The Daughter of a Magnate (Chapter 2, page 1 of 10)


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Chapter 2

When the Brock-Harrison party, familiarly known--among those with whom
they were by no means familiar--as the Steel Crowd, bought the
transcontinental lines that J. S. Bucks, the second vice-president and
general manager, had built up into a system, their first visit to the
West End was awaited with some uneasiness. An impression prevailed that
the new owners might take decided liberties with what Conductor O'Brien
termed the "personal" of the operating department.

But week after week followed the widely heralded announcement of the
purchase without the looked-for visit from the new owners. During the
interval West End men from the general superintendent down were
admittedly on edge--with the exception of Conductor O'Brien. "If I go, I
go," was all he said, and in making the statement in his even,
significant way it was generally understood that the trainman that ran
the pay-cars and the swell mountain specials had in view a
superintendency on the New York Central. On what he rested his
confidence in the opening no one certainly knew, though Pat Francis
claimed it was based wholly on a cigar in a glass case once given to the
genial conductor by Chauncey M. Depew when travelling special to the
coast under his charge.

Be that as it may, when the West End was at last electrified by the
announcement that the Brock-Harrison syndicate train had already crossed
the Missouri and might be expected any day, O'Brien with his usual luck
was detailed as one of the conductors to take charge of the visitors.

The pang in the operating department was that the long-delayed inspection
tour should have come just at a time when the water had softened things
until every train on the mountain division was run under slow-orders.

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