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AN AMERICAN GIRL WITH THE SPANISH ARMIES
BY LELAND STOWE
TWAS nearly midnight and Barcelona had been blacked out for three hours now. Sometimes we had to feel our way between the curbstones and the walls of buildings. Under the trees, in the side streets off the Paseo de Gracia, we dodged people by ear-or stumbled into them. Even when we could see the stars they didn't do much good. They were too thin and high. But Evelyn was used to all that, so we fumbled along at a fairly decent pace-except when some demon of a Spanish driver catapulted himself out of the blackness, hell-bent for somewhere. Whoever walks at night in this suddenly silent and eyeless metropolis of Barcelona takes all the risks. So we groped along, like a couple of moles on a night out, but we were talking all the time. "When you get back to New York will you do me a favor?" Evelyn asked. "Don't laugh, even if it does sound cuckoo I Some night, when you have a little time and haven't anything really important to do, I wish you'd go down to Chinatown. You know, down to one of those really good Chinese restaurants. I wish you'd order a big bowl of Chinese soup. And when you eat it think of me for just a minute. Honestly I'd feel awfully good if you'd do that." Then a high-powered car threw its twin stilettos right at us. We jumped back. It careened drunkenly round the corner. We poked our way across the Paseo de Gracia and into the Majestic-one more hotel that's given up trying to live up to
its name since the war came into Catalonia. Now perhaps I should at last find out about this myth of a girl called Evelyn, providing the bombers didn't come over and blast casual conversation into bits, along with wood and cement and human beings. I had been looking for Evelyn for a long time. Hadn't I heard about her, here and there and everywhere, as I wandered round Republican Spain last summer? Up at the International Brigade headquarters in Albacete somebody said: "There's a little American girl who's driving a truck. She's doing a grand job. Her name is Evelyn.... No, I never heard what the rest of it is. Everybody just. calls her Evelyn." And everybody did. The Spaniard who drove our bus up to Madrid pronounced it "Eveleen." He· said she was muy sympatica and a buena camarada. Behind the sandbags of the Hotel Gran Via cafe I met boys from the American and British battalions and! they also talked about Evelyn. Where did she come from? How long had she been driving in this war? Where was she now? They didn't know. They just said she was a swell kid; a swell, blond-headed kid who was a hell of a good driver. Out at the American hospitals in Tarancon they told me about Evelyn, only not nearly enough. She had come over with one of their medical units. Her husband belonged too and so did her brother, But Evelyn was on the road
most of the time. She'd just left for Murcia with a load of convalescents; wouldn't be back for two days. The next time we came through she was up at the front near Guadalajara. Once I saw her picture-a bareheaded wisp in khaki trousers standing beside a big truck. I looked for Evelyn over half of Spain, but I never caught up with her in the summer of 1937. I missed her by a day or an hour. Now, on my second night in Barcelona I had been sitting in the lounge of the Majestic, waiting for after-dinner coffee with Ed Rolfe. "Who's the blond girl over there?" I asked idly. "She looks like an American." "Sure she is. It's Evelyn," said Ed. That was how I had finally caught up with Evelyn, and better a year late than never. She had just finished a seventeenhour day. I went out with her while she tucked her ambulance in a garage. She was wearing an old army shirt open at the neck. She had a shock of Lorelei hair and a face with a glow in it. She looked unbelievably young and she had a smile that would be as good as a passport in any country in the world. She was alive too, like a wire humming with electricity. On that short walk I discovered the naturalness with which she made friends and the sudden wholehearted ripple in her laughter; and that was when I heard about the Chinese soup. We had no time to spare because Evelyn was taking another load of medical supplies down to the Army of the Ebro in the morning. So we found a quiet corner and I tossed questions at her. Evelyn Hutchins-Evelyn Hutchins Rahman, if you took her married name-was now a chauffeur in the Sanitary Service of the Army of the Ebro. That's the northern Loyalist army which was reassembled after the collapse of the Aragon front in April, and it was preparing right now to cross the Ebro and hit Franco's Rebels with a surprise attack from the rear. Evelyn was taking up some of the splints and medicines that were needed for the new offensive.
She was born in Snohomish County in the State of Washington, she said. From the age of ten she had been brought up in New York City. She had never finished high school because she had to go to work. "Besides, I didn't do well in my school work. We didn't have any electric lights at home, so I didn't get my home work done-then I was ashamed and played hooky." Later she had spent two years at night school, trying to make up. She would be twenty-eight in August and had been driving in Spain for fifteen months. Her husband, Karl Rahman, had come to Spain with an American medical unit two months before she had. Her brother Leslie was driving a truck for an organization to aid refugee children. Oh, yes, she had arrived in Spain on April 12, 1937. She had been driving trucks and ambulances ever since, except for one month when she was ill. I didn't hear anything more about the illness. Apparently it was just a tiny incident in a big war. "In New York they told me they didn't have any place for girl chauffeurs," Evelyn said. "Spain was a bad place for girls. I thought it over very carefully and decided they were wrong. If they needed chauffeurs badly enough to have good able-bodied men, t.!leplace for ablebodied men was at the front and there'd be a place somewhere for a woman." "But how did you happen to come?" "Well, I'd been driving a car and collecting food and clothes for the Spanish refugee children. Then the North American Committee started to send medical supplies and they asked Karl if he'd care to go over. He was very much interested and as soon as he was so was I. I like to be in the thick of things. I began to figure out how I could get over. It wasn't received very well." Evelyn laughed and I thought again how far the right kind of laughter will take anyone. I couldn't help noticing too that her eyes were very blue and that her eyebrows had the same flaxen color
MAGAZINE well, such elegance in their carriage. And you see it in their eyes." Evelyn seemed to have no idea that, at that very moment, I could also "see it" in her own. Obviously she was quite oblivious of herself as she talked about what was to her the most important thing in the world. "Yes, I'm the only woman driver left now," she added regretfully. "It would be nice if there were more. They're needed so . much. I see no reason why we shouldn't organize a school and teach the girls as well as the boys how to drive. They've got a lot of bad drivers here, you know. They wreck many trucks and trucks cost a lot of money and are hard to get. We lost hundreds of them up at the Teruel front last winter, and most of it was through carelessness or ignorance. I've been trying to teach the young Spanish boys how to drive." "Where did they send you when you first got to Spain?" "I went immediately to Saelices. We had two American hospitals there, one called Villa Paz and one called Castellejo. It's forty miles or more below Madrid on the Valencia road. I was there from April until the middle of July last year. I had two ambulances one after the other. I'd go into Saelices at six-fifteen in the morning and get the workmen. That's when we were converting an old villa-it used to belong to King Alfonso's sisterinto hospital. We were making wards out of the hayloft; and you should have seen it, the mess it was in. Now 'it has a tiled floor and it just shines, it's so clean. "Then, after I'd brought the workmen, I'd drive to Tarancon about twelve miles away. I'd get the food supplies for our hospitals. Then I'd go back to Tarancan, or drive to Colemenar or wherever they'd send me to, and get the wounded. Some of these boys died afterward. I had one who was only sixteen. He was such a sweet boy and so good-natured; but he bled internally and he died. Almost all of those boys were young, it seemed. Some of them I've seen since in our new hospitals here in Catalonia.
as her hair. It was 13. well-chiseled face; strong and remarkably expressive, the more so because there was a complete lack of self-consciousness in everything she said. "I couldn't get them to say yes at first," she continued, "so Karl got here two months before I did. I made pretty much of a nuisance of myself, I'm afraid. At last the medical bureau agreed to send me as a chauffeur. They never sent another woman to be a chauffeur. In fact, there have been only two other women drivers that I know of. Now I'm the only one that's left. A Canadian girl named Jean Watts-she had been a reporter for the Canadian Clarion-drove for about two months before she went home. Then there was one Spanish girl. Her name is Soledad. Do you know what that means? It means Lonesome. But she's not alone. She's not lonesome. She's got friends everywhere, in the army and behind the lines. I wish you could meet her. She's very intelligent and capable and independent. And she's so young and goodlooking too. She's known all over. The chauffeurs all told me about her. They'd say, 'There's another girl driving-a Spanish girl named Soledad: She drove for eleven months. Now she's in a small town near Tarragona. She's in charge of the nurse personnel in a hospital there. And she's only twenty-two. "I've met some wonderful Spanish girls. In Reus there are a lot of them. They're very young and very strong and they're learning to be mechanics in the repair garage. They're 'grease monkeys,' you know. They've got grease all over their arms and overalls, but you ought to see their pride and dignity and the way they hold themselves. It's thrilling just to watch them-and they're all youngsters. You see them with their noses down, helping pull out motors and changing wheels and cleaning sparkplugs. If I break a leg and can't drive I'll see if I can do something like that. What a. difference between the way those Spanish girls walk and the way ordinary girls walk in the streets back home. They have such-
One is only about eighteen now. He had "All the rest of our staff at Tarancona wounded shoulder and at first he had his you've no ideal They had to run like ann up in a wing. But something went hell in order to get away from those wrong. When they took the wing off, his bombs. When I got back they could shoulder hadn't healed properly. He hardly talk, they were so shaken. When can't lift his ann from his side now, but they heard the bombs they were in the his left arm is still good. So he works in garage. They threw themselves under the hospital. He's a good kid and he the cars. Then they realized it was a lisps. He always says, 'Salud, Aleenl' •• bad place to be-and they didn't realize "Yes, I used to work long hours. I'd it any too soon. Karl was the last one get up at six in the morning-or at six- out. He locked the garage door, so nobody could 'organize' anything when they fifteen, if I couldn't manage it at six-and go to bed at twelve-thirty or later. And were gone. Do you know what it is-to I was busy all day long. I guess I got 'organize' something? To 'organize' worn out. I had bad dreams all night. means to take something you think you I'd always be driving a car and something need that somebody else left behind carewould go wrong with it. I'd be going lessly. It's not stealing, you know. It's down hilI and something would go wrong just helping yourself to something that belongs to somebody else and is lying and I couldn't stop the truck. Then I'd wake up in a cold sweat. It was a long round loose. "Well, Karl locked the door and turned time before I got rid of the dreams. But then, there are lots of things worse than and saw planes swooping down and bombs dropping. He's got long legs, you dreams. I've really been very lucky." "Lucky about accidents or bombings or know. No kidding, he ran so fast he was what?" muscle-bound for a week afterward. "Lucky about everything, I guess. But Jacquier-he's the engineer who set up I was thinking how I missed both of the the big laundry for us in Tarancon-she bombings in Tarancon. That was in the had a big start on Karl. He said he felt autumn; and do you know, I was away on as if a heavy wind passed him. Karl was trips both times. The first time I left way out in the field before he got there. early in the morning and got back at As Karl ran a bonib dropped just behind night after the air raid was over. I went him. It must have been one of those that to Valencia-and by the way, that's a good hit the garage." Then Evelyn began to laugh. trip. It's about one hundred and sev"You know, there were lots of ditches enty-five miles. That's a long way to go and pick up.a three-ton load of food and and shell-holes round there; and some of get it back in nine hours of solid driving. them had been filled up with garbage and Well, I got back and found holes in the refuse. When they were all running roadway. Bombs had landed behind the from the planes nobody had time to think garage and beside the two hospitals. of that. Jacquier and my brother Leslie That was the first time. The next time were racing for their lives and they saw a -that was a week later-there were more shell-hole. They both dived for it at holes in the road. Our garage had been once-both for the same hole. They hit twice by bombs and it had been ma- went in head first and they landed right chine-gunned. A bomb had landed in , in the middle of the natural facts of life. our food-distribution house where I al- My brother pulled his head up and said, ways delivered my supplies. One struck 'I can't stand it!' Just then a bomb burst the second hospital and another hit our about fifty feet away. Down he went administration building. One of our into that awful hole again. It was funny Spanish girls had her arm blown off. It when he told about it later. You see why was a wonder there weren't many more I was lucky to be away when the bombers came." hurt.
know that car as I'd know a kid of my own. I know the grease nipples underneath it; they're a different kind. I know its funny, cracked window panes. Then I put an extra gasoline filter on it, a grand one that was made of glass. And it had our own American spotlights on it and a horn I bought for it in Valencia. I got a special button to sound the horn too. And what a terrific sound that horn madel It was marvelous. I'd press the button and people would simply fly. Sometimes I'd have a load of people and the first time they heard that horn shriek they'd almost fall right out of the truck. "That truck was my baby. It used to flap an awful lot-a terrific insult for such a good car. You see, it had been down on the Cordova front and its top got worn out from the rains down there. So the covering was half torn off and it flapped like the devil. Traveling back and forth on the roads, I got to know all the carabineros and guards. I used to keep some chocolate and cigarettes for them whenever I could. So they always used to look for me and tell me the news. When I had 7-11 the guards could always see me coming. Even a quarter of a mile down the road they always knew it was me because the truck flapped so much. It looked like a junk wagon, that car; but it had a wonderful engine. It could pull up a hill with a three-ton load and pass every machine on the road except a few light cars. And that was all the load it was built for. I want to tell you that's going some!" From November until May Evelynand 7-11 were inseparable partners. Then, one night, there came a rush order for beds. They piled on a great heap of them. The tailboard snapped off on a Catalan hill at three in the morning and 7-11 was laid up for repairs in Barcelona. Evelyn had bought chains and a lock for it, but they didn't hold tightly. When she came back somebody had "organized" her beloved old flap-goat of a truck. "Was I brokenhearted I Honestly I could have cried. That truck was like my dearest friend, But I kept looking
Evelyn told me about her first weeks of truck driving; how she learned the peculiarities of trucks and what a time she had before she could "double-clutch" smoothly and silently. You had to get the feeling of it, she explained, or you ground the gears very badly. One day a young doctor was riding beside her and she did a sloppy job of double-clutching. "Well, I've heard other drivers make more noise," said the coldly scientific medico; and Evelyn's ears burned with chagrin. Months later she happened to give the same doctor another lift and he remarked that Spain had "certainly done wonders" for her gear-shifting. "Double-clutching is really quite simple when you get the feel of it," Evelyn said. "With a truck you put your foot down on the clutch and put the gear in neutral and release the clutch. Then you step on the clutch again and put the gear into the next speed. It's simple, but it takes time to master it. Then there's another way that's harder to do. If you're going uphill with a heavy load and you don't want to lose speed or grind your gears, you double-clutch from high into third and race your motor at the same time. When you get the hang of it it's smooth as can be. "Yes, I like driving a truck. It isn't hard. Often I've found it harder to make a turn with a car because the car is too light. With a truck you can stay on the road. You pull the wheel more, but you pull it where you want it to go. When you have a load you can't go too fast with it and the truck sticks to the road. If you go off the road in a truck it's because you've done it and it's your own fault:' When Evelyn talked about trucks and cars affection warmed her voice. It was the personal feeling that man acquires for his own particular machine. "I must tell you about the best car I ever had," she exclaimed. "Not the best looking, but the best car. It was a threeton Fordtruck. We called it '7-11.' I
for it. I said to myself, 'I know I'll find 7-11. I'd recognize it anywhere.' And I found itl It was a month later, but I found itl One day I pulled up to the curb, here in Barcelona, and I parked right behind old 7-11. They had disguised it. I mean they had recamouflaged it. They'd taken off the lights and the horn and they'd painted out our hospital insignia. But I saw it from the rear end as soon as' I drove up. You see, its chassisis just a little bit crooked, I could tell it from its tilt right away. I said, 'Ah, that's old 7-11'-and my heart gave a big thump. Really it did. I walked up and I saw the fender-boxes we had put in at the hospital. Then I came farther and I saw the holes where the horn used to be. They had been puttied up. but the holes were in the exact spot, no mistake. Then I walked round in front. You see, the hood it had didn't belong to it. We had to change the old one and the other one wasn't a good fit. And it still had the same cracked glass and the same grease nipples underneath. "I talked to the fellow who was driving it. I was shaking a little bit. I wanted to crack him one. I said, 'It's a good car you're driving, isn't it?' He began to say what a good car it was and then I said: 'You're darn right it's a good carl It's my carl' He didn't say anything, but he looked at me with a very funny expression. If he'd only got tough maybe I could have relieved my feelings, I was so mad right through. But he didn't say anything. He just had that funny look. And after all, what could I do? I couldn't blame him especially. Somebody had taken it for use at the front, and we'd just had that terrible retreat and they needed cars up there. But just the same, I knew I'd never get another truck like 7-11-and I never have." It was almost like hearing about a wake after the death of a close friend. And there in the heart of blacked-out Barcelona, with death on the roads and death in the sky, it didn't seem at all far-fetched or amusing. Evelyn sat across the table from me and her sweeping intensity was
part and parcel of the abnormally silent city-this city which had once been famous for the gayest and wildest night life of the entire Mediterranean-and of the war itself. She told me about the little camionette with which she carried everything from leg splints to cigarettes up to the front. How she had driven all over Loyalist Spain, from the Escorial and Guadalajara to Alicante and Valencia; to Be1chite and Barcelona and Vich. She had been in on the Belchite offensive of September, 1937. Sometimes she would wait about for ten or twelve hours, never daring to leave sight of her car. Then she would get an order, start driving at midnight, and drive all night or far into the morning. I thought about those twisting, tortuous Spanish roads and about those wild Spanish driversthe most reckless I had ever seen in my life. I knew perfectly well that this girl gambled with head-on collisions and death every time she took a car out on those narrow, ill-marked roads. Even in broad daylight it was a most dangerous business-and she had been doing it, day or night, for fifteen months! No one but a firstclass driver could do that and survive. I'd as soon have taken my chances in a front-line trench. "To tell the truth, I've never seen so many bad drivers on the road as in Spain during this war," Evelyn admitted. "Any driver on the road I now consider a bad driver. I mean I don't trust any of them. I give them all the room I can possibly give and don't take any chances. I can make plenty of time, but I'm considered a good driver. Of course I'm not nearly as good as some of the boys. They can pick a tight squeeze between those poky little burro carts and figure it to an inch. Once in a while something goes wrong and they'll hit a burro cart. But I won't take a chance like that, not unless I've simply got to get somewhere in a terrific hurry. "Many of our boys think the Spaniards are rotten drivers. I don't think· so. I think they are inexperienced drivers. Of course they take terrible chances and they
MAGAZINE pened just in front of the Hotel Inglese. "We were all staying up on the top floor. I was very tired and went right to bed. I went to sleep and for the next twenty minutes the shelling was terrific. I fell asleep right in the middle of it. There were some German and Swedish and Spanish ambulance men with me, and they gave me an awful kidding. They said I was a cold-blooded Anglo Saxon. I had no sense and no feeling. They teased me for days afterward. They were very upset and nervous and they couldn't sleep. But I've found when you get a chance to rest you'd bettertake it. That's the reason I can go as many hours as I can. They were no safer in that hotel than I was. If a shell had hit it would have got them just as it would have got me." "And what about bombings?" "Yes, I've been caught any number of times. In Valencia or Tortosa-Iots of places-but nothing ever happened to me. The building shook, sometimes the walls just quivered when the' bombs fell quite close, but nothing ever happened. No, my name isn't written on any of the bombs." It was well past two in the morning and within a few hours Evelyn would be driving down to the Ebro front. Beneath her zest and eagerness I could see that she was very tired. Perhaps we had better sign off for now? But she shook her head. In wartime you must do whatever you have to do while you have the chance. So we went on with the subject of bombings. "One time we were in Valencia and my brother and I were sitting in our truck. It was old 7-11 and we were talking with another volunteer. Suddenly we saw planes coming over. There were no sirens, nor any warning of any kind. My brother said, 'Well, we'll soon know if they're ours or not.' And just thenwheeeang! Down came the bombs I The comrade grabbed me by the arm and shouted, 'Evelyn, comeI To the refugio -run, runl' I got mad. I didn't like the way he grabbed my arm. I said, 'I
drive like mad, but that's because they haven't had experience. Some Spaniards are fine drivers. The bad ones are just exactly like our American drivers. The only difference is that the Americans can gage better because they're more used to driving and can spot the danger signals quicker. No, the night driving isn't any worse. In some ways it's easier. For me the only trouble is that I'm in the habit of sleeping at night, or I was once. And if I've been driving all day it's hard to keep awake at the wheel all night. You can only see a little strip ahead of you and it gets very monotonous. That's on the dark nights. If it's moonlight that means it's a good night for bombing -and that means some town is going to get it, and maybe while you're going through. Since I've been in Spain I don't like moonlight nights." I wanted to know about some of the narrow escapes Evelyn had had. She agreed that there had been a few close calls. "Once I was out shopping in Madrid. They shelled at one end of the block on the Gran Via, then on the other end. One fell behind me and the next shell fell ahead of me. So I stopped and did a little window shopping. You know, shells whistle and when you're close to them they crack the air. Have you ever heard a bomb close to? That's the one thing I don't like about bombs, the way they crack the air, and the big shells do it too. It sounds like crackling paper. I can't describe it very well, but it sounds like some terrific force that's so powerful it cracks the air. You're absolutely helpless against it. You can't get away from
"The next time I was in Madrid also. I'd just left my car. I was with two other cars and I parked mine in the middle. I had just stepped inside a building when the shells came over. They struck right outside and the shrapnel shot both the other cars full of holes and didn't hit my car at all. That shell was plenty close. It's like a clap of thunder-and when you've heard it you know. That hap-
don't want to go to the refugio.' . You know I just don't like running like that. He was so frightened he couldn't be sensible, but I got stubborn. Then he let go-of my arm, and I don't know where he went. We didn't see him for twenty-five minutes at least. "My brother and I just walked along. Everybody had disappeared. We didn't know where a refugio was, so we just went into a building and sat down. We sang a little bit, but we haven't got very good voices so we didn't sing very long. It was night and it was pitch black in the building. We turned on a flashlight, but the people yelled at us to put it out. That was foolish of them, for nobody could possibly see the light outside. But their nerves had been shattered by too many bombings. That's why they were so frightened." "And didn't you get frightened too?" "I've really been much more frightened while driving than with the bombs," Evelyn said. "I've had closer escapes with the driving. Just a short time ago I was driving up to Mont Blanche in the mountains. I was going very slowly round a very sharp turn and down hill. Just as I got to the sharpest part of the turn there came speeding right at me a little car that was trying to pass a truck. The car was on my side of the road-T mean, really on my side of the road. On the side of the truck was a cliff and on my side of the road was a deep ditch and a hill; and the road was never meant for more than two cars in the first place. The truck got over as far as it could possibly get to the cliff's edge. I went a little bit down on the side. I couldn't go any farther or I'd have turned over. The truck and I slowed down, and the little guy speeded up and slid through between us. Just like a razor blade! The soldiers in the truck called that little guy all kinds of fancy names in Spanish-and I'd . have liked to call him a few myself, for it was a miracle that any of us was alive. But I was too busy watching that ditch and couldn't be bothered. That was really close enough to turn your hair. It
was just a matter of things working out right. Just pure luck. "Once I got a bad bump and had my radiator smashed in. I was driving through a town just below Tortosa on the coast. There's one little street across the main Toad and it's very narrow. I had my camionette. A small car came shooting across the road in front of me. I jammed on my brakes and pulled to the left as far as I could, but we had to smash. He put a hole in my radiator, but he got the worst of it. It was a wonder he didn't kill us both. He bent his front axle and ruined his radiator and lights. At first he apologized and said he was sorry. Then he began to get his nerves back, and he said I didn't blow my horn. Then he said I was going much too fast and I didn't know how to drive. But he had already apologized to begin with, so I didn't argue with him. He was in the air corps. I guess he wasn't used to being on the ground." IV Evelyn told me about the Spaniards who had become her friends. She talked especially about the boys of the village of Saelices, where the American hospitals had been. Saelices, she said, was just a little bit of a place but it had sent two hundred and twenty-five young men into the war, almost all of them volunteers. Finally the only ones left were boys of from fourteen to sixteen and the oldest was eighteen. They had been kept at home to help raise the crops and cut the wood. Then they too went away-a few at a time. Before they went they invited Evelyn for a farewell dinner. They would kill a sheep or a goat and fry the meat in deep hot oil. Sometimes they had a little salad. For themselves they would have wine and they would get a precious glass or two of milk for Evelyn. When the farewell feast was over they would walk home with their camarada Americana to Castellejo. Now there were no young boys left. The only ones remaining were youngsters of ten or twelve.
MAGAZINE and she would be back on the job at sixfifteen and her face still had a glow in it. I said good-night and as I did so I told her that we must be partners if the story she had told me was ever published. She seemed surprised at that idea. "But I don't need any money," Evelyn said. She paused a moment and added: "I'll tell you what you can do. You can take my share, if you want to do it that way-you can use it to buy cigarettes and chocolate and give them to the warehouse to send over here. You see, I haven't any need for money. I've got clothes. I've got several shirts and a pair of pants. Once I had a lovely little victrola at Cuenca, and I had to leave it behind. I miss that, but I don't really need anything. I get fifteen pesetas a day-that's supposed to be about seventy-five cents in here, even if it's only worth eighteen or twenty cents outside. With that I can buy handkerchiefs or socks when I need them; and I can buy fruit, and sometimes I can pick fruit in the fields. It's plenty. But if you could send over some cigarettes for the wounded or some chocolate for the refugee kids, that would be fine." We said good-night and good health, as everyone does in Spain. The next morning Evelyn was gone. Probably she was driving back to the Army of the Ebro . I never saw her again. There is no tribute that I can pay to Evelyn Hutchinsnone that would loom large in the world in which she lives. But this is her story, exactly as she told it to me that night, as I wrote it down in my black notebook on a rickety table in the Majestic Hotel in Barcelona. I've finished the story and there's only one thing left to do. I'm going down to Chinatown to order a bowl of Chinese soup.
I said I would ask only one more question. When was she going to leave the war and come back to the United States? "I'm not going to leave if I can help it," Evelyn declared with finality. "Yes, some of the officials of our medical bureau have been trying to persuade me to take a leave. They said I'd worked hard and ought to ease up. They tried to get me a soft job. But I don't want to go homenot while the war is on. I shouldn't feel comfortable. I wouldn't like being home and reading the paper when there's a Rebel attack or a big push is on. I'd be reading it in the subway, and what could I do? I'd be wasting my time. If I'm not driving my car here, some fellow will be doing it; and he can be doing something else. . . . I'll tell you one thing. It's going to sound awfully conceited, but I've never lost my nerves yet." Evelyn laughed again. "Maybe they were right when they called me a cold-blooded Anglo Saxon. Oh, yes. Probably I'll get it some day. You're bound to get unnerved sometime or other. But I haven't got it yet. "No. I'm going to stay until they send me home. And my brother Leslie feels the same way. We've shaken hands on it. We've got any number of friends in . the medical service or relief work who feel like that. We're going to be the last twelve to go home. Then we're going to walk down Fifth Avenue-and do you know what we're going to do? We're going down to Chinatown and have some real Chinese food, and we're going to begin with a big bowl of Chinese soup like the one I asked you to eat for me. How would you say it? Yes, we're going to be the Twelve Ultimosl" She was tired, and it was after three,
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