The Ends of Justice can be found in






The Ends of Justice

by C. Langton Clarke

WHEN the "Blue Racer," pride of the Grand Pacific, by whose comings and goings dwellers on the plains set their clocks, roared into the freight division yards at Shallow Creek the hand of the fireman was on the lever, and the engineer, a limp huddle of blue jeans and grime, lay on the floor of the cab.

Five minutes later strong hands had borne the body into the agent's little parlor, and the white-faced fireman was telling his story to a sympathetic circle.

"There he sat," said the fireman, "with his head outen the winder same as usual, an' as nat'ral as life, an' I never suspicioned anything was wrong till he hit the seven degree on the big trestle at the Forks without checkin' her a notch or shovin' a spoonful of air on the shoes. When I grabbed him he jest went all together like a busted balloon. Heart failure, I guess. He'd been talkin' of layin' off a while with a pain in his side this two weeks."

"He was a good man, was Denis Hagarty," said one of the bystanders.

"He was," said Stevens, the division superintendent. "As good a man as ever poured oil into a cup, but Denis's virtues ain't going to get the Blue Racer into Wylie on schedule. Who've you got can take her through?" he added sharply, turning to the master mechanic, Eben Burt.

"Dick Toft," Burt replied shortly. "Only man I'd trust her to. Pulled in half an hour ago, and up at the roundhouse now, turning in his engine."

"What—'Old Faithful'?" said Stevens. " I reckon you're right. He'll kick at going out again."

"Kick? He wouldn't kick if I told him to shove his head into the fire."

The wipers were busy on his engine when Dick Toft, thick-set, black-bearded and mahogany-visaged, left the roundhouse and butted into Burt, who gave him curt orders to take Number 6 on to Wylie.

To a younger or more ambitious man the opportunity of pulling a lever on the fastest flyer on the continent would have been compensation enough for foregoing bed and board, but Dick was growing old, and ambition had sickened on that dreadful night when the detectives came hunting for his son, now a fugitive and an outcast, and had died outright when, a year later, he laid his daughter, the pride of his heart, beside the wife, who was now little more than a memory. A lonely, self-centered man was Dick, looking the world square in the eye without malice or envy, but without friendliness, and living out his life in boardinghouse and engine-cab, without a grumble and without a hope.

But careless as he was of his own advancement, one compensating virtue, like granite bedrock, underlay the barren levels of his life—a dog-like loyalty to his masters, and a rigid, unswerving adherence to what he held to be his duty. Eben Burt had not exaggerated. Dick Toft had thrust his head into the fire before at the word of his superiors. In the great strik...

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