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A Stop-Over At Tyre
by [?]

The whistle blew for brakes, and, seizing his lantern, the brakeman slammed out on the platform.

“Tough night for twisting brakes,” suggested Albert, when he came in again.

“Yes–on the freight.”

“Good heavens! I should say so. They don’t run freight such nights as this?”

“Don’t they? Well, I guess they don’t stop for a storm like this if they’s any money to be made by sending her through. Many’s the night I’ve broke all night on top of the old wooden cars, when the wind was sharp enough to shear the hair off a cast-iron mule–woo-o-o! There’s where you need grit, old man,” he ended, dropping into familiar speech.

“Yes; or need a job awful bad.”

The brakeman was struck with this idea. “There’s where you’re right. A fellow don’t take that kind of a job for the fun of it. Not much! He takes it because he’s got to. That’s as sure’s you’re a foot high. I tell you, a feller’s got t’ rustle these days if he gits any kind of a job–“

Toot, too-o-o-o-t, toot!”

The station passed, the brakeman did not return, perhaps because he found some other listener, perhaps because he was afraid of boring this pleasant young fellow.

Albert shuddered with a sympathetic pain as he thought of the heroic fellows on the tops of icy cars, with hands straining at frosty brakes, the wind cutting their faces like a sand-blast. Oh, those tireless hands at the wheel and throttle!–

He looked at his watch; it was two o’clock; the next station was Tyre. As he began to get his things together, the brakeman again addressed him:

“Oh, I forgot to say that the old lady’s name is Welsh–Mrs. Robert Welsh. Say I sent yeh, and it’ll be all right.”

“Sure! I’ll try her in the morning–that is, if I find out I’m going to stay.”

Albert clutched his valise, and pulled his cap firmly down on his head.

“Here goes!” he muttered.

“Hold y’r breath!” shouted the brakeman. Albert swung himself to the platform before the station–a platform of planks along which the snow was streaming like water.

“Good-night!” shouted the brakeman.


“All-l abo-o-o-ard!” called the conductor somewhere in the storm. The brakeman swung his lantern, the train drew off into the blinding whirl, and its lights were soon lost in the clouds of snow.

No more desolate place could well be imagined. A level plain, apparently bare of houses, swept by a ferocious wind; a dingy little den called a station–no other shelter in sight; no sign of life save the dull glare of two windows to the left, alternately lost and found in the storm.

Albert’s heart contracted with a sudden fear; the outlook was appalling.

“Where’s the town?” he asked of a dimly seen figure with a lantern–a man evidently locking the station door, his only refuge.

“Over there,” was the surly reply.

“How far?”

“‘Bout a mile.”

“A mile!”

“That’s what I said–a mile.”

“Well, I’ll be blanked!”

“Well, y’ better be doing something besides standing here, ‘r y’ ‘ll freeze t’ death. I’d go over to the Arteeshun House an’ go t’ bed if I was in your fix.”

“Well, where is the Artesian House?”

“See them lights?”

“I see them lights.”

“Well, they’re it.”

“Oh, wouldn’t your grammar make Old Grammaticuss curl up, though!”

“What say?” queried the man bending his head toward Albert, his form being almost lost in the snow that streamed against them both.

“I said I guessed I’d try it,” grinned the youth, invisibly.

“Well, I would if I was in your fix. Keep right close after me; they’s some ditches here, and the foot-bridges are none too wide.”

“The Artesian is owned by the railway, eh?”


“And you’re the clerk?”

“Yup; nice little scheme, ain’t it?”

“Well, it’ll do,” replied Albert.

The man laughed without looking around.

In the little bar-room, lighted by a vilely smelling kerosene lamp, the clerk, hitherto a shadow and a voice, came to light as a middle-aged man with a sullen face slightly belied by a sly twinkle in his eyes.

“This beats all the winters I ever did see. It don’t do nawthin’ but blow, blow. Want to go to bed, I s’pose. Well, come along.”