Published by Charles Dickens in 1866
- Narrator: an intelligent gentleman; the authenticator; reasonable and logical
- The Signalman: a good and methodical man, at peace with his life; haunted by
a ghost that warns of future misfortunes
- The Ghost/Conductor: the spectre of the future actions of the real life man,
the conductor, who haunts the signalman
The narrator calls down to the signalman, using the words “Halloa below there!” and
he acts very strangely. He calls down again and asks how to get to him. The man
finally points him in the right direction and the narrator joins him.
The man acts toward him very strangely, wearily. And tells the narrator that he
thought he had seen him before, standing by the red light of the train tunnel.
The signalman relaxes and takes the narrator into his box and they begin to talk. The
narrator realises the signalman is smarter than a man of his station normally is, and
the signalman explains that he wasted many opportunities.
The man continues to do his work diligently as they talk, but the narrator realizes
that he sometimes checks things when the bell that commands him is not ringing.
The signalman confesses that he is troubled, but when the narrator inquires, the
signalman tells him he will explain if he visits again.
Before the narrator leaves, the signalman asks him what made him call out in that
The narrator returns the next day and the signalman begins his story. The
signalman tells that one night, like any other, he heard a man