12 October, 2014 by katelaity
It was the day of the great race. Paris seemed to have taken the matter to heart and the papers were full of the competition and images of the ships and their crew became desirable even from the sellers in the streets.
Mathilde Belcoeur led the charge, delighting in her inside information since the craft’s unexpected landing in Poissy. Helen could not resist Mme. Belcoeur’s enthusiasm and anyway she had been so kind to them then, it would have been churlish to refuse. And she certainly made no secret of her favouring Jane’s Inspiration over the Linton’s Forward Momentum.
Despite the constant barrage of provocative questions, Helen always kept her remarks to simple expressions of good sportsmanship and eagerness for both ships to demonstrate the very best air travel had to offer. It seemed to be the best way to take the high road.
Not that her father agreed.
“We shall crush them in the competition!” Helen overheard him telling one journalist as she and Signor Romano tinkered with the steering assembly. He didn’t even try to converse in French. “They’ll wish their mother never met their father!” His fist raised in triumph as if he would strike the Lintons’ ship out of the air with his own hand.
The journalists wrote it all down, doubtless adding their own embellishments as she had seen in the earlier editions. It was all quite vexing but there appeared to be very little she could do about it.
Certainly stopping her father from his infernal boasting was not easy to accomplish.
Helen adjusted a nut with a spanner and considered the Lintons themselves. They were no shrinking violets. Their tone—well, Edgar’s anyway—had been one of smug self-satisfaction. It was really most provoking, but something in her held back from entering the fray.
After all, the race was the thing.
“Should we have another test, signorina?” Romano broke into her thoughts as he stood up and stretched his back with a little groan.
“I don’t think we need to do so,” Helen said frowning at the press of people all around the ship. “And we could never conceal the flight from all these prying eyes.”
“Are you confident in the fuel?”
Helen smiled. She could see Maggiormente and Eduardo making their way through the crowd, people moving aside from the lion’s mouth. “Yes, I have every confidence in our alchemist.”