Page:Hopkinson Smith--armchair at the inn.djvu/246

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open, or the exhaust, or something else, and suddenly the steam went out of her. Then came a dead silence—not a sound of any kind. Sore as I was—and every bone in my body ached—I wrenched myself loose, lifted the edge of the tarpaulin, and peeped out. The engine and tender were backed up against a building which looked like a round-house; not a soul was in sight. I slid to the ground and began to peer around. After a moment I caught the swing of a lantern and heard the steps of a man. It was a watchman going his rounds.

“‘Warm night,’ he hollered when he came abreast of me. He evidently took me for a fireman, and I didn’t blame him, for I was black as soot—clothes, face, hands, and hair.

“‘Yes,’ I said, and stopped. It wouldn’t do to undeceive him. Then I remembered the name of the station where I had boarded the tender. ‘Been hot all the way from Merton. How far is that from Sydney?’

“‘Oh, a devil of a way!’ He lifted his lantern and held it to my face. ‘Say, you ain’t no fireman—you’re a hobo, ain’t ye?’

“I nodded.

“‘And you’re p’inted for Sydney? Well, it serves ye right for stealin’ a ride; you’re