on that soft and balmy April morning. The underwood was nearly cut, and bundles of long split poles for hooping barrels were piled together against the tall oak trees, bursting with their sap; whilst piles of faggots were built up in other parts of the copse, and one or two saw-pits, with light open sheds erected over them, whence issued the measured sound of the saw and the occasional voices of the workmen, almost concealed by their subterranean position, were placed in the hollows. At the far side of the coppice, the operation of hewing down the underwood was still proceeding, and the sharp strokes of the axe and the bill, softened by distance, came across the monotonous jar of the never-ceasing saw. The surface of the ground was prettily tumbled about, comprehending as pleasant a variety of hill and dale as could well be comprised in some thirty acres. It declined, however, generally speaking, towards the centre of the coppice, along which a small, very small rivulet, scarcely more than a runlet, wound its
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