Page:Sawdust & Spangles.djvu/94

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70
SAWDUST AND SPANGLES

The sensation was indescribably weird and thrilling. The scene was shrouded in darkness, and, as we flew along the road, the only discernible objects were the trees, which seemed to me like giant sentinels saluting as we flew past. Now and then we caught glimpses of lights in the mountain valleys, but they passed by like a streak of lightning, so rapidly were we going.

'How far can your practiced eye discern objects on a night like this?" I asked the engineer.

"Only a rod or two," he answered.

"In that case," said I, "you could never stop the train to prevent a collision should an obstruction present itself?"

"No—not with these brakes," he replied.

As he said this his face blanched and he whistled hard for down brakes. Finally I heard him exclaim: "God help us! We’re running away!"

On, on we sped down the decline at a speed that was something frightful. The engine rattled and shook, and several times appeared to be almost toppling over. It was impossible to stand, and I held on by the window ledge for dear life. Down the mountain we sped altogether helpless! We had no control