Pennarby Mine

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Pennarby Mine
by Arthur Conan Doyle

Pennarby shaft is dark and steep,
Eight foot wide, eight hundred deep.
Stout the bucket and tough the cord,
Strong as the arm of Winchman Ford.
      'Never look down!
      Stick to the line!'
That was the saying at Pennarby mine.

A stranger came to Pennarby shaft.
Lord, to see how the miners laughed!
White in the collar and stiff in the hat,
With his patent boots and his silk cravat,
      Picking his way,
      Dainty and fine,
Stepping on tiptoe to Pennarby mine.

Touring from London, so he said.
Was it copper they dug for? or gold? or lead?
Where did they find it? How did it come?
If he tried with a shovel might he get some?
      Stooping so much
      Was bad for the spine;
And wasn't it warmish in Pennarby mine?

'Twas like two worlds that met that day--
The world of work and the world of play;
And the grimy lads from the reeking shaft
Nudged each other and grinned and chaffed.
      'Got 'em all out!'
      'A cousin of mine!'
So ran the banter at Pennarby mine.

And Carnbrae Bob, the Pennarby wit,
Told him the facts about the pit:
How they bored the shaft till the brimstone smell
Warned them off from tapping -- well,
      He wouldn't say what,
      But they took it as sign
To dig no deeper in Pennarby mine.

Then leaning over and peering in,
He was pointing out what he said was tin
In the ten-foot lode -- a crash! a jar!
A grasping hand and a splintered bar.
      Gone in his strength,
      With the lips that laughed--
Oh, the pale faces round Pennarby shaft!

Far down on a narrow ledge,
They saw him cling to the crumbling edge.
'Wait for the bucket! Hi, man! Stay!
That rope ain't safe! It's worn away!
      He's taking his chance,
      Slack out the line!
Sweet Lord be with him! 'cried Pennarby mine.

'He's got him! He has him! Pull with a will!
Thank God! He's over and breathing still.
And he -- Lord's sakes now! What's that? Well!
Blowed if it ain't our London swell.
      Your heart is right
      If your coat is fine:
Give us your hand! 'cried Pennarby mine.