Promptly the passage was full of squalid shirt-clad figures rushing for the bathroom, for there was Only One tub full of water between us all in the morning, and it was first come first served.
The rifle was a beautiful German thing with cross-hair sights. I had already sent back the pony, not wanting it to go mad with fright and throw me if it smelt the elephant. It is hard to imagine how they put up with In a job like that you see the dirty work of Empire at close quarters. There are still living a few very old women who in their youth have worked underground, with the harness round their waists, and a chain that passed between their legs, crawling on all fours and dragging tubs of coal.
But he stood quite unresisting, yielding his arms limply to the ropes, as though he hardly noticed what was happening. For example, the dear old lady who 'wants a book for an invalid' a very common demand, thatand the other dear old lady who read such a nice book in and wonders whether you can find her a copy.
I did not then know that in shooting an elephant one would shoot to cut an imaginary bar running from ear-hole to ear-hole.
One is the decayed person smelling of old bread-crusts who comes every day, sometimes several times a day, and tries to sell you worthless books.
The superintendent reached out with his stick and poked the bare body; it oscillated, slightly. The owner was furious, but he was only an Indian and could do nothing.
The crowd would laugh at me. When you have been down in two or three pits you begin to get some grasp of the processes that are going on underground.
I just try to meet with everyone one-on-one at least once in the course of a week. As a rule a bookshop is horribly cold in winter, because if it is too warm the windows get misted over, and a bookseller lives on his windows.
He was tearing up bunches of grass, beating them against his knees to clean them and stuffing them into his mouth. But what I want to emphasize is this. On a Sunday, for instance, a mine seems almost peaceful.
You come upon monstrous clay chasms hundreds of feet across and almost as deep, with little rusty tubs creeping on chain railways up one side, and on the other workmen clinging like samphire-gatherers and cutting into the face of the cliff with their picks.
In mines where the 'travelling' is very bad all the miners carry sticks about two and a half feet long, hollowed out below the handle. All the organs of his body were working—bowels digesting food, skin renewing itself, nails growing, tissues forming—all toiling away in solemn foolery.
There was a time when I really did love books—loved the sight and smell and feel of them, I mean, at least if they were fifty or more years old.
At that moment Francis's anecdote seemed extraordinarily funny.
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