Chapter V. The Smash-Up.
 

Richard was bewildered and alarmed by what had happened. As the car went over upon the side nearest to which he was sitting, he fell down between the windows, with his head resting upon the bundle-holder, that a moment before had been over him.

His own valise and that belonging to Mr. Joyce came down on top of him, and as both were heavy, they knocked the breath completely out of him.

As soon as the boy had somewhat regained this and his scattered senses, he scrambled to his feet, and tried to look around him.

Daylight shone into the car from the windows above, but all was dust and confusion, mingled with the cries of women and the loud exclamations of men.

Luckily Richard was not far from the rear door, and having somewhat recovered from the shock, he resolved to get out as speedily as possible.

The car had now stopped moving, and as there seemed to be no immediate danger of anything more happening, the boy stopped to get the two valises.

With such a load it was no easy matter climbing over the seats to the door. Yet the feat was accomplished, and two minutes later, with an exclamation of relief, Richard pitched his baggage to the bank beside the track, and sprang to the solid ground.

His foot had been slightly sprained when the shock came, but in the excitement he hardly noticed the pain. He could readily see that assistance was needed on all sides, and he was not slow to render all that lay in his power.

The cause of the accident could be seen at a glance. A heavy freight train had backed down from a side track, smashing the locomotive attached to the passenger cars, and throwing three of the latter off the track.

One of the cars--the first--had been turned completely over, and to this every one was hurrying.

"It's the smoking car," replied a man, to Richard's eager question. "It's full of men, too."

Setting down the two valises within easy reach, the boy hurried forward.

"Mr. Joyce is in there," was his thought. "Oh, I hope he isn't hurt!"

Though Richard had known the man but a short hour, yet the city merchant's cordial manner had completely captivated the boy.

It was no easy matter for the men in the smoker to free themselves. In turning over, a number of the seats in the car had become loosened, falling on many, and blocking up both doors as well.

But presently several windows were smashed out, and the occupants began to pour from these, some with their clothing badly torn, others hatless, and several severely injured.

"There are two men in there stuck fast!" exclaimed a short, stout man, as puffing and blowing he reached the ground. "I tried to help 'em both, but it was no use,--the seats all piled up atop of 'em. Beckon they'll have to be cut away, they're jammed in so tight."

Instantly Richard thought of Mr. Joyce. Nowhere in the crowd could he catch sight of the gentleman. It was possible that one of the two might be his newly-made friend.

"There's a tool-house down the road a ways," continued the stout man. "I noticed it as we rode past, a moment before we went over."

"Where?" asked Richard eagerly.

"On the other side, up the embankment," was the reply.

"I'll see if I can get something to work with," returned the boy. "Just watch my baggage while I'm gone."

In an instant he was off, running as fast as possible. He found the building just as it had been described. The door was open, and rushing in, he confronted an Irish laborer, who was cleaning up some tools.

"The train has been wrecked, just below," he exclaimed hurriedly. "We want some tools--an axe or a crowbar--something--quick!"

"Train wrecked?" repeated the man in astonishment.

"Yes,--just below." Richard picked up an axe and an iron bar.

"Bring some more tools with you!" he cried as he started to go. "It may mean life or death!" Richard's earnest manner made an impression upon the laborer, and in a few seconds the man was following the boy, with his arms full of such implements as were handy.

Down at the wreck Richard found that one of the two men, a lean, sallow- complexioned individual, had already been liberated, but the other was still a prisoner.

"Just what we want!" cried one of the workers, as he took the axe from the boy's hand. "Can you use the bar?"

"I guess so."

"Follow me, then."

Richard crawled into the car after the man. Inside it was full of dust, and the thick tobacco smoke nearly stifled the boy.

Near the center of the car they found the unfortunate passenger. It was not Mr. Timothy Joyce.

The man was on his back, and a seat, fastened in some strange manner, pinned him down.

"Help me! help me!" he gasped. "That thing is staving in all my ribs!"

It did not take Richard long to insert the iron bar under one end of the slat and thus pry it up. This done the man with the axe gave the side of the seat a couple of blows, and then the prisoner was free.

"Thank God!" exclaimed the man, as he sprang to his feet, and followed the others out of the car. "And thank you, too, my hearties," he continued to the other man and to Richard. "I thought as how I was strangled sure. But Doc Linyard allers was a lucky tar. Thanky, messmates, thanky."

He was a nautical-looking fellow of perhaps forty. He wore a blue pea- jacket and trousers, and under the rolling collar of his gray flannel shirt was tied a black bandanna in true sailor style.

"Is your chest hurt much?" asked Richard, as he thought he noticed a look of pain cross the man's countenance.

"No bones broken," was the reply, after a deep breath.

The two were soon standing side by side on the bank near the track.

"Wish I could reward you," went on the man. "But I ain't got a dollar all told."

And diving into his capacious pocket he brought to light only a miscellaneous collection of small coins.

"Oh, never mind that," said the boy, coloring a trifle. "I'm glad you're all right."

"So am I--downright glad, and no mistake. As I said afore, my name is Linyard, Doc Linyard, general manager, along with my wife, of the Watch Below, the neatest sailors' lunch-room on West Street, New York. I say neatest acause my wife keeps it. She's a worker, Betty is. Come and see me some time. I won't forget to treat you well."

"Thank you, Mr. Lin--"

"Avast there! Don't tackle no mister to my name," interposed the old sailor. "What's your name?" he continued suddenly.

Richard told him.

"All right, Mr. Dare. I'll remember it, and you too. But don't go for to put a figure-head to my name. Plain Doc Linyard is good enough for such a tough customer as me."

"I'll remember it, Mr--"

"Avast, I say--"

"I mean Doc Linyard."

And shaking hands the two separated.

Picking up the two valises, Richard made his way through the crowd, looking for Mr. Joyce. It seemed rather queer that the gentleman who had left his baggage in the boy's care was nowhere to be found.

Richard made quite a number of inquiries, especially among the men who had occupied the smoking-car, but to no avail.

The smash-up was no small affair, and it took fully an hour before the railroad officials that were present could get assistance to the spot. In the meantime, the injured were laid out on the grass and made as comfortable as circumstances would permit. Luckily, several doctors had been passengers on the train, and as they were uninjured they took charge of all who needed their aid.

Finally a train backed down to take the passengers to Rockvale, the next town of importance.

Richard hardly knew what to do. If Mr. Joyce was hurt it was certainly his duty to remain. But perhaps the gentleman had gone off, to render assistance, or, it was possible, on a search for his satchel.

"Guess I'll take the train and risk it," was Richard's conclusion. "He is bound to follow to Rockvale sooner or later, and we will probably meet in the depot."

Nevertheless, as the boy entered the car he felt rather uncomfortable, carrying off the property of another, who was comparatively a stranger to him.