from the Up to the Down, or Wicer Warsaw, and begin to pitch
the stale pastry into the plates, and chuck the sawdust sangwiches
under the glass covers, and get out the ā ha, ha, ha! ā the sherry, ā
my eye, my eye! ā for your Refreshment.
It 's only in the Isle of the Brave and Land of the Free (by
A^hich, of course, I mean to say Britannia) that Refreshmenting is
so effective, so 'olesome, so constitutional a check upon the pub-
lic. There was a Foreigner, which having politely, with his hat off,
beseeched our young ladies and Our Missis for 'a leetel gloss hoff
prarndee,' and having had the Line surveyed through him by all
and no other acknowledgment, was a-proceeding at last to help
himself, as seems to be the custom in his own country, when Our
Missis, with her hair almost a-coming un-Bandolined with rage,
and her eyes omitting sparks, fiew at him, cotched the decanter out
of his hand, and said. Tut it down! I won't allow that! ' The for-
eigner turned pale, stepped back with his arms stretched out in
front of him, his hands clasped, and his shoulders riz, and ex-
claimed: 'Ah! Is it possible, this! That these disdaineous females
and this ferocious old woman are placed here by the administra-
tion, not only to empoison the voyagers, but to affront them!
Great Heaven! How arrives it? The English people. Or is he then
a slave? Or idiot?' Another time, a merry, wideawake American
gent had tried the sawdust and spit it out, and had tried the
Sherry and spit that out, and had tried in vain to sustain ex-
hausted natur upon Butter-Scotch, and had been rather extra
Bandolined and Line-surveyed through, when, as the bell was ring-
ing and he paid Our Missis, he says, very loud and good-tem-
pered: T tell Yew what 'tis, ma'arm. I la'af. Theer! I la'af. I
Dew. I oughter ha' seen most things, for I hail from the On-
iimited side of the Atlantic Ocean, and I halve travelled right slick
over the Limited, head on through Jeerusalemm and the East,
and likeways France and Italy, Europe Old World, and am now
MUGBY JUNCTION 43
upon the track to the Chief Europian Village; but such an In-
stitution as Yew, and Yewer young ladies, and Yewer fixin's solid
and liquid, afore the glorious Tarnal I never did see yet! And
if I hain't found the eighth wonder of monarchical Creation, in
finding Yew, and Yewer young ladies, and Yewer fixin's solid
and liquid, all as aforesaid, established in a country where the
people air not absolute Loo-naticks, I am Extra Double Darned
with a Nip and Frizzle to the innermostest grit! Wheerfur ā
Theer! ā I la'af! I Dew, ma'arm. I la'af!' And so he went,
stamping and shaking his sides, along the platform all the way
to his own compartment.
I think it was her standing up agin the Foreigner as giv' Our
Missis the idea of going over to France, and droring a compari-
son betwixt Refreshmenting as followed among the frog-eaters,
and Refreshmenting as triumphant in the Isle of the Brave and
Land of the Free (by which, of course, I mean to say agin,
Britannia). Our young ladies. Miss Whiff, Miss Piff, and ]\Irs.
Sniff, was unanimous opposed to her going; for, as they says to
Our Missis one and all, it is well beknown to the hends of the
berth as no other nation except Britain has a idea of anythink.
but above all of business. Why then should you tire yourself to
prove what is already proved?^ Our Missis, however (being a
teazer at all pints) stood out grim obstinate, and got a return
pass by Southeastern Tidal, to go right through, if such should
be her dispositions, to ^larseilles.
Sniff is husband to Mrs. Sniff, and is a regular insignificant
cove. He looks arter the sawdust department in a back room,
and is sometimes, when we are very hard put to it, let behind the
counter with a corkscrew; but never when it can be helped, his
demeanour towards the public being disgusting servile. How Mrs.
Sniff ever come so far to lower herself as to marry him, I don't
know; but I suppose he does, and I should think he wished he
didn't, for he leads a awful life. Mrs. Sniff couldn't be much
harder with him if he was public. Similarly, ]Miss \\'hiff and Miss
Piff, taking the tone of Mrs. Sniff, they shoulder Sniff about when
he is let in with a corkscrew, and they whisk things out of his
hands when in his servility he is a-going to let the public have
'em, and they snap him up when in the crawling baseness of his
spirit he is a-going to answer a public question, and they drore
more tears into his eves than ever the mustard does which he all
44 MUGBY JUNCTION
day long lays on to the sawdust. (But it ain't strong.) Once,
when Sniff had the repulsiveness to reach across to get the milk-
pot to hand over for a baby, I see Our Missis in her rage catch
him by both his shoulders, and spin him out into the Bandolining
But Mrs. Sniff, ā how different! She 's the one! She 's the one
as you '11 notice to be always looking another way from you.
when you look at her. She 's the one with the small waist buckled
in tight in front, and with the lace cuffs at her wrists, which she
puts on the edge of the counter before her, and stands a-smoothing
while the public foams. This smoothing the cuffs and looking
another way while the public foams is the last accomplishment
taught to the young ladies as come to Mugby to be finished by
Our Missis; and it 's always taught by Mrs. Sniff.
When Our Missis went away upon her journey, Mrs. Sniff was
left in charge. She did hold the public in check most beautiful I
In all my time, I never see half so many cups of tea given with-
out milk to people as wanted it with, nor half so many cups of
tea with milk given to people as wanted it without. When foam-
ing ensued, Mrs. Sniff would say: 'Then you 'd better settle it
among yourselves, and change with one another.' It was a most
highly delicious lark. I enjoyed the Refreshmenting business more
than ever, and was so glad I had took to it when young.
Our Missis returned. It got circulated among the young ladies,
and it as it might be penetrated to me through the crevices of
the Bandolining Room, that she had Orrors to reveal, if revela-
tions so contemptible could be dignified with the name. Agita-
tion become awakened. Excitement was up in the stirrups. Ex-
pectation stood a-tiptoe. At length it was put forth that on our
slacked evening in the week, and at our slackest time of that
evening betwixt trains. Our Missis would give her views of for-
eign Refreshmenting, in the Bandolining Room.
It was arranged tasteful for the purpose. The Bandolining table
and glass was hid in a corner, a arm-chair was elevated on a
packing-case for Our Missis's ockypation, a table and a tumbler
of water (no sherry in it, thankee) was placed beside it. Two
of the pupils, the season being autumn, and hollyhocks and dahlias
being in, ornamented the wall with three devices in those flowers.
On one might be read, 'May Albion never Learn'; on another,
'Keep the Public Down'; on another, 'Our Refreshmenting
MUGBY JUNCTION 45
Charter.' The whole had a beautiful appearance, with which the
beauty of the sentiments corresponded.
On Our Missis's brow was wrote Severity, as she ascended the
fatal platform. (Not that that was anythink new.) ^liss Whiff
and ^liss Piff sat at her feet. Three chairs from the Waiting Room
might have been perceived by a average eye, in front of her, on
which the pupils was accommodated. Behind them a very close
observer might have discerned a Boy. Myself.
'Where/ said Our Missis, glancing gloomily around, is Sniff?'
'I thought it better,' answered Mrs. Sniff, 'that he should not
be let to come in. He is such an Ass.'
'No doubt,' assented Our Missis. 'But for that reason is it
not desirable to improve his mind?'
"Oh, nothing will ever improve him,'' said Mrs. Sniff.
'However,' pursued Our Missis, 'call him in, Ezekiel '
I called him in. The appearance of the low-minded cove was
hailed with disapprobation from all sides, on account of his hav-
ing brought his corkscrew with him. He pleaded 'the force of
'The force I' said Mrs. Sniff. 'Don't let us have you talking
about force, for Gracious' sake. There I Do stand still where
you are, with your back against the wall.'
He is a smiling piece of vacancy, and he smiled in the mean
way in which he will even smile at the public if he gets a chance
(language can say no meaner of him), and he stood upright near
the door with the back of his head agin the wall, as if he was
a-waiting for somebody to come and measure his heighth for the
'I should not enter, ladies,' says Our Missis, 'on the revolting
disclosures I am about to make, if it was not in the hope that
they will cause you to be yet more implacable in the exercise of
the power you wield in a constitutional country, and yet more
devoted to the constitutional motto which I see before me,' ā it
was behind her, but the words sounded better so ā ' "^lay Albion
never learn I" '
Here the pupils as had made the motto admired it, and cried,
'Hear! Hear! Hear I' Sniff, showing an inclination to join in
chorus, got himself frowned down by every brow.
'The baseness of the French,' pursued Our ^Missis, 'as displayed
in the fawning nature of their Refreshmenting, equals, if not sur-
46 MUGBY JUNCTION
passes, anythink as was ever heard of the baseness of the cele-
Miss Whiff, Miss Piff, and me, we drored a heavy breath, equal
to saying, 'We thought as much!' Miss Whiff and Miss Piff seem-
ing to object to my droring mine along with theirs, I drored an-
other to aggravate 'em.
'Shall I be believed,' says Our Missis, with flashing eyes, 'when
I tell you that no sooner had I set my foot upon that treacherous
shore ā '
Here Sniff, either bursting out mad, or thinking aloud, says,
in a low voice: 'Feet. Plural, you know.'
The cowering that come upon him when he was spurned by
all eyes, added to his being beneath contempt, was sufficient pun-
ishment for a cove so grovelling. In the midst of a silence ren-
dered more impressive by the turned-up female noses with which
it was pervaded, Our Missis went on:
'Shall I be believed when I tell you, that no sooner had I landed,'
this word with a killing look at Sniff, 'on that treacherous shore,
than I was ushered into a Refreshment Room where there were ā
I do not exaggerate ā actually eatable things to eat?'
A groan burst from the ladies. I not only did myself the
honour of jining, but also of lengthening it out.
'Where there were,' Our Missis added, 'not only eatable things
to eat, but also drinkable things to drink?'
A murmur, swelling almost into a scream, ariz. Miss Piff,
trembling with indignation, called out, 'Name?'
'I will name,' said Our Missis. 'There was roast fowls, hot and
cold; there was smoking roast veal surrounded with browned
potatoes; there was hot soup with (again I ask shall I be cred-
ited?) nothing bitter in it, and no flour to choke off the con-
sumer; there was a variety of cold dishes set off with jelly; there
was salad ; there was ā mark me ! jresh pastry, and that of a light
construction ; there was a luscious show of fruit ; there was bottles
and decanters of sound small wine, of every size, and adapted to
every pocket; the same odious statement will apply to brandy;
and these were set out upon the counter so that all could help
Our Missis's lips so quivered, that Mrs. Sniff, though scarcely
less convulsed that she were, got up and held the tumbler to them.
MUGBY JUNCTION 47
^This,' proceeds Our Missis, 'was my first unconstitutional ex-
perience. Well would it have been if it had been my last and
worst. But no. As I proceeded farther into that enslaved and
Ignorant land, its aspect became more hideous. I need not ex-
plain to this assembly the ingredients and formation of the British
Universal laughter, ā except from Sniff, who, as sangwich-cut-
ter, shook his head in a state of the utmost dejection as he stood
with it agin the wall.
'Well!' said Our Missis, with dilated nostrils. 'Take a fresh,
crisp, long, crusty penny loaf made of the whitest and best flour.
Cut it longwise through the middle. Insert a fair and nicely fitting
slice of ham. Tie a smart piece of ribbon round the middle of
the whole to bind it together. Add at one end a neat wrapper
of clean white paper by which to hold it. And the universal French
Refreshment sangwich busts on your disgusted vision.'
A cry of 'Shame!' from all ā except Sniff, which rubbed his
stomach with a soothing hand.
'I need not,' said Our Missis, 'explain to this assembly the
usual formation and fitting of the British Refreshment Room?'
No, no, and laughter. Sniff agin shaking his head in low spirits
agin the wall.
'Well,' said Our Missis, 'what would you say to a general
decoration of every think, to hangings (sometimes elegant), to
easy velvet furniture, to abundance of little tables, to abundance
of little seats, to brisk bright waiters, to great convenience, to a
pervading cleanliness and tastefulness positively addressing the
public, and making the Beast thinking itself worth the pains?'
Contemptuous fury on the part of all the ladies. Mrs. Sniff
looking as if she wanted somebody to hold her, and everybody
else looking as if they 'd rayther not.
'Three times,' said Our Missis, working herself into a truly
terrimenjious state, ā 'three times did I see these shameful things,
only between the coast and Paris, and not counting either: at
Hazebroucke, at Arras, at Amiens. But worse remains. Tell me,
what would you call a person who should propose in England that
there should be kept, say at our own model Mugby Junction,
pretty baskets, each holding an assorted cold lunch and dessert
for one, each^at a certain fixed price, and each within a passen-
48 MUGBY JUNCTION i
ger's power to take away, to empty in the carriage at perfect
leisure, and to return at another station iifty or a hundred miles
There was disagreement what such a person should be called.
Whether revolutionist, atheist, Bright (/ said him), or Un-Eng-
lish. Miss Piff screeched her shrill opinion last, in the words:
'A malignant maniac!'
T adopt,' says Our Missis, 'the brand set upon such a person
by the righteous indignation of my friend Miss Piff. A malignant
maniac. Know, then, that that malignant maniac has sprung from
the congenial soil of France, and that his malignant madness
was in unchecked action on this same part of my journey.'
I noticed that Sniff was a-rubbing his hands, and that Mrs.
Sniff had got her eye upon him. But I did not take more particu-
lar notice, owing to the excited state in which the young ladies
was, and to feeling myself called upon to keep it up with a howl.
'On my experience south of Paris,' said Our Missis, in a deep
tone, T will not expatiate. Too loathsome were the task! But
fancy this. Fancy a guard coming round, with the train at full
speed, to inquire how many for dinner. Fancy his telegraphing
forward the number of dinners. Fancy every one expected, and
the table elegantly laid for the complete party. Fancy a charm-
ing dinner, in a charming room, and the head-cook, concerned for
the honour of every dish, superintending in his clean white jacket
and cap. Fancy the Beast travelling six hundred miles on end,
very fast, and with great punctuality, yet being taught to expect
all this to be done for it!'
A spirited chorus of 'The Beast!'
I noticed that Sniff was agin a-rubbing his stomach with a
soothing hand, and that he had drored up one leg. But agin I
didn't take particular notice, looking on myself as called upon to
stimulate public feeling. It being a lark besides.
Tutting everything together,' said Our Missis, 'French Refresh-
menting comes to this, and oh, it comes to a nice total! First:
eatable things to eat, and drinkable things to drink.'
A groan from the young ladies, kep' up by me.
'Second: convenience, and even elegance.'
Another groan from the young ladies, kep' up by me.
'Third: moderate charges.'
This time a groan from me, kep' up by the young ladies.
MUGBY JUNCTION 49
'Fourth: ā and here,' says Our Missis, 'I claim your angriest
sympathy, ā attention, common civility, nay, even politeness!'
]\Ie and the young ladies regularly raging mad all together.
'And I cannot in conclusion,' says Our Missis, witli her spite-
fullest sneer, 'give you a completer pictur of that despicable na-
tion (after what I have related), than assuring you that they
wouldn't bear our constitutional ways and noble independence at
Mugby Junction, for a single month, and that they would turn
us to the right-about and put another system in our places, as
soon as look at us; perhaps sooner, for I do not believe they have
the good taste to care to look at us twice/
, The swelling tumult was arrested in its rise. Sniff, bore away
by his servile disposition, had drored up his leg with a higher and
a higher relish, and was now discovered to be waving his cork-
screw over his head. It was at this moment that Mrs. Sniff, who
had kep' her eye upon him like the fabled obelisk, descended on
her victim. Our Missis followed them both out, and cries was
heard in the sawdust department.
You come into the Down Refreshment Room, at the Junction,
making believe you don't know me, and I '11 pint you out with
my right thumb over my shoulder which is Our Missis, and which
is Miss Whiff, and which is Miss Piff, and which is Mrs. Sniff.
But you won't get a chance to see Sniff, because he disappeared
that night. AVhether he perished, tore to pieces, I cannot say:
but his corkscrew alone remains, to bear witness to the servility
of his disposition.
NO. I BRANCH LINE : THE SIGNAL-MAN
*Halloa! Below there!'
When he heard a voice thus calling to him, he was standing
at the door of his box, with a flag in his hand, furled round its
short pole. One would have thought, considering the nature of
the ground, that he could not have doubted from what quarter
the voice came; but instead of looking up to where I stood on
50 MUGBY JUNCTION
the top of the steep cutting nearly over his head, he turned him-
self about, and looked down the Line. There was something re-
markable in his manner of doing so, though I could not have said
for my life what. But I know it was remarkable enough to attract
my notice, even though his figure was foreshortened and shadowed,
down in the deep trench, and mine was high above him, so steeped
in the glow of an angry sunset, that I had shaded my eyes with
my hand before I saw him at all.
^ Halloa! Below!'
From looking down the Line, he turned himself about again,
and, raising his eyes, saw my figure high above him.
'Is there any path by which I can come down and speak to
He looked up at me without replying, and I looked down at
him without pressing him too soon with a repetition of my idle
question. Just then there came a vague vibration in the earth and
air, quickly changing into a violent pulsation, and an oncoming
rush that caused me to start back, as though it had force to draw
me down. When such vapour as rose to my height from this
rapid train had passed me, and was skimming away over the land-
scape, I looked down again, and saw him refurling the flag he
had shown while the train went by.
I repeated my inquiry. After a pause, during which he seemed
to regard me with fixed attention, he motioned with his rolled-up
flag towards a point on my level, some two or three hundred yards
distant. I called down to him, 'All right!' and made for that
point. There, by dint of looking closely about me, I found a rough
zigzag descending path notched out, which I followed.
The cutting was extremely deep, and unusually precipitate. It
was made through a clammy stone, that became oozier and wetter
as I went down. For these reasons, I found the way long enough
to give me time to recall a singular air of reluctance or compul-
sion with which he had pointed out the path.
When I came down low enough upon the zigzag descent to see
him again, I saw that he was standing between the rails on the
way by which the train had lately passed, in an attitude as if he
were waiting for me to appear. He had his left hand at his chin,
and that left elbow rested on his right hand, crossed over his
breast. His attitude was one of such expectation and watchful-
ness that I stopped a moment, wondering at it.
MUGBY JUNCTION 51
I resumed my downward way, and stepping out upon the level
of the railroad, and drawing nearer to him, saw that he was a
dark, sallow man, with a dark beard and rather heavy eyebrows.
His post was in as solitary and dismal a place as ever I saw.
On either side, a dripping-wet wall of jagged stone, excluding all
view but a strip of sky; the perspective one way only a crooked
prolongation of this great dungeon; the shorter perspective in the
other direction terminating in a gloomy red light, and the gloomier
entrance to a black tunnel, in whose massive architecture there
was a barbarous, depressing, and forbidding air. So little sun-
light ever found its way to this spot, that it had an earthly, deadly
smell; and so much cold wind rushed through it, that it struck
chill to me, as if I had left the natural world.
Before he stirred, I was near enough to him to have touched
him. Not even then removing his eyes from mine, he stepped back
one step, and lifted his hand.
This was a lonesome post to occupy (I said), and it had riveted
my attention when I looked down from up yonder. A visitor was
a rarity, I should suppose; not an unwelcome rarity, I hoped?
In me, he merely saw a man who had been shut up within nar-
row limits all his life, and who, being at last set free, had a newly-
awakened interest in these great works. To such purpose I spoke
to him; but I am far from sure of the terms I used; for, besides
that I am not happy in opening any conversation, there was some-
thing in the man that daunted me.
He directed a most curious look towards the red light near the
tunnel's mouth, and looked all about it, as if something were miss-
ing from it, and then looked at me.
That light was part of his charge? Was it not?
He answered in a low voice, ā 'Don't you know it is?'
The monstrous thought came into my mind, as I perused the
fixed eyes and the saturnine face, that this was a spirit, not a
man. I have speculated since, whether there may have been in-
fection in his mind.
In my turn, I stepped back. But in making the action, I de-
tected in his eyes some latent fear of me. This put the monstrous
thought to flight.
'You look at me,' I said, forcing a smile, 'as if you had a dread
'I was doubtful,' he returned, 'whether I had seen you before.'
52 MUGBY JUNCTION
He pointed to the red light he had looked at.
'There?' I said.
Intently watchful of me, he replied (but without sound), 'Yes.'
'My good fellow, what should I do there? However, be that as
it may, I never was there, you may swear.'
'I think I may,' he rejoined. 'Yes; I am sure I may.'
His manner cleared, like my own. He replied to my remarks
with readiness, and in well-chosen words. Had he much to do
there? Yes; that was to say, he had enough responsibility to
bear; but exactness and watchfulness were what was required of
him, and of actual work ā manual labour ā he had next to none.
To change that signal, to trim those lights, and to turn this iron
handle now and then, was all he had to do under that head. Re-
garding those many long and lonely hours of which I seemed
to make so much, he could only say that the routine of his life
had shaped itself into that form, and he had grown used to it.
He had taught himself a language down here, ā if only to know
it by sight, and to have formed his own crude ideas of its pro-
nunciation, could be called learning it. He had also worked at
fractions and decimals, and tried a little algebra; but he was, and
had been as a boy, a poor hand at figures. Was it necessary for
him when on duty always to remain in that channel of damp air,
and could he never rise into the sunshine from between those
high stone walls? Why, that depended upon times and circum-
stances. Under some conditions there would be less upon the Line
than under others, and the same held good as to certain hours
of the day and night. In bright weather, he did choose occasions
for getting a little above these lower shadows; but, being at all
times liable to be called by his electric bell, and at such times
listening for it with redoubled anxiety, the relief was less than