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Ralph of the Roundhouse

Or, Bound to become a railroad man

Cover image for


Author: Allen Chapman
Published: 1906
Language: English
Wordcount: 52,864 / 162 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 76.4
LoC Category: PZ
Downloads: 1,452
Added to site: 2012.03.15 31390

by her husband.

He professed a friendship for the dead railroader, however, and in a patronizing way offered to help the widow out of her difficulties by taking the homestead off her hands for the amount of the mortgage, "and making no trouble."

Mrs. Fairbanks had promptly informed him that she had no intention of selling out, and for two years, until the present time, had been able to meet the quarterly interest on the mortgage when due.

Gasper Farrington was now on one of his periodical visits on business to the cottage, but as, right at the home threshold, and in the presence of the gentle, loving-hearted widow, he gave utterance to the scathing remark still burning in the listener's ears, a boy of true spirit, Ralph's soul seemed suddenly to expand as though it would burst with indignation and excitement.

Many times Ralph had asked his mother concerning their actual business relations with Gasper Farrington, but she had put him off with the evasive remark that he was "too young

Reader Reviews

Average Rating of 4 from 1 reviews: ****

Ralph on the Railroad is a turn-of-the-century adventure series for boys, similar in vein to the Tom Swift adventures, which is probably the most famous of the genre of the era.

The series employs standardized formula: a young and indomitable hero sets out to earn his way, facing foes and finding new friends. In this case, Ralph is determined to be a railroad man, and has it in his mind to start at the bottom. Each subsequent book follows Ralph's climb up the railroading ladder.

Also typical in this era's literature is extent sexism and racism and stereotypical villains: unsavory men who walk with a slouch, hands jammed into their pockets with their hats pulled low over their eyes. Just as typical are the friends Ralph makes, and those whom he "sets to right".

Overall, it's a generally enjoyable series, and gives you a view into what was once a thriving industry but now one relegated to history books. One could imagine living in a small town where the hub of activity is the railroad depot.

Good for train fans, but take note that vernacular is often used, i.e., "cow catcher" vs. "pilot"



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