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We had not gone very far before Swilsbury
volunteered to entertain the company by
whistling " The girl I left behind me."

"You mustn't whistle, gentlemen," cried the
voice of the little captain from the depths below.

"Why not ?" remonstrated Swilsbury from

"The miners don't like the sound, and never
allow it down here," replied the captain.

Down, down again, tramp, tramp, shifting
from ladder to ladder, and getting every time
into hotter and closer air. It seemed, however,
as though no air could be close enough to keep
Swilsbury quiet. Finding all attempts at
conversation fail, he had, wonderful to say, been
silent for at least five minutes, when he
suddenly startled us with a song.

"' Cheer, boys, cheer!' Three cheers for
merry England!" sang out Swilsbury.

"Gentlemen mustn't sing songs," came up
again the imperative voice of Captain Dick.

"Then what may I sing?"

"Well, you may sing a hymn, or a psalm, if
you like, sir," replied the captain, " but the
miners won't stand anything else being sung
down here."

I could hear from a chuckle below me
that Littermere was immensely delighted at
this last rejoinder. Psalms and hymns not
being Swilsbury's forte, we climbed down the
remaining ladders in becoming silence. At
times the captain would leave the ladders, and
go to see some poor wretches at their work,
leading us through low tunnels, in which Littermere
was continually knocking his head, and
smashing his candle, and behaving altogether in
a very unminerly manner. There was no doubt
that the captain knew what he was about when
he looked at Littermere's legs, for he was
getting by far the most done up of the three.
As regards Swilsbury, I don't suppose, of course,
that anything would ever really do him up, but
he went along panting, and puffing, and
perspiring, and evidently considering that a true
enjoyment of the mine consisted in tumbling
himself along as carelessly as possible, and in
falling recklessly over every little obstacle. I
observed that he was especially lively when we
were cramped up in the narrowest and lowest
passages, and that when we got into very hot
parts of the mine his spirits rose, just like a
thermometer under similar circumstances.

My feelings I shall not describe, neither do I
intend to describe what I saw in the mine; but
indeed if I did my description would not be of
much value. All that I saw was some poor
miserable half-naked men, here and there,
working away as in the haze of a steam-bath,
and digging at the rock in every uncomfortable
position possible. I was told that this rock
was copper ore, but, as far as tame appearances
went, it might have been anything you pleased.
Swilsbury, I remember, took his candle from his
hat, and ostentatiously examined some of it, as
though he were about to make a tender for the
whole concern, and Littermere got into an
inexplicable difficulty with one of the men, by
talking to him about " aluminum," but it was
always a dreary business. Captain Dick soon
moved on again, and never gave much time
either for Swilsbury's investigations or Littermere's

But there is one thing, at any rate, which I
do remember, or rather which I shall never
forget, and that was when we got to the bottom
of the mine. We were standing at that time up
to our waists in hot waterwater really hot
enough for an ordinary bath. The little captain
commenced an apology, and began to lay the
blame upon one of the pumping engines, but
Swilsbury interrupted him.

"Don't mention it for one moment, my dear
sir," he called out, wallowing in the hot flood
like a blanched porpoise; "its refreshing; I like

"And now, Captain Dick," said Littermere,
faintly, " we are really, at last, at the bottom of
the mine, eh? We are actually, I think you
said, three hundred fathom below the surface?"

"Three hundred fathom," Captain Dick

"Three hundred fathom?" said Swilsbury,
contemptuously. " It's my belief, Captain Dick,
that you don't know how deep you are. It's my
opinion that, if you go much lower, you will find
yourself tampering with the antipodes, and will
break into Wheal Kangaroo or some such cousin
mine in Australia, and be had up for trespassing.
At any rate," said Swilsbury to Littermere
and me, " here is a new sensation!
Here we are in a great subterranean hot bath,
half boiled and half steamed, at no end of a
temperature, our lives depending upon farthing
rushlights, and upon the proper working of a
pumping engine six hundred yards above our
head. Here we are in a place where it is death
to whistle or to sing, and where we are entirely
at the mercy of this Captain Dick, who might
run away and leave us. And remember,
Pendraggles, that if it hadn't been for me, you
might have died a degenerate Cornishman, without
once having seen the inside of your county."

Here I stop; but I remember our climbing
up out of that abyss, and, inasmuch as during
that pleasing operation Littermere fainted, and
was revived by strong British brandy sent down
in the bucket, I suppose that he remembers it

On Thursday, December 13, will be published,
                     price Fourpence,


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