Books Should Be Free
Loyal Books
Free Public Domain Audiobooks & eBook Downloads
Search by: Title, Author or Keyword

Harper's Round Table, July 23, 1895   By:

Book cover

First Page:

[Illustration: HARPER'S ROUND TABLE]

Copyright, 1895, by HARPER & BROTHERS. All Rights Reserved.





A Story of the Riots.



It was a warm June evening, and the family was taking the air on the back porch father and mother, two stalwart young men, the elder sons, two slender girls, and a romping boy of nine the little Benjamin of the tribe. It was a placid homelike group; father deep in the daily paper and his easy chair, mother absorbed in chat with the girls even while keeping watchful eye on "the baby," the family's pet, pride, and torment by turns, and the two elder sons sitting on the edge of the porch, talking in low tone of an event that had called for no little discussion all over the neighborhood the strike of the switchmen in the great freight yards only a block away. Five railway companies rolled their trains in and out of the thronging, far spreading metropolis to the eastward the great city whose hum and murmur were borne to them on the soft breeze sweeping inland from the cool blue bosom of the lake. For two miles along a number of parallel tracks were idly resting now by hundreds the grimy freight cars of a dozen lines, while the gleaming steel rails on the "through" tracks, kept cleared from end to end, were as silent, as deserted, as the long tangents over the boundless prairies miles to west and south, for, except on the mail trains, over the whole system since the stroke of five that afternoon not a wheel was turning. Never before in all their seven years of residence in this homelike little frame cottage had the Wallace household known such utter silence at "the yards." They missed the rush and roar of the great express engines, the clatter of the puffing little "switchers," the rumble and jar of the heavy freight trains, the dancing will o' the wisp signals of the trainmen's lights, the clang of bell, and hiss of steam. There was something unnatural in the stillness, something almost oppressive, and mother and the girls, glad ordinarily to have both Jim and Fred at home, seemed weighted with a sense of something strained and troublous in the situation. Jim had been a railway man for several years, rising by industry, intelligence, and steadiness, to his present grade as a freight conductor. Fred, the younger, held a clerkship in the great "plant" of the Amity Wagon works. He had received a good High School education, while Jim's wages, added to his father's, had supported the family and built the little suburban home. The elder brother's hands were browned by long contact with grimy brake and blistering, sun baked car roofs. The younger's were white and slender hands that knew no labor other than the pen. Both boys were athletic and powerful; Jim, through long years in the open air and active, energetic life, Fred, through systematic training in the gymnasium and the camp and armory of the National Guard, for Fred had been three years a soldier in a "crack" city regiment, and the corporal's chevrons on his uniform were his greatest pride. Even in boy days he had begun his training in the cadet corps of the public school, where military drill, especially the "setting up" system of the regular army, had been wisely added to the daily course of instruction; and while Jim's burly form was a trifle bowed and heavy, Fred's slender frame was erect, sinewy, and, in every motion, quick and elastic. "Jim could hug the breath out of you, Fred, like a thundering big bear if he once got his arms around you, and Fred could dance all around and hammer you into pulp, Jim, while you were trying to grip him," was the way the father expressed it, and old Wallace knew young men in general and his own boys in particular as well as might be expected of the clear eyed, shrewd headed veteran that he was... Continue reading book >>

eBook Downloads
ePUB eBook
• iBooks for iPhone and iPad
• Nook
• Sony Reader
Kindle eBook
• Mobi file format for Kindle
Read eBook
• Load eBook in browser
Text File eBook
• Computers
• Windows
• Mac

Review this book

Popular Genres
More Genres
Paid Books