Imágenes de páginas

water is always boiling, and large bubbles of air rise to the surface from the unknown regions below.

We witnessed a grand display, after many false alarms. With a slight shaking of the earth, and considerable groaning and sighing, a water column, or rather a sheaf of columns, rose higher and higher out of the basin. These columns partially sank, again and again, but continued at every renewed effort to gain greater height, till, with a final attempt, they reached the height of one hundred feet. This height was only maintained for a few seconds, and down like a telescope the whole mass sank, the entire time consumed in the display being but seven minutes and a half. The explosion was accompanied by so much steam, that the water column was partly hid. Still it was a very wonderful spectacle. At one time the Geyser is said to have been much more powerful than in our day, and to have risen between three hundred and four hundred feet every six hours; but that was in his hot and fiery youth-he is now old and feeble, and gradually builds up flinty tomb, which one day will enclose him.

The “Strokr,” or churn, is another hot spring, of such an excitable disposition, that he can be roused to activity by a trick, and made to contribute to the amusement of every passer-by. At a depth of twelve feet from the surface this Geyser, when quiet, pursues his boiling trade with not a little sound and fury; but as his throat is very narrow, it can easily be closed,

and so our friend choked. This mean act is accomplished by throwing in a few shovel-fuls of sod. Naturally enough, he warmly resents such liberties being taken with his windpipe; and thus, no sooner has the guide hurled in the proper dose, than, like a man with quinsy, the Strokr hisses and splutters, gasps and grumbles, till he can no longer contain himself, and up it all comes, boiling water, steam, and earth, in explosion after explosion, till the whole has been got rid of, and his pipe is again clear. After many efforts and much excitement, he appears for a moment to calm ; but again, apparently after thinking over it, he cannot bear the recollection, and at it he goes, almost as energetically as ever.

Adapted from " Good Words."





Fear was within the tossing bark,

When stormy winds grew loud,
And waves came rolling high and dark,

And the tall mast was bowed.

And men stood breathless in their dread,

And baffled in their skill;
But One was there, who rose and said

To the wild sea, “Be still I”

And the wind ceased-it ceased that word

Passed through the gloomy sky;
The troubled billows knew their Lord,

And sank beneath His eye.

And slumber settled on the deep,

And silence on the blast,
As when the righteous fall asleep,

When death's fierce throes are past.

Thou that didst rule the angry hour,

And tame the tempest's mood;
Oh! send Thy Spirit forth in power

O'er our dark souls to brood !

Thou that didst bow the billows' pride,

Thy mandates to fulfil,
So speak to passion's raging tide-
Speak, and say, “Peace, be still!”

Felicia Hemans.





in-ter-vene im-port-ant en-vel-ope

Of all the coal-fields in England, Northumberland and Durham coal-field is the most important. It extends as far north as the river Coquet, and

At one

as far south as the Tees. For the most part it extends quite to the margin of the sea on the east, while on the west it reaches about ten miles beyond a line drawn north and south through Newcastle. Throughout this district the coal strata “ dip” or descend towards the east, and crop out or ascend towards the west. point a particular seam, called the High Main, lies at a depth of nearly a thousand feet; while at other spots the same seam rises nearly to the surface. Throughout the greater part of the coal-field the various beds of coal amount to upwards of eighty, consisting of alternating beds of coal, sandstone, and slate-clay. The thickness of the whole is about sixteen hundred feet-equal to nearly five times the height of St Paul's Cathedral. All these seams of coal have different names, and are known from one another by the colliers. The two most important are called High Main and Low Main. They are each about six feet in thickness; the latter lies three or four hundred feet below the former, and eight seams of lesser thickness intervene between them. It is calculated the entire aggregate thickness of workable coal is about thirty feet.

To those deep-lying coals we must ask the reader to

First, then, how to descend. Many collieries have baskets, or large iron tubs, in which the men are lowered. The ropes employed in this work are evidently important features in the arrangement. Some collieries use a round rope, from five to six inches in circumference; others a flat one, four or five inches wide, and formed of three or four strands, or smaller ropes, plaited side by side; in a few instances chains are employed. Some of these ropes are of immense length, owing to the depth of the pits. The deepest, we believe, in England, is the Monkwearmouth pit : its depth is 292 fathoms, or 1752 feet. Two ropes for this pit weigh about 12,000 lbs., and cost £500.

pay à visit.

Arrived at the bottom of the pit, what do we see? Nothing, or nothing but darkness visible : all vestige of daylight is effectually shut out, and it is long before we become accustomed to the light of the candles carried by the men. Each one appears as a mere spark, a point of light in the midst of intense darkness, for the walls or surfaces around are too dark to reflect much of the light. By degrees, however, the eye accommodates itself to the strange scene; and men are seen to be moving about in galleries or long passages, working in positions which would seem enough to break the back of an ordinary workman; while boys and horses are seen to be aiding in bringing the coal to the mouth of the pit. Some of those horses go through the whole of their career without seeing the light of day : they are born in the pit, reared in the pit, and die in the pit.

A coal-mine is not simply a pit with coal at the bottom of it. The pit is merely an entrance, from the bottom of which passages run out in every direction to a great distance. Those pas

« AnteriorContinuar »