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A Dog-House Detective

By Herbert Macalpine

Old Man Baker's Demise Caused Some Trouble Until a Wild
Plunge Unearthed the Truth.

THE night operator at the tower was very thankful that the first crash awakened him so that no one could catch him sleeping on duty, but Pat Drugan, the section boss across the way, found no cause for thankfulness, if one might judge from the remarks he made to his good woman who sat up in bed trying to direct him while he clawed into everything except the matchbox:

"Did ye hear that now? There's another switch smashed an' me up all last night with the wan that blockhead, Jones, ran through. Nary a cent extra pay do I get for it, an' my men gettin' time an' a half.

"The matches—on the corner, are they? 'Tis siven corners I've felt over already an' how many has the washstand? Right in the middle they are now, an' if I'd not listened to ye, there's where I'd reached first. Do I want a bite to eat? What's the good of eating, woman, if I can't get time to sleep?"

Outside the house he ran against the conductor coming to call him.

"Callin' me, are ye? Do you think I'm needin' callin' after a noise like the roof of the universe comin' off? What switches have ye ripped up now, an' is any wan hurted?"

"'Tis a small mix-up for the big noise it made," said O'Halloran, the conductor. "Two cars of sheet- iron and our caboose come together down by the old warehouse and they was so busy mixin' things they'd no time to waste on your track.

"No one's hurt much. A sheet of iron started to scalp old Jake, but finding him bald-headed it skipped him, so barring a few scratches on his pate, he's all right. While you're gettin' out your men I'll go down to the office and rack me brain tryin' to make a report of how this happened to agree with what the old man'll see when he gets here with the wreck-train."

It was a raw, chilly night with a heavy fog drifting in. When O'Halloran, coming from the office, reported that the wreckers would not arrive for a couple of hours, all hands carried wood from the broken cars to the open space between the yard and the main track and started a rousing fire. They gathered around it and were swapping yarns when the fast freight passed. It was a double-header— two big engines, sixty cars, and a pusher behind the caboose

Out of the fog, with a rhythmi...

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