Page images
PDF
EPUB

and taking down the hook raked over the fire, threw on some coal and awaited developments. In a short time the hand began to slowly retrace its course and I, for one, was glad to see it near its required mark. The brakeman stepped down with a twinkling eye and I always surmised that as Tom resumed his seat a wink passed between them.

Three weeks had passed and I asked leave to "lay in a trip" which was granted. I told mother in the evening I should call on Miss Murdock, a lady to whom I had been engaged for several months, and asked her to accompany me. I was rather flastrated to see with what readiness my invitation was accepted, but having once asked her there was no other way than to take her along.

We arrived at Miss Murdock's boarding house about 8 o'clock and found her alone. Her parents had both died when she was a small child and there had been hardly money enough left to take care of her until she reached a working age. She and mother were very fond of one another and I was only too anxious for the time to come when I could earn wages enough to make her my wife, but on that very day I had decided in my own mind to give up my work. Two or three times I had been on the point of handing in my time and some good man in the crew would say “Stick her out, John," so I had stayed on.

The work was harder than I had thought and I had hardly had a whole night's sleep in three weeks. Therefore, my mind was determined. I would tell mother (from whom I had kept it) and Eva, together, and then I shonld feel better. I was just turning over in my mind what words to use when Eva shyly said, “John, I hope you will not think me bold but your mother and I”—here she was in. terrupted by my mother.

“Yes, John, I want you and Eva to get married and come home to live. Eva las no home of her own and you have a place where you will later be promoted, and your father and I were married when we were just your age. We have all talked it over."

“ Without consulting me, but” said I

“ There is no use in saying anything at all. Papa says he will_board you until you get a start. Now, John, this is leap year, what is your answer?'' asked my mother eagerly.

What could I do? She knew I loved Eva, else she would never have asked me, and of course I had no excuse and before the evening was over the date and many arrangements for the wedding were made.

Just as we left, my mother asked me to kiss Eva good-night to seal the compact,

and I went home happy and unhappy.

I could not give up my job now, that was sure, but I had something to make my heart lighter and I went at the work now with a double purpose,—to make mother happy and provide a home for the one I loved.

On our fifth wedding anniversary, Eva suggested that we invite the immediate family in to spend the evening and said she had a surprise for me. After they arrived and we were all seated in the parlor, she said:

“ John, do you know why your mother wanted you to get married so young?”

I admitted that I had always wondered, and she said:

“ Because we heard you were sick of your job and we wanted you to stay and not be laughed at. I knew if you had me you would have to work and I think I suggested it to her. We planned it together and the reason we didn't tell you a long time ago was because we wanted to be sure you were going to stay before we told you.”

We all laughed heartily and I said:

“I knew it was the best thing that could ever have happened to me. Now I have a surprise.”

Eva looked at me with a wondering expression.

“Have you been keeping a secret from me?'' she asked.

"Not long," I answered, taking out my watch. “Only an hour and eleven minutes." " What is it?" was asked in chorus.

Well,” I said, “when I passed the office tonight, Mr. Brown called me in and told me I had been promoted today to an engineer. I studied and took my examinations last summer when you women were away, for I knew if I passed it would be the best anniversary present I could give to the ones who helped me earn it."

The Emergency Man.

BY EDGAR WHITE. An eastbound train on the Hannibal & St. Joseph railroad was splitting the night air in a vain attempt to recall an hour's time lost on the west end of the division. But for one circumstance the situation would not have been serious. In the rear coach were the president and two directors of the road. It was of the highest importance that they reach St. Louis on time in order to make connections with the Iron Mountain for Memphis, where an important meeting was to be held looking to the consolidation of some of the lines to the Gulf. The Hannibal & St. Joseph officials might

[graphic]

GENERAL COMMITTEE OF ADJUSTMENT N. Y, C. & H. R. R.R., AND N. Y. N. H. & H. R.R., DEC. 1, 190
Top Row-John Terry, Div.169, W.M.Alling. Div. 77, C.W.Fisk, Div.57, E. E. Buckley,

Div.288.J.P. Riley, Div.152, N.B.Parrish, Div.77.J.M.McCaun.Div.635. C.F.Hoyt, Div.312,
W.H. Brewer, Div. 235. P. A. Batch, Div. 348, J. A. Powell, Div. 312. J.R. Fitzgerald, Div.64. C. E. Wilkie, Div. 328, G.D. Cook, Div. 58., C. H.Whamer.Div172, H. T. Hoyt, Div.205,
C.D.Noore, Div.205, D.Vaughan, Div.77,F.S. Evans.Chr. G.C.of A.N.H.System.J.M.Watson, Ch.G.C.of A.N.Y.C.System, A.M. Carroll, Div.46, HollandVan Vorst, Div, 14.
G. H. Witherell, Div. 77.
L. L. Mitchell, Div. 312, I, Brisette, Div. 145.

E. McCarthy, Div. 441.

have wired the Iron Mountain folks to feeling his way. He knew that he had hold their train, but it happened that the 175 miles ahead of him and that he had interests of the southern road were not to reach out and bring to earth that fatal in harmony with those of the northern 70 minutes before the journey was comMissouri line, and the request would pleted. Like a figure carved from have been politely ignored. Some 75 blackened marble he sat on his seat box miles west of the division point the presi. between the great boiler and the side of dent wired the superintendent the neces- the cab, one hand easing out the long, sity for prompt action when the locomo- slender lever and the other resting on the tives were changed.

brass air valve. The electric lights on The locomotive on the limited was the cab showed a pressure of 205 pounds sending a fountain of steam against the on the steam gauge and Barney, the black sky when the train palled into the stoker, toiled sturdily, passing the coal passenger sheds at Brookfield, an hour to the white hot cavern below with his and ten minutes to the bad. The officials big scoop. Far down the line the hurriedly passed out to the platform and movable flashlight in front of the short sought the superintendent.

stack brought into weird relief the route "Whom have you in the front end, of travel, the swaying barbwire fence Pat?" asked President Hartwell.

and the ocean-like streach of prairie. “I took a man off the Chicago run," The smoothly rolling cars began to said the superintendent; "he'll get you gather momentum, almost imperceptibly. through.”

The officials smoked in silence, now and Tell him I'd rather have the train then glancing out the window at the ditched than to miss out on this deal.” blackness. The center lamps began to

"He understands the situation, sir, I'll clatter as the cars gently swayed. go down the line with you."

"He's striking the gait," murmured “Good!” The superintendent entered the president, as he raised a window and the private car with the officials.

pulled out his watch. No. 1206, an immense mass of steel and The others consulted their time pieces iron, stood in the somber majesty of its as the president called off the mile posts. great power on the side track as the loco- The train was found to be running at 40 motive of the west division was un- miles an hour. At this point it slowed coupled and passed on down to the

yards. up for the network of switches through "We lost out west of Cameron, Felix," the coal town of Bevier. The president said the engineer of the derelict locomo- returned his watch to his pocket and said, tive; "it had been raining on up from the gloomily: river and the wheels slipped like they "Boys, I'm afraid the jig is up. He'll were greased.”

never make it. I wish we could have got The slight man in the blue overalls, to them to postpone the meeting for a day.” whom the remark was addressed, made “He'll make it,” said the superinno reply but looked down the platform tendent. for the signal; then he gently rolled his "Humph!" ejaculated Hartwell, skepti. big machine up and coupled on to the cally. At Macon, town stationed exfront end of the limited. The hurrying actly on the divide of the state, the limbaggage and express men soon completed ited had retrieved none of the lost time. their labors and the conductor waved his The point was 35 miles out of Brookfield lantern. The long train was started and a gradual ascent nearly every foot of without jerking and began to roll slowly it. As the clearance signal was given the out of the yards. The magnates in the superintendent's eyes lit up. rear car frowned.

“Now, Mr. Hartwell,” he said, “get out "Does he know we are in a hurry?” your watch." asked Hartwell.

The president raised the window again The superintendent bowed. The presi. and looked indifferently upon the roaddent bit viciously at an unlighted cigar. side. The train was now rushing through Far out in front the gasps from the short Middlefork bottoms, and up a slope of stack were coming quicker and quicker country where the pioneers had fought and a shower of bright sparks rattled Indians and made history. The rock-balnoisily against the large windows of the last road was as level as a parlor floor. palace car. Still, to the impatient men Within ten minutes after leaving Macon who had a fortune at stake it seemed the the double compound under the caressing engineer was criminally tardy in "getting touch of the silent man on the seat box busy."

was tearing through the forests like the The train passed on to the prairie at a onward sweep of a cyclone. rate not exceeding thirty miles an hour The first ten miles out of the town on as there was a gradual up grade. There the divide were made in eight and onewere twelve heavy cars behind him and half minutes. Then the wheels began to the engineer of the east division was hum and the sparks whirled viciously

[graphic][subsumed]

against the ventilators. The next ten miles were made in eight minutes; the next in seven and finally the president announced with some consternation, that the train had covered ten miles in six minutes. Others kept note of the mile posts and confirmed this statement.

The superintendent smiled.

"Felix knows how to run an engine," he said.

“Yes," said Hartwell, “but I hope he also knows enough not to run over the curves."

In all his life he had never traveled at the speed he was going then and for awhile he seriously thought of telling the superintendent to order it reduced. The veloc

the west division. The officials figured that if the speed were maintained into St. Louis, allowing for a slight halt at the old Monroe Junction, the train would reach Union station exactly on time.

With the first streak of dawn across the Illinois forest came the atmosphere from the river. All nature was quiet, peaceful and beautiful. Man only toiled and raged.

The limited swept into Monroe like a hurricane, a great volume of spray from the steam dome crashing against the air, and the air-brake reservoirs heavily panting. There was a wait for an up-river freight train, which had been carelessly permitted to pull out of Upper Alton ahead of the limited.

[graphic]

FIVE MEMBERS OF THE G. C. OF A., LOUISVILLE & NASHVILLE SYSTEM. N. W. Duvall, G. S. & T., Div. 365. T. J. Bissett, Gen. Chr. G. C. of A., Div. 156. A. K. Hall, Div. 140.

A. M. Pierce, Div. 463, Committee on Appeals. C. M. Moore, Chr., Div. 215. ity was so terrific that one could not hold With only 50 miles to go the loss of ten his head out of the window without great minutes was a sinister thing. The officials discomfort. A committee of travelers in glared through their plate glass windows the coach just ahead passed into the of- and said un-Christianlike things about ficials' car and stated that the forward the belated goods train. coaches were swinging so on the curves It seemed an interminable time before that it was feared they would not hold to the double-compound struck the maximum the rails and they demanded to know after leaving old Monroe. Daylight was whether there was a wild man or a luna- coming on and with it the hour for the tic in the cab. The superintendent molli- departing of the Iron Mountain train. fied them as best he could and they re- Forgetful of his experience a short way turned to their car.

up the line, Hartwell suggested that the Out of every ten miles traversed the superintendent go forward and inspire the double compound was placing four min- engineer to greater effort. utes against the 70 that had been lost on "It would be useless," said the superiŋ.

« PreviousContinue »