The Clarion HTML version

15. Juggernaut
Misfortunes never come singly—to the reckless. The first mischance breeds the second,
apparently by ill luck, but in reality through the influence of irritant nerves. Thus
descended Nemesis upon Miss Kathleen Pierce. Not that Miss Pierce was of a misgiving
temperament: she had too calm and superb a conviction of her own incontrovertible
privilege in every department of life for that. But Esmé Elliot had given her a hint of her
narrow escape from the "Clarion," and she was angry. To the Pierce type of disposition,
anger is a spur. Kathleen's large green car increased its accustomed twenty-miles-an-hour
pace, from which the police of the business section thoughtfully averted their faces, to
something nearer twenty-five. Three days after the wreck of the apple cart, she got
Harrington Surtaine was crossing diagonally to the "Clarion" office when the moan of a
siren warned him for his life, and he jumped back from the Pierce juggernaut. As it swept
by he saw Kathleen at the wheel. Beside her sat her twelve-year-old brother. A
miscellaneous array of small luggage was heaped behind them.
"Never mind the speed laws," murmured Hal softly. "Sauve qui peut. There, by Heavens,
she's done it!"
The car had swerved at the corner, but not quite quickly enough. There was a snort of the
horn, a scream that gritted on the ear like the clamor of tortured metals, and a huddle of
black and white was flung almost at Hal's feet. Equally quick with him, a middle-aged
man, evidently of the prosperous working-classes, helped him to pick the woman up. She
was a trained nurse. The white band on her uniform was splotched with blood. She
groaned once and lapsed, inert, in their arms.
"Help me get her to the automobile," said Hal. "This is a hospital case."
"What automobile?" said the other.
Hal glanced up the street. He saw the green car turning a corner, a full block away.
"She didn't even stop," he muttered, in a paralysis of surprise.
"Stop?" said the other. "Her? That's E.M. Pierce's she-whelp. True to the breed. She don't
care no more for a workin'-woman's life than her father does for a workin'-man's."
A policeman hurried up, glanced at the woman and sent in an ambulance call.
"I want your name," said Hal to the stranger.
"What for?"