Read CHAPTER XIX of The Life and Adventures of Nat Love Better Known in the Cattle Country as "Deadwood Dick", free online book, by Nat Love, on

The pullman sleeping car. Long trips on the rail. The wreck. One touch of nature makes the whole world Kin. A few of the railroads over which I have traveled. The invalid and the care we give them.

The modern Pullman sleeping car is a veritable palace on wheels furnished in the best materials, without regard to expense, comfort, convenience and the safety of the passengers being the main object. To say that the builders of the Pullman cars have succeeded in attaining this object is but a mild expression. Fine carpets cover the floors, the seats and chairs are upholstered in the best and softest of material, while every convenience is provided for the use of the lucky mortal who is called across the continent on business or pleasure, and whose pleasure it is to travel and sleep in the Pullman sleeping car of the present day. The traveler of today when he has to go from Chicago to San Francisco, simply throws a few things in a grip, is driven to the Union terminal station in Chicago, where he secures a through ticket and a sleeping car berth. At the car steps he is met by the Pullman porter who relieves him of his grip and assists him on the train if necessary. From that time until four days later when he arrives in San Francisco, he has no more care. If he wishes to write letters there is a handy writing tablet with stationery and everything needful. He can write his letters and hand them to the porter to mail and continue his perusal of the morning paper. If he gets hungry he has but to step in the dining car, where he will find viands fit for a king. If he wants a shave or a haircut, the barber is in the next car. If he wants to view the scenery en route, the observation car is but a few steps away. When he gets sleepy and wishes to retire he presses the electric button at his elbow and the porter will do the rest, but if he prefers to lay in his luxurious bed and read, he has but to turn on the electric light at his bedside and he can read as long as he pleases, and when he arrives at San Francisco he will be cleanly shaven, nicely brushed, with his shoes freshly shined, and on the outside of a good breakfast, ready to tackle at once the business or the pleasure that brought him across the continent. Or, if the traveler prefers, he may swing aboard the magnificently equipped and royally appointed Los Angeles Limited, one of the finest through trains that this mundane sphere can boast. Catch this train in Chicago, which you may do any day in the year, and it will carry you with safety, speed and comfort over the fertile farms, meadows and plains; through the City of the Saints on the second day; then around the Great Dead Sea of America, over the sage brush plains and grazing ranges of southern Nevada, and into the Land of Sunshine and Flowers and the City of the Angels on the third day after leaving your home in Chicago.

What a contrast to the mode of travel our grandfathers were forced to adopt, a decade ago, when the old ox team and the prairie schooner wended its slow way over the mountains and plains, over trails in every turn of which lurked danger and death. “Verily the sun do move.” During my service with the Pullman company I have traveled from the Atlantic to the Pacific and from the Gulf of Mexico to the borders of Canada, over nearly all the many different lines of railroad that makes the map of North America look like a spider had been crawling over it in search of a fly. I have visited all the principal cities and towns where the sound of the bell and the whistle is heard, and I have in a great measure satisfied my desire to see the country. Among the great lines of railway over which I have traveled are the Union Pacific, whose overland limited, the Atlantic Express and the Portland-Chicago Special, are the acme of quick, safe and comfortable travel. The overland limited is electric lighted, steam heated and contains every known luxury and convenience of travel. The Denver and Rio Grande Railroad is noted the world over for its quick time, fine scenery, comfort and safety. The Southern Pacific, the Baltimore & Ohio Southwestern, the Missouri Pacific between St. Louis and all points east all electric lighted trains with observation, parlor, cafe dining cars and Pullman sleeping cars; the Chicago & Northwestern, whose through train service to Chicago and the East from San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland, Salt Lake, Ogden and Denver is not excelled in any land; the Illinois Central Railroad, whose eight track entrance to Chicago from the south along the lake front is one of the triumphs of Yankee railroading, and whose train service is elegant in the extreme. The Pennsylvania lines which will take you from Chicago to New York in eighteen hours and make you feel thoroughly comfortable while doing it. The Louisville and Nashville Railroad, whose lines reach every town and hamlet in the solid South. The Nickel Plate road, the direct line from Chicago to New York, Boston and all points east, all trains of the Nickel Plate road arrive and depart from the new LaSalle Street station, one of the finest railroad stations in the country. The Santa Fe, from whose trains you can view some of the finest scenery in the Rocky Mountains, including the Grand Canyon of Arizona, a mile deep, thirteen miles wide, two hundred and seventeen miles long and painted like a flower. The Lehigh Valley Railroad to Chicago, New York and Philadelphia, from whose car windows one may view the world-famous Niagara Falls. The Colorado & Southern, the Colorado road over which travel is one continuous delight. The San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad, one of the youngest but by no means the least of railroads, the road that lies as straight as the crow flies, linking together the City of the “Saints” and the City of the “Angels.” The snow-capped Rocky Mountains and the sun-kissed shores of the Pacific Ocean, the dead sea and the live sea; the railroad that makes it possible to have a sleigh ride with your second wife in the City of the “Saints” on Sunday and pick flowers and eat oranges with your first wife in the City of the “Angels” on Tuesday. Over this line I am running at present, and while it has only been in operation a short time, yet the time and service equals and in some cases surpasses the time and service of the great Trunk Lines of the east. We often make ninety miles an hour over the standard gauge roadbed, that equals any in this country. The cars are all new, the engines are the latest up-to-date kind. The cars are built for comfort and convenience, the trains are all electric lighted, steam heated and have every modern convenience for the safety and comfort of the passengers. This road, in common with some of the eastern roads employs chair car porters in addition to the Pullman porters. On all trains from Salt Lake to Los Angeles there are three or four Pullman porters and one chair car porter.

All trains have dining cars, which are in reality magnificent dining rooms, where three times a day the dainties of the season are prepared by a competent chef to satisfy the most discriminating inner man. The furnishings of these cars, the fine linen, the artistic glass, china and silverware, are guaranteed to make you enjoy your meal, even if you have got dyspepsia. Besides the dining car and the Pullman sleeping cars, there is attached to all overland trains on the Salt Lake route, a through tourist sleeper, which differs from the Pullman sleeper only in a slight difference in the furnishings. The service is the same, but the cost of a berth in them between Salt Lake and Los Angeles is just one-half that of the standard sleeper. I have never run on a road where better service, more courteous treatment or better time was made than on the S. P., L. A. & S. L. Railroad.

In these latter years, when progress is the watchword of the railroads in common with the other industries of the country, no expense or pains are spared by the railroad people to add to the comfort, enjoyments, safety and convenience of the traveling public, until now it is about as safe to travel as it is to stay at home, and not much if any more expensive. But in spite of all safeguards adopted by the railroads a wreck occurs once in a while the same as accidents occur at home.

The first wreck I was in the train struck a split switch with the result that the cars turned over and piled up in a ditch. That happened in Colorado. We were forced to crawl out through the windows, like a prairie dog out of his hole. No one was killed but the passengers were all pretty well shaken up and somewhat scared. As soon as the cars got comfortably piled up and the passengers were able to speak they all commenced yelling for the porter. But at that particular moment the porter was busy rubbing his shins and assuring himself there was nothing to be scared about. The passengers at such times are apt to forget that the porter is as scared as they are, and has forgotten all about tips and such commonplace matters as that, but after he gets his wits about him he loses no time in looking after his flock, and rendering assistance to such of his passengers as need it, and most of them do need assistance of some kind if for no other reason than to be assured that they are not hurt. The Pullman porter of today must be a very versatile sort of a person, he must have plenty of patience, be a good judge of human nature, quick, kind and observant. Many are the times a gouty and crusty passenger has traveled in my car, who was in such a bad humor that it was next to impossible to please him, yet before he had ridden a hundred miles with me, I had him in good humor and laughing with the rest of the passengers. “Laugh and the whole world laughs with you.”

It is by no means an uncommon thing for us porters to be called upon to turn nurse for sick or invalid passengers in our car, and often have I watched by the bedside of a sick passenger, feeding him, giving him medicine, bathing him and in fact becoming for the time being a hospital nurse, and many are the blessings I have received from my sick passengers, both men and women, whose pain I have eased, and their last moments on earth I have cheered. And this, dear reader, we do in the name of humanity and not in the name of tips.