Ralph in the Switch Tower
For two days, as Ralph had told Mort Bemis, he had been under the skilled tuition of old Jack, learning the switches.
He had gone down the tracks to the limits, foot by foot slowly, twenty times or more that morning, until he had a perfect map in his head of every rail and switch on the roadbeds.
He had familiarized himself with every lever number, and that of every train on the road. He realized that trained eye, ear, and muscle must be ever on the alert, or great loss of life and property might result at any moment.
There was a lull in active duty for the veteran towerman as the noon whistles blew. Knight set the lever for a lazy switch engine taking a siding, sent the noon accommodation on her way, closed the switches after her, and gave attention to Ralph.
"Well, Fairbanks," he said, slipping his coat over one arm and changing his cap, "think you can manage?"
"I can obey orders," answered Ralph.
"That's all you have to do. The limit