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Title: Snow on the Headlight - A Story of the Great Burlington Strike
Author: Warman, Cy, 1855-1914
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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SNOW ON THE HEADLIGHT


BY CY WARMAN

    _A Story of the Great Burlington Strike_
    12mo. Cloth, $1.25


    THE STORY OF THE RAILROAD
    (_The Story of the West Series._)
    Illustrated. 12mo. Cloth, $1.50


    D. APPLETON & COMPANY
    NEW YORK



    SNOW ON THE
    HEADLIGHT

    A Story of the Great
    Burlington Strike


BY CY WARMAN

AUTHOR OF THE STORY OF THE RAILROAD, THE
EXPRESS MESSENGER, TALES OF AN ENGINEER,
FRONTIER STORIES, ETC.


    NEW YORK
    D. APPLETON AND COMPANY
    MDCCCXCIX



Copyright, 1899, by D. Appleton & Co.



PREFACE


        _Here is a Decoy Duck stuffed with Oysters.
                   The Duck is mere Fiction:
                    The Oysters are Facts._

_If you find the Duck wholesome, and the Oysters hurt you, it is
probably because you had a hand in the making of this bit of History,
and in the creation of these Facts._


THE AUTHOR



SNOW ON THE HEADLIGHT



CHAPTER FIRST


Good managers are made from messenger boys, brakemen, wipers and
telegraphers; just as brave admirals are produced in due time by
planting a cadet in a naval school. From two branches of the service
come the best equipped men in the railroad world--from the motive-power
department and from the train service. This one came from the mechanical
department, and he spent his official life trying to conceal the
fact--striving to be just to all his employees and to show no partiality
towards the department from whence he sprang--but always failing.

"These men will not strike," he contended: "The brains of the train are
in the engine."

"O, I don't think," Mr. Josler, the general superintendent, would say;
and if you followed his accent it would take you right back to the heart
of Germany: "Giff me a goot conductor, an' I git over the roat."

No need to ask where he came from.

As the grievance grew in the hands of the "grief" committee, and the
belief became fixed in the minds of the officials that the employees
were looking for trouble, the situation waxed critical. "Might as well
make a clean job of it," the men would say; and then every man who had a
grievance, a wound where there had been a grievance or a fear that he
might have something to complain of in the future, contributed to the
real original grievance until the trouble grew so that it appalled the
officials and caused them to stiffen their necks. In this way the men
and the management were being wedged farther and farther apart. Finally,
the general manager, foreseeing what war would cost the company and the
employees, made an effort to reach a settlement, but the very effort was
taken as evidence of weakness, and instead of yielding something the
men took courage, and lengthened the list of grievances. His predecessor
had said to the president of the company when the last settlement was
effected: "This is our last compromise. The next time we shall have to
fight--my back is to the wall." But, when the time came for the
struggle, he had not the heart to make the fight, and so resigned and
went west, where he died shortly afterwards, and dying, escaped the
sorrow that must have been his had he lived to see how his old,
much-loved employees were made to suffer.

Now the grievance committee came with an ultimatum to the management.
"Yes, or No?" demanded the chairman with a Napoleonic pose. But the
general superintendent was loth to answer.

"Yes, or No?"

Mr. Josler hesitated, equivocated, and asked to be allowed to confer
with his chief.

"Yes, or No?" demanded the fearless leader, lifting his hand like an
auctioneer.

"Vell, eef you put it so, I must say No," said the superintendent and
instantly the leader turned on his heel. He did not take the trouble to
say good-day, but snapped his finger and strode away.

Now the other members of the committee got up and went out, pausing to
say good morning to the superintendent who stood up to watch the
procession pass out into the wide hall. One man, who confirmed the
general manager's belief that there were brains among the engine-men,
lingered to express his regrets that the conference should have ended so
abruptly.

The news of this man's audacity spread among the higher officials, so
that when the heads of the brotherhoods came--which is a last
resort--the company were almost as haughty and remote as the head of the
grievance committee had been.

From that moment the men and the management lost faith in each other.
More, they refused even to understand each other. Whichever side made a
slight concession it was made to suffer for it, for such an act was sure
to be interpreted by the other side as a sign of weakening. In vain did
the heads of the two organizations, representing the engine-men, strive
to overcome the mischief done by the local committee, and to reach a
settlement. They showed, by comparison, that this, the smartest road in
the West, was paying a lower rate of wages to its engine-men than was
paid by a majority of the railroads of the country. They urged the
injustice of the classification of engineers, but the management claimed
that the system was just, and later received the indorsement, on this
point, of eight-tenths of the daily press. Eight out of ten of these
editors knew nothing of the real merits or demerits of the system, but
they thought they knew, and so they wrote about it, the people read
about it and gave or withheld their sympathy as the news affected them.

When the heads of the brotherhoods announced their inability to reach
an agreement they were allowed to return to their respective homes,
beyond the borders of the big state, and out of reach of the Illinois
conspiracy law. A local man "with sand to fight" was chosen
commander-in-chief, and after one more formal effort to reach a
settlement he called the men out.

On a blowy Sunday afternoon in February the chief clerk received a wire
calling him to the office of the general manager. He found his chief
pacing the floor. As the secretary entered, the general manager turned,
faced him, and then, waving a hand over the big flat-topped desk that
stood in the centre of his private office, said: "Take this all away,
John. The engineers are going to strike and I want nothing to come to my
desk that does not relate to that, until this fight is over."

Noting the troubled, surprised look upon the secretary's face the
manager called him.

"Come here John. Are you afraid? Does the magnitude of it all appal
you--do you want to quit? If you do say so now."

As he spoke the piercing, searching eyes of the general manager swept
the very soul of his secretary. The two men looked at each other.
Instantly the shadow passed from the long, sad face of the clerk, and in
its place sat an expression of calm determination. Now the manager spoke
not a word, but reaching for the hand of his faithful assistant, pressed
it firmly, and turned away.

There was no spoken pledge, no vow, no promise of loyalty, but in that
mute handclasp there was an oath of allegiance.

At four o'clock on the following morning--Monday, February the 27th,
1888,--every locomotive engineer and fireman in the service of the
Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad Company quit work. The fact that
not one man remained in the service an hour after the order went out,
shows how firmly fixed was the faith of the men in the ability of the
"Twin Brotherhoods" to beat the company, and how universal was the
belief that their cause was just. All trains in motion at the moment
when the strike was to take effect were run to their destination, or to
divisional stations, rather, and there abandoned by the crew.

The conductors, brakemen and baggagemen were not in the fight, and when
directed by the officials to take the engines and try to run them or
fire them, they found it hard to refuse to obey the order. Some of them
had no thought of refusing, but cheerfully took the engines out,
and--drowned them. That was a wild, exciting day for the officials, but
it was soon forgotten in days that made that one seem like a pleasant
dream.

The long struggle that had been going on openly between the officials
and the employees was now enacted privately, silently, deep in the souls
of men. Each individual must face the situation and decide for himself
upon which side he would enlist. Hundreds of men who had good positions
and had, personally, no grievance, felt in honor bound to stand by their
brothers, and these men were the heroes of the strike, for it is
infinitely finer to fight for others than for one's self. When a man has
toiled for a quarter of a century to gain a comfortable place it is not
without a struggle that he throws it all over, in an unselfish effort to
help a brother on. The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers had grown to
be respected by the public because of almost countless deeds of
individual heroism. It was deferred to--and often encouraged by railway
officials, because it had improved the service a thousand per cent. The
man who climbed down from the cab that morning on the "Q" was as far
ahead of the man who held the seat twenty years earlier, as an English
captain is ahead of the naked savage whose bare feet beat the sands of
the Soudan. By keeping clear of entangling alliances and carefully
avoiding serious trouble, the Brotherhood had, in the past ten years,
piled up hundreds of thousands of dollars. This big roll of the root of
all evil served now to increase the confidence of the leaders, and to
encourage the men to strike.

At each annual convention mayors, governors and prominent public men
paraded the virtues of the Brotherhood until its members came to regard
themselves as just a little bit bigger, braver and better than ordinary
mortals. Public speakers and writers were for ever predicting that in a
little while the Brotherhood would be invincible.[1] And so, hearing
only good report of itself the Brotherhood grew over-confident, and
entered this great fight top-heavy because of an exaggerated idea of its
own greatness.

[1] "_I dare say that the engineers' strike will end, as all strikes
have hitherto ended, in disaster to the strikers. But I am sure that
strikes will not always end so. It is only a question of time, and of a
very little time, till the union of labor shall be so perfect that
nothing can defeat it. We may say this will be a very good time or a
very bad time; all the same it is coming._"--_W. D. Howells, in Harper's
Weekly, April 21, 1888._

The Engineers' Brotherhood was not loved by other organizations. The
conductors disliked it, and it had made itself offensive to the firemen
because of its persistent refusal to federate or affiliate in any manner
with other organizations having similar aims and objects. But now,
finding itself in the midst of a hard fight, it evinced a desire to
combine. The brakemen refused to join the engine-men, though
sympathizing with them, but the switchmen were easily persuaded. The
switchman of a decade ago could always be counted upon to fight. In
behind his comb, tooth-brush and rabbit's foot, he carried a neatly
folded, closely written list of grievances upon which he was ready to do
battle. Peace troubled his mind.

Some one signed a solemn compact in which the engineers bound themselves
to support the switchmen--paying them as often as the engine-men drew
money--and the switchmen went out. They struck vigorously, and to a
man, and remained loyal long after the Brotherhood had broken its pledge
and cut off the pay of the strikers.[2] In this battle the switchmen
were the bravest of the brave.

[2] _At the annual convention held at Atlanta, in the autumn of that
year (1888) the engineers dropped the sympathy-striking switchmen from
the pay roll, at the same time increasing the pay of striking engineers
from $40.00 to $50.00 a month._

At the end of the first month of the strike the lines were pretty well
drawn. There was no neutral ground for employees. A man was either with
the company or with the strikers.



CHAPTER SECOND


"Good morning, John," said the general manager coming softly through the
little gate that fenced off a small reservation in the outer office, and
beyond which the secretary and his assistants worked: "How goes the
battle?"

"Well, on the whole," said the chief clerk, gathering up a batch of
telegrams that made up the official report from the various division
superintendents; "it was a rough night. Three yard engines disabled in
the Chicago yards, freight train burned at Burlington, head-end
collision on the B. & M. Division, two engineers and one fireman killed,
ware-house burned at Peoria, two bridges blown up in Iowa, two trains
ditched near Denver, three--"

"Well! well!" broke in the general manager, "that will do." The clerk
stopped short, the office boy passed out through the open door and a
great swell of silence surged into the room.

After taking a few turns up and down the office, the manager stopped at
the secretary's desk and added: "We must win this strike. The directors
meet to-day and those English share-holders are getting nervous. They
can't understand that this fight is necessary--that we are fighting for
peace hereafter; weeding out a pestilence that threatens, not only the
future of railway corporations, but the sacred rights of American
citizens--the right to engage in whatever business or calling one cares
to follow, and to employ whom he will at whatever wages the employer and
employed may agree upon. Let these strikers win and we shall have a
strike as often as the moon changes. When I endeavor to reach an
agreement with them, they take it that the company is weakening, and the
leaders will listen to nothing. I shudder to think what is in store for
them and what they must suffer before they can understand."

With that the general manager passed into the private office and the
chief clerk, who had been at his post all night, turned to a steaming
breakfast which the porter had just brought from a café across the
street. The postman came in, grave-faced and silent, and left a big
bundle of letters on the secretary's desk. Most of the mail was
official, but now and then there came letters from personal friends who
held similar positions on other roads, assuring the general manager of
their sympathy, and that they would aid his company whenever they could
do so secretly and without exciting their own employees.

Many letters came from stockholders protesting vigorously against a
continuation of the strike. Some anonymous letters warned the company
that great calamity awaited the management, unless the demands of the
employees were acceded to and the strike ended. A glance into the
newspapers that came in, showed that three-fourths of the press of the
country praised the management and referred to the strikers as
dynamiters and anarchists. The other fourth rejoiced at each drop in the
stocks and called every man a martyr who was arrested at the instigation
of the railroad company. The reports sent out daily by the company and
those collected at the headquarters of the strikers agreed exactly as to
date, but disagreed in all that followed.

The secretary, somewhat refreshed by a good breakfast, waded through the
mail, making marks and notations occasionally with a blue pencil on the
turned down corners of letters.

Some of the communications were referred to the general traffic manager,
some to the general passenger agent, others to the superintendent of
motive power and machinery. They were all sorted carefully and deposited
in wicker baskets, bearing the initials of the different departments.
Many were dropped into the basket marked "G. M." but most of the matter
was disposed of by the secretary himself, for the chief clerk of a great
railway system, having the signature of the General Manager, is one of
the busiest, and usually one of the brightest men in the company's
employ.

The general manager in his private office pored over the morning papers,
puffing vigorously now and then as he perused a paragraph that praised
the strikers, but, when the literature was to his liking, smoked slowly
and contentedly, like a man without a care.

Such were the scenes and conditions in and about the general offices of
the Chicago Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company when a light foot-step
was heard in the hall and a gentle voice came singing:

    "_Always together in sunshine and rain.
    Facing the weather_--"

"Good morning, Patsy," said the chief clerk, looking up as Patsy paused
at the gate, removed his hat and bowed two or three short quick bows
with his head without bowing his body.

"I beg your pardon," said Patsy, "I thought you were alone."

"Well, I am alone."

"No you're not--I'm here. Always together--"

"Come! Come! Patsy don't get funny this morning."

"Get funny! how can I get funny when I'm already funny? I was born
funny--they had fun with me at the christening, and I expect they'll
have the divil's own time with me at the wake. Always--"

"Sh! Sh!--Be quiet," said the secretary, nodding his head and his thumb
in the direction of the door of the private office.

"Is the governor in?" asked Patsy.

"Yes."

"Now that's lucky for me, for I wanted to ask a favor and I want it
to-day, and if the governor was not in you would say, 'I'll have to see
the governor;' then when I came back you would say 'The governor has
left the office, and I forgot it,' but now that the governor is here you
can do it yourself. I want to go to Council Bluffs."

"All right, Patsy, you can go if you can persuade those friends of yours
to allow us to run a train."

"On the Q?"

"That's the only line we control."

"Not on your salary."

"Then you can't go," said the clerk, as he resumed the work before him.

"What's the matter with the North Western?" asked Patsy in an earnest,
pleading tone.

"You ought to know that we can't give passes over a competing line."

"I do know it, but you can give me a letter over there. Just say:
'Please give Patsy Daly transportation, Chicago to Council Bluffs and
return;' that'll do the business. You might add a paragraph about me
being an old and trusted employee and--"

"A bold and mistrusted striker, Patsy, would be nearer the card."

"Now don't bring up unpleasant recollections," said Patsy with a frown
that didn't make him look as cross as some men look when they laugh: "It
will be a neat way of showing that the Q is big enough to be good to her
old employees, even if her stock is a little down. What do you say--do I
get the pass--does mother see her railroad boy to-night?"

The door that was marked "Private" opened slowly and the general manager
came in. The chief clerk shuffled the letters while Patsy made a
desperate effort to look serious and respectful.

"What brings you here, Patsy?" asked the head of the road, for he was by
no means displeased at seeing one of the old employees in the office who
was not a member of a grievance committee.

"I want to get a pass, if you please sir, to run down to the Bluffs and
see the folks."

"Patsy wants a request for a pass over the North Western," said the
clerk, taking courage now that the subject was opened.

"Ah! is that all? now suppose I ask you to take a passenger train out
to-night, will you do it?" asked the general manager, turning to Patsy.

"What's the matter with the regular conductor?"

"Joined the strikers," was the reply.

"But the papers say the strike is over."

"It is! but a lot of you fellows don't seem to know it."

"I'm glad of it, and now I must hurry back, so as to be ready to take my
run out. Do I get the pass?"

"And you expect, when the strike is off, to go back to your old place?"

"Sure," said Patsy, "I don't intend to quit you as long as you have a
brake for me to turn."

"There's a lot of brakes that nobody is turning right now; come, you
young rascal, will you go to work?"

"Now," said the young rascal, "you know what it says at the bottom of
the time-card: 'In case of doubt take the safe side.' I'm waiting to see
which side is safe."

With that the manager went back to his desk and closed the door behind
him, and the secretary went on with his work.

Patsy stood and looked out at the window for a while, and then said half
to himself, but so the clerk could hear him: "Poor little mother, how
she will miss me to-night."

The secretary said nothing, but leaving his desk entered the office of
his chief, and when they had talked over the business of the hour and
read the story prepared by the passenger department for the press that
day, he asked what should be done for Patsy.

"Oh! give him the letter, I suppose, but he's the only employee on the
road I would do so much for."

"And he's the only one with nerve enough to ask it," said the
secretary.

"Yes, he is a bit nervy, John; but it isn't an offensive sort of nerve;
and then he's so happy. Why, he really rests me when he comes in. He's
smart, too, too smart to be a striker and he may be of some use to us
yet."

In a little while Patsy went singing himself out just as he had sung
himself in. The general manager sat watching the happy youth from the
outer door of his room until the song and the sound of footsteps died
away in the wide hall. Turning to his desk he sighed and said: "Ah,
well! the English poet was right when he wrote:

    '_The world that knows itself too sad
    Is proud to keep some faces glad!_'"



CHAPTER THIRD


Patsy, the postman and the newsgatherers, who left the headquarters of
the company and wandered over to the Grand Pacific where the strikers
held forth, must have been struck forcibly by the vast difference in the
appearance of the two places upon this particular morning. At the first
place all was neatness and order in spite of the deplorable condition of
affairs outside; and a single man handled the almost endless flood of
letters and telegrams that fell like autumn leaves upon his desk.

In fact, the office boy and the colored porter were the only people
about the company's headquarters who showed any real anxiety.

At the headquarters of the strikers all was confusion and disorder. The
outer offices and ante-rooms were filled with a vast crowd of men who
idled about, smoked, swapped stories and swore; and some of them, I'm
sorry to say, chewed tobacco and flooded the floor with inexcusable
filth. Even Mr. Hogan's private office was not private. Leading strikers
and men prominent in the Brotherhood loafed there as the others loafed
outside. Not more than half the men about the building had ever been
employed by the Burlington company. There were scores of "tramp"
switchmen and travelling trainmen, made reckless by idleness, as men are
sometimes made desperate by hunger, with an alarmingly large
representation of real criminals, who follow strikes as "grafters"
follow a circus. If a striker lost his temper and talked as he ought not
to talk, this latter specimen was always ready to encourage him; for
whatever promised trouble for others promised profitable pastime for the
criminal. If the real workers could keep clear of this class, as well as
the idle, loafing element in their own profession, ninety per cent. of
the alleged labor outrages would never be committed. Very likely there
were a number of detectives moving among the strikers, and they, too,
have been known to counsel violence in order to perpetuate a struggle
between labor and capital that they themselves might not be idle. It is
only in the best organized agencies that detectives can be relied upon
to take no undue advantage of those whom they are sent out to detect.
Over in another part of the same building, where the firemen held forth,
the scene was about the same, save that the men there were younger in
years and louder in their abuse of the railway officials; and generally
less discreet.

    "_Always together in sunshine and rain,
    Facing the weather atop o' the train_,"

sang Patsy as he strolled into the private office of Chairman Borphy,
who was in charge of the firemen's end of the strike. Borphy greeted
Patsy pleasantly as did the others in the office, with one exception.
Over in a window sat fireman George Cowels, a great striker, and in the
eyes of some of his enthusiastic friends a great man, and in his own
estimation a great orator. Removing his cigar in order to give the
proper effect to the expression he was about to assume, Cowels gave
Patsy a hard searching look as he asked:

"Does that song of yours mean yourself and the general manager?"

"An' if it does," said Patsy, stepping close in front of his questioner:
"What's it _to_ you?"

"Just this," said Cowels: "You have been watched. You went to the
general office this morning the moment it was open, and took a message
for Mr. Stonaker to the general manager of the C. & N. W. Does that fit
your case? Perhaps you will favor us with the result of your mission!
Come, will the North Western help your friend out?"

At the conclusion of this eloquent burst of indignation Cowels smiled
triumphantly, for, as Patsy paled into silence, the big fellow thought
he had his man scared; but when Patsy took another step forward, forcing
his opponent back to the window, and asked between his closed teeth, if
Cowels meant to accuse him of betraying the strikers to the company
every one in the room realized that something was about to happen.
Perhaps Cowels thought so, too, but he was in a hole and could only
answer Yes. The next instant Patsy drove his fist up under the orator's
chin, and the back of that gentleman's head made a hole in the window.
The bystanders, knowing the temper of both the men, sprang between them
before any further damage could be done.

If Patsy had the best of the fight he had the worst of the argument. He
had been openly accused of being a "spotter" and had made no explanation
of his conduct; so when it was reported that he had gone to Council
Bluffs over the North Western, the more ignorant and noisy of his
associates were easily persuaded that such a favor to a striker could
only be secured upon the request of Mr. Stonaker and that request would
be given only for services rendered; and Patsy Daly was from that day
doomed to walk under a cloud.

       *       *       *       *       *

The long struggle was beginning to tell on the strikers. It was
evidenced in the shiny suits worn by the men who met daily at the hall
in town to discuss the strike. It was seen again in the worn wraps of
many a mother and in the torn shoes of school-children. These were only
the outer signs, the real suffering was carefully covered up--hidden in
the homes where home comfort had become a reminiscence. The battle at
first had been with the strong but now the brunt of it was being shifted
to the shoulders of the women, the wives and mothers of the strikers.
These patient martyrs, whose business it had been to look after the
home, now suffered the humiliation of having door after door closed to
them and their children. Of a morning you might see them tramping
through the snow from shop to shop trying to secure credit for the day.
The strike would be over in a little while, they argued, but the
struggling shop-keeper had his own to look after. The wholesale houses
were refusing him credit and so he was powerless to help the hungry
wives of worthy workmen. The men themselves were beginning to lose
heart. Many a man who had not known what it was to be without a dollar
now saw those dearest to him in actual want and went away to look for
work on other roads. Finally, a monster union meeting was called for the
purpose of getting an expression of opinion as to the advisability of
making the best possible terms with the company and calling the strike
off. Here the engine-men, trainmen and switchmen met, but the radical
element was in the majority, and the suggestions of the heads of the
various Brotherhoods that the strike be called off were howled down by
the unterrified. It was at this meeting that a tall, powerful, but mild
mannered man, stood up in the face of all the opposing elements and
advised that the strike be ended at once. He did not suggest this from a
selfish motive, he said. He was a single man and had money enough to
keep himself in idleness for a year, but there were hundreds of families
who were in want, and it was for these he was pleading. The speaker was
interrupted repeatedly, but he kept his place and continued to talk
until the mob became silent and listened out of mere curiosity. "You can
never hold an army of hungry men together," said the speaker; "you can't
fight gold with a famine. The company, we are told, has already lost a
million dollars. What of it? You forget that it has been making millions
annually for the past ten years. What have we been making? Lots of
money, I'll admit, but none of it has been saved. The company is rich,
the brotherhoods are bankrupt. From the remotest corners of the country
comes the cry of men weary of paying assessments to support us in
idleness. To-day some sort of settlement might be made--to-morrow it may
be too late."

At this juncture the mob howled the speaker down again. Men climbed over
benches to get at the "traitor." A man who had been persuaded to leave
the company, and who had been taken into the order only the day before,
tried to strike the engineer in the face. In the midst of the
excitement, George Cowels of the Fireman's Brotherhood leaped upon the
platform and at sight of him and the sound of his powerful voice the
rioters became quiet.

"I think," he began slowly to show how easy it was for a truly great
leader to keep cool in the hottest of the fight, "I think I can explain
the action of the last speaker."

Here he paused and looked down into the frank face of Dan Moran and
continued:

"Mr. Moran, as many of you know, has one of the best runs on the road.
He has had it for a good many years and he loathes to leave it. By
denying himself the luxury of a cigar and never taking a drink he has
managed to save up some money. He is a money-getter--a money-saver and
it hurts him to be idle. I have been firing for him for five years and
in all that time he has never been the man to say: 'Come, George, let's
have a drink or a cigar.' Now I propose that we chip in and pay Mr. Dan
Moran his little four dollars a day. Let us fight this fight to a
finish. Let there be no retreat until the proud banner of our
Brotherhood waves above the blackened ruins of the once powerful
Burlington route. Down with all traitors: on with the fight."

At the conclusion of this speech the audience went wild. When order had
been partially restored a vote was taken, when it was shown that
seven-eighths of the men were in favor of continuing the strike.

The engineers had really been spoiled by success. At the last annual
convention they had voted to exterminate the classification system, and
had passed a law making it impossible for the head of the organization
to make any settlement that included a continuation of classification.
The scalps of the Atchison, the Alton, the Louisville and Nashville, and
a number of other strong companies dangled at the belt of the big chief
of the Engineers' Brotherhood. These were all won by diplomacy, but the
men did not know it. They believed that the show of strength had awed
the railway officials of the country and that the railway labor
organizations were invincible. A little easing off by the Brotherhood,
and a little forbearance on the part of the management might, at the
start, have averted the great struggle; but when once war had been
declared the generals on both sides had no choice but to fight it out to
a finish.



CHAPTER FOURTH


"Can you spare me a little money, George?" asked Mrs. Cowels, adjusting
her last year's coat.

"What do you want of money?"

"Well--it's Christmas eve, and I thought we ought to have something for
Bennie. He has been asking me all evening what I expected from Santa
Claus, never hinting, of course, that he expected anything."

"Well, here's a dollar."

Mrs. Cowels took the money and went over to the little store.

There were so many things to choose from that she found it difficult to
make a selection. Finally she paid a quarter for a tin whistle and two
bunches of noise--that was for the boy. With the remaining seventy-five
cents she bought a pair of gloves for her husband.

"Anybody been here to-day?" asked Cowels of his wife when she came back
from the store.

"Yes, Mr. Squeesum, secretary of the Benevolent Building Association,
was here to see you about the last two payments which are over-due, on
the house."

"What did you tell him?"

"I told him that we had no money."

"What did he say?"

"He said that was very strange, as the Brotherhoods were pouring
thousands of dollars into Chicago to aid the strikers. What becomes of
all this money, George? You never seem to get any of it."

"We pour it out again," said Cowels, "to the army of engine-men who are
coming here from the Reading and everywhere to take our places. We hire
them--buy them off--bribe them, to prevent them from taking service with
the company, and yet it seems there is no end to the supply. For every
man we secure the company brings a score, and we are losing ground.
Members of the Brotherhood everywhere are growing weary of the long
struggle. They have good jobs and object to paying from six to twelve
dollars a month to support the strikers. Some have even refused to pay
assessments and have surrendered their charters. Anybody else here?"

"Yes, a man named Hawkins. He wanted room and board."

"What did you tell him?"

"I told him we had never kept roomers or boarders, but he said he liked
the place--for me to speak to you, and he would call again."

"Huh! he must like the place. Well, I guess we can get along some way,"
said Cowels, and then he sat and looked into the fire for a while
without saying anything. When Mrs. Cowels had put the baby down she came
and sat near her husband and they began to discuss the future. They had
bought their little home a year and a half ago for twelve hundred
dollars. They had lived economically and had been able to reduce the
debt to six hundred dollars. But when the strike came they were unable
to keep up the payments and now the association had begun to push them.
If they did not pay within the next thirty days the real estate company
with the soft sounding title would foreclose the mortgage. When they had
talked this all over, Mrs. Cowels proposed that they take the stranger
in, but her husband objected. "I didn't want to tell you, George," said
the brave little woman, "but there was another caller. The grocer and
butcher was here this morning and we can get no more meat or groceries
until we pay. He is a poor man, you know, and he can't keep up the
families of all the strikers. I didn't want to worry you with this,
George, but since you are opposed to me helping by taking a lodger I
will tell you that something must be done."

Cowels lighted a fresh cigar. That was the third one since supper. They
cost all the way from two to five cents apiece, but Mrs. Cowels knew
that he was worried about lodge matters and if she thought anything
about it at all, she probably reasoned that it was a good thing to be
able to smoke and forget.

"I made the speech of my life to-day," said the striker, brushing the
ashes lightly from his cigar. "The hall was packed and the fellows stood
up on their chairs and yelled. One fellow shouted, 'Three cheers for the
next Grand Master,' and the gang threw up their hats and hollered till I
thought they'd gone wild. Nora, if there was a convention to-morrow I'd
win, hands down."

Mrs. Cowels smiled faintly, for to her way of thinking there were other
things as important as her husband's election to the position of Grand
Master of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen, and she changed the
subject. Presently the door-bell sounded, so loud and piercing that the
sound of it waked the baby. The man who had pulled the bell knew at once
that he had made no mistake. He had noticed when he called that morning
that the bell upon the door had once done service in the cab of a
locomotive, and had made a note of the fact. While Mrs. Cowels hushed
the baby her husband answered the bell and when Mr. Hawkins gave his
name and made his wants known, Cowels told him shortly that they did not
keep lodgers. He knew that, he said, and that was one of the reasons why
he was so anxious to come, but Cowels, who liked to show his authority
at all times, shut the door, and the stranger was not taken in.

That night when the orator was dreaming that he had been chosen Grand
Master of the Brotherhood, his wife stole out of the room and put the
things in Bennie's sock, and then, just to please Bennie, she put a
rubber rattle in the baby's little stocking. Her husband, being a great
thinker, would not consent to having his hosiery hung up, so she would
wait till breakfast time and hide the gloves under his plate. Then she
went over to tuck the cover in around Bennie. He was smiling--dreaming,
doubtless, of red sleds and firecrackers--and his mother smiled, too,
and kissed him and went back to bed.



CHAPTER FIFTH


It was a rough, raw, Chicago day. The snow came in spurts, cold and
cutting from the north and the scantily dressed strikers were obliged to
dance about and beat their hands to keep warm. Special mounted police
were riding up and down the streets that paralleled the Burlington
tracks, and ugly looking armed deputies were everywhere in evidence. The
forced quiet that pervaded the opposing armies served only to increase
the anxiety of the observing. Every man who had any direct interest in
the contest seemed to have a chip on his shoulder.

At ten o'clock the strike was to be extended to all connecting lines,
the switching yards and stock yards. When the hour arrived the switchmen
threw up their caps and quit. Now the different companies made an effort
to replace the strikers and trouble commenced. The deputies, who had
been aching to get a whack at the strikers for countless cursings which
they had received, now used their guns unmercifully upon the unprotected
heads of the men, and the police, who disliked and refused to associate
with the deputies, used their clubs upon all who resisted them. By
eleven o'clock the whole city was in a state of riot and men bruised and
bleeding were loaded into wagons and hurried away until the jails were
filled with criminals, bums, deputies and strikers. The police courts
were constantly grinding out justice, or decisions intended to take the
place of justice. Mothers were often seen begging the magistrates to
release their boys and wives praying for the pardon of their husbands.
These prayers were often unanswered and the poor women were forced to
return to a lonely home, to an empty cupboard and a cold hearth.

In the midst of the rioting on this wild day came Patsy Daly strolling
up the track singing:

    "_Always together in sunshine and rain
    Facing the weather atop o' th' train.
    Watching the meadows move under the stars
    Always together atop o' th' cars._"

"Hello! there!" came from a box car.

"Hello to you," said Patsy as he turned out to see what the fellow was
in for. "Now, what the divil you doin' caged up in this car?"

"I'm hidin' from the strikers," said the man, peeping cautiously out.

"Faith, and I'm one of them myself," says Patsy, "and I suppose you're
after takin' my place, ye spalpeen; I have a right to swat your face for
you, so I have."

"You couldn't do it if I was opposed," said the stranger opening the
door.

"Oh! couldn't I? then let yourself drop to the ground till I take a
little of the conceit out of you."

"No, I won't fight you," said the man, "I like your face and I want you
to help me out."

"And I like your nerve; now, what's your pleasure? Have you been
working in this strike?"

"I started to work this morning only to get something to eat on."

"Are you a railroad man?"

"I'm a switchman. I was foreman in the yards at Buffalo, had a scrap
with the yard-master who had boasted that he would not have a switchman
he couldn't curse, an' got fired."

"Did you lick him?"

"Yes."

"Good and plenty?"

"Yes."

"Go on with your story."

"Well," said the man, seating himself in the door of the car, "I started
out to get work--had my card from the Union and felt sure of success. I
had only been married a year, but of course I had to leave my wife in
Buffalo until I got located. When I applied for work I was asked for
references and I had none. I told them where I had worked; they asked
me to call later, and I called, only to learn that they didn't need any
more men. This performance was repeated in every town I struck, until I
began to believe that I had been blacklisted. In time my money gave out.
I wrote to my wife and she sent me money. When that was gone I sent for
more, not stopping to think that she had to eat, too, and that I had
given her but ten dollars when I left home; but she sent me money.

"Then there came a time when she could not send me anything; I could not
keep up my dues in the Union, so was expelled. After that I found it
hard to get passes. Lots of times I had to steal them, and finally--for
the first time in my life--I stole something to eat. Say, pardner, did
you ever get so hungry that the hunger cramped you like cholera morbus?"

"No."

"Then I reckon you've never stole, or what's worse, scabbed?"

"No."

"Well--I've done both, though this is the first time I've scabbed. As I
was sayin' I got down so low that I had to steal, and then I thought of
my wife, of how terrible it would be if she should have to steal, or
maybe worse, and the thought of it drove me almost crazy. She was a
pretty girl when I married her, an orphan only eighteen and I was
twenty-eight. I determined to go home at once, but before I could get
out of town I was arrested as a vag and sent up for sixty days. I
thought at that time that my punishment was great,--that the mental and
physical suffering that I endured in the workhouse was all that I could
stand,--but I've seen it beaten since. At last they told me that I could
go, but that I would be expected to shake the city of Chicago before the
sun rose on the following day, and I did. I hung myself up on the trucks
of a Pullman on the Lake Shore Limited and landed in Buffalo just before
dawn. As I hurried along the old familiar streets I noticed a crowd of
people standing by a narrow canal and stopped to see what the excitement
was. I saw them fish the limp and lifeless form of a woman out of the
muddy water and when the moonlight fell upon her face it startled me,
for it was so like her face. A moment later I got near enough to see
that the victim was a blonde, and my wife was brunette. Presently I came
to the house where we had lived, but it was closed and dark. I aroused a
number of the neighbors, but none of them knew where the little woman
had gone.

"'Shure,' said an old woman who was peddling milk, 'I don't know phere
she's at at all, at all. That big good-fur-nothin' man o' hern has gone
along and deserted of her an' broke the darlint's heart, so 'e 'as an'
the end uv it all will be that she'll be afther drownin' 'erself in the
canal beyant wan uv these foine nights.'

"All through the morning I searched the place for her, but not a trace
could I find. It seemed that she had dropped out of the world, utterly,
and that no one had missed her. Finally I was so hungry that I begged a
bite to eat and went down by the canal and fell asleep. Here a strange
thing happened. I had a dreadful dream. I dreamed that I saw my wife
being dragged from the dark waters of the canal. She had the same sad,
sweet face, but not the same hair. I awoke in a cold sweat. I was now
seized with an irresistible longing to look once more upon the face of
the dead woman whom I had seen them fish from the foul waters that
morning, and I set out for the morgue. I entered unnoticed and there lay
the dead woman with her white hands folded upon her dead breast. She had
the same sad, sweet face, but not the same hair, but it was she--it was
my wife."

The vag let his head fall so that his eyes rested upon the ground. Patsy
fished something from his vest and holding it out to the man, said:
"Here's a one-dollar bill and a three-dollar meal ticket--which will you
have?"

"Gi' me the pie-card."

"Which shows you're not a regular bum," said Patsy.

"No," said the man, eyeing the meal ticket with its twenty-one unpunched
holes. "I never cared for liquor, only once in a while when a bum makes
a lift I take a nip just to stop the awful gnawing, cramping pain of
hunger, but it only makes you feel worse afterwards. But it's
interesting," said the tramp, thoughtfully. "If it were not for the
hunger and cold this new life that I have dropped into wouldn't be half
bad. You get a closer glimpse of the miseries of mankind and a better
notion of the causes that bring it all about. It educates you. Now take
this fight for instance. You fellows feel sure of success, but I know
better. Only two men of all the vast army of strikers have deserted so
far, but wait. Wait till the pain of hunger hits you and doubles you up
like a jack-knife, and it's sure to come. Behind the management there
are merciless millions of money: behind the strikers the gaunt wolf of
hunger stalks in the snow. Can you beat a game like that? Never. And
after all what right have you and your people to expect mercy at the
hands of organized capital? Does the Union show mercy to men like me? To
escape the blight of the black-list I changed my name. Three times I
found work, but in each instance the company were forced to discharge me
or have a strike. I was not a Union man and so had to steal a ride out
of town. Once I asked a farmer for work and he set me to digging post
holes and every time a man came by I hid myself in the grass. 'What you
hidin' fur?' the farmer asked. Then I told him that I didn't belong to
the Union.

"'What Union?' says he.

"'The post-hole Union' says I--'in fact, I don't belong to any Union.'

"'They ain't no post-hole Union,' says the farmer indignantly, 'an' you
know it. What you're givin' me is hog-wash--you've been stealin'. Here's
a quarter fur what you've done--now git.'

"I tried to reason with him, but he only shook his thick head and began
whistling for his dog, and I got. Yes, pardner, it seems to me that the
tyranny of organized capital and the tyranny of organized labor are
close competitors, and in their wake come the twin curses--the
black-list and the boycot. Hand in hand they go, like red liquor and
crime. But you can't right these wrongs the way you're headed now," said
the philosopher. "Everything is against you. Wealth works wonders. The
press, the telephone through which the public talks back to itself, is
hoarse with the repetition of the story of your wrong-doings. Until the
Government puts a limit to the abuses of trusts and monopolies, and
organized labor has learned that there are other interests which have
rights under the Constitution, there will be no peace on earth, no good
will toward man. When the trusts are controlled, and labor submits its
grievances to an impartial, unbiased board of arbitration, then there
will be peace and plenty. The wages that you are now losing and the
money squandered by vulgar and ignorant leaders, will then be used in
building up and beautifying homes. The time thrown away in useless
agitation and in idleness will be spent for the intellectual advancement
of working men, and the millions of money lost in wrecked railroads will
find its way to the pockets of honest investors."

While this lecture, which interested Patsy, was being delivered the two
men had become oblivious of their surroundings, but now the wild cry of
a mob in a neighboring street, the rattle of sticks and stones and the
occasional bark of a six-shooter brought them back to the business
before them.

Wave after wave the rioters rolled against the little band of officers,
but like billows that break upon a stony shore they were forced to roll
back again. Like the naked minions of Montezuma, who hurled themselves
against the armored army of the Spaniards, the strikers and their
abetters were invariably beaten back with bruised heads and broken
bones. If a luckless striker fell he was trampled upon by the horses of
the mounted police or kicked into unconsciousness by the desperate
deputies.

"Can you get me out of this so I can have a go at this pie-card?" asked
the man.

"Yas," said Patsy, leaping into the car. "Skin off your coat."

When the two men had exchanged coats and caps the vag strolled leisurely
down the track and in a little while Patsy followed. He had not gone
three cars before the mob saw him and with the cry of "The scab! the
scab!" sent a shower of sticks and stones after the flying brakeman. A
rock struck Patsy on the head and he fell to the ground. The cap, which
he had worn well over his eyes, fell off, and he was recognized by one
of the strikers before his ribs could be kicked in. "Begad," said the
leader of the mob, "it's the singin' brakeman. Th' bum have robbed 'im
uv 'es clothes an' giv' us the slip," and they picked Patsy up and
carried him away to the hospital.



CHAPTER SIXTH


Three kinds of meetings were held by the strikers. Public meetings, open
to everybody, union meetings, open to any member of the several
organizations engaged in the strike, and secret sessions held by the
various Brotherhoods, to which only members of that particular order
were admitted.

Many things were said and done at these secret sessions that were never
printed, or even mentioned outside the lodge-room, save when a detective
happened to be a member, or when a member happened to be a detective.

At one of these meetings, held by the striking firemen, the head of that
organization startled the audience with the declaration that the strike
was going to end disastrously for the strikers. In fact, he said, the
strike was already lost. They were beaten. The only point to be
determined was as to the extent of the thrashing. This red rag, flung in
the faces of the "war faction," called forth hisses and hoots from the
no-surrender element. A number of men were on their feet instantly, but
none with the eloquence, or even the lung power to shut the chief off.
Many of the outraged members glanced over at Cowels, who always sat near
the little platform at the end of the hall in order that he might not
keep his admirers waiting when they called for a speech. The greatest
confusion prevailed during the address of the head of the house. Cowels,
the recognized leader of the war party, sat silently in his place,
though frequently called upon to defend the fighters. As their chief
went on telling them of the inevitable ruin that awaited the strikers,
the more noisy began to accuse him of selling them out. One man wanted
to know what he got for the job, but the master, feeling secure in that
he was doing his duty, gave no heed to what his traducers were saying.
Amid all the turmoil Cowels sat so quietly that some of the more
suspicious began to guess, audibly, that he was "in with the play." But
there was no play, and if there had been Cowels would not have been in
with it. Cowels was thinking. Suddenly he leaped upon his chair and
yelled: "Throw 'im out!" He did not use the finger of scorn upon the
master, or even look in his direction. He merely glared at the audience
and commanded it to "Throw 'im out!"

"We are fighting a losing fight," repeated the chief, "and you who fight
hardest here will be first to fall," and he looked at Cowels as he
spoke. "It could not be pleasant to me, even with your respectful
attention, to break this news to you. I do it because it is my duty. But
now, having said what I had to say, let me assure you that if a majority
of you elect to continue the fight, I will lead you, and I promise that
every man of you shall have his fill."

This last declaration was rather a cooler for Cowels. It took a vast
amount of wind out of his sails, but he was on his feet and so had to
make a speech. He was not very abusive, but managed to make it plain
that there were others ready and able to lead if their leader failed to
do his duty. When he had succeeded in getting his train of thought out
over the switches his hearers, especially the no-surrenderers, began to
enthuse. His speech was made picturesque by the introduction of short
rhymes, misquotations from dead poets, and tales that had never been
told in type. "If," he exclaimed dramatically, "to use a Shakesperian
simile, the galled wench be jaded, let him surrender his sword to some
one worthy of the steel."

The orator worked the Shakesperian pedal so hard that some of his
hearers expressed a desire to know more about the distinguished poet.
Finally, when he became too deep for them, a man with a strong clear
voice shouted a single word--the name of a little animal whose departure
from a sinking ship makes sailors seek the shore--and Cowels closed like
a snuff-box.

Now the casual observer would say of the great orator: he has money; his
family is not in want. But the statement would have been incorrect.

The Cowelses, like hundreds of other families, were without money,
without credit, and would shortly be without food. The last money they
had received from the Brotherhood had gone to pay the interest on the
money due the Benevolent Building Association, for fuel, and to pay the
milkman who was bringing milk for the baby. It would be forty or fifty
days before another assessment could be made and the money collected.
The outlook was gloomy. Mr. Hawkins had called again and offered ten
dollars a month for the little spare room on the second floor, but
Cowels would not consent.

But at the very moment when he was making this speech his wife was
returning empty-handed from the bakery. Bennie had been watching,
waiting at the window for her, and when she saw him staring at her, saw
the tears come into his innocent eyes, she took him in her arms and wept
as she had not wept before. They had breakfasted on bread and water. It
was now past noon and they were all hungry. She gave Bennie some of the
baby's milk, and then sat down to think. The door-bell rung. "I was just
passing by," said Mr. Hawkins, "and thought I'd stop and see if there
was any show to get that room. I work for the plumber in the next block,
so you see it would be handy for me."

"Would you pay in advance?" asked Mrs. Cowels.

"I shouldn't mind," said the plumber, "if it would be of any advantage
to you."

"Then you can have the room."

"Very well," said the man, apparently delighted with his bargain, and he
gave her a crisp ten-dollar note. He also gave Bennie a big, red apple,
and looked surprised when the boy began to bite great chunks out of it.

That evening when Cowels came home he found the house filled with the
fumes of boiled beef, and it put him in a good humor at once. He was
hungry, having had nothing all day but a glass of beer and a free lunch.

"They's a man up-stairs," said Bennie, shoving his empty plate up for
another load of boiled beef. Mrs. Cowels smiled a faint smile, and her
husband asked:

"Who is this fellow?"

"He's a plumber," was the reply, "and he seems like a very nice man."

"Did he pay a month in advance?"

"Yes."

"Well, I don't like the idea of having strangers in the house," said
Cowels, "and I wish you had not taken him in."

"I dislike it too, George," said Mrs. Cowels, "but the baker had refused
me a loaf of bread, the children were hungry and you might as well know
now that I can never see my babies suffer for want of food, and you
need not be surprised at anything I may do to supply their wants."

Cowels had never seen his wife display so much spirit and it surprised
him. "It's all very well," she went on, "to prate about honor and
loyalty to the Brotherhood, but an obligation that entails the suffering
of innocent women and children is not an honorable obligation and ought
not to exist. A man's first duty is to his family. My advice to you
would be to miss a few meetings and go and try to find something to do.
Think how we have denied ourselves in order to have a place of our own,
and now it's all to be taken from us, and all because of this senseless
and profitless strike."

"By George, she's a cracker-jack!" said Hawkins, who had been listening
down the stove-pipe.

Cowels made no reply to his wife, but he was thinking. In fact, he had
been thinking all the way home. He had been interrupted twice that day
while addressing the meeting. One fellow had asked who the devil
Shakespeare was, and if he had ever done anything for the Union. Another
man had said "rats," and the orator was sore.

Now, when he had thought it all over, he surprised his wife as much as
she had surprised him. "They're all a lot of unliterate ingrates," said
Cowels, "and for two cents I'd shake the whole show and go to work. If
they turn me down at the convention, and this strike is not settled,
I'll take an engine."

Mr. Hawkins gave a low whistle.

"No, you must never do that, George, after all you've said against such
things; it would not do."

"Then they must not drive me to it," said Cowels. "I've tried to show
them the way to success, even to lead them, and they have the nerve to
guy me. I'll fool 'em yet if they trifle with me."

"That's what I thought all along," mused Hawkins. "It was not the
Brotherhood that Mr. Cowels was working so hard for, but Mr. Cowels.
Well, he will be just as eager to succeed in another direction--he's
ambitious."



CHAPTER SEVENTH


The great strike, like a receding sea, revealed heaps of queer wreckage.
Men who had once been respected by their fellows, but who had drifted
down the river of vice now came to claim the attention of the strikers
or the company. Most conspicuous among them was drunken Bill Greene.
Three months ago he would have been kicked out of a company section
house or passed by a Brotherhood man without a nod. Then he was "Old
Bill;" now they called him Billy.

In his palmy days he had wooed, and won the heart of Maggie Crogan, a
pretty waitress in the railway eating-house at Zero Junction. Maggie was
barely eighteen then, a strawberry blonde with a sunny smile and a
perpetual blush. In less than a year he had broken her heart, wrecked
her life and sent her adrift in the night. His only excuse was that he
was madly in love with Nora Kelly, but Nora, having heard the story of
Maggie's miserable life, turned her back on Greene and married George
Cowels, then a young apprentice in the shops. Inasmuch as it was about
the only commendable thing he ever did, it should be put to Greene's
credit that he did really love Nora Kelly; but, being a coward with an
inherited thirst, he took to drink the day she turned him down; and now,
after a few wasted years he and Maggie--old red-headed Mag they called
her--had drifted together, pooled their sorrows and often tried to drown
them in the same can of beer. She worked, when she worked at all, at
cleaning coaches. He borrowed her salary and bought drink with it. Once
he proposed marriage, and ended by beating her because she laughed at
him.

Before the strike he had been forced to keep sober four days out of a
week. Now he was comfortably tanked at all times. He had been a
machinist and round-house foreman, and the company saw in him a fair
"emergency" engineer, and was constantly watching for an opportunity to
try him on one of the fast express trains.

At last he was called to take out a passenger run. The round-house
foreman had gone personally to fetch "Billy" from the bar-room near the
Grand Pacific where he was waiting for a Brotherhood man to drop in and
buy him a drink. When told that he was wanted to take out the Pacific
express, the bum straightened up, hitched his suspenderless trousers and
asked: "Who're you?"

"I'm the foreman; come and have a bite o' breakfast and let's be off."

"Well--folks gen'ly drink afore they eat--come on, le's have a horn.
Here, bar-keep, give us a couple o' slugs."

"Got any dough?"

"Now don't git gay--I'm goin' down to take me run out--here's me
foreman."

"But you must not drink," broke in the official, "when you are going out
on an express train."

"What?"

"You must not drink."

"Then I don't work. Th' Brotherhood 'll pay me four dollars a day to sit
right here and keep three gages an' a flutter in the stack--go on with
yer damn ol' railroad--"

"Come now, Billy," pleaded the foreman, "this is an opportunity--"

"Billy! Month ago Stonaker's nigger threw me down the steps."

"Give 'm a drink," said the foreman, and the bar-keeper set out two
glasses and a large red bottle. While the foreman's back was turned and
the bar-man waited upon another customer, Billy did the honors. He
filled both glasses and had emptied one when the foreman, having
unearthed a quarter, turned and remarked to the liquor man that he did
not drink. The man was in the act of removing the glass when Billy
grabbed it, and with a quick crook of his elbow pitched the whiskey down
his neck.

"Now will you go and eat?"

"Naw--go t' work," said Greene, hitching up his trousers.

Off they went together, but at every saloon (and there are dozens of
them in Chicago), the new engineer of the Pacific express insisted upon
drinking. By hard coaxing the foreman had succeeded in passing three or
four of them when they were met by a couple of strikers.

"Hello Billy," said one of the men. "Where you goin'?"

"Goin' t' take me run out," said Greene, with another hitch.

"Now you fellows break away," said the foreman, for the strikers had
turned and were walking with the others.

"Reckon you don't own the sidewalk, do you?" said one of the men, and
the foreman was silent.

"Didn't think you'd shake us like this Billy," began the striker. "We
intended to take you into the order to-day an' end up with a good big
blow-out to-night. It's all right Billy. You go out on your run and
when you get in come round to the Pacific an' we'll square you with the
boys."

"An' we'll have a bowl together, eh?" said Billy, for the liquor was
beginning to make him happy.

The foreman was white with rage, but he was powerless.

"You bet we will, Billy," said the man who had done the talking.

"Hur--what's this, boss?"

"Come along now," urged the foreman, tugging at Billy's arm.

"Never run by a tank," said Billy, setting the air and coming to a dead
stall at the open door of a beer saloon. The silent striker had entered
the saloon, the other paused in the door, looked back, nodded and asked:
"Have something, Billy, b'fore you go?"

"Will I?" cried Billy, as he twisted from the foreman's grasp.

"Police--here--officer!" cried the foreman, and when the copper came he
found Billy just swallowing his second straight.

"Here," said the foreman, excitedly, "I want you to arrest these men."

"Better get a warrant first," said one of the strikers coolly. "We
simply came in here to have a drink," he explained to the officer.

"Phat's th' row hier, Tony?" asked the policeman.

"Th' ain't no row as I can see," said the bar-keeper, "these gents is
'aving a quiet drink w'en 'ees nibs there pips in an' calls fer a cop."

"This is one of our engineers," explained the foreman, "and I was on the
way to the station with him when these strikers took him away."

"Begad, he's a bute," said the officer, folding his arms over his ample
stomach and gazing with mirthful curiosity at the bum.

"Now, ye's fellies must not interfere with men as wants to make an
honest living--let th' ingineer go t' 'is ingine," and he gave Billy a
shove that sent him into the arms of the waiting foreman.

"What's it _to_ you," shouted the angry engine-driver, "who wants to
work--who said I wanted t' make a' honest livin'?--Go t' 'ell," and he
struck the foreman in the face.

"Here! Here!!" cried the officer, seizing the fighter, "you'll go to
work or go to jail," and Billy went away between the copper and the
foreman with his wheels sliding.

After much coaxing and cursing by the foreman, who was often asked to
come out in the alley and settle it, Billy was loaded into an engine
cab. While the foreman was selecting a fireman from the hard-looking
herd of applicants sent down from the office of the master-mechanic, the
gentle warmth of the boiler-head put Billy to sleep. It was a sound, and
apparently dreamless sleep, from which he did not wake the while they
rolled him from the engine, loaded him into a hurry-up wagon and
carried him away to the cooler.

When he had sobered up Greene went to the round-house and offered his
services to the company, but the foreman would not talk to him. Finally
Greene became abusive, and the foreman kicked him out of the round-house
and across the turntable. From that day Greene was a striker, and a very
troublesome one.



CHAPTER EIGHTH


Two weeks had passed when the Philosopher met Patsy, now in deep
disgrace. Patsy had been expelled from the Brotherhood for aiding a
scab. "O! it's nothing," said Patsy.

"That's right. It won't be worth much to belong to the Union when this
cruel war is over."

"Only a fellow hates to get the worst of it when he really tries to tote
fair."

"The best you can get is the worst of it when you are bound by oath to
an organization that is engaged in a hopeless fight. The president
offered yesterday to take back seventy-five per cent. of the men, and
immediately they said he was running. This morning the offer is for
sixty per cent., but they won't have it. Have they offered to balm you
with promotion?"

"Yes."

"Varnished cars, eh?"

"Yep--finest train on the road."

"And you told them?--"

"No."

"Well, I think you did right. Shall we go and peck?"

"Have you been working?"

"No. I've been vag'd. When the police got through with me, and returned
my pie-card I turned it in for a commutation ticket, and there are still
a few feeds to the good on it. The commutation ticket is the proper card
for a gentleman in straitened circumstances. You are not obliged to
gorge yourself at early morn with a whole twenty-cent breakfast when all
you really need is a cup of black coffee and a roll. Besides, when a man
is not working he should not eat so much. I frequently edge in with a
crowd of other gentlemen and procure a nice warm lunch at one of the
beer saloons, omitting the beer. By the way, the free lunch room is a
good place for the study of human nature. There you will see the poor
working man fish up his last five cents to pay for a beer in order to
get a hot lunch, and if you look closely, spot a two-by-four-shopkeeper,
for instance, as he enters the front door, and keep your eye on him
until he goes out again, you will observe that he hasn't lost a cent. A
little dark man who runs a three-ball in La Salle Street makes a
business of this, and of loaning money at fifty per cent. and seems to
be doing quite well."

When they had reached a "Kohlsaat" the two men sat down, or up, and when
they had finished Patsy paid for the meal.

"If you see a man who has wood to saw or a piano to tune or anything
that isn't scabbin' I wish you'd give me a character and get me the
job," said the Philosopher when they had reached the sidewalk.

"You follow my smoke," said Patsy, after a moment's meditation, and he
strolled down the crowded street, turning and twisting through the
multitude like a man trying to lose a dog, but he couldn't lose the
Philosopher. Presently he stepped in front of a big building, waited for
his companion, and they went in together.

"Mr. Stonaker," said Patsy when he had been admitted to the general
manager's private office, "I have a favor to ask. I want you to give a
friend of mine a job. He's a switchman, and a good trainman, but he will
not take the place of a striker."

"Can you vouch for his honesty, Patsy?" asked the official.

"I think I can."

"Very well, we want a reliable watchman here in the building; bring your
friend in."

When the Philosopher had been informed as to his new duties, and learned
that he was to have charge of the entire building, he asked if Patsy had
given his history.

"I have vouched for you," said Patsy, a little embarrassed.

The general manager pressed a button and when the stenographer came in
instructed him to take the man's personal record, in accordance with a
well-known rule. This information is intended chiefly as a guide to the
management in notifying the relatives or friends of an employee in case
of accident or death. The manager did the questioning and when the man
had given his name and declared that he had no relatives, no home, no
friends--except Patsy--the official showed some surprise and asked:

"Where did you work last?"

"In the workhouse."

"When?" queried the general manager, casting a quick glance at Patsy,
who was growing nervous.

"'Bout a year ago now."

"At what particular place have you lived or lodged since that time?"

"In jail."

"What were you in jail for?"

"Stealing a meal-ticket, this coat and cap from Patsy."

"I gave the things to him, sir," said Patsy, "and he was discharged."

"Where have you been living since you left the workhouse?"

"In the streets and in the fields."

"Do you drink?"

"No, sir."

"Do you mean to tell me that an experienced yardman, strong and
intelligent as you appear to be, can sink so low without being a
drunkard?"

"Yes, sir."

"And you have been foreman in the Buffalo yards? What else have you
been?"

"A Union man, tramp, bum, vag, thief, and a scab."

"Huh!" said the general manager, pushing out his lips, "is this your
notion of a reliable man, Patsy?"

"Yes, sir, I still vouch for him."

The general manager looked puzzled. "But you could hardly expect me to
employ, in a responsible position, a self-confessed criminal?"

"And yet," said the Philosopher, "if I had lied to you I might have
gained a good place, but having told the truth I suppose I must go."

The general manager, who had left his seat, began to pace the floor.

"It may be possible for an honest man to be a tramp--even a vag, but why
did you steal?"

"For the same reason that I took the place of a striker the other
day--because I was hungry," said the Philosopher looking the general
manager full in the face.

"But what brought you to this condition? that's what I want to know,"
said the official earnestly. "And if you can explain that, you can have
the place, provided you really want to reform."

"I'm not so anxious to reform," said the Philosopher. "What I want is a
show to earn an honest living, and let the balance of the world reform.
But if you want to know what brought me to my present condition I can
tell you--this is the instrument." And the man lifted from the manager's
desk a slip of paper, full of names, across the top of which was printed
"Black List."

"It's the blight of the black-list that is upon me, sir, and it gives me
pleasure to be able to present to you a sample of the class of citizens
you and your associates are turning out," said the Philosopher with much
feeling, and he turned to go.

"Stay," said Patsy. "Mr. Stonaker, you told me yesterday that if I ever
needed your assistance in any way to make my wants known."

"And do you still vouch for this man?"

"I do."

"Very well, then--he can have the place!"



CHAPTER NINTH


Mr. Hawkins had been in his new lodgings nearly a week and had
frequently discussed the strike with the great labor leader, when he
made bold one evening to state that he had no use for the Brotherhood
and that he had it from inside sources that a number of the old
engineers were going to return to work, and that the strike would soon
be a thing of the past, as would the comfortable jobs that the strikers
had left.

Cowels, of course, was indignant, but he was interested. Mr. Hawkins had
expected as much.

"I'm going out firing myself," he went on, "and I'm promised promotion
as soon as I can start and stop. If I had your experience and your
ability, generally, I could get the best run on the road with a cinch on
a job as M. M. at the first opening. A good man who goes to the
company's rescue now won't want for anything. If he's hard up he can
get all the money he needs--that is a few hundred at least--advanced to
him."

Cowels listened attentively.

Mr. Hawkins lighted a fresh ten-cent cigar and gave one to his landlord.

"Of course, it's different with you," resumed the lodger, "you own your
home and have saved your money, perhaps, but a whole lot of the strikers
are being pinched and they're going to weaken. They'll be cursed a
little bit by the Brotherhood, but the public is dead against the
strikers--read the Chicago papers to-day."

"But the papers are owned body and soul by the Burlington," said Cowels.

"Well, what do you fellows own? That only shows which is the winning
side. You take my advice and let go while you've got plenty."

"Plenty?" echoed Cowels. "Do you suppose I'd take a stranger into my
home--do you think for a minute that I would sit here and let you talk
to me as you have done if I could help myself? Plenty! I'm a beggar."

Hawkins knew that, but he expressed surprise. When they had smoked in
silence for a while the plumber handed an unsealed letter to his
landlord and watched his face closely as he read it.

The letter was from one of the Burlington officials and it stated
plainly that the bearer was empowered to make terms with the gentleman
addressed looking to his return to the service of the company.

Mr. Cowels was very indignant, at first, but finally consented to
discuss the matter. Mr. Hawkins was very cool, explaining that it made
no difference with him one way or the other. The official happened to be
a personal friend of his and had trusted him with this commission. "If
you ask my advice," said the plumber, "I should say take whatever they
offer and go to work. No man can hold out against such odds for any
great length of time; sooner or later you will be as hard up as the
rest, your wife will be in need of the actual necessaries of life, your
children will be crying for food, and how can you answer them if you let
this opportunity pass? To-morrow, I am told, is to be the last day of
grace, so you might better heel yourself and let the Brotherhood walk
the floor for a while. The probabilities are that the strike will simply
be declared off, the old employees to be taken back only as their
services are required, and as new men. Every day that passes adds to the
strength of the company. Labor organizations, like bands of Indians, are
ever at each other's throats. When the Knights of Labor struck on the
Reading those haughty aristocrats of the working world, the Engineers'
Brotherhood, took their places, and now the Knights of Labor engineers
are coming here in carload lots to fill the cabs of the Burlington. If
the engineers were offered their old places back to-day they would bolt
for the round-house nor cast one longing, lingering look for their old
friends. Finally, when the strike is settled it will be by the
engineers. If it is to be declared off, the unconditional surrender of
all the forces will be made by them. If the terms of settlement suit
them, your followers will take their medicine and look pleasant. Bring
the matter nearer home,--to your own experience. You have given your
time, neglected your family, and worked unceasingly for the advancement
of the cause. Your eloquence, your genius and your influence have held
the men in line when they have wavered and would have broken, and what
has your own order done for you, and what will it do at the coming
convention? They have guyed you in public and they will throw you down
hard when the time comes. It's nothing to me, only I hate to see a good
man turned down. I dislike to see real talent and personal worth wasted
upon a lot of loud-mouthed, uneducated coyotes who don't know who
Shakespeare is. You're too big a man, Cowels, that's the trouble;
you're out of your sphere. When you are master-mechanic, with your hands
full of promotions, they will look up to you, and it is all within easy
reach. If you will report for duty to-morrow morning you can go out on
Blackwings to-morrow night, with the Denver Limited, the finest train in
the West, behind you. The best run on the road will be the meanest
position you will ever be asked to fill. But I must say no more, for I
don't want to persuade you to take a step which you might regret in
after years. I only ask you to think it over to-night and choose between
what you call loyalty to the Brotherhood, and your plain duty to your
family--Good-night."

Hawkins possessed, in a remarkable degree, the rare faculty of knowing
how and when to let go.

When Cowels had made the foregoing facts known to his wife, she was
greatly surprised that he would entertain such a proposition for the
smallest fraction of a second, for she had always regarded him as the
soul of honor, and wholly unselfish. Now each pondered in silence over
the proposition. From her point of view it was a choice between the
Brotherhood and her home. Between temporary disgrace for her husband,
and hunger for her children, and she was not long in making up her mind.
The baby had been without milk that day. It had gone to bed hungry for
the first time in its life, and the thought of it made her desperate.

To Cowels's way of reasoning it was simply a question of choice between
the position of master of the Brotherhood and master-mechanic. Which was
nearest, and which would last longest and pay best? These were the
points he was considering, and he chose what appeared to him to be the
surest and quickest way. To be sure, he suffered not a little at the
thought of deserting his comrades, but his personal ambition and
selfishness helped him to determine to report on the following morning,
and to go out with the fast express behind him on the following night.
He tried not to think of the Brotherhood, and to fashion to himself the
glory of success, of fast runs with Blackwings, and future promotion.



CHAPTER TENTH


The night winds moaned among the empty freight cars. The arc lamps
hummed and sputtered, making the flying frost look like diamond dust
dropping from the grinding stars. Out of a shadowy alley a bent man
crept, crouching under the snow-hung eaves. Far down the track, at a
crossing, the man saw the flash of a helmet and the glint of brass
buttons, and dodged among the cars. The man had committed no crime
against the law, but he was willing to, and so avoided the silent
guardian of the peace, pacing his beat. Beyond the track he came to the
street door of a two-story building, struck a match, read the number on
the transom, and entered the hall. At the top of the first flight of
stairs a door stood open. Beneath a gas jet in the open room Dan Moran
sat reading a book. He had heard the unsteady footsteps on the stair,
but had not allowed them to disturb him. Now the prowler paused,
steadied himself against the door-jamb, coughed, hiccoughed, hello'd in
a whisper, and Moran looked up.

"Well, Greene," said Dan, "what brings you abroad on a night like this?"

"Business!" was the half-whispered reply, "Business, ol' man."

Now the rum-crazed rambler left the door, put a trembling hand on the
table in the centre of the room, glanced back toward the stairs, and
peered into the face of the old engineer. "We are betrayed!" he
whispered, leaning heavily upon the stand. His wrist shook violently,
causing the table to quiver. The smoking outfit upon the table made a
low, rumbling noise. "What's that?" he asked, glaring about.

Having satisfied himself that all was right he put both hands upon the
table, and gazing again into the face of Moran, repeated: "We are
betrayed. Cowels is goin' out with Blackwings on the Denver Limited
to-morrow night. The plumber told the foreman an hour ago--I heard 'im.
Least they think he's goin', but he ain't. He's goin' to--"

"Oh, Greene, you're drunk. Go home and have a good sleep."

"Home! Did you say home? I ain't got no home. Drunk? Yes, I been drunk
lots o' times, but I ain't drunk now. Honest, I ain't teched a drop
to-day. Got a bot about you, ol' man? Say, if you have, fur th' love o'
life gimme a drop--half a drop--Dan, I'm all afire inside."

It was an awful picture that Moran looked upon now. The bloated face,
the sunken, blood-shot eyes, the blazing, hideous nose, burning in the
iron-gray stubble, all topped by a shock of tousled, unkempt hair, made
a picture horrible in the extreme.

"Say!" Greene began again, glancing toward the door, "meet me at seven
thirty to-morrow night, on the 'rep' track near the round-house, an'
I'll show you a trick."

"What sort of trick will you show me?"

With another look over his shoulder at the door the drunkard leaned
over the table and whispered. When the old engineer had gathered what
the man had said he got to his feet, took his midnight caller by the
collar and lead him to the top of the stairs. Greene was opposed to
leaving the cheerful room, so Moran was obliged to go with him to the
street door. Having put the wreck out into the frosty night the engineer
went back to his book. But he could not read. That awful face into which
he had looked, and the black soul that he had seen as well, haunted him.
He sat with his feet upon the table and smoked pipe after pipe, in a
vain effort to drive the frightful picture from his mind. The news that
Greene had brought disturbed him also. His fireman was going to desert
the Brotherhood, and take their old engine out.

Blackwings! How he loved that locomotive, and how absurd it seemed now
for a man to become so attached to a mere machine! But she was not
inanimate. She lived, moved, breathed. How often, as they swept beneath
the stars of an autumn night, had he felt her hot breath upon his face,
heard the steel singing beneath her feet and felt her tremble,
responsive to his lightest touch. How wild and free and glad she had
seemed, let loose in the moonlight with the Limited behind her. How
gracefully, easily, she lifted the huge, vestibuled train from swale to
swell. How she always passed station after station on the tick of the
clock, keeping to the time-card, unvarying as the sun. Proud and
queenly, yet gentle, she always answered the signals of the less
fortunate locomotives that stood panting on the side tracks, with their
heavy loads. Even the Meteor, the engine that wore white flags and
pulled the president's private car, always took the siding and saluted
Blackwings as she swept by majestically with the Limited.

More than once Moran had refused promotion that would take him from his
engine--from the open fields and free, wide world in which they lived
and moved together--to the cares and anxieties of a stuffy office. He
had been contented and happy with Blackwings, his books and his
briar-root pipe. He did not share the troubles of his less fortunate
brothers, who hugged and exaggerated their grievances until they became,
to them, unbearable. But when they quit he climbed down, took off his
overclothes, folded them carefully and carried them away with him. He
had nothing to gain by the strike, but he had much to lose by remaining
at his post--the confidence and respect of his fellow-toilers. Besides
he, in common with the rest, regarded the classification of engineers as
unfair to the men and to the travelling public. If a man were competent
to handle a passenger train, said the strikers, he ought to have
first-class pay. If he were incompetent he ought to be taken off, for
thousands of lives were in the hands of the engineer during the three
years through which, at reduced pay, he was becoming competent. These
were the arguments advanced by the men. This business upon the one hand,
and a deep longing upon the part of the management to learn just how far
the men could go in the way of dictating to the officials, in fixing the
load for a locomotive, and the pay of employees, caused the company,
after years of sparing, to undertake the chastisement of the Brotherhood
of Locomotive Engineers.[3]

[3] _The Burlington officials claim that, by resolutions in the lodge
room at Lincoln, the engineers fixed the load for certain classes of
engines, together with the penalty for pulling more. They argue that if
allowed to do this the men would want to make the time-cards and fix
freight rates. They certainly had as much right to do the one as the
other._

It is to be presumed that the generals, colonels and captains in the two
armies fought for what they considered right. At all events they were
loyal and obedient to their superiors. But each had found a foe vastly
more formidable than had been expected. They had not dreamed that the
fight could become so bitter. Life-long friends became enemies. Family
ties were severed, homes were ruined, men's lives were wrecked, women's
hearts were broken, and out of the shadow of the awful strife came men
fit for murder. It was these things that had kept Dan Moran awake far
into the morning.

Presently he heard a whistle, opened his eyes, looked at his watch and
then undressed and went to bed, while other workmen, more happily
situated, passed under his window on the way to work.



CHAPTER ELEVENTH


"Brush the snow off the headlight!"

"What?"

"Brush the snow off the headlight!"

It was the first time the engineer had spoken to the fireman since they
left Chicago. When they crossed the last switch and left the lights of
the city behind them he had settled down in his place, his eyes, with a
sort of dazed look in them, fixed upon the front window. The snow was
driving from the north-west so hard that it was impossible for the
engineer, even when running slowly through the country towns, to put his
head outside the cab, and now they were falling out into the night at
the rate of a mile a minute.

It was Barney Guerin's first trip as a fireman. He was almost exhausted
by the honest effort he had been making to keep the engine hot, and now
he looked at the engineer in mingled surprise and horror. He could not
believe that the man expected him to go out over the wet and slippery
running-board to the pilot and wipe the snow from the headlight glass.
He stood and stared so long that the fire burned low and the pointer on
the steam gauge went back five pounds. For the next two or three minutes
he busied himself at the furnace door, and when he finally straightened
up, half-blinded by the awful glare of the fire-box, half-dazed by being
thrown and beaten against the sides of the coal tank, the engineer said:

"Brush the snow off the _headlight_!"

The fireman opened the narrow door in front of him and the storm came in
so furiously that he involuntarily closed it again. Again he tried and
again was beaten back by the wind. Pulling his cap tight down he faced
about and stepped out with his back to the storm. Holding to the hand
railing he worked his way to the front end. One sweep of his gloved hand
swept the snow away and the great glare of the headlight flashed up the
track.

"My God! how she rolls!" exclaimed the engineer.

And she did roll.

Never before in the history of the road had the Denver Limited been
entrusted to a green crew, for the engineer was also making his maiden
trip. The day coach was almost empty. In the chair car, with four chairs
turned together, the newly-made conductor, the head brakeman, a country
editor, and the detective sent out to spot the crew, played high five.
The three or four passengers in the sleeper were not asleep. They were
sitting silently at the curtained windows and occasionally casting
anxious glances at the Pullman conductor who seemed to be expecting
something to happen. Where were all the people who used to travel by
this splendid train? The road was now considered, by most people, as
unsafe and the people were going round it. Public opinion, at the
beginning of the strike, was about equally divided between the men and
the company. Now and then a reckless striker or sympathizer would blow
up a building, dope a locomotive or ditch a train, and the stock of the
strikers would go down in the estimation of the public. Burlington stock
was falling rapidly--the property was being wrecked.

On nearly every side track could be seen two or three dead engines that
had been ruined and abandoned by amateur engine-drivers, and now and
then at way-stations the smouldering ruins of a freight train, whose
blackened skeleton still clung to the warped and twisted track. At every
station great crowds of people blocked the platforms, for the Limited
had not been able to leave Chicago for more than a month. The engineer
had scarcely touched the whistle, deeming it safer to slip quietly
through the night, and the light train was now speeding noiselessly over
the snow-muffled earth. They had left Chicago two hours late, and as
they had a clear track, so far as other trains were concerned, the
young driver was letting her go regardless of danger. At any moment they
might expect to be blown into eternity, and it was just as safe at
seventy miles an hour as at seventeen.

Besides, George Cowels was desperate. For five long years he had fired
this run with the same locomotive. He knew all her tricks and whims, her
speed and power, and the road was as familiar to him as was his mother's
face. He knew where the "old man" used to cut her back and ease off on
the down grades. He knew that he ought to do the same, but he did not.
"Let her roll," he would say to himself; and she did roll, and with
every swing the bell sounded a single note, low and mournful, like a
church bell tolling for the dead. It seemed to the unhappy engineer that
it tolled for him, for that day he had died to all his friends.

Although he had only been out a little over an hour now, he knew that in
that hour the story of his desertion had flashed out to every division
of the various brotherhoods in the United States, Canada and Mexico, and
that a hundred thousand men and women would curse him that night before
they slept. He recollected what a vigorous striker he had been in the
beginning, how he had shouted, "Put him out" when the grand master had
said: "We are fighting a losing fight." He recalled with some bitterness
that their leader had looked him straight in the face when he added:
"And you who fight hardest here will be first to fall."

Then the face of his ten-year-old boy rose up before him, as it had
appeared from the street as he was leaving his home that evening, all
bruised and bleeding, with soiled and torn clothes, and he heard the
brave child's explanation: "Mamma, I wouldn't 'ave fit, but Dugan's boy
said my papa was a scab."[4]

[4] _The reader must pardon the use of this vulgar word, for we must use
it here or spoil this story._

Ordinarily it would require a great deal of "sand" to enable a man to
take out a train of this kind and run at such a high rate of speed
through a country full of anarchy, but in Cowels's case it required
nothing in the way of bravery. The great sacrifice he had made in
abandoning all that he held to be honorable,--the breaking of his vow,
the violation of his oath, had left him utterly indifferent to personal
danger.

It will be difficult for those unacquainted with the vast army of daily
toilers to appreciate the sufferings of this youthful engine-driver. A
king, who in a night's debauch loses an empire, loses no more than the
man who abandons all that he holds sacred. The struggles and
disappointments of the poor mean as much to them as similar sorrows mean
to the rich. The heart of a Bohemian milkmaid beats as wildly, aches as
sorely and breaks as surely as does the heart of the proudest princess.
This man and his wife, on the day they abandoned the cause of his
comrades--of the Brotherhood of which he had been so proud, of whose
strength he had boasted in many a crowded hall--made a great sacrifice.
To stand disgraced in their little world was to be disgraced before all
the people of all the earth, for in that world were the only people they
knew and cared about.

When the fireman returned to the cab he was almost overcome with terror.
More than once, as he worked his way along the side of the rolling,
plunging engine, he had nearly been dashed to death. The very machine,
he fancied, was striving to shake him from her. Once he had lost his
footing on the running board and only saved himself by clinging to the
hand rail while the rolling steed beat and thrashed him against her iron
side.

"Never ask me to do that again," he shouted, as he shook his clenched
fist at the engineer. The latter laughed, then asked:

"Why?"

"Because it is dangerous; I nearly lost my life."

"And what if you had?" said the engineer, and he laughed again. "Why,
don't you know that thousands would rejoice at the news of your death
and scarcely a man would mourn? Don't you know that at thousands of
supper-tables to-night, working men who could afford to buy an evening
paper read your name and cursed you before their wives and children?
Nearly lost your life! Poor, miserable, contemptible scab."

"Never apply that name to me again!" shouted Guerin, and this time it
was not his fist but the coal-pick he shoved up into the very face of
the engineer.

"Why?"

"Because it is dangerous; you nearly lost _your_ life."

The engineer made no reply.

"And what if you had?" the fireman went on, for it was his turn to talk
now.

"If my action makes me contemptible in the eyes of men, how much more
contemptible must yours make you? I take the place of a stranger--you
the place of a friend; a man who has educated you, who has taught you
all you know about this machine. Right well I know how I shall be hated
by the dynamiters who are blowing up bridges and burning cars, and I
tell you now that it does not grieve me. Can you say as much? Here's a
copy of the message that went out to your miserable little world
to-night--read it, it will do you good. I fancy your friends will be too
busy cursing you this evening to devote any time to mere strangers."

Cowels took the message with a jerk, turned the gauge lamp to his corner
and read:

    The Denver Limited left to-night, two hours late, Fireman George
    Cowels as engineer, and Time-keeper Guerin as fireman. Cowels is the
    man who wanted the grand master thrown out of a hall in Chicago. He
    was a great labor agitator and his desertion is a great surprise.

    HOGAN.

    _Later_--It is now understood that Cowels, the scab who went out on
    engine Blackwings to-night, was bought outright by a Burlington
    detective. This fact makes his action all the more contemptible. He
    is now being burned in effigy on the lake front, and the police are
    busy trying to keep an infuriated mob from raiding and burning his
    house. The action of Guerin was no surprise, as he was employed in
    the office of the master-mechanic, and has always been regarded as a
    company man--almost as an official.

    HOGAN.

Guerin, having put in a fresh fire, stood watching the face of his
companion, and when the engineer crumpled the message in his hand and
ground his teeth together the fireman shoved another message under the
nose of the unhappy man. This message was on the same subject, but from
quite another source, and varied slightly from those we have just read.

    OFFICIAL BULLETIN: _Burlington Route_

    The Denver Limited went out on time to-night with a reasonably
    well-filled train, Engineer Cowels in the cab. Mr. Cowels has been
    many years in the service of the company and is highly esteemed by
    the officials. Although he was, for a time, a prominent striker, he
    saw the folly of further resistance on the part of the employees,
    and this morning came to the company's office and begged to be
    allowed to return to his old run, which request was granted. Cowels
    is a thoroughly competent engineer and has been on this same run for
    five years, and up to the time of the strike had never missed a
    trip. It is expected that his return to his engine will be the
    signal for a general stampede. The company has generously agreed to
    reïnstate all old employees (unless guilty of some lawless act) who
    return before noon to-morrow.

    STONAKER.

It would be difficult to say which of these dispatches distressed him
most. The first said he had sold himself for so much money, the second
that he had gone to the company and begged to be reïnstated. Slowly he
opened the first crumpled message and read down to the word "scab."
"George Cowels, the scab,--burned in effigy--a great mob about his
house." All these things passed swiftly before him, and the thought of
his wife and baby being in actual danger, his boy being kicked and
cuffed about, almost made him mad. He crushed the crumpled messages in
his right hand while with his left he pulled the throttle wide open. The
powerful Blackwings, built to make time with ten cars loaded, leaped
forward like a frightened deer. The speed of the train was now terrific,
and the stations, miles apart, brushed by them like telegraph poles. At
Mendota a crowd of men hurled sticks and stones at the flying train. As
the stones hailed into the cab, and the broken glass rained over him,
the desperate driver never so much as glanced to either side, but held
his place, his hand on the throttle and his eye on the track. For the
first time he looked at his watch. He was still more than an hour late.
He remembered how the old engineer had said, an hundred times perhaps:
"George, an express train should never be late; she should be on time or
in the ditch."

It was the first time Blackwings had ever been an hour late anywhere,
and with all his greater sorrows this grieved the young engineer. Now at
the way stations the crowd that awaited them invariably fell back as the
wild train dashed by, or, if they hurled their missiles, those aimed at
the locomotive struck the sleeper or flew across the track behind it, so
great was the speed of the train. Cowels yielded at last to the
irresistible desire to see how his companion was taking it, but as he
bent his gaze in that direction it encountered the grinning face of the
fireman, into which he threw the crumpled paper. Then, as he continued
to grin, the infuriated engineer grabbed a hard-hammer and hurled it
murderously at Guerin's head. The latter saved his life by a clever
dodge, and springing to the driver's side caught him by the back of the
neck and shoved his head out at the window and held it there. They were
just at that moment descending a long grade down which the most daring
driver always ran with a closed throttle. Blackwings was wide open, and
now she appeared to be simply rolling and falling through space.
Although we have no way of knowing how fast she fell, it is safe to say
she was making ninety miles an hour. While the fireman held on to the
engineer, squeezing and shaking away at the back of his neck, the speed
of the train was increasing with every turn of the wheels. Gradually the
resistance of the engineer grew feebler until all at once he dropped
across the arm-rest, limp and lifeless. Guerin, finding himself alone
on the flying engine, had presence of mind enough to close the throttle,
but with that his knowledge of the locomotive ended. He reasoned that in
time she must run down and stop of herself, and then the train crew
would come forward and relieve his embarrassment. It never occurred to
him for a moment that he might be regarded as a murderer, for he had
only held the engineer down to the seat, with no more violence than boys
use toward each other in play. And while he stood staring at the still
form of the driver that hung out of the window like a pair of wet
overalls, the engine rolled, the snow drifted deeper and deeper on the
headlight, and with every roll the bell tolled! tolled!! like a church
bell tolling for the dead. The train, slowing down, rolled silently over
the shrouded earth, the fire in the open furnace blackened and died, the
cold air chilled her flues and the stream of water from the open
injector flooded the boiler of Blackwings and put the death-rattle in
her throat. When at last the train rolled slowly into Galesburg the
fireman stood on the deck of a dead locomotive, with snow on her
headlight, and, as the crowd surged round him, pointed to the limp form
of the young engineer that hung in the window, dead.



CHAPTER TWELFTH


Judge Meyer's court was crowded when the three big policemen, formed
like a football team, wedged their way into the building. In the centre
of the "A" walked the prisoner, handcuffed and chained like a murderer.
When they had arrived in front of the judge and the officers stepped
back they left the prisoner exposed to the gaze of the spectators.
Standing six feet two, strong and erect, he looked as bold and defiant
as a Roman warrior, and at sight of him there ran a murmur through the
court room which was promptly silenced by the judge.

In response to the usual questions the prisoner said his name was Dan
Moran, that his occupation was that of a locomotive engineer. He had
been in the employ of the Burlington for a quarter of a century--ever
since he was fifteen years old--but being one of the strikers he was now
out of employment.

"You are charged," said the clerk, "with trespassing upon the property
of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company, inciting a riot,
attempting to blow up a locomotive and threatening the life of the
engineer. How do you plead?"

"Not guilty," said the old engine-driver, and as he said this he seemed
to grow an inch and looked grander than ever.

Being asked if he desired counsel the prisoner said he did not, that the
whole matter could be explained by a single witness--an employee of the
company.

The company detective and the police officers exchanged glances, the
judge coughed, the crowd of loafers shifted ballast and rested on the
other foot. Only the prisoner stood motionless and erect.

The detective, the first witness for the prosecution, testified that he
had followed the prisoner into the yards from among the freight cars,
watched him approach the engine Blackwings and talk with the engineer.
He could not make out all that passed, but knew that the men had
quarrelled. He had seen the prisoner stoop down and fumble about the
air-pump on the engineer's side of the engine. He then rose and as he
moved off made some threat against the life of the engineer and about
"ditching" the train.

Being asked to repeat this important part of his testimony, the witness
admitted that he could not repeat the threat exactly, but he was
positive that the prisoner had threatened the life of the engineer of
the Denver Limited. He was positive that the last words uttered by the
prisoner as he left the engine were these: "This train, by this time,
ought to be in the ditch." The witness followed the statement with the
explanation that the train was then nearly two hours late. "This," said
the witness, still addressing the court, "was found in the prisoner's
inside coat pocket," and he held up a murderous looking stick of
dynamite. After landing the would-be dynamiter safely in jail the
detective had hastened back to the locomotive, which was then about to
start out on her perilous run, and had found a part of the fuse, which
had been broken, attached to the air brake apparatus. This he exhibited,
also, and showed that the piece of fuse found on the engine fitted the
piece still on the dynamite.

It looked like a clear case of intent to kill somebody, and even the
prisoner's friends began to believe him guilty. Three other witnesses
were called for the prosecution. The company's most trusted detective,
and a Watchem man testified that the prisoner had, up to now, borne a
good reputation. He had been one of the least noisy of the strikers and
had often assisted the police in protecting the company's property. The
master-mechanic under whom Dan Moran had worked as a locomotive engineer
for twenty years took the stand and said, with something like tears in
his voice, that Dan _had been_ one of the best men on the road. Being
questioned by the company's attorney he gave it as his opinion that no
dynamite was attached to the air-pump of Blackwings when she crossed the
table, and that if it was there at all it must have been put there after
the engine was coupled on to the Denver Limited. Then he spoiled all
this and shocked the prosecuting attorney by expressing the belief that
there must be some mistake.

"Do you mean to say that you disbelieve this gentleman, who, at the risk
of his life, arrested this ruffian and prevented murder?" the lawyer
demanded.

"I mean to say," said the old man slowly, "that I don't believe Dan put
the dynamite on the engine."

When the master-mechanic had been excused and was passing out Dan put
out his hand--both hands in fact, for they were chained together--and
the company's officer shook the manacled hands of the prisoner and
hurried on.

When the prosecution had finished, the prisoner was asked to name the
witness upon whom he relied.

"George Cowels," said the accused, and there ran through the audience
another murmur, the judge frowned, and the standing committee shifted
back to the other foot.

"Your Honor, please," said the attorney rising, "we are only wasting
time with this incorrigible criminal. He must know that George Cowels is
dead for he undoubtedly had some hand in the murder, and now to show you
that he had not, he has the temerity to stand up here and pretend to
know nothing whatever about the death of the engineer. I must say that,
quiet and gentle as he is, he is a cunning villain to try to throw dust
in the eyes of the people by pretending to be ignorant of Cowels's
death. I submit, your Honor, there is no use in wasting time with this
man, and we ask that he be held without bail, to await the action of the
grand jury."

Dan Moran appeared to pay little or no attention to what the lawyer was
saying, for the news of Cowels's death had been a great shock to him.
The fact that he had been locked up over night and then brought from the
jail to the court in a closed van might have accounted for his ignorance
of Cowels's death, but no one appeared to think of that. But now,
finding himself at the open door of a prison, with a strong chain of
circumstantial evidence wound about him, he began to show some interest
in what was going on.

The judge, having adjusted his glasses, and opened and closed a few
books that lay on his desk, was about to pronounce sentence when the
prisoner asked to be allowed to make a statement.

This the attorney for the company objected to as a waste of time, for he
was satisfied of the prisoner's guilt, but the judge over-ruled the
objection and the prisoner testified.

He admitted having had the dynamite in his pocket when arrested, but
said he had taken it from the engine to prevent its exploding and
wrecking the locomotive. He said he had quarrelled with the engineer of
Blackwings at first, but later they came to an understanding. He then
gave the young runner some fatherly advice, and started to leave when he
was arrested.

Although he told his story in a straightforward honest way, it was, upon
the face of it, so inconsistent that even the loafers, changing feet
again, pitied the prisoner and many of them actually left the room
before the judge could pronounce sentence. Moran was held, of course,
and sent to jail without bail. He had hosts of friends, but somehow they
all appeared to be busy that evening and only a few called to see him.

One man, not of the Brotherhood, said to himself that night as he went
to his comfortable bed: "I will not forsake the company, neither will I
forsake Dan Moran until he has been proven guilty."



CHAPTER THIRTEENTH


While Dan Moran was being examined in Judge Meyer's ill-smelling court
in Chicago a coroner's jury was sitting on the body of the dead engineer
at Galesburg. Hundreds of people had been at the station and witnessed
the arrival of the express train that came in with a dead engine, with
snow on her headlight, and a dead engineer hanging out of the window.
Hundreds of people could testify that this had happened, but none of
them knew what had caused the death of the engine-driver. Medical
experts who were called in to view the body could find no marks of
violence upon it and, in order to get out of a close place without
embarrassment, agreed that the engineer had died of heart failure. This
information, having been absorbed by the jury, they gave in a verdict to
that effect. If the doctors had said, "He died for want of breath," the
verdict would no doubt have agreed perfectly with what the doctors
said.

After the train had arrived and the coroner was called and had taken the
dead man from the engine, Barney Guerin had wandered into a small hotel
near the station and engaged a room for the night. Being the only person
on the engine at the time of the engineer's death, Guerin was very
naturally attracting the attention of the railway officials, and calling
about him, unconsciously, all the amateur detectives and newspaper
reporters in the place. Fortunately for him, he was arrested, upon a
warrant sworn out by the station agent, and lodged in jail before the
reporters got at him. Here he was visited by a local lawyer, for the
company, and instructed to say nothing whatever about the death of
Cowels.

Upon the announcement of the verdict of the coroner's jury the prisoner
was released, and returned to Chicago by the same train that bore the
remains of the dead engineer.

Guerin, whose heart was as big as his body and as tender as a woman's,
hastened to the home of his late companion and begged the grief-sick
widow to allow him to be of some service to her. His appearance (she had
known him by sight) excited her greatly for she knew he had been
arrested as the murderer of her husband.

The news he brought of the verdict of the coroner's jury, which his very
presence corroborated, quieted her and she began to ask how it had all
happened.

Guerin began cautiously to explain how the engineer had died, still
remembering the lawyer's advice, but before he had gone a dozen words
the poor woman wept so bitterly that he was obliged to discontinue the
sad story.

Then came the corpse, borne by a few faithful friends--some of the
Brotherhood and some of the railway company--who met thus on neutral
ground and in the awful presence of death forgot their feud. Not an eye
was dry while the little company stood about as the mother and boy bent
over the coffin and poured out their grief, and the little girl, not old
enough to understand, but old enough to weep, clung and sobbed at her
mother's side.

The next day they came again and carried Cowels away and buried him in
the new and thinly settled side of the grave-yard, where the lots were
not too high, and where for nearly four years their second son, a baby
boy, had slept alone. Another day came and the men who had mixed their
tears at the engineer's grave passed one another without a nod of
recognition, and, figuratively speaking, stood again to their respective
guns.

One man had been greatly missed at the funeral, and the recollection
that he had been greatly wronged by the dead man did not excuse him in
the eyes of the widow. Dan Moran had been a brother, a father,
everything to her husband and now when he was needed most, he came not
at all. Death, she reasoned, should level all differences and he should
forgive all and come to her and the children in their distress. At the
end of a week this letter came:

    _County Jail, ---- 1888._

    _My dear Mrs. Cowels_:

    _Every day since George's death I have wanted to write you to assure
    you of my innocence and of my sympathy for you in this the hour of
    your sorrow. These are dreadful times. Be brave, and believe me_

    _Your friend,_
    _Dan Moran._


This letter, and the information it contained, was as great a surprise
to Mrs. Cowels as the news of Cowels's death had been to Moran. She
began at the beginning and read it carefully over again, as women always
do. She determined to go at once to the jail. She was shrewd enough to
say "Yes" when asked if the prisoner were related in any way to her, and
was shortly in the presence of the alleged dynamiter. She did not find
him walking the floor impatiently, or lying idly on his back counting
the cracks in the wall, but seated upon his narrow bed with a book
resting on his cocked-up knees, for, unlike most railway employees,
Moran was a great reader.

"I'm glad to see you, Mrs. Cowels," he said in his easy, quiet way, as
he arose and took her hand, "but sorry we are compelled to meet under
such melancholy circumstances."

At sight of their old friend her woman's heart sent forth a fresh flood
of tears, and for some moments they stood thus with heads bowed in
silent grief.

"I'm sorry I can't offer you a chair," said the prisoner after she had
raised her head and dried her eyes. "This only chair I have is wrecked,
but if you don't mind the iron couch--" and then they sat down side by
side and began to talk over the sad events of the past week.

"Your presence here is a great surprise," began Moran, "and a great
pleasure as well, for it leads me to hope that you believe me
innocent."

"How could I believe you otherwise, for I do not know now of what you
are accused, nor did I know, until I received your note, that you were
imprisoned."

"But the papers have been full of--"

"Perhaps," she said interrupting him, "but I have not looked at a paper
since I read of the death of George."

Here she broke down again and sobbed so that the guard outside the cell
turned his back; and the old engineer, growing nervous, a thing unusual
for him, decided to scold her.

"You must brace up now, Nora,--Mrs. Cowels, and close your sand valve.
You've got a heavy load and a bad rail, and you mustn't waste water in
this way."

"Oh! I shall never be able to do it, Dan, I shall die--I don't want to
live and I shall die."

"You'll do nothing of the sort--women don't die so easy; thousands of
others, not half as brave as you are, have made the same run, hard as it
seems, and have come in on time. There are few sorrows that time will
not heal. Engine-men are born to die, and their wives to weep over them
and live on--you will not die."

"But I--I _shall_ die," sobbed the woman.

Before he could reply the door opened and an elderly man, plainly, but
comfortably dressed, stood before them.

Moran gave his hand to the newcomer in silence and it was taken in
silence; then, turning to the veiled figure he said: "Mrs. Cowels, this
is our master-mechanic."

When the visitor had taken her hand and assured her of his sympathy,
Moran asked them to be seated, and standing before them said:

"Mrs. Cowels has just asked me why I am here, and I was at the point of
replying when you came in. Now, with your permission I will tell her,
for I am afraid, my friend, that you did not quite understand me that
day in court. I am charged with trespassing upon the property of the
Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad Company, inciting a riot
(although there was no riot), attempting to blow up Blackwings and
threatening to kill George Cowels."

"Oh! how could they say such dreadful things?" said Mrs. Cowels, "and I
suppose that you were not even on the company's ground!"

"Oh yes, I was. I went to the engine, and quarrelled with George, just
as the detective said I did, but we only quarrelled for a moment because
George could not know why I came."

"But you did not threaten to kill George?" said the woman excitedly.

"No."

"Tell me, Dan," said the master-mechanic, "had you that stick of
dynamite when the detective arrested you? Tell us truly, for you are
talking to friends."

"There is something about the dynamite that I may not explain, but I
will say this to you, my friends, that I went to the engine, not to kill
Cowels, but to save his life, and I believe I did save it, for a few
hours at least."

Mrs. Cowels looked at the man, who still kept his seat on the narrow
bed, as though she wished him to speak.

"Dan," he began, "I don't believe you put that dynamite on the engine; I
have said so, and if I don't prove it I am to be dismissed. That
conclusion was reached to-day at a meeting of the directors of the road.
I have been accused of sympathy with the strikers, it seems, before, and
now, after the statement by the attorney that I used my influence to
have you discharged after he had made out a clear case against you, I
have been informed by the general manager that I will be expected to
prove your innocence or look for another place.

"I have been with the Burlington all my life and don't want to leave
them, particularly in this way, but it is on your account, more than on
my own, that I have come here to-night to ask you to tell the whole
truth about this matter and go from this place a free man."

"To do that I must become an informer, the result of which would be to
put another in my place. No, I can't do that; I've nothing to do at
present and I might as well remain here."

"And let your old friend here be discharged, if not disgraced?" asked
Mrs. Cowels.

"No, that must not be," said Moran, and he was then silent for a moment
as if trying to work out a scheme to prevent that disaster to his
much-loved superior. "You must let me think it over," he said,
presently. "Let me think it over to-night."

"And let the guilty one escape," Mrs. Cowels added.

"Some people seem to think," said Moran, with just a faint attempt at a
smile, "that the guilty one is quite secure."

"Don't talk nonsense, Dan," she said, "you know I believe you."

"And you, my friend?" he said as he extended his hand to the official.

"You know what I believe," said the visitor; "and now good-night--I
shall see you again soon."

"I hope so," said Dan. "It is indeed very good of you to call, and of
you, too," he added, as he turned to his fairer visitor. "I shall not
forget your kindness to me, and only hope that I may be of some help to
you in some way, and do something to show my appreciation of this visit
and of your friendship. But," he added, glancing about him, "one can't
be of much use to his friends shut up in a hole like this."

"You can do me a great favor, even while in prison," she said.

"Only say what it is and I shall try."

"Tell us who put the dynamite on Blackwings."

"I shall try," he said, "only let me have time to think what is best to
do."

"What is right is what is best to do," said Mrs. Cowels, holding out her
hand--"Good-night."

"Good-night," said the prisoner, "come again when you can, both of you."
And the two visitors passed out into the clear, cold night, and when the
prisoner had seen them disappear he turned to his little friend, the
book.



CHAPTER FOURTEENTH


"Mr. Scouping of _The London Times_ would like to see you for a few
minutes," said the jailor.

"I don't care to see any newspaper man," said Moran, closing his book.

"I knew that," said the jailor, "but this man is a personal friend of
mine and in all the world there is not his equal in his chosen
profession, and if you will see him just for a few minutes it will be a
great favor to me. I feel confident, Dan, that he can be of service to
you--to the public at least--will you see him?"

The jailor had been extremely kind to the engineer and when he put the
matter as a personal request, Moran assented at once and Mr. Scouping
was ushered in. He was a striking figure with a face that was rather
remarkable.

"Now, what are you thinking about?" asked the visitor, as Moran held his
hand and looked him full in the face.

"Oh!" said the prisoner, motioning the reporter to a chair which the
jailor had just brought in, "I was thinking what a waste of physical
strength it was for you to spend your time pushing a pencil over a sheet
of paper."

"Are you sure?"

"Quite sure. What were you thinking about?"

"The trial of the robbers who held up the Denver Limited at Thorough-cut
some eight or ten years ago. You look like the man who gave one of them
a black eye, and knocked him from the engine, branding him so that the
detectives could catch him."

Moran smiled. He had been thinking on precisely the same subject, but,
being modest, he did not care to open a discussion of a story of which
he was the long-forgotten hero. "It strikes me," said Moran, "as rather
extraordinary that we should both recall the scene at the same time."

"Not at all," said the reporter. "The very fact that one of us thought
of it at the moment when our hands and eyes met would cause the other to
remember."

"Perhaps you reported the case for your paper, that we saw each other
from day to day during the long trial, and that I remembered your face
faintly, as you remembered mine. Wouldn't that be a better explanation?"

"No," said the journalist cheerfully. "I must decline to yield to your
argument, and stick to my decision. What I want to talk to you about,
Mr. Moran, is not your own case, save as it may please you, but about
the mysterious death of Engineer Cowels."

"I know less about that, perhaps, than any man living," said Moran
frankly.

"But you know the fireman's story?"

"No."

"Well, he claims that they were running at a maddening rate of speed,
that he and the engineer had quarrelled as to their relative positions
in the estimation of the public in general, the strikers in particular.
Cowels threw a hammer at the fireman, whereupon Guerin, as he claims,
caught the man by the left arm and by the back of the neck and shoved
his head out of the window. The engineer resisted, but Guerin, who is
something of an athlete, held him down and in a few moments the man
collapsed."

"How fast were they going?"

"Well, that is a question to be settled by experts. How fast will
Blackwings go with four cars empty?"

"Ninety miles an hour."

"How fast would she go, working 'wide open in the first notch,' as you
people say, down Zero Hill?"

"She would go in the ditch--she could hardly be expected to hold the
rail for more than two minutes."

"But she did hold it."

"I don't believe it," said the old driver; "but if she did, she must
have made a hundred miles an hour, and in that case the mystery of
Cowels's death is solved--he was drowned."

"But his clothes were not wet, and he was still in the window when they
reached Galesburg."

"I do not mean," said Moran, "that he was drowned in the engine-tank,
but in the cab window--in the air."

"That sounds absurd."

"Try it," said the prisoner. "Get aboard of Blackwings, strike the
summit at Zero Hill with her lever hooked back and her throttle wide
open, let a strong man hold your head out at the window, and if she
hangs to the rail your successor will have the rare opportunity of
writing you up."

"Do you mean that seriously?"

"I do. If what you tell me is true, there can be no shade of doubt as to
the cause of Cowels's death."

"I believe," said the reporter, "that you predicted his death, or that
the train would go in the ditch, did you not?"

"No."

"I was not present at the examination, but it occurs to me that the man
who claimed to be a detective, and who made the arrest, swore that you
had made such a prediction."

"Perhaps," said Moran. "The truth is when that fellow was giving his
testimony I was ignorant of Cowels's death, upon whose evidence I hoped
to prove that the fellow was lying wilfully, or that he had
misunderstood me, and later, I was so shocked and surprised at the news
of my old fireman's death that I forgot to make the proper explanation
to the magistrate."

"Why not make that explanation now? These are trying times and men are
not expected to be as guarded in their action as in times of peace."

"If you hope to learn from me that I had anything to do with Cowels's
death, or with the placing of the dynamite upon the locomotive, I am
afraid you are wasting your time. Suppose you are an army officer, the
possessor of a splendid horse--one that has carried you through hundreds
of battles, but has finally been captured by the enemy. You are fighting
to regain possession of the animal with the chances of success and
failure about equally divided, but you have an opportunity, during the
battle, to slay this horse, thereby removing the remotest chance of ever
having it for yourself again, to say nothing of the wickedness of the
act,--would you do it?"

"I should say not."

"And yet, I venture to say," said the prisoner, "that there is no love
for a living thing that is not human, to equal the love of a locomotive
engineer for his engine. To say that he would wilfully and maliciously
wreck and ruin the splendid steed of steel that had carried him safely
through sun and storm is utterly absurd."

"But what was it, Mr. Moran, that you said about the train going in the
ditch?"

"I have a little motto of my own," said the engineer, with his quiet
smile, "which makes the delay of an express train inexcusable, and I was
repeating it to George, as I had done scores of times before. It is that
there are only two places for an express train; she should either be on
time or in the ditch. It may have been rather reckless advice to a new
runner, but I was feeling a mite reckless myself; but, above all the
grief and disappointments (for the disgrace of my fireman's downfall was
in a measure mine) arose the desire that Blackwings should not be
disgraced; such is the love of the engineer for his engine."

The old engineer had shown much feeling, more than was usual for him to
display, while talking about his engine, and the reporter was impressed
very favorably. "This has been most interesting to me," said the
journalist; "and now I must leave you to your book, or to your bed,"
and then the two men shook hands again and parted.

       *       *       *       *       *

It was almost midnight when a closed carriage stopped at the general
office of the Burlington Company, and the man who had been representing
_The London Times_ stepped out.

The Philosopher, who was still on duty, touched his cap and led the
visitor to the private office of the general manager.

"By Jove, Watchem," said the railway man, advancing to meet his visitor,
"I had nearly given you up--what success?"

"Well," said the great detective, removing his heavy coat, "I have had a
talk with Moran. Why, I know that fellow; he is the hero of the
celebrated Thorough-cut train robbery, and he ought to be wearing a
medal instead of irons."

"What! for attempting to blow up an engine?" asked the general manager.

"He never did it," said the dark man positively. "He may know who did
do it, but he will not tell, and he ought to be discharged."

"He will never be until he is proved innocent," said the railroad man.

"One of the conditions," began the detective deliberately, "upon which I
took charge of this business was that I should have absolute control of
all criminal matters and I am going to ask you to instruct the
prosecuting attorney's office to bring this man before Judge Meyer
to-morrow morning and ask that he be discharged."

"The prosecuting attorney will never consent," said the general manager.
"He believes the man guilty."

"And what do I care for his opinion or his prejudice? What does it
matter to the average attorney whether he convicts or acquits, so long
as his side wins? Before we proceed further with this discussion, I want
it distinctly understood that Dan Moran shall be released at once. The
only spark of pleasure that comes into the life of an honest detective,
to relieve the endless monotony of punishing the wicked, is the pleasure
of freeing those wrongfully accused. Dan Moran is innocent; release him
and I will be personally responsible for him and will agree to produce
him within twenty-four hours at any time when he may be wanted."

The general manager was still inclined to hold his ground, but upon
being assured that the Watchem detective agency would throw the whole
business over unless the demands of the chief were acceded to, he
yielded, and after a brief conference the two men descended, the
Philosopher closed the offices and went his way.



CHAPTER FIFTEENTH


Scores of criminals, deputies and strikers were rounded up for a hearing
before Judge Meyer. So great was the crowd of defendants that little
room was left for the curious. The first man called was a laborer, a
freight handler, whose occupation had gone when the company ceased to
handle freight. The charge against him was a peculiar one. His neighbor,
a driver for one of the breweries, owned a cow, which, although she gave
an abundance of milk at night, had ceased almost entirely to produce at
the morning milking. The German continued to feed her and she waxed fat,
but there was no improvement, and finally it was decided that the cow
should be watched. About four A. M. on the following morning a small man
came and leaned a ladder against the high fence between the driver's
back-yard, and that of the laborer. Then the small man climbed to the
top of the fence, balanced himself carefully, hauled the ladder up and
slid it down in the Dutchman's lot. All this was suspicious, but what
the driver wanted was positive proof, so he choked his dog and remained
quiet until the man had milked the cow and started for the fence. Now
the bull-dog, being freed from his master's grasp, coupled into the
climber's caboose and hauled him back down the ladder. It was found upon
examination that a rubber hot-water bag, well filled with warm milk, was
dangling from a strap that encircled the man's shoulders, shot-pouch
fashion.

Upon being charged, the man pleaded guilty. At first, he said, he had
only taken enough milk for the baby, who had been without milk for
thirty-six hours. The thought of stealing had not entered his mind until
near morning of the second night of the baby's fast. They had been up
with the starving child all night, and just before day he had gone into
the back-yard to get some fuel to build a fire, when he heard his
neighbor's cow tramping about in the barn lot, and instantly it
occurred to him that there was milk for the baby; that if he could
procure only a teacupful, it might save the child's life. He secured a
ladder and went over the fence, but being dreadfully afraid he had taken
barely enough milk to keep the baby during the day and that night they
were obliged to walk the floor again. It was only a little past midnight
when he went over the fence for the second time. Upon this occasion he
took more milk, so that he was not obliged to return on the following
night, but another day brought the same condition of affairs and over
the fence he went, and he continued to go every night, and the baby
began to thrive as it had not done in all its life.

Finally the food supply began to dwindle, he was idle, and his wife was
unable to do hard work; they had other small children who now began to
cry for milk, and the father's heart ached for them and he went over the
fence one night prepared to bring all he could get. That day all the
children had milk, but it was soon gone and then came the friendly night
and the performance at the back fence was repeated.

Emboldened by success the man had come to regard it as a part of his
daily or nightly duty to milk his neighbor's cow, but alas! for the
wrong-doer there comes a day of reckoning, and it had come at last to
the freight handler. The freight agent who was called as a witness
testified as to the good character of the man previously, but he was a
thief. Put to the test it had been proven that he would steal from his
neighbor simply to keep his baby from starving, so he went to the
workhouse, his family went to the poor-house, and the strike went on.

"If you were to ask who is responsible for this strike," said the
philosophic tramp to Patsy, "which has left in its wake only waste,
want, misery, and even murder, the strikers would answer 'the company';
the company, 'the strikers'; and if Congress came in a private car to
investigate, the men on either side would hide behind one another, like
cattle in a storm, and the guilty would escape. The law intends to
punish, but the law finds it so hard to locate the real criminals in a
great soulless corporation, or in a conglomeration of organizations
whose aggregate membership reaches into the hundreds of thousands, that
the blind goddess grows weary, groping in the dark, and finally falls
asleep with the cry of starving children still ringing in her ears."

Now an officer brought engineer Dan Moran, the alleged dynamiter, into
court for a special hearing. He wore no manacles, but stood erect in the
awful presence of the judge, unfettered and unafraid.

Mr. Alexander, the lawyer for the strikers, having had a hint from Billy
Watchem, the detective, asked that the prisoner be discharged, but the
young man who had been sent down from the office of the prosecuting
attorney, being behind the procession, protested vigorously. In the
midst of a burning argument, in which the old engineer was unmercifully
abused, the youthful attorney was interrupted to receive a message from
the general manager of the Burlington route. Pausing only long enough to
read the signature, the orator continued to pour his argument into the
court until a second messenger arrived with a note from his chief. It
was brief and he read it: "Let go; the house is falling in on you"; and
he let go. It was a long, hard fall, so he thought he would drop a
little at a time. The court was surprised to see the attorney stop short
in what he doubtless considered the effort of his life, and ask that the
prisoner be released on bail. Now the prosecuting attorney glanced at
Mr. Alexander, but that gentleman was looking the other way. "Does that
proposition meet with the approval of the eminent counsel on the other
side?"

"No," said the other side.

"Then will you take the trouble to make your wishes known to the court?"

"No, you will do that for me," said the eminent counsel, with a coolness
that was exasperating. "It would be unsafe to shut off such a flow of
eloquence all at once. Ask the court, please, to discharge the
prisoner."

"Never," said the young lawyer, growing red to the roots of his
perfectly parted hair. The counsel for the defence reached over the
table and flipped the last message toward the lawyer, at the same time
advising the young man to read it again. Then the young man coughed, the
old lawyer laughed, the judge fidgeted on his bench, but he caught the
prayer of the youthful attorney, it was answered, and Dan Moran received
his freedom.

"Do you observe how the law operates?" asked the Philosopher, who had
been the bearer of the message from the general manager, of Patsy Daly
as they were leaving the court.

"I must confess," said Patsy, "that I am utterly unable to understand
these things. Here is a lawyer abusing a man--an honest man at
that--unmercifully, and all of a sudden he asks the court to discharge
the prisoner. It's beyond me."

"But the side play! Didn't you get on to the message that blackguard
received? He had a hunch from the prosecuting attorney who had been
hunched by the general manager, who, as I happened to know, was
severely, but very successfully hunched by Billy Watchem, to the effect
that this man was innocent and must be released. It was the shadow-hand
of old 'Never Sleep,' that did the business and set an innocent man
free, and hereafter, when I cuss a copper I'll say a little prayer for
this man whose good deeds are all done in the dark, and therefore
covered up."

"Thank you," said Patsy, "I should never have been able to work it out
myself."

"Well, it is not all worked out yet," said the Philosopher, "and will
not be until we come up for a final hearing, in a court that is
infallible and unfoolable; and what a lot of surprises are in store for
some people. It is not good to judge, and yet I can't help picturing it
all to myself. I see a sleek old sinner, who has gone through this life
perfectly satisfied with himself, edging his way in and sidling over
where the sheep are. Then in comes this poor devil who went to jail this
morning--that was his first trip, but the road is easy when you have
been over it once--and he, having been herding all along with the goats,
naturally wanders over that way. Then at the last moment I see the Good
Shepherd shooing the sleek old buck over where the goats are and
bringing the milk-thief back with him, and I see the look of surprise on
the old gentleman's face as he drops down the 'goat-chute.'"



CHAPTER SIXTEENTH


In time people grew tired of talking and reading about the strike, and
more than one man wished it might end. The strikers wished it too, for
hundreds of them were at the point of starvation. The police courts were
constantly crowded, and often overflowed and filled the morgue. Misery,
disappointment, want, and hunger made men commit crimes the very thought
of which would have caused them to shudder a year ago. One day a
desolate looking striker was warming his feet in a cheap saloon when a
well-dressed stranger came and sat near him and asked the cause of his
melancholia.

"I'm a striker," said the man; "and I have had no breakfast. More than
that, my wife is hungry at home and she is sick, too. She's been sick
ever since we buried the baby, three weeks ago. All day yesterday I
begged for work, but there was nothing for me to do. To-day I have
begged for money to buy medicine and food for her, but I have received
nothing, and now my only hope is that she may be dead when I go home
to-night, empty-handed and hungry."

The stranger drew his chair yet nearer to that of the miserable man and
asked in a low tone why he did not steal.

"I don't know how," said the striker, looking his questioner in the
face. "I have never stolen anything and I should be caught at my first
attempt. If not, it would only be a question of time, and if I must
become a thief to live we might as well all die and have done with it.
It'll be easier anyway after she's gone, and that won't be long; she
don't want to live. Away in the dead of night she wakes me praying for
death. And she used to be about the happiest woman in the world, and one
of the best, but when a mother sits and sees her baby starve and die, it
is apt to harden her heart against the people who have been the cause of
it all. I think she has almost ceased to care for me, for of course she
blames me for going out with the strikers, but how's a man to know what
to do? If I could raise the price I think I'd take a couple of doses of
poison home with me and put an end to our misery. She'd take it in a
holy minute."

"Don't do that," said the stranger, dabbing a silk handkerchief to his
eyes, one after the other. "And don't steal, for if you do once you will
steal again, and by and by you'll get bolder and do worse. I've heard
men tell how they had begun by lifting a dicer in front of a clothing
store, or stealing a loaf of bread, and ended by committing murder. They
can't break this way always--brace up."

The switchman went over to the bar where a couple of non-union men were
shaking dice for the drinks. He recognized one of them as the man who
had taken his place in the yards, but he scarcely blamed him now.
Perhaps the fellow had been hungry, and the striker knew too well what
that meant. Presently, the switchman went back to the stove and began
to button his thin coat up about his throat.

"I'm dead broke myself," said the well-dressed stranger, "but I'm going
to help you if you'll let me."

As the striker stared at the stranger the man took off a sixty-dollar
overcoat and hung it over the switchman's arm. "Take it," he said, "it's
bran new; I just got it from the tailor this morning. Go out and sell it
and bring the money to me and I'll help you."

When the striker had been gone a quarter of an hour the well-dressed man
strolled up to the bar and ordered a cocktail. Fifteen minutes later he
took another drink and went out in front of the saloon. It was cold
outside and after looking anxiously up and down the street the
philanthropist reëntered the beer-shop and warmed himself by the big
stove. At the end of an hour he ordered another dose of nerve food and
sat down to think. It began to dawn upon him that he had been "had," as
the English say. Perhaps this fellow was an impostor, a professional
crook from New York, and he would sell the overcoat and have riotous
pastime upon the proceeds.

"The wife and baby story was a rank fake--I'm a marine," said the
well-dressed man taking another drink. It seemed to him that the task of
helping the needy was a thankless one, and he wished he had the overcoat
back again. He had been waiting nearly two hours when the switchman came
in. "I had a hard time finding a purchaser," explained the striker, "and
finally when I did sell it I could only get twelve dollars and they made
me give my name and tell how I came to have such a coat. I suppose they
thought I had stolen it and I dare say I looked guilty for it is so
embarrassing to try to sell something that really doesn't belong to you,
and to feel yourself suspected of having stolen it."

"And you told them that a gentleman had given the coat to you to sell
because he was sorry for you?"

"Yes, I gave them a description of you and told them the place."

"That was right," said the gentleman, glancing toward the door. "Here
are two dollars; come back here to-morrow and I'll have something more
for you--good-by." And the philanthropist passed out by a side door
which opened on an alley.

The striker gripped the two-dollar bill hard in his hand and started for
the front door. All thought of hunger had left him now, and he was
thinking only of his starving wife, and wondering what would be best for
her to eat. Two or three men in citizens' dress, accompanied by a
policeman, were coming in just as he was going out, but he was looking
at the money and did not notice them. "There goes the thief," said one
of the men, and an officer laid a heavy hand on the striker's shoulder.
The man looked up into the officer's face with amazement, and asked
what the matter was.

"Did you sell an overcoat to this gentleman a little while ago?" asked
the policeman.

"Yes," said the striker glancing down at the two dollars he still held
in his hand.

"Und yer sthold dot coats fum mine vindo'," said a stout man shoving his
fist under the switchman's nose.

"A gentleman gave me the coat in this saloon," urged the striker. "Why,
he was here a moment ago."

"Ah! dot's too tin," laughed the tailor, "tak' 'im avay, Meester
Bleasman, tak' 'im avay," and the miserable man was hurried away to
prison.

That night while the switchman sat in a dark cell his young wife lay
dying of cold and hunger in a fireless room, and when an enterprising
detective came to search the house for stolen goods on the following
morning, he found her there stiff and cold.

Of course no one was to blame in particular, unless it was the
well-dressed gentleman who had "helped" the striker, for no one, in
particular, was responsible for the strike. It may have been the company
and it may have been the brotherhood, or both, but you can't put a
railroad company or a brotherhood in jail.



CHAPTER SEVENTEENTH


Mr. Watchem's plumber, as might have been expected, had the good taste
to leave his modest lodgings after the downfall and death of his
landlord, and now the widow was left alone with her two children. She
was a gentle soul, who had always been esteemed by her neighbors, but
since her husband's desertion to the enemy, she had been shamefully
slighted. One would have thought that her present helpless condition
would have shielded her from such slights, but it did not.

A few dollars still remained from the last rent money received from the
plumber, who always paid in advance, and upon this she lived for a week
or more after the death of her husband. She wondered how long it would
be before the Benevolent Building Association would sell the house, and
then how long before they would put her and the children into the
street. Upon visiting the undertaker she was surprised to learn that
all the expenses of her husband's funeral had been paid. It must have
been done by the company, since, having left the Brotherhood, her
husband could have had no claim upon the organization. Well, she was
glad it was paid, for the road that led into the future was rough and
uncertain.

One evening, when the baby had gone to sleep and the lone widow was
striving to entertain little Bennie, and at the same time to hide her
tears from him, for he had been asking strange questions about his
father's death, the bell rang and two of the neighbors came in. They
were striking firemen and she knew them well. One of the men handed her
a large envelope with an enormous seal upon it. She opened the letter
and found a note addressed to her and read it:


     _Dear Mrs. Cowels:_

     _Although your husband had deserted us, he had not been expelled,
     but was still a member in good standing at the moment of his
     death, and therefore legally entitled to the benefits of the order.
     For your sake I am glad that it is so, and I take pleasure in
     handing you a cheque for two thousand dollars, the amount of his
     insurance, less the amount paid by the local lodge for funeral
     expenses._

     _Very truly yours_,
     EUGENE V. DEBSON,
     _Grand Secretary and Treasurer_.


She thanked them as well as she could and the men tried to say it was
all right, but they were awkward and embarrassed and after a few
commonplace remarks withdrew.

Mrs. Cowels sat for a long while looking at the cheque, turning it over
and reading the figures aloud to Bennie and explaining to him what an
enormous amount of money it was. And what a load had thus been lifted
from the slender shoulders of this lone woman! Now she could pay off the
mortgage and have nearly fourteen hundred dollars left. It seemed to her
that that amount ought to keep them almost for a lifetime. This relief,
coming so unexpectedly, had made her forget for the moment her great
sorrow. She even smiled when telling Bennie how very rich they were, but
when the boy looked up, with tears swimming in his big, blue eyes, and
said, through the sobs that almost choked him: "But I'd ruther have papa
back again," it pierced her heart and made the old wound bleed anew.

Patsy Daly and his friend, the Philosopher, were at that moment
approaching the Cowels's house where they lodged--they were room-mates
now. They had seen the two men leaving the house, and having caught
sight of the lonely woman and her child, stood looking beneath the
window shade upon the pathetic scene. When they saw the official
envelope, with the big, red seal, they readily guessed the errand of the
men, for they knew the rules and ways of the Brotherhood, and that the
dead engineer's family was entitled to the insurance upon his life.
They saw the little mother smiling upon her boy, saw him turn a tearful
face up to hers, and the change that came, and the look of anguish upon
the unhappy woman's face touched them deeply. "O God!" said the
Philosopher, laying a hand upon the shoulder of his friend, "if it be
true that we, who are so wicked, must suffer for our sins, it is
pleasant to feel that these martyrs--the millions of mothers whose
hearts are torn in this world--will have a pleasant place in the world
to come."



CHAPTER EIGHTEENTH


Mr. Watchem, chief of the famous Watchem detective agency, was pacing
his private office. He was a heavy man with heavy features and a heavy,
dark mustache, at which he tugged vigorously as he walked. In his left
hand he carried a dozen or more sheets of closely written note paper.
Presently the door opened, and a small man, slightly stooped, entered
and removed his hat.

"Is this your report, sir?" asked the chief.

The man said it was.

"And can you substantiate these charges? Mind you, if an innocent man
suffers I shall hold you accountable, do you understand?"

"I understand, and I am willing to swear to that statement."

"Have the men been arrested?"

"They have, and are now on their way to Chicago."

"They will probably be arraigned to-morrow morning," observed the great
detective.

"See that your witnesses are on hand--you may go now."

When the small man had stolen softly out, down the stair and into the
street, the chief detective descended, entered a closed carriage and was
driven to his home.

It was now past midnight, and all over the city printers were setting up
the story of the arrest of a number of dynamiters on a Burlington train.
The wires were singing it across the country, and cables were carrying
to the ends of the earth the story of the disgrace and downfall of the
Brotherhood.

The headquarters of the strikers were crowded with a host of anxious
men, unwilling to believe that their brothers had been guilty of so
dastardly a crime.

On the following morning, when the daily press had announced the arrest
of the alleged dynamiters, the city was thrown into a fever of
excitement, and thousands who had been in sympathy with the men now
openly denounced them, and by so doing gave aid and encouragement to
the company. The most conservative papers now condemned the strikers,
while the editor of _The Chicago Times_ dipped his quill still deeper
into the gallstand.

Following close upon the heels of the arrest of these strikers came the
sensational arrest of Mr. Hogan, director general of the strike, charged
with conspiracy. The private secretaries of the strike committee turned
out to have been all along in the employ of the Watchem detective
agency, but the charges of conspiracy were never pushed. The men who
were charged with having and using dynamite, however, were less
fortunate. Two were imprisoned, one was fined, the others proved to be
detectives, and of course were released.

The effect of all this was very satisfactory to the company, and
disheartening to the men.

The daily meetings in the hall in town were less crowded, and the
speeches of the most radical and optimistic members of the fraternity
failed to create the old-time enthusiasm. The suits worn by the strikers
were becoming shiny, and the suffering in hundreds of homes was enough
to cause men to forget the commandments. The way cars and cabs of
out-going freight trains were crowded with old Burlington men starting
out to find work on other roads. They had been losing heart for some
time, and now the shame and disgrace caused by the conviction of the
dynamiters made them long to be away; to have a place in the world where
they might be allowed to win an honest living, and forget the long
struggle of which they had grown weary. Unlike the Philosopher, they
were always sure of a ride, but they found that nearly all the roads in
the country had all the men they needed to handle their trains. The very
fact that a man had once been a Burlington engineer was a sufficient
recommendation, and the fact that he had been a striker seems not to
have injured him in the estimation of railway officials generally, but
the main trouble was that there was no place for him.

While the boycott on Burlington cars had kept all roads, not operating
under a receiver, from handling Burlington business, it made it all the
easier for the company to handle the little traffic that came to them
and gave the road the appearance of running trains. All this was
discouraging to the men, and at last, having exhausted all fair means,
and some that were unfair, the strike was declared off. While the
company refused to the last to accept anything short of unconditional
surrender it is pleasing to be able to record here that the moment the
men gave in the officials did all they could, consistent with the policy
of the company and past events, to lessen the pain of defeat. The
following letter, which was sent by the president to the vice-president
and general manager, reminds us of the gentleness of Grant, in
receiving the surrender of a brave and noble general:


_Boston, Jan. 3, 1889._

_To ----, Vice-President C. B. & Q. Railroad, Chicago._

     _The company will not follow up, black-list, or in any manner
     attempt to proscribe those who were concerned in the strike, but on
     the contrary, will cheerfully give to all who have not been guilty
     of violence, or other improper conduct, letters of introduction,
     showing their record in our service, and will in all proper ways
     assist them in finding employment._

In making this letter known to the public the general manager said:

"It is important that no question should arise as to the good faith of
the company, and it is our desire and intention that there should be no
opportunity for such question."

He even offered to shield, as far as was consistent, those who, in the
heat of the fight, had committed unlawful acts. He was a generous
conqueror. It was humane, and manly, and noble in him to help those
unfortunate ones who were now in so much need of help, and to protect
them from the persecution of the few little-souled officials who were
loath to stop fighting. It is all the more creditable because he was not
bound to do it. He wrote: "While men who have been guilty of improper
conduct during the late strike cannot be re-employed, and while we
cannot give letters to them, no officer or employee should continue the
animosities of the conflict after it is over, or interfere to prevent
the employment of such men elsewhere."



CHAPTER NINETEENTH


At last the agony was over--at least the agony of suspense. The poor
misguided men knew now that all hope had died. They would be re-employed
when the company needed them, but it was January--the dullest month in
the year. Every railroad in the West was laying men off. Hundreds of the
new men were standing in line waiting for business to pick up, and this
line must be exhausted before any of the old employees could be taken
back. The management considered that the first duty of the company was
to the men who had helped to win the strike. There was no disposition on
the part of the officials to make it harder for the vanquished army.
They admired the loyalty and self-sacrifice, though deploring the
judgment of the mismanaged men; but they were only officers in an
opposing army, and so fought the fight for the interest they
represented, and for the principles in which they believed.

Nothing in the history of the strike shows more conclusively that the
men were out-generalled than the manner in which the company handled the
press. It is not to be supposed for a moment that the daily papers of
Chicago, with possibly one exception, willfully misrepresented the men,
but the story of the strikers was never told. Mr. Paul, the accomplished
"bureau of information," stood faithfully at the 'phone and saw that the
public received no news that would embarrass the company or encourage
the men. The cold, tired reporter found a warm welcome and an easy chair
in Mr. Paul's private office, and while he smoked a fragrant cigar the
stenographer brought in the "news" all neatly type-written and ready for
the printer. Mr. Paul was a sunny soul, who, in the presence of the
reporter laughed the seemingly happy laugh of the actor-man, and when
alone sighed, suffered and swore as other men did. Mr. Paul was a
genius. By his careful manipulation of the press the public was in time
persuaded that the only question was whether the company, who owned the
road, should run it, or whether the brotherhoods, who did not own it,
should run it for them. Every statement given out by the company was
printed and accepted, generally, as the whole thing, while only two
papers in all the town pretended to print the reports issued by the
strikers. The others cut them and doctored them so that they lost their
point. But all is fair in love and war, and this was war--war to the
knife and the knife to the hilt--so Mr. Paul should not be hated but
admired, even by his foes. He was a brilliant strategist. Many there are
who argue to this day that Mr. Paul won the strike for the company, but
Mr. Paul says Watchem, the detective, did it. At all events they each
earned the deathless hatred of the strikers. But, leaving this question
open, the fact remains that the general in command--the now dead hero of
that fierce fight--deserves a monument at the expense of American
railroads, if, as American railroad managers argue, that war was an holy
war.

There had never been a moment when the management feared defeat. They
had met and measured the amateur officials who were placed in command of
the strikers. They were but children in the hands of the big brainy men
who were handling the company's business. They could fire a locomotive,
"ride a fly," or make time on the tick of the clock. They could awe a
convention of car-hands or thrill an audience at a union meeting, but
they had not the experience, or mental equipment to cope with the
diplomatic officials who stood for the company. Their heads had been
turned by the magnitude of their position. They established themselves
at a grand hotel where only high-salaried railroad officials could
afford to live. They surrounded themselves with a luxury that would have
been counted extravagant by the minister of many a foreign land. They
dissipated the strength of the Brotherhood and wasted their substance in
high living. They had gotten into clothes that did not fit them, and,
saddest of all, they did not know it. The good gray chief of the
Brotherhood, who was perfectly at home in the office of a president or a
general manager, who knew how to meet and talk with a reporter, who was
at ease either in overalls or evening dress, was kept in the background.
He would sell out to the company, the deep-lunged leaders said. He could
not be trusted, and so from the men directly interested in the fight the
strikers chose a leader, and he led them to inglorious defeat; though
defeat was inevitable.

At last, made desperate by the shadow of coming events, this man, so the
officials say, issued a circular advising old employees to return to
work and when out on the road to disable and destroy the company's
locomotives, abandoning them where they were wrecked and ruined. The
man accused of this crime declared that the circular was a forgery,
committed by his secretary, who was a detective. But that the circular
went out properly signed and sealed is beyond dispute, and in reply to
it there came protests from hundreds of honest engine-drivers all up and
down the land. The chief of a local division came to Chicago with a copy
of the circular and protested so vigorously that he was expelled from
the Brotherhood, to the Brotherhood's disgrace.

Smarting under what he deemed a great wrong, he gave the letter into the
hands of the officials, and now whenever he secures a position the road
that employs him is forced to let him go again or have a strike. He is
an outcast--a vagabond, so far as the union is concerned. Ah, the scars
of that conflict are deep in the souls of men. The blight of it has
shadowed hundreds of happy homes, and ruined many a useful life.

With this "sal-soda" circular in their possession the managers caused
the arrest of its author, charging him with conspiracy--a serious
offense in Illinois.

A sunny-faced man, with big, soulful blue eyes and a blond mustache, had
been living on the same floor occupied by the strike committee. He had
conceived a great interest in the struggle. For a man of wealth and
culture he showed a remarkable sympathy for the strikers, and so won the
heart and confidence of the striker-in-chief. It was perfectly natural,
then, that in the excitement incidental to the arrest, the accused
should rush into the apartments of the sympathetic stranger and thrust
into his keeping an armful of letters and papers.

As the officers of the law led the fallen hero away the blond man
selected a number of letters and papers from the bundle, abandoned the
balance and strolled forth. For weeks, months, he had been planning the
capture of some of these letters, and now they had all come to him as
suddenly as fame comes to a man who sinks a ship under the enemy's
guns.

This blond man was a detective. His victim was a child.

Yes, the great struggle that had caused so much misery and cost so many
millions was at an end, but it was worth to labor and capital all it had
cost. The lesson has lasted ten years, and will last ten more.

It had been a long, bitter fight in which even the victorious had lost.
They had lost at least five million dollars in wrecked and ruined
rolling stock, bridges and buildings. The loss in net earnings alone was
nearly five millions in the first five months of the strike that lasted
nearly a year. It would cost five millions more to put the property in
the same excellent condition in which the opening of hostilities had
found it. It would cost another five millions to win back the confidence
of the travelling and shipping public. Twenty millions would not cover
the cost, directly and indirectly, to the company, for there were no
end of small items--incidentals. To a single detective agency they paid
two hundred thousand dollars. And there were others.

It has taken nearly ten years to restore the road to its former
condition, and to man the engines as they were manned before the strike.
It would have taken much longer had the owners of the property not
settled upon the wise policy of promoting men who had been all their
lives in the employ of the Burlington road, to fill the places as fast
as they became vacant, of men--the heroes of the strike--who were now
sought out by other companies for loftier positions. In this way the
affairs of the company were constantly in the hands of men who had gone
through it all, who could weed out the worthless among the new men, and
select the best of those who had left the road at the beginning of the
strike. The result is that there is scarcely an official of importance
in the employ of the company to-day who has not been with it for a
quarter of a century. The man who took the first engine out at the
beginning of the strike--taking his life in his hands, as many
believed--is now the general manager of the road.

There was something admirable, even heroic, in the action of the owners
in standing calmly by while the officials melted down millions of gold.
As often as a directors' meeting was called the strikers would take
heart. "Surely," they would say, "when they see what it costs to fight
us they will surrender." The men seem never to have understood that all
this was known to the directors long before the sad news reached the
public. And then, when the directors would meet and vote to stand by the
president, and the president would approve and endorse all that the
general manager had done, the disheartened striker would turn sadly away
to break the melancholy news to a sorrowing wife, who was keeping lonely
vigil in a cheerless home.



CHAPTER TWENTIETH


Dan Moran had not applied for re-employment when the strike was off, but
chose rather to look for work elsewhere, and he had looked long and
faithfully, and found no place. First of all he had gone west, away to
the coast, but with no success. Then he swung around the southern route,
up the Atlantic coast and home again. Three years,--one year with the
strikers,--four years in all of idleness, and he was discouraged. "It's
the curse of the prison," he used to say to his most intimate friends;
"the damp of that dungeon clings to me like a plague. It's a blight from
which I can't escape. Every one seems to know that I was arrested as a
dynamiter, and even my old friends shun me."

He had been saying something like that to Patsy Daly the very day he
returned to Chicago. They were walking down through the yards, for
Patsy, who was close to the officials, had insisted upon going
personally to the master-mechanic, and interceding for the old engineer
who had carried him thousands of miles while the world slept, and the
wild storm raged around them. Patsy had been telling the old engineer
the news of the road, but was surprised that Moran should seem to know
all that had taken place, the changes and promotions, the vast
improvements that had been made by the company, and the rapidly growing
traffic. Patsy stopped short, and looking his companion in the eye,
began to laugh.

"Now what in thunder are you laughing at?" asked Moran.

"At Patsy Daly, the luny," said the conductor (Patsy had been promoted);
"why, of course you know everything. I've been rooming at the house, and
I remember now that _she_ always knew just where you were at all times.
Ah! ye sly old rogue--"

"Patsy," said Moran, seriously, putting up his hand as a signal for
silence.

"That's all right, old man. She deserves a decent husband, but it'll be
something new to her. Say, Dan, a fool has less sense than anybody, an'
Patsy Daly's a fool. Here have I been at the point of making love to her
myself, and only her tears and that big boy of hers have kept me from
it. And all the time I thought she was wastin' water on that
blatherskite of a Cowels, but I think better of her now."

"And why should she weep for any one else?" asked the old engineer.

"And why shouldn't she weep for you, Dannie? wandering up and down the
earth, homeless and alone. Why I remember now. She would cry in her
coffee at the mention of your name. And Dan, she's growin' prettier
every day, and she's that gentle and--"

Just then the wild scream of a yard engine close behind them caused them
to step aside.

"Wope!" cried a switchman, bang bang went the bell--"Look out there,"
yelled Patsy, for as the two pedestrians looked back they saw a drunken
man reel out from among the cars. The driver of the switch-engine saw
the man as the engine struck him, and, reversing, came to a quick stop
and leaped to the ground.

The man lay with his lower limbs beneath the machine, and a blind driver
(those broad wheels that have no flanges) resting on the pit of his
stomach, holding him to the rail. The young engineer, having taken in
the situation, leaped upon his engine, and was about to back off when
Moran signalled him to stand still. "Don't move," said the old engineer,
"he may want to say a word before he dies, and if you move that wheel he
will be dead."

"Why, hello Greene, old hoss; is this you?" asked Moran, lifting the
head of the unfortunate man and pushing the unkept hair back from his
forehead.

Greene opened his eyes slowly, looked at his questioner, glanced all
about and, as Moran lifted his head, gazed at the great wheel that had
almost cut his body into two pieces. He was perfectly sober now, and
asked why they didn't back up and look him over.

"We shall presently," said Moran, "only we were afraid we might hurt
you. You are not in any pain now, are you?"

"No," said the man, "I don't know when I've felt more comfortable; but
for all that I guess I'm clean cut in two, ain't I, Dan?"

"Oh no, not so bad as that."

"Oh yes, I guess there's no use holdin' out on me. Is the foreman here?"

"Yes, here I am, Billy."

"Billy!" said Greene, "now wouldn't that drive you to cigarettes?
Billy!--why don't you call me drunken Bill? I'm used to that."

"Well, what is it, old man?" asked the foreman, bending down.

"You know this man? This is Dan Moran, the dynamiter." And the foreman
of the round-house, recognizing the old engineer for the first time,
held out his hand, partly to show to Moran and others that the strike
was off, and partly to please the dying man.

"That's right," said Greene to the foreman, "it'll be good for you to
touch an honest hand."

By this time a great crowd had gathered about the engine. Some police
officers pushed in and ordered the engineer to "back away."

"An' what's it _to_ ye?" asked Greene with contempt, for he hated the
very buttons of a policeman. "It's no funeral uf yours. Ye won't grudge
me a few moments with me friend, will ye? Move on ye tarrier."

The big policeman glanced about and recognizing the foreman asked why
the devil he didn't "git th' felly out?"

Now a red-haired woman came to the edge of the crowd, put her bucket and
scrubbing brush down, and asked what had happened.

"Drunk man under the engine," said one of the curious, snappishly. The
woman knew that Greene had passed out that way only a few moments ago.
She had given him a quarter and he had promised not to come back to her
again, and now she put her head down and ploughed through the crowd like
a football player.

"Hello Mag," said Greene, as the woman threw herself upon her knees
beside him. "Here's yer money--I won't get to spend it," and he opened
his clinched fist and there was the piece of silver that she had given
him.

The big policeman now renewed his request to have the man taken out, but
the foreman whispered something to him. "Oh! begorry, is that so? All
right, all right," said the officer.

"Am I delayin' traffic?" asked Greene of the foreman. "It takes a little
time to die ye know, but ye only have to do it onct."

"Have ye's anythin' to say?" asked the officer.

"Yes," said Greene, for his hatred for a policeman stayed with him to
the end, "ye can do me a favor."

"An' phot is it?"

"Jist keep your nose out of this business, an' don't speak to me again
till after I'm dead. Do ye mind that, ye big duffer?"

It was the first time in all his life when he could say what was on his
mind to a policeman without the dread of being arrested.

"Come closer, Mag--whisper, Dan. Here, you," said Greene to the foreman,
and that official bent down to catch the words which were growing
fainter every moment. "I'm goin' to die. Ye mind the time ye kicked me
out at the round-house? Well, ye don't need to say; I mind, an' that's
sufficient. I swore to git even with the Burlington for that. I hated
George Cowels because he married a woman that was too good fur 'im,--she
was too good for me, for that matter. Well, when he went back on the
Brotherhood and took his old engineer's job I went to this man Moran
and offered to blow the engine up, and he put me out of his room. I then
put the dynamite on the engine myself an' Moran followed me and took it
off, and saved Cowels's life, prevented me from becoming a murderer, and
went to jail. Good-by, Mag. Give me your hand Dan, old man. Back up."

The old engineer nodded to the foreman, who signalled the man on the
engine, and the great wheel moved from above the body. More than one man
turned his back to the machine. The woman fainted. Moran had covered the
eyes of the unfortunate man with his hand, and now when he removed it
slowly the man's eyes were still closed. He never moved a finger nor
uttered a sound. It was as if he had suddenly fallen asleep.



CHAPTER TWENTY-FIRST


The Denver Limited had backed into the depot shed at Chicago, and was
loading when the Philosopher came through the gate. He was going down to
Zero Junction where he was serving the company in the capacity of
station agent. Patsy Daly was taking the numbers of the cars, and at his
elbow walked a poorly-dressed man, and the Philosopher knew in a moment
that the man wanted to ride.

The Philosopher, with a cigar in his mouth, strolled up and down
catching snatches of the man's talk. In a little while he had gathered
that the anxious stranger's wife lay dying in Cheyenne, and that he had
been tramping up and down the land for six months looking for work. If
Patsy could give him a lift to Omaha he could work his way over the
U. P. where he knew some of the trainmen, having worked on the Kansas
Pacific out of Denver in the early days of the road. His story was so
lifelike and pathetic that Patsy was beginning to look troubled. If he
could help a fellow-creature up the long, hard hill of life--three or
four hundred miles in a single night--without straining the capacity of
the engine, he felt that he ought to do it.

Patsy had gone to the head end (the stranger standing respectfully
apart) to ask the engineer to slow down at the Junction, and let the
agent off. He hoped the man might go away and try a freight train, but
as the conductor turned back the unfortunate traveller joined him.

Now the eyes of Patsy fell upon the face of the Philosopher, and a
brilliant thought flashed through his mind. He marvelled, afterwards,
that he had not thought of it sooner.

"Here, old man," said Patsy, "take this fellow's testimony, try his
case, and let me have your opinion in nine minutes--it's just ten
minutes to leaving time."

Now it was the Philosopher to whom the prospective widower rehearsed
his tale of woe.

There was not much time, so the station agent at Zero began by offering
the man a cigar, which was accepted. In the midst of his sorrowful story
the man paused to observe a handsome woman, who was at that moment
lifting her dainty, silken skirts to step into the sleeper. The
Philosopher had his eyes fastened to the face of the man, and he thought
he saw the man's mustache quiver as though it had been agitated by the
passing of a smothered smile.

"Well," the man was saying, "we had been married only a year when I lost
my place and started out to look for work."

By this time he had taken a small pocket knife from his somewhat ragged
vest, clipped the end off the cigar neatly, put the cut end between his
teeth, and the knife back into his pocket. Without pausing in his
narrative (he knew he had but nine minutes) he held out a hand for a
match. The Philosopher pretended not to notice the movement, which was
graceful and perfectly natural. As they turned, up near the engine, the
sorrowful man went into his vest again and brought up a small, silver
match-box which he held carefully in his closed fist, but which snapped
sharply, as the knife had done when he closed it.

"Excuse me," said the Philosopher, reaching for the match-box, "I've
lost my fire."

The melancholy man made a move towards his vest, paused, changed his
mind, and passed over his lighted cigar.

"Go on," said the examining judge, when he had got his cigar going
again.

Now at each turn the Philosopher quickened his pace, and the man, eager
to finish his sad story, walked beside him with a graceful, springy
walk. The man's story was so like his own--so like the tale he had told
to Patsy when the strikers had chased him into a box car--that his heart
must have melted, had it not been for the fact that he was becoming
more and more convinced, as the story grew upon him, that the man was
lying. Now and then he said to himself in spite of himself, "This must
be true," for there were tears in the man's voice, and yet there were
things about him that must be explained before he could ride.

"Patsy," said the Philosopher, pausing before the conductor, "if you'll
stand half the strain, I'll go buy a ticket for this man to Cheyenne."

"N' no," said the man, visibly affected by this unexpected generosity,
"n' no, I can't let you do that. I should be glad of a ride that would
cost you nothing and the company nothing; but I can't--I can't take your
money," and he turned away, touching the cuff of his coat, first to his
right and then to his left eye.

Patsy sighed, and the two men walked again. Five minutes more and the
big engine would begin to crawl from the great shed, and the voyager
began wondering whether he would be on board. The engineer was going
round the engine for the last time. The fireman had spread his fire and
was leaning leisurely on the arm-rest. The Pullman conductors, with
clean cuffs and collars, were putting away their people. The black-faced
porters were taking the measures of men as they entered the car. Here
comes a gray-haired clergyman, carrying a heavy hand-satchel, and by his
side an athletic looking commercial tourist.

One of the black porters glides forward, takes the light hand-grip,
containing the travelling man's tooth-brush, nightshirt, and razor, and
runs up the step with it.

Now a train arrives from the West, and the people who are going away
look into the faces of the people who are coming home, who look neither
to the right nor left, but straight ahead at the open gates, and in
three minutes the empty cars are being backed away, to be washed and
dusted, and made ready for another voyage. How sad and interesting
would be the story of the life of a day coach. Beaten, bumped, battered,
and banged about in the yards, trampled and spat upon by vulgar
voyagers, who get on and off at flag stations, and finally, in a
head-end collision, crushed between the heavy vestibuled sleepers and
the mighty engine.

But sadder still is the story of a man who has been buffeted about and
walked upon by the arrogant of this earth, and to such a story the
Philosopher was now listening. The man was talking so rapidly that he
almost balled up at times, and had to go back and begin again. At times
it seemed to him that the Philosopher, to whom he was talking, was
giving little or no attention to his tale; but he was. He was making up
his mind.

It is amazing the amount of work that can be done in ten minutes, when
all the world is working. Tons of trunks had passed in and out, the
long platform had been peopled and depopulated twice since the two men
began their walk, and now another train gave up its human freight to the
already crowded city.

Now, as they went up and down, the Philosopher, at each turn, went a
little nearer to the engine. Only three minutes remained to him in which
to render his decision, which was to help the unhappy man a
half-thousand miles on the way to his dying wife, or leave him sadder
still because of the failure--to pine and ponder upon man's inhumanity
to man.

Patsy, glancing now and then at the big clock on the station wall,
searched the sad face of his friend and tried to read there the answer
to the man's prayer.

It would be that the man should ride, he had no doubt, for this story
was so like the story of this same man, the Philosopher, with which he
had come into Patsy's life, and Patsy had resolved never to turn his
back upon a man who was down on his luck.

The Philosopher's face was indecipherable. Finally when they had come to
the turning point in the shadow of the mail car, he stopped, leaned
against the corner of the tank and said: "I can't make you out, and you
haven't made out your case."

"I don't follow you," said the man.

"No? Well suppose I say, for answer, that I'll let you go--sneak away up
through the yards and lose yourself; provided you promise not to do it
again."

"You talk in riddles. What is it that I am not to do again? You say you
have hit the road yourself, and you ought to have sympathy for a fellow
out o' luck."

"I have, and that's why I'm going to let you go. Your story is a sad
one, and it has softened my heart. It's the story of my own life."

"Then how can you refuse me this favor, that will cost you nothing?"

"Hadn't you better go?"

"No, I want you to answer me."

"Well, to be frank with you, you are not a tramp. You've got money, and
you had red wine with your supper, or your dinner, as you would say."

The man laughed, a soundless laugh, and tried to look sad.

"You've got a gold signet ring in your right trousers pocket."

The man worked his fingers and when the Philosopher thought he must have
the ring in his hand, he caught hold of the man's wrist, jerked the hand
from his pocket, and the ring rolled upon the platform. When the man cut
off the end of his cigar the Philosopher had seen a white line around
one of the fingers of the man's sea-browned hand. Real tramps, thought
the Philosopher, don't cut off the ends of their cigars. They bite them
off, and save the bite. They don't throw a half-smoked cigar away, but
put it, burning if necessary, in their pocket.

"What do you mean?" demanded the man, indignantly.

"Pick up your ring."

"I have a mind to smash you."

"Do, and you can ride."

"You've got your nerve."

"You haven't. Why did you stare at that lady's feet, when she was
climbing into the car?"

"That's not your business."

"It's all my business now."

"I'll report you for this."

The man started to walk past the big station master, but a strong hand
was clapped to the man's breast pocket and when it came away it held a
small pocket memorandum.

"See what's in that, Patsy," said the Philosopher, passing the book to
the conductor, who had gone forward for the decision.

The man made a move, as if he would snatch the book, but the big hand at
his throat twisted the flannel shirt, and choked him. Patsy, holding the
book in the glare of his white light, read the record of a man who had
been much away from home. He had, according to the book, ridden with
many conductors, whose names were familiar to Patsy, and had, upon
divers occasions, noticed that sometimes some people rode without paying
fare. In another place Patsy learned that trainmen and other employees
drank beer, or other intoxicating beverages. A case in point was a
couple of brakemen on local who, after unloading a half-dozen reapers
and a threshing machine at Mendota, had gone into a saloon with the
shipper and killed their thirst.

While Patsy was gleaning this interesting information the man writhed
and twisted, fought and fumed, but it was in vain, for the hand of the
Philosopher was upon his throat.

"Let me go," gasped the man, "an' we'll call it square, an' I won't
report you."

"Oh! how good of you."

"Let me go, I say, you big brute."

"I wanted to let you go a while ago, and you wouldn't have it."

The man pulled back like a horse that won't stand hitched and the button
flew from his cheap flannel shirt.

"I'm a goat," said the Philosopher, stroking the man's chest with his
big right hand, "if he hasn't got on silk underwear."

"Come now, you fellahs," said the man changing his tune, "let me go and
you'll always have a friend at Court."

"Be quiet," said the Philosopher, "I'm going to let you go, but tell me,
why did you want to do little Patsy, that everybody likes?"

"Because Mr. Paul was so cock sure I couldn't. He bet me a case of
champagne that I couldn't ride on the Omaha Limited without paying
fare."

"And now you lose the champagne."

"It looks that way."

"Poor tramp!"

Patsy had walked to the rear of the train, shouted "All aboard," and the
cars were now slipping past the two men.

"Have you still a mind to smash me?"

"I may be a wolf but this is not my night to howl."

"Every dog has his day, eh?"

"Curse you."

"Good night," said the Philosopher, reaching for a passing car.

"Go to--" said the tramp, and the train faded away out over the
switches.



CHAPTER TWENTY-SECOND


The old master-mechanic, who had insisted that Dan Moran was innocent,
from the first, had gone away; but the new man was willing to give him
an engine after the confession of Bill Greene. Having secured work the
old engineer called upon the widow, for he could tell her, now, all
about the dynamite. Three years had brought little change to her. She
might be a little bit stouter, but she was handsomer than ever, Dan
thought. The little girl, whom he remembered as a toddling infant, was a
sunny child of four years. Bennie was now fourteen and was employed as
caller at the round-house, and his wages, thirty dollars a month, kept
up the expenses of the home. He had inherited the splendid constitution
of his father with the gentleness and honesty of his mother. The foreman
was very fond of him, and having been instructed by the old general
manager to take good care of the boy, for his mother's sake, he had
arranged to send him out firing, which would pay better, as soon as he
was old enough. So Moran found the little family well, prosperous, and
reasonably happy. Presently, when she could wait no longer, Mrs. Cowels
asked the old engineer if he had come back to stay, and when he said he
had, her face betrayed so much joy that Moran felt half embarrassed, and
his heart, which had been so heavy for the past four years, gave a thump
that startled him. "Oh! I'm _so_ glad," she said earnestly, looking down
and playing with her hands; and while her eyes were not upon his, Moran
gazed upon the gentle face that had haunted him day and night in his
three years' tramp about the world.

"Yes," he said at length, "I'm going back to the 'Q.' It's not
Blackwings, to be sure, and the Denver Limited, but it's work, and
that's something, for it seems to me that I can bear this idleness no
longer. It's the hardest work in the world, just to have nothing to do,
month in and month out, and to be compelled to do it. I can't stand it,
that's all, and I'm going out on a gravel train to-morrow."

Moran remembered now that Bennie had come to him that morning in the
round-house and begged the engineer to "ask for him," to go out as
fireman on the gravel train, for it was really a boy's work to keep an
engine hot on a side track, but he would not promise, and the boy had
been greatly disappointed.

"I'd like to ask for the boy," said Moran, "with your permission. He's
been at me all morning, and I'm sure the foreman won't object if you
consent."

"But he's so young, Dan; he could never do the work."

"I'll look out for him," said the engineer, nodding his head. "I'll keep
him busy waiting on me when we lay up, and when we have a hard run for a
meeting-point there's always the head brakeman, and they can usually
fire as well as a fireman."

"I will consent only to please him," she said, "and because I should
like to have him with you."

He thanked her for the compliment, and took up his hat to go.

"And how often shall I see you now? I mean--how soon--when will Bennie
be home again?"

They were standing close together in the little hall, and when he looked
deep into her eyes, she became confused and blushed like a school-girl.

"Well, to be honest, we never know on a run of this sort when we may get
back to town. It may be a day, a week, or a month," said Moran. "But
I'll promise you that I will not keep him away longer than is necessary.
We don't work Sundays, of course, and I'll try and dead-head him in
Saturday nights, and you can send him back on the fast freight Sunday
evenings. The watchman can fire the engine in an emergency, you know."

"But the watchman couldn't run her in an emergency?" queried the little
woman.

"I'm afraid not," said Moran, catching the drift of her mind, and
feeling proud of the compliment concealed in the harmless query. "But I
shall enjoy having him come to you once a week to show you that I have
not forgotten my promise."

"And I shall know," she answered, putting up a warning finger, "by his
actions whether you have been good to him."

"And by the same token I can tell whether you are happy," rejoined the
engineer, taking both her hands in his to say good-bye.

Moran went directly to the round-house and spoke to the foreman, and
when Bennie came home that evening he threw himself upon his mother's
neck and wept for very joy. His mother wept, too, for it means something
to a mother to have her only boy go out to begin life on the rail. After
supper they all went over to the little general store, where she had
once been refused credit--where she had spent their last dollar for
Christmas presents for little Bennie and his father, chiefly his
father--and bought two suits of bright blue overclothes for the new
fireman. "Mother, I once heard the foreman say that Dan Moran had been
like a father to papa," said Bennie that evening. "Guess he'll start in
being a father to me now, eh! mother?"

Mrs. Cowels smiled and kissed him, and then she cried a little, but only
a little, for in spite of all her troubles she felt almost happy that
night.

It was nearly midnight when Bennie finished trying on his overclothes
and finally fell asleep. It was only four A. M. when he shook his mother
gently and asked her to get up and get breakfast.

"What time is it, Bennie?"

"I don't know, exactly," said Bennie, "but it must be late. I've been up
a long, long time. You know you have to put up my lunch, and I want to
get down and draw my supplies. Couldn't do it last night 'cause they
didn't know what engine we were going to have."

Mrs. Cowels got up and prepared breakfast and Bennie ate hurriedly and
then began to look out for the caller. He would have gone to the
round-house at once but he wanted to sign the callbook at home. How he
had envied the firemen who had been called by him. He knew just how it
would be written in the callbook:

    _Extra West, Eng.--Leave 8:15 A. M._
    _Engineer Moran,--D. Moran 7:15._
    _Fireman Cowels._--

And there was the blank space where he would write his name. At six
o'clock he declared to his mother that he must go down and get his
engine hot, and after a hasty good-bye he started. Ten minutes later he
came into the round-house and asked the night foreman where his engine
was.

"Well," said the foreman, "we haven't got _your_ engine yet," and the
boy's chin dropped down and rested upon his new blue blouse. "I guess
we'll have to send you out on one of the company's engines this trip."

There was a great roar of laughter from the wiping gang and Bennie
looked embarrassed. He concluded to say no more to the foreman, but went
directly to the blackboard, got the number and found the engine which
had been assigned to the gravel train because she was not fit for road
work. A sorry old wreck she was, covered with ashes and grease, but it
made little difference to Bennie so long as she had a whistle and a
bell, and he set to work to stock her up with supplies.

He had drawn supplies for many a tired fireman in his leisure moments
and knew very nearly what was needed. But the first thing he did was to
open the blower and "get her hot." He got the foreman hot, too, and in a
little while he heard that official shout to the hostler to "run the
scrap heap out-doors, and put that fresh kid in the tank."

Bennie didn't mind the reference to the "fresh kid," but he thought the
foreman might have called her something better than a scrap heap, but he
was a smart boy and knew that it would be no use to "kick."

It was half-past seven when Mrs. Cowels opened the door in answer to the
bell, and blushed, and glanced down at her big apron.

"I thought I'd look in on my way to the round-house," said Moran,
removing his hat, "for Bennie."

"Why, the dear boy has been gone an hour and a half, but I'm glad (won't
you come in?) you called for he has forgotten his gloves."

"Thank you," said the engineer, "the fact is I'm a little late, for I
don't know what sort of a scrap pile I have to take out and I'd like, of
course, to go underneath her before she leaves the round-house, so I
can't come in this morning."

When Mrs. Cowels had given him the gloves he took her hand to say
good-bye, and the wife of one of the new men, who saw it, said
afterwards that he held it longer than was necessary, just to say
good-bye.

When Dan reached the round-house Bennie was up on top of the old engine
oiling the bell. What would an engine without a bell be to a boy? And
yet in Europe they have no bells, but there is a vast difference between
the American and the European boy.

Moran stopped in the round-house long enough to read the long list of
names on the blackboard. They were nearly all new to him, as were the
faces about, and he turned away.

The orders ran them extra to Aurora, avoiding regular trains. Moran
glanced at the faces of all the incoming engineers as he met and passed
them, but with one exception they were all strangers to him. He
recognized young Guerin, who had been fireman on Blackwings the night
George Cowels was killed, and he was now running a passenger engine.

"How the mushrooms have vegetated hereabouts," thought Moran, as he
glanced up at the stack of the old work engine, but he was never much of
a kicker, so he would not kick now. This wasn't much of a run, but it
beat looking for a better one.

"Not so much coal, Bennie. Take your clinker hook and level it off.
That's it,--see the black smoke? Keep your furnace door shut. Now look
at your stack again. See the yellow smoke hanging 'round? Rake her down
again. Now it's black, and if it burns clear--see there? There is no
smoke at all; that shows that her fire is level. Sweep up your deck now
while you rest."



CHAPTER TWENTY-THIRD


One night when the Limited was roaring up from the Missouri River
against one of those March rains that come out of the east, there came
to Patsy one of the temptations that are hardest for a man of his kind
nature to withstand. The trial began at Galesburg. Patsy was hugging the
rear end of the day coach in order to keep out of the cruel storm, when
his eyes rested upon the white face of a poorly clad woman. She stood
motionless as a statue, voiceless as the Sphinx, with the cold rain
beating upon her uplifted face, until Patsy cried "All aboard." Then she
pulled herself together and climbed into the train. The conductor,
leaving his white light upon the platform of the car, stepped down and
helped the dripping woman into the coach. When the train had dashed away
again up the rain-swept night, Patsy found the wet passenger rocking to
and fro on the little seat that used to run lengthwise of the car up
near the stove, before the use of steam heat.

"Ticket," said the conductor.

The woman lifted her eyes to his, but seemed to be staring at something
beyond.

"Ticket, please."

"Yes--y-e-a-s," she spoke as though the effort caused her intense pain.
"I want--to--go to Chicago."

"Yes. Have you a ticket?"

"Yes."

"Where is it?"

"Where's what?"

"Where's your ticket?"

"I ain't got no ticket."

"Have you got money?"

"No. I do' want money. I jist want you to take me to Chicago."

"But I can't take you without you pay fare."

"Can't you? I've been standin' there in the rain all night, but nobody
would let me on the train--all the trains is gone but this one. I'd
most give up when you said, 'Git on,' er somethin'."

"Why do you want to go to Chicago?"

"Oh! I must be there fur the trial."

"Who's trial?"

"Terrence's. They think my boy, Terrence, killed a man, an' I'm goin' up
to tell th' judge. Of course, they don't know Terrence. He's wild and
runs around a heap, but he's not what you may call bad."

The poor woman was half-crazed by her grief, and her blood was chilled
by the cold rain. She could not have been wetter at the bottom of Lake
Michigan. When she ceased speaking, she shivered.

"It was good in you to let me git on, an' I thank you very kindly."

"But I can't carry you unless you can pay."

"Oh! I kin walk soon's we git ther."

"But you can't get there. I'll have to stop and put you off."

The unhappy woman opened her eyes and mouth and stared at the
conductor.

"Put--me--off?"

"Yes."

"It's rainin' ain't it?" She shivered again, and tried to look out into
the black night.

"Don't you know better than to get onto a train without a ticket or
money to pay your fare?"

"Yes; but they'll hang Terrence, they'll hang 'im, they'll hang 'im,"
and she moaned and rocked herself.

Patsy went on through the train and when he came back the woman was
still rocking and staring blankly at the floor, as he had found her
before. She had to look at him for some time before she could remember
him.

"Can't you go no faster?"

Patsy sighed.

"What time is it?"

"Six o'clock."

"Will we git there by half after nine?--th' trial's at ten."

"Yes."

Patsy sat down and looked at the wreck.

"Now, a man who could put such a woman off, in such a storm, at such an
hour, and with a grief like that," said Patsy to himself, "would pasture
a goat on his grandmother's grave."

       *       *       *       *       *

When Patsy woke at two o'clock that afternoon, he picked up a noon
edition of an all-day paper, and the very first word he read was "Not
guilty." That was the heading of the police news.

"There was a pathetic scene in Judge Meyer's court this morning at the
preliminary hearing of the case of Terrence Cassidy, charged with the
murder of the old farmer at Spring Bank on Monday last. All efforts to
draw a confession from Cassidy had failed, and the detectives had come
to the conclusion that he was either very innocent or very guilty--there
was no purgatory for Terrence; it was heaven or the hot place, according
to the detectives. For once the detectives were right. Terrence was very
innocent. It appears that the tramp who was killed on the Wabash last
night made a confession to the trainmen, after being hit by the engine,
to the effect that he had murdered the old farmer, and afterwards, at
the point of an empty pistol, forced a young Irishman, whom he met upon
the railroad track, to exchange clothes with him. That accounts for the
blood stains upon Cassidy's coat, but, of course, nobody credited his
story.

"The tramp's confession, however, was wired to the general manager of
the Wabash by the conductor of the out-going train, together with a
description of the tramp's clothes, which description tallies with that
given of those garments worn by Cassidy.

"This good news did not reach the court, however, until after the
prisoner had been arraigned. When asked the usual question, 'Guilty, or
not guilty?' the boy stood up and was about to address some remarks to
the court, when suddenly there rushed into the room about the sorriest
looking woman who ever stood before a judge. She was poorly clad, wet as
a rat, haggard and pale. Her voice was hoarse and unearthly. Nobody
seemed to see her enter. Suddenly, as if she had risen from the floor,
she stood at the railing, raised a trembling hand and shouted, as well
as she could shout, 'Not guilty!'

"Before the bewildered judge could lift his gavel, the prosecuting
attorney rose, dramatically, and asked to be allowed to read a telegram
that had just been received, which purported to be the signed confession
of a dying man.

"As might be expected, there were not many dry eyes in that court when,
a moment later, the boy was sobbing on his mother's wet shoulder, and
she, rocking to and fro, was saying softly 'Poor Terrence, my poor
Terrence.'"

       *       *       *       *       *

As Patsy was walking back from Hooley's Theatre, where he had gone to
get tickets (this was his night off), he met the acting chief clerk in
one of the departments to which, under the rules then in vogue, he owed
allegiance.

"I want to see you at the office," said the amateur official, and Patsy
was very much surprised at the brevity of the speech. He went up to his
room and tried to read, but the ever recurring thought that he was
"wanted at the office" disturbed him and he determined to go at once and
have it out.

The conductor removed his hat in the august presence and asked, timidly,
what was wanted.

"You ought to know," said the great judge.

"But I don't," said Patsy, taking courage as he arrayed himself, with a
clear conscience, on the defensive.

"Are you in the habit of carrying people on the Denver Limited who have
no transportation?"

"No, sir."

"Then, how does it happen that you carried a woman from Galesburg to
Chicago last night who had neither ticket nor money, so far as we know?
It will do you no good to deny it, for I have the report of a special
agent before me, and--"

"I have no desire to deny it, sir. All I deny is that this is your
business."

"What?" yelled the official.

"I beg your pardon, sir. I should not have spoken in that way; but what
I wish to say and wish you to understand is that I owe you no
explanation."

"I stand for the company, sir."

"So do I, and have stood as many years as you have months. I have
handled as many dollars for them as you have ever seen dimes, and,
what's more to the point, I stand ready to quit the moment the
management loses confidence in me, and with the assurance of a better
job. Can all the great men say as much?"

The force and vehemence of the excited and indignant little Irishman
caused the "management" to pause in its young career.

"Will you tell me why you carried this woman who had no ticket?"

"No. I have rendered unto Cæsar that which is Cæsar's. For further
particulars, see my report," and with that Patsy walked out.

"Let's see, let's see," said the "management"; "'Two passengers,
Galesburg to Chicago, one ticket, one cash fare.' What an ass I've made
of myself; but, just wait till I catch that Hawkshaw."



CHAPTER TWENTY-FOURTH

    "_Always together in sunshine and rain,
    Facing the weather atop o' the train,
    Watching the meadows move under the stars;
    Always together atop o' the cars._"


Patsy was just singing it soft and low to himself, and not even thinking
of the song, for he was not riding "atop o' the cars" now. With his arm
run through the bail of his nickel-plated, white light, he was taking
the numbers and initials of the cars in the Denver Limited. He was a
handsome fellow, and the eight or ten years that had passed lightly over
his head since he came singing himself into the office of the general
manager to ask for a pass over a competing line, had rounded out his
figure, and given him a becoming mustache, but they had left just a
shade of sadness upon his sunny face. The little mother whom he used to
visit at Council Bluffs had fallen asleep down by the dark Missouri, and
he would not see her again until he reached the end of his last run.
And that's what put the shadow upon his sunny face. The white light,
held close to his bright, new uniform, flashed over his spotless linen,
and set his buttons ablaze.

"Ah there, my beauty! any room for dead-heads to-night?"

Patsy turned to his questioner, closed his train-book and held out his
hand: "Always room for the Irish; where are you tagged for?"

"The junction."

"But we don't stop there."

"I know, but I thought Moran might slow her down to about twenty posts,
and I can fall off--I missed the local."

"I've got a new man," said Patsy, "and he'll be a bit nervous to-night,
but if we hit the top of Zero Hill on the dot we'll let you off; if not,
we'll carry you through, and you can come back on No. 4."

"Thank you," said the Philosopher, "but I'm sorry to trouble you."

"And I don't intend you shall; just step back to the outside gate and
flag Mr. and Mrs. Moran, and don't let him buy a ticket for the sleeper;
I've got passes for him right through to the coast."

As the Philosopher went back to "flag," Patsy went forward to the
engine. "If you hit Zero Junction on time, Guerin, I wish you'd slow
down and let the agent off," said the conductor.

"And if I'm late?"

"Don't stop."

"Well," said the young driver, "we'll not be apt to stop, for it's a
wild night, Patsy; a slippery rail and almost a head wind."

"Nothing short of a blizzard can check Blackwings," said Patsy, going to
the rear.

The day coaches were already well filled, and the sleeping-car
conductors were busy putting their people away when the Philosopher came
down the platform accompanied by the veteran engineer, his pretty wife,
and her bright little girl. Mrs. Moran and her daughter entered the
sleeper, while her husband and the station master remained outside to
finish their cigars.

"What a magnificent train," observed the old engineer, as the two men
stood looking at the Limited.

"Finest in all the West," the Philosopher replied. "Open from the tank
to the tail-lamps: all ablaze with electric lights; just like the
Atlantic liners we read about in the magazines. Ever been on one of
those big steamers, Dan?"

"No, and I never want to be. Never get me out o' sight o' land. Then
they're too blamed slow; draggin' along in the darkness, eighteen and
twenty miles an hour, and nowhere to jump."

"And yet they say we kill more people than they do."

"I know they say so," said the engineer, "but they kill 'em so
everlastingly dead. A man smashed up in a wreck on the road _may_
recover, but a man drowned a thousand miles from anywhere has no show."

Patsy, coming from the station, joined the two dead-heads, and Moran,
glancing at his watch, asked the cause of delay.

"Waiting for a party of English tourists," said Patsy; "they're coming
over the Grand Trunk, and the storm has delayed them."

"And that same storm will delay you to-night, my boy, if I'm any
guesser," observed the old engineer. "I'd go over and ride with Guerin,
but I'm afraid he wouldn't take it well. That engine is as quick as
chain-lightning, and with a greasy rail like this she'll slip going down
hill, and the more throttle he gives her the slower she'll go. And
what's more, she'll do it so smoothly, that, blinded by the storm, he'll
never know she's slipping till she tears her fire all out and comes to a
dead stall."

The old engineer knew just how to prevent all that, but he was afraid
that to offer any suggestion might wound the pride of the young man,
whom he did not know very well. True, he had asked the master-mechanic
to put Guerin on the run, but only because he disliked the Reading man
who was next in line. Mrs. Moran came from the car now, and asked to be
taken to the engine where she and her daughter might say good-bye to
Bennie who was now the regular fireman on Blackwings. "Bennie," said his
stepfather, "see that your sand-pipes are open."

While Bennie talked with his mother and sister, Moran chatted with the
engineer. "I want to thank you," said Guerin, "for helping me to this
run during your absence, and I shall try to take good care of both
Bennie and Blackwings."

"It isn't worth mentioning," said Moran with a wave of his hand, "they
do these things to suit themselves."

"Now, if she's got any tricks," said Guerin, "I'd be glad to know them,
for I don't want to disgrace the engine by losing time. I've been trying
to pump the boy, but he's as close as a clam."

"Well, that's not a common fault with firemen," said Moran, with his
quiet smile. "The only thing I can say about Blackwings," he went on,
for he had been aching to say it, "is that she's smart, and on a rail
like this you'll have to humor her a little--drop her down a notch and
ease up on the throttle, especially when you have a heavy train. She's
mighty slippery."

Guerin thanked him for the tip, and the old engineer, feeling greatly
relieved, went back to where Patsy and the Philosopher were
"railroading." They had been discussing the vestibule. The Philosopher
had remarked that recently published statistics established the fact
that when a solid vestibuled train came into collision with an
old-fashioned open train of the same weight, the latter would go to
splinters while the vestibuled train would remain intact, on the
principle that a sleeping car is harder to wreck when the berths are
down, because they brace the structure. "The vestibule," continued the
Philosopher, "is a life-saver, and a great comfort to people who travel
first class, but this same inventor, who has perfected so many railway
appliances, has managed in one way or another to help all mankind. He
has done as much for the tramp as for the millionaire. Take the high
wheel, for instance. Why, I remember when I was 'on the road' that you
had to get down and crawl to get under a sleeper, and sit doubled up
like a crawfish all the while. I remember when the Pennsylvania put on a
lot of big, twelve-wheeled cars. A party of us got together under a
water tank down near Pittsburgh and held a meeting. It was on the Fourth
of July and we sent a copy of our resolutions to the president of the
sleeping car company at Chicago. The report was written with charcoal
upon some new shingles which we found near, and sent by express,
'collect.' I remember how it read:

'At the First Annual Convention of the Tramps' Protective Association of
North America, it was

'_Resolved:_ That this union feels itself deeply indebted to the man who
has introduced upon American railways the high wheel and the triple
truck. And be it further

'_Resolved:_ That all self-respecting members of this fraternity shall
refrain from riding on, or in any way encouraging, such slow-freight
lines as may still hold to the old-fashioned, eight-wheeled,
dirt-dragging sleeper, blind to their own interest and dead to the
world.'"

"All aboard," cried Patsy, and the Denver Limited left Chicago just ten
minutes late. The moment they had passed beyond the shed the storm swept
down from the Northwest and plastered the wet snow against the windows.
Slowly they worked their way out of the crowded city, over railway
crossings, between guarded gates, and left the lights of Chicago behind
them. The scores of passengers behind the double-glassed windows chatted
or perused the evening papers.

Nearly all the male members of the English party had crowded into the
smoking-rooms of the sleepers to enjoy their pipes. Patsy, after working
the train, sat down to visit with the Morans. The old engineer had been
hurt in a wreck and the company had generously given him a two months'
leave of absence, with transportation and full pay, and he was going to
spend the time in Southern California. The officials were beginning to
share the opinion of Mr. Watchem, the famous detective who had declared,
when Moran was in prison, that he ought to be wearing a medal instead of
handcuffs. He had battled, single-handed and alone, with a desperado who
was all fenced about with firearms, saved the company's property and, it
might be, the lives of passengers. Later he had taken the dynamite from
the engine to prevent its exploding, wrecking the machine and killing
the crew. And rather than inform upon the wretch who had committed the
crime he had gone to prison, and had borne disgrace.

With the exception of Patsy, Moran, and his wife, none of the passengers
gave a thought to the "fellows up ahead." Before leaving Chicago Guerin
had advised the youthful fireman to stretch a piece of bell-rope from
the cab to the tank to prevent him from falling out through the gangway,
for he intended to make up the ten minutes if it were in the machine.
The storm had increased so that the rail had passed the slippery stage,
for it is only a damp rail that is greasy. A very wet rail is almost as
good as a dry one, and Blackwings was picking her train up beautifully.
This was the engine upon which Guerin had made his maiden trip as
fireman, and the thought of that dreadful night saddened him. Here was
where Cowels sat when he showed him the cruel message. Here in this very
window he had held him, and there was the identical arm-rest over which
hung the body of the dead engineer. And this was his boy. How the years
fly! He looked at the boy, and the boy was looking at him with his big,
sad eyes. The furnace door was ajar, and the cab was as light as day.
Guerin had always felt that in some vague way he was responsible for
Cowels's death, and now the boy's gaze made him uncomfortable. Already
the snow had banked against the windows on his side and closed them. He
crossed over to the fireman's side, and looked ahead. The headlight was
almost covered, but they were making good time. He guessed, from the
vibration that marked the revolutions of the big drivers, that she must
be making fifty miles an hour. Now she began to roll, and her bell began
to toll, like a distant church-bell tolling for the dead, and he crossed
back to his own side. Both Moran and Patsy were pleased for they knew
the great engine was doing her work. "When one of these heavy sleepers
stops swinging," said Patsy, "and just seems to stand still and shiver,
she's going; and when she begins to slam her flanges up against the
rail, first one side and then the other, she has passed a sixty-mile
gait, and that's what this car is doing now."

Mrs. Moran said good-night, and disappeared behind the silken curtain of
"lower six," where her little girl was already sound asleep. Only a few
men remained in the smoking-rooms, and they were mostly English.

Steam began to flutter from the dome above the back of Blackwings. The
fireman left the door on the latch to keep her cool and save the water;
the engineer opened the injector a little wider to save the steam; the
fireman closed the door again to keep her hot; and that's the way men
watch each other on an engine, to save a drop of water or an ounce of
steam, and that's the best trick of the trade.

Guerin looked out at the fireman's window again. The headlight was now
entirely snowed in and the big black machine was poking her nose into
the night at the rate of a mile a minute.

"My God! how she rolls," said Guerin, going back to his place again. Of
a sudden she began to quicken her pace, as though the train had parted.
She might be slipping--he opened the sand lever. No, she was holding the
rail, and then he knew that they had tipped over Zero Hill. He cut her
back a notch, but allowed the throttle to remain wide open. Bennie saw
the move and left the door ajar again. He knew where they were and
wondered that Guerin did not ease off a bit, but he had been taught by
Moran to fire and leave the rest to the engineer. Guerin glanced at his
watch. He was one minute over-due at Zero Junction, a mile away. At the
end of another minute he would have put that station behind him, less
than two minutes late. He was making a record for himself. He was
demonstrating that it is the daring young driver who has the sand to go
up against the darkness as fast as wheels can whirl. He wished the snow
was off the headlight. He knew the danger of slamming a train through
stations without a ray of light to warn switchmen and others, but he
could not bring himself to send the boy out to the front end in that
storm the way she was rolling. And she did roll; and with each roll the
bell tolled! tolled!! like a church bell tolling for the dead. The snow
muffled the rail, and the cry of the whistle would not go twenty rods
against that storm; and twenty rods, when you're making a mile and a
half in a minute, gives barely time to cross yourself.

About the time they tipped over the hill the night yard master came from
the telegraph office, down at the junction, and twirled a white light at
a switch engine that stood on a spur with her nose against an empty
express car. "Back up," he shouted: "and kick that car in on the house
track."

"The Limited's due in a minute," said the switch engineer, turning the
gauge lamp upon his watch.

"Well, you're runnin' the engine--I'm runnin' the yard," said the
official, giving his lamp another whirl, and the engine with the express
car backed away. The yard master unbent sufficiently to say to the
switchman on the engine that the Limited was ten minutes late, adding,
that she would probably be fifteen at the junction, for it was storming
all along the line. The snow had packed in about the switch-bridle and
made it hard to move, but finally, with the help of the fireman, the
switch was turned, and the yard engine stood on the main track. The
engineer glanced over his shoulder, but there was nothing behind him
save the storm-swept night. Suddenly he felt the earth tremble, and,
filled with indescribable horror, he pulled the whistle open and leaped
through the window. The cry of the yard engine was answered by a wild
shriek from Blackwings. Guerin closed the throttle, put on the air and
opened the sand-valves. The sound of that whistle, blown back over the
train, fell upon the ears of Patsy and the two dead-heads, and filled
them with fear. A second later they felt the clamp of brake-shoes
applied with full force; felt the grinding of sand beneath the wheels,
and knew that something was wrong. The old engineer tore the curtains
back from "lower six," and spread out his arms, placing one foot against
the foot of the berth, and threw himself on top of the two sleepers.
Patsy and the Philosopher braced themselves against the seat in front of
them, and waited the shock. Bennie heard the whistle, too, and went out
into the night, not knowing where or how he would light. Young Guerin
had no time to jump. He had work to do. His left hand fell from the
whistle-rope to the air-brake, and it was applied even while his right
hand shoved the throttle home, and opened the sand-valves--and then the
crash came. Being higher built, Blackwings shot right over the top of
the yard engine, turned end for end, and lay with her pilot under the
mail car, which was telescoped into the express car. The balance of the
train, surging, straining, and trembling, came to a stop, with all
wheels on the rail, thanks to the faithful driver, and the open
sand-pipes. The train had scarcely stopped when the conductor and the
two dead-heads were at the engine, searching, amid the roar of escaping
steam, for the engine crew. A moment later Bennie came limping in from a
neighboring field where he had been wallowing in a snow-drift. The
operator, rushing from the station, stumbled over the body of a man. It
was Guerin. When the engine turned over he had been hurled from the cab
and slammed up against the depot, fifty feet away. The rescuers,
searching about the wreck, shouted and called to the occupants of the
mail car, but the wail of the wounded engine drowned their voices. In a
little while both men were rescued almost unhurt. Now all the employees
and many passengers gathered about the engineer. The station master held
Guerin's head upon his knee, while Moran made a hasty examination of his
hurt. There was scarcely a bone in his body that was not broken, but he
was still alive. He opened his eyes slowly, and looked about. "I'm
cold!" he said distinctly. Patsy held his white light close to the face
of the wounded man. His eyes seemed now to be fixed upon something far
away. "Mercy, but I'm cold!" he said pathetically. Now all the women
were weeping, and there were tears in the eyes of most of the men.
"Raise him up a little," said Moran. "It's getting dark," said the dying
man, "Oh, _so_ dark! It must be the snow--" and he closed his eyes
again--"snow--on--the headlight."



THE END



THE STORY OF THE WEST SERIES.

_Edited by_ RIPLEY HITCHCOCK.

_Each, Illustrated, 12mo, cloth, $1.50._


THE STORY OF THE RAILROAD.

_By_ CY WARMAN, _author of "The Express Messenger," etc. With Maps, and
many Illustrations by B. West Clinedinst and from Photographs_.

As we understand it, the editor's ruling idea in this series has not
been to present chronology or statistics or set essays on the social and
political development of the great West, but to give to us vivid
pictures of the life and the times in the period of great development,
and to let us see the men at their work, their characters, and their
motives. The choice of an author has been fortunate. In Mr. Warman's
book we are kept constantly reminded of the fortitude, the suffering,
the enterprise, and the endurance of the pioneers. We see the glowing
imagination of the promoter, and we see the engineer scouting the plains
and the mountains, fighting the Indians, freezing and starving, and
always full of a keen enthusiasm for his work and of noble devotion to
his duty. The construction train and the Irish boss are not forgotten,
and in the stories of their doings we find not only courage and
adventure, but wit and humor.--_The Railroad Gazette._


THE STORY OF THE COWBOY.

_By_ E. HOUGH, _author of "The Singing Mouse Stories," etc. Illustrated
by William L. Wells and C. M. Russell_.

Mr. Hough is to be thanked for having written so excellent a book. The
cowboy story, as this author has told it, will be the cowboy's fitting
eulogy. This volume will be consulted in years to come as an authority
on past conditions of the far West. For fine literary work the author is
to be highly complimented. Here, certainly, we have a choice piece of
writing.--_New York Times._


THE STORY OF THE MINE.

_As Illustrated by the Great Comstock Lode of Nevada._

_By_ CHARLES HOWARD SHINN.

Mr. Shinn writes from ... such acquaintance as could only be gained by
familiarity with the men and the places described, ... and by the
fullest appreciation of the pervading spirit of the Western mining camps
of yesterday and to-day. Thus his book has a distinctly human interest,
apart from its value as a treatise on things material.--_Review of
Reviews._


THE STORY OF THE INDIAN.

_By_ GEORGE BIRD GRINNELL, _author of "Pawnee Hero Stories," "Blackfoot
Lodge Tales," etc._

Only an author qualified by personal experience could offer us a
profitable study of a race so alien from our own as is the Indian in
thought, feeling, and culture. Only long association with Indians can
enable a white man measurably to comprehend their thoughts and enter
into their feelings. Such association has been Mr. Grinnell's.--_New
York Sun._



_Books by Graham Travers._


WINDYHAUGH.

_A Novel. By_ GRAHAM TRAVERS, _author of "Mona Maclean. Medical
Student," "Fellow Travellers," etc. 12mo. Cloth, $1.50_.

"Windyhaugh" shows an infinitely more mature skill and more subtle
humor than "Mona Maclean" and a profounder insight into life. The
psychology in Dr. Todd's remarkable book is all of the right kind;
and there is not in English fiction a more careful and penetrating
analysis of the evolution of a woman's mind than is given in
Wilhelmina Galbraith; but "Windyhaugh" is not a book in which there
is only one "star" and a crowd of "supers." Every character is
limned with a conscientious care that bespeaks the true artist, and
the analytical interest of the novel is rigorously kept in its
proper place and is only one element in a delightful story. It is a
supremely interesting and wholesome book, and in an age when
excellence of technique has reached a remarkable level, "Windyhaugh"
compels admiration for its brilliancy of style. Dr. Todd paints on a
large canvas, but she has a true sense of proportion.--_Blackwood's
Magazine._

For truth to life, for adherence to a clear line of action, for arrival
at the point toward which it has aimed from the first, such a book as
"Windyhaugh" must be judged remarkable. There is vigor and brilliancy.
It is a book that must be read from the beginning to the end and that it
is a satisfaction to have read.--_Boston Journal._

Its easy style, its natural characters, and its general tone of
earnestness assure its author a high rank among contemporary
novelists.--_Chicago Tribune._


MONA MACLEAN.

_Medical Student. 12mo. Paper, 50 cents. Cloth, $1.00._

A pleasure in store for you if you have not read this volume. The author
has given us a thoroughly natural series of events, and drawn her
characters like an artist. It is the story of a woman's struggles with
her own soul. She is a woman of resource, a strong woman, and her career
is interesting from beginning to end.--_New York Herald._

"Mona Maclean" is a bright, healthful, winning story.--_New York Mail
and Express._

A high-bred comedy.--_New York Times._


FELLOW TRAVELLERS.

_12mo. Paper, 50 cents. Cloth, $1.00._

The stories are well told; the literary style is above the average, and
the character drawing is to be particularly praised. ... Altogether, the
little book is a model of its kind, and its reading will give pleasure
to people of taste.--_Boston Saturday Evening Gazette._

"Fellow Travellers" is a collection of very brightly written tales, all
dealing, as the title implies, with the mutual relations of people
thrown together casually while travelling.--_London Saturday Review._



"_A Book that will Live._"

DAVID HARUM.

_A Story of American Life. By_ EDWARD NOYES WESTCOTT. _12mo. Cloth,
$1.50._


Thoroughly a pure, original, and fresh American type. David Harum is a
character whose qualities of mind and heart, eccentricities, and dry
humor will win for his creator noble distinction. Buoyancy, life, and
cheerfulness are dominant notes. In its vividness and force the story is
a strong, fresh picture of American life. Original and true, it is worth
the same distinction which is accorded the _genre_ pictures of peculiar
types and places sketched by Mr. George W. Cable, Mr. Joel Chandler
Harris, Mr. Thomas Nelson Page, Miss Wilkins, Miss Jewett, Mr. Garland,
Miss French, Miss Murfree, Mr. Gilbert Parker, Mr. Owen Wister, and Bret
Harte.--_Boston Herald._

Mr. Westcott has done for central New York what Mr. Cable, Mr. Page, and
Mr. Harris have done for different parts of the South, and what Miss
Jewett and Miss Wilkins are doing for New England, and Mr. Hamlin
Garland for the West.... "David Harum" is a masterly delineation of an
American type.... Here is life with all its joys and sorrows.... David
Harum lives in these pages as he will live in the mind of the reader....
He deserves to be known by all good Americans; he is one of them in
boundless energy, in large-heartedness, in shrewdness, and in
humor.--_The Critic._

True, strong, and thoroughly alive, with a humor like that of Abraham
Lincoln and a nature as sweet at the core.--_Boston Literary World._

We give Edward Noyes Westcott his true place in American
letters--placing him as a humorist next to Mark Twain, as a master of
dialect above Lowell, as a descriptive writer equal to Bret Harte, and,
on the whole, as a novelist on a par with the best of those who live and
have their being in the heart of hearts of American readers. If the
author is dead--lamentable fact--his book will live.--_Philadelphia
Item._

The main character ... will probably take his place in time beside Joel
Chandler Harris's and Thomas Nelson Page's and Miss Wilkins's
creations.--_Chicago Times-Herald._


D. APPLETON AND COMPANY, NEW YORK.


    _D. B. Updike
    The Merrymount Press
    104 Chestnut St.
    Boston_





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