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mmm w>, v. mm The Author. -* A YEAR H IN A COAL MINE By Copyright, 1910, iy *■ JOSEPH Atlantic Monthly Compaoy HUSBAND CHAPTER I. The New Man. m KN days after my graduation from Harvard l took my place as au unskilled workman in one of the largest of the great soft coal mines that lie In the middle west. It was with no thought of writ ing my experiences that 1 chose my oc cupation, but with the intention of learning by actual work the "operating end" of the great industry in the hope that such practical knowledge as 1 should acquire would fit me to follow the business successfully. The mine "workings" were entirely electrified, the latest inventions in coal mining machinery were everywhere employed and every precaution for the safety of the men was followed beyond the letter of the law. It was half past 6 on a July morning when the day shift began streaming out of the washhouse—some 400 men, white, black and of perhaps twenty eight nationalities—dressed In their tat tered, black and greasy mine clothes. The long stream wound out of the washhouse door, past the power bouse, where the two big generators that feed the arteries of the great mine all day long with its motive power were screaming in a high, shrill rhythm of sound, past the tall skeleton structure of the tipple tower, from which the light morning breeze blew black clouds of coal dust as it eddied around the skeleton of structural iron work, to a small house at the mine mouth sheath ed in corrugated iron, where the bro ken line formed a column and the men. one by one, passed through a gate by a small window and gave their num bers to a red faced man who checked down in a great book the men who were entering the mine From the window we passed along to a little inclosure directly above the mouth of the main hoisting shaft Sheer above it the black tower of the tipple pointed up into the hot blue morning sky. and the dull, dry beat of the flat Illinois country seemed to sink down around it. But from the square, black mouth of the shaft a strong, steady blast of cool air struck the faces of the men who stood at the head of the little column waiting for the next hoist On the one side of the shaft mouth long lines of empty railroad cars stretched out beyond into the flat country, each waiting its turn to be filled some time during the day with coal that would come pouring down over the great screens in the tipple, and on the other side of the shaft month, under the seamed roof of the building where the checker wrote down the numbers of the day shift sat the hoisting engineer. Beside him was the great drum on which the long steel cables that lifted and lowered the hoisting cage were rapidly unwinding, and in his hand be held a lever by which he controlled thr ascent or descent of the "cage." The first cage had been lowered, and as I watched him and the dial before him 1 saw his hand follow his eye, and as the white arrow passed the 300 foot level the hand drew back a notch, and the long, lithe wire began to uncoil more slowly. Three hundred and fifty feet—and another notch—and as the Photo by American Freu Association. r The Working Day Was Begun. arrow reached near the 400 foot mark his foot came down bard on the brake, and a minute later a bell at his elbow sounded the signal of the safe arrival of the hoist A minute, and anoth er signal, and then, releasing his other lever toward him. the drums, reversed, began to rewind, and as the arrow flew backward I realised that the cage was nearing the top. It was a great steel box divided into four superimposed compartments, each hold Ing ten. men. and I stood with nine others crowded on the first or lowest deck. As the last man pushed Into his place and we stood shoulder to shoulder the hoisting engineer slowly slipped bis lever again toward him and as slowly the cage sank. Then in as Instant the white blue of the sky was goo# pscept for a thin crack below the deck above us, through which a sheet of white light sliced in and hung heav ily in the dusty air of our compart ment The high song of the generators in the power house, the choking puffs of the switch engine in the yards and the noise of men and work which I had not noticed before I now suddenly missed In the absence of sound. There was a shuffling of feet on the deck above, and again we sank, and tbis time all was darkness while we paused for the third deck to fill. Once more and again for the fourth. Then as the cage started and the roar of the shoes on the guide rails struck my ears 1 looked at the men about me. They were talking in a whirr of foreign words, and in the greasy yellow light of their pit lamps, which hung like miniature coffeepots in the brims of their caps, the strong, hard lines of their faces deepened. The working day was begun. As the cage shot down the wall of the shaft seemed to slip up, and from its wet, slimy surface an occasional spatter of mud shot in on the faces of the miners. Strong smells of garlic, of sweat and of burning oil filled the com partment, and the air, which sucked up through the cracks beneath our feet as though under the force of a piston, fanned and pulled the yellow flames in the men's caps into smoking streaks Then 1 felt the speed of the "hoist" diminish. A pressure came In my ears and I swallowed hard, and a second later a soft yet abrupt pause in our descent brought me down on my heels. The black wall of the shaft before me suddenly gave way, and we came to a stop on the bottom of the mine. It was cool, and after the heat of a July morning the damp freshness of the air chilled me. With dinner pails banging against our knees we pushed out of the hoist and as the men crowd ed past me, 1 stood with my back against a great timber and looked around me. Behind, the hoist had al ready sunk into the "sump," or pit at the bottom of the shaft in order that the men 6n the second compart ment might pass out Into the mine, and a second later they swarmed by me— and still I stood, half dazed by the roar of unknowp sounds, my eyes blanketed by the absence of light, and my whole mind smothered and crushed. I was standing Just off the main entry or tunnel of the mine, which began on my left harfd out of blackness and passed again, on my right into a seeming wall of darkness. The low, black roof, close ly beamed with great timbers, was held by long lines of great whitewash ed tree trunks. A few electric lights shone dimly through their dust coated globes, and the yellow flames from the men's pit lamps, which had flared so bright in the compartment of the hoist ing cage, seemed now but thin tongues of flame that marked rather than dis closed the men. Out of the blackness on the left two tracks passed over a great pit and stretched on into the blackness on the right as though into the wall of the coal Itself. Then, faroff, a red signal light winked out and made distance visible, and beyond it came the sound of grinding wheels; there was the gleam of a headlight on the steel rails. The ray grew larger and two yellow sparks above It flamed out into pit lights. A train was coming out of the entry, and I waited until It should pass. With a grind of brakes It sud denly loomed out of the blackness and into the dull haze of light at the shaft bottom. With a roar It passed by. The locomotive, a great iron box, was built like a battering ram, the bead light set In its armor plated bow and behind, on two low seats, as In a rac ing automobile, sat the motorman and the "trip rider" or helper, the motor man with one hand on the great iron brake wheel, the other on his control ler and the trip rider swinging on his low seat, half on the motor aid half over the coupling of the rocking car behind, clinging to the pole of the trol ley. Their faces were black with the coal dost—black as the motor and their clothing—-and from tbelr pit lamps tbe flames bent back in the wind and streamed ont straight along tbeir cap tops. Low abova tbe head of the trip rider tbe wheel on tbe trolley streaked ont sodden bursts of greenish white sparte along tbe wire, and as tbe train passed by the roar of tbe locomotive gave place to tbe clattering of the oonpltngs of tbe long string of stocky cars, aacb heaped high with its black load of coal. 8oine one seized me by tho elbow. **Wbat*s yer number?" he asked. "419. " "Loader? New man?" 1 nodded. ' "Come along with me." Ho waa a tall, thin man. who waited with his head thrown forward and his ehin against his chest as though in constant fear of striking the low beams overhead. I followed him. stumbling rather clumsily over the broken coal beside the track. The train had come to a stop over tbe pit between the rails. *■*' -- < .y» by the of ty in I or of ed it a no to at S. of and men with Iron bars were beating loose tbe frogs and releasing the hop per bottoms of the cars. Heavy cloude of fine coal dust poured up from the cars as the coal roared down into the bins, snd tbe clanking of metal, the crash of falling coal and the unintelli gible shouting of the foreigners filled the entry with a dull tumult of sounds. Dodging the low trolley wire which hung about live feet above the rails, we crawled across tbe coupling be tween two of the cars to tbe other side of the entry and walked to the left, past the locomotive, where the motor man was still sitting in his low seat waiting to pull out bis train of empty cars into the sudden darkness of the tunnel beyond Then for the first time I learned that mines are echoless and that sound, like light, is absorbed by the blotter-like walls of tbe tun nels. We walked down the entry between the rails and after a hundred yards turned with the switch in the track sharply to the right, and again on. Sense of direction or angles was lost, and. like the faces in a foreign race of people, where oue can see little or no Individuality, so here, each corner seemed the same, and in a hundred yards I was utterly lost. Above was the smooth, black roof, below the ties and the rails, and on either side behind the two long rows of props the face of tbe coal seam, which glittered and sparkled in the light from our pit lamps like a dull diamond. We talked a lit tle. My companion asked me where 1 had worked before, how much I knew of mines and a few other questions. And still we walked on, dodging the low wire that comes level with one's ear and stumbling over the layer of broken coal that lay strewn here and there between the rails. The silence was like the darkness—a total absence of sound rather than stillness, as my first impression of the mine had been that of au absence of light rather than of darkness. The smoking lights in our caps seemed to press out through the blackness twen ty feet around us. where the light dis appeared and was gone, and always in front of us, out of the black dark ness. the two long lines of props on either side of tbe track stepped one by one into tbe yellow haze of light and sank again into darkness behind us as we walked. The air was cool and damp, but as we turned the last corner the damp ness seemed suddenly gone from It. It was warmer and closer. Here the track swerved up from one of the main tunnels into a "room," and at the end, I or "heading." of this room, which we reached a few minutes later, empty and waiting for its first load, stood one of the square cars which I had seen before at the mine bottom and whieb we passed several times on sidings by the track. The car was pushed up to the end of the track and its wheels "spragged" by two blocks of coal. Here tbe tunnel suddenly ended, and from tbe blank, back "face" a rough, broken pile of coal streamed down on both sides of the car and reared op be fore it against the roof. "Just shovel 'er full, then wait till the motor takes her out and sends in an empty, and fill that one. I'll look in on you once in awhile and see bow you're getting along." Then be turned and walked down the track and left me in the dim light of my single pit lamp. Continued Next Week Riverview Elevator Burns The new elevator at Riverview, Mont., operated by Representative John P. Meadors, was totally destroy ed by fire Sunday evening, together with about 5,000 bushels of flax and between 1,000 and 2,000 bushels of oats and wheat. The fire was discovered about 7 o'clock by Mr. Winckes and several farmers who had their grain at Riverview, ready to market the next morning. At first it was thought that it was someone with a lantern, but this impression soon vanished when smoke was seen issuing forth from the north driveway, and a crew of men got into a wagon and made haste to the elevator, a distance of a quarter of a mile, but the fire had gained such headway by the time they arrived that no grain could be saved, although the books were taken out. Three empty cars were on the track alongside of the elevator, two of which were moved to safety, but the third one could not be budged and was burned. The elevator was just completed this season, and was partially insured. There is no clue to the origin of the fire, but indica tions point strongly toward incendiar ism, as there was no chance for a fire at the driveway unless set intention ally.—Sidney Herald. Now is the time to bring in your plow work. We make any kind of plow lays to fit any kind of plow. C. S. Johnston. 8tf Notice of Sale of Real Estate In the District Court of the Sev enth Judicial District of the State of Montana, in and for the County of Caster. In the matter of the guar dianship of the person and estate of Arthur Royce Lantis, a minor. Notice of Sale of Real Estate. NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN, That pursuant to an order of the above entitled Court made in the above en titled matter on the 28th day of De cember, A. D., 1912, the undersigned guardian of the person and estate of j Arthur Royce Lantis, a minor, will on the 21st day of February, 1913, at Miles City, Montana, sell at private sale to the highest and best bidder for cash the following described real es tate, to-wit: Lots numbered Four, Five and Six (4, Sand 6) in Block numbered Seven (7) in the town of Wibaux, Dawson County, Montana. Bids in w riting for the same may be left at the office of the Clerk of the above entitled Court at Miles City, Montana, or with the undersigned guardian, at any time before the date of said sale. Dated at Miles City, Montana, this 24th day of January, A. D., 1913. CASHIUS B. LANTIS, 2t 5 o Guardian Notice To Creditors Estate of Jacob F. Walker, deceased. Notice is hereby given by the under signed, executresses of the estate of Jacob F. Walker, deceased, to the cred itors of and all persons having claims against the said deceased, to exhibit them, with the necessary vouchers, within four months after the first publication of this notice, to the said executresses at the office of Albert Anderson, attorney for the estate, the same being the place for the transac tion of the business of said estate in the city of Glendive. In the County of Dawson, dated Jan. 18, 1913. ALBERT ANDERSON, Attorney for Grace L. Walker and Annie Bell, executresses of the estate of Jacob F. Walker, decease d. Notice Of Contest Department of the Interior, United States Land Office, Miles City, Mont., Jan. 13th, 1913. To Ira Toller of Radford, Virginia, Contestée : You are hereby notified that John Cashman, who gives Glendive, Mon tana, as his post-office address, did on December 11, 1912, file in this office his duly corroborated application to contest and secure the cancellation of your Homestead Entry, Serial No. 08566, made April 25, 1910, for East half (EJ) Section 10, Township 15 N., Range 52 E., Montana Principal Me ridian, and as grounds for his contest he alleges that the said Ira Toller has never established a residence on the said land at all, that he has made no improvements of any kind whatever on the said land and that he has whol ly abandoned the said land and his said homestead entry for more than six months last past. You are, therefore, further noti fied that the said allegations will be taken by this office as having been confessed by you, and your said entry will be canceled thereunder without your further right to be heard there in, either before this office or on ap peal, if you fail to file in this office wjjhin twenty days after the FOURTH publication of this notice, as shown below, your answer, under oath, speci fically meeting and responding to these allegations of contest, or if you fail within that time to file in this office due proof that you have served a copy of your answer on the said contes tant either in person or by registered mail. If this service is made by the delivery of a copy of your answer to the contestant in person, proof of such service must be either the said con testant's written acknowledgement of his receipt of the copy, showing the late of its receipt, or the affidavit of the person by whom the delivery was made stating when and where the copy was delivered; if made by registered mail, proof of such service must con sist of the affidavit of the person by whom the copy was mailed stating when and the post office to which it was mailed, and this affidavit must be accompanied by the postmaster's receipt for the letter. You should state in your answer the name of the post office to which you desire future notices to be sent to you. J. Ç. AULD, Receiver. Date of first publication, Jan. 23, 1913. Date of second publication, Jan. 30, 1913. Date of third publication, Feb. 6, 1913. Date of fourth publication, Feb. 13, 1913. ALBERT ANDERSON, Attorney for Contestant. 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JOHNSTON is prepared to do all kinds or Plow Work and can sharpen your Disks on short notice. We do all Blacksmithing and Repairing in a thoroughly work manlike manner. See us for anything in the line of Woodwork. It f V/ Ÿ//J I £ I 0 WHO BLOCKS YOUR HAT? Comparatively few men realize how fully a hat can be restored to its orig inal appearance by proper tï-eatment such as we give. We remove all sweat, stains and dirt; replace sweat and hat bands, and in fact Make the Hat Good as New and at a small cost. Let us block just one of your old hats.