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THE SIGNALMAN ON THE MIDLAND.

There are probably about a million men employed m various capacities on the Bail ways of Great Britain—a number large enough, if they were soldiers, to overrun Europe. Upon the intelligence, fidelity, and physical condition of this vast army depend the lives of multitudes who are constantly travelling by rail.' Any sudden and serious disability happening to one of them may result m a disaster which would put hundreds of families m mourning. Accustomed as it is to safe and swift conveyance from point: to point, the public scarcely realises this fact. The. following *>rief narrative, which is strictly true, will therefore be read with interest : On the midland railway, twenty miles south of Carlisle, there is a little station called Oulgaith, Here there is a signal-box m which Signalman Andrew Agge is to be found on duty daily, As is the case with all other signal-boxes, this one contains the levers and the usual complicated electric and mechanical contrivances for making and receiving signals. Mr Agge is on duty nearly every day, and cakes his luncheons without leaving his post, He is a sturdy man of thirtyfive, m good health, and no complaint has ever been made against him by the Company or by the public ; yet an incident occurred a few years ago that came near depriving him of his position and his life. For some time he had not felt well, the worst; and most dangerous phase of hi? indisposition being a kind of giddiness that would seijje him unexpectedly and, as he described it, *' apt everything to moving and twisting round and round." The doctor told him frankly that it was a symptom of a still more radical complaint brought on by too much confinement, and by his irregular habits of eating and sleeping, and that ha had better abandon his work for &. while, and try a change of scene. But this was easier said than done. He had a family to support, and couldn't afford the luxury of a vacation. He knew no other business, and could- not risk the loss of his place. His work was always done, however, no matter how he felt. But it is pnly fair to say he had many anxious hours oyer it. His ailment, which he had discovered |to be indigestion and dyspepsia, now set up more alarming symptoms. A physician at Appleby assured Ag?£ fJiftt there was serious trouble with his kidneys and bladder. "It is," said the doctor to the Signalman, " the result of the condition of your digestion. Your Wood js poisoned by your stomach, and every prg,ut of the body is crippled by it" This was a miserable outlook for Agge, who went back to Culgaifch with small courage for his work. He took hold, though, as well as he could, and kept it up until one morning several weeks afterwards. He was m his box as usual when of a sudden a sharp pain shot through him as though he had been stabbed. >vHh a knife. He tumbled down on .che locker m the signal-box, and lay there all the forenooii m acute distress and agony. For the time his work was a secondary consideration. Unable to remain m that position any longer, he laid down and rolled on the floor, The pain m his hips and back was so intense that he compared it to being cut with dull knives, and pierced with hot irons. Agge W8& alone when the attack came, and as uohody except railway officials are allowed jn the signal boxes, it was some time before his plight was djsepyered. Finally, however, the station-master came m, the neighbors were summoned., and the suffering man was put into a trap and taken to his house, half a mile away, T-her/e he was ill for weeks, part of the time unconscious. When the physicians had avowedly got to the end of their resources jit was agreed that the signalman's end was only q. matter of a very little time. This was the wljiation' when a singular tiling happened. T\v,o fff three years before, when Agge was feeling Hip symptoms of his disorder, he had tajkon v medicine that helped him ; getting better, he put tlie bottle asida, ,still half full, and forgot it altogether. Now, «« he was almost m a Aging condition, his memory flashed up oiio day, and he distinctly recalled where ho had put it. A search was made, and Minn it w;w found. The prostrate Skmalman began ««}»K it) all^ ne <i«tonishment of "neighbours jMjm] doctors, m a few days was able to get ojjt f 4 t doors. We may mention that the -medicine ww I;] .p wellknown preparation, Mother Seigel's (Jinn tive Sywp, although to advertise ihe article is not ihp chief motive for this little narrative. An ;j, matter of fact, Signalman Agye kept on doctoring himseff with it, mid it cured him, be its nature what it may. He went back to his box long ago, and this incident is prnted m order tint the reader may know iikjvp <--f Hio character and experience of a large and faithful body of public servants,,

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18900818.2.21

Bibliographic details

THE SIGNALMAN ON THE MIDLAND., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2494, 18 August 1890

Word Count
864

THE SIGNALMAN ON THE MIDLAND. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2494, 18 August 1890

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