Part 1, Chapter 5 Summary

Maheu asks Zacharie if he has finished. While the boy had timbered for a time, he has been daydreaming and now has to come back to the present; he says it will hold for now and they can check again tomorrow.

They take a break, and Chaval complains that the Company never takes into account coal found in the hard-to-work-with loose earth when they establish the pay rates. Maheu is more reasonable and points out that the terrain changes every twenty meters and it would be impossible to know in advance what the hewers might find. They are careful not to complain too loudly, for even this far under the earth they are afraid they might be overheard and reported by informers.

Chaval shouts that he will throw a...

(The entire section is 809 words.)