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´╗┐Title: Deep Down, a Tale of the Cornish Mines
Author: Ballantyne, R. M. (Robert Michael), 1825-1894
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Deep Down, a Tale of the Cornish Mines" ***

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Necessity is the mother of invention.  This is undoubtedly true, but it
is equally true that invention is not the only member of necessity's
large family.  Change of scene and circumstance are also among her
children.  It was necessity that gave birth to the resolve to travel to
the end of the earth--of English earth at all events--in search of
fortune, which swelled the bosom of yonder tall, well-favoured youth,
who, seated uncomfortably on the top of that clumsy public conveyance,
drives up Market-Jew Street in the ancient town of Penzance.  Yes,
necessity--stern necessity, as she is sometimes called--drove that youth
into Cornwall, and thus was the originating cause of that wonderful
series of events which ultimately led to his attaining--but hold!  Let
us begin at the beginning.

It was a beautiful morning in June, in that period of the world's
history which is ambiguously styled "Once-upon-a-time," when the
"Kittereen"--the clumsy vehicle above referred to--rumbled up to the
Star Inn and stopped there.  The tall, well-favoured youth leapt at once
to the ground, and entered the inn with the air of a man who owned at
least the half of the county, although his much-worn grey shooting
costume and single unpretentious portmanteau did not indicate either
unusual wealth or exalted station.

In an off-hand hearty way, he announced to landlord, waiters,
chambermaids, and hangers-on, to all, indeed, who might choose to
listen, that the weather was glorious, that coaches of all kinds,
especially Kittereens, were detestable machines of torture, and that he
meant to perform the remainder of his journey on foot.

He inquired the way to the town of St. Just, ordered his luggage to be
forwarded by coach or cart, and, with nothing but a stout oaken cudgel
to encumber him, set out on his walk of about seven miles, with the
determination of compensating himself for previous hours of forced
inaction and constraint by ignoring roads and crossing the country like
an Irish fox-hunter.

Acting on the presumptuous belief that he could find his way to any part
of the world with the smallest amount of direction, he naturally missed
the right road at the outset, and instead of taking the road to St.
Just, pursued that which leads to the Land's End.

The youth, as we have observed, was well-favoured.  Tall,
broad-shouldered, deep-chested, and athletic, with an active step, erect
gait, and clear laughing eye, he was one whom a recruiting-sergeant in
the Guards would have looked upon with a covetous sigh.  Smooth fair
cheeks and chin told that boyhood was scarce out of sight behind, and an
undeniable _some thing_ on the upper lip declared that manhood was not
far in advance.

Like most people in what may be termed an uncertain stage of existence,
our hero exhibited a variety of apparent contradictions.  His great size
and muscular strength and deep bass voice were those of a man, while the
smooth skin, the soft curling hair, and the rollicking gladsome look
were all indicative of the boy.  His countenance, too, might have
perplexed a fortune-teller.  Sometimes it was grave almost to sternness,
at other times it sparkled with delight, exhibiting now an expression
that would have befitted a sage on whose decisions hung the fate of
kingdoms, and anon displaying a dash of mischief worthy of the wildest
boy in a village school.

Some of the youth's varied, not to say extravagant, actions and
expressions, were perhaps due to the exhilarating brilliancy of the
morning, or to the appearance of those splendid castles which his mind
was actively engaged in building in the air.

The country through which he travelled was at first varied with trees
and bushes clothed in rich foliage; but soon its aspect changed, and ere
long he pursued a path which led over a wide extent of wild moorland
covered with purple heath and gorse in golden-yellow bloom.  The ground,
too, became so rough that the youth was fain to confine himself to the
highroad; but being of an explorative disposition, he quickly diverged
into the lanes, which in that part of Cornwall were, and still are,
sufficiently serpentine and intricate to mislead a more experienced
traveller.  It soon began to dawn upon the youth's mind that he was
wandering in a wrong direction, and when he suddenly discovered a
solitary cottage on the right hand, which he had previously observed on
the left, he made up his mind to sacrifice his independence and
condescend to ask for guidance.

Lightly leaping a wall with this intent, he crossed two fields, and
stooped as he looked in at the low doorway of the cottage, from the
interior of which there issued the loud cries of a child either in great
pain or passion.

A sturdy little boy seated on a stool, and roaring like a young bull,
while an elderly woman tried to comfort him, was the sight which met his

"Can you show me the road to St. Just?" inquired our adventurer.

"St. Just, sur?" said the woman, stepping out in front of the door,
"why, you're on the way to St. Buryan, sure.  Ef you do keep on the
right of the hill over theere, you'll see the St. Just road."

A yell of unparalleled ferocity issued at this moment from the cottage,
and it was found that the noisy urchin within, overcome by curiosity,
had risen to ascertain who the stranger outside could be, and had been
arrested by a pang of agony.

"Aw dear, aw dear, my poor booy," exclaimed the woman, endeavouring
gently to press the boy down again on the stool, amid furious roaring.

"What's wrong with him?" asked our traveller, entering the apartment.

"He's tumbled off the wall, dear booy, an' semen to me he's scat un
shoulder very bad."

"Let me have a look at him," said the youth, sitting down on the edge of
a bed which stood at one end of the room, and drawing the child between
his knees.  "Come, little man, don't shout so loud; I'll put it all
right for you.  Let me feel your shoulder."

To judge from the immediate result, the young man seemed to put it all
wrong instead of "all right," for his somewhat rough manipulation of the
boy's shoulder produced such a torrent of screams that the pitying woman
had much ado to restrain herself from rushing to the rescue.

"Ah!" exclaimed the youth in grey, releasing his victim; "I thought so;
he has broken his collar-bone, my good woman; not a serious matter, by
any means, but it will worry him for some time to come.  Have you got
anything to make a bandage of?"

"Sur?" said the woman.

"Have you a bit of rag--an old shirt or apron?--anything will do."

The woman promptly produced a cotton shirt, which the youth tore up into
long strips.  Making a pad of one of these, he placed it under the boy's
arm-pit despite of sobs and resistance.  This pad acted as a fulcrum on
which the arm rested as a lever.  Pressing the elbow close to the boy's
side he thus forced the shoulder outwards, and, with his left hand, set
the bone with its two broken ends together.  To secure it in this
position he bound the arm pretty firmly to the boy's body, so that he
could not move a muscle of the left arm or shoulder.

"There," said the youth, assisting his patient to put on his shirt,
"that will keep all straight.  You must not on any account remove the
bandage for some weeks."

"How long, sur?" exclaimed the woman in surprise.

"For some weeks; but that will depend on how the little fellow gets on.
He may go about and use his right arm as he pleases, but no more
climbing on walls for some time to come.  Do you hear, little man?"

The urchin, whose pain was somewhat relieved, and who had moderated down
to an occasional deep sob, said "Iss."

"You're a doctor, sur, I think?" said the woman.

"Yes, I am; and I'll come to see you again, so be careful to attend to
my directions.  Good-morning."

"Good mornin', sur, an' thank 'ee!" exclaimed the grateful dame as the
youth left the house, and, leaping the low enclosure in front of it,
sped over the moor in the direction which had been pointed out to him.

His resolution to ignore roads cost our traveller more trouble than he
had anticipated, for the moor was very rugged, the brambles vexatious,
and the spines of the gorse uncommonly sharp.  Impediments of every kind
were more numerous than he had been accustomed to meet with even on the
heath-clad hills of Scotland, with which--although "the land of the
mountain and the flood" was not that of his birth--he had from childhood
been familiar.

After a good deal of vigorous leaping and resolute scrambling, he
reached one of those peculiar Cornish lanes which are so deeply sunk in
the ground, and edged with such high solid walls, that the wayfarer
cannot in many places see the nature of the country through which he is
passing.  The point at which he reached the lane was so overgrown with
gorse and brambles that it was necessary to search for a passage through
them.  This not being readily found, he gave way to the impetuosity of
his disposition, stepped back a few paces, cleared the obstacles with a
light bound, and alighted on the edge of the bank, which gave way under
his weight, and he descended into the lane in a shower of stones and
dust, landing on his feet more by chance than by dexterity.

A shout of indignation greeted the traveller, and, turning abruptly
round, he beheld a stout old gentleman stamping with rage, covered from
head to foot with dust, and sputtering out epithets of opprobrium on the
hapless wight who had thus unintentionally bespattered him.

"Ugh! hah! you young jackanapes--you blind dumbledory--ugh!  What mean
you by galloping over the country thus like a wild ass--eh?"

A fit of coughing here interrupted the choleric old gentleman, in the
midst of which our hero, with much humility of demeanour, many
apologies, and protestations of innocence of intention to injure, picked
up the old gentleman's hat, assisted him to brush his clothes with a
bunch of ferns, and in various other ways sought to pacify him.

The old man grumbled a good deal at first, but was finally so far
mollified as to say less testily, while he put on his hat, "I warrant
me, young man, you are come on some wild-goose chase to this
out-o'-the-way region of the land in search of the picturesque--eh?--a
dauber on canvas?"

"No, sir," replied the youth, "I profess not to wield the pencil or
brush, although I admit to having made feeble efforts as an amateur.
The scalpel is more to my taste, and my object in coming here is to
visit a relative.  I am on my way to St. Just; but, having wandered
somewhat out of my road, have been obliged to strike into bypaths, as
you see."

"As I _see_, young man!--yes, and as I _feel_," replied the old
gentleman, with some remains of asperity.

"I have already expressed regret for the mischance that has befallen
you," said the youth in grey somewhat sternly, for his impulsive spirit
fired a little at the continued ill-humour of the old gentleman.
"Perhaps you will return good for evil by pointing out the way to St.
Just.  May I venture to ask this favour of you?"

"You may venture, and you _have_ ventured; and it is my belief, young
man, that you'll venture many a thing before this world has done with
you; however, as you are a stranger in these parts, and have expressed
due penitence for your misdeed, though I more than half doubt your
sincerity, I can do no less than point out the road to St. Just, whither
I will accompany you at least part of the way; and, young sir, as you
have taken pretty free liberty with _me_ this morning, may I take the
liberty of asking _you_ the name of your relative in St. Just?  I am
well acquainted with most of the inhabitants of that town."

"Certainly," replied the youth.  "The gentleman whom I am going to visit
is my uncle.  His name is Donnithorne."

"What!  Tom Donnithorne?" exclaimed the old gentleman, in a tone of
surprise, as he darted a keen glance from under his bushy eyebrows at
his companion.  "Hah! then from that fact I gather that you are Oliver
Trembath, the young doctor whom he has been expecting the last day or
two.  H'm--so old Tom Donnithorne is your uncle, is he?"

The youth in grey did not relish the free and easy, not to say
patronising, tone of his companion, and felt inclined to give a sharp
answer, but he restrained his feelings and replied,--"He is, and you are
correct in your supposition regarding myself.  Do you happen to know my
uncle personally?"

"Know him personally!" cried the old gentleman with a sardonic laugh;
"Oh yes, I know him intimately--intimately; some people say he's a very
good fellow."

"I am glad to hear that, for to say truth--"

He paused abruptly.

"Ha!  I suppose you were going to say that you have heard a different
account of him--eh?"

"Well, I _was_ going to observe," replied Oliver, with a laugh, "that my
uncle is rather a wild man for his years--addicted to smuggling, I am
told, and somewhat given to the bottle; but it is well known that
tattlers give false reports, and I am delighted to hear that the old boy
is not such a bad fellow after all."

"Humph!" ejaculated the other.  "Then you have never seen him, I

"No, never; although I am a Cornishman I have seen little of my native
county, having left it when a little boy--before my uncle came to live
in this part of the country."

"H'm--well, young man, I would advise you to beware of that same uncle
of yours."

"How!" exclaimed the youth in surprise; "did you not tell me just now
that he is a very good fellow?"

"No, sir, I did not.  I told you that _some_ people say he is a very
good fellow, but for myself I think him an uncommonly bad man, a man who
has done me great injury in his day--"

"It grieves me to hear you say so," interrupted Oliver, whose ire was
again roused by the tone and manner of his companion.

"A decidedly bad man," continued the old gentleman, not noticing the
interruption, "a thorough rascal, a smuggler, and a drunkard, and--"

"Hold, sir!" cried the youth sternly, as he stopped and faced the old
gentleman, "remember that you speak of my relative.  Had you been a
younger man, sir--"

Again the youth paused abruptly.

"Go on, sir," said the old gentleman ironically, "you would have
pommelled me to a jelly with your cudgel, I suppose; is that it?--acting
somewhat in the spirit of your kinsman, that same smuggling and tippling
old scoundrel, who--"

"Enough, sir," interrupted the young man angrily; "we part company

So saying, he vaulted over the wall that separated the road from the
moor, and hurried away.

"Take the first turn to the left, and keep straight on, else you'll lose
yourself aga-a-a-in," roared the old gentleman, "and my compliments to
the rascally old smugg-le-e-r-r!"

"The old scoundrel!" muttered the youth as he hurried away.

"The young puppy!" growled the old gentleman as he jogged along.  "Given
to smuggling and the bottle indeed--humph! the excitable jackanapes!
But I've given him a turn in the wrong direction that will cool his
blood somewhat, and give me leisure to cool mine too, before we meet

Here the old gentleman's red countenance relaxed into a broad grin, and
he chuckled a good deal, in the midst of a running commentary on the
conduct and appearance of his late companion, from the disjointed
sentences of which it might have been gathered that although his
introduction to the young doctor had been unfortunate, and the
succeeding intercourse stormy, his opinion of him was not altogether



Before Oliver Trembath had advanced half a mile on his path, he had
cooled sufficiently to experience some regret at having been so quick to
take offence at one who, being evidently an eccentric character, should
not, he thought, have been broken with so summarily.  Regrets, however,
had come too late, so he endeavoured to shake off the disagreeable
feelings that depressed him, and, the more effectually to accomplish
this, burst forth into a bravura song with so much emphasis as utterly
to drown, and no doubt to confound, two larks, which, up to that time,
had been pouring their melodious souls out of their little bodies in the
bright blue sky above.

Presently he came to a part of the moor where two roads diverged--one to
the right and the other to the left.  Recalling the shout of advice
which the old gentleman had given him in parting, he took that which led
to the left, and was gratified, on gaining an eminence a short distance
in advance, to see in the far distance a square turret, which he
concluded was that of the church of St. Just.

Keeping this turret in view, the youth stepped out so vigorously that he
soon reached the small town that clustered round the church, and going
up to the first man he met, said, "This is the town of St. Just, I
suppose, is it not?"

"No, et is'n; thee's come the wrang road, sur," replied the rustic.
"This es Sennen church-town.  St. Just es up over th' hill theere."

Oliver Trembath's first feeling was one of surprise; this was followed
by annoyance, which quickly degenerated into anger as it flashed into
his mind that the old gentleman might possibly have led him wrong on

"How far is it to St. Just?" he inquired.

"'Bout six miles, sur."

"Then I suppose I am not far from the Land's End?" said Oliver after a

"No, not fur," replied the man.  "Et do lie straight before 'ee."

Thanking the man, Oliver started off at a smart pace, resolving, before
proceeding to St. Just, to visit this extreme western point of England--
a visit to which he had often looked forward with pleasant anticipation.

During the last hour of his walk the sun had been obscured by clouds,
but, just as he approached the cliffs, the clouds separated, and a
golden flood rushed over the broad Atlantic, which now lay spread out
before him in all its wide majesty as far as the eye could see.

"A good omen!" cried the youth with a shout, as he hurried towards the
shore, intending to fling off his garments and bathe in the mighty
ocean, which, from the place where he first beheld it, appeared to be
smooth and still as a mill-pond.  But Oliver was compelled to restrain
his ardour, for on nearing the sea he found that he stood on the summit
of high cliffs, beyond which the Land's End stretched in a succession of
broken masses of granite, so chafed and shattered by the action of the
sea, and so curiously split, as to resemble basaltic columns.  To reach
the outermost of those weather-worn sentinels of Old England, required
some caution on the part of our traveller, even although well used to
scaling the rocky heights of Scottish mountains, and when he did at last
plant his foot on the veritable Land's End, he found that it was a
precipice apparently sixty feet high, which descended perpendicularly
into deep water.  His meditated bathe was therefore an impossibility,
for those glassy undulations, which appeared so harmless at a distance,
gathered slow and gradual height as they approached the land, and at
last, assuming the form of majestic waves, flung themselves with a grand
roar on the stern cliffs which they have battered so long in vain, and
round which--always repulsed but never conquered--they seethed in milky

With glistening eye, and heaving breast, and mantling colour, the young
doctor stood long and motionless on this extreme point of land--absorbed
in admiration of the glorious scene before him.  Often had he beheld the
sea in the firths and estuaries of the North, but never till now had he
conceived the grandeur of the great Atlantic.  It seemed to him as if
the waves of those inland seas, when tossed by wild storms, were but
rough miniature copies of the huge billows which arose before him,
without apparent cause, and, advancing without rush or agitation, fell
successively with solemn roar at his feet, awakening irresistibly within
him deep and new thoughts of the Almighty Creator of earth and sea.

For many minutes he stood entranced, his mind wandering in a species of
calm delight over the grand scene, but incapable of fixing itself
definitely on any special feature--now sweeping out to where the Scilly
Isles could be seen resting on the liquid horizon, anon following the
flight of circling seagulls, or busy counting the innumerable ships and
boats that rested on the sea, but ever and anon recurring, as if under
the influence of fascination, to that rich turmoil of foam which boiled,
leaped, and churned, around, beneath, and above the mighty breakers.

Awaking at last from his trance, Oliver tore himself from the spot, and
hastened away to seek the nearest strip of sand where he might throw off
his clothes and plunge into the boiling surf.

He proceeded in a southerly direction, impatiently expecting at every
step to discover some spot suitable for his purpose, but he had taken a
long and rapid walk before he found a break in those wild cliffs which
afforded him the opportunity of descending to the water's edge.  Here,
on a narrow strip of sand, he undressed and leaped into the waves.

Well was it for Oliver that day that he had been trained in all manly
exercises, that his "wind" was good, that his muscles were hard, his
nerves well strung, and, above all, that in earliest youth he had
learned to swim.

Misjudging, in his ignorance, the tremendous power of the surf into
which he sprang, and daring to recklessness in the conscious possession
of unusual strength and courage, he did not pause to look or consider,
but at once struck out to sea.  He was soon beyond the influence of the
breaking waves, and for some time sported in the full enjoyment of the
briny Atlantic waters.  Then turning towards the shore he swam in and
was speedily tossing among the breakers.  As he neared the sandy beach
and felt the full power of the water on his partially exhausted frame,
he experienced a slight feeling of anxiety, for the thunder of each wave
as it fell and rushed up before him in seething foam, seemed to indicate
a degree of force which he had not realised in his first vigorous plunge
into the sea.  A moment more and a wave caught him in its curling crest,
and swept him onwards.  For the first time in his life, Oliver
Trembath's massive strength was of no avail to him.  He felt like a
helpless infant.  In another instant the breaker fell and swept him with
irresistible violence up the beach amid a turmoil of hissing foam.  No
sooner did he touch the ground than he sprang to his feet, and staggered
forward a few paces but the returning rush of water swept sand and
stones from beneath his feet, carried his legs from under him, and
hurled him back into the hollow of the succeeding wave, which again
rolled him on the sand.

Although somewhat stunned, Oliver did not lose consciousness or
self-possession.  He now fully realised the extreme danger of his
position, and the thought flashed through his brain that, at the
farthest, his fate must be decided in two or three minutes.  Acting on a
brave spirit, this thought nerved him to desperate effort.  The instant
he could plant his feet firmly he bounded forwards, and then, before the
backward rush of water had gathered strength, fell on his knees, and dug
his fingers and toes deep into the sand.  Had the grasp been on
something firm he could easily have held on, but the treacherous sand
crumbled out of his grasp, and a second time he was carried back into
the sea.

The next time he was cast on the beach he felt that his strength was
failing; he staggered forward as soon as he touched bottom, with all the
energy of one who avails himself of his last chance, but the angry water
was too strong for him.  Feeling that he was being overpowered, he cast
his arms up in the air, and gave utterance to a loud cry.  It was not
like a cry of despair, but sounded more like what one might suppose
would be the shout of a brave soldier when compelled to give way--
fighting--before the might of overwhelming force.  At that moment a hand
caught the young man's wrist, and held it for a few seconds in a
powerful grasp.  The wave retreated, a staggering effort followed, and
the next moment Oliver stood panting on the beach grasping the rough
hand of his deliverer.

"Semen to me you was pretty nigh gone, sur," said the man, who had come
thus opportunely to the rescue, as he wrung the sea-water from his

He was a man of middle height, but of extremely powerful frame, and was
habited in the garb of a fisherman.

"Truly I had been gone altogether but for your timely assistance; may
God reward you for it!" said Oliver earnestly.

"Well, I don't think you would be so ready to thank me if you did knaw I
had half made up my mind to lev 'ee go."

Oliver looked at the man in some surprise, for he spoke gruffly, almost
angrily, and was evidently in earnest.

"You are jesting," said he incredulously.

"Jestin'; no I ain't, maister.  Do 'ee see the boat out over?" he said,
pointing to a small craft full of men which was being rowed swiftly
round a point not more than half a mile distant; "the villains are after
me.  They might as well have tried to kitch a cunger by the tail as nab
Jim Cuttance in one of his dens, if he hadn't bin forced by the softness
of his 'art to pull a young fool out o' the say.  You'll have to help me
to fight, lad, as I've saved your life.  Come, follow me to the cave."

"But--my clothes--" said Oliver, glancing round him in search of his

"They're all safe up here; come along, sur, an' look sharp."

At any other time, and in other circumstances, Oliver Trembath's fiery
spirit would have resented the tone and manner of this man's address,
but the feeling that he owed his life to him, and that in some way he
appeared to be the innocent cause of bringing misfortune on him, induced
him to restrain his feelings and obey without question the mandate of
his rescuer.  Jim Cuttance led the way to a cave in the rugged cliffs,
the low entrance to which was concealed by a huge mass of granite.  The
moment they entered several voices burst forth in abuse of the fisherman
for his folly in exposing himself; but the latter only replied with a
sarcastic laugh, and advised his comrades to get ready for action, for
he had been seen by the enemy, who would be down on them directly.  At
the same time he pointed to Oliver's clothes, which lay in a recess in
the side of the cavern.

The youth dressed himself rapidly, and, while thus engaged, observed
that there were five men in the cavern, besides his guide, with whom
they retired into the farthest recess of the place, and entered into
animated and apparently angry, though low-toned, conversation.  At
length their leader, for such he evidently was, swung away from them,
exclaiming, with a laugh, "Well, well, he's a good recruit, and if he
should peach on we--us can--"

He concluded the sentence with a significant grunt.

"Now, sur," he said, advancing with his comrade towards Oliver, who was
completing his toilet, "they'll be here in ten minutes, an' it is
expected that you will lend we a hand.  Here's a weapon for you."

So saying, he handed a large pistol to Oliver, who received it with some

"I trust that your cause is a good one," he said.  "You cannot expect me
to fight for you, even though I am indebted to you for my life, without
knowing against whom I fight, and why."

At this a tall thick-set man suddenly cocked his pistol, and uttering a
fierce oath swore that if the stranger would not fight, he'd shoot him
through the head.

"Silence, Joe Tonkin!" cried Jim Cuttance, in a tone that at once
subdued the man.

Oliver, whose eyes had flashed like those of a tiger, drew himself up,
and said--"Look at me, lads; I have no desire to boast of what I can or
will do, but I assure you it would be as easy to turn back the rising
tide as to force me to fight against my will--except, indeed, with
yourselves.  As I have said, I owe my life to your leader, and
apparently have been the innocent means of drawing his enemies upon him.
Gratitude tells me to help him if I can, and help him will if the cause
be not a bad one."

"Well spoken, sur," said the leader, with an approving nod; "see to the
weapons, Maggot, and I'll explain it all to the gentleman."

So saying, he too Oliver aside, told him hurriedly that the men who ere
expected to attack them were fishermen belonging to a neighbouring cove,
whose mackerel nets had been accidentally cut by his boat some weeks
ago, and who were bent on revenge, not believing that the thing had been
done by accident.

"But surely you don't mean to use fire-arms against them in such a
quarrel?" said Oliver.

A sort of humorous smile crossed the swarthy countenance of the man as
he replied--

"They will use pistols against we."

"Be that as it may," said Oliver; "I will never consent to risk taking
the life of a countryman in such a cause."

"But you can't fight without a weapon," said the man; "and sure, if 'ee
don't shut them they'll shut you."

"No matter, I'll take my chance," said Oliver; "my good cudgel would
have served me well enough, but it seems to have been swept away by the
sea.  Here, however, is a weapon that will suit me admirably," he added,
picking up a heavy piece of driftwood that lay at his feet.

"Well, if you scat their heads with that, they won't want powder and
lead," observed the other with a grin, as he rose and returned to the
entrance of the cave, where he warned his comrades to keep as quiet as

The boat which had caused so much angry discussion among the men of the
cave had by this time neared the beach, and one of the crew stood up in
the bow to guide her into the narrow cove, which formed but a slight
protection, even in calm weather, against the violence of that surf
which never ceases to grind at the hard rocks of West Cornwall.  At
length they effected a landing, and the crew, consisting of nine men
armed with pistols and cutlasses, hurried up to the cliffs and searched
for the entrance to the cavern.

While the events which have been related were taking place, the shades
of evening had been gradually creeping over land and sea, and the light
was at that time scarcely sufficient to permit of things being
distinguished clearly beyond a few yards.  The men in the cavern hid
themselves in the dark recesses on each side of the entrance, ready for
the approaching struggle.

Oliver crouched beside his rescuer with the piece of driftwood by his
side.  Turning suddenly to his companion, he said, in an almost
inaudible whisper--

"Friend, it did not occur to me before, but the men we are about to
fight with will recognise me again if we should ever chance to meet;
could I not manage to disguise myself in some way?"

"If you get shut," replied his companion in the same low tone, "it won't
matter much; but see here--shut your eyes."

Without further remark the man took a handful of wet earth and smeared
it over Oliver's face, then, clapping his own "sou'-wester" on his head,
he said, with a soft chuckle, "There, your own mother wouldn't knaw

Just then footsteps were heard approaching, and the shadow of a man was
seen to rest for a moment on the gravel without.  The mouth of the cave
was so well hidden, however, that he failed to observe it, and passed
on, followed by several of his comrades.  Suddenly one of them stopped
and said--

"Hold on, lads, it can't be far off, I'm sartin' sure; I seed 'em
disappear hereabouts."

"You're right," cried Jim Cuttance, with a fierce roar, as he rushed
from the cavern and fired full at the man who had spoken.  The others
followed, and a volley of shots succeeded, while shouts of defiance and
anger burst forth on all sides.  Oliver sprang out at the same moment
with the leader, and rushed on one of the boat's crew with such violence
that his foot slipped on a piece of seaweed and precipitated him to the
ground at the man's feet; the other, having sprung forward to meet him
was unable to check himself, tripped over his shoulders, and fell on the
top of him.  The man named Maggot, having been in full career close
behind Oliver, tumbled over both, followed by another man named John
Cock.  The others, observing them down, rushed with a shout to the
rescue, just as Oliver, making a superhuman effort, flung the two men
off his back and leaped to his feet.  Maggot and the boatman also sprang
up, and the latter turned and made for the boat at full speed, seeing
that his comrades, overcome by the suddenness of the onset, were in
retreat, fighting as they went.

All of them succeeded in getting into the boat unharmed, and were in the
act of pushing off, when Jim Cuttance, burning with indignation, leaped
into the water, grasped the bow of the boat, and was about to plunge his
cutlass into the back of the man nearest him, when he was seized by a
strong hand from behind and held back.  Next moment the boat was beyond
his reach.

Turning round fiercely, the man saw that it was Oliver Trembath who had
interfered.  He uttered a terrible oath, and sprang on him like a tiger;
Oliver stood firm, parried with the piece of driftwood the savage cut
which was made at his head, and with his clenched left hand hit his
opponent such a blow on the chest as laid him flat on the sand.  The man
sprang up in an instant, but instead of renewing the attack, to Oliver's
surprise he came forward and held out his hand, which the youth was not
unwilling to grasp.

"Thank 'ee, sur," he said, somewhat sternly, "you've done me a sarvice;
you've prevented me committin' two murders, an' taught me a lesson I
never knaw'd afore--that Jim Cuttance an't invulnerable.  I don't mind
the blow, sur--not I.  It wor gov'n in feer fight, an' I was wrang."

"I'm glad to find that you view the matter in that light," said Oliver
with a smile, "and, truly, the blow was given in self-defence by one who
will never forget that he owes you his life."

A groan here turned the attention of the party to one of their number
who had seated himself on a rock during the foregoing dialogue.

"What! not hurt, are 'ee, Dan?" said his leader, going towards him.

To this Dan replied with another groan, and placed his hand on his hip.

His comrades crowded round him, and, finding that he was wounded and
suffering great pain, raised him in their arms and bore him into the
cavern, where they laid him on the ground, and, lighting a candle,
proceeded to examine him.

"You had better let me look at him, lads," said Oliver, pushing the men
gently aside, "I am a surgeon."

They gave place at once, and Oliver soon found that the man had received
a pistol-ball in his thigh.  Fortunately it had been turned aside in its
course, and lay only a little way beneath the skin, so that it was
easily extracted by means of a penknife.

"Now, friends," said Oliver, after completing the dressing of the wound,
"before I met with you I had missed my way while travelling to St. Just.
Will one of you direct me to the right road, and I shall bid you
good-night, as I think you have no further need of my services."

The men looked at their leader, whom they evidently expected to be their

"Well, sur, you have rendered we some help this hevenin', both in the
way o' pickin' out the ball an' helpin' to break skulls as well as
preventin' worse, so we can do no less than show 'ee the road; but hark
'ee, sur," here the man became very impressive, "ef you do chance to
come across any of us in your travels, you had better not knaw us,
'xcept in an or'nary way, d'ye understand? an' us will do the same by

"Of course I will act as you wish," said Oliver with a smile, "although
I do not see why we should be ashamed of this affair, seeing that we
were the party attacked.  There is only one person to whom I would wish
to explain the reason of my not appearing sooner, because he will
probably know of the arrival in Penzance this morning of the conveyance
that brought me to Cornwall."

"And who may that be?" demanded Jim Cuttance.

"My uncle, Thomas Donnithorne of St. Just," said Oliver.

"Whew!" whistled the fisherman in surprise, while all the others burst
into a hearty fit of laughter.

"Why do you laugh?" asked Oliver.

"Oh, never mind, sur, it's all right," said the man with a chuckle.
"Iss, you may tell Thomas Donnithorne; there won't be no harm in tellin'
he--oh, dear no!"

Again the men laughed loud and long, and Oliver felt his powers of
forbearance giving way, when Cuttance said to him: "An' you may tell all
his friends too, for they're the right sort.  Come now, Maggot here will
show 'ee the way up to St. Just."

So saying, the stout fisherman conducted the young surgeon to the mouth
of the cavern, and shaking hands with him left him to the guidance of
the man named Maggot, who led him through several lanes, until he
reached the highroad between Sennen church-town and St. Just.  Here he
paused; told his companion to proceed straight on for about four miles
or so, when he would reach the town, and bade him good-night.

"And mind 'ee, don't go off the road, sur," shouted Maggot, a few
seconds after the young man had left him, "if 'ee don't want to fall
down a shaft and scat your skull."

Oliver, not having any desire to scat his skull, whatever that might be,
assured the man that he would keep to the road carefully.

The moon shone clear in a cloudless sky, covering the wide moor and the
broad Atlantic with a flood of silver light, and rendering the road
quite distinct, so that our traveller experienced no further difficulty
in pursuing his way.  He hurried forward at a rapid pace, yet could not
resist the temptation to pause frequently and gaze in admiration on the
scene of desolate grandeur around him.  On such occasions he found it
difficult to believe that the stirring events of the last few hours were
real.  Indeed, if it had not been that there were certain uneasy
portions of his frame--the result of his recent encounter on the beach--
which afforded constant and convincing evidence that he was awake, he
would have been tempted to believe that the adventures of that day were
nothing more than a vivid dream.



It was late when our hero entered the little town of St. Just, and
inquired for the residence of his uncle, Thomas Donnithorne.  He was
directed to one of the most respectable of the group of old houses that
stood close to the venerable parish church from which St. Just derives
its title of "Church-town."

He tapped at the door, which was opened by an elderly female.

"Does Mr Thomas Donnithorne live here?" asked Oliver.

"Iss, sur, he do," answered the woman; "walk in, sur."

She ushered him into a small parlour, in which was seated a pretty,
little, dark-eyed, rosy-cheeked girl, still in, or only just out of, her
teens.  Oliver was so taken aback by the unexpected sight that he stood
gazing for a moment or two in rather stupid silence.

"Your name is Oliver Trembath, I presume," said the girl, rising and
laying down the piece of needlework with which she was occupied.

"It is," replied Oliver, in some surprise, as he blundered out an
apology for his rudeness.

"Pray sit down, sir," said the girl; "we have been expecting you for
some time, and my uncle told me to act the part of hostess till his

"Your uncle!" exclaimed Oliver, whose self-possession, not to say
impudence, returned immediately; "if Thomas Donnithorne be indeed your
uncle, then, fair maid, you and I must needs be cousins, the which, I
confess, fills me with satisfaction and also with somewhat of surprise,
for up to this hour I have been ignorant of my good fortune in being
related to so--so--"

"I made a mistake, sir," said the girl, interrupting a speech which was
evidently verging towards impropriety, "in calling Mr Donnithorne uncle
to you, who are not aware, it seems, that I am only an adopted niece."

"Not aware of it!  Of course not," said Oliver, throwing himself into a
large armchair, while his fair companion busied herself in spreading the
board for a substantial meal.  "I could not be aware of much that has
occurred in this distant part of the kingdom, seeing that my worthy
uncle has vouchsafed to write me only two letters in the course of my
life; once, many years ago, to condole with me--in about ten lines,
address and signature included--on the death of my dear mother; and once
again to tell me he had procured an appointment for me as
assistant-surgeon in the mining district of St. Just.  He must have been
equally uncommunicative to my mother, for she never mentioned your
existence.  However, since I have now made the agreeable discovery, I
trust that you will dispense with ceremony, and allow me at once to call
you cousin.  By the way, you have not yet told me your name."

The maiden, who was charmingly unsophisticated, replied that her name
was Rose Ellis, and that she had no objection whatever to being called
cousin without delay.

"Well, cousin Rose," said Oliver, "if it be not prying into secrets, I
should like to know how long it is since my uncle adopted you."

"About nineteen years ago," replied Rose.

"Oh!" said Oliver remonstratively, "before you were born? impossible!"

Rose laughed--a short, clear, little laugh which she nipped in the bud
abruptly, and replied--

"Well, it was only a short time after I was born.  I was wrecked on this
coast"--the expressive face here became very grave--"and all on board
our ship perished except myself."

Oliver saw at once that he had touched on a tender subject, and hastened
to change it by asking a number of questions about his uncle, from which
he gradually diverged to the recent events in his own history, which he
began to relate with much animation.  His companion was greatly
interested and amused.  She laughed often and heartily in a melodious
undertone, and Oliver liked her laugh, for it was peculiar, and had the
effect of displaying a double row of pretty little teeth, and of almost
entirely shutting up her eyes.  She seemed to enjoy a laugh so much that
he exerted all his powers to tickle her risible faculties, and dwelt
long and graphically on his meeting with the irascible old gentleman in
the lane.  He was still busy with this part of the discourse when a
heavy step was heard outside.

"There's my uncle," exclaimed Rose, springing up.

A moment after the door opened, and in walked the identical irascible
old gentleman himself!

If a petrified impersonation of astonishment had been a possibility,
Oliver Trembath would, on that occasion, have presented the phenomenon.
He sat, or rather lay, extended for at least half a minute with his eyes
wide and his mouth partly open, bereft alike of the powers of speech and

"Heyday, young man!" exclaimed the old gentleman, planting his sturdy
frame in the middle of the floor as if he meant then and there to demand
and exact an ample apology, or to inflict condign and terrible
chastisement, for past misdeeds; "you appear to be making yourself quite
at home--eh?"

"My _dear_ sir!" exclaimed Oliver, leaping up with a look of dismay;
"how can I express my--my--but is it, _can_ it be possible that you are
Mr Donnithorne--m-my--uncle?"

Oliver's expression, and the look of amazement on the countenance of
Rose Ellis, who could not account for such a strange reception of her
newly-found cousin, proved almost too much for the old gentleman, whose
eyes had already begun to twinkle.

"Ay, young man, I am Tom Donnithorne, your uncle, the vile, old,
smuggling, brandy-loving rascal, who met his respectful nephew on the
road to St. Just"--at this point Rose suddenly pressed her hand over her
mouth, darted to her own apartment in a distant corner of the house, and
there, seated on her little bed, went into what is not inaptly styled
fits of laughter--"and who now," continued the old gentleman, relaxing
into a genial smile, and grasping his nephew's hand, "welcomes Oliver
Trembath to his house, with all his heart and soul; there, who will say
after that, that old Donnithorne does not know how to return good for

"But, my dear uncle," began Oliver, "allow me to explain--"

"Now, now, look at that--kept me hours too late for supper already, and
he's going to take up more time with explanations," cried the old
gentleman, flinging himself on the chair from which Oliver had risen,
and wiping his bald pate with a red silk handkerchief.  "What can you
explain, boy, except that you met an angry old fellow in a lane who
called your uncle such hard names that you couldn't help giving him a
bit of your mind--there, there, sit down, sit down.--Hallo!" he shouted,
starting up impulsively and thrusting his head into the passage, "Rose,
Rose, I say, where are you?--hallo!"

"Coming, uncle--I'm here."

The words came back like an echo, and in another minute Rose appeared
with a much-flushed countenance.

"Come along, lass, let's have supper without delay.  Where is aunty?
Rout her out, and tell that jade of a cook that if she don't dish up in
five minutes I'll--I'll--.  Well, Oliver, talking of explanations, how
comes it that you are so late?"

"Because I took the wrong road after leaving you in the lane," replied
the youth, with a significant glance at his uncle, whose eyes were at
the moment fixed gravely on the ground.

"The wrong road--eh?" said Mr Donnithorne, looking up with a sly
glance, and then laughing.  "Well, well, it was only _quid pro quo_,
boy; you put a good deal of unnecessary earth and stones over my head,
so I thought it was but fair that I should put a good deal more of the
same under your feet, besides giving you the advantage of seeing the
Land's End, which, of course, every youth of intelligence must take a
deep interest in beholding.  But, sure, a walk thither, and thence to
St. Just, could not have detained you so long?"

"Truly no," replied Oliver; "I had a rencontre--a sort of adventure with
fishermen, which--"

"Fishermen!" exclaimed Mr Donnithorne in surprise; "are ye sure they
were not smugglers--eh?"

"They said they were fishermen, and they looked like such," replied
Oliver; "but my adventure with them, whatever they were, was the cause
of my detention, and I can only express my grief that the circumstance
has incommoded your household, but, you see, it took some time to beat
off the boat's crew, and then I had to examine a wound and extract--"

"What say you, boy!" exclaimed Mr Donnithorne, frowning, "beat off a
boat's crew--examine a wound!  Why, Rose, Molly, come hither.  Here we
have a young gallant who hath begun life in the far west in good style;
but hold, here comes my excellent friend Captain Dan, who is no friend
to the smugglers; he is to sup with us to-night; so we will repress our
curiosity till after supper.  Let me introduce you, Oliver to my wife,
your Aunt Molly, or, if you choose to be respectful, Aunt Mary."

As he spoke, a fat, fair, motherly-looking lady of about five-and-forty
entered the room, greeting her husband with a rebuke, and her nephew
with a smile.

"Never mind him, Oliver," said the good lady; "he is a vile old
creature.  I have heard all about your meeting with him this forenoon,
and only wish I had been there to see it."

"Listen to that now, Captain Dan," cried Mr Donnithorne, as the
individual addressed entered the room; "my wife calls me--me, a staid,
sober man of fifty-five--calls me a vile old creature.  Is it not too
bad? really one gets no credit nowadays for devoting oneself entirely to
one's better half; but I forget: allow me to introduce you to my nephew,
Oliver Trembath, just come from one of the Northern Universities to
fight the smugglers of St. Just--of which more anon.  Oliver, Captain
Hoskin of Botallack, better known as Captain Dan.  Now, sit down and
let's have a bit of supper."

With hospitable urgency Mr Donnithorne and his good dame pressed their
guests to do justice to the fare set before them, and, during the course
of the meal, the former kept up a running fire of question, comment, and
reply on every conceivable subject, so that his auditors required to do
little more than eat and listen.  After supper, however, and when
tumblers and glasses were being put down, he gave the others an
opportunity of leading the conversation.

"Now, Oliver," he said, "fill your glass and let us hear your
adventures.  What will you have--brandy, gin, or rum?  My friend,
Captain Dan here, is one of those remarkable men who don't drink
anything stronger than ginger-beer.  Of course you won't join _him_."

"Thank you," said Oliver.  "If you will allow me, I will join your good
lady in a glass of wine.  Permit me, Aunt Mary, to fill--"

"No, I thank you, Oliver," said Mrs Donnithorne good-humouredly but
firmly, "I side with Captain Dan; but I'll be glad to see you fill your

"Ha!" exclaimed Mr Donnithorne, "Molly's sure to side with the opponent
of her lawful lord, no matter who or what he be.  Fill your own glass,
boy, with what you like--cold water, an it please you--and let us drink
the good old Cornish toast, `Fish, tin, and copper,' our three staples,
Oliver--the bone, muscle, and fat of the county."

"Fish, tin, and copper," echoed Captain Dan.

"In good sooth," continued Mr Donnithorne, "I have often thought of
turning teetotaller myself, but feared to do so lest my wife should take
to drinking, just out of opposition.  However, let that pass--and now,
Oliver, open thy mouth, lad, and relate those surprising adventures of
which you have given me a hint."

"Indeed, uncle, I do not say they are very surprising, although,
doubtless, somewhat new to one who has been bred, if not born, in
comparatively quiet regions of the earth."

Here Oliver related circumstantially to his wondering auditors the
events which befell him after the time when he left his uncle in the
lane--being interrupted only with an occasional exclamation--until he
reached the part when he knocked down the man who had rescued him from
the waves, when Mr Donnithorne interrupted him with an uncontrollable

"Ha!" shouted the old gentleman; "what! knocked down the man who saved
your life, nephew?  Fie, fie!  But you have not told us his name yet.
What was it?"

"His comrades called him Jim, as I have said; and I think that he once
referred to himself as Jim Cuttance, or something like that."

"What say you, boy?" exclaimed Mr Donnithorne, pushing back his chair
and gazing at his nephew in amazement.  "Hast fought side by side with
Jim Cuttance, and then knocked him down?"

"Indeed I have," said Oliver, not quite sure whether his uncle regarded
him as a hero or a fool.

The roar of laughter which his answer drew from Captain Dan and his
uncle did not tend to enlighten him much.

"Oh!  Oliver, Oliver," said the old gentleman, on recovering some degree
of composure, "you should have lived in the days of good King Arthur,
and been one of the Knights of the Round Table.  Knocked down Jim
Cuttance!  What think'ee, Captain Dan?"

"I think," said the captain, still chuckling quietly, "that the less our
friend says about the matter the better for himself."

"Why so?" inquired Oliver quickly.

"Because," replied his uncle, with some return of gravity, "you have
assisted one of the most notorious smugglers that ever lived, to fight
his Majesty's coastguard--that's all.  What say you, Molly--shall we
convict Oliver on his own confession?"

The good lady thus appealed to admitted that it was a serious matter,
but urged that as Oliver did the thing in ignorance and out of
gratitude, he ought to be forgiven.

"_I_ think he ought to be forgiven for having knocked down Jim
Cuttance," said Captain Dan.

"Is he then so notorious?" asked Oliver.

"Why, he is the most daring smuggler on the coast," replied Captain Dan,
"and has given the preventive men more trouble than all the others put
together.  In fact, he is a man who deserves to be hanged, and will
probably come to his proper end ere long, if not shot in a brawl

"I fear he stands some chance of it now," said Mr Donnithorne, with a
sigh, "for he has been talking of erecting a battery near his den at
Prussia Cove, and openly defying the Government men."

"You seem to differ from Captain Dan, uncle, in reference to this man,"
said Oliver, with a smile.

"Truly, I do, for although I condemn smuggling,--ahem!"  (the old
gentleman cast a peculiar glance at the captain), "I don't like to see a
sturdy man hanged or shot--and Jim Cuttance is a stout fellow.  I
question much whether you could find his match, Captain Dan, amongst all
your men?"

"That I could, easily," said the captain with a quiet smile.

"Pardon me, captain," said Oliver, "my uncle has not yet informed me on
the point.  May I ask what corps you belong to?"

"To a sturdy corps of tough lads," answered the captain, with another of
his quiet smiles--"men who have smelt powder, most of 'em, since they
were little boys--live on the battlefield, I may say, almost night and
day--spring more mines in a year than all the soldiers in the world put
together--and shorten their lives by the stern labour they undergo; but
they burn powder to raise, not to waste, metal.  Their uniform is red,
too, though not quite so red, nor yet so elegant, as that of the men in
his Majesty's service.  I am one of the underground captains, sir, of
Botallack mine."

Captain Dan's colour heightened a very little, and the tones of his
voice became a little more powerful as he concluded this reply; but
there was no other indication that the enthusiastic soul of one of the
"captains" of the most celebrated mine in Cornwall was moved.  Oliver
felt, however, the contact with a kindred spirit, and, expressing much
interest in the mines, proceeded to ask many questions of the captain,
who, nothing loath, answered all his queries, and explained to him that
he was one of the "captains," or "agents," whose duty it was to
superintend the men and the works below the surface--hence the title of
"underground;" while those who super-intended the works above ground
were styled "grass, or surface captains."  He also made an appointment
to conduct the young doctor underground, and go over the mine with him
at an early date.

While the party in old Mr Donnithorne's dwelling were thus enjoying
themselves, a great storm was gathering, and two events, very different
from each other in character, were taking place--the one quiet, and
apparently unimportant, the other tremendous and fatal--both bearing on
and seriously influencing the subjects of our tale.



Chip, chip, chip--down in the dusky mine!  Oh, but the rock at which the
miner chipped was hard, and the bit of rock on which he sat was hard,
and the muscles with which he toiled were hard from prolonged labour;
and the lot of the man seemed hard, as he sat there in the hot, heavy
atmosphere, hour after hour, from morn till eve, with the sweat pouring
down his brow and over his naked shoulders, toiling and moiling with
hammer and chisel.

But stout David Trevarrow did not think his lot peculiarly hard.  His
workshop was a low narrow tunnel deep down under the surface of the
earth--ay, and deep under the bottom of the sea!  His daily sun was a
tallow candle, which rose regularly at seven in the morning and set at
three in the afternoon.  His atmosphere was sadly deficient in
life-giving oxygen, and much vitiated by gunpowder smoke.  His working
costume consisted only of a pair of linen trousers; his colour from top
to toe was red as brick-dust, owing to the iron ore around him; his food
was a slice of bread, with, perchance, when he was unusually luxurious,
the addition of a Cornish pasty; and his drink was water.  To an
inexperienced eye the man's work would have appeared not only hard but
hopeless, for although his hammer was heavy, his arm strong, and his
chisel sharp and tempered well, each blow produced an apparently
insignificant effect on the flinty rock.  Frequently a spark of fire was
all that resulted from a blow, and seldom did more than a series of
little chips fly off, although the man was of herculean mould, and
worked "with a will," as was evident from the kind of gasp or stern
expulsion of the breath with which each blow was accompanied.  Unaided
human strength he knew could not achieve much in such a process, so he
directed his energies chiefly to the boring of blast-holes, and left it
to the mighty power of gunpowder to do the hard work of rending the rich
ore from the bowels of the unwilling earth.  Yes, the work was very
hard, probably the hardest that human muscles are ever called on to
perform in this toiling world; but again we say that David Trevarrow did
not think so, for he had been born to the work and bred to it, and was
blissfully ignorant of work of a lighter kind, so that, although his
brows frowned at the obstinate rock, his compressed lips smiled, for his
thoughts were pleasant and far away.  The unfettered mind was above
ground roaming in fields of light, basking in sunshine, and holding
converse with the birds, as he sat there chip, chip, chipping, down in
the dusky mine.

Stopping at last, the miner wiped his brow, and, rising, stood for a few
moments silently regarding the result of his day's work.

"Now, David," said he to himself, "the question is, what shall us do--
shall us keep on, or shall us knack?"

He paused, as if unable to answer the question.  After a time he
muttered, "Keep on; it don't look promisin', sure 'nuff, an' it's poor
pay; but it won't do to give in yet."

Poor pay it was indeed, for the man's earnings during the past month had
been barely ten shillings.  But David Trevarrow had neither wife, child,
nor mother to support, so he could afford to toil for poor pay, and,
being of a remarkably hopeful and cheery disposition, he returned home
that afternoon resolved to persevere in his unproductive toil, in the
hope that at last he should discover a good "bunch of copper," or a
"keenly lode of tin."

David was what his friends and the world styled unfortunate.  In early
manhood he had been a somewhat wild and reckless fellow--a noted
wrestler, and an adept in all manly sports and games.  But a
disappointment in love had taught him very bitterly that life is not all
sunshine; and this, coupled with a physical injury which was the result
of his own folly, crushed his spirit so much that his comrades believed
him to be a "lost man."

The injury referred to was the bursting of a blood-vessel in the lungs.
It was, and still is, the custom of the youthful miners of Cornwall to
test their strength by racing up the almost interminable ladders by
which the mines are reached.  This tremendous exertion after a day of
severe toil affected them of course very severely, and in some cases
seriously.  Many an able-bodied man has by this means brought himself to
a premature end.  Among others, David Trevarrow excelled and suffered.
No one could beat him in running up the ladders; but one day, on
reaching the surface, blood issued from his mouth, and thenceforth his
racing and wrestling days were ended, and his spirit was broken.  A long
illness succeeded.  Then he began to mend.  Slowly and by degrees his
strength returned, but not his joyous spirit.  Still it was some comfort
to feel able for work again, and he "went underground" with some degree
of his old vigour, though not with the light heart or light step of
former days; but bad fortune seemed to follow him everywhere.  When
others among his comrades were fortunate in finding copper or tin, David
was most unaccountably unsuccessful.  Accidents, too, from falls and
explosions, laid him up more than once, and he not only acquired the
character of an unlucky man from his friends, but despite a naturally
sanguine temperament, he began himself to believe that he was one of the
unluckiest fellows in the world.

About this time the followers of that noble Christian, John Wesley,
began to make an impression on Cornwall, and to exert an influence which
created a mighty change in the hearts and manners of the people, and the
blessed effects of which are abundantly evident at the present day--to
the rejoicing of every Christian soul.  One of those ministers of our
Lord happened to meet with David Trevarrow, and was the means of opening
his eyes to many great and previously unknown truths.  Among others, he
convinced him that "God's ways are not as man's ways;" that He often,
though not always, leads His people by thorny paths that they know not
of, but does it in love and with His own glory in their happiness as the
end in view; that the Lord Jesus Christ must be to a man "the chiefest
among ten thousand, and altogether lovely," else He is to him nothing at
all, and that he could be convinced of all these truths only by the Holy

It were vain to attempt to tell all that this good man said to the
unhappy miner, but certain it is that from that time forth David became
himself again--and yet not himself.  The desire to wrestle and fight and
race returned in a new form.  He began to wrestle with principalities
and powers, to fight the good fight of faith, and to run the race set
before him in the gospel.  The old hearty smile and laugh and cheery
disposition also returned, and the hopeful spirit, and so much of the
old robust health and strength, that it seemed as if none of the evil
effects of the ruptured blood-vessel remained.  So David Trevarrow went,
as of old, daily to the mine.  It is true that riches did not flow in
upon him any faster than before, but he did not mind that much, for he
had discovered another mine, in which he toiled at nights after the
day's toil was over, and whence he extracted treasure of greater value
than copper or tin, or even gold--treasure which he scattered in a
Sabbath school with liberal hand, and found himself all the richer for
his prodigality.

Occasionally, after prolonged labour in confined and bad air, a faint
trace of the old complaint showed itself when he reached the top of the
ladders, but he was not now depressed by that circumstance as he used to
be.  He was past his prime at the period of which we write, and a
confirmed bachelor.

To return from this digression: David Trevarrow made up his mind, as we
have said, to "go on," and, being a man of resolute purpose, he went on;
seized his hammer and chisel, and continued perseveringly to smite the
flinty rock, surrounded by thick darkness, which was not dispelled but
only rendered visible by the feeble light of the tallow candle that
flared at his side.

Over his head rolled the billows of the Atlantic; the whistling wind
howled among the wild cliffs of the Cornish coast, but they did not
break the deep silence of the miner's place of midnight toil.  Heaven's
artillery was rending the sky, and causing the hearts of men to beat
slow with awe.  The great boulders ground the pebbles into sand as they
crashed to and fro above him, but he heard them not--or if he did, the
sound reached him as a deep-toned mysterious murmur, for, being in one
of the low levels, with many fathoms of solid rock between him and the
bottom of the superincumbent sea, he was beyond the reach of such
disturbing influences, tremendous though they were.

The miner was making a final effort at his unproductive piece of rock,
and had prolonged his toil far into the night.

Hour after hour he wrought almost without a moment's respite, save for
the purpose, now and then, of trimming his candle.  When his right arm
grew tired, he passed the hammer swiftly to his left hand, and, turning
the borer with his right, continued to work with renewed vigour.

At last he paused, and looking over his shoulder called out--"Zackey,

The sound died away in a hollow echo through the retiring galleries of
the mine, but there was no reply.

"Zackey, booy, are 'ee slaipin'?" he repeated.

A small reddish-coloured bundle, which lay in a recess close at hand,
uncoiled itself like a hedgehog, and, yawning vociferously, sat up,
revealing the fact that the bundle was a boy.

"Ded 'ee call, uncle?" asked the boy in a sleepy tone.

"Iss did I," said the man; "fetch me the powder an' fuse, my son."

The lad rose, and, fetching out of a dark corner the articles required,
assisted in charging the hole which his uncle had just finished boring.
This was the last hole which the man intended to blast that night.  For
weeks past he had laboured day after day--sometimes, as on the present
occasion, at night--and had removed many tons of rock, without procuring
either tin or copper sufficient to repay him for his toil, so that he
resolved to give it up and remove to a more hopeful part of the mine, or
betake himself to another mine altogether.  He had now bored his last
hole, and was about to blast it.  Applying his candle to the end of the
fuse, he hastened along the level to a sufficient distance to afford
security, warning his nephew as he passed.

Zackey leaped up, and, scrambling over the debris with which the bottom
of the level was covered, made good his retreat.  About a minute they
waited in expectancy.  Suddenly there was a bright blinding flash, which
lit up the rugged sides of the mine, and revealed its cavernous
ramifications and black depths.  This was accompanied by a dull
smothered report and a crash of falling rock, together with a shower of
debris.  Instantly the whole place was in profound darkness.

"Aw, booy," exclaimed the miner; "we was too near.  It have knacked us
in the dark."

"So't have, uncle; I'll go an' search for the box."

"Do, my son," said David.

In those days lucifer matches had not been invented, and light had to be
struck by means of flint, steel, and tinder.  The process was tedious
compared with the rapid action of congreves and vestas in the present
day.  The man chipped away for full three minutes before he succeeded in
relighting his candle.  This done, the rock was examined.

"Bad still, Uncle David?" inquired the boy.

"Iss, Zackey Maggot, so we'll knack'n, and try the higher mine
to-morrow."  Having come to this conclusion Uncle David threw down the
mass of rock which he held in his brawny hands, and, picking up his
implements, said, "Get the tools, booy, and lev us go to grass."

Zackey, who had been in the mine all day, and was tired, tied his tools
at each end of a rope, so that they might be slung over his shoulder and
leave his hands free.  Trevarrow treated his in the same way, and,
removing his candle from the wall, fixed it on the front of his hat by
the simple process of sticking thereto the lump of clay to which it was
attached.  Zackey having fixed his candle in the same manner, both of
them put on their red-stained flannel shirts and linen coats, and
traversed the level until they reached the bottom of the ladder-shaft.
Here they paused for a few moments before commencing the long wearisome
ascent of almost perpendicular ladders by which the miners descended to
their work or returned "to grass," as they termed the act of returning
to the surface.

It cost them more than half an hour of steady climbing before they
reached the upper part of the shaft and became aware that a storm was
raging in the regions above.  On emerging from the mouth of the shaft or
"ladder road," man and boy were in a profuse perspiration, and the sharp
gale warned them to hasten to the moor-house at full speed.

Moor-houses were little buildings in which miners were wont to change
their wet underground garments for dry clothes.  Some of these used to
be at a considerable distance from the shafts, and the men were often
injured while going to them from the mine, by being exposed in an
overheated state to cutting winds.  Many a stout able-bodied miner has
had a chill given him in this way which has resulted in premature death.
Moor-houses have now been replaced by large drying-houses, near the
mouths of shafts, where every convenience is provided for the men drying
their wet garments and washing their persons on coming to the surface.

Having changed their clothes, uncle and nephew hastened to St. Just,
where they dwelt in the cottage of Maggot, the blacksmith.  This man,
who has already been introduced to the reader, was brother-in-law to
David, and father to Zackey.

When David Trevarrow entered his brother-in-law's cottage, and told him
of his bad fortune, and of his resolution to try his luck next day in
the higher mine, little did he imagine that his change of purpose was to
be the first step in a succession of causes which were destined to
result, at no very distant period, in great changes of fortune to some
of his friends in St. Just, as well as to many others in the county.



While the miner had been pursuing his toilsome work in the solitude and
silence of the level under the sea, as already described, a noble ship
was leaping over the Atlantic waves--homeward bound--to Old England.

She was an East-Indiaman, under close-reefed sails, and although she
bent low before the gale so that the waves almost curled over her lee
bulwarks, she rose buoyantly like a seagull, for she was a good ship,
stout of plank and sound of timber, with sails and cordage to match.

Naturally, in such a storm, those on board were anxious, for they knew
that they were drawing near to land, and that "dear Old England" had an
ugly seaboard in these parts--a coast not to be too closely hugged in
what the captain styled "dirty weather, with a whole gale from the
west'ard," so a good lookout was kept.  Sharp eyes were in the foretop
looking out for the guiding rays of the Long-ships lighthouse, which
illumine that part of our rocky shores to warn the mariner of danger and
direct him to a safe harbour.  The captain stood on the "foge's'l" with
stern gaze and compressed lip.  The chart had been consulted, the
bearings correctly noted, calculations made, and leeway allowed for.
Everything in fact that could be done by a commander who knew his duty
had been done for the safety of the ship--so would the captain have said
probably, had he lived to be questioned as to the management of his
vessel.  But everything had _not_ been done.  The lead, strange to say,
had not been hove.  It was ready to heave, but the order was delayed.
Unaccountable fatality!  The only safe guide that remained to the good
ship on that wild night was held in abeyance.  It was deemed unnecessary
to heave it yet, or it was troublesome, and they would wait till nearer
the land.  No one now can tell the reasons that influenced the captain,
but _the lead was not used_.  Owing to similar delay or neglect,
hundreds upon hundreds of ships have been lost, and thousands of human
lives have been sacrificed!

The ship passed like a dark phantom over the very head of the miner who
was at work many fathoms below the bottom of the sea.

"Land, ho!" came suddenly in a fierce, quick shout from the mast-head.

"Starboard! starboard--hard!" cried the captain, as the roar of breakers
ahead rose above the yelling of the storm.

Before the order was obeyed or another word spoken the ship struck, and
a shriek of human terror followed, as the foremast went by the board
with a fearful crash.  The waves burst over the stern, sweeping the
decks fore and aft.  Wave after wave lifted the great ship as though it
had been a child's toy, and dashed her down upon the rocks.  Her bottom
was stove in, her planks and timbers were riven like matchwood.  Far
down below man was destroying the flinty rock, while overhead the rock
was destroying the handiwork of man!  But the destruction in the one
case was slow, in the other swift.  A desperate but futile effort was
made by the crew to get out the boats, and the passengers, many of whom
were women and children, rushed frantically from the cabin to the deck,
and clung to anything they could lay hold of, until strength failed, and
the waves tore them away.

One man there was in the midst of all the terror-stricken crew who
retained his self-possession in that dread hour.  He was a tall, stern
old man with silver locks--an Indian merchant, one who had spent his
youth and manhood in the wealthy land collecting gold--"making a
fortune," he was wont to say--and who was returning to his fatherland to
spend it.  He was a thinking and calculating man, and in the
anticipation of some such catastrophe as had actually overtaken him, he
had secured some of his most costly jewels in a linen belt.  This belt,
while others were rushing to the boats, the old man secured round his
waist, and then sprang on deck, to be swept, with a dozen of his
fellow-passengers, into the sea by the next wave that struck the doomed
vessel.  There was no one on that rugged coast to lend a helping hand.
Lifeboats did not then, as now, nestle in little nooks on every part of
our dangerous coasts.  No eye was there to see nor ear to hear, when,
twenty minutes after she struck, the East-Indiaman went to pieces, and
those of her crew and passengers who had retained their hold of her
uttered their last despairing cry, and their souls returned to God who
gave them.

It is a solemn thought that man may with such awful suddenness, and so
unexpectedly, be summoned into the presence of his Maker.  Thrice happy
they who, when their hearts grow chill and their grasps relax as the
last plank is rending, can say, "Neither death, nor life, nor any other
creature, is able to separate us from the love of God, which is in
Christ Jesus our Lord."

The scene we have described was soon over, and the rich cargo of the
East-Indiaman was cast upon the sea and strewn upon the shore, affording
much work for many days to the coastguard, and greatly exciting the
people of the district--most of whom appeared to entertain an earnest
belief in the doctrine that everything cast by storms upon their coast
ought to be considered public property.  Portions of the wreck had the
name "Trident" painted on them, and letters found in several chests
which were washed ashore proved that the ship had sailed from Calcutta,
and was bound for the port of London.  One little boy alone escaped the
waves.  He was found in a crevice of the cliffs the following day, with
just enough vitality left to give a few details of the wreck.  Although
all possible care was bestowed on him, he died before night.

Thus sudden and complete was the end of as fine a ship as ever spread
her canvas to the breeze.  At night she had been full of life--full of
wealth; in the morning she was gone--only a few bales and casks and
broken spars to represent the wealth, and stiffened corpses to tell of
the life departed.  So she came and went, and in a short time all
remnants of her were carried away.

One morning, a few weeks after the night of the storm, Maggot the smith
turned himself in his bed at an early hour, and, feeling disinclined to
slumber, got up to look at the state of the weather.  The sun was just
rising, and there was an inviting look about the morning which induced
the man to dress hastily and go out.

Maggot was a powerfully-built man, rough in his outer aspect as well as
in his inner man, but by no means what is usually termed a bad man,
although, morally speaking, he could not claim to be considered a good
one.  In fact, he was a hearty, jolly, reckless fisherman, with warm
feelings, enthusiastic temperament, and no principle; a man who, though
very ready to do a kind act, had no particular objection to do one that
was decidedly objectionable when it suited his purpose or served his
present interest.  He was regarded by his comrades as one of the
greatest madcaps in the district.  Old Maggot was, as we have said, a
blacksmith to trade, but he had also been bred a miner, and was
something of a fisherman as well, besides being (like most of his
companions) an inveterate smuggler.  He could turn his hand to almost
anything, and was "everything by turns, but nothing long."

Sauntering down to Priests Cove, on the south of Cape Cornwall, with his
hands in his pockets and his sou'-wester stuck carelessly on his shaggy
head, he fell in with a comrade, whom he hailed by the name of John
Cock.  This man was also a fisherman, _et cetera_, and the bosom friend
and admirer of Maggot.

"Where bound to this mornin', Jack?" inquired Maggot.

"To fish," replied John.

"I go with 'ee, booy," said Maggot.

This was the extent of the conversation at that time.  They were not
communicative, but walked side by side in silence to the beach, where
they launched their little boat and rowed out to sea.

Presently John Cock looked over his shoulder and exclaimed--"Maggot, I
see summat."

"Do 'ee?"

"Iss do I."

"What do un look like?"

"Like a dead corp."

"Aw, my dear," said Maggot, "lev us keep away.  It can do no good to

Acting on this opinion the men rowed past the object that was floating
on the sea, and soon after began to fish; but they had not fished long
when the dead body, drifted probably by some cross-current, appeared
close to them again.  Seeing this they changed their position, but ere
long the body again appeared.

"P'raps," observed Maggot, "there's somethin' in its pockets."

As the same idea had occurred to John Cock, the men resolved to examine
the body, so they rowed up to it and found it to be that of an elderly
man, much decomposed, and nearly naked.  A very short examination
sufficed to show that the pockets of such garments as were still upon it
were empty, and the men were about to let it go again, when Maggot

"Hold fast, Jack, I see somethin' tied round the waist of he; a sort o'
belt it do seem."

The belt was quickly removed and the body released, when it sank with a
heavy plunge, but ere long reappeared on the surface.  The fishermen
rowed a considerable distance away from it, and then shipped their oars
and examined the belt, which was made of linen.  Maggot sliced it up as
he would have ripped up a fish, and laid bare, to the astonished gaze of
himself and his friend, a number of glittering gems of various colours,
neatly and firmly embedded in cotton, besides a variety of rings and
small brooches set with precious stones.

"Now, I tell 'ee," said Maggot, "'tis like as this here will make our
fortin', or else git we into trouble."

"Why, whatever shud we git into trouble 'bout it for?" said John Cock.
"'Tis like as not they ain't real--only painted glass, scarce wuth the
trouble o' car'in' ashore."

"Hould thy tongue, thee g'eat chucklehead," replied Maggot; "a man
wouldn't go for to tie such stuff round his waist to drown hisself with,
I do know, if they worn't real.  Lev us car' 'em to Maister

John Cock replied with a nod, and the two men, packing up the jewels,
pulled in-shore as fast as possible.  Hauling their boat beyond the
reach of the surf, they hastened to St. Just, and requested a private
audience of Mr Donnithorne.  [See note 1.]

That excellent gentleman was not unaccustomed to give private audiences
to fishermen, and, as has been already hinted at the beginning of this
tale, was reported to have private dealings with them also--of a very
questionable nature.  He received the two men, however, with the hearty
air of a man who knows that the suspicions entertained of him by the
calumnious world are false.

"Well, Maggot," said Mr Donnithorne, "what is your business with me?
You are not wont to be astir so early, if all be true that is reported
of 'ee."

"Plaise, sur," said Maggot, with a glance at Rose Ellis, who sat sewing
near the window, "I'm come to talk 'bout private matters--if--"

"Leave us, Rose dear, for a little," said the old gentleman.

As soon as she was out of the room Maggot locked the door, a proceeding
which surprised Mr Donnithorne not a little, but his surprise was much
greater when the man drew a small parcel from the breast of his rough
coat, and, unrolling it, displayed the glittering jewels of which he had
so unexpectedly become possessed.

"Where got you these?" inquired Mr Donnithorne, turning them over

"Got 'em in the say--catched 'em, sure 'nough," said Maggot.

"Not with a baited hook, I warrant," said the old gentleman.  "Come, my
son, let's hear all about it."

Maggot explained how he had obtained the jewels, and then asked what
they were worth.

"I can't tell that," said Mr Donnithorne, shaking his head gravely.
"Some of them are undoubtedly of value; the others, for all I know, may
not be worth much."

"Come now, sur," said Maggot, with a confidential leer, "it's not the
fust time we have done a bit o' business.  I 'spose I cud claim salvage
on 'em?"

"I don't know that," said the old gentleman; "you cannot tell whom they
belonged to, and I suspect Government would claim them, if--But, by the
way, I suppose you found no letters--nothing in the shape of writing on
the body?"

"Nothin' whatsomever."

"Well, then, I fear that--"

"Come now, sur," said Maggot boldly; "'spose you gives John and me ten
pounds apaice an' kape 'em to yourself to make what 'ee can of 'em?"

Mr Donnithorne shook his head and hesitated.  Often before had he
defrauded the revenue by knowingly purchasing smuggled brandy and
tobacco, and by providing the funds to enable others to smuggle them;
but then the morality of that day in regard to smuggling was very lax,
and there were men who, although in all other matters truly honest and
upright, could not be convinced of the sinfulness of smuggling, and
smiled when they were charged with the practice, but who, nevertheless,
would have scorned to steal or tell a downright lie.  This, however, was
a very different matter from smuggling.  The old gentleman shrank from
it at first, and could not meet the gaze of the smuggler with his usual
bold frank look.  But the temptation was great.  The jewels he suspected
were of immense value, and his heart readily replied to the objections
raised by his conscience, that after all there was no one left to claim
them, and he had a much better right to them, in equity if not in law,
than Government; and as to the fellows who found them--why, the sum they
asked would be a great and rich windfall to them, besides freeing them
from all further trouble, as well as transferring any risk that might
accrue from their shoulders to his own.

While the old gentleman was reasoning thus with himself, Maggot stood
anxiously watching his countenance and twisting the cloth that had
enclosed the jewellery into a tight rope, as he shifted his position
uneasily.  At length old Mr Donnithorne said--

"Leave the jewels with me, and call again in an hour from this time.
You shall then have my answer."

Maggot and his friend consented to this delay, and left the room.

No sooner were they gone than the old gentleman called his wife, who
naturally exclaimed in great surprise on beholding the table covered
with such costly trinkets--

"Where _ever_ did you get these, Tom?"

Mr Donnithorne explained, and then asked what she thought of Maggot's

"Refuse it," said she firmly.

"But, my dear--"

"Don't `but' about it, Tom.  Whenever a man begins to `but' with sin, it
is sure to butt him over on his back.  Have nothing to do with it, _I_

"But, my dear, it is not dishonest--"

"I don't know that," interrupted Mrs Donnithorne vigorously; "you think
that smuggling is not dishonest, but I do, and so does the minister."

"What care _I_ for the minister?" cried the old gentleman, losing his
temper; "who made _him a_ judge of my doings?"

"He is an expounder of God's Word," said Mrs Donnithorne firmly, "and
holds that `Thou shalt not steal' is one of the Ten Commandments."

"Well, well, he and I don't agree, that's all; besides, has he never
expounded to you that obedience to your husband is a virtue? a
commandment, I may say, which you are--"

"Mr Donnithorne," said the lady with dignity, "I am here at your
request, and am now complying with your wishes in giving my opinion."

"There, there, Molly," said the subdued husband, giving his better half
a kiss, "don't be so sharp.  You ought to have been a lawyer with your
powerful reasoning capacity.  However, let me tell you that you don't
understand these matters--"

"Then why ask my advice, Tom?"

"Why, woman, because an inexplicable fatality leads me to consult you,
although I know well enough what the upshot will be.  But I'm resolved
to close with Maggot."

"I knew you would," said Mrs Donnithorne quietly.

The last remark was the turning-point.  Had the good lady condescended
to be _earnest_ in her entreaties that the bargain should not be
concluded, it is highly probable her husband would have given in; but
her last observation nettled him so much that he immediately hoisted a
flag of defiance, nailed it to the mast, and went out in great
indignation to search for Maggot.  That individual was not far off.  The
bargain was completed, the jewels were locked up in one of the old
gentleman's secret repositories, and the fishermen, with ten pounds
apiece in their pockets, returned home.


Note 1.  It may be well here to inform the reader that the finding of
the jewels as here described, and the consequences which followed, are
founded on fact.



Maggot's home was a disordered one when he reached it, for his youngest
baby, a fat little boy, had been seized with convulsions, and his wife
and little daughter Grace, and son Zackey, and brother-in-law David
Trevarrow, besides his next neighbour Mrs Penrose, with her sixteen
children, were all in the room, doing their best by means of useless or
hurtful applications, equally useless advice, and intolerable noise and
confusion, to cure, if not to kill, the baby.

Maggot's cottage was a poor one, his furniture was mean, and there was
not much of it; nevertheless its inmates were proud of it, for they
lived in comparative comfort there.  Mrs Maggot was a kind-hearted,
active woman, and her husband--despite his smuggling propensities--was
an affectionate father.  Usually the cottage was kept in a most orderly
condition; but on the present occasion it was, as we have said, in a
state of great confusion.

"Fetch me a bit of rag, Grace," cried Mrs Maggot, just as her husband

"Here's a bit, old 'ooman," said Maggot, handing her the linen cloth in
which the jewels had been wrapped up, and which he had unconsciously
retained in his hands on quitting Mr Donnithorne--"Run, my dear man,"
he added, turning to John Cock, "an' fetch the noo doctor."

John darted away, and in a quarter of an hour returned with Oliver
Trembath, who found that the baby had weathered the storm by the force
of its own constitution, despite the adverse influences that were around
it.  He therefore contented himself with clearing the place of
intruders, and prescribing some simple medicine.

"Are you going to work?" inquired Oliver of David Trevarrow, observing
that the man was about to quit the cottage.

"Iss, sur--to Botallack."

"Then I will accompany you.  Captain Dan is going to show me over part
of the mine to-day.  Good-morning, Mrs Maggot, and remember my
directions if this should happen to the little fellow again."

Leaving the cottage the two proceeded through the town to the north end
of it, accompanied by Maggot, who said he was going to the forge to do a
bit of work, and who parted from them at the outskirts of the town.

"Times are bad with you at the mines just now, I find," said Oliver as
they walked along.

"Iss sur, they are," replied Trevarrow, in the quiet tone that was
peculiar to him; "but, thank God, we do manage to live, though there are
some of us with a lot o' child'n as finds it hard work.  The Bal [The
mine] ain't so good as she once was."

"I suppose that you have frequent changes of fortune?" said Oliver.

The miner admitted that this was the case, for that sometimes a man
worked underground for several weeks without getting enough to keep his
family, while at other times he might come on a bunch of copper or tin
which would enable him to clear 50 pounds or more in a month.

"If report says truly," observed Oliver, "you have hit upon a `keenly
lode,' as you call it, not many days ago."

"A do look very well now, sur," replied the miner, "but wan can never
tell.  I did work for weeks in the level under the say without success,
so I guv it up an went to Wheal Hazard, and on the back o' the
fifty-fathom level I did strike 'pon a small lode of tin 'bout so thick
as my finger.  It may get better, or it may take the bit in its teeth
and disappear; we cannot tell."

"Well, I wish you good luck," said Oliver; "and here comes Captain Dan,
so I'll bid you good-morning."

"Good-morning, sur," said the stout-limbed and stout-hearted man, with a
smile and a nod, as he turned off towards the moor-house to put on his
mining garments.

Towards this house a number of men had been converging while Oliver and
his companion approached it, and the former observed, that whatever
colour the men might be on entering it, they invariably came out light
red, like lobsters emerging from a boiling pot.

In Botallack mine a large quantity of iron is mingled with the tin ore.
This colours everything in and around the mine, including men's clothes,
hands, and faces, with a light rusty-red.  The streams, of course, are
also coloured with it, and the various pits and ponds for collecting the
fluid mud of tin ore seem as if filled with that nauseous compound known
by the name of "Gregory's Mixture."

In the moor-house there were rows of pegs with red garments hung thereon
to dry, and there were numerous broad-shouldered men dressing and
undressing--in every stage of the process; while in a corner two or
three were washing their bodies in a tank of water.  These last were men
who had been at work all night, and were cleansing themselves before
putting on what we may term their home-going clothes.

The mining dress is a very simple, and often a very ragged affair.  It
consists of a flannel shirt, a pair of linen trousers, a short coat of
the same, and a hat in the form of a stiff wide-awake, but made so thick
as to serve the purpose of a helmet to guard the head from the rocks,
etcetera.  Clumsy ankle-boots complete the costume.  As each man issued
from the house, he went to a group of wooden chests which lay scattered
about outside, and, opening his own, took from it a bag of powder, some
blasting fuse, several iron tools, which he tied to a rope so as to be
slung over his shoulder, a small wooden canteen of water, and a bunch of
tallow candles.  These last he fastened to a button on his breast,
having previously affixed one of them to the front of his hat.

Thus accoutred, they proceeded to a small platform close at hand, with a
square hole in it, out of which protruded the head of a ladder.  This
was the "ladder road."  Through the hole these red men descended one by
one, chatting and laughing as they went, and disappeared, leaving the
moor-house and all around it a place of solitude.

Captain Dan now prepared to descend this ladder road with Oliver



Botallack, to the dark depths of which we are now about to descend, is
the most celebrated mine in the great mining county of Cornwall.  It
stands on the sea coast, a little more than a mile to the north of St.
Just.  The region around it is somewhat bleak and almost destitute of
trees.  In approaching it, the eyes of the traveller are presented with
a view of engine-houses, and piles of stones and rubbish, in the midst
of which stand a number of uncouth yet picturesque objects, composed of
boards and timber, wheels, ropes, pulleys, chains, and suchlike gear.
These last are the winding erections of the shafts which lead to the
various mines, for the whole region is undermined, and Botallack is only
one of several in St. Just parish.  Wherever the eye turns, there, in
the midst of green fields, where rocks and rocky fences abound, may be
seen, rising prominently, the labouring arms, or "bobs," of the pump and
skip engines, and the other machinery required in mining operations;
while the ear is assailed by the perpetual clatter of the "stamps," or
ore-crushing machines, which never cease their din, day or night, except
on Sundays.

Botallack, like all the other mines, has several "shafts" or entrances
to the works below, such as Boscawen Shaft, Wheal Button, Wheal Hazard,
Chicornish Shaft, Davis Shaft, Wheal Cock, etcetera, the most
interesting of which are situated among the steep rugged cliffs that
front and bid defiance to the utmost fury of the Atlantic Ocean.

From whatever point viewed, the aspect of Botallack mine is grand in the
extreme.  On the rocky point that stretches out into the sea, engines
with all their fantastic machinery and buildings have been erected.  On
the very summit of the cliff is seen a complication of timbers, wheels,
and chains sharply defined against the sky, with apparently scarce any
hold of the cliff, while down below, on rocky ledges and in black
chasms, are other engines and beams and rods and wheels and chains,
fastened and perched in fantastic forms in dangerous-looking places.

Here, amid the most savage gorges of the sea and riven rocks--half
clinging to the land, half suspended over the water--is perched the
machinery of, and entrance to, the most singular shaft of the mine,
named the "Boscawen Diagonal Shaft."  This shaft descends under the sea
at a steep incline.  It is traversed, on rails, by an iron carriage
called the "gig," which is lowered and drawn up by steam power.
Starting as it does from an elevated position in the rocks that are
close to the edge of the sea, and slanting down through the cape,
_outward_ or seaward, this vehicle descends only a few fathoms when it
is _under the ocean's bed_, and then its further course is far out and
deep down--about two-thirds of a mile out, and full 245 fathoms down!
The gig conveys the men to and from their work--the ore being drawn up
by another iron carriage.  There is (or rather there was, before the
self-acting brake was added) danger attending the descent of this shaft,
for the rope, although good and strong, is not immaculate, as was proved
terribly in the year 1864--when it broke, and the gig flew down to the
bottom like lightning, dashing itself to pieces, and instantly killing
the nine unfortunate men who were descending at the time.

Nevertheless, the Prince and Princess of Wales did not shrink from
descending this deep burrow under the sea in the year 1865.

It was a great day for St. Just and Botallack that 24th of July on which
the royal visit was paid.  Great were the expectation and preparation on
all hands to give a hearty welcome to the royal pair.  The ladies
arrayed themselves in their best to do fitting honour to the Princess;
the balmaidens donned their holiday-attire, and Johnny Fortnight [see
note 1] took care, by supplying the poor mine-girls with the latest
fashions, that their appearance should be, if we may be allowed the
word, _splendiferous_!  The volunteers, too, turned out in force, and no
one, looking at their trim, soldierly aspect, could have believed them
to be the same miners who were wont to emerge each evening through a
hole in the earth, red as lobsters, wet, ragged, and befouled--in a
word, surrounded by a halo of dishevelment, indicative of their rugged
toils in the regions below.

Everywhere the people turned out to line the roads, and worthily receive
the expected visitors, and great was the cheering when they arrived,
accompanied by the Duke and Duchess of Sutherland, the Earl of Mount
Edgecumbe, Lady de Grey, Lord and Lady Vivian, General Knollys, and
others, but louder still was the cheer when the Princess rode down the
steep descent to the cliffs in a donkey-carriage.

The Botallack cliffs themselves, however, were the central point, not
only of the interest, but of the grandeur of the scene, for here were
presented such a view and combination as are not often witnessed--nature
in one of her wildest aspects, combined with innumerable multitudes of
human beings swayed by one feeling of enthusiastic loyalty.  Above, on
every attainable point, projection, and eminence, men and women
clustered like gay flies on the giant cliffs, leaving immense gaps here
and there, where no foot might venture save that of a bird.  Midway, on
the face of the precipice, clung the great beams and supports of the
Boscawen Diagonal Shaft, with the little gig perched on them and the
royal party seated therein, facing the entrance to the black abyss--the
Princess arrayed in a white flannel cloak trimmed with blue, and a straw
hat with a blue ribbon round it, and the Prince clad in miner's costume.
Underneath, a dizzy depth to gaze down, lay the rugged boulders of the
shore, with the spray of the Atlantic springing over them.

Deafening was the cheer when the gig at last entered the shaft and
disappeared, and intense the anxiety of the vast multitude as they
watched the descent--in imagination, of course, for nothing could be
seen but the tight wire-rope uncoiling its endless length, and
disappearing like a thin snake down the jaws of some awful sea-monster
that had climbed so far up the cliffs to meet and devour it!  Now they
are at the shore; now passing under the sea; fairly under it by this
time; a few minutes more and they have reached the spot where yonder
seagull is now wheeling above the waves, wondering what new species of
bird has taken possession of its native cliffs.  Five minutes are
passed--yet still descending rapidly!  They must be half a mile out from
the land now--half of a mile out on the first part of a submarine tunnel
to America!  "Old England is on the lee," but they are very much the
reverse of afloat; solid rock is above, on either side and below--so
close to them that the elbows must not be allowed to protrude over the
edge of their car, nor the head be held too high.  Here even royalty
must stoop--not that we would be understood to imply that royalty cannot
stoop elsewhere.  Those who dwell in Highland cottages could contradict
us if we did!  Presently the rope "slows"--the lower depths are reached,
and now for some time there is patient waiting, for it is understood
that they are examining the "levels," where the stout men of Cornwall
tear out the solid rock in quest of copper and tin.

After a time the thin snake begins to ascend; they are coming up now,
but not so fast as they went down.  It is about ten minutes before the
gig emerges from that black hole and bears the Prince and Princess once
more into the light of day.

Yes, it was a great day for Botallack, and it will dwell long in the
memories of those who witnessed it--especially of that fortunate captain
of the mine who had the honour of conducting the Princess on the
occasion, and of whose enthusiasm in recalling the event, and in
commenting on her intelligence and condescension, we can speak from
personal observation.

But, reader, you will say, What has all this to do with our story?

Nothing--we admit it frankly--nothing whatever in a direct way;
nevertheless, indirectly, the narrative may possibly arouse in you
greater interest in the mine down which we are about to conduct you--not
by the same route as that taken by the Prince and Princess (for the
Boscawen Shaft did not exist at the period of our tale), but by one much
more difficult and dangerous, as you shall see.

Before we go, however, permit us to add to the offence of digression, by
wandering still further out of our direct road.  There are a few facts
regarding Botallack and mining operations, without a knowledge of which
you will be apt at times to misunderstand your position.

Let us suppose that a mine has been already opened; that a "lode"--that
is, a vein of quartz with metal in it--has been discovered cropping out
of the earth, and that it has been dug down upon from above, and dug in
upon from the sea-cliffs.  A shaft has been sunk--in other words, a hole
excavated--let us say, two or three hundred yards inland, to a depth of
some forty or fifty fathoms,--near the sea-level.  This shaft is perhaps
nine feet by six wide.  The lode, being a layer of quartz, sometimes
slopes one way, sometimes another, and is occasionally perpendicular.
It also varies in its run or direction a little here and there, like a
wildish horse, being sometimes met by other lodes, which, like bad
companions, divert it from the straight course.  Unlike bad companions,
however, they increase its value at the point of meeting by thickening
it.  Whatever course the lode takes, the miner conscientiously follows
suit.  His shaft slopes much, little, or not at all, according to the
"lie of the lode."

It is an ancient truism that water must find its level.  Owing to this
law, much water accumulates in the shaft, obliging the miner to erect an
engine-house and provide a powerful pumping-engine with all its gear, at
immense cost, to keep the works dry as he proceeds.  He then goes to the
shore, and there, in the face of the perpendicular cliff, a little above
the sea-level, he cuts a horizontal tunnel about six feet high by three
broad, and continues to chisel and blast away the solid rock until he
"drives" his tunnel a quarter of a mile inland, which he will do at a
rate varying from two to six feet per week, according to the hardness of
the rock, until he reaches the shaft and thus provides an easy and
inexpensive passage for the water without pumping.  This tunnel or level
he calls the "Adit level."  But his pumping-engine is by no means
rendered useless, for it has much to do in hauling ore to the surface,
etcetera.  In process of time, the miner works away all the lode down to
the sea-level, and must sink the shaft deeper--perhaps ten or twenty
fathoms--where new levels are driven horizontally "on the lode," and
water accumulates which must be pumped up to the Adit level, whence it
escapes to the sea.

Thus down, down, he goes, sinking his shaft and driving his levels on--
that is, always following the lode _ad infinitum_.  Of course he must
stop before reaching the other side of the world!  At the present time
Botallack has progressed in that direction to a depth of 245 fathoms.
To those who find a difficulty in realising what depth that really is,
we would observe that it is equal to more than three and a half times
the height of St. Paul's Cathedral in London, nearly four times the
height of St. Rollox chimney in Glasgow, and considerably more than
twice the height, from the plain, of Arthur's Seat, near Edinburgh.

When the levels have been driven a considerable distance from the shaft,
the air naturally becomes bad from want of circulation.  To remedy this
evil, holes, or short shafts, called "winzes," are sunk at intervals
from the upper to the lower levels.  These winzes are dangerous traps
for the unwary or careless, extending frequently to a depth of ten or
fifteen fathoms, and being bridged across by one or two loose planks.
Ladders are fixed in many of them to facilitate progress through the
mine.  When a miner drives the end of his level so far that the air will
not circulate, a new winze is usually sunk down to him from the level
above.  The circulation is thus extended, and the levels progress
further and further right and left until they occupy miles of ground.
The levels and shafts of Botallack, if put together, would extend to not
less than forty miles, and the superficial space of ground, on and
beneath which the mine lies, is above 260 acres.

When the lode is rich, and extends upwards or downwards, it is cut away
from between levels, in a regular systematic manner, strong beams being
placed to support temporary platforms, on which the miners may stand and
work as they ascend.  When they have cut all the lode away up to the
level above them, a false timber bottom is made to replace the rocky
bottom of the level which is being removed.  Thus, in traversing the old
workings of a mine one suddenly comes to great caverns, very narrow, but
of such immense height above and depth below that the rays of your
candle cannot penetrate the darkness.  In such places the thick short
beams that were used by the old miners are seen extending from side to
side of the empty space, disappearing in dim perspective.  Woe betide
the man who stumbles off his narrow plank, or sets his foot on an
insecure beam in such places!  Where such workings are in progress, the
positions of the miners appear singularly wild and insecure.  The men
stand in the narrow chasm between the granite walls above each others'
heads, slight temporary platforms alone preserving them from certain
death, and the candles of those highest above you twinkling like stars
in a black sky.

In these underground regions of Botallack, above three hundred men and
boys are employed, some of whom work occasionally by night as well as by
day.  On the surface about two hundred men, women, and boys are employed
"dressing" the ore, etcetera.

Other mines there are in the great mining centres of Cornwall--Redruth,
St. Just, St. Austell, and Helston, which are well worthy of note--some
of them a little deeper, and some richer than Botallack.  But we profess
not to treat of all the Cornish mines; our object is to describe one as
a type of many, if not all, and as this one runs farthest out beneath
the sea, is deeper than most of the others, and richer than many,
besides having interesting associations, and being of venerable
antiquity, we hold it to be the one most worthy of selection.

With a few briefly stated facts we shall take final leave of statistics.

As we have said, the Boscawen shaft measures 245 fathoms.  The
ladder-way by which the men ascend and descend daily extends to 205
fathoms.  It takes a man half an hour to reach the bottom, and fully an
hour to climb to the surface.  There are three pumping and seven winding
engines at work--the largest being of 70 horse-power.  The tin raised is
from 33 to 35 tons a month.  The price of tin has varied from 55 pounds
to 90 pounds per ton.  In time past, when Botallack was more of a copper
than a tin-mine, a fathom has been known to yield 100 pounds worth of
ore, and a miner has sometimes broken out as much as 300 pounds worth in
one month.

The mine has been worked from time immemorial.  It is known to have been
wrought a hundred years before it was taken by the present company, who
have had it between thirty and forty years, and, under the able
direction of the present manager and purser, Mr Stephen Harvey James,
it has paid the shareholders more than 100,000 pounds.  The profit in
the year 1844 was 24,000 pounds.  At the termination of one period of
working it left a profit of 300,000 pounds.  It has experienced many
vicissitudes of fortune.  Formerly it was worked for tin, and at one
period (1841) was doing so badly that it was about to be abandoned, when
an unlooked for discovery of copper was made, and a period of great
prosperity again set in, during which many shareholders and miners made
their fortunes out of Botallack.

Thus much, with a humble apology, we present to the reader, and now
resume the thread of our narrative.


Note 1.  The packmen are so styled because of their visits being paid



Before descending the mine Captain Dan led Oliver to the counting-house,
where he bade him undress and put on miner's clothing.

"I'll need a biggish suit," observed Oliver.

"True," said Captain Dan; "we are obliged usually to give visitors our
smallest suits.  You are an exception to the rule.  Indeed, I'm not sure
that I have a pair of trousers big enough for--ah yes, by the way, here
is a pair belonging to one of our captains who is unusually stout and
tall; I dare say you'll be able to squeeze into 'em."

"All right," said Oliver, laughing, as he pulled on the red garments;
"they are wide enough round the waist, at all events.  Now for a hat."

"There," said the captain, handing him a white cotton skull-cap, "put
that on."

"Why, what's this for?" said Oliver.

"To keep _that_ from dirtying your head," replied the other, as he
handed his companion a thick felt hat, which was extremely dirty, on the
front especially, where the candle was wont to be fixed with wet clay.
"Now, then, attach these two candles to that button in your breast, and
you are complete.--Not a bad miner to look at," said Captain Dan with a
smile of approval.

The captain was already equipped in underground costume, and the dirty
disreputable appearance he presented was, thought Oliver, a wonderful
contrast to his sober and gentlemanly aspect on the evening of their
first meeting at his uncle's table.

"I'll strike a light after we get down a bit--so come along," said
Captain Dan, leaving the office and leading the way.

On reaching the entrance to the shaft, Oliver Trembath looked down and
observed a small speck of bright light in the black depths.

"A man coming up--wait a bit," said the captain in explanation.

Presently a faint sound of slow footsteps was heard; they grew gradually
more distinct, and ere long the head and shoulders of a man emerged from
the hole.  Perspiration was trickling down his face, and painting him,
streakily, with iron rust and mud.  All his garments were soaking.  He
sighed heavily on reaching the surface, and appeared to inhale the fresh
air with great satisfaction.

"Any more coming?"

"No, Captain Dan," replied the man, glancing with some curiosity at the
tall stranger.

"Now, sir, we shall descend," said the captain, entering the shaft.

Oliver followed, and at once plunged out of bright sunshine into subdued
light.  A descent of a few fathoms brought them to the bottom of the
first ladder.  It was a short one; most of the others, the captain told
him, were long ones.  The width of the shaft was about six feet by nine.
It was nearly perpendicular, and the slope of the ladders corresponded
with its width--the head of each resting against one side of it, and the
foot against the other, thus forming a zigzag of ladders all the way

At the foot of the first ladder the light was that of deep twilight.
Here was a wooden platform, and a hole cut through it, out of which
protruded the head of the second ladder.  The Captain struck a light,
and, applying it to one of the candles, affixed the same to the front of
Oliver's hat.  Arranging his own hat in a similar way, he continued the
descent, and, in a few minutes, both were beyond the region of daylight.
When they had got a short way down, probably the distance of an
ordinary church-steeple's height below the surface, Oliver looked up and
saw the little opening far above him, shining brightly like a star.  A
few steps more and it vanished from view; he felt that he had for the
first time in his life reached the regions of eternal night.

The shaft varied in width here and there; in most places it was very
narrow--about six feet wide--but, what with cross-beams to support the
sides, and prevent soft parts from falling in, and other obstructions,
the space available for descent was often not more than enough to permit
of a man squeezing past.

A damp smell pervaded the air, and there was a strange sense of
contraction and confinement, so to speak, which had at first an
unpleasant effect on Oliver.  The silence, when both men paused at a
ladder-foot to trim candles or to rest a minute, was most profound, and
there came over the young doctor a sensation of being buried alive, and
of having bid a final farewell to the upper earth, the free air, and the
sunshine, as they went down, down, down to the depths below.

At last they reached a "level" or gallery, by which the ladder-shaft
communicated with the pump-shaft.

Here Captain Dan paused and trimmed Oliver's candle, which he had thrust
inadvertently against a beam, and broken in two.

"You have to mind your head here, sir," said the captain, with a quiet
smile; "'tis a good place to learn humility."

Oliver could scarce help laughing aloud as he gazed at his guide, for,
standing as he did with the candle close to his face, his cheeks, nose,
chin, forehead, and part of the brim of his hat and shoulders were
brought into brilliant light, while the rest of him was lost in the
profound darkness of the level behind, and the flame of his candle
rested above his head like the diadem of some aristocratic gnome.

"How far down have we come?" inquired Oliver.

"About eighty fathoms," said the captain; "we shall now go along this
level and get into the pump-shaft, by which we can descend to the
bottom.  Take care of your feet and head as you go, for you'll be apt to
run against the rocks that hang down, and the winzes are dangerous."

"And pray what are winzes?" asked Oliver as he stumbled along in the
footsteps of his guide, over uneven ground covered with debris.--"Ah!
hallo! stop!"

"What's wrong?" said the captain, looking back, and holding up his
candle to Oliver's face.

"Candle gone again, captain; I've run my head on that rock.  Lucky for
me that your mining hats are so thick and hard, for I gave it a butt
that might have done credit to an ox."

"I told you to mind your head," said Captain Dan, relighting the candle;
"you had better carry it in your hand in the levels, it will light your
path better.  Look out now--here is a winze."

The captain pointed to a black yawning hole, about six or seven feet in
diameter, which was bridged across by a single plank.

"How deep does it go?" asked the youth, holding up his candle and
peering in; "I can't see the bottom."

"I dare say not," said the captain, "for the bottom is ten fathoms down,
at the next level."

"And are all the winzes bridged with a single plank in this way?"

"Why, no, some of 'em have two or three planks, but they're quite safe
if you go steady."

"And, pray, how many such winzes are there in the mine?" asked Oliver.

"Couldn't say exactly, without thinkin' a bit," replied the captain;
"but there are a great number of 'em--little short of a hundred, I
should say--for we have a good many miles of levels in Botallack, which
possesses an underground geography as carefully measured and mapped out
as that of the surface."

"And what would happen," asked Oliver, with an expression of
half-simulated anxiety, "if you were to fall down a winze and break your
neck, and my candle were to get knocked or blown out, leaving me to find
my way out of a labyrinth of levels pierced with holes sixty feet deep?"

"Well, it's hard to say," replied Captain Dan with much simplicity.

"Go on," said Oliver, pursing his lips with a grim smile, as he followed
his leader across the narrow bridge.

Captain Dan continued his progress until he reached the pump-shaft, the
proximity of which was audibly announced by the slow ascent and descent
of a great wooden beam, which was styled the "pump-rod."  Alongside, and
almost touching it, for space was valuable there, and had to be
economised, was the iron pipe--nearly a foot in diameter--which conveyed
the water from the mine to the "Adit level."

The slow-heaving plunge, of about ten feet in extent, and the sough or
sigh of the great beam, with the accompanying gurgle of water in the
huge pipe, were sounds that seemed horribly appropriate to the
subterranean scene.  One could have imagined the mine to be a living
giant in the last throes of death by drowning.  But these were only one
half of the peculiarities of the place.  On the other side of the shaft
an arrangement of beams and partially broken boards formed the
traversing "ways" or tube, up which were drawn the kibbles--these last
being large iron buckets used for lifting ore to the surface.

In the present day, machinery being more perfect, the ancient kibble has
been to some extent supplanted by skips, or small trucks with wheels (in
some cases iron boxes with guiding-rods), which are drawn up smoothly,
and without much tear and wear; but in the rough times of which we
write, the sturdy kibble used to go rattling up the shaft with deafening
noise, dinting its thick sides, and travelling with a jovial
free-and-easy swing that must have added considerably to the debit side
of the account of working expenses.  Between the pump-rod and the
kibble-way there was just room for the ladders upon which Captain Dan,
followed by Oliver, now stepped.  This shaft was very wet, water dropped
and spirted about in fine spray everywhere, and the rounds of the
ladders were wet and greasy with much-squeezed slime.

It would seem as though the kibbles had known that a stranger was about
to descend and had waited for him, for no sooner did Oliver get on the
ladder than they began to move--the one to ascend full, and the other to
descend empty.

"What's that?" exclaimed Oliver.

"It's only the kibbles," replied Captain Dan.

Before the captain could explain what kibbles were, these reckless
buckets met, with a bang, close to Oliver's cheek, and rebounded on the
beams that protected him from their fury.  Naturally the young man
shrank a little from a noise so loud and so near.  He was at once
scraped down on the other side by the pump-rod!  Drawing himself
together as much as possible, and feeling for once the disadvantage of
being a large man, he followed his leader down, down, ever down, into
the profounder depths below.

All this time they had not met with a miner, or with any sign of human
life--unless the pump and kibbles could be regarded as such--for they
had been hitherto traversing the old levels and workings of the mine,
but at last, during one of their pauses, they heard the faint sound of
chip, chip, chip, in the far distance.

"Miners?" inquired Oliver.

Captain Dan nodded, and said they would now leave the shaft and go to
where the men were at work.  He cautioned his companion again to have
regard to his head, and to mind his feet.  As they proceeded, he stopped
ever and anon to point out some object of peculiar interest.

"There's a considerable space above and below you here, sir," said the
captain, stopping suddenly in a level which was not more than three feet

Oliver had been so intent on his feet, and mindful of the winzes, that
he had failed to observe the immense black opening overhead.  It
extended so high above him, and so far forward and backward in the
direction of the level, that its boundaries were lost in an immensity of
profoundly dark space.  The rocky path was also lost to view, both
before and behind them, so that the glare of their lights on the
metallic walls rendered the spot on which they stood a point of
brilliancy in the midst of darkness.  Only part of a great beam was
visible here and there above them, as if suspended in the gloom to
render its profundity more apparent.

This, Captain Dan explained, was the space that had once been occupied
by a rich lode of ore, all of which had been removed years ago, to the
great commercial advantage of a past generation.

Soon after passing this the captain paused at a deep cutting in the
rock, and, looking sadly at it for a few minutes, said,--"It was here
that poor Trevool lost his life.  He was a good lad, but careless, and
used to go rattling along the levels with his light in his hat and his
thoughts among the stars, instead of carrying the light in his hand and
looking to his feet.  He fell down that winze and broke his back.  When
we got him up to grass he was alive, but he never spoke another word,
and died the same night."

"Poor fellow!" said Oliver; "I suppose your men have narrow escapes

"They have, sir, but it's most always owin' to carelessness.  There was
a cousin of that very lad Trevool who was buried with a comrade by the
falling in of a shaft and came out alive.  I was there at the time and
helped to dig him out."

Captain Dan here stopped, and, sticking his candle against the wet wall
of the mine, sat down on a piece of rock, while our hero stood beside
him.  "You see," said he, "we were sinking a shaft, or rather reopening
an old one, at the time, and Harvey, that was the man's name, was down
working with a comrade.  They came to a soft bit o' ground, an' as they
cut through it they boarded it up with timbers across to prevent it
slipping, but they did the work hastily.  After they had cut down some
fathoms below it, the boarding gave way, and down the whole thing went,
boards, timbers, stones, and rubbish, on their heads.  We made sure they
were dead, but set to, nevertheless, to dig them out as fast as
possible--turning as many hands to the work as could get at it.  At last
we came on them, and both were alive, and not very much hurt!  The
timbers and planks had fallen over them in such a way as to keep the
stones and rubbish off.  I had a talk with old Harvey the other day on
this very subject.  He told me that he was squeezed flat against the
side of the shaft by the rubbish which buried him, and that he did not
lose consciousness for a moment.  A large stone had stuck right above
his head, and this probably saved him.  He heard us digging down to him,
he said, and when we got close he sang out to hold on, as the shovel was
touching him.  Sure enough this was the case, for the next shovelful of
rubbish that was lifted revealed the top of his head!  We cleared the
way to his mouth as carefully as we could, and then gave him a drop of
brandy before going on with the work of excavation.  His comrade was
found in a stooping position, and was more severely bruised than old
Harvey, but both of them lived to tell the tale of their burial, and to
thank God for their deliverance.  Yes," continued the captain, detaching
his candle from the wall and resuming his walk, "we have narrow escapes
sometimes.--Look here, doctor, did you ever see a rock like that?"

Captain Dan pointed to a place in the side of the rocky wall which was
grooved and cut as if with a huge gouge or chisel, and highly polished.
"It was never cut by man in that fashion; we found it as you see it, and
there's many of 'em in the mine.  We call 'em slinking slides."

"The marks must have been caused when the rocks were in a state of
partial fusion," observed Oliver, examining the place with much

"I don't know as to that, sir," said the captain, moving on, "but there
they are, and some of 'em polished to that extent you could almost see
your face in 'em."

On turning the corner of a jutting rock a light suddenly appeared,
revealing a pair of large eyes and a double row of teeth, as it were
gleaming out of the darkness.  On drawing nearer, this was discovered to
be a miner, whose candle was at some little distance, and only shone on
him partially.

"Well, Jack, what's doing?" asked the captain.

The man cast a disconsolate look on a large mass of rock which lay in
the middle of the path at his feet.  He had been only too successful in
his last blasting, and had detached a mass so large that he could not
move it.

"It's too hard for to break, Captain Dan."

"Better get it into the truck," said the captain.

"Can't lift it, sur," said the man, who grudged to go through the
tedious process of boring it for a second blast.

"You must get it out o' that, Jack, at all events.  It won't do to let
it lie there," said the captain, passing on, and leaving the miner to
get out of his difficulty as best he might.

A few minutes more and they came on a "pare" of men (in other words, a
band of two or more men working together) who were "stopeing-in the back
of the level," as they termed the process of cutting upwards into the

"There's a fellow in a curious place!" said Oliver, peering up through
an irregular hole, in which a man was seen at work standing on a plank
supported by a ladder.  He was chiselling with great vigour at the rock
over his head, and immediately beyond him another man stood on a plank
supported by a beam of timber, and busily engaged in a similar
occupation.  Both men were stripped to the waist, and panted at their
toil.  The little chamber or cavern in which they worked was brilliantly
illuminated by their two candles, and their athletic figures stood out,
dark and picturesque, against the light glistering walls.

"A curious place, and a singular man!" observed the captain; "that
fellow's family is not a small one.--Hallo!  James Martin."

"Hallo!  Captain Dan," replied the miner, looking down.

"How many children have you had?"

"How many child'n say 'ee?"

"Ay, how many?"

"I've had nineteen, sur, an' there's eight of 'em alive.  Seven of 'em
came in three year an six months, sur--three doubles an' a single, but
them uns are all gone dead, sur."

"How old are you, Jim?"

"Forty-seven, sur."

"Your brother Tom is at work here, isn't he?"

"Iss, in the south level, drivin' the end."

"How many children has Tom had, Jim?"

"Seventeen, sur, an' seven of 'em's alive; but Tom's only thirty-eight
years old, sur."  [See note 1.]

"Good-morning, Jim."

"Good-morning, Captain Dan," replied the sturdy miner, resuming his

"Good specimens of men these," said the captain, with a quiet smile, to
Oliver.  "Of course I don't mean to say that all the miners hereabouts
are possessed of such large families--nevertheless there are, as I dare
say you have observed, a good many children in and about St. Just!"

Proceeding onward they diverged into a branch level, where a number of
men were working overhead; boring holes into the roof and burrowing
upwards.  They all drove onwards through flinty rock by the same slow
and toilsome process that has already been described--namely, by
chipping with the pick, driving holes with the borer, and blasting with

As the Captain and Oliver traversed this part of the mine they had
occasionally to squeeze past small iron trucks which stood below holes
in the sides of the level, down which ever and anon masses of ore and
debris came from the workings above with a hard crashing noise.  The ore
was rich with tin, but the metal was invisible to any but trained eyes.
To Oliver Trembath the whole stuff appeared like wet rubbish.

Suddenly a low muffled report echoed through the cavernous place.  It
was followed by five or six similar reports in succession.

"They are blasting," said Captain Dan.

As he spoke, the thick muddy shoes and brick-dust legs of a man appeared
coming down the hole that had previously discharged ore.  The man
himself followed his legs, and, alighting thereon, saluted Captain Dan
with a free-and-easy "Good-morning."  Another man followed him; from a
different part of the surrounding darkness a third made his appearance,
and others came trooping in, until upwards of a dozen of them were
collected in the narrow tunnel, each with his tallow candle in his hand
or hat, so that the place was lighted brilliantly.  They were all clad
in loose, patched, and ragged clothes.  All were of a uniform rusty-red
colour, each with his broad bosom bared, and perspiration trickling down
his besmeared countenance.

Here, however, the uniformity of their appearance ended, for they were
of all sizes and characters.  Some were robust and muscular; some were
lean and wiry; some were just entering on manhood, with the ruddy hue of
health shining through the slime on their smooth faces; some were in the
prime of life, pale from long working underground, but strong, and
almost as hard as the iron with which they chiselled the rocks.  Others
were growing old, and an occasional cough told that the "miners'
complaint" had begun its fatal undermining of the long-enduring,
too-long-tried human body.  There were one or two whose iron
constitutions had resisted the evil influences of wet garments, bad air,
and chills, and who, with much of the strength of manhood, and some of
the colour of youth, were still plying their hammers in old age.  But
these were rare specimens of vigour and longevity; not many such are to
be found in Botallack mine.  The miner's working life is a short one,
and comparatively few of those who begin it live to a healthy old age.
Little boys were there, too, diminutive but sturdy urchins, miniature
copies of their seniors, though somewhat dirtier; proud as peacocks
because of being permitted at so early an age to accompany their fathers
or brothers underground, and their bosoms swelling with that stern
Cornish spirit of determination to face and overcome great difficulties,
which has doubtless much to do with the excessive development of chest
and shoulder for which Cornish miners, especially those of St. Just, are
celebrated.  [See note 2.]

It turned out that the men had all arranged to fire their holes at the
same hour, and assemble in a lower level to take lunch, or, as they term
it, "kroust," while the smoke should clear away.  This rendered it
impossible for the captain to take his young companion further into the
workings at that part of the mine, so they contented themselves with a
chat with the men.  These sat down in a row, and, each man unrolling a
parcel containing a pasty or a thick lump of cake with currants in it,
commenced the demolition thereof with as much zeal as had previously
been displayed in the demolition of the rock.  This frugal fare was
washed down with water drawn from little flat barrels or canteens, while
they commented lightly, grumblingly, or laughingly, according to
temperament, on the poor condition of the lode at which they wrought.
We have already said that in mining, as in other things, fortune
fluctuates, and it was "hard times" with the men of Botallack at that

Before they had proceeded far with their meal, one of the pale-faced men
began to cough.

"Smoke's a-coming down," he said.

"We shall 'ave to move, then," observed another.

The pouring in of gunpowder smoke here set two or three more a-coughing,
and obliged them all to rise and seek for purer--perhaps it were better
to say less impure--air in another part of the level, where the draught
kept the smoke away.  Here, squatting down on heaps of wet rubbish, and
sticking their candles against the damp walls, they continued their
meal, and here the captain and Oliver left them, retraced their steps to
the foot of the shaft, and began the ascent to the surface, or, in
mining parlance, began to "return to grass."

Up, up, up--the process now was reversed, and the labour increased
tenfold.  Up they went on these nearly perpendicular and interminable
ladders, slowly, for they had a long journey before them; cautiously,
for Oliver had a tendency to butt his head against beams, and knock his
candle out of shape; carefully, for the rounds of the ladders were wet
and slimy and a slip of foot or hand might in a moment have precipitated
them into the black gulf below; and pantingly, for strength of limb and
lung could not altogether defy the influence of such a prolonged and
upright climb.

If Oliver Trembath felt, while descending, as though he should _never_
reach the bottom, he felt far more powerfully as if reaching the top
were an event of the distant future--all the more that the muscles of
his arms and legs, unused to the peculiar process, were beginning to
feel rather stiff.  This feeling, however, soon passed away, and when he
began to grow warm to the work, his strength seemed to return and to
increase with each step--a species of revival of vigour in the midst of
hard toil with which probably all strong men are acquainted.

Up they went, ladder after ladder, squeezing through narrow places,
rubbing against wet rocks and beams, scraping against the boarding of
the kibble-shaft, and being scraped by the pump-rods until both of them
were as wet and red and dirty as any miner below.

As he advanced, Oliver began to take note of the places he had passed on
the way down, and so much had he seen and thought during his sojourn
underground, that, when he reached the level where he first came upon
the noisy kibbles, and made acquaintance with the labouring pump-rod, he
almost hailed the spot as an old familiar landmark of other days!

A circumstance occurred just then which surprised him not a little, and
tended to fix this locality still more deeply on his memory.  While he
was standing in the level, waiting until the captain should relight and
trim his much and oft bruised candle, the kibbles began their noisy
motion.  This was nothing new now, but at the same time the shout of
distant voices was heard, as if the gnomes held revelry in their dreary
vaults.  They drew gradually nearer, and Oliver could distinguish
laughter mingled with the sound of rapidly approaching footsteps.

"Foolish lads!" ejaculated Captain Dan with a smile, and an expression
that proved he took some interest in the folly, whatever it might be.

"What is it?" inquired Oliver.

"They are racing to the kibble.  Look and you shall see," replied the

Just then a man who had outrun his comrades appeared at the place where
the level joined the shaft, just opposite.  Almost at the same moment
the kibble appeared flying upwards.  The miner leaped upon it, caught
and clung to the chain as it passed, and shouted a defiant adieu to his
less fortunate comrades, who arrived just in time to witness him
disappear upwards in this rapid manner "to grass."

"That's the way the young ones risk their lives," said the captain,
shaking his head remonstratively; "if that young fellow had missed the
kibble he would have been dashed to pieces at the bottom of the shaft."

Again Captain Dan said "Foolish lads," and shook his head so gravely
that Oliver could not help regarding him with the respect due to a
sedate, fatherly sort of man; but Oliver was young and unsophisticated,
and did not know at the time that the captain had himself been noted in
his youth as an extremely reckless and daring fellow, and that a
considerable spice of the daring remained in him still!

Diverging to the right at this point Captain Dan led Oliver to an old
part of the mine, where there were a couple of men opening up and
extending one of the old levels.  Their progress here was very different
from what it had been.  Evidently the former miners had not thought it
worth their while to open up a wide passage for themselves, and Oliver
found it necessary to twist his broad shoulders into all sorts of
positions to get them through.

The first level they came to in this part was not more than three feet
high at the entrance.

"A man can't hold his head very high here, sir," said his guide.

"Truly no, it is scarce high enough for my legs to walk in without any
body above them," said Oliver.  "However, lead the way, and I will

The captain stooped and made his way through a winding passage where the
roof was so low in many places that they were obliged to bend quite
double, and the back and neck of the young doctor began to feel the
strain very severely.  There were, however, a few spots where the roof
rose a little, affording temporary relief.  Presently they came to the
place where the men were at work.  The ground was very soft here; the
men were cutting through _soft_ granite!--a condition of the stone which
Oliver confessed he had never expected to see.  Here the lights burned
very badly.

"What can be the matter with it?" said Oliver, stopping for the third
time to trim the wick of his candle.

Captain Dan smiled as he said, "You asked me, last night, to take you
into one of the levels where the air was bad--now here you are, with the
air so bad that the candle will hardly burn.  It will be worse before

"But I feel no disagreeable sensation," said Oliver.  "Possibly not,
because you are not quite so sensitive as the flame of a candle, but if
you remain here a few hours it will tell upon you.  Here are the men--
you can ask them."

The two men were resting when they approached.  One was old, the other
middle-aged.  Both were hearty fellows, and communicative.  The old one,
especially, was ruddy in complexion and pretty strong.

"You look well for an old miner," said Oliver; "what may be your age?"

"About sixty, sur."

"Indeed! you are a notable exception to the rule.  How comes it that you
look so fresh?"

"Can't say, sur," replied the old man with a peculiar smile; "few miners
live to my time of life, much less do they go underground.  P'raps it's
because I neither drink nor smoke.  Tom there, now," he added, pointing
to his comrade with his thumb, "he ain't forty yit, but he's so pale as
a ghost; though he is strong 'nuff."

"And do you neither drink nor smoke, Tom?" inquired Oliver.

"Well, sur, I both smokes and drinks, but I do take 'em in moderation,"
said Tom.

"Are you married?" asked Oliver, turning again to the old man.

"Iss, got a wife at hum, an' had six child'n."

"Don't you find this bad air tell on your health?" he continued.

"Iss, sur.  After six or seven hours I do feel my head like to split,
an' my stummik as if it wor on fire; but what can us do? we must live,
you knaw."

Bidding these men goodbye, the captain and Oliver went down to another
level, and then along a series of low galleries, in some of which they
had to advance on their hands and knees, and in one of them,
particularly, the accumulation of rubbish was so great, and the roof so
low, that they could only force a passage through by wriggling along at
full length like snakes.  Beyond this they found a miner and a little
boy at work; and here Captain Dan pointed out to his companion that the
lodes of copper and tin were rich.  Glittering particles on the walls
and drops of water hanging from points and crevices, with the green,
purple, and yellow colours around, combined to give the place a
brilliant metallic aspect.

"You'd better break off a piece of ore here," said Captain Dan.

Oliver took a chisel and hammer from the miner, and applying them to the
rock, spent five minutes in belabouring it with scarcely any result.

"If it were not that I fear to miss the chisel and hit my knuckles," he
said, "I think I could work more effectively."

As he spoke he struck with all his force, and brought down a large
piece, a chip of which he carried away as a memorial of his underground

"The man is going to fire the hole," said Captain Dan; "you'd better
wait and see it."

The hole was sunk nearly two feet deep diagonally behind a large mass of
rock that projected from the side of the level.  It was charged with
gunpowder, and filled up with "tamping" or pounded granite, Then the
miner lighted the fuse and hastened away, giving the usual signal,
"Fire!"  The others followed him to a safe distance, and awaited the
result.  In a few minutes there was a loud report, a bright blinding
flash, and a concussion of the air which extinguished two of the
candles.  Immediately a crash followed, as the heavy mass of rock was
torn from its bed and hurled to the ground.

"That's the way we raise tin and copper," said Captain Dan; "now,
doctor, we had better return, if you would not be left in darkness, for
our candles are getting low."

"Did you ever travel underground in the dark?" inquired Oliver.

"Not often, but I have done it occasionally.  Once, in particular, I
went down the main shaft in the dark, and gave a miner an awful fright.
I had to go down in haste at the time, and, not having a candle at hand,
besides being well acquainted with the way, I hurried down in the dark.
It so chanced that a man named Sampy had got his light put out when
about to ascend the shaft, and, as he also was well acquainted with the
way, he did not take the trouble to relight.  There was a good deal of
noise in consequence of the pump being at work.  When I had got about
half-way down I put my foot on something that felt soft.  Instantly
there was uttered a tremendous yell, and my legs at the same moment were
seized by something from below.  My heart almost jumped out of my mouth
at this, but as the yell was repeated it flashed across me I must have
trod on some one's fingers, so I lifted my foot at once, and then a
voice, which I knew to be that of Sampy, began to wail and lament

"`Hope I haven't hurt 'ee, Sampy?' said I.

"`Aw dear! aw dear! aw, my dear!' was all that poor Sampy could reply.

"`Let us go up, my son,' said I, `and we'll strike a light.'

"So up we went to the next level, where I got hold of the poor lad's
candle and lighted it.

"`Aw, my dear!' said Sampy, looking at his fingers with a rueful
countenance; `thee have scat 'em all in jowds.'"

"Pray," interrupted Oliver, "what may be the meaning of `scat 'em all in

"Broke 'em all in pieces," replied Captain Dan; "but he was wrong, for
no bones were broken, and the fingers were all right again in the course
of a few days.  Sampy got a tremendous fright, however, and he was never
known to travel underground without a light after that."

Continuing to retrace their steps, Captain Dan and Oliver made for the
main shaft.  On the way they came to another of those immense empty
spaces where a large lode had been worked away, and nothing left in the
dark narrow void but the short beams which had supported the working
stages of the men.  Here Oliver, looking down through a hole at his
feet, saw several men far below him.  They were at work on the "end" in
three successive tiers--above each other's heads.

"You've seen two of these men before," said Captain Dan.

"Have I?"

"Yes, they are local preachers.  The last time you saw the upper one,"
said Captain Dan with a smile, "you were seated in the Wesleyan chapel,
and he was in the pulpit dressed like a gentleman, and preaching as
eloquently as if he had been educated at college and trained for the

"I should like very much to go down and visit them," said Oliver.

"'Tis a difficult descent.  There are no ladders.  Will your head stand
stepping from beam to beam, and can you lower yourself by a chain?"

"I'll try," said Oliver.

Without more words Captain Dan left the platform on which they had been
walking, and, descending through a hole, led his companion by the most
rugged way he had yet attempted.  Sometimes they slid on their heels
down places that Oliver would not have dreamed of attempting without a
guide; at other times they stepped from beam to beam, with unknown
depths below them.

"Have a care here, sir," said the captain, pausing before a very steep
place.  "I will go first and wait for you."

So saying, he seized a piece of old rusty chain that was fastened into
the rock, and swung himself down.  Then, looking up, he called to Oliver
to follow.

The young doctor did so, and, having cautiously lowered himself a few
yards, he reached a beam, where he found the captain holding up his
candle, and regarding him with some anxiety.  Captain Dan appeared as if
suspended in mid-air.  Opposite to him, in the distance, the two "local
preachers" were hard at work with hammer and chisel, while far below, a
miner could be seen coming along the next level, and pushing an iron
truck full of ore before him.

A few more steps and slides, and then a short ascent, and Oliver stood
beside the man who had preached the previous Sunday.  He worked with
another miner, and was red, ragged, and half-clad, like all the rest,
and the perspiration was pouring over his face, which was streaked with
slime.  Very unlike was he at that time to the gentlemanly youth who had
held forth from the pulpit.  Oliver had a long chat with him, and found
that he aspired to enter the ministry, and had already passed some
severe examinations.  He was self-taught, having procured the loan of
books from his minister and some friends who were interested in him.
His language and manners were those of a gentleman, yet he had had no
advantages beyond his fellows.

"My friend there, sir, also hopes to enter the ministry," said the
miner, pointing, as he spoke, to a gap between the boards on which he

Oliver looked down, and there beheld a stalwart young man, about a
couple of yards under his feet, wielding a hammer with tremendous
vigour.  His light linen coat was open, displaying his bared and
muscular bosom.

"What! is _he_ a local preacher also?"

"He is, sir," said the miner, with a smile.

Oliver immediately descended to the stage below, and had a chat with
this man also, after which he left them at their work, wondering very
much at the intelligence and learning displayed by them; for he
remembered that in their sermons they had, without notes, without
hesitation, and without a grammatical error, entered into the most
subtle metaphysical reasoning (rather too much of it indeed!), and had
preached with impassioned (perhaps too impassioned) eloquence, quoting
poets and prose writers, ancient and modern, with the facility of good
scholars--while they urged men and women to repent and flee to Christ,
with all the fervour of men thoroughly in earnest.  On the other hand,
he knew that their opportunities for self-education were not great, and
that they had to toil in the meantime for daily bread, at the rate of
about 3 pounds a month!

Following Captain Dan, Oliver soon reached the ladder-way.

While slowly and in silence ascending the ladders; they heard a sound of
music above them.

"Men coming down to work, singing," said the captain, as they stood on a
cross-beam to listen.

The sounds at first were very faint and inexpressibly sweet.  By degrees
they became more distinct, and Oliver could distinguish several voices
singing in harmony, keeping time to the slow measured tread of their
descending steps.  There seemed a novelty, and yet a strange
familiarity, in the strains as they were wafted softly down upon his
ear, until they drew near, and the star-like candles of the miners
became visible.  Their manly voices then poured forth in full strength
the glorious psalm-tune called "French," which is usually sung in
Scotland to the beautiful psalm beginning, "I to the hills will lift
mine eyes."

The men stopped abruptly on encountering their captain and the stranger.
Exchanging a few words with the former, they stood aside on the beams
to let them pass.  A little boy came last.  His small limbs were as
active as those of his more stalwart comrades, and he exhibited no signs
of fatigue.  His treble voice, too, was heard high and tuneful among the
others as they continued their descent and resumed the psalm.  The sweet
strains retired gradually, and faded in the depths below as they had
first stolen on the senses from above; and the pleasant memory of them
still remained with the young doctor when he emerged from the mine
through the hole at the head of the shaft, and stood once more in the
blessed sunshine!


Note 1.  Reader, allow us to remark that this is a fact.  Indeed, we may
say here, once for all, that all the _important_ statements and
incidents in this tale are facts, or founded on facts, with considerable
modification, but without intentional exaggeration.

Note 2.  It has been stated to us recently by a volunteer officer, that
at battalion parade, when companies were equalised in numbers, the
companies formed by the men of St. Just required about four paces more
space to stand upon than the other volunteers.  No one who visits a St.
Just miner at his underground toil will require to ask the reason why.



One afternoon a council--we may appropriately say of war--was held in
St. Just.  The scene of the council was the shop of Maggot, the
blacksmith, and the members of it were a number of miners, the president
being the worthy smith himself, who, with a sledge-hammer under his arm
in the position of a short crutch, occupied the chair, if we may be
allowed so to designate the raised hearth of the forge.

The war with poverty had not been very successfully waged of late, and,
at the time of which we write, the enemy had apparently given the miners
a severe check, in the way of putting what appeared to be an insuperable
obstacle in their path.

"Now, lads," said Maggot, with a slap on the leathern apron that covered
his knees, "this is the way on it, an' do 'ee be quiet and hould yer
tongues while I do spaik."

The other men, of whom there were nearly a dozen, nodded and said, "Go
on, booy; thee's knaw tin, sure;" by which expression they affirmed
their belief that the blacksmith was a very knowing fellow.

"You do tell me that you've come so close to water that you're 'fraid to
go on?  Is that so?"

"Iss, iss," responded the others.

"Well, I'll hole into the house, ef you do agree to give un a good
pitch," said Maggot.

"Agreed, one and all," cried the miners.

In order that the reader may understand the drift of this conversation,
it is necessary to explain that the indefatigable miner, David
Trevarrow, whom we have already introduced in his submarine workshop,
had, according to his plan, changed his ground, and transferred his
labour to a more hopeful part of the mine.

For some time previous the men had been at work on a lode which was very
promising, but they were compelled to cease following it, because it
approached the workings of an old part of the mine which was known to be
full of water.  To tap this old part, or as the miners expressed it, to
"hole into this house of water," was, they were well aware, an
exceedingly dangerous operation.  The part of the mine to which we
allude was not under the sea, but back a little from the shore, and was
not very deep at that time.  The "adit"--or water-conducting--level by
which the spot was reached commenced at the cliffs, on a level with the
seashore, and ran into the interior until it reached the old mine, about
a quarter of a mile inland.  Here was situated the "house," which was
neither more nor less than a number of old shafts and levels filled with
water.  As they had approached the old mine its near proximity was made
disagreeably evident by the quantity of moisture that oozed through the
crevices in the rocks--moisture which ere long took the form of a number
of tiny rills--and at last began to spirt out from roof and sides in
such a way that the miners became alarmed, and hesitated to continue to
work in a place where they ran the most imminent risk of being suddenly
drowned and swept into the sea, by the bursting of the rocks that still
withstood the immense pressure of the confined water.

It was at this point in the undertaking that David Trevarrow went to
examine the place, and made the discovery of a seam--a "keenly lode"--
which had such a promising appearance that the anxiety of the miners to
get rid of this obstructive "house" was redoubled.

It was at this point, too, that the council of which we write was held,
in order to settle who should have the undesirable privilege of
constituting the "forlorn hope" in their subterranean assault.

Maggot, who was known to be one of the boldest, and, at the same time,
one of the most utterly reckless, men in St. Just, was appealed to in
the emergency, and, as we have seen, offered to attack the enemy
single-handed, on condition that the miners should give him a "pitch" of
the good lode they had found--that is, give him the right to work out a
certain number of fathoms of ore for himself.

They agreed to this, but one of them expressed some doubt as to Maggot's
courage being equal to the occasion.

To this remark Maggot vouchsafed no other reply than a frown, but his
friend and admirer John Cock exclaimed in supreme contempt,--"What!
Maggot afear'd to do it! aw, my dear, hould tha tongue."

"But he haven't bin to see the place," urged the previous speaker.

"No, my son," said Maggot, turning on the man with a look of pity, "but
he can go an' see it.  Come, lads, lev us go an' see this place of

The miners rose at once as Maggot threw his forehammer on a heap of
coals, put on his hat, and strode out of the forge with a reckless
fling.  A few minutes sufficed to bring them to the beach at the mouth
of the adit.

It was a singularly wild spot, close under those precipitous cliffs on
which some of the picturesque buildings of Botallack mine are perched--a
sort of narrow inlet or gorge which from its form is named the Narrow
Zawn.  There was nothing worthy of the name of a beach at the place,
save a little piece of rugged ground near the adit mouth, which could be
reached only by a zigzag path on the face of the almost perpendicular

Arrived here, each man lighted a candle, wrapped the customary piece of
wet clay round the middle of it, and entered the narrow tunnel.  They
advanced in single file, James Penrose leading.  The height of the adit
permitted of their walking almost upright, but the irregularity of the
cuttings rendered it necessary that they should advance carefully, with
special regard to their heads.  In about a quarter of an hour they
reached a comparatively open space--that is to say, there were several
extensions of the cutting in various directions, which gave the place
the appearance of being a small cavern, instead of a narrow tunnel.
Here the water, which in other parts of the adit flowed along the
bottom, ran down the walls and spirted in fine streams from the almost
invisible crevices of the rock, thus betraying at once the proximity and
the power of the pent-up water.

"What think'ee now, my son?" asked an elderly man who stood at Maggot's

After a short pause, during which he sternly regarded the rocks before
him, the smith replied, "_I'll do it_," in the tone and with the air of
a man who knows that what he has made up his mind to do is not child's

The question being thus settled, the miners retraced their steps and
went to their several homes.

Entering his cottage, the smith found his little girl Grace busily
engaged in the interesting process of nursing the baby.  He seated
himself in a chair by the fireside, smoked his pipe, and watched the
process, while his wife busied herself in preparing the evening meal.

Oh! but the little Maggot was a big baby--a worthy representative of his
father--a true chip of the old block, for he was not only fat, riotous,
and muscular, but very reckless, and extremely positive.  His little
nurse, on the contrary, was gentle and delicate; not much bigger than
the baby, although a good deal older, and she had a dreadful business of
it to keep him in order.  All her efforts at lifting and restraining him
were somewhat akin to the exertion made by wrestlers to throw each other
by main force, and her intense desire to make baby Maggot "be good" was
repaid by severe kicks on the shins, and sundry dabs in the face with,
luckily, a soft, fat pair of fists.

"Sit 'ee quiet, now, or I'll scat oo nose," said the little nurse
suddenly, with a terrible frown.

It need scarcely be said that she had not the remotest; intention of
carrying out this dreadful threat to smash the little Maggot's nose.
She accompanied it, however, with a twist that suddenly placed the
urchin in a sitting posture, much to his own surprise, for he opened his
eyes very wide, drew his breath sharply, and appeared to meditate a
roar.  He thought better of it, however, and relapsed into goodness just
as the door opened, and David Trevarrow entered.

"Oh, uncle David," cried little Grace, jumping up and running towards
him, "do help me nuss baby."

"What's the matter with the cheeld--bad, eh?  Fetch un to me and I'll
cure him."

There was no necessity to fetch baby, for that obstreperous individual
entertained an immense regard for "Unkil Day," and was already on his
fat legs staggering across the floor to him with outstretched arms.
Thereafter he only required a pair of wings to make him a complete

Little Grace, relieved of her charge, at once set to work to assist her
mother in household matters.  She was one of those dear little earnest
creatures who of their own accord act in a motherly and wifely way from
their early years.  To look at little Grace's serious thoroughgoing
face, when she chanced to pause in the midst of work, and meditate what
was to be done next, one might imagine that the entire care of the
household had suddenly devolved upon her shoulders.  In the matter of
housewifery little Grace was almost equal to big Grace, her respected
mother; in downright honesty and truthfulness she greatly excelled her.

The description of Maggot's household, on that evening, would be very
incomplete were we to omit mention of Zackey Maggot.  That young man--
for man he deemed himself, and man he was, in all respects, except the
trifling matters of years, size, and whiskers--that young man entered
the room with his uncle, and, without deigning to change his wet red
garments, sat him down at his father's feet and caught hold of a small
black kitten, which, at the time, lay sound asleep on the hearth, and
began to play with it in a grave patronising way, as though his taking
notice of it at all were a condescension.

That black kitten, or Chet, as it was usually styled, was accustomed to
be strangled the greater part of the morning by the baby.  Most of the
afternoon it was worried by Zackey, and, during the intervals of
torment, it experienced an unusually large measure of the vicissitudes
incident to kitten life--such as being kicked out of the way by Maggot
senior, or thrown or terrified out of the way by Mrs Maggot, or dashed
at by stray dogs, or yelled at by passing boys.  The only sunshine of
its life (which was at all times liable to be suddenly clouded) was when
it slept, or when little Grace put it on her soft neck, tickled its
chin, and otherwise soothed its ruffled spirit, as only a loving heart
knows how.  A bad memory seemed to be that kitten's chief blessing.  A
horror of any kind was no sooner past than it was straightway forgotten,
and the facetious animal would advance with arched back and glaring eyes
in defiance of an incursive hen, or twirl in mad hopeless career after
its own miserable tail!

"'Tis a keenly lode," said Maggot, puffing his pipe thoughtfully.

"Iss," assented David Trevarrow, also puffing his pipe, at the clouds
issuing from which baby gazed with endless amazement and admiration;
"it's worth much, but it isn't worth your life."

"Sure, I ain't goin' to give my life for't," replied Maggot.

"But you're goin' to risk it," said David, "an' you shouldn't, for
you've a wife an' child'n to provide for.  Now, I tell 'ee what it is:
you lev it to me.  _I'll_ hole to the house.  It don't matter much what
happens to me."

"No, 'ee won't," said Maggot stoutly; "what I do promise to do I _will_

"But if you die?" said David.

"Well, what if I do? we have all to come to that some day, sooner or

"Are you prepared to die?" asked Trevarrow earnestly.

"Now, David, don't 'ee trouble me with that.  'Tis all very well for the
women an' child'n, but it don't suit me, it don't, so lev us have no
more of it, booy.  I'll do it to-morrow, that's fixed, so now we'll have
a bit supper."

The tone in which Maggot said this assured David that further
conversation would be useless, so he dropped the subject and sat down
with the rest of the family to their evening meal.



"A wilful man must have his way" is a proverb the truth of which was
illustrated by the blacksmith on the following day.

David Trevarrow again attempted to dissuade him from his purpose, and
reiterated his offer to go in his stead, but he failed to move him.
Mrs Maggot essayed, and added tears to her suasion, as also did little
Grace; but they failed too--the obdurate man would not give way.  The
only one of his household who did not attempt to dissuade him
(excepting, of course, the baby, who cared nothing whatever about the
matter) was Zackey.  That urchin not only rejoiced in the failure of the
others to turn his father from his purpose, but pleaded hard to be
allowed to go with him, and share his danger as well as glory.  This,
however, was peremptorily denied to the young aspirant to fame and a
premature death by drowning in a dark hole.

Early in the forenoon Maggot and his friends proceeded to the shore,
where they found a number of miners and others assembled near the adit
mouth--among them our hero Oliver Trembath, Mr Donnithorne, and Mr
Cornish, at that time the purser and manager of Botallack mine.

The latter gentleman accosted Maggot as he came forward, and advised him
to be cautious.  Of course the smith gave every assurance that was
required of him, and immediately prepared himself to make the dangerous

Supplying himself with a number of tallow candles, a mining hammer, and
other tools, Maggot stripped to the waist, and jestingly bidding his
friends farewell, entered the mouth of the tunnel, and disappeared.  The
adit level, or tunnel, through which he had to pass to the scene of his
operations, was, as we have said, about a quarter of a mile in length,
about six feet high, and two and a half feet wide.  It varied in
dimensions here and there, however, and was rough and irregular

For the first hundred yards or so Maggot could see well enough to grope
his way by the daylight which streamed in at the entrance of the adit,
but beyond this point all was intense darkness; so here he stopped, and,
striking a light by means of flint, steel, and tinder, lit one of his
candles.  This he attached to a piece of wet clay in the usual fashion,
except that he placed the clay at the lower end of the candle instead of
round the middle of it.  He then stuck it against the rock a little
above the level of his head.  Lighting another candle he advanced with
it in his hand.  Walking, or rather wading onward (for the stream was
ankle-deep) far enough to be almost beyond the influence of the first
candle, he stopped again and stuck up another.  Thus, at intervals, he
placed candles along the entire length of the adit, so that he might
have light to guide him in his race from the water which he hoped to set
free.  This precaution was necessary, because, although he meant to
carry a candle in his hat all the time, there was a possibility--nay, a
strong probability--that it would be blown or drowned out.

Little more than a quarter of an hour brought him to the scene of his
intended adventure.  Here he found the water spirting out all round,
much more violently than it had been the day before.  He did not waste
much time in consideration, having made up his mind on the previous
visit as to which part of the rock he would drive the hole through.
Sticking his last candle, therefore, against the driest part of the wall
that could be found, he seized his tools and commenced work.

We have already said that Maggot was a strong man.  As he stood there,
naked to the waist, holding the borer with his left hand, and plying the
hammer with all his might with the other, his great breadth of shoulder
and development of muscle were finely displayed by the candlelight,
which fell in brilliant gleams on parts of his frame, while the rest of
him was thrown into shadow, so deep that it would have appeared black,
but for the deeper shade by which it was surrounded--the whole scene
presenting a grand Rembrandt effect.

It is unnecessary to say that Maggot wrought with might and main.
Excited somewhat by the novelty and danger of his undertaking, he felt
relieved by the violence of his exertion.  He knew, besides, that the
candles which were to light him on his return were slowly but surely
burning down.  Blow after blow resounded through the place incessantly.
When the smith's right arm felt a very little wearied--it was too
powerful to be soon or greatly exhausted--he shifted the hammer to his
left hand, and so the work went on.  Suddenly and unexpectedly the borer
was driven to its head into the hole by a tremendous blow.  The rock
behind it had given way.  Almost at the same instant a large mass of
rock burst outwards, followed by a stream of water so thick and violent
that it went straight at the opposite side of the cavern, against which
it burst in white foam.  This, rebounding back and around, rushed
against roof and sides with such force that the whole place was at once

Maggot was knocked down at the first gush, but leaped up and turned to
fly.  Of course both candles--that in his hat as well as that which he
had affixed to the wall--were extinguished, and he was at once plunged
in total darkness, for the rays of the next light, although visible,
were too feeble to penetrate with any effect to the extremity of the
adit.  Blinded by rushing water and confused by his fall, the smith
mistook his direction, and ran against the side of the level with such
violence that he fell again, but his sturdy frame withstood the shock,
and once more he sprang to his feet and leaped along the narrow tunnel
with all the energy of desperation.

Well was it for Maggot at that hour that his heart was bold and his
faculties cool and collected, else then and there his career had ended.
Bending forward and stooping low, he bounded away like a hunted deer,
but the rush of water was so great that it rapidly gained on him, and,
by concealing the uneven places in the path, caused him to stumble.  His
relay of candles served him in good stead; nevertheless, despite their
light and his own caution, he more than once narrowly missed dashing out
his brains on the low roof.  On came the water after the fugitive, a
mighty, hissing, vaulting torrent, filling the level behind, and leaping
up on the man higher and higher as he struggled and floundered on for
life.  Quickly, and before quarter of the distance to the adit mouth was
traversed, it gurgled up to his waist, swept him off his legs, and
hurled him against projecting rocks.  Once and again did he succeed in
regaining his foothold, but in a moment or two the rising flood swept
him down and hurled him violently onward, sporting with him on its
foaming crest until it disgorged him at last, and cast him, stunned,
bruised, and bleeding, on the seashore.

Of course the unfortunate man's friends had waited for him with some
impatience, and great was their anxiety when the first of the flood made
its appearance.  When, immediately after, the battered form of their
comrade was flung on the beach, they ran forward and bore him out of the

Oliver Trembath being on the spot, Maggot wae at once attended to, and
his wounds bound up.

"He'll do; he's all right," said Oliver, on completing the work--"only
got a few cuts and bruises, and lost a little blood, but that won't harm

The expression of anxiety that had appeared on the faces of those who
stood around at once vanished on hearing these reassuring words.

"I knaw'd it," said John Cock energetically.  "I knaw'd he couldn't be
killed--not he."

"I trust that you may be right, Oliver," said old Mr Donnithorne,
looking with much concern on the pale countenance of the poor smith, who
still lay stretched out, with only a slight motion of the chest to prove
that the vital spark had not been altogether extinguished.

"No fear of him, he's sure to come round," replied Oliver; "come, lads,
up with him on your backs."

He raised the smith's shoulder as he spoke.  Three tall and powerful
miners promptly lent their aid, and Maggot was raised shoulder-high, and
conveyed up the steep, winding path that led to the top of the cliff.

"It would never do to lose Maggot," murmured Mr Donnithorne, as if
speaking to himself while he followed the procession beside Mr Cornish;
"he's far too good a--"

"A smuggler--eh?" interrupted the purser, with a laugh.

"Eh, ah! did I say smuggler?" cried Mr Donnithorne; "surely not, for of
all vices that of smuggling is one of the worst, unless it be an
overfondness for the bottle.  I meant to have said that he is too
valuable a man for St. Just to lose--in many ways; and you know, Mr
Cornish, that he is a famous wrestler--a man of whom St. Just may be
justly proud."

Mr Donnithorne cast a sly glance at his companion, whom he knew to be
partial to the ancient Cornish pastime of wrestling.  Indeed, if report
said truly, the worthy purser had himself in his youthful days been a
celebrated amateur wrestler, one who had never been thrown, even
although he had on more than one occasion been induced in a frolic to
enter the public ring and measure his strength with the best men that
could be brought against him.  He was long past the time of life when
men indulge in such rough play, but his tall commanding figure and huge
chest and shoulders were quite sufficient to warrant the belief that
what was said of him was possible, while the expression of his fine
massive countenance, and the humorous glance of his clear, black eye,
bore evidence that it was highly probable.

"'Twould be foul injustice," said the purser with a quiet laugh, "if I
were to deny that Maggot is a good man and true, in the matter of
wrestling; nevertheless he is an arrant rogue, and defrauds the revenue
woefully.  But, after all he is only the cat's-paw; those who employ him
are the real sinners--eh, Mr Donnithorne?"

"Surely, surely," replied the old gentleman with much gravity; "and it
is to be hoped that this accident will have the effect of turning Maggot
from his evil ways."

The purser could not refrain from a laugh at the hypocritical solemnity
of the old gentleman, who was, he well knew, one of the very sinners
whom he condemned with such righteous indignation, but their arrival at
Maggot's cottage prevented further conversation on the subject at that

Mrs Maggot, although a good deal agitated when her husband's almost
inanimate and bloody form was carried in and laid on the bed, was by no
means overcome with alarm.  She, like the wives of St. Just miners
generally, was too well accustomed to hear of accidents and to see their
results, to give way to wild fears before she had learned the extent of
her calamity; so, when she found that it was not serious, she dried her
eyes, and busied herself in attending to all the little duties which the
occasion required.  Little Grace, too, although terribly frightened, and
very pale, was quite self-possessed, and went about the house assisting
her mother ably, despite the tendency to sob, which she found it very
difficult to overcome.  But the baby behaved in the most shameful and
outrageous manner.  His naughtiness is almost indescribable.  The
instant the door opened, and his father's bloody face was presented to
view, baby set up a roar so tremendous that a number of dogs in the
neighbourhood struck in with a loud chorus, and the black kitten,
startled out of an innocent slumber, rushed incontinently under the bed,
faced about, and fuffed in impotent dismay!

But not only did baby roar--he also fell on the floor and kicked,
thereby rendering his noise exasperating, besides exposing his fat
person to the risk of being trod upon.  Zackey was therefore told off as
a detachment to keep this enemy in check, a duty which he performed
nobly, until his worthy father was comfortably put to bed, after which
the friends retired, and left the smith to the tender care of his own

"He has done good service anyhow," observed Mr Donnithorne to his
nephew, as he parted from him that evening; "for he has cleared the mine
of water that it would have cost hundreds of pounds and many months to
pump out."



One morning, not long after his arrival at St. Just, the young doctor
went out to make a round of professional visits.  He had on his way to
pass the cottage of his uncle, which stood a little apart from the chief
square or triangle of the town, and had a small piece of ground in
front.  Here Rose was wont to cultivate her namesakes, and other
flowers, with her own fair hands, and here Mr Thomas Donnithorne
refreshed himself each evening with a pipe of tobacco, the flavour of
which was inexpressibly enhanced to him by the knowledge that it had
been smuggled.

He was in the habit of washing the taste of the same away each night,
before retiring to rest, with a glass of brandy and water, hot, which
was likewise improved in flavour by the same interesting association.

The windows of the cottage were wide open, for no Atlantic fog dimmed
the glory of the summer sun that morning, and the light air that came up
from the mighty sea was fresh and agreeably cool.

As Oliver approached the end of the cottage he observed that Rose was
not at her accustomed work in the garden, and he was about to pass the
door when the tones of a guitar struck his ear and arrested his step.
He was surprised, for at that period the instrument was not much used,
and the out-of-the-way town of St. Just was naturally the last place in
the land where he would have expected to meet with one.  No air was
played--only a few chords were lightly touched by fingers which were
evidently expert.  Presently a female voice was heard to sing in rich
contralto tones.  The air was extremely simple, and very beautiful--at
least, so thought Oliver, as he leaned against a wall and listened to
the words.  These, also, were simple enough, but sounded both sweet and
sensible to the listener, coming as they did from a woman's lips so
tunefully, and sounding the praises of the sea, of which he was
passionately fond:--


  "I love the land where acres broad
  Are clothed in yellow grain;
  Where cot of thrall and lordly hall
  Lie scattered o'er the plain.
  Oh!  I have trod the velvet sod
  Beneath the beechwood tree;
  And roamed the brake by stream and lake
  Where peace and plenty be.
  But more than plain,
  Or rich domain,
  I love the bright blue sea!

  "I love the land where bracken grows
  And heath-clad mountains rise;
  Where peaks still fringed with winter snows
  Tower in the summer skies.
  Oh!  I have seen the red and green
  Of fir and rowan tree,
  And heard the din of flooded linn,
  With bleating on the lea.
  But better still
  Than heath-clad hill
  I love the stormy sea!"

The air ceased, and Oliver, stepping in at the open door, found Rose
Ellis with a Spanish guitar resting on her knee.  She neither blushed
nor started up nor looked confused--which was, of course, very strange
of her in the circumstances, seeing that she is the heroine of this
tale--but, rising with a smile on her pretty mouth, shook hands with the

"Why, cousin," said Oliver, "I had no idea you could sing so

"I am fond of singing," said Rose.

"So am I, especially when I hear such singing as yours; and the song,
too--I like it much, for it praises the sea.  Where did you pick it up?"

"I got it from the composer, a young midshipman," said Rose sadly; at
the same time a slight blush tinged her brow.

Oliver felt a peculiar sensation which he could not account for, and was
about to make further inquiries into the authorship of the song, when it
occurred to him that this would be impolite, and might be awkward, so he
asked instead how she had become possessed of so fine a guitar.  Before
she could reply Mr Donnithorne entered.

"How d'ee do, Oliver lad; going your rounds--eh?--Come, Rose, let's have
breakfast, lass, you were not wont to be behind with it.  I'll be bound
this gay gallant--this hedge-jumper with his eyes shut--has been
praising your voice and puffing up your heart, but don't believe him,
Rose; it's the fashion of these fellows to tell lies on such matters."

"You do me injustice, uncle," said Oliver with a laugh; "but even if it
were true that I am addicted to falsehood in praising women, it were
impossible, in the present instance, to give way to my propensity, for
Truth herself would find it difficult to select an expression
sufficiently appropriate to apply to the beautiful voice of Rose Ellis!"

"Hey-day, young man," exclaimed Mr Donnithorne, as he carefully filled
his pipe with precious weed, "your oratorical powers are uncommon!
Surely thy talents had been better bestowed in the Church or at the Bar
than in the sickroom or the hospital.  Demosthenes himself would have
paled before thee, lad--though, if truth must be told, there is a dash
more sound than sense in thine eloquence."

"Sense, uncle!  Surely your own good sense must compel you to admit that
Rose sings splendidly?"

"Well, I won't gainsay it," replied Mr Donnithorne, "now that Rose has
left the room, for I don't much care to bespatter folk with too much
praise to their faces.  The child has indeed a sweet pipe of her own.
By the way, you were asking about her guitar when I came in; I'll tell
you about that.

"Its history is somewhat curious," said Mr Donnithorne, passing his
fingers through the bunch of gay ribbons that hung from the head of the
instrument.  "You have heard, I dare say, of the burning of Penzance by
the Spaniards more than two hundred years ago; in the year 1595, I think
it was?"

"I have," answered Oliver, "but I know nothing beyond the fact that such
an event took place.  I should like to hear the details of it

"Well," continued the old gentleman, "our country was, as you know, at
war with Spain at the time; but it no more entered into the heads of
Cornishmen that the Spaniards would dare to land on our shores than that
the giants would rise from their graves.  There was, indeed, an old
prediction that such an event would happen, but the prediction was
either forgotten or not believed, so that when several Spanish galleys
suddenly made their appearance in Mounts Bay, and landed about two
hundred men near Mousehole, the inhabitants were taken by surprise.
Before they could arm and defend themselves, the Spaniards effected a
landing, began to devastate the country, and set fire to the adjacent

"It is false," continued the old man sternly, "to say, as has been said
by some, that the men of Mousehole were seized with panic, and that
those of Newlyn and Penzance deserted their houses terror-stricken.  The
truth is, that the suddenness of the attack, and their unprepared
condition to repel it, threw the people into temporary confusion, and
forced them to retreat, as, all history shows us, the best and bravest
will do at times.  In Mousehole, the principal inhabitant was killed by
a cannon-ball, so that, deprived of their leading spirit at the critical
moment when a leader was necessary, it is no wonder that at _first_ the
fishermen were driven back by well-armed men trained to act in concert.
To fire the houses was the work of a few minutes.  The Spaniards then
rushed on to Newlyn and Penzance, and fired these places also, after
which they returned to their ships, intending to land the next day and
renew their work of destruction.

"But that night was well spent by the enraged townsmen.  They organised
themselves as well as they could in the circumstances, and, when day
came, attacked the Spaniards with guns and bows, and that so
effectively, that the Dons were glad to hoist their sails and run out of
the bay.

"Well, you must know there was one of the Spaniards, who, it has been
said, either from bravado, or vanity, or a desire to insult the English,
or from all three motives together, brought a guitar on shore with him
at Mousehole, and sang and played to his comrades while they were
burning the houses.  This man left his guitar with those who were left
to guard the boats, and accompanied the others to Penzance.  On his
return he again took his guitar, and, going up to a high point of the
cliff, so that he might be seen by his companions and heard by any of
the English who chanced to be in hiding near the place, sang several
songs of defiance at the top of his voice, and even went the length of
performing a Spanish dance, to the great amusement of his comrades
below, who were embarking in their boats.

"While the half-crazed Spaniard was going on thus he little knew that,
not three yards distant from him, a gigantic Mousehole fisherman, who
went by the name of Gurnet, lay concealed among some low bushes,
watching his proceedings with an expression of anger on his big stern
countenance.  When the boats were nearly ready to start the Spaniard
descended from the rocky ledge on which he had been performing,
intending to rejoin his comrades.  He had to pass round the bush where
Gurnet lay concealed, and in doing so was for a few seconds hid from his
comrades, who immediately forgot him in the bustle of departure, or, if
they thought of him at all, each boat's crew imagined, no doubt, that he
was with one of the others.

"But he never reached the boats.  As he passed the bush Gurnet sprang on
him like a tiger and seized him round the throat with both hands,
choking a shout that was coming up, and causing his eyes to start almost
out of his head.  Without uttering a word, and only giving now and then
a terrible hiss through his clenched teeth, Gurnet pushed the Spaniard
before him, keeping carefully out of sight of the beach, and holding him
fast by the nape of the neck, so that when he perceived the slightest
symptom of a tendency to cry out he had only to press his strong fingers
and effectually nip it in the bud.

"He led him to a secluded place among the rocks, far beyond earshot of
the shore, and there, setting him free, pointed to a flat rock and to
his guitar, and hissed, rather than said, in tones that could neither be
misunderstood nor gainsaid--

"`There, dance and sing, will 'ee, till 'ee bu'st!'

"Gurnet clenched his huge fist as he spoke, and, as the Spaniard grew
pale, and hesitated, he shook it close to his face--so close that he
tapped the prominent bridge of the man's nose, and hissed again, more
fiercely than before--

"`Ye haaf saved bucca, ye mazed totle, that can only frighten women an'
child'n, an burn housen; thee'rt fond o' singin' an' dancin'--dance now,
will 'ee, ye gurt bufflehead, or ef ye waant I'll scat thee head in
jowds, an' send 'ee scrougin' over cliffs, I will.'"

In justice to the narrator it is right to say that these words are not
so bad as they sound.

"The fisherman's look and action were so terrible whilst he poured forth
his wrath, which was kept alive by the thought of the smouldering embers
of his own cottage, that the Spaniard could not but obey.  With a
ludicrous compound of fun and terror he began to dance and sing, or
rather to leap and wail, while Gurnet stood before him with a look of
grim ferocity that never for a moment relaxed.

"Whenever the Spaniard stopped from exhaustion Gurnet shouted `Go on,'
in a voice of thunder, and the poor man, being thoroughly terrified,
went on until he fell to the ground incapable of further exertion.

"Up to this point Gurnet had kept saying to himself, `He is fond o'
dancin' an' singin', let un have it, then,' but when the poor man fell
his heart relented.  He picked him up, threw him across his shoulder as
if he had been a bolster, and bore him away.  At first the men of the
place wanted to hang him on the spot, but Gurnet claimed him as his
prisoner, and would not allow this.  He gave him his liberty, and the
poor wretch maintained himself for many a day as a wandering minstrel.
At last he managed to get on board of a Spanish vessel, and was never
more heard of, but he left his guitar behind him.  It was picked up on
the shore, where he left it, probably, in his haste to get away.

"The truth of this story, of course, I cannot vouch for," concluded Mr
Donnithorne, with a smile, "but I have told it to you as nearly as
possible in the words in which I have often heard my grandfather give
it--and as for the guitar, why, here it is, having been sold to me by a
descendant of the man who found it on the seashore."

"A wonderful story indeed," said Oliver--"_if true_."

"The guitar you must admit is at least a fact," said the old gentleman.

Oliver not only admitted this, but said it was a sweet-sounding fact,
and was proceeding to comment further on the subject when Mr
Donnithorne interrupted him--

"By the way, talking of sweet sounds, have you heard what that
gruff-voiced scoundrel Maggot--that roaring bull of Bashan--has been
about lately?"

"No, I have not," said Oliver, who saw that the old gentleman's ire was

"Ha! lad, that man ought to be hanged.  He is an arrant knave, a
smuggler--a--an ungrateful rascal.  Why, sir, you'll scarcely believe
it: he has come to me and demanded more money for the jewels which he
and his comrade sold me in fair and open bargain, and because I refused,
and called him a few well-merited names, he has actually gone and given
information against me as possessor of treasure, which of right, so they
say, belongs to Government, and last night I had a letter which tells me
that the treasure, as they call it, must be delivered up without delay,
on pain of I don't know what penalties.  Penalties, forsooth! as if I
hadn't been punished enough already by the harassing curtain-lectures of
my over-scrupulous wife, ever since the unlucky day when the baubles
were found, not to mention the uneasy probings of my own conscience,
which, to say truth, I had feared was dead altogether owing to the
villainous moral atmosphere of this smuggling place, but which I find
quite lively and strong yet--a matter of some consolation too, for
although I do have a weakness for cheap 'baccy and brandy, being of an
economical turn of mind, I don't like the notion of getting rid of my
conscience altogether.  But, man, 'tis hard to bear!"

Poor Mr Donnithorne stopped here, partly owing to shortness of breath,
and partly because he had excited himself to a pitch that rendered
coherent speech difficult.

"Would it not be well at once to relieve your conscience, sir,"
suggested Oliver respectfully, "by giving up the things that cause it
pain?  In my profession we always try to get at the root of a disease,
and apply our remedies there."

"Ha!" exclaimed the old gentleman, wiping his heated brow, "and lose
twenty pounds as a sort of fee to Doctor Maggot, who, like other doctors
I wot of, created the disease himself, and who will certainly never
attempt to alleviate it by returning the fee."

"Still, the disease may be cured by the remedy I recommend," said

"No, man, it can't," cried the old gentleman with a perplexed
expression, "because the dirty things are already sold and the money is
invested in Botallack shares, to sell which and pay back the cash in the
present depressed state of things would be utter madness.  But hush!
here comes my better half, and although she _is_ a dear good soul, with
an unusual amount of wisdom for her size, it would be injudicious to
prolong the lectures of the night into the early hours of morning."

As he spoke little Mrs Donnithorne's round good-looking face appeared
like the rising sun in the doorway, and her cheery voice welcomed Oliver
to breakfast.

"Thank you, aunt," said Oliver, "but I have already breakfasted more
than an hour ago, and am on my way to visit my patients.  Indeed, I have
to blame myself for calling at so early an hour, and would not have done
so but for the irresistible attraction of a newly discovered voice,

"Come, come, youngster," interrupted Mr Donnithorne, "be pleased to
bear in remembrance that the voice is connected with a pair of capital
ears, remarkable for their sharpness, if not their length, and at no
great distance off, I warrant."

"You do Rose injustice," observed Mrs Donnithorne, as the voice at that
moment broke out into a lively carol in the region of the kitchen,
whither its owner had gone to superintend culinary matters.  "But tell
me, Oliver, have you heard of the accident to poor Batten?"

"Yes, I saw him yesterday," replied the doctor, "just after the accident
happened, and I am anxious about him.  I fear, though I am not quite
certain, that his eyesight is destroyed."

"Dear! dear!--oh, poor man," said Mrs Donnithorne, whose sympathetic
heart swelled, while her blue eyes instantly filled with tears.  "It is
so very sad, Oliver, for his delicate wife and four young children are
entirely dependent upon him and his two sons--and they found it
difficult enough to make the two ends meet, even when they were all in
health; for it is hard times among the miners at present, as you know,
Oliver; and now--dear, dear, it is very, _very_ sad."

Little Mrs Donnithorne said nothing more at that time, but her mind
instantly reverted to a portly basket which she was much in the habit of
carrying with her on her frequent visits to the poor and the sick--for
the good lady was one of those whose inclinations as well as principles
lead them to "consider the poor."

It must not be imagined, however, that the poor formed a large class of
the community in St. Just.  The miners of that district, and indeed all
over Cornwall, were, and still are, a self-reliant, independent,
hard-working race, and as long as tough thews and sinews, and stout and
willing hearts, could accomplish anything, they never failed to wrench a
subsistence out of the stubborn rocks which contain the wealth of the
land.  Begging goes very much against the grain of a Cornishman, and the
lowest depth to which he can sink socially, in his own esteem, is that
of being dependent on charity.

In some cases this sentiment is carried too far, and has degenerated
into pride; for, when God in His wisdom sees fit, by means of disabling
accident or declining health, to incapacitate a man from labour, it is
as honourable in him to receive charity as it is (although not always
sufficiently esteemed so) a high privilege and luxury of the more
fortunate to give.

Worthy Mrs Donnithorne's charities were always bestowed with such
delicacy that she managed, in some mysterious way, to make the
recipients feel as though they had done her a favour in accepting them.
And yet she was not a soft piece of indiscriminating amiability, whose
chief delight in giving lay in the sensations which the act created
within her own breast.  By no means.  None knew better than she when and
where to give money, and when to give blankets, bread, or tea.  She was
equally sharp to perceive the spirit that rendered it advisable for her
to say, "I want you to do me a favour--there's a good woman now, you
won't refuse me, etcetera," and to detect the spirit that called forth
the sharp remark, accompanied with a dubious smile and a shake of her
fat forefinger, "There now, see that you make better use of it _this_
time, else I shall have to scold you."

Having received a message for poor Mrs Batten, the miner's wife, the
doctor left the cottage, and proceeded to pay his visits.  Let us
accompany him.



In crossing a hayfield, Oliver Trembath encountered the tall, bluff
figure, and the grave, sedate smile of Mr Cornish, the manager.

"Good-morning, doctor," said the old gentleman, extending his hand and
giving the youth a grasp worthy of one of the old Cornish giants; "do
you know I was thinking, as I saw you leap over the stile, that you
would make a pretty fair miner?"

"Thanks, sir, for your good opinion of me," said Oliver, with a smile,
"but I would rather work above than below ground.  Living the half of
one's life beyond the reach of sunlight is not conducive to health."

"Nevertheless, the miners keep their health pretty well, considering the
nature of their work," replied Mr Cornish; "and you must admit that
many of them are stout fellows.  You would find them so if you got one
of their Cornish hugs."

"Perhaps," said Oliver, with a modest look, for he had been a noted
wrestler at school, "I might give them a pretty fair hug in return, for
Cornish blood flows in my veins."

"A fig for blood, doctor; it is of no avail without knowledge and
practice, as well as muscle.  _With_ these, however, I do acknowledge
that it makes weight--if by `blood' you mean high spirit."

"By the way, how comes it, sir," said Oliver, "that Cornishmen are so
much more addicted to wrestling than other Englishmen?"

"It were hard to tell, doctor, unless it be that they feel themselves
stronger than other Englishmen, and being accustomed to violent exertion
more than others, they take greater pleasure in it.  Undoubtedly the
Greeks introduced it among us, but whether they practised it as we now
do cannot be certainly ascertained."

Here Mr Cornish entered into an enthusiastic account of the art of
wrestling; related many anecdotes of his own prowess in days gone by,
and explained the peculiar method of performing the throw by the heel,
the toe, and the hip; the heave forward, the back-heave, and the Cornish
hug, to all of which the youth listened with deep interest.

"I should like much to witness one of your wrestling-matches," he said,
when the old gentleman concluded; "for I cannot imagine that any of your
peculiar Cornish hugs or twists can be so potent as to overturn a stout
fellow who is accustomed to wrestle in another fashion.  Can you show me
one of the particular grips or twists that are said to be so effective?"

"I think I can," replied the old gentleman, with a smile, and a twinkle
in his eye; "of course the style of grip and throw will vary according
to the size of the man one has to deal with.  Give me hold of your
wrist, and plant yourself firmly on your legs.  Now, you see, you must
turn the arm--so, and use your toe--thus, so as to lift your man, and
with a sudden twist--there!  That's the way to do it!" said the old
gentleman, with a chuckle, as he threw Oliver head foremost into the
middle of a haycock that lay opportunely near.

It is hard to say whether Mr Cornish or Oliver was most surprised at
the result of the effort--the one, that so much of his ancient prowess
should remain, and the other, that he should have been so easily
overthrown by one who, although fully as large a man as himself, had his
joints and muscles somewhat stiffened by age.

Oliver burst into a fit of laughter on rising, and exclaimed, "Well
done, sir!  You have effectually convinced me that there is something
worth knowing in the Cornish mode of wrestling; although, had I known
what you were about to do, it might not perhaps have been done so

"I doubt it not," said Mr Cornish with a laugh; "but that shows the
value of `science' in such matters.  Good-morning, doctor.  Hope you'll
find your patients getting on well."

He waved his hand as he turned off, while Oliver pursued his way to the
miners' cottages.

The first he entered belonged to a man whose chest was slightly affected
for the first time.  He was a stout man, about thirty-five years of age,
and of temperate habits--took a little beer occasionally, but never
exceeded; had a good appetite, but had caught cold frequently in
consequence of having to go a considerable distance from the shaft's
mouth to the changing-house while exhausted with hard work underground
and covered with profuse perspiration.  Often he had to do this in wet
weather and when bitterly cold winds were blowing--of late he had begun
to spit blood.

It is necessary here to remind the reader that matters in this respect--
and in reference to the condition of the miner generally--are now much
improved.  The changing-houses, besides being placed as near to the
several shafts as is convenient, are now warmed with fires, and supplied
with water-troughs, so that the men have a comfortable place in which to
wash themselves on coming "to grass," and find their clothes thoroughly
dried when they return in the morning to put them on before going
underground.  This renders them less liable to catch cold, but of course
does not protect them from the evil influences of climbing the ladders,
and of bad air.  Few men have to undergo such severe toil as the Cornish
miner, because of the extreme hardness of the rock with which he has to
deal.  To be bathed in perspiration, and engaged in almost unremitting
and violent muscular exertion during at least eight hours of each day,
may be said to be his normal condition.

Oliver advised this man to give up underground work for some time, and,
having prescribed for him and spoken encouragingly to his wife, left the
cottage to continue his rounds.

Several cases, more or less similar to the above, followed each other in
succession; also one or two cases of slight illness among the children,
which caused more alarm to the anxious mothers than there was any
occasion for.  These latter were quickly but good-naturedly disposed of,
and the young doctor generally left a good impression behind him, for he
had a hearty, though prompt, manner and a sympathetic spirit.

At one cottage he found a young man in the last stage of consumption.
He lay on his lowly bed pale and restless--almost wishing for death to
relieve him of his pains.  His young wife sat by his bedside wiping the
perspiration from his brow, while a ruddy-cheeked little boy romped
about the room unnoticed--ignorant that the hour was drawing near which
would render him fatherless, and his young mother a widow.

This young man had been a daring, high-spirited fellow, whose animal
spirits led him into many a reckless deed.  His complaint had been
brought on by racing up the ladders--a blood-vessel had given way, and
he had never rallied after.  Just as Oliver was leaving him a Wesleyan
minister entered the dwelling.

"He won't be long with us, doctor, I fear," he said in passing.

"Not long, sir," replied Oliver.

"His release will be a happy one," said the minister, "for his soul
rests on Jesus; but, alas! for his young wife and child."

He passed into the sickroom, and the doctor went on.

The next case was also a bad one, though different from the preceding.
The patient was between forty and fifty years of age, and had been
unable to go underground for several years.  He was a staid, sober man,
and an abstemious liver, but it was evident that his life on earth was
drawing to a close.  He had been employed chiefly in driving levels, and
had worked a great deal in very bad air, where the candles could not be
made to burn unless placed nine or ten feet behind the spot where he was
at work.  Indeed, he often got no fresh air except what was blown to
him, and only a puff now and then.  When he first went to work in the
morning the candle would not keep alight, so that he had to take his
coat and beat the air about before going into the level, and, after a
time, went in when the candles could be got to burn by holding them on
one side, and teasing out the wick very much.  This used to create a
great deal of smoke, which tended still further to vitiate the air.
When he returned "to grass" his saliva used to be as black as ink.
About five years before giving up underground work he had had
inflammation of the lungs, followed by blood-spitting, which used to
come on when he was at work in what he called "poor air," or in
"cold-damp," and he had never been well since.

Oliver's last visit that day was to the man John Batten; who had
exploded a blast-hole in his face the day before.  This man dwelt in a
cottage in the small hamlet of Botallack, close to the mine of the same
name.  The room in which the miner lay was very small, and its furniture
scanty; nevertheless it was clean and neatly arranged.  Everything in
and about the place bore evidence of the presence of a thrifty hand.
The cotton curtain on the window was thin and worn, but it was well
darned, and pure as the driven snow.  The two chairs were old, as was
also the table, but they were not rickety; it was obvious that they owed
their stability to a hand skilled in mending and in patching pieces of
things together.  Even the squat little stool in the side of the chimney
corner displayed a leg, the whiteness of which, compared with the other
two, told of attention to small things.  There was a peg for everything,
and everything seemed to be on its peg.  Nothing littered the
well-scrubbed floor or defiled the well-brushed hearthstone, and it did
not require a second thought on the part of the beholder to ascribe all
this to the tidy little middle-aged woman, who, with an expression of
deep anxiety on her good-looking countenance, attended to the wants of
her injured husband.

As Oliver approached the door of this cottage two stout youths, of about
sixteen and seventeen respectively, opened it and issued forth.

"Good-morning, lads!  Going to work, I suppose?" said Oliver.

"Iss, sur," replied the elder, a fair-haired ruddy youth, who, like his
brother, had not yet sacrificed his colour to the evil influence of the
mines; "we do work in the night corps, brother and me.  Father is worse
to-day, sur."

"Sorry to hear that," said the doctor, as he passed them and entered the
cottage, while the lads shouldered their tools and walked smartly down
the lane that led to Botallack mine.

"Your husband is not quite so well to-day, I hear," said the doctor,
going to the side of the bed on which the stalwart form of the miner

"No, sur," replied the poor woman; "he has much pain in his eyes to-day,
but his heart is braave, sur; I never do hear a complaint from he."

This was true.  The man lay perfectly still, the compressed lip and the
perspiration that moistened his face alone giving evidence of the agony
he endured.

"Do you suffer much?" inquired the doctor, as he undid the bandages
which covered the upper part of the man's face.

"Iss, sur, I do," was the reply.

No more was said, but a low groan escaped the miner when the bandage was
removed, and the frightful effects of the accident were exposed to view.
With intense anxiety Mrs Batten watched the doctor's countenance, but
found no comfort there.  A very brief examination was sufficient to
convince Oliver that the eyes were utterly destroyed, for the miner had
been so close to the hole when it exploded that the orbs were singed by
the flame, and portions of unburnt powder had been blown right into

"Will he see--a _little_, sur?" whispered Mrs Batten.

Oliver shook his head.  "I fear not," he said in a low tone.

"Speak out, doctor," said the miner in firm tones, "I ain't afeard to
knaw it."

"It would be unkind to deceive you," replied Oliver sadly; "your eyes
are destroyed."

No word was spoken for a few minutes, but the poor woman knelt by her
husband's side, and nestled close to him.  Batten raised his large brown
hand, which bore the marks and scars of many a year of manly toil, and
laid it gently on his wife's head.

"I'll never see thee again, Annie," he murmured in a low deep tone; "but
I see thee face now, lass, as I _last_ saw it, wi' the smile of an angel
on't--an' I'll see it so till the day I die; bless the Lord for that."

Mrs Batten rose and went softly but quickly out of the room that she
might relieve her bursting heart without distressing her husband, but he
knew her too well to doubt the reason of her sudden movement, and a
faint smile was on his lips for a moment as he said to Oliver,--"She's
gone to weep a bit, sur, and pray.  It will do her good, dear lass."

"Your loss is a heavy one--very heavy," said Oliver, with hesitation in
his tone, for he felt some difficulty in attempting to comfort one in so
hopeless a condition.

"True, sur, true," replied the man in a tone of cheerful resignation
that surprised the doctor, "but it might have been worse; `the Lord
gave, and the Lord hath taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord!'"

Mrs Batten returned in a few minutes, and Oliver left them, after
administering as much comfort as he could in the circumstances, but to
say truth, although well skilled in alleviating bodily pains, he was
incapable of doing much in the way of ministering to the mind diseased.
Oliver Trembath was not a medical missionary.  His mother, though a
good, amiable woman, had been a weak, easy-going creature--one of those
good-tempered, listless ladies who may be regarded as human vegetables,
who float through life as comfortably as they can, giving as little
trouble as possible, and doing as little good as is compatible with the
presence of even nominal Christianity.  She performed the duties of life
in the smallest possible circle, the centre of which was herself, and
the extremity of the radii extending to the walls of her garden.  She
went to church at the regulation hours; "said her prayers" in the
regulation tone of voice; gave her charities in the stated way, at
stated periods, with a hazy perception as to the objects for which they
were given, and an easy indifference as to the success of these
objects--the whole end and aim of her wishes being attained in, and her
conscience satisfied by, the act of giving.  Hence her son Oliver was
not much impressed in youth with the power or value of religion, and
hence he found himself rather put out when his common sense told him, as
it not unfrequently did, that it was his duty sometimes to administer a
dose to the mind as well as to the body.

But Oliver was not like his mother in any respect.  His fire, his
energy, his intellectual activity, and his impulsive generosity he
inherited from his father.  Amiability alone descended to him from his
mother--an inheritance, by the way, not to be lightly esteemed, for by
it all his other qualities were immeasurably enhanced in value.  His
heart had beat in sympathy with the mourners he had just left, and his
manly disposition made him feel ashamed that the lips which could give
advice glibly enough in regard to bandages and physic, and which could
speak in cheery, comforting tones when there was hope for his patient,
were sealed and absolutely incapable of utterance when death approached
or hopeless despair took possession of the sufferer.

Oliver had felt something of this even in his student life, when the
solemnities of sickness and death were new to him; but it was pressed
home upon him with peculiar power, and his manhood was often put to the
blush when he was brought into contact with the Wesleyan Methodism of
West Cornwall, where multitudes of men and women of all grades drew
comfort from the Scriptures as readily and as earnestly as they drew
water from their wells--where religion was mingled with everyday and
household duties--and where many of the miners and fishermen preached
and prayed, and comforted one another with God's Word, as vigorously, as
simply, and as naturally as they hewed a livelihood from the rocks or
drew sustenance from the sea.



One sunny afternoon Mrs Maggot found herself in the happy position of
having so thoroughly completed her round of household work that she felt
at leisure to sit down and sew, while little Grace sat beside her, near
the open door, rocking the cradle.

Baby, in blissful unconsciousness of its own existence, lay sound asleep
with a thumb in its mouth; the resolute sucking of that thumb having
been its most recent act of disobedience.

Little Grace was flushed, and rather dishevelled, for it had cost her
half an hour's hard wrestling to get baby placed in recumbent
somnolence.  She now sought to soothe her feelings by tickling the chin
of the black kitten--a process to which that active creature submitted
with purring satisfaction.

"Faither's long of coming hum, mother," said little Grace, looking up.

"Iss," replied Mrs Maggot.

"D'ee knaw where he is?" inquired Grace.

"No, I doan't," replied her mother.

It was evident that Mrs Maggot was not in the humour for conversation,
so Grace relapsed into silence, and devoted herself to the kitten.

"Is that faither?" said Grace, after a few minutes, pointing to the
figure of a man who was seen coming over the distant moor or waste land
which at that period surrounded the town of St. Just, though the greater
part of it is now cultivated fields.

"It isn' like un," said Mrs Maggot, shading her eyes with her hand;
"sure, it do look like a boatsman."

[The men of the coastguard were called "boatsmen" at that time.]

"Iss, I do see his cutlash," said little Grace; "and there's another man
comin' down road to meet un."

"Haste 'ee, Grace," cried Mrs Maggot, leaping up and plucking her
last-born out of the cradle, "take the cheeld in to Mrs Penrose, an'
bide theer till I send for 'ee--dost a hear?"

Plucked thus unceremoniously from gentle slumber to be plunged headlong
and without preparation into fierce infantine war, was too much for baby
Maggot; he uttered one yell of rage and defiance, which was succeeded by
a lull--a sort of pause for the recovery of breath--so prolonged that
the obedient Grace had time to fling down the horror-struck Chet, catch
baby in her arms, and bear him into the neighbouring cottage before the
next roar came forth.  The youthful Maggot was at once received into the
bosom of the Penrose family, and succeeding yells were smothered by
eight out of the sixteen Penroses who chanced to be at home at the time.

That Mrs Maggot had a guilty conscience might have been inferred from
her future proceedings, which, to one unacquainted with the habits of
her husband, would have appeared strange, if not quite unaccountable.
When baby was borne off, as related, she seized a small keg, which stood
in a corner near the door and smelt strongly of brandy, and, placing it
with great care in the vacant cradle, covered it over with blankets.
She next rolled a pair of stockings into a ball and tied on it a little
frilled night-cap, which she disposed on the pillow, with the face
pretty well down, and the back of the head pretty well up, and so
judiciously and cleverly covered it with bedclothes that even Maggot
himself might have failed to miss his son, or to recognise the outlines
of a keg.  A bottle half full of brandy, with the cork out, was next
placed on the table to account for the odour in the room, and then Mrs
Maggot sat down to her sewing, and rocked the cradle gently with her
foot, singing a sweet lullaby the while.  Ten minutes later, two stout
men of the coastguard, armed with cutlasses and pistols, entered the
cottage.  Mrs Maggot observed that they were also armed with a pick and

"Good-hevenin', missus; how dost do?" said the man who walked foremost,
in a hearty voice.

"Good-hevenin', Eben Trezise; how are _you_?" said Mrs Maggot.

"Braave, thank 'ee," said Trezise; "we've come for a drop o' brandy,
missus, havin' heard that you've got some here, an' sure us can smell

"Why, iss, we've got wan small drop," said Mrs Maggot, gently arranging
the clothes on the cradle, "that the doctor have order for the cheeld.
You're welcome to a taste of it, but plaise don't make so much noise,
for the poor cheeld's slaipin'."

"He'll be smothered, I do think, if you don't turn his head up a bit,
missus," said the man; "hows'ever you've no objection to let Jim and me
have a look round the place, I dessay?"

Mrs Maggot said they were welcome to do as they pleased, if they would
only do it quietly for the sake of the "cheeld;" so without more ado
they commenced a thorough investigation of the premises, outside and in.
Then they went to the smithy, where Mrs Maggot knew her husband had
concealed two large kegs of smuggled liquor on the hearth under a heap
of ashes and iron debris, but these had been so cleverly, yet
carelessly, hidden that the men sat down on the heap under which they
lay, to rest and wipe their heated brows after their fruitless search.

"Hast 'ee found the brandy?" inquired Mrs Maggot, with a look of
innocence, when the two men returned.

"Not yet," replied Eben Trezise; "but we've not done.  There's a certain
shaft near by that has got a bad name for drinkin', missus; p'raps you
may have heard on it?  Its breath do smell dreadful bad sometimes."

Both men laughed at this, and winked to each other, while Mrs Maggot
smiled, and, with a look of surprise, vowed that she had not heard of
the disreputable shaft referred to.

Despite her unconcerned look, however, Mrs Maggot felt anxious, for she
was aware that her husband had recently obtained an unusually large
quantity of French brandy and tobacco from the Scilly Islands, between
which and the coasts of Cornwall smuggling was carried on in a most
daring and extensive manner at the time of our story, and she knew that
the whole of the smuggled goods lay concealed in one of those numerous
disused shafts of old mines which lie scattered thickly over that part
of the country.  Maggot's absence rendered her position still more
perplexing, but she was a woman of ready wit and self-reliance, and she
comforted herself with the knowledge that the brandy lay buried far down
in the shaft, and that it would take the boatsmen some time to dig to
it--that possibly they might give up in despair before reaching it.

While the men went off to search for the shaft, and while Mrs Maggot
was calmly nursing her spirited little baby, Maggot himself, in company
with his bosom friend John Cock, was sauntering slowly homeward along
the cliffs near Kenidjack Castle, the ruins of which occupy a bold
promontory a little to the north of Cape Cornwall.  They had just come
in sight of the tin-mine and works which cover Nancharrow valley from
the shore to a considerable distance inland, where stand the tall
chimneys and engine-houses, the whims and varied machinery of the
extensive and prolific old tin-mine named Wheal Owles.

The cliffs on which the two men stood are very precipitous and rugged--
rising in some places to a height of about 300 feet above the rocks
where the waters of the Atlantic roll dark and deep, fringing the coast
with a milky foam that is carried away by the tide in long streaks, to
be defiled by the red waters which flow from Nancharrow valley into
Porth Ledden Cove.

This cove is a small one, with a narrow strip of sand on its shore.  At
its northern extremity is a deep narrow gorge, into which the waves
rush, even in calm weather, with a peculiar sound.  In reference to this
it is said that the waves "buzz-and-go-in," hence the place has been
named Zawn Buzzangein.  The sides of the Zawn are about sixty feet high,
and quite precipitous.  In one part, especially, they overhang their
base.  It was here that Maggot and his friend stopped on their way home,
and turned to look out upon the sea.

"No sign o' pilchers yet," observed Maggot, referring to the immense
shoals of pilchards which visit the Cornish coasts in the autumn of each
year, and form a large portion of the wealth of the county.

"Too soon," replied John Cock.

"By the way, Jack," said Maggot, "wasn't it hereabouts that the schooner
went ashore last winter?"

"Iss, 'twor down theer, close by Pullandeese," replied the other,
pointing to a deep pool in the rocks round which the swell of the
Atlantic broke in white foam.  "I was theere myself.  I had come down
'bout daylight--before others were stirring, an' sure 'nuff there she
lay, on the rocks, bottom up, an' all the crew lost.  We seed wan o'
them knackin' on the rocks to the north, so we got ropes an' let a man
down to fetch un up, but of coorse it was gone dead."

"That minds me, Jack," said Maggot, "that I seed a daw's nest here the
last time I come along, so lev us go an' stroob that daw's nest."

"Thee cusn't do it," said John Cock.

Maggot laughed, and said he not only could but would, so he ran down to
the neighbouring works and returned with a stout rope, which he fixed
firmly to a rock at the edge of the overhanging cliff.

We have already said that Maggot was a noted madcap, who stuck at
nothing, and appeared to derive positive pleasure from the mere act of
putting his life in danger.  No human foot could, by climbing, have
reached the spot where the nest of the daw, or Cornish chough, was
fixed--for the precipice, besides being perpendicular and nearly flat,
projected a little near the top, where the nest lay in a crevice
overhanging the surf that boiled and raged in Zawn Buzzangein.  Indeed,
the nest was not visible from the spot where the two men stood, and it
could only be seen by going round to the cliffs on the opposite side of
the gorge.

Without a moment's hesitation Maggot swung himself over the edge of the
precipice, merely cautioning his comrade, as he did so, to hold on to
the rope and prevent it from slipping.

He slid down about two yards, and then found that the rock overhung so
much that he was at least six feet off from the crevice in which the
young daws nestled comfortably together, and no stretch that he could
make with his legs, long though they were, was sufficient to enable him
to get on the narrow ledge just below the nest.  Several times he tried
to gain a footing, and at each effort the juvenile daws--as yet ignorant
of the desperate nature of man--opened their little eyes to the utmost
in undisguised amazement.  For full five minutes Maggot wriggled and the
daws gazed, and the anxious comrade above watched the vibrations and
jerks of the part of the rope that was visible to him while he listened
intently.  The bubbles on Zawn Buzzangein, like millions of watery eyes,
danced and twinkled sixty feet below, as if in wonder at the object
which swung wildly to and fro in mid-air.

At last Maggot managed to touch the rock with the extreme point of his
toe.  A slight push gave him swing sufficient to enable him to give one
or two vigorous shoves, by which means he swung close to the side of the
cliff.  Watching his opportunity, he planted both feet on the narrow
ledge before referred to, stretched out his hands, pressed himself flat
against the rock, let go the rope, and remained fast, like a fly
sticking to a wall.

This state of comparative safety he announced to his anxious friend
above by exclaiming,--"All right, _John--I've_ got the daws."

This statement was, however, not literally true, for it cost him several
minutes of slow and careful struggling to enable him so to fix his
person as to admit of his hands being used for "stroobing" purposes.  At
length he gained the object of his ambition, and transferred the
horrified daws from their native home to his own warm but unnatural
bosom, in which he buttoned them up tight.  A qualm now shot through
Maggot's heart, for he discovered that in his anxiety to secure the daws
he had let go the rope, which hung at a distance of full six feet from
him, and, of course, far beyond his reach.

"Hullo!  John," he cried.

"Hullo!" shouted John in reply.

"I've got the _daws_," said Maggot, "but I've lost the _rope_!"

"Aw! my dear," gasped John; "have 'ee lost th' rope?"

It need scarcely be said that poor John Cock was dreadfully alarmed at
this, and that he eagerly tendered much useless advice--stretching his
neck the while as far as was safe over the cliff.

"I say, John," shouted Maggot again.

"Hullo!" answered John.

"I tell 'ee what: I'm goin' to jump for th' rope.  If I do miss th'
rope, run thee round to Porth Ledden Cove, an' tak' my shoes weth 'ee;
I'll be theere before 'ee."

Having made this somewhat bold prediction, Maggot collected all his
energies, and sprang from his narrow perch into the air, with arms and
hands wildly extended.  His effort was well and bravely made, but his
position had been too constrained, and his foothold too insecure, to
admit of a good jump.  He missed the rope, and, with a loud cry, shot
like an arrow into the boiling flood below.

John Cock heard the cry and the plunge, and stood for nearly a minute
gazing in horror into Zawn Buzzangein.  Presently he drew a deep sigh of
relief, for Maggot made his appearance, manfully buffeting the waves.
John watched him with anxiety while he swam out towards the sea, escaped
the perpendicular sides of the Zawn, towards which the breakers more
than once swept him, doubled the point, and turned in towards the cove.
The opposite cliffs of the gorge now shut the swimmer out from John's
view, so he drew another deep sigh, and picking up his comrade's shoes,
ran round with all his might to Porth Ledden Cove, where, true to his
word, having been helped both by wind and tide, Maggot had arrived
before him.

"Are 'ee safe, my dear man?" was John's first question.

"Iss," replied Maggot, shaking himself, "safe enough, an' the daws too,
but semmen to me they've gone dead."

This was too true.  The poor birds had perished in their captor's bosom.



Having accomplished the feat narrated in the last chapter Maggot
proceeded with his friend towards the town.  On their way they had to
pass the mouth of an old shaft in which both of them chanced to be much
interested at that time, inasmuch as it contained the produce of a
recent smuggling expedition on a large scale, consisting of nearly a
hundred tubs of brandy.  The liquor had been successfully brought ashore
and concealed in the mine, and that night had been fixed on for its
removal.  Mules had been provided, and about fifty men were appointed to
meet at a certain spot, at a fixed hour, to carry the whole away into
the neighbouring towns.

Maggot and his comrade began to converse about the subject that was
uppermost in their minds, and the former increased his pace, when John
Cock drew his attention to the fact that the sun was getting low.

"The boys will be mustering now," said John, "an' them theere daws have
kep' us late enough already."

"They do say that the boatsmen are informed about the toobs," observed

"More need to look alive," said John.

"Hallo!" exclaimed Maggot suddenly; "there's some wan in the shaft!"

He pointed to a neighbouring mound of rubbish, on which, just as he
spoke, a man made his appearance.

Without uttering a word the smugglers sauntered towards the mound,
assuming a careless air, as though they were passing that way by chance.
On drawing near they recognised Ebenezer Trezise, the coastguard-man.

"Good-hevening, sur," said Maggot; "semmen as if you'd found a keenly

"Why, iss, we've diskivered a noo vein," said Trezise with a sly smile,
"and we're sinkin' a shaft here in the hope o' raisin' tin, or

"Ha! hope you'll let John an' me have a pitch in the noo bal, won't
'ee?" said Maggot with a laugh.

"Oh, cer'nly, cer'nly," replied the boatsman; "if you'll lend us a hand
to sink the shaft.  You appear to have been in the water, and 'twill
warm 'ee."

"No, thank 'ee," replied Maggot; "I've bin stroobin' a daw's nest under
cliff, an' I fell into the say, so I'm goin' hum to dry myself, as I'm
afeared o' kitchin' cold, being of a delikit constitootion.  But I'll
p'raps lend thee a hand afterwards."

Maggot nodded as he spoke, and left the place at a slow saunter with his
comrade, followed by the thanks and good-wishes of the boatsman, who
immediately returned to the laborious task of clearing out the old

"They've got the scent," said Maggot when out of earshot; "but we'll do
'em yet.  Whenever thee gets on the leeside o' that hedge, John, do 'ee
clap on all sail for Balaswidden, where the boys are waitin', an' tell
'em to be ready for a call.  I'll send Zackey, or wan o' the child'n to

John went off on his errand the moment he was out of sight of the
boatsmen, and Maggot walked smartly to his cottage.

"Owld ooman," he said, commencing to unbutton his wet garments, "do 'ee
git ready a cup o' tay, as fast as you can, lass; we shall have company

"Company!" exclaimed Mrs Maggot in surprise; "what sort o' company?"

"Oh! the best, the best," said Maggot with a laugh; "boatsmen no less--
so look sharp.  Zackey booy, come here."

Zackey put down the unfortunate black kitten (which immediately sought
comfort in repose) and obeyed his father's summons, while his mother,
knowing that her husband had some plot in his wise head, set about
preparing a sumptuous meal, which consisted of bread and butter, tea and
fried mackerel, and Cornish pasty.

"Zackey, my son," said Maggot while he continued his toilet.

"Iss, father."

"I want 'ee to come down to the owld shaft with me, an' when I give 'ee
the ward cut away as hard as thee legs can spank to Balaswidden, an'
fetch the lads that are theere to the owld shaft.  They knaw what to do,
but tell 'em to make so little noise as they can.  Dost a hear, my son?"

"Iss, faither," replied Zackey, with a wink of such profound meaning
that his sire felt quite satisfied he was equal to the duty assigned

"Now, doan't 'ee wag tongue more than enough," continued Maggot; "and go
play with the chet till I'm ready."

The urchin at once descended like a thunderbolt on the black kitten, but
that marvellous animal had succeeded in snatching five minutes' repose,
which seemed to be amply sufficient to recruit its energies, for it
began instantly to play--in other words to worry and scratch the boy's
hand--with the utmost glee and good-humour.

In a few minutes Maggot and his son went out and hastened to the old
shaft, where they found the boatsmen still hard at work with pick and
shovel clearing away the rubbish.

"You haven't found a bunch o' copper yet, I dessay?" said Maggot with a

"No, not yet, but we shan't be long," replied Eben Trezise with a
knowing smile.

"It's warm work," observed Maggot, as he looked down the hole, and saw
that what the boatsman said was true, and that they would not be long of
reaching the spot where the liquor had been concealed.

Trezise admitted that it _was_ warm work, and paused to wipe his heated

"I wish we had a drop o' water here," he said, looking up.

"Ha!" exclaimed Maggot; "not much chance o' findin' water in _that_
hole, I do think--no, nor brandy nuther."

"Not so sure o' that," said Trezise, resuming his work.

"Now, et _is_ a shame to let 'ee die here for want of a drop o' water,"
said Maggot in a compassionate tone; "I'll send my booy hum for some."

The boatsmen thanked him, and Zackey was ordered off to fetch a jug of
water; but his father's voice arrested him before he had gone a hundred

"Hold on a bit, my son.--P'raps," he said, turning to Trezise, "you'd
come up hum with me and have a dish o' tay?  Missus have got it all

The invitation appeared to gratify the boatsmen, who smiled and winked
at each other, as though they thought themselves very clever fellows to
have discovered the whereabouts of a hidden treasure, and to be
refreshed in the midst of their toil by one whom they knew to be a noted
smuggler, and whom they strongly suspected of being concerned in the job
they were at that time endeavouring to frustrate.  Throwing down their
tools they laughingly accepted the invitation, and clambered out of the

"Now's your time," whispered Maggot with a nod to his hopeful son, and
then added aloud--

"Cut away, Zackey booy, an' tell mother to get the tay ready.  Run, my
son, let us knaw what thee legs are made of."

"He's a smart lad," observed Trezise, as Zackey gave his father an
intelligent look, and dashed away at the top of his speed.

"Iss, a clever cheeld," assented Maggot.

"Bin down in the mines, I dessay?" said Trezise.

"Iss, oh iss; he do knaw tin," replied Maggot with much gravity.

In a few minutes the two coastguard-men were seated at Mrs Maggot's
well-supplied board, enjoying the most comfortable meal they had eaten
for many a day.  It was seasoned, too, with such racy talk, abounding in
anecdote, from Maggot, and such importunate hospitality on the part of
his better half, that the men felt no disposition to cut it short.
Little Grace, too, was charmingly attentive, for she, poor child, being
utterly ignorant of the double parts which her parents were playing,
rejoiced, in the native kindliness of her heart, to see them all so
happy.  Even the "chet" seemed to enter into the spirit of what was
going on, for, regardless of the splendid opportunity that now presented
itself of obtaining repose to its heart's content, that black ball of
concentrated essence of mischief dashed wildly about the floor and up
the bed-curtains, with its back up and its tail thickened, and its green
eyes glaring defiance at everything animate, inanimate, or otherwise,
insomuch that Maggot made sundry efforts to quell it with the
three-legged stool--and Mrs Maggot followed suit with a dish-clout--but
in vain!

Meanwhile, men and mules and horses were converging by many paths and
lanes towards the old shaft, and the shaft itself was apparently endued
with the properties of a volcano, for out of its mouth issued a
continuous shower of dust and stones, while many stalwart arms laid bare
the mine beneath, and tossed up the precious "tubs" of brandy.

Before the pleasant little tea-party in Maggot's cottage broke up the
whole were scattered abroad, and men and mules and horses sped with
their ill-gotten gains across the furze-clad moors.

"Sure it's early to break up," said Maggot, when the boatsmen at last
rose to take their leave; "there's no fear o' the bunches o' copper
melting down there, or flyin' away."

"There's no saying," replied Eben Trezise; "you've heerd as well as we
of lodes takin' the bit in their teeth an' disappearing--eh?"

"Well, iss, so they do sometimes; I'll not keep 'ee longer;
good-hevenin' to 'ee," said Maggot, going outside the door and wishing
them all manner of success as they returned to the old shaft.

Reader, shall we follow the two knowing fellows to that shaft?  Shall we
mark the bewildered expression of amazement with which they gazed into
it, and listen to the wild fiendish laugh of mingled amusement and wrath
that bursts from them in fitful explosions as the truth flashes into
their unwilling minds?  No; vice had triumphed over virtue, and we deem
it a kindness to your sensitive nature to draw a veil over the scene of
her discomfiture.



Somewhere in the vicinity of that magnificent piece of coast scenery in
West Cornwall, known by the name of Gurnard's Head, there sauntered, one
fine afternoon, a gentleman of tall, commanding aspect.  All the parts
of this gentleman were, if we may so speak, _prononce_.  Everything
about him savoured of the superlative degree.  His head and face were
handsome and large, but their size was not apparent because of the
capacity of his broad shoulders and wide chest.  His waist was slender,
hair curly and very black, only to be excelled by the intense blackness
of his eyes.  His nose was prominent; mouth large and well shaped;
forehead high and broad; whiskers enormous; and nostrils so large as to
appear dilated.  He was a bony man, a powerful man--also tall and
straight, and a little beyond forty.  He was to all appearance a hero of
romance, and his mind seemed to be filled with romantic thoughts, for he
smiled frequently as he gazed around him from the top of the cliffs on
the beautiful landscape which lay spread out at his feet.

Above him there were wild undulating slopes covered with rich green
gorse; below were the cliffs of Gurnard's Cove, with rocky projections
that resemble the castellated work of man's hand, and intermingled
therewith much of the _materiel_ connected with the pilchard fishery,
with masses of masonry so heavy and picturesque as to resemble Nature's
handiwork.  Beyond lay the blue waters of the Atlantic, which at that
time were calm almost as a mill-pond, studded with a hundred sails, and
glittering in sunshine.

The spot appeared a beautiful solitude, for no living thing was visible
save the romantic gentleman and a few seagulls and sheep.  The pilchard
fishery had not yet commenced, and the three or four fishermen who
pitched and repaired their boats on the one little spot of sand that
could be seen far below on that rugged coast appeared like mice, and
were too far distant to break the feeling of solitude--a feeling which
was not a little enhanced by the appearance, on a spot not far distant,
of the ruined engine-house of a deserted mine.

It was indeed a lovely afternoon, and a beautiful scene--a very
misanthrope would have gazed on it with an approach at least to
benignity.  No wonder that George Augustus Clearemout smiled on it so
joyously, and whisked his walking-cane vigorously in the exuberance of
his delight.

But, strange to say, his smile was always brightest, and the cane
flourished most energetically, when he turned his eyes on the ruined
mine!  He even laughed once or twice, and muttered to himself as he
looked at the picturesque object; yet there seemed nothing in its
appearance calculated to produce laughter.  On the contrary, there were
those alive whom the sight of it might have reduced to tears, for, in
its brief existence, it had raised uncommonly little tin or copper,
although it had succeeded in sinking an immense amount of gold!
Nevertheless Mr Clearemout chuckled every time he looked at the ruin,
and appeared very much tickled with the thoughts to which it gave rise.

"Yes! the very thing! capital!" he muttered to himself, turning again
and again to the object of his admiration, "couldn't be better--ha! ha!
most suitable; yes, it will do for 'em, probably it will _do_ 'em--do
'em," (he repeated the phrase two or three times with a greater display
of white teeth at each utterance of it), "a most superb name--Wheal
Do-em--ha! ha!  Spell it with two o's to make it look more natural, and
ensure correct pronunciation--Wheal Dooem--nothing could be finer, quite
candid and above-board--no one can call it a swindle."

This last idea caused Mr Clearemout to break into the loudest laugh in
which he had hitherto indulged, and he was about to repeat it, when the
appearance of a phaeton at a turn of the carriage road reduced him to

The vehicle contained a party of ladies and gentlemen from St. Just,
among whom were Rose Ellis, Mrs Donnithorne and her husband, Oliver
Trembath, and Mr William Grenfell, a gentleman of property in the

As it approached the spot where Mr Clearemout stood, the horse swerved
at a sheep which started out from behind a furze bush, and then backed
so rapidly that the hind-wheels were on the point of passing over the
edge of the road, when the tall stranger sprang to its head, and led it
gently forward.

The danger was not great, for the road at the place was elevated little
above the sward, but it was sufficiently so to warrant a profusion of
thanks from the occupants of the vehicle, and a pressing invitation to
Mr Clearemout to join the picnic party then and there assembling.

"You see, we're not all here," said Mr Donnithorne, bustling about
energetically, as he pulled baskets and bottles from the body of the
vehicle, while Oliver assisted the ladies to alight; "there's another
machineful coming, but we have lots of grub for all, and will only be
too glad of your company, Mr--Mr--what did you say?"

"Clearemout," interposed that gentleman, with a bow and a bland smile
that quite took Mr Donnithorne by storm.

"Ah, yes, glad to have you, Mr Clearemout; why, our necks might all
have been broken but for you.  Rose, my dear, do look after this basket.
There--thanks--how hot it is, to be sure!  Mr Clearemout--Mr
Grenfell; no introduction--only to let you know his name--my wife--
niece, Rose--Oliver Trembath, and all the rest; there, dispense with
ceremony on a picnic always.  That's the chief fun of it."

While the lively old gentleman ran on thus, and collected the baskets
together, Mr Grenfell, who was a tall, gentlemanly man of about sixty,
with a grave, aristocratic countenance and polite manner, assured Mr
Clearemout that he was happy to make the acquaintance of a man who had
rendered them such opportune service, whereupon Mr Clearemout declared
himself to be fortunate in being present at such a juncture, and
protested that his service was a trifle in itself, although it had led
to an introduction which was most gratifying.  Then, turning with much
urbanity of manner to the ladies, he entered into conversation with

"Here they come!" shouted old Mr Donnithorne, as another carriage drove

"The rest of our party," said Mr Grenfell, turning to Mr Clearemout;
"friends from St. Just."

The carriage stopped as he spoke, and a number of ladies and gentlemen
descended therefrom, and mingled their congratulations at the narrow
escape which had just been made, with thanks to the dark stranger, and
with orders, questions, counter-orders, and explanations innumerable,
about baskets to be carried and places to be selected.

The picnic, we need scarcely say, very much resembled picnics in
general.  All were in good spirits--elated with the splendour of the
day, the beauty of the views, and the freshness of the sea-breeze that
sprang up soon after their arrival.  The only one whose feelings were
not absolutely unruffled was Oliver Trembath.  That youth was afflicted
with an unaccountable dislike to the dark stranger which rendered him
somewhat uncomfortable.  As for the stranger, he made himself extremely
agreeable--told anecdotes, sang songs, and became an immaculate waiter
on the whole company, handing about plates, glasses, knives, etcetera,
etcetera, as deftly as if he were dealing a pack of cards.  Above all,
he was a good listener, and not only heard other people's stories out to
the end, but commented on them as one who had been interested.  With all
this, he was particularly attentive to Rose Ellis, but so guarded was he
that no one noticed the attentions as being peculiar except Rose
herself, and Oliver Trembath, who, for the first time in his life, to
his great surprise and displeasure, felt the demon of jealousy
tormenting his breast.

But in the midst of all this, Mr George Augustus Clearemout displayed
an insatiable curiosity in regard to mines and miners.  Whatever might
be the subject of conversation for the time, he invariably took the
first opportunity of returning to his favourite theme with one or
another of the party, as occasion served.

Ashamed of the feelings which troubled him, Oliver Trembath resolved to
take the bold and manly step of stifling them, by making himself
agreeable to the object of his dislike.  Accordingly, he availed himself
of an opportunity when the party broke up into groups to saunter about
the cliffs, and entered into converse with the stranger on the subject
of mines.

"You appear to take much interest in mining, I think," said he, as they
walked out on the promontory together.

"I do indeed," replied Clearemout; "the mines of Cornwall have ever been
a subject of deep interest to me, and the miners I regard as a race of
men singularly endowed with courage and perseverance."

"Your opinion of them is correct," said Oliver.  "Have you ever seen
them at work?"

"No, I have only just arrived in the county, but I hope to visit the
mines ere long."

"When you do," said Oliver with enthusiasm, "your opinion of them will
be strengthened, for their endurance underground, and their perseverance
in a species of labour which taxes their muscular power as well as their
patience to the uttermost, surpasses anything I have either seen or
heard of.  England does not fully appreciate, because she is not
minutely acquainted with, the endurance and courage of her Cornish
miners.  The rocks through which they have to cut are so hard and
unyielding that men who had not been trained from childhood to subdue
them would lose heart altogether at the weight of toil and the small
return for it.  Sometimes, indeed, miners are fortunate, and here, as
elsewhere, lucky hits are made, but for the most part their gains are
barely sufficient for their wants; and whether they are lucky or unlucky
in that respect, the toil is always hard--so hard that few of them
retain health or strength sufficient to go underground beyond the age of
forty-five, while hundreds of them find an early grave, owing to disease
resulting from their peculiar work, or to accidents.  These last are
usually occasioned by the bursting out of collections of water which
flood the mines, or the fall of masses of timber, or the premature
explosion of blast-holes.  At other times the men lose hold of the
ladders--`fall away' from them, as they express it--or stumble into a
winze, which is a small shaft connecting level with level, in which
latter case death is almost certain to ensue, many of the winzes being
sixty feet deep.  In St. Just you will see many poor fellows who have
been blinded or maimed in the mines.  Nevertheless Cornish miners are a
contented, uncomplaining race of men, and Cornwall is justly proud of

"I am much interested in what you tell me," said Clearemout; "in fact I
have come here for the purpose of making inquiry into mines and mining

"Then you will find this to be the very place for you," said Oliver.
"My uncle, Mr Donnithorne, and Mr Grenfell, and Mr Cornish are
intimately acquainted with mining in all its phases, and will, I am
certain, be happy to give you all the information in their power.  As to
the people of St. Just and its neighbourhood, you will find them most
agreeable and hospitable.  I can speak from personal experience,
although I have only been a short time among them."

"I doubt it not," replied Mr Clearemout with a bland smile; "my own
limited experience goes far to corroborate what you say, and I hope to
have the pleasure of still further testing the truth of your

And Mr George Augustus Clearemout did test their truth for several
weeks after the picnic.  He was received with kindness and hospitality
everywhere; he was taken down into the mines by obliging agents, and was
invited to several of the periodical business dinners, called
"account-dinners," at which he met shareholders in the mines, and had an
opportunity of conversing with men of note and wealth from various parts
of the county.  He dwelt, during his stay, with old Mr Donnithorne,
and, much to the surprise if not pleasure of Rose, proved himself to be
a proficient on the guitar and a good musician.

At length the dark gentleman took his departure for London, whither we
shall follow him, and watch his proceedings for a very short time,
before returning to the principal scene of our tale.

Almost immediately on his arrival in the great city, he betook himself
to the West End, and there, in a fashionable square, solicited an
interview with an old lady, whose principal noteworthy points were that
she had much gold and not much brains.  She was a confiding old lady,
and had, on a previous occasion, been quite won by the insinuating
address of the "charming Mr Clearemout," who had been introduced to her
by a noble lord.

To this confiding old lady George Augustus painted Cornish mines and
mining in the most glowing colours, and recommended her to invest in a
mine a portion of her surplus funds.  The confiding old lady had no
taste for speculation, and was rather partial to the three per cent
consols, but George Augustus was so charmingly persuasive that she could
not help giving in--so George proposed little plans, and opened up
little prospects, and the confiding old lady agreed to all the little
plans without paying much regard to the little prospects.

After this Mr Clearemout paid another visit in another West End
square--this time to a gentleman.  The gentleman was young and noble,
for Clearemout styled him "My lord."  Strange to say he also was of a
confiding nature--very much so indeed--and appeared to be even more
completely under the influence of George Augustus than the confiding old
lady herself.

For the benefit of this young gentleman Mr Clearemout painted the same
picture in the same glowing colours, which colours seemed to grow warmer
as the sun of success rose upon it.  He added something about the value
of a name, and referred to money as being a matter of small consequence
in comparison.  The young lord, like the old lady, agreed to everything
that was proposed to him, except the proposal to advance money.  On that
point he was resolute, but Clearemout did not care much about obtaining
money from the confiding young gentleman.  His name was as good as gold,
and would enable him to screw money out of others.

After this the dark man paid a visit to several other friends at the
West End, all of whom were more or less confiding--some with selfish,
others with unselfish, dispositions--but all, without exception, a
little weak intellectually.  These had the same glowing pictures of a
Cornish mine laid before them, and most of them swallowed the bait
whole, only one or two being content to nibble.

When afternoon began to merge into evening Mr Clearemout paid a last
visit for the day--but not in the West End, rather nearer to the City--
to a gentleman somewhat like himself, though less prepossessing, for
whose benefit he painted no glowing picture of a mine, but to whom he
said, "Come, Jack, I've made a pretty good job of it; let's go and have
a chop.  If your luck has equalled mine the thing is done, and Wheal
Dooem, as I have named the sweet little thing, will be going full swing
in a couple of weeks--costing, perhaps, a few hundreds to put it in
working order, with a trifle thereafter in the shape of wages to a man
and a boy to coal the fire, and keep the thing moving with as much noise
as possible to make a show, and leaving a pretty little balance of some
twenty or thirty thousand at the credit of the Company, for you and me
to enjoy in the meantime--_minus_ a small sum for rent of office,
clerk's salary, gas and coal, etcetera, as long as the bubble lasts."

Thus did this polite scoundrel go about from house to house getting up a
Cornish Mining Company on false pretences (as other polite scoundrels
have done before, and doubtless as others will do again), bringing into
unmerited disrepute those genuine and grand old mines of Cornwall which
have yielded stores of tin and copper, to the enriching of the English
nation, ever since those old-world days when the Phoenicians sailed
their adventurous barks to the "Cassiterides" in quest of tin.

While these things were being done in London, a terrible catastrophe
happened in Botallack mine, which threw a dark cloud for some time over
more than one lowly cottage in St. Just.



One morning, about seven o'clock, George and James, the two fair-haired
sons of poor John Batten of Botallack, started for their work as usual.
They were in high spirits, having obtained a good "pitch" on last
setting-day, and things were looking well.

They put on their underground clothing at the changing-house, and with
several spare candles attached to buttons on the breasts of their coats,
and their tools slung over their shoulders, walked towards the head of
the ladder-shaft.  At the mouth of the shaft they paused for a moment
and glanced round.  The sky was bright, the landscape green, and the sun
lit up many a distant sail on the Atlantic.

"I do wish," said the younger with a slight sigh, "that our work was
more in the sunshine?"

"You'll never be a true miner, Jimmy, if 'ee go hankerin' after the sun
like that," said his brother with a laugh, as he stepped on the ladder
and began to descend.

Jimmy took a last look at the rising sun, and followed him close without
replying.  The lads were soon beyond the reach of daylight.

This was the last they ever saw of earthly sunshine.  In a few minutes
there came a low soft sound up the shaft; it was the lads singing one of
Wesley's beautiful hymns.  They had been taught to sing these by their
mother from their infancy, and usually beguiled the tedium of the long
descent of the ladders by singing one or two of them.

Arrived at their place of work the brothers threw down their tools,
fixed their candles against the walls of the level, and began the labour
of the day.

Other men were in that part of the mine at the time, and the brothers
found that a message had been sent to one of the captains requesting him
to come and examine the place, as the men were becoming uneasy at the
increasing flow of water from the walls.  One miner, named John Nicols,
was "driving an end," that is, extending the level lengthwise, and two
others were "stopeing," or cutting up into the roof in pursuit of a
promising little lode.  They were using hammer and pick in soft ground
when the water trickled through to them.

It was well known that they were approaching an old part of the mine
which had not been worked for thirty years.  The drainage of the ground
was not, however, accurately known, therefore questions had been put to
experienced miners as to the probable condition of this "untapped land."
The answer was that, as far as was known, the old mine was full of
"deads," that is, of rubbish, and that there was therefore, in all
probability, no gathering of water in it.

Just at that moment one of the captains entered the level, accompanied
by Oliver Trembath.  The latter had been called to see a patient near
the mine, and chanced to be with the captain when he was summoned.
Being anxious to see the place, and the nature of the danger that
threatened, he had descended along with him.

Before the captain had time to put a question, and while the men were
still picking cautiously at the soft ground, the flow of water suddenly
increased.  Recognising probable danger, a lad named Oats called to his
father, who was at the "end" of the level with Nicols.  At the same
moment the water forced a gap in the wall three feet long by about half
a foot wide, and burst in upon them with terrific violence.  All turned
and fled.  Oats and his son, with the captain and Nicols, made for the
nearest shaft--which was about eighty yards distant--and escaped, but
the brothers Batten and Oliver were thrown down and swept away.  One
desperate effort was made by Oliver to outstrip the rushing stream; but
the candles had been blown out, and, not stooping sufficiently low, he
dashed his head against an overhanging rock, and fell.  He retained
sufficient consciousness, however, to be aware that a desperate struggle
for life must be made, and, without knowing what he did, or at what he
aimed, he fought with the strength of a giant in thick darkness against
the chaotic flood; but his strength soon gave way, and in a few seconds
he became insensible.

That a terrible catastrophe had occurred was at once known to all the
men in the mine by the roar of the rushing water.  In order that the
reader may clearly understand the situation, it is necessary to explain
that the accident occurred in one of the _upper_ levels, at or near its
extremity.  At the same depth there were many of these underground
passages, running in various directions, and several miles in extent,
some of them being worked, but most of them old and used up--all the ore
having been extracted from them.  At various depths below this level
other levels had been cut--also running in various directions, and of
several miles' extent.  These successive levels were not only connected
and communicated with by the main shafts of the mine, but by "winzes" or
smaller shafts which connected level with level in many places.  Some of
these were used as ladder-ways, but others had been cut merely for the
purpose of securing ventilation.  In many parts of these lower levels
miners were at work--some, in following the course of promising lodes,
"stopeing," or cutting overhead, some cutting downwards, some "driving
ends" or extending the levels, and others sinking winzes to keep up the
ventilation as they pushed further and further from the shafts or
throats, down which flowed the life-giving air.

By all of these men the dreaded sounds above--which reached the
profounder depths with the muffled but deep-toned roar of a distant
storm--were well understood and well heard, for the pent-up waters, in
their irresistible fury, carried before them the pent-up atmosphere, and
sent it through the low and narrow levels as if through the circling
tubes of a monster trumpet, which, mingled with the crash of hurling
timbers, rocks, and debris, created a mighty roar that excelled in
hideous grandeur the prolonged peals of loud thunder.

Every man dropped his tools, and ran to the nearest shaft for his life.
It was not, indeed, probable that the flood would fill all the
wide-extended ramifications of the vast mine, but no one knew for
certain where the catastrophe had occurred, or how near the danger might
be to the spot where he laboured.  Enough for each that death was
dealing terrible destruction somewhere _overhead_, and that, unless
every muscle were strained to the uttermost, the pathway might be filled
up, and his retreat cut off.  The rush was swiftly but not easily made.
Those who have never traversed the levels of a Cornish mine may perhaps
fancy, on hearing of levels six feet high, and about two and a half feet
broad, on the average, that the flight might resemble the rush of men
through the windings and turnings of the intricate passages in a
stupendous old castle.  But it was far otherwise.  The roofs, walls, and
floors of these levels were irregular, not only in direction, but in
height and form.  There was no levelling or polishing-off anywhere.  It
was tunnelling of the roughest kind.  Angles and projections remained as
the chisel, the pick, and the blasting-powder had left them.  Here, the
foot tripped over a lump, or plunged into a hollow; there, the head
narrowly missed a depending mass of rock, or the shoulder grazed a
projecting one.  Elsewhere, pools of water lay in the path, and at
intervals the yawning chasm of a winze appeared, with one or two broken
planks to bridge the gulf, of twenty, forty, or sixty feet, that
descended to the levels below.  Sometimes it was possible to run with
the head stooped a little; generally the back had to be bent low--often
double; and occasionally progress could only be made on hands and
knees,--this, too, with a candle to be guarded from blasts of air or
dripping water, and trimmed, lest it should go out and leave the place
in total darkness.

But long-continued habit and practice had made the men so familiar with
the place, and so nimble in their movements, that they traversed the
levels with wonderful rapidity, and most of them ascended the shaft of
the mine in safety.

Some, however, escaped with the utmost difficulty, and a few there
were--chiefly among those who had been near to or immediately below the
scene of the outbreak--who perished miserably.

At the first rush the water had almost filled the level where it
occurred, and, sweeping onward about eight fathoms to a winze, plunged
down and partly over it.  The greater part, however, went down to the
eighty-five fathom level.  East of this a man named Anguin, with his two
sons, William and James--youths of about twenty years of age--were at
work.  They heard the roar of the approaching torrent, and the father
and younger son James rushed towards the winze, intending to ascend the
ladder.  Before they reached it the flood was pouring down with
deafening noise.  The least harmful part of the cataract was the water,
for the current now carried along with it stones, pieces of timber, and
rubbish.  To encounter all this might have caused the stoutest hearts to
quail, but miners can never calculate the probable extent of an
inundation.  They might, indeed, by remaining in the roof of the level,
escape; but, on the other hand, if the flood should be great enough to
fill the place, they would certainly be drowned.  Father and son,
therefore, preferred to make a desperate effort to save their lives.
They dashed into the flood and made a grasp at the ladder, but before
their hands touched the first round they were beaten down and swept away
dead corpses.  William, on the other hand, climbed to a cross-piece of
timber, where he remained until the water abated, which it did in a very
short time, for events of this kind are for the most part awfully sudden
and brief as well as fatal.  Then, descending, he groped his way in the
dark over the very spot where his father and brother lay dead--fearfully
mutilated and covered with rubbish--and escaped up the shaft.

In a still lower level two brothers were at work.  Miners usually work
in couples--sometimes in larger numbers--and brothers frequently go
together.  They were in a winze about thirty fathoms from the
engine-shaft.  Being overtaken by the flood they were washed _down_, to
the next level, and along it nearly to the shaft.  As the torrent tore
past this place, bearing splintered timber, stones, and rubbish along
with it, an iron wagon was caught up and flung across the level.  This
formed a barricade, against which the brothers were dashed.  The elder
of these brothers was afterwards found alive here, and carried to the
surface; but he was speechless, and died twenty minutes after being
brought up.  When the dead body of the younger and weaker brother was
recovered, it was found to be dreadfully shattered, nearly every bone
being crushed.

In the same level, two men--John Paul and Andrew Teague--hearing the
rush of the advancing torrent above their head, made for a shaft, went
up it against a heavy fall of water, and escaped.

A man named Richard--a powerful man and a cool experienced miner, who
had faced death in almost every form--was at work in one of the lowest
levels with his son William, a youth of twenty-one, and his nephew, a
lad of seventeen, who was the sole support of a widowed mother with six
children.  They were thirty fathoms from one of the winzes down which
the water streamed.  On hearing the roar Richard cautioned the younger
men to be prompt, but collected.  No time was to be lost, but rash haste
might prove as fatal as delay.  He sent them on in front of him, and
they rushed under and past the winze, where they were nearly crushed by
the falling water, and where, of course, their candles were
extinguished, leaving them in midnight darkness.  This last was not so
serious a matter to the elder Richard as, at first sight, it might
appear.  He knew every foot of the ground they had to traverse, with all
its turnings, yawning chasms, and plank bridges, and could have led the
way blindfold almost as easily as with a light.  As they neared the
shaft he passed the younger men, and led the way to prevent them falling
into it.  At this time the water raged round them as high as their
waists.  The nephew, who was weak, in consequence of a fever from which
he had not quite recovered, fell, and, passing the others unobserved,
went down the shaft and was lost.  The escape of Richard and his son was
most wonderful.  William was a stout fellow, but the father much more
so.  They were driven at first into the shaft, but there the fall of
water was so great that they could do nothing more than cling to the
ladder.  By this cataract they were beaten back into the level, but here
the water rose around them so quickly and with such force as to oblige
them to make another effort to ascend.

There was a crevice in the roof of the level here, in which the father
had left part of his supply of candles and a tinder-box.  He succeeded
in reaching these, and in striking a light, which revealed to them the
full horrors of their situation.  It was with difficulty that the candle
could be kept burning by holding it close to the roof under a projecting
piece of rock which sheltered it partially from the dashing spray.

"Let us try again!" shouted the father.

The noise was so great that it was with difficulty they could make each
other hear.

"It's all over with we," cried the son; "let us pray, faither."

The father urged his son, however, to make another effort, as the water
had risen nearly to their waists, and prevailed on him to do so, getting
on the ladder himself first, in order to bear the brunt of the falling
water and thus break its force to his son.  As the water below was now
rising swiftly William only held the light long enough to enable his
father to obtain a secure footing on the ladder, when he dropped it and
followed him.  So anxious was the youth to escape from the danger that
menaced him from below, that he pressed eagerly up against his father.
In doing so, he over-reached the rounds of the ladder on which his
father trod, and, almost at every step, the latter unwittingly planted
his heavy-nailed boots on the son's hands, lacerating them terribly.  To
avoid this was impossible.  So heavy was the descending flood, that it
was only his unusually great strength which enabled the father to
advance slowly up against it.  The son, being partially sheltered by his
father's body, knew not the power against which he had to contend, and,
being anxious to go up faster, pressed too closely on him, regardless,
in his alarm, of the painful consequences.  Masses of stone, wood, and
rubbish, dashed down the shaft and grazed their shoulders, but
providentially none struck them severely.  Thus, slowly and painfully,
did they ascend to a height of eighty-four feet, and were saved.

In another part of the mine, below the level where the accident
occurred, James Penrose, whom we have already introduced to the reader,
was at work with John Cock.  The latter having taken a fancy to try
mining for a time instead of smuggling--just by way of a change--had
joined the former in working a "pitch" in Botallack mine.  These men
were peculiarly situated.  They were in a level which the water entered,
not by flowing along or descending, but, by rising up through a winze.
On hearing the noise they ran to this winze, and, looking down, saw the
water boiling and roaring far below.  They were about to pass on to the
shaft when Penrose observed a dark object moving on the ladder.  It came
slowly up.

"Hallo!  John," cried Penrose, "stay a bit; here's some one on the

John Cock returned, and they both stooped to afford help.  In another
moment Oliver Trembath, drenched and bleeding, and covered with mud,
stood, or rather reeled, before them.  It was evident that he was only
half conscious, and scarcely able to stand.  But they had no time to
speak--scarcely to think--for the water was already boiling up through
the winze like a huge fountain, and filling the level.  They seized
Oliver by the arms and dragged him hastily towards the nearest winze
that led upward.  Here they found water pouring down like rain, and
heard its thunders above them, but the stream was not sufficient to
retard their progress up the winze, which they ascended with comparative
ease.  Penrose and Cock were surprised at this, but the small quantity
of water was soon accounted for by the fact that the hatch or trap-door
of the winze had been closed; and thus, while it prevented the great
body of water above from descending, also effectually shut off the only
way of escape.  They were therefore compelled to descend again to the
level, in which the water was now rising rapidly.

Oliver leaned against the rock, and stood in apathetic silence.  Penrose
tried to rouse him, but failed.  His injuries had rendered him almost in
capable of coherent speech, and his replies showed that his mind was
rambling on the necessity of making haste and struggling hard.

James Penrose, who was a "class-leader" and a local preacher among the
Wesleyans, and mentally much superior to his comrades, now proved beyond
a doubt that his God was to him "a very present help in trouble."  Both
he and Cock knew, or at least believed, that death was certain to
overtake them in a few minutes, for both before and behind retreat was
cut off, and the water was increasing with frightful rapidity.
Observing that Cock looked anxious, Penrose turned and said
earnestly,--"John, you and I shall be dead in a few minutes.

"For myself I have no fear, for my peace is already made with God,
through Jesus Christ--blessed be His name--but, oh!  John, you do know
that it is not so with you.  Turn, John, turn, even now, to the Lord,
who tells you that `though thy sins be as scarlet they shall be as white
as snow,' and that `_now_ is the day of salvation,' if you will only
repent, and believe on Him!"

"Pray for un, James," said Cock, whose face betrayed his fears.

Penrose at once clasped his hands, and, closing his eyes, prayed for his
comrade with such fervour that his voice rose loud and strong above the
turmoil of the flood.  He was still engaged in prayer when the water
drove them from the level, and compelled them to re-ascend the winze.
Here John Cock began to pray for himself in agonising tones.  By this
time Oliver had partially recovered, and suggested that they should
ascend the winze to the top.  Penrose assured him that it was useless to
do so; but, while he was still speaking, he observed that the water
ceased to rise, and began quickly to abate.  In fact, all that we have
taken so long to describe--from the outburst to the termination of the
great rush--took place within half an hour.

The noise overhead now grew less and less, until it almost ceased.  They
then ascended to the trap-door and tried to force it open, but failed.
They shouted, however, and were heard, ere long, by those who had
escaped and had returned to the mine to search for their less fortunate
companions.  The trap-door was opened, strong and willing hands were
thrust down the dark winze to the rescue, and in a few seconds the three
men were saved.

The danger was past--but several lives had been lost in the terrible



That was a sad day in St. Just which followed the event related in the
last chapter.  Many a heart-broken wail was heard round the mouths of
the shafts, as the remains of those who perished were brought to the
surface, and conveyed to their former homes.

Saddest of all perhaps was the procession that marched slowly to the
cottage of blind John Batten, and laid the two fair-haired lads before
their stricken parents.  Tears were wrung from the strongest men there
when they beheld the agonised but tearless mother guide her husband's
hand to their faces that he might for the last time feel the loved ones
whom, she said in the bitterness of her grief, "he should never see

"Never see more, dear lass!" he replied with a sad smile, "how can thee
say so?  Shall we not behold their dear faces again when we see our
blessed Lord face to face?"

Thus the Christian miner comforted himself and his sorrowing family.

It is right to add that such catastrophes are not of frequent occurrence
in the mines.  The danger of "holing to a house of water," is so great
and so well known that the operation is usually conducted with great
care, and accident is well guarded against.

Nevertheless, an occasional act of carelessness will now and then result
in a terrible disaster.  A catastrophe, similar in all its chief
features to that which has been related in the last chapter, happened in
North Levant mine many years ago, and in the burying-ground of the
Wesleyan Chapel of St. Just may be seen a tombstone, which bears record
of the sad event as follows:--

  _Sacred to the memory of_ JAMES, _aged_ 20, _and_ JOHN, _aged_ 15
  _years, sons of James and Nanny Thomas of Bollowall, in this Parish,
  who were drowned (with three others) by the holing to a house of water
  in North Levant Mine on the first of April_ 1867.

A "house" of much larger dimensions, and containing a much greater body
of water than that which caused the latest destruction of life in North
Levant mine, was cleared of water not long ago in Botallack.  The agents
knew of its existence, for, the whole region both above and below ground
being measured off and planned, they could lay their finger on the exact
spot where they knew that an old mine existed.  They kept a large borer,
six feet long, going constantly before them as they cut their way
towards the point of danger.  The result was that when the borer at last
pierced through to the old mine, there were six feet of solid rock
between them and the water.  Through the small hole the water flowed,
and thus the mine was slowly but safely drained.  In the other case, the
ground happened to be soft, and had been somewhat recklessly cut away.

Of course, there are occasions--proving the truth of the proverb that
"accidents will happen in the best regulated families"--in which neither
foresight nor precaution can prevent evil; but these are comparatively
few.  Sometimes the cupidity of a miner will lead him, for the sake of
following a rich lode, to approach too near and too recklessly to
danger, despite the vigilance of captains, and cause considerable risk
to the mine as well as to themselves.  Such was the case once long ago
at Botallack, when the miners below the sea cut away the rock to within
three or four feet of the water, and actually made a small hole through
so that they had to plug it up with a piece of wood.

This is a fact which we can vouch for, having seen the plug, and heard
the boulders rattling loudly over our head with each successive wave;
but there is no danger here, because the cutting under the sea is
narrow, and the rock solid and intensely hard.

Such also was the case, not many years since, at Levant mine, where the
men working in the levels under the sea drove upwards until the salt
water began to trickle through to them in alarming quantities--insomuch
that the other miners struck work, and refused to go again into the
mine, unless the workings in that part were stopped, and the place made
secure.  This was accordingly done, and the men returned to the mine.
The danger here was really great, because the cutting that had been made
was wide, and the ground overhead comparatively soft.

But, to return to our tale.

For many days after the catastrophe Oliver Trembath lay in his bed
suffering from severe cuts and bruises, as well as from what must have
been, as nearly as possible, concussion of the brain, for he had
certainly been washed down one of the winzes, although he himself
retained only a confused recollection of the events of that terrible
day, and could not tell what had befallen him.  At length, however, he
became convalescent, and a good deal of his old vigour returned.

During this period of illness and convalescence Oliver had been
constrained by old Mr Donnithorne to take up his abode in his house,
and the young doctor could not have experienced more attention and
kindness from the old couple if he had been their son.  Rose Ellis, too,
did her best to cheer him, and, as we need scarcely add, was wonderfully
successful in her efforts!

It was during this period that Oliver made the acquaintance of a young
man of St. Just, named Charles Tregarthen--a congenial spirit--and one
who was, besides, a thorough gentleman and an earnest Christian.  With
this youth he formed a sincere friendship, and although the subject of
religion was never obtrusively thrust upon him by young Tregarthen, it
entered so obviously into all his thoughts, and shone so clearly in his
words and conduct, that Oliver's heart was touched, and he received
impressions at that time which never left him.

Oliver and his friend were sitting one forenoon in Mr Donnithorne's
dining-room, which commanded an extensive view of green fields and
grass-covered stone walls, with the beams and machinery of mines on the
horizon, and the blue sea beyond.  They were planning a short walking
tour, which it was thought would be of great benefit to Oliver in that
stage of his recovery, when old Mr Donnithorne entered the room with a
somewhat perturbed expression of countenance.

"How are you, Charlie my boy?" he said.  "Oliver, I want to have a few
minutes' talk with you in my room on business; I know Charlie will
excuse you."

"I was on the point of taking leave at any rate," said Tregarthen with a
smile, as he grasped Oliver's hand; "think over our plan, like a good
fellow; I am sure Mr Donnithorne will approve of it, and I'll look in
to-morrow forenoon to hear what decision you come to."

"Oliver," said Mr Donnithorne, sitting down opposite the invalid when
his friend had left, and frowning portentously, "d'you know I'm a ruined

"I trust not, uncle," replied Oliver with an incredulous smile,
supposing that the old gentleman was jesting.

"Yes, but I am," he repeated with tremendous gravity.  "At all events, I
shall be ere long.  These--these--vile jewels will be the death of me."

Having thus broken the ice Mr Donnithorne went on with much volubility
of utterance and exasperation of tone to explain that legal proceedings
had been instituted for the recovery of the jewels which he had
purchased from the fishermen; that things seemed almost certain to go
against him; and that in all probability he should be compelled to sell
his estate in order to refund the money.

"But can you not sell your shares in Botallack and refund with the
proceeds?" said Oliver.

"No, I cannot," replied the old gentleman.  "You know that at present
these shares are scarcely saleable except at a ruinous discount, and it
would be a pity to part with them just now, seeing that there is some
hope of improvement at this time.  There is nothing for it but to sell
my estate, and I don't think there will be enough left to buy butter to
my bread after this unhappy affair is settled, for it amounts to some
thousands of pounds."

"Indeed, uncle! how comes it that they found out the value of them?"

"Oh, simply enough, Oliver, but strangely too.  You must know that
Maggot, the scoundrel (and yet not such a scoundrel either, for the
fellow informed on me in a passion, without having any idea of the
severity of the consequences that would follow),--Maggot, it seems, kept
the cloth belt in which the jewels were found tied round the owner's
waist, and there happened to be a piece of parchment sewed up in the
folds of it, in which the number and value of the jewels were
enumerated.  This belt was ferreted out by the lawyers, and the result
is that, as I said before, I shall be a ruined man.  Verily," added Mr
Donnithorne, with a look of vexation, as he stumped up and down the room
with his hands thrust deep into his breeches pockets, "verily, my wife
was a true prophetess when she told me that my sin would be sure to find
me out, and that honesty was the best policy.  'Pon my conscience, I'm
half inclined to haul down my colours and let her manage me after all!"

"I am much concerned at what you tell me," said Oliver, "and I regret
now very deeply that the few hundreds which I possessed when I came
here--and which you know are all my fortune--have also been invested in
Botallack shares, for they should have been heartily at your service,

"Don't trouble yourself about your hundreds, lad," said the old
gentleman testily; "I didn't come here to ask assistance from you in
that way, but to tell you the facts of the case, and ask you to do me
the favour to carry a letter to my lawyer in Penzance, and inquire into
the condition of a mine I have something to do with there--a somewhat
singular mine, which I think will surprise as well as interest you; will
you do this, for me, lad?"

"Most willingly," replied Oliver.  "You heard my friend Charlie
Tregarthen speak of our intention to go on a walking tour for a couple
of days; now, if you have no objection, he and I will set off together
without delay, and make Penzance our goal, going round by the Land's End
and the coast."

"So be it, Oliver, and don't hurry yourselves, for the business will
wait well enough for a day or two.  But take care of yourself, lad;
don't go swimming off the Land's End again, and above all things avoid
smugglers.  The scoundrels! they have been the ruin of me, Oliver.  Not
bad fellows in their way either, but unprincipled characters--
desperately regardless of the national laws; and--and--keep clear of
'em, I advise you strongly--have nothing to do with 'em, Oliver, my

So saying the old gentleman left the room, shaking his head with
profound gravity.



Next day Oliver Trembath and his friend Charles Tregarthen, before the
sun had mounted his own height above the horizon, were on their way to
the Land's End.

The young men were admirably suited to each other.  Both were well
educated, and possessed similar tastes, though their temperaments were
dissimilar, and both were strong athletic youths--Oliver's superiority
in this latter respect being at that time counterbalanced by his recent
illness, which reduced him nearly to a level with his less robust

Their converse was general and desultory until they reached the Land's
End, on the point of which they had resolved to breakfast.

"Now, Oliver, we have purchased an appetite," said Tregarthen, throwing
down a wallet in which he carried some provisions; "let us to work."

"Stay, Charlie, not here," said Oliver; "let us get out on the point,
where we shall have a better view of the cliffs on either side of the
Land's End.  I love a wide, unobstructed view."

"As you will, Oliver; I leave you to select our table, but I pray you to
remember that however steady your head may have been in days of yore
when you scaled the Scottish mountains, the rough reception it has met
with in our Cornish mines has given it a shake that renders caution

"Pshaw!  Charlie, don't talk to me of caution, as if I were a timid old

"Nay, then, I talk of it because you are _not_ a timid old woman, but a
reckless young man who seems bent on committing suicide.  Yonder is a
grassy spot which I think will suit you well."

He pointed to a level patch of sward on the neck of land that connects
the outlying and rugged promontory which forms the extreme Land's End
with the cliffs of the mainland.  Here they spread their meal, and from
this point they could see the cliffs and bays of the iron-bound shore
extending on the one hand towards Cape Cornwall, and on the other
towards that most romantic part of the coast known by the somewhat
curious name of Tolpedenpenwith, where rocks and caverns are found in
such fantastic fashion that the spot has become justly celebrated for
picturesque grandeur.  At their feet, far below, the great waves (caused
by the swell, for there was no wind) boomed in solemn majesty,
encircling the cliffs with a lace-work of foam, while on the horizon the
Scilly Islands could be seen shimmering faintly.  A bright sun shone on
the unruffled sea, and hundreds of ships and boats lay becalmed on its

"'Tis a splendid scene!" said Oliver, sitting down beside his friend.

"It is indeed, and reminds me of the sea of glass before the great white
throne that we read of in Revelation.  It is difficult to imagine or to
believe that the peaceful water before us, lying between this spot and
the Scilly Islands yonder, was once a land full of verdure and life--yet
such tradition tells us was the case."

"You mean, I suppose, the fabled land of Lionesse?" said Oliver.

"Yes; you have heard the story of its destruction, I suppose?"

"Not I," said Oliver, "so if you have a mind to tell it me while I
satisfy the cravings of an unusually sharp appetite I'll consider you a
most obliging fellow.  Pass me the knuckle of ham--thanks--and the
bread; now go ahead."

"'Tis a romantic story," said Tregarthen.

"All the better," replied Oliver.

"And terrible," added Tregarthen.

"It won't spoil my appetite," said his friend.

"Well, then, I'll tell it--to the best of my ability."  The youth then
began the following legend, pausing ever and anon during the narration
to swallow a piece of bread or a mouthful of cold tea, which constituted
the principal elements of their frugal meal.

"You must know that, once upon a time, long, long ago, in those ancient
days before Norman or Dane had invaded this land, while Britain still
belonged to the British, and King Arthur held his court in Tintagel's
halls, there was a goodly land, named Lethowsow or the Lionesse,
extending a distance of thirty miles between this cape and yonder
shadowy islets which seem to float like cirrus clouds on the horizon.
It is said that this land of Lionesse was rich and fertile, supporting
many hundreds of families, with large flocks and herds.  There were no
fewer than forty churches upon it, from which it follows that there must
have been a considerable population of well-doing people there.

"About the time of the events which I am going to narrate, King Arthur's
reign was drawing to a close.  Treason had thinned the ranks of the once
united and famous knights of the Round Table.  It is true that Sir Kaye,
the seneschal, remained true, and Sir Ector de Mans, and Sir Caradoc,
and Sir Tristram, and Sir Lancelot of the Lake, of whom it was said that
`he was the kindest man that ever struck with sword; and he was the
goodliest person that ever rode among the throng of knights; and he was
the meekest man, and the gentlest, that did ever eat in hall among
ladies; and he was the sternest knight to his mortal foe that ever laid
lance in rest.'  But many seats at the Round Table that once were filled
by brave warriors had become empty, and among these, that of Prince
Mordred, who, it was rumoured, meant to declare open war against his
royal cousin and benefactor.

"One night King Arthur sat at the Round Table in Tintagel Castle with
his knights gathered round him, and Queen Guenever with her maidens by
his side.  At the beginning of the feast the king's brow was clouded,
for, although there was no lack of merriment or song, there was a want
of the free-hearted courtesy and confidence of former days.  Still the
semblance of unabated good-fellowship was kept up, and the evening
passed in gaiety until its close, when the king rose to retire.  Taking
in his hand a golden cup to pledge his guests, he was about to drink,
when a shudder passed through his frame, and he cast the goblet away,
exclaiming, `It is not wine, but blood!  My father Merlin is among us,
and there is evil in the coming days.  Break we up our court, my peers!
It is no time for feasting, but rather for fasting and for prayer.'

"The king glanced with a dark frown at the chair of his kinsman Mordred,
but it was not empty!  A strange, indistinct, shadowy form rested on it.
It had no human shape, but a dreadful outline of something unearthly.
Awe-struck and silent, the company at once broke up.

"On the following day, news of Mordred's revolt arrived at Tintagel
Castle, and day after day fresh rumours reached it of foes flocking in
numbers to the rebel standard.  The army increased as it advanced, but,
strange to say, King Arthur showed no disposition to sally forth and
meet the traitor.  It seemed as if his brave heart had quailed at last,
and his good sword Excalibur had lost its magic virtue.  Some thought
that he doubted the fidelity of those who still remained around him.
But, whatever the cause might have been, King Arthur made no
preparation, and indicated no feeling or intention.  He lay still in his
castle until the rebels had approached to the very gates.  There was
something terrible in this mysterious silence of the king, which had a
tendency to overawe the rebels as they drew near, and remembered that
they were about to match themselves against warriors who had grown old
in fellowship with victory.

"When the main body of the invaders appeared, the great bell of the
fortress at last rang out a stirring peal, and before the barbican the
trumpets sounded to horse.  King Arthur then with his knights and
men-at-arms, the best warriors of Britain, arose and sallied forth to
fight in their last battle.

"Next evening a broken band of horsemen alone remained to tell of the
death of their king and the destruction of all their hopes.  They
numbered several hundreds, but their hacked armour, jaded steeds, and
gaping wounds told that they were unfit to offer battle to any foe.
They were in full flight, bearing a torn banner, still wet with the
blood of King Arthur; yet they fled unwillingly, as men who were unused
to retreat, and scarce knew how to comport them in the novel
circumstances.  Their course was in the direction of the Lionesse, the
tract of country called in the Cornish tongue Lethowsow.  On they
dashed, without uttering a word, over the bleak moors before them.
Sometimes they halted to drink at a spring or tighten their girths, and
occasionally a man fell behind from sheer exhaustion.  At night they
encamped, after a hard ride of thirty miles.  Next morning the flight
was resumed, but the vindictive Mordred still thundered on in pursuit.
Ere long they heard a trumpet sounding in their rear, and King Arthur's
men halted for a few minutes, with the half-formed design of facing the
foe and selling their lives dearly.  While they paused in gloomy
irresolution, gazing sternly on the advancing host, whose arms flashed
back the rays of the morning sun, a mist rose up between them and their
foes.  It was a strange shadowy mist, without distinct form, yet not
without resemblance to something ghostly.  The knights at once
recognised it as the shade of Merlin, the Great Wizard!  Slowly the
cloud uprose between the pursuers and pursued, effectually protecting
the latter; nevertheless, although baffled, the former did not give up
the chase.

"At last Mordred reached a lofty slope, from the top of which he
descried his enemies retreating across the land of Lionesse.  Mad with
rage, he descended to the plain, where soft sunlight shone through
luxuriant glades and across the green pastures, gladdening the hearts of
man and beast.  Nature was all peaceful, and gloriously beautiful, but
Mordred's eyes saw it not, his heart felt not the sweet influences.  The
bitterness induced by hatred and an evil conscience reigned within, as
he urged his steed furiously onward.

"Suddenly a terrible change occurred in the atmosphere, which became
oppressively sultry and horrible, while low muttering thunders were
heard, and heavings of the earth felt.  At the same time the cloud
gradually condensed in front of Mordred, and, assuming a distinct form,
stood before him in the person of Merlin the Wizard.  For a few seconds
they stood face to face, frowning on each other in awful silence.  Then
Merlin raised his arm, and immediately the thunders and confused
mutterings increased, until the earth began to undulate and rend as if
the foundations of the world were destroyed.  Great fissures appeared,
and the rocks welled up like the waves of the sea.  With a cry of agony
the pursuers turned to fly.  But it was too late.  Already the earth was
rent into fragments; it upheaved convulsively for a few seconds; then
sank beneath the level of the deep, and the ocean rushed wildly over the
land, leaving nothing behind to mark the spot where land had been, save
the peaked and barren rocks you see before you, with the surge beating
continually around them."

"A most extraordinary tale, truly," said Oliver.  "Do you believe it has
any foundation?"

"I believe not the supernatural parts of it, of course," replied
Tregarthen; "but there is _something_ in the fact that the land of
Cornwall has unquestionably given up part of its soil to the sea.  You
are aware, I suppose, that St. Michael's Mount, the most beautiful and
prominent object in Mounts Bay, has been described as `a hoare rock in a
wood,' about six miles from the sea, although it now stands in the bay;
and this idea of a sunken land is borne out by the unquestionable fact
that if we dig down a few feet into the sand of the shore near Penzance,
we shall come on a black vegetable mould, full of woodland _detritus_,
such as branches, leaves of coppice wood, and nuts, together with
carbonised roots and trunks of forest trees of larger growth; and these
have been found as far out as the lowest tide would permit men to dig!
In addition to this, portions of land have been overwhelmed by the sea
near Penzance, in the memory of men now alive."

"Hum!" said Oliver, stretching out his huge limbs like a giant basking
in the sunshine, "I dare say you are correct in your suppositions, but I
do not profess to be an antiquary, so that I won't dispute the subject
with you.  At the same time, I may observe that it does seem to me as if
there were a screw loose somewhere in the historical part of your
narrative, for methinks I have read, heard, or dreamt, that King Arthur
was Mordred's uncle, not his cousin, and that Mordred was slain, and
that the king was the victor, at the fatal field of Camelford, although
the victory was purchased dearly--Arthur having been mortally wounded
and carried back to Tintagel to die there.  But, of course, I won't
pretend to doubt the truth of your narrative because of such trifling
discrepancies.  As to the encroachment of the sea on the Cornish coast,
and the evidences thereof in Mounts Bay, I raise no objection thereto,
but I cannot help thinking that we want stronger proof of the existence
of the land of Lionesse."

"Why, Oliver," said Tregarthen, laughing, "you began by saying that you
would not dispute the subject with me, and in two minutes you have said
enough to have justified a regular attack on my part, had I been so
disposed.  However, we have a long road before us, so I must protest
against a passage of arms just now."

Having finished breakfast, the two friends proceeded along the coast a
few miles to Tolpedenpenwith.  Here, in the midst of the finest scenery
on the coast, they spent the greater part of the day, and then proceeded
to Penberth Cove, intending to secure a lodging for the night, order
supper, and, while that was in preparation, pay a visit to the famous
Logan Rock.

Penberth Cove is one of the prettiest little vales in the west of
Cornwall.  It is enriched with groups of trees and picturesque cottages,
and possesses a luxuriant growth of shrubs and underwood, that almost
conceals from view the streamlet, which is the chief cause of its

There were also, at the time we write of, one or two houses which,
although not public inns, were open for the entertainment of travellers
in a semi-private fashion.  Here, therefore, our excursionists
determined to put up for the night, with the widow of a fisherman who
had perished in a storm while engaged in the herring fishery off the
Irish coast.  This good woman's chief physical characteristic was
rotundity, and her prominent mental attribute good-humour.  She at once
received the gentlemen hospitably, and promised to prepare supper for
them while they went to visit the far-famed Logan or Logging Rock, which
lay in the vicinity.

This rock is one of those freaks of nature which furnish food for
antiquaries, points of interest to strangers, and occupation to guides.
Every one who goes to the Land's End must needs visit the Logan Rock, if
he would "do" the country properly; and if our book were a "Guide to
Cornwall," we should feel bound to describe it with much particularity,
referring to its size, form, weight, and rocking quality, besides
enlarging on the memorable incident in its career, when a wild officer
of the navy displaced it from its pivot by means of seamen and crowbars,
and was thereafter ordered to replace it (a herculean task, which he
accomplished at great cost) on pain of we know not what penalties.  But,
as we make no pretensions to the important office of a guide, we pass
this lion by, with the remark that Oliver and his friend visited it and
rocked it, and then went back to Penberth Cove to sup on pilchards,
after which followed a chat, then bed, sound sleep, daybreak and
breakfast, and, finally, the road to Penzance, with bright sunshine,
light hearts, and the music of a hundred larks ringing in the sky.



"What a splendid country for a painter of cliffs!" observed Oliver, as
the friends walked briskly along; "I wonder much that our artists do not
visit it more frequently."

"Perhaps they find metal more attractive nearer home," replied
Tregarthen; "all the world has not fallen so violently in love with
furze-clad moorland and rugged sea-cliffs as you seem to have done.
Besides, the country is somewhat remote.  Mayhap when a railway runs
into it, which will doubtless be the case before many years pass by, we
shall see knights of the brush pitching their white tents on the Land's
End; meanwhile we have a few promising young men of our own who bid fair
to rival the great Opie himself.  You have heard of him, of course?"

"I have heard of him indeed, and seen some of his works, but I'm ashamed
to confess that, having left Cornwall when very young, and been a
dweller in the far north of the kingdom ever since, I have only known
the facts that he was a celebrated Cornish artist, and became the
President of the Royal Academy.  Can you tell me anything of his
personal history?"

"Not much, but I can give you a brief outline of his career.  John Opie
was the son of a carpenter of St. Agnes, near Truro, and was discovered
and extracted, like a `bunch' of rich ore, from the midst of the
tin-mines, by Dr Wolcot--who was celebrated under the name of Peter
Pindar.  The doctor first observed and appreciated Opie's talent, and,
resolving to bring him into notice, wrote about him until he became
celebrated as the `Cornish Wonder.'  He also introduced people of note
to the artist's studio in London, many of whom sat for their portraits.
These gave so much satisfaction that the reputation of the `Cornish
Wonder' spread far and wide, and orders came pouring in upon him,
insomuch that he became a rich man and a Royal Academician, and
ultimately President of the Academy.  He married an authoress, and his
remains were deposited in St. Paul's Cathedral, near to those of Sir
Joshua Reynolds.  I have heard my grandfather say that he met him once
in the town of Helston, and he described him as somewhat rough and
unpolished, but a sterling, kind-hearted man."

"Did he paint landscape at all?" inquired Oliver.

"Not much, I believe.  He devoted himself chiefly to portraits."

"Well, now," said Oliver, looking round him; "it strikes me that this is
just the country for a landscape painter.  There is nowhere else such
fine cliff scenery, and the wild moors, which remind me much of
Scotland, are worthy of being sketched by an able brush."

"People have curiously different opinions in reference to the moors
which you admire so much," said Tregarthen.  "A clergyman who lived and
wrote not very long ago, came to Cornwall in search of the picturesque,
and he was so disappointed with what he termed a barren, desolate
region, that he stopped suddenly on the road between Launceston and
Bodmin, and turned his back on Cornwall for ever.  As might be expected,
such a man gave a very false idea of the country.  On the other hand, a
more recent writer, commenting on the first, speaks of his delight--
after having grown somewhat tired of the almost too rich and
over-cultivated scenery of Kent--on coming to what he styled `a sombre
apparition of the desert in a corner of green England,' and dwells with
enthusiasm on `these solitudes, and hills crowned with rugged rocks,
classical heaths and savage ravines, possessing a character of desolate
grandeur.'  But this writer did more.  He travelled through the country,
and discovered that it possessed other and not less beautiful features;
that there were richly clothed vales and beautiful rivulets, cultivated
fields and prolific gardens, in close proximity to our grand cliffs and

"He might have added," said Oliver, "that plants and flowers flourish in
the open air here, and attain to a size, and luxuriance which are rare
in other parts of England.  Why, I have seen myrtles, laurels, fuchsias,
pomegranates, and hortensias forming hedges and growing on the windows
and walls of many houses.  To my mind Cornwall is one of the finest
counties in England--of which Flora herself has reason to be proud, and
in which fairies as well as giants might dwell with much delight."

"Spoken like a true Cornishman!" said Tregarthen, laughing; "and in
regard to the fairies I may tell you that we are not without a few of
them, although giants confessedly preponderate."

"Indeed!" said Oliver; "pray whereabouts do they dwell?"

"You have heard of the Gump, I suppose?"

"What! the barren plain near Carn Kenidjack, to the north of St. Just?"

"The same.  Well, this is said to be a celebrated haunt of the pixies,
who have often led benighted travellers astray, and shown them wonderful
sights.  Of course one never meets with any individual who has actually
seen them, but I have frequently met with those who have assured me they
had known others who had conversed with persons who had seen fairies.
One old man, in particular, I have heard of, who was quite convinced of
the reality of a fairy scene which he once witnessed.

"This old fellow was crossing the Gump one evening, by one of the
numerous paths which intersect it.  It was summer-time.  The sun had
gone down beyond the sea-line, and the golden mists of evening were
merging into the quiet grey that hung over the Atlantic.  Not a breath
of wind passed over land or sea.  To the northward Chun Castle stood
darkly on the summit of the neighbouring hill, and the cromlech loomed
huge and mysterious; southward were traces of mystic circles and upright
stones, and other of those inexplicable pieces of antiquity which are
usually saddled on the overladen shoulders of the Druids.  Everything,
in fact--in the scene, the season, and the weather--contributed to fill
the mind of the old man with romantic musings as he wended his way over
the barren moor.  Suddenly there arose on the air a sound of sweet, soft
music, like the gentle breathings of an Aeolian harp.  He stopped and
gazed around with looks of mingled curiosity and surprise, but could see
nothing unusual.  The mysterious sounds continued, and a feeling of
alarm stole over him, for twilight was deepening, and home was still far
distant.  He attempted to advance, but the music had such a charm for
him that he could not quit the spot, so he turned aside to discover, if
possible, whence it came.  Presently he came to a spot where the turf
was smoother and greener than elsewhere, and here the most wonderful and
enchanting scene met his gaze.  Fairies innumerable were before him;
real live fairies, and no mistake.  Lying down on the grass, the old man
crept cautiously towards them, and watched their proceedings with deep
interest.  They were evidently engaged in the pleasant occupation of
holding a fair.  There were stalls, tastefully laid out and decorated
with garlands of flowers.  On these were spread most temptingly all the
little articles of fairy costume.  To be sure the said costume was very
scanty, and to all appearance more picturesque than useful; nevertheless
there was great variety.  Some wore heath-bells jauntily stuck on their
heads; some were helmeted with golden blossoms of the furze, and looked
warlike; others had nothing but their own luxuriant hair to cover them.
A few of the lady fairies struck the old man as being remarkably
beautiful, and one of these, who wore an inverted tulip for a skirt,
with a small forget-me-not in her golden hair, seemed to him the very
picture of what his old Molly had been fifty years before.  It was
particularly noticeable that the stalls were chiefly patronised by the
fairy fair sex, with the exception of one or two which were much
frequented by the men.  At these latter, articles were sold which
marvellously resembled cigars and brandy, and the old man declared that
he saw them smoke the former, and that he smelt the latter; but as he
had himself been indulging a little that evening in smuggled spirits and
tobacco, we must regard this as a somewhat ungenerous statement on his
part, for it is ridiculous to suppose that fairies could be such
senseless creatures as to smoke or drink!  They danced and sang,
however, and it was observed that one young man, with a yellow night-cap
and a bad cold, was particularly conspicuous for his anxiety to be
permitted to sing.

"The music was naturally the great attraction of the evening.  It
consisted of a large band, and although some of the performers used
instruments made of reeds, and straws, and other hollow substances, cut
into various forms and lengths, most of them had noses which served the
purpose of musical instruments admirably.  Indeed, the leader of the
band had a prolongation of the nose so like to a flesh-coloured
clarionet, that it might easily have been mistaken for the real thing,
and on this he discoursed the most seraphic music.  Another fairy beside
him had a much longer nose, which he used as a trombone with great
effect.  This fellow was quite a character, and played with such
tremendous energy that, on more than one occasion, he brought on a fit
of sneezing, which of course interrupted the music, and put the
clarionet in a passion.  A stout old misshapen gnome, or some such
creature, with an enormous head, served for the big drum.  Four fairies
held him down, and a fifth belaboured his head with a drumstick.  It
sounded wonderfully hollow, and convinced the old man that it was
destitute of brains, and not subject to headache.

"All the time that the old man gazed at them, troops of fairies
continued to arrive, some on the backs of bats, from which they slipped
as they whirred past; others descending, apparently, on moonbeams.  The
old man even fancied that he saw one attempting to descend by a
starbeam, which, being apparently too weak to support his weight, broke,
and let him down with a crash into the midst of a party who were very
busy round a refreshment stall, where a liberal supply of mountain dew
was being served out; but the old man never felt quite sure upon this
point, for, at sight of the mountain dew, he felt so thirsty that he
determined to taste it.  Fixing his eyes on the stall, he suddenly threw
his hat into the midst of the party, and made a dash at it; but, to his
intense disappointment, the vision was instantly dispelled, and nothing
was to be seen on the spot but a few snails creeping over the wet grass,
and gossamer threads bespangled with dewdrops."

"A very pretty little vision," exclaimed Oliver, "and not the first that
has been prematurely dispelled by too ardent a pursuit of strong drink!
And now, Charlie, as you appear to be in the vein, and we have still
some distance to go, will you tell me something about the giants, and
how it came to pass that they were so fond of roaming about Cornwall?"

"Their fondness for it, Oliver, must be ascribed to the same cause as
your own--just because it is a lovable place," said Tregarthen;
"moreover, being a thinly-peopled county, they were probably not much
disturbed in their enjoyment of it.  To recount their surprising deeds
would require a longer space of time than is just now at our disposal,
but you have only to look round, in passing through the country, to
understand what a mighty race of men they were.  There are `giants'
quoits,' as you know, without end, some of which have the marks of the
fingers and thumbs with which they grasped them.  Their strength may be
estimated by the fact that one of these quoits is no less than forty
feet long and twenty wide, and weighs some hundreds of tons.  It would
puzzle even your strong arm to toss such a quoit!  One of these giants
was a very notable fellow.  He was named `Wrath,' and is said to have
been in the habit of quenching his thirst at the Holy Well under St.
Agnes's Beacon, where the marks of his hands, made in the solid granite
while he stooped to drink, may still be seen.  This rascal, who was well
named, is said to have compelled poor St. Agnes, in revenge for her
refusing to listen to his addresses, to carry in her apron to the top of
Beacon Hill the pile of stones which lies there.  But here we are at
Penzance, so we shall have done with fiction for the present, and revert
to matters of fact.  You have business with a lawyer, I believe, and I
have business for a short time with a friend.  Let us appoint a time and
place of meeting."

"What say you to the Wherry Mine at two o'clock?" said Oliver.  "It is
probable that my business will be concluded by that time, when we can go
and see this mine together.  My uncle seems to set great store by it,
because of an old prophecy to the effect that some day or other it will
enrich somebody!"

"Why, that prophecy has been fulfilled long ago," said Tregarthen, with
a laugh.  "The mine was a bold undertaking, and at one time paid well,
but I fear it won't do so again.  However, let us meet there; so
farewell, old boy, till two."



True to their appointment, young Tregarthen and Oliver Trembath met at
the western end of the town of Penzance, close to the sea-beach, where a
mass of buildings and a chimney indicated the position of the Wherry

Oliver's countenance betrayed anxiety as he came forward.

"Nothing wrong, I hope?" said Tregarthen.

"Well, I can't say exactly that things are wrong; but, at the same time,
I don't know that they are altogether right."

"Much the same thing," said Tregarthen, smiling; "come, Oliver, unbosom
yourself, as novelists say.  It will do you good, and two heads, you
know, are better than one."

"It's not easy to unbosom myself, old fellow," returned Oliver, with a
troubled look; "for my poor uncle's affairs are in a perplexed
condition, and I hate explanations, especially when I don't understand
the nature of what I attempt to explain, so we'll not talk about it,
please, till after our visit to the mine.  Let it suffice to say that
that notorious smuggler Jim Cuttance is concerned in it, and that we
must go to Newlyn this afternoon on a piece of business which I shall
afterwards disclose.  Meanwhile, where is this mine?"

"Lift up your eyes and behold," said Tregarthen, pointing to an object
which was surrounded by the sea, and stood above two hundred yards from
the beach.

"What! that martello-tower-like object?" exclaimed Oliver in much

"Even so," replied Tregarthen, who thereupon proceeded to give his
friend a history and description of the mine--of which the following is
the substance:--

At the western extremity of the sea-beach at Penzance there is a reef of
sunken rocks which shows its black crest above water at low tide.  It
was discovered that this reef contained tin, and the people of the town
attacked it with hammers and chisels, when each receding tide left it
exposed, as long as the seasons would permit, until the depth became
unmanageable.  After having been excavated a few fathoms the work was

Fortunately for the progress of this world there exist a few
enterprising men whom nothing can discourage, who seem to be spurred on
by opposition, and to gather additional vigour and resolution from
increasing difficulties.  These men are not numerous, but the world is
seldom without a few of them; and one made his appearance in Penzance
about the end of last century, in the person of a poor miner named
Thomas Curtis.  This man conceived the bold design of sinking a shaft
through this water-covered rock, and thus creating a mine not only
_under_, but _in_ the sea.

With the energy peculiar to his class he set to work.  The distance of
the rock from the beach was about two hundred and forty yards; the depth
of water above it at spring tides about nineteen feet.  Being exposed to
the open sea, a considerable surf is raised on it at times by the
prevailing winds, even in summer; while in winter the sea bursts over
with such force as to render all operations on it impossible.

That Curtis was a man of no common force of character is obvious from
the fact that, apart from the difficulties of the undertaking, he could
not expect to derive any profit whatever from his labour for several
years.  As the work could only be carried on during the short period of
time in which the rock was above water, and part of this brief period
must necessarily be consumed each tide in pumping out the water in the
excavation, it of course progressed slowly.  Three summers were consumed
in sinking the pump-shaft.  After this a framework, or caisson, of stout
timber and boards, was built round the mouth of the shaft, and rendered
watertight with pitch and oakum.  It rose to a height of about twelve
feet above the surface of the sea, and was strengthened and supported by
stout bars, or buttresses of timber.  A platform was placed on the top,
and a windlass, at which four men could work, was fixed thereon.  This
erection was connected with the shore by a stage or "wherry" erected on
piles.  The water was cleared out; the men went "underground," and, with
the sea rolling over their heads, and lashing wildly round the turret
which was their only safeguard from terrible and instant destruction,
they hewed daily from the submarine rock a considerable portion of tin.

These first workers, however, had committed an error in carrying on
their operations too near the surface, so that water permeated freely
through the rock, and the risk of the pressure above being too great,
for it rendered the introduction of immense supporting timbers
necessary.  The water, too, forced its way through the shaft during the
winter months, so that the regular working of the mine could not be
carried on except in summer; nevertheless, this short interval was
sufficient to enable the projector to raise so much ore that his mine
got the reputation of being a profitable adventure, and it was wrought
successfully for many years.

About the end of the century the depth of the pump-shaft was about four
fathoms, and the roof had been cut away to the thinness of three feet in
some places.  Twelve men were employed for two hours at the windlass in
hauling the water, while six others were "teaming" from the bottom into
the pump.  When sufficient water had been cleared away the men laboured
at the rock for six hours--in all, eight hours at a time.  The prolific
nature of the mine may be gathered from the fact that in the space of
six months ten men, working about one tenth of that time--less than
three weeks--broke about 600 pounds worth of ore.  During one summer
3,000 pounds worth of tin was raised!

A steam-engine was ultimately attached to the works, and the mine was
sunk to a depth of sixteen fathoms, but the expense of working it at
length became so great that it was abandoned--not, however, before ore
to the amount of 70,000 pounds had been raised from under the sea!

At the time of our tale another effort had been made to work the Wherry
Mine, and great expectations had been raised, but these expectations
were being disappointed.  Our unfortunate friend Mr Donnithorne was
among the number of those who had cause to regret having ventured to
invest in the undertaking, and it was to make inquiries in regard to
certain unfavourable rumours touching the mine that Oliver Trembath had
been sent to Penzance.

After inspecting Wherry Mine the two friends walked along the shore
together, and Oliver explained the nature of the difficulties in which
his uncle was involved.

"The fact is, Charlie," he said, "an old fish-purchaser of Newlyn named
Hitchin is one of the principal shareholders in this concern.  He is as
rich, they say, as Croesus, and if we could only prevail on him to be
amiable the thing might be carried on for some time longer with every
hope of a favourable result, for there can be no doubt whatever that
there is plenty of tin in the mine yet, and the getting of it out is
only a question of time and capital."

"A pretty serious question--as most speculators find," said Tregarthen,
laughing; "you appear to think lightly of it."

"Well, I don't pretend to know much about such matters," replied Oliver,
"but whatever may be the truth of the case, old Hitchin refuses to come
forward.  He says that he is low in funds just now, which nobody seems
to believe, and that he owes an immense sum of money to Jim Cuttance,
the smuggler, for what, of course, he will not tell, but we can have no
difficulty in guessing.  He says that Cuttance is pressing him just now,
and that, therefore, he cannot afford to advance anything on the mine.
This being the case it must go down, and, if it does, one of the last
few gleams of prosperity that remain to my poor uncle will have
fluttered away.  This must be prevented, if possible, and it is with
that end in view that I purpose going to Newlyn this afternoon to see
Hitchin and bring my persuasive powers to bear on him."

"H'm, not of much use, I fear," said Tregarthen.  "Hitchin is a tough
old rascal, with a hard heart and a miserly disposition.  However, it
may be worth while to make the attempt, for you have a very oily tongue,

"And you have an extremely impudent one, Charlie.  But can you tell me
at what time the mackerel boats may be expected this evening, for it
seems the old fellow is not often to be found at home during the day,
and we shall be pretty sure to find him on the beach when the boats

Thus appealed to, Tregarthen cast a long look at the sea and sky.

"Well, I should say, considering the state of the tide and the
threatening appearance of the sky, we may expect to see them at six
o'clock, or thereabouts."

"That leaves us nearly a couple of hours to spare; how shall we spend
it?" said Oliver.

"Go and have a look at this fine old town," suggested Tregarthen.  "It
is worth going over, I assure you.  Besides the town hall, market,
museum, etcetera, there are, from many points of the surrounding
eminences, most superb views of the town and bay with our noble St.
Michael's Mount.  The view from some of the heights has been said by
some visitors to equal that of the far-famed Bay of Naples itself."

"Part of this I have already seen," said Oliver, "the rest I hope to
live to see, but in the meantime tin is uppermost in my mind; so if you
have no objection I should like to have a look at the tin-smelting
works.  What say you?"

"Agreed, by all means," cried Tregarthen; "poor indeed would be the
spirit of the Cornishman who did not feel an interest in tin!"



There is something grand in the progress of a mechanical process, from
its commencement to its termination.  Especially is this the case in the
production of metals, nearly every step in the course of which is marked
by the hard, unyielding spirit of _vis inertiae_ on the one hand, and
the tremendous power of intelligence, machinery, and manual dexterity on
the other.

Take, for example, the progress of a mass of tin from Botallack.

Watch yonder stalwart miner at work, deep in the bowels of the mine.
Slowly, with powerful blows, he bores a hole in the hard rock.  After
one, two, or three hours of incessant toil, it is ready for the powder.
It is charged; the match is applied; the man takes shelter behind a
projection; the mass is rent from its ancient bed, and the miner goes
off to lunch while the smoke is clearing away.  He returns to his work
at length, coughing, and rubbing his eyes, for smoke still lingers
there, unable, it would seem, to find its way out; and no wonder, lost
as it is in intricate ramifications at the depth of about one thousand
five hundred feet below the green grass!  He finds but a small piece of
ore--perhaps it is twice the size of his head, it may be much larger,
but, in any case, it is an apparently poor return for the labour
expended.  He adds it, however, to the pile at his side, and when that
is sufficiently large fills a little iron wagon, and sends it up "to
grass" through the shaft, by means of the iron "kibble."  Here the large
pieces of ore are broken into smaller ones by a man with a hammer; as
far as the inexperienced eye can distinguish he might be breaking
ordinary stones to repair the road!  These are then taken to the

Those who have delicate nerves would do well to keep as far as possible
from the stamps of a tin-mine!  Enormous hammers or pounders they are,
with shanks as well as heads of malleable-iron, each weighing, shank and
head together, seven hundredweight.  They are fearful things, these
stamps; iron in spirit as well as in body, for they go on for ever--
night and day--wrought by a steam-engine of one hundred horse-power, as
enduring as themselves.  The stamps are so arranged as to be
self-feeders, by means of huge wooden troughs with sloping bottoms, into
which the ore is thrown in quantities sufficient to keep them constantly
at work without requiring much or constant attendance.  Small streams of
water trickle over the ore to keep it slowly sliding down towards the
jaws, where the stamps thunder up and down alternately.  A dread power
of pounding have they, truly; and woe be to the toe that should chance
to get beneath them!

The rock they have to deal with is, as we have said, uncommonly hard,
and it enters the insatiable mouth of the stamps about the size of a
man's fist, on the average, but it comes out from these iron jaws so
exceeding fine as to be incapable of thickening the stream of
reddish-yellow water that carries it away.  The colour of the stream is
the result of iron, with which the tin is mingled.

The particles of tin are indeed set free by the stamps from solid
bondage, but they are so fine as to be scarcely visible, and so
commingled with other substances, such as iron, copper, sulphur,
etcetera, that a tedious process of separation has yet to be undergone
before the bright metal can be seen or handled.

At the present time the stream containing it is poured continuously on
several huge wooden tables.  These tables are each slightly raised in
the centre where the stream falls, so that all the water runs off,
leaving the various substances it contains deposited on the table, and
these substances are spread over it regularly, while being deposited, by
revolving washers or brushes.

Tin, being the heaviest of all the ingredients contained in the stream,
falls at once to the bottom, and is therefore, deposited on the head or
centre of the table; iron, being a shade lighter, is found to lodge in a
circle beyond; while all other substances are either spread over the
outer rim or washed entirely away.  When the tables are full--that is,
coated with what appears to be an earthy substance up wards of a foot in
depth--the rich tin in the centre is carefully cut out with shovels and
placed in tubs, while the rest is rewashed in order that the tin still
mingled with it may be captured--a process involving much difficulty,
for tin is so very little heavier than iron that the lighter particles
can scarcely be separated even after repeated and careful washings.

In old times the tin was collected in large pits, whence it was
transferred to the hands of balmaidens (or mine-girls) to be washed by
them in wooden troughs called "frames," which somewhat resembled a
billiard table in form.  Indeed, the frames are still largely employed
in the mines, but these and the modern table perform exactly the same
office--they wash the refuse from the tin.

Being finally cleansed from all its impurities, our mass of tin bears
more resemblance to brown snuff than to metal.  An ignorant man would
suppose it to be an ordinary earthy substance, until he took some of it
in his hand and felt its weight.  It contains, however, comparatively
little foreign substance.  About seventy per cent of it is pure tin, but
this seventy per cent is still locked up in the tight embrace of thirty
per cent, of refuse, from which nothing but intense fire can set it

At this point in the process, our mass of tin leaves the rough hand of
the miner.  In former days it was divided among the shareholders in this
form--each receiving, instead of cash, so many sacks of tin ore,
according to the number of his shares or "doles," and carrying it off on
mule or horse back from the mine, to be smelted where or by whom he
pleased.  But whether treated in this way, or, as in the present day,
sold by the manager at the market value, it all comes at last to the
tin-smelter, whose further proceedings we shall now follow, in company
with Oliver and his friend.

The agent of the smelting company--a stout, intelligent man, who
evidently did "knaw tin"--conducted them first to the furnaces, in the
neighbourhood of which were ranged a number of large wooden troughs or
bins, all more or less filled with tin ore.  The ore got from different
mines, he said, differed in quality, as well as in the percentage of tin
which it contained.  Some had much iron mixed with it, in spite of all
the washings it had undergone; some had a little copper and other
substances; while some was very pure.  By mixing the tin of different
mines, better metal could be procured than by simply smelting the
produce of each mine separately.  Pointing to one of the bins, about
three yards square, he told them it contained tin worth 1,000 pounds.
There was a large quantity of black sand in one of the bins, which, the
agent said, was got by the process of "streaming."  It is the richest
and best kind of tin ore, and used to be procured in large quantities in
Cornwall--especially in ancient times--being found near the surface,
but, as a matter of course, not much of that is to be found now, the
land having been turned over three times in search of it.  This black
sand is now imported in large quantities from Singapore.

The agent then conducted his visitors to the testing-house, where he
showed them the process of testing the various qualities of tin ore
offered, to the House for sale.  First he weighed out twenty parts of
the ore, which, as we have said, resembled snuff.  This, he remarked,
contained about five-sixths of pure tin, the remaining one-sixth being
dross.  He mixed it with four parts of fine coal dust, or culm, and
added a little borax--these last ingredients being intended to expedite
the smelting process.  This compound was put into a crucible, and
subjected to the intense heat of a small furnace for about twenty
minutes.  At the end of that time, the agent seized the crucible with a
pair of tongs, poured the metal into an iron mould, and threw away the
dross.  The little mass of tin thus produced was about four inches long,
by half an inch broad, and of a dull bluish-grey colour.  It was then
put into an iron ladle and melted, as one would melt lead when about to
cast bullets, but it was particularly noteworthy here, that a very
slight heat was required.  To extract the metal from the tin ore, a
fierce heat, long applied, was necessary, but a slight heat, continued
for a few minutes, sufficed to melt the metal.  This remelted metal was
poured into a stone mould, where it lay like a bright little pool of
liquid silver.  In a few seconds it solidified, retaining its clear
purity in all its parts.

"That," said the agent, "is tin of the very best quality.  We sell it
chiefly to dyers, who use it for colouring purposes, and for whom no tin
but the best is of any use.  I will now show you two other qualities--
namely, second and inferior."

He went to a small cupboard as he spoke, and took therefrom a small
piece of tin which had already gone through the smelting process in the
crucible above described.  Melting this in the ladle, he poured it into
the mould, where it lay for a few moments, quite bright and pure, but
the instant it solidified, a slight dimness clouded its centre.

"That," explained the agent, "is caused by a little copper which they
have failed to extract from the tin.  Such tin would not do for the
dyers, but it is good for the tin-plate makers, who, by dipping thin
sheets of iron into molten tin, produce the well-known tin-plates of
which our pot-lids and pans, etcetera, are manufactured.  This last bit,
gentlemen," he added, taking a third piece of tin from the cupboard, "is
our worst quality."

Having melted it, he poured it into the mould, where it assumed a dull,
half-solid appearance, as if it were a liquid only half frozen--or, if
you prefer it, a solid in a half molten state.

"This is only fit to mix with copper and make brass," said the agent,
throwing down the mould.  "We test the tin ore twice--once to find out
the quantity of metal it contains, and again to ascertain its quality.
The latter process you have seen--the former is just the same, with this
difference, that I am much more careful in weighing, measuring,
etcetera.  Every particle of dross I would have collected and carefully
separated from any metal it might contain; the whole should then have
been reweighed, and its reduction in the smelting process ascertained.
Thus, if twenty parts had been the weight of tin ore, the result might
perhaps have been fourteen parts of metal and six parts of dross.  And
now, gentlemen, having explained to you the testing process, if you will
follow me, I will show you the opening of one of our furnaces.  The
smelting-furnace just shows the testing process on a large scale.  Into
this furnace, six hours ago," he said, pointing to a brick erection in
the building to which he led them, "we threw a large quantity of tin
ore, mingled with a certain proportion of culm.  It is smelted and ready
to be run off now."

Here he gave an order to a sturdy man, who, with brawny arms bared to
the shoulders, stood close at hand.  He was begrimed and hairy--like a
very Vulcan.

Seizing an iron poker, Vulcan probed the orifice of the furnace, and
forthwith there ran out a stream of liquid fire, which was caught in an
iron bowl nearly four feet in diameter.  The intense heat of this pool
caused the visitors to step back a few paces, and the ruddy glow shone
with a fierce glare on the swart, frowning countenance of Vulcan, who
appeared to take a stern delight in braving it.

Oliver's attention was at once attracted to this man, for he felt
convinced that he had seen his face before, but it was not until he had
taxed his memory for several minutes that the scene of his adventure
with the smugglers near the Land's End flashed upon him, when he at once
recognised him as the man named Joe Tonkin, who had threatened his life
in the cavern.  From a peculiar look that the man gave him, he saw that
he also was recognised.

Oliver took no further notice of him at the time, however, but turned to
watch the flow of the molten tin.

When the iron cauldron was almost full, "slag," or molten refuse began
to flow and cover the top of the metal.  The hole was immediately
plugged up by Vulcan, and the furnace cleared out for the reception of
another supply of ore.  The surface of the tin was now cleared of slag,
after which it was ladled into moulds and allowed to cool.  This was the
first process completed; but the tin was still full of impurities, and
had to undergo another melting and stirring in a huge cauldron.  This
latter was a severe and protracted operation, which Vulcan performed
with tremendous power and energy.

In reference to this, it may interest the reader to mention a valuable
discovery which was the result of laziness!  A man who was employed in a
tin-smelting establishment at this laborious work of stirring the molten
metal in order to purify it, accidentally discovered that a piece of
green wood dropped into it had the effect of causing it to bubble as if
it were boiling.  To ease himself of some of his toil, he availed
himself of the discovery, and, by stirring the metal with a piece of
green wood, caused such a commotion that the end in view was
accomplished much more effectually and speedily than by the old process.
The lazy man's plan, we need scarcely add, is now universally adopted.

The last operation was to run the metal into moulds with the smelter's
name on them, and these ingots, being of portable size, were ready for

While the agent was busily engaged in explaining to Charles Tregarthen
some portions of the work, Oliver stepped aside and accosted Joe Tonkin.

"So, friend," he said, with a smile, "it seems that smuggling is not
your only business?"

"No, sur, it ain't," replied Joe, with a grin.  "I'm a
jack-of-all-trades--a smelter, as you do see, an' a miner _also_, when
it suits me."

"I'm glad to hear it, my man, for it gives you a chance of coming in
contact with better men than smugglers--although I'm free to confess
that there _is_ some good among them too.  I don't forget that your
comrade Jim Cuttance hauled me out of the sea.  Where is he?"

"Don't knaw, sur," replied Tonkin, with an angry frown; "he and I don't
pull well together.  We've parted now."

Oliver glanced at the man, and as he observed his stern, proud
expression of face, and his huge, powerful frame, he came to the
conclusion that Cuttance had met a man of equal power and force of
character with himself, and was glad to get rid of him.

"But I have not gi'n up smuggling," added the man, with a smile.  "It do
pay pretty well, and is more hearty-like than this sort o' thing."

"I'd advise you to fall back on mining," said Oliver.  "It is hard work,
I know, but it is honest labour, and as far as I have seen, there does
not appear to be a more free, hearty, and independent race under the sun
than Cornish miners."

Joe Tonkin shook his head and smiled dubiously.

"You do think so, sur, but you haven't tried it.  I don't like it.  It
don't suit me, it don't.  No, no; there's nothin' like a good boat and
the open sea."

"Things are looking a little better at Botallack just now, Joe," said
Oliver, after a pause.  "I'd strongly advise you to try it again."

The man remained silent for a few minutes, then he said,--"Well, Mr
Trembath, I don't mind if I do.  I'm tired o' this work, and as my time
is up this very day, I'll go over to-morrow and see 'bout it.  There's a
man at Newlyn as I've got somethin' to say to; I'll go see him to-night,
and then--"

"Come along, Oliver," shouted Tregarthen at that moment; "it's time to

Oliver bade Tonkin good-afternoon, and, turning hastily away, followed
his friend.

The two proceeded arm in arm up Market-Jew Street, and turning down
towards the shore, walked briskly along in the direction of the
picturesque fishing village of Newlyn, which lies little more than a
mile to the westward of Penzance.



The beach opposite Newlyn presented a busy scene when Oliver Trembath
and his friend Charlie Tregarthen reached it.

Although the zenith of the season was over, mackerel fishing was still
going on there in full vigour, and immense crowds of men, women, and
children covered the sands.  The village lies on the heights above, and
crowds of people were leaning over the iron rails which guard the unwary
or unsteady passenger from falling into the sea below.  A steep causeway
connects the main street above with the shore beneath; and up and down
it horses, carts, and people were hurrying continuously.

True, there was not at that time quite as much bustle as may be
witnessed there at the present day.  The railway has penetrated these
remote regions of the west, and now men work with a degree of feverish
haste that was unknown then.  While hundreds of little boats (tenders to
the large ones) crowd in on the beach, auctioneers with long heavy boots
wade knee-deep into the water, followed and surrounded by purchasers,
and, ringing a bell as each boat comes in, shout,--"Now, then, five
hundred, more or less, in this boat; who bids?  Twenty shillings a
hundred for five hundred--twenty shillings--say nineteen--I'm bid
nineteen--nineteen-and-six--say nineteen-an--twenty--twenty shillings
I'm bid--say twenty-one--shall I make it twenty-one shillings for any
person?" etcetera.

The bells and voices of these auctioneers, loud though they be, are mild
compared with the shouts of men, women, and children, as the fish are
packed in baskets, with hot haste, to be in time for the train; and
horses with laden carts gallop away over the sands at furious speed,
while others come dashing back for more fish.  And there is need for all
this furious haste, for trains, like time and tide, wait for no man, and
prices vary according to trains.  Just before the starting of one, you
will hear the auctioneers put the fish up at 20 shillings, 25 shillings,
and even 30 shillings a hundred, and in the next half-hour, after the
train is gone, and no chance remains of any more of the fish being got
into the London market by the following morning, the price suddenly
falls to 8 shillings a hundred, sometimes even less.  There is need for
haste, too, because the quantity of fish is very great, for there are
sometimes two hundred boats at anchor in the bay, each with four
thousand fish on the average, which must all be washed and packed in
four or five hours.  Yes, the old days cannot be compared with the
present times, when, between the months of April and June, the three
hundred boats of Mounts Bay will land little short of three thousand
tons of mackerel, and the railway, for the mere carriage of these to
London, Manchester, Birmingham, etcetera, will clear above 20,000

Nevertheless, the busy, bustling, hearty nature of the scene on Newlyn
beach in days of yore was not so very different as one might suppose
from that of the present time.  The men were not less energetic then
than now; the women were not less eager; the children were quite as wild
and mischievous, and the bustle and noise apparently, if not really, as

"What interests you?" asked Charlie Tregarthen, observing that his
companion gazed pointedly at some object in the midst of the crowd.

"That old woman," said Oliver; "see how demurely she sits on yonder
upturned basket, knitting with all her might."

"In the midst of chaos," observed Tregarthen, laughing; "and she looks
as placidly indifferent to the noise around her as if it were only the
murmuring of a summer breeze, although there are two boys yelling at her
very ear at this moment."

"Perhaps she's deaf," suggested Oliver.

Tregarthen said he thought this highly probable, and the two remained
silent for some time, watching, from an elevated position on the road
leading down to the sands, the ever-changing and amusing scene below.
Talk of a pantomime, indeed!  No Christmas pantomime ever got up in the
great metropolis was half so amusing or so grand as that summer
pantomime that was performed daily on Newlyn sands, with admission to
all parts of the house--the stage included--for nothing!  The scenery
was painted with gorgeous splendour by nature, and embraced the
picturesque village of Newlyn, with its irregular gables, variously
tinted roofs, and whitewashed fronts; the little pier with its modest
harbour, perfectly dry because of the tide being out, but which, even if
the tide had been in, and itself full to overflowing, could not
apparently have held more than a dozen of the larger fishing-boats; the
calm bay crowded with boats of all sizes, their brown and yellow sails
reflected in the clear water, and each boat resting on its own image.
On the far-off horizon might be seen the Lizard Point and the open sea,
over which hung red and lurid clouds, which betokened the approach of a
storm, although, at the time, all nature was quiet and peaceful.  Yes,
the scenery was admirably painted, and nothing could exceed the
perfection of the acting.  It was so _very_ true to nature!

Right in front of the spot where the two friends stood, a fisherman sat
astride of an upturned basket, enjoying a cup of tea which had been
brought to him by a little girl who sat on another upturned basket at
his side, gazing with a pleased expression into his rugged countenance,
one cheek of which was distended with a preposterously large bite of
bread and butter.  The great Mathews himself never acted his part so
well.  What admirable devotion to the one engrossing object in hand!
What a perfect and convincing display of a hearty appetite!  What
obvious unconsciousness of being looked at, and what a genuine and
sudden burst of indignation when, owing to a touch of carelessness, he
capsized the cup, and poured the precious tea upon the thirsty sand.  At
the distance from which Oliver and his friend observed him, no words
were audible, but none were necessary.  The man's acting was so perfect
that they knew he was scolding the little girl for the deed which he
himself had perpetrated.  Then there was something peculiarly touching
in the way in which he suddenly broke into a short laugh, and patted the
child's head while she wiped out the cup, and refilled it from the
little brown broken-nosed teapot hitherto concealed under her ragged
shawl to keep it warm.  No wizard was needed to tell, however, that this
was quite an unnecessary piece of carefulness on the little girl's part,
for any brown teapot in the world, possessing the smallest amount of
feeling, would have instantly made hot and strong tea out of cold water
on being pressed against the bosom of that sunny child!

Just beyond this couple, three tired men, in blue flannel shirts, long
boots, and sou'-westers, grouped themselves round a bundle of straw to
enjoy a pipe: one stretched himself almost at full length on it, in lazy
nonchalance; another sat down on it, and, resting his elbows on his
knees, gazed pensively at his pipe as he filled it; while the third
thrust his hands into his pockets, and stood for a few seconds with a
grand bend at the small of his back (as if he felt that his muscles
worked easily), and gazed out to sea.  The greatest of the old masters
could have painted nothing finer.

Away to the right, an old man might be seen tying up the lid of a basket
full of fish beside his cart, and dividing his attention between the
basket and the horse, which latter, much to his surprise, was unwontedly
restive that evening, and required an unusual number of cautions to
remain still, and of threats as to the punishment that would follow
continued disobedience, all of which afforded the most intense and
unutterable delight to a very small precocious boy, who, standing
concealed on the off side of the animal, tickled its ear with a straw
every time it bent its head towards the bundle of hay which lay at its
feet.  No clown or pantaloon was there to inflict condign punishment,
because none was needed.  A brother carter standing by performed the
part, extempore.  His eye suddenly lit on the culprit; his whip sprang
into the air and descended on the urchin's breech.  Horror-struck, his
mouth opened responsive to the crack, and a yell came forth that rose
high above the surrounding din, while his little legs carried him away
over the sands like a ragged leaf driven before the wind.

To the left of this scene (and ignorant of it, for the stage was so
large, the actors were so numerous, and the play so grand, that few
could do more than attend to their own part) a cripple might be seen
with a crutch hopping actively about.  He was a young man; had lost his
leg, by an accident probably, and was looking about for a cast-away fish
for his own supper.  He soon found one.  Whether it was that one had
been dropped accidentally, or that some generous-hearted fish-dealer had
dropped one on purpose, we cannot tell, but he did get one--a large fat
one, too--and hobbled away as quickly as he could, evidently rejoicing.

The cripple was not the only one who crossed the stage thus lightly
burdened.  There were several halt and maimed, and some blind and aged
ones there, whose desires in regard to piscatorial wealth extended only
to one, or perhaps two, and they all got what they wanted.  That was
sufficient for the evening's supper--for the morrow there was no need to
care; they could return to get a fresh supply evening after evening for
many a day to come, for it was a splendid mackerel season--such as had
not been for many years--so said the sages of the village.

There were other groups, and other incidents that would have drawn
laughter as well as tears from sympathetic hearts, but we must forbear.
The play was long of being acted out--it was no common play; besides, it
is time for _our_ actors to come upon the stage themselves.

"I see old Hitchin," exclaimed Oliver Trembath, starting suddenly out of
a reverie, and pointing into the thickest of the crowd.

"How can you tell? you don't know him," said his companion.

"Know him!  Of course I do; who could fail to know him after the graphic
description the lawyer gave of him?  See--look yonder, beside the cart
with the big man in it arranging baskets.  D'you see?"

"Which? the one painted green, and a scraggy horse with a bag hanging to
its nose?"

"No, no; a little further to the left, man--the one with the broken rail
and the high-spirited horse.  There, there he is! a thin, dried-up,
wrinkled, old shabby--"

"Ah! that's the man," exclaimed Tregarthen, laughing.  "Come along, and
let's try to keep our eyes on him, for there is nothing so difficult as
finding any one in a crowd."

The difficulty referred to was speedily illustrated by the fact that the
two friends threaded their way to the spot where the cart had stood, and
found not only that it was gone, but that Hitchin had also moved away,
and although they pushed through the crowd for more than a quarter of an
hour they failed to find him.

As they were wandering about thus, they observed a very tall
broad-shouldered man talking earnestly in undertones to a sailor-like
fellow who was still broader across the shoulders, but not quite so
tall.  It is probable that Oliver would have paid no attention to them,
had not the name of Hitchin struck his ear.  Glancing round at the men
he observed that the taller of the two was Joe Tonkin, and the other his
friend of the Land's End, the famous Jim Cuttance.

Oliver plucked his companion by the sleeve, and whispered him to stand
still.  Only a few words and phrases reached them, but these were
sufficient to create surprise and arouse suspicion.  Once, in
particular, Tonkin, who appeared to be losing his temper, raised his
voice a little, exclaiming,--"I tell 'ee what it is, Cuttance, I do knaw
what you're up to, an' I'll hinder 'ee ef I can."

The man confirmed this statement with a savage oath, to which Cuttance
replied in kind; nevertheless he was evidently anxious to conciliate his
companion, and spoke so low as to be nearly inaudible.

Only the words, "Not to-night; I won't do it to-night," reached the ears
of the listeners.

At this point Tonkin turned from the smuggler with a fling, muttering in
an undertone as he went, "I don't b'lieve 'ee, Cuttance, for thee'rt a
liard, so I'll watch 'ee, booy."

Oliver was about to follow Tonkin, when he observed Hitchin himself
slowly wending his way through the crowd.  He had evidently heard
nothing of the conversation that appeared to have reference to himself,
for he sauntered along with a careless air, and his hands in his
pockets, as though he were an uninterested spectator of the busy scene.

Oliver at once accosted him, "Pray, sir, is your name Hitchin?"

"It is," replied the old man, eyeing his interrogator suspiciously.

"Allow me to introduce myself, sir--Oliver Trembath, nephew to Mr
Thomas Donnithorne of St. Just."

Mr Hitchin held out his hand, and said that he was happy to meet with a
nephew of his old friend, in the tone of a man who would much rather not
meet either nephew or uncle.

Oliver felt this, so he put on his most insinuating air, and requested
Mr Hitchin to walk with him a little aside from the crowd, as he had
something of a private nature to say to him.  The old man agreed, and
the two walked slowly along the sands to the outskirts of the crowd,
where young Tregarthen discreetly left them.

The moment Oliver broached the subject of the advance of money, Hitchin
frowned, and the colour in his face betrayed suppressed anger.

"Sir," said he, "I know all that you would say to me.  It has already
been said oftener than there is any occasion for.  No one appears to
believe me when I assert that I have met with heavy losses of late, and
have no cash to spare--not even enough to pay my debts."

"Indeed, sir," replied Oliver, "I regret to hear you say so, and I can
only apologise for having troubled you on the subject.  I assure you
nothing would have induced me to do so but regard for my uncle, to whom
the continuance of this mine for some time would appear to be a matter
of considerable importance; but since you will not--"

"_Wilt_ not!" interrupted Hitchin angrily, "have I not said _can not_?
I tell you, young man, that there is a scoundrel to whom I owe a large
sum for--for--well, no matter what it's for, but the blackguard
threatens that if I don't--pshaw!--"

The old man seemed unable to contain himself at this point, for he
turned angrily away from Oliver, and, hastening back towards the town,
was soon lost again in the crowd.

Oliver was so taken by surprise, that he stood still gazing dreamily at
the point where Hitchin had disappeared, until he was roused by a touch
on the shoulder from Charlie Tregarthen.

"Well," said he, smiling, "how fares your suit?"

Oliver replied by a burst of laughter.

"How fares my suit?" he repeated; "badly, very badly indeed; why, the
old fellow's monkey got up the moment I broached the subject, and I was
just in the middle of what I meant to be a most conciliating speech,
when he flung off as you have seen."

"Odd, very odd," said Tregarthen, "to see how some men cling to their
money, as if it were their life.  After all, it _is_ life to some--at
least all the life they have got."

"Come now, don't moralise, Charlie, for we must act just now."

"I'm ready to act in any way you propose, Oliver; what do you intend to
do?  Issue your commands, and I'll obey.  Shall we attack the village of
Newlyn single-handed, and set fire to it, as did the Spaniards of old,
or shall we swim off to the fleet of boats, cut the cables, bind the men
in charge, and set sail for the mackerel fishing?"

"Neither, my chum, and especially not the latter, seeing that a
thundercloud is about to break over the sea ere long, if I do not
greatly misjudge appearances in the sky; but, man, we must see this
testy old fellow again, and warn him of the danger which threatens him.
I feel assured that that rascal Cuttance means him harm, for he let
something fall in his anger, which, coupled with what we have already
heard from the smuggler himself, and from Tonkin, convinces me that evil
is in the wind.  Now the question is, how are we to find him, for
searching in that crowd is almost useless?"

"Let us go to his house," suggested Tregarthen, "and if he is not at
home, wait for him."

"Do you know where his house is?"

"No, not I."

"Then we must inquire, so come along."

Pushing once more through the throng of busy men and women, the friends
ascended the sloping causeway that led to the village, and here asked
the first man they met where Mr Hitchin lived.

"Right over top o' hill," replied the man.

"Thank you.  That'll do, Charlie, come along," said Oliver, turning into
one of the narrow passages that diverged from the main street of Newlyn,
and ascending the hill with giant strides; "one should never be
particular in their inquiries after a place.  When I'm told to turn to
the right after the second turning to the left, and that if I go right
on till I come to some other turning, that will conduct me point blank
to the street that enters the square near to which lies the spot I wish
to reach, I'm apt to get confused.  Get a general direction if possible,
the position indicated by compass is almost enough, and _ask again_.
That's my plan, and I never found it fail."



Oliver Trembath's plan of "asking again" had to be put in practice
sooner than had been anticipated, for the back alleys and lanes of
Newlyn were a little perplexing to a stranger.

"Let us inquire here," said Tregarthen, seeing the half-open door of a
very small cottage, with part of a woman's back visible in the interior.

"By all means," said Oliver, pushing open the door and stooping low as
he entered.

The visitors were instantly transfixed by thirty pair of eyes--all of
them bright blue, or bright black--few of them elevated much more than
two feet from the ground, and not one of them dimmed by the smallest
approach to a wink.  Nay, on the contrary, they all opened so wide when
the strangers entered that it seemed as if either winking or shutting
were in future out of the question, and that to sleep with eyes wide
open was the sad prospect of the owners thereof in all time coming.

"An infant-school," murmured Tregarthen.

The very smallest boy in the school--an infant with legs about five
inches long, who sat on a stool not more than three inches high--
appeared to understand what he said, and to regard it as a personal
insult, for he at once began to cry.  A little girl with bright red
hair, a lovely complexion, and a body so small as to be scarce worth
mentioning, immediately embraced the small boy, whereupon he dried his
eyes without delay.

"You have a nice little school here," said Oliver.

"Iss, sur; we do feel proud of it," said the good-looking motherly dame
in charge, with a little twitch of her shoulders, which revealed the
horrible fact that both her arms had been taken off above the elbows,
"the child'n are very good, and they do sing bootiful.  Now then, let
the gentlemen hear you--`O that'll be'--come."

Instantly, and in every possible pitch, the thirty mouths belonging to
the thirty pair of eyes opened, and "O that will be joyful," etcetera,
burst forth with thrilling power.  A few leading voices gradually turned
the torrent into a united channel, and before the second verse was
reached the hymn was tunefully sung, the sweet voice of the little girl
with the bright hair being particularly distinguishable, and the shrill
pipe of the smallest boy sounding high above the rest as he sang, "O
that will be doyful, doyful, doyful, doyful," with all his might and

When this was finished Tregarthen asked the schoolmistress what
misfortune had caused the loss of her arms, to which she replied that
she had lost them in a coach accident.  As she was beginning to relate
the history of this sad affair, Oliver broke in with a question as to
where old Mr Hitchin's house was.  Being directed to it they took leave
of the infant-school, and soon found themselves before the door of a
small cottage.  They were at once admitted to the presence of the testy
old Hitchin, who chanced to be smoking a pipe at the time.  He did not
by any means bestow a welcome look on his visitors, but Oliver,
nevertheless, advanced and sat down in a chair before him.

"I have called, Mr Hitchin," he began, "not to trouble you about the
matter which displeased you when we conversed together on the beach, but
to warn you of a danger which I fear threatens yourself."

"What danger may that be?" inquired Hitchin, in the tone of a man who
held all danger in contempt.

"What it is I cannot tell, but--"

"Cannot tell!" interrupted the old man; "then what's the use of
troubling me about it?"

"Neither can I tell of what use my troubling you may be," retorted
Oliver with provoking coolness, "but I heard the man speak of you on the
beach less than an hour ago, and as you referred to him yourself I
thought it right to call--"

At this point Hitchin again broke in,--"Heard a man speak of me--what
man?  Really, Mr Trembath, your conduct appears strange to me.  Will
you explain yourself?"

"Certainly.  I was going to have added, if your irascible temper would
have allowed me, that the notorious smuggler, Jim Cuttance--"

Oliver stopped, for at the mention of the smuggler's name the pipe
dropped from the old man's mouth, and his face grew pale.

"Jim Cuttance!" he exclaimed after a moment's pause; "the villain, the
scoundrel--what of him? what of him?  No good, I warrant.  There is not
a rogue unhanged who deserves more richly to swing at the yard-arm than
Jim Cuttance.  What said he about me?"

When he finished this sentence the old man's composure was somewhat
restored.  He took a new pipe from the chimney-piece and began to fill
it, while Oliver related all that he knew of the conversation between
the two smugglers.

When he had finished Hitchin smoked for some minutes in silence.

"Do you really think," he said at length, "that the man means to do me
bodily harm?"

"I cannot tell," replied Oliver; "you can form your own judgment of the
matter more correctly than I can, but I would advise you to be on your

"What says your friend?" asked Hitchin, turning towards Tregarthen, of
whom, up to that point, he had taken no notice.

Thus appealed to, the youth echoed Oliver's opinion, and added that the
remark of Cuttance about his intention not to do something unknown
_that_ night, and Joe Tonkin's muttered expressions of disbelief and an
intention to watch, seemed to him sufficient to warrant unusual caution
in the matter of locks, bolts, and bars.

As he spoke there came a blinding flash of lightning, followed by a loud
and prolonged peal of thunder.

Oliver sprang up.

"We must bid you good-night," he said, "for we have to walk to St. Just,
and don't wish to get more of the storm than we can avoid."

"But you cannot escape it," said Hitchin.

"Nevertheless we can go as far as possible before it begins, and then
take shelter under a bush or hedge, or in a house if we chance to be
near one.  I would rather talk in rain any day than drive in a

"Pray be persuaded to stop where you are, gentlemen," said the old man
in a tone of voice that was marvellously altered for the better.  "I can
offer you comfortable quarters for the night, and good, though plain
fare, with smuggled brandy of the best, and tobacco to match."

Still Oliver and Tregarthen persisted in their resolution to leave,
until Hitchin began to plead in a tone that showed he was anxious to
have their presence in the house as protectors.  Then their resolution
began to waver, and when the old man hinted that they might thus find
time to reconsider the matter of the Wherry Mine, they finally gave in,
and made up their minds to stay all night.

According to the opinion of a celebrated poet, the best-laid plans of
men as well as mice are apt to miscarry.  That night the elements
contrived to throw men's calculations out of joint, and to render their
cupidity, villainy, and wisdom alike ineffectual.

A storm, the fiercest that had visited them for many years, burst that
night on the southern shores of England, and strewed her rocks and sands
with wrecks and dead bodies.  Nothing new in this, alas! as all know who
dwell upon our shores, or who take an interest in, and read the records
of, our royal and noble Lifeboat Institution.  But with this great
subject we have not to do just now, further than to observe, as we have
said before, that in those days there were no lifeboats on the coast.

Under the shelter of an old house on the shore at Penzance were gathered
together a huge concourse of townspeople and seafaring men watching the
storm.  It was a grand and awful sight--one fitted to irresistibly
solemnise the mind, and incline it, unless the heart be utterly
hardened, to think of the great Creator and of the unseen world, which
seems at such a season to be brought impressively near.

The night was extremely dark, and the lightning, by contrast, peculiarly
vivid.  Each flash appeared to fill the world for a moment with lambent
fire, leaving the painful impression on observers of having been struck
with total blindness for a few seconds after, and each thunderclap came
like the bursting of artillery, with scarcely an interval between the
flash and crash, while the wind blew with almost tropical fury.

The terrible turmoil and noise were enhanced tenfold by the raging surf,
which flew up over the roadway, and sent the spray high above and beyond
the tops of the houses nearest to the shore.

The old house creaked and groaned in the blast as if it would come down,
and the men taking shelter there looked out to sea in silence.  The
bronzed veterans there knew full well that at that hour many a
despairing cry was being uttered, many a hand was stretched wildly,
helplessly, and hopelessly from the midst of the boiling surf, and many
a soul was passing into eternity.  They would have been ready then, as
well as now, to have risked life and limb to save fellow-creatures from
the sea, but ordinary boats they knew could not live in such a storm.

Among the watchers there stood Jim Cuttance.  He had been drinking at a
public-house in Penzance, and was at the time, to use his own
expression, "three sheets in the wind"--that is, about half-drunk.  What
his business was nobody knew, and we shall not inquire, but he was the
first to express his belief that the turret and bridge of the Wherry
Mine would give way.  As he spoke a vivid flash of lightning revealed
the stout timbers of the mine standing bravely in the storm, each beam
and chain painted black and sharp against the illumined sky and the
foaming sea.

"She have stud out many a gale," observed a weather-beaten old seaman;
"p'raps she won't go down yet."

"I do hope she won't," observed another.

"She haven't got a chance," said Cuttance.

Just then another flash came, and there arose a sharp cry of alarm from
the crowd, for a ship was seen driving before the gale close in upon the
land, so close that she seemed to have risen there by magic, and
appeared to tower almost over the heads of the people.  The moments of
darkness that succeeded were spent in breathless, intense anxiety.  The
flashes, which had been fast enough before, seemed to have ceased
altogether now; but again the lightning gleamed--bright as full
moonlight, and again the ship was seen, nearer than before--close on the
bridge of the mine.

"'Tis the Yankee ship broken from her anchors in Gwavus Lake," exclaimed
a voice.

The thunder-peal that followed was succeeded by a crash of rending
timber and flying bolts that almost emulated the thunder.  Certainly it
told with greater power on the nerves of those who heard it.

Once again the lightning flashed, and for a moment the American vessel
was seen driving away before the wind, but no vestige of Wherry Mine
remained.  The bridge and all connected with it had been completely
carried away, and its shattered remnants were engulfed in the foaming

It deserved a better fate; but its course was run, and its hour had
come.  It passed away that stormy night, and now nothing remains but a
few indications of its shaft-mouth, visible at low water, to tell of one
of the boldest and most singular of mining enterprises ever undertaken
and carried out by man.

There was one spectator of this imposing scene who was not very deeply
impressed by it.  Jim Cuttance cared not a straw for storms or wrecks,
so long as he himself was safe from their influence.  Besides, he had
other work in hand that night, so he left the watchers on the beach soon
after the destruction of the bridge.  Buttoning his coat up to the neck,
and pulling his sou'-wester tight over his brows, he walked smartly
along the road to Newlyn, while many of the fishermen ran down to the
beach to render help to the vessel.

Between the town of Penzance and the village of Newlyn several old boats
lay on the grass above high-water mark.  Here the smuggler stopped and
gave a loud whistle.  He listened a moment and than repeated it still
louder.  He was answered by a similar signal, and four men in sailor's
garb, issuing from behind one of the boats, advanced to meet him.

"All right, Bill?" inquired Cuttance.

"All right, sur," was the reply.

"Didn't I tell 'ee to leave them things behind?" said Cuttance sternly,
as he pointed to the butt of a pistol which protruded from the
breast-pocket of one of the men; "sure we don't require powder and lead
to overcome an old man!"

"No more do we need a party o' five to do it," replied the man doggedly.

To this Cuttance vouchsafed no reply, but, plucking the weapon from the
man, he tossed it far into the sea, and, without further remark, walked
towards the fishing village, followed by his men.

By this time the thunder and rain had abated considerably, but the gale
blew with increased violence, and, as there were neither moon nor stars,
the darkness was so intense that men less acquainted with the locality
would have been obliged to proceed with caution.  But the smugglers knew
every foot of the ground between the Lizard and the Land's End, and they
advanced with rapid strides until they reached the low wall that
encompassed, but could not be said to guard, old Mr Hitchin's

The hour was suited for deeds of darkness, being a little after
midnight, and the noise of the gale favoured the burglars, who leaped
the wall with ease and approached the back of the cottage.

In ordinary circumstances Hitchin would have been in bed, and Cuttance
knew his habits sufficiently to be aware of this; his surprise,
therefore, was great when he found lights burning, and greater still
when, peeping through a chink of the window-shutter, he observed two
stout fellows seated at the old man's table.  Charles Tregarthen he had
never seen before, and, as Oliver Trembath sat with his back to the
window, he could not recognise him.

"There's company wi' the owld man," said Cuttance, returning to his
comrades; "two men, young and stout, but we do knaw how to manage they!"

This was said by way of an appeal, and was received with a grin by the
others, and a brief recommendation to go to work without delay.

For a few minutes they whispered together as to the plan of attack, and
then, having agreed on that point, they separated.  Cuttance and the man
whom he had called Bill, went to the window of the room in which Hitchin
and his guests were seated, and stationed themselves on either side of
it.  The sill was not more than breast high.  The other three men
quickly returned, bearing a heavy boat's-mast, which they meant to use
as a battering-ram.  It had been arranged that Cuttance should throw up
the window, and, at the same moment, his comrades should rush at the
shutter with the mast.  The leader could not see their faces, but there
was light sufficient to enable him to distinguish their dark forms
standing in the attitude of readiness.  He therefore stepped forward and
made a powerful effort to force up the window, but it resisted him,
although it shook violently.

Those inside sprang up at the sound, and the smugglers sank down, as if
by mutual consent, among the bushes which grew thickly near the window.

"I told you it was only the wind," said Oliver Trembath, who had opened
the shutter and gazed through the window for some time into the
darkness, where, of course, he saw nothing.

Well was it for him that Cuttance refused to follow Bill's advice, which
was to charge him through the window with the mast.  The former knew
that, with the window fastened, it would be impossible to force an
entrance in the face of such a youth as Tregarthen, even although they
succeeded in rendering the other _hors de combat_, so he restrained
Bill, and awaited his opportunity.

Oliver's remark appeared to be corroborated by a gust of wind which came
while he was speaking, and shook the window-frame violently.

"There it is again," he said, turning to his host with a smile.  "Depend
upon it, they won't trouble you on such a night as this."

He closed and refastened the shutter as he spoke, and they all returned
to their places at the table.

Unfortunately Oliver had not thought of examining the fastening of the
window itself.  Had he done so, he would have seen that it was almost
wrenched away.  Cuttance saw this, however, and resolved to make sure
work of it next time.

When the men with the battering-ram were again in position, he and Bill
applied their united strength to the window, and it instantly flew up to
the top.  At same moment, bolts and bars gave way, and the shutter went
in with a crash.  Making use of the mast as a rest, Cuttance sprang on
the window-sill and leaped into the room.

The whole thing was done with such speed, and, if we may so express it,
with such simultaneity of action, that the bold smuggler stood before
the astonished inmates almost as soon as they could leap from their
chairs.  Cuttance ducked to evade a terrific blow which Oliver aimed at
him with his fist, and in another instant grappled with him.  Tregarthen
rushed to the window in time to meet Bill, on whose forehead he planted
a blow so effectual that that worthy fell back into the arms of his
friends, who considerately let him drop to the ground, and made a united
assault on Charlie.

Had Oliver Trembath possessed his wonted vigour, he would speedily have
overcome his adversary despite his great strength, but his recent
illness had weakened him a little, so that the two were pretty equally
matched.  The consequence was that, neither daring to loosen his hold in
order to strike an effective blow, each had to devote all his energies
to throw the other, in which effort they wrenched, thrust, and swung
each other so violently round the room that chairs and tables were
overturned and smashed, and poor old Hitchin had enough to do to avoid
being floored in the _melee_, and to preserve from destruction the
candle which lighted the scene of the combat.

At first Oliver had tried to free his right hand in order to strike,
but, finding this impossible, he attempted to throw the smuggler, and,
with this end in view, lifted him bodily in the air and dashed him down,
but Cuttance managed to throw out a leg and meet the ground with his
foot, which saved him.  He was a noted wrestler.  He could give the
famous Cornish hug with the fervour of a black bear, and knew all the
mysteries of the science.  Often had he displayed his great muscular
power and skill in the ring, where "wrestlers" were wont to engage in
those combats of which the poet writes:--

  "They rush, impetuous, with a shock
  Their arms implicit, rigid, lock;
  They twist; they trip; their limbs are mixed;
  As one they move, as one stand fixed.
  Now plant their feet in wider space,
  And stand like statues on their base."

But never before had Jim Cuttance had to deal with such a man as Oliver
Trembath, who swung him about among the chairs, and crashed him through
the tables, until, seizing a sudden opportunity, he succeeded in
flinging him flat on the floor, where he held him down, and planted his
knee on his chest with such force that he nearly squeezed all the breath
out of him.

No word did Jim Cuttance utter, for he was incapable of speech, but the
colour of his face and his protruding tongue induced Oliver to remove
his knee.

Meanwhile Charlie Tregarthen had enough to do at the window.  After he
had tumbled Bill out, as we have described, two of the other men sprang
at him, and, seizing him by the collar of his coat, attempted to drag
him out.  One of these he succeeded in overthrowing by a kick on the
chest, but his place was instantly taken by the third of the bearers of
the battering-ram, and for a few minutes the struggle was fierce but
undecided.  Suddenly there arose a great shout, and all three tumbled
head over heels into the shrubbery.

It was at this moment that Oliver rose from his prostrate foe.  He at
once sprang to the rescue; leaped out of the window, and was in the act
of launching a blow at the head of the first man he encountered, when a
voice shouted,--"Hold on, sur."

It is certain that Oliver would have declined to hold on, had not the
voice sounded familiar.  He held his hand, and next moment Charlie
appeared in the light of the window dragging a struggling man after him
by the nape of the neck.  At the same time Joe Tonkin came forward
trailing another man by the hair of the head.

"Has Cuttance got off?" inquired Tonkin.

"No," replied Oliver, leaping back into the room, just in time to
prevent Jim, who had recovered, from making his escape.

"Now, my man, keep quiet," said Oliver, thrusting him down into a chair.
"You and I have met before, and you know that it is useless to attempt

Cuttance vouchsafed no reply, but sat still with a dogged expression on
his weather-beaten visage.

Hitchin, whose nerves were much shaken by the scene of which he had been
a trembling spectator, soon produced ropes, with which the prisoners
were bound, and then they were conducted to a place of safe keeping--
each of the victors leading the man he had secured, and old Hitchin
going before--an excited advance-guard.  The two men whom Tregarthen
knocked down had recovered, and made their escape just before the fight

Oliver Trembath walked first in the procession, leading Jim Cuttance.

"I gave you credit for a more manly spirit than this," said Oliver, as
he walked along.  "How could you make so cowardly an attack on an old

Cuttance made no reply, and Oliver felt sorry that he had spoken, for
the remembrance of the incident at the Land's End was strong upon him,
and he would have given all he possessed to have had no hand in
delivering the smuggler up to justice.  At the same time he felt that
the attempt of Cuttance was a dastardly one, and that duty required him
to act as he did.

It seemed to Oliver as if Joe Tonkin had divined his thoughts, for at
that moment he pushed close to him and whispered in his ear, "Jim
Cuttance didn't mean to rob th' owld man, sur.  He only wanted to give
he a fright, an' make un pay what he did owe un."

This was a new light on the subject to Oliver, who at once formed his
resolution and acted on it.

"Cuttance," he said, "it is not unlikely that, if brought to justice,
you will swing for this night's adventure."

He paused and glanced at the face of his prisoner, who still maintained
rigid silence.

"Well," continued our hero, "I believe that your intentions against Mr
Hitchin were not so bad as they would appear to be--"

"Who told 'ee that?" asked the smuggler sternly.

"No matter," replied Oliver, drawing a knife from his pocket, with which
he deliberately cut the cords that bound his prisoner.  "There--you are
free.  I hope that you will make better use of your freedom in time to
come than you have in time past, although I doubt it much; but remember
that I have repaid the debt I owe you."

"Nay," replied Cuttance, still continuing to walk close to his
companion's side.  "I did give you life.  You have but given me

"I'd advise you to take advantage of that liberty without delay," said
Oliver, somewhat nettled by the man's remark, as well as by his cool
composure, "else your liberty may be again taken from you, in which case
I would not give much for your life."

"If you do not assist, there is no one here who can take me _now_,"
replied Cuttance, with a smile.  "However, I'm not ungrateful--

As he said this, the smuggler turned sharp to the right into one of the
numerous narrow passages which divide the dwellings of Newlyn, and

Charles Tregarthen, who was as sharp as a needle, observed this, and,
leaving his man in charge of Tonkin, darted after the fugitive.  He soon
returned, however, wiping the perspiration from his brow, and declaring
that he had well-nigh lost himself in his vain endeavours to find the

"How in all the world did you manage to let him go?" he demanded
somewhat sharply of Oliver.

"Why, Charlie," replied his friend, with a laugh, "you know I have not
been trained to the duties of a policeman, and it has always been said
that Jim Cuttance was a slippery eel.  However, he's gone now, so we had
better have the others placed in safe custody as soon as possible."

Saying this he passed his arm through that of old Mr Hitchin, and soon
after the smugglers were duly incarcerated in the lock-up of Penzance.



About this time that energetic promoter of mining operations, Mr George
Augustus Clearemout, found it necessary to revisit Cornwall.

He was seated in an easy-chair in a snug little back-office, or
board-room, in one of the airiest little streets of the City of London,
when this necessity became apparent to him.  Mr Clearemout did not
appear to have much to do at that particular time, for he contented
himself with tapping the arm of his easy-chair with the knuckles of his
right hand, while he twirled his gold watch-key with his left, and
smiled occasionally.

To judge from appearances it seemed that things in general were
prospering with George Augustus.  Everything about him was new, and, we
might almost say, gorgeous.  His coat and vest and pantaloons had a look
and a cut about them that told of an extremely fashionable tailor, and a
correspondingly fashionable price.  His rings, of which he wore several,
were massive, one of them being a diamond ring of considerable value.
His boots were faultlessly made, quite new, and polished so highly that
it dazzled one to look at them, while his linen, of which he displayed a
large quantity on the breast, was as white as snow--not London snow, of
course!  Altogether Mr G.A. Clearemout was a most imposing personage.

"Come in," he said, in a voice that sounded like the deep soft whisper
of a trombone.

The individual who had occasioned the command by tapping at the door,
opened it just enough to admit his head, which he thrust into the room.
It was a shaggy red head belonging to a lad of apparently eighteen; its
chief characteristics being a prolonged nose and a retracted chin, with
a gash for a mouth, and two blue holes for eyes.

"Please, sir, Mr Muddle," said the youth.

"Admit Mr Muddle."

The head disappeared, and immediately after a gentleman sauntered into
the room, and flung himself lazily into the empty armchair which stood
at the fireplace _vis-a-vis_ to the one in which Mr Clearemout sat,
explaining that he would not have been so ceremonious had he not fancied
that his friend was engaged with some one on business.

"How are you, Jack?" said George Augustus.

"Pretty bobbish," replied Jack.  (He was the same Jack whom we have
already introduced as being Mr Clearemout's friend and kindred spirit.)

"Any news?" inquired Mr Clearemout.

"No, nothing moving," said Jack languidly.

"H'm, I see it is time to stir now, Jack, for the wheel of fortune is
apt to get stiff and creaky if we don't grease her now and then and give
her a jog.  Here is a little pot of grease which I have been concocting
and intend to lay on immediately."

He took a slip of paper from a large pocket-book which lay at his elbow
on the new green cloth-covered table, and handed it to his friend, who
slowly opened and read it in a slovenly way, mumbling the most of it as
he went on:--

"`WHEAL DOOEM, in St. Just, Cornwall--mumble--m--m--in 10,000 shares.
An old mine, m--m--every reason to believe--m--m--splendid lodes visible
from--m--m.  Depth of Adit fifty fathoms--m--depth below Adit ninety
fathoms.  Pumps, whims, engines, etcetera, in good working order--m--
little expense--Landowners, Messrs.--m--Manager at the Mine, Captain
Trembleforem--m--thirteen men, four females, and two boys--m--water--
wheels--stamps--m--Managing Director, George Augustus Clearemout,
Esquire, 99 New Gull Street, London--m--Secretary, John Muddle,

"But, I say, it won't do to publish anything of this sort just yet, you
know," said Secretary Jack in a remonstrative tone, "for there's nothing
doing at all, I believe."

"I beg your pardon," replied the managing director, "there is a good
deal doing.  I have written to St. Just appointing the local manager,
and it is probable that things are really under way by this time;
besides, I shall set out for Cornwall to-morrow to superintend matters,
leaving my able secretary in charge here in the meantime, and when he
hears from me this paper may be completed and advertised."

"I say, it looks awful real-like, don't it?" said Jack, with a grin.
"Only fancy if it should turn out to be a good mine after all--what a
lark _that_ would be! and it might, you know, for it _was_ a real one
once, wasn't it?  And if you set a few fellows to sink the
what-d'ye-call-'ems and drive the thingumbobs, it is possible they may
come upon tin and copper, or something of that sort--wouldn't it be

"Of course it would, and that is the very thing that gives zest to it.
It's a speculation, not a swindle by any means, and admirably suits our
easy consciences.  But, I say, Jack, you _must_ break yourself off
talking slang.  It will never do to have the secretary of the Great
Wheal Dooem Mining Company talk like a street boy.  Besides, I hate
slang even in a blackguard--not to mention a black-leg--so you must give
it up, Jack, you really must, else you'll ruin the concern at the very

Secretary Jack started into animation at this.

"Why, George," he said, drawing himself up, "I can throw it off when I
please.  Look here--suppose yourself an inquiring speculator--ahem!  I
assure you, sir, that the prospects of this mine are most brilliant, and
the discoveries that have been made in it since we commenced operations
are incredible--absolutely incredible, sir.  Some of the lodes (that's
the word, isn't it?) are immensely rich, and upwards of a hundred feet
thick, while the part that runs under the sea, or _is_ to run under the
sea, at a depth of three thousand fathoms, is probably as rich in copper
ore as the celebrated Botallack, whose majestic headland, bristling with
machinery, overhangs the raging billows of the wide Atlantic, etcetera,
etcetera.  O George, it's a great lark entirely!"

"You'll have to learn your lesson a little better, else you'll make a
great mess of it," said Clearemout.

"A muddle of it--according to my name and destiny, George," said the
secretary; "a muddle of it, and a fortune _by_ it."

Here the secretary threw himself back in the easy-chair, and grinned at
the opposite wall, where his eye fell on a large picture, which changed
the grin into a stare of surprise.

"What have we here, George," he said, rising, and fitting a gold glass
in his eye--"not a portrait of Wheal Dooem, is it?"

"You have guessed right," replied the other.  "I made a few sketches on
the spot, and got a celebrated artist to put them together, which he has
done, you see, with considerable effect.  Here, in the foreground, you
observe," continued the managing director, taking up a new white
pointer, "stands Wheal Dooem, on a prominent crag overlooking the
Atlantic, with Gurnard's Head just beyond.  Farther over, we have the
celebrated Levant Mine, and the famous Botallack, and the great Wheal
Owles, and a crowd of other more or less noted mines, with Cape
Cornwall, and the Land's End, and Tolpedenpenwith in the
middle-distance, and the celebrated Logan Rock behind them, while we
have Mounts Bay, with the beautiful town of Penzance, and St. Michael's
Mount, and the Lizard in the background, with France in the remote

"Dear, _dear_ me! quite a geographical study, I declare," exclaimed
Secretary Jack, examining the painting with some care.  "Can you really
see all these places at once from Wheal Dooem?"

"Not exactly from Wheal Dooem, Jack, but if you were to go up in a
balloon a few hundred yards above the spot where it stands, you might
see 'em all on a very clear day, if your eyes were good.  The fact is,
that I regard this picture as a triumph of art, exhibiting powerfully
what is by artists termed `bringing together' and great `breadth,'
united with exceedingly minute detail.  The colouring too, is high--very
high indeed, and the _chiaroscuro_ is perfect--"

"Ha!" interposed Jack, "all the _chiar_ being on the surface, and the
_oscuro_ down in the mine, eh?"

"Exactly so," replied Clearemout.  "It is a splendid picture.  The
artist regards it as his _chef_ _d'oeuvre_, and you must explain it to
all who come to the office, as well as those magnificent geological
sections rolled-up in the corner, which it would be well, by the way, to
have hung up without delay.  They arrived only this morning.  And now,
Jack, having explained these matters, I will leave you, to study them at
your leisure, while I prepare for my journey to Cornwall, where, by the
way, I have my eye upon a sweet little girl, whose uncle, I believe, has
lots of tin, both in the real and figurative sense of the word.
Something may come of it--who knows?"

Next morning saw the managing director on the road, and in due time he
found his way by coach, kittereen, and gig to St. Just, where, as
before, he was hospitably received by old Mr Donnithorne.

That gentleman's buoyancy of spirit, however, was not quite so great as
it had been a few months before, but that did not much affect the
spirits of Clearemout, who found good Mrs Donnithorne as motherly, and
Rose Ellis as sweet, as ever.

It happened at this time that Oliver Trembath had occasion to go to
London about some matter relating to his deceased mother's affairs, so
the managing director had the field all to himself.  He therefore spent
his time agreeably in looking after the affairs of Wheal Dooem during
the day, and making love to Rose Ellis in the evening.

Poor Rose was by no means a flirt, but she was an innocent,
straightforward girl, ignorant of many of the world's ways, and of a
trusting disposition.  She found the conversation of Mr Clearemout
agreeable, and did not attempt to conceal the fact.  Mr Clearemout's
vanity induced him to set this down to a tender feeling, although Rose
never consciously gave him, by word or look, the slightest reason to
come to such a conclusion.

One forenoon Mr Clearemout was sitting in Mr Donnithorne's dining-room
conversing with Rose and Mrs Donnithorne, when the old gentleman
entered and sat down beside them.

"I had almost forgotten the original object of my visit this morning,"
said the managing director, with a smile, and a glance at Rose; "the
fact is that I am in want of a man to work at Wheal Dooem, a steady,
trustworthy man, who would be fit to take charge--become a sort of
overseer; can you recommend one?"

Mr Donnithorne paused for a moment to reflect, but Mrs Donnithorne
deeming reflection quite unnecessary, at once replied,--"Why, there are
many such men in St. Just.  There's John Cock, as good a man as you
could find in all the parish, and David Trevarrow, and James Penrose--
he's a first-rate man; You remember him, my dear?"  (turning to her
worse half)--"one of our locals, you know."

"Yes, my dear, I remember him perfectly.--You could not, Mr Clearemout,
get a better man, I should say."

"I think you observed, madam," said Mr Clearemout, "that this man is a
`local.'  Pray, what is a local?"

Rose gave one of her little laughs at this point, and her worthy aunt
exclaimed,--"La!  Mr Clearemout, don't you know what a local preacher

"Oh! a _preacher_?  Connected with the Methodist body, I presume?"

"Yes, and a first-rate man, I assure you."

"But," said Mr Clearemout, with a smile, "I want a miner, not a

"Well, he is a miner, and a good one too--"

"Allow _me_ to explain, my dear," said Mr Donnithorne, interrupting his
spouse.  "You may not be aware, sir, that many of our miners are men of
considerable mental ability, and some of them possess such power of
speech, and so earnest a spirit, that the Wesleyan body have appointed
them to the office of local preaching.  They do not become ministers,
however, nor are they liable to be sent out of the district like them.
They don't give up their ordinary calling, but are appointed to preach
in the various chapels of the district in which they reside, and thus we
accomplish an amount of work which could not possibly be overtaken by
the ordinary ministry."

"Indeed! but are they not untrained men, liable to teach erroneous
doctrine?" asked Mr Clearemout.

"They are not altogether untrained men," replied Mr Donnithorne.  "They
are subjected to a searching examination, and must give full proof of
their Christianity, knowledge, and ability before being appointed."

"And good, excellent Christian men many of them are," observed Mrs
Donnithorne, with much fervour.

"Quite true," said her husband.  "This James Penrose is one of our best
local preachers, and sometimes officiates in our principal chapel.  I
confess, however, that those who have the management of this matter are
not always very judicious in their appointments.  Some of our young men
are sorely tempted to show off their acquirements, and preach
_themselves_ instead of the gospel, and there are one or two whom I
could mention whose hearts are all right, but whose brains are so
muddled and empty that they are utterly unfit to teach their fellows.
We must not, however, look for perfection in this world, Mr Clearemout.
A little chaff will always remain among the wheat.  There is no system
without some imperfection, and I am convinced that upon the whole our
system of appointing local preachers is a first-rate one.  At all events
it works well, which is one of the best proofs of its excellence."

"Perhaps so," said Mr Clearemout, with the air of a man who did not
choose to express an opinion on the subject; "nevertheless I had rather
have a man who was _not_ a local preacher."

"You can see and hear him, and judge for yourself," said Mr
Donnithorne; "for he is, I believe, to preach in our chapel to-morrow,
and if you will accept of a seat in our pew it will afford my wife and
myself much--"

"Thank you," interrupted Mr Clearemout; "I shall be very glad to take
advantage of your kind offer.  Service, you say, begins at--"

"Ten precisely," said Mr Donnithorne.



The sun rose bright and hot on Sunday morning, but the little birds were
up before the great luminary, singing their morning hymn with noisy
delight.  It was a peaceful day.  The wind was at rest and the sea was
calm.  In the ancient town of St. Just it was peculiarly peaceful, for
the numerous and untiring "stamps"--which all the week had continued
their clang and clatter, morning, noon, and night, without
intermission--found rest on that hallowed day, and the great engines
ceased to bow their massive heads, with the exception of those that
worked the pumps.  Even these, however, were required to do as little
work as was compatible with the due drainage of the mines, and as their
huge pulsations were intermittent--few and far between--they did not
succeed in disturbing the universal serenity of the morning.

If there are in this country men who, more than any other, need repose,
we should say they are the miners of Cornwall, for their week's work is
exhausting far beyond that of most other labourers in the kingdom.
Perhaps the herculean men employed in malleable-iron works toil as
severely, but, besides the cheering consciousness of being well paid for
their labour, these men exert their powers in the midst of sunlight and
fresh air, while the miners toil in bad air, and get little pay in hard
times.  Sunday is indeed to them the Sabbath-day--it is literally what
that word signifies, a day of much-required rest for body, soul, and

Pity that the good old word which God gave us is not more universally
used among Christians!  Would it not have been better that the
translation Rest-day had been adopted, so that even ignorant men might
have understood its true signification, than that we should have saddled
it with a heathen name, to be an apple of discord in all generations?
However, Sunday it is, so Sunday it will stand, we suppose, as long as
the world lasts.  After all, despite its faulty origin, that word is
invested with old and hallowed associations in the minds of many, so we
enter our protest against the folly of our forefathers very humbly,
beseeching those who are prone to become nettled on this subject to
excuse our audacity!

Well, as we have said, the Sunday morning to which we refer was
peaceful; so would have been Maggot's household had Maggot's youngest
baby never been born; but, having been born, that robust cherub asserted
his right to freedom of action more violently than ever did the most
rabid Radical or tyrannical Tory.  He "swarmed" about the house, and
kicked and yelled his uttermost, to the great distress of poor little
Grace, whose anxiety to get him ready for chapel was gradually becoming
feverish.  But baby Maggot had as much objection to go to chapel as his
wicked father, who was at that time enjoying a pipe on the cliffs, and
intended to leave his family to the escort of David Trevarrow.
Fortunately, baby gave in about half-past nine, so that little Grace had
him washed and dressed, and on his way to chapel in pretty good time,
all things considered.

No one who entered the Wesleyan Chapel of St. Just that morning for the
first time could have imagined that a large proportion of the
well-dressed people who filled the pews were miners and balmaidens.
Some of the latter were elegantly, we might almost say gorgeously,
attired, insomuch that, but for their hands and speech, they might
almost have passed for ladies of fashion.  The very latest thing in
bonnets, and the newest mantles, were to be seen on their pretty heads
and shapely shoulders.

As we have said before, and now repeat, this circumstance arose from the
frequency of the visits of the individual styled "Johnny Fortnight,"
whose great aim and end in life is to supply miners, chiefly the females
among them, with the necessaries, and unnecessaries, of wearing apparel.

When the managing director entered Mr Donnithorne's pew and sat down
beside his buxom hostess, he felt, but of course was much too well bred
to express astonishment; for his host had told him that a large number
of the people who attended the chapel were miners, and for a time he
failed to see any of the class whom he had hitherto been accustomed to
associate with rusty-red and torn garbs, and dirty hands and faces.  But
he soon observed that many of the stalwart, serious-looking men with
black coats and white linen, had strong, muscular hands, with
hard-looking knuckles, which, in some instances, exhibited old or recent
cuts and bruises.

It was a new sight for the managing director to behold the large and
apparently well-off families filing into the pews, for, to say truth,
Mr Clearemout was not much in the habit of attending church, and he had
never before entered a Methodist chapel.  He watched with much curiosity
the gradual filling of the seats, and the grave, quiet demeanour of the
people.  Especially interesting was it when Maggot's family came in and
sat down, with the baby Maggot in charge of little Grace.  Mr
Clearemout had met Maggot, and had seen his family; but interest gave
place to astonishment when Mrs Penrose walked into the church, backed
by her sixteen children, the eldest males among whom were miners, and
the eldest females tin-dressers, while the little males and females
aspired to be miners and tin-dressers in the course of time.

"That's Penrose's family," whispered Mr Donnithorne to his guest.

"What! the local's family?"

Mr Donnithorne nodded.

Soon after, a tall, gentlemanly man ascended the pulpit.

The managing director was disappointed.  He had come there to hear a
miner preach, and behold, a clergyman!

"Who is he?" inquired Clearemout.

But Mr Donnithorne did not answer.  He was looking up the hymn for Mrs
D, who, being short-sighted, claimed exemption from the duty of "looking
up" anything.  Besides, he was a kind, good man at heart--though rather
fond of smuggling and given to the bottle, according to Oliver
Trembath's account of him--and liked to pay his wife little attentions.

But there were still greater novelties in store for the London man that
morning.  It was new to him to hear John Wesley's beautiful hymns sung
to equally beautiful tunes, which were not, however, unfamiliar to his
ear, and sung with a degree of fervour that quite drowned his own voice,
powerful and deep though it was.  It was a new and impressive thing to
hear the thrilling, earnest tones of the preacher as he offered up an
eloquent extempore prayer--to the petitions in which many of the people
in the congregation gave utterance at times to startlingly fervent and
loud responses--not in set phraseology, but in words that were called
forth by the nature of each petition, such as "Glory to God," "Amen,"
"Thanks be to Him"--showing that the worshippers followed and
sympathised with their spokesman, thus making his prayer their own.  But
the newest thing of all was to hear the preacher deliver an eloquent,
earnest, able, and well-digested sermon, without book or note, in the
same natural tone of voice with which a man might address his fellow in
the street--a style of address which riveted the attention of the
hearers, induced them to expect that he had really something important
to say to them, and that he thoroughly believed in the truth of what he

"A powerful man," observed the managing director as they went out; "your
clergyman, I suppose?"

"No, sir," replied Mr Donnithorne with a chuckle, "our minister is
preaching elsewhere to-day.  That was James Penrose."

"What! the miner?" exclaimed Clearemout in astonishment.

"Ay, the local preacher too."

"Why, the man spoke like Demosthenes, and quoted Bacon, Locke, Milton,
and I know not whom all--you amaze me," said Mr Clearemout.  "Surely
all your local preachers are not equal to this one."

"Alas, no! some of the young ones are indeed able enough to spout poetry
and quote old authors, and too fond they are of doing so; nevertheless,
as I have said to you before, most of the local preachers are
sober-minded, sterling Christian men, and a few of them have eminent
capabilities.  Had Penrose been a younger man, he would probably have
entered the ministry, but being above forty, with an uncommonly large
family, he thinks it his duty to remain as he is, and do as much good as
he can."

"But surely he might find employment better suited to his talents?" said

"There is not much scope in St. Just," replied Mr Donnithorne, with a
smile, "and it is a serious thing for a man in his circumstances to
change his abode and vocation.  No, no, I think he is right to remain a

"Well, I confess that I admire his talents," returned Clearemout, "but I
still think that an ordinary miner would suit me better."

"Well, I know of one who will suit you admirably.  He is common enough
to look at, and if you will accompany me into the mine to-morrow I'll
introduce you to him.  I'm not fond of descending the ladders nowadays,
though I could do it very well when a youth, but as the man I speak of
works in one of the levels near the surface, I'll be glad to go down
with you, and Captain Dan shall lead us."

True to his word, the old gentleman met Mr Clearemout the following
morning at nine o'clock, and accompanied him down into the mine.

Their descent was unmarked by anything particular at first.  They wore
the usual suit of underground clothing, and each carried a lighted
candle attached to his hat.  After descending about thirty fathoms they
left the main shaft and traversed the windings of a level until they
came to a place where the sound of voices and hammers indicated that the
miners were working.  In a few seconds they reached the end of the

Here two men were "driving" the level, and another--a very tall,
powerful man--was standing in a hole driven up slanting-ways into the
roof, and cutting the rock above his head.  His attitude and aspect were
extremely picturesque, standing as he did on a raised platform with his
legs firmly planted, his muscular arms raised above him to cut the rock
overhead, and the candle so placed as to cause his figure to appear
almost black and unnaturally gigantic.

"Stay a minute, Captain Dan," said Mr Donnithorne.  "That, Mr
Clearemout, is the man I spoke of--what think you of his personal

Clearemout did not reply for a few minutes, but stood silently watching
the man as he continued to wield his heavy hammer with powerful
strokes--delivering each with a species of gasp which indicated not
exhaustion, but the stern vigour with which it was given.

"He'll do," said Clearemout in a decided tone.

"Hallo!  James," shouted Mr Donnithorne.

"Hallo! sir," answered the man looking back over his shoulder.

"There's a gentleman here who wants to speak to you."

The miner flung down his tools, which clattered loudly on the hard rock,
as he leaped from his perch with the agility of one whose muscles are
all in full and constant exercise.

"What! not the local--"

Before the managing director could finish his sentence Mr Donnithorne
introduced him to James Penrose, and left the two for a time to talk

It need scarcely be added that Clearemout was quite willing to avail
himself of the services of the "local," but the local did not meet his
proposals so readily as he would have wished.  Penrose was a cautious
man, and said he would call on Mr Clearemout in the evening after he
had had time to consider the matter.

With this reply the other was fain to rest satisfied, and shortly after
he returned to the bottom of the shaft with his friends, leaving the
hardy miner to pursue his work.

At the bottom of the shaft they were accosted by a sturdy little man,
who told them that a large piece of timber was being sent down the
shaft, and it would be advisable to wait until it reached the bottom.

"Is it on the way, Spankey?" asked Captain Dan.

"Iss, sur, if it haven't walked into the thirty-fathom level in

Spankey was a humorous individual addicted to joking.

"Are you married, Spankey?" asked Clearemout, looking down with a grin
at the dirty little fellow beside him.

"Iss, sur.  Had, two wives, an' the third wan is waitin' for me,

"Any children, Spankey?"

"Iss, six, countin' the wan that died before it could spaik."

At this point the beam was heard coming down.  In a few seconds it made
its appearance, and was hauled a little to one side by Spankey, who
proceeded to unwind the chain that had supported it.

"I'll give 'em the signal, Captain Dan, to haul up the chain before thee
do go on the ladders."

The signal was given accordingly, and the engine immediately began to
draw up the chain by which the beam had been lowered.

This chain had a hook at one end of it, and, as ill-luck would have it,
the hook caught Spankey by the right leg of his trousers, and whisked
him off his feet.  Almost before those beside him could conceive what
had happened, the unfortunate man went up the shaft feet foremost, with
a succession of dreadful yells, in the midst of which could be heard a
fearful rending of strong linen.

Fortunately for Spankey, his nether garments were not only strong, but
new, so that when the rend came to the seam at the foot, it held on,
else had that facetious miner come down the shaft much faster than he
went up, and left his brains at the bottom as a memorial of the shocking

With palpitating hearts, Captain Dan, Clearemout, and old Donnithorne
ran up the ladders as fast as they could.  In a few minutes they reached
the thirty-fathom level, and here, to their great relief, they found
Spankey supported in the arms of stout Joe Tonkin.

That worthy, true to his promise to Oliver Trembath, had gone to work in
Botallack Mine, and had that very day commenced operations in the
thirty-fathom level referred to.  Hearing the terrible screams of
Spankey, he rushed to the end of the level just as the unfortunate man
was passing it.  The risk was great, but Tonkin was accustomed to risks,
and prompt to act.  He flung his arms round Spankey, drew him forcibly
into the level, and held on for life.  There was a terrible rend; the
leg of the trousers gave way at the hip, and went flapping up to grass,
leaving the horrified miner behind.

"Not gone dead yet, sur, but goin' fast," was Spankey's pathetic reply
to Captain Dan's anxious inquiries.

It was found, however, that, beyond the fright, the man had received no
damage whatever.

The only other noteworthy fact in reference to this incident is, that
when Captain Dan and his companions reached the surface, they were met
by the lander, who, with a face as pale as a ghost, held up the torn
garment.  Great was this man's relief, and loud the fit of laughter with
which he expressed it, when Spankey, issuing from the mouth of the
shaft, presented his naked limb, and claimed the leg of his trousers!



That afternoon another accident occurred in the mine, which was of a
much more serious nature than the one just recorded, and which
interfered somewhat with the plans of the managing director of the Great
Wheal Dooem Mining Company.

Not long after his interview with Clearemout, James Penrose finished a
blast-hole, and called to Zackey Maggot to fetch the fuse.

Zackey had been working for a week past in connection with Penrose, and,
at the time he was called, was engaged in his wonted occupation of
pounding "tamping" wherewith to fill the hole.

Wherever Zackey chanced to be at work, he always made himself as
comfortable as circumstances would admit of.  At the present time he had
discovered a little hollow or recess in the wall of the level, which he
had converted into a private chamber for the nonce.

There was a piece of flat rock on the floor of this recess, which Zackey
used as his anvil, and in front of which he kneeled.  At his side was a
candle, stuck against the wall, where it poured a flood of light on
objects in its immediate neighbourhood, and threw the boy's magnified
shadow over the floor and against the opposite wall of the level.  Above
his head was a small shelf, which he had ingeniously fixed in a narrow
part of the cell, and on this lay a few candles, a stone bottle of
water, a blasting fuse, and part of his lunch, which he had been unable
to consume, wrapped in a piece of paper.  A small wooden box on the
floor, and a couple of pick-hilts, leaning against the wall, completed
the furniture of this subterranean grotto.

Zackey, besides being a searcher after metals, possessed an unusual
amount of metal in himself.  He was one of those earnest, hard-working,
strong-hearted boys who pass into a state of full manhood, do the work
of men, and are looked upon as being men, before they have passed out of
their "teens."  The boy's manhood, which was even at that early period
of his life beginning to show itself, consisted not in his looks or his
gait, although both were creditable, but in his firmness of purpose and
force of character.  What Zackey undertook to do he always did.  He
never left any work in a half-finished state, and he always employed
time diligently.

In the mine he commenced to labour the moment he entered, and he never
ceased, except during a short period for "kroust," until it was time to
shoulder his tools, and mount to the regions of light.  Above ground, he
was as ready to skylark as the most volatile of his companions, but
underground he was a pattern of perseverance--a true Cornish miner in
miniature.  His energy of character was doubtless due to his reckless
father, but his steadiness was the result of "Uncle Davy's" counsel and

"Are you coming, Zackey?" shouted Penrose, from the end of the level.

"Iss, I'm comin'," replied the boy, taking the fuse from the shelf, and
hastening towards his companion.

Penrose had a peculiar and pleased expression on his countenance, which
Zackey observed at once.

"What do 'ee grizzle like that for?" inquired the boy.

"I've come on a splendid bunch of copper, Zackey," replied the man; "you
and I shall make money soon.  Run away to your work, lad, and come back
when you hear the shot go off."

Zackey expressed a hope that the prophecy might come true, and returned
to his cell, where he continued pounding diligently--thinking the while
of rich ore and a rapid fortune.

There was more reason in these thoughts than one might suppose, for
Cornish miners experience variety of fortune.  Sometimes a man will
labour for weeks and months in unproductive ground, following up a small
vein in the hope of its leading into a good lode, and making so little
by his hard toil that on pay day of each month he is compelled to ask
his employer for "subsist"--or a small advance of money--to enable him
to live and go on with his work.  Often he is obliged to give up in
despair, and change to a more promising part of the mine, or to go to
another mine altogether; but, not unfrequently, he is rewarded for his
perseverance by coming at last to a rich "lode," or mass, or "bunch" of
copper or tin ore, out of which he will rend, in a single month, as much
as will entitle him to thirty or forty, or even a hundred pounds, next
pay day.

Such pieces of good fortune are not of rare occurrence.  Many of the
substantial new cottages to be seen in St. Just at the present day have
been built by miners who became suddenly fortunate in this way, so that,
although the miner of Cornwall always works hard, and often suffers
severe privation, he works on with a well-grounded expectation of a
sudden burst of temporal sunshine in his otherwise hard lot.

Zackey Maggot was dreaming of some such gleam of good fortune, and
patiently pounding away at the tamping, when he heard the explosion of
the blast.  At the same moment a loud cry rang through the underground
caverns.  It was one of those terrible, unmistakable cries which chill
the blood and thrill the hearts of those who hear them, telling of some
awful catastrophe.

The boy leaped up and ran swiftly towards the end of the level, where he
called to his companion, but received no answer.  The smoke which filled
the place was so dense that he could not see, and could scarcely
breathe.  He ran forward, however, and stumbled over the prostrate form
of Penrose.  Zackey guessed correctly what had occurred, for the
accident was, and alas! still is, too common in the mines.  The shot had
apparently missed fire.  Penrose had gone forward to examine it, and it
exploded in his face.

To lift his companion was beyond Zackey's power, to leave him lying in
such dense smoke for any length of time would, he knew, ensure his
suffocation, so he attempted to drag him away, but the man was too heavy
for him.  In his extremity the poor boy uttered a wild cry for help, but
he shouted in vain, for there was no one else at work in the level.  But
Zackey was not the boy to give way to despair, or to act thoughtlessly,
or in wild haste in this emergency.  He suddenly recollected that there
was a rope somewhere about the level.  He sought for and found it.
Fastening an end of it round the body of the man, under the armpits, he
so arranged that the knot of the loop should reach a few inches beyond
his head, and on this part of the loop he spread a coat, which thus
formed a support to the head, and prevented it being dragged along the
ground.  While engaged in this operation the poor boy was well-nigh
suffocated with smoke, and had to run back once to where the air was
purer in order to catch a breath or two.  Then, returning, he seized the
rope, passed it over his shoulder, and bending forward with all his
might and main dragged the man slowly but steadily along the floor of
the level to a place where the air was comparatively pure.

Leaving him there he quickly fixed a candle in his hat, and carrying
another in his hand, to avoid the risk of being left in darkness by an
accidental stumble or gust of air, Zackey darted swiftly along the level
and ran up the ladders at his utmost speed.  Panting for breath, and
with eyes almost starting from their sockets, he rushed into the
engine-house, and told the man in charge what had occurred; then he
dashed away to the counting-house and gave the alarm there, so that, in
a very few minutes, a number of men descended the shaft and gathered
round the prostrate miner.  The doctor who had taken Oliver Trembath's
place during his absence was soon in attendance, and found that although
no bones had been broken, Penrose's face was badly injured, how deep the
injury extended could not at that time be ascertained, but he feared
that his eyes had been altogether destroyed.

After the application of some cordial the unfortunate man began to
revive, and the first words he uttered were, "Praise the Lord"--
evidently in reference to his life having been spared.

"Is that you, Zackey?" he inquired after a few moments.

"No, it is the doctor, my man.  Do you feel much pain in your head?" he
asked as he knelt beside him.

"Not much; there is a stunned feeling about it, but little pain.  You'd
better light a candle."

"There are candles burning round you," said the doctor.  "Do you not see
them?  There is one close to your face at this moment."

Penrose made no answer on hearing this, but an expression of deep
gravity seemed to settle on the blackened features.

"We must get him up as soon as possible," said the doctor, turning to
Captain Dan, who stood at his elbow.

"We're all ready, sir," replied the captain, who had quietly procured
ropes and a blanket, while the doctor was examining the wounds.

With great labour and difficulty the injured man was half hauled, half
carried, and pushed up the shaft, and laid on the grass.

"Is the sun shining?" he asked in a low voice.

"Iss, it do shine right in thee face, Jim," said one of the miners,
brushing away a tear with the back of his hand.

Again the gravity of Penrose's countenance appeared to deepen, but he
uttered no other word; so they brought an old door and laid him on it.
Six strong men raised it gently on their shoulders, and, with slow steps
and downcast faces, they carried the wounded miner home.



Soon after this accident to James Penrose, the current of events at the
mines was diverted from its course by several incidents, which, like the
obstructing rocks in a rapid, created some eddies and whirlpools in the
lives of those personages with whom this chronicle has to do.

As the beginning of a mighty inundation is oft-times an
insignificant-looking leak, and as the cause of a series of great events
is not unfrequently a trifling incident, so the noteworthy circumstances
which we have still to lay before our readers were brought about by a
very small matter--by a baby--_the_ baby Maggot!

One morning that cherubical creature opened its eyes at a much earlier
hour than usual, and stared at the ceiling of its father's cottage.  The
sun was rising, and sent its unobstructed rays through the window of
Maggot's cottage, where it danced on the ceiling as if its sole purpose
in rising had been to amuse the Maggot baby.  If so, it was
pre-eminently successful in its attempts, for the baby lay and smiled
for a long time in silent ecstasy.

Of course, we do not mean to say that the sun itself, or its direct
rays, actually danced.  No, it was too dignified a luminary for that,
but its rays went straight at a small looking-glass which was suspended
on the wall opposite to the window, and this being hung so as to slope
forward, projected the rays obliquely into a tub of water which was
destined for family washing purposes; and from its gently moving surface
they were transmitted to the ceiling, where, as aforesaid, they danced,
to the immense delight of Maggot junior.

The door of the cottage had been carelessly closed the previous night
when the family retired to rest, and a chink of it was open, through
which a light draught of summer air came in.  This will account for the
ripple on the water, which (as every observant reader will note) ought,
according to the laws of gravitation, to have lain perfectly still.

The inconstancy of baby Maggot's nature was presently exhibited in his
becoming tired of the sun, and the restlessness of his disposition
displayed itself in his frantic efforts to get out of bed.  Being boxed
in with a board, this was not an easy matter, but the urchin's limbs
were powerful, and he finally got over the obstruction, sufficiently far
to lose his balance, and fall with a sounding flop on the floor.

It is interesting to notice how soon deceit creeps into the hearts of
some children!  Of course the urchin fell sitting-wise--babies always do
so, as surely as cats fall on their feet.  In ordinary circumstances he
would have intimated the painful mishap with a dreadful yell; but on
this particular occasion young Maggot was bent on mischief.  Of what
sort, he probably had no idea, but there must have been a latent feeling
of an intention to be "bad" in some way or other, because, on reaching
the ground, he pursed his mouth, opened his eyes very wide, and looked
cautiously round to make sure that the noise had awakened no one.

His father, he observed, with a feeling of relief, was absent from
home--not a matter of uncommon occurrence, for that worthy man's
avocations often called him out at untimeous hours.  Mrs Maggot was in
bed snoring, and wrinkling up her nose in consequence of a fly having
perched itself obstinately on the point thereof.  Zackey, with the red
earth of the mine still streaking his manly countenance, was rolled-up
like a ball in his own bed in a dark recess of the room, and little
Grace Maggot could be seen in the dim perspective of a closet, also
sound asleep, in her own neat little bed, with her hair streaming over
the pillow, and the "chet" reposing happily on her neck.

But that easily satisfied chet had long ago had more than enough of
rest.  Its repose was light, and the sound of baby Maggot falling out of
bed caused it to rise, yawn, arch its back and tail, and prepare itself
for the mingled joys and torments of the opening day.  Observing that
the urchin rose and staggered with a gleeful expression towards the
door, the volatile chet made a dash at him sidewise, and gave him such a
fright that he fell over the door step into the road.

Again was that tender babe's deceitfulness of character displayed, for,
instead of howling, as he would have done on other occasions, he
exercised severe self-restraint, made light of a bruised shin, and,
gathering himself up, made off as fast as his fat legs could carry him.

There was something deeply interesting--worthy of the study of a
philosopher--in the subsequent actions of that precocious urchin.  His
powers in the way of walking were not much greater than those of a very
tipsy man, and he swayed his arms about a good deal to maintain his
balance, especially at the outset of the journey, when he imagined that
he heard the maternal voice in anger and the maternal footsteps in
pursuit in every puff of wind, grunt of pig, or bark of early-rising
cur.  His entire soul was engrossed in the one grand, vital, absorbing
idea of escape!  By degrees, as distance from the paternal roof
increased, his fluttering spirit grew calmer and his gait more steady,
and the flush of victory gathered on his brow and sparkled in his eye,
as the conviction was pressed home upon him that, for the first time in
his life, he was _free_! free as the wind of heaven to go where he
pleased--to do what he liked--to be _as bad as possible_, without let or

Not that baby Maggot had any stronger desire to be absolutely wicked
than most other children of his years; but, having learnt from
experience that the attempt to gratify any of his desires was usually
checked and termed "bad," he naturally felt that a state of delight so
intense as that to which he had at last attained, must necessarily be
the very quintessence of iniquity.  Being resolved to go through with it
at all hazards, he felt proportionately wild and reckless.  Such a state
of commotion was there in his heaving bosom, owing to contradictory and
conflicting elements, that he felt at one moment inclined to lie down
and shout for joy, and the next, to sink into the earth with terror.

Time, which proverbially works wonderful changes, at length subdued the
urchin to a condition of calm goodness and felicity, that would have
rejoiced his mother's heart, had it only been brought on in ordinary
circumstances at home.

There is a piece of waste ground lying between St. Just and the sea--a
sort of common, covered with heath and furze--on which the ancient
Britons have left their indelible mark, in the shape of pits and hollows
and trenches, with their relative mounds and hillocks.  Here, in the
days of old, our worthy but illiterate forefathers had grubbed and dug
and turned up every square foot of the soil, like a colony of gigantic
rabbits, in order to supply the precious metal of the country to the
Phoenicians, Jews, and Greeks.

The ground on this common is so riddled with holes of all sizes and
shapes, utterly unguarded by any kind of fence, that it requires care on
the part of the pedestrian who traverses the place even in daylight.
Hence the mothers of St. Just are naturally anxious that the younger
members of their families should not go near the common, and the younger
members are as naturally anxious that they should visit it.

Thither, in the course of time--for it was not far distant--the baby
Maggot naturally trended; proceeding on the principle of "short stages
and long rests."  Never in his life--so he thought--had he seen such
bright and beautiful flowers, such green grass, and such lovely yellow
sand, as that which appeared here and there at the mouths of the holes
and old shafts, or such a delicious balmy and sweet-scented breeze as
that which came off the Atlantic and swept across the common.  No wonder
that his eyes drank in the beautiful sights, for they had seen little of
earth hitherto, save the four walls of his father's cottage and the dead
garden wall in front of it; no wonder that his nostrils dilated to
receive the sweet odours, for they had up to that date lived upon air
which had to cross a noisome and stagnant pool of filth before it
entered his father's dwelling; and no wonder that his ears thrilled to
hear the carol of the birds, for they had previously been accustomed
chiefly to the voices of poultry and pigs, and to the caterwauling of
the "chet."

But as every joy has its alloy, so our youthful traveller's feelings
began to be modified by a gnawing sensation of hunger, as his usual hour
for breakfast approached.  Still he wandered on manfully, looking into
various dark and deep holes with much interest and a good deal of awe.
Some of the old shafts were so deep that no bottom could be seen; others
were partially filled up, and varied from five to twenty feet in depth.
Some were nearly perpendicular, others were sloped and irregular in
form; but all were more or less fringed with gorse bushes in full bloom.
In a few cases the old pits were concealed by these bushes.

It is almost unnecessary to say that baby Maggot's progress, on that
eventful morn, was--unknown to himself--a series of narrow escapes from
beginning to end--no not exactly to the end, for his last adventure
could scarcely be deemed an escape.  He was standing on the edge of a
hole, which was partially concealed by bushes.  Endeavouring to peer
into it he lost his balance and fell forward.  His ready hands grasped
the gorse and received innumerable punctures, which drew forth a loud
cry.  Head foremost he went in, and head foremost he went down full ten
feet, when a small bush caught him, and lowered him gently to the
ground, but the spot on which he was landed was steep; it sloped towards
the bottom of the hole, which turned inwards and became a sort of
cavern.  Struggling to regain his footing, he slipped and rolled
violently to the bottom, where he lay for a few minutes either stunned
or too much astonished to move.  Then he recovered a little and began to
whimper.  After which he felt so much better that he arose and attempted
to get out of the hole, but slipped and fell back again, whereupon he
set up a hideous roar which continued without intermission for a quarter
of an hour, when he fell sound asleep, and remained in happy
unconsciousness for several hours.

Meanwhile the Maggot family was, as may well be believed, thrown into a
state of tremendous agitation.  Mrs Maggot, on making the discovery
that baby had succeeded in scaling the barricade, huddled on her
garments and roused her progeny to assist in the search.  At first she
was not alarmed, believing that she should certainly find the
self-willed urchin near the house, perhaps in the cottage of the
Penroses.  But when the cottages in the immediate neighbourhood had been
called at, and all the known places of danger round the house examined,
without success, the poor woman became frantic with terror, and roused
the whole neighbourhood.  Every place of possible and impossible
concealment was searched, and at last the unhappy mother allowed the
terrible thought to enter her mind that baby had actually accomplished
the unheard-of feat of reaching the dreaded common, and was perhaps at
that moment lying maimed or dead at the bottom of an ancient British

Immediately a body of volunteers, consisting of men, women, and
children, and headed by Mrs Maggot, hastened to the common to institute
a thorough search; but they searched in vain, for the holes were
innumerable, and the one in which the baby lay was well concealed by
bushes.  Besides, the search was somewhat wildly and hastily made, so
that some spots were over-searched, while others were almost overlooked.

All that day did Mrs Maggot and her friends wander to and fro over the
common, and never, since the days when Phoenician galleys were moored by
St. Michael's Mount, did the eyes of human beings pry so earnestly into
these pits and holes.  Had tin been their object, they could not have
been more eager.  Evening came, night drew on apace, and at last the
forlorn mother sat down in the centre of a furze bush, and began to
weep.  But her friends comforted her.  They urged her to go home and
"'ave a dish o' tay" to strengthen her for the renewal of the search by
torch-light.  They assured her that the child could easily exist longer
than a day without food, and they reminded her that her baby was an
exceptional baby, a peculiar baby--like its father, uncommonly strong,
and, like its mother, unusually obstinate.  The latter sentiment,
however, was _thought_, not expressed.

Under the influence of these assurances and persuasions, Mrs Maggot
went home, and, for a short time, the common was deserted.

Now it chanced, curiously enough, that at this identical point of time,
Maggot senior was enjoying a pipe and a glass of grog in a celebrated
kiddle-e-wink, with his friend Joe Tonkin.  This kiddle-e-wink, or low
public-house, was known as Un (or Aunt) Jilly's brandy-shop at Bosarne.
It was a favourite resort of smugglers, and many a gallon of spirit,
free of duty, had been consumed on the premises.

Maggot and his friend were alone in the house at the time, and their
conversation had taken a dolorous turn, for many things had occurred of
late to disturb the equanimity of the friends.  Several ventures in the
smuggling way had proved unsuccessful, and the mines did not offer a
tempting prospect just then.  There had, no doubt, been one or two
hopeful veins opened up, and some good "pitches" had been wrought, but
these were only small successes, and the luck had not fallen to either
of themselves.  The recent discovery of a good bunch by poor Penrose had
not been fully appreciated, for the wounded man had as yet said nothing
about it, and little Zackey had either forgotten all about it in the
excitement of the accident, or was keeping his own counsel.

Maggot talked gloomily about the advisability of emigration to America,
as he sent clouds of tobacco smoke up Un Jilly's chimney, and Tonkin
said he would try the mines for a short time, and if things didn't
improve he would go to sea.  He did not, however, look at things in
quite the same light with his friend.  Perhaps he was of a more hopeful
disposition, perhaps had met with fewer disappointments.  At all events,
he so wrought on Maggot's mind that he half induced him to deny his
smuggling propensities for a time, and try legitimate work in the mines.
Not that Joe Tonkin wanted to reform him by any means, but he was
himself a little out of humour with his old profession, and sought to
set his friend against it also.

"Try your luck in Botallack," said Joe Tonkin, knocking the ashes out of
his pipe, preparatory to quitting the place, "that's my advice to 'ee,

"I've half a mind to," replied Maggot, rising; "if that theere cargo I
run on Saturday do go the way the last did, I'll ha' done with it, so I
will.  Good-hevenin', Un Jilly."

"Good-hevenin', an' don't 'ee go tumblin' down the owld shafts," said
the worthy hostess, observing that her potent brandy had rendered the
gait of the men unsteady.

They laughed as they received the caution, and walked together towards
St. Just.

"Lev us go see if the toobs are all safe," said Maggot, on reaching the

Tonkin agreed, and they turned aside into a narrow track, which led
across the waste land, where the search for the baby had been so
diligently carried on all that day.

Night had set in, as we have said, and the searchers had gone up to the
town to partake of much-needed refreshment, and obtain torches, so that
the place was bleak and silent, as well as dark, when the friends
crossed it, but they knew every foot of the ground so thoroughly, that
there was no fear of their stumbling into old holes.  Maggot led the
way, and he walked straight to the old shaft where his hopeful son lay.

There were three noteworthy points of coincidence here to which we would
draw attention.  It was just because this old shaft was so well
concealed that Maggot had chosen it as a place in which to hide his tubs
of smuggled brandy; it was owing to the same reason that the
town's-people had failed to discover it while searching for the baby;
and it was--at least we think it must have been--just because of the
same reason that baby Maggot had found it, for that amiable child had a
peculiar talent, a sort of vocation, for ferreting out things and places
hidden and secret, especially if forbidden.

Having succeeded in falling into the hole, the urchin naturally
discovered his father's tubs.  After crying himself to sleep as before
mentioned, and again awakening, his curiosity in respect to these tubs
afforded him amusement, and kept him quiet for a time; perhaps the fact
that one of the tubs had leaked and filled the lower part of the old
shaft with spirituous fumes, may account for the baby continuing to keep
quiet, and falling into a sleep which lasted the greater part of the
day; at all events, it is certain that he did not howl, as might have
been expected of him in the circumstances.  Towards evening, however, he
began to move about among the tubs, and to sigh and whimper in a subdued
way, for his stomach, unused to such prolonged fasting, felt very
uncomfortable.  When darkness came on baby Maggot became alarmed, but,
just about the time of his father's approach, the moon shone out and
cast a cheering ray down the shaft, which relieved his mind a little.

"Joe," said Maggot in a whisper, and with a serious look, "some one have
bin here."

"D'ee think so?" said Tonkin.

"Iss I do; the bushes are broken a bit.  Hush! what's that?"

The two men paused and looked at each other with awe depicted on their
faces, while they listened intently, but, in the words of the touching
old song, "the beating of their own hearts was all the sound they

"It wor the wind," said Maggot.

"Iss, that's what it wor," replied Tonkin; "come, lev us go down.  The
wind can't do no harm to we."

But although he proposed to advance he did not move, and Maggot did not
seem inclined to lead the way, for just then something like a sigh came
from below, and a dark cloud passed over the moon.

It is no uncommon thing to find that men who are physically brave as
lions become nervous as children when anything bordering on what they
deem supernatural meets them.  Maggot was about the most reckless man in
the parish of St. Just, and Tonkin was not far behind him in the quality
of courage, yet these two stood there with palpitating hearts undecided
what to do.

Ashamed of being thought afraid of anything, Maggot at last cleared his
throat, and, in a husky voice, said,--"Come, then, lev us go down."

So saying he slid down the shaft, closely followed by Tonkin, who was
nearly as much afraid to be left alone on the bleak moor as he was to
enter the old mine.

Now, while the friends were consulting with palpitating hearts above,
baby Maggot, wide-awake and trembling with terror, listened with bated
breath below, and when the two men came scrambling down the sides of the
shaft his heart seemed to fill up his breast and throat, and his blood
began to creep in his veins.  Maggot could see nothing in the gloomy
interior as he advanced, but baby could see his father's dark form
clearly.  Still, no sound escaped from him, for horror had bereft him of
power.  Just then the dark cloud passed off the moon, and a bright beam
shone full on the upper half of the baby's face as he peeped over the
edge of one of the tubs.  Maggot saw two glaring eyeballs, and felt
frozen alive instantly.  Tonkin, looking over his comrade's shoulder,
also saw the eyes, and was petrified on the spot.  Suddenly baby Maggot
found his voice and uttered a most awful yell.  Maggot senior found his
limbs, and turned to fly.  So did Tonkin, but he slipped and fell at the
first step.  Maggot fell over him.  Both rose and dashed up the shaft,
scraping elbows, shins, and knuckles as they went, and, followed by a
torrent of hideous cries, that sounded in their ears like the screaming
of fiends, they gained the surface, and, without exchanging a word, fled
in different directions on the wings of terror!

Maggot did not halt until he burst into his house, and flung himself
into his own chair by the chimney corner, whence he gazed on what was
calculated to alarm as well as to perplex him.  This was the spectacle
of his own wife taking tea in floods of tears, and being encouraged in
her difficult task by Mrs Penrose and a few sympathising friends.

With some difficulty he got them to explain this mystery.

"What! baby gone lost?" he exclaimed; "where away?"

When it was told him what had occurred, Maggot's eyes gradually opened,
and his lips gradually closed, until the latter produced a low whistle.

"I think that I do knaw where the cheeld is," he said; "come along, an'
I'll show un to 'ee."

So saying, the wily smith, assuming an air of importance and profound
wisdom, arose and led his wife and her friends, with a large band of men
who had prepared torches, straight to the old shaft.  Going down, but
sternly forbidding any one to follow he speedily returned with the baby
in his arms, to the surprise of all, and to the unutterable joy of the
child's mother.

In one sense, however, the result was disastrous.  Curious persons were
there who could not rest until they had investigated the matter further,
and the tubs were not only discovered, but carried off by those who had
no title to them whatever!  The misfortune created such a tumult of
indignation in the breast of Maggot, that he was heard in his wrath to
declare he "would have nothin' more to do with un, but would go into the
bal the next settin' day."

This was the commencement of that series of events which, as we have
stated at the beginning of this chapter, were brought about by that
wonderful baby--the baby Maggot.



That very evening, while Maggot was smoking his pipe by the fireside,
his son Zackey referred to the bunch of copper which Penrose had
discovered in the mine.  After a short conversation, Maggot senior went
to the wounded man to talk about it.

"'Twas a keenly lode, did 'ee say?" asked Maggot, after he had inquired
as to the health of his friend.

"Yes, and as I shall not be able to work there again," said Penrose
sadly, "I would advise you to try it.  Zackey is entitled to get the
benefit of the discovery, for he was with me at the time, and, but for
his aid, dear boy, I should have been suffocated."

Maggot said no more on that occasion about the mine, being a man of few
words, but, after conversing a short time with the wounded man, and
ascertaining that no hope was held out to him of the recovery of his
sight, he went his way to the forge to work and meditate.

Setting-day came--being the first Saturday in the month, and no work was
done on that day in Botallack, for the men were all above ground to have
their "pitches" for the next month fixed, and to receive their wages--
setting-day being also pay day.

Some time before the business of the day commenced, the miners began to
assemble in considerable numbers in the neighbourhood of the
account-house.  Very different was their appearance on that occasion
from the rusty-red fellows who were wont to toil in the dark chambers
far down in the depths below the spot where they stood.  Their
underground dresses were laid aside, and they now appeared in the
costume of well-off tradesmen.  There was a free-and-easy swing about
the movements of most of these men that must have been the result of
their occupation, which brings every muscle of the body into play, and
does not--as is too much the case in some trades--over-tax the powers of
a certain set of muscles to the detriment of others.

Some there were, however, even among the young men, whose hollow cheeks
and bloodless lips, accompanied with a short cough, told of evil
resulting from bad air and frequent chills; while, on the other hand, a
few old men were to be seen with bright eyes and ruddy cheeks which
indicated constitutions of iron.  Not a few were mere lads, whose broad
shoulders and deep chests and resolute wills enabled them to claim the
title, and do the work, of men.

There were some among them, both young and old, who showed traces of
having suffered in their dangerous employment.  Several were minus an
eye, and one or two were nearly blind, owing to blast-holes exploding in
their faces.  One man in particular, a tall and very powerful fellow,
had a visage which was quite blue, and one of his eyes was closed--the
blue colour resulting from unburnt grains of powder having been blown
into his flesh.  He had been tattooed, in fact, by a summary and
effective process.  This man's family history was peculiar.  His father,
also a miner, had lived in a lonely cottage on a moor near St. Just, and
worked in Balaswidden Mine.  One night he was carried home and laid at
his wife's feet, dead--almost dashed to pieces by a fall.  Not long
afterwards the son was carried to the same cottage with his right eye
destroyed.  Some time later a brother dislocated his foot twice within
the year in the mine; and a few months after that another brother fell
from a beam, descended about twenty-four feet perpendicularly, where he
struck the side of the mine with his head, and had six or seven of his
teeth knocked out; glancing off to one side, he fell twenty feet more on
the hard rock, where he was picked up insensible.  This man recovered,
however, under the careful nursing of his oft and sorely tried mother.

Maggot was present on this setting-day, with a new cap and a new blue
cloth coat, looking altogether a surprisingly respectable character.  A
good deal of undertoned chaffing commenced when he appeared.

"Hallo!" exclaimed one, "goin' to become an honest man, Maggot?"

"Thinkin' 'bout it," replied the smith, with a good-humoured smile.

"Why, if I didn't knaw that the old wuman's alive," said another, "I'd
say he was agoin' to get married again!"

"Never fear," exclaimed a third, "Maggot's far too 'cute a cunger to be
caught twice."

"I say, my dear man," asked another, "have 'ee bin takin' a waalk 'pon
the clifts lately?"

"Iss, aw iss," replied the smith with much gravity.

"Did 'ee find any more daws 'pon clift?" asked the other, with a leer.

There was a general laugh at this, but Maggot replied with
good-humour,--"No, Billy, no--took 'em all away last time.  But I'm
towld there's some more eggs in the nest, so thee'll have a chance some
day, booy."

"I hope the daws ain't the worse of their ducking?" asked Billy, with an
expression of anxious interest.

"Aw, my dear," said Maggot, looking very sad, and shaking his head
slowly, "didn't 'ee hear the noos?"

"No, not I."

"They did catch the noo complaint the doctor do spaik of--bronkeetis I
think it is--and although I did tie 'em up wi' flannel round their
necks, an' water-gruel, besides 'ot bottles to their feet, they're all
gone dead.  I mean to have 'em buried on Monday.  Will 'ee come to the
berryin, Billy?"

"P'raps I will," replied Billy, "but see that the gravedigger do berry
'em deep, else he'll catch a blowin' up like the gravedigger did in
Cambourne last week."

"What was that, booy?  Let us hear about it, Billy," exclaimed several

"Well, this is the way of it," said Billy: "the owld gravedigger in
Cambourne was standin' about, after mittin' was over, a-readin' of the
tombstones, for he'd got a good edjication, had owld Tom.  His name was
Tom--the same man as put a straw rope to the bell which the cows did eat
away, so that he cudn't ring the people to mittin'.  Well, when he was
studdyin' the morials on the stones out comes Captain Rowe.  He was wan
o' the churchwardens, or somethin' o' that sort, but I don't knaw
nothin' 'bout the church, so I ain't sure--an' he calls owld Tom into
the vestry.

"`Now look here, Tom,' says the captain, very stern, `they tell me thee
'rt gettin' lazy, Tom, an' that thee do dig the graves only four fut
deep.  Now, Tom, I was over to St. Just t'other day to a berryin', and I
see that they do dig their graves six fut or more deeper than you do.
That won't do, Tom, I tell 'ee.  What's the meanin' of it?'

"This came somewhat suddent on owld Tom, but he wor noways put out.

"`Well, you do see, Cap'n Rowe,' says he, `I do it apurpose, for I do
look at the thing in two lights.'"

"`How so?' asked the captain.

"`Why, the people of St. Just only think of the berryin', but _I_ do
think of the resurrection; the consekince is that they do dig too deep,
an' afore the St. Just folk are well out of their graves, _ours_ will be
a braave way up to heaven!'"

The laugh with which this anecdote was received had scarcely subsided
when the upper half of one of the account-house windows opened, and the
fine-looking head and shoulders of old Mr Cornish appeared.

The manager laid an open book on the window-sill, and from this elevated
position, as from a pulpit, he read out the names, positions, etcetera,
of the various "pitches" that were to be "sett" for the following month.
One of the mine captains stood at his elbow to give any required
information--he and his three brother captains being the men who had
gone all over the mine during the previous month, examined the work,
measured what had been done by each man or "pare" of men, knew the
capabilities of all the miners, and fixed the portion that ought to be
offered to each for acceptance or refusal.

The men assembled in a cluster round the window, and looked up while Mr
Cornish read off as follows:--

"John Thomas's pitch at back of the hundred and five.  By two men.  To
extend from the end of tram-hole, four fathom west, and from back of
level, five fathom above."

For the enlightenment of the reader, we may paraphrase the above
sentence thus:--

"The pitch or portion of rock wrought last month by John Thomas is now
offered anew--in the first place, to John Thomas himself if he chooses
to continue working it at our rate of pay, or, if he declines, to any
other man who pleases to offer for it.  The pitch is in the back (or
roof) of the level, which lies one hundred and five fathoms deep.  It
must be wrought by two men, and must be excavated lengthwise to an
extent of four fathoms in a westerly direction from a spot called the
tram-hole.  In an upward direction, it may be excavated from the roof of
the level to an extent of five fathoms."

John Thomas, being present, at once offered "ten shillings," by which he
meant that, knowing the labour to be undergone, and the probable value
of the ore that would have to be excavated, he thought it worth while to
continue at that piece of work, or that "pitch," if the manager would
give him ten shillings for every twenty shillings' worth of mineral sent
to the surface by him; but the captain also knew the ground and the
labour that would be required, and his estimate was that eight shillings
would be quite sufficient remuneration, a fact which was announced by
Mr Cornish simply uttering the words, "At eight shillings."

"Put her down, s'pose," said John Thomas after a moment's consideration.

Perhaps John knew that eight shillings was really sufficient, although
he wanted ten.  At all events he knew that it was against the rules to
dispute the point at that time, as it delayed business; that if he did
not accept the offer, another man might do so; and that he might not get
so good a pitch if he were to change.

The pitch was therefore sett to John Thomas, and another read off:--"Jim
Hocking's pitch at back of the hundred and ten.  By one man.  To
extend," etcetera.

"Won't have nothin' to do with her," said Jim Hocking.

Jim had evidently found the work too hard, and was dissatisfied with the
remuneration, so he declined, resolving to try his chance in a more
promising part of the mine.

"Will any one offer for this pitch?" inquired Mr Cornish.

Eight and six shillings were sums immediately named by men who thought
the pitch looked more promising than Jim did.

"Any one offer more for this pitch?" asked the manager, taking up a
pebble from a little pile that lay at his elbow, and casting it into the

While that pebble was in its flight, any one might offer for the pitch,
but the instant it touched the ground, the bargain was held to be
concluded with the last bidder.

A man named Oats, who had been in a hesitating state of mind, here
exclaimed "Five shillings" (that is, offered to work the pitch for five
shillings on every twenty shillings' worth sent to grass); next instant
the stone fell, and the pitch was sett to Oats.

Poor James Penrose's pitch was the next sett.

"James Penrose's _late_ pitch," read the manager, giving the details of
it in terms somewhat similar to those already sett, and stating that the
required "pare," or force to be put on it, was two men and a boy.

"Put me down for it," said Maggot.

"Have you got your pare?" asked Mr Cornish.

"Iss, sur."

"Their names?"

"David Trevarrow and my son Zackey."

The pitch was allocated in due form at the rate of fifteen shillings per
twenty shillings' worth of mineral sent up--this large sum being given
because it was not known to be an unusually good pitch--Penrose having
been too ill to speak of his discovery since his accident, and the
captain having failed to notice it.  When a place is poor looking, a
higher sum is given to the miner to induce him to work it.  When it is
rich, a lower sum is given, because he can make more out of it.

Thus the work went on, the sums named varying according to the nature of
the ground, and each man saying "Naw," or "Put me down," or "That won't
do," or "I won't have her," according to circumstances.

While this was going on at the window, another and perhaps more
interesting scene was taking place in the office.  This apartment
presented a singular appearances.  There was a large table in the centre
of it, which, with every available inch of surface on a side-table, and
on a board at the window, was completely covered with banknotes and
piles of gold, silver, and copper.  Each pile was placed on a little
square piece of paper containing the account-current for the month of
the man or men to whom it belonged.  Very few men laboured singly.  Many
worked in couples, and some in bands of three, five, or more.  So much
hard cash gave the place a wealthy appearance, and in truth there was a
goodly sum spread out, amounting to several hundreds of pounds.

The piles varied very much in size, and conveyed a rough outline of the
financial history of the men they belonged to.  Some large heaps of
silver, with a few coppers and a pile of sovereigns more than an inch
high, lying on two or more five-pound notes indicated successful labour.
Nevertheless, the evidence was not absolutely conclusive, because the
large piles had in most cases to be divided between several men who had
banded together; but the little square account-papers, with a couple of
crowns on them, told of hard work and little pay, while yonder square
with two shillings in the centre of it betokened utter failure, only to
be excelled by another square, on which lay _nothing_.

You will probably exclaim in your heart, reader, "What! do miners
sometimes work for a month, and receive only two shillings, or _nothing_
as wages?"

Ay, sometimes; but it is their own seeking if they do; it is not forced
upon them.

There are three classes of miners--those who work on the surface,
dressing ore, etcetera, who are paid a weekly wage; those who work on
"tribute," and those who work at "tut-work."  Of the first we say
nothing, except that they consist chiefly of balmaidens and children--
the former receiving about 18 shillings a month, and the latter from 8
shillings to 20 shillings, according to age and capacity.

In regard to "tributers" and "tut-workers," we may remark that the work
of both is identical in one respect--namely, that of hewing, picking,
boring, and blasting the hard rock.  In this matter they share equal
toils and dangers, but they are not subjected to the same remunerative

When a man works on "tribute" he receives so many shillings for every
twenty shillings' worth of ore that he raises during the month, as
already explained.  If his "pitch" turns out to be rich in ore, his
earnings are proportionably high; if it be poor, he remains poor also.
Sometimes a part of the mineral lode becomes so poor that it will not
pay for working, and has to be abandoned.  So little as a shilling may
be the result of a "tributer's" work for a month at one time, while at
another time he may get a good pitch, and make 100 pounds or 200 pounds
in the same period.

The "tutman" (or piecework man), on the other hand, cuts out the rock at
so much per fathom, and obtains wages at the rate of from 2 pounds, 10
shillings to 3 pounds a month.  He can never hope to make a fortune, but
so long as health and strength last, he may count on steady work and
wages.  Of course there is a great deal of the work in a mine which is
not directly remunerative, such as "sinking" shafts, opening up and
"driving" (or lengthening) levels, and sinking "winzes."  On such work
tutmen are employed.

The man who works on "tribute" is a speculator; he who chooses
"tut-work" is a steady labourer.  The tributer experiences all the
excitement of uncertainty, and enjoys the pleasures of hope.  He knows
something, too, about "hope deferred;" also can tell of hope
disappointed; has his wits sharpened, and, generally, is a smart fellow.
The tut-worker knows nothing of this, his pay being safe and regular,
though small.  Many quiet-going, plodding men prefer and stick to

In and about the counting-room the men who had settled the matter of
their next month's work were assembled.  These--the cashier having
previously made all ready--were paid in a prompt and businesslike

First, there came forward a middle-aged man.  It was scarcely necessary
for him to speak, for the cashier knew every man on the mine by name,
and also how much was due to him, and the hundreds of little square
accounts-current were so arranged that he could lay his hands on any one
in an instant.  Nevertheless, being a hearty and amiable man, he
generally had a word to say to every one.

"How's your son, Matthew?" he inquired of the middle-aged man, putting
the square paper with its contents into his hand.

"He's braave, sir.  The doctor do say he'll be about again in a week."

Matthew crumpled up his account-current--notes, gold, silver, copper and
all--in his huge brown hand, and, thrusting the whole into his breeches
pocket, said "Thank 'ee," and walked away.

Next, there came forward a young man with one eye, an explosion having
shut up the other one for ever.  He received his money along with that
of the three men who worked in the same "pare" with him.  He crumpled it
up in the same reckless way as Matthew had done, also thrust it into his
pocket, and walked off with an independent swagger.  Truly, in the
sweat, not only of his brow, but, of every pore in his body, had he
earned it, and he was entitled to swagger a little just then.  There was
little enough room or inducement to do so down in the mine!  After this
young man a little boy came forward saying that his "faither" had sent
him for his money.

It was observable that the boys and lads among those who presented
themselves in the counting-room, were, as a rule, hearty and hopeful.
With them it was as with the young in all walks of life.  Everything
looked bright and promising.  The young men were stern, yet
free-and-easy--as though they had already found life a pretty tough
battle, but felt quite equal to it.  And so they were, every one of
them!  With tough sinews, hard muscles, and indomitable energy, they
were assuredly equal to any work that man could undertake; and many of
them, having the fear of God in their hearts, were fitted to endure
manfully the trials of life as well.  The elderly men were sedate, and
had careworn faces; they knew what it was to suffer.  Many of them had
carried little ones to the grave; they had often seen strong men like
themselves go forth in the morning hale and hearty, and be carried to
their homes at evening with blinded eyes or shattered limbs.  Life had
lost its gloss to them, but it had not lost its charms.  There were
loving hearts to work for, and a glorious end for which to live, or, if
need be, to die--so, although their countenances were sedate they were
not sad.  The old men--of whom there were but two or three--were jolly
old souls.  They seemed to have successfully defied the tear and wear of
life, to have outlived its sorrows, and renewed their youth.  Certainly
they had not reached their second childhood, for they stepped forth and
held out their hands for their pay as steadily as the best of the young

When about one-half of the number had been paid, a woman in widow's
weeds came forward to take up the pay due to her son--her "wretched
Harry," as she styled him.  All that was due was seven-and-sixpence.  It
was inexpressibly sad to see her retire with this small sum--the last
that her unsettled boy was entitled to draw from the mines.  He had
worked previously in the neighbouring mine, Wheal Owles, and had gone to
Botallack the month before.  He was now off to sea, leaving his mother,
who to some extent depended on him, to look out for herself.

The next who came forward was a blind man.  He had worked long in the
mine--so long that he could find his way through the labyrinth of levels
as easily in his blind state as he did formerly with his eyesight.  When
his eyes were destroyed (in the usual way, by the explosion of a hole),
he was only off work during the period of convalescence.  Afterwards he
returned to his familiar haunts underground; and although he could no
longer labour in the old way, he was quite able to work a windlass, and
draw up the bucket at a winze.  For this he now pocketed two pounds
sterling, and walked off as vigorously as if he had possessed both his

Among others, a wife appeared to claim her husband's pay, and she was
followed by Zackey Maggot, who came to receive his own and Penrose's

"How does Penrose get on?" inquired the cashier, as he handed over the
sum due.

"Slowly, sur," said Zackey.

"It is a bad case," said one of the captains, who sat close by; "the
doctor thinks there is little or no chance for his eyesight."

Poor Zackey received his pay and retired without any demonstration of
his wonted buoyancy of spirit, for he was fond of Penrose, almost as
much so as he was of uncle David Trevarrow.

The varied fortune experienced in the mine was exhibited in one or two
instances on this occasion.  One man and a boy, working together, had,
in their own phraseology, "got a sturt"--they had come unexpectedly on a
piece of rich ground, which yielded so much tin that at the end of the
month they received 25 pounds between them.  The man had been receiving
"subsist," that is, drawing advances monthly for nearly a year, and,
having a wife and children to support, had almost lost heart.  It was
said that he had even contemplated suicide, but this little piece of
good fortune enabled him to pay off his debt and left something over.
Another man and boy had 20 pounds to receive.  On the other hand, one
man had only 2 shillings due to him, while a couple of men who had
worked in poor ground found themselves 2 shillings in debt, and had to
ask for "subsist."

Some time previous to this, two men had discovered a "bunch of copper,"
and in the course of two months they cleared 260 pounds.  At a later
period a man in Levant Mine, who was one of the Wesleyan local
preachers, cleared 200 pounds within a year.  He gave a hundred pounds
to his mother, and with the other hundred went off to seek his fortune
in Australia!

After all the men had been paid, those who wished for "subsist," or
advances, were desired to come forward.  About a dozen of them did so,
and among these were representatives of all classes--the diligent and
strong, the old and feeble, and the young.  Of course, in mining
operations as in other work, the weak, lazy, and idle will ever be up to
the lips in trouble, and in need of help.  But in mining the best of men
may be obliged to demand assistance, because, when tributers work on
hopefully day after day and week after week on bad ground, they must
have advances to enable them to persevere--not being able to subsist on
air!  This is no hardship, the mine being at all times open to their
inspection, and they are allowed to select their own ground.  Hence the
demand for "subsist" is not necessarily a sign of absolute but only of
temporary poverty.  The managers make large or small advances according
to their knowledge of the men.

There was a good deal of chaffing at this point in the proceedings--the
lazy men giving occasion for a slight administration of rebuke, and the
able men affording scope for good-humoured pleasantry and badinage.

In Botallack, at the present time, about forty or fifty men per month
find it necessary to ask for "subsist."

Before the wages were paid, several small deductions had to be made.
First, there was sixpence to be deducted from each man for "the club."
This club consisted of those who chose to pay sixpence a month to a fund
for the temporary support of those who were damaged by accidents in the
mine.  A similar sum per month was deducted from each man for "the
doctor," who was bound, in consideration of this, to attend the miners
free of charge.  In addition to this a shilling was deducted from each
man, to be given to the widow and family of a comrade who had died that
month.  At the present time from 18 pounds to 20 pounds are raised in
this way when a death occurs, to be given to the friends of the
deceased.  It should be remarked that these deductions are made with the
consent of the men.  Any one may refuse to give to those objects, but,
if he do so, he or his will lose the benefit in the event of his
disablement or death.

Men who are totally disabled receive a pension from the club fund.  Not
long ago a miner, blind of one eye, left another mine and engaged in
Botallack.  Before his first month was out he exploded a blast-hole in
his face, which destroyed the other eye.  From that day he received a
pension of 1 pound a month, which will continue till his death--or, at
least as long as Botallack shall flourish--and that miner may be seen
daily going through the streets of St. Just with his little daughter, in
a cart, shouting "Pilchards, fresh pilcha-a-rds, breem, pullock, fresh
pullock, _pil-cha-a-rds_"--at the top of his stentorian voice--a living
example of the value of "the club," and of the principle of insurance!

At length the business of the day came to a close.  The wages were paid,
the men's work for another month was fixed, the cases of difficulty and
distress were heard and alleviated, and then the managers and agents
wound up the day by dining together in the account-house, the most
noteworthy point in the event being the fact that the dinner was eaten
off plates made of pure Botallack tin.

Once a quarter this dinner, styled the "account-dinner," is partaken of
by any of the shareholders who may wish to be present, on which occasion
the manager and agents lay before the company the condition and
prospects of the mine, and a quarterly dividend (if any) is paid.  There
is a matter-of-fact and Spartan-like air about this feast which commands
respect.  The room in which it is held is uncarpeted, and its walls are
graced by no higher works of art than the plans and sections of the
mine.  The food is excellent and substantial, but simple.  There is
abundance of it, but there are no courses--either preliminary or
successive--no soup or fish to annoy one who wants meat; no ridiculous
_entremets_ to tantalise one who wants something solid; no puddings,
pies, or tarts to tempt men to gluttony.  All set to work at the same
time, and enjoy their meal _together_, which is more than can be said of
most dinners.  All is grandly simple, like the celebrated mine on which
the whole is founded.

But there is one luxury at this feast which it would be unpardonable not
to mention--namely the punch.  Whoever tastes this beverage can never
forget it!  Description were useless to convey an idea of it.
Imagination were impotent to form a conception of it.  Taste alone will
avail, so that our readers must either go to Cornwall to drink it, or
for ever remain unsatisfied.  We can only remark, in reference to it,
that it is potent as well as pleasant, and that it is also dangerous,
being of an insinuating nature, so that those who partake freely have a
tendency to wish for more, and are apt to dream (not unreasonably, but
too wildly) of Botallack tin being transformed into silver and gold.



To work went Maggot and Trevarrow and Zackey on their new pitch next day
like true Britons.  Indeed, we question whether true Britons of the
ancient time ever did go to work with half the energy or perseverance of
the men of the present day.  Those men of old were mere grubbers on the
surface.  They knew nothing of deep levels under the ocean.  However, to
do them justice, they made wonderfully extensive tunnels in mother
earth, with implements much inferior to those now in use.

But, be that as it may, our trio went to work "with a will."  Maggot was
keen to get up as much of the rich mineral as possible during the
month--knowing that he would not get the place next month on such good
terms.  Trevarrow, besides having no objections to make money when he
could for its own sake, was anxious to have a little to spare to James
Penrose, whose large family found it pinching work to subsist on the
poor fellow's allowance from the club.  As to Zackey, he was ready for
anything where Uncle Davy was leader.  So these three resolved to work
night and day.  Maggot took his turn in the daytime and slept at night;
Trevarrow slept in the daytime and worked at night; while the boy worked
as long as he could at whatever time suited him best.

As they advanced on the lode it became larger and richer, and in a day
or two it assumed such proportions as to throw the fortunate workers
into a state of great excitement, and they tore out and blasted away the
precious mineral like Titans.

One day, about kroust-time, having fired two holes, they came out of the
"end" in which they wrought and sat down to lunch while the smoke was
clearing away.

"'Tes a brave lode," said Maggot.

"It is," responded Trevarrow, taking a long draught of water from the

"What shall us do?" said Maggot; "go to grass to slaip, or slaip in the

"In the bal, if you do like it," said Trevarrow.

So it was agreed that the men should sleep in the mine on boards, or on
any dry part of the level, in order to save the time and energy lost in
ascending and descending the long ladders, and thus make the most of
their opportunity.  It was further resolved that Zackey should be sent
up for dry clothes, and bring them their meals regularly.  Trevarrow did
not forget to have his Bible brought to him, for he was too serious a
man to shut his eyes to the danger of a sudden run of good fortune, and
thought that the best way to guard against evil would be to devote
nearly all his short periods of leisure time to the reading of "the

You may be sure that Maggot afterwards laughed at him for this, but he
did not concern himself much about it at the time, because he was
usually too hungry to talk at meal-times, and too sleepy to do so after
work was over.

They were still busily discussing the matter of remaining in the mine
all night, when they heard the kibble descending the shaft, near the
bottom of which they sat, and next moment a man came to the ground with
considerable violence.

"Why, Frankey, is that thee, booy?" said Maggot, starting up to assist

"Aw dear, iss; I'm gone dead a'most! aw dear! aw dear!"

"Why, whatever brought 'ee here?" said Trevarrow.

"The kibble, sure," replied the man, exhibiting his knuckles, which were
cut and bleeding a good deal.  "I did come by the chain, anyhow."

This was indeed true.  Frankey, as his mates called him, was at that
time the "lander" in charge of the kibbles at the surface.  It was his
duty to receive each kibble as it was drawn up to the mouth of the shaft
full of ore, empty it, and send it down again.  Several coils of chain
passing round the large drum of a great horse-windlass, called by the
miners a "whim," was the means by which the kibbles were hoisted and
lowered.  The chain was so arranged that one kibble was lowered by it
while the other was being drawn up.  Frankey had emptied one of the
kibbles, and had given the signal to the boy attending the horse to
"lower away," when he inadvertently stepped into the shaft.  With ready
presence of mind the man caught the chain and clung to it, but the boy,
being prevented by a pile of rubbish from seeing what had occurred,
eased him down, supposing him to be the kibble!

This "easing down" a great number of fathoms was by no means an easy
process, as those know well who have seen a pair of kibbles go banging
up and down a shaft.  It was all that poor Frankey could do to keep his
head from being smashed against rocks and beams; but, by energetic use
of arms and legs, he did so, and reached the bottom of the shaft without
further damage than a little skin rubbed off his knees and elbows, and a
few cuts on his hands.  The man thought so little of it, indeed, that he
at once returned to grass by the ladder-way, to the unutterable surprise
and no little consternation of the boy who had "eased him down."

The air at the "end" of the level in which Maggot and Trevarrow worked
was very bad, and, for some time past, men had been engaged in sinking a
winze from the level above to connect the two, and send in a supply of
fresh air by creating a new channel of circulation.  This winze was
almost completed, but one of the men employed at it had suddenly become
unwell that day, and no other had been appointed to the work.  As it was
a matter of great importance to have fresh air, now that they had
resolved to remain day and night in the mine for some time, Maggot and
Trevarrow determined to complete the work, believing that one or two
shots would do it.  Accordingly, they mounted to the level above, and
were lowered one at a time to the bottom of the unfinished winze by a
windlass, which was turned by the man whose comrade had become unwell.

For nearly two hours they laboured diligently, scarce taking time to
wipe the perspiration from their heated brows.  At the end of that time
the hole was sufficiently deep to blast, so Maggot called out,--"Zackey,
my son, fetch the fuse and powder."  The boy was quickly lowered with
these materials, and then drawn up.

Meanwhile Maggot proceeded to charge the hole, and his comrade sat down
to rest.  He put in the powder and tamping, and asked the other to hand
him the tamping-bar.

"Zackey has forgot it," said Trevarrow, looking round.

"It don't matter; hand me the borer."

"No, I won't," said Trevarrow decidedly, as he grasped the iron tool in
question.  "Ho!  Zackey booy, throw down the tampin'-bar."

This was done, and the operation of filling the hole continued, while
Trevarrow commented somewhat severely on his companion's recklessness.

"That's just how the most o' the reckless men in the bal do get blaw'd
up," he said; "they're always picking away at the holes, and tamping
with iron tools; why, thee might as well put a lighted match down the
muzzle of a loaded gun as tamp with an iron borer."

"Come, now," said Maggot, looking up from his work with a leer, "it
warn't that as made old Kimber nearly blow hisself up last week."

"No, but it was carelessness, anyhow," retorted Trevarrow; "and lucky
for him that he was a smart man, else he'd bin gone dead by this time."

Maggot soon completed the filling of the hole, and then perpetrated as
reckless a deed as any of his mining comrades had ever been guilty of.
Trevarrow was preparing to ascend by the windlass, intending to leave
his comrade to light the fuse and come up after him.  Meanwhile Maggot
found that the fuse was too long.  He discovered this after it was fixed
in the hole, and, unobserved by his companion, proceeded to cut it by
means of an iron tool and a flat stone.  Fire was struck at the last
blow by the meeting of the iron and the stone, and the fuse ignited.  To
extinguish it was impossible; to cut it in the same way, without
striking fire, was equally so.  Of course there was plenty of time to
ascend by the windlass, but _only one_ at a time could do so.  The men
knew this, and looked at each other with terrible meaning in their eyes
as they rushed at the bucket, and shouted to the man above to haul them
up.  He attempted to do so, but in vain.  He had not strength to haul up
two at once.  One could escape, both could not, and to delay would be
death to both.  In this extremity David Trevarrow looked at his comrade,
and said calmly,--"Escape, my brother; a minute more and I shall be in

He stepped back while he spoke--the bucket went rapidly upwards, and
Trevarrow, sitting down in the bottom of the shaft, covered his eyes
with a piece of rock and awaited the issue.

The rumbling explosion immediately followed, and the shaft was filled
with smoke and flame and hurling stones.  One of these latter, shooting
upwards, struck and cut the ascending miner on his forehead as he looked
down to observe the fate of his self-sacrificing comrade!

Maggot was saved, but he was of too bold and kindly a nature to remain
for a moment inactive after the explosion was over.  At once he
descended, and, groping about among the debris, soon found his friend--
alive, and almost unhurt!  A mass of rock had arched him over--or,
rather, the hand of God, as if by miracle, had delivered the Christian

After he was got up in safety to the level above they asked him why he
had been so ready to give up his life to save his friend.

"Why," said David quietly, "I did think upon his wife and the child'n,
and little Grace seemed to say to me, `Take care o' faither'--besides,
there are none to weep if I was taken away, so the Lord gave me grace to
do it."

That night there were glad and grateful hearts in Maggot's cottage--and
never in this world was a more flat and emphatic contradiction given to
any statement, than that which was given to David Trevarrow's
assertion--"There are none to weep if I was taken away."

[A short but beautiful account of the above incident will be found in a
little volume of poems, entitled _Lays from the Mine, the Moor, and the
Mountain_, written by John Harris, a Cornish miner.]



Sorrow and trouble now began to descend upon Mr Thomas Donnithorne like
a thick cloud.

Reduced from a state of affluence to one bordering on absolute poverty,
the old man's naturally buoyant spirit almost gave way, and it needed
all the attentions and the cheering influence of his good wife and sweet
Rose Ellis to keep him from going (as he often half-jestingly
threatened) to the end of Cape Cornwall and jumping into the sea.

"It's all over with me, Oliver," said he one morning, after the return
of his nephew from London.  "A young fellow like you may face up against
such difficulties, but what is an old man to do?  I can't begin the
world over again; and as for the shares I have in the various mines,
they're not worth the paper they're writ upon."

"But things may take a turn," suggested Oliver; "this is not the first
time the mines have been in a poor condition, and the price of tin low.
When things get very bad they are likely to get better, you know.  Even
now there seems to be some talk among the miners of an improved state of
things.  I met Maggot yesterday, and he was boasting of having found a
monstrous bunch, which, according to him, is to be the making of all our

Mr Donnithorne shook his head.

"Maggot's geese are always swans," he said; "no, no, Oliver, I have lost
all hope of improvement.  There are so many of these deceptive mines
around us just now--some already gone down, and some going--that the
public are losing confidence in us, and, somewhat unfairly, judging
that, because a few among us are scoundrels, we are altogether a bad

"What do you think of Mr Clearemout's new mine?" asked Oliver.

"I believe it to be a genuine one," said the old gentleman, turning a
somewhat sharp glance on his nephew.  "Why do you ask?"

"Because I doubt it," replied Oliver.

"You are too sceptical," said Mr Donnithorne almost testily; "too much
given to judging things at first sight."

"Nay, uncle; you are unfair.  Had I judged of you at first sight, I
should have thought you a--"

"Well, what? a smuggling old brandy-loving rascal--eh? and not far wrong
after all."

"At all events," said Oliver, laughing, "I have lived to form a better
opinion of you than that.  But, in reference to Clearemout, I cannot
shut my eyes to the fact that the work doing at the new mine is very
like a sham, for they have only two men and a boy working her, with a
captain to superintend; and it is said, for I made inquiries while in
London, that thirty thousand pounds have been called up from the
shareholders, and there are several highly paid directors, with an
office-staff in the City drawing large salaries."

"Nonsense, Oliver," said Mr Donnithorne more testily than before; "you
know very well that things must have a beginning, and that caution is
necessary at first in all speculations.  Besides, I feel convinced that
Mr Clearemout is a most respectable man, and an uncommonly clever
fellow to boot.  It is quite plain that you don't like him--that's what
prejudices you, Oliver.  You're jealous of the impression he has made on
the people here."

This last remark was made jestingly, but it caused the young doctor to
wince, having hit nearer the truth than the old gentleman had any idea
of, for although Oliver envied not the handsome stranger's popularity,
he was, almost unknown to himself, very jealous of the impression he
seemed to have made on Rose Ellis.

A feeling of shame induced him to change the subject of conversation,
with a laughing observation that he hoped such an unworthy motive did
not influence him.

Now, while this conversation was going on in the parlour of Mr
Donnithorne's cottage, another dialogue was taking place in a small
wooden erection at the end of the garden, which bore the dignified name
of "Rose's Bower."  The parties concerned in it were George Augustus
Clearemout and Rose Ellis.

A day or two previous to the conversation to which we are about to draw
attention, the managing director had undergone a change in his
sentiments and intentions.  When he first saw Rose he thought her an
uncommonly sweet and pretty girl.  A short acquaintance with her
convinced him that she was even sweeter and prettier than at first he
had thought her.  This, coupled with the discovery that her uncle was
very rich, and that he meant to leave a large portion of his wealth, if
not all of it, to Rose, decided Clearemout, and he resolved to marry
her.  Afterwards he became aware of the fact that old Mr Donnithorne
had met with losses, but he was ignorant of their extent, and still
deemed it worth while to carry out his intentions.

George Augustus had been a "managing director" in various ways from his
earliest infancy, and had never experienced much opposition to his will,
so that he had acquired a habit of settling in his own mind whatever he
meant to do, and forthwith doing it.  On this occasion he resolved to
sacrifice himself to Rose, in consideration of her prospective fortune--
cash being, of course, Mr Clearemout's god.

Great, then, was the managing director's surprise, and astonishing the
condition of his feelings, when, on venturing to express his wishes to
Rose, he was kindly, but firmly, rejected!  Mr Clearemout was so
thunderstruck--having construed the unsophisticated girl's candour and
simplicity of manner into direct encouragement--that he could make no
reply, but, with a profound bow, retired hastily from her presence, went
to his lodgings, and sat down with his elbows on the table, and his face
buried in his large hands, the fingers of which appeared to be crushing
in his forehead, as if to stifle the thoughts that burned there.  After
sitting thus for half an hour he suddenly rose, with his face somewhat
paler, and his lips a little more firmly compressed than usual.

It was an epoch in his existence.  The man who had so often and so
successfully deceived others had made the wonderful discovery that he
had deceived himself.  He had imagined that money was his sole object in
wishing to marry Rose.  He now discovered that love, or something like
it, had so much to do with his wishes that he resolved to have her
without money, and also without her consent.

Something within the man told him that Rose's refusal was an unalterable
one.  He did not think it worth while to waste time in a second attempt.
His plans, though hastily formed, required a good deal of preliminary
arrangement, so he commenced to carry them out with the single
exclamation, "I'll do it!" accompanied with a blow from his heavy fist
on the table, which, being a weak lodging-house one, was split from end
to end.  But the managing director had a soul above furniture at that
moment.  He hastily put on his hat and strode out of the house.

Making good use of a good horse, he paid sundry mysterious visits to
various smuggling characters, to all of whom he was particularly
agreeable and liberal in the bestowal of portions of the thirty thousand
pounds with which a too confiding public had intrusted him.  Among other
places, he went to a cottage on a moor between St. Just and Penzance,
and had a confidential interview with a man named Hicks, who was noted
for his capacity to adapt himself to circumstances (when well paid)
without being troubled by conscientious scruples.  This man had a son
who had once suffered from a broken collar-bone, and whose ears were
particularly sharp.  He chanced to overhear the conversation at the
interview referred to, and dutifully reported the same to his mother,
who happened to be a great gossip, and knew much about the private
affairs of nearly everybody living within six miles of her.  The good
woman resolved to make some use of her information, but Mr Clearemout
left the cottage in ignorance, of course, of her resolution.

Having transacted these little pieces of business, the managing director
returned home, and, on the day following, sought and obtained an
interview with Rose Ellis in her bower.

Recollecting the subject of their last conversation, Rose blushed, as
much with indignation as confusion, at being intruded upon, but Mr
Clearemout at once dispersed her angry feelings by assuring her in tones
of deferential urbanity that he would not have presumed to intrude upon
her but for the fact that he was about to quit Cornwall without delay,
and he wished to talk with her for only a few minutes on business
connected with Mr Donnithorne.

There was something so manly and straightforward in his tone and manner
that she could not choose but allow him to sit down beside her, although
she did falter out something about the propriety of talking on her
uncle's business affairs with Mr Donnithorne himself.

"Your observation is most just," said Mr Clearemout earnestly; "but you
are aware that your uncle's nature is a delicate, sensitive one, and I
feel that he would shrink from proposals coming from me, that he might
listen to if made to him through you.  I need not conceal from you, Miss
Ellis, that I am acquainted with the losses which your uncle has
recently sustained, and no one can appreciate more keenly than I do the
harshness with which the world, in its ignorance of details, is apt to
judge of the circumstances which brought about this sad state of things.
I cannot help feeling deeply the kindness which has been shown me by
Mr Donnithorne during my residence here, and I would, if I could, show
him some kindness in return."

Mr Clearemout paused here a few moments as if to reflect.  He resolved
to assume that Mr Donnithorne's losses were ruinous, little imagining
that in this assumption he was so very near the truth!  Rose felt
grateful to him for the kind and delicate way in which he referred to
her uncle's altered circumstances.

"Of course," continued the managing director, "I need not say to _you_,
that his independent spirit would never permit him to accept of
assistance in the form which would be most immediately beneficial to
him.  Indeed, I could not bring myself to offer money even as a loan.
But it happens that I have the power, just now, of disposing of the
shares which he has taken in Wheal Dooem Mine at a very large profit;
and as my hope of the success of that enterprise is very small, I--"

"Very small!" echoed Rose in surprise.  "You astonish me, Mr
Clearemout.  Did I not hear you, only a few nights ago, say that you had
the utmost confidence in the success of your undertaking?"

"Most true," replied the managing director with a smile; "but in the
world of business a few hours work wonderful changes, sometimes, in
one's opinion of things--witness the vacillations and variations `on
'Change'--if I may venture to allude before a lady to such an
incomprehensible subject."

Rose felt her vigorous little spirit rise, and she was about to return a
smart reply in defence of woman's intelligence even in business matters,
but the recollection of the altered relative position in which they now
stood restrained her.

"Yes," continued Mr Clearemout, with a sigh, "the confidence which I
felt in Wheal Dooem has been much shaken of late, and the sooner your
uncle sells out the better."

"But would it be right," said Rose earnestly, "to sell our shares at a
high profit if things be as you say?"

"Quite right," replied Clearemout, with a bland smile of honesty; "_I_
believe the mine to be a bad speculation; my friend, we shall suppose,
believes it to be a good one.  Believing as I do, I choose to sell out;
believing as he does, he chooses to buy in.  The simplest thing in the
world, Miss Ellis.  Done every day with eyes open, I assure you; but it
is not every day that a chance occurs so opportunely as the present, and
I felt it to be a duty to give my friend the benefit of my knowledge
before quitting this place--for ever!"

There was something so kind and touching in the tone of the managing
director that Rose was quite drawn towards him, and felt as if she had
actually done him an unkindness in refusing him.

"But," continued her companion, "I can do nothing, Miss Ellis, without
your assistance."

"You shall have it," said Rose earnestly; "for I would do anything that
a woman might venture, to benefit my dear, dear uncle, and I feel
assured that you would not ask me to do anything wrong or unwomanly."

"I would not indeed," answered Clearemout with emotion; "but the world
is apt to misjudge in matters of delicacy.  To ask you to meet me on the
cliffs near Priest's Cove, close to Cape Cornwall, to-night, would
appear wrong in the eyes of the world."

"And with justice," said Rose quickly, with a look of mingled dignity
and surprise.

"Nevertheless, this is absolutely needful, if we would accomplish the
object in view.  A friend, whom I know to be desirous of purchasing
shares in the mine is to pass round the cape in his yacht this evening.
The idea of offering these shares to him had not occurred to me when I
wrote to say that I would meet him there.  He cannot come up here, I
know, but the stroke of a pen, with one of the family to witness it,
will be sufficient."

It was a bold stroke of fancy in the managing director to put the matter
in such a ridiculously unbusinesslike light, but he counted much on
Rose's ignorance.  As for poor Rose herself, she, knew not what to say
or do at first, but when Clearemout heaved a sigh, and, with an
expression of deep sadness on his countenance, rose to take leave, she
allowed a generous impulse to sway her.

"Your answer, then, is--No," said Clearemout, with deep pathos in his

Now, it chanced that at this critical point in the conversation, Oliver
Trembath, having left the cottage, walked over the grass towards a small
gate, near which the bower stood.  He unavoidably heard the question,
and also the quick, earnest reply,--"My answer, Mr Clearemout, is--Yes.
I will meet you this evening on the cliff."

She frankly gave him her hand as she spoke, and he gallantly pressed it
to his lips, an act which took Rose by surprise, and caused her to pull
it away suddenly.  She then turned and ran out at the side of the bower
to seek the solitude of her own apartment, while Clearemout left it by
the other side, and stood face to face with the spellbound Oliver.

To say that both gentlemen turned pale as their eyes met would not give
an adequate idea of their appearance.  Oliver's heart, as well as his
body, when he heard the question and reply, stood still as if he had
been paralysed.  This, then, he thought, was the end of all his hopes--
hopes hardly admitted to himself, and never revealed to Rose, except in
unstudied looks and tones.  For a few moments his face grew absolutely
livid, while he glared at his rival.

On the other hand, Mr Clearemout, believing that the whole of his
conversation had been overheard, supposed that he had discovered all his
villainy to one who was thoroughly able, as well as willing, to thwart
him.  For a moment he felt an almost irresistible impulse to spring on
and slay his enemy; his face became dark with suppressed emotion; and it
is quite possible that in the fury of his disappointed malice he might
have attempted violence,--had not Oliver spoken.  His voice was husky as
he said,--"Chance, sir--unfortunate, miserable chance--led me to
overhear the last few words that passed between you and--"

He paused, unable to say more.  Instantly the truth flashed across
Clearemout's quick mind.  He drew himself up boldly, and the blood
returned to his face as he replied,--"If so, sir, you cannot but be
aware that the lady's choice is free, and that your aspect and attitude
towards me are unworthy of a gentleman."

A wonderful influence for weal or woe oft-times results from the
selection of a phrase or a word.  Had Clearemout charged Oliver with
insolence or presumption, he would certainly have struck him to the
ground; but the words "unworthy of a gentleman" created a revulsion in
his feelings.  Thought is swifter than light.  He saw himself in the
position of a disappointed man scowling on a successful rival who had
done him no injury.

"Thank you, Clearemout.  Your rebuke is merited," he said bitterly; and,
turning on his heel, he bounded over the low stone wall of the garden,
and hastened away.

Whither he went he knew not.  A fierce fire seemed to rage in his breast
and burn in his brain.  At first he walked at full speed, but as he
cleared the town he ran--ran as he had never run before.  For the time
being he was absolutely mad.  Over marsh and moor he sped, clearing all
obstacles with a bound, and making straight for the Land's End, with no
definite purpose in view, for, after a time, he appeared to change his
intention, if he had any.  He turned sharp to the left, and ran straight
to Penzance, never pausing in his mad career until he neared the town.
The few labourers he chanced to pass on the way gazed after him in
surprise, but he heeded not.  At the cottage on the moor where he had
bandaged the shoulder of the little boy a woman's voice called loudly,
anxiously after him, but he paid no attention.  At last he came to a
full stop, and, pressing both hands tightly over his forehead, made a
terrible effort to collect his thoughts.  He was partially successful,
and, with somewhat of his wonted composure, walked rapidly into the



Meanwhile the gossiping woman of the cottage on the moor, whose grateful
heart had never forgotten the little kindness done to her boy by the
young doctor, and who knew that the doctor loved Rose Ellis, more
surely, perhaps, than Rose did herself, went off in a state of deep
anxiety to St. Just, and, by dint of diligent inquiries and piecing of
things together, coupled with her knowledge of Clearemout's intentions,
came to a pretty correct conclusion as to the state of affairs.

She then went to the abode of young Charles Tregarthen, whom she knew to
be Oliver's friend, and unbosomed herself.  Charlie repaid her with more
than thanks, and almost hugged her in his gratitude for her prompt

"And now, Mrs Hicks," said he, "you shall see how we will thwart this
scoundrel.  As for Oliver Trembath, I cannot imagine what could take him
into Penzance in the wild state that you describe.  Of course this
affair has to do with it, and he evidently has learned something of
this, and must have misunderstood the matter, else assuredly he had not
been absent at such a time.  But why go to Penzance?  However, he will
clear up the mystery ere long, no doubt.  Meanwhile we shall proceed to
thwart your schemes, good Mr Clearemout!"

So saying, Charlie Tregarthen set about laying his counter-plans.  He
also, as the managing director had done, visited several men, some of
whom were miners and some smugglers, and arranged a meeting that evening
near Cape Cornwall.

When evening drew on apace, four separate parties converged towards
Priest's Cove.  First, a boat crept along shore propelled by four men
and steered by Jim Cuttance.  Secondly, six stout men crept stealthily
down to the cove, led by Charlie Tregarthen, with Maggot as his second
in command.  Thirdly, Rose Ellis wended her way to the rendezvous with
trembling step and beating heart; and, fourthly, George Augustus
Clearemout moved in the same direction.

But the managing director moved faster than the others, having a longer
way to travel, for, having had to pay a last visit to Wheal Dooem, he
rode thence to St. Just.  On the way he was particularly interested in a
water-wheel which worked a pump, beside which a man in mining costume
was seated smoking his pipe.

"Good-evening," said Clearemout, reining up.

"Good-hevenin', sur."

"What does that pump?" asked the managing director, pointing to the

"That, sur?" said the miner, drawing a few whiffs from his pipe; "why,
that do pump gold out o' the Londoners, that do."

The managing director chuckled very much, and said, "Indeed!"

"Iss, sur," continued the miner, pointing to Wheal Dooem, "an' that wan
theere, up over hill, do the same thing."

The managing director chuckled much more at this, and displayed his
teeth largely as he nodded to the man and rode on.

Before his arrival at the rendezvous, the boat was run ashore not far
from the spot where Tregarthen and his men were concealed.  As soon as
the men had landed, Charlie walked down to them alone and accosted their

"Well, Cuttance, you're a pretty fellow to put your finger in such a
dirty pie as this."

Cuttance had seen the approach of Tregarthen with surprise and some

"Well, sur," said he, without any of the bold expression that usually
characterised him, "what can a man do when he's to be well paid for the
job?  I do confess that I don't half like it, but, after all, what have
we got to do weth the opinions of owld aunts or uncles?  If a gurl do
choose to go off wi' the man she likes, that's no matter to we, an' if I
be well paid for lendin' a hand, why shouldn't I?  But it do puzzle me,
Mr Tregarthen, to guess how yow did come to knaw of it."

"That don't signify," said Tregarthen sternly.  "Do you know who the
girl is?"

"I don't knaw, an' I don't care," said Jim doggedly.

"What would you say if I told you it was Miss Rose Ellis?" said Charlie.

"I'd say thee was a liard," replied Cuttance.

"Then I do tell you so."

"Thee don't mean that!" exclaimed the smuggler, with a blaze of
amazement and wrath in his face.

"Indeed I do."

"Whew!" whistled Jim, "then that do explain the reason why that
smooth-tongued feller said he would car' her to the boat close veiled up
for fear the men should see her."

A rapid consultation was now held by the two as to the proper mode of
proceeding.  Cuttance counselled an immediate capture of the culprit,
and pitching him off the end of Cape Cornwall; but Tregarthen advised
that they should wait until Clearemout seized his victim, otherwise they
could not convict him, because he would deny any intention of evil
against Rose, and pretend that some other girl, who had been scared away
by their impetuosity, was concerned, for they might depend on it he'd
get up a plausible story and defeat them.

Tregarthen's plan was finally agreed to, and he returned to his men and
explained matters.

Soon afterwards the managing director appeared coming down the road.

"Is all right?" he inquired of Cuttance, who went forward to meet him.

"All right, sur."

"Go down to the boat then and wait," he said, turning away.

Ere long he was joined by Rose, with whom he entered into conversation,
leading her over the cape so as to get out of sight of the men, but
young Tregarthen crept among the rocks and never for a moment lost sight
of them.  He saw Clearemout suddenly place a kerchief on Rose's mouth,
and, despite the poor girl's struggles, tie it firmly so as to prevent
her screaming, then he threw a large shawl over her, and catching her in
his arms bore her swiftly towards the boat.

Tregarthen sprang up and confronted him.

Clearemout, astonished and maddened by this unexpected interference,
shouted,--"Stand aside, sir!  _You_ have no interest in this matter, or
right to interfere."

Charlie made no reply, but sprang on him like a tiger.  Clearemout
dropped his burden and grappled with the youth, who threw him in an
instant, big though he was, for Tregarthen was a practised wrestler, and
the managing director was not.  His great strength, however, enabled him
to get on his knees, and there is no saying how the struggle might have
terminated had not Cuttance come forward, and, putting his hard hands
round Clearemout's throat, caused that gentleman's face to grow black,
and his tongue and eyes to protrude.  Having thus induced him to submit,
he eased off the necklace, and assisted him to rise, while the men of
both parties crowded round.

"Now, then, boys," cried Jim Cuttance, "bear a hand, one and all, and
into the say with him."

The managing director was at once knocked off his legs, and borne
shoulder-high down to the beach by as many hands as could lay hold of
him.  Here they paused:--

"All together, boys--one--two--ho!"

At the word the unfortunate man was shot, by strong and willing arms,
into the air like a bombshell, and fell into the water with a splash
that was not unlike an explosion.

Clearemout was a good swimmer.  When he came to the surface he raised
himself, and, clearing the water from his eyes, glanced round.  Even in
that extremity the quickness and self-possession of the man did not
forsake him.  He perceived, at a glance, that the boat which, in the
excitement of the capture, had been left by all the men, had floated off
with the receding tide, and now lay a short distance from the shore.

At once he struck out for it.  There was a shout of consternation and a
rush to the water's edge.  Maggot shot far ahead of the others, plunged
into the sea, and swam off.  Observing this, and knowing well the
courage and daring of the man, the rest stopped on the shore to witness
the result.

Clearemout reached the boat first, but, owing to exhaustion, was unable
to raise himself into it.  Maggot soon came up and grasped him by the
throat, both men managed to get their arms over the gunwale, but in
their struggle upset the boat and were separated.  Clearemout then made
for the shore with the intention of giving himself up, and Maggot
followed, but he was not equal in swimming to the managing director,
whose long steady strokes easily took him beyond the reach of his
pursuer.  He reached the shore, and stalked slowly out of the water.  At
the same moment Maggot sank and disappeared.

The consternation of his comrades was so great that in the confusion
their prisoner was unheeded.  Some sprang into the sea and dived after
Maggot; others swam to the boat, intending to right it and get the

Suddenly those who had remained on the beach observed something creep
out of the sea near to some rocks a little to the right of the place
where they stood.  They ran towards it.

"Hallo! is that you, old Maggot?" they cried.

It was indeed the valiant smith himself!  How he got there no one ever
knew, nor could himself tell.  It was conjectured that he must have
become partially exhausted, and, after sinking, had crept along the
bottom to the shore!  However, be that as it may, there he was, lying
with his arm lovingly round a rock, and the first thing he said on
looking up was,--"Aw! my dear men, has any of 'ee got a chaw of baccy
about 'ee?"

This was of course received with a shout of laughter, and unlimited
offers of quids while they assisted him to rise.

Meanwhile Tregarthen was attending to Rose, who had swooned when
Clearemout dropped her.  He also kept a watch over the prisoner, who,
however, showed no intention of attempting to escape, but sat on a stone
with his face buried in his hands.

The men soon turned their attention to him again, and some of the more
violent were advancing to seize him, with many terrible threats of
further vengeance, when Rose ran between them, and entreated them to
spare him.

Tregarthen seconded the proposal, and urged that as he had got pretty
severe punishment already, they should set him free.  This being agreed
to, Charlie turned to the managing director, and said, with a look of
pity, "You may go, sir, but, be assured, it is not for your own sake
that we let you off.  You know pretty well what the result would be if
we chose to deliver you up to justice; we care more, however, for the
feelings of this lady--whose name would be unavoidably and disagreeably
brought before the public at the trial--than we care for your getting
your merited reward.  But, mark me, if you ever open your lips on the
subject, you shall not escape us."

"Iss," added Jim Cuttance, "ann remember, you chucklehead, that if you
do write or utter wan word 'bout it, after gettin' back to London, there
are here twelve Cornish men who will never rest till they have flayed
thee alive!"

"You need have no fear," said Clearemout with a bitter smile, as he
turned and walked away, followed by a groan from the whole party.

"Now, lads," said Cuttance after he was gone, "not wan word of this must
ever be breathed, and we'll howld 'ee responsible, David Hicks, for t'
wife's tongue; dost a hear?"

This was agreed to by all, and, to the credit of these honest smugglers,
and of Mrs Hicks, be it said, that not a syllable about the incident
was ever heard of in the parish of St. Just from that day to this!



There can be no doubt that "Fortune favours the brave," and Maggot was
one of those braves whom, about this time, she took special delight in

Wild and apparently reckless though he was, Maggot had long cherished an
ambitious hope, and had for some time past been laying by money for the
purpose of accomplishing his object, which was the procuring of a
seine-net and boats for the pilchard fishery.  The recent successes he
had met with in Botallack enabled him to achieve his aim more rapidly
than he had anticipated, and on the day following that in which
Clearemout received his deserts, he went to Penberth Cove to see that
all was in readiness, for pilchards had recently appeared off the coast
in small shoals.

That same day Oliver Trembath, having spent a night of misery in
Penzance, made up his mind to return to St. Just and face his fate like
a man; but he found it so difficult to carry this resolve into effect
that he diverged from the highroad--as he had done on his first
memorable visit to that region--and, without knowing very well why,
sauntered in a very unenviable frame of mind towards Penberth Cove.

Old Mr Donnithorne possessed a pretty villa near the cove, to which he
was wont to migrate when Mrs D felt a desire for change of air, and in
which he frequently entertained large parties of friends in the summer
season.  In his heart poor Mr Donnithorne had condemned this villa "to
the hammer," but the improved appearance of things in the mines had
induced him to suspend the execution of the sentence.  News of the
appearance of pilchards, and a desire to give Rose a change after her
late adventure, induced Mr Donnithorne to hire a phaeton (he had
recently parted with his own) and drive over to Penberth.

Arrived there, he sauntered down to the cove to look after his nets--for
he dabbled in pilchard fishing as well as in other matters--and Rose
went off to have a quiet, solitary walk.

Thus it came to pass that she and Oliver Trembath suddenly met in a
lonely part of the road between Penberth and Penzance.  Ah, those sudden
and unexpected meetings!  How pleasant they are, and how well every one
who has had them remembers them!

"Miss Ellis!" exclaimed Oliver in surprise.

"Mr Trembath!" exclaimed Rose in amazement.

You see, reader, how polite they were, but you can neither see nor
conceive how great was the effort made by each to conceal the tumult
that agitated the breast and flushed the countenance, while the tongue
was thus ably controlled.  It did not last long, however.  Oliver, being
thrown off his guard, asked a number of confused questions, and Rose, in
her somewhat irrelevant replies, happened to make some reference to
"that villain Clearemout."

"Villain?" echoed Oliver in undisguised amazement.

"The villain," repeated Rose, with a flushed face and flashing eye.

"What? why? how?--really, excuse me, Miss Ellis--I--I--the villain--
Clearemout--you don't--"

There is no saying how many more ridiculous exclamations Oliver might
have made had not Rose suddenly said,--"Surely, Mr Trembath, you have
heard of his villainy?"

"No, never; not a word.  Pray do tell me, Miss Ellis."

Rose at once related the circumstances of her late adventure, with much
indignation in her tone and many a blush on her brow.

Before she had half done, Oliver's powers of restraint gave way.

"Then you never loved him?" he exclaimed.

"Loved him, sir!  I do not understand--"

"Forgive me, Rose; I mean--I didn't imagine--that is to say--oh!  Rose,
can it be--is it possible--my _dear_ girl!"

He seized her hand at this point, and--but really, reader, why should we
go on?  Is it not something like a violation of good taste to be too
particular here?  Is it not sufficient to say that old Mr Donnithorne
came suddenly, and of course unexpectedly, on them at that critical
juncture, rendering it necessary for Rose to burst away and hide her
blushing face on her uncle's shoulder, while Oliver, utterly
overwhelmed, turned and walked (we won't say fled) at full speed in the
direction of the cove.

Here he found things in a condition that was admirably suited to the
state of his feelings.  The fishermen of the cove were in a state of
wild excitement, for an enormous shoal of pilchards had been enclosed in
the seine-nets, and Maggot with his men, as well as the people employed
by Mr Donnithorne, were as much over head and ears in fishing as Oliver
was in love.  Do you ask, "Why all this excitement?"  We will tell you.

The pilchard fishing is to the Cornish fisherman what the harvest is to
the husbandman, but this harvest of the sea is not the result of
prolonged labour, care, and wisdom.  It comes to him in a night.  It may
last only a few days, or weeks.  Sometimes it fails altogether.  During
these days of sunshine he must toil with unwonted energy.  There is no
rest for him while the season lasts if he would not miss his
opportunity.  The pilchard is a little fish resembling a small herring.
It visits the southern coasts of England in autumn and winter, and the
shoals are so enormous as to defy calculation or description.  When they
arrive on the coast, "huers"--sharp-sighted men--are stationed on the
cliffs to direct the boatmen when to go out and where to shoot their
seine-nets.  When these are shot, millions of pilchards are often
enclosed in a single net.

To give an idea of the numbers of fish and the extent of the fishing, in
a few words, we may state the fact that, in 1834, one shoal of great
depth, and nearly a mile broad, extended from Hayle River to St. Ives, a
distance of two and a half miles.  A seine was shot into this mass, and
3,600 hogsheads were carried to the curing cellars.  As there are 3,000
pilchards in each hogshead, the catch amounted to nearly eleven million
fish!  The value of these might be 3 pounds a hogshead, and the clear
profit about 1 pound a hogshead, so that it is no wonder we hear of
fortunes having been made in a few hauls of the pilchard seines.  At the
same time, losses are sometimes very heavy, owing to gales arising and
breaking or carrying away the nets.  Such facts, combined with the
uncertainty of the arrival or continuance of the fish on any particular
part of the coast, tend to induce that spirit of eager, anxious
excitement to which we have referred as being so congenial to Oliver
Trembath's state of mind at the time of which we write.

On the beach the young doctor found Maggot and his men launching their
boats, and of course he lent them a hand.

"Pilchards been seen?" he inquired.

"Iss, iss, doctor," was the smith's curt reply; "jump in, an' go 'long
with us."

Oliver accepted the invitation, and was rowed towards a part of the bay
where the sea appeared to be boiling.  The boat was a large one,
attended by several others of smaller dimensions.  The boiling spot
being reached, Maggot, whose whole being was in a blaze of enthusiasm,
leaped up and seized the end of a seine-net--three hundred fathoms long
by fourteen deep--which he began to throw overboard with the utmost
energy, while the boat was rowed swiftly round the mass of fish.  David
Trevarrow assisted him, and in less than four minutes the whole net was
in the sea.  One of the other boats, meanwhile, had fastened another net
to the first, and, rowing in an opposite direction from it, progressed
in a circular course, dropping its net as it went, until the two met--
and thus an immense shoal of pilchards were enclosed.

The nets being floated on the surface with corks, and their lower ends
sunk to the bottom with leads, the fish were thus securely imprisoned.
But the security was not great; a gale might arise which would sweep
away the whole concern, or the pilchards might take a fancy to make a
dash in one particular direction, in the event of which they would
certainly burst the net, and no human power could save a single fin.  In
order to prevent this, the men in the smaller boats rowed round the
seine, beat the sea with their oars, hallooed, and otherwise exerted
themselves to keep the fish in the centre of the enclosure.  Meanwhile a
little boat entered within the circle, having a small net, named a
"tuck-net," which was spread round the seine, inside, and gradually
drawn together, until the fish were raised towards the surface in a
solid, sweltering mass.  The excitement at this point became tremendous.
Thousands of silvery fish leaped, vaulted, and fluttered in a seething
mass on the sea.  Maggot roared and yelled his orders like a Stentor.
Even mild David Trevarrow lost self-command, and shouted vociferously.

"Hand the basket!" cried Maggot.

A large basket, with a rope attached to one handle, was produced.
Maggot seized the other handle, and thrust it down among the wriggling
pilchards.  Trevarrow hauled on the rope, lifted the basket out of the
sea, and a cataract of living silver was shot into the boat, accompanied
by a mighty cheer.  Basketful after basketful followed, until the men
stood leg-deep in fish.

"Hold on a bit!" cried Maggot, as, with rolled-up sleeves, dishevelled
hair, and glaring eyes, he threw one leg over the side of the boat, the
more easily to continue his work.

"Have a care," cried Oliver at that moment, stretching out his hand; but
he was too late.  The excitable smith had overbalanced himself, and was
already head and shoulders deep down among the pilchards, which sprang
high over him, as if in triumph!

To catch him by the legs, and pull him back into the boat, was the work
of a moment, but the proceedings were not interrupted by the mishap.  A
laugh greeted the smith as he was turned head up, and immediately he
braced himself to his arduous labour with renewed energy.

The boat filled, it was rowed to the shore, and here was received by
eager and noisy men, women, and children, by whom the precious contents
were carried to the "cellars," or salting-houses, where they were packed
in the neatest possible piles, layer on layer, heads and tails, with a
sprinkling of salt between.

Maggot's family had followed him to Penberth.  Mrs M was there, busy as
a bee--so was Zackey, so was little Grace, and so was the baby.  They
all worked like Trojans, the only difference between baby Maggot and the
others being, that, while they did as much work as in them lay, he undid
as much as possible; was in every one's way; fell over and into
everything, including the sea, and, generally, fulfilled his mission of
mischief-maker with credit.  The chet was there too!  Baby Maggot had
decreed that it should accompany him, so there it was, living on
pilchards, and dragging out its harassed existence in the usual way.
What between salt food, and play, kicks, cuffs, capers, and gluttony,
its aspect at that time was more demoniacal, perhaps, than that of any
other chet between John o' Groat's and the Land's End.

Volumes would scarcely contain all that might be written about this
wonderful scene, but enough has been said to indicate the process
whereby Maggot secured and salted some hundreds of thousands of
pilchards.  The enclosing of the fish was the result of a few minutes'
work, but the salting and packing were not ended for many days.  The
result, however, was that the lucky smith sent many hogsheads of
pilchards the way of most Cornish fish--namely, to the Mediterranean,
for consumption by Roman Catholics, and in due course he received the
proceeds, to the extent of three thousand pounds.

Thus did Maggot auspiciously begin the making of his fortune--which was
originated and finally completed by his successful mining operations at

And let it be observed here, that he was neither the first nor the last
poor man who became prosperous and wealthy by similar means.  There are
men, not a few, now alive in Cornwall, who began with hammer and pick,
and who now can afford to drink in champagne, out of a golden flagon,
the good old Cornish toast--"Fish, tin, and copper."



Many others as well as Maggot made money by the pilchards at that time.
All round the coast of Cornwall millions of these little fish were
taken, salted, and exported.  No fewer than one thousand hogsheads were
taken at St. Ives in the first three seine-nets cast into the sea.  In
Mounts Bay, Fowey Bay, Mevagissey, and other fishing grounds, immense
quantities were caught, and the total catch of the county was little if
at all short of thirty thousand hogsheads.

Among others, old Mr Donnithorne was so successful that his broken
fortunes were almost re-established; and a small sum which our friend
Oliver Trembath had ventured to invest in the fishing was more than
quadrupled before the end of the year.

But this was not all.  At the next Botallack account-dinner, Mr Cornish
gladdened the hearts of the adventurers by telling them that the lodes
which had been "promising" for such a length of time had at last got the
length of "performance," and that he had now the pleasure of announcing
a large dividend, which he paid there and then.

A considerable share of this fell to old Mr Donnithorne, who, in the
enthusiasm of the occasion, observed confidentially to Captain Dan that
he was convinced "honesty was the best policy after all"--a sentiment
which the captain heartily agreed with, although he failed to detect the
precise connection between it and the old gentleman's sudden influx of
good fortune.  But, then, the captain did not drink Botallack punch,
while old Mr Donnithorne did, which may to some extent account for the
difference in their powers of vision.

Captain Dan, however, possessed wonderful powers of vision in reference
to the underground workings of Botallack, which were displayed to
advantage--and to the great gratification of the shareholders--when, at
the request of Mr Cornish, he stood up and gave a detailed and graphic
account of the prospects of the mine; telling them that the appearance
of the lodes in several parts of the mine was very promising indeed, and
that some ground was returning a rich harvest for the labour that had
been bestowed on it; that in the 105, which was driving north by six
men, they had taken down the copper for fourteen fathoms long, nearly
the whole of which had turned out to be worth 100 pounds per fathom;
that a splice had been formed in the lode about two fathoms behind the
present end, which had disordered it, but he was glad to say it was
again improving, and was at that time about fifteen inches wide of rich
copper, and, as far as he could judge, they were going through to the
top part of the "bunch" of copper; that these facts, he thought, were
very satisfactory, but that it was still more gratifying to know that
the lode on the bottom of the 105 was far more valuable than that in the
back; that in the "Crowns," especially in the various levels under the
sea, the lodes were not only "promising," but performing great things,
two men and a boy (he referred to Maggot, Trevarrow, and Zackey here)
having broken an immense quantity of copper during the last quarter,
which was paying splendidly.

At this point, Mr Grenfell, who sat on Mr Cornish's right hand,
exclaimed, "Hear! hear!" and a little bald-headed man, with a red nose
and blue spectacles, near the foot of the table, echoed "Hear!" with
genuine enthusiasm (for he had been bordering on bankruptcy for some
months past), and swigged off a full glass of punch without winking.

Thus encouraged, Captain Dan went on to remark that there were six men
driving in Wheal Hazzard (which statement caused a "stranger" who
chanced to be at the dinner to observe, in an undertone, that he was not
aware they had horses or vehicles of any kind in the mines!), that one
cross-cut was also being driven, and three winzes were sinking, and one
rise--several of which were opening up tin of first-rate quality, while
in the Narrow shaft, Chicornish, Higher Mine, and Wheal Cock, a great
deal to the same effect was being done--all of which we leave to the
imagination of the reader, merely remarking that however
incomprehensible these things may appear to him (or her), they created
feelings of profound joy in the assembled guests, especially in the
breast of the almost bankrupt one with the bald, red, and blue

Mr Cornish afterwards congratulated the adventurers on the success of
the mine, and the splendid prospects which were opening up to them--
prospects which, he had no doubt, would be fully realised ere long.  He
referred also to the condition of the miners of the neighbourhood, and
alluded to the fact that the neighbouring mines, Wheal Owles and Levant,
were also in a flourishing condition; a matter, he said, for which they
had reason to be profoundly thankful, for the distress in the district
had been severe and prolonged.  The manager's voice deepened at this
point, and he spoke with pathos, for he had a kindly heart, and his
thoughts were at the moment with many a poor miner, in whose little
cottages the effects of gaunt poverty could be traced in scanty
furniture, meagre fare, and careworn brows.  He remembered, too, that
only the week before he had seen poor blind John Batten carried to his
grave, and had heard the sobs of the bereaved widow, as she attempted to
tell him how the brave man had forgotten himself to the very last, when
he put his wasted hand on her head, and said, "I'm goin' to leave thee,
Mary, for a time; but cheer up, dear lass, I'll be with Jesus soon, an'
have my sight restored, and look wance more 'pon the faces of the dear
boys, an' 'pon your own sweet face too, dear lass, when we meet again in

There was one of the miners and shareholders of Botallack who did not
die, but who lived to enjoy the fruit of his labour and the sunshine of
prosperity.  James Penrose recovered--not only his health, but also, in
some degree, his sight.  One of his eyes had indeed been entirely
destroyed by the explosion which had so nearly killed him, but the other
was partially restored.  A long period elapsed, however, ere he was able
to go about.  Then he found his circumstances so much improved that it
was not necessary to resume work underground.  Botallack, in which all
his savings had been invested, continued steadily to improve, and from
the income derived from this source alone he was enabled to live without
labouring.  But Penrose was not the man to sit down in idleness.  Wesley
never had a more earnest follower than this miner of St. Just.
Thenceforth he devoted himself to preaching, teaching, and doing good as
his hand found opportunity, and, being an active man as well as
conscientious, he laboured to the end of his days in the service of his
Lord more energetically than he had ever toiled in the mines.

Penrose and David Trevarrow had always been staunch friends.  After the
accident to the former, they became more closely united than before.
Trevarrow did not give up underground work; he possessed no shares in
any of the mines, but, in common with the rest of the mining community,
he benefited by the sunshine of prosperity that became so bright at that
period, and found leisure, when above ground, to join his friend in his
labours of love.

They both agreed to make an earnest effort to convince Maggot and John
Cock of the error of their ways--with what amount of success it is not
easy to state, for these worthies were made of stubborn metal, that
required a furnace of unusually fierce heat to melt it.  However, we are
warranted in concluding that some good was done, from the fact that both
of them gave up smuggling, and, in various other ways, showed indication
of an improved state of mind.  Maggot especially gave a signal and
unexpected proof of a softened spirit, when, one Sunday morning, as he
was getting ready for chapel, he said to his wife that it was "high time
to send that little chucklehead the baby to Sunday school, for he was no
better than a small heathen!"  The "baby," be it observed, was about six
years old at the time when this speech was made, and his _protege_ the
"chet" was a great-grandmother, with innumerable chets of her own.  It
is right to add that, in accordance with this opinion of his father, the
baby was carried off to school that very morning by Zackey and Grace,
the first having grown to be a strapping youth, and the other a lovely
girl, for whose sake there were scores of young miners in St. Just who
would gladly have walked ten miles on their bare knees, or dived head
foremost into Wheal Hazzard shaft, or jumped over the cliffs into Zawn
Buzzangein, or done any other insane act or desperate deed, if, by so
doing, they could have caused one thrill of pleasure to pass through her
dear little heart!

It is not necessary, we should think, to say that in the midst of so
much sunshine Oliver Trembath and Rose Ellis thought it advisable to
"make hay."  Old Mr Donnithorne and his excellent wife (of whose
goodness and wisdom, by the way, he became more and more convinced every
day of his life) saw no objection whatever to this hay-making--so the
young couple were wed at the Wesleyan Chapel of St. Just--Charlie
Tregarthen, of course, being groomsman--and the only vehicle in the town
was hired to drive them over to Penberth Cove and bliss!

As to George Augustus Clearemout, Esquire--that able managing director,
despite his ducking at St. Just, continued to fill his chair and to
fulfil his destiny in the airy little street in London, where, for many
years, he represented Wheal Dooem, and "did" a too confiding public.  In
this work he was ably assisted by Secretary Jack Muddle, who became
quite celebrated as a clear expounder and explainer of veins, lodes,
ores, cross-cuts, shafts, levels, winzes, minerals, metals, and mines--
insomuch that he was regarded by many of the confiding public who
frequented his office as a more thoroughly learned and scientific man
than George Augustus himself.  It is interesting, how ever, to have to
record the curious fact that the too confiding public changed their
opinion at last on this head, and came to regard Secretary Jack as a
humbug, and the managing director as a scoundrel.  Unfortunately this
change of opinion did not take place until the whole of the too
confiding public (the T.C.P., as Clearemout styled them) had lost large
sums of money, and a few of them become bankrupt.  When affairs had
reached this crisis, one of the T.C.P.--an irascible old gentleman,
whose fiery nature seemed to have singed all the hair off his head,
leaving it completely bald--went down to Cornwall in a passion to sift
the thing for himself.  There he found the Great Wheal Dooem pump-engine
going full swing, day and night, under the superintendence of one man,
while the vast works underground (on which depended the "enormous"
dividends promised to and expected by the T.C.P.) were carried on by
another man and a boy.  On making this discovery the fiery old gentleman
with the denuded head left Cornwall--still in a passion--and exploded in
the face of a meeting of the members of the T.C.P., who immediately
exploded in each other's faces, and appointed an indignation committee
to go and explode, with unexampled fury, in the faces of the managing
director and Secretary Jack.  But these knowing gentlemen, being aware
that the explosion was coming, had wisely betaken themselves to the
retirement and seclusion of the Continent.

Without troubling the reader with further particulars, we may say, in
conclusion, that the result was the stoppage of Wheal Dooem mining
operations, and the summary dismissal of the two men and the boy.  At
the present day the ruins of that great concern may be seen standing on
the wild sea-cliffs of west Cornwall, solitary, gaunt, and grey, with
the iron "bob" of the pump-engine motionless and pointing up obliquely
to the sky, as if the giant arm of the mine were upraised to protest for
ever against the villainy and the too confiding folly that had left it
standing there--a monument of wasted and misdirected energy--a caution
to all speculators--a deserted mine--in the language of miners, a
"knacked bal."

There are many such "knacked bals" in Cornwall, with their iron "bobs"--
horizontal, depressed, or raised aloft, according to the attitude in
which they expired--holding forth similar firm, silent, and perpetual
protests and cautions.  Many Wheal Dooems (which having accomplished
their ends may now be termed Wheal Donems) are to be seen all over the
country on gorse-clad hills and on bold headlands; but, alongside of
these, may be seen their venerable ancestors, still alive and working;
subject, indeed, at times, to fits of depression, when, as their
indomitable and unconquerable managers will tell you, "the price of tin
is low," and subject also to seasons of revival, when they are getting a
"little better price for tin," but still working on with untiring
persistency whether the price of tin be high or low.

Chief among these, our chosen type, Botallack, may be seen bristling on
the grey cliffs of the "far west" with the Atlantic winds and spray
revelling amongst its machinery, and the thunder of its stamps giving
constant token that hundreds of stout-hearted, strong-limbed Cornishmen
are still hewing out tin and copper from its gloomy depths, as they did
in days gone by, and as they will, doubtless, continue to do in time to
come--steadily, sternly, manfully doing their work of sinking and
extending the mine deeper down under the sod and further out under the


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