Ed:Gone to see the Elephant, a Carbons Creek story
Ed Meets Bridget
Your knowin’ it’s a long time since Pa and I had seen each other. We spent some time swappin’ lies before I headed back to Carbons Creek. We said our goodbyes at the railroad station. I had left me horse at the livery in Galestown where there is a rail connection.
In a few days I can be back to mindin’ me own business in more ways than one. So I gets on the train and wave goodbye to Pa.
And don’t you know, I’m jus’ walking down the aisle of the passenger car and see a most stunning Colleen. And she be sitttin’ there by herself and with nobody else. She had reddish brown hair that fell out from under the tan hat she wore. I would bet she had brown eyes too. I sat me self down opposite her, hopin’ she wouldn’t find it too forward of me.
“Pardon, miss,” I says. I was hopin’ she was a miss, not a Mrs. Herself had been looking out the window and was unaware of me joining her. She was a bit startled when I spoke. Then her face flushed showing a bit of embarrassment. I thought the freckles on her face made her even more attractive.
‘Sorry, I am. I didna’ see you there.’
“Tis but me own fault,” says I. “But I was taken by your beauty and felt I must get to know such a fair lass as yourself,” I says. Blessed if she doesn’t blush more,
“And may I be getting’ your name sir?”
“Me name is Ed. Ed Stock,” I tells her.
“Ah,” she says,” That has the sound of the English. And you with so much of the blarney about you. It cannot be.”
“Ah, but it is lass. Me great, great grandma had the misfortune to fall in love with an Englishman, who in turn passed his name down to the rest of us. Now, may I be knowin’ the name you be called?”
“Wouldn’t you be knowing that me name is Bridget. Bridget Murphy.”
“Then you be named for the blessed St. Bridget herself. When I see’s you here I says to me self that there is something special ‘bout the lass sittin’ there. And sure enough you prove me words.”
She tells me she is headed for Galestown for to work at the hotel as a maid. It lifted my heart knowing that she would be so close to Carbons Creek. It being time for lunch we proceeded to the dining car but were thrown off balance when the train lurched and with wheels screeching against rails, come to a halt
When I left home I said I wanted to see the elephant, but I didna’ expect to really see one, specially on the railroad tracks. When I got off the train to see what stopped the train, there she was. She was the biggest animal I have ever seen, No wonder the train had to stop. Despite her size she had a kind of charm and appeal with her big ears spread out and her trunk held high. What in the world was she doin’ here? Two men and a woman were trying to entice the animal away from the track. To see if I could help any I went to talk to them. She was, in fact, an elephant belonging to a traveling circus that was heading to Galestown. The elephant’s name was Lulu. Her handlers were not sure why, but when she saw the train coming decided to sit down and wait for it. Might be the trains had good memories for her. The only thing Lulu really hated according to her circus handlers is guns. I seems that irresponsible hunters had killed her mother. She was found half starved and gets very hyper at the sight or sound of guns.
It is laterI learned for sure that they were with a circus, but who else would have an elephant out there? As soon as they were clear of the track the engineer gotthings going again. The circus people and the elephant named Lulu moved pretty much alongside us. The young lady trainer was riding on the elephant. I later saw how the elephant lifted her up with its trunk. Yet, they couldna’ keep up. Bridget could not keep her eyes of the elephant and the circus wagons. We did learn that the circus was on its way to Galestown. Bridget was thrilled with the idea of seeing the circus. We had to hustle to get back on the train as it was picking up speed.
We went to the dining car to get the lunch that we missed out on earlier. It was the ideal opportunity to ask Bridget if I might see her again and escort her to the circus when I get back to Galestown. I explained that I had business to take care of in Carbons Creek but would return to Galestown after.
It was light of heart I was, knowin’ I would see Bridget again in a few days. That is until I gets back to Carbons Creek. There’d been trouble brewin’ there. I dearly wish no reporters or book writers had ever heard of me. Seems that every young gun thinks they can get famous it they shoot me. I tell you after a couple of them it gets tiresome. These young rowdies’s plumb wear a man out. I suppose if they was in the big city out east they’d join the bowery boys and fight amongst themselves. This one came to town while I was gone and started braggin’ in the saloon of which I am part owner.
I don’t want any gunfights. I don’t want to kill anybody and I definitely don’t want to be killed right after meeting such a fair lass as Bridget. I surely do not want some wet behind the ears punk to spoil me date with Bridget.
Wouldn’t you know that be just what the overgrown lad would be up to. He was not hard to spot whenever he followed me waitin his chance. He might have back shot me if he could make it look like a fair fight, but I didn’t figure him to be that smart.
I stabled me horse and rented a carriage with a driver, who took us to the circus. Bridget wanted to see the animals, especially the elephant before we went in to the big top. Out of the corner of me eye I sees the kid who was after me. I pushed Bridget out of the way and stood ready to defend me self. He made the mistake of getting his back to Lulu. I later found out that elephants have a great sense of smell and Lulu must have smelled the freshly oiled revolver the kid drew out. she snatched it out of his hand with her trunk and flipped it into a pile of garbage. Since he would have to get past Lulu to retrieve it he was smart enough not to try. I might have been fast enough to get a shot off and hit the kid, but I’m not as fast as Lulu.
The circus was great fun and being with such as pretty lass as Bridget made it the best circus I had ever seen. Surely glad I am I got to see the elephant.
© 2011 Don A. Hoglund
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