At the Throttle

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So loath was onetime President Deschanel of France to leave the privacy of his own railway compartment that in 1920, while relieving himself through an open window, he fell out of the train in his pajamas and ruined his political career. No such clumsy timidity bothers the little Tsar of Bulgaria. Far too poor to have a private train of his own, Boris III is apt to be all over the public trains he uses. Like the late great Albert of Belgium, Tsar Boris is an impassioned locomotive engineer, likes to spend much time in the engine cab, although he by no means is above taking a trick at shoveling fuel. Last week, taking the 300-mile run from Sofia to Varna for a brief vacation in his palace on the Black Sea shore, Boris looked out of the window and found the train stopping half way between Kecarevo and Strazica. Here was a stop he never makes when he drives the Sofia-Varna Express. He ran forward to the locomotive, found the stuffing in the axle boxes blazing from an overheated oil feed pipe. The regular engineer was painfully burned about the hand. Regally commanding alarmed passengers, who set up a cry of bombs, Bulgaria's Boris leaped to the throttle and drove the train carefully to the nearest bridge, where he put out the fire with wet sand. He dressed the engineer's hand himself, then, sopping wet, proudly ran the train the rest of the way to Varna.

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