“See the accident?” asked the policeman.
“No, but the car passed me down the road, going faster’n forty. Going fifty, sixty.”
“Come here and let’s have your name. Look out now. I want to get his name.”
Some words of this conversation must have reached Wilson, swaying in the office door, for suddenly a new theme found voice among his gasping cries:
“You don’t have to tell me what kind of car it was! I know what kind of car it was!”
Watching Tom, I saw the wad of muscle back of his shoulder tighten under his coat. He walked quickly over to Wilson and, standing in front of him, seized him firmly by the upper arms.
“You’ve got to pull yourself together,” he said with soothing gruffness.
Wilson’s eyes fell upon Tom; he started up on his tiptoes and then would have collapsed to his knees had not Tom held him upright.
“Listen,” said Tom, shaking him a little. “I just got here a minute ago, from New York. I was bringing you that coupe we’ve been talking about. That yellow car I was driving this afternoon wasn’t mine — do you hear? I haven’t seen it all afternoon.”
Only the negro and I were near enough to hear what he said, but the policeman caught something in the tone and looked over with truculent eyes.
“What’s all that?” he demanded.
“I’m a friend of his.” Tom turned his head but kept his hands firm on Wilson’s body. “He says he knows the car that did it … it was a yellow car.”
Some dim impulse moved the policeman to look suspiciously at Tom.
“And what color’s your car?”
“It’s a blue car, a coupe.”
“We’ve come straight from New York,” I said.
Some one who had been driving a little behind us confirmed this, and the policeman turned away.
“Now, if you’ll let me have that name again correct ——” Picking up Wilson like a doll, Tom carried him into the office, set him down in a chair, and came back.