Huddersfield Chronicle (19/Jan/1895) - The Salendine Nook Tram and Physical Pain

The following is a transcription of a historic newspaper article and may contain occasional errors. If the article was published prior to 1 June 1957, then the text is likely in the Public Domain.


(From Our Correspondent "Cid.")

(“Shay Wood,” “Shaw Wood,” Pole Moor, and Slaithwaite, The Carlilian Reformer and the Labourites, and A Golcar Sunset to follow.)

The radiant splashings of the crystal streams,
The gurgling waters rainbowed by sun’s beams,
The gentle purling here, the roaring there,
The gushings from the rocks, the cooling air,
The sportive pearls that drop from leaf to leaf,
That play at hide and seek to eye’s relief,
The cascades and the cataracts of joy,
The sparkling sweetness that has no alloy,
The running, rolling, swaying, frothing flow,
The laughing, leaping, tumbling, bubbling glow,
The basking beauty in the placid pool
That limns true pictures without brush or rule,
The winding brilliance that satisfies
The sense of hearing and sight gratifies,
The moss-grown stones, now washed, now dry, all fair,
With nature’s greensome drapery everywhere,
Panting to kiss and be kissed, day and night,
Charming in shade, gladsome in the sunlight;
The music of the warblers and the stream,
In waking hours, or when the night does dream
Of morning dawn, of resurrected day,
When flowers of every hue bedeck one’s way;
Where trees give shade and guard like sentinels,
To right among the clouds, to left excels
Imagination as the saffron beams
Paint everything to ecstasy rare gleams;
Where every step new beauty does reveal,
Where at each turn over the senses steal
A something that man’s speech, man’s thought can ne’er
Give utterance to; it is so sweet and fair:
This is the place where one perceptibly
May bridge the present with the grand to be.

If you want to be on a par with your equals and rise above your superiors mount to the upper saloon of the Salendine Nook tram and the thing is accomplished. By so doing you will benefit yourself, detract not from those around you, injure not those beneath you, indeed, it is quite possible you may forget that you have any inferiors or superiors in the world. On Saturdays the tram will doubtless be crammed and as many will be smoking and spitting as can afford it, or who are silly enough to do it. Then there will be the peculiar diversion of stoppings, startings, backslidings innumerable, as the engine proceeds, or rather should proceed. It will cough and spit, snort and smoke, shake you and the car to the core, so that every fibre in your system will impinge on your spinal column and your brain as if you were being connected with half a dozen galvanio batteries. Occasionally it will belch forth an extra volume of smoke and spit an extra shower of hot, blinding cinders, but the majority of its human freight cannot consistently complain of this, as they neither consume their own smoke nor their scorching waste. The non-smoker is helpless, because in a minority, while ladies are in danger of being turned into pillars of fire, or have their milliners’ bills increased by the renewal of damaged ribbons, singed feathers, and scorched fal-de-lals, which a mere man has no vocabulary to give a name to, not to mention the foul odours, the vile, stifling fumes, and the nameless pollutions they will carry home with them, there to perpetuate the microbes, disturb the peace of mind, and produce fruitless recriminations. They might escape all this if they would tax themselves by riding where no smoking is allowed, but if smoking be not allowed in one portion of a tram, there is no reason, especially from a sanitary point of view, why it should be allowed in another. There is no excuse for the human smoker, but there may be for the engine, particularly when it is stopped every 20 yards to pick up fat or thin passengers, who smilingly wait like sentinels up the incline, each raising his or her hand or umbrella as the other steps into the car. There is no wonder that the engine shows its disapproval of such heartless conduct by groanings and cursings, fearful ebullitions of temper, stoppings, jerkings, and retreatings, to the terror of the timid and the danger of all. Of course the man at the engine is not a Job, and if he does not do all that the engine does, in suppressed expressions, or, like the Scotchman, swears at large, he is not human, and should be promoted to the pulpit, or presented with a diploma as a teacher of patience. With much-a-do, and considerable overcrowding, you will reach West Hill, and then gaily run to the Junction, where a few of those beneath you may get out. Then the stoppings will recur, the getters-out now acting as did the getters-in, and it is the conductor that is chiefly exercised. He dare not speak aloud, but he thinks deeply and saves his words until the car is empty, when he possibly finds the recording angel plenty to do. When “Bay Horse” is passed you can stretch yourself and find a remarkable change in the atmosphere of the car, and you may also settle the question as to whether the takings of the Lindley route are not divided by that of Salendine Nook. You have now a grand prospect, the majestic and undulating hills encircle you, while the scenery is fair and the unpolluted breath of the moorland is refreshingly sweet. You may have all this for twopence, the best twopenny worth in the tramway service, or out of it. On the present occasion when I reach the terminus I have three companions, while below a man and a young woman get out. Three go towards Longwood, the young lady, a working man, and myself take the broad road to Outlane. She is a fine specimen of her sex, fair and sprightly. It is a treat to see her walk. She outstrips me immediately, and leaves me in the rear as a gazelle would an old horse. I step out a little in rivalry, but I lose ground at every step, and I am soon left hopelessly behind. She vanishes from sight long before I reach the knoll of the hill. The man who may have a desire to take this dear creature awalking, if she does not slacken her pace he had better go into training before he asks permission to see her home. Still, love can adapt itself to circumstances, and even this young lady may ease a little and mercifully let her admirer get his breath before the sweet good night is said. If she is a sample of the rest of Outlane damsels, that erstwhile Roman village has an important future before it. Yet if life has its disadvantages it has also its advantages, and to an adaptable mind instruction and entertainment may be found any and every where. By failing to catch or keep up with the ray of light in petticoats I overtake the working man, who is doubtless glad the week’s work is done, and the week’s wages in his pockets, thereby made comparatively rich, until he gets home at least. He is pleased to be spoken to. He will not be called beautiful outside his home, but he has stubborn honesty and determination in every feature. His face is weather-beaten, his limbs brawny and powerful, and though he has a somewhat stooping gait, yet when he straightens himself his appearance suggests that he would be a dangerous customer to tackle, physically. I find him shrewd and intelligent, and he gives me many wrinkles with respect to his own branch of work, which are new to me, and very interesting. Somewhat slow of speech he, however, reveals a wholesome wit and is full of general information, and somehow finds homely words to express it. I have no need to say much, he is glad to do the talking. When we get to the dangerous quarry on the left he suddenly draws me up and asks me if a man could fall into the quarry without being killed. I look down. It is fully 20 yards deep at one point and 10 or 12 just where we are standing. I at once say no, when he tells me that he fell in last April and is alive. I marvel. The causeway and a portion of the road gave way in the night, and as he was proceeding to his work in the darkness of the morning he tumbled in and was severely injured, but to his great astonishment he was not killed. The place has not yet been repaired, and I consider it criminal to let it remain in its present dangerous and disgraceful state. In reply to my questions as to his sensations when falling, he says he seemed to step into the air. He knew he was falling, but had no pain or fear, and felt to be long in reaching the bottom. He remembered stopping, and then all was a blank for a time. When consciousness returned he got up and examined himself with one hand as the other was useless. Sensations of pain all over his body then began to be felt, until they became very bad, and he almost fainted again. Although much injured he managed to get out, but nearly fainted once more on account of the pain. “But, yoh see, mester, I’m living after all,” he says with a laugh. This remarkable accident shows a merciful Providence in easing the body of pain in terrible injuries. The mind seems to have the power of overpowering the sensations of the body, and acting for the moment as an anaesthetic during great excitement. Men on the battle-field often receive what results in their death-wounds without knowing that they are injured until they see their life’s blood flowing from them. People have fallen as great a distance as this man, got up apparently little the worse, walked home, and there died almost immediately. I have seen men crushed and held fast in the bowels of the earth, who, though virtually killed, have felt little or no pain, their overpowering heart-pangs being caused by the thought of the dear ones at home, whom they felt they would probably never see on earth again. I have been bruised and crushed almost on every part of the body, and undergone what to anyone unpractised in arduous and laborious work would seem terrible suffering without it seriously affecting me. If a great portion of the body is held fast, pain seems to be deadened, or rather the power to feel it, while the mere trapping of a finger in excruciatingly painful. Nature has the power of inuring mankind against the serious effects of ordinary injuries, and thus, as it were, shielding the body from pain. So long as the mind is fully absorbed the sensations of the body are minimised, if not altogether deadened. Change of occupation will either heighten or lessen acute feeling. The hand that writes these words grasped a hand the other day which was as hoofed and as dumpy as a gnarled root. If I had continued in the same occupation I once had my hand would have been like his, instead of as now, if neatly gloved, as dainty as many a fine lady’s. So much for the evolution or devolution of the hand. There is no animal more adaptable to circumstances than man. Change of employment, climate, or mode of living will in a short time make him as low as, if not lower than, a beast, or as noble and as high as an angel. I am daily both pained and amused at super-subtle, high-toned, nervous creatures who illogically judge others, of different employment and different modes of life, by their own standard. They waste much sympathy and increase their own pain. I have seen hardened prize-fighters, and others of the labouring classes, mauled and kicked almost beyond recognition, who seemed to be all right again the next day. Others I have seen kicked violently for 10 or 15 minutes, and have thought it impossible that they could undergo the punishment and live, when, after a time, the apparently vanquished would gain the upper-hand, overcome their opponents, and battered and bleeding beat several others one after another, and then kneel on the ground and pray for other foes to come, and when all have had enough and to spare they would pick up their garments, go and have a wash, and afterwards appear as if little or nothing had happened, if the vital parts are kept intact it is not pain but exhaustion that kills. Again, take the lower animals. What terrible sufferings they seem to bear and be little the worse for it the same or following day! Animals will show signs that one might easily mistake for pain which are really but reflex in character and carried out by a nervous mechanism like the closing of an eyelid, in which consciousness has no part at all. A headless frog can be made to move its limbs and exhibit all the signs of pain it did before it was killed. The essence of pain is over acute sensation, and is the result of the exercise of the fullest consciousness. If, therefore, the brain be the true indicator of pain, it is plain the lower animals cannot realise the same sufferings as man. Note the cold-blooded animals whose sensations are very slow when compared with those of warm blood. With these pain as we know it can scarcely exist, indeed, we can almost infer that it does not exist at all. It is therefore foolish for us to place, as it were, ourselves inside the lower creation, and credit them with the power of experiencing pain that we possess. These creatures will quickly recover from severe injuries which would, to our cultivated sense of pain, end fatally. Nervous shock, so fatal to us, is all but non-existent in them. Therefore let the members of the R.S.P.C.A. and other super-sensitive individuals take comfort and consolation in the thought that there is not so much suffering in the world as they imagine.

(To be continued.)