The Baldwm Library
| (1710 I
THE BLOCKED TRAIN.
DODD, MEAD, & CO.
BY DODD, MEAD, & Co.
THE BLOCKED TRAIN.
THE- storm which had raged
for hours had at last ceased,
but not un-til the train, which
was bound for H- had been
near-ly bur-ied in huge drifts of
snow. A-mong the pas-sen-gers
"who looked from the fros-ty win-
dows up-on the white un-bro-ken
waste ex-tend-ing as far as the
eye could reach, were Mr. Palm-er
and his daugh-ter Flor-ence, a
lit-tle girl ten years old.
Now, Flor ence," said her
pa-pa, "here is the last bis-cuit
which we have in our bag. I
want you to eat it, and then
set-tie your-self as com-fort-a-
bly as you can un-til I come
So Mr. Palm-er kissed his
lit-tle girl, and .stepped out in-to
the deep snow, through which
he walkedA h dif fi cul ty.
He was al-most be-gin-ning
to de-spair when some-thing
ap-peared to Ie mov-ing just
Hur-ry-ing for-ward, you may
im-a-gine his de-light when he
saw an old gen-tle-man walk-ing
through a well made path, and&
just be-yond him a house to*-
wards which he was ev-i-dent-ly
Run-ning on as fast as he
could, Mr. Palm-er soon ov-er-
took him; and, speak-ing of
the trou-ble they were in, asked
if as sist ance could be had
at the house.
"I think so, in-deed," said
the old man, o-pen-ing at the
same time a gate in-to a field
where there were a num-ber
of sheep. "We shall have to
go through here," he add-ed, as
the road is im-pass-a-ble on
ac-count of the drifts."
Up-on reach-ing the house,
ox en and hors es were soon
har-nessed; and re-lief was sent
to the suf-fer-ers in the shape
of food and fu-el. Those who
wished were tak-en back to the
farm-house; oth-ers pre-ferred
to stay on the train as long as
there were good fires and plen-ty
Flor-ence went to the farm-
house with her fa-ther jnd sev-
er-al oth-ers, and glad e-nough
she was to find her-self in such
a pleas- antOplace. She ran
a-bout with Char-ley Case, who
had al-so been tak-en from the
train, and ver-y soot for-got
that on-) few hdurs a-go
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she had been ver-y cold and
SEv-er-y day a great ox-team
was sent d-ver to the train
with food and fu-' for the pas-
sen gers, and some times the
chil-dren would go o-ver too.
Some-times, too, they would go
for a wal : with Mr. Palm-er
and some of the oth-er gen-tle-
men, who thought it ver-y de-
light-ful to climb the moun-tains
in the snow, and come back
with ap-pe-tites that would have
made the good farm-er's wife
trem-ble had her lard-er been
less well filled, or she and her
daugh-ters less ca-pa-ble.
One even-ing it was sug-gest-
ed that each one pres-ent should
tell a sto-ry; so Mr. Case be-gan.
"Once on a time my. wife
came to me say-ing that she
could not keep an-y sher-ry in
the de-can-ter. 'Some-bod-y
drinks it at night,' she said,
'and I can not find out who
"That even-ing I hid my-self,
un-known to an-y one, in a cor-
ner in the din-infg room; and,
leav-ing a dim light in 'te hall,
I watched to see what would
"A- bout twelve o'clock I
heard a noise, and saw two
rats climb up-on the side-board,
and walk di-rect-ly up to the
de-can-ter. I saw in a mo-ment
that this was not their first
vis-it; for, al-though I had put
it be-hind some oth-er dish-es,
they went di-rect-ly to the spot,
as if that were the ex press
ob-ject of their search. It was
ver-y heav-y and sol-id, as they
ev-i-dent-ly knew; for one of. the
lit-tie thieves im-me-di-ate-ly
climbed up-on it, and, put-ting
his nose down in-to the mouth
of the bot-tle, as-cer-tained that
the wine was quite be-low his
reach. He then came down,
and, seat-ing him-self op-po-site
the oth-er rat, they squeaked at
each oth-er for a while, as if
con-sid-er-ing what had bet-ter
be done next.
"Hav-ing ap-par-ent-ly de-cid-
ed the ques-tion to their mu-tu-al
sat-is-fac-tion, he pro-ceed-ed to
go up a-gain back-wards, un-til
he was a ble to put his tail
down in-to the neck. This done
he dis-mount-ed a-gain; and
seat-ing him-self, be-gan ver-y
com-pos ed ly to pass that
sweet-ened ap-pen-dage through
his mouth, while his com-pan-
ion went up and sup plied
him-self with some in the same
"The thieves were now dis-
cov-ered, and meas-ures were at
once tak-en to ar-rest them. It
was a dif-fi-cult task; but it was
ac-com-plished in the course of
time, and our sher-ry was un-
touched af-ter that."
The chil-dren laughed heart-i-
ly at this sto-ry, and then Mr.
Palm-er be-gan as fol-lows: -
"When I was a boy at board-
ing school in Can-a-da, our
teach-er gave us per-mis-sion,
one moon-light even-ing, to go
for a skate up-on the riv-er.
Of course we were de-light-ed;
and, on-ly wait-ing long e-nough
to eat a hur-ried sup-per, we
put on our o-ver-coats and ran
Skat-ing un-til we came sud-
den-ly to a bend in the riv-er,
I was anx-ious to see what was
be-yond. So I climbed in-to a
tree, and was look-ing a-bout me,
when I saw, not far off, a sight
which near ly froze me with
ter-ror. I have a pic-ture of it
here which I af-ter-wards drew,
and which will ex-plain it bet-ter
than my words.
"The poor deer, sur-round-ed
by wolves, was in a bad sit-
u-a-tion; and, fright-ened as I
was, I want-ed to wait and see
the end of it.
"The an-i-mal seemed to have
his eyes ev-er-y-where at once;
not a move-ment of one of the
brutes es-caped him. For-get-
- t --- s --;-- .------ _
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ting my-self in my in-ter-est for
the vic-tim, I gave a yell. One
of the wolves turned for a mo-
ment, and in-stant-ly the deer
was off like a flash of light-
ning, the whole troop of his
en-e-mies in hot pur-suit. I
saw him leap o-ver a chasm
a-cross which it was im-pos-si-
ble for them to fol-low; and,
howl-ing with rage and dis-ap-
point-ment, they were o-bliged
to give up the chase."
This was con-sid-ered the best
sto-ry of the even-ing; and Flor-
ence was so im-pressed by it
that she dreamed that night that
she and Char-ley were walk-ing
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o-ver hill and val-ley, arm in
arm with a wolf, try-ing to find
the miss-ing deer, to whom the
wolf wished to a-pol-o-gize for
the fright he had giv-en him.
The chil-dren wished that the
train might be de-layed for a
week, so pleas-ant-ly did the
days pass at the farm-house;
but, un-for-tu-nate-ly for them,
word came the ver-y next day
that the way was o-pen, and the
train would start at once.
Flor-ence was out in the yard
feed-ing the chick-ens when the
news came, and it was some
time be-fore Char-ley could find
her; and when he did she was
not at all pleased to hear what
he had to say. How-ev-er, there
was no help for it, go she must:
so she ran in-to the house to
say good-by to the kind peo-ple
at the farm.
Her pa-pa told her that both
he and Mr. Case had prom-ised
to bring their wives and oth-er
chil-dren, and spend a week
with them at East-er.
Flor-ence was so de-light-ed
tjat she as-sured her pa-pa she
could not keep still long e-nough
to drive to the sta-tion: so it
was de-cid-ed that she and Char-
ley might walk, with sev-er-al
oth-er peo-ple who were a-bout
The chil-dren had a great deal
to talk a-bout as they walked
a-long. They be-gan al-rea-dy
" t;- ',t_ 1 i
to make plans for the East-er
hol-i-days, and to wish for their
ar-ri-val. I do so want you
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to see my lit-tle broth-er Tom,"
said Flor-ence. "And I do so
A -" ,
Fan-ny and Kate," said Char-ley.
On their way they passed
-' ,' --3^ -- --- -- "
ver-y large build-ing, which some
want you to meet my sis-ters,
Fan-ny and Kate," said Char-ley.
On their way they passed a
ver-y large build-ing, which some
one told them was an or-phan
a-sy-lum. "They are hav-ing a
fair there this af-ter-noon," said
Mr. Palm-er, "and I am sor-ry
we can-not stay and at-tend it;
but, when the train goes, we
must go too."
The rest of the win-ter passed
rap-id-ly a-way; and one day,
when Flor-ence was in the gar-
den ad-mir-ing some ear-ly flow-
ers which were bloom-ing, nurse
came and called her, say-ing that
they were go-ing to start on the
next day for farm-er Rid-ley's;
that a let-ter had just come
from Mr. Case, say-ing that
they would meet Mr. Palm-er's
fam-i-ly on the train.
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Oh, how glad the chil- dren
were to be at Ce dar Farm
a-gain to see each oth-er, and
to pre-sent the oth-er broth-ers
and sis-ters who had not met I
Char-ley and Flor-ence felt quite
at home, and took great pride
in show-ing the oth-ers all the
mys-te-ries of the place. In-
deed, they be-haved quite as if
it be-longed to them, and that
they were ex-tend-ing their hos-
pi-tal-i-ty to the rest.
Flor-ence brought Char-ley a
beau-ti-ful East-er card, which he
was de-light-ed to pin up in his
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room. Af-ter be-ing up there
for a few min-utes he re-turned,
hold-ing some-thing be-hind him.
"I wish I had thought to
bring you an East-er card," said
he, "but I for-got all a-bout it;
but you're so aw-ful-ly fond of
Jap-an-ese or-na-ments that I
think you might like this pic-
So say-ing, he held to-wards
her a ver-y fun-ny pic-ture of
an old Chi-na-man a-sleep in his
chair, and all sorts of lit-tle
stat-ues and va-ses dan-cing
a-bout on a shelf at his side.
When the chil-dren had looked
at it, and had had a good laugh,
he said, Now I'll tell you some-
thing. I tore that pic-ture out
of one of my books. It was
0 Char-ley said Flor-ence,
"you ought not to have done
that, I am sure."
"Well, I sup-po'se it was-n't
just the thing," said Char-ley;
" but you see, I had-n't a-ny thing
else. I have the rest of the
book up-stairs, though, which I
will show you."
So Char-ley fetched the book,
and ver-y soon the three lit-tie
girls were shout-ing with laugh-
ter. Flor-ence, how-ev-er, per-
suad-ed him to paste the pic-
ture back a-gain, say-ing that
she could en-joy look-ing at it
there just as well, and she could
not take an-y pleas-ure in know-
ing that the book was in-jured.
In-stead of go-ing back at
the end of the week, how-ev-er,
as they had ex-pect-ed to do,
it was de-cid-ed, af-ter a great
deal of con-sul-ta-tion a-mong
the old-er peo-ple, that as they
were all so com-fort-a-ble, and
as hot weath-er would so soon
come, it was a pit-y to go back
to town. "Why not stay on,"
said Mr. Palm-er, "and save the
both-er of pack-ing up a-gain ? "
This seemed an ex-cel-lent
i-de-a to ev-er-y one: so, af-ter
kiss-ing his wife good-by, Mr.
Palm-er went back to the cit-y
for a few days, to at-tend to
some busi-ness mat-ters, prom-
is-ing to re-turn be-fore long.
"Well," ex-claimed Flor-ence,
when he had driv-en out of sight,
"I cer-tain-ly nev-er thought
that an-y good would come from
that dread-ful snow storm when
I was sit-ting there so hun-gry
and so thirs-ty and so cold that
I was near ly fright ened to
death. But here we are in this
dear, sweet, love-ly place, which
we should nev-er have heard of
if we had-n't stum-bled up-on
it in just the way we did."
No," said Tom-my; "and I
should nev-er have found that
nest of ba-by rob-ins which
James put back in the tree
for me; and they nev-er would
have been tame as they are,
and come in-to my room to get
"And I nev-er should have
known you all," said Char-ley,
" as I do now, and that would
have been the worst of all; for,
next to my sis-ters, I think you
are the ni-cest girl I ev-er met."'
The chil-dren came to the
con clu-sion, that, up on the
whole, the blocked-up train had
been one of the great-est bless-
ings of their lives: as ap-par-
ent mis-for-tunes are ver-y apt
to prove, if we take them cheer-
ful-ly and brave-ly.