RAILCAR GOLD Chapter 2 . . Orphan . . Part 4
RAILCAR GOLD is a historically accurate multi-generational fictional tale of hidden treasure, primarily set in York County, Pennsylvania during the latter half of the Nineteenth Century. This is Part 4 of Chapter 2 . . . Orphan. A new part will be posted every Thursday. New readers may want to start at the beginning.
CHAPTER 2 . . . ORPHAN . . . Part 4
Dan awoke to the sound of Rufus calling, “Dan, wake-up! Time to get on the road.” It is still an hour before sunrise on Saturday March 3rd, 1860. Dan gobbles down some leftovers from the Tavern meal and tends to the horses. He helps Rufus hitch up the horses to the wagon and they are one their way.
Uncle Rufus swapped some horses in the overall arrangement so they did not have to take all fifteen of their horses. Dan was glad that his horse Buck was not part of the deal. Dan drove the wagon and Rufus followed on horseback with seven horses in toe.
Dan had become very adept at driving a two-horse hitch in the few months he had worked with his uncle. Dan’s mind wondered as he traveled the same road where only last year he was but a child in a wagon driven by his Dad. Dan had not been on the ferry to Philadelphia since the accident, he did not know what type of feelings to expect.
Rufus yelled, “To the left at the crossroads!” Dan had never been on that road. He drove the wagon to the left, as directed. These were all new and interesting sights for Dan. They would occasionally stop, however kept a pretty good pace through the New Jersey countryside until they reached a Delaware River crossing south of Philadelphia.
Dan reflected on this crossing community; it was rough looking and small compared to the ferry crossing his Dad had always used further upriver. This crossing village only contained two houses, three barns, stockyards all around and a tavern. However within sight, upriver, was a much larger community.
Rufus told Dan, “Stay here while I check the wait time.” Rufus handed Dan the rope with the seven horses and mentioned as he rode off, “The stockyards look crowded. If they’re all going, we’ll head to another ferry downriver.” Dan thought this must be the Delaware River crossing Rufus occasionally included in his stories; a ferry specializing in transporting herds of livestock across the Delaware River.
At a full gallop, Rufus returned, “We’re in luck. Almost all of the livestock in the stockyards have already crossed from Pennsylvania. We’ll go in about two hours.” Rufus reached for the rope with the string of horses and instructed Dan, “Follow me.”
They tied up the horses, attended to them and went into the tavern to grab a bite to eat. They were just finishing their lunch when a big burly guy burst into the tavern, “Who owns that wagon with the fancy table? My wife wants me to buy it. Is it for sale?” Rufus walked up to the guy and quietly announced, “That’s mine, what’s your offer?”
Rufus instructed Dan to fetch water for the horses, while he continued to haggle with this guy outside next to the wagon. Dan listened to his uncle claim over and over that the table was one of his most prized possessions. Dan knew that Rufus despised this fancy table.
The former owner of the place where his uncle lived left it behind. His uncle always took a lot of rubbing about the table. Rufus had planned to leave the table behind; it was only taken because Dan already had it loaded on the wagon before this uncle returned to help load things yesterday morning.
Dan could not understand why the table was suddenly so very important to Rufus; then it hit him, he realized this was all a ploy by his uncle to jack up the price. However it did not appear to be working; the guy was stubborn about moving on the price. Eventually the wife took the guy to the side to talk.
Rufus told Dan, “We have another hour wait, here’s a penny, take Buck and ride up to that community,” as he pointed up river, “Get yourself a treat, you’ve done a good job this morning. Make sure you’re back in time!” Dan had Buck saddled up and was on his way at full gallop in no time.
Go to Part 5