Fifty Years of Railway Life in England, Scotland and Ireland eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 279 pages of information about Fifty Years of Railway Life in England, Scotland and Ireland.

In Glasgow there was a weekly paper of much humour and spirit called The Bailie.  With each issue it published an article on some prominent man of the day under the title of Men You Know, accompanied by a portrait of the person selected.  It is the Glasgow Punch.  It was established in 1873,and “Ma Conscience!” is its motto.  It still, I am glad to hear, runs an honorable and profitable course, which its merits well deserve.  In its issue of September 13th, 1882, Mr. Wainwright was The Man You Know, and, at the request of the Editor, I wrote the article upon him.  In it are some words which, penned when I was with him daily, and his influence was strong upon me, are, perhaps, more true and faithful than any I could at this distance of time write, and so I will quote them here, and with them conclude this chapter.

“He (The Man You Know) is one upon whom responsibility rests gracefully and lightly, who accomplishes great things without apparent effort, and whose personal influence smoothes the daily friction of official life.  He rules with a gentler sway than many who are accustomed to other methods of command would believe possible.  He believes in Emerson’s maxim that if you deal nobly with men they will act nobly, and his habit towards everyone around him, and its success, lends force to the genial truth of the American philosopher.”


The 27th day of September, 1875, was the Jubilee of the British Railway System.  It was celebrated by a banquet given by the North-Eastern Railway Company at Darlington, for the Stockton and Darlington section of the North-Eastern was, as I have mentioned before, the first public railway.  A thousand guests were invited.  No building in Darlington could accommodate such a number, and a great marquee, large enough to dine a thousand people, was obtained from London.  My chief attended the banquet and I remained at home to hear the news when he returned.  Dan Godfrey’s band was there, and Dan Godfrey himself composed some music for the occasion.  The menu was long, elaborate and imposing; equalled only by the toast list, which contained no less than sixteen separate toasts.  It was a Gargantuan feast befitting a great occasion.  Could we men of to-day have done it justice and sat it and the toast list out, I wonder.  It took place over forty years ago, when the endurance of the race was, perhaps, greater than now; or why do we now shorten our banquets and shirk the bottle?

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Fifty Years of Railway Life in England, Scotland and Ireland from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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