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That Engineer

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'ÍN ow, tieorge, said inother. ' when you ruu into Ciiicago to day I don't want you to forget that lamb's wool. Them store-keepers 11 try to put you off, and say they don't have no seoh goods on hand this time o year. Dut I want you to foller ein up and git it, tor I want to go right to knittin' your soeks for next winter. - ïhere'b nothing so good for socks as fine, liaid-spun lamb's wool.' ' Not evtu yak, mother ?' asked George, iiiiscliievously, as he suatched up his hat and belongings, aa if the alarm of firu had been suuuded. ■ I don't know nothin' about yak. That Diay do for women's wear, but lor men's there's nothing like hard-spun lamb's wool.' ' I'll remcmb,' promised George, fully primed and oharged. ' ïlow good-by. - Home on time at nine.' ïhe old woman's cheek had a flush like winter apples. George took a hasty nip at it - he always did when he started on his iñps - looked at her with his big, cberisbing eyes, and reoeived a mother's üiispeakable reply and dashd off to his engine. It was a little after sunrise. His boots rang along the pavetnent, and his whistle ran along the breeze. George was handsoiue and strong, as twenty-two has a right to be. He wore a blouse instead of' a business coat ; and that great, fresh, downy rose - his face - would soon be coated with the locomotive's breath. But he was a wholesome, splendid man. Perhaps Jennie thougut so. She was sweeping the front steps of her paternal mansión as he passed. Her haïr was gathercd atop her head in a curly coil, crinkles of it just dropping over her forehead. The sleeves were pushed back trom the pink, round arms - for women, as weü as men, wheu they go to work, - work with a will, begin like a pugilist. Jennie had her morning complexión on. As her eyes met George's she put on additional niorning complexion. George touehed his hat, Jennie bent her head shyly. The youngman squared his suoulders and walked on like a brigadier-general. ' That's a nice girl,' he communicated to his sleeve. ' Mother thinks a heap of hvr. She's got more seiise than half of 'eui,. niother says. And she's smart and modest-like in her ways. Mother says she's uncommon pretty, too.' These opinions of mother's so edified him that he had not gotten Jennie out of his head when he leaped upon hisengine. But, I suspect, if mother's verdict had been agaiust her, he wouid have stood her lt.wyer. He was only making mother's cumplimenta his choice. He was skulking buhind mother. For some young men are shy ! While he and his iron horse, and his row af baggage car and passenger coaches rushed acioss the land that hot day, nobody looked in the engine eab for romance ; yettherethe fire of the world was glowing uuder a dark blouse. Nobody looked iuto it for integrity and worth ; yet there stood six feet of integrity and worth, which had come to manhood through thick and thin, and had carried his mother to comfort, and which kept bis character like his buruished engiue. Neither did anybody 19ok into the cab for heroism ; but it was there, potent and still, like electricity in a cloud. Ah, my ccuntrymen are capable of some thingsl As for locomotivo engineers, I suppose there are men not of the best auiong them - as among parsons - but the deeds of some do speak for them. Now when one's mind has run in one channel for a length of time - or I might say, in more appropriate figure, when a train has gone over a great deal of road results are generally arrived at. So it carne to paes, when George dashed up street in Chicago after his mother's lamb's wool, while his engine cooled, and the train was being made for the home trip, that he dived into a jeweler's store and asked sheepishly to see some rings. 'Rings, eh 'r' murmured the salesman, lo.)king amiably at the man of soot: For Chicago isn't afraid of coal smoke The men who bring her the dollars do not always come in elabórate toilet. 'Rings,' emphasized George, ' anddon'1 be afraid of your high priced ones, with with stones in 'cm.' ' If I give her one,' in the parenthesis of his sleeve, ' I want it to be a ring that' last and always be fine and handsome and go down in the fainily, liko mother's Diamonds, emeralds, opals, pearls, were flushed in his face, but utill his fingers went searching. ' What'8 this F' he asked, picking up a sinall strong circle with anibthysts set around it. ' Looks like a grape, sort of, when the sun shines through it.' ' That '( oh, those are amethysts. Not so expensive as these jewels, but a very uice firm stone,' ' This suita me,' observed George, diving tor his wallet, 'this is whut I was lookiug for So he paid for it, and darted out to hail a passing horas car, tuoking that little morocco case under his bilis way dowu out of sight, as auother secret was tucked under his lelt breast pocket. As ho rushed back across the afternoou landscape curbiug his iron horse with his bit, giving him rein by auother motion, making the viüagcs resound, watching bis road with a keen, yet tender eyo, George's uiind rose to no greater hcight than meditation on how he should give the ring to Jouuie. ' I'll ask her to takpa walk - nolwon't. Don t wan't anybody to aee me, I'll shake hands with her, and slip it on her fiuger then cut. Hang rne ! no, I won't neither. Let's see. I'll go there on Sunday night and stand up to it iind have it out. It' she'll have me, all right ; il' I ain't the man, I'll put it and iny heartin my pocket, and reverse eugine on the marryiug questiou.' And just at this crisis of thought, he saw cause for reversing e gine indeed. Souie uien are rash to villainy The conductor of the construction train, whioh ought to be ljing on a swich a mileaway thought he could make ihe next switch before the Chicago expresa carne by. So he tried it. He survived the disaster to the company one hour, and 'went West.' George - hairfiying back froni historehead - hands like lightning - eyes and mouth set, reversed his engine whistled the breaks down - the fiieman rau back- the engineer of the construction train jumped - George slood up to the alarm signal till engine and baggage car feil ou a gravel flat, and human yells went up out of the express trom uiouths which were saved, but never a sound from the engineer who had stood at his post and saved them - and now lay half under his dear oíd No. 8 wrecked with it. 'There'sbeen an acdident,' cried Jennie, rushing into bis mother's presence, and causing the dear lady to push ker lasses quite iuto her hair. ' A telegram ust carne- ' Not George.' The express! Oh, don't, de.-tr ! No one was dangerously hurt but the engineer - it was a collision - he saved the train, they say. Oh, don't let it kill you !' ' Where's my bunnitW gasped the old mother. Here's yoar bonnet - and your shawl. - Jennie wrapped both this and her arms around George's mother. Those tender touches brought her on Jenmes oheek. ' Don't you leave ïue ' It's agoin' to kill me to see him lyin' under them wheels all toi-e up ! Tht best son, and good and kind as au angel. Oh, hovv'll we git there '( Oh, who's going to take ine to my son ?' ' I will,' promised the young woman, breathless and white, 'a relief train is going up.' What they thought all that long time they rode hanging on each other'a hands - I know not. Do you think at all just before you open a black -bordered letter - when 8ome awful change threatens you? Do crimináis think when the noose is round their necks' We sometimos exist without living. It was warm summer dusk when tho re'ief train slowly slid up to the wreek. - The passenger coaches stood intact. Men were chopping at the engines and broken lats. The people who had swarmed tor jours, and nearly killed a man wbom they were determined to lionize, now partially hived themselves in tho new ;rain. ' Mother !' breathed George from his bed of coats, over which a surgeon stooped. Theioor old woman spun wildly round üke a top, till Jenuie righted and propelled her to George. ' The lamb's wool's in my pocket,' he whispered, with a uierry twinkle in his suffering eyes. ' And, mothnr, pull out my purse and give the little case in the corner toJennie. Open it,' motioning her nearer his lips. ' I bought that tor you this afternoon,' his voice just reached her; and I was going to offer it and ask you ;o marry me. Take it now, and I don't ask any questions with it. No woman would take up with a smashed affair hke me.' ' Oh, George !' replied the woman, blazng out of all reserve, and piercing him ,hrough and through with her eyes of ovè. You splendid - hero - darling ! I would rather marry you now than any other man alive. And'I'll work for you and your mother, too, George.' Upon which the engineer, with the passion of a man whose life is drawn to a single poiut, gathered her face over one of his shaking hands and made a full rose of the mouth, which hekissed - kissedtill he whiteness round his lips stole over his whole face and he fainted. Jennie sat still under the stars, holding Jeorge's head, soothing his mother and hrilling at the doctor's favorable verdict. Though her face was all streaked by her over's fingere, she was feeling sorue kinship to the great people of the earth, ;hrough that engineer ; for a king will uiake a queen, wnetüer he be a King of' ■Spades, or King of Sonates, or King of Engine cabs.


Old News
Michigan Argus