Image provided by: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, Lincoln, NE
About Omaha daily bee. (Omaha [Neb.]) 187?-1922 | View Entire Issue (Feb. 9, 1913)
THE SEMI -MO NTH Vt MAGAZINE SECTION
I ft is
By BRUCE FARSON
PERCY E. COWEN
r.noTT, (TP.LKD UP on a pile of
-traw in an empty freight car, awoko
with n start, lie sat up in the pitchy
dark urnl rubbed his eye. With tho
regularity of clockwork, tho car
trembled, swooped downward, then
must 'vc ben more 'n middlin' dntnk
this mornin' when I climbed into this ear! Never
woke up when they switched 'er, nor when they put
'or on the l'erry. S 'pose I 'm halfway acrost Lako
Michigan by now!" he said mildly.
His tone implied that ho would have appeared
shame-faced if there had been any light. An icy
blast of wind from somo unseen crack sent liiin bur
rowing into the straw.
"Wind 's hauled 'round into tho Northeast. She's
sure pitcbin' some, too. Must 'a' eoino on to blow
bard, right quick."
Ho drew his knees up against his chest, and lay
listening to tho crash and hiss of the pounding
Thoro was no fear in Abbott's heart. Instead, it
was warmed by a nameless exhilaration. It had
been a long time since be had been out on "Mich
igan" in a blow; but lie hud weathered a good
manv. bov and vouth. in and out of Haglev on tho
The ear feriy's lniur slide from wave-crest to
wave-crest took his mi ml back; and he lay in tho
dark and communed with his memories, as every
own worst enemy. His muscles were hard, hi lin
gers facile; but the wires that connected them with
his brain were badly strung. Tho path of least re
sistance invariably boro the imprint of Abbott's
feet. The monotony that he found in toil was one
of his curses, and "red Honor was its' twin. The
former had kept him "hiking" from Florida to
Pusrct Sound, by the way of tho Philippines. The
latter was responsible for his being at the moment
aboard a tar ferry in the middle of Lake Michigan.
when lie had intended to go to Hut-
falo and land a nice, warm, winter
job as a porter.
"I 'd like to know if Jimmy Hmkc '
still in 1'agley," ruminated AWi"1
"I'll bet Jimmy's worth a -i.- '
money by now. He was tlx- k 1
that 'il get on."
Jimmy Hurke had been tin '
most youth in Hagley. To hm I .!
belonged the prestige of hn i'i - '"'
a father old Jolui Hurke, who ' i
the biggest fruit farm in the ."ii.'s
Jimmy had not been popular with
many of the town boys. His b n j
manlier had drawn him more than
one licking. However, that very n ai -
nor had won tor turn the uoglik.
votion of Abbott. Ho recalled
ho had been Path Hnwley's "M
company" till Jimmy began t
up to call. Some
he had felt in the
after that; so In
sert of dropped
hi- brain, a picture of a freight ear wallowing down
under u Hood of icy water, and tho ligure of a nun.
crowding and battering breathlessly against the root,
like a rat in n cage.
"Tley! Lc'me out!" ho yelled.
"Where are ye!" came an answering voice.
"Here! In the freight car!"
Ho heard tho crunch of boots. Fingers fumbled ai
the sealed door. It rolled back, and he leaped out l -fore
a lurch of the c el should -1am it shut a-jam.
i . .mi
"Ain't you icared?" allied the tailor who had let him out
man will do o a wil
heard of H.iyli m ten ..ns
nicked the -and litins ol 1 1 .. o!
ers. lie had liee'i
Hi l, a. i ci !
Si hi l i had Uist
old tull nil I I- tlulls-
aioimd a hit; puking manges m
California, working on the lcee at New Orleans,
even soldiering a spell in the "P. Ps."
Abbott was not a hobo, sine in the sense that be
did most of In- ttaeling in the "side door ptlll
tnuns." He alwa- went to work as soon as he
struck a new town. His was the type that is its
ind given his idol a
el ear field.
"1 s 'pose Path's
married to him by
now. She had too
much class for any
body but Jimmy." In
said softly. "I expect
he '11 he mayor o' Hag
ley some day."
In Abbott's eyes,
that was the leat tin
t o w u coilhl 'll' r
Huike. As he lay -till
and dreamed li i -ilri-ains,
the battel u
of the waves hceaini- a
-wging monotone that
n.ade liiin drowsy. He
snuggled deeper into
las nest of hay, and
A dull, thudding jar, from up for
ward, -et him broad awake again. A
-kiw-nng of tho hull followed it. He
hape.l to his feet, his heart pausing
between beats. Dimly, ho wondered
Ihiw hmg ho had slept.
"She's goin' ashore!" ho gasped.
not her grinding crash directly bo-
ath him sent him sprawling to his
k- ees. With his heart pounding as if
it would shako his ribs loose, he
-prang across tho car to tho door and
leaned against it, listening. Ho heard
a -curry of running feet pass his
shelter. Through a crack in the door,
In- glimpsed the (lash of a swaying
lantern. From above, there .camo to
Ins ears a volley of hoarse shouting,
lie could not distinguish tho words;
but that second, sodden blow had told
Abbott that the ferry was not ashore.
She iode over somethin' a hulk most like,"
he explained to himself.
Sudileuh a oice at tho verv end of his car
"She's flllin'! That second wallop stovo us!"
Abbott sprang into life. He set bis weight
against the door of the ear; but it held tirm against
his frantic tugging. For the tirst time that night,
he was afraid. There dashed across the screen of
"Aalh - craaash
aasht" hummed the call of the wirelel
t tin- tury, AMi
upon lidgc of wk
ll I'll. I, I 111- l, I i Sl (-1 I I
aujlil a liinp-e of ndui
crest eil waves. 1 lie looked like writhing Inn- I
cotton upon a background of dead black. He hi.u'd
tho thousand creaks, groans, rattles, scrapes ol 'a
vessel in heavy weather. A ear ferry is not parti'
"Uight smart of a blow," ho remarked.
"Ain't you scared .'" asked tho sailor who had h
".Me? I been brought up, boy and man, on thi
lake. I ain 't afraid o' her."
"Thought you might bo a lubber."
Abbott shook his head. Neither mado any fut
thor reference- to his presence- in the freight eai
"What 'd wo hit ?" questioned Abbott. "Felt lik
a lumber barge."
"Guess it was. Whatever 't was, 't wa n't e
awash. Nobody scon it. Tho old girl's stove tt
Tho sailor turned and led tho wav through a-
aislo of straining freight cars. As he started
tho companionwny that led to the main deck. I
looked back at Abbott with a shame-faced grin.
"I 'm always afraid them care '11 get loose. The
shackles don't look so darn strong. 1 ain't bet
Clinging to the rail, tho two men staggered to
ward. The hoarse voice that Abbott had hea'
before he got out of the car, rose in a bellow a-j i
from tin- bridge
Powered by Open ONI