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Oft does he urge his plea, and speak her fair,
   Blanche meets his ardour with her quiet scorn;
And this rejection calmly can he bear
   He, son of nobles, from her peasant-born?
Time passes, and she shows no signs of yielding,
   When a brave chain of pearls she held in trust
Is missed. 'Tis spring-tide, and the birds are building
   In the old statue's sword-hilt, red with rust.

There, in the city's ancient market-place
   Where Justice stands, they raise the scaffold high,
And to the last the crowd expect that grace
   Must interfere to save her, doomed to die;
Can she be guilty? Whispered doubts betoken
   The hearers question the unlikely tale,
And shudder at the doom their lord hath spoken;
   He, with clenched teeth, and lips so ghastly pale.

'Tis noontideyet a darkness mirk as night
   Falls on the cityhushed, expectant, still,
Save the crowd murmuring curses on the right
   That gives the serf's life to the noble's will.
Forth treads she, pinioned, clad in white, her tresses
   Soft rippling downward o'er her shoulders fair;
If guilty, it is strange that guilt possesses
   Such gentle mien, such calm, undaunted air.

Lo! from the bosom of a lurid cloud
   Bursts forth the storm, with fury unrepressed;
Strikes down the balance 'mid the pallid crowd,
   And scatters wide the fragments of a nest.
There shine the pearls!—Go! loose the rescued maiden;
   Go, bear her vindicated, joyful hence!
True fell that bolt with heav'n's own vengeance laden,
   Remorse to guiltrelease to innocence.

Harmless the lightning's flash, the thunder peals:
   Still, with clasped hands, she kneeleth as in prayer;
And to the crowd her attitude reveals,
   Calm as it is, that life is wanting there!
They in her honour, therefore, gave directions
   And raised a statue rare (so tongues relate),
To keep for ages in men's recollections
   Those old iniquitiesthat victim's fate.


SEVEN thousand two hundred Congreve
splints for four-pence three-farthings. This
shows how we cut wood in the nineteenth
century. Three hundred and eighty splints
for a farthing, each such a nicely-squared rod,
such a true parallelopiped (as mathematicians
would call it), that nothing less than the most
finished and elaborate machinery could shape it.
In one of our earlier pages,* a Congreve match
is traced onward from that period in its
history when it begins to undergo the brimstone
ordeal in Bethnal Green. Be it for us
in this place, however, to say something more
of its wooden history, as one among the many
kinds of wood-cutting which largely employs
machinery in the metropolis. The City Saw
Mills is a laboratory where an immense
amount of this kind of cutting proceeds.

* Vol. I., p. 54.

All the world knows that our own home-grown
timber furnishes but a small portion of
that which is required for building and other
purposes. Ship-building is better served by
home-growths than house-building; for our
British oak has good qualities beyond those
which are metaphorically proclaimed by songwriters
and dramatists; and there is still a
brave quantity of it too, notwithstanding that
the sylvan days of England are nearly over.
But the deal and pine for our houses and
common furniture, and the mahogany other
fancy wood for the better furniture, are
almost wholly from abroad. Pine for our
dwellings, oak for our ships, mahogany and
rosewood and maple for our ornamental
furniture, beech for our chairs and bedsteads,
elm for our wheels and our keels, larch for
our sleepers and palings, willow for our sieves,
holly for our Tunbridge ware, lance-wood for
our gig shafts, cedar for our pencils, lignum
vitæ for our playing-bowls and our chess-men,
sycamore and lime-tree for our carvings,
pear-tree for our broadside printing, box-wood
for our wood-engraving, walnut for our gunstocks,
and (Iast scene of all), elm for our
coffinsall come to London, from the various
corners of the world, and afford employment
to some hundreds, or perhaps thousands of
men before our London wood-cutters have
anything to do with them. A rough guess
was made a few years ago, that we "use up"
a million average sized pine-trees every year,
in building the new houses in England and
Wales; that it would clear a forest one quarter
as large as the entire metropolis, to furnish
this supply for one year only; and that a
hundred and fifty thousand more trees are
consumed for the furniture of these new
houses. There is indeed good evidence that we
build in the metropolis alone, every year,
houses enough to extend, in a straight row,
from London to Windsor; nothing more is
required to indicate how large must be the
quantity of building timber needed.

Some of the foreign woods, such as pine,
elm, ash, oak, and a few other kinds, reach our
Docks in the technical forms of "timber," that
is, in roughly squared logs; whereas the pine-wood
which is cut, in Canada and on the
shores of the Baltic, into planks of various
thicknesses, obtains technically the name of
"deals." Deal is not so much a particular
kind of wood, as a particular form into which
pine-wood is cut before it reaches this country.
A deal table is, in strictness, not a deal
table (the materials for a conundrum
are here given gratis), but a pine table.
If deals have a narrowness of disposition
about them they become "battens;" if in
thickness they are inferior to their brother
deals, they are "planks" and if too thin to
deserve even the name of planks, they descend
to the humble position of "boards."

It is supposed that there are not much
fewer than five thousand ships employed to
bring us our annual supply of these logs, timbers,
deals, battens, planks, and boards, from foreign
parts; and that fifty thousand seamen are

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