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In the Caboose

by Ellen P. Allerton

"Train delayed? and what's to say?"
"Blocked by last night's snow they say."
Seven hours or so to wait;
Well, that's pleasant! but there's the freight.
Depot loafing no one fancies,
We'll try the caboose and take our chances.

Cool this morning in Watertown,
Somewhat frosty—mercury down;
Enter caboose—roaring fire,
With never an air-hole; heat so dire
That we shrivel and pant; we are roasted through—
Outside, thermometer thirty-two.

We start with a jerk and suddenly stop.
"What's broke?" says one; another "What's up?",
"Oh, nothing," they answer, "That's our way:
You must stand the jerking, sorry to say."
We "stand it" with oft this painful thought:
Are our heads on yet, or are they not?

Comrades in misery—let me see;
Girl like a statue opposite me;
Back and forth the others jostle-
She never winks, nor moves a muscle;
See her, as she sits there now;
She's "well balanced," anyhow.

Woman in trouble, tearful eyes,
Sits by the window, softly cries,
Pity—for griefs we may not know,
For breasts that ache, for tears that flow,
Though we know not why. Her eyelids red
Tell a sorrowful tale—some hope is dead.

Man who follows the Golden Rule,
And lends his papers—a pocket full,
Has a blank book—once in a minute
Has an idea, and writes it in it.
Guess him? Yes, of course I can,
He's a—well—a newspaper man.

Blue-eyed fairy, wrapped in fur;
Sweet young mother tending her.
Fairy thinks it's "awful far,"
Wants to get off this "naughty car."
So do we, young golden-hair;
All this crowd are with you there!

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