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A Bottle Of Oil

A Bottle Of Oil image
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(Krom The Yoiilh'8 Cotnpanlon.) Wisliiiif: lo tako tlie nhjllt train ut ihe imull t -nion i B , and havlDg nothinr t t'tni'l"V uiy lUeniion about the s i 1 ,ge, I went eaily (o the station, and wh ushi-red iuto fbe waitiiijf,-rooiii by the tratchman, a stout, (tond-naVared looking man ui the prime ot lite, who wore pmm-.l icios lus breast, au empty ileCVI'. As I liail in liour or more of Ie sure bef ore my trui a woulil arrlve, I paMel i.tic time cliamng l:h tbn watcüniatf, nul he told me the story of the adventure in whirh lie lost hls arm. I fepe:it nis narrativa m n'érty as possible In hls ow u word Bet'ure I was entruted with the nij{ut duties of this station I formed one of a crew ot three sectïön men, who had in charge mven miles of track upon our roatC soine three Uu ad red miles wi-st f litTc. in Ihe roujrhent ml most lawless part of the Teirilory. Onr duties were to keep in tliorouih order Ilie track upon our section, and we were held responsible to tliecompany tot anylhlnjr thiit woolü endiinger or delay tlie tüilns while upon it. Our seclion began al Suminit Station, and rui cast neven miles. Thence to Brewtor't next iHtlon enst of 8umniit, mid lineen miles dlïtant trom it was another seclion elght miles lonif. Tlie ni"la duly of :i section-hand Í8 not pleaDt. Iti rain or .-hiñe, suow or sleet, ihe seclion mu-it bc patrolled by oue man wl,o einplnys In gooil weatlier h light hauil-cai' for the purpose- ihead of our Ovei-limd riillmm train. This train pa-sed Ter our ection at midnight, and om departure wns timeil so as to inspeel the track immedlately ahead of it. Bo, takiujf tiirnsat thatduty, we starU-d from Sninmit at ten o'cloek suarp, and usually ariived at the "balf-way houie' about ten minutes ahead of the train. Here we met one of the men from tlie section ahead of us, who had started about the carne time, aüd for the same purpose Yon e the piecaution taken by all well-managed roads for the satety of lts patrón. How many of the pigsenjiers on the Overlüiid to-ulght kuow, or knowing, (ive a tliought to the men who, Miice darknesa settled upon them, have heen plungins throujfh the snow,- for handcars are useless in such weather as this - swiii"lne their lanteins from side to side examining carefully every cut for tearof falling rocks eyery bridge tor broken rails, thus enabling them to ride in Sftfct V As Í liil before, the men from each section havinir patrolled tlfteen miles of tr.ick meet at a little shanty situated beside Ihe track, just large enougli to hold a small stove and a few neceseary np„lief. aüd to allow the men to enter. Here tliey stay uittil the train comes in Saht then outilde, and display their two white ltghtt, tliat the englneer may know ¦i Is well. Failure to do thi would resnit ín n report to headquarters, and possibly In dipcharse from the service. One nlght it carne niy turn to run the KCtlon. Hefore startinjr, it oceurred to me that our fupply of lantern oil at the half-way house was low sol procurad and lied a quart bottle of lard óil the kind which Is used tor the purpöse put tinto the inside pocket of my heavy coat, buttoned it snuj{ly abont me, .. I 1 . 1 u t -l lt I ¦! I . It was u stormy suramert night, as black as hik My car ra n smoothly over tbe , a„d o.. I l,d traveled about . Uw, (llstunce and srrived at a bridge c ros, 5 S .ake WtW. Har. I dl.mountedfrom the er, and putlilng It of me a" I passc-d, I ve the structure a Srelü" exa.ninHtion, found everytlung aU 'glit, and was about moiintiiiirm7 MfaMln when I receivedavolentblow „¦mn-the liead which strt-tched ...e ensell"H,cirèr!ngr"yen=Io-9'le9S afteia Ill(, kmTi ouihI mylf bound, ttugxed bal a few feet fro.n a Rang ot sked men, whom I saw, as we ai i tbe Ua kness would penult, at work wit li bnrs removlntfoneoftberailsjustat Uie en'.n-wtcWersf-IUdbeardagreatl tiel about the desperate character of these ruttiiiis, luit mnv was making my first acqiiaintaiice willi them. As tliey worked. they diseu-sed the sltuation, and how they should dispose of nie. " I'll teil yet, Sam '.'' one big fellow exclahned. " Best way is to tie hlm across the rails, and let Vra fltilsh hirn." " Yes, tlial's sol" eclioed the party. " Dead men teil no tale", aud he muy have seen our fices." " Ho! ho! ho! I won't listen to Mieh a plan," guid one who seeined to exeroise uaie influence over them. " We shall have enough to answer for hefore tliis job is ilnislicd withous killing him. How this uail stick!" he addded with nn oath. " The man who drove these fplkes must liave meant 'em to stay. Come, mate-! Hu is sah' enoujfh, and if wc mean business, we must be lively. The train will be here in twenly minutes, and we have no time to lose," and at the ruil they all sprang with a will. Twenty minutes! What could I hope to do to save the train In my condltion, with so short a time? The thoughtof the terrible wreek which must result If the deralled train struclc the bridge made me desperate. Stralulnsr at the cord which bound my wriats, I fancied they gave way a little. I re membered the trick of the necromancers who tree thcmselves froin their bomls by alternately contracting and expmding Ihelr rauecles and I lay in sllencc, wort ing in a perfect trenzy of excíteme nt until 1 was able to tree my hands. In au instant my knife was out of my pocket, and my feet free. Without waiting to free myeelf from the gag, I spranz to my feet, and, at the top of iny speed, started down the track in the direction of the approaching train. With a yell which told me I was diacovered, tlie whole gang started in puriuit; but I had sme little et.irt of them, and bounded along the tiea, bent at stopping the train at aoy cost. In the inky bLickness of the night pursuit was dlffleult. Soon pop ! pop ! pop ! from the revolvers of the gang. They vvere firiug down the track, in hopes of stopping me with a buil it. As Ihe gag, which I had not removed, hindered my hreathlng, I was foiced to stop for a moment to cut it away. While go engaged, thure carne a second volley, this time more suecessful. 1 was stiuck iu the left arm mldway between wriot and elhow, I Bhould have faiuted trom the shock, together with the rough us:ige I had previously undergone, but for my determination to keep up. " Brace up!" I called, as if addresslnj; a compauion. " No lime for such foolinhin-as now. Torn. Itemember the train ! ' Th8 I said aloud to myself, for the solitary work of mv nightly iouihIs hd given me the habit of lalkiug to mystlC for wmitof another companlon. Setting iny teeth liard, I overciime the fuintnese, ptugpcroü1 to my eotiind ran on. I soon noticod that the pursuit had ceafed. Eittier the train-robbers thoiighl I was done for, or tliey liad retiuned to their unflnlgbed work, truftinu I .hould be unable tostop the train. And uow it lliislu-il upon my ml ml fnr the Ürt time, how could I tcoompllsb it? Litfht I had none - my lantern was with the wreckers. While I was thus deliberatlng, stil] runnlug on H8 fast as niy condición woulii perinit, instinctively I feit lu my pocket for matches. Ah. tbeoil! Why had I not thnught of that befoie? Of course! ' Of conree the oil will stop tUem, Toni. Spmd It 'm the rails. The old sever.tyton looomHive cjui get no grip on thut iron. nniear iC thick, cover it wel!, mb it on with your palm, so - both rails, don'i neglect an incli of ei t lier. For life lom! for Ufe. Think of the men, woinen and little children upon the train. I worked with the desperations of a (Irowning man. Upon my knees, the bottle under my disabled arm, pourtng the oil, liy an inclination of my body, Intomy right liand, and epreading It upon the ruis. In ten minutes the quirt of oil was exhausted, and as a result r had both rails for quite a distance very well covered with it. I had worked backwanU from the appiii.ichinj: train, and uow ro-e to my feet at the end of my labor and at the terminus of the greased rails. The tiain was coming. Already the rails were singinjf with vi bration as the lieavy train apprnnched. Here tliey comp. How awful the sight of a big loconiotive, coming straight toward oue upon a dark midnight! The grent, round eye of the head-liglit strenining out into the diirknes, the nar of the exhaust, the hiss of tlie steam through the cylinders, tojiether with the rush aml roar of the train, rnake up a terrlfyiog, though magniticent sighf. 1 stood upon the track waving my hundí, far enongh away to spring trom il before the train could reach mo, but so that the head-light wouhi shine upon me and I could be seen by the enginoer, " Now for It," I thought. Slie strikes the oil - the big, seven toot drive weeels spin round as though the engine liail been lifted in the air. Friction, the propelling influence, is goue now. She slackened speed. I could nee the enineer plaluly. In my exciletnent I ccreamed as louu as nossible. In vain protest to the gineer, who was ptilling tlie líttle lever wliich sands the rails. Shouting i of no avail, thcy could iiot hear me. Hd therc bef-n suffieieut up-jrrade thcre the oil would lmve stopped Ihcm quite. As it was, the inertia ot tlie car composlnjr the train was able to push tiie engine over, slidiiig the wheela. But one resource was lcft, I thought oí it just in time. I etepped as close to the rails as I dared, and with all my strength liurled the empty bottle at the head-light. It struck tho glas and shattered it to splinters, and tlie light instaiitly went UTlien carne tlie welcome signal froni the whistle for breaks, Hnd I sank down uiiconscious. Wlien I recoyered, a moment sufflced to tell llie story, and.Jproceedlnj? clowly, we soon carne to the cene of the trouble, the rail had been removed and was lyiiig beslde the track; but, of conree, the would-be wreckershad seen by our careful pproach lliHt their plin was spoileU and liad decnmped. With the tools alwy carried upon a train for such purpose, we soon replaced the tail and proceeded. I WHï carried to the company s hospital at y where skilful sureeons dld the best thy could for me, but It wiis found necesuary to remove my ann, as you see. And the compimy thought it best, to avoid uiy meetin)t with possible harm froinihetianKlUad foiled, to transfer me to this polnt. Now It U time for me to liht up me station, for your train will soon be bere. A pleasant Journey to yon, sir, and no ' uilíbapi. fteod-nlghl.


Ann Arbor Courier
Old News