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Travelling with a Reformer
by [?]

The conductor said, with chill dignity:

‘Gentlemen, you have heard the order, and my duty is ended. As to obeying it or not, you will do as you think fit.’ And he turned to leave.

‘But wait. The matter is not yet finished. I think you are mistaken about your duty being ended; but if it really is, I myself have a duty to perform yet.’

‘How do you mean?’

‘Are you going to report my disobedience at headquarters in Pittsburg?’

‘No. What good would that do?’

‘You must report me, or I will report you.’

‘Report me for what?’

‘For disobeying the company’s orders in not stopping this game. As a citizen it is my duty to help the railway companies keep their servants to their work.’

‘Are you in earnest?’

‘Yes, I am in earnest. I have nothing against you as a man, but I have this against you as an officer–that you have not carried out that order, and if you do not report me I must report you. And I will.’

The conductor looked puzzled, and was thoughtful a moment; then he burst out with:

‘I seem to be getting myself into a scrape! It’s all a muddle; I can’t make head or tail of it; it never happened before; they always knocked under and never said a word, and so I never saw how ridiculous that stupid order with no penalty is. I don’t want to report anybody, and I don’t want to be reported–why, it might do me no end of harm! No do go on with the game–play the whole day if you want to–and don’t let’s have any more trouble about it!’

‘No, I only sat down here to establish this gentleman’s rights–he can have his place now. But before won’t you tell me what you think the company made this rule for? Can you imagine an excuse for it? I mean a rational one–an excuse that is not on its face silly, and the invention of an idiot.?’

‘Why, surely I can. The reason it was made is plain enough. It is to save the feelings of the other passengers–the religious ones among them, I mean. They would not like it to have the Sabbath desecrated by card- playing on the train.’

‘I just thought as much. They are willing to desecrate it themselves by travelling on Sunday, but they are not willing that other people–‘

‘By gracious, you’ve hit it! I never thought of that before. The fact is, it is a silly rule when you come to look into it.’

At this point the train conductor arrived, and was going to shut down the game in a very high-handed fashion, but the parlour-car conductor stopped him, and took him aside to explain. Nothing more was heard of the matter.

I was ill in bed eleven days in Chicago and got no glimpse of the Fair, for I was obliged to return East as soon as I was able to travel. The Major secured and paid for a state-room in a sleeper the day before we left, so that I could have plenty of room and be comfortable; but when we arrived at the station a mistake had been made and our car had not been put on. The conductor had reserved a section for us–it was the best he could do, he said. But Major said we were not in a hurry, and would wait for the car to be put on. The conductor responded, with pleasant irony:

‘It may be that you are not in a hurry, just as you say, but we are. Come, get aboard, gentlemen, get aboard–don’t keep us waiting.’

But the Major would not get aboard himself nor allow me to do it. He wanted his car, and said he must have it. This made the hurried and perspiring conductor impatient, and he said: