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wortle berry; and so admirably well was the operation performed, that no Indian VISHNU' ever looked more blue. He then made 'Dick' perform the same service for him, which was equally effectual in the execution; and then, after waiting for the dinner bell's sounding notice to the miners employed on the surface, to get their meridian meal, (for Dick was mighty cautious not to be seen by them) the urchins proceeded to the nearest shaft.
Neptune's master was not satisfied with picking up mica or glimmer, mundic, chrystals, &c. but must look down the shaft; and then, all at once, he determined to descend by the ladder which peeped above a part of the shaft divided by wooden partitions from the bucket shaft, by which the ore was conveyed to the surface by a windlas over the shaft's mouth. All that Dick could urge against it was of no avail; even "Neptune' seemed by his motions, and particularly by placing himself between his master and the shaft, to join in the earnest entreaties which · Dick' poured out with tearful eyes, and all the language he was master of, to persuade young obstinate to abandon his avowed intention. All would not do; ‘go down he must and would ." No sooner said than done ; for, placing his right leg upon the ladder, he descended a couple of bars, which brought his face directly on a level with Neptune's, who, with tongue out, and eyes fixed upon his master, seemed as if taking a last farewell. “Good bye, Nep. ;' ' take care of Nep., Dick,' and down went young Vishnu bar after bar, to the first landing place. The zig-zag, and the increasing darkness at first puzzled him; and ere he reached the second landing, the ladder felt as cold as it was slimey. • Bang’ went some rock in the region below, and the reverberating sound astounded him for a time. He had never heard such a blast' as that before during the whole period of his stay at Llantilham! That very noise, which would have scared back nine out of ten much older boys than himself, was an additional incitement for him to go on and see from whence it proceeded.
Descending ladder after ladder, each fifty feet long, the eighth brought him to ground. 'Jack' listened ; at a considerable distance before him, he observed several twinkling lights stuck against the sides of the long narrow and vaulted passage, and heard a noise as of wheel-barrows being trundled to and fro; but near him, all was dark and silent as the grave. He was about moving towards the lights, when he fancied that foot-steps were approaching. Again he listened ; a light appeared in the middle of the passage, which was evidently approaching the place where he stood, and in less than a minute, it appeared to Jack, by the shadow, as if it were borne by some 'giant, who held a pick-axe in one hand, and in the other a ball of clay, in which, a candle of no common mould was stuck. His little heart went 'pit-a-pat,' but not from fear; for although it brought to his recollection the story of • Tom Thumb;' he had no dread of Fi-Fo-Fum,' and remained firm at his post.
When, however, the light fell upon the laughing urchin's indigo countenance, the blanket-clad miner suddenly halted, and in accents of terror and invocation, exclaimed 'In the name of God, whence comest thou. He was a religious man--a follower of the righteous
Wesley—and not being answered except by “Satanic grins,' the astounded miner, in an imploring accent, repeated the interrogatory, to which Jack, in a disguised, and as solemn a tone as he possibly could assume---for he was upon the point of betraying himself by laughing outright---responded, “ FROM THE DEVIL !!!
At that moment, some accident at a distance, by the blasting of a rock near the lode, which made the hollow
reverberate with the cries of the wounded, added to the horrors of the scene; for
“ An universal hubbub wild
Milton. The superstitious and panic-struck miner in an instant dropped pick-axe and candle---out went the light---and calling on Heaven for mercy, he endeavoured to flee from the imp of darkness which fancy and fear had painted to be close upon his heels. If the imagination of that man could be ascertained, it would, no doubt, resemble the mistura horrenda’ of Van Brugel's egg, from which the world originated : perhaps, be full of goblins damned, and of all the foul terrors in dark seated Hell !'
• Jack' viewed with astonishment the miner's attempt to run away from such an urchin as himself, and he began to hiss him ; but that increased the fright; and his retrograde movement being impeded by a wheel-barrow, he fell over it headlong to the ground, where he lay bellowing like a sea cow deprived of her calf. Jack, fearing he had gone too far, endeavoured to convince him that it was all a joke;' but, failing in his efforts, he thought it best to try the strength of his own lungs, in calling for help; but long, very long might he have fruitlessly called, if · Dick,' the cowboy, had not become so much alarmed at his master's' unusually long absence, that he gave the alarm to some of the surface men' who were at their dinners, two of whom immediately took a lantern, and descended the shaft in quest of the missing vishnu.'
As soon as · Jack’ heard the descending bucket, he, for a moment, left the prostrate miner, and met the persons in search of him as they landed at the bottom : but the instant the light shone upon * Jack,'the poor fellow, who had had a succession of fits, called out in the voice of a maniac, till hoarse with the exertion—- 'Tis Satan! Satan! I see his hoof; 'tis he ; 'tis the Devil !' In vain were the assurances of his comrades that “ 'twas only a little boy, with a blue stained face;' for he would stare at Jack's feet, with his eyes
full fixed, whilst his hair erect, too plainly told the powerful effect of fear. “Jack' looked at his own feet, and saw enough—they did resemble the cloven’ more than the human foot ; for the clay collected from the bars of the ladders in his descent, had formed upon the lacing of his ankle boots, and gave them a most demoniacal appearance, which, to the magnifying optics of the victim of his fun, became conviction strong as proofs of holy writ;' and it was only by Jack's then immediate disappearance, and the greatest kindness and persuasion of the two miners, that he could be in any manner persuaded that the Devil had departed from him.' But to * Jack' himself, it was inexplicable, how a man six feet high, should have been so much frightened at such a boy, even if that boy had been an “imp of hell,' or 'the Devil himseli !
The still alarmed miner, whose head was ever and anon looking over his shoulders, first right, then left, and then at each elbow, was lifted by his comrades into the bucket; and the signal having been given to the many persons at that time collected at the shaft's mouth, to render all the assistance in their power should any accident have happened to the young adventurer (and many more would have been there, but for the still more terrific accident at the furthest shaft, where sixteen persons had been blown up by the accidental explosion of gunpowder, through carelessness), the bucket was soon drawn to the surface, and the frightened miner to light and air more reviving than that they had quitted.
The bucket was again lowered, and “ Jack” placed in it, whilst his brawny protector, with one leg in the bucket, his right arm supporting "Jack,' fended it off from the shaft's side with his 'spare leg,' until they were safely landed upon terra firma.
To complete this chapter of accidents, the moment the miner had quitted the bucket, and observed the hawser which was bent to the handle of the bucket, chased through all but one strand, by which their weight must for a great part of the way have been sustained, he suddenly fell upon his knees, held up his clasped hands to heaven, as if fervently returning thanks, and from that moment became speechless, in which state he subsequently continued for several months.
JACK RESOLVES NEVER TO ACT THE DEVIL AGAIN.-THE SPF.ECHLESS MINER,—MRS. HONOR'S THREAT.-THE WASII TUB. — EXPLOSION.
ITS EFFECTS. HOW ACCOUNTED FOR.HE DETERMINES TO ABANDON MINING.
many extraordinary incidents in one short hour or two, had a great effect upon Jack;' for, although he was too young to understand much about the special intervention of Providence, he resolved from that moment never again to risk his own more than ever precious carcase, by a second descent into the bowels of old mother earth, nor again to act the Devil.
The long absence of the trio had alarmed ‘nurse' and the villagers, the former forgot her • rheumatise’ to beat up for volunteers for a 'pint o’cider or so’ to go in quest of them; nothing but shafts and pits of mundic water floated before her eyes, and her tormentor 'Jack ’ floundering about in them to the peril of his life. His . caul' was sure to protect him in a river or in the sea, but it had no power in a shaft or pit!! dreadful reflection!
The old woman was herself the first to discover the lost ‘ pickles,' for just as she had toddled half way up the hill, by the aid of her tallMalacca supporter, and had stopped to take a • drap o'comfort, ' she beheld, to her great delight, “ Neptune' and the two truants,