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Over the Sliprails

Two Boys at Grinder Brothers'
Five or six half-grown larrikins sat on the cemented sill of the big window of Grinder
Bros.' Railway Coach Factory waiting for the work bell, and one of the number was Bill
Anderson -- known as "Carstor Hoil" -- a young terror of fourteen or fifteen.
"Here comes Balmy Arvie," exclaimed Bill as a pale, timid-looking little fellow rounded
the corner and stood against the wall by the door. "How's your parents, Balmy?"
The boy made no answer; he shrank closer to the entrance. The first bell went.
"What yer got for dinner, Balmy? Bread 'n' treacle?" asked the young ruffian; then for the
edification of his chums he snatched the boy's dinner bag and emptied its contents on the
pavement.
The door opened. Arvie gathered up his lunch, took his time-ticket, and hurried in.
"Well, Balmy," said one of the smiths as he passed, "what do you think of the boat race?"
"I think," said the boy, goaded to reply, "that it would be better if young fellows of this
country didn't think so much about racin' an' fightin'."
The questioner stared blankly for a moment, then laughed suddenly in the boy's face, and
turned away. The rest grinned.
"Arvie's getting balmier than ever," guffawed young Bill.
"Here, Carstor Hoil," cried one of the smiths' strikers, "how much oil will you take for a
chew of terbaccer?"
"Teaspoonful?"
"No, two."
"All right; let's see the chew, first."
"Oh, you'll get it. What yer frighten' of? . . . Come on, chaps, 'n' see Bill drink oil."
Bill measured out some machine oil and drank it. He got the tobacco, and the others got
what they called "the fun of seein' Bill drink oil!"
The second bell rang, and Bill went up to the other end of the shop, where Arvie was
already at work sweeping shavings from under a bench.
 
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