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The Vagabond



7th. Nightmares half the night from sampling B---'s wretched cheese. In one dream I am driving with my love when, as I turn to caress her cheek, a tree looms up and smashes us hard. My love into thin air, and I, dazed, behind the wheel. The car falls apart, and I find myself stretched upon the ground. Some one rolls me over and says I am dead, which I want to deny but can't. So I think I must be dead too. An ambulance whisks my body to the morgue, where I am laid on a cold slab. My flesh is cold, the blood dried, and my eyes wide and staring. Lying there naked, I am about to request the attendant to cover me with more than a sheet, when I awake with a strong wind blowing through the casement and on my uncovered self.

All through classes the dream is in my mind. Afterwards to wander aimlessly . . . Shepard Hall. The sign on the door reads, "Harvard Bureau for Street Traffic Research; Driver Test Clinic." Some impulse moves me inside. A professor beside a machine that seems a cross between an airplane cockpit and the driver's seat of an automobile. "You have come for a test?" he asks. "I don't know," I reply. Without more encouragement he ushers me to the seat and bids me grasp the wheel. "When you see the red light, apply the brakes as fast as you can." The red light flashes on the board above me, and quickly I press the brake pedal. "How was that!" I exult. "Terrible! It took you one second. Your car would have gone 88 feet before the brakes took hold; the average is half that." I swallow my confidence and so on to get grades of 30% each on the Steering and Vigilance tests. In the Speed-and-Timing test I run up a score of 7 . . . More than five indicates extra caution in passing other cars. My vision, in all its aspects, is either questionable or low. My hearing, however, is satisfactory. The professor tells me that "it would be to my advantage to endeavor to drive as little as possible." I thank him for putting it so kindly, and off to the tower very melancholy.

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