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It is believed that in this stall the terrible
accident began. The boy Llewellyn was found
dead at the entrance, with his day's food on
his back and his cap blown from his head.
Doors that secured ventilation were blown
down, other collections of foul gas were
kindled, more doors were blown out of their
fastenings, and the result, as it is believed, of
four or five successive explosions, was the
sudden death of one hundred and fourteen
persons. A fragment of the list of victims
will suggest the horrors of the pit, when all
was over. "There are five stalls in Salathiel's
heading. From that heading were taken out
dead, William Rees and his son, Jenkin Davis,
Morgan Morgan, Matthew Miles, Matthew
Evans and his son Philip, David Haines and
Philip Evans. Two other dead bodies were
found near Jacob's cross heading in the level.
Griffith Williams's heading contains two stalls.
There were taken out dead Evan Philip,
David Morgan, and George Solloway and his
son." A terrible suggestion of the grief that
lives, was sent us by a correspondent, who,
being by the pit mouth when the bodies were
drawn up, and recognised by the distracted
women gathered there, noticed a wife clinging
to her husband's corpse, unwilling to
believe him dead, who, seeing some neighbour
with milk, obtained a little from her, and was
tenderly endeavouring to make the dead man
drink. While she was so engaged she stopped;
for, there were carried by, the bodies of her
sons.

A DAY OF RECKONING.

IN SEVEN CHAPTERS. CHAPTER THE FIRST.

IKE BRANSTON was a man who respected
his position, and spoke of it loudly and often;
a man of the obsolete school, who withstood
innovation on principle, and was accounted a
perfectly safe man because he had escaped
the prevailing epidemic of reform. He boasted
perpetually of his successes in his profession,
and delighted to be styled a self-made man;
but his whole career had turned on the rotten
hinge of expediency. He held severe theories
of morals, though he was never averse to
taking advantage in the way of business, if it
were not likely to be found out; he put
down his name on published subscription
lists, because it was cheaper than private
charity, and the odour of its sanctity travelled
further. Was any acquaintance going down
in the world, and to give him a shove or a
kick might be profitable, Ike Branston was
not withheld from administering it by any
antiquated notions of former friendship or
obligation. On the other side, did he see a
man struggling bravely out of difficulties
one who was sure to winhe would stretch
forth a finger and help him with Pecksniffian
smile; then, when he was up and rising
above him, he would point to him triumphantly,
and cry, "I made him!"

Ike Branston had brought up his elder
son Carl on his own principles, and the lad
took to them as naturally as to his mother's
milk. He was precociously shrewd, keen,
and plausiblea veritable chip of the old
block. The younger, Robin or Robert, was
not deficient in ability, but his father and
brother thought him a fool, and told him so.
He did not value money for its own sake;
where could be a stronger evidence of his
weakness and folly? He had his friends and
acquaintance in artists' studios and sculptors'
ateliers; he lived happily, and not disorderly,
amongst them, like a prodigal son, spending
his quarter's allowance in three weeks, and
then existing nobody exactly knew how.
His father had assigned him his portion, and
bade him go and ruin himself as fast as he
liked, but never to trouble him again, or
expect anything more from him. Robin
shook his merry head, and departed thankfully.
The paternal home was dismal, the
paternal society oppressive; it was like
escaping out of prison to have his liberty in
the world, and Robin tried its delights like a
judicious epicure, who, revelling in the
luxuries of to-day, has still a thought for the
pleasures of to-morrow, and will not risk his
powers of enjoyment by over-indulgence.
His heart was, perhaps, rather womanish,
his mind too delicate and refined for a man
who would do vigorous battle with life; but
both were richly capable of seizing its subtle
aroma of happiness and tasting it in its pristine
sweetness and strength. Carl met his
brother occasionally, and sneered at him,
gave him good advice, predicted debasement,
and laid his head on his pillow nightly in the
flattering assurance that he was not as that
prodigal, idle, wasteful, warm-hearted, generous,
unsuspicious. No; Carl knew the ways
of this wicked world to the inmost tangle of
the clue, or thought he did, which is much
the same.

Ike Branston had a niece living in his
house, the penniless child of his sister; her
name was Alice Deane. She sat at his table,
aired his newspaper and slippers, mended his
thrifty gloves, and made herself generally
and unobtrusively useful. Ike did not notice
her much; he used her as a machine; never
thought whether she was pretty or ugly,
stupid or clever, amiable or the reverse. She
had been there sixteen years, growing gradually
from child to woman, unheeded. Ike
never cared for her or for Robin; he never
had cared for anybody but himself and Carl,
and, perhaps, a little while for Carl's mother,
who was, a long time since, dead. It was on
Alice Deane's account chiefly that Carl
rejoiced in Robin's absence. Though Ike was
blind to the patent fact, the brothers had
both found out that she was wonderfully fair
and attractive, that her solemn grey eyes
were the most beautiful eyes in the world,
and that her figure was moulded like a
Dian.

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