He had not expected anything else; he had only hoped against hope. The second section of the Limited had pulled out of the Gap, eastbound, two minutes before. The two trains were in the open against each other's orders. In the next room, Carleton and Regan, over their pipes, were at their nightly game of pedro. Donkin called them and his voice sounded strange to himself.
At any time he could have escaped into the baggage-room or withdrawn to a dignified distance until his train should come up. But the old man had evidently got a sort of joy from this teasing. He had reached that inevitable age when we are tickled to be linked with affairs of gallantry, no matter how. With him now the Eastbound departed slowly into that distance whence I had come.
You see, the outbound traffic consisted of fresh troops, being rushed to the front in one of those quick transcontinental shifts which have played so important a part in German strategy. But the eastbound train carried only wounded and dying on their way back home. So, of course, the hospital cars must wait as long as necessary, since they had no right or standing in the ruthless game called war.
For three days and nights we worked like beavers, taking turns in eight hour shifts, sleeping and dining in the "bunk" cars attached to the wrecking train, shoveling away the solidly packed snow, "jacking" up the coaches, one at a time, and replacing the trucks upon the rails, and in the afternoon of the third day our combined efforts were rewarded, for amid the gladsome whistling of its engine the released train resumed its interrupted, eastbound journey.
Their pace did not slacken in the least when they came to two white posts and he heard the superintendent's shout, "Across, all right! Two miles more to town and I think we'll get to the railway station in time for you to catch the eastbound flyer. Looked up the time-table in the office before we started. Take chances on speed laws " and then fragmentary words of comment not always audible.
Later, when the eastbound came schreeching through at midnight, it found Andy Green on the platform with his saddle, bridle, chaps, quirt and spurs neatly sacked, and with a ticket for Havre in his pocket.
He rose to go in, but the eastbound suddenly plunged into the coolness of a tunnel, and he waited while it bored through to daylight and moved on along a shelf overlooking a dry run. Then, as he turned to the open door, he saw the girl had not taken the Northern Pacific at Ellensburg. She was still there in the observation car.
Git right in, gemmans. Whoa dar, Flossie! Don't yo' git so nimpatient! Stop yo' dancin', old girl. You're gittin' Dick all fretted up." Frank and Bart sprang in and took the rear seat. In a moment Toots was on the front seat, and the horses clattered out of the stable. The eastbound express drew up at Bloomfield station.
A great revulsion came over him. Presently he began to take up detail after detail of that journey. Now he saw the real impulse that had led her to board the eastbound train in Snoqualmie Pass.
Perhaps she knew his love would crown the awaiting beyond with divine fulfillment...... When I saw her off on the Eastbound train, she answered my questioning look by taking a small photo from her bodice "No, I have not forgotten," she said with a smile that was more tragic than all the tears the world has ever shed.
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