Friday, November 3, 2017

"They Were Voting Against Being Shot"

"At Close Quarters with Death: A Story of the Rail."
By Cutcliffe Hyne (1865-1944).
First appearance: The Harmsworth Monthly Pictorial Magazine, April 1899.
Short short story (8 pages, 8 illos).

Online at Hathi Trust (HERE).
"Although he did attempt most callously to slay me in my boots within half an hour of our ceasing the game, I will say that Quintal played dollar-limit poker like a gentleman."
On what up to this point has been a tranquil tour of the (former) American colonies, an unsuspecting Englishman named Calvert suddenly finds himself embroiled up to his
eyeballs in a life-or-death situation involving ruthless train robbers and two hundred thousand dollars . . .

Notable characters:
~ Mr. Calvert:

  "My reception surprised me: practically there was no reception at all."
~ Hugh H. Quintal:
  "He had no time to raise a pistol higher than his hip, but as I came to his view round the angle of the door, he pulled on me from there, and the bullet raked the skin above my ribs

like a hot iron, and the powder lit my clothing with a splash of flame."
~ The fat man:
  "His beady eye caught me on the moment of my entrance, and the pistol muzzle swung up and covered me. Though the whole length of the car separated us, that tube of iron seemed

to grow till its black depths were wide enough for a dog to crawl in."
~ The train engineer:
  "I allow you are queer, mister. No fancy shootin' for me. 'Sides, I've me engine to see after."
- We last touched base with Cutcliffe Hyne in re his "The Bank Note Forger" (HERE).

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