WARNINGS AND "TOKENS."
AMONGST the mining population there is a deeply-rooted belief in warnings. The following, related by a very respectable man, formerly a miner, well illustrates this -
"My father, when a lad, worked with a companion (James or 'Jim,' as he was called) in Germo. They lived close by Old Wheal Grey in Breage. One evening, the daughter of the person with whom they lodged came in to her mother, crying, 'Billy and Jim ben out theer for more than a hour, and I ben chasm them among the Kilyur banks, and they waan't ler me catch them. As fast as I do go to one, they do go to another.' 'Hould your tongue, child,' said the mother; ''twas their forenoon core, and they both ben up in bed this hours.' 'I 'm sure I ben chasm them,' said the girl. The mother then went up-stairs and awoke the lads, telling them the story. One of them said, ''Tis a warning; somethin will happen in un old end, and I shan't go to mine this core.' 'Nonsense,' said the other; 'don't let us be so foolish;. the child has been playing with some strangers, and it isn't worth while to be spaled for any such foolishness.' 'I tell you,' replied the other,' I won't go.' As it was useless for one man to go alone, both remained away. In the course of the night, however a run took place in the end they were working in, and tens of thousands of kibblefuls came away. Had they been at work, it was scarcely possible for them to have escaped."
At Wheal Vor it has always been and is now believed that a fatal accident in the mine is presaged by the appearance of a hare or white rabbit in one of the engine-houses. The men solemnly declare that they have chased these appearances till they were hemmed in apparently, without being able to catch thçm. The white rabbit on one occasion being run into a "windbore" lying on the ground, and, though stopped in, escaped.
In this mine there appears to be a general belief among the men in "tokens" and supernatural appearances. A few months since, a fine old man reported, on being relieved from his turn as watcher, that during the night he heard a loud sound like the emptying of a cartload of rubbish in front of the account-house, where he was staying. On going out, nothing was to be seen. The poor fellow, considering the strange sound as a "warning," pined away and died within a few weeks.