"Now," said Philip, "does not the barometer speak truly? When the air is weighty and dense it keeps back the gas, when it is light the gas forces its way out. What would be the consequences if I were to open our lamp?"
"There wouldn't be no consekences," said the overman with a grim laugh; "there'd be a inquest, if they had pluck enough to come and hunt out what of us was left."
In spite of himself, Philip could not help a shudder, as he listened to the cynical, callous manner in which his companion spoke of their proximity to a dreadful death. Then, bidding him follow, he went on along the gloomy maze towards where he could hear the rumble of trucks laden with coal, the sound of the ringing picks, the echoing shouts of the men, and the impatient snort of some pony, toiling with its load up an incline.
There was a quick sharp draught of air as they passed through a door which was closed behind them by a boy, and, satisfied that the vent