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A DESPERATE UNDER-! TAKtNG.1

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A DESPERATE UNDER-! TAKtNG. Tne betl sounded for tha last time. Engineer Mattern kissed his wife, leaped to his engine,and wirh a shrill whistle the train slowly began to move. The village it was leaving consisted of a few straggling houses, the houses of the railroad men, a.nd the road itself was used principally for the transportMion of cattle and freight, for but few travellers passed through this wild region. { The distance 10 Do to which place they were bound, was a 'nati:er of about twenty-dve miies. and arrived there in three host's. in .spite of the i¡:rk:1ess and disagreeable weather. in !.he early evening a strong wind had arisen, a.nd till midnight a perfect hun'icaue raged. As soon as the traun arrived at Delmane the belis gave the .signal Yrlt.ch told the em- ploypes all along the line that they could seek thei.* us there were no night trains running on time road. Matt-m rested for a little while and then looked after the work lie had been givea to do. which occupied him until abouc eleven o'clock. Leaving [he engine standing with a low lire, as he to retorn to the village in aix hours, he gave the tireman permission t.o go to the engine house and get a little steep. He himself concluded to seek a re.stauranc that, he h?:d noticed, was still lighted up, where perhaps he would hnd congenial company. As he was free the next day. he cou.d sieep then as long as lie pleased. When he came to the station platform he me the train master's assistant, Mr Roy. who said to him— "You have just arrived in time I was going to send some one to hunr, ycu up there is a telegram here for you. A telegram for me?" askr.'d Mattern, poking surprised. Yes just; com.e into the waiting-room." In a moment Matt-ern thedcspa''ch in his trembhng hands. Special' tuc irainaiaster at Dalmane. wiH please in f<-rm ';hj gin eer Maseru tb.at hi.s "hild is seriously ill will) diphtheria. Doctor Loden is ;tb.,ent on a journey, :uid other he!? not to he had. Ask Mattern to bring & physician from wi':h him when he returns early in the morning. Slattern i'eh as if he had received a stunning blow it was impossible for him to collect his though ;s. Mis only chdd, the delight of his life, n'as g botv.'een hfo and death, '.vi'h no possibility of pro- curing help for hi: and tit* m'-ist rc:n;iu tere for hour. to Jo anything. wbHe every min:1te might L'3 precious tinie tt-asued. ;uorOS'! you awaicp!i Doctor Sardo an <!our be.ore you leave to-morrow morning— r'l\ know I.H iives quite close by—and ask him to nccompa)-y you ? said DJr R''y. You wiH be by eight o'c*oc!< it n':ay not be so ser:o!s .s you nfthers are i':a':ural!y o'jr anxious som?- cmos. Tbat is ;)i.¡J¡n "i)ich you co not as '.1'8 not luarried," anmvet'ed lather sharply. Eight o' clock may be too laic. And i am ro sic here and do nothing, whiis my boy is Trrc.stl'g with death. Ah. no, I caunoc ?.ndure l: l cannot—cannot; It is too no'.ch But what e],:8 can you do ?'' .asked the ither. ? Kven if you drive over v.'ith a horse and wagon'you would not arrive any in such a storm as this. "My child—my poor little Ciriic:" o'rnaned the father. o There is nothing you can do but w-ut trnd h(.pe for the best, said Mr Roy, phdo- soohicaily. Lie do.vn and try to sleep for a few l:ours. J shall have to lock up and !t-ave you. I hope everything will turn out ail right." And with inat he went aw::y. Oub in the darkness stood hi;t81'n; the storm r:)ged, and the rain beat in h:s. face. Ha.lf-past eleven Was his boy yet? Would med'ical help be o!' any avail tbe nexc morning ? Full well did he kno'.v th.'o dan- geron ch<M'ac!:er of the iUness against which science has not yet found a remedy. Only by quick and prompt attention can. danger be averted. \fter a few mbytes of deep ha suddenly turned and fairly ran co ',le home of Dr. Sardo and rang t!)<3 beH. The doctor aDPerêcl at a'l open wii-ido'.v aijovj and asked tha of his caller. "Engineer }It:ct"n, was hhe ans'-ver. c!uld has dinhth?na and is in great.! danger." Df. Sardo threw the door key out of the window, saying— Open the and como up ill the mMntirne I will dress Mattern felt around in tl]e darkness for the key-hole, and a few minutes later stood before the doctor, a young man who was comparatively new In the profession. Givemo a description of your child s condition, so that I can take the necessary remedies tvii;h me in diphtheria cases one must. use all possib'e dispatch. You live here in town *'No. doctor. Mattern and with hurried breath he told his .story. You say tb.L' the train does not return til! the morning. said chc doctor, rather impatiently. Why then d'd you call me at this time of night ? What do you expect me to do in the meantime '<' Come with me. doctor crifd great beads of perspiration starting out on his forehead. You can save my child if you only wd!. Out at the station stands my locomotive under steam if you will come with me I will take you to my home n hour's time. and my boy will be saved." Are you mad ? Xow, at dead of night, K'hcn everyone is wichout signals or )nfcrmai:on of any kind at the stations to be passed, you intend to your locomo- tive for tvt'bnty-'ivc \Yhv, ma.n. at tho nrst intermediato station we should ;nmp the track because the switches would be turned wroog." Indeed, doctor, there is no danger. believe me. At all of the stations the switches wi!! be turned for the tram that is o leave nrsi; in tl;e morning, and as that is mine you need have no fear about coming tvith me/' But the crossings are not closed, and as to one expects a train at. this time we might be the cause of a greac deal of harm to passing teams. No, no. I know every inch of the ground, and phait exercise the greatest care when we come to the crossings. And beside, who would be out in weather like this ?" But \vhat yon proncse doing is against &U rules and regulations you will lose your position, besid? being responsible for all that may happen." What do f care for that if T could only "ave my child ? You can do this for me if you only will. On my knees I beg of you .0 come with me Oh, hav3 pity on me The doctor yielded Like some wild spirit of the night the solitary eng"ine sped through the stormy darkness. Mattern had not awakened his St'pmanforthereasouthathedid not wish i'o create any unnecessary pxc'tement in the engine house. Wher the doctor had taken his place Slattern thrc.v a cau of oi.1 on the nre in order to put. the engine in quicker motion, and tl.cv were soou Hying along at !t fearful speed, whhh was on!y lessened as they passed the first station, which they did withouc accident, as the switches were all turned in the right direction, The doctor sat down in a corner a.nd tried ?o finish his broken nap, and Mattern riividpd his attention between keeping up the ih-e and regulating the speed of the engine. Had Doctor Sardo any idea of the danger he was in he would noc have thought of "ing to sleep. The )ast stat:on was papscd In safety. There were only seven miles more to make, and they would b? at their de.s'-inacion. So far ,1.11 had gone well. Mattern looked )tt hi.s watch they hd travelled the whole distance in an hour in 15 minutes more the doctor could be at the sick bed of his child but the nearer t.he man came to his home the more excited he became, and he piled up coal upon coal to gee up more steam. While bending down to his work he s;ut111en:y felt. the engine give a jerk. A cerribie cry followed. Mattern sprang up and h'okcd about him. By the light of the engine he could see tha!: they had just passed railroad crossing. The next moment they were again nying along in the darkness and storm. What was that ?" asked 'he doctor, who had been roused out of bis sleep. Oh nothing—very likely a stone or other tabstance that became fast between the auts," answered Mattem, with choking breath. In a few minutes we shall be there." He slackened the speed of the engine, but he did it mechanically, as if in a dream. That fearful cry almost made his heart stand still. He could well imagine what had hap- pened. Some cart or wagon must have been crossing at the time his engine came tearing along in the darkness like some spiri;; uP evi), and no doubt he was the cause ''t a tori'ib'e calamity if not, what was the by a heartrending cry. There was the station. Mattern could only see (IlLiiy through tha darkness, but knew the shape of the building too well to be mistaken. He stopped tha engine and took the pr.th to Inn home, i'c!Iowed by the doctor. Through the window on the second noor he could see a light shining very likely it %v:ts there his child was .vresllin, with death and to gave this child he had per- Imps killed and wound'jd—how mary other. ?i H't groaned aloud. I.tS weary feet up the stairs. His wife opened the door at his knock. His boy was still living. Slattern saw his ashen face and heard his rattling breath. In hn ears sounded again the awfu! cry that he had heard a short time before. His nerves, that for hours he had kept under control, gave way. now that he had reached his destination, and he fell to the floor in- sensible. I*; was late the next morning when he re- gained consciousness, although he could not yet collect lus thoughts very clearly a racking headache prevented this. His limbs seemed immovable and heavy as lead. In the !'oo;n in which he found himself, and which he recognised as their living room, a deathlike stillness reigned. He tried to lift h's head, but in vain he fell back on the p:lli1w with a groan, His wife h<3ard him and came in, but with a face pale with weeping. Ruth he whimpered. Oh. my dear husband, how thankful I am to see you conscious ag.iin I" she cried, How is the boy ? Is 'he stil! ahve ?" Oh, yes. thank God Had you come an hour later i; v;nld have been too late, i but the doctor thirks he is past all danger now. He has called to look after some' people who were hurt at the railroad crossing. A m.m is said to be killed and two wo:iifn and one child bad!y injured. Tt-y to sleep a little now. dpar husband th".t will ba your bast medicine. I will call you when the doctor returns. She kissed him and wenc info the next :'oo!p where the ehitd was sleepin" One person dead. three badly hurt. per- haps fataHy, and through his fault He had had no intpnt;on of doing this all he thought of v.-as the saving of his child but had he a right to underrate such a fearful responsibility ho knew what terrible consequences might fo'low ? But. of what avail were his reilectlons. lii.s sclf-renroaehps, his remorse 'i'hc dead could not come to (10 with him, the cause or this calamity '? would I.: e ).h l.t,v U U ( be a disci.arge from duty and a term of imprisonment but what suG'd)',gs would not' tlie pangs of conscience m tke hiin endure to the end of ins days? He rose in desp;nr lie could not endure to lie shU the air of the room almost choked him. In his pars su!l sounded that limbs he made his w;'y into the room..Both wife and child were seeping. He locked at them sitently, and bitter t.'ars streamed down his cheeks. What would become of those he loved so dearly ? Slowly he went down t!'e stairs he could not meet the eyes of his dear ones, and without a word he opened the door and was out on the street. There he stood for so,e linle thus tlie fresh air seemed to do him good. The town clock struck seven—it was early yor. Mcchanicdiy he turned his step. towards the engine house he wall, ld. tit li)ok after his engine, as was his daily custom. He arrived at the shed Ins engine was there—no doubt brought there by some of his co-wot'kers. He h oked at it sorrowfully, and as of old began to examine it. Ib struck him that ii,, have become broken during tha ride. Suddenly he heard a !ond laugh. One of tLe workmen, whose duty it was to take out the ashes and start the nre, had come uf) behind him and now sa:d. jl)kIngly,- f suppose you want to see vour roast ?'' noMcF he do you mean he other man laughed more than ever. It must have g iven a pretty good bumn. I only wonder thac the engine didn't, jump the track. The front, wheels were full of hair. I cleaned the whole thing and dragged the carcass away. The ashbox was fn)l of bones; it was a pity. on account of the beautiful antlers." So saying, the workman b:'o;jght out of an old shed where the lire wood was keut, a number of the broken pieces of a deer's antlers. There, you sec. the poor Mlow fared badly he did not expect to ba disturbed in his roamings at night time by the appear- ance of a locomotive. He was just about to pass the crossing, and, frightened by the tie cros,, I iig, light at the front of the engine, stood still, and so you ran him down. In. such cases a ¡ deer sometimes acts more stupidly than a sheep or calf." Slattern leaned :1gainc;t one of the wheels of bin englna to steady himself. So the cry he heard had been the cry of a dying stag But nevertheless there had been an acci- dent. where someone was killed and others wounded. Was he awake or only in a feverish dream ? The talkative workman seemed to guess liis thoughts, or perhaps felt like giving him ne'.vs of which ho seemed to be in ignorance. Engineer Keel was not as lucky as you. This morning in. taking out the early train he was unfortunate enough to run against 3, f;:nnsr's cart, although it was not his fault. The man who was driving ssemed to be in a. hurry, and had taken the responsibility of opening the gates, so as to cross before the coming train, when he was caughb by the engine- Tiie accident might have been much worse, but Keel quickly slackened speed when he saw the open gates. If the train h,d b8" going at full speed nothing could have saved them as it is, one woman had a foot broken, another an arm the farmer and one child were only slightly stunned, and the horses escaped without injury, although they were nung far into a a ditch the wagon, of course, is all broken t-o pieces. Mr Mattern—what ails you 1 Let me go The man had cause to be alarmed, for, like one bereft of his senses, Mattern had sud- .?rtterz-. !a d sud- denly thrown his iriiis around him and kisncd his coal-blackened face, laughing and crying at the same time. Ma:tern, on account of going against all instructions, was taken before an e:aiiiinin, committee and fined one month's wages, but otherwise was not punished, as it became well known why he had done such a des- perate act. _As for Dr. S.-u'do no blame was attached to him on the contrary, his humane deed brought him cons)derable practice. Neither of the men is alive now, but the remembrance of this stormy night will long remain with those who are st'11 i:<'ing to roll of its events.

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