The Engineer's Story by Eugene J. Hall

Han'som, stranger? Yes, she's purty an' ez peart ez she kin be.
Clever? W'y! she ain't no chicken, but she's good enough for me.
What's her name? 'Tis kind o' common, yit I ain't ashamed to tell,
She's ole "Fiddler" Filkin's daughter, an' her dad he calls her "Nell."
I wuz drivin' on the "Central" jist about a year ago
On the run from Winnemucca up to Reno in Washoe.
There's no end o' skeery places. 'Taint a road fur one who dreams,
With its curves an' awful tres'les over rocks an' mountain streams.
'Twuz an afternoon in August, we hed got behind an hour,
An' wuz tearin' up the mountain like a summer thunder-shower,
Round the bends an' by the ledges, 'bout ez fast ez we could go,
With the mountain peaks above us an' the river down below.
Ez we come nigh to a tres'le 'crost a holler, deep an' wild,
Suddenly I saw a baby, 'twuz the station-keeper's child,
Toddlin' right along the timbers with a bold an' fearless tread,
Right afore the locomotive, not a hundred rods ahead.
I jist jumped an' grabbed the throttle an' I fa'rly held my breath,
Fur I felt I couldn't stop her till the child wuz crushed to death,
When a woman sprang afore me, like a sudden streak o' light.
Caught the boy, an' 'twixt the timbers in a second sank from sight.
I jist whis'l'd all the brakes on. An' we worked with might an' main,
Till the fire flew from the drivers, but we couldn't stop the train,
An' it rumbled on above her. How she screamed ez we rolled by,
An' the river roared below us—I shall hear her till I die!
Then we stopt; the sun wuz shinin'; I ran back along the ridge
An' I found her—dead? No! livin'! She wuz hangin' to the bridge
Where she dropt down thro' the crossties, with one arm about a sill,
An' the other round the baby, who wuz yellin' fur to kill!
So we saved 'em. She wuz gritty. She's ez peart ez she kin be—
Now we're married—she's no chicken, but she's good enough for me.
An' ef eny ask who owns her, w'y, I ain't ashamed to tell—
She's my wife. Ther' ain't none better than ole Filkin's daughter "Nell."