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coal-dust, mixed with mud and slates, varied
with frequent nobs and snaggs of rock and
iron-stone. In this path of intermittent
ingredients, a tram-road had been established,
the rails of which had been laid down at not
more than 15 inches asunder; and moving
above this at no great distance, Flashley now
saw a dull vapoury light, and next descried a
horse emerging from the darkness a-head of
them. It seemed clear that nothing could
save them from being run over, unless they
could run over the horse. However, his
guide made him stand with his back flat
against one side of the passageand presently
the long, hot, steamy body of the horse moved
by, just moistening his face and breast in
passing. He had never before thought a
horse's body was so long. At the creature's
heels a little low black waggon followed with
docility. The wheels were scarcely six inches
high. Its sides were formed by little black
rails. It was full of coals. A boy seemed to be
driving, whose voice was heard on the other
side of the horse, or else from beneath the
animal's body, it was impossible to know

They had not advanced much further when
they came to a wooden barricade, which
appeared to close their journey abruptly.
But it proved to be a door, and swung open
of its own accord as they approached. No
sooner were they through, than the door again
closed, apparently of its own careful good will
and pleasure. The road was still through
cuttings in the solid coal, varied occasionally
with a few yards of red sand-stone, or with
brick walls and timbers as previously
described. Other horses drawing little black
coal-waggons were now encountered;
sometimes two horses drawing two or more
waggons, and these passed by in the same
unpleasant proximity. More Sesame doors
were also opened and shut as before; but
Flashley at length perceived that this was
not effected by any process of the black art, as
he had imagined, but by a very little and very
lonely imp, who was planted behind the door in
a toad-squat, and on this latter occasion was
honoured by his guide with the title of an
' infernal small trapper,' in allusion to some
neglect of duty on a previous occasion. It was,
in truth, a poor child of nine years of age, one
of the victims of poverty, of bad parents, and
the worst management, to whose charge the
safety of the whole mine, with the lives of all
within it, was committed; the requisite
ventilation depending on the careful closing of these
doors by the trapper-boys, after anybody has

Proceeding in this way, they arrived at a
side-working close upon the high-road, in
which immense ledges of rocks and stones
projected from the roof, being embedded in
the coal. In cutting away the coal there was
danger of loosening and bringing down some
of these stones, which might crush the miners
working beneath. A ' council ' was now
being held at the entrance, where seven
experienced ' undergoers ' were lying flat on
the ground, smoking, with wise looks, in
Indian fashion, and considering the best
mode of attack, whereby they might bring
down the coals without being ' mashed up '
by the premature fall of the rocks and stones
together with the black masses in which they
were embedded.

Among all the gloomy and oppressive
feelings induced by this journey between
dismal wallsfaintly lighted, at best, so as to
display a most forbidding succession of ugly
shadows and grotesque outlinesand sometimes
not lighted at all for a quarter of a mile;
there was nothing more painful than the long
pauses of silence; a silence only broken by
the distant banging of the trappers' doors, or
by an avalanche of coal in some remote
working. After advancing in a silence of
longer duration than any that had preceded
it, Flashley's dark conductor paused every
now and then, and listenedthen advanced;
then stopped again thoughtfully, and listened.
At length he stopped with gradual paces, and
turning to Flashley, said in a deep tone, the
calmness of which added solemnity to the

' We are now walking beneath the bed of
the sea!—and ships are sailing over our
heads! '

Several horses and waggons were met and
passed after the fashion already described.
On one occasion, the youth who drove the
horse, walked in front, waving his candle in
the air, and causing it to gleam upon a black
pool in a low chasm on one side, which would
otherwise have been invisible. He was totally
without clothing, and of a fine symmetrical
form, like some young Greek charioteer doing
penance on the borders of Lethe for careless
driving above ground. As he passed the pool
of water, he stooped with his candle.
Innumerable bubbles of gas were starting to the
surface. The instant the flame touched them,
they gave forth sparkling explosions, and
remained burning with a soft blue gleam. It
continued visible a long time, and gave the
melancholy idea of some spirit, once beautiful,
which had gone astray, and was for ever
lost to its native region. It was as though
the youth had written his own history in
symbol, before he passed away into utter

' You used to be fond,' observed Flashley's
companion, with grim ironical composure,
after one of these close encounters with horse-
flesh' You used to be fond of horses.'

Flashley made no reply, beyond a kind of
half-suppressed groan of fatigue and annoyance.

' Well, then,' said the other, appearing to
understand the smothered groan as an
acquiescence' we will go and look at the stables.'

He turned off at the next corner on the
left, and led the way up a narrow and steep
path of broken brick and sandstone, till they
arrived at a bank of rock and coal, up which