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Cap'n Warren's Wards   By: (1870-1944)

Cap'n Warren's Wards by Joseph Crosby Lincoln

First Page:


By Joseph C. Lincoln

Author of "The Depot Master," "The Woman Haters," "The Postmaster," "Cap'n Erie," "Mr. Pratt," etc.




Published October, 1911

Printed in the United States of America

[Illustration: "Captain Warren had risen from his chair and was facing her." [Page 48]]



"Ostable!" screamed the brakeman, opening the car door and yelling his loudest, so as to be heard above the rattle of the train and the shriek of the wind; "Ostable!"

The brakeman's cap was soaked through, his hair was plastered down on his forehead, and, in the yellow light from the car lamps, his wet nose glistened as if varnished. Over his shoulders the shiny ropes of rain whipped and lashed across the space between the cars. The windows streamed as each succeeding gust flung its miniature freshet against them.

The passengers in the car there were but four of them did not seem greatly interested in the brakeman's announcement. The red faced person in the seat nearest the rear slept soundly, as he had done for the last hour and a half. He had boarded the train at Brockton, and, after requesting the conductor not to "lemme me git by Bayport, Bill," at first favored his fellow travelers with a song and then sank into slumber.

The two elderly men sitting together on the right hand side of the car droned on in their apparently endless Jeremiad concerning the low price of cranberries, the scarcity of scallops on the flats, the reasons why the fish weirs were a failure nowadays, and similar cheerful topics. And in his seat on the left, Mr. Atwood Graves, junior partner in the New York firm of Sylvester, Kuhn and Graves, lawyers, stirred uneasily on the lumpy plush cushion, looked at his watch, then at the time table in his hand, noted that the train was now seventy two minutes late, and for at least the fifteenth time mentally cursed the railway company, the whole of Cape Cod from Sandwich to Provincetown, and the fates which had brought him there.

The train slowed down, in a jerky, hiccoughy sort of way, and crept on till the car in which Mr. Graves was seated was abreast the lighted windows of a small station, where it stopped. Peering through the water streaked pane at the end of his seat, the lawyer saw dim silhouettes of uncertain outline moving about. They moved with provoking slowness. He felt that it would be joy unspeakable to rush out there and thump them into animation. The fact that the stately Atwood Graves even thought of such an undignified proceeding is sufficient indication of his frame of mind.

Then, behind the door which the brakeman, after announcing the station, had closed again, sounded a big laugh. The heartiness of it grated on Mr. Graves's nerves. What idiot could laugh on such a night as this aboard a train over an hour late?

The laugh was repeated. Then the door was flung briskly open, and a man entered the car. He was a big man, broad shouldered, inclined to stoutness, wearing a cloth cap with a visor, and a heavy ulster, the collar of which was turned up. Through the gap between the open ends of the collar bristled a short, grayish beard. The face above the beard and below the visor was sunburned, with little wrinkles about the eyes and curving lines from the nostrils to the corners of the mouth. The upper lip was shaved, and the eyebrows were heavy and grayish black. Cap, face, and ulster were dripping with water.

The newcomer paused in the doorway for an instant, evidently to add the finishing touch to a conversation previously begun.

"Well, I tell you, Ezra," he called, over his shoulder, "if it's too deep to wade, maybe I can swim. Fat floats, they tell me, and Abbie says I'm gettin' fleshier every day. So long."

He closed the door and, smiling broadly, swung down the aisle... Continue reading book >>

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