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Empire Builders   By: (1856-1930)

Book cover

First Page:

EMPIRE BUILDERS

by

FRANCIS LYNDE

Author of The Quickening, The Grafters A Fool for Love, etc.

With Illustrations by Jay Hambidge

Indianapolis The Bobbs Merrill Company Publishers Press of Braunworth & Co. Bookbinders and Printers Brooklyn, N.Y.

1907

[Illustration: "I won't attempt to apologize it's beyond all that"]

CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE

I A MASTER OF MEN 1

II A SPIKED SWITCH 13

III LOSS AND DAMAGE 30

IV COLD STORAGE 38

V WANTED: THIRTY FIVE MILLIONS 47

VI THE AWAKENING OF CHARLES EDWARD 59

VII HAMMER AND TONGS 66

VIII THE AUTOMATIC AIR 75

IX THE RACE TO THE SLOW 90

X THE SINEWS OF WAR 100

XI HURRY ORDERS 120

XII THE ENTERING WEDGE 141

XIII THE BARBARIANS 155

XIV THE DRAW BAR PULL 166

XV AN UNWILLING HOST 177

XVI THE TRUTHFUL ALTITUDES 186

XVII A NIGHT OF ALARMS 198

XVIII THE MORNING AFTER 217

XIX THE RELUCTANT WHEELS 238

XX THE CONSPIRATORS 254

XXI THE MILLS OF THE GODS 271

XXII THE MAN ON HORSEBACK 285

XXIII THE DEADLOCK 311

XXIV RUIZ GREGORIO 325

XXV THE SIEGE OF THE NADIA 336

XXVI THE STAR OF EMPIRE 362

EMPIRE BUILDERS

I

A MASTER OF MEN

Engine Number 206, narrow gauge, was pushing, or rather failing to push, the old fashioned box plow through the crusted drifts on the uptilted shoulder of Plug Mountain, at altitude ten thousand feet, with the mercury at twelve below zero. There was a wind the winter day above timber line without its wind is as rare as a thawing Christmas and it cut like knives through any garmenting lighter than fur or leather. The cab of the 206 was old and weather shaken, and Ford pulled the collar of his buffalo coat about his ears when the grunting of the exhaust and the shrilling of the wheels on the snow shod rails stopped abruptly.

"Gar r r!" snarled Gallagher, the red headed Irish engineer, shutting off the steam in impotent rage. "The power is not in this dommed ould camp kittle sewin' machine! 'Tis heaven's pity they wouldn't be givin' us wan man sized, fightin' lokimotive on this ind of the line, Misther Foord."

Ford, superintendent and general autocrat of the Plug Mountain branch of the Pacific Southwestern, climbed down from his cramped seat on the fireman's box and stood scowling at the retracting index of the steam gauge. When he was on his feet beside the little Irishman, you saw that he was a young man, well built, square shouldered and athletic under the muffling of the shapeless fur greatcoat; also, that in spite of the scowl, his clean shaven face was strong and manly and good to look upon.

"Power!" he retorted. "That's only one of the hundred things they don't give us, Mike. Look at that steam gauge freezing right where she stands!"

"'Tis so," assented Gallagher. "She'd be dead and shtiff in tin minutes be the clock if we'd lave her be in this drift."

Ford motioned the engineer aside and took the throttle himself. It was the third day out from Cherubusco, the station at the foot of the mountain; and in the eight and forty hours the engine, plow and crew of twenty shovelers had, by labor of the cruelest, opened eleven of the thirteen blockaded miles isolating Saint's Rest, the mining camp end of track in the high basin at the head of the pass.

The throttle opened with a jerk under the superintendent's hand. There was a snow choked drumming of the exhaust, and the driving wheels spun wildly in the flurry beneath. But there was no inch of forward motion, and Ford gave it up.

"We're against it," he admitted. "Back her down and we'll put the shovelers at it again while you're nursing her up and getting more steam... Continue reading book >>




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