Study Guide

Dandelion Wine Chapter 19

By Ray Bradbury

Chapter 19

  • Finally, some humor. It doesn't exactly start out that way, though—it starts with Miss Fern and Miss Roberta hiding in the attic.
  • Why? Well, because they've run over their neighbor Mr. Quartermain in the Green Machine, and they're afraid the cops are coming for them any minute. 
  • They curse the day the salesman sold it to them, so of course we get that story. 
  • His name was William Tara, and he came from Gumport Falls on an afternoon when they were eating lime Jell-O on the porch. (Important lesson of this chapter: There was a time when people ate lime Jell-O by choice, and not because they were in the hospital having their tonsils out.) 
  • The Green Machine is apparently a two-seater with an overhead parasol, and "quiet as a swan's feather," except for its horn that barks like a seal. It's also electric, so they just have to plug it in in the garage every night. 
  • It goes a whopping fifteen miles per hour, and they got it for only twenty-five dollars down and easy payments of ten bucks a month for two years. 
  • Fifteen miles an hour is apparently enough to do a hit-and-run on old Mr. Quartermain. 
  • Yup, they ran. And now they're trying to figure out if they can survive in the attic for the next three weeks or so. 
  • But they decide against it, because their brother Frank is coming home, and if they're not downstairs cooking him dinner like everything is normal, he'll call the police to find them. 
  • As they cook, Fern tells Roberta they're too old to drive and that they should retire the Green Machine; Roberta goes outside to unplug the batteries. 
  • Frank comes in and says he saw Doug outside, and Doug said to tell them he saw the whole thing and everything's fine, nobody's seriously hurt. Frank wants to know what this means, of course. 
  • About this time, Roberta honks the seal horn of the Green Machine three times. Frank asks what's gotten into her, and Fern says to leave her alone. 
  • Then Roberta comes back in without a word and they all sit down for dinner. 
  • Needless to say, they don't tell Frank what happened.

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