The Mines and its Wonders
William Henry Giles Kingston
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A hum of human voices rose from a village in the centre of England, but they were those of women, girls, and children, the latter playing in the street, running, skipping, laughing, singing, and shouting in shrill tones, the former in their yards or in front of their dwellings, following such avocations as could be carried on out of doors on that warm summer evening. Not a man or lad, not even a boy above eight years old, was to be seen. On one side of the village far away could be distinguished green fields, picturesque hills, widespreading trees, and a sparkling stream flowing in their midst; on the other, nearer at hand, a dreary black region, the ground covered with calcined heaps, the roads composed of coal dust or ashes, and beyond, tall chimneys sending forth dense volumes of smoke, which, wreathing upwards, formed a dark canopy over the scene.