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Clara Hopgood by Mark Rutherford
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About ten miles north-east of Eastthorpe lies the town of Fenmarket,
very like Eastthorpe generally; and as we are already familiar with
Eastthorpe, a particular description of Fenmarket is unnecessary.
There is, however, one marked difference between them. Eastthorpe,
it will be remembered, is on the border between the low uplands and
the Fens, and has one side open to soft, swelling hills. Fenmarket
is entirely in the Fens, and all the roads that lead out of it are
alike level, monotonous, straight, and flanked by deep and stagnant
ditches. The river, also, here is broader and slower; more reluctant
than it is even at Eastthorpe to hasten its journey to the inevitable
sea. During the greater part of the year the visitor to Fenmarket
would perhaps find it dull and depressing, and at times, under a
grey, wintry sky, almost unendurable; but nevertheless, for days and
weeks it has a charm possessed by few other landscapes in England,
provided only that behind the eye which looks there is something to
which a landscape of that peculiar character answers. There is, for
example, the wide, dome-like expanse of the sky, there is the
distance, there is the freedom and there are the stars on a clear
night. The orderly, geometrical march of the constellations from the
extreme eastern horizon across the meridian and down to the west has
a solemn majesty, which is only partially discernible when their
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