"It's for you," my wife said. "Mr. Perry."
"Mr. Perry," my wife said. "That nice man we met at dinner last night who said that before Rossini immortalized William Tell in an opera they should have had his son's head examined."
"What does he want?" I said.
"Why don't you ask him?" my wife said.
I did, and learned to my astonishment that Mr. Perry wanted me to go down to the beach with him to have a look at what Hazel was doing to the shore front. I suggested politely that this was something I would much rather read about in the papers when it was all over. Mr. Perry deplored this point of view. The elements unleashed in all their fury were a spectacle, he said, that no man had a right to miss. I told him a trifle coldly that it was a right I intended nonetheless to exercise. Mr. Perry, whose insistence was as puzzling as it was annoying, refused to accept this as a serious reflection of my true attitude. He was not going to allow me, he said, to miss something that he knew would send my spirits soaring to the heights touched by Sir Edmund Hillary when at long last he set foot on the crest of Everest.
"Well," I said uneasily as, turning to the window with the phone, I looked out on the slashing rain and howling wind, "I don't own a raincoat."
"I have an extra," said Mr. Perry. "I'll bring it when I come to pick you up in my car. I'll be there in 10 minutes."
He was there in five, with two sets of oilskins and hip boots that had clearly been filched from the wardrobe used during the filming of Captains Courageous. Driving down the shore road, he kept up a stream of lively chatter, not a word of which I heard because of the wind. The driving, I noticed with some discomfort, was not as difficult as I had thought it would be, but the reason was far from reassuring: Mr. Perry's car was the only one on the road. With some relief I noticed that a policeman was posted at the statue of the Minute-man—a local landmark of which our town is extremely proud—where the shore road forks, with one tine leading out to the yacht club and beach area. I saw with even more relief that the policeman was waving us back.
"He wants you to stop and turn back," I yelled above the wind.