AN UNEXPECTED TROPHY.
WILD- WOODS SERIES-No. 2.
ON THE TRAIL OF THE MOOSE
EDWARD S. ELLIS,
AUTHOR OP "BOY PIONEER SERIES," "LOG CARIl
BElUIES, "DEERFOOT SERIES," ETC., ETO,
THE JOHN C. WINSTON CO.,
PORTER & COATES.
I. NICK RIBSAM RECEIVES A LETTER,
III. AN OLD FRIEND,
IV. A MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE,
V. SEVENTY-FIVE MILES AN HOUR, .
VI. IN THE M11TROPOLIS,
VII. SEVERAL SURPRISES,
VIII. "HFow ARE You, OLD FELLOW ?"
IX. HERBERT'S 1hoME.
XI. A BRAVE STRUGGLE,
XII. A RASH RESOLVE,
XIII. A STARTLING MISHAP,
XIV. A SURPRISE,
XV. AT UNCLE DICK'S,
XVI. PIERRE, THE TRAPPER, .
XVII. ON SNow-SHOEs,
XVIII. CONCERNING THE MOOSE,
XIX. UNWELCOME NEIGHBORS,
XX. LIVELY TIMES,
XXI. EARLY DAYS,
XXII. IN TiLE WOODS,
XXIII. LUS, 205
XXIV. THE PINE WOODS, 214
XXV. THE LONELY CAMP, 224
XXVI. ON GUAD, 232
XXVII. "ALL READY ". 241
XXVIII. THE START, 250
XXIX. A Miss, 259
XXX. A DESPERATE STRUGGLE, 268
XXXI. VAULTING AMBITION, 276
XXXII. A WORK OF ART, 285
XXXIII. THE SECOND PRIZE, 294
XXXIV. A LABORIOUS JOURNEY, 803
XXXV. A HOT PURSUIT, 812
XXXVI. AN ALARMING INTERRUPTION, 821
XXXVII. ANOTHER INTERRUPTION, .. 329
XXXVIII. CONCLUSION, 37
ON THE TRAIL OF THE MOOSE
NICK RIBSAM RECEIVES A LETTER.
T HOSE who have done me the honor to
read "Through Forest and Fire," will
recall that the incidents told in the last
chapters of that story took place in the
autumn of 1881. It was in September of that
year that occurred the memorable "Dark
day," which many of us remember so well.
The sturdy young Pennsylvanian of Dutch
descent and his sister Nellie were caught in
the burning woods and met with a very nar-
row escape; but, acting on the motto that
God helps them that help themselves, they
passed safely. through the flaming forest,
eluding the affrighted bear, and reached home
2 ON THE TRAIL OF THE MOOSE.
It now becomes my duty to make known a
fact which is anything but pleasant to myself
and readers. When we parted with Nick
Ribsam he was the picture of rugged health
and strength, possessing an activity and mus-
cular power beyond his years. Had you met
him two months later you hardly would have
Nellie recovered entirely from the sufferings
she went through on that extraordinary dark
day, but Nick did not. He complained of
pain in the chest and a difficulty in breathing.
He became pale and lost flesh ; he slept little,
and was often languid and listless, until his
parents were filled with the gravest alarm.
Doctor Scudder, the country physician,
examined him carefully, and confessed that
he was puzzled by his symptoms. He be-
lieved he had inhaled so much smoke and
impure air that his lungs were injured, and
he might die. The chances were about even,
and he was as likely to succumb as to get
well; one thing was certain: medicine would
not help his case. Everything must be left to
NICK RIBSAM RECEIVES A LETTER.
"I can suggest only one thing," said the
physician, talking to the parents in the pres-
ence of Nick, who was reclining on the lounge
in the sitting-room, Nellie having driven to
Dunbarton on an errand for her mother.
The three looked inquiringly at the doctor.
"If he could go off for a few months, where
he would have a complete change of air and
surroundings, it could not fail to benefit him."
Nick has been one good boy as nefer vos,
efer since he vos a poy, which is efer since he
vos at all," said the father, taking out his
pipe and looking affectionately at his son;
"dere isn't nodings dot I do not for him."
Nick forced himself to sit up and asked:
"Where can I go, doctor ?"
"I dinks he might go ofer as Dunbarton,"
said the father; "dot is some miles off."
The medical attendant shook his head, and
said with a smile:
"If the trip is to do any good to Nick,
he must go several hundred miles away. It
doesn't matter whether it is a warm or cold
climate, though I prefer the cold weather for
one in his condition- "
4 ON THE TRAIL OF THE MOOSE.
Just then the jingle of sleigh-bells was
heard, and Nellie Ribsam drove rapidly up in
front of the house and leaped out the cutter.
The father hurried forth to look after the
horse, when she came into the house, her
cheeks as rosy as red apples, while her bright
eyes sparkled with high health and good
"Nick, I've got a letter for you!" she
called out, before she had the door open;
"here it is 1"
"Who is it from?" asked the lad, dis-
playing renewed interest, as he reached his
hand for it.
He looked at the directions a minute or so
before opening it.
"It is postmarked New York, but I don't
know the handwriting."
"Why don't you open it, then?" asked his
"I don't think that would be a bad idea,"
replied Nick, breaking the seal. Spreading
out the sheet, he held it up and began reading
to himself, after first looking at the signature.
Then he was seen to smile, and as the doctor
NICK RIBSAM RECEIVES A LETTER. 5
was on the point of rising to go, Nick asked
him to wait a few minutes.
"I will read it; listen:
NEW YORK CITY, January 17, 1882.
"DEER OLD NICK :
Since you and me had such a hy old time shooting deers in
Pennsylvany and I shoad such skill with my Creedmoor, I've
made up my mind to turn hunter. There's fun and fortune
in it. I had about conclooded to go out west and plug grizzly
bears and highenas where when you want a little fun you can
shoot injins on the fly. They say it is bully to see 'em drop
like tenpins, when our brave American boys comes round
with their revolvers. There is three fellers here that has stole
enough money to buy guns and revolvers and they're going
out west and have swored they won't come back till they've
killed 297 injins apiece. Jest as i was getting ready to steal
my mother's joolry, long comes a letter from my uncle Dick
Musgrave,. who lives way down in Maine, close to Canady.
He says they have lots of muses there and he wants me to
come up with my friends and spend some weeks on a mews
hunt. Now, Nick, I'm going and you're my chap. Uncle
Dick is a bully feller and we'll have a hy old time. The time
to hunt the moose is in the winter. I hope you will go with
me; coax the old man and old woman; it shan't cost you
nothing after you git to Uncle Dick's house. Come right to
New York to number Street. Come along, old
chap we'll jest have the biggest time in all creation.
"P. S.-Don't bring Nellie; 'cause girls aint worth a darn
to hunt moses.
"P. S. agin.-I don't know for certing the way to spell the
name of the muzze, so I give you your choise; it's the only
word in the english langwidge that I don't kno how to spell.
"HERBERT WATROUB, ESQ."
6 ON THE TRAIL OF THE MOOSE.
A general laugh followed the reading of this
communication, and Nick Ribsam broke into
more merriment than he had shown in weeks.
At the same time, he was conscious of a
deepening friendship for the city boy, who,
years before, began their acquaintance by
tantalizing him until Nick chastized him so
thoroughly that the slim young gentleman
never troubled him afterward.
But my reader will be struck with the curi-
ous feature of this incident: while the little
group were considering the best point to which
to send Nick, in the hope that he might recover
from the injuries he had received, a letter ar-
rived making the very proposition which, it
would seem, solved the difficulty.
"How would it do for me to go to Maine ?"
asked Nick, when the merriment had subsided.
I should say that would be as good as any
place that can be found."
"It's a long ways from Pennsylvania to
Maine," said Nellie, who had taken off her
hood, and sat down to hear the discussion.
Not in these days of railways," remarked
the physician. "The Americans are a nation
NICK RIBSAM RECEIVES A LETTER.
of travellers. In what part of Maine does the
uncle of your young friend live? "
Nick looked at the letter again, but found
nothing to answer the question of his visitor.
I suppose that is not important. Maine is
a large State, and the moose must be hunted in
the upper portions."
Just then Mr. Ribsam came in, and Nick
told him the purport of the letter.
"What ish de moose?" was the practical
question of the father. "What color am his
feathers dot he don't fly mit ? "
"The American elk, or moose, is the largest
deer in the world. I never saw one, but they
are said to be as large as a horse."
"Do they use'em mit horses? "
"No ; he is a hard animal to hunt; he has
horns that have been known to weigh nearly
a hundred pounds. They belong to the males
only, and are spread out like a hand."
They are palmated," suggested the doctor,
which, I believe, is the Latin term, and they
are found in the northern part of Maine, in
Canada, and Labrador. They are not very
plentiful, and it must be severe sport to hunt
8 ON THE TRAIL OF TIE MOOSE.
them. Do you think you would enjoy the
sport, Nick ?"
The boy's eyes kindled.
"Indeed I would."
"Den you shall go, right away, mit yester-
day," was the rather original permission of the
father. Nick ish a goot poy, and when he
comes pack he will bring two free mooses
over his shoulders."
SINCE it was settled that Nick Ribsam
should accept the kind invitation of Her-
bert Watrous (which seemed to have been sug-
gested by Providence), the parents of the boy
showed their good sense by deferring to the
suggestions of their son, who, though he had
done little travelling on railways and steam-
boats, had picked up a good deal of informa-
tion from reading and from conversation with
those who were more favored in that respect
The mother felt a natural concern for her
only son, even though he had proven so clearly,
within the preceding few months,- that he
could take care of himself far better than most
youths older than he. She reasoned that, al-
though Nick was so plucky and self-possessed
while in the woods, and within reach of his
10 ON THE TRAIL OF THE MOOSE.
home and friends, he was likely to be over-
matched when called to face the bad men that
infest the cities, and are always on the look-
out for victims.
But the father shook his head.
"Don't you lose any sleep on account of
Nick," said he in their native language ; "he
will take care of himself anywhere; if he does
make a mistake he may need it to be taught a
lesson ; the boy that is a zany is one, wherever
he may be, and all his friends cannot save him
from the penalty; but the lad who has the
brains and good sense of our Nick will get
along anywhere. It isn't that which makes
my heart misgive me," added the husband,
with a sigh; "if he will only find his health
in those Maine woods, I will thank Heaven,
which has been so kind to us. I shall never
worry about anything else."
Mr. Ribsam's views were always impressed
upon his wife, and she soon came to think as
he did about the momentous business which
now occupied all their thoughts.
A brief talk ended in the agreement that
Nick should leave his home for New York on
the second morning following. An examina-
tion of the local and Philadelphia papers made
it an easy matter to learn when he was due in
the Quaker City. It was decided that Nick
should spend the night there, leaving for Nlew
York on the fast express at eight o'clock the
next morning. If no accident took place, he
would reach the metropolis shortly after ten.
All this being settled, Nick wrote his reply.
Since I have given the one addressed to him, it
is no more than fair that you should see what
success honest young Nick Ribsam had at-
tained in that direction himself:
DUNBARTON, Pa., January 20, 1882.
Mv DEAR HERBERT :
Your kind letter has filled our hearts with delight. I sup-
pose you imagine me a rather strong and healthy boy for one
of my years, but you will be surprised when I tell you I haven't
been well for fully three months. The doctor says my lungs
were injured by the heat and smoke last autumn when Nellie
and I were caught in the burning woods. I tried to keep my
sufferings from our folks, but couldn't make myself look well
when I didn't feel so. I have more pain in my lungs than they
think, though, since I had to tell the doctor about it, I am
afraid he gave them some hint.
To-day, while he was talking with us, and just after he told
father and mother that I must go away from home, and we
were trying to decide where, your letter arrived. The doctor
said there was no better place than the Maine woods, and it
12 ON THE TRAIL OF THE MOOSE.
was- decided that your invitation should be accepted. I will
start day after to-morrow (the 22d), and expect to spend that
night in Philadelpha. I will leave the next morning at eight
o'clock, and am due in Jersey City about ten. You need not
take the trouble to meet me, as I shall be able to find your
home without difficulty. But I will be on the lookout for you
all the same, and will be happy if you find it convenient to be
at the station in Jersey City.
Herbert, my old friend, I already feel better, and unless
something unusual happens, I know that we shall have a jolly
time. We had a good deal of sport when you were here last
fall. I suppose you will take your Creedmoor with you ; but
I shall wait until we reach Maine, where I am sure we can
borrow a better gun than mine. I never saw a moose, but I
know they are big fellows, and I hope we shall secure one
apiece, or if we get only one, I wish it may be yours, for you
Nellie thinks the game is a little too large for her to help
hunt, but she asks me to give you her love, in which father
and mother join, and they all want you.to come down and
make us a visit whenever you can.
I have a great deal to say to you, but I must leave some-
thing to talk about when we meet. I thank you for your in-
vitation, and I am impatient for the hours to pass until I meet
Now, in glancing through the foregoing
letter, you may fail to note several points
which I wish to bring out. In the first place,
it was without an error in spelling, grammar,
or punctuation. That, however, is no more
than you would expect from such a bright
scholar as Nick, but you will notice that he
did not hint in the remotest manner at the
sorry display Herbert made in that respect.
Nick had too much delicacy to do anything of
that sort, though when he looked at the ab-
surd orthography, he smiled more than once.
Furthermore, Herbert was very frank in
telling about his wild plans for decimating
the red men and grizzly bears in the West,
and did not hesitate to make known the
wicked means by which he meant to obtain
the funds. He needed a sharp lecture, but
Nick refrained from any word on that subject.
He was shocked at Herbert's ideas, but he
showed his tact by waiting until they met.
If they started on the expedition down East,
there would be many chances for confidential
chats, when he could give his friend his views
much better than by means of a letter. The
best intentions are often ruined by a want of
tact on the part of the well-meaning person
who does not know how to use an occasion
when it presents itself.
There was no immediate danger of Herbert
Watrous doing anything wrong in the direc-
14 ON THE TRAIL OF THE MOOSE.
tion named. A sermon on the sin and foolish-
ness of the course, therefore, would be thrown
away at this stage. Meanwhile, Nick would
be on the watch for a fitting opportunity, and
when it came, none knew better than he how
to strike home.
The preparations for the start were simple,
though, but for the good sense of Nick, he
would have been put in a ridiculous situation
by the well-meant kindness of his friends.
His mother was so afraid he would suffer for
food, that she proposed he should fill his
trunk with doughnuts, carrying his clothing
and other articles in his arms. The boy had
little trouble, however, in convincing her that
it was best to take no food with him, since the
supply could not possibly run short.
Mr. Ribsam retained unpleasant memories
of his experience when he came from Holland
years before in the steerage, and fell into the
hands of the emigrant runners that infest
Castle Garden. It took some time, therefore,
for Nick to convince him that it was not wise
to carry a couple of guns and a horse pistol,
prepared to shoot these sharks if they should
try to get him in their maws. But the youth
said that, if he loaded himself down in that
manner, he was likely to get into trouble with
the authorities, who would be unwilling to
have such a dangerous customer in circu,
"You know, Nick, you will find other
kinds of animals in Maine, and you must be
prepared for them," said Nellie.
"I shall try to be," he replied gravely,
"though we may have some trouble with the
elephants, hippopotami, and monkeys. Then,
as it is the dead of winter, the cobras and con-
strictors may also bother us."
Nellie was about to pout at this reception of
her good advice, but Nick caught her before
she could get away,-and since he was to leave
so soon, she decided to keep on good terms
with her only brother, whose loving kiss she
returned with interest. He asked her for the
advice she was about to give, and finally the
little oracle spoke:
"The climate of Maine in winter is a good
deal more severe than ours; be careful that
you don't forget it, and, when you are excited
16 ON THE TRAIL OF TIE MOOSE.
and interested in the hunt, don't expose your-
self to a cold that may be a good deal worse
than the trouble you now have."
Doctor Scudder couldn't have given better
advice than that," replied Nick, as his eyes
filled, "and I promise my dearest sister that I
shall remember her wise words."
It was a striking tribute to the wisdom of
the little girl, that when the family physician
called that evening, he repeated in substance
the very counsel that had been given by Nellie.
It was, in fact, the only warning needed by the
lad, and it was impressed so strongly upon
him by the medical man, that he could not
And so the preparations went on and were
finished long before the- hour came for the
youth's departure. Everything necessary was
packed in a trunk, that had lain in the garret
for more years than Nick had lived, and he
was thus left free to enjoy himself without
any thought of missing carpet-bags, satchels,
Although Herbert Watrous had declared
that no expense should fall upon Nick after
reaching New York, neither he nor his father
was willing that their host should expend a
penny for the benefit of their visitor, beyond
the expense involved in having him as their
They, therefore, figured as nearly as they
could the probable cost of the journey to
Maine and the return, after a few weeks' visit.
When this was agreed upon, Mr. Ribsam
placed just double the sum in the hands of his
boy. Before the surprised lad could make
a protest, he said, between puffs of his
It is better that you should have too much
than too little ; you will not spend it foolishly,
but I want you to use it whenever you wish;
accept nothing from Herbert that you cannot
return; I am able to pay your way, and, if
you come back in the health you had six
months ago, I will feel it is the best bargain I
ever made in all my life."
Nick glanced across at his father, who was
sitting in the corner with his side toward him.
He seemed to be looking at some object out-
side the window through the volumes of smoke
18 ON THE TRAIL OF THE MOOSE.
rolling up from his pipe; but the eyes blinked
faster than usual, and Nick knew the cause.
He did not dare trust himself to reply, but,
clearing his throat, hurried upstairs under the
pretence of finishing his packing, when in fact
nothing of that duty remained to do.
The hours wore on and finally Nick, bidding
good-by to his mother and Nellie, was driven
to the railway station in the sleigh by his
father, who kept his feelings well under con-
trol when the parting moment came. He bade
him farewell off-hand, and even forced a smile
to his broad, honest face, while Nick affected
to be occupied in getting his trunk checked
and seeing it safe on board; but, after the
train had steamed away from the station, the
lad could not help violating the rules, by
raising the window and thrusting out his
There stood his father on the platform, puff-
ing his pipe and looking after the receding
cars, with emotions which no one besides him-
self could understand. Nick waved his hand,
but it was not until he had done so several
times that his father recognized him. Then
he hurriedly replied, Nick drew in his head,
closed the window, and thus father and son
parted, neither dreaming of "the experience
that awaited Nick before they should meet
AN OLD FRIEND.
N O one can doubt the power of the mind
over the body. Nick Ribsam felt better
from the moment it was decided he should
accept the invitation of Herbert Watrous to
join him on a moose hunt in the forests of
Maine. Indeed, his improvement was so
marked that the conscientious fellow was in
doubt whether he was doing right in leaving
his home for so long a time; but one or two of
the old sharp twinges in his chest quickly
scattered his misgivings, and made him so
eager to push on that he would not have
stopped in Philadelphia at all, but for the
letter written his friend Herbert.
Nick was due in the city about the middle
of the afternoon, but, before the journey was
half finished, the engine broke down and two
hours were lost. This threw the train so far
AN OLD FRIEND.
behind, that it got mixed up in the schedule
time of other trains, and night was fully de-
scended when at last he stepped out at the
large roomy station at Broad Street, with the
multitude of belated passengers.
This was a disappointment, for he had
counted on spending several hours in tramp-
ing over the city, which covers more ground
than any other town in America, and whose
objects of interest are sufficient to entertain
one for a week. He was somewhat depressed
also, the feeling being induced by several
causes. It was the first time in his life that
he had slept away from home, or lain down to
rest without the good-night kiss of his father,
mother, and Nellie. Despite his glowing an-
ticipations, he was just a little home-sick, a
distress that was increased by the troublesome
pain in his lungs. He was in reality suffering
from the reaction of his exuberant spirits of
the preceding day or two.
He therefore walked through the unfinished
public buildings, past Wanamaker's vast
establishment, and down Market Street, until
he reached the Bingham House, at the corner
22 ON THE TRAIL OF THE MOOSE.
of Eleventh Street. There he procured sup-
per, registered, and shortly after went to his
room, and, shall I say it? there was a tear
beneath each eyelid when he closed them in
But everything was changed the next morn-
ing. There was no pain in his chest, the
bright wintry sun was shining through the
windows, his appetite was keener than it had
been for months, and something of his old
vigor and strength seemed to have come back
He had plenty of leisure at command after
eating breakfast, and, first sending a postal
card to his father, he took a walk through a
portion of Chestnut Street, and before it was
time to take the train, climbed the steps of the
Broad Street Station. He had not seen a
familiar face, and of course had no thought of
meeting any one whom he knew. There was
abundant food for his eyes, and he sauntered
through the large waiting-room, viewing the
news-stand, the railway maps, taking a peep
into the restaurant, and studying the multi-
tude of people there, with the keen enjoyment
AN OLD FRIEND.
of one who views such things for the first
The gate was not yet open to admit the pas-
sengers, and he was on the point of going to
the office to buy his ticket, when he was
startled by a slap on the shoulder and the ex-
Well, I declare if this isn't Nick Ribsam,
then may I be shot! "
The lad turned quickly and saw a large,
athletic-looking man with a dark coat thrown
over his working-clothes. He had a pleasing
face and a genial way about him that won
one's heart off-hand. He smiled as the sur-
prised Nick looked around, and extended his
How are father and mother and Nellie,
that sweet little sister of yours? Don't you
remember me, Nick ? "
Then it all flashed upon the lad. More than
a year before, a party of three gentlemen from
Philadelphia had visited the neighborhood of
Dunbarton on a fishing and hunting expedi-
tion. They made a call at the home of Mr.
Ribsam, where they were treated so hospitably
24 ON TIE TRAIL OF THE MOOSE.
that they stayed all night, their host refusing
to accept any pay when they took their depar-
ture in the morning.
One of these three was Ned Osmun, who
was the engineer of the famous fast locomotive,
"Number Ten," drawing the express which
makes the eighty-nine miles between Philadel-
phia and Jersey City in just two hours. He
formed a strong liking for Nick and Nellie,
and invited the boy to make him a visit when-
ever he could. It was he who had saluted
Nick and shook his hand.
The lad was delighted, for no one appreciates
a friend more than a boy in his situation. He
answered the questions about his parents, and
then, without referring to his own health, said
he was on his way to New York to visit a
"What train are you going on ?" inquired
I believe it leaves at eight o'clock."
"That's mine; how would you like to take
a ride on an engine "
Nick's eyes sparkled.
"It would be a great treat."
AN OLD FRIEND.
You haven't bought your ticket ?"
"I was going to do so when you spoke to
"It's against the rules to let any one ride
on the engine except the engineer and fire-
man, but I can fix it for you; come with
The fine-looking fellow led the way through
the crowd awaiting the moment for the
drawing aside of the gates, one of the officials
instantly opening the way for both without
questioning. Osmun paused long enough to
exchange a few words with one high in au-
thority, who happened to be standing near the
Bureau of Information. Then looking around
the engineer nodded his head to Nick :
It's all right; come with me."
With his heart a-flutter with delight, Nick
stepped up beside the brawny engineer, and
the two walked along the low concrete plat-
form beside the long train of cars, awaiting the
moment for starting on its tremendous run
eastward. Osmun had arranged to have the
boy's trunk checked, even though he had not
bought a ticket. It therefore required no
26 ON TIE TRAIL OF THE MOOSE.
further attention: it would land in the me-
tropolis as soon as he.
Before the couple reached the engine, the
gates at the lower end of the platform were
opened, and the people that were waiting for a
ride on the fast and popular morning train,
crowded through and hurried to their places
in the three cars devoted to their use.
"Here you are! said the engineer, in his
hearty way, as he stopped beside his engine;
"step right up."
With something of his old nimbleness, Nick
clambered upon the locomotive and took his
seat on the glazed cushion on the left, which
was the side belonging to the fireman. The
latter was busy with his oil can in front and
alongside the engine, but he soon climbed
briskly up and was introduced to Nick by his
This is a particular friend of mine," added
Osmun, "he is here by my invitation. Do
what you can to make him comfortable. While
I'm running, Nick, I won't have much chance
to give you attention. All you've got to do is
to stay right where you are and get acquainted
AN OLD FRIEND. 27
with the country as we go through it. If you
want to make yourself useful, Dick here or I
will nod to you when we approach the cross-
ings, or are going through the cities, and you
can ring the bell."
"How many stops do you make before
reaching Jersey City ? "
"Only one; Germantown Junction, about
five miles out."
A MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE.
C LINK sounded the flat gong in the cab of
Number 10, and at the same instant Ned
Osmun gave the throttle lever a slight twitch,
the immense driving-wheels began slowly re-
volving, and the lightning express started on
her journey eastward.
But just beyond was a network of switches
and tracks, over which the magnificent com-
bination of machinery must wind'its way, be-
fore she could strike that amazing pace which
few travellers comprehend as they sit quietly
reading in their seats.
Nick had only to lean slightly forward in
his seat to see the ponderous parallel bar
sweeping around, in response to the resistless
force of the steam in the cylinders. He re-
mained motionless, so impressed by his new
and novel experience that he forgot the bell
A MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE.
cord, which Dick pulled with an easy, swaying
motion that set the bell ringing, while the en-
gineer gave his attention to his own respon-
Before the lad could become accustomed to
his situation, the engine, which had been run-
ning fast, began slackening its pace. Ned
Osmun shut off steam, and with his left hand
applied the air brake, by means of the tiny
horizontal lever, with such skill that the train
came to a standstill at Germantown Junction
without a jar, and at the exact spot desired.
The halt was brief, only a few passengers
climbing on board, while several trunks that
were on a truck were tumbled into the bag-
gage-car in a jiffy.
"We can't do much running till we're be-
yond Trenton," Ned Osmun shouted while
Number 10 was getting under way, as he
looked across the cab at Nick, who nodded his
head, without making any other reply. He
withdrew his attention from the outside long
enough to study the pose and movements of
the engineer for a few minutes.
As Ned Osmun sat on the cushioned top of
30 ON THE TRAIL OF THE MOOSE.
the box, his left leg was extended, so that the
tip of the foot touched the floor, the right
being bent at the knee, as the limbs might
have appeared had he been climbing a ladder.
His right elbow rested on the slide of the win-
dow, as a partial support, and his sleeves were
rolled half-way to the elbow. The window
was slid back so that the keen wind whistled
by his face, but the glass door was hooked in
front. The cold would have been unbearable,
and, when the speed increased, the gale thus
created must rush through with a fury that
the strongest man could not withstand.
The left hand of the engineer lightly
grasped the polished throttle lever, a slight
jerk of which was sufficient to set the massive
drivers revolving. Just below was the little
lever for the air brake; to the right of that,
the heavy upright lever for reversing-so
heavy, indeed, that it was operated by means
of a small handle, which utilized the steam
for that purpose. Then beyond were the
three little stop-cocks, slanting down the end
of the boiler, to show the height of the water,
beside the patent steam-guage, with its clock-
A MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE.
like face, the handle for letting the sand out
of the sand-box upon the track when the
drivers slip, the iron ring connecting with the
hoarse whistle, and still other handles, all
with important uses, and so many in number
that Nick wondered how the engineer could
remember their specific uses; and yet he does
remember them so clearly that he can place
his hand on the one needed in an instant,
without removing his gaze from the track in
front of the engine.
The speed attained was only moderate,
when Ned linked her up," as the expression
goes-that is to say, he brought the reversing
rod nearer the vertical position. This shut
off the steam from following the cylinder its
entire length, and it is necessary in order to
increase the speed of the engine. The power
is diminished, for it is no longer required,
and the action of the steam on the head of the
piston rods becomes more like a sharp elastic
blow than the steady push and pull at first
Instantly the heavy, labored puffing changed
to quicker and lighter puffs, and Number 10
32 ON THE TRAIL OF THE MOOSE.
responded like a racer to the prick of the
spur. Nick plainly felt the leap forward, and
saw that the gait was rising rapidly. The
engineer gave the throttle another twitch, and
in a few seconds the driving-wheels, nearly
seven feet in diameter, were going so fast that
the parallel bars seemed to be quivering back
At this juncture, the fireman kicked up the
latch of the heavy furnace door and flung it
back. He had previously raked down a lot of
the huge chunks of coal in the tender, and
now began shovelling them into the capacious
maw of the iron horse. From his seat, Ned
leaned over and looked into the fiery cavern,
where the heat was so intense it appeared to
seize the pieces of coal and transform them
instantly into the white flaming mass like that
already there. Through the palpitating glow,
he noticed the many round openings of the
tubes, by which the area of the boiler is
greatly increased, and then the door was
banged shut and Dick stepped up and seated
himself behind the delighted boy.
Just then Ned Osmun turned and nodded
A MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE.
his head. Nick did not know what it meant,
seeing which the fireman touched his elbow
and smilingly pointed at the bell-rope over-
"Oh, that's it! exclaimed the lad, hastily
grasping the cord, and pulling it with such
vigor that the bell would have turned com-
pletely over had it been fixed to do so.
They were approaching a crossing where
stood the upright posts with the warning to
pedestrians and teams. It seemed to Nick
that he had hardly begun swaying the bell,
when they thundered past, and he let go of
He now kept watch for these crossings, ant
needed no signal from engineer or fireman to
ring, though once he was recalled from his
forgetfulness by a single sharp tug, which .
Osmun gave the cord on his side.
At rare intervals, the engineer pulled down-
ward on the oblong ring overhead, the whistle
responding with a gruff blast, and then, with
little apparent action on the part of the en-
gineer, the speed decreased as they wound
through some town.
34 ON THE TRAIL OF THE MOOSE.
Nick carried the watch which his father
had presented to him at the beginning of his
illness. It was not costly, but it was an ex-
cellent timepiece. He noticed there were
mile-posts on his side of the track, and he be-
gan timing the train by them.
Just before reaching Bristol, the speed was
a mile in sixty-two seconds, the next mile it
rose one second, but quickly dropped again
several seconds, for they were nearing the
town, through which they were not permitted
to run at the regular rate.
The pace quickly rose to a mile a minute,
but, before it could increase beyond that, the
smoke over the foundries and factories of
Trenton appeared in the wintry sky, and soon
after the iron structure spanning the Delaware
came to view around the curve.
He stopped timing the train and gave his
attention to the country through which he
was passing. Another train was met on the
bridge, and Ned Osmun and his fireman
laughed to see Nick dodge to the right to
escape being struck 'by the engine as it roared
A MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE. 35
past. The boy had only time to glance at the
icy river flowing beneath, the network of iron
and the not very inviting houses, when they
were across and passing through the several
short tunnels beyond. Then they wound past
Trenton station, where the sight of the express
was so common that the few employs and
passengers on the platform gave it little atten-
tion. By the time they were opposite the fair
grounds, two miles away, Number 10 was off
again at a speed which caused Nick to bring
forth his watch. The first mile was made in
sixty-one, the next in sixty, and the third in
"My gracious he reflected, "we're going
more than a mile a minute ; I never travelled
at such a rate before."
But there was nothing in the looks and
manner of engineer or fireman to show they
felt any unusual emotion. The former held
the same position, with his left hand on the
lever and his right elbow resting on the win-
dow slide, while his assistant shovelled in coal
when necessary, and at the moment of greatest
36 ON THE TRAIL OF THE MOOSE.
velocity deliberately pounded some of the
biggest lumps into pieces suitable for the
They thundered past Princeton station,
where an engine was standing on the little
branch road waiting for the passengers that
were to be brought thither by other trains.
Just before reaching Monmouth Junction,
the fireman dropped the mouth of the iron
scoop in front of the tender, so as to replenish
the tank on' the fly, as may be said. The
water shoots up the spout with such violence
that the engineer is forced to slacken his gait
on approaching the spot. Before the end of
the fourth of a mile was attained, along which
flows the shallow ditch between the tracks,
the tank suddenly filled, the water flying out
with great force from every possible opening,
while from the beginning a, shower of mist and
spray was dashed over the front of the bag-
gage car. The fireman, who was on the watch,
snapped up the spout, and away sped Number
10 with a full supply of fluid.
Ned Osmun meant to give his young friend
an experience that he would remember. He
A MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE.
therefore held back his engine, so that when
he rumbled across the Raritan he was nearly
three minutes behind time. Beyond that city
is the best piece of track for making speed for
the east-bound trains. In the neighborhood
of Metuchen it is perfect, slightly down grade,
and has all the conditions favorable for a
speed which seems incredible.
Now time her shouted Ned at the top
of his voice, his words barely audible to Nick,
who brought out his watch. He settled him-
self so as to begin at the next white mile-post,
which appeared to be swooping down upon
him, but an instant before it was reached, he
leaped from his seat, and dashing across the
cab, caught the arm of the engineer.
"Oh, Mr. Osmun," he called, "don't you
see that train coming this way on the same
track ? We are lost! Let's jump !"
And he started to carry out his fatal propo-
SEVENTY-FIVE MILES AN HOUR.
IT was not often Nick Ribsam lost his head,
but the sight of the other train rushing
down upon him with the speed of a whirlwind
threw him into a panic for a moment, and,
after his hurried warning to Ned Osmun, he
started to leap from the engine, a step that
would have killed him as instantly as if
stricken by lightning.
Before he could reach the tender, his arm
was seized by his friend, who smiled, and
pointed to the seat on the other side of the
Sit down you are all right! he shouted.
Just then there came a roar as if from a tre-
mendous peal of thunder, and, standing dazed
for an instant, Nick stepped carefully back to
his seat, and peered out to see how the other
train was getting along.
SEVENTY-FIVE MILES AN HOUR.
There was none in sight!
What could it mean ? What had become of
it? He surely saw an engine sweeping down
upon him with a speed almost as great as his
own, but it was invisible.
It occurred to him to draw back the window
slide, and, holding his cap in place with one
hand, to look backward.
Away in the direction of New Brunswick,
the other train was just vanishing from sight.
The two approaching round a curve, had given
Nick the impression that they were on the
same track, when, had he possessed a half
minute in which to collect his thoughts, he
would have seen there was no possible ground
He felt foolish, and returned the smile which
still lingered on the face of the engineer, though
he was peering out of the front of the cab with
the deepest intensity of vision. Dick, once more
seating himself behind Nick, yelled in his ear:
We'll tell you when it's time to jump.
There's a law on the Pennsylvania against two
trains trying to pass each other on the same
40 ON THE TRAIL OF THE MOOSE.
Nick shook himself together, and, observing
that the speed was becoming greater than be-
fore, again took out his watch. The enormous
drivers were spinning around with a swiftness
which caused the connecting rods and parallel
bars to look as if they were fluttering back
and forth, without following the huge drivers,
whose spokes were invisible to any one stand-
ing at the side of the track. The rails, al-
though laid, so far as appearances went, with
mathematical exactness, contained the slight-
est possible variations here and there, into
which the engine dropped with startling vio-
lence. One of the peculiarities of a locomotive
is its sensitiveness to the slightest irregular-
ities of the track.
The rails appeared to swoop down under the
pilot with bewildering swiftness, the telegraph
poles could hardly be counted, while the mile-
posts followed each other with a quickness
that Nick had never thought possible. He
fairly held his breath when he found that just
fifty-two seconds were consumed in passing
from one to the other.
But Ned Osmun was putting Number 10
SEVENTY-FIVE MILES AN HOUR.
through, and she had not yet struck her best
pace. The track was perfectly level, with a
slight down grade, and she was showing what
she could do. The next mile was made in ex-
actly fifty seconds, which was at the astonish-
ing rate of seventy-two miles an hour-a speed
deemed incredible by many, and yet which is
attained almost every day by our first-class
But the next mile was phenomenal. It was
accomplished in exactly forty-eight seconds,
or at the astounding rate of seventy-five miles
Nick was frightened, for, despite the per-
fection which appears to have been attained
by these engines, such a rate of travel is al-
ways dangerous. Iron and steel are put to a
test which they cannot stand very long, and
the slightest giving away at any point, while
the speed is so prodigious, means appalling
It was this same Ned Osmun who, while
travelling with such swiftness, heard a single
thump beneath him. Like a flash he bounded
from his seat, landing on the end of the boiler,
42 ON THE TRAIL OF TIE MOOSE.
where he immediately shut off steam, and ap-
plied the air brakes with full vigor.
The instant he did so, that portion of his cab
where he was sitting a second before vanished.
The right parallel bar had become loosened at
one end, and, whipping around, clave off the
side of the cab as though it were cardboard.
With the steam escaping in a cloud, and the
bar of iron threshing about, and flinging the
dirt and gravel like a hailstorm, he brought
his train to a standstill before the passengers
suspected their danger.
Nick put away his watch. He dared not
time the train any more. He held fast to the
window slide, and peered through the glass in
front, wondering whether the tornado created
by the engine's own speed would not dash in
the door and hurl him from his seat. He
looked across at Osmun, and longed for him
to make some movement of his hand that
would indicate he was slackening his speed.
Instead of doing so he raised his left hand,
and, quickly jerking the iron ring, sent out a
long shriek from the whistle, which sounded
hoarse and indistinct in the roar of the engine.
SEVENTY-FIVE MILES AN HOUR.
Nick glanced ahead to learn the cause of the
warning, and, with an emotion which may be
imagined, observed a farmer's wagon slowly
crossing the track, seemingly a half mile away.
There was not enough snow for a sleigh, and
the horses were moving slowly from the left, so
that the wagon was on one track, with the team
between the rails on which Number 10 was
bearing down upon them with a speed so pro-
digious that hardly one person in a hundred
can comprehend it.
It was useless to try to stop, and Osmun
made no effort to do so. He simply sent out
his warning blast, which was heard by the far-
mer, who was seen to strike his team with his
whip, though without any perceptible increase
in their pace.
At that distance, it looked safe for the
owner and his animals, and Nick did not feel
any misgiving, until it seemed to him as
though, when the horses lifted up their feet,
they set them down again in the same place,
and he saw the train was plunging toward
them like a cannon-ball.
Ned sounded the whistle again, quickly
44 ON THE TRAIL OF THE MOOSE.
shut off steam, and applied the air brakes,
but the animals were moving, though their
pace, when compared with that of the engine,
was as if they were stationary.
The horses passed off and most of the
wagon, but the two hind wheels caught it.
There was not the slightest jar perceptible on
Number 10, but when her pilot and right side
struck the spokes, the air was filled with kind-
ling wood, some of which flew over the smoke-
stack and fell to the ground behind the rear
Ned leaned out of his cab and looked
backward. Had the man been hurt it would
have been his duty to stop and go back.
But though he must have been jarred and
startled, he escaped, with only the wreck of
his wagon to remind him of what was a fine
structure but a few minutes before he essayed
to measure speed with Number 10.
Much to Nick''s relief, the engineer began
slackening up, for he was nearing the series of
towns and cities which line the great railway
to the banks of the Hudson. Through these
(and especially through Rahway) the express
SEVENTY-FIVE MILES AN HOUR.
dashed with a speed that is awesome, but it
can bear no comparison to that attained in the
It struck the lad that as they shot by some
of the stations, the people waiting on the plat-
forms scanned him more curiously than they
did the train itself.
"I suppose it's such a rare sight to see a boy
sitting on the locomotive of the fast line that
they wonder who I am."
Evidences of their approach to the metrop-
olis rapidly increased. Nick expected to meet
an abundance of snow in that section of the
country, but he had not seen a sleigh since
leaving Philadelphia. In places it was piled
at the side of the railway, the clean-cut walls
showing where the engine and snow-plough
.had driven their way through. Most of the
ground, however, was bare, and there were no
signs of an impending storm. The sun shone
bHightly, and the temperature was just keen
enough to bring a glow to the cheeks of the
At Elizabeth, Nick received a shock, for he
was sure, during a few frightful seconds, they
46 ON THE TRAIL OF THE MOOSE.
were going to cut a passenger train in two
that was speeding across the intersecting
tracks in front, but nothing of the kind took
place and at no time was there any danger.
Approaching the great city of Newark, Ned
Osmun drew his steed down to a more moder-
ate pace, though she was spinning along faster
than most people would suppose. As if Nick
Ribsam was to have a taste of all manner of ex-
periences during this memorable journey, he
received another shock at this place.
A large red-faced German, driving a beer
wagon, refused to heed the flagman, who did
his best to check the team, but forced them
upon the tracks, satisfied that he had plenty
of time to cross in front of the engine.
So he would have had, if his own speed had
been greater, but Number 10 appeared to have
a partiality for the hind wheels of vehicles that
day, for she gave one of those belonging to the
beer wagon the greatest wrench it had ever
In this case, however, the result was differ-
ent from that further down the road. The
speed of.the engine was much less and the
SEVENTY-FIVE MILES AN HOUR.
wagon far stronger. Only one wheel was struck
and that took place at the moment it passed
over the rail. It was injured somewhat, but
not ruined. The rear of the vehicle was slung
about with such sudden violence that the big
driver went over sideways, with his feet point-
ing upward. He quickly scrambled to his feet,
and, while he tried to check the frightened
team with one hand, shook the fist of the other
hand at the smiling Osmun, who merely glanced
around at him. The German's lips were seen
to be moving vigorously, though of course none
of his words were heard.
Across the meadows, where other trains were
continually in sight, on the right and left,
through the Bergen Cut, above the wretched
looking houses on the tempest-soaked flats, and
into the business portion of Jersey City, Num-
ber 10 held her way under the skilful guidance
of Osmun, until, just one minute ahead of time,
the immense engine came to rest in the great
station and the passengers began disembarking
for the ferry.
As they steamed into the vast building, with
fast decreasing speed, Nick Ribsam from his
48 ON THE TAIL OF THE MOOSE.
perch in the cab was on the watch for his
old friend, Herbert Watrous. He scanned
each face with his quick eye as they passed in
review, but though it was evident that a num-
ber had come through the gates to meet friends
and were anxiously looking for them, the tall,
slim city lad was not one of the number.
It was a disappointment, but it brought Nick
no misgiving. He felt able to take care of
himself, and knew he could find the home of
the lad with little trouble.
As he stepped down from the engine, he
took the hand of the engineer, who pressed it
"You have given me an experience, Mr.
Osmun, which I shall always remember, and
for which I can never thank you as I wish I
"Being that's the case, I wouldn't try it,"
replied the veteran engineer with a laugh, as
he walked along his engine, touching certain
portions with one hand, .to see whether they
had become heated, "but I'm glad to know
you enjoyed it. I suppose it seems odd to a
person when he tries it for the first time."
SEVENTY-FIVE MILES AN HOUR.
Yes, and for a great many times afterward;
I am sure it would always be a delight to me."
"No; you would get used to it."
Osmun showed a delicacy of feeling that did
him credit, by making no reference to Nick's
fright, when he started to jump from the en-
gine. You may be sure Nick said nothing.
I don't see your friend here," said the en-
gineer, looking around.
"No; something has kept him, but I can
find my way to his home just as well."
Nick again shook the hand of the engineer,
who told him he would be glad to meet him
any time, waved a good-by to the fireman, and
sought out the baggage-master, to whom he
surrendered his check and gave directions for
its delivery, after which he joined the swarm
hurrying toward the ferry boats.
IN THE METROPOLIS.
NICK stopped before reaching the ferry
and watched the people for several min-
utes in the hope of catching sight of Herbert.
One boat had just come in from Cortlandt and
another from Desbrosses Street. A large num-
ber of people were making haste to reach the
trains; but among them all he saw nothing of
the familiar features of his friend.
"Something has delayed him," he con-
cluded, stepping upon the boat, just before it
started for the New York side; "I hope no
accident has befallen him, but he has lived
long enough in New York to look out for
To a lad in the situation of Nick Ribsam,
everything wore the charm which is felt when
a person looks upon an enchanting scene for
the first time. It seemed as if his eyes could
IN THE METROPOLIS.
never take in all that was new and wonderful,
and the journey itself, aside from the prospect
at the end, was sure to be recalled through his
life with pleasure and delight.
But our young friend was bright and alert.
He had learned a good deal about the pitfalls
of the metropolis, and intended to be on his
guard against them. His good sense was
never shown to better advantage than by the
course he adopted from the first. He was
dressed neatly and in good taste. The home-
made garments which used to subject him to
ridicule were supplanted by the work of the
best tailor in Dunbarton. Nick's illness'had
been to his advantage in more than one re-
spect. His father, who had shown such a
sturdy opposition to the new-fangled notions
of the present day, felt so lovingly tender to-
ward his son, after his bravery in saving little
Nellie, that he could think of nothing too good
He bought him an excellent silver watch and
sent him to the tailor, who had been directed
beforehand to make him the best overcoat and
suit of which he was capable. The conse-
52 ON THE TRAIL OF ThIE MOOSE.
quence was that when the lad made his first
visit to New York, his appearance was credit-
able in every respect.
While Nick escaped the manner and actions
of a verdant countryman, he avoided the other
extreme of trying to act as though everything
he saw had already been observed so often that
it had lost its interest to him. An attempt in
this direction would have been read by any one
who took the trouble to watch him only for a
He walked through the long cabin of
the Chicago ferry boat to the front, that he
might better view the sights. The river con-
tained a great deal of floating ice, large blocks
of which were continually thumping under the
immense paddle-wheels, and through which the
powerful engine drove the boat with no per-
ceptible effect upon its speed. In the middle
of the river was a broad, open space of clear
water, across which the craft glided smoothly,
plunging quickly into the enormous sheets of
ice beyond, and cutting them apart as though
they were pasteboard. The paddles hammered
them into chunks, some cakes a dozen yards
IN THE METROPOLIS.
in length and width sliding over others in front
of the bow that were six and eight inches in
thickness. It looked as if they were trying
to get out of the way of the monster which
crunched them remorselessly in its path.
A few minutes later the Chicago came to
rest in the slip, the chains were made fast, the
wheels spinning round with a furious rattle,
until the iron tongue dropped 'into place and
held them motionless, the lattice-like gates were
shoved together, and turned, and the passen-
gers rushed off and through the ferry house,
as though they had but a few seconds in which
to escape with their lives.
While standing at the bow of the boat, near
one of the deck hands, just outside the railing,
Nick asked him a number of questions as to
the best way of finding the house which Her-
bert had given him as his home. The man was
kind, and answered all of Nick's questions so
clearly that he felt certain he could make his
way to the spot without further directions. He
noticed, however, that the employ always told
him what elevated or street cars to take, and
where to leave them and to board others, as
54 ON THE TRAIL. OF THE MOOSE.
though walking was out of the question. Nick
made no comment, but, when he learned that
the distance was only three miles, he deter-
mined to walk all the way, for the task was
not only a slight one to him, but promised
entertainment which would be denied if he
He paid no heed to the numerous invitations
to take a carriage for the Astor House, Metro-
politan, St. Nicholas, and other hotels; but,
when several youngsters asked him to have his
shoes shined, he glanced down at his feet and
decided to accept the suggestion. The air was
rather too nipping to stand outside, and he
followed a little fellow into a saloon, perched
himself in the high chair, and the youngster
began vigorous operations.
Nick had never deemed such a polish pos-
sible as soon appeared, but he wisely refrained
from expressing his admiration.
"Now, Johnny, put on the best shine you
know how, give me a good brushing off, and
we'll call it a dime."
Up to that moment, the bootblack was in
doubt whether his customer was from the coun-
IN THE METROPOLIS.
try or some other city. This settled the ques-
tion off hand.
"He's a city bloke," was his conclusion,
"for he knows a young gentleman when he
And how "Johnny" did exert himself!
Nick had noticed the rather loud way of some
of those who had their boots polished by the
boys on the ferry boat, and he adopted the
method to a certain extent, though with little
admiration for himself while doing so.
The urchin breathed on the mirror-like sur-
faces and .rubbed them again until the shoes
looked as if Nick could see his face in them.
Then he moistened his thumbs and rubbed
them slowly along the upper part of the front
of the shoes, carefully wiping away the polish
there, after which he squirted a stream from a
little oil can along the seams, and the job was
finished. Then, as Nick straightened up and
passed the dime into his grimy palm, he
whipped out his whisp and gave him a thor-
ough brushing from head to foot.
There, governor," said the bootblack, grin-
ning at him, "you're sure to cut the other
56 ON THE TRAIL OF THE MOOSE.
chap out, for you're a daisy from Daisy-
What other fellow do you mean ? asked
Nick, not adverse to chaffing the youngster for
a minute or two.
Why, that dude that's been trying' to get
your best girl away while you was down in
Washington a-cuttin' the coupons off yer
bonds and adwisin' President Arthur how to
run the administration."
"You think there's a chance for me, do
you ? "
"I'll gamble high onto it; you see I met
the lady at the opery last evening' and we had
a conversation about you. She said if you
made it a rule to stop at my stand to have 'em
shined up, she would fire that dude and take
you in her favor agin, which the same you
have done, and I shall continner to do business
at the old stand, where you can count on
always finding' yours truly, Mickey Finnegan."
Nick's merry laughter rang so heartily
through the saloon that several of the loungers
looked wonderingly toward him.
"The man that gets ahead of you, Mickey,
IN THE METROPOLIS.
must rise before daybreak. You can depend
on my dropping in on you whenever I am in
"Sorry I haven't one of my cards with me,"
replied Mickey, making a show of searching
his pockets, "but I've advertised for pro-
posals for the engravin' of 'em, and haven't
made up my mind which firm shall have the
contract, but you shall have the first one by
district messenger, if you'll leave me your
"Mickey, would you like a glass of beer ?"
"I'm obleeged to you, but I never touch
nothing' stronger than water," and then he
added, with a grave face and a weary sigh,
" my father died of drink, and I promised my
mother I would never touch a drop."
Stick to that, Mickey; I wouldn't have
given you a taste, no matter how badly you
wanted it; I wished to find out your senti-
ments and dreaded your answer. I can't stay
longer, but here's a little fee for your mother
in honor of your sentiments."
Nick meant to give him a half dollar, but on
reaching in his trousers pockets found only a
58 ON THE TRAIL OF THE MOOSE.
few pennies there. His roll of money was in
the inner receptacle of- his vest. Shoving his
hand inside, he drew out the entire roll of
bills, in the middle of which nestled several
pieces of silver. He extracted the half dollar,
rolled up the bills again, replaced them and
buttoned his vest.
Mickey thanked him with a heartiness that
left no doubt of his gratitude, and bidding
him good-by, his visitor stepped outside and
continued his walk up Cortlandt Street, after
the manner of one who has plenty of time at
command and does not mean to lose anything
that is to be seen.
He finally reached the corner at Broadway,
where he stopped to admire the display, of
watches and jewelry in Benedict's windows.
He had stood only a few minutes, when, to his
astonishment, he was addressed by some one
at his elbow, whose voice he instantly recog-
nized as that of Mickey Finnegan.
"Don't look around or act as though you
heard or seen me, but there's a job as has been
set up onto you."
IN THE METROPOLIS.
Nick caught the situation like a flash.
Without turning his head he asked:
"Tell me what you mean, Mickey."
They are goin' to try to bunco you."
All right; I won't forget your kindness."
"If they knowed I put you onto their
racket, I'd catch it."
They'll never know it from me."
Mickey resumed his whistle, that had been
checked for only a minute or two, and saun-
tered off with his kit over his shoulder.
Although his station was at the saloon in
Cortlandt Street, he had left it on discovering
the plot, to warn his friend of his danger.
Nick understood what it meant, for only a
few days before he had read an account in a
Philadelphia paper of the way in which a
wealthy merchant had been victimized by the
scheme that was to be tried upon him. He
knew that the exposure of his money in the
saloon had been noticed by the rogues, who
quickly formed their plan for robbing him.
He remained a few minutes longer at the
window of the jewelry store, and then, turning
60 ON THE TRAIL OF THE MOOSE.
about, looked up Broadway, as if undecided
which direction to take. He had never seen so
many people on the streets, and the cars were
crowded. Finally he turned to the left and
sauntered leisurely up the famed avenue.
N ICK walked several blocks, feasting his
eyes on the big Herald building, the
Post Office, and City Hall, not forgetting the
Astor House and other noted structures on his
left, and was crossing Chambers Street when
he saw quickly approaching him from the
other side a youthful and well dressed young
man, gloved and carrying a cane. The fellow's
face was aglow with smiles, and before reach-
ing Nick he extended his hand.
"Well, if that isn't luck now!" he exclaimed,
as Nick accepted the palm in a gingerly fashion;
"I'd rather meet you, Jack, than any fellow in
the city; how have you been and how are you,
old fellow ?"
"I'm afraid you have made a mistake,"
replied Nick, letting the imprisoned hand
62 ON THE TRAIL OF THE MOOSE.
"Impossible! Aint you my old friend,
Jack Robbins of Yonkers? "
I am afraid not; my name is not Jack Rob-
bins, and I never was in Yonkers in my life."
"Pshaw, now! I never saw such a resem-
blance ; Jack is my best friend ; noble fellow;
excuse me, mighty fine-looking too; and so
you're not Jack Robbins of Yonkers ?"
"No ; if you had said Jim Hastings, of Tren-.
ton, son of the dry goods merchant, why I
might have talked with you."
Well, now, that's rich But you'll par-
don the mistake; never saw anything like it;
no offense, I hope."
"That's all right," replied Nick, with his
pleasing smile, as he resumed his walk up
Just as he expected, he had not yet arrived
at Pearl Street, when some one stepped briskly
up beside him, slapping him familiarly on the
shoulder and calling out in a hearty voice:
Well, Jim, old boy, how are you ?"
Nick looked around and saw a man consid-
erably older than the other, though fully as
well dressed. His heavy mustache was dyed
to a greenish metallic black, and his voice was
as musical as a woman's.
I was never so pleased at anything in my
life ; I'll never forget the kindness your father,
Mr. Hastings, the dry goods merchant, showed
me when I was sick in Trenton ; my own father
couldn't have done more, and there isn't any-
thing I wouldn't do for his son--"
"Hold on a minute," interrupted Nick;
" you're off the track."
"Not much I aint," replied the other, with
an airy laugh; "I know Mr. Hastings, my boy,
too well, and I claim the privilege of showing
my gratitude to him through his son. Tom
McAlpine isn't the one--"
"But my name isn't Jim Hastings and I
never was in Trenton. Why didn't you call
me Dick Sampson of Skowhegan, Maine "
As Nick asked this question, he looked in
the astonished scamp's face, grinned and
winked. The fellow flushed, for he saw he was
See here," he-added in a low, coarse voice,
"who put you onto us ? "
"You may think I'm from the country,
64 ON THE TRAIL OF THE MOOSE.
but when I see a man whose face shows the
sneak as plainly as yours, I would be blind if
I took him for an honest person; your own
countenance gives you--"
But just then a policeman loomed up in
front of the couple, and Tom McAlpine van-
ished as suddenly as he appeared.
There must have been something in Nick's
looks which invited the confidence men, for
within the following fifteen minutes he was
approached by another voluble. youth, who
opened in precisely the fashion of the first.
Nick concluded he had had enough of this,
and he shook his head with the remark :
"I'm not the victim you're looking for; try
it on some one else or wait till we meet an
But the young man concluded he wouldn't
wait. He disappeared with the abruptness of
By the time Nick had reached Eighth
Street, he became aware that he was hungrier
than he had been for months. Looking at his
watch, he found it was past noon, and turned
into the restaurant of the Sinclair House.
Everything looked attractive, and, taking his
seat at one of the tables, it did not require
him long to select his meal from the tooth-
some list on the bill of fare.
He became sensible while eating his luxuri-
ous meal that the walk of several miles had
produced more effect upon him than he antici-
pated. He had spent so many weeks in the
house at home, that he was not as strong as
usual, and could not stand the exertion which
six months before would have been only play
But he was now comparatively near the
residence of Mr. Watrous, and he decided
that after a half hour's rest with his meal, he
would continue his walk in the same leisurely
fashion as before.
"I need the exercise," he thought, "for I
am greatly mistaken if I won't have to do a
good deal of it after reaching Maine."
In accordance with his habit, Nick used his
eyes while eating, and glanced at the different
tables, nearly every one of which was occu-
pied. It struck him as singular that the
majority, including ladies, took wine or beer
66 ON THE TRAIL OF THE MOOSE.
with their meals. He had never suspected
that drinking was so common in New York.
At the table in front, and next to the wall,
sat a gentleman alone. He was rather below
the medium stature, with short, coal black
whiskers on the side of his cheek, his chin
and ppper lip cleanly shaven, and with golden
spectacles. Nick was certain he had never
seen such a black pair of eyes, that were
as restless as those of a western hunter or
There was nothing remarkable in this, and
he would have withdrawn his attention from
him, but for the fact that he soon perceived
that the man, for some reason or other, was
interested in him. He looked so directly in
the face of the youth that the latter, who
returned the stare at first, was forced to drop
his gaze, with no little confusion of manner.
Nick was angered at the impudence of the
other, for he began to suspect that, despite
the care he used, he could not conceal his
Now and then he looked across at the stran-
ger, who adopted a different course from be-
fore. Instead of keeping his keen black eyes
fixed on him, he glanced in another direction,
as though he did not wish his scrutiny to be
Nick resolved to pay him no further atten-
tion, but the very fact of his resolution caused
him to break it. He could not restrain his
eyes from wandering in the direction, and,
whenever he did so, he was just in time to
catch the other darting his glances toward some
other part of the room.
Since the lad had a table by himself, the
remedy was in his own hands. He had only
to change his seat, so as to turn his back to-
ward the annoying stranger. He was on the
point of doing so, when a guest suddenly hung
his hat on the rack near the table, and placed
himself directly opposite, so as to interpose
his body between him and the obnoxious indi-
vidual in spectacles. Nick therefore kept his
seat and continued his meal with something
The stranger made no effort to renew his
study of the young Pennsylvanian, though the
latter caught sight now and then of the crown
68 ON THE TRAIL OF THE MOOSE.
of black hair over the head of his own viS-
By and by the stranger finished his meal,
and rising from his chair, walked to the cash-
ier's desk to pay his check. Nick could not
help taking what he supposed was a last look
at him. The man was chewing a toothpick,
and he fixed his eyes again upon the youth,
who found it hard to restrain his resentment.
"I would like to know whether he ever
stared at another person in that style," mut-
tered Nick, who resolutely kept his eyes on
him, until he had received his change and
moved briskly out of the door on Eighth
I wonder whether I shall see him again,"
mused Nick, as he paid his bill and moved to-
ward the door on Eighth Street; if I do and
he repeats his impudence I shall make him ex-
plain himself. I rather hope he will show
His wish was gratified ; for at the corner of
Broadway the stranger stood smoking a cigar
and was evidently waiting for him. Seeing
his gaze focused upon him again, Nick hast-
SEVERAL SURPRISES. 69
ened his step, and halting in front of the indi-
vidual he asked:
Have you any business with me, sir ?"
"I rather think I have, young man, inas-
much as I carry a warrant in my pocket for
your arrest "
"HOW ARE YOU, OLD FELLOW?"
T HE reply of the black-eyed stranger to
Nick Ribsam's question could not have
been more startling.
"Yes, sir," added the man, "you are the
chap we have been looking for, and I shall
trouble you to go with me."
Who are you ? Nick found tongue to ask.
"I am a detective, with a warrant for the
arrest of Samuel Townsend, of Philadelphia,
aged fifteen, charged with robbing his employ-
ers, Doddridge & Brothers, dry goods mer-
chants of Market Street."
"What has that got to do with me?" de-
manded Nick, rapidly regaining his courage.
It has this to do : you are the young man
I rather think not; my name is Nicholas
Ribsam, and my home is near the town of
"HOW ARE YOU, OLD FELLOW 71
Dunbarton, Pennsylvania. I stayed at the
Bingham House in Philadelphia last night,
which was my first visit to that city."
What are you doing in New York ? "
Trying to show you just now what a blun-
der you have made," replied the youth, whose
alarm mostly vanished when he understood
The detective's face flushed.
Such pert answers won't help you, sir; I
believe you are lying. You will have to go
with me to headquarters, and convince the In-
spector that you are what you claim, and I
think you'll have a hard job of it. Come on,
The arrest was made so quietly that it at-
tracted no attention: Nick's good sense taught
him that the only wise course was to submit,
with nothing more than a verbal protest. He
was likely to undergo some annoyance, but he
was confident that his release must speedily
follow. He walked beside the officer, neither
of them uttering a word, until shortly after
They stood in the presence of that wise gentle-
man known as Inspector Byrnes. His face was
72 ON TIHE TIrAL OF THE MOOSE.
as immobile as that of a graven image while
listening to the report of his officer, but the
glances shot at Nick Ribsam were of the most
penetrating nature. His long experience in
dealing with the criminal classes, and his own
exceptional acuteness, gave him a power in
reading human nature, to which much of his
wonderful success is due in ferreting out
Before his assistant had finished his report,
the chief was almost certain a mistake had been
made. The face of the young prisoner was not
that of a dishonest youth, and his manner did
not mark a guilty person. Still he neglected
no precautions. Turning to Nick, who stood
respectfully in front of his desk, cap in hand,
he put a number of questions to him. They
were uttered quickly, and were of the most
searching character. But the answers followed
with equal promptness.
When Nick had given the names of his
parents, their residence, his own age, his busi-
ness in New York, and his contemplated trip
down East, the Inspector continued:
When did you leave Philadelphia "
"HOW ARE YOU, OLD FELLOW?"
At eight o'clock this morning, on the fast
And you rode in the cars to New York?"
"No, sir; I rode on Engine Number 10 to
Ah, how was that ?"
"The engineer invited me to do so."
That is contrary to the rules of the Penn-
"I know that, but he obtained permission
for me to ride with him."
What is the engineer's name ? "
"An old friend of yours "
He visited our house last year with some
gentlemen, while hunting and fishing, and I
suppose that was the reason he gave me a
Did you enjoy it ?"
"I'll never forget it as long as I live; if you
will permit me I would advise you to try it,"
said Nick, with a smile.
The Inspector smiled in turn and said:
I am sure I would enjoy it, but I don't
get much time for that sort of amusement. I
74 ON THE TRAIL OF THE MOOSE.
am sorry you became so scared while on the
"Who told you about that?" asked Nick,
blushing to the roots of the hair; "I was fool-
ish, I know, but when I saw that other engine
coming round the curve, I was sure it was on
He stopped short, for the Inspector was
laughing. Nick saw he had been trapped.
The head of the detective bureau of New York
had never heard of him until he was brought
into his office, but the question was put with a
purpose, and he knew Nick's answer would
settle all doubts as to whether he was telling
And so it did. The last lingering suspicion
was scattered by the honest reply of the
"Well, Nick," said the Inspector, extend-
ing his hand; "mistakes, you know, will
happen ; I am sorry you have been put to this
inconvenience, but there isn't a particle of
doubt of your innocence; I like your looks,
and when you and your friend bring down the
biggest moose in Maine, as I am sure you will
"HOW ARE YOU, OLD FELLOW?" 75
do, I shall depend on your remembering
Nick was captured by the gentleman, who,
while such a terror to evil-doers, is the most
genial and companionable of men to his friends.
The lad assured him he would not be for-
gotten, and saluting him and the chagrined
detective, he passed out upon the street.
If anything more happens like this," he
muttered, not displeased with his experience,
"I shall hire somebody to. lead me around
with a string and big dog, so as to keep off
Nick was now anxious to reach the home of
Herbert Watrous. The afternoon was well
advanced, and he began to feel uneasy over
the failure of his friend to show himself. He
feared that something serious had occurred to
prevent him, or possibly he had not received
his letter, notifying him of the train on which
he expected to reach the city.
Under other circumstances, he could have
spent days and weeks in strolling about the
great metropolis, but he wanted Herbert with
him. At any rate, he was more anxious to
76 ON THE TRAIL OF TIE MOOSE.
meet him than to see any of the numerous
sights of Gotham.
The youth was walking rapidly up Broad-
way, when his heart gave a quick flutter at
sight of a tall young gentleman in advance
with a walk so much like Herbert that he
half believed it was he. He was handsomely
dressed, was swinging a cane, and, unless the
sharp-eyed Nick was mistaken, was slyly flirt-
ing with a young lady on the other side of the
Nick increased his pace, and placing himself
alongside of the young gentleman, was over-
joyed to observe that it was indeed his old
friend. Without speaking, he gently touched
Herbert turned quickly, and his face glowed
Well, I'll be hanged if it isn't Nick him-
self he exclaimed, grasping his hand with a
heartiness that could not be mistaken; "by
Jingo! if I wasn't afraid I would be arrested,
I'd fling my hat in the air and dance a double-
shuffle. Never mind," he added, glancing
"HOW ARE YOU, OLD FELLOW 77
across the street at a miss who threw one coy
look over her shoulder, I'll meet you later.
But, Nick, I can't tell you how glad I am to
see you. How are you, old fellow "
And drawing the arm of his friend within
his own, he added:
What did you think when I didn't meet
you at the station? "
"I hardly knew what to think, but I was
afraid something had happened."
So there did-so there did-deucedly se-
rious; it broke my heart. You see the way of
it was this: The other day my father gave me
a fine gold watch on my birthday. Last night
in going to bed it fell out of my pocket and I
stepped on it. It was going this morning like
a house afire, but I never dreamed it could be
wrong. I saw a piece of dirt in it, but I shoved
it out with my toothpick and then tried a little
soap and water, for I didn't want to leave it at
the jeweler's so soon. Well, I took a cab and
rode down to the Cortlandt Street ferry. Like
a fool, I didn't think of comparing it with
other timepieces till I got there. Then I looked
78 ON THE TRAIL OF THE MOOSE.
at the railway clock, and found it was be-
tween twelve and one. I was more than two
"It was a dreadful bore," continued Her-
bert, "and I felt awful mean, but I expected
you were home by that time, and I give the
driver an extra two dollars to drive like blazes,
but you wasn't there, and after waiting awhile,
I started out for a little promenade on Broad-
way. I have been back once since and was
about to start again, when you overhauled me.
But I'm so glad to see you I don't know what
to do. How are your father and mother and
little Nellie? I hope she didn't feel offended
because I objected to her going on our moose
hunt. And so you are not as well as you
ought to be ? You're a little pale, but I don't
notice much difference in your good looks."
Nick answered the storm of questions as
best he could, and the two were talking as
fast, their sentences tumbling over each other,
when Herbert summoned a cab, which quickly
carried them to his home.
N O welcome could have been more cordial
than that which awaited Nick Ribsam
at the residence of Mr. Watrous. The short,
wintry afternoon was drawing to a close,
when he and Herbert stepped from the cab,
and, walking up the brown stone steps, en-
tered the handsome home, whose appoint-
ments far surpassed anything of the kind ever
seen by the visitor.
Mrs. Watrous was a motherly woman, in
gold spectacles and with a gentle voice, who
thought there was no boy in the wide world
the equal of her Herbert. No request of his,
possible for her to grant, did she refuse, and,
since the father was equally indulgent, the
wonder is that the boy was not utterly spoiled
by this treatment.
This foolish course was the more remarkable
80 ON TIE TRAIL OF THE MOOSE.
when it is remembered that Mr. Watrous was
a prominent railway man and a large operator
on Wall Street, in both of which avocations
he had the reputation of possessing a nerve
that had carried him through many a crisis to
which others less bold and aggressive suc-
Keen indeed must be that man who got the
better of him in a bargain. His cheek was
never seen to blanch when everything hung
on the decision of some momentous question
that had to be settled off-hand. He was un-
charitable toward all wrong-doers, insisted on
the strictest accountability from every one
under him, and maintained that the world
would go to the dogs without an unflinching
and iron discipline in all things.
And yet Dr. Jekyl was no more different
from Mr. Hyde than was the railway magnate
and Wall Street operator when he crossed the
threshold of his own home. He was as in-
dulgent to his wife as to his only son. Her-
bert had been furnished with private tutors,
but little could be done with him, since he
was sustained by his parents in all his whim-
sical notions. He was beginning to think of
going to Yale, but the insurmountable objec-
tion with him was that a student not only was
obliged to possess a fair book education in
order to enter that institution, but had to do
something besides play ball and row a boat
after getting there.
We have shown, however, that Herbert pos-
sessed many good qualities, and with proper
training was quite sure to give a creditable
account of himself. One of the most promis-
ing traits of his character was the revolt
which he sometimes showed against his super-
ficial life. The sturdy, self-reliant nature of
Nick Ribsam, his mental brightness and nat-
urally fine physique commanded his admira-
tion, and, among his many acquaintances,
there was not one for whom he felt as genuine
an affection as for this youth, several years
younger than himself, who at their first meet-
ing gave him the severest trouncing of his
Herbert's threat of stealing funds from his
parents and starting on a campaign against
the wild Indians and animals of the Far West
82 ON TIIE TRAIL OF THE MOOSE.
was only another expression of his rebellion
against the galling surroundings to which he
seemed doomed. He longed to break loose
from the silken bonds that held him in his
city home, and go somewhere, no matter
where, provided he could rough it like ordi-
He had gained a taste of the breezy, healthy
outdoor life, during his visit to the home of
Nick Ribsam, and it was like a breath from
the mountains to the fevered traveller.
When, therefore, Richard Musgrave, the
brother of Mrs. Watrous, wrote to his sister
and his brother-in-law, urging them to send
their son to him for a long winter visit, the
boy bounded at the chance, but insisted that
he would not go unless Nick Ribsam was his
When Uncle Dick was informed of the
situation, he made haste to reply that nothing
would suit him better. He had no children,
and he and his wife would be delighted to
receive a visit from Herbert and as many of
his young friends as he chose to bring.
This being settled, the urgent letter, already
given, went to Nick, and we have shown what
Mrs. Watrous gave the youth a motherly
kiss and told him how glad they were to know
him, whom Herbert never seemed weary of
praising. She hoped Nick would not feel
homesick during his stay, but would make
known any wish he might feel.
In the evening, after dinner (which name
sounded odd to the visitor), Mr. Watrous un-
bent from his dignified self of the day and
held a long talk with the boys, and par-
ticularly with Nick. His questions showed
that his son had told him all about him so
far as he kni :w; and the gentleman was anx-
ious to learn more. He was charmed by the
modesty of their guest, and in the course
of the evening disclosed several interesting
His position as a prominent railway man
enabled him to secure the best accommoda-
tions for the lads to the distant point in Maine
and back again, without any expense to them.
84 ON THE TRAIL OF THE MOORE.
Since this little arrangement cost Mr. Watrous
nothing for himself, Nick saw no way of pay-
ing his way, inasmuch as there was not likely
to be anything to pay.
Understanding from Herbert that Nick was
not the owner of a very good weapon, the
father had taken the liberty of having an ex-
cellent rifle sent home for trial. Since it was
taken on approbation, he would count it a
favor if Nick would give it a thorough test,
inasmuch as he never wished to buy anything
that he was not sure was worth the price
Furthermore, he was quite certain the boys
would not want to be bothered with looking
after their weapons while on Their way down
East. He had, therefore, taken the liberty of
forwarding them by express, immediately on
learning that Nick had consented to go with
his son. Nothing would give him more
pleasure than to have their visitor spend a
week or two with them before starting on
their hunt, but Herbert was impatient to be
off, and perhaps it was best that their young
friend should hasten to seek the change of
climate which his physician recommended as
the wisest thing for him to do.
Then Mr. Watrous made a number of in-
quiries about Nick's symptoms, his questions
proving that he possessed no little knowledge
of medicine. He said there could be no ques-
tion that the doctor was right, the only danger
being from the severity of the climate in
Maine at that season of the year. There was
balm in the pine woods, as he had found from
his own experience, but Nick must not be
carried away by his own ardor. He was con-
fident, from what he had learned about his
young friend, that he would not forget this
Nick replied that the physician had told
him that very thing, and with a glow of pride
he added that the first one to speak to him on
the point was his sister Nellie. When all his
friends were unanimous in their sentiments,
he could not question the wisdom of their
The hosts offered to send the boys to some
place of amusement, if they so desired, but
since it was to be the last evening spent in
86 ON THE TRAIL OF THE MOOSE.
New York before their departure, they said
they would rather stay at home, a decision
which greatly pleased the parents of Herbert.
Nick's trunk arrived early in the evening,
while Herbert's was already packed. It was
about double the size of the other, and was
crammed almost to bursting. The mother
gently intimated that it might be wise for
him to take a couple of trunks, but Herbert,
with some loftiness of manner, reminded
her that he was going to rough it, and it was
not becoming to encumber himself in the style
It was a late hour when the friends withdrew
to their respective apartments. Nick was
given a room by himself,-one whose area
equalled that of the entire first floor of his
humble home, and whose lofty ceiling would
have touched the roof. It was furnished with
every luxury that could be asked for. He
spent some minutes in walking softly about
and admiring the magnificent furniture, and
finally stopped in the middle of the floor.
How can Herbert be unhappy with all
this ? His father is wealthy and neither he nor
HERBERT'S HOME. 87
his mother deny him anything. I cannot see
what more he can want, and yet," added the
lad, lowering his voice and glancing timidly
around, as if afraid of being overheard ; "I
wouldn't give a little room in my far-away
home for this whole mansion, nor would I ex-
change a kiss from Nellie or father or mother
for a thousand such homes."
The tears were in his eyes, and, going to the
writing-desk which stood invitingly near, he
wrote a long letter, first to his mother, then to
his father, and last of all to his darling Nellie.
Those finished, he spent several minutes on
his knees, and then, leaping into the downy
bed, sank to sleep.
W HILE Nick and Herbert were eager to
reach the hunting grounds, they were
wise enough to follow the advice of Mr. Wat-
rous, who named several points besides Bos-
ton where they could stop over and spend a day
or two with much pleasure and profit. Herbert
was disposed to "kick over the traces," now
and then, and it took all of Nick's skill to
restrain him. It is safe to say that no other
person could have exerted an equal influence
Herbert proposed several times that they
should go on a "racket," as he called it, the
chief part of which consisted of getting hila-
riously intoxicated, but Nick was so shocked
that his companion should meditate anything
of the kind that the plan was not referred to
Herbert's first promenade in Boston came
near getting him into trouble. He was as tall as
an ordinary man, was well-dressed, and fairly
good-looking. He was indulging in his fond-
ness for flirting with a young lady, who seemed
to respond without attracting suspicion on the
part of her escort; but the sturdy youth did
not long remain ignorant, and he proceeded
straight for young Watrous with such en-
ergy that only his legs saved him from a
severe trouncing. When the laughing Nick
reached the hotel, a half-hour later, his com-
panion was locked in his room and would not
acknowledge his identity until his friend con-
vinced him he was alone.
"Confound it! said the disgusted Herbert,
"I don't like Boston, and you can't get out
of it too soon to suit me."
It was in the latter part of January that the
couple found themselves away up in Maine,
and nearing their destination. Neither had
been in that part of the world before, but Mr.
Watrous had made a number of visits to his
brother-in-law, and was so familiar with the
route that he fully informed the boys of every
90 ON THE TRAIL OF THE MOOSE.
portion. Nick listened so attentively that at
no point was there any danger of going astray
"This is the last piece of railroading," re-
marked Nick one afternoon, as they entered
the rickety cars of the single track A. &. W.
Railway, "that we shall do until we start
"I should think it would be the last any one
would want to do," replied Herbert, with a
sniff of disgust.
There was some warrant for the sentiments
of the young man. The train consisted of only
two cars, the front one being part baggage and
part smoker. Everything in the way of seats
and furniture was antiquated and well worn.
When the hand-brakes were applied to the
wheels they squeaked and screeched like the
axles of a wagon that never knew grease. The
engine, which was much superior to the cars as
respected newness, rattled along at a speed that
never exceeded twenty miles an hour, and
often was no more than half of that. Instead
of burning coal, as now is the almost universal
custom, the tender of the General Washington
was piled high with wood, of which the engine
managed to devour considerable before com-
pleting her trip from Ardunk to Wiltland, just
twenty-four miles away.
This was the extent of the A. & W. Railway,
whose stock was rated high, for though travel
and trade were not overwhelming over the line,
the expenses were so low that the semi-annual
dividend had not been passed a single time dur-
ing its dozen years' history.
When Herbert and Nick took their seats in
the last car at Ardunk, there were only three
passengers besides themselves. These were a
middle-aged farmer, his son, and a colored hired
man. Two other men were seated in the smoker,
so that seven was the entire number of passen-
gers which left Ardunk for the twenty-odd
miles' run to the little town away up near the
mountainous boundary between Maine and
This road, after extending about two-thirds
of its length in a direction almost due north,
turned sharply to the right, so that Wiltland,
the other terminus, was slightly, if any, further
north from Ardunk than was the little strag-
92 ON THE TRAIL OF THE MOOSE.
gling hamlet of Perdoc, where the abrupt
change of route took place.
It was at this point that Herbert and Nick
were to leave the cars and make the rest of the
journey by sleigh. Uncle Dick lived several
miles to the westward, and close to the moun-
tainous range that marks the northwest boun-
dary. He had been written to by the boys,
while they were on the way to Perdoc, and by
a little careful figuring the time of the arrival
at Perdoc was fixed.
This was not so difficult as might be thought,
since there was only one train either way in
the morning and afternoon or evening. The
day on which they would reach Ardunk being
determined, it followed that the boys must take
that evening train for Perdoc, and Uncle Dick
was expected to be at the hamlet to carry them
and their baggage to his home.
But for their dislike of disappointing the
good man, who had to drive a long way to the
station, the boys would have deferred the con-
clusion of their journey for several days. The
weather was not as cold as it had been, but there
were unmistakable signs of a storm in the sky.