Well, yes, 'tis a hair-curlin' story—
I would it could not be recalled.
The terrible fright of that hell-tinctured night
Is the cause of my head bein' bald.
I was runnin' the Git-There Express, sir,
On the Yankee Creek Jerkwater line.
An' the track along there was as crooked, I swear,
As the growth of a field pumpkin vine.
My run was a night one, an' nights on the Yank
War as black as the coal piled back there on the tank.
We pulled out of Tenderfoot Station,
A day and almost a-half late,
An' every durn wheel was a-poundin' the steel
At a wildly extravagant rate.
My fireman kept pilin' the coal in
The jaws of the ol' 94,
Till the sweat from his nose seemed to play through a hose
An' splashed 'round his feet on the floor,
As we thundered along like a demon in flight,
A-rippin' a streak through the breast of the night.
As we rounded the curve on the mountain,
Full sixty an hour I will swear,
Jest ahead was a sight that with blood-freezin' fright
Would have raised a stuffed buffalo's hair.
The bridge over Ute Creek was burnin',
The flames shootin' up in their glee;
My God! how they gleamed in the air, till they seemed
Like the fiery-tongued imps on a spree—
Jest snickered an' sparkled an' laughed like they knowed
I'd make my next trip on a different road.
In frenzy I reached for the throttle,
But 'twas stuck an' refused to obey.
I yelled in affright, for our maddenin' flight
I felt that I never could stay.
Then wildly I grasped the big lever,
Threw her over, then held my hot breath,
An' waited for what I assuredly thought
Was a sure an' terrible death.
Then came the wild crash, an' with horror-fringed yell
Down into that great fiery chasm I fell.
When I came to myself I was lyin'
On the floor of the bedroom; my wife
Sat astride of my form, and was making it warm
Fur her darlin', you bet your sweet life!
My hair she had clutched in her fingers,
An' was jammin' my head on the floor,
Yet I yelled with delight when I found that my fright
Was a horrible dream, nothin' more.
I had wildly grabb'd one of her ankles, she said,
An' reversed her clear over the head of the bed.