In spite of that lorry driver
THE two girls — Miss Jose phine Fransquie and Miss Sheila Clements — who set out from London on a hitchhike pilgrimage without a penny between them have reached Rome in 14 days.
Both are somewhat surprised, not so much at being in Rome as at the fact that they are alive and not at the bottom of a precipice.
Having reached Geneva in only four days, they soon began, in Northern Italy. to run into trouble.
Their worst time came about 100 kilometres from La Spezia, when yet another lorry driver came to their aid with a lift.
" He seemed sane enough for 20 minutes," writes Josephine Fransquie, " hut when the road began to twist and squirm on the hillside, he just went berserk, taking hairpin bends at frightful speed and missing cars by two inches.
IN SNOW-STORM " By the time darkness came Sheila and I had exhausted two rosaries and all the prayers to St. Anthony, St. Christopher and St. Jude.
" He went on driving with one hand, whistling casually as we rocked half-an-inch trom the edge of the precipice."
The memory of that drive made a comparatively light thing of the day at Montreux, when they were caught in a howling snow-storm—two girls in a strange land, surrounded by mountains, soaked to the skin, frozen, and nowhere to go, just watching sleek cars sail past ignoring their appeals.
Once more the inevitable helpful lorry driver turned up to the rescue.
Over long stretches through Italy they met with misunderstandings, an unwillingness to help and actual opposition.
One lorry driver made a detour to avoid meeting a Communist parade: he feared what would happen if they found he was helping pilgrims.
But there were compensations, One of the best was meeting three Dutch boys who had been on the road for five weeks, averaging 40 miles a day. Their skins had turned a deep brown, their hair was bleached almost white — and their walking-sticks were two inches shorter than when they began.