by Clifford Grey You ask me of Penderby Pit, sir Sit down and we’ll have a chat Penderby Pit is as deep, as is deep Well, in fact sir, it’s deeper than that What’s that? Have I been in the pit, sir? I’ve been there for many a year I never go anywhere else than the pit For the circle’s a little bit dear. It’s forty four years, aye and less, sir Since that fearful explosion took place And I risked my own life for the foreman’s wee lass A flapper of forty named Grace. I was having my breakfast at tea time When the cry came, 'The pit is on fire!' So as soon as I’d changed my library book I dashed to the scene to enquire. The flames darted hither and thither They thithered and hithered as well And Dan’l the fool of the village exclaimed 'Little Meg’s in the pit down below!' My face went all purple with horror For the news it quite took me aback They said she’d gone down for a scuttle of coal And also a bucket of slack. Then I sprang to the mouth of the pit, sir 'Who’ll lower the cages?' I said But someone had pinched all the cages they had So we borrowed the parrot’s instead. ‘Twas a terrible squeeze to get in it But I did it with some bruises and cuts Then they started to lower the cage down the mine And somebody threw me some nuts. They lowered us lower and lower Yes, lower and lower we fell Some wenches were working the winches that day And the wench didn’t winch very well. Of a sudden I heard a loud snap, sir And I knew that the rope had gone through ‘Twas a quarter to one when I started to fall And I landed at twenty past two. I came down an ‘orrible crash, sir And, dear mother, I suffered some pain I was just looking round for a Boots Chemist shop When under some slack I saw Jane. Yes, I saw little Kate in the flames, sir The sight almost caused me to swoon 'This is only the fourth of November,' I said 'They’re burning you one day too soon!' Then the foreman cried out from above, sir Shouting out in an agonised strain 'I’m sending the wife’s mother down there to help.' So we poked up the fire again . At that moment the flames in the pit, sir Went out with a hiss and a roar Then the bioscope people appeared on the scene So we kindled the fire once more. There seemed no way to save little Cissy For the ropes were all hopelessly seared But the oldest inhabitant stood up above And somebody noticed his beard. ‘Twas a beard he’d collected for ages Of a matted and twisted design, He lay down full length at the mouth of the pit And lowered his beard down the mine. Little Fanny swung on his whiskers As she clung with the strength of despair, And we all shouted, 'Heave Ho, my hearties, heave ho!' Dear Flossie was saved by a hair. If you ask them in Penderby village, sir Why they’ve never yet spoken the truth, They’ll tell you that they’ve quite forgotten.... The day that I saved little Ruth.
The end