The Accident by Louisa M. Alcott
TOM named his velocipede
in memory of
the horse in “The
Battle of Lake Regillus,”
to grief as soon as
he began to ride his
“Come out and
see me go it,”
whispered Tom to
Polly, after three
days’ practice in the
street, for he had
already learned to
ride in the rink.
Polly and Maud
willingly went, and
watched his struggles
with deep interest,
till he got an
upset, which nearly
put an end to his velocipeding forever.
“Hi, there! Auster’s coming!”
shouted Tom, as he came rattling down
the long, steep street outside the park.
They stepped aside, and he whizzed
by, arms and legs going like mad, and the
general appearance of a runaway engine.
It would have been a triumphant descent,
if a big dog had not bounced suddenly
through one of the openings, and sent the
whole concern helter-skelter into the gutter.
Polly laughed as she ran to view
the ruin, for Tom lay flat on his back with
the velocipede atop of him, while the big
dog barked wildly, and his master scolded
him for his awkwardness. But when she
saw Tom’s face, Polly was frightened, for
the color had all gone out of it, his eyes
looked strange and dizzy, and drops of
blood began to trickle from a great cut on
his forehead. The man saw it, too, and
had him up in a minute; but Tom couldn’t
stand, and stared about him in a dazed
sort of way, as he sat on the curbstone,
while Polly held her handkerchief to his
forehead, and pathetically begged to know
if he was killed.
“Don’t scare mother—I’m all right.
Got upset, didn’t I?” he asked, presently,
eying the prostrate velocipede with
more anxiety about its damages than his
“I knew you’d hurt yourself with that
horrid thing. Just let it be, and come
home, for your head bleeds dreadfully,
and everybody is looking at us,” whispered
Polly, trying to tie the little handkerchief
over the ugly cut.
“Come on, then Jove! how queer
my head feels! Give us a boost, please.
Stop howling, Maud, and come home.
You bring the machine, and I’ll pay you,
Pat.” As he spoke, Tom slowly picked
himself up, and steadying himself by
Polly’s shoulder, issued his commands,
and the procession fell into line. First,
the big dog, barking at intervals; then
the good-natured Irishman, trundling
“that divil of a whirligig,” as he disrespectfully
called the idolized velocipede;
then the wounded hero, supported by the
faithful Polly; and Maud brought up
the rear in tears, bearing Tom’s cap.