Page:Ralph on the Railroad.djvu/207

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responsibility in the affair, and his brakeman tranquilly listened to him as he recited that he had taken signals as set.

The one-armed switchman who had charge of these tracks appeared on the scene, his signal flag stuck under his perfect arm, and looking flustered.

Everybody was asking questions or explaining, as the depot master and his companion edged their way to the rails.

Ralph had a full view now of the man he knew to be Bardon, the inspector.

His first impression was a vivid one. He saw nothing in the coarse, sensual lips and shifty, sneering eye of the man to commend him for either humanity or ability.

"What's the trouble here?" questioned Bardon, with the air of a person owning everything in sight, and calling down the humble myrmidons who had dared to interfere with the smooth workings of an immaculate railway system.

"You ought to be able to see," growled the freight engineer bluntly.

The inspector frowned at this free-and-easy, offhand offense to his dignity and importance.

"I'm Bardon," he said, as if the mention of that name would suffice to bring the stalwart engineer to the dust.

"I know you are," said the latter indifferently.