29. Chapter XXIX.
His wife's dark blue brougham (with the wedding
varnish still on it) met Archer at the ferry, and
conveyed him luxuriously to the Pennsylvania terminus
in Jersey City.
It was a sombre snowy afternoon, and the gas-lamps
were lit in the big reverberating station. As he paced
the platform, waiting for the Washington express, he
remembered that there were people who thought there
would one day be a tunnel under the Hudson through
which the trains of the Pennsylvania railway would run
straight into New York. They were of the brotherhood
of visionaries who likewise predicted the building of
ships that would cross the Atlantic in five days, the
invention of a flying machine, lighting by electricity,
telephonic communication without wires, and other
Arabian Night marvels.
"I don't care which of their visions comes true,"
Archer mused, "as long as the tunnel isn't built yet." In
his senseless school-boy happiness he pictured Madame
Olenska's descent from the train, his discovery of her a
long way off, among the throngs of meaningless faces,
her clinging to his arm as he guided her to the carriage,
their slow approach to the wharf among slipping horses,
laden carts, vociferating teamsters, and then the startling
quiet of the ferry-boat, where they would sit side
by side under the snow, in the motionless carriage,
while the earth seemed to glide away under them,
rolling to the other side of the sun. It was incredible,
the number of things he had to say to her, and in what
eloquent order they were forming themselves on his
lips . . .
The clanging and groaning of the train came nearer,
and it staggered slowly into the station like a prey-laden monster into its lair. Archer pushed forward,
elbowing through the crowd, and staring blindly into
window after window of the high-hung carriages. And
then, suddenly, he saw Madame Olenska's pale and
surprised face close at hand, and had again the mortified
sensation of having forgotten what she looked like.
They reached each other, their hands met, and he
drew her arm through his. "This way--I have the
carriage," he said.