The Illustrated London Reading Book eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 275 pages of information about The Illustrated London Reading Book.
suddenly almost overwhelmed by a deluge of water, which burst in upon them.  As it was evident that no time was to be lost, a gang of workmen, protected by the extreme power of the engines, were, with their materials, placed on a raft; and while, with the utmost celerity, they were completing the walls of that short length, the water, in spite of every effort to keep it down, rose with such rapidity, that, at the conclusion of the work, the men were so near being jammed against the roof, that the assistant-engineer jumped overboard, and then swimming, with a rope in his mouth, he towed the raft to the nearest working shaft, through which he and his men were safely lifted to daylight, or, as it is termed by miners, “to grass.”

The water now rose in the shaft, and, as it is called, “drowned the works” but, by the main strength of 1250 men, 200 horses, and thirteen steam-engines, not only was the work gradually completed, but, during day and night for eight months, the almost incredible quantity of 1800 gallons of water per minute was raised, and conducted away.  The time occupied from the laying of the first brick to the completion was thirty months.

[Illustration:  DEEP CUTTING NEAR THE TUNNEL.]

* * * * *

SUN FISH.

While lying in Little Killery Bay, on the coast of Connemara, in her Majesty’s surveying ketch Sylvia, we were attracted by a large fin above the surface, moving with an oscillatory motion, somewhat resembling the action of a man sculling at the stern of a boat; and knowing it to be an unusual visitor, we immediately got up the harpoon and went in chase.  In the meantime, a country boat came up with the poor animal, and its crew inflicted upon it sundry blows with whatever they could lay their hands on—­oars, grappling, stones, &c.—­but were unsuccessful in taking it; and it disappeared for some few minutes, when it again exhibited its fin on the other side of the Bay.  The dull and stupid animal permitted us to place our boat immediately over it, and made no effort to escape.  The harpoon never having been sharpened, glanced off without effect; but another sailor succeeded in securing it by the tail with a boat-hook, and passing the bight of a rope behind its fins, we hauled it on shore, under Salrock House, the residence of General Thompson, who, with his family, came down to inspect this strange-looking inhabitant of the sea.  We were well soused by the splashing of its fins, ere a dozen hands succeeded in transporting this heavy creature from its native abode to the shore, where it passively died, giving only an occasional movement with its fins, or uttering a kind of grunt.

[Illustration:  SIDE VIEW OF SUN FISH.]

[Illustration:  FRONT VIEW OF SUN FISH.]

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The Illustrated London Reading Book from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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