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it's not easy to think at all, or know what to
say first. The overman had been out late
on Sunday night. He went to the pit at
two in the morning to see that all was safe.
At three we all came to work, and a hundred
and fifty of us, men and boys, went down.
One of the workings was new opened, after
being closed thirteen years. A dangerous place
o' course. One o' the undergoers was sent
in to remove the first pillar. I went to work
with others at a good distance. We were at
it about two hours, and then all of a sudden
a rush of wind and coal dust cut by us, taking
out all the candles, and there was a rumbling
noise. We knew very well what it meant,
and we all ran towards the shaft. As we
ran we came upon others in the dark, and
others came rushing out upon us from the
side workings, and all of us together ran
in a crowd and crush along the dark ways,
in the direction of the shaft, and presently
we found those who were foremost had
fallen, and we got a sudden giddiness and
gasping, so we knew we had met the choke-damp.
It's a deathly, sleepy sickness you
feel, and sinking at the knees, only you're
sure it's not the breath of sleep you're
a-feeling, but you're breathing death. I called
to those a-head to stop, and so did others near
me, but many of them would go on, and down
they went, one after the other. We felt the
bad air couldn't be passed through, and we
hurried backward in a worse disorder, if
that's possible, than we had come on; and
at last we all stopt in a scrambling crowd
in a place where we found the air could
be breathed. Here we remained. What a
time it was, good Lord of Heaven! At first
the elder ones of us tried to keep some order,
and quiet the rest by telling them, as we
know'd those on the bank, and plenty of others
would be sure to know what had happened,
and they'd soon come to help us. They
would attend to this for a little, but soon
they began to get wild and desperate, and so
they went on crying out, and shouting like
mad, ending with a scream, until they were
tired out. All this time many were down on
their knees praying, and some lying about
with their faces hid on the ground, and all of
us expecting every minute another explosion,
or else the advance of the after-damp
would bring us certain destruction. And
here we remained, hemmed round by the
walls and by the after-damp, which we
could no more get through than through the
walls theirselveshour after hour, every
minute of which was a long torment of all
sorts of things in ourselves, and in all those
about us. I gave myself up for lost after
the first hourthen I took hope a little;
but after more time had gone, I gave up
hoping, and was as bad as the rest. Still
as more time went on, I began to pick up
a bit. I knowed our friends would help us
if they could. Ay, but could they?—that
was the chance. And then again I fell into
despair, and crouched down, and covered my
face and head with my hands, and sat there a
trying to pray, and make my last peace with
God, amidst all manner of cries and loud
praying, and miseries of despair and madness
of those huddling in the darkness all round
me. Sometimes they got a little silent and
solemn-like, and listened to the voice of one
man who had never ceased to pray aloud all
along; but presently somebody called out his
wife's nametwo or three cried out on their
children, their mothers, the girls they were to
be married toand in a moment all again
was wild cries and rushing about in the
dark.

"You know how we were saved. A great
part of the roofing had fallen with the explosion,
and this had shut off the fire from us,
and the advance of the after-damp. Our
friends made their way through the ruin
got fresh air in to us, and helped us out.
Some died from exhaustion when they reached
the bank; but most of us recovered, to thank
God again and again in the arms of our
wives and relations, who were all standing in
crowds to receive us. They had come from
all parts round about. The bank was like a
fair, only a different sort of merriness, and
many had no cause. The grief of some was
a sad sight for any man. Five-and-twenty
had been killed; some crushed, some burnt to
a black cinder, so that they couldn't be told;
some torn all in pieces, their limbs being
found in different places, and the head of
Anderson flung into a horse-tuband the
rest damped to death.

"We think the explosion was caused by the
gas from the old working, now opened after
being closed thirteen years. Some noise made
the undergoer go to this place, and instead ot
taking his Davy lamp, he ran there with a
lighted candle in his hand. He, and the man
who was at work there, we found near each
other all black and mutilated. He was a
mere body of cinder, and was only known
by a little book in his pocket, as escaped.
The Queen's gentlemen, when they came
down here among us, said they could mend
these things; but they hav'nt, you see. We
think the Queen was'nt told."

An effectual remedy for these horrible
accidents is indeed most difficult to devise.
For even if the Government instituted a
system of police inspection, it would require
one officer, at least, to be constantly
perambulating the dark roads and by-ways of every
mine; and still, as the miner, whose evidence
we have just read, very truly says, an explosion
might be caused by a moment's carelessness
at one end of a mine, while the "authority"
was at the other.

To us there appears no other chance of a
remedy so good as this:—First, most stringent
laws as to the proper ventilation of mines:
Secondly, a system of Government inspection,
extending to that of frequent visits by day

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