From a German Engraving after Froebom.]
The old miner paid no heed to the interruption, if, indeed, he heard it.
"That way, I always knew that the knockers were on my side, an' I've been willin' to hole coal in mines that folks said weren't safe. What's more, in forty years o' work, I've never lost a day's time from an accident of any kind. I know I'm safe, because of what happened to me when I was still a kid.
"One day--I don't know just why, maybe the air was worse'n usual--after I'd been lookin' after the door for the bigger part o' the shift, I dropped right off asleep. Half-dreamin', I heard a loaded car come roarin' down, but I didn't wake up until it was so close as to be too late.
"I scrambled up on my feet an' was just makin' a wild jump forward to the door, when I felt a little fist--it seemed about the size of a baby's, but was strong an' hard--hit me right in the chest. It pushed me back into the corner, out o' the way o' the car, an' held me there.