Author of The Lost Princess of Oz, The Boy Fortune Hunters in the Yucatan, Daughters of Destiny, etc.
Originally published in the Chicago Times-Herald, January 15, 1896. This transcription has been prepared from reprintings in Detroit Free Press, January 28, 1896, and the Buffalo Evening News, January 31, 1896, which differ slightly.
The Mystery of the Voice That Miraculously Saved a Traveler’s Life Though it Delayed Him.
It was nearly midnight when I boarded the train, and, entering the chair car, prepared to doze during the hours of my journey. “Call me at Perry,” I said to the conductor, as I surrendered my ticket, “for I may be asleep.”
He promised and I settled myself comfortably for my nap.
I don’t know how long I had slept, when some one shook me by the shoulder and shouted, “Perry!”
Opening my eyes I found the train was slowing up, and presently it came to a full stop. “Perry!” again shouted the voice in my ear. This time I sprang to my feet, seized my valise and stepped from the car to the platform just as the train glided away up the track.
I turned to look for the town and found myself confronted by a station agent holding a lantern.
“In which direction is the town?” I asked.
“Town!” he answered, in surprise; “there’s no town here.”
“Isn’t this Perry?”
“No; this is Head’s Crossing. Perry is twenty miles further on.”
“But the conductor,” I said, angry at my misadventure, “called Perry, and so I left the car. I shall report him to the superintendent.”
“The conductor was on the front car,” replied the man, “and you stepped from the rear car. He could not possibly have called you.”
“But some one shouted ‘Perry.’”
The agent looked at me incredulously and said nothing.
“Is there another train?” I asked.
“Not till morning.”
“Where can I sleep?”
“I’ll give you the cot in my office, if you like. The station is the only building within miles.”
Rather ungraciously, I fear, I accepted his hospitality; but the cot was hard and I was too much annoyed to sleep, so I tossed about until suddenly the agent, who was at the telegraph key, startled me by exclaiming:
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“No. 16 has gone through the bridge at Coon Rapids, and the whole train is lying twenty feet under water!”
No. 16 was the train I had left to spend the night at Head’s Crossing.