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the thrilling thoughts excited by the sight of names and notes inscribed on their margins or blank pages by hands long since mouldered in the dust, or by those dear to us as our life's blood, who had been snatched from our sides-the aspects of gaiety or of gloom connected with the bindings and the age of volumes-the effects of sunshine playing as if on a congregation of hap

his own "Old Cumberland Beggar."-Shak- | throughout successive centuries perused them-spere in his witches' caldron, and Burns in his "haly table," are shockingly circumstantial; but the element of imagination creeps in amid all the disgusting details, and the light that never was on sea or shore disdains not to rest on "eye of newt," "toe of frog," "baboon's blood," the garter that strangled the babe, the grey hairs sticking to the haft of the parricidal knife, and all the rest of the fell ingredients.py faces, making the duskiest shine, and the Crabbe, on the other hand, would have described the five blue eggs, and besides the materials of the nest, and the kind of hedge where it was built like a bird-nesting schoolboy; but he would never have given the "gleam." He would, as accurately as Hecate, Canidia, or Cuttysark, have given an inventory of the ingredients of the hell-broth, or of the curiosities on the haly table, had they been presented to his eye; but could not have conceived them, nor would have slipped in, that one flashing word, that single cross ray of imagination, which it required to elevate and startle them into high ideal life. And yet in reading his pictures of poor-houses, &c. we are compelled to say, " Well, that is poetry after all, for it is truth; but it is poetry of comparatively a low order-it is the last gasp of the poetic spirit: and, moreover, perfect and matchless as it is in its kind, it is not worthy of the powers of its author, who can, and has, at other times risen into much loftier ground."

gloomiest be glad-or of shadow suffusing a sombre air over all-the joy of the proprietor of a large library who feels that Nebuchadnezzar watching great Babylon, or Napoleon reviewing his legions, will not stand comparison with himself seated amid the broad maps, and rich prints, and numerous volumes which his wealth has enabled him to collect, and his wisdom entitled him to enjoyall such hieroglyphics of interest and meaning has Foster included and interpreted in one gloomy but noble meditation, and his introduction to Doddridge is the true "Poem on the Library." In Crabbe's descriptions the great want is of selection. He writes inventories. He describes all that his eye sees with cold, stern, lingering accuracy-he marks down all the items of wretchedness, poverty, and vulgar sin-counts the rags of the mendicant-and, as Hazlitt has it, describes a cottage like one who has entered it to distrain for rent. His copies, consequently, would be as displeasing as their originals, were it not that imagination is so much less vivid than eyesight, that we can endure in picture what we cannot in reality, and that our own minds, while reading, can cast that softening and ideal veil over disgust

or has failed to do. Just as in viewing even the actual scene, we might have seen it through the medium of imaginative illusion, so the same medium will more probably invest, and beautify its transcript in the pages of the poet.

As a moral poet and sketcher of men, Crabbe is characterised by a similar choice of subject, and the same stern fidelity. The mingled yarn of man's every-day life-the plain homely virtues, or the robust and burly vices of Englishmen-the quiet tears which fall on humble beds the passions which flame up in lowly bosoms—the amari aliquid-the deep and permanent bitterness which lies at the heart of the down-trodden English poor-the comedies and tragedies of the fireside

We may illustrate still farther what we mean by comparing the different ways in which Crabbe and Foster (certainly a prose poet) deal with a library. Crabbe describes minutely and successfully the outer features of the volumes, their co-ing objects which the poet himself has not sought, lours, clasps, the stubborn ridges of their bindings, the illustrations which adorn them, &c. so well that you feel yourself among them, and they become sensible to touch almost as to sight. But there he stops, and sadly fails, we think, in bringing out the living and moral interest which gathers around a multitude of books, or even around a single volume. This Foster has amply done. The speaking silence of a number of books, where, though it were the wide Bodleian or Vatican, not one whisper could be heard, and yet, where, as in an antichamber, so many great spirits are waiting to deliver their messages-their churchyard stillness continuing even when their readers are moving to their pages, in joy or agony, as to the sound of martial instruments-their-the lovers' quarrels-the unhappy marriages awaking, as from deep slumber, to speak with miraculous organ, like the shell which has only to be lifted, and "pleased it remembers its august abodes, and murmurs as the ocean murmurs there"-their power, so silent and sublime, of drawing tears, kindling blushes, awakening laughter, calming or quickening the motions of the life's blood, lulling to repose, or rousing to restlessness, often giving life to the soul, and sometimes giving death to the body-the meaning which radiates from their quiet countenancesthe tale of shame or glory which their title pages tell-the memories suggested by the character of their authors, and of the readers who have

the vicissitudes of common fortunes-the early deaths-the odd characters-the lingering superstitions-all the elements, in short, which make up the simple annals of lowly or middling society, are the materials of this poet's song. Had he been a Scottish clergyman we should have said that he had versified his Session-book; and certainly many curious chapters of human life might be derived from such a document, and much light cast upon the devious windings and desperate wickedness of the heart, as well as upon that inextinguishable instinct of good which resides in Crabbe, perhaps, has confined himself too exclusively to this circle of common things which


he found lying around him. He has seldom burst | a man love a race which seems combined to starve

its confines, and touched the loftier themes, and snatched the higher laurels which were also within his reach. He has contented himself with being a Lillo (with occasional touches of Shakspere) instead of something far greater. He has, however, in spite of this self-injustice, effected much. He has proved that a poet, who looks resolutely around him-who stays at home-who draws the realities which are near him, instead of the phantoms that are afar-who feels and records the passion and poetry of his daily lifemay found a firm and enduring reputation. With the dubious exception of Cowper, no one has made out this point so effectually as Crabbe.

And in his mode of treating such themes, what strikes us first is his perfect coolness. Few poets have reached that calm of his which reminds us of Nature's own great quiet eye, looking down upon her monstrous births, her strange anomalies, and her more ungainly forms. Thus Crabbe sees the loathsome, and does not loathe-handles the horrible, and shudders not-feels with firm finger the palpitating pulse of the infanticide or the murderer—and snuffs a certain sweet odour in the evil savours of putrefying misery and crime. This delight, however, is not an inhuman, but entirely an artistic delight - perhaps, indeed, springing from the very strength and width of his sympathies. We admire as well as wonder at that almost asbestos quality of his mind, through which he retains his composure and critical circumspection so cool amid the conflagrations of passionate subjects, which might have burned others to ashes. Few, indeed, can walk through such fiery furnaces unscathed. But Crabbewhat an admirable physician had he made to a Lunatic Asylum! How severely would he have sifted out every grain of poetry from those tumultuous exposures of the human mind! What clean breasts had he forced the patients to make! What tales had he wrung out from them, to which Lewis' tales of terror were feeble and trite! How he would have commanded them, by his mild, steady, and piercing eye! And yet how calm would his brain have remained, when others, even of a more prosaic mould, were reeling in sympathy with the surrounding delirium! It were, indeed, worth while inquiring how much of this coolness resulted from Crabbe's early practice as a surgeon. That combination of warm inward sympathy and outward phlegm of impulsive benevolence and mechanical activity-of heart all fire and manner all ice-which distinguishes his poetry, is very characteristic of the medical profession.

In correspondence with this, Crabbe generally leans to the darker side of things. This, perhaps, accounts for his favour in the sight of Byron, who saw his own eagle-eyed fury at man corroborated by Crabbe's stern and near-sighted vision. And it was accounted for partly by Crabbe's early profession, partly by his early circumstances, and partly by the clerical office he assumed. Nothing so tends to sour us with mankind as a general refusal on their part to give us bread. How can

him? This misanthropical influence Crabbe did not entirely escape. As a medical man, too, he had come in contact with little else than man's human miseries and diseases; and as a clergyman, he had occasion to see much sin and sorrow : and these, combining with the melancholy incidental to the poetic temperament, materially discoloured his view of life. He became a searcher of dark-of the darkest bosoms; and we see him sitting in the gloom of the hearts of thieves, murderers, and maniacs, and watching the remorse, rancour, fury, dull disgust, ungratified appetite, and ferocious or stupified despair, which are their inmates. And even when he pictures livelier scenes and happier characters, there steals over them a shade of sadness, reflected from his favourite subjects, as a dark, sinister countenance in a room will throw a gloom over many happy and beautiful faces beside it.

In his pictures of life, we find an unfrequent but true pathos. This is not often, however, of the profoundest or most heart-rending kind. The grief he paints is not that which refuses to be comforted-whose expressions, like Agamemnon's face, must be veiled-which dilates almost to despair, and complains almost to blasphemy-and which, when it looks to Heaven, it is

"With that frantic air

Which seems to ask if a God be there." Crabbe's, as exhibited in "Phoebe Dawson," and other of his tales, is gentle, submissive; and its pathetic effects are produced by the simple recital of circumstances which might, and often have occurred. It reminds us of the pathos of "Rosamond Gray," that beautiful story of Lamb's, of which we once, we regret to say, presumptuously pronounced an unfavourable opinion, but which has since commended itself to our heart of hearts, and compelled that tribute in tears which we had denied it in words. Hazlitt is totally wrong when he says that Crabbe carves a tear to the life in marble, as if his pathos were hard and cold. Be it the statuary of woe-has it, consequently, no truth or power? Have the chiselled tears of the Niobe never awakened other tears, fresh and burning, from their fountain? Horace's vis me flere, &c., is not always a true principle. As the wit, who laughs not himself, often excites most laughter in others, so the calm recital of an affecting narrative acts as the meek rod of Moses applied to the rock, and is answered in gushing torrents. You close Crabbe's tale of grief, almost ashamed that you have left so quiet a thing pointed and starred with tears. His pages, while sometimes wet with pathos, are never moist with humour. His satire is often pointed with wit, and sometimes irritates into invective; but of that glad, genial, and bright-eyed thing we call humour (how well named, in its oily softness and gentle glitter!) he has little or none. Compare, in order to see this, his "Borough" with the "Annals of the Parish." How dry, though powerful, the one; how sappy the other! How profound the one; how pawky the other! Crabbe goes through his Borough, like a scavenger with a rough, stark,

and stiff besom, sweeping up all the filth: Galt, | which, more punctually than their veriest menial, like a knowing watchman of the old school-awaits often behind the chairs, and hands the golden canny Charlie-keeping a sharp look-out, but not dishes of the great. averse to a sly joke, and having an eye to the humours as well as misdemeanours of the streets. Even his wit is not of the finest grain. It deals too much in verbal quibbles, puns, and antitheses with their points broken off. His puns are neither good nor bad the most fatal and anti-ideal description of a pun that can be given. His quibbles are good enough to have excited the laugh of his curate, or gardener; but he forgets that the public is not so indulgent. And though often treading in Pope's track, he wants entirely those touches of satire, at once the lightest and the most withering, as if dropped from the fingers of a malignant fairy-those faint whispers of poetic perdition-those drops of concentrated bitterness-those fatal bodkin-stabs-and those invectives, glittering all over with the polish of profound malignity—which are Pope's glory as a writer, and his shame as a man.

We have repeatedly expressed our opinion, that in Crabbe there lay a higher power than he ever exerted. We find evidence of this in his "Hall of Justice" and his "Eustace Grey." In these he is fairly in earnest. No longer dozing by his parlour fire over the "Newspaper," or napping in a corner of his "Library," or peeping in through the windows of the "Workhouse," or recording the select scandal of the "Borough"-he is away out into the wide and open fields of highest passion and imagination. What a tale that "Hall of Justice" hears to be paralleled only in the "Thousand and One Nights of the Halls of Eblis!"-a tale of misery, rape, murder, and furious despair; told, too, in language of such lurid fire as has been seen to shine o'er the graves of the dead! But, in "Eustace Grey," our author's genius reaches its climax. Never was madnessin its misery-its remorse-the dark companions, "the ill-favoured ones," who cling to it in its wild way and will not let it go, although it curse them with the eloquence of Hell-the visions it sees the scenery it creates and carries about with it in dreadful keeping-and the language it uses, high aspiring but broken, as the wing of a struck eagle -so strongly and meltingly revealed. And, yet, around the dismal tale there hangs the breath of beauty, and, like poor Lear, Sir Eustace goes about crowned with flowers-the flowers of earthly poetry—and of a hope which is not of the earth. And, at the close, we feel to the author all that strange gratitude which our souls are constituted to entertain to those who have most powerfully wrung and tortured them.

Would that Crabbe had given us a century of such things. We would have preferred to the "Tales of the Hall," "Tales of Greyling Hall," or more tidings from the "Hall of Justice." It had been a darker Decameron and brought out more effectually-what the " Village Poorhouse," and the sketches of Elliott have since done the passions, miseries, crushed aspirations, and latent poetry, which dwell in the hearts of the plundered poor; as well as the wretchedness

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We have not space nor time to dilate on his other works individually. We prefer, in glancing back upon them as a whole, trying to answer the following questions: 1st, What was Crabbe's object as a moral poet? 2dly, How far is he original as an artist? 3dly, What is his relative position to his great contemporaries? And, 4thly, what is likely to be his fate with posterity? 1st, His object. The great distinction between man and man, and author and author, is purpose. It is the edge and point of character; it is the stamp and the superscription of genius; it is the direction on the letter of talent. Character without it is blunt and torpid. Talent without it is a letter, which, undirected, goes no whither. Genius without it is bullion, sluggish, splendid, uncirculating. Purpose yearns after and secures artistic culture. It gathers, as by a strong suction, all things which it needs into itself. It often invests art with a moral and religious aspect. This was strongly impressed upon us when lately seeing Macaulay and Wilson on one platform. How great the difference in point of native powers! How greater, alas! in point of purpose and cultivation ! There is in Wilson's great, shaggy soul and body, what might make many Macaulays. But it has never been fully evolved. He has not done with his might what his hand found to do. He has been little else than a vast, lazy earth-god, pelting nuts in the summer woods, or gathering pebbles on the margins of the summer waters; or, rather, he rises up before his worshippers glorious and idle as Nebuchadnezzar's golden image. But, since Shakspere, no clearer, larger, sunnier soul has existed among men. And yet Macaulay, though manifestly belonging to an inferior race, mounted on this pedestal of purpose, stands higher than he. Crabbe's artistic object is tolerably clear, and has been already indicated. His moral purpose is not quite so apparent. Is it to satirise, or is it to reform vice? Is it pity, or is it contempt, that actuates his song? What are his plans for elevating the lower classes in the scale of society? Has he any, or does he believe in the possibility of their permanent elevation? Such questions are more easily asked than answered. We must say that we have failed to find in him any one overmastering, and earnest object, subjugating everything to itself, and producing that unity in all his works which the trunk of a tree gives to its smallest, its remotest, to even its withered leaves. And yet, without apparent intention, Crabbe has done good moral service. He has shed much light upon the condition of the poor. He has spoken in the name and stead of the poor dumb mouths that could not tell their own sorrows or sufferings to the world. He has opened the "mine," which Ebenezer Elliott and others, going to work with a firmer and more resolute purpose, have dug to its depths.

2dly. His originality.-This has been questioned

by some critics. He has been called a version, confused-where sound becomes dumb and si

in coarser paper and print, of Goldsmith, Pope, and Cowper. His pathos comes from Goldsmith -his wit and satire from Pope-and his minute and literal description from Cowper. If this were true, it were as complimentary to him as his warmest admirer could wish. To combine the characteristic excellences of three true poets is no easy matter. But Crabbe has not combined them. His pathos wants altogether the naiveté of sentiment, and curiosa felicitas of expression which distinguish Goldsmith's "Deserted Village." He has something of Pope's terseness, but little of his subtlety, finish, or brilliant malice. And the motion of Cowper's mind and style in description differs as much from Crabbe's as the playful leaps and gambols of a kitten from the measured, downright, and indomitable pace of a hound-the one is the easiest, the other the severest, of describers. Resemblances, indeed, of a minor kind are to be found; but, still, Crabbe is as distinct from Goldsmith, Cowper, and Pope, as Byron from Scott, Wordsworth, and Coleridge.

lence eloquent-where the earth is empty, and the sky is peopled-where material beings are invisible, and where spiritual beings become gross and palpable to sense-where the skies are opening to show riches-where the isle is full of noises-where beings proper to this sphere of dream are met so often that you cease to fear them, however odd or monstrous-where magic has power to shut now the eyes of kings and now the great bright eye of ocean—where, at the bidding of the poet, new, complete, beautiful mythologies, down at one time sweep across the sea, and anon dance from the purple and mystic sky-where all things have a charmed life, the listening ground, the populous air, the still or the vexed sea, the human or the imaginary beings-and where, as in deep dreams, the most marvellous incidents are most easily credited, slide on most softly, and seem most native to the place, the circumstances, and the time. "This is creation," we exclaim: nor did Ferdinand seem to Miranda a fresher and braver creature than does to us each strange settler, whom genius has planted upon its own favourite isle. Critics may, indeed, take these imaginary beings-such as Caliban and Arieland analyse them into their constituent parts; but there will be some one element which escapes

sagacity, and proclaiming the original power of its Creator: as in the chymical analysis of an Aerolite, amid the mere earthy constituents, there will still be something which declares its unearthly origin. Take Creation as meaning, not so much Deity bringing something out of nothing, as filling the void with his Spirit, and genius will seem a lower form of the same power.

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The other kind of originality is, we think, that of Crabbe. It is magic at second-hand. He takes, not makes, his materials. foundation-wood and stone in plenty--and he begins laboriously, successfully, and after a plan of his own, to build. If in any of his works he approaches to the higher property, it is in “Eustace Grey," who moves here and there, on his wild wanderings, as if to the rubbing of Aladdin's lamp.

Originality consists of two kinds-one, the power of inventing new materials; and the other, of dealing with old materials in a new way. We do not decide whether the first of these implies an act of absolute creation; it im-them-laughing, as it leaps away, at their baffled plies all we can conceive in an act of creative power, from elements bearing to the result the relation which the Alphabet does to the "Iliad" | -genius brings forth its bright progeny, and we feel it to be new. In this case, you can no more anticipate the effect from the elements than you can, from the knowledge of the letters, anticipate the words which are to be compounded out of them. In the other kind of originality, the materials bear a larger proportion to the result -they form an appreciable quantity in our calculations of what it is to be. They are found for the poet, and all he has to do is, with skill and energy, to construct them. Take, for instance, Shakspere's "Tempest," and Coleridge's "Anciente Marinere"-of what more creative act can we conceive than is exemplified in these? Of course, we have all had beforehand ideas similar This prepares us for coming to the third questo a storm, a desert island, a witch, a magician, a tion, what is Crabbe's relative position to his mariner, a hermit, a wedding-guest; but these great contemporary poets? We are compelled to are only the Alphabet to the spirits of Shak- put him in the second class. He is not a philospere and Coleridge. As the sun, from the in-sophic poet, like Wordsworth. He is not, like visible air, draws up in an instant all pomps of cloudy forms-paradises brighter than Eden mirrored in waters, which blush and tremble as their reflexion falls wooingly upon them-mountains, which seem to bury their snowy or rosy summits in the very heaven of heavens-throneshaped splendours, worthy of angels to sit on them, flushing and fading in the west-seas of ærial blood and fire-momentary cloud-crowns and golden avenues, stretching away into the azure infinite beyond them ;-so, from such stuff as dreams are made of, from the mere empty air, do these wondrous magicians build up their new worlds, where the laws of nature are repealedwhere all things are changed without any being

Shelley, a Vates, moving upon the uncertain but perpetual and furious wind of his inspirations. He is not, like Byron, a demoniac exceeding fierce, and dwelling among the tombs. He is not, like Keats, a sweet and melancholy voice, a tune bodiless, bloodless-dying away upon the waste air, but for ever to be remembered as men remember a melody they have heard in youth. He is not, like Coleridge, all these almost by turns, and, besides, a Psalmist, singing at times strains so sublime and holy, that they might seem snatches of the song of Eden's cherubim, or caught in trance from the song of Moses and the Lamb. To this mystic brotherhood Crabbe must not be added. He ranks with

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a lower but still lofty band-with Scott, (as a
poet) and Moore, and Hunt, and Campbell, and
Rogers, and Bowles, and James Montgomery,
and Southey; and surely they nor he need be
ashamed of each other, as they shine in one soft
and peaceful cluster.

"As in a cradled Hercules you trace

The lines of empire in his infant face." And their voice must go down, in tones becoming more authoritative as they last, and in volume becoming vaster as it rolls, like mighty thunderings and many waters, through the minster of all future time; in lower key, concerting with those now awful voices from within the veil, which have already shaken earth, and which uttered "once more," shall shake not earth only, but also heaven. High destiny! but not his whose portrait we have now drawn.


We are often tempted to pity poor posterity on this score. How is it to manage with the immense number of excellent works which this age has bequeathed, and is bequeathing it? How is it to economise its time so as to read a tithe of them? And should it in mere self-defence proceed to decimate, with what principle shall the proWe have tried to draw his mental, but not his cess be carried on, and who shall be appointed to physical likeness. And yet it has all along been preside over it? Critics of the twenty-second cen- blended with our thoughts, like the figure of one tury, be merciful as well as just. Pity the disjecta known from childhood, like the figure of our own membra of those we thought mighty poets. Re- beloved and long-lost father. We see the vespect and fulfil our prophecies of immortality. If nerable old man, newly returned from a botanical ye must carp and cavil, do not, at least, in mercy, excursion, laden with flowers and weeds (for no abridge. Spare us the prospect of this last in- one knew better than he that every weed is a sult, an abridged copy of the "Pleasures of Hope," flower-it is the secret of his poetry), with his or "Don Juan," a new abridgement. If ye must high narrow forehead, his grey locks, his glancing operate in this way, be it on "Madoc Thehama," or shoe-buckles, his clean dress somewhat ruffled in the "Course of Time." Generously leave room for the woods, his mild countenance, his simple ab"O'Connor's Child" in the poet's corner of a jour-stracted air. We, too, become abstracted as we nal, or for "Eustace Grey" in the space of a crown gaze, following in thought the outline of his hispiece. Surely, living in the Millenium, and rest-tory-his early struggles-his love-his advening under your vines and fig-trees, you will have tures in London-his journal, where, on the brink more time to read than we, in this bustling age, of starvation, he wrote the affecting words “O who move, live, eat, drink, sleep, and die, at rail- Sally for you"-his rescue by Burke-his taking way speed. If not, we fear the case of many of orders-his return to his native place-his mountour poets is hopeless, and that others, besides ing the pulpit stairs, not caring what his old Satan Montgomery and the author of "Silent enemies thought of him or his sermon- -his marLove," would be wise to enjoy their present lau- riage the entry, more melancholy by far than rels, for verily there are none else for them. the other, made years after in reference to it, Seriously, we hope that much of Crabbe's" yet happiness was denied "—the publication of writing will every year become less and less readable, and less and less easily understood; till, in the milder day, men shall have difficulty in believing that such physical, mental, and moral degradation, as he describes, ever existed in Britain; and till, in future Encyclopædias, his name be found recorded as a powerful but barbarous writer, writing in a barbarous age. The like may be the case with many, who have busied themselves more in recalling the past or picturing the present, than in anticipating the future. But there are, or have been among us, a few who have plunged beyond their own period, nay, beyond "all ages"-who have seen and shown us the coming eras :

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his different works-the various charges he occupied-his child-like surprise at getting so much money for the "Tales of the Hall"—his visit to Scotland-his mistaking the Highland chiefs for foreigners, and bespeaking them in bad French— his figure as he went, dogged by the caddie through the lanes of the auld town of Edinburgh, which he preferred infinitely to the new-the "aul' fule" he made of himself in pursuit of a second wife, &c., &c.; so absent do we become in thinking over all this, that it disturbs his abstraction; he starts, stares, asks us in to his parsonage, and we are about to accept the offer, when we awake, and, lo! it is a dream.


NOTWITHSTANDING all that may be said in favour of our present neck-or-nothing mode of travelling, it is very questionable whether, on the whole, the sober, steady, jog-trot way of our forefathers was not, after all, more pleasant; whether caged up in "the Wonder, a new coach, carrying four inside," one hundred years ago, or proceeding quietly along, riding-coated and saddle-bagged, on a “good-pacing nag," two hundred years ago, there was not much pleasurable excitement, and probably more enjoyment.

Pleasant was it more especially to the equestrianto trot along the high road at the sober rate of seven or eight miles an hour. "Snail's pace!" cries the indignant reader who has just arrived in London from Manchester, and, after dinner, intends setting out to join an evening party at Bath. Yes, good reader, pleasant, I say, to mark each object on the high road, and each beautiful prospect as it gradually opened on the view; and pleasant was it to stop at each roadside village, and hear the news that had just set the little community all talking

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