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‘Git out!’ replied the Irishman, but added the next moment, ‘am I shlaping or dhraming? It’s Baldy or his ghost.’
It certainly was no ghost, judging from the manner in which it acted; for he sat with his hat cocked on one side, a pipe in his mouth, and the two reins in his hands, just as the skillful driver controls the mettlesome horses and keeps them well in hand.
He was seated upon a large pile of wood, while near nestled a little hump-backed, bright-eyed boy, whose eyes sparkled with delight at the performance of the strange machine.
The speed of the steam man gradually slackened, until it came opposite the men, when it came to a dead halt, and the grinning ‘Baldy,’ as he was called, (from his having lost his scalp several years before, by the Indians), tipped his hat and said:
‘Glad to see you hain’t gone under yit. How’d you git along while I was gone?’
But the men were hardly able to answer any questions yet, until they had learned something more about the strange creation before them. Mickey shied away, as the timid steed does at first sight of the locomotive, observing which, the boy (at a suggestion from Baldy), gave a string in his hand a twitch, whereupon the nose of the wonderful thing threw out a jet of steam with the sharp screech of the locomotive whistle. Mickey sprung a half dozen feet backward, and would have run off at full speed down the ravine, had not Ethan Hopkins caught his arm.
‘What’s the matter, Mickey, naow! Hain’t you ever heard anything like a locomotive whistle?’
‘Worrah, worrah, now, but is that the way the crather blows its nose? It must have a beautiful voice when it shnores at night.’
Perhaps at this point a description of the singular mechanism should be given. It was about ten feet in hight, measuring to the top of the ‘stove-pipe hat,’ which was fashioned after the common order of felt coverings, with a broad brim, all painted a shiny black. The face was made of iron, painted a black color, with a pair of fearful eves, and a tremendous grinning mouth. A whistle-like contrivance was trade to answer for the nose. The steam chest proper and boiler, were where the chest in a human being is generally supposed to be, extending also into a large knapsack arrangement over the shoulders and back. A pair of arms, like projections, held the shafts, and the broad flat feet were covered with sharp spikes, as though he were the monarch of base-ball players. The legs were quite long, and the step was natural, except when running, at which time, the bolt uprightness in the figure showed different from a human being.
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