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it. In the words used by Prince Albert at the
dinner at the Mansion House respecting the
forthcoming great Exhibition of Arts and
Industry, ' Nobody who has paid any attention
to the particular features of our present
era, will doubt for a moment that we are
living at a period of most wonderful transition,
which tends rapidly to accomplish that
great endto which indeed all history points
the realisation of the unity of mankind.
Not a unity which breaks down the limits and
levels the peculiar characteristics of the
different nations of the earth, but rather a unity
the result and product of those very national
varieties and antagonistic qualities. The
distances which separated the different nations
and parts of the globe are gradually vanishing
before the achievements of modern invention,
and we can traverse them with incredible
speed; the languages of all nations are known,
and their acquirements placed within the
reach of everybody; thought is communicated
with the rapidity, and even by the power of

Every short cut across the globe brings man
in closer communion with his distant brotherhood,
and results in concord, prosperity, and



DOWN the lower shaft the young man
continued to descend in silence and darkness.
He did not know if he descended slowly or
rapidly. The sense of motion had become
quite indefinite. There was a horrible
feathery ease about it, as though he were
being softly taken down to endless darkness,
with an occasional tantalising waft upwards,
and then a lower descent, which made his
whole soul sink within him. But he grasped
the chain in front of him with all his remaining
force, as his only hold on this world
which in fact it was.

From this condition of helpless dismay and
apprehension, poor Flashley was suddenly
aroused by a violent and heavy bump on the
top of his iron umbrella! He thought it
must be some falling miner, or perhaps his
ponderous-footed elfin abductor, who had
leaped down after him. It was only the
accidental fall of a loose brick from above,
somewhere; but the dead bang of the sound,
coming upon the previous silence, was
tremendous. The missile shot off slanting from
the iron umbrellaseemed to dash its brains
out against the side of the shaftand then flew
down before him, like a lost soul.

Flashley now felt a wavering motion in his
descent, while an increasing current of air
rose to meet him; and almost immediately
after, he heard strange and confused sounds
beneath. Looking down into the darkness,
he not only saw a reddening light, but, as he
stared down, it became brighter, until he saw
the gleam of flames issuing from one side of
the shaft. He fully expected to descend into
the midst, and ' there an end;' but he speedily
found he was reserved for some other fate.
The fire was placed in a large chasm, and
appeared to have a steep red pathway sloping
away behind it. He passed it safely. From
this moment he felt no current of air, but his
ears were assailed with a variety of noises, in
which he could distinguish the gush of waters,
the lumbering of wood, the clank and jar of
chains, and the voices of menor something
worse. Three black figures were distinctly

In a few seconds more, his feet touched
earthwhich seemed to give a heave, in
answer. His descent from the upper surface
had not occupied longer time than has been
necessary to describe it, but this was greatly
magnified to his imagination by the number,
novelty, and force of the emotions and
thoughts that had attended it. He was now
at the bottom of the William Pitt Coal Mine,
nine hundred and thirty feet below the surface
of the earth.

A man all black with coal-dust, and naked
from the waist upwards, took hold of Flashley,
and extricating him from the chain girdle and
iron umbrella, led him away into the darkness,
lighted only by a candle stuck in a
lump of clay which his conductor held in the
other hand.

Over all the various sounds, that of rushing
waters predominated at this spot; and very
soon they turned an angle which enabled
Flashley to descry a black torrent spouting
from a narrow chasm, and rushing down a
precipitous gully on one side of them to
seek some still lower abyss. Another angle
was turned; the torrent was no longer seen
and its noise grew fainter almost at every

The passage through which they were
advancing was cut out of the solid coal. It
was just high enough for the man to walk
upright, though with the danger of striking
his head occasionally against some wedge of
rock, stone, or block of coal, projected
downwards from the roof. In width the sides
could be reached by the man's extended hands.
They were sometimes supported by beams,
and sometimes by a wall of brick, and the
roof was frequently sustained by upright
timbers, and limbs or trunks of trees. In
one place, where the roofing had evidently
sunk, there stood an irregular row of stunted
oak trunks, of grotesque shapes and shadows,
many of which were cracked and gaping in
ragged flaws from the crushing pressure they
had resisted; showing that, without them,
the roof would certainly have fallen, and
rendering the passage more ' suggestive ' than
agreeable to a stranger beneath. Here and
there, at considerable distances, candles stuck
in clay were set in gaps of the coaly walls, in
the sandstone, or against the logs and trunks.
The pathway was for the most part a slush of