Hello everyone. I am reading a novel, and I came across this expression. Could you please let me know its meaning?
A row of scraggy poplars seemed to rise sheer from a blackened coal yard, and looking up a street he could see there had been some kind of accident for there was a crowd and a policeman. But it had gone in a flash, and the chief things now were the mystery signs of the railway. Baby signals beside the lines: tiny little things a foot high, that looked as if they had only just been set: posts with baffling numbers on them: one with a huge 8, another labelled “1 in 1” which seemed to Ernie a stupid claim, for it looked exactly like the other posts.
- R. C. Sherriff, The Fortnight in September, Chapter 7
This is a novel published in 1931, which describes a fortnight in September in which an English family consisting of Mr. and Mrs. Stevens, Mary, Dick, and Ernie go on a holiday. Ernie, the youngest, is looking out of the window of a running train to mystery signs of the railway, which is the source of wonder to him.
In this part, I am not sure what the underlined expression means.
What would mean that there were posts around the railway, to which numbers such as "8" and "1 in 1" were painted...?
*(By the way, this is just my small question, but I also wonder what are those "baby signals" at the beginning of the sentence. )
Thank you very much for your help.
Are those colons in the original? They are baffling and wrong.
Curious ReaderIn this part, I am not sure what the underlined expression means.What would mean that there were posts around the railway, to which numbers such as "8" and "1 in 1" were painted...?
posts along the railway, on which numbers
Curious ReaderI also wonder what are those "baby signals" at the beginning of the sentence
A railroad signal is a device positioned alongside the tracks that gives the train driver information and commands. It can be a light that changes color or a sign with a moveable arm, or other things, I suppose. They are normally rather large, large enough to be seen clearly at a distance, but these were small, baby ones, if you will. I guess. I can't imagine what he thought he was saying since a tiny signal would be of little use.
Thank you very much for the explanation.
Yes, I checked the original again, and the colons are actually used like this. o_O
So there were posts along the railway, and on the posts, numbers such as "8" and "1 in 1" were written!
By the way, this is just my small question, but what would "1 in 1" mean...? Would it mean 1/1 (a fractional number)...? I know nothing about railroad signs, so I just cannot grasp what kind of these signs might be.
And "baby signals" would be similar to "small signals"!
I sincerely appreciate your help.
I was thinking about this for a while, but my little curiosity regarding "1 in 1" remains, so I just wanted to ask you if that is okay.
Would it be okay to understand that "1 in 1" means "1/1", like in pronouncing 1/5 as "one in five"...?
But I learned that 1/5 is pronounced as one fifth, so I am not very sure... o_O