Henry L. Ratliff

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Henry L. Ratliff

Henry L. Ratliff’s book reviews

(1898) Various Genre / Short story collection

R: * * * * *

Plot bullets

The telegraph and its uses on the railroad, in war, commercial and private use.

Part I - Tales by others

Jim Wainwright's Kid

o A girl dresses as a young man to gain an active life and be near the man she loves.

An Engineer's Christmas Story

o A man lets jealousy ruin his Christmas and almost his life.

The Clean Man and the Dirty Angels

o A man known for his honest judgment is shown to be prejudice.

A Peg-legged Romance

o A girl won't marry just any man. She must have a hero..

o A trainman is a good honest man, but not a hero to some.

o However, a split second can change that.

My Lady of the Eyes

o An engineer is haunted by the eyes in a picture.

o He meets the lady who owns the eyes, the wife of a friend.

o There is a tragic but wonderful tale to tell.

Some Freaks of Fate

o Man adopts a girl of a dance hall owner, but will have nothing to do with her mother.

o He helps the girl through school at a distance.

Mormon Joe, the Robber

o A man is accused of robbery.

o He is helping a girl in need.

A Midsummer Night's Trip

o A storm is a bad thing for a railroader in the desert.

o The same desert can be more stressful for a woman alone.

o Some women can handle the perils of the desert and much more.

The Polar Zone

o A railroader takes a break from railroading and takes a trip.

o He has a tall tale to tell.

o He relates his travels on an expedition to the North Pole.

Part II - Tales by the author of a life as an operator

Learning the Business--My First Office

o The stress of a first job as a night operator

An Encounter with Train Robbers

o A second job in a desolate outpost makes him a hero

In a Wreck

o Going to another job he is involved in a train wreck and uses his telegraphers abilities to help.

A Woman Operator Who Saved a Train

o There were few women telegraphers. This friend of his, became a heroin.

A Night Office in Texas--A Stuttering Dispatcher

o The cowboys razz the night operator.

Blue Field, Arizona, and an Indian Scrimmage

o He seeks a desolate station.

o There is an Indian raid.

o The depot is set on fire.

o He is going back to Texas.

Taking a Whirl at Commercial Work--My First Attempt--The Galveston Fire

o From a depot fire to a burning city.

Sending a Message Perforce--Recognizing an Old Friend by His Stuff

o You can recognize an operator by his method of sending.

IX. Bill Bradley, Gambler and Gentleman

o A Gambler proves to be his best friend.

The Death of Jim Cartwright--Chased off a Wire by a Woman

o A woman operator caused him to loose his job.

Witnessing a Marriage by Wire--Beating a Pool Room--Sparring at Long Range

o Just that.

How a Smart Operator was Squelched--The Galveston Flood

o Never tap out a message unless you know who is listening.

o This is not about the flood of 1900.

Sending My First Order

o A new position.

o Make way for the railroad commission special.

o He gets a chance to make and send his first order.

Running Trains by Telegraph--How It is Done

o The importance of the dispatcher.

o Methods of dispatching.

An Old Dispatcher's Mistake--My First Trick

o A trick: A dispatchers 8 hour shift. The first trick is the first shift..

o Even an experienced dispatcher can make a mistake.

A General Strike--A Locomotive Engineer for a Day

o A strike gives him a chance as an engineer.

Chief Dispatcher--An Inspection Tour--Big River Wreck

o A dispatcher can do all that is humanly possible.

o Nature may have something to say before all is done.

A Promotion by Favor and Its Results

o Nepotism at a station causes a tragedy.

Jacking up a Negligent Operator--A Convict Operator--Dick, the Plucky Call Boy

o Many men don't make the first cut, but pan out in the end.

An Episode of Sentiment

o Managing a woman operator is a bit of a challenge.

The Military Operator--A Fake Report that Nearly Caused Trouble

o He resigns his commercial job and goes into the military.

o While there a practical joke almost ends a career.

Private Dennis Hogan, Hero

o A soldier telegrapher saves his company.

The Commission Won--In a General Strike

o Army breaks railroad strike.

Experiences as a Government Censor of Telegraph

o He becomes a telegraph censor during the Spanish American War.

More Censorship

o More of the blue pencil work.

o The newspapers are a problem.

Censorship Concluded

o The fleet has sailed and censorship is revoked.


o Praise of the telegraph and the operators.