We worked all morning, grading on the railroad embankment. At noon we knocked off for soup and a rest. We were on the edge of a large wood. Some of the men flung themselves on the bank; others went to see if the soup was ready. A few went into the wood. The solitary guard was elsewhere. We said good-bye to the few who knew of our plans.
A few months afterward, Jim had suddenly returned from a neighboring town where he was working, bringing with him a beautiful little girl of the same age as her own, but unusually advanced for her years, whose father and mother he claimed had been killed in a railroad accident, and of whose friends nothing could be learned.
It took Clifford W. Stanton just three minutes to disabuse him completely and forever of this illusion. He explained to him just why he was Governor and by whose permission. Also he pointed out that the permission of the great railroad system that covered the State would again be necessary in order that Governor Foster might succeed himself.
Roger drove his chum down to the railroad station in the runabout. The two were alone. Dave noticed that the senator's son seemed unusually thoughtful. "What's up, Roger?" he asked, at last. "You don't seem quite like yourself." "Oh, I don't know that I ought to say anything, Dave," was the hesitating answer. "If there is anything I can do " "No, it isn't that." Roger gave a deep sigh.
Next morning the Union Pacific Railroad brought in from the East half a dozen passenger coaches for the Central Pacific Railroad, these being attached to the special train of Governor Stanford when he was returning to California, constituting the first through equipment.
Horton made no attempt to condole with him. He knew Alton tolerably well, and felt that any sympathy he could offer would be inadequate. "Well," he said, "here's a letter Thomson brought you in from the railroad."
I won't deny it. He's human, and I like him, and whatever they say about him I know that he's been a true friend to me. And I tell you as I hope for happiness here and hereafter, that if Worthington succeeds in what he is trying to do, if the railroads win in this fight, there will be no mercy for the people of that state. I'm a railroad man myself, though I have no interest in this affair.
When it really was time to leave for the railroad station and Galusha, NOT wearing the earlapped cap, but hatted and garbed as became his rank and dignity, was standing on the stone step by the outside door, she said: "Now do be careful, Mr. Bangs." "Yes yes, I will, I promise you. I shall keep one hand in my pocket, holding the pocketbook with the certificate in it, until I get to the office.
It was perhaps all the more enjoyable because Prescott had been accustomed to pleasant society in Montreal, before he abandoned it with other amenities and went out to a life of stern toil and frugality in the grim Northwest. He said little, though it was the last time they would gather tranquilly round his board they were to leave for the railroad early on the morrow.
If a cashier had absconded, if a broker had disappeared, if a railroad president was missing, some of the old stories would wake up and get a fresh currency, until some new circumstance gave rise to a new hypothesis. Unconscious of all these inquiries and fictions, Maurice Kirkwood lived on in his inoffensive and unexplained solitude, and seemed likely to remain an unsolved enigma.