For lives in stokeholes are not long. And before I begin I propose that we stand for a moment with uncovered heads." He looked out over the multitude as though seeing far beyond them, and his voice was as harsh as the look in his eyes. "As a tribute to all the dead stokers," he said. And in a breathless silence the multitude did what he had asked. Joe broke this silence sharply.
The firemen responded with a will, extra hands were put on in the stokeholes, and the furnaces taxed to their utmost capacity.
Was he only dreaming of a debt to the men in the quarry, to the miners, to the men in the stokeholes, to the drudges on the fields? And while he dreamt he wounded and distressed real living creatures in the sleep-walk of his dreaming.... So long as he stuck to his dream he must at any rate set his face absolutely against the establishment of any further relations with women.
The briquettes were broken up to convenient sizes before being put in the bunkers. This fuel is not of so high evaporative efficiency as Nixon's navigation coal, but it is more suitable for torpedo boat work, because it gives out Very little dust, while the coal in closed stokeholes half smothers the firemen. Watering only partially mitigates the evil.
The boat has therefore two funnels, one forward and the other aft, and air is supplied to the furnaces by two fans, one fixed on the forward and the other on the aft bulkhead of the engine room. The fan engines have cylinders 5½ in. diameter and 3½ in. stroke, and make about 1,100 revolutions per minute when at full speed, causing a plenum in the stokeholes of about 6 in. water pressure.
The Junior Second took down the two parties who came to see the engine room and gave them lemonade when they came up. The little girl's mother came with the second party and neither squealed nor asked questions only at the door into the stokeholes she stood a moment with dilated eyes. She was a little woman, still slim, rather tragic. She laid a hand on the Junior's arm.
Let us go down in the mine and delve for you. Let us freeze and starve in the forecastles of your ships. Send us into the hells of your steamship stokeholes. Do what you will with us, but let us serve you, that we may eat and not die!"
He had eaten and slept little, he had lived on coffee and cigarettes, and there was a strained look in his deep eyes as he rose up lean and gaunt by my side. "I'm here to-day to speak to the men who work in stokeholes naked," he said. "I'm here to talk of the lives you lead the lives that millions before you have led for a few brief years and then they have died.
The daily peril, the daily toil, the fear for the daily bread harden most working men and women enough, and for that very reason we should welcome the fine suggestion of Professor William James his last great service that the rich and highly educated should pass through a conscription of labour side by side with the working classes, who would heartily enjoy the sight of young dukes, capitalists, barristers, and curates toiling in the stokeholes, coal-mines, factories, and fishing-fleets, to the incalculable advantage of their souls and bodies.
So for two years he had shoveled coal in the stokeholes of ships by day and by night, he had mixed with stokers of every race, from English, French and Germans to Russians and Italians, Spaniards, Hindus, Coolies, Greeks. He had worked and eaten and slept in their holes, he had ranged the slums of all the seas.