speranza, the delicate construction of
The bandit was very keen about our going into Capua after speranza, which turned out to be “hope” when I looked it up in the red dictionary, and, as John said, well worth a cab ride. We secured one, practically “hailed a passing hansom,” and the bandit and I drove into moated, ancient Capua on our errand of hope, or perhaps I should say for hope. It was sitting in front of the caffè, very fat and comfortable, and on the way back in the cab, pointed outs its engine foundry, that of “B. Speranza,” which explained everything, and a most useful man to have in such a crisis.
I left him puttering around, and went into the farmhouse with the girl, of course not into the best room with the cows — I know my place — but as close to the chimney hearth as I could get.
61 (same NYPL copy, via hathitrust)
John sneered at my wit. “So you think Satan could run motor cars better than I can, do you?”
“He ought to — he made ’em,” I replied. This was clever, but did not clear the air. He started to give me a lecture on my lack of appreciation of the delicate construction of an engine, and paid ours some very high-flown compliments hoping it would be flattered into moving more evenly, but it was perfectly indifferent to his wiles and went puttering up the mountain side, as though my entire future did not lie in its hands, or perhaps I should say cogs.
It was a lovely mountain too, though not at all Italian except for the fine roadbed and the pink stucco houses now and then.
189 (same NYPL copy, via hathitrust)
both ex Louise Closser Hale, A Motor Car Divorce, with drawings by Walter Hale (1906)
Louise Closser Hale (1872-1933), wikipedia