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compressed air sent down in tubes from reservoirs on the surface.
The dynamite cartridge explodes with terrific force, tears asunder the hardest rock held together by tough native copper.
‘Great blocks come crashing down and are seized upon by the trammers, thrown into cars which are pushed to the shafts.
Here the rock is dumped into huge skips, or cars, and hoisted by the great engine to the surface, and then dumped into a car
of an automatic tram road and moved rapidly away to the distant rock houses where the car discharges its freight and returns
to its station without the aid of man. It is hauled by an endless rope wound round a big drum at the engine house. In the
rock house it is treated by a large gang of men called surface men.
The underground city is a curious place. To remove the water from
the mine great iron pipes descend to the bottom and the great pump, moved by a powerful engine, lifts the water to the surface
when it is discharged. To keep the mine open, or in other words, to keep the opposite walls from coming together after the
mineral has been removed from the lode, an immense quantity of heavy timber is used as shoves or stays. A quarter section
of pine would speedily find burial in those deep caverns. Indeed a big mine has an awful maw for stolls or saw logs. The consumption
of square and round timber and plank is enormous.The hardy fellows who work in the mine are generally contented and healthy. The liability to accidents is ever
present, but there are no noxious gases, no terrible explosions, as in coal mines. The air is salubrious, though tainted as
a matter of course, with the smoke of “villainous gunpowder.” The miners work in gangs or “pairs as
they term it. A “pair, may be two, four or six men, then also called a “party.” The work is generally
by contract, and goes on night and day. The ten hour system prevails —though often, owing to peculiar circumstances,
a gang works only eight hours. The night “shift” dine at midnight in the depths of the mine. They carry down with
them a tin pail containing coffee and meats. A Cornishman when he is going to dine says, I must take my “meat.”
They warm their coffee with the candle on their hats; their “paasty” in the same manner. A “paasty”
is an enormous turn-over, filled with chopped beefsteak, boiled potatoes and onions with spice. . This strong dish is immensely
satisfying. It is the Cornishman’s great backer, but no