« PreviousContinue »
A JOURNEY UNDERGROUND. SMELL of smoke and dust ; one rope is always letting a cage down, and the all round us what seems at other rope drawing a cage up. first sight a confusion of sheds We have not been a minute journeying down yet, and rubbish ; everything black, and here we are at a standstill. We have reached and the very air feeling dusty ; the bottom, and we step out into dim light among a railway lines and trucks load- cluster of men-nine hundred feet down. Now, if we ing with coal ; great piles of have had the prudence to close our eyes during that
rough timber beyond ; and in minute in the cage, we shall be able to see pretty well the middle of all a huge erection of platforms, and down here, nine hundred feet underground; but if high above that a scaffolding, with wheels turning at our eyes have been open, a few minutes must go by the very top, and ropes going down from there to a
before we can see where we are being led. The only little house at the other end of a sort of bridge that light is from little narrow lamps covered with thick leads to the platform : and here a noise of steam and wire netting : one of them is given to each of us to machinery greets us. But what is it all about; and hang from a button-hole or from the left arm, and where have we got to? We are at the mouth of a every miner we meet has his own lamp. These are coal-mine. Deep down underneath our feet men are the safety-lamps invented by Sir Humphry Davy, toiling day and night to get us coal for our railways and hence called Davy-lamps; and that wire netting and our factories and our bright winter fires. prevents the “fire-damp” in the air from mingling Suppose we go down and see them at work.
with the flame. If by any accident the fire could We first go up to the high middle platform—the catch this peculiar air, there would be one of those men call it the "pit-bank.” Now the scaffolding terrible explosions which we sometimes hear of. is above us, and just under it there is a great But is there any good air to breathe down here? opening down through the platform-down into you will ask. That is one of the most wonderful darkness : it is the “shaft” of the mine. From the things about a coal-mine, and we may have a word wheels at the top of the scaffolding two immense as to the management of the air while we are waitropes of wire go down into the dark-or rather, as ing for our eyes to get accustomed to the dim light. we watch, one is going down and the other is coming In most mines there are two shafts : the one is called up. The ropes passing over those top wheels go the “downcast shaft” because the fresh air is sent away downward, and pass in a window of the engine- down through it ; the other, by which the air goes house ; the machinery inside is moving them, and up, is the “upcast shaft.” At some distance up the moving wire ropes are all day long lowering the “upcast shaft” there is a great fire always men and trucks into the mine, and bringing up the blazing in a furnace: this makes an upward draught, trucks loaded. Here comes a load while we are for the hot air keeps ascending in that shaft, and watching. The wire rope that is running up the the air runs up from below to replace it. As the shaft lands on a level with the platform a strong iron air is thus being emptied out of the mine, it must "cage,” in which are, one above the other, two small be supplied from somewhere, so the fresh air goes trucks, or, as the miners call them, “tubs” of coal. rushing in through the “downcast shaft.” But in Men roll them on to the platform and down a slope a mine you must not imagine that there is one of iron, to empty their load on the ground. And now, great open space below where all the men are at the “cage” being empty, we are invited to get in work. That is never the case. There are only and go down. Now down, down, down we go! passages cut through the ground, one below the
There is no light, and nothing to be seen if there other, with very narrow little cuttings branching off were ; in utter darkness we stand, and hold fast these and between them. The large passages are to the bar, with a draughty, airy feeling of going called "galleries,” and they are joined by openings down to nowhere -a feeling of giddiness or a from one to the other at both ends. Now, as we sensation of “sinking into one's boots," while the carefully follow our guide one by one through ropes boom and hum overhead, and the “ cage' these narrow "galleries,” we shall find canvas or floor trembles, going lower and still lower ! Half- wooden screens here and there, to keep the way down something else passes us.
We are not fresh air going along in the right direction-along sure how we know that it passes. It was the other one gallery, and then upward, and along the gallery “cage.” There are two cages always going—the above, and then upward again, and along the highest one up and the other down. When the one is unload- passage of all, till, with a great gust and ing at the top, the other is loading at the bottom ; current of air turns upward, for the corner of the
sweep, the upcast shaft has been reached. This is the won- small passages, creeping into them, and working on derful system by which good breathing air is kept farther and farther as the passage lengthens under flowing through every part of the mine, here nearly the strokes of the pickaxe, and the coal cut out is a thousand feet underground. It takes a long sent away behind them. Later, the coal between time to traverse one of the chief passages, or these passages is cut down, the men working backgalleries. We notice in it lines laid down as if for wards, and letting the roof fall in as fast as they a narrow railway. Presently we have to stand in move from under it. Blasting with gunpowder is a corner, out of the way ; there is a trampling of sometimes used, and thus the mine becomes honeyhoofs and a heavy noise of wheels, and past go combed with passages, some wide, and some very some of the little trucks, or “tubs,” loaded with narrow. In these the miners work, mostly each coal, and drawn by ponies. This is fresh-cut coal alone in his labour at the far end of his own pasbeing carried to the bottom of the shaft, through sage. Other men carry out the coal, and fill the which it will be sent up in the “cage to the “tub," and wheel it away.
The miner who is cutouter world. But how did the ponies get down ting it down has seldom room to stand where he here? We are told they were sent down in a kind burrows in his long dark passage.
He sits or of leather net hanging under the “cage.”
kneels; and as there is not space to swing his pick, Soon we come upon the miners at their work, he gives it force by a drive of the arm. Such is the and we learn what hard toil it involves to get out of hard labour by which, bit by bit, the miners cut out the earth the coal. Just as there is no difference the thousands of tons of coal that are sent up from of cold or heat in the mine in winter or summer, each mine as the long years of work go round. there being, indeed, no cold so far from the upper But here we are back at the bottom of the air-neither is there any difference between day or shaft, and the cage is waiting for us. Good-bye night. At distances of every ten or twelve feet to the mine and the miners. And up we go nine between the great galleries the miners hew out hundred feet, from darkness to the light of day!
INQUISITIVE FLOSS. F there ever was an inquisitive dog it sharp lesson some day, it would do him all the was Floss.
Nothing came to the good in the world. Get out of the kitchen, sir,” house, in the way of a basket, hamper, and she flapped one of her dusters in the face of parcel, or package of any kind, that Floss, who speedily beat a retreat.
he did not examine carefully, sniffing “What is the matter, Ann?” asked her mistress, round, and rubbing his nose against it, and watching who met Floss running at full speed from the eagerly to see it opened.
kitchen regions. He knew the butcher's boy, and he knew the “Matter, ma'am,” said Ann, “why, Floss has upgrocer's man, and manifested the liveliest interest set the basket of eggs that came in this morning, in them.
and half of them are broken. There will be no More especially in the grocer, as Floss was par- good done till the dog is well punished.” ticularly partial to biscuits, and the rustling of the Floss took care to keep out of Ann's way for the paper bags excited him greatly. He knew quite rest of the day ; but the next morning he discovered well that, if he were in the way when they were a packet on the kitchen table that he had not seen opened, he should get a biscuit thrown to him, before. To jump upon a chair, and from that upon and he was accordingly always on the watch at the table, was the work of a moment. And there the proper time.
was Floss, worrying at the parcel, which had only Unfortunately, Floss was too often on the thin paper wrapped round it. watch, and if no one were near to gratify his curi- Worry, worry, worry, puff, puff, puff, a tear in the osity, he would seek to do it himself. This led to paper, and a white cloud ; and then Floss looked many disasters, which placed him in continual dis- like a miller, for he was covered with flour. grace with the cook.
“The fine four that was for the best pastry!” “Was ever such a provoking dog known !” said cried Ann, as she hurried back to the kitchen, "and she; "he's always in mischief. If he could have a what a litter, to be sure !” Then she looked round to vent her wrath on the unfortunate Floss, who, as was pinching his poor paws as hard as it could, asual, had crept away when he had done the and struggle as he would, he could not get rid of it. mischief.
So, in abject misery, Floss sat down on his hind But in a few days Ann was avenged. A basket legs and howled loudly. arrived—a covered basket-which was placed in the Ann was the first to appear. tarder, where some water-lilies had also been placed “Ah, my master,” said she, “you are served out for coolness.
for meddling at last. I'm not a bit sorry for you. By some wonderful instinct, Floss discovered I'm not going to help you, for you're having a good that something fresh had come into the house, and lesson, and I hope it will cure you of your meddle. was on the alert for the opening of passage and some ways.” pantry doors that would enable him to take a But though Ann did not help him, his kind missurvey.
tress, who heard him crying out, came and released He found his opportunity at last; Ann was busy him from the claws of the lobster, for the black making tarts, and no one was about.
creature who was punishing him so severely was Cautiously he approached the basket, cautiously nothing more or less than a live lobster. he inserted his paw, and forced open the lid. And “You must take warning, my poor Floss,” said then he waited; for two black creatures, such as he his mistress, “and not meddle with what you do had never seen before, began to stir.
not understand. You may be sure that those who The next thing that he knew was that the two play with fire will some time be burned.” black creatures had escaped from the basket, and Floss slunk out of the kitchen beside his misthat one was holding on to his fore-paws. “Hold- tress, a sadder and wiser dog, and determined henceing,” perhaps scarcely described it -the creature forth not to pry into matters not concerning him.
PATCHWORK FOR LITTLE FINGERS.
ATCHWORK serge, and a sort of ornamental patchwork was
(which, as an in fashion some years ago, in which braiding nounced and embroidery were applied to these cloth page 58, forms
patches. one of the fea. The first-named, as it washes and can be tures of the thoroughly cleansed, is, perhaps, the better kind LITTLE FOLKS for our purpose, for we naturally desire to make Prize Competi- our manufactures last as long as possible, but tions for 1882) if the colours be “fast” both the silk and the is, in all its woollen patchwork can be cleaned by a professional
varieties, de- workman. The first thing to do is to fix on our DIA
lightful work design-diamonds, squares, octagons, hexagons, for all young
ovals, or any of the hundred forms and arrange
people, ments of them we may fancy. The next thing is OS
for the to go to a tinsmith and have the shapes cut out by bright him in tin (or, if clever enough, cut them out colours ourselves), so that we may always have an exact and the model to cut out our cardboard foundations by,
consid - which we must cover with the silk and sew together B
eration while stiff, so that we may have them quite straight
needed and even, for on this depends the beauty of our to place them in the order that is likely be most work. The foundations are made of old visiting effective give this kind of work an interest which and tradesmen's cards, stiff note-paper, or enscarcely any other, suitable for children, possesses. velopes which have been already written upon.
Patchwork is divided into two kinds-cotton, or The sewing together must be very neatly perwashing patchwork, and the more handsome kind, formed on the wrong side. For cotton patchwork it made of pieces of silk, satin, and velvet, which is done with “number forty” cotton, or even finer if forms the decoration of the drawing-room. Soldiers very good work be desired. For silk and woollen and sailors make patchwork of cloth, flannel, and it is better to employ sewing-silk, to match the patches in colour; and it should be remembered is not difficult amongst a number of pieces in a that each stitch shows.
shop to find some from which we can cut the deAfter the patchwork is done the quilt or couvre- signs we need ; and from the pretty new cretonnes, pied must be wadded and lined, and lastly quilted. chintzes, and sateens of this last year or two, we The latter process can be effected by the hand, if the shall be able to make a beautiful selection. The lining and the wadding be very strongly tacked to. edge of a superior quilt of this kind is usually scalgether, so as to keep the whole even. Very large loped round in button-hole stitch, or finished by a quilts are quilted in a frame ; but for small ones ball-fringe. In this method of making a quilt we there is no need of this. The backs of cotton quilts take for instance a piece of sateen, with roses all may be made of white cotton, print, or Turkey | over it, and cut out a number of squares each with twill, the backs of silk and woollen quilts of black or a rose in the centre. dark silk, or blue or grey serge.
In sewing these together we alternate them with There is another sort of patchwork, which con. squares of white. Round them would run a border sists in procuring flowered and sprigged pieces of of a striped calico, and so on; and we should find calico to mix with plain white and striped, so as to no difficulty in varying our patterns and designs as make quite a pretty pattern all over the quilt. It we require them.
D. DE B.
MATTY AND POPPY.
A CHRISTMAS STORY. "HEY
Close to the window, poor Poppy, he crept, put in the
And he thought of his mother so mild ; coach as But Matty one eye for a watch o'er him kept,
the clock And she brought him to sense with a push when struck eight,
he wept :
Whatever she liked and whatever she knew
The passengers all must fain hear ;
the cross roads To act as a leader the long journey through,
At midday they whirled up to Humpledon Gate,
A tollgate no more was it now. would be, which
Said Matty, “Our grandfather's carriage is late, would take
So we will get out on the roadway and wait,
Right under the mistletoe-bough."
The trunk was pulled down, and the coach rolled hill.
away. "THEY WERE PUT IN THE COACH."
And they sat on a green grassy ledge,
And Redbreast, whose work was to comfort all day, The coach was soon packed both inside and
Thought them so lone that he sang them a lay out ;
From his twig on the bare hawthorn hedge. Crack went the whip, and away ! They heard the dogs bark, and the little boys
It was not too bright with the clouds looming o'er, shout
And Poppy began to lose heart, As they drove with much rattle the quaint streets
For his poor little feet were quite chilled by the thaw, about,
When hark! they heard wheels coming near, and Whilst over them reddened the day.
No carriage, but only a cart. Poor little Poppy, wrapped up to his nose,
Old Ned said, in answer to scorn well expressed, Sat moping, too timid to talk ;
“Young Missy, and Master Pop, too, But Matty, in bonnet with cherry silk bows,
The carriage has gone to the Hall for a guest, Sat glowing and fierce : could you fancy a rose And the Squire thought it likely the cart would be best With eyes like the eyes of a hawk?
For very small folk, such as you."