Here is another chapter from my novel in progress. It’s a problem reading it out of order, I know, but that’s how I am writing it and, after all, it’s here for free. Ed
On August the 31st , 1914, Isaac Martin drove his own car, a 1913 Pierce Arrow, half a mile through town to the Colesmouth Depot of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway.
It was a beautiful summer day and this late in the season with the trees in full foliage and the first bite of autumn in the air the mornings had about them the cool freshness of a shaded brook. He had removed the black canvas roof from the long, blue sedan in the hope of persuading Rebecca to accompany him on this jaunt. But news of the war both from the newspapers and the near-daily letters from her father and aunt had so darkened her mood that she rarely left the house. All through breakfast he had urged on her the need for sunlight and air and emphasized again and again the importance of the short excursion. But she remained in her dressing gown and he could not wait longer; the train was due at ten-twenty and the cargo they expected could not be left at the dock.
Not long hence she would accede to his imploring and agree to go motoring with him, this time on a short trip from which neither of them would return.
He put on his straw boater with the red and blue band and drove out into the open air. On such a sunny day and in spite of the fear and sadness the war had visited on his house he felt the joy of life and the strength of youth. In that place and time a motor car was still something of a novelty and children stared and waved as the car drove by. As he passed Main Street he caught the scent of the peanuts warming in the turning barrel of the confectioner’s iron roaster, now standing on the walk outside the store. On the hill across the river the trees in Paul Cyrus’ orchard were drooping with red apples and tall ladders were resting here and there against their green heads, ready for the pickers to begin.
His lumberyard was adjacent to the depot and he first stopped there and pulled a young employee off the job to accompany him and help him manage the expected load. When they arrived at the station and walked into the knot of waiting passengers and expectant hosts on the platform the locomotive was already visible down the long and rigid line to the east.
His packages were not offloaded by the railroad employees. While those uniformed men carried duffel-bags of mail, luggage, and bales of magazines out of a boxcar and onto steel-wheeled, wooden flat-carts, two men in brown suits handed wooden trunks out of a first-class passenger car and onto the concrete landing. When they picked the trunks up and walked toward the station they labored under the weight of their load. Martin walked up to the men and spoke to them in German. They talked on; at first in German and then one of the men spoke in broken English. When the men set the trunks down Martin showed them a letter and the men picked up the trunks again and followed Martin to the Pierce Arrow sedan.