The Wapanucka Press (Wapanucka, Okla.), Vol. 20, No. 51, Ed. 1 Friday, June 10, 1921 Page: 3 of 8
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Coprrffht by Charles Scrlbner't Son*
LOST—ONE PERFECTLY GOOD ENGINE.
Synopsis.—Oraham Norcross, railroad manager, and his secretary, Jlmmle
Dodds, are marooned at Sand Creek siding with a young lady. Sheila Macrae,
and her small cousin, Malsle Ann. Unseen, they witness a peculiar train hold-
up, In which a special car Is carried off. Norcross recognizes the car as that
of John Chad wick, financial magnate, whom-he was to meet at Portal City.
He and Dodds rescue Chadwlck. The latter offers Norcross the management
of the Pioneer Short IJne, Chlch Is In the hands of eastern speculators headed
by Breckenrldge Dunton, president of the line. Norcross, learning that Sheila
Macrae Is stopping at Portal City, accepts. Dodds overhears conversation be-
tween Rufus Hatch and Gustave Henckel. Portal City financiers. In which
they admit complicity In Chadwlck1* kidnaping, their object being to keep
Chadwlck from attending a meeting of directors to reorganize the Pioneer
Short Line, which would Jeopardize their interests. To curb the monopoly cor*
tro led by Hatch and Henckel, the Red Tower corporation, Norcross forms the
Cltltzens Storage and Warehouse company. He begins to manifest a deep
Interest In Sheila Macrae. Dodds learns that Sheila Is married but living
apart from her husband. Norcross does not know this. The Boss'disappears-
report has it that he has resigned and gone east.
Mr. Van Brltt saw and talked with
everybody, and when he could wedge
off a minute or two of privacy, he'd
go Into the third room of the suite
and thresh It out with Juneman, or
Bllloughby, or Mr. Ripley. From these
private talks I found out that there
was still some doubt In the minds of
all four of them about the boss' drop-
out—as to whether It was voluntary
or not- ^
AJso, I found out what had been
done during the four days. We had
no "company detective" at that time,
and Mr. Hornack had borrowed a man
named Grimmer from his old com-
pany, the Overland Central, wiring for
him and getting him on the ground
within twenty-four hours of the time
of Mr. Norcross' disappearance.
Grimmer had gone to work at once,
but everything he had turned up, so
far, favored the voluntary runaway
theory. Mr. Norcross' trunks were
still In his rooms at the Bullard; but
his two grips were gone. And the
right clerk at the hotel, when he was
pushed to it, remembered that the
boss had paid his bill up to date that
night, before going up to hie rooms.
Past that, the trace was completely
lost. The conductor on the Fast Mall,
eastbound, on the night in question,
ewore by all that was good and great
that Mr. Norcross hadn't been a
passenger on his train. And he would
certainly have known it if he been
carrying hie general manager.
Over In the other field there was
absolutely nothing to Incriminate the
Hatch people. So far from It, Hatch
had turned up at the railroad office,
bright and early the morning after
Mr. Norcross had gone. He had asked
for the boss, and failing to find him,
he had hunted up Mr. Van Brltt. What
• he wanted, It seemed, was a chance
to reopen the proposition that had
been made to him the day before—
the offer of the new Citizens' Storage
& Warehouse company to purchase the
various Red Tower equipments and
Mr. Vnn Brltt had referred him to
Mr. Ripley, and to our lawyer Hatch
had made what purported to be an
open confession, admitting that he had
gone to Mr. Norcross the night be-
fore, determined to fight the new com-
pany to a finish, and that there had
been a good many things said that
would better be forgotten. Now, how-
ever, he was willing to talk straight
business and a compromise. He had
called his board of directors together,
and they had voted to sell their track-
bordering plants to Citizens' Storage
& Warehouse If a price could be ami-
cably agreed upon.
With Mr. Norcross gone and a new
general manager coming, Mr. Ripley
was afraid to make a move, and Hatch
waa pressing him to gqf busy on the
bargain and sale proposition; was ap-
parently as anxious now to sell and
withdraw as he had at first been to
fight everything in sight.
By the morning I came on the scene
the man Grimmer had, as they say,
Just about done his do. He was only
a sort of journeyman detective, and
had run out of clues. When he came
In and talked to M% Van Brltt and
Mr. Ripley, I could see that-hg fully
believed In the drop-out theory, and
even the lawyer and Mr. Vnn Brltt
had to admit that the facts were with
him. The boss hnd written a letter
saying definitely that he was quitting;
he had paid his hotel bill, and his
grips were gone; and two days later
President Dunton had appointed a
new general manager, which was proof
positive, you'd say, that the boss had
resigned and had so notified the New
When the noon hour came along,
Fred May took me out to luncheon,
and we went to the Bullard cafe. R
was pretty#rlch for our blood at two
dollars per, but I guess Fred thought
his Job was gone, anyway, and felt
reckless. Over the good things at our
corner table we did a little threshing
on our own account—and got a lot
more chaff and no grain.
Fred didn't want to agree with
Grimmer and the facts, but there
didn't seem to be any help for It. And
as for ine, I had other things In mind
all the time—the big scary fear that
somebody had got to •the boss after
he had left Ripley on the night of
shockIngs, and had Just hashed him In
ihe face with the story of Mrs. Sheila's
By and by we got around to my
burned hand, and Fred told ine Grim-
mer had at least succeeded to clearing
up whatever mystery there was about
that. The wall switch for the electric
light la the lower hall at the head-
quarters was right beside the outer
door jamb—as I knew. It had burned
out In some way, and that was why
there was no light on when I went
down-stairs. And In burning out It
bad short-circuited itself with the
brass lock of the door; Fred didn't
know just how, but Grimmer had ex-
plained it. I asked him if Grlmmw
had explained how a 110 volt light cur-
rent could cook me like a fried potato,
and he said he hadn't.
The afternoon at the office was a
sort of cut-and-come-again repeat of
the morning, with lots of people mill-
ing around and things going crooked
and cross-ways, as they were bound
to with the boss gone and a new 6oss
coming. Nobody had any heart for
anything, and along late In the after-
noon when word came of a freight
wreck at Cross Creek Gulch, Mr. Van
Britt threw up both hands and ylpped
and swore like a pirate. It Just showed
what a raw edge the headquarters'
nerves were taking on.
Though It wasn't his business, Mr.
Ven Britt went out with the wreck-
ing train, and Fred May and I had It
all to ourselves for the remaining hour
or so up to closihg time. Just before
five, Mr. Cantrell, the editor of the
Mountaineer, dropped In. He looked
a bit disappointed when he found
only us two. Fred turned him over
to me, and he came on in to the prlv
ate office when I asked him to, and
smoked one of the boss' good cigars
out of a box that I found In the big
I liked Cantrell He was Just the
sort of man you expect an editor to
be; tall and thin and kind of mild-
eyed, with an absent way with him
that made you feel as If he were
thinking along about a mile ahead of
you when you were striking the best
thlnk-galt you ever knew of.
"No word yet from Mr. Norcross, I
suppose?" he said.
I told him there wasn't
"It's very singular to me, and to
all of us, as it Is to you," 1 threw In.
The editor smoked on for a full
minute without saying anything more,
and he seemed to be staring absently
at a steamship picture on the wall.
When he got good and ready, he be-
"You don't need any common plain-
clothes man on this Job, Jlmmle; you
need the best there Is: a real, dyed-
in-the-wool Sherlock Holmes, If there
ever were such a miracle."
"You think It Is a case for a de-
"I do," he replied, looking straight
it me with his mild blue eyes. "If
1 were one of Mr. Norcross' close
friends I should get the best help that
could be found and not lose a single
minute about it."
Since there was nobody around
who was any closer to the boss than
I was, I Jumped into the hole pretty
"Can you tell us anything that will
help, Mr. Cantrell r I asked.
"Not specifically; I wish I could.
But I can say this: I kaow Mr. Rufus
Hatch and his associates up one side
and down the other. They are hand-
in-glove with the political pirates who
control this state, From the little
that has leaked out, and the great deal
that has been published In the Hatch-
controlled newspnpers all over the
state during the past few weeks, It is
apparent that Mr. Norcross' removal
was a thing greatly to be desired, not
oniy'by the Red Tower people, hut
also by the political bosses. That
ought to be enough to make all of
you suspicious—very suspicious, Jlm-
The tall editor got up and made
ready to go. "If I were In your place,
or rather In Mr. Van llrltt's, I'd get
an expert on tlifk job—and I shouldn't
let much grass grow under my feet
wlille I was about It. Cnil me up nt
the Mountaineer office If I can help."
And with that he went away.
It was Just a little while after this
that I put on my hat and strolled
across the yard tracks to Kirgan's
office In the shops. Klrgan was an
old friend, as you might suy: he had
been on the Oregon building Job with
us and knew the boss through and
through. I didn't have anything spe-
cial to gay. but I kind of wanted to
talk to somebody who knew. So I
loafed In on Klrgan.
He loved the boss like a brother.
As soon as I cam* in, be fired bis kid
stenographer on some errand or other,
and made me sit down end tell him
all I knew. When I got through he
was pulling at his long mustache and
wrinkling his nose as I've seen a bull-
dog do when he was getting ready to
"You haven't got all the drop-out
business cornered over yonder In the
general office, Jlmmle," he said slow-
ly, tilting back In his swing-chair and
glowering at me with those sultry eyes
of his. "On that same night that you're
talkln' about, I stand to lose one per
fectly good Atlantic-type locomotive.
At ten o'clock she was set in on the
spur below the coal chutes. At twelve
o'clock, when the round-house watch-
man went down there to see If her
fire was banked all right, she was
The Lost 1016
When Klrgan told me he was
shy a whole locomotive, I began to
see all sorts of fire-works. Of course,
there was nothing on earth to connect
the ttpss' disappearance with that of
the engine which had been left stand-
ing below the coal chutes, but the two
things snapped themselves together
for me like the halves of an auto-
matic coupling, and I couldn't wedge
"An engine—even a little old Atlan-
tic-type—is a pretty big thing to lose,
1st* It, Klrgan?" I asked.
Klrgan righted his chair with
"Jlmmle, I've sifted this blamed ofrt-
fit through an eighty-mesh, screen!"
he growled. "With all the devll-to^pay
that's goin' on over at the head-
quarters, I didn't want to bother Mr.
Van Brltt, and I haven't been ad-
vertisin' in the newspapers. But It's
a holy fact, Jlmmle. The 'Sixteen's
I was trying to pry myself loose
from the notion that the loss of the
engine and the boss' disappearance
at about the same time were In some
way connected with each other. It
was no use; the Idea refused to let go.
"Look here, Klrgan," I shoved in;
"can you think of any possible reason
why Mr. Norcross should write Mr.
Van Britt a letter saying that he had
quit and was going east on the mid-
night train and then should change
his mind and come down here and go
somewhere on that engine?"
After I had said it, it sounded so
foolish that I wanted to take it back.
But Klrgan didn't seem to look at it
"Well, Til be shot!" he exclaimed.
"I never once thought of that! But
where the devil would he go? And
how would he get there without some-
body finding out? And why in Sam
Hill would he do a thing like that,
anyway? Why, sufferln' Moses! If
he wanted to go anywhere, all he had
to do was to order out his car and
tell the dispatcher, and go.
I can't figure It out any better than
you can," I confessed. "Mr. Norcross
Is gone, and the Ten-Slxteen Is gone,
and they both dropped out between
ten and twelve o'clock on the same
night. Mart, I don't believe Mr. Nor-
cross went east at all! I believe,
when we find that engine, we'll find
Klrgan got out of his chair and be-
gan to walk up and down In the little
space between his desk and the draw-
"I've Sifted This Blame Outfit Through
an Eighty-Mesh Screen."
Ing-boord. Besides being the best boss
mechanic In the West, lie was a first-
class fighting man, with a clear head
and nerve to burn. When he hnd got
as far as be could go alone he turned
"Jlmmle, do you reckon this Red
Towet outfit was far enough along In
Its scrap with the boss to put up a Job
to pnss him out of the game?" he de-
I told him tt didn't seem to fit Into
any twentieth-century scheme of
things, and paat that I mentioned the
fact that the Hatch people had taken
the back track and were now offering
to sell oqt and stop chocking the
wheels of reform.
"I know," he put in. "But I've been
readin' the papers, Jlmmfe, and It
ain't all Red Tower, not by a Jugful.
The big graft in this neck-a woods is
political, and the Red Tower gang is
only set-a cogs In the bull-wheel. Mr.
Norcross was gettln' himself mighty
pointedly disliked; you know that.
The way he was almln' to run things,
It was beglnnln' to look as if maybe
the people of this state might wake up
some day and turn In and help him."
"I know all about that," I threw In.
"But where are you trying to land,
"Right here. Mr. Norcross was the
whole show. Take him out of It and
the whole shootln'-match would fall
to pieces—as It's doln', right now.
They didn't need to slug blm or shoot
him up or anything like that: If it
could be made to look as If he'd
Jumped the Job, quit, chucked it all
up, why, there you are. A new boss
would be sent out here, and you could
bet your sweet life he wouldn't be
anybody like Mr. Norcross. Not so
you could notice It. The New York
people would take blamed good care-a
"You think the Dunton people are
standing In with the graft?"
"Nobody could've grabbed off the
motive-power Job on this railroad, as
I did, Jimmie, and not think It—and
be d—n' sure of it. Why, Lord o'
Heavens, the Red Tower bunch was
usln' us just the same as if we be-
longed to 'em!—ordering our men to
do their machinery repairs, helpin'
themselxes to any railroad material
that they happened to need, usln' our
cars and engines on their loggln' roads
and mine branches."
"You stopped all this?"
"You bet I did—between two days!
They've been makln' seventeen differ-
ent kinds of a roar ever since, but I've
had Mr. Van Britt and the big boss
behind me, so I just shoved ahead."
What Klrgan s«|d about the Red
Tower people using our rolling stock
on their private branch roads set a
bee to buzzing In my brain. What If
they had stolen the 1016 to use In that
"You#have a blue-print of the Portal
division here, haven't you?" I asked.
"Dig it up and let's have a look at It"
At first the facts threatened to bluff
us. The blue-print engineers' map was
an old one, but It showed the spurs and
side-tracks, the stations and water
tanks. Since the lost engine had been
standing at the western end of the
Portal City yards, we didn't try to
trace It eastward. To get out In that
direction It would have had to pass
the round-house, the shops, the pas-
senger station and the headquarters
building, and, even at that time of
night, somebody would have been sure
to "see It
Tracing the other way—westward—
we had a clear track for ten miles to
Arroyo. Arroyo had no night opera-
tor, so we agreed that the stolen en-
gine might easily have slipped past
there without being marked down.
Eight miles beyond Arroyo we came
to Banta, the first night station west
of Portal City. Here, as we figured
it the wild engine must have been
seen by the operator, If by no one
else. Banta was an apple town, and
the town Itself might have been
asleep, but the wire man at the sta-
tion shouldn't have been.
"Let's hold Banta in suspense a bit
and allow that by some means or
other the thieves managed to get by,"
I suggested. "The next thing to be
considered 1b the fact that the Ten-
Sbfteen must now have been run-
ning—without orders, we must remem-
ber—against the Fast Mall coming
east. The Mall didn't pass her any-
where—not officially, at least; if it
had, the fact would show up In some
station's report to the dispatcher's
At this, we hunted up an ofllclal
time-card and began to figure on the
meet" proposition. The Fast Mall
was due,at Portal City at twelve-
twenty, and on the night In question
it had been on time. Making due
time allowances for Inaccuracy In the
yard watchman's story, the missing
engiue could hardly have left the
Portal City yard much before ten-
The Fast Mall was scheduled at
forty miles an hour. Its time at Banta
was eleven-flfty-three. Avowing the
1010 the same rate of speed in the
opposite direction, It would have
passed Banta at eleven-twelve or there-
abouts. Hence there would still be
forty-one minutes running time to be
divided between the eastbound train
and the westbound engine. In other
words, the meeting-point, with the two
running at the same speed, would full
about tweuty minutes west of Banta.
Tracing the line on the blue-print,
we hunted for a possible passing point,
which, according to the way we had
things doped oat, should have been
not more than thirteen or fourteen
miles west of Banta. There was a
blind aiding ten miles west, but be-
yond that nothing east of Sand Creek,
which was twenty-one nillw farther
alone; at least, there was nothing that
showed up on the map. The ten-mile
siding might have served for the pass-
ing point, but In that case the crew
of the Fast Mall would surely have
seen the 1016 waiting on the siding as
they came by. And they hadn't seen
It; Kirgan said they had been ques-
tioned promptly the following morn-
Though I had been over the road
with Mr. Norcross in his private car
any number of times since we had
taken hold, I didn't recall th^ detail
topographies very clearly, and I
couldn't seem to remember anything
about this siding ten miles west of
Banta. So I asked Klrgan.
"That siding Isn't in any such shape
that the Fast Mall could get by with-
out seeing a 'meet' train on the side-
track, is It?"
The big master-mechanic shook his
"Hardly, you'd think. I reckon we are
up a stump, Jlmmle. That siding Is
part of an old 'Y' at the mouth of a
We Hunted for a Possible Passing
gulch that runs back Into the moun-
tains for maybe a dozen miles or so.
They tell me the *Y' was put In for
the Timber Mountain Lumber outfit
when they used the gulch mouth for
their shipping point They had one
of their saw-mills up in the gulch
somewhere, but the business died out
when they got the timber all cut off."
"Tell me this, Mart," I put In quick-
ly. "The Timber Mountain company
Is one of the Red Tower monopolies;
did It have a railroad track up that
gulch connecting with our 'Y'?"
"Why, yes; I reckon so. Pm not
right sure that there ain't one there
yet. But if there Is, it's been dis-
connected from the 'Y.' I'm sure of
that, because I went In on that *Y'
one day with the wrecker."
You'd think this would have settled
it But I hung on like a dog to a
"Say, Mart," I Insisted, "this 'Y'
siding we're talking about Is Just
around where the Ten-Slxteen ought
to have met the Mall; so far as we
can tell by this map It's the only place
where It could have met it And the
old gulch track would have been a
mighty good hiding-place for the stolen
"There ain't any track there," said
Kirgan, shaking his head; "or, least-
wise, If there Is, It hasn't any rail con-
nection with our siding, Just as I'm
tellln' you. We'll have to look far-
Somehow, I couldn't get It out of
my head but that I was right. Our
guesses all went as straight as a
string to that 'Y' siding ten miles west
of Banta, and I was sure that if I had
been talking to Mr. Van Britt I could
have convinced him. But Klrgan was
"It's supper time," he said, after
we had mulled a while longer over
the map. "Tomorrow, If you like,
we'll talJb. an engine and run down
there. But we ain't goin' to find any-
thing. I enn tell you that, right now."
"Yes. and tomorrow we may have
the new general manager, and then
you and I and all the others will be
hunting for some other railroad to
work on," I retorted.
I pretty nearly had him over the
edge, but I couldn't push him the
rest of the way to save my life.
"If there was the least little scrap-a
reason even to imagine that Mr. Nor-
cross had gone off ou that stolen
eight-wheeler. It would be different
Jlmmle," he protested. "But there
aint; and you know doggoned well
there ain't. Let's go up-town and
hunt up something to eat. You'll feel
a heap clearer In your mind when you
get a good square meal luslde o' your
We left the shop offices together,
and got shut out, crossing the yard,
by a freight that was pulling In from
the west. There was a yard crew
shifting on the other side of the In-
coming train, and rather than wait
for the double obstruction to clear Itself,
«• walked down the shop track, mean-
ing to go around the lower end of
This detour took us past the round-
house, and when we reached the turn-
table lead, the engine of the just-
arrived freight came backing down
the skip-track. Seeing Klrgan, the
engineer swung down from the stej#
at the lead switch, leaving the hostler
to "spot" the engine on the table. I
knew the engineer by sight. His name
was Gorcher, and he was a reformed
cow-punch*—with a record for getting
out of more tight places with a heavy
train than any other man on the divi-
"Here's looking' at yon, Mr. Klr-
gan," he said, with a sort of Happy
Hooligan grin on his smutty face.
"You been passln' the word, quiet
among the boys to keep an eye out
f'r that Atlantic-type that got lost In
the shuffle, ain't you? Well, I found
"What's that—where?" snapped Kir-,
gan, In a tone that made a noise like
the pop of a whlp-lash.
"You know that old gravel pit that
digs Into the hill a mile west of the
old 'Y' on the Timber Mountain grade?
Well, she's there; plumb at the far
end o' that gravel track, cold and
"Crippled?" Klrgan rapped out
"Not as we could see; Just dead.
She's got her nose shoved a piece
into the gravel bank, but she ain't
off the rail."
Klrgan nodded. "Who else saw
"Nobody but the boys on our train,
"All right. Don't spread it Want
to make a little overtime?"
"I ain't kickin' none."
"That's business. After you've had
your supper, call up your fireman and
report to me here at the round-house.
We'll take a light engine and go down
along and get that runaway."
This seemed to settle Kirgan's half
of the puzzle. We hadn't taken the
gravel track into our calculations sim-
ply because It wasn't marked on the
map we had been studying; but that
merely meant that the pit had been
opened some time after the map had
When Gorcher had gone Into the
round-house to wash up and tell hla
fireman to report back, Kirgan and
I crossed the yard and headed for
town. I left the master-mechanic at
the door of a Greek eat-shop that he
patronized and went on up to the
Bullard. I was Just getting around
to my piece of canned pumpkin pie
when the kid from the dispatcher's
office came Into the grill-room, stretch-
ing. his neck as if he were looking for
somebody. When he got his eye on
me he came across to my corner and
handed me a telegram. It was from
Mr. Chadwlck, under a Chicago date
line, and it was addressed 'To the
General Manager's Office," just like
that. There were only nine words
in It, but they were all strictly to the
point: "What's gone wrong? Where
Is Mr. Norcross? Answer quick."
I saw In half a second at least a
part of what had happened. Mr. Chad-
wlck was back from his Canadian
trip, and somebody—the New York
people, perhaps—had wired him that
a new general manager had been ap-
pointed for Pioneer Short Line. The
old wheat king's quick shot at our
office showed that he wasn't In the
plot and that, whatever else had be-
come of him, Mr. Norcross hadn't as
yet turned up In Chicago!
Gee I but that brought on more
talk—a whaling lot of It I meant
to find out right away, if Mr. Van
Britt ha'd come back from the scene
of a wreck. He was the man to an-
swer Mr. Chadwick's wire. But an
Interruption butted in suddenly, Just
as I was signing the dinner check.
The head waiter, who knew me from
having seen me so often with the boss,
came over to say that I was wanted >
quick at the telephone.
It was Mrs. Sheila on the wire, and
I could tell by the way her voice
sounded that she was mightily ex-
"I've been calling you on every
phone I could think of," was the way
she began; and then: "Where is Mr.
Enter Mr. Dismuke, "gen-
ITO BE CONTINUED.)*
Tottering for 600 Years.
The famous Leaning tower of Pisa
Is of pure white Carrara marble In the
Gothic style. Its departure from the
perpendicular has been variously In-
terpreted, but there Is little doubt that
it rises from the softness of the soil
on which it stands and which has
given way. Notwithstanding Its
threatening appearance, It has now
stood for more than six hundred years
without rent or decay.
And Hs Did.
Blossom—Did you pay for. this elec-
tric battery?" His Valet—"No, sir(
you told me to have tt charged!" /
He who ts unable to collect his wito|
or his bills Ib In toofh luck.
Here’s what’s next.
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Grant, W. S. The Wapanucka Press (Wapanucka, Okla.), Vol. 20, No. 51, Ed. 1 Friday, June 10, 1921, newspaper, June 10, 1921; (gateway.okhistory.org/ark:/67531/metadc136664/m1/3/: accessed August 19, 2018), The Gateway to Oklahoma History, gateway.okhistory.org; crediting Oklahoma Historical Society.