After Dinner Speeches
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"Talk 'bout railroads bein' a blessin'," said Brother Dickey, "des look
at de loads an' loads er watermelons deys haulin' out de state, ter dem
folks 'way up North what never done nuthin' ter deserve sich a
On one of the southern railroads there is a station-building that is
commonly known by travelers as the smallest railroad station in America.
It is of this station that the story is told that an old farmer was
expecting a chicken-house to arrive there, and he sent one of his hands,
a new-comer, to fetch it. Arriving there the man saw the house, loaded
it on to his wagon and started for home. On the way he met a man in
uniform with the words "Station Agent" on his cap.
"Say, hold on. What have you got on that wagon?" he asked.
"My chicken-house, of course," was the reply.
"Chicken-house be jiggered!" exploded the official. "That's the
"I read of the terrible vengeance inflicted upon one of their members by
a band of robbers in Mississippi last week."
"What did they do? Shoot him?"
"No; they tied him upon the railroad tracks."
"Awful! And he was ground to pieces, I suppose?"
"Nothing like it. The poor fellow starved to death waiting for the next
train."--_W. Dayton Wegefarth_.
The reporter who had accompanied the special train to the scene of the
wreck, hurried down the embankment and found a man who had one arm in a
sling, a bandage over one eye, his front teeth gone, and his nose
knocked four points to starboard, sitting on a piece of the locomotive
and surveying the horrible ruin all about him.
"Can you give me some particulars of this accident?" asked the reporter,
taking out his notebook.
"I haven't heard of any accident, young man," replied the disfigured
He was one of the directors of the railroad.
The Hon. John Sharp Williams had an engagement to speak in a small
southern town. The train he was traveling on was not of the swiftest,
and he lost no opportunity of keeping the conductor informed as to his
opinions of that particular road.
"Well, if yer don't like it," the conductor finally blurted out, "why in
thunder don't yer git out an' walk?"
"I would," Mr. Williams blandly replied, "but you see the committee
doesn't expect me until this train gets in."
"We were bounding along," said a recent traveler on a local South
African single-line railway, "at the rate of about seven miles an hour,
and the whole train was shaking terribly. I expected every moment to see
my bones protruding through my skin. Passengers were rolling from one
end of the car to the other. I held on firmly to the arms of the seat.
Presently we settled down a bit quieter; at least, I could keep my hat
on, and my teeth didn't chatter.
"There was a quiet looking man opposite me. I looked up with a ghastly
smile, wishing to appear cheerful, and said:
"'We are going a bit smoother, I see.'
"'Yes,' he said, 'we're off the track now.'"
Three men were talking in rather a large way as to the excellent train
service each had in his special locality: one was from the west, one
from New England, and the other from New York. The former two had told
of marvelous doings of trains, and it is distinctly "up" to the man from
"Now in New York," he said, "we not only run our trains fast, but we
also start them fast. I remember the case of a friend of mine whose wife
went to see him off for the west on the Pennsylvania at Jersey City. As
the train was about to start my friend said his final good-by to his
wife, and leaned down from the car platform to kiss her. The train
started, and, would you believe it, my friend found himself kissing a
strange woman on the platform at Trenton!"
And the other men gave it up.
"Say, young man," asked an old lady at the ticket-office, "what time
does the next train pull in here and how long does it stay?"
"From two to two to two-two," was the curt reply.
"Well, I declare! Be you the whistle?"
An express on the Long Island Railroad was tearing away at a wild and
awe-inspiring rate of six miles an hour, when all of a sudden it stopped
altogether. Most of the passengers did not notice the difference; but
one of them happened to be somewhat anxious to reach his destination
before old age claimed him for its own. He put his head through the
window to find that the cause of the stop was a cow on the track. After
a while they continued the journey for half an hour or so, and
"What's wrong now?" asked the impatient passenger of the conductor.
"A cow on the track."
"But I thought you drove it off."
"So we did," said the conductor, "but we caught up with it again."
The president of one great southern railway pulled into a southern city
in his private car. It was also the terminal of a competing road, and
the private car of the president of the other line was on a side track.
There was great rivalry between these two lines, which extended from the
president of each down to the most humble employe. In the evening the
colored cook from one of the cars wandered over to pass the time of day
with the cook on the other car.
One of these roads had recently had an appalling list of accidents, and
the death-toll was exceptionally high. The cook from this road sauntered
up to the back platform of the private car, and after an interchange of
"Well, how am youh ole jerkwatah railroad these days? Am you habbing
"Man," said the other, "we-all am so prosperous that if we was any moah
prosperous we just naturally couldn't stand hit."
"Hough!" said the other, "we-all am moah prosperous than you-all."
"Man," said the other, "we dun carry moah'n a million passengers last
"Foah de Lord's sake!" ejaculated the first negro. "You-all carried
moah'n a million passengers? Go on with you, nigger; we dun kill moah
passengers than you carry."
It was on a little branch railway in a southern state that the New
England woman ventured to refer to the high rates.
"It seems to me five cents a mile is extortion," she said, with
frankness, to her southern cousin.
"It's a big lot of money to pay if you think of it by the mile," said
the southerner, in her soft drawl; "but you just think how cheap it is
by the hour, Cousin Annie--only about thirty-five cents."--_Youth's
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