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Harold : the Last of the Saxon Kings — Volume 12 by Baron Edward Bulwer Lytton Lytton
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In the heart of the forest land in which Hilda's abode was situated, a
gloomy pool reflected upon its stagnant waters the still shadows of
the autumnal foliage. As is common in ancient forests in the
neighbourhood of men's wants, the trees were dwarfed in height by
repeated loppings, and the boughs sprang from the hollow, gnarled
boles of pollard oaks and beeches; the trunks, vast in girth, and
covered with mosses and whitening canker-stains, or wreaths of ivy,
spoke of the most remote antiquity: but the boughs which their
lingering and mutilated life put forth, were either thin and feeble
with innumerable branchlets, or were centred on some solitary
distorted limb which the woodman's axe had spared. The trees thus
assumed all manner of crooked, deformed, fantastic shapes--all
betokening age, and all decay--all, in despite of the noiseless
solitude around, proclaiming the waste and ravages of man.

The time was that of the first watches of night, when the autumnal
moon was brightest and broadest. You might see, on the opposite side
of the pool, the antlers of the deer every now and then, moving
restlessly above the fern in which they had made their couch; and,
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