My Adventures in the Strike Region.

This satirical story from the August 1, 1877 issue of PUCK Magazine follows an unlucky businessman and his unfortunate circumstances during a trip to Chicago during the Great Railway Strike.

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"You must get to Chicago in some way or other. Never mind the strikes," said the head of the firm of Boggs, Grimes & Clinch, in which I was employed as a drummer. Our line was dry-goods specialties; and although I had only been in town a week, I knew that when Boggs spoke I must go, or resign my position. Besides, I adored Boggs's beauteous daughter—I was madly, desperately in love—and for her sake I would have taken the first train to Hades had her father intimated that it might be worth while to drum up business in that quarter.

"All right, Mr. Boggs," said I gaily. "I'm off at once. My samples will be ready in ten minutes." I rushed up-town in a car to take a hurried farewell of my peerless Anna Maria.

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Should I ever be able to call her mine—mine own?

"Oh, Timothy, you are not going where those horrid strikes are? Father cannot be so cruel as to insist upon it."

"My divine Anna Maria," I said tenderly, "stern duty calls, and I must obey. But, darling, do you love me?"

"Love you? You bet!" she answered, with almost a touch of reproach in her tone at my doubts. "Go, Timothy, and remember that whatever harm may befall you, I am always your Anna Maria—yours and yours only."

Thus reassured, and after a tearful parting, I crossed the ferry to the Pennsylvania depot, intending to go to Chicago via Pittsburgh. As the train approached Philadelphia, I saw several savage-looking strikers on the track. They boarded and uncoupled the cars. There was some promiscuous firing, and a shot from a brakeman took off my right ear, and disabled my left leg so as to necessitate amputation. Nothing daunted, and thinking of my dear Anna Maria Boggs, I smuggled myself in a mail-car en route to Pittsburgh.

There was great excitement when we reach Harrisburgh, and riot was rampant. A shot fired by a discontented train-hand shattered my right arm; but the image of Anna Maria soothed my trouble. The doctor who sawed off the limb behaved exceedingly well, and I really felt grateful for his polite attention—much more than could have been expected under the circumstances.

I soon got strong again, and made friends with an engineer who was going towards Pittsburgh. He consented to allow me to accompany him on the locomotive, in consideration of my quietly slipping into his hands a fifty-dollar bill. Just as we were leaving the Harrisburgh depot, a shot from some unknown person slightly put out my right eye; but I thanked my stars it was no worse. I might have lost my head. I have still a few other limbs and things to get rid of before arriving in Chicago; but what matters the loss of such trifles, so long as Anna Maria remains faithful to Timothy, who would make any sacrifice for her?

At Pittsburgh I found that forty or fifty people had been killed, double the number wounded, and the depot and a few dozen stores were in flames. A shot flattened my nose; another deprived my of my left ear; a third broke my right leg; but, fortunately, I can get a wooden one to match my left. Anna Maria may be my nurse when I return, and if I have but one eye to see her, that at any rate is better than none at all.

Well, at least, I'm halfway on my journey. Now, which was the best route to Chicago? I resolved to go by way of Cleveland. I hid among the coal in the tender of the locomotive, and was not discovered by the mob. I reached that city in safety, if I except a trifling loss of three fingers of my left and only remaining hand, from a blow with a crowbar by an angry switchman, who objected to a bloated businessman being allowed to travel so easily.

Now for Chicago. Some nice fighting was in progress, and shots were flying about in a perfectly ridiculous manner. A cut from a cavalryman's sabre [sic] took off my only arm in a cleanly style. I apologized for getting in his way. He said he was sorry, but accidents would happen in the best-regulated families, and hoped he had not put me to any inconvenience. I desired that he wouldn't mention it.

I went to the Palmer House; and when I've taken a few hours' rest, shall look after business. I have sent a love-telegram to Anna Maria—as it is awkward for me to write—that she may know that her Timothy is alive and well. What a fortunate man I am. I shall ever believe that it is better to be born lucky than rich.

About this Document

  • Source: Puck Humorous Weekly
  • Publisher: Puck Publishing Co.
  • Citation: page 3
  • Date: August 1, 1877