CHAPTER I—THE OVERLAND EXPRESS
“Those men will bear watching--they are up to some mischief, Fairbanks.”
“I thought so myself, Mr. Fogg. I have been watching them for some time.”
“I thought you would notice them--you generally do notice things.”
The speaker with these words bestowed a glance of genuine pride and approbation upon his companion, Ralph Fairbanks.
They were a great pair, these two, a friendly, loyal pair, the grizzled old veteran fireman, Lemuel Fogg, and the clear-eyed, steady-handed young fellow who had risen from roundhouse wiper to switchtower service, then to fireman, then to engineer, and who now pulled the lever on the crack racer of the Great Northern Railroad, the Overland express.
Ralph sat with his hand on the throttle waiting for the signal to pull out of Boydsville Tracks. Ahead were clear, as he well knew, and his eyes were fixed on three men who had just passed down the platform with a scrutinizing glance at the locomotive and its crew.
Fogg had watched them for some few minutes with an ominous eye. He had snorted in his characteristic, suspicious way, as the trio lounged around the end of the little depot.
“Good day,” he now said with fine sarcasm in his tone, “hope I see you again--know I’ll see you again. They’re up to tricks, Fairbanks, and don’t you forget it.”
“Gone, have they?” piped in a new voice, and a brakeman craned his neck from his position on the reverse step of the locomotive. “Say, who are they, anyway?”