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A Message From the Sea - Charles Dickens

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A MESSAGE FROM THE SEA

CHAPTER I--THE VILLAGE



"And a mighty sing'lar and pretty place it is, as ever I saw in all
the days of my life!" said Captain Jorgan, looking up at it.

Captain Jorgan had to look high to look at it, for the village was
built sheer up the face of a steep and lofty cliff.  There was no
road in it, there was no wheeled vehicle in it, there was not a
level yard in it.  From the sea-beach to the cliff-top two irregular
rows of white houses, placed opposite to one another, and twisting
here and there, and there and here, rose, like the sides of a long
succession of stages of crooked ladders, and you climbed up the
village or climbed down the village by the staves between, some six
feet wide or so, and made of sharp irregular stones.  The old pack-
saddle, long laid aside in most parts of England as one of the
appendages of its infancy, flourished here intact.  Strings of pack-
horses and pack-donkeys toiled slowly up the staves of the ladders,
bearing fish, and coal, and such other cargo as was unshipping at
the pier from the dancing fleet of village boats, and from two or
three little coasting traders.  As the beasts of burden ascended
laden, or descended light, they got so lost at intervals in the
floating clouds of village smoke, that they seemed to dive down some
of the village chimneys, and come to the surface again far off, high
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