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
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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had been found still alive, having subsisted
during the time on horse-beans and candle-
ends. Then distrust began to enter the
minds of the crowd, and some suggested
that want of courage or bribery had in-
duced the men who had descended to mag-
nify the danger; so that when it was pro-
posed by the owners to close the mouth of
the pit, and to shut out the air from it —
for the most experienced 'viewers' had pro-
nounced the mine to be on fire — the pro-
position was received with cries of 'Mur-
der!' and with expressions of determination
to oppose such a proceeding with violence!
'All that night, they tell me,' the doctor
proceeded, 'many of the widows lingered
about the mouth of the pit, with the hope
of hearing the cries of a husband or
a son.
'The next morning it was again proposed
to exclude the air; still the populace, made
furious by their misery, would not allow the
project to be carried out until some others
had again descended the shaft. But none
could now be found hardy enough to entei'
the jaws of the burning cavern. At length,
however, two brave fellows were induced to
make the perilous attempt, and they nearly
lost their lives in so doing.
'The account given by these adventurers
(for they confirmed the opinion as to the
pit being on fire) ultimately convinced the
people of the impossibility of their friends
surviving in so deadly an atmosphere, and
reconciled them to the plan of excluding
the air. Accordingly the shaft was closed,
with the eighty-nine poor souls entombed
in it, and more than a month elapsed be-
fore the mine was opened again and in a
state to admit of an examination.
^During this interval, I leave you to ima-
gine,' went on the apothecary, 'what must
have been the terrible suspense of those
whose love made if impossible to eradicate
all hope from their bosoms. The widows,
anxious to believe that their husbands still
lived in the closed mine, gave already cre-
dence to the idle tales of escape that were
continually being circulated through the
country. These inventions, however, had
the effect of daily harrowing up afresh the
sorrows to the people; so that when the
morning came that had been appointed for
the re-opening of the pit, the distress of
the neighbourhood burst forth once more
with almost redoubled fury.
'A great concourse of people assembled
round the mine on that sad day: some came
out of curiosity, others out of public sym-
pathy, but the greater part came there with
broken hearts and streaming eyes, intent
on once more beholding the loved form of
a father, brother, husband, or son.
'Soon a message was despatched for a
number of coffins to be in readiness at the
pit-mouth. Upwards of eighty of these had
been ready prepared, an they had to pass
by the miners' villages on their way to the
shaft. As soon as a cart-load of them was
seen, the howling of the women, who had
not yet found their way to the melancholy
spot,' floated on the breeze in low, fitful
gusts, presaging a scene of the greatest dis-
traction and confusion; and as each load of
coffins came to the pit, it brought a long
train of wretched mournei'S in its wake.
'The bodies of the ill-fated men were
fomid under vaiious circumstances. One,
from his position, must have been asleep
when the explosion happened; others were
huddled together in ghastly confusion —
twenty-one were found in a heap in one
spot. The power of fire was visible upon
all: some were scorched; others almost torn
to pieces; while others, again, appeared as
if they had been stilled at their work.
'Then came the heartrending scene,' add-
ed Mr. Borlase, 'of mothers and widows
examining the mangled remains for marks
by which to identify the bodies of their
lost sons and husbands. Few, however,
were able lo recognise their relatives by
their features; their clothes, their shoes,
and — when these were too much burnt to
be known again — their tobacco boxes, or
some token of affection, were often the
only indications by which the lost friend
could be singled out from the rest.
'Every family had made some arrange-
ments for receiving the dead bodies of their
kindered, but the doctor had very properly
stated that, in his opinion, such a proceed-
ing might spread a putrid fever through
the neighbourhood, and the first body, when
exposed to observation, presented so hor-
rible and corrupt an appearance, that the
people were induced to consent that each
corpse should be interred as soon as it was
discovered - on condition that the hearses
in its way to the chapel-yard, should pass,
by the door of the deceased.
'And the condition was duly complied
with,' concluded the doctor, solemnly. 'Hour
after hour, and day after day — for the
finding and removal of the bodies continu-
ed for upwards of a week — the funei^al
carriage might be seen slowly wending its
way through the half-desolate miners' vil-
lages, passing first by the door of one clos-
ed cottage, and then by another, while at
the hatches of the others stood groups of
women, the greater part of whom were ha-