TOILERS UNDER THE SEA

I. Winning the Submarine Coal Seams of Cape Breton.

NORMAN REILLY RAINE January 1 1925

TOILERS UNDER THE SEA

I. Winning the Submarine Coal Seams of Cape Breton.

NORMAN REILLY RAINE January 1 1925

TOILERS UNDER THE SEA

I. Winning the Submarine Coal Seams of Cape Breton.

NORMAN REILLY RAINE

The first of three articles, written after several weeks of investigation by Mr. Raine, on behalf of MacLean s.

BIG Jack MacDonald’s hearty laugh boomed out in the little miner’s cottage and he paused, the firelight on his rugged face, to put a match to his pipe. Then, with the blue smoke curling about his head, he went on with his story:

“—And when this fellow—in Edmonton it was—asks me ‘What like are these Cape Breton men?’ I says, says I, ‘They’re nine foot high, two foot between the eyes, bye, an’ each eye as big as a saucer!’ ”

A roar of appreciation swept the circle of his auditors about the fire—with one exception—Allan, another of the Big MacDonald clan; a man who had followed mining in all of its ramifications for most of his life, not only in Canada but as manager of copper mines in the mountains of the South American west coast.

“It’s a good yarn, Jack bye,” he said soberly, “but there’s a lesson in it too, for there’s many a thousand folk in the Dominion who know as little about us and our ways as that Edmonton man did.”

The point was taken up by the little Sunday-evening after-supper group, and discussed in detail, while the sweet-faced little mother of the Big MacDonalds stood in the doorway, after the meal things were cleared away, and listened too. Cape Breton men do not exclude their women from discussion of the hard problems of life, for they are too intimately concerned, and, too often, theirs is the heavier burden.

Danny Morrison spoke. Danny was mayor of Glace Bay, a returned soldier and a practical miner who had spent many years in the pit. His face was lean and brown, with crow’s feet of thought about the deep eyes. He knew his people, their strength and weaknesses, and he loved them.

“You’re right, Jack,” he said. “Mention Cape Breton to the average Canadian and he’ll perhaps say, ‘Oh, yes—that’s where they’re always' on strike’ or else he knows nothing at all about it. It’s a pity, bye.’’

His opinion coincided with my own observation— that mention of the coal-producing section of Cape Breton to Canadians—even Nova Scotians, other than those living on or near Cape Breton Island—is provocative, either of a definite mental picture, done futurist or cubist, with liberal dashes of vermilion, or of a vague idea that it is “somewhere or other” on the Atlantic coast. That it is the centre of one of the Dominion’s greatest industries—coal mining—or that it is perhaps more intensely Canadian than any other English speaking part of the country, through eightyfive per cent, of its inhabitants being two and three generations deep in its soil, are facts not known to Canada generally. It has not been told.

No Need for a “Gat”

WHEN I mentioned to a Halifax friend—a businessman—that I was going to Glace Bay to gather material for this series of articles the advice given and seriously meant was “Better pack a gun. They say they’re a pack of wild ‘reds’ up in that country, and they’ll bump you off if they think you are trying to show them up.” I went to Glace Bay. I did not pack a gun, and I spent there six of the most pleasant and nstructive weeks of my life.

The character of the country round about the coal fields has been a powerful factor in the development of the Cape Breton miner type. It is a land with definiteness of contour; a hard, austere country, with little of beauty save that which lies in grim force and uncompromising

ruggedness. Sydney Mines, Sydney, New Waterford, Reserve, Glace Bay, the towns and settlements within whose territory are included most of the coal producing shafts, are girded by lofty cliffs and pounding surf. Bare fields, swept by the hoarse note of Atlantic gales, are dotted with slag heaps, great coal banks, the gaunt frames of steel mills, coke oven, and collieries, while the funereal plumes of scores of belching chimneys smudge the far horizon. Old pit workings scar the tortured earth and nature licks her wounds with tongues of green.

What like men are the miners of Cape Breton? Are they Canadian, in the main, or alien? Why is there continual talk of “Red” activities and serious strikes? Is Glace Bay inevitably a centre of industrial festering discontent? Mr. Raine was sent to get the answers to these and other questions of national importance. Read what he found during his investigations.

About the black pit-heads are clusters of tiny houses —dingy, outwardly cheerless, and unpainted for the most part—the homes of the miners, with an occasional small, untidy shop or a more pretentious company store. A few fairly good roads link the settlements, and Sydney is a presentable little city with an attractive main business street, but it is in Glace Bay, metropolis of the coal miner, and in its immediate environs, that the pit worker may be met and studied on his own ground. It is a typical mining center, with its Commercial Street, Main Street, and Senator’s Corners, two movie theatres, and its rows of frame dwellings, stores and Chinese cafes.

Call any man “Mac” on the streets of Glace Bay and if he does not answer his neighbor will. There are

MacDonalds, McNeils, MacLeods, MacAulays, McKenzies, and all possible varieties of “Macs,” with every known suffix and an introductory John Angus or Angus John, Hughie, James, Neil, Donald or Alex. Too, there are the Rooneys, and the Caseys, the Murphys and the O’Tooles and many another name of old Erin, as well as those whose patronymic like could be hailed in any of the great collieries of Northumberland or Wales. The majority are of Scottish ancestry, however, their forebears having come to Cape Breton in the time of George the Fourth, and, occasionally, one comes across a native of the district who speaks nothing but Gaelic.

Does a Catholic miner die—he is waked in the fashion approved of the Old Land, and all of his Protestant friends attend. Is there a social night afoot—the ladies of all denominations turn to and bear a hand. Everyone knows his neighbor’s neighbor, and the joys or misfortunes of one are shared by all these simple, kindly people. This corner of Canada, away from the hustle of the outside world, has managed to retain certain quaint virtues of a more graceful age. Dances—even public ones— are chaperoned ; wives still do their Saturday shopping with big market baskets, and daughters are not ashamed to carry them; the girls—excepting those employed in the shops, or the offices of the coal company— stay home and help mother, for there is nothing else they can do; father, the breadwinner, is head of his house and his word is law—and the juveniles get more lickings than dimes.

They are a type apart, hard working, close living, with few pleasures—for Want sits often on the hearth— and a canny way of thinking; a type born of environment and tradition, unique in personality, customs and psychology; not easily intimate, but, like their native coal, when touched by the flame of sympathy and understanding, breaking into genial warmth. Fiercely loyal to each other and their island, implacable enemies, but wonderful friends.

I arrived in Glace Bay on a day of slate-grey and cold, lashing rain; a stranger, with nothing of introduction save the recommendation of a chance Sydney acquaintance to a man in the town. I was damp, chilled and hungry; depressed less by the weather than by my surroundings, and inwardly wondering how soon I could get my information and return. This was at three o’clock in the afternoon. Before six o’clock I had been fed, given a warm drink to drive out the chill, been provided with a large comfortable room holding a roaring fire, received an invitation out to spend a sociable evening, and had had pressed upon me the loan of my landlord’s gold watch upon my mentioning that my own was being repaired in Halifax. Cape Breton!

How do these Cape Breton miners work and live? What do they wear—eat—think? What are their

reactions to social and economic environment? What is that environment? The cause for the serious and protracted labor unrest which has gripped the coalmining industry of Nova Scotia lies in the answers to those questions. The fundamental factors lie in a triangle; the relations between the British Empire Steel Corporation, which controls the Dominion Coal Company, the United Mine Workers of America, which is the miners’ union, and the men. Every phase of activity along this triangle is interlocking, and the key is held firmly

in the hands of Besco.

In April, 1921, the Dominion Coal Company, which produces ninetyfive per cent, of the coal of Nova Scotia, was included in the merger by which seven main and seven subsidiary companies being brought together, the British Empire Steel Corporation became the biggest single industrial enterprise in Canada, with an aggregate capitalization of $102,000,000. The Corporation, or Besco, as it more commonly is known, advertises that it has approximately twentyfive thousand employees; that its estimated reserve of iron ore is nearly seven

billion tons; of coal, six billion tons; that it controls vast deposits of limestone and silica and seven hundred and forty-five square miles of timber limits; and that it owns and operates more than thirty modernlyequipped coal mines, as well as numerous other activities including railroads and a fleet of more than twenty steamers. Such is the company whose great shadow looms like the ghost of an ancient feudal system over the industrial life of Nova Scotia, and which holds the destinies of twelve thousand Canadian miners in the hollow of its gigantic hand.

How do the miners work? In seeking an answer I found myself, one chilly night, walking with a companion across the yard of Number Two colliery in Glace Bay, toward the lamp room’s yellow beam. The pit-head buildings thrust lean shoulders against the sky, and at the top of the shaft a man-cage stood empty, a dust-scummed pool of water on the floor reflecting the electric globe at the shaft head. My guide, Barlow, one of the Company engineering staff nodded.

“We go inside, on that,” he said.

“Inside” meant down in the mine. Eighty per cent, of the coal mined in Cape Breton is won from under the Atlantic Ocean, and we were about to make a trip through one of the most famous of the submarine collieries, where, from the foot of the shaft long tunnels send tentacles to the workers at the coal faces, more than a thousand feet beneath the floor of the sea, and three miles from shore. ;

In the lamp room we stripped off our coats, and donned overalls and caps. Then Barlow passed his hands rapidly about my pockets in search for matches, or other combustibles.

“Sorry,” said he, “but everyone is searched for them before being allowed below. Here—put this on.”

He handed me an Edison electric mine lamp consisting of a box battery attached to a belt, and a globe in a glass-covered reflector, fastened to a length of rubberprotected cord. The lamp was alight.

“Strap the battery to your back,” he directed, “and hang the lamp over your shoulder. There’s plenty of cord. That’s it! Ready?”

He picked up his own—a Kohler gasoline lamp with the flame protected by screens of wire gauze—and we made for the cage.

“Why is your lamp different?” I asked. “Aren’t the electric ones safer?”

“Yes—and no,” he answered. “All mine officials are required to carry a Kohler type lamp. The electric lamp, such as the miners use, is fool-proof but it can’t detect the presence of gas. Some mine gases act very quickly and must be watched for constantly. A miner may breathe gas without detecting it, then, suddenly, he drops, all out, and if help isn’t handy he’s done for. But gas will elongate the flame of this gasoline lamp, and steps can be taken to combat it—hello, bye!— getting any meat for your cat, these days?” He grinned at a shadowy figure standing near the top of the shaft.

The other, stationed to watch the cage, flashed white teeth in the gloom.

“No more than you, Arthur, bye—but if ye happen to have a nip o’ the real stuff handy—no? Ah, well— goin’ inside?” He laughed again. “Ye’ll look more natural travllin’ that direction than skywards!”

We stepped onto the cage, a plain wood platform, and grasped overhead steadying bars. Two or three miners in heavy, hob-nailed pit boots, coal-and-sweat stained clothing and wearing their lamps in their caps joined us. All were chewing tobacco.

So I Dropped 900 Feet

\ X7TTHOUT warning the cage dropped. There was a * ' swift impression of wet, glistening shaft walls rushing upward, a blast of cold air from the dank bowels of the mine, a quick inhalation to recover breath, a pressure on the ear drums. We stopped, nine hundred feet down.

From the cage we stepped into a hive of electricallighted industry; the clatter and bump of loaded trips, or coal cars, coming swiftly up the main haulage-way, being released from the endless rope that had brought them from the lower landings and being run to the tipple; the roll of the tipple as it up-ended them after weighing; the roar of the fuel into the containers below, for hoisting to the surface; the suck of a giant pump and the blowing of a strong current of fresh air, pushed into the mine and to the farthest working seam by great surface fans, at the rate of over two hundred thousand cubic feet per minute. Grimy figures shouted and toiled, and mine lamps paled in the brightness as the drivers and haulage hands emerged from side tunnels and disappeared again into the recesses of the mine.

Someone stepped forward and taking Barlow’s lamp blew lustily about the base to make sure there was no leakage which would allow the air to come in contact with the flame. All well. He handed it back and w.e walked toward a large well-lighted tunnel, passing, en.

route, a sample of miner’s grim humor awkwardly chalked across an overhead timber at the entrance to a haulage way that ran to the lower deeps. It read:

LOOK—YOU HAVE NO BUSNESS ON THIS ROAD IF WE NEED YOU WELL SEND FOR YOU DAM FAST

The current of air blew with amazing strength as we crossed the tracks and turned into a small concrete room to study the mine tracings and get a line on our route to the working face. It would have been easy to follow the tracks, but mine regulations state that no one except those employed thereon may follow the haulage ways down which the trips are run to and from the shaft. Others must go by the traveling roads for pedestrian traffic only, and must travel in pairs; this latter point is a safety measure, so that in case of a roof fall or other accident assistance may be summoned.

In single file, then, we followed one of these traveling

roads for a few hundred yards, over a narrow, rough and often slimy path, hemmed in at the sides by a seam of glistening coal in the huge pillars left unmined to support the roof, and overhead by a thousand feet of rock and earth. At frequent intervals were black spruce pit props and cross bars of steel rail, holding up weak or dangerous places in the roof. There was fairly good head-room, but it seemed instinctive to walk with shoulders bowed.

. The air, even through its freshness, held a strong odor, damp, suggestive of mildew, and vaguely fa-' miliar. After a minute or two I placed it; it was exactly the smell of dugouts and underground, explosive mine workings on the Canadian front in France.

After a few hundred yards the traveling road widened out into a chamber, heavily buttressed and supported, and walled with concrete, and containing a huge drum about which was wound thousands of feet of steel rope. To the end of this was attached a string of man-cars or riding-raikes—“rigs,” the miners call them—on a narrow-gauge track. These raikes were provided to reduce the time a miner must spend in going from the cage to his work, which is often three miles or more away. The cars, about sixteen feet long by five wide and four high, held low longitudinal seats, and were . equipped with an ingenious system of safety devices so that they could not get beyond control through the. breaking of couplings or hauling rope.

Coal seams run with a downward pitch, and the farther the seam is worked the deeper below the surface the working face goes. The main shaft may be only eight or nine hundred feet deep, yet the miner at his work often will have more than fourteen hundred feet , of earth and rock overhead, so that all the underground tunnels run up or down hill.

Wild Ride Below Ocean’s Bed

WE TOOK seats in the • car and the raikes were released by the engineer in charge of the drum. The weight of the cars down-grade provided motive power and we moved at terrific speed into the lower workings. It was one of the wildest rides I have experienced. All we could make out in the limited area of light afforded by our lamps was an interminable line of pit props flashing by at the sides, and the onrush of the overhead cross beams which frequently came so low that we were forced to flatten ourselves out in the car to prevent cracked skulls. Miners traveling in the raikes always keep their lamps directed on the roof, ■ for there the danger lies. Instances have occurred wherein miners, growing careless, have been struck by projecting pieces of roof rock and decapitated. In the rushing wind of our progress and the bump and creak of the springless boxes over the rough track, time and place seemed in abeyance and even thought was difficult. The sudden stopping of the ears brought us round with a jerk. '

At the point where we left the raikes we were about a mile from the shore line and well under the Atlantic. Following a maze of passages and cross cuts we continued our walk toward the working face.

There was a feeling of complete detachment from the world outside and an atmosphere of depression. Our little universe was a tent of feeble light which progressed as we moved and beat back a velvet dark that settled about us. I said something of this to Barlow.

" “Put your light under your coat,” he said, and he concealed his own.

Instantly we hung in the cellar of hell; in a lightless tomb that knew neither shape nor space. I held a white sheet of note-book until it touched my eyes, but could not distinguish the faintest blur. Darkness absolute. Sounds, though; a faint rumbling of trips on the haulage way—the staccato drip of hidden water— the squeak and quick scurry of a rat—and a mysterious sound that I identified finally as our own slow breathing. It seemed incredible that by the mere showing of our lamps that benumbing void would be filled.

“Better be moving,” Barlow suggested. “We’ve some distance to go yet.”

Scrambling over fallen rock on the path, bending, stooping, slipping, stumbling, and sometimes walking erect for considerable distances, we carried on to a point where signs of human activity showed we were nearing our destination. Miners passed us, evolving

Continued on page 51

Continued from page 20

from dancing light—specks in the tunnel ahead to fleeting impressions of black faces and white eye-balls under their lamps as they edged in to the wall to give us passage on the narrow way, and exchanged an occasional word of greeting or rough joke. In some of the openings we passed immense falls of roof had taken place, hundreds of tons of displaced rock having left arched vaults that soared above the farthest limits of our lights. In others, the weight of overhead material had crushed stout spruce transverse beams to the thinness of a woman’s hand, and bent heavy steel rails into a V that nearly touched the pavement.

Submarine Mining

TURNING a corner we encountered the overman in charge of that section of the mine, and he took us in tow. Presently the rapid hammer of a compressed air drill, and a cloud of coal dust in which black figures moved with their tiny auras of light before a glistening eight-foot coal seam, showed that we had arrived at the working face, thirteen hundred feet below the ocean and nearly three miles from shore.

Submarine mining is far more expensive than land mining and calls for different methods; larger shafts, more powerful fans and hauling machinery and greater measures of safety. In working coal seams that lie below the ground it is possible to shorten long hauls from working face to hoisting shaft by sinking new shafts as the seam progresses. In submarine mining the shaft is sunk as near to the cliff edge as possible. The haulage necessary to bring the coal from the seam to that shaft cannot be shortened, and the longer the mine is worked the greater the haulage becomes—and haulage is one of the most costly items in the operation of a mine.

Greater roof support is necessary and precautions against disaster must be redoubled. The great rectangular blocks of coal known as pillars, which are left in all mines to strengthen the roof until

the seam is exhausted and support no. longer is necessary, have to be fifty by seventy-five feet—considerably larger than in under-land operations. This restricts output, for considerably less coal can be mined. The space between the ends of pillars in submarine work is about twelve feet, and the passage between about eighteen feet. The cutting of these passages and cross-cuts—the latter being termed rooms, while they are being worked, takes place automatically as the coal is won, for the surfaces of these form the miner’s actual working face. Thus, far more coal is left in the mine to provide support than is removed, and this is controlled by provincial law.

A miner, called a shooter-and-loader, removed his jack-hammer, or compressed air drill, from the coal face wherein he had been boring holes for the explosive and sat down with a grunt. He was warm, and the perspiration cut furrows in the coal dust on his face.

“Eh, bye, for a can of beer!” said he, and bit a fresh chew from his plug. Everyone below ground chewed, I had remarked, even the boys. The miners claim it prevents swallowing coal dust.

“What’s the complete operation of mining the coal at the face?” I asked. He climbed to his feet, and illustrated by pointing.

“The machine cutter and his butty— that’s his mate—set up a radial cutting machine that runs by compressed air. The machine has a long cutting tool shaped like a crowbar with a four-piece end. It cuts from side to side, half way up the face, and makes a division in the seam a few inches in depth and six feet penetration the full width o’ the' room, d’ye see? That divides the seam into an upper and lower block.1 We calls the lower the bench. That operation is called minin’ the coal.”

“What next?”

“Well, bye, that’s where I steps in. Me an’ me butty. We bores holes in both top and bench with a jack hammer that’s hollow and blows the dust out the back

and keeps the hole clean. Then—but here! I’ll show ye the rest. We’re just ready to shoot the bench.”

He and his mate filled the hole they had drilled with a permissable explosive—that is, explosive stipulated by provincial mine regulations—inserted a detonator, packed the hole with a special clay and ran an electric wire from the bore to the protection of a pillar eighty feet away where we followed him. He handed me the rectangular box of an electric battery.

“Make a contact with them two wires, bye, and turn the handle,” said he.

I did as directed. There was a muffled roar, a thud and a blast of air, and the place seemed to shake for a split second.

“Now look what ye’ve done!” said my instructor, launching tobacco juice toward the coal face to which we returned. All of that end of the bench was fractured, and tons of coal made accessible without use of the pick. An empty box or car was run up and the coal loaded and cleared ready for another shot.

No Moisture Evident

AS THIS was an undersea mine I expected to find considerable moisture in evidence, and expressed my surprise that this was not so.

“It’s there, just the same, although you can’t see it,” one old machine-runner volunteered. “Water makes in some pits at the rate of eight hundred gallons a minute, and I’ve worked in pits in this district where they had to pump out fourteen ton of water for every ton of coal that was mined.”

One of the others leaned forward.

“Say—did ye ever hear the story—” he began, but the older miner silenced him.

“Be still, bye, and let the men speak,” he said with a grin, then, to me—“He was gcin’ to tell ye about a little colored boy— a good miner he was, too,—who come up here from the Scranton fields some time ago. He’d never worked in an undersea mine, and it made him a little nervous. The face he was put to work at was kind of wet, and every morning, when he came on the job, there was a pool o’ water at the foot o’ the seam. Some o’ the byes used to spill salt in it on the sly then get him to taste it, makin’ believe the sea was cornin’ in. Well, he got used to that, but one day they tried a new stunt. His buttie brought down a live herrin’ in his dinner pail and dropped it in the pool, then called Sam over to look at it.”

The narrator paused and smiled widely, while his hearers rocked with merriment.

“That colored boy never did grow fond o’ submarine minin’,” he concluded.

On our return journey to the riding raikes Barlow explained other phases of a miner’s work.

“Aside from the constant danger,” he said, “there is nothing extremely arduous about the thing. The worst feature of the shooter-and-loader’s job is the cloud of coal dust blown back through the hollow shaft of the jack-hammer. The miners have to supply their own tools and explosives, and each man pays twenty-five cents a month for the upkeep of his lamp battery and is charged for the replacement of smashed globes.”

Unconquered Menaces

ONE of the greatest dangers in mining is the roof fall. As the coal is blasted out and the roof shored up certain changes take place in the overhead structure. The roof strata slant with the pitch of the seam, and occasionally a room “creeps,” throwing the pit props out of plumb. The roof constantly is tested^ by inspectors in various parts of the mine, and the first thing a miner does when he reports at his coal face at the beginning of a shift is to test the roof with his pick, and also after the firing of each shot. Those areas which show weakness, or a . hollow sound when tapped—which is an infallible sign of rottenness—immediately are attended to.

A menace which no amount of precaution can master, however, and which is responsible for innumerable mining fatalities, is called a “pot.” This, generally, is a huge boulder, conical in shape, and with the base flush with the roof. When tapped it sounds solid and there is nothing to distinguish it from the surrounding rock. But I it is like a loose tooth in an upper socket.

Its sides are smooth and the slightest jar may drop it upon the head of the passing miner. A case occurred shortly before I went into the Cape Breton district, wherein two men, passing along a travelling road were caught by a pot and badly crushed. Sometimes these pots are the lower bases of fossilized trees, and it is possible to trace upon them the striations of their original form.

Not less dangerous but more easy to combat is the presence of dust in a mine. Billions of particles of matter circulating in a confined space amid the gases given pff by the coal face sometimes cause spontaneous combustion with accompanying explosion and tragic consequences. Such a mishap took place in the Allan shaft in June, 1924. The explosion came without warning, and was followed by fire. A rescue crew, equipped with the modern Draeger self-contained breathing apparatus, provided and maintained by the company, immediately pushed to the assistance of several miners who had beei) caught by the blast. Four men were killed including a veteran miner named Walsh who, after guiding eleven of his comrades through the gas and murk to a broken compressed air pipe, which enabled most of them to survive, succumbed from the combined effects of the gas and his exertions. The other four who died were oi this party, and it is significant that ali were elderly men. On another occasion some years ago, in the same shaft, and from the same cause, eighty-five miners were killed, and a Bridgewater colliery lost thirty-five men at a depth of eighteen hundred feet.

It is hard for the lay mind to realize th* horror of death in the dark, so far below the surface, and the high standard oi courage necessary in the rescue parties who must penetrate belts of deadly gas and, as in the case of the latest Allan disaster, carry the rescued men more thar two thousand feet over the debris of £ fallen roof, with always the menace of £ further explosion or the spread of the fir« to cut off their escape.

The rescue party’s work is not don« when the rescued have been brought tc the surface. It then is necessary to dilut« the gas by adjustment of brattice cloths or canvas screens, which are used to divert the air currents to the working faces and to keep them out of places where air is not essential. In this part of the work th men equipped with the Draeger apparatus go first, and after they have penetrated the gas belt and taken measures to assur« its dispersal the main body of rescuers appears and makes the mine safe foi further operation. The efficacy of modem rescue equipment in fighting fires amply was demonstrated some time ago, wher the crew from the Stellarton mine wer« sent to Halifax to fight a bad ship fire in that port.

One-fifth of a Mile of Cover

MODERN methods of combating th« danger of coal dust, such as rockdusting large areas of the underground workings, in order to blanket possibl« fires, and the use of humidifying waterspray jets in the airways, have done mud to overcome this ever-present menace tc the worker under the ground.

“How long do the pillars remain in £ miné?” I asked Barlow as we waited in th« riding raike for the men who had knocked off work at the faces.

“In subterranean mining they art drawn when the seam is exhausted,” h« replied, “but in submarine mining it is impossible to say. With underground workings it does not matter if the whole blessed roof falls, once the coal is won and the pillars removed, even though a fissure is created which reaches to the surface, but—well, imagine a fissure in this roof, with the Atlantic ocean overhead; not that there is any great likelihood that a break would penetrate to the sea floor, for we have eleven hundred feet of cover— still, miners can’t afford to take chances. Play safe, and then safe on that again. That’s the best rule. So I suppose these pillars will stay until we’ve run out the seam, if that ever happens. It'll not be in our day, bye.”

(Another article on the Cape Breton mines and miners will appear in the nert issue, January 15.)