" " '7'" ? ' St?S5S
that projected out into space, glis
tening with ice. "Steady, Bill,?'
he continued, shouting up good
naturedly to the man who worked
the huge derrick over him. ''Don't
let her down yet. Mister Murphy
is bringing up them bolts and he's
lost his sea-legs. Here he comes.
Now let her go."
The derrick chains creaked and
the huge girder, poised horizon
tally over the city below, began
to journey down through space.
Weighing perhaps ten hundred
weight, it 'was so nicely calculated
that it came down with absolutely
horizontal poise, though the least
weight on either end would have
tipped it up, and sent it crashing
clown into the street.
"Ye'rc a sad case, Mr. Mur
phy," continued Ralston pleasant
ly, taking the bolts from the boy,
who was clinging, terror-stricken,
to the supports. "I'm thinking
it's theory goods business you're
better suited to. You'll never
make a man of yourself"
"You lie, curse you," screamed
Murphy, and driven frantic by the
climax of his sufferings, he re
leased his hold and struck Ral--.ton
full in the face.
Ralston reeled back, slipped on
the ice-covered rod, lost his foot
ing, and toppled into space.
Shouts of horror went up from
the workmen. Murphy, all his
anger abated, clung dizzily to the
scaffolding. He saw Ralston fall
clear of the tower and begin his
descent into nothingness, turning
over and over and clutching wild
ly at the air.
Ralston struck heavily upon
the girder that hung from the der
rick, grasped it, stayed his fall,
and clung desperately to the end
of it. There he swung, while the
massive piece of steel began to
revolve with a slow, undulating
But the fear-struck spectators
saw that the man's weight was
gradually tipping up the girder.
It became more and more per
pendicular; in another minute it
would slip through the rope and
go crashing down into the
city streets. Murphy opened his
eyes and saw. The next moment
as its circular movement brought
the girder within his reach, he
sprang into space and gripped the
This counterpiece came at the
exact moment. Gradually the gir
der began to right istelf. The new
weight at the other end brought
it back to a horrizontal plane, and
they clung there, as on some
giant see-saw, riding upon the air.
"Hold on, for God's sake,
boys," the foreman called "Low
er her, Bill." The derrick chains
creaked the rope elongated, and
inch by inch the girder, still
maintaining its equipoise, was
lowered into the street, 400 feet
Dizzy and faint, with bleeding
palms, Ralston staggered over
toward the unconscious lad.
Murphy opened his eyes and
feebly caught at his extended
hand. He did not need the cheers
and handshakes of the workmen;
he knew that he had been tried
and not found wanting.
xml | txt