The Daughter of a Magnate (Chapter 6, page 2 of 6)


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Chapter 6

"Now it's possible," suggested Hughie Morrison, looking vaguely at the
stove, "that the wires are down."

"Nonsense," objected Callahan.

"It is raining at Soda Sink," persisted Morrison, mildly.

"What?" demanded the general superintendent, pulling his pipe from his
mouth. Hughie Morrison kept cool. His straight, black hair lay
boyishly smooth across his brow. There was no guile in his expression
even though he had stunned Callahan, which was precisely what he had
intended. "It is raining at Soda Sink," he repeated.

Now there is no day in the mountains that goes back of the awful
tradition concerning rain at Soda Sink. Before Tom Porter, first
manager; before Brodie, who built the bridges; before Sikes, longest in
the cab; before Pat Francis, oldest of conductors, runs that tradition
about rain at the Sink--which is desert absolute--where it never does
rain and never should. When it rains at Soda Sink, this say the
Medicine men, the Cat will fall on the Rat. It is Indian talk as old
as the foothills.

Of course no railroad man ever gave much heed to Indian talk; how, for
instance, could a mountain fall on a river? Yet so the legend ran, and
there being one superstitious man on the force at Medicine Bend one man
remembered it--Hughie Morrison.

Callahan studied the bulletin to which the operator called his
attention and resumed his pipe sceptically, but he did make a
suggestion. "See if you can't get Sleepy Cat, Hughie, and find out
whether that is so."

Morris Blood was away with the Pittsburgers and Callahan had foolishly
consented to look after his desk for a few days. At the moment that
Morrison took hold of the key Giddings opened the door from the
despatchers' room. "Mr. Callahan, there's a message coming from
Francis, conductor of Number Two. They've had a cloudburst on Dry
Dollar Creek," he said, excitedly; "twenty feet of water came down Rat
Cañon at five o'clock. The track's under four feet in the cañon."

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