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Passage eight

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Helen packed a small suitcase, said goodbye to her mother and hurried out of the house to catch the bus to the station. There was no one else waiting at the bus stop, so it looked as if a bus had just left. Helen looked at her watch anxiously: it was already two o'clock. Her train left at two-thirty, and since it would take at least twenty minutes to reach the station, she did not have much time to spare, even if a bus came along at once.
    Just then a taxi came slowly down the road. Helen knew that the fare to the station was at least two pounds, which was more than she could afford; but she quickly made up her mind that it would be well worth the extra expense in order to be sure of catching her train. So she stopped the taxi and got in. She told the driver that she had to catch a train which left at half past two. The man nodded and said that he would take a short cut to get her to the station in good time.
    All went well until, just as they were coming out of a side-street into the main road that led to the station, the taxi ran into a car. There was a loud crash and Helen was thrown forward so violently that she hit her head on the front seat. Both drivers got out and began shouting at each other. Helen got out as well, to ask them to stop quarrelling, but neither of them took any notice of her at all.
    Helen was now quite sure that she was going to miss her train, although she was not very far from the station. She was wondering what to do when a bus came into sight, going in the direction of the station. The bus stop was not far off, so Helen got her suitcase out of the taxi and ran towards the bus, which had stopped to let some passengers get off. The bus conductor saw her running and did not ring the bell for the bus to start until she had got on. Helen reached the station just in time and managed to catch her train after all. But if she had waited for the taxi driver to stop arg

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