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length, and smaller passages branch off on the right and on the left.
The roof is kept up by large black pillars. These are masses of coal left standing for the purpose, when the coal which surrounded them was dug out.
If it is a very large mine, the principal roads will perhaps be lighted by gas, and you may fancy yourself in a great city underground. The galleries are the main streets, and the passages on either side are the smaller streets and lanes.
It is only in a few mines that gas can be used, and then only in the great roads. In the other parts of the mine you must be content with the dim light of a lamp covered with wire gauze.
For there is a kind of gas called “ fire-damp’ often found in coal-mines.
This will easily catch fire, and if it does, will blow up part of the mine. Many dreadful accidents have happened from this cause.
So long as you use the wire lamp only you will be quite safe. Trap-doors are placed in many of the passages to keep out any fire-damp from the rest of the mine.
There are men and boys, horses and donkeys, in this underground city. Many of the men and boys pass a great part of their lives in the mine, and as for the poor horses and donkeys, when they are once let down, they seldom come up again.
There is plenty of work going on. The horses and donkeys are drawing great trucks laden with coal, along the passages.
The boys are watching the trap-doors, to keep them shut after the trucks have passed through, and are helping the men in many ways.
The men are digging and hewing with axe and shovel, and in some places they are putting small packets of gunpowder into holes which they have bored in the sides of the pit.
When the gunpowder is lighted, it will explode, and will force away the coal in large blocks.
You will observe that all the long galleries and open spaces which you
have been walking through have been made by digging out the coal and winding it up to the pit's mouth.
There are places where men bring up coal from a depth of 1800 feet. And in some mines on the coast they go, it is said, three miles under the sea.
At the pit's mouth you may often see great heaps of small coal not worth carrying away. Sometimes these heaps catch fire, and burn for a very long time.
À traveller once observed one of these heaps, large enough to cover twelve acres,
which had been burning for eight years: when he saw it, it was still burning. Such waste may be prevented in future, for it has been found that this small coal can be made into bricks of fuel, and so be made useful.
You will not wonder that so much coal has been dug out when you think how much is used by land and by seain houses, in shops, in furnaces, on railways, and on board ships. You will perhaps begin to think, how can such a quantity of coal be procured at all, and
how long will it be before we have used up all the coal in our island ?
There are great tracts of land called coal-fields in many parts of England, which have beds of coal lying all under them, and to a very considerable depth.
One great coal-field is near Newcastleon-Tyne, from which place great part of the coal used in London is brought. This coal-field is as much as thirty miles long and twelve miles wide, and some people say that we might get from this one tract alone enough coal to last at least 500 years.
There are also vast coal-fields in Lancashire and Yorkshire, from which the great towns in those counties are supplied. There are coal-fields too
too in Staffordshire, Leicestershire, and other parts of England, besides
in Wales and in Scotland.
So that there is plenty of coal in our island to last for a very long time, although we use so much of it in one way or another.
SOME FRUITS IN OUR GARDEN.
I THINK that all of you who read this have tasted the fruits, whose names are at the top of the lesson ; but, perhaps, some of you have not seen them growing:
You have perhaps looked at them in the shops, and thought they were very pretty. They do look pretty in the shops, but I think they are prettier in the garden.
The trees on which gooseberries grow are called “bushes;" so are those upon which currants grow.
The raspberry, tree is called the raspberry cane.'