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A Doctor's Dream

A Doctor's Dream image
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Severa! years ago I reslded in a wild, niouiitainous, and ratber lonely rogion oí Virginia. There was a railroad but a few roda in front of my door and a station and considerable village about a mile to the west. The neareet station to the east was about ton milee distant. I moved to the place with my young wit'e, líate In tlic autumn. and about the first of the íollowing March I was attaeked with typhoid lever and was ill tor a-bomt a jnonth. But thanks to a naturally strong constitution a;nd the oareful mireing of a loving and intolligent wtfe, I slowly recOTered. As sooii as I got strong enough to sit up and walk & little, I told mj wifc she had Ixjttor take the cars am go and visit her brother, who lived a.bout fifty milee rast oí us. 9he hac been taking care of jiii; so faithfully throoi;h jny illni'ss, both by day and iiiLiin. th at 1 lVared lier health and atrength would ï.-iil her il she did not rest awhile. I knew she had beei vcry auxious tu iso, ;ind I feit ure that lier brother and hie family ivmili be glad to see her, and would tsry to 'make lier visit a pleasant one. 8h besltated about lea ving me, fearing I might need her care; but aftei w-aiting a few days, and seeing that 1 cantinued to gain my health am Strenjrüi, she decided to t'ollow my ad vioe. Aceordingly, one pleasant mom inft' abaut t.1k middle of April, aften doinji everythlng she coukl for my coaufort and biddin.g me to bc care ful about cold or walking too lar she started, intending to be gone a fortnight. One day I oxereised a llttle beyund my gti'engtih and feit quite tired at nlg-ht and lay awake for a long time. At last I feil into an uneay sjumber uil dreamed a very curiou.s and startling dream. I eeemed to have goue forward into the future a eouple of days, and instead of "Wednesday, the 24th, it seemed to be Friday, the 26th. It seeined in my dream that a hea vy rain liad been falüng moet of the day n.ntl all the day before, but the cvt'iiing was clear and pleasant and not vi'ry dark, tkough the mooii was not shilling. I seemed to be walking along railroad toward the cast. I iii'fit passed through a vood about half a mile wide; then for about a mile throoigh fields coaitaining a couple af farm-houses, one inhabitfd and tlie other deserted. I then entered auother wood; and, after "valking about a mile and a half. I carne to a stream greatly ewollen by the rain, which had weakened the railroad bridge bo much, that the passenger train, in attemptmg t-o cross, hal broken it down, and the bridge and cars, completely wrecked, were lying on berth sides oí the Btream, except pqrtions t'hat were floating down. Some oí the passengere lay dead or dying, amöng the ruins, some were floating in the watier, and a few were clinging to trees and trashes on the bank. It was a fearful and heart-rending feight. The nert day, early in the morning, it oommenced raining and eontimied to rain through the day and followlmg night. I feit very lonely and uneasy all day, which feeling Wias iucreaeed by receiving a letter from my wife, saying tliat ghe intended to come home on Priday night by the expres train. I retired late, fisliiig mucli woiTier on account of my feavful dream. And to add to this fear, presentiment, whatever you may cali it, the dneam was repeated, and even niiwe distinct and Sivid than the first time, Wlu-n 1 arase In the mornlng the rain was etill ialling. This was Friday anl therefore was the day on whách my wife was to wtai-t Ioï home. Tlwre were tivo passenger trains iroin tto east each day, one at nine o'clock in the forcnoon and the other at nine in the evening. This last was the express train and the ome on which my wifc was comiiug. TO'Ward the jniddle of the aiternoon the rain ceaeed falling and the clouds slowly cleai-od away. The dream had made such an impression on my mind that I ï-eöolvcd to attempt to iind the sti-eam I had een so plainly in my dreamis, and if it appeared at all (langci'ous ito attempt to stop the train befare reaching it. Accordingly soon after the rain was over, I got ready and stai-ted. I liad never befoa-c had occasion to visit the station in this direction, and 'was tlierefore lentirfly unacquaintcd with this part of the country. But I found everythlng just as it had appeared la my diva in. tmmedlately af ter starting I passed ttu'ough the wood I seen in my (Ircani and theo entered the open field and found the two farm houses, ome inliabitid and the other deserted. In fact, everytlinitï was as natural as it' I had really been this way betere. 1 walked slowly, and la ir in the afteni'Oon I caiue to the stream, which flowed rapidly andseemed much Swoilen. But the bridge, instead oí being broken dmvii and mingled with the brokeai cars and mangled gefe, was still standing; and though it stlmber looked quite oíd and weather-beaten, there seemed to be llttle danger of its breaking down beneath the weight oí a passing train. Therc was a heavy freight train due irom ■Wie weet about six o'clock, and I resolved to walt at least until it came and if it passed over in safety there could be, I tliought, but llttle danser of accident to the lighter passenger train. ■ In due time itca-nie thundering along nd iassed safely over the bridge. But though it might have been owing to iny excited imagüiation, it eeetned to me tht the bi'idge bent and shook beHeatJi the weight of the train in a nanner highly 6uggestive of danger. At all evwits, I resolved to watt a while langer and see if the stream, which was Htill rising, would have any apparent effect upon tlie bridge. I took with me a lantern and also a thick blanket to protect me frora the damp night air. Shortly otter suiiact, as I was sitting a few rode from the stream, I lioard a loud splash, and lmrrying to tile baúdige I eaw that a portion oí the bank on the opposite side had broktMi a-aJ and also that the aciom of the water, or some other cause, ïad weakened the foundations of the bridge in such a marnier that a porion of the line was bent and lowered no'iigli to anake it impossible for a train to cross. I immediately crossed the bridge, resolved to stop the train if possible before It reaclied the bridge 'and oer tai n destruction. I went an in the direction from which the train was to coane, and found a good placs whicli commancled a view af the line for a considerable distance. I llt my lantern, wrapped niy blanke t around me, and sat dowji to niy wea-rieome watch of two lionrs. The niglit was olear, but not wry dark, though no moon Avas shining. 1 suffered nothing froan cold, as it was i.-markably warm, even for the dimate of Virginia, and I I ed in keeping awake, though the tnsk w&B a difficult 011e. Slowly tiie mámente possed by; but at last I saiv by my watch that the time had nearly expirad, and a few ■moments wcmld decide tlie fat-e of the train and its human froight. Soon I saw a lig'nt, far away and very ismall at first, but rapidly growlng largor and brighter. I aróse, tremblinji -ith excitemeot, and commenced tewinging tlie lantern above my liead, and is the train úrew near I doubled my exertion and shoutod as loud as I coaild. Onward carne the train at a rapid Speed. It was a time al terrible suspense to me. Should the engineer fail to 8ee my signal, ov not see it in time to stop the train before going a few rods past me, I knew that no human power eould save it. On it carne, ind. just as 1 gave up my exertions ind stopped from the line, my franIc sígnale were observad, aremsing the sleepy brakemen like an electric shock, who flew to .their stations. The train was quickly stopped, and then I informed the engineer and (conductor oï the danger a.head, while the fi-ightcned passengcrs left the carlianes and gathered around me. Many a brave man grew palé when he learncd what a fearful death he had &o marrowly escaped. Amoiig the passengers I found my vif not, niangled and lifeless, but 'alive and well, tliough somewhat frigh'toned, and a good deal surprised tip tsee me. The conductor guve me Beat next to my wife, and then liad the train backed to the station it had úst left, rom wMeh telegrama were sent to warn all other traína of the anger. In the morning my wife and I took he etage for home.


Old News
Ann Arbor Courier