Boekgegevens
Titel: First English reading book: Engelsch leesboek voor instituten, gymnasiën en hoogere burgerscholen: met Nederlandsche woordenlijst
Auteur: Herrig, Ludwig
Uitgave: Arnhem: J. Voltelen, 1869 *
Auteursrechten: Zie auteursrechten
Citeerinstructie: Bijzondere Collecties van de Universiteit van Amsterdam, UBM: IWO 513 H 21
URL: https://schoolmuseum.uba.uva.nl/bookid/LCSM_204683
Onderwerp: Taal- en letterkunde naar afzonderlijke talen: Engelse taalkunde
Trefwoord: Leesvaardigheid, Engels, Leermiddelen (vorm)
* jaar van uitgave niet op de gebruikelijke wijze verkregen, mogelijk betreft het een schatting
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•190
lent opinion that it is of vegetable origin;
the following are perhaps the most con-
vincing. Carbon, which is the chief con-
stituent of all vegetable matter, particularly
wood, composes three-fourths of this sub-
stance. Coal is also found in the various
stages of mineralization. Sometimes it pos-
sesses a completely fibrous texture and
ligneous appearance, even the knots of
wood being discernible, whilst the same
bed produces specimens of perfect mineral
coal. That which preserves most distinctly
the character of wood, is found at Bovey
near Exeter. In Ireland a standing forest
has been discovered, at the depth of one
hundred feet below the soil. To this we
may add the inflammability of this substance;
the numerous vegetable remains and im-
pressions that accompany it; and that it
has never been discovered above the line
to which vegetation reaches. It is of a
black colour, bright, and frequently irides-
cent; the structure is slaty; it occurs always
amorphous; it is very combustible, a quality
which few minerals possess.
The comsumption of coal in England is
very great; much greater than in many
other countries, where wood is the prin-
cipal fuel used; for, besides warming most
of the houses, it is used in the immense
furnaces for melting iron, glass, &c.; so
that if the supply were not very large, it
would soon be exhausted. But, happily, no
part of the world seems better supplied
with coal than England; in various parts
of the country there are inexhaustible mines
of it, and thousands of people are con-
stantly employed in digging it out. Among
the most celebrated coal mines are those
of Newcastle, a large town in the north of
England, situated on the river Tyne, and
not far from the sea. This town, with
Gateshead on the opposite side of the
river, contains about one hundred and forty
thousand inhabitants. There are about
twenty workable coal mines in this neigh-
bourhood, some of which are six or seven
hundred feet deep, and the quantity of coal
obtained from them is enormous. The an-
nual produce of coal in the British Islands
is estimated at thirty-five miUions of tons,
of which the value is reckoned to be nine
millions of pounds at the pit, and eighteen
millions at the place of consumption. Some
of the coal mines are worked by shafts;
in others the descent is slanting, and the
coal is drawn out upon little waggons, pulled
by horses or men. I put on a collier's hat
and flannel jacket, and went down several
of the pits, 10 learn aU about them. A cu-
rious figure I cut, I assure you.
The miners dig out the coal with picks,
leaving here and there huge masses untouch-
ed, for pillars to support the roof. The
inside of a coal mine presents a busy and
curious scene; the long rows of black pil-
lars, forming streets, some of them wide
enough to admit carts; the miners at work,
digging out the coal with their picks by
candle-light; the rumbling waggons that
convey the coal from place to place; all
seem more like an under-ground town than
anything else.
There is a coal mine near Whitehaven,
in Cumberland, which is said to extend
twenty miles under ground in various di-
rections, both under the sea, and under the
town itself; so that there is some fear of
the latter falling in, some houses having,
already, given way.
The miners have many difficulties to over-
come. Sometimes, while one is quietly
working, a single stroke of the pick will
let in a torrent of water, and force them
all to fly for their lives. All the mines
are, more or less, troubled with water, which
has to be pumped out by steam engines.
Besides this, the nature of coal is such,
that it produces two diff'erent gasses or airs,
both of which are destructive to human life.
One of these gasses is called the choke-
damp or carbonic acid gas; it is the heavi-
est kind of air known; it can be poured
out of a vessel like water; it puts out cand-
les, and if breathed, produces suffocation;
it is also found in old wells, and similar
places, where there is not a free current
of air. The other gas, called hydrogen
gas, which is still more dangerous, is called
the fire damp; and when a light is brought
to it, it catches fire, and explodes like gun-
powder, destroying all within its reach. To
prevent this, a lamp, called the Safety Lamp,
was invented by Sir Humphry Davy, sur-
rounded with fine wire gauze, through which
the gas cannot pass, and the miners may
thus work in safety, unless a mixture of
pure hydrogen and atmospheric air takes
place.
150. YOUNG HUMPHRY DAVY.
Humphry was hardly at home in his new-
quarters, when an incident occurred that di-
rected his mind toward the investigation
of one of the most subtle and mysterious
principles in nature.
Mr. Borlase had returned from his day's
round, and as he was busy unfastening the
long leggings that covered his black silk
stockings, he informed the family, who, with
the boy, were gathered round the tea-table