« PreviousContinue »
DAYS WITH UNCLE JACK
At the first tap of the engine house bell, there was a scurry of feet within, men came sliding down the poles, while the horses, almost as well trained as the men, jumped into their places.
More quickly than you can read it, almost before the last tapping ceased, the driver was strapped in his seat, the harness was snapped in place, and the apparatus was in the street.
Several people had stopped to see the sight, and among them was a group of six persons, most of whom we have met before.
They were Ben, Belle, May, their father and mother, and their Uncle Jack. They had been down to the pier to see Grandpa off for Europe, and were now on their way back to the hotel at
which they were staying, when they heard the sound of the fire alarm.
The apparatus went flying up the street, the company's dog racing and barking in front of it. Ben, very much excited, exclaimed, “Come on, Father, let's all go to the fire!”
So they followed the crowd as quickly as they could, and in a few minutes they could see smoke and flames coming from some tall tenements.
Getting as close to the fire as they could (which was not very close, for the police had established the fire lines a block in every direction), they watched silently the well-directed work of the firemen.
Suddenly a great cry went up, “Look! look!" and several men pointed to the top of a ladder which leaned against an upper window.
“Oh!” cried Belle, “see the fireman coming down the ladder with a little girl in his arms!”
Sure enough, it was so! And as the smoke blew to one side so that all the crowd saw them, a great cheer went up that drowned the crackle of the flames and the puffing of the engines. And when the fireman reached the ground and handed the child to her anxious mother, another hearty cheer went up. Very soon afterward the fire was under control, and the crowd began to melt away.
Our group walked slowly along, the children talking excitedly of the dangerous life of the firemen, until May said suddenly:“Father, let's make haste, I'm so hungry.”
“Well, my dear,” replied her father, “if that's the case, we shall go at once to the hotel. Let us take the car that is coming."
So they boarded the car, and in a quarter of an hour reached their destination.
After luncheon, the family went to their sitting room for a quiet chat. During a lull in the conversation, Uncle Jack opened an afternoon newspaper which he had brought up-stairs with him, saying, “Why, here's an account of the fire we saw this morning! That is certainly quick work.”
“What does the paper say about it, Uncle Jack?” asked Belle.
“It says that the fire was caused by a child playing with matches, and that the fire escapes of the tenement house were so cluttered up that they were almost useless. And, further, it says, that on this account many lives would have been lost but for .the bravery and skill of the firemen. It seems that we saw only the last one of the many rescues made.”
“Why will people cumber the fire escapes? They must know that it is very dangerous,” said Mother.
“It's the old story,” replied Father. “They are careless or thoughtless, and quite forgetful of the old adage: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure'.”
“That's exactly what Chief Guerin says at the close of this article,” said Uncle Jack.
“Won't you read what the Chief says?” asked Ben.
“Certainly, my boy,” replied Uncle Jack.
TO THE PUPIL:
1. Why is the parenthesis used in the tenth paragraph?
2. Destination means the place aimed at; lull, quiet, calm; clutter, to crowd together in disorder; cumber, to load uselessly, to choke up, to clog; adage, a proverb, a saying.
Put the proper word in each of the blank spaces following:
An old — says, “Where there's a will, there's a way." We reached our - in good time. She was such a careless housekeeper that her rooms were always — up. Behold, these three years I come