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switch-lamps, the Arkansan, in his office, at
leisure breakfasted. Having breakfasted,
he moved to a corner of the desk and ti-
dily overspread with a napkin the emptied
dishes, and, rising, made a round of his long
shelf. Therefrom he drew a pipe, tobac-
co, and, after consideration, " Huckleberry
Finn." Then. he ascended to his window-
seat, his back to the narrow north window
and pillows, his legs outstretched their



were snow-white and moimtainous. He
bent ear to the chant of the crickets, which
rang surpassing clear in a stillness idyllic.
After a while he put match to his pipe,
opened " Huckleberry Finn " at the begin-
ning, and addressed himself. Soon a little
smile of relish entered his face. His puffs,
slow and deep-drawn, cried of content.
Tom Sawyer a little more upturned his
chin. His mouth seemed to curl. Steadily
he purred.

Out of the south, soft and sweet and
far away, drifted the wails of a chime-
whistle — IVoooo - woooo - woo - woo — a high-
way call for the Leroy road. Smiling, the
Arkansan read. Tom Sawyer yawned.

The chime bellowed, rapid, bullying,



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miles nearer— highway for the Wood road.
The Arkansan raised his eyes and leveled
them, attentive and mildly wondering.

He wondered because this August was
August, '99. In its every comer save the
depots the I. & I. was in state of strike.
This day a week ago, at midnight, train
crews had sought the sidings nearest, there
stored trains, and proceeded on engine to
division termini. Since then on the North
Division nothing had stirred. Since then
the Division telegraph had been disabled ;
the Arkansan's chittering relay was this
morning still. ^

Down-line,— south,— on the crest of that
swell that lifted two miles distant, showed
now a little hurricane of leaping, tumbhng
white smoke. The hurricane flung higher,
abruptly uprose the black body of a light
engine, coming tender first and very fast.
The black body grew; on the tail of the
tender the Arkansan read 900, and knew
the engine : a glorious big Richmond, pas-
senger type; stub-stacked, giant-cabbed,
a race-horse boiler towering on 70-inch
drivers, six of them— one of the pair that
hauled the Chicago night-limiteds One and
Two north of Powderly. He discerned
further. Thrust from the right-hand window
was the hatchet-face of Horace Ford, a
striking engineer. In the gangway loomed
the huge beard and huge shoulders and
huge paunch of Tom Magruder, a strik-
ing engineer. At his back, huddled,
were Hugh Corcoran, a quick, wiry lit-
tle fireman, freight conductor George
Latham, and two freight brakemen—
strikers all.

The 900 neared. On a sudden the white
hiuricane whirling on her stub-stack ceased,
gave place to a thin, lifeless scud of gray.
Yellow sparks rained from her driver-brakes.
Horace Ford was stopping.

He brought the Richmond to stop fair
at Saints Rest depot, the tail of her tender
abreast the Arkansan *s bay-window. Be-
fore the engine was still, Magruder and the
four at his back alighted. Ford followed.

They crossed the depot platform, these
strikers, pushed wide the door of the wait-
ing-room, and came in. They came roughly,
hurriedly, with a great scuffling and clump-
ing. Thence, not pausing for invitation,
they pushed wide the door of the Arkan-
san's office and entered.

Magruder was in the van ; he made him-
self spokesman.



" Turn out yer red flag— on the jump,"
he said. Better, he roared.

" Turn out yer red flag," he roared, and
directly spied the flag furled and tucked in
a bracket of the ticket-window ledge, and
helped himself, and without further speech
departed, cliunping. His fellows clumped
after, leaving the doors wide. With the flag
imfurled, Hugh Corcoran, the quick little
fireman, ran up-line over the ties to a point
beyond the switch of the passing siding.
Magruder and the rest, before the bay-
window, stripped off their coats and cast
them violently and without aim to the
planking. Then they stood there muttering
and shuffling, and glowered redly into the
north. The Arkansan twisted about and
contemplated that quarter.

Up-line, on the face of that swell that
lifted four miles away, was crawling thith-
erward a long gray thread smutched at
the fore with black. Slowly the smutch
constructed into smoke and a little wiz-
ened switch-engine, a four-wheeler, old-time
and red-rusted, wheezing and jiggling and
racking herself. The bulk of the thread
changed to white refrigerator-cars, cum-
bersome, top-heavy creatures, laboriously
rumbling and pounding, and lastly a ca-
boose. From the right-hand window of the
switch-engine cab fluttered lazily in the
breeze of the crawling a red skein, like a
red tippet. On the cupola of the caboose
appeared three black dots. Something
about each dot winked, mirror-like, in the
sunshine. Presently the tippet fluttered a
beard, red and waist-long. The black dots
stood forth three men seated out of the
path of the smoke, partaking of the air and
the scenery. On the breast of each winked
a nickeled badge.

Through the open windows of the bay
the Arkansan accosted Magruder.

" Might I know what-all is afoot, seh ? "
he ventured.

"Why, it 's them refrigerators that 's
afoot," roared the huge man. "Them *s
superchyce Orygon peaches fer Chicago-
way, twenty-three cars on 'em. T' other
night when the boys said good-by to their
trains, Ed Thorp an' Horace Ford here
stowed them peaches quiet an' comfortable
on siding at Selby." Selby was a way-sta-
tion twenty miles up-line. " But Powderly 's
worrited. 'Pears the ice in the cars has
petered down, an' Powderly 's afeard no
ice an* ba'my days ain't a-goin' to agree



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ARKANSAS FASHION



281



with the Orygoners. So this mornin' they
Dps an' rousts out ol* Jonas Conkey— the
one engineer on Division that did n't strike,
an' the contrariest ol' pill livin\ which is
why he did n't— an' his ol' 2 switch-enjyne
at Shannon Quarries. They sends him
three Comp'ny slewths— viay buggy an'
the West Central and s'more buggy— an'
a booby to fire. An' Jonas an' his outfit
tA€y ups an' bustles down to Selby an' ties
to the peaches. An' here they come with
'em. Them red whiskers a-coquettin' out
the enjyne windy, them 's ol' Jonas's.
They got an idee, ye see, Jonas an* his
outfit have, of takin' them peaches into
Powderly. Middle an' East Divisions ain't
stalled like this 'n'. If they can get 'em
to Powderly, Comp'ny can ice 'em an',
chances are, put 'em through."

" An' you-aXl ? " the Arkansan pressed
him.

" Why, us boys have come from Pow-
derly," vouchsafed the engineer. "When
word of this peach-mo vin' got around,
some scabs had this nice 900 enjyne out
experimentin' to the north o' the yard ; us
boys sort o' borrowed her. Ye see, we got
an idee, too, us boys have."

In deference to Hugh Corcoran's flag and
the 900 towering black and stolid on the
main line, J onas Conkey halted his train like-
wise at Saints Rest depot, the foot-board of
the 2 scarce a step from the 900's tender.

Before him Magruder at once paraded
the idea of the striker delegation.

" You ol' pill, Jonas," he said, " you just
face to the right-about"

Then he proceeded, his fellows at his
heels, up-platform past the refrigerators to
a station by the caboose, and paraded the
idea before the I. & I. detectives.

At this the detectives rose and advanced
to the hither edge of the caboose roof.
Jonas Conkey descended from the 2, and
with him led his fireman, him whom Ma-
gruder had classed a booby— a youth grown
and overgrown, in proper engine garb, but
in manner sulky and reluctant, like one
barren of enthusiasm. Leading the youth,
Conkey, as befitted a commander, marched
up-platform to the feet of his cohorts. So
arrayed, the peach-movers— save the over-
grown youth, who stood, glum and scowling,
aloof— put at the strikers with argument.
They talked with chins out-thrust. They
gestured with doubled fists. They waxed
red in the face.



And the strikers closed in and with argu-
ment put back. They talked with chins
out-thnist. They gestured with doubled
fists. Their red faces waxed to scarlet

Pleasantly the Arkansan swung himself
up, returned " Huckleberry Finn " to its
niche, laid down his pipe. Pleasantly he
donned his black slouch-hat, sauntered
outside, and with apologies elbowed to the
thick of the debate.

" Misteh Magrudeh an' Misteh Conkey
an' the rest of you gentlemen," he stated,
"I am right distressed about this hyeh.
Sain's Rest hyeh is pow'fully fond o' peace.
It is no so't of place fo' having hostilities.
If you-all would not have any hostilities, I
would ce'tainly thank you-all."

Magruder for the strikers, Conkey for
the peach-movers, replied nothing by
word. Merely, with small pleasantness,
they grinned. The debate resumed. The
clamor of it lifted and lifted like the roar
of a coming freight-train. The gesturing
fists flayed the morning. Then amid a
sudden silence Jonas Conkey bestirred his
fireman.

"Come aboard, bub," he said, "and
we '11 be stepping on. You, Mr. Green,"
—he hailed the caboose top,— "just mind
the switches, and we '11 go by this 900
engine b' way of the siding."

RetvuTied to the 2, Conkey threw his
reverse-lever. The overgrown youth sulkily
coaled his shovel. The detective Green
shinned down-ladder and made for the
north switch.

And then the peace of Saints Rest was
set upon in earnest. Magruder and Ford
clambered into the cab of the 2, by inches
pushed and pried Jonas Conkey to the
depot platform. There Magruder and
Conkey grappled. They fell down and
rolled over and over. They rolled against
the depot, and bruised much woodbine.
Ford reboarded the 2 in quest of the over-
grown youth. The youth fled, bawling,
"You lemme be. You lemme be." Hugh
Corcoran made after the detective Green.
Latham and the brakemen seized coal from
the switch-engine, and pelted Green's bro-
thers. Many lumps fell upon the Arkan-
san's knoll. Green's brothers answered
with pistols. They scathed no man. Out
of strike times they were wont to barter
yarns and tobacco with these coal-pelters.
But in other directions they were not so
nice. One bullet entered the Arkansan's



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282



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bay-window, powdered the stem of that
pipe he had laid down. Another whisked
among the breakfast dishes, and bisected
the ham-and-egg platter. Tom Sawyer,dis-
gnsted, stalked to the shadows beneath the
Arkansan's cot. Stephen Landon's cows
lifted scandalized faces. The Arkansan,
pleasant, sauntered hither and thither, ex-
postulating, dissuading, protecting— boot-
lessly.

Magruder straddled Jonas Conkey's
chest and squeezed out the breath of
him. Ford shook the overgrown youth.
By the coat-tails Hugh Corcoran drew
Green from the north switch. Latham and
the brakemen pursued Green's brothers,
their pistols emptied, over the refrigera-
tors and under the refrigerators.

At eleven o'clock Magruder broke the
seal of the first refrigerator, swimg wide
the doors, and transferred to the tender
of the 2 a dozen crates of the Oregon
peaches. Into the chill space thus created
Magruder's fellows deposited Jonas Con-
key, the overgrown youth, and the detec-
tives, swung to the doors, and made them
fast.

Then Ford took the right seat of the 2,
Corcoran the left. Magruder shifting the
900, they switched Conkey's engine to
the tail of the caboose, coupled, and set
the peach-train laboriously pounding and
rumbling northward.

" Take them peaches right back to Selby
—right back to that there siding." Those
were Ford's and Corcoran's instructions.
Until the departing train had dwindled to
a long gray thread crawling on the face of
the four- mile swell Magruder and Latham
and the brakemen, on the depot platform,
shouted after it derisively. On the 900,
Magruder the engineer, they wended Pow-
derly ward, shouting. U ntil they gained the
two-mile swell their hubbub was wafted
back on the rising south wind.

Softly, pleasantly, the Arkansan put
Saints Rest to rights. It took him until
twilight.

Which was of a Monday.



On Tuesday morning, having looked to
his switch-lamps, the Arkansan, in his office,
at leisure breakfasted. Breakfasted, he
moved aside and tidily overspread the
dishes, and, rising, made a round of his



shelf. Therefrom he drew a pipe, tobacco,
and "Huckleberry Finn." Then he as-
cended to his window-seat, his back to the
north window, his legs outstretched. Op-
posite, Tom Sawyer reposed, his legs out-
stretched, and purred.

The Arkansan admired, a space, Stephen
Landon's wheat, which lay opulent and
gold in a crystal sunshine. He admired
the clouds, which were snow-white and
mountainous. He bent ear to the crickets.
After a while he kindled his pipe, and
opened "Huckleberry Finn" at the be-
ginning. " I reckon," he confided to Tom
Sawyer, " we had best staht oveh again."
He addressed himself accordingly. Soon
a little smile of relish entered his face. His
puffs, slow and deep-drawn, cried of con-
tent. Tom Sawyer a little more upturned
his chin. -^/V mouth seemed to curl. Stead-
ily he purred.

Out of the south, soft and sweet and
far away, drifted the wails of a chime-
whistle— highway for the Leroy road.
Smiling, the Arkansan read.

The chime bellowed— highway for the
Wood road. The Arkansan raised his eyes,
attentive and mildly wondering.

Up from down-line, over the two-mile
swell, came again, tender first and very
fast, a white hurricane on her stub-stack,
Richmond engine 900. Thrust from the
right-hand window was the face of Horace
Ford. In the gangway loomed the huge
parts of Tom Magruder. At his back were
Hugh Corcoran, George Latham, and four
more strikers. Crouched upon the tender
were four more.

The 900 neared. On a sudden the hur-
ricane ceased, gave place to a scud. Sparks
rained from her driver-brakes.

Again Ford brought the Richmond to
stop fair at Saints Rest depot. Forthwith
all on board alighted and made, clumping,
into the waiting-room. Thence they made
into the Arkansan's office.

" Red flag," roared Magruder.

" Red flag," he roared, and helped him-
self and departed, his fellows after. With
the flag Hugh Corcoran ran up-line. Ma-
gruder and the rest, before the bay-window,
stripped off their coats and cast them,
violently and without aim, to the planking.
Then they stood there and glowered into
the north. The Arkansan twisted about
and contemplated that quarter.

Up-line, on the four-mile swell, were



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ARKANSAS FASHION



283



crawling thitherward smoke and the little
rusted 2 switch-engine and white refrigera-
tor-cars and a caboose. From the right-
hand window of the 2 lazily fluttered a red
beard. On the cupola of the caboose were
four black dots. Upon the roof of the
final refrigerator were four. Something
about each dot winked in the sunshine.

"Them peaches is afoot again/' roared
Magruder to the Arkansan. "Powderly
sent or Jonas s'more slewths last night
Lucky 'nough, us boys concluded not to
hand this nice 900 enjjme right back. We
stopped at the mouth o' that spur this side
o' Powderly that leads to the oV 'ban-
doned brick-yards. An* we just sperited
the 900 out the spur an' in among them
woods an' them ol' sheds, where the Com-
p'ny would n't be like to locate her first
off, an' where she *d be handy in case us
boys should have need for her again.
Lucky 'nough ! "

Again Jonas Conkey halted hkewise at
Saints Rest depot.

" You, Jonas," Magruder directed, " you
just about-face."

Then he proceeded, his fellows at his
heels, up-platform to a station by the ca-
boose, and directed the detectives.

Pleasantly the Arkansan swung himself
up, returned "Huckleberry Finn," laid
down his pipe. Pleasantly he donned his
black slouch, sauntered outside and to the
debate.

" Misteh Magrudeh an' Misteh Conkey,"
he stated, " this hyeh is no fair. Two ruc-
tions in two days— no, seh, it is no fair.
Sain's Rest is no so't of place fo' hostili-
ties. I have got to ask you-all not to have
any hostilities hyeh."

Magruder and Conkey merely grinned,
with no pleasantness whatsoever. The
debate resumed.

And then shortly the peace of Saints
Rest was rent and shattered and trampled
underfoot. From the 2 Magruder and Ford
and Latham ejected Conkey through his
window heave-ho fashion, like baggage-
men handling a trunk. About the depot
Conkey and Magruder and Latham wres-
tied and pommeled. They stamped twice
dirough an edge of the Arkansan's north
aster-bed, then sat heavily in the center of
it. BawUng " You lemme be," the over-
grown youth scrambled into the Arkan-
san's bay-window, and caught up club- wise
his banjo. Tom Sawyer, outraged, stalked



beneath the cot. Coal strewed the knoll.
One bullet pierced the Arkansan's ink-
well. Another found rest in "Midship-
man Easy." Another snipped the string
by which the stew-pan was hung ; the pan
descended hideously. Tom Sawyer, dig-
nity cast aside, flashed through window,
up a telegraph pole, flashed thence to the
ridge of the depot— eyes blazing, back and
tail bristling. Stephen Landon's cows took
themselves off, tossing their heels.

Later Magruder straddled Jonas Con-
key's chest. Latham sat upon his head.
Ford shook the overgrown youth, and smote
his legs with the banjo. By the heels Hugh
Corcoran drew Green from the north
switch. Green embraced a sapling maple.
It came out of the knoll and accompanied
them. The remaining strikers pursued
Green's brothers over the refrigerators,
imder the refrigerators, and in and out and
around the depot.

At twelve o'clock the strikers stowed the
people of the peach-train into the first re-
frigerator.

Then Ford and Corcoran again switched
the 2 to the tail of the caboose, and set
the peach-train laboring northward.

"Right back to that there siding" —
those were their instructions.

Magruder and Latham and the others,
on the depot platform, shouted after the
departing train and danced an Indian
dance. On the 900 they wended Powder-
lyward, shouting and casting coal at Tom
Sawyer. After they had disappeared their
hubbub was wafted back on the south wind.

Softly, pleasantly, the Arkansan put
Saints Rest to rights. He finished at mid-
night.

Ill

On Wednesday morning, having looked to
his switch-lamps, the Arkansan, in his office,
at leisure breakfasted. Breakfasted, he
moved aside and tidily overspread the
dishes, and, rising, made a round of his
shelf. Therefrom he drew a pipe, tobacco,
and " Huckleberry Finn." Then he as-
cended to his window-seat, his back to the
north window, his legs outstretched. Op-
posite, Tom Sawyer reposed, /its legs out-
stretched, and purred.

The Arkansan admired, a space, Stephen
Landon's wheat, which lay opulent and
gold in a crystal sunshine. He admired
the clouds, which were snow-white and



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284



THE CENTURY MAGAZINE



mountainous. He bent ear to the crickets.
After a while he kindled his pipe, and
opened " Huckleberry Finn '* at the begin-
ning, and addressed himself. Soon a little
smile of relish entered his face. His puffs,
slow and deep-drawn, cried of content.
Tom Sawyer a little more upturned his
chin. His mouth seemed to curl. Steadily
he purred.

Out of the south, soft and sweet and
far away, drifted the wails of a chime-
whistle — highway for Leroy road.

Attentively the Arkansan raised his eyes.

The chime bellowed highway for the
Wood road. Over the two-mile swell
came, tender first and very fast, Horace
Ford driving, engine 900. In the gangway
were Tom Magruder, Hugh Corcoran,
George Latham, and four mgre strikers.
On the tender were twelve more.

Significantly the Arkansan twisted about.

Yes, on the four-mile swell was crawl-
ing thitherward the 2 switch-engine, the
red beard of Jonas Conkey out the right
window, and the peach-train. Atop the
caboose cupola were five black dots. Atop
the final refrigerator were five. Atop the
refrigerator next ahead were five. Some-
thing about each winked in the sunshine.

"Tom Sawyer," stated the Arkansan,
" they-all are triflin* with us."

Pleasantly he swung himself up, returned
*' Huckleberry Finn," laid down his pipe.
Out from the bracket he took the red flag
and placed it, conspicuously, on a window-
sill. Then he ascended again to his seat,
and ruminated.

As always, Horace Ford stopped the
Richmond fair at Saints Rest depot.

Corcoran ran with the flag. Magruder
and the rest, before the bay-window,
stripped off their coats and cast them,
violently and without aim, to the planking.

As always, Jonas Conkey stopped fair
at Saints Rest depot, the foot-board of the
2 scarce a step from the 900's tender.

"'Bout-face," Magruder directed him.

Customarily, then, Magruder— and his
band— proceeded to a station by the ca-
boose.

The detectives, customarily, advanced
to the edge of the caboose roof, to the
edge of the roof of the final refrigerator,
to the edge of the roof next ahead. Jonas
Conkey descended from the 2, and with
him led the overgrown youth. Leading
the youth, Conkey marched up-platform



to the feet of his cohorts. So arrayed, the
peach-movers— save the overgrown youth
— put at the strikers with argument

And the strikers with argument put back.

Pleasantly the Arkansan rose, donned
hat, sauntered outside. In passing, he made
fast the windows of the bay and the office
door. Pleasantly, on the platform, kneel-
ing here and there, he piled upon his arm
the coats of Magruder and his fellows.
With a deft pitch he elevated them to the
siunmit of the 900's tender. Pleasantly he
sauntered toward the debaters.

His eye, traveUng over them critically,
paused upon Jonas Conkey, — a ferment of
rage and language not good, — and traveled
on. It paused upon Jonas Conkey' s fire-
man—and rested. The overgrown youth,
as was his habit, stood, glum and scowling,
aloof. Him the Arkansan approached.

" Will you come with me, seh ? " he in-
vited. And he Hnked arms with the youth,
and led him down-platform, past the refrig-
erators, to the breach between the 2 and
the 900. The debate continued oblivious.
The clamor of it lifted and lifted.

"I take it," the Arkansan ventured,
" you are not ovehly pa'tial to staying on
hyeh."

"Say, I ain't lookin* fer any fight," pro-
claimed the youth. " I wants to be let be,
that 's all I wants. First thing Magruder
was fer havin' me quit m* job and fight
the Comp'ny. Then Mr. Webb,"— super-
intendent of the North Division, — " 'cause
I happened to Ve fired the yard switch-en-
jyne fer a week once or twice, he comes
int' the roundhouse and says, * Bullock, you
go up an' fight with ol' Conkey. You go
or you quit.' I never wanUd to come. I
wants to be let—"

" Then," concluded the Arkansan, " you
have not got a right smaht acquaintance
with enjyne running ? "

" Why, regular, I 'm wipin* at Powderly
roundhouse," lamented the youth. " 'Cause
I happened to 've fired—"

" I had hoped you had acquaintance,"
regretted the Arkansan. He stepped down
on the main line into the breach between
the 2 and the 900, and selected from the
foot-board of the 2 a coupling-hnk and
pins. "But of co'se," he pursued, "we
cyain't expaict to have everything go to
please us." He inserted the link in the
draw-head of the 2 and locked it with one
pin. The other he balanced in the draw-



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/



Half-tone plate ent^ravcd by J. \V. lituiis

•THE STRIKERS CLOSED IN AND WITH ARGUMENT PUT BACK"



head of the 900's tender. "And/* he pur-
sued further, eying the opposing draw-
heads, " I *m ce'tain you can manage this
hyeh." And he drew the youth Bullock
into the breach and placed his hand on
the link.

He himself saimtered down-platform to
the gangway steps of the 900, —the glorious
big Richmond, the hauler of One and
Two,— scaled the steps, and stood alone in
her buzzing, sputtering, steam-fragrant cab.
He surveyed the steam- gage — the pointer
trembling at 1 90. He surveyed the reverse-
lever, which was shifted to back. Then
he raised hands to the throttle,— level with
his chin,— pressed the latch, and tugged
ever so little. The 900, unburdened, moved.
The Arkansan closed. In the stack a feeble
exhaust lapsed and died.

Gently, with impact that but faintly
jarred the first refrigerator, the 900 and
the 2 met and coupled. Plainly the Ar-
kansan heard the chink of the dropping
pin. He stepped to the gangway. Bullock
emerged from the breach and nodded



Online LibraryA. B. (Alfred Barton) RendleThe Century → online text (page 35 of 120)