1. Emma W. Demeritt: The New Engineer of the Valley Railroad
2. C. Dibdin, Jr.: The Ape and her Young Ones
Along the single track of the Valley Railroad trudged a merry, brown-faced Italian, singing as he went. In one hand he carried a stout stick to which was fastened a platform about a foot and a half square, while with the other he held the end of a tiny chain attached to the collar of a small South-American monkey, perched upon his shoulder. In spite of his gay scarlet jacket, with its tarnished gilt military trimmings, Jocko looked very sad. Perhaps he was thinking of the good times he used to have scampering about with troops of merry playmates in his native Brazilian forests, or jabbering with his neighbors the toucans, the parrots and the long-tailed macaws.
The New Engineer of the Valley Railroad
Just then his master came in sight of the car-house at the end of the road. The engine, with its steam up, was standing ready to back down the track to the station, and quite a crowd of small boys and road hands were lounging around, waiting for the starting.
"Ah, ha!" exclaimed the Italian aloud, hurrying with all his might. "Now, Jocko, perhaps we haf a schance to make a leetle penny!"
In a moment more he had planted his staff firmly in the ground, and, pulling a parcel from under his ragged coat, took out a soldier's cap, which he clapped on Jocko's head, and a tiny toy gun, which he placed in the monkey's brown paw, and then stood him on the platform, ready to show off the clever tricks which he had taught him.
"Shoulder arms! Present arms! Carry arms! Load! Fire! Scharge baynet!" shouted the merry Italian, at short intervals, holding up a stick threateningly. Jocko obeyed, with the most soldier-like air possible. The small boys screamed with delight, and made up faces and capered about, acting a great deal more monkey-like than did Jocko, who stood up as stiff as a poker and as dignified as a Roman senator.
Jocko hated small boys. In the first place, he thought if it were not for them he might live in peace, and not have to go through with those odious tricks, for if all the people in the world were grown up, they would have neither the time nor the taste for such nonsense. And, in the second place, small boys seemed born without mercy, for when he had played soldier again and again, until his back and limbs were sore and stiff, the greedy creatures never failed to ask for more.
The Italian pulled off Jocko's military coat and cap, and opening the bundle a second time, took out a short brown petticoat and red waist, and white cap with a big frill around the front of it, and put them on the monkey, who scolded and jabbered away as if he was utterly disgusted at such folly. Then a little broom was given him, and he had to go through the motions of sweeping over and over again. But when he passed the hat around and heard the chink of the pennies, he felt better-natured, for he knew that so much money meant a good supper for that night.
"Jump in here," said the engineer, beckoning to the monkey's master. "I'll take you down to the station. Perhaps you'll have a chance to pick up a few pennies there."
The Italian clambered up the side of the engine, and Jocko sat perched on his shoulder, watching with his inquisitive, sharp little eyes the pulling out of the throttle-valve, and every movement made by the engineer.
At the station, the Italian had just fixed the stand to the platform, ready to show off Jocko's accomplishments, when a tremendous clatter was heard, and a horse with a pony phaeton, in which were a lady and two little children, dashed up the street at a furious pace. The engineer and fireman left their places, and all the men about the station ran toward the road, hoping to stop the horse as he came along. Even the Italian, in the excitement of the moment, forgot Jocko and darted off like a deer.
Finding himself alone, Jocko jumped down from the stand and scrambled up the side of the engine, and, hopping on one of the seats of the cab, sat looking about him as wise as an owl or a college professor. Then his keen, mischievous eyes espied the throttle-valve, and reaching up his brown paw he gave the handle a violent pull.
"Pish! Pish!" The engine made a sudden plunge which nearly jerked the passengers' heads off, and caused two stout old gentlemen, who were standing in the aisle talking politics, to bump their noses together in a very painful manner.
"Pish-pish, pish-pish, pish-pish, pish-pish," faster and faster turned the wheels, and faster and faster came the great white clouds from the smoke-stack!
The train was already far beyond the switch, and Jocko, looking out of the window, saw that the runaway horse had been stopped and the lady and children were safe, and all the people were running after the iron horse as if they thought they could stop that as easily as they had brought the real horse to a stand-still.
"It's some rascally boy," said the fireman, hopping up and down in his anger, while the engineer shook his brawny fist toward the train and shouted until he was hoarse: "Stop! Stop! You young scamp. If ever I catch you I'll take your head off close to your shoulders." The long-legged conductor, however, gave chase to the engine, and ran as far as the car-house after it, followed by a stout old lady, who kept waving her parasol and screaming: "Wait a bit, wait a bit!" until she puffed almost as much as the locomotive.
The track for some distance was a steep downgrade, and Jocko, delighted at the tremendous speed at which he was going, felt himself of considerable importance, and jabbered and grinned with joy. The people in the car thought it was all right until they reached the first way-station, and the train thundered by without so much as a warning whistle. Then they began to put their heads out of the windows and wonder at the unusual rate of speed.
"Can we be late?" asked one of the stout old gentlemen, rubbing the bump on his red nose, and looking rather anxiously at his neighbor.
"Perhaps the engineer has a fit," remarked a fidgety old lady, as the cars gave a sudden lurch.
"What does it mean, Patrick?" asked a lady of the coachman who had brought her to the third way-station in time to take the train.
"Howly saints!" exclaimed Patrick, with a white face and big, round eyes. "Shure, ma'am, and it's the divil himself let loose and a dhriving the ingine. Be me sowl, I saw his tail!"
The locomotive slackened its furious speed as it puffed its way up the steep ascent just before the long level stretch which lay between the branch railroad and its junction with the main line. Then, Jocko suddenly remembered that he had seen the engineer push in the throttle-valve, and he did likewise, and the train gradually came to a stand-still. But just as the passengers were starting anxiously for the door to find out what was the matter, the mischievous monkey pulled out the handle again, and the locomotive nearly leaped from the track, throwing the passengers violently against the seats. A few rods beyond, in went the valve again, and two or three times these strange maneuvers were repeated, while the passengers, with white, terror-stricken faces, sat holding on to the seats, expecting every instant some awful accident. Just as the train was nearing the junction, Jocko pushed in the handle of the throttle-valve for the last time, and in a moment more two of the station men, who had been watching in utter surprise the queer movements of the engine, sprang into the cab and backed the train down to the side track, just in time to get out of the way of the lightning express which whizzed by on the main track, leaving a thick cloud of dust behind it.
"There's a new engineer on the Valley Road, your honor," said one of the men to the superintendent, who came to see what the trouble was. "And he's rayther a green hand at it," and he pointed to the monkey, who sat there as solemn as a judge.
A telegram was at once sent to the Valley Station, explaining matters, and the superintendent, delighted with the monkey's smartness, bought him for his two boys, paying the Italian a good round price for him. The engineer and fireman came very near losing their places for leaving their engine, but when the superintendent found out that the runaway horse which the engineer's strong hand had seized was his own, and that the lady and two little girls in the phaeton were his wife and youngest children, he let the men off with a mild rebuke and some good advice.
Jocko led a happy and peaceful life, becoming a great favorite with the railroad hands, who petted him, and took him by turns to ride on the engines, and always spoke of him as the "new engineer of the Valley Railroad."
But the smart little fellow was never after allowed to be alone on the engine, as on the day when he made his first trial-trip.
The Ape and her Young Ones
An ape, by the fable 'tis proved,
Had a couple of sweet little dears;
One better than t'other she loved,
And its safety perplex'd her with fears;
She'd pat it, and kiss its dear little pug nose;
But people who pet
Should never forget
That, sweet as it is, there's a thorn in the rose.
This ape was alarm'd on a day,
And scamper'd away to a wood;
But caught up her pet by the way,
Leaving t' other to shift as it could;
Which jump'd on her back, while she hugg'd in repose,
Her darling, and kiss'd its dear little pug nose:
The moral bears yet,
'Tis "never forget
That, sweet as it is, there's a thorn in the rose."
The ape, as she fled from alarms,
Tripp'd up, 'mong a parcel of stones;
So fell with her pet in her arms,
And broke all its dear little bones:
While t'other escaped all the bruises and blows,
And cock'd up, in triumph, its little pug nose;
While the ape, left to fret
For the fate of her pet,
Found, sweet as it is, there's a thorn in the rose.
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