Page:Ralph on the Railroad.djvu/209

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195
A NEW ENEMY

"But the indicator's wrong?"

"That's the repair gang's business—and the wind. The Great Northern don't own the wind, so I reckon it will have to pocket the loss gracefully."

Bardon bit his lips.

"We've saved the junkmen a job as it is," said the freight engineer. "The switch was set for track C. You'd have had a pretty bill if you'd smashed that twenty-thousand dollar show car yonder."

"That's right—the switch was C open," declared the switchman.

"Then who changed it?" demanded Bardon, scenting a chance yet to exploit his meddling, nosing qualifications.

Ralph hesitated. He doubted if Bardon was the proper party to whom to report. He, however, simplified the situation by saying:

"I did it, sir."

"Eh? Why—you!" exclaimed the inspector, turning on him with a malevolent scowl.

"Yes, sir."

"What did you change it for?"

The freight engineer gave a derisive guffaw.

"To save the show car, of course!" he said quickly. "The company owes you about nine-teen thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine dol-