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THE MISER'S DIAMOND NECKLACE.

In the year 1740 there lived m the Latin quarter m Paris, a famous miser named Jean Avere. The wealth con cealed m the obscure rookery where he resided was believed to be fabulous, and was no doubt really very great. Among his treasures wais a celebrated diamond necklace, of immense value. This he concealed so carefully that he ultimately forgot its hiding-place himself. He sought diligently for weeks, and, failing to find it, became almost insane. This rendered him even less capable of remembrance, and he took to his bed broken m body as m mind. A few weeks later a doctor and an old woman, who had sometimes done odd jobbs about his house, were both at his bedside, seeing that the end was near. As the clock m the neighboring tower tolled one, he ceased his low muttering and sat up and shrieked, "I remember where it is now. I can put my hand on the necklace. For God's sake let me go for it before I forget it again !" Here his weakness and excitement overcame him, and he sank back among his I rags, stone dead. Physicians find students I are familiar with these sudden outflashings of memory at the great crisis of haman fate. Let the reader consider this while we relate an episode m the humble career of a signalman, Andrew Ag§e, who may b« found on duty m his box at Culgaith, a little station on the Midland, twenty-three miles south of Carlisle. Mr Agge is on duty nearly every clay, and must break his fast without leaving his post. The confinement and mental strain tell on the system. The strongest men cannot stand it long without feeling its effects. It makes one think of the passionate exclamation m Tom Hood's "Song of the Shirt," "Oh, God! that bread should be so dear, And flesh and blood so cheap." Our friend had been at the same work for many years, although he was only thirty-five when these lines were written. In 1884 he began to feel that he was about to break down. " I don't know what ails me," he would say, " but I can't eat." What he forced down produced no sense of sa! isfaction or strength. Sometimes he was alarmed at finding he could scarcely walk on account of giddiness. He said to himself, " What if I should be seized with this at some moment when there is trouble on the line, and I need all my wits about me ?" Other features of this ailment were pains m the chest and sides, costiveness, yellow skin and eyes, bad taste m the mouth, rising of foul gas m the throat, etc. The doctor said Agge must give up his confining work or risk utter disability. He could not. Wife and children were m the way. So he remained at his post and grew worse. But his work was always right, telegrams were properly received and sent, and no train got into trouble through any neglect or fault of his. His disease—indigestion and dyspepsia—took a step further, and brought on kidney and bladder trouble. The doctor at Appleby said, '' Mr Agge, you are poisoned with the foul stuff m your stomach and blood." His doom seemed to be sealed. It was like a death warrant. Six months more rolled by. On duty one morning he was attacked with so great and so sharp a distress he could neither sit nor stand. He says:; ' I tumbled down on that locker and lay there all the forenoon. Signals might be given, the telegraph needle might click, but I heeded them no more than a man m the grave heeds the beating of the rain against his own tombstone." He was alone at first, but help arrived, and the poor signalman was carried home. Physicians labored on his case without avail. Around his bed were his five little children, the mother being absent m an institution, to be treated for a serious ailment. Here he lay for weeks, part of the time unconscious. Nothmg was to be done but to wait for the end. Then the torpid faculties awakened for a moment. Memory flashed up, and he recalled the fiu-t that a medicine which he had used ■with benefit yeevs before, and then thrown aside and forgotten, was concealed m a secret jilaca at the signal box. He sent for it, and took a dose. Soon his bowels moved, the kidneys acted, the pain was ceased, he felt better. With brightened ( hope he sent to Carlisle for more. It arrived. He used it, and m a few days the doctors were astonished to find their patient out of doors, and on the road to recovery. He regained his health completely, and, m speaking of his experience said to the writer, ''What a wonderful tiding it was that, on what promised to be my death-bed, I suddenly remembered Tvhere I had put that half-used bottle of Mother Seigel's Curative Syrup. That flash of memory probably saved me from death.

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18900909.2.27

Bibliographic details

THE MISER'S DIAMOND NECKLACE., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2513, 9 September 1890

Word Count
846

THE MISER'S DIAMOND NECKLACE. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2513, 9 September 1890

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