The Man in Lower Ten HTML version
17. At The Farm-House Again
McKnight is always a sympathizer with the early worm. It was late when he appeared.
Perhaps, like myself, he had not slept well. But he was apparently cheerful enough, and
he made a better breakfast than I did. It was one o'clock before we got to Baltimore. After
a half hour's wait we took a local for M-, the station near which the cinematograph
picture had been taken.
We passed the scene of the wreck, McKnight with curiosity, I with a sickening sense of
horror. Back in the fields was the little farm-house where Alison West and I had intended
getting coffee, and winding away from the track, maple trees shading it on each side, was
the lane where we had stopped to rest, and where I had - it seemed presumption beyond
belief now - where I had tried to comfort her by patting her hand.
We got out at M-, a small place with two or three houses and a general store. The station
was a one-roomed affair, with a railed-off place at the end, where a scale, a telegraph
instrument and a chair constituted the entire furnishing.
The station agent was a young man with a shrewd face. He stopped hammering a piece of
wood over a hole in the floor to ask where we wanted to go.
"We're not going," said McKnight, "we're coming. Have a cigar?"
The agent took it with an inquiring glance, first at it and then at us.
"We want to ask you a few questions," began McKnight, perching himself on the railing
and kicking the chair forward for me. "Or, rather, this gentleman does."
"Wait a minute," said the agent, glancing through the window. "There's a hen in that crate
choking herself to death."
He was back in a minute, and took up his position near a sawdust-filled box that did duty
as a cuspidor.
"Now fire away," he said.
"In the first place," I began, "do you remember the day the Washington Flier was
wrecked below here?"
"Do I!" he said. "Did Jonah remember the whale?"
"Were you on the platform here when the first section passed?"