rubbing at tearing eyes.