Page:Ralph on the Railroad.djvu/1014
RALPH ON THE OVERLAND EXPRESS
and courage of the young engineer his life might have paid the forfeit.
Evans acted promptly, wasting no words. He had drawn a weapon from his pocket, and this he handed to Slump. Then he turned a fierce, lowering visage upon Ralph.
"Fairbanks," he began, "you're to go with us—where, don't matter, nor why. We owe you one, as you've known for a long time, and if it wasn't that we're here for the money there is in it, and not revenge, I'd take pleasure in balancing the months you got us in jail by crippling you so you'd never pull another lever. This is business, though, pure and simple. If you get hurt, you can blame yourself. You've got to go with us.
"Why have I?" demanded Ralph.
"Because we say so. There's a man quite anxious to see you."
"Who is he?"
"That's telling. He wants to ask you just one question. A civil answer given, and you are free as the wind. Slump, take this pistol, get up on that pile of rails, and guard Fairbanks. If he starts to run, shoot—understand?"
"I guess I do!" snarled the graceless Ike, climbing to the top of the pile of rails. "When I think of what this fellow has done to down me, it makes my blood boil."