« PreviousContinue »
and taking down the hook raked over the and I went home happy and unhappy. fire, threw on some coal and awaited de- I could not give up my job now, that velopments. In a short time the haud was sure, but I had something to make began to slowly retrace its course and I, my heart lighter and I went at the work for one, was glad to see it near its required now with a double purpose,-to make mark. The brakeman stepped down with mother happy and provide a home for the a twinkling eye and I always surmised one I loved. that as Tom resumed his seat a wink On our fifth wedding anniversary, Eva passed between them.
suggested that we invite the immediate Three weeks had passed and I asked family in to spend the evening and said leave to "lay in a trip' which was granted. she had a surprise for me. After they I told mother in the evening I should call arrived and we were all seated in the paron Miss Murdock, a lady to whom I had lor, she said: been engaged for several months, and “ John, do you know why your mother asked her to accompany me. I was rather wanted you to get married so young?” flustrated to see with what readiness my I admitted that I had always wondered, invitation was accepted, but having once and she said: asked her there was no other way than to Because we heard you were sick of take her along.
your job and we wanted you to stay and We arrived at Miss Murdock's boarding not be laughed at. I knew if you had house about 8 o'clock and found her alone. me you would have to work and I think I Her parents had both died when she was suggested it to her. We planned it toa small child and there had been hardly gether and the reason we didn't tell you a money enough left to take care of her long time ago was because we wanted to until she reached a working age. She be sure you were going to stay before we and mother were very fond of one an- told you." other and I was only too anxious for the We all laughed heartily and I said: time to come when I could earn wages “I knew it was the best thing that enough to make her my wife, but on that could ever have happened to me. Now I very day I had decided in my own mind have a surprise.” to give up my work. Two or three times Eva looked at me with a wondering exI had been on the point of handing in my pression. time and some good man in the crew "Have you been keeping a secret from would say “Stick her out, John,” so I me?'' she asked. had stayed on.
“Not long," I answered, taking out my The work was harder than I had watch. “ Only am hour and eleven thought and I had hardly had a whole minutes." night's sleep in three weeks. Therefore, " What is it?" was asked in chorus. my mind was determined. I would tell “Well," I said, “when I passed the mother (from whom I had kept it) and office tonight, Mr. Brown called me in Eva, together, and then I shonld feel bet- and told me I had been promoted today to ter. I was just turning over in my mind an engineer. I studied and took my exwhat words to use when Eva shyly said, aminations last summer when you women **John, I hope you will not think me bold were away, for I knew if I passed it but your mother and I”-here she was in- would be the best anniversary present I terrupted by my mother.
could give to the ones who helped me “Yes, John, I want you and Eva to earn it." get married and come home to live. Eva lias no home of her own and you have a
The Emergency Man. place where you will later be promoted, and your father and I were married when
BY EDGAR WHITE. we were just your age. We have all talked it over."
An eastbound train on the Hannibal & “Without consulting me, but” said I- St. Joseph railroad was splitting the
“ There is no use in saying anything at night air in a vain attempt to recall an all. Papa says he will_board you until hour's time lost on the west end of the you get a start. Now, John, this is leap division. But for one circumstance the year, what is your answer?” asked my situation would not have been serious. In mother eagerly.
the rear coach were the president and What could I do? She knew I loved Eva, two directors of the road. It was of the else she would never have asked me, and highest importance that they reach St. of course I had no excuse and before the Louis on time in order to make conevening was over the date and many nections with the Iron Mountain for arrangements for the wedding were Memphis, where an important meeting made.
was to be held looking to the consolidaJust as we left, my mother asked me to tion of some of the lines to the Gulf. The kiss Eva good-night to seal the compact, Hannibal & St. Joseph officials might
GENERAL COMMITTEE OF ADJUSTMENT N, Y, C. & H, R. R.R., AND N. Y. N. H. & H. R.R., DEC. 1, 190
G.D. Cook, Div. 58., C.H. Whamer, Div. 172, H. T. Hoyt, Div. 205,
A.J. Fers. Div. 244. M. H. Strauss, Div. 424, M. Flannery, Div. 421. A.F. McFarland, Div. 312, E. Sullivan, Div. 227, E.W. Hurley, A. G. C. E., C. R. Becbe, Div. 18.
E. McCarthy, Div. 441.
have wired the Iron Mountain folks to hold their train, but it happened that the interests of the southern road were not in harmony with those of the northern Missouri line, and the request would have been politely ignored. Some 75 miles west of the division point the presi. dent wired the superintendent the necessity for prompt action when the locomotives were changed.
The locomotive on the limited was sending a fountain of steam against the black sky when the train pulled into the passenger sheds at Brookfield, an hour and ten minutes to the bad. The officials hurriedly passed out to the platform and sought the superintendent.
"Whom have you in the front end, Pat?" asked President Hartwell.
“I took a man off the Chicago run,' said the superintendent; “he'll get you through."
Tell him I'd rather have the train ditched than to miss out on this deal."
"He understands the situation, sir, I'll go down the line with you."
“Good!” The superintendent entered the private car with the officials.
No. 1206, an immense mass of steel and iron, stood in the somber majesty of its great power on the side track as the loco. motive of the west division was uncoupled and passed on down to the yards.
"We lost out west of Cameron, Felix,” said the engineer of the derelict locomotive; "it had been raining on up from the river and the wheels slipped like they were greased.”
The slight man in the blue overalls, to whom the remark was addressed, made no reply but looked down the platform for the signal; then he gently rolled his big machine up and coupled on to the front end of the limited. The hurrying baggage and express men soon completed their labors and the conductor waved his lantern. The long train was started without jerking and began to roll slowly out of the yards. The magnates in the rear car frowned.
“Does he know we are in a hurry?" asked Hartwell.
The superintendent bowed. The presi. dent bit viciously at an unlighted cigar. Far out in front the gasps from the short stack were coming quicker and quicker and a shower of bright sparks rattled noisily against the large windows of the palace car. Still, to the impatient men who had a fortune at stake it seemed the engineer was criminally tardy in "getting
The train passed on to the prairie at a rate not exceeding thirty miles an hour as there was a gradual up grade. There were twelve heavy cars behind him and the engineer of the east division was
feeling his way. He knew that he had 175 miles ahead of him and that he had to reach out and bring to earth that fatal 70 minutes before the journey was completed. Like a figure carved from blackened marble he sat on his seat box between the great boiler and the side of the cab, one hand easing out the long, slender lever and the other resting on the brass air valve. The electrio lights on the cab showed a pressure of 205 pounds on the steam gauge and Birney, the stoker, toiled sturdily, passing the coal to the white hot cavern below with his big scoop.
Far down the line the movable flashlight in front of the short stack brought into weird relief the route of travel, the swaying barbwire fence and the ocean-like streach of prairie.
The smoothly rolling cars began to gather momentum, almost imperceptibly. The officials smoked in silence, now and then glancing out the window at the blackness. The center lamps began to clatter as the cars gently swayed.
“He's striking the gait," murmured the president, as he raised a window and pulled out his watch.
The others consulted their time pieces as the president called off the mile posts. The train was found to be running at 40 miles an hour. At this point it slowed up for the network of switches through the coal town of Bevier. The president returned his watch to his pocket and said, gloomily:
"Boys, I'm afraid the jig is up. He'll never make it. I wish we could have got them to postpone the meeting for a day.
“He'll make it,” said the superintendent.
"Humph!” ejaculated Hartwell, skepti. cally. At Macon, a town stationed ex. actly on the divide of the state, the lim. ited had retrieved none of the lost time. The point was 35 miles out of Brookfield and a gradual ascent nearly every foot of it. As the clearance signal was given the superintendent's eyes lit up.
“Now, Mr. Hartwell,” he said, "get out
The president raised the window again and looked indifferently upon the roadside. The train was now rushing through Middlefork bottoms, and up a slope of country where the pioneers had fought Indians and made history. The rock-ballast road was as level as a parlor floor. Within ten minutes after leaving Macon the double compound under the caressing touch of the silent man on the seat box was tearing through the forests like the onward sweep of a cyclone.
The first ten miles out of the town on the divide were made in eight and onehalf minutes. Then the wheels began to hum and the sparks whirled viciously
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 min. utes. 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.
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 componnd was placing four min- engineer to greater effort. ates against the 70 that had been lost on "It would be useless," said the superin.