Suddenly, when we had gone ten yards, the procession stopped short without any order or warning. It came bounding among us with a loud volley of barks, and leapt round us wagging its whole body, wild with glee at finding so many human beings together. This was Scotty, a little hairy tramp with a bastard accent sired by cockney out of Glasgow.
To the right an isolated row of gaunt four-roomed houses, dark red, blackened by smoke. The prisoner had vanished, and the rope was twisting on itself. Here was I, the white man with his gun, standing in front of the unarmed native crowd—seemingly the leading actor of the piece; but in reality I was only an absurd puppet pushed to and fro by the will of those yellow faces behind.
Usually it is bad going underfoot—thick dust or jagged chunks of shale, and in some mines where there is water it is as mucky as a farm-yard. The miner does that journey to and fro, and sandwiched in between there are seven and a half hours of savage work.
There are still living a few very old women who in their youth have worked underground, with the harness round their waists, and a chain that passed between their legs, crawling on all fours and dragging tubs of coal.
At the second shot he did not collapse but climbed with desperate slowness to his feet and stood weakly upright, with legs sagging and head drooping. People know by hearsay that Bill Sikes was a burglar and that Mr Micawber had a bald head, just as they know by hearsay that Moses was found in a basket of bulrushes and saw the 'back parts' of the Lord.
What chiefly surprised me was that he never read the same book twice. When finally you get back to the surface you have been perhaps three hours underground and travelled two miles, and you, are more exhausted than you would be by a twenty-five-mile walk above ground.
Well, that's all for this morning, thank God. It was a disgusting sight, that bathroom.