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a tough old fellow like me sets out to warn a body, you may know its because he sees sore need of it.
Just takin' drinks for good fellowship? Yes, I know all 'bout that. Been there myself. Sit down on the edge of the platform here.
Of all the men in the world, I take it, engineers ought to be the last to touch the bottle. We have life and property trusted to our hands. Ours is a grand business; I don't think folks looks at it as they ought to. Remember when I was a young fellow like you, just set up with an engine, I used to feel like a strong angel, or somethin', rushin' over the country, makin' that iron beast do just as I wanted him to. The power sort of made me think fast.
I was doin' well when I married, and I did well long afterwards. We had a nice home, the little woman and me: our hearts was set on each other, and she was a little proud of her engineer-she used to say so, anyhow. She was sort of mild and tender with her tongue. Not one of your loud ones. And pretty, too. But you know what it is to love a woman, George Burks, I saw you walking with a blue-eyed little thing last Sunday.
And after awhile we had the little girl. We talked a good deal about what we should call her, my wife and I. We went clean through the Bible, and set down all the fine story names we heard of. But nothin' seemed to suit. I used to puzzle the whole length of my route to find a name for that little girl. My wife wanted to call her Endora Isabel. But that sounded like folderol. Then we had up Rebeccar, and Maud, and Amanda Ann, and what not. Finally, whenever I looked at her, I seemed to see “Katie." She looked Katie. I took to callin' her Katie, and she learned it, so Katie she
I tell you, George, that was a child to be noticed. She was rounder and prettier made'n a wax figger; her eyes was bigger and blacker'n any grown woman's you ever saw, set like stars under her forehead: and her hair was that light kind, that all runs to curls and glitter.
Soon 's she could toddle, she used to come dancin' to meet me. I've soiled a-many of her white pinafores, buryin' my face in them before I was washed, and sort of prayin' soft
like under the roof of my heart, “God bless my baby !-God bless my little lamb!"
As she grew older, I used to talk to her about engin'-even took her into my cab, and showed the 'tachments of the engin', and learned her signals and such things. She tuk such an interest, and was the smartest little thing! Seemed as if she had always knowed 'em. She loved the road. Remember once hearing her say to a playmate, “There's my papa. He's an engineer. Don't you wish he was your papa ?”
My home was close by the track. Often and often the little girl stood in our green yard, waving her mite of a hand as we rushed by.
Well, one day I started on my home trip, full of that good fellowship you was imbibin' awhile ago. Made the engine whizz! We was awful jolly, the fireman and me. Never was drunk when I got on my engine before, or the Company would have shipped me. Warn't no such time made on that road before nor since. I had just sense enough to know what I was about, but not enough to handle an emergency. We fairly roared down on the trestle that stood at the entrance of our town.
I had a tipsy eye out, and, George, as we was flyin'througri the suburbs, I see my little girl on the track ahead, wavin' a red flag and standin' stock still!
The air seemed full of Katies. I could have stopped the engine, if I'd only had sense enough to know what to take hold of to reverse her! But I was too drunk! And that grand little angel stood up to it, trying to warn us in time, and we just swept right along into a pile of ties some wretch had placed on the track!-right over my baby!-Oh, my baby!Go away, George.
There! And do you want me to tell you how that mangled little mass killed her mother? And do you want me to tell you I walked alive a murderer of my own child, who stood up to save me? And do you want me to tell you the good fellowship you were drinkin' a while ago brought all this on me?
You'll let this pass by, makin' up your mind to be moderate. Hope you will. I was a moderate un.
(O God! Oh, my baby!)
THE SCHOOL-MASTER'S GUESTS.-WILL CARLETON.
The district school-master was sitting behind his great book
laden desk, Close-watching the motions of scholars, pathetic and gay
and grotesque. As whisper the half-leafless branches, when Autumn's brisk
breezes have come, His little scrub-thicket of pupils sent upward a half-smoth
ered hum. Like the frequent sharp bang of a wagon, when treading &
forest path o'er, Resounded the feet of his pupils, whenever their heels struck
the floor. There was little Tom Timms on the front seat, whose face
was withstanding a drouth, And jolly Jack Gibbs just behind him, with a rainy new
moon for a mouth; There were both of the Smith boys, as studious as if they bore
names that could bloom, And Jim Jones, a heaven-built mechanic, the slyest young
knave in the room, With a countenance grave as a horse's, and his honest eyes
fixed on a pin, Queer-bent on a deeply-laid project to tunnel Joe Hawkins's
skin. There were anxious young novices, drilling their spelling
books into the brain, Loud-puffing each half-whispered letter, like an engine just
starting its train; There was one fiercely muscular fellow, who scowled at the
sums on his slate, And leered at the innocent figures a look of unspeakable
hate, And set his white teeth close together, and gave his thin
lips a short twist, As to say, “I could whip you, confound you! could such
things be done with the fist !” There were two knowing girls in the corner, each one with
some beauty possessed, In a whisper discussing the problem which one the young
master likes best. A class in the front, with their readers, were telling, with
difficult pains, How perished brave Marco Bozzaris while bleeding at all of
his veins; And a boy on the ioor to be punished, a statue of idleness stood,
Making faces at all of the others, and enjoying the scene all
he could. Around were the walls gray and dingy, which every old
school-sanctum hath, With many a break on their surface, where grinned a wood
grating of lath. A patch of thick plaster, just over the school-master's rick
ety chair, Seemed threat’ningly o'er him suspended, like Damocles'
sword, by a hair. There were tracks on the desks where the knife-blades had
wandered in search of their prey; Their tops were as duskily spattered as if they drank ink
every day. The square stove it puffed and it crackled, and broke out in
red-flaming sores, Till the great iron quadruped trembled like a dog fierce to
rush out-o'-doors. White snow-flakes looked in at the windows; the gale
pressed its lips to the cracks; And the children's hot faces were streaming, the while they
were freezing their backs. Now Marco Bozzaris had fallen, and all of his suff'rings
were o'er, And the class to their seats were retreating, when footsteps
were heard at the door; And five of the good district fathers marched into the room
in a row, And stood themselves up by the fire, and shook off their
white cloaks of snow; And the spokesman, a grave squire of sixty, with counte
nance solemnly sad, Spoke thus, while the children all listened, with all of the
ears that they had : “We've come here, school-master, intendin' to cast an in
quirin' eye 'round, Concernin' complaints that's been entered, an' fault that
has lately been found; To pace off the width of your doin's, an' witness what you've
been about, An' see if it's payin' to keep you, or whether we'd best turn The first thing I'm bid for to mention is, when the class
gets up to read, You give 'em too tight of a reinin', an' touch 'em up more
than they need ; You're ricer than wise in the matter of holdin' the book in
one han', An' you turn a stray g in their doin's, an' tack an odd d on
There ain't no great good comes of speakin' the words 80
polite, as I see, Providin' you know what the facts is, an' tell 'em off jest as
they be. An' then there's that readin' in corncert, is censured from
first unto last; It kicks up a heap of a racket, when folks is a-travelin' past. Whatever is done as to readin', providin' things go to my say, Shan't hang on no new-fangled hinges, but swing in the old
fashioned way.” And the other four good district fathers gave quick the con
sent that was due, And nodded obliquely, and muttered, “ Them 'ere is my
“Then, as to your spellin': I've heern tell, by them as has
looked into this, That you turn the u out o' your labour, an' make the word
shorter than 'tis; An' clip the k off o' yer musick, which makes my son Ephra
im perplexed, An' when he spells out as he ought'r, you pass the word on
to the next. They say there's some new-grafted books here that don't
take them letters along; But if it is so, just depend on't, them new-grafted books is
made wrong. You might just as well say that Jackson didn't know all
there was about war, As to say that old Spellin'-book Webster didn't know what
them letters was for.” And the other four good district fathers gave quick the con
sent that was due, And scratched their heads slyly and softly, and said, “ Them's
my sentiments tew." Then, also, your 'rithmetic doin's, as they are reported
Is that you have left Tare an' Tret out, and also the old Rule
An' likewise brought in a new study, some high-steppin'
scholars to please, With saw-bucks an’ crosses and pot-hooks, an' w's, x, y's
an' z's. We ain't got no time for such foolin'; there ain't no great
good to be reached By tiptoein' childr'n up higher than ever their fathers was