[Illustration: RALPH STEPPED OVER HIS RECUMBENT COMPANION AND PLACED HIS
HAND ON THE LEVER.]
RALPH OF THE ROUNDHOUSE
BOUND TO BECOME A RAILROAD MAN
GROSSET & DUNLAP
Made in the United States of America
Copyright, 1906, by
THE MERSHON COMPANY
CHAPTER I--THE DAYLIGHT EXPRESS
CHAPTER II--WAKING UP
CHAPTER III--A LOST BALL
CHAPTER IV--IKE SLUMP'S DINNER PAIL
CHAPTER VI--THE MASTER MECHANIC
CHAPTER VII--AT THE ROUNDHOUSE
CHAPTER VIII--THE OLD FACTORY
CHAPTER IX--AN UNEXPECTED GUEST
CHAPTER X--THE MYSTERIOUS LETTER
CHAPTER XI--ON DUTY
CHAPTER XII--IKE SLUMP'S REVENGE
CHAPTER XIII--MAKING HIS WAY
CHAPTER XIV--RALPH FAIRBANKS' REQUEST
CHAPTER XVI--FACE TO FACE
CHAPTER XVII--THE BATTLE BY THE TRACKS
CHAPTER XVIII--A NAME TO CONJURE BY?
CHAPTER XIX--IKE SLUMP'S FRIENDS
CHAPTER XX--THE HIDE-OUT
CHAPTER XXI--A FREE RIDE
CHAPTER XXII--BEHIND TIME
CHAPTER XXIII--BARDON, THE INSPECTOR
CHAPTER XXIV--A NEW ENEMY
CHAPTER XXV--DIAMOND CUT DIAMOND
CHAPTER XXVI--A ROVING COMMISSION
CHAPTER XXVII--RECALLED TO LIFE
CHAPTER XXIX--A RIVAL RAILROAD
CHAPTER XXX--THE RIGHT OF WAY
CHAPTER XXXI--A REMARKABLE CONFESSION
CHAPTER XXXIII--IKE SLUMP'S RAFT
RALPH OF THE ROUNDHOUSE
CHAPTER I--THE DAYLIGHT EXPRESS
The Daylight Express rolled up to the depot at Stanley Junction, on
time, circling past the repair
yard and roundhouse, a
thing of life and beauty.
Stanley Junction had become a wide-awake town of some importance since
the shops had been moved there, and when a second line took it in as a
passing point, the old inhabitants pronounced
the future of the Junction
Engine No. 6, with its headlight shining like a piece of pure crystal,
its metal trimmings furbished up bright and natty-looking, seemed to
understand that it was the model of the road, and sailed majestically to
that had something of dignity
The usual crowd that kept tab on arriving trains lounged on the
platform, and watched the various passengers alight.
A brisk, bright-faced young fellow glided from their midst, cleared an
obstructing truck with a clever spring, stood ready to greet the
locomotive and express car as they parted company from the passenger
coaches, and ran thirty feet along the siding to where the freight-sheds
He appeared to know everybody, and to be a general favorite with every
one, for the brakeman at the coach-end air brake gave him a cheery: "Hi,
there, kid!" gaunt John Griscom, the engineer, flung him a grim but
pleased nod of recognition, and the fireman, discovering him, yelled a
shrill: "All aboard, now!"
The young fellow turned to face the latter with a whirl and struck an
attitude, as if entirely familiar with jolly Sam Cooper's warnings.
For the latter, reaching for a row of golden pippins stowed on his oil
shelf, contributed by some bumpkin admirer
down the line, seized the
biggest and poised it for a fling.
"Here she goes, Ralph Fairbanks!" he chuckled.
"Let her come!" cried back Ralph, and--clip! he cut the missile's career
short by the latest approved baseball
Ralph pocketed the apple with a gay laugh, and was at the door of the
express section of the car as it slid back and the messenger's face
The agent had come out of his shed. He glanced over an iron chest and
some crated stuff shoved forward by the messenger, and then, running
eye over the bills of lading handed him by the latter, said briskly:
"You will not be needed this time, Ralph."
"All right, Mr. More."
"Nothing but some transferfreight
and the bank delivery--that's my
special, you know. Be around for the 5.11, though."
"Sure," nodded Ralph Fairbanks, looking pleased at the brisk dismissal,
like a boy on hand for work, but, that failing, with abundant
resources at hand to employ and enjoy the time.
With a cheery
hail to the baggage
master as he appeared on the scene,
Ralph rounded the cow-catcher, intent
on a short cut across the tracks.
His appearance had been actuated by business reasons strictly, but,
business not materializing, he was quite as practical and eager on
Ever since vacation
began, three weeks previous, Ralph had made two
trips daily to the depot, on hand to meet the arriving 10.15 and 5.11
This had been at the solicitation of the express agent. Stanley
Junction was not a very large receiving point, but usually there were
daily several packages to deliver. When these were not for the bank or
business houses in the near center of the town, but for individuals, the
agent employed Ralph to deliver them, allowing him to retain
cents fee for charges.
Sometimes Ralph picked up as high as fifty cents a day, the average was
about half that amount, but it was welcome
pocket money. Occasionally,
too, some odd job for waiting
passengers or railroad employes would come
up. It gave Ralph spending money with which to enjoy his vacation, and,
besides, he liked the work.
Especially work around the railroad. What live boy in Stanley Junction
did not--but then Ralph, as the express agent often said, "took to
railroading like a duck to water."
It was a natural heritage. Ralph's father had been a first-class,
all-around railroad man, and his son felt a justifiable pride in
boasting that he was one of the pioneers who had made the railroad at
Stanley Junction a possibility.
"Home, a quick bite or two, and then for the baseball
game," said Ralph
briskly, as he ran his eye across the network
of rails, and beyond them
to the waving tree tops and the village green. Preparing to make a run
for it, Ralph suddenly halted.
A grimed repair
man, tapping the wheels of the coaches, just then jerked
back his hammer
with a vivid:
Ralph discerned that the man was not addressing him, for his eyes were
staringly fixed under the trucks.
"Let me out!" sounded a muffled voice.
Ralph was interested, as there struggled from the cindered roadbed an
erratic form. It was that of a boy about his own age. He judged this
from the dress and figure, although one was tattered, and the other
strained, crippled and bent. The face was a criss-cross streak
oil and cinders.
"A stowaway!" yelled the repair
waving his hammer.
"Schmitt! Schmitt! this way!"
The depot officer came running
around the end of the train at the call.
Ralph had eyes only for the forlorn
figure that had so suddenly come
into action in the light of day.
He could read the lad's story readily. The last run of No. 6 was of ten
miles. There was no doubt but that for this distance, if not for a
greater one, the stowaway had been a "dead-head" passenger, perilously
clinging to the brace bars, or wedged against the trucks under the
The dust and grime must have half-blinded him, the roar have deafened,
for he staggered about now in an aimless, distracted way, hobbling and
wincing as he tried to get his cramped muscles into normal
"What you doing?" roared the old watchman, on a run, and waving his club
"I've done it!" muttered the boy dolefully. He kept hobbling about to
get his tensioned nerves unlimbered, edging away from the approaching
watchman as fast as he could.
"Show me!" he panted, appealingly to Ralph,
The latter understood the predicament and wish. He moved his hand very
meaningly, and the stowaway seemed to comprehend, for he glided to where
a heap of ties barricaded a dead-end track. Rubbing the blinding dirt
from his eyes, he cleared the heap, dropped on the other side, and ran
down a narrow lane bounded on one side by a brick wall and on the other
by a ten-foot picket
"Third one in a week!" growled the watchman. "Got to stop! Against the
law, and second one lost a foot!"
Ralph moved along, crossed four tracks and a freight
and kept on down the straight rails. The stowaway had passed from his
mind. Now, glancing toward the fence, he saw the lad limping down the
The stowaway saw him, and coming to a halt grasped two of the fence
bars, and peered and shouted at him.
"Want me?" asked Ralph, approaching. He saw that the stowaway was in
bad shape, for he clung to the fence as if it rested him. He had not
all the cricks out of his bones.
"It was a tough job," muttered the boy. "It took grit! Say, tell me
something, will you?"
Ralph nodded. The boy rubbed the knuckle
of one hand across his coat to
wipe off the blood of an abrasion, and groped in a pocket.
"Where is that?" he asked, bringing to light an envelope, and holding
slantingly for Ralph's inspection. "Can you tell me?"
"Why," said Ralph, with a start--"let me look at that!"
"No," demurred the other cautiously. "It's near enough to read. I want
to find that person."
"It's my name," said Ralph, quickly and with considerable
"Give it to me."
"I guess not!" snapped the stowaway. "I don't know who John Fairbanks
is, but I know enough to be sure you ain't him."
"No, he was my father. Climb over the fence. I don't quite understand
this, and I want you to explain."
The stowaway sized up the fence, wincing as he lifted one foot, and
then, with a disgusted exclamation, turned abruptly
and broke into a
Ralph saw that the cause of this action was the watchman, who had come
into view through a doorway
in the brick wall, and had started a new
pursuit of the boy.
He was a husky, clumsy
individual, and had counted on heading off or
creeping unawares on the fugitive, but the latter, with a start, soon
outdistanced him, and was lost to Ralph's view where the lane broadened
out into the railroad scrap yards.
Ralph stood undecided for a minute or two, and then somewhat reluctantly
resumed his way.
"He'll find us, if he's got that letter to deliver," he concluded. "I
wonder what it can be? From somebody who doesn't know father is dead,
Ralph neared home in the course of ten minutes, to save time crossing
lots to reach by its side door the plain, but comfortable looking,
neatly kept cottage
that had been his shelter since childhood.
It was going to be a busy day with him, he had planned, and he flung off
his coat with a business air of hurriedpreparation
for a change of
Ten feet from the door through which he intended to bolt as usual with
all the impetuosity of a real flesh and blood boy, on the jump every
waking minute of his existence, Ralph came to an abrupt
He expected to find his mother alone, and was ready to tell her about
the stowaway episode
and the letter.
But voices echoed from the little sitting room, and the first
intelligible words his ear caught, spoken
in a gruff snarl, made Ralph's
eyes flash fire, his fists clenched, and his breath
"Very well, Widow Fairbanks," fell distinctly
on Ralph's hearing,
"what's the matter with that good-for-nothing son of yours going to work
and paying the honest debts of the family?"
CHAPTER II--WAKING UP
Ralph recognized that strident voice at once. It belonged to Gasper
Farrington, one of the wealthiest men of Stanley Junction, and one of
Whenever Ralph had met the man, and he met him often, one fact had been
vividly impressed upon his mind. Gasper Farrington had a natural
antipathy for all boys in general, and for Ralph Fairbanks in
The Criterion Baseball Club was a feature with juvenile
Junction, yet they had many a privilege
abrogated through the influence
of Farrington. He had made complaints on the most trivial
disrespect and hatred
from the younger population.
More than once he had put himself out to annoy Ralph. In one instance
the latter had stood for the rights of the club in a lawyer-like manner.
He had beaten
Farrington and the town board combined on technical
grounds as to the occupancy of a central ball field, and Ralph's
feelings towards the crabbed old capitalist
had then settled down to
dislike, mingled with a certain silent independence
He had publicly
dubbed Ralph "the ringleader of those baseball
hoodlums," a stricture passed up by the club with indifference.
Ralph never set his eyes on Farrington but he was reminded of his
father. John Fairbanks had come to Stanley Junction before the Great
Northern was even thought of. He had thought of it first. A practical
railroad man, he had gone through all the grades of promotion
Eastern railway system, and had become a division superintendent.
companion [kəm´pæniən] n.同伴；同事；伴侣 (初中英语单词)daylight [´deilait] n.日光；黎明 (初中英语单词)mysterious [mi´stiəriəs] a.神秘的；难以理解的 (初中英语单词)remarkable [ri´mɑ:kəbl] a.值得注意的；显著的 (初中英语单词)repair [ri´peə] v.&n.修理，修补 (初中英语单词)freight [freit] n.运货 vt.运送；充满 (初中英语单词)dignity [´digniti] n.尊严，尊贵；高官显贵 (初中英语单词)everyone [´evriwʌn] pron.=everybody 每人 (初中英语单词)recognition [,rekəg´niʃən] n.认出；认识；承认 (初中英语单词)aboard [ə´bɔ:d] ad.&prep.在…上 (初中英语单词)messenger [´mesindʒə] n.使者；送信人 (初中英语单词)running [´rʌniŋ] a.奔跑的；流动的 (初中英语单词)transfer [træns´fə:] v.&n.迁移；调动；转让 (初中英语单词)abundant [ə´bʌndənt] a.丰富的；充分的 (初中英语单词)intent [in´tent] a.专心致志的 n.意图 (初中英语单词)vacation [və´keiʃən, vei´keiʃən] n.假期；休庭期；腾空 (初中英语单词)previous [´pri:viəs] a.先，前，以前的 (初中英语单词)retain [ri´tein] vt.保持；保留；留住 (初中英语单词)amount [ə´maunt] n.总数；数量 v.合计 (初中英语单词)welcome [´welkəm] a.受欢迎的；可喜的 (初中英语单词)waiting [´weitiŋ] n.等候；伺候 (初中英语单词)hammer [´hæmə] n.锤子 v.重击 (初中英语单词)excitedly [ik´saitidli] ad.兴奋地，激动地 (初中英语单词)readily [´redili] ad.乐意地；容易地 (初中英语单词)aimless [´eimlis] a.没有目标；无目的的 (初中英语单词)normal [´nɔ:məl] a.正规的 n.正常状态 (初中英语单词)envelope [´envələup] n.信封，封皮 (初中英语单词)considerable [kən´sidərəbəl] a.重要的；值得重视 (初中英语单词)abruptly [ə´brʌptli] ad.突然地；粗鲁地 (初中英语单词)doorway [´dɔ:wei] n.门口 (初中英语单词)cottage [´kɔtidʒ] n.村舍；小屋；小别墅 (初中英语单词)preparation [,prepə´reiʃən] n.准备；预习(时间) (初中英语单词)existence [ig´zistəns] n.存在；生存；生活 (初中英语单词)spoken [´spəukən] speak的过去分词 (初中英语单词)breath [breθ] n.呼吸；气息 (初中英语单词)distinctly [di´stiŋktli] ad.清楚地，明晰地 (初中英语单词)privilege [´privilidʒ] n.特权 vt.给….特权 (初中英语单词)universal [,ju:ni´və:səl] a.宇宙的；普遍的 (初中英语单词)hatred [´heitrid] n.憎恨，敌意 (初中英语单词)beaten [´bi:tn] beat 的过去分词 (初中英语单词)capitalist [´kæpitəlist] a.资本主义的n.资本家 (初中英语单词)independence [,indi´pendəns] n.独立，自主，自立 (初中英语单词)system [´sistəm] n.系统，体系，制度 (初中英语单词)unexpected [ʌniks´pektid] a.突然的；意外的 (高中英语单词)pronounced [prə´naunst] a.发出音的；显著的 (高中英语单词)repose [ri´pəuz] v.&n.(使)休息；安息 (高中英语单词)baseball [´beisbɔ:l] n.棒球运动 (高中英语单词)baggage [´bægidʒ] n.行李 (高中英语单词)strictly [´striktli] ad.严格地 (高中英语单词)streak [stri:k] n.纹理 v.用线条(条纹) (高中英语单词)forlorn [fə´lɔ:n] a.被遗弃的；绝望的 (高中英语单词)comprehend [,kɔmpri´hend] vt.了解；领会；包含 (高中英语单词)inspection [in´spekʃən] n.检查；视察；参观 (高中英语单词)cautiously [´kɔ:ʃəsli] ad.小心地；谨慎地 (高中英语单词)clumsy [´klʌmzi] a.笨拙的；粗俗的 (高中英语单词)fugitive [´fju:dʒitiv] n.逃亡者，亡命者 (高中英语单词)hurried [´hʌrid] a.仓促的，慌忙的 (高中英语单词)abrupt [ə´brʌpt] a.突然的；粗鲁的 (高中英语单词)technical [´teknikəl] a.技术的；专门性的 (高中英语单词)promotion [prə´məuʃən] n.促进；提升；倡仪 (高中英语单词)superintendent [,su:pərin´tendənt, ,sju:-] n.管理人，负责人 (高中英语单词)conjure [´kʌndʒə] v.祈求；召(鬼)；变魔术 (英语四级单词)junction [´dʒʌŋkʃən] n.连接；交叉点 (英语四级单词)grandeur [´grændʒə] n.伟大；富丽；壮观 (英语四级单词)cheery [´tʃiəri] a.愉快的；活泼的 (英语四级单词)fireman [´faiəmən] n.消防队员；司炉工 (英语四级单词)admirer [əd´maiərə] n.赞美者，羡慕者 (英语四级单词)heritage [´heritidʒ] n.遗产，继承物 (英语四级单词)network [´netwə:k] n.网状物 vt.联播 (英语四级单词)tattered [´tætəd] a.(衣服等)破烂的 (英语四级单词)watchman [´wɔtʃmən] n.(夜间)看守人 (英语四级单词)gotten [´gɔtn] get的过去分词 (英语四级单词)exclamation [,eksklə´meiʃən] n.喊(惊)叫；感叹词 (英语四级单词)episode [´episəud] n.插曲；一段情节 (英语四级单词)trivial [´triviəl] a.琐碎的；不重要的 (英语四级单词)picket [´pikit] n.(尖)桩 v.设置；监视 (英语六级单词)knuckle [´nʌkəl] n.指关节 vi.屈从 (英语六级单词)holding [´həuldiŋ] n.保持，固定，存储 (英语六级单词)juvenile [´dʒu:vənail] a.少年的 n.青少年 (英语六级单词)publicly [´pʌblikli] ad.公然；公众所有地 (英语六级单词)