PITMEN'S OMENS AND GOBLINS.
IT is curious to notice the correspondence between the superstitions of the coal-miner and those employed in the metalliferous mines. The following comes very opportunely to our hand :--
The superstitions of pitmen were once many and terrible; but so far from existing now-a-days, they are only matters of tradition among the old men. One class only of superstitious does exist among a few of the older and less-educated pitmen--namely, the class of omens, warnings, and signs. If one of these pitmen meet or see a woman, if he catch but a glimpse of her draperies, on his way, in the middle of the night to the pit, the probability is that he returns home and goes to bed again. The appearance of a woman at this untimely hour has often materially impeded the day's winning, for the omen is held not to be personal to the individual perceiving it, but to bode general ill lack to all. The walk from home to pit mouth, always performed at dead of the night, was the period when omens were mostly to be looked fob. The supernatural appearance of a little white animal like a rabbit, which was said to cross the miner's path, was another warning not to descend. Sometimes the omens were rather mental than visual. The pitmen in the midland counties have, or had, a belief, unknown in the north, in aerial whistlings, warning them against the pit who, or what the invisible musicians were, nobody pretended to know; but for all that, they must have been counted and found to consist of seven, as "The Seven Whistlers" is the name they bear to this day. Two goblins were believed to haunt the northern mines. One was a spiteful elf; who indicated his presence only by the mischief he perpetrated. He rejoiced in the name of "Cutty Soams," and appears to have employed himself only in the stupid device of severing the rope-traces or soams, by which an assistant-putter--honoured by the title of "the fool "-- is yoked to the tub. The strands of hemp which were left all sound in the board at "kenner-time," were found next morning severed in twain. "Cutty Soams" has been at work, could the fool and his driver say, dolefully knotting the cord. The other goblin was altogether a more sensible, and, indeed, an honest and hard-working bogie, much akin to the Scotch brownie, or the hairy fiend, whom Milton rather scurvily apostrophises as a lubber. The supernatural personage in question was no other than a ghostly putter, and his name was "Bluecap." Sometimes the miners would perceive a light blue flame flicker through the air, and settle on a full coal-tub, which immediately moved towards the rolley-way, as though impelled by the sturdiest sinews in the working. Industrious Bluecap was at his vocation; but he required, and rightly, to be paid for his services, which he modestly rated as those of an ordinary average putter; therefore once a fortnight Bluecap's wages were left for him in. a solitary corner of the mine. If they were a farthing below his due, the indignant Bluecap would not pocket a stiver; if they were a farthing above his due, indignant Bluecap left the surplus revenue where he found it. The writer asked his informant, a hewer, whether, if Bluecap's wages were now-a-days to be left for him, he thought they would be appropriated; tlse man shrewdly answered, he thought they would be taken by Bluecap, or by somebody else. Of the above notions it must be understood that the idea of omens is the only one still seriously entertained, and even its bold upon the popular mind, as has been before stated, is becoming weaker and weaker.--Colliery Guardian, May 23, 1863.