Andrew hurried off to the bottom and overtook Robert, sending back others to help, and he ascended the shaft and was off to break the news to Mrs. Sinclair; after which he returned to the pit, determined to get out all that remained of Geordie and the boy John.
HEROES OF THE UNDERWORLD
Matters were now much easier and more comfortable for Geordie Sinclair and his wife. They had long since added another apartment to their house, and the “room” was the special pride of Nellie, who was gradually “getting a bit thing for it” just as her means permitted. They had two beds in each apartment, and the room was furnished. Mrs. Sinclair had long set her mind upon a “chest of drawers,” and now that that particular piece of furniture stood proudly in her room, much of her day was given to polishing it and the half-dozen stuffed bottomed chairs, which were the envy of every housewife in the village. A large oval mirror stood upon the top of the drawers, and was draped with a piece of cheap curtain cloth, bleached to the whiteness of new fallen snow.
This mirror was a much-prized possession, for no other like it had ever been known in the village. The floor was covered with oilcloth, and a sheepskin rug lay upon the hearthstone, while white starched curtains draped the window. The getting of the waxcloth had been a wonderful event, and dozens of women had come from all over the village to stand in gaping admiration of its beauty. This was always where Mrs. Sinclair felt a thrill of great pride.
“Ye see,” she would explain, “it’s awfu’ easy to wash, and a bit wipe owre wi’ soap an’ watter is a’ it needs.”
“My, how weel aff ye are!” one woman would exclaim, “I’m telt that ye maunna use a scrubbin’ brush on’t, or the pattern will rub off.”
“Oh, ay,” Nellie would laugh with a hint of superior wisdom in it. “Ye’ll soon waste it gin ye took a scrubber to it. An’ ye maunna use owre hot water to it either,” she would add.
“Oh my!” would come in genuine surprise. “Do you tell me that. Eh, but you’re the weel-aff woman now, to hae a room like that, an’ rale waxcloth on the floor!”
“I thocht it was a fine, cheerie bit thing,” Nellie would say. “It mak’s the hoose ever so much mair heartsome.”
“So it is,” would come the reply. “It’s a fine, but cheerie thing. You’re a rale weel-aff woman, I can tell ye,” and the woman would go home to dream of one day having a room like Mrs. Sinclair’s, and to tell her neighbors of the great “grandeur” that the Sinclair’s possessed, whilst Nellie would set to, and rub and polish those drawers and that mirror, and the stuff-bottomed chairs till they shone like the sun upon a moorland tarn, and she herself felt like dropping from sheer exhaustion.
She even took to telling the neighbors sometimes, when they came on those visits that “working folk should a’ hae coal-houses, for coal kept ablow the beds makes an awfu’ mess o’ the ticks.”