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all the men and boys were out of the shaft,
up came the water pouring in a thick volume,
now mud-coloured, now clay-coloured, and
now grey and chalky. At length the volume
became less and less, and soon there was no
more. Down again went basket after basket,
with men or boys in them. Flashley
shuddered, as something within him seemed to
say 'Your turn will come!' Up came the
clay, and the sand, and the gravel, and the
chalk as before; and soon a mixture of several
earths and stones. Thus did they toil and
toil below and above, winding up and winding
down, till at last a shout of success was heard
faintly echoing from the deep pit beneath,
and presently up came a basket full of broken
limestone, and grit, and red sandstoneand

Flashley now observed a great turmoil
above, but all with definite intention, and
preparations for new and larger works. A
steam-engine was fitted up in a small brick
edifice at a hundred yards distance, from
which came a strong rope that passed over a
large drum or broad wheel. The rope was
then extended to the shaft, over the top of
which a small iron wheel was erected; and
over this they carried the rope, which was to
take down men and bring up coals. A larger
measure than the basket, called a corve, was
fastened to this rope by chains, and up and
down it went bringing great heaps of coals
to the surface. After a time, wood-work
and iron-work of various kinds were sent
down, and sledges and trucks with little
wheels; and then broad belts were put round
horses, by means of which they were raised,
kicking and capering wildly in the air, and
staring with horrified eye-balls into the black
abyss, down which they were lowered, every
limb trembling, and their ears sharpened up
to a single hair.

At this sight Flashley's ears began to prick
and tingle in sympathy, for he felt that he
should not much longer remain a mere
spectator of these descents into the lower regions
of the earth.

And now corve after corve full of coals rose
in regular succession from the mine, and
tram-roads were laid down, upon which little
black waggons constantly ran to and fro,
carrying away the coals from the pit's mouth.
While all this had been going on, a second
shaft was sunk at no great distance; but no
coals were seen to issue from it. It was for
air, and ventilation of the mine.

The men sometimes went down standing
up in the corve, but generally each man sat in
the loop of a short chain which he hooked on
to the rope; and, in this way, six or seven
went  swinging down together in a bunch;
sometimes ten or twelve in a bunch; and
now and then, by some using longer chains
than the others, in a double bunch, amounting
to as many as twenty, men and boys.

A voice, which seemed to come from
beneath the earth, but which poor Flashley
recollected too well as that of the Elfin who
had carried him so recently into the antediluvian
forests and swamps, now called him
by his name, with a familiarity that made
him shudder. Instantly he found himself
borne away from the wooden shed, and
placed on the brink of the first shaft. A
strange apparatus, composed of a chain with
a loop at bottom, and an iron umbrella
over head, was now attached to the rope by
three chains. It had very much the look
of some novel instrument of torture. Into
this loop Flashley's legs were placed in a
sitting posture.

'Straddle your legs!' cried an old black-
visaged miner, as the young man was swung
off from the brink, and suspended over the
profound abyss below. Not obeying, and,
indeed, not instantly understanding the
uncouth injunction, Flashley had omitted the
'straddling;' in consequence of which the
chain loop clipped him close around, and
pinched his legs together with a force that
would have made him utter a cry, but for the
paramount terror of his position. Down he
went. Round and round went the shaft-wheel
abovefaster and fasterand lower and lower
he sank from the light of day between the
dark circular walls of the shaft.

At first the motion was manifestly rapid.
It took away his breath. It became more
rapid. He gave himself up for lost. But
presently the motion became more smooth,
and more steadythen quite steady, so that
he thought he was by no means descending
rapidly. Presently, again, he fancied he was
not descending at allbut stationaryor,
rather, ascending. It was difficult to think
otherwise. The current of air rising from
below, meeting his swiftly descending body,
gave him this impression.

He now saw a dim light moving below. It
became stronger, and almost immediately
after he saw three half-naked demons of the
mine, as he thought, who stood ready to
receive him.

For the first time he ventured to cast a
forlorn look upwards. He beheld the iron
umbrella with a light from beneath flashing
upon it. Again, he turned his eyes below.
He was close down upon the demons. One
of them held a lamp up to his face as he
descended among them. Whereupon these
three demons all uttered a jovial laugh, and
welcomed him.

'Oh, where am I?' exclaimed Flashley, in
utter dismay.

'At the first "workings" of the Billy-
Pitt Mine!' shouted a voice. 'Steady the

The chains were steadied, and in a moment
Flashley felt himself launched into a new
abyss, down which he descended in utter
darkness, and in utter silence, except from
the rushing of the air-currents, and the
occasional grating of the iron umbrella against the
sides of the shaft.