BILL MASON'S RIDE.
By F. Bret Harte.
Half an hour till train time, sir,
An' a fearful dark time, too;
Take a look at the switch-lights, Tom,
Fetch in a stick when you're through.
"On time? "well, yes, I guess so-
Left the last station all rightShe'll come round the curve a flyin';
Bill Mason comes up to-night.
You know Bill? No! He's engineer,
Been on the road all his lifeI'll never forget the mornin'
He married his chuck of a wife,
'Twas the Summer the mill hands struck-
Just off work, every one;
They kicked up a row in the village
And killed old Donevan's son.
But hadn't been married mor'n an hour,
Up comes a message from Kress,
Orderin' Bill to go up there,
And bring down the night express.
He left his gal in a hurry,
And went up on number one,
Thinking of nothing but Mary,
And the train he had to run.
And Mary sat down by the window
To wait for the night express;
And, sir, if she hadn't a' done so,
She'd been a widow, I guess:
For it must a' been nigh midnight
When the mill-hands left the Ridge-
They come down-the drunken devils!
Tore up a rail from the bridge.
But Mary heard'em a workin'
And guessed there was somethin' wrong-
And in less than fifteen minutes,
Bill's train it would be along!
She couldn't come here to tell us.
A mile-it wouldn't a' done-
So she jest grabbed up a lantern,
And made for the bridge alone.
Then down came the night express, sir,
And Bill was makin' her climb!
But Mary held the lantern,
A-swingin' it all the time.
Well! by Jove! Bill saw the signal.
And he stopped the night express,
And he found his Mary cryin';
On the track, in her weddin' dress;
Cryin' an' laughin' for joy, sir,
An' holdin' on to the light-
Hello! here's the train-good-bye, sir,
Bill Mason's on time to-night.