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CONFESSION OF POISONING A…

THE TRIAL OF MRS. LANGFORD.

GERMAN HOUSEHOLD ECONOMY.

FEARFUL COLLIERY ACCIDENT…

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FEARFUL COLLIERY ACCIDENT IN SAXONY. A Correspondent of The Timet, writing from Dresden, the 5th instant, has sent the following particulars of this dis- tressing calamity:— Early on Monday morning last intelligence was re- ceived here that at a short distance from this city up- wards of 400 men had fallen victims to a terrific colliery accident. At first it was hoped the numbers were considerably exaggerated, but it is now nearly certain that the figures will prove even greater, 420 or more being absent from the roll-call on Tuesday. The following are the details as exact as it is possible to arrive at them during the consternation caused by this sad calamity. On Monday morning, at five a.m., a shock like that of an earthquake alarmed the neigh- bourhood of Potschappel, a pretty little village some- what resembling Matlock, in Derbyshire, situate about five miles from here among the hills beyond Plauen, and it was immediately surmised that an explosion had occurred in one of the great mines belonging to Baron Burg. Two men were blown out of the shaft by the force of the explosion, but in such fragments as to be altogether unrecognisable. The gas ignited the coal, and for some hours the pit was in flames. At one p.m. a man volunteered to descend, notwithstanding several minor shocks had occurred, but when the cage returned to bank he too was gone, nor could he be rescued be- fore three p.m., the following day (Tuesday), when he was found insensible and apparently dead some yards from the bottom of the shaft. He has since recovered, and states that on first descending he distinctly heard cries for help, but this is generally considered very im- probable. Up to Tuesday night only fifteen bodies were recovered. Some were burnt to cinders, others singed black with the explosion, the scene around being past description. The crowds of poor women, some of them having lost three or four of their family, standing in the wildest grief round the pit, hoping against hope that their loved ones might still be rescued alive, the heartbreaking sobs of the children, and the sterner grief of the men, made the scene agonizing in the extreme. On Wednesday morning I went early to the spot and found that altogether fifty bodies had been recovered and were placed in a neighbouring shed for recognition. En route thither I met cart after cart carrying away one or two coffins and two large vans loaded with empty shells for the reception of the bodies as they were brought to bank. I saw altogether thirty corpses, and their state defies description. Here a long shapeless black mass, which the miners told you was one of their comrades, but in which it was difficult to recognise the slightest likeness to humanity-here one had his head blown off, there one his arm, one lay on his bed of leaves with his face split open, another as though much bruised by the coal falling on him. The sad work of recognition was proceeded with with as much di spate L as possible, and the bodies were then p aced in their shells and their names written on the lid in chalk. A shriek in yon corner would tell of a mother recognising her son or a wife her hus- band lying among the long row of unsightly corpses, while the plaintive wail throughout told of a far wider spread grief. I conversed with one of the miners who had just come up, and he said the labour of recovery must be very slow (about one body every three hours), as the sides of the mine had fallen in, and they had to work the coal away. In most cases they found the men lying under the sides of the mine, some buried in ccal, others on whom the coal had fallen, and then burnt up. One was founij near the mouth of the farthest shaft hardly injured at all, and as he lay in the shed he formed a striking contrast to his companions, being extremely white and well dressed. The appear- ance of the few recovered seems to indicate that most of them must have been killed from suffocati,n, being much swollen in the face, and nearly all bleeding considerably at the nose, only a few (at present) being much burnt with the explosion. Two men work at a time at each end, the two* shafts being quite 300 yards separated, but they ceased work at the end nearest the village on Tuesday. Each man as he descends is asked whether he is perfectly willing to go down, and at first Mass was held for those who were to descend, at the top of the pit. The depth is 330 French metres, and the colliery is situated at the top of a considerable elevation, commanding a splendid view cf Dresden and the valley of the Elbe. The trains daily pour hundreds out at the hitherto quiet little station, and the pit and its environs are guarded by a company of soldiers and police agents. The King, it is said, has given 500 thalers (about JE75) towards the relief of the destitute poor. It seems very improvident, but the miners here only use the open lamp, so they are altogether unprotected from the effects of gas, &c. They also descended when searching for the bodies smoking cigars, but I heard the doctors had told them to do so on account of the horrible smell below. A mong the many distreqsing cases one hears of one alone I will mention-that of a poor girl travelling in the same carriage with a friend of mine, who had lost her father, two brothers, and a step-brother, her whole family being swept off in one day. One should be thankful this accident happened when it did, if accident there must needs have been, for the great Fogelwese, the annual feast of the Saxons, held at Dresden night and day for one week, had attracted many others who would otherwise have met the same sad fate as their fellows. There is great difficulty in obtaining details, but this is unavoidable, owing to the rigour with which the soldiers are bound to keep the public back in order not to interfere with the progress of the search. I was fortunate enough to be there early, and the soldiers passed me through, which enabled me to take a minute view of everything but the scene is one so sad, so heartrending, so agonising, with the plain, outspoken anguish of the bereaved around you, that he must be a hardhearted man indeed who can survey the catastrophe unmoved. For me it will be one lifelong remembrance.

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