The life and hardships of young boys in the coal-mines of Pennsylvania are woven into a thrilling and instructive story. Derrick Sterling is a brave, intelligent young fellow, who is forced to earn a living as a breaker-boy in the mine his father had lost his life in--while acting in his capacity of mining engineer. Derrick and his friend Paul have many dramatic experiences, which are only saved from being fatal through their own bravery and presence of mind. Many good lessons of self-control and forbearance are inculcated through the incidents of the story
ad approached him so closely that he could feel their hot breath, and knew that in another minute the place where he sat would be surrounded by them.
As Derrick sprang to his side, with the intention of dragging him as far as possible from them, he said,
"The slope, Derrick! If we could only get to the top of the slope, couldn't we somehow escape by it?"
"I never thought of it!" cried Derrick. "We might. We'll try anyhow, for if we stay here another minute we shall be roasted to death."
Stooping, he lifted Paul in his lithe young arms, and with a strength born of despair began to carry him up the long and devious way that led to the very top of the lofty building. He had scarcely taken a dozen steps, and was already staggering beneath his burden, when he stumbled and nearly fell over some object lying on the floor. With an exclamation, he set Paul down and picked it up.
It was the crutch, Paul's own crutch; and it was so far above where they had sat at work that it seemed as
A rather naive story probably originally aimed at young readers, heroic central character and all lived happy ever after. I read it as I have an interest in Coal mining having worked in the British Coal mines most of my life and more particularly the American mines of the period as my Gt grandfather spent some time there as a miner in the 1880's.
It is clear that the author had spent more than a little time closely observing the mining techniques used then but I don't recognise the management or organisation depicted and feel sure he would have been an interested observer rather than anyone with practical experience in a mine. Ok read for anyone trying to get a feel for how his or her mining forefathers worked.