THE SIGNALMAN ON THE MIDLAND.
There are probably about a million men employed m various capacities on the Railways 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 hrief narrative, which is strictly true, will therefore be read with interest: On the midland railway, twenty-three miles south of Carlisle, there is a little station called Culgaith. 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 takes 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 hip indisposition being a kind of giddiness that would seize him unexpectedly and as he described it, " set everything to moving and twisting round and round." Thts 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 he had better abandon his frork for a 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 oLher business, and could not risk the loss of his place. His work was always done, however, no matter how he felt. But it is only fair to say he had many anxious hours over it. His aimient, which he had discovered to be indigestion and dyspepsia, now set up more alarming symptoms. A physician at Appleby assured Agere that 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 blood is poisoned by your stomach, and every organ of the body is crippled by it." This was a miserable outlook for Agge, who went back to Culgaith 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. Ho was m his box as usual when of a sudden a sharp pain t-hot
through him as though he had been stabbed with a knife. He tumbled down on the locker m the signal-box, and lay there all the forenoon m acute distress and agony. For the time his work was a secondary consideration." Unable to re main 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 was alone when the attack came, and as nobody except railway officials are allowed m the signal boxes, it was some time before his plight was discovered. Finally, h»weyer, 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. There he was ill for weeks, part of the time unconscious. When the physicians had avowedly got to the end of their resources it was agreed that the signalman's end was only a matter of a very little time.
This was the situation when a singular thing happened. Two or three years before, when Agge was feeling the earlier symptoms of his disorder, he had taken a medicine that helped him ; getting better, he put the bottle aside, still half full, and forgot it altogether. Now, as he was; almost m a dying condition, his memory flashed up one day, and he distinctly recalled where he had put it. A search was made, and then it was found. The prostrate Signalman began using it, and to the astonishment of neighbours and doctors, m a few days was able to get out of doors. We may mention that the medicine was the well- [ known preparation, Mother Seigel's Curative Syrup, although to advertise the article is not the chief motive for this little narrative. As a matter of fact, Signalman Agge kept on doctoring himself with it, and it cured him, be its nature what it may. He went back to his box long ago, and this incident is printed m order that the reader may know more of the character and experience of a large and faithful body of public servants.
Permanent link to this item
THE SIGNALMAN ON THE MIDLAND., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2507, 2 September 1890
THE SIGNALMAN ON THE MIDLAND. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2507, 2 September 1890
Using This Item
See our copyright guide for information on how you may use this title.