THERE wasn't another engineer on the division who dared talk to
Doubleday the way Jimmie Bradshaw did.
But Jimmie had a grievance, and every time he thought about it, it
made him nervous.
Ninety-six years. It seemed a good while to wait; yet in the regular
course of events on the mountain division there appeared no earlier
prospect of Jimmie's getting a passenger run.
"Got your rights, ain't you?" said Doubleday, when Jimmie complained.
"I have and I haven't," grumbled Jimmie, winking hard; "there's
younger men than I am on the fast runs."
"They got in on the strike; you've been told that a hundred times. We
can't get up another strike just to fix you out on a fast run. Hang on
to your freight. There's better men than you in Ireland up to their
belt in the bog, Jimmie."
"It's a pity they didn't leave you there, Doubleday."
"You'd have been a good while hunting for a freight run if they had."
Then Jimmie would get mad and shake his finger and talk fast: "Just
the same, I'll have a fast run here when you're dead."
"Maybe; but I'll be alive a good while yet, my son," the master
mechanic would laugh. Then Jimmie would walk off very warm, and when
he got into private with himself he would wink furiously and say
friction things about Doubleday which needn't now be printed, because
it is different. However, the talk always ended that way, and Jimmie
Bradshaw knew it always would end that way.
The trouble was, no one on the division would take Jimmie seriously,
and he felt that the ambition of his life would never be fulfilled;
that he would go plugging to gray hairs and the grave on an old
freight train; and that even when he got to the right side of the
Jordan there would still be something like half a century between him
and a fast run. It was funny to hear him complaining about it, for
everything, even his troubles, came funny to him,and in talking he had
an odd way of stuttering with his eyes, which were red. In fact,
Jimmie was nearly all red; hair, face, hands -- they said his teeth were
When the first rumors about the proposed Yellow Mail reached the
mountains Jimmie was running a new ten-wheeler; breaking her in on a
freight "for some fellow without a lick o' sense to use on a limited
passenger run," as Jimmie observed bitterly. The rumors about the mail
came at first like stray mallards -- opening signs of winter -- and as the
season advanced flew thicker and faster. Washington never was very
progressive in the matter of improving the transcontinental service,
but they once put in a postmaster-general down there, by mistake, who
wouldn't take the old song. When the bureau fellows that put their
brains up in curl papers told him it couldn't be done he smiled softly,
but he sent for the managers of the crack lines across the continent,
without suspecting how it bore incidentally on Jimmie Bradshaw's
grievance against his master mechanic.
The postmaster-general called the managers of the big lines, and they
had a dinner at Chamberlain's, and they told him the same thing. "It
has been tried," they said in the old, tired way; "really it can't be
"California has been getting the worst of it for years on the mail
service," persisted the postmaster-general moderately. "But
Californians ought to have the best of it. We don't think anything
about putting New York mail in Chicago in twenty hours. It ought to be
simple to cut half a day across the continent and give San Francisco
her mail a day earlier. Where's the fall-down?" he asked, like one
refusing no for an answer.
The general managers looked at our representative sympathetically, and
coughed cigar smoke his way to hide him.
"West of the Missouri," murmured a Pennsylvania swell, who pulled
indifferently at a fifty-cent cigar. Everybody at the table took a
drink on the expose', except the general manager, who sat at that
time for the Rocky Mountains.
The West End representative was unhappily accustomed to facing the
finger of scorn on such occasions. It had become with our managers a
tradition. There was never a conference of continental lines in which
we were not scoffed at as the weak link in the chain of everything --
mail, passenger, specials, what not -- the trouble was invariably laid
at our door.
But this time there was a new man sitting for the line at the
Chamberlain dinner; a youngish man with a face that set like cement
when the West End was trod upon.
The postmaster-general was inclined, from the reputation we had, to
look on our chap as a man looks at a dog without a pedigree, or at a
dray horse in a bunch of standard breeds. But something in the mouth
of the West End man gave him pause; since the Rough Riders. It has
been a bit different about verdicts on things Western. The
postmaster-general suppressed a rising sarcasm with a sip of
Chartreuse, for the dinner was ripening, and waited; nor did he
mistake -- the West Ender was about to speak.
"Why west of the Missouri?" he asked, with a lift of the face that was
not altogether candid. The Pennsylvania man shrugged his brows; to
explain might have seemed indelicate.
"If it is put through, how much of it do you propose to take
yourself?" inquired our man, looking evenly at the Alleghany official.
"Sixty-five miles, including stops from the New York post-office to
Canal Street," replied the Pennsylvania man, and his words flowed with
irritating smoothness and ease.
"What do you take?" continued the man with the jaw, turning to the
Burlington representative, who was struggling, belated, with an
"About seventy from Canal to Tenth and Mason. Say, seventy,"
repeated the "Q" manager, with the lordliness of a man who has miles
to throw at almost anybody, and knows it.
"Then suppose we say sixty-five from Tenth and Mason to Ogden,"
suggested the West Ender. There was a well-bred stare the table round,
a lifting of glasses to mask expressions that might give pain.
Sixty-five miles an hour? Through the Rockies?
But the postmaster-general struck the table quickly and heavily; he
didn't want to let it get away. "Why, hang it, Mr. Bucks," he
exclaimed with emphasis, "if you will say sixty, the business is done.
We don't ask you to do the Rockies in the time these fellows take to
cut the Alleghanies. Do sixty, and I will put mail in 'Frisco a day
earlier every week in the year."
"Nothing on the West End to keep you from doing it," said General
Manager Bucks. He had been put up then only about six months. "But -- "
Every one looked at the young manager. The Pennsylvania man looked
with confidence, for he instantly suspected there must be a string to
such a proposition, or that the new representative was "talking
through his hat."
"But what?" asked the Cabinet member, uncomfortably apprehensive.
"But we are not putting on a sixty-five mile schedule just because we
love our country, you understand, nor to lighten an already glorious
reputation. Oh, no," smiled Bucks faintly, "we are doing it for the
stuff. You put up the money; we put up the speed. Not sixty miles;
sixty-five -- from the Missouri to the Sierras. No; no more wine. Yes,
thank you, I will take a cigar."
The trade was on from that minute. Bucks said no more then; he was a
good listener. But next day -- when it came to talking money -- he talked
more money into the West End treasury for one year's running than was
ever talked before on a mail contract for the best three years' work
we ever did.
When they asked him how much time he wanted to get ready, and told him
to take plenty, three months were stipulated. The contracts were drawn,
and they were signed by our people without hesitation because they
knew Bucks. But while the preparations for the fast schedule were
being made, the Government weakened on signing. Nothing ever got
through a Washington department without hitch, and they said our road
had so often failed on like propositions that they wanted a test.
There was a deal of wrangling, then a test run was agreed upon by all
the roads concerned. If it proved successful -- if the mail was put to
the Golden Gate on the second of the schedule -- public opinion and the
interests in the Philippines, it was concluded, would justify the
heavy premium asked for the service.
In this way the dickering and the figuring became, in a measure,
public, and keyed up everybody interested to a high pitch. We said
nothing for publication, but under Bucks' energy sawed wood for three
whole months. Indeed, three months goes as a day getting a system into
shape for an extraordinary schedule. Success meant with us prestige;
but failure meant obloquy for the road and for our division chief who
had been so lately called to handle it.
The real strain, it was clear, would come on his old -- the mountain --
division; and to carry out the point rested on the motive power of the
mountain division; hence, concretely, on Doubleday, master mechanic of
the hill country.
In thirty days Neighbor, superintendent of the motive power, called
for reports from the division master mechanics on the preparations for
the Yellow Mail run, and they reported progress. In sixty days he
called again. The subordinates reported well except Doubleday.
Doubleday said merely "Not ready"; he was busy tinkering with his
engines. There was a third call in eighty days, and on the eighty-
fifth a peremptory call. Everybody said ready except Doubleday. When
Neighbor remonstrated sharply, he would say only that he would be
ready in time. That was the most he would promise, though it was
generally understood that if he failed to deliver the goods he would
have to make way for somebody who could.
The plains division of the system was marked up for seventy miles an
hour, and, if the truth were told, a little better; but, with all the
help they could give us, it still left sixty for the mountains to take
care of, and the Yellow Mail proposition was conceded to be the
toughest affair the motive power at Medicine Bend ever faced. However,
forty-eight hours before the mail left the New York post-office
Doubleday wired to Neighbor, "Ready"; Neighbor to Bucks, "Ready"; and
Bucks to Washington, "Ready" -- and we were ready from end to end.
Then the orders began to shoot through the mountains. The test run was
of especial importance, because the signing of the contract was
believed to depend on the success of it. Once signed, accidents and
delays might be explained; for the test run there must be no delays.
Despatches were given the 11, which meant Bucks; no lay-outs, no slows
for the Yellow Mail. Road masters were notified: no track work in
front of the Yellow Mail. Bridge gangs were warned, yard masters
instructed, section bosses cautioned, track walkers spurred -- the
system was polished like a bar-keeper's diamond, and swept like a
parlor car for the test flight of the Yellow Mail.
Doubleday, working like a boiler washer, spent all day Thursday and
all Thursday night in the roundhouse. He had personally gone over the
engines that were to take the racket in the mountains. Ten-wheelers
they were, the 1012 and the 1014, with fifty-six-inch drivers and
cylinders big enough to sit up and eat breakfast in. Spick and span
both of them, just long enough out of the shops to run smoothly to the
work; and on Friday Oliver Sollers, who, when he opened a throttle,
blew miles over the tender like feathers, took the 1012, groomed as
you'd groom a Wilkes mare, down to Piedmont for the run up to the
Now Oliver Sollers was a runner in a thousand, and steady as a clock;
but he had a fireman who couldn't stand prosperity, Steve Horigan, a
cousin of Johnnie's. The glory was too great for Steve, and he spent
Friday night in Gallagher's place celebrating, telling the boys what
the 1012 would do to the Yellow Mail. Not a thing, Steve claimed after
five drinks, but pull the stamps clean off the letters the minute they
struck the foothills. But when Steve showed up at five A. M. to
superintend the movement, he was seasick. The instant Sollers set eyes
on him he objected to taking him out. Mr. Sollers was not looking for
any unnecessary chances on one of Bucks' personal matters, and for the
general manager the Yellow Mail test had become exceedingly personal.
Practically everybody East and West had said it would fail; Bucks said
Neighbor himself was on the Piedmont platform that morning, watching
things. The McCloud despatchers had promised the train to our division
on time, and her smoke was due with the rise of the sun. The big
superintendent of motive power, watching anxiously for her arrival,
and planning anxiously for her outgoing, glared at the bunged fireman
in front of him, and, when Sollers protested, Neighbor turned on the
swollen Steve with sorely bitter words. Steve swore mightily he was
fit and could do the trick -- but what's the word of a railroad man that
drinks? Neighbor spoke wicked words, and while they poured on the
guilty Steve's crop there was a shout down the platform. In the east
the sun was breaking over the sand-hills, and below it a haze of black
thickened the horizon. It was McTerza with the 808 and the Yellow Mail.
Neighbor looked at his watch; she was, if anything, a minute to the
good, and before the car tinks could hustle across the yard, a streak
of gold cut the sea of purple alfalfa in the lower valley, and the
narrows began to smoke with the dust of the race for the platform.
When McTerza blocked the big drivers at the west end of the depot,
every eye was on the new equipment. Three standard railway mail cars,
done in varnished buttercup, strung out behind the sizzling engine,
and they looked pretty as cowslips. While Neighbor vaguely meditated
on their beauty and on his boozing fireman, Jimmie Bradshaw, just in
from a night run down from the Bend, walked across the yard. He had
just seen Steve Horigan making a "sneak" for the bath-house, and from
the yard gossip Jimmie had guessed the rest.
"What are you looking for, Neighbor?" asked Jimmie Bradshaw.
"A man to fire for Sollers -- up. Do you want it?"
Neighbor threw it at him across and carelessly, not having any idea
Jimmie was looking for trouble. But Jimmie surprised him; Jimmie did
"Sure, I want it. Put me on. Tired? No. I'm fresh as rainwater. Put me
on, Neighbor; I'll never get fast any other way. Doubleday wouldn't
give me a fast run in a hundred years. Neighbor," exclaimed Jimmie,
greatly wrought, "put me on, and I'll plant sunflowers on your grave."
There wasn't much time to look around; the 1012 was being coupled on
to the mail for the hardest run on the line.
"Get in there, you blamed idiot," roared Neighbor presently at Jimmie.
"Get in and fire her; and if you don't give Sollers 210 pounds every
inch of the way I'll set you back wiping."
Jimmie winked furiously at the proposition while it was being hurled
at him, but he lost no time climbing in. The 1012 was drumming then at
her gauge with better than 200 pounds. Adam Shafer, conductor for the
run, ran backward and forward a minute examining the air. At the final
word from his brakeman he lifted two fingers at Sollers; Oliver opened
a notch, and Jimmie Bradshaw stuck his head out of the gangway. Slowly,
but with swiftly rising speed, the yellow string began to move out
through the long lines of freight cars that blocked the spurs; and
those who watched that morning from the Piedmont platform thought a
smoother equipment than Bucks' mail train never drew out of the
Jimmie Bradshaw jumped at the work in front of him. He had never in
his life lifted a pick in as swell a cab as that. The hind end of the
1012 was as big as a private car; Jimmie had never seen so much
play for a shovel in his life, and he knew the trick of his business
better than most men even in West End cabs -- the trick of holding the
high pressure every minute, of feeling the draughts before they left
the throttle; and as Oliver let the engine out very, very fast, Jimmie
Bradshaw sprinkled the grate bars craftily and blinked at the
shivering pointer, as much as to say, "It's you and me now for the
Yellow Mail, and nobody else on earth."
There was a long reach of smooth track in front of the foothills. It
was there the big start had to be made, and in two minutes the bark of
the big machine had deepened to a chest tone full as thunder. It was
all fun for an hour, for two hours. It was that long before the
ambitious fireman realized what the new speed meant: the sickening
slew, the lurch on lurch so fast the engine never righted, the
shortened breath along the tangent, the giddy roll to the elevation
and the sudden shock of the curve, the roar of the flight on the ear,
and, above and over it all, the booming purr of the maddened steel.
The canoe in the heart of the rapids, the bridge of a liner at sea,
the gun in the heat of the fight, take something of this -- the cab of
the mail takes it all.
When they struck the foothills, Sollers and Jimmie Bradshaw looked at
their watches and looked at each other, but like men who had turned
their backs on every mountain record. There was a stop for water --
speed drinks so hard -- an oil round, an anxious touch on the journals;
then the Yellow Mail drew reeling into the hills. Oliver eased her
just a bit for the heavier curves, but for all that the train writhed
frantically as it cut the segments, and the men thought, in spite of
themselves, of the mountain curves ahead. The worst of the run lay
ahead of the pilot, because the art in mountain running is not alone
or so much in getting up hill; it is in getting down hill. But by the
way the Yellow Mail got that day up hill and down, it seemed as if
Steve Horigan's dream would be realized, and that the 1012 actually
would pull the stamps off the letters. Before they knew it they were
through the gateway, out into the desert country, up along the crested
buttes, and then, sudden as eternity, the wheelbase of the 1012 struck
a tight curve, a pent-down rail sprang out like a knitting-needle, and
the Yellow Mail shot staggering off the track into a gray borrow-pit.
There was a crunching of truck and frame, a crashing splinter of
varnished cars, a scream from the wounded engine, a cloud of gray ash
in the burning sun, and a ruin of human effort in the ditch. In the
twinkle of an eye the mail train lay spilled on the alkali; for a
minute it looked desperately bad for the general manager's test.
It was hardly more than a minute, though; then like ants from out a
trampled hill men began crawling from the yellow wreck. There was
more -- there was groaning and worse, yet little for so frightful a
shock. And first on his feet, with no more than scratches, and
quickest back under the cab after his engineer, was Jimmie Bradshaw,
Sollers, barely conscious, lay wedged between the tank and the
footboard. Jimmie, all by himself, eased him away from the boiler. The
conductor stood with a broken arm directing his brakeman how to chop a
crew out of the head mail car, and the hind crews were getting out
themselves. There was a quick calling back and forth, and the cry,
"Nobody killed!" But the engineer and the conductor were put out of
action. There was, in fact, but one West End man unhurt; yet that was
enough -- for it was Jimmie Bradshaw.
The first wreck of the fast mail -- there have been worse since -- took
place just east of Crockett's siding. A west-bound freight lay at that
moment on the passing track waiting for the mail. Jimmie Bradshaw cast
up the possibilities of the situation the minute he righted himself.
Before the freight crew had reached the wreck, Jimmie was hustling
ahead to tell them what he wanted. The freight conductor demurred; and
when they discussed it with the freight engineer, Kingsley, he
objected. "My engine won't never stand it; it'll pound her to pieces,"
he argued. "I reckon the safest thing to do is to get orders."
"Get orders!" stormed Jimmie Bradshaw, pointing at the wreck. "Get
orders! Are you running an engine on this line and don't know the
orders for those mail bags? The orders is to move 'em! That's engine
on this line and don't know the orders for those empty box-cars and
hustle 'em back. By the Great United States! any man that interferes
with the moving of this mail will get his time -- that's what he'll get.
That's Doubleday, and don't you forget it. The thing is to move the
mail -- not stand here chewing about it!"
"Bucks wants the stuff hustled," put in the freight conductor,
weakening before Jimmie's eloquence. "Everybody knows that."
"Uncouple there!" cried Jimmie, climbing into the Mogul cab. "I'll
pull the bags, Kingsley; you needn't take any chances. Come back there,
every mother's son of you, and help on the transfer."
He carried his points with a gale. He was conductor and engineer and
general manager all in one. He backed the boxes to the curve below the
spill, and set every man at work piling the mail from the wrecked
train to the freight cars. The wounded cared for the wounded, and the
dead might have buried the dead; Jimmie moved the mail. Only one thing
turned his hair gray; the transfer was so slow, it looked as if it
would defeat his plan. As he stood fermenting, a stray party of Sioux
bucks on a vagrant hunt rose out of the desert passes, and halted to
survey the confusion. It was Jimmie Bradshaw's opportunity. He had the
blanket men in council in a trice. They talked for one minute, in two
he had them regularly sworn in and carrying second-class. The
registered stuff was jealously guarded by those of the mail clerks who
could still hobble -- and who, head for head, leg for leg, and arm for
arm, can stand the wrecking that a mail clerk can stand? The mail
crews took the registered matter; the freight crews and Jimmie,
dripping sweat and anxiety, handled the letter bags; but second and
third class were temporarily hustled for the Great White Father by his
irreverent children of the Rockies.
Before the disabled men could credit their senses the business was
done, themselves made as comfortable as possible, and with the promise
of speedy aid back to the injured, the Yellow Mail, somewhat
disfigured, was again heading westward in the box-cars This time
Jimmie Bradshaw, like a dog with a bone, had the throttle. Jimmie
Bradshaw for once in his life had the coveted fast run, and till he
sighted Fort Rucker he never for a minute let up.
Meantime there was a desperate crowd around the despatcher at Medicine
Bend. It was an hour and twenty minutes after Ponca Station reported
the Yellow Mail out, before Fort Rucker, eighteen miles farther west,
reported the box-cars and Jimmie Bradshaw in, and followed with a
wreck report from the Crockett siding. When that end of it began to
tumble into the Wickiup office Doubleday's face went very hard -- fate
was against him, the contract was gone glimmering, he didn't feel at
all sure his own head and the roadmaster's wouldn't follow it. Then
the Rucker operator began again to talk about Jimmie Bradshaw, and
"Who's Bradshaw?" asked somebody; and Rucker went on excitedly with
the story of the Mogul and of three box-cars, and of a war party of
Sioux squatting on the brake-wheels; it came so mixed that Medicine
Bend thought everybody at Rucker Station had gone mad.
While they fumed, Jimmie Bradshaw was speeding the mail through the
mountains. He had Kingsley's fireman, big as an ox and full of his own
enthusiasm. In no time they were flying across the flats of the Spider
Water, threading the curves of the Peace River, and hitting the rails
of the Painted Desert, with the Mogul sprinting like a Texas steer,
and the box-cars leaping like yearlings at the points. It was no case
of scientific running, no case of favoring the roadbed, of easing the
strain on the equipment; it was simply a case of galloping to a
Broadway fire with a Silsby rotary on a 4 -- 11 call. Up hill and down,
curve and tangent, it was all one. There was speed made on the plains
with that mail, and there was speed made in the foothills with the
fancy equipment, but never the speed that Jimmie Bradshaw made when he
ran the mail through the gorges in three box-cars; and frightened
operators and paralyzed station-agents all the way up the line watched
the fearful and wonderful train jump the switches with Bradshaw's red
head sticking out of the cabin window.
Medicine Bend couldn't get the straight of it over the wires. There
was an electric storm in the mountain's, and the wires went bad in the
midst of the confusion. They knew there was a wreck, and supposed
there was mail in the ditch, and, with Doubleday frantic, the
despatchers were trying to get the track to run a train down to
Crockett's. But Jimmie Bradshaw had asked at Rucker for rights to the
Bend, and in an unguarded moment they had been given; after that it
was all off. Nobody could get action on Jimmie Bradshaw to head him
off. He took the rights, and stayed not for stake and stopped not for
stone. In thirty minutes the operating department was ready to kill
him, but he was making such time it was concluded better to humor the
lunatic than to try to hold him up anywhere for a parley. When this
was decided Jimmie and his war party were already reported past Bad
Axe, fifteen miles below the Bend, with every truck an the box-cars
The Bad Axe run to the Bend was never done in less than fourteen
minutes until Bradshaw that day brought up the mail. Between those two
points the line is modeled on the curves of a ram's horn, but Jimmie
with the Mogul found every twist on the right of way in eleven
minutes; that particular record is good yet. Indeed, before Doubleday,
then in a frenzied condition, got his cohorts fairly on the platform
to look for Jimmie, the hollow scream of the big freight engine echoed
through the mountains. Shouts from below brought the operators to the
upper windows; down the Bend they saw a monster locomotive flying from
a trailing horn of smoke. As the stubby string of freight cars slewed
quartering into the lower yard, the startled officials saw them from
the Wickiup windows wrapped in a stream of flame. Every journal was
afire, and the blaze from the boxes, rolling into the steam from the
stack, curled hotly around a bevy of Sioux Indians, who clung sternly
to the footboards and brake-wheels on top of the box-cars. It was a
ride for the red men that is told around the council fires yet. But
they do not always add in their traditions that they were hanging on,
not only for life, but also for a butt of plug tobacco promised for
their timely help at Crockett siding.
By the time Jimmie slowed up his amazing equipment the fire brigade
was on the run from the roundhouse. The Sioux warriors climbed hastily
down the fire escapes, a force of bruised and bareheaded mail clerks
shoved back the box-car doors, the car tinks tackled the
conflagration, and Jimmie Bradshaw, dropping from the cab with the
swing of a man who has done it, waited at the gangway for the
questions to come to him, and for a minute they came hot.
"What the blazes do you mean by bringing in an engine in that
condition?" yelled Doubleday, pointing to the blown machine.
"I thought you wanted the mail," winked Jimmie.
"How the devil are we to get the mail with you blocking the track for
two hours?" demanded Calahan insanely.
"Why, the mail's here -- in these box-cars," responded Jimmie Bradshaw,
pointing to his bobtail train. "Now don't look daffy like that; every
sack is right here. I thought the best way to get the mail here was to
bring it. Hm! We're forty minutes late, ain't we?"
Doubleday waited to hear no more. Orders flew like curlews from the
superintendent and the master mechanic. They saw there was a life for
it yet. A string of new mail cars was backed down beside the train
before the fire brigade had done with the trucks. The relieving mail
crews waiting at the Bend took hold like cats at a pudding, and a
dozen extra men helped them sling the pouches. The 1014, blowing
porpoisewise, was backed up just as Benedict Morgan's train pulled
down for Crockett's siding, and the Yellow Mail, rehabilitated,
rejuvenated, and exultant, started up the gorge for Bear Dance, only
fifty-three minutes late, with Hanksworth in the cab.
"And if you can't make that up, Frank, you're no good on earth,"
spluttered Doubleday at the engineer he had put in for that especial
endeavor. And Frank Hanksworth did make it up, and the Yellow Mail
went on and off the West End on the test, and into the Sierras for the
coast, on time.
"There's a butt of plug tobacco and transportation to Crockett's
coming to these bucks, Mr. Doubleday," winked Jimmie Bradshaw
uncertainly, for with the wearing off of the strain came the idea to
Jimmie that he might have to pay for it himself. "I promised them
that," he added, "for helping with the transfer. If it hadn't been for
the blankets we wouldn't have got off for another hour. They chew
Tomahawk -- rough and ready preferred -- Mr. Doubleday. Hm!"
Doubleday was looking off into the mountains.
"You've been on a freight run some time, Jimmie," said he tentatively
after a while.
The Indian detachment was crowding in pretty close on the red-headed
engineer. He blushed. "If you'll take care of my tobacco contract,
Doubleday, we'll call the other matter square. I'm not looking for a
fast run as much as I was."
"If we get the
mail contract," resumed Doubleday reflectively, "and it won't be your fault
if we don't -- hm! -- we may need you on one of the
runs. Looks to me like you ought to have one."
his head. "I don't want one -- don't mind me; just fix these
gentlemen out with some tobacco before they scalp me, will you?"
The Indians got their leaf, and Bucks got his contract, and
Jimmie Bradshaw got the pick of the runs on the Yellow Mail, and ever
since he's been kicking to get back on a freight. But they don't call
him Bradshaw any more. No man in the mountains can pace him on a
dare-devil run. And when the head brave of the hunting party received the
butt of tobacco on behalf of his company, he looked at Doubleday
with dignity, pointed to the sandy engineer, and spoke freckled words
in the Sioux.
way it came about. Bradshaw holds the belt for the run from Bad Axe
to Medicine Bend; but he never goes by the name of Bradshaw any more.
West of McCloud, everywhere up and down the mountains, they give him
the name that the Sioux gave him that day -- Jimmie the Wind.