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reporters and the reading public. The Whigs are exception may arise to any rule ; and that exception has adopting the policy which we ventured to anticipate fully arisen in the shipping trade, when it is incompetent for them : they are anxious to secure early hours and to transact the requisite business at any price. There an easy life during the remainder of this Parliament; are, at present, large parcels of corn and flour waiting for the measure respecting towns, is the only thing pro- freight to this country; and while the owners are, promised of their own volition. The food measures are bably enough, losing the season of high prices, the public forced on them by the potato disease ; and if the country suffer by the delay. The operation could have been, and had happily been exempted from that calamity, we might yet can be, easily arranged. If the Government import have had a blank year in Hansard. On the approved grain, they can charge the current freight and carry the principles of the official school, there is little to be done proceeds to the public account. Their vessels are proafter the supplies are voted. “ Our party” is in power ; | bably not well contrived for the stowage of cargoes, and and what more can be required ? Education must ne- their voyages may not be profitable in their immediate cessarily have its proper share of attention, but is an ex- returns ; but any loss under that head will be amply comciting topic, which would disturb the peace of the country pensated ; and we should like, for an omen of future good, immediately before a general election ; and it can wait. to see those noble ships, built to destroy, employed at The bills for improving towns are most desirable, and last in saving life. might have been carried ere now from the information The suspension of the navigation laws will not materially collected and arranged at a largo outlay to the public by affect freights, because other importing nations adopted several commissions. They are not, however, very likely that step previously, and have probably succeeded in ento induce any considerable adverse agitation, for it will gaging all the spare shipping that this measure would not be possible to raise a party in favour of fever. A have attracted to our ports. few isolated individuals in different localities may con- The suspension of the corn duty will prevent the resider their interests compromised by the measures ; but export of four and grain to France and Belgium, and may they will command no sympathy from their neighbours, and slightly reduce the selling price, although not to the exwill be unable to make up any available opposition against tent of the duty itself. We confidently expect prices to the Government. Petitions in support of narrow wynds, fall soon, and farther than the amount of duty now payable, against scavengering, and light, and air, would be no- but not in consequence alone of the suspension of this velties in the House of Commons. Some credit and law, which may, however, attract supplies that would strength must be gained by this set of measures ; and any have been sent to other countries except for this preopposition to them will be so futile and numerically weak caution. In course of the session, a motion against the that it can be disregarded. The bills, however, require renewal of the law will be submitted to both Houses. to be watched; for many of those changes, recently The most important of the three measures in its effect styled improvements in towns, have had no title to the on prices, is the permission to use sugar in breweries. The name. They have contributed to increase the rent, and measure is consistent with the strictest justice to the coreduce the accommodation of the poor. Splendid piles of lonists; and it is probable that in all seasons a considebuildings run through crowded localities have thrown poor rable quantity of sugar will be used in the manufacture of families more densely back on the limited space reserved beer-not alone, but for mixture. In distillation, sugars for them. Instead of serving even the better-paid classes will only be employed either when they have reached a of artizans, there can be no question that, in many large lower price than they have generally obtained, or in seatowns, their interests have suffered by improvements; but sons like the present, when grain is above its average as so much time has been spent on the Government mea- value ; as we believe there are disadvantages in mixing sures, and so much information accumulated respecting them with grain for that purpose. The refusal of the them, these evils must have been foreseen and may be Chancellor of the Exchequer to admit the use of molasses avoided. Mr. Hume proposes the repeal of the timber- in these works, on the ground that some trouble would duties, as connected with these sanatory measures ; but be given to the excise in attending to the differential duties the Chancellor of the Exchequer says that they produce which must be charged, is one in many proofs of the strong one million annually, and he cannot spare the money. tendency existing in his party to do things by halves. It is, however, impossible to carry any useful measure for There could be no great difficulty in arranging the duties, the improvement of towns and still retain the window- or preventing fraud ; and, although the subject is not of tax. Light, like air, is necessary to healthful existence ; much public importance in ordinary seasons, yet for the and if the Ministry wish credit for a good sanatory emergency in this year even a small relief is of consequence. measure, they must put the window-tax out of the way. The duties on rum are to be reduced from 9s. 4d. to 8s.

The measures proposed to increase the supply and re- 4d. in England, 4s. 2d. in Scotland, and 3s. 2d. in Ireduce the cost of grain were rapidly introduced. They land. They will stand at 6d. per gallon over the tax on experience no opposition, and have already been followed spirits in each country; and it is impossible to suppose by a considerable fall in the price of barley, and a smaller that this change will not cause an extensive course of reduction in the price of other grain. They are not, smuggling between Ireland and England. In home mahowever, equal to the crisis, and we regret that the Go- nufactured spirits it is probable that very little smuggling vernment have not followed the counsel given them by has occurred, because the quantity used in England is Lord George Bentinck, and by wiser men, in employing comparatively small ; but rum is sold there to the a number of our national vessels for importing grain. The extent of 3,000,000 gallons annually—while in Ireland rules of political economy would not have been invaded by and Scotland the entire quantity at present used does not this operation ; for while the interference of government exceed 60,000 gallons per annum. The inconvenience, in commercial transactions is to be doprecated, yet an and the immorality of smuggling will arise in this instance

from the very absurd usage of enaoting entirely different | juries_-" died from want" -- which, for some time, have laws, and widely differential duties for different and been so common in Irish papers, might be successful in neighbouring portions of the same territory.

delaying the measure so as to render it useless for this The resolution of Government not to suppress or to in- season's emergency. They would incur à frightful reterfere with distillation and malting, in our present cir- sponsibility; and, although many of them are sincere in cumstances, has led to some animadversion both in and their opposition to the proposal, yet they should rememout of Parliament. On the grounds adduced by the ber that it is only a spur to make them work. It will be Chancellor of the Exchequer, their resolution is inde- finally carried ; but relief is needed now, rather than at the fensible ; for he declines to forbid the use of grain in end of the session, for in Ireland, in some districts of Scotthese works, “ because it is not worth while.” He read land, we fear, in several counties of England, there is a letter from “ an eminent distiller” in Ireland, who told not labour, or remuneration for labour, to support life at him " that by far the greater proportion of barley that will the present cost of living. In Ireland, especially, the be used by distillers for the rest of the season will be fo- labours of the field are suspended. We are come nigh to reign;" and, on this authority, he says, “distillation from seed-time, and there have been no preparations made. grain being practically stopped, it is not worth while The thorough disarrangement of the rotation of crops to make any farther attempt that way." Now, the dis- by the disappearance of potatoes perplexes many farmers. tiller did not say that distillation from grain was stopped, In a number of districts the holdings are so small, that although foreign barley was substituted for English. -- any other system of husbandry can scarcely be adopted, Foreign barley is grain; and, if it were not distilled, would except that previously pursued where the spade did the be available for more useful and necessary purposes. The plough's work-and, perhaps, did it well. The emerGovernment may very properly decline to move in this gency thus presses so closely, that little time is left for matter, if they believe that there is abundance of grain in consideration, and none for profitless debating. So the country, or available for this country, before the 1st short, indeed, is the time, that there can be little space September, to supply the population; but, if this be the now between thought and action. Mr. Labouchere calcase, then there has been, especially during December, a culates the actual loss of potatoes and oats in Ireland at most unjustifiable degree of speculation in the grain trade. £15,916,000. This estimate, we think, is considerably Unquestionably, there is, at present, an immense quantity of over the truth; but, if we take off twenty per cent. for excorn in all the large seaport towns. The rapid rise of prices aggeration, the balance is £12,000,000-a sum sufficient was, therefore, not caused by consumption, but by the pur- to stun any country, but especially Ireland. By the same chases of capitalists, or parties with a temporary com- mode of calculation, the loss in the Highland districts and mand of capital, who had reason to anticipate an absolute Islands of Scotland would be £1,000,000. It is, therescarcity of food, and very high prices, in the ordinary fore, impossible that the capital necessary to employ course of consumption, between this period and harvest. the people could be found within these districts, but They have been, we trust, misled. We believe that they have the means of repaying the outlay without ultitheir opinions are erroneous, and that recent prices will mate loss to the proprietary, and with great advantage to not be maintained; for the Government may be sup- all public interests. Neither Ireland nor the Highlands posed to have examined the matter closely, and have not of Scotland need charity, but loans; and there is a been satisfied with assurances from “eminent mer- wide difference between the two -- the distinction bechants” and “ eminent distillers,” very probably, also, tween “to beg' and “ to borrow.” The Irish land"eminent speculators," before they decided to avoid in- lords - or the Dublin Committee require something, terference with an unnecessary traffic, even at the risk of apparently, like a grant, which would not be valued, ineurring absolute starvation to many thousands. but wasted, if it were obtained. They will be all more

The parties who censure the Government in this grateful for money lent than for money given, when matter have their remedy; and if they really fear that, they find out that the first has been turned to good acfrom the use of grain in the production of beer and count, and remember that the latter would probably have spirits, there will be a deficiency before harvest, they can been wasted. In another of their resolutions, this Comkeep their own hands clear from the transaction. It is mittee cast upon the Government the responsibility of an affair in which every man can be his own lawgiver. supporting the people, and the Government cannot escape

The remedial measures to be proposed are not in our the liability. They must provide against the recurrence possession while we write ; but as the poor-law system of of deaths by famine. It is impossible to tolerate habitual England will fall under reconsideration, we expect that occurrences of that frightful character, until every resource the Irish poor-law will be amended, so as, probably, to has been exhausted. But the Government must present admit out-of-door relief. The adoption of this course its alternative also. If the landlords cannot, or will not, would necessarily compel the landowners to improve their bring their waste land under cultivation, they must resign properties ; but it would be virulently opposed by them. its occupancy. There are noblemen on the Committee of They have formed a confederation in Dublin-an Irish Irish landlords who have around their mansions tracts of party — with its offices there and in London, its se- the finest land on their estates, laid out in pleasure-grounds, cretaries and its staff. In this instance, they have and inhabited almost solely by the beasts of the forest; -the support of Mr. O'Connell and his friends—includ- and how can they calmly remind the Government of the ing the great majority of the priesthood, and all the public responsibility to support their tenantry, when they existing Repeal Association. This singular combination have thus closed up the means of affording them employment? of a popular party with the landlords of the country, The owner of a great game preserve cannot surely, with against a plan for preventing the starvation of families, a clear conscience, say that he has done his utmost to and the production of those sad verdicts of coroners' | prevent famine ; when, in fact, he is doing everything

1846.
. £93 58.

Consols...

1847.
$90 58.

90 10
204
249 10
121 5
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India Stock..

254 Great Western..

128 London and North Western.. 194 Midland..

127 10

permitted by his circumstances to cause want and dis- | difficulty superior to the others, and over which the Gotress. The man prefers the plumage of his pheasants to vertiment can have little control, will aggravate their the comfort of his labourers ; and talks, nevertheless, trials. The circumstances of the Bank of France have most eloquently of public responsibilities and Government become during December generally more embarassed than duty.

in the previous month. Our large imports of corn have The people of Britain will pay any taxes, and support been met by no corresponding export of manufactures, their representatives in voting any sum, rather than hear and must, therefore, be paid in bullion. In the third of more Skibbereens, or have the feeling that men are week of December there was in the Bank of England, perishing from the earth by want. But they will insist in other English banks, and in the Banks of Ireland and on an economy of resources for the time to come; and Scotland, bullion to the value of two millions above the they will give their aid now, in a useful form in a sum on hand at the corresponding period of last year. On manner that admits repayment—by a channel that will the terms of the Currency Acts, several millions of gold, add to the wealth of Ireland, and secure, so far as in addition to that sum, could be exported without rehuman prudence can secure us, against such terrible vi- ducing the real circulation. A tremor has, however, sitations again. The landlords appeal to the country for overspread the money market, and influential parties dread assistance ; and it is not a severe condition to ask from that all the spare stock will be insufficient. The Directhem waste lands, which they hold but do not occupy, at tors of the Bank of England, on the 14th December, their present value. They will not be poorer men, when raised their discounts to 3} per cent. on bills of 95 days, 'the transfer is made, than they now are ; but profitable and on the 21st to 4 per cent. These steps, in the cir. labour will be found for the people, and large additions cumstances of the country, were the best that they could will be made to the produce of the country.

have adopted; but their consequences, joined to a reducThe difficulties of the case are greatly enhanced by the tion of £1,200,000 in the bullion of the Bank during the pressure for time. Old land must be sown or planted, month, have had a very serious result on the price of soand new land brought under culture, and constant work curities and the prospects of commerce, as a few quotaand wages found for half a million of persons to harvest tions will show:time. The crisis will make the character of the Whigs

220 December, 230 January, for business habits, if they get through it creditably; although it would have been wiser to have called Parlia- Reduced Three per Cent.... 94 ment together early in December, when all the fore- Bauk of England Stock...... 206 10 shading of this calamity was seen, than have waited on to the last-risking ruin by long debates, and depending on the self-denial of members to abstain from tedious speeches and hopeless amendments.

Many smaller lines present greater reductions; and The administrative talents of the Whigs have never, some, from local circumstances, have preserved their probably, equalled their intentions. Even in this Irish price. The preceding list, however, indicates sufficiently business, they have already blundered at the cost of the the pressure of the money market; and if it increase ; in country. They have been, it appears, purchasing corn, addition to the distress in Ireland, and of refugees from and laying it up in depôts, like the Hebrew statesman of that country, the working hours of our manufacturing Egypt, against an evil day. There is, indeed, a remark- operatives may be farther reduced-their wages lessened, able difference between Henry Labouchere and Joseph when bread is high-and the severity of that ordeal the patriarch in one respect. The Chief Secretary through which the country has to pass be indefinitely for Egypt made his purchases when corn was plen- increased. tiful and cheap, and sold when it became high; while The currency question is considered dull, tedious, and the Chief Secretary for Ireland bought on as corn went up, uninteresting. Uninteresting: here is a miner toiling a with the resolution of selling when matters came to the hundred fathoms under the earth's surface ; there is a worst ; although there is not a corn-factor in Liverpool blacksmith sweltering at a forge ; yonder is a weaver who could not have told him that this was the policy to labouring sixteen hours daily, for a pittance to sustain bring matters prematurely to the worst, or to create a life, at his loom; a wearied female walks anxiously bepanic that would not otherwise have existed. It is true side her spinning-frame; a hardy labourer is tending his that purchases on Government account were made to plough--all are thoughtless of this grave subject; and follow the markets. Credit is taken for that precaution, yet, through all these classes, and every other class, an although it would certainly have been a remarkable error in the currency may scatter dismay, idleness, and matter if they had preceded the market, and given more want. per quarter or per barrel than the current prices of the These circumstances will utterly destroy the repose that day. No small part of the mischief originates in these the Ministers may have anticipated during this session. purchases having been made in this country, and in They will be, however, free from the annoyances of party small parcels, for they thus fed speculation. Any mer- opposition. The crisis is too serious to admit that, and chant knows that the sale of a few hundred quarters or all parties are willing rather to aid than to obstruct à few thousand bushels more or less in a day will give a them in attempting to meet its great responsibilities. brisk or a dull tone to the market ; and make the They may command assistance, they can reckon upon indifference of rising or falling prices. This process dulgence, and, if strengthening with their trial, they prohas been running on for weeks, perhaps for months, duce their promised measures, in a form calculated to encouraging and sustaining a speculation, which, if it be meet existing, and ward away threatened calamities, they not based on fact, is most injurious to all interests. A will deserve forgiveness for many shortcomings.

DATETIT RV CRORGE TROUP. 20.NLOP STREET CASCO

TAIT’S EDINBURGH MAGAZINE.

MARCH, 1847,

G E O R G E C R A B B E.

BY GEORGE GILFILLAN, AUTHOR OF A “ GALLERY OF LITERARY PORTRAITS." To be the Poet of the waste places of Creation Oh ! where, indeed, can the unhappy repair, —to adopt the orphans of the Mighty Mother- to escape from their own sorrows, or worse, from to wed her dowerless daughters—to find out the the unthinking glee or constitutional cheerfulness beauty which has been spilt in tiny drops of others, more fitly than into the wastes and in her more unlovely regions to echo the low naked places of Nature ? She will not then and music which arises from even her stillest and most there seem to insult them with her laughing luxusterile spots—was the mission of Crabbe, as a riance her foliage fluttering, as if in vain display, descriptive poet. He preferred the Leahs to the with the glossy gilding of her flowers, or the Rachels of Nature : and this he did not merely sunny sparkle and song of her streamlets. But that his lot had cast him amid such scenes, and she will uplift a mightier and older voice. She that early associations had taught him a profound will soothe them by a sterner ministry. She will interest in them, but apparently from native taste. teach them “old truths, abysmal truths, awful He actually loved that beauty which stands truths.” She will answer their sighs by the shivering on the brink of barrenness-loved it for groans of the Creation travelling in pain; suck up its timidity and its loneliness. Nay, he seemed their tears in the sweat of her great agonies; reto love barenness itself ; brooding over its dull flect their tiny wrinkles in those deep stabs and page till there arose from it a strange lustre, scars on her forehead, which speak of struggle which his eye distinctly sees, and which in part and contest; give back the gloom of their brows he makes visible to his readers. It was even as in the frowns of her forests, her mountain solithe darkness of cells has been sometimes peopled tudes, and her waste midnight darkness ; infuse to the view of the solitary prisoner, and spiders something, too, of her own sublime expectancy seemed angels, in the depths of his dungeon. We into their spirits ; and dismiss them from her socan fancy, too, in Crabbe's mind, a feeling of pity ciety, it may be sadder, but certainly wiser men. for those unloved spots, and those neglected How admirably is Nature suited to all moods of glories. We can fancy him saying, “Let the all men! In spring, she is gay with the lightgay and the aspiring mate with Nature in her hearted ; in summer, gorgeous as its sun to those towering altitudes, and flatter her more favoured fiery spirits who seem made for a warmer day; seenes; I will go after her into her secret retire- in autumn, she spreads over all hearts a mellow ments, bring out her bashful beauties, praise and unearthly joy; and even in winter--when what none are willing to praise, and love what her temple is deserted of the frivolous and the there are very few to love.” From his early cir- timid, who quit it along with the smile of the sun cumstances besides, there had stolen over his —she attracts her own few but faithful votaries, soul a shade of settled though subdued gloom. who love her in her naked sculpture, as well as in And for sympathy with this, he betook himself | her glowing pictorial hues, and who enjoy her to the sterner and sadder aspects of Nature, solemn communion none the less that they enjoy where he saw, or seemed to see, his own feelings it by themselves. To use the words of a forgotten reflected, as in a sea of melancholy faces, in dull poet, addressing Spring— skies, waste moorlands, the low beach, and the moaning of the waves upon it, as if weary of

Thou op'st a storehouse for all hues of men.

To hardihood thou, blustering from the North, their eternal wanderings. Such, too, at moments, Roll'st dark-hast sighs for them that would complain ; Tas the feeling of Burns, when he strode on the Sharp winds to clear the head of wit and worth ; scaur of the Nith, and saw the waters red and And melody for those that follow mirth ; turbid below; or walked in a windy day by the

Clouds for the gloomy ; tears for those that weep;

Flowers blighted in the bud for those that birth side of a plantation, and heard the “ sound of a

Untimely sorrow o'er; and skies where sweep gong" upon the tops of the trees : or when he Fleets of a thousand sail for them that plough the deep." exclaimed, with a calm simplicity of bitterness which is most affecting

Crabbe, as a descriptive poet, differs from “ The leafless trees my fancy please,

other modern masters of the art, alike in his seTheir fate resembles mine," lection of subjects, and in his mode of treating

L

FOL. XIV,-XO. CLIX

the subjects he does select. Byron moves over | the gallows of some miserable man—the gorse nature with a fastidious and aristocratic step surrounding with yellow light the encampment of —touching only upon objects already interesting the gypsies--the few timid flowers, or “weeds of or ennobled, upon battle fields, castellated ruins, glorious feature,” which adorn the brink of ocean Italian palaces, or Alpine peaks. This, at least, -the snow putting out the fire of the pauper, or is true of his “ Childe Harold,” and his earlier lying unmelted on his pillow of death--the web pieces. In the later productions of his pen, of the spider blinding the cottager's windowthe he goes to the opposite extreme, and alights, wheel turned by the meagre hand of contented or with a daring yet dainty foot, upon all shunned cursing penury—the cards trembling in the grasp and forbidden things--reminds us of the raven in of the desperate debauchee-the day stocking the Deluge, which found rest for the sole of her forming the cap by night, and the garter at midfoot upon carcasses, where the dove durst not night--the dunghill becoming the accidental grave stand—rushes in where modesty and reserve alike of the drunkard—the poor-house of forty years have forbidden entrance—and ventures, though ago, with its patched windows, its dirty environs, still not like a lost archangel, to tread the burn-its moist and miserable walls, its inmates all snuff, ing marle of Hell, the dim gulph of Hades, the and selfishness, and sin—the receptacle of the outshadowy ruins of the Pre-Adamitic world, and lawed members of English society (how different the crystal pavement of Heaven.—Moore practises from “Poosie Nancy's!"), with its gin-gendered a principle of more delicate selection, resembling quarrels, its appalling blasphemies, its deep desome nice fly which should alight only upon bauches, its ferocity without fun, its huddled flowers, whether natural or artificial, if so that murders, and its shrieks of disease dumb in the flowers they seemed to be ; thus, from sunny uproar around—the Bedlam of forty years ago, bowers, and moonlit roses, and gardens, and with its straw on end under the restlessness of the blushing skies, and ladies' dresses, does the insane; its music of groans, and shrieks and mutBard of Erin extract his finest poetry.—Shelley terings of still more melancholy meaning; its and Coleridge attach themselves almost exclu- keepers cold and stern, as the snow-covered cliffs sively to the great-understanding this term in a above the wintry cataract; its songs dying away wide sense, as including much that is grotesque in despairing gurgles down the miserable throat; and much that is homely, which the magic of its cells how devoid of monastic silence; its confutheir genius sublimates to a proper pitch of keep-sion worse confounded, of gibbering idiocy, monoing with the rest. Their usual walk is swelling mania absorbed and absent from itself as well as and buskined: their common talk is of great ri- from the world, and howling frenzy; its daylight vers, great forests, great seas, great continents; saddened as it shines into the dim, vacant, or or else of comets, suns, constellations, and firma- glaring eyes of those wretched men; and its moonments—as that of all half-mad, wholly miserable, beams shedding a more congenial ray upon the and opium-fed genius is apt to be.—Sir Walter solitude, or the sick-bed, or the death-bed of deScott, who seldom grappled with the gloomier rangement:-such familiar faces of want, guilt, and grander features of his country's scenery, (did and woe—of nakedness, sterility, and shame, he ever describe Glenco or Foyers, or the wilder- does Crabbe delight in showing us; and is, in nesses around Ben mac Dhui?) had--need we say? very truththe most exquisite eye for all picturesque and ro

“ Nature's sternest painter, yet the best.” mantic aspects, in sea, shore, or sky; and in the In his mode of managing his descriptions, Crabbe quick perception of this element of the picturesque is equally peculiar. Objects, in themselves counted lay his principal, if not only descriptive power.- commonplace or disgusting, frequently become Wordsworth, again, seems always to be standing impressive, and even sublime, when surrounded above, though not stooping over, the objects he de- by interesting circumstances—when shown in the scribes. He seldom looks up in rapt admiration of moonlight of memory–when linked to strong paswhat is above; the bending furze-bush and the lowly sion-or when touched by the ray of imagination, broom--the nest lying in the level clover-field-Then, in Emerson's words, even the corpse is the tarn sinking away seemingly before his eye into found to have added a solemn ornament to the darker depths—the prospect from the mountain house where it lay. But it is the peculiarity and summit cast far beneath him; at highest, the the daring of this poet, that he often, not always, star burning low upon the mountain's ridge, like tries us with truth and nothing but truth, as if to an “untended watchfire:"—these are the objects bring the question to an issue—whether, in Nature, which he loves to describe, and these may stand absolute truth be not essential though severe as emblems of his lowly yet aspiring genius.- poetry. On this question, certainly, issue was Crabbe, on the other hand, “stoops to conquer" never so fully joined before. In even Wordsworth's —nay, goes down on his knees, that he may more eye there is a misty glimmer of imagination, accurately describe such objects as the marsh given through which all objects, low as well as high, are over to desolation from immemorial time—the seen. Even his “ five blue eggs” gleam upon him slush left by the sea, and revealing the dead body through a light which comes not from themselves of the suicide—the bare crag and the stunted tree, which comes, it may be, from the Great Bear, diversifying the scenery of the saline wilderness, or Arcturus and his sons. And, when he does the house on the heath, creaking in the storm, and as in some of his feebler verses--strive to see ont telling strange stories of misery and crime-the of this medium, he drops his mantle, loses his pine in some wintry wood, which had acted as vision, and describes little better than would

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