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12 Therefore it shall come to pass, when
the Egyptians shall see thee, that they shall I God calleth Abram, and blesseth him with a promise
say, This is his wife : and they will kill me, of Christ. 4 He departeth with Lot from Haran.
but they will save thee alive. 6 He journeyeth ihrough Canaan, 7 which is promised him in a vision. 10 He is driven by a famine
13 Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister : into Egypt. 11 Fear maketh him feign his wife to that it may be well with me for thy sake; be his sister. 14 Pharaoh, having taken her from and my soul shall live because of thee. him, by plagues is compelled to restore her.
14 | And it came to pass, that, when Now the 'Lord had said unto Abram, Get
Abram was come into Egypt, the Egyptians thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred,
beheld the woman that she was very fair. and from thy father's house, unto a land that
15 The princes also of Pharaoh saw her, I will shew thee :
and commended her before Pharaoh : and the 2 And I will make of thee a great nation,
woman was taken into Pharaoh's house. and I will bless thee, and make thy name
16 And he entreated Abram well for her great; and thou shalt be a blessing :
sake : and he had sheep, and oxen, and he 3 And I will bless them that bless thee,
asses, and menservants, and maidservants, and curse him that curseth thee: ’and in thee
and she asses, and camels. shall all families of the earth be blessed.
17 And the LORD plagued Pharaoh and! 4 I So Abram departed, as the LORD had
his house with great plagues because of Sarai spoken unto him ; and Lot went with him :
Abram's wife. and Abram was seventy and five years old
18 And Pharaoh called Abram, and said, when he departed out of Haran.
What is this that thou hast done unto me? 5 And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot
why didst thou not tell me that she was thy his brother's son, and all their substance that
wife? they had gathered, and the souls that they
19 Why saidst thou, She is my sister ? so had gotten in Haran ; and they went forth to
I might have taken her to me to wife : now go into the land of Canaan; and into the land
therefore behold thy wife, take her, and go of Canaan they came.
thy way. 6. And Abram passed through the land
1 20 And Pharaoh commanded his men conunto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of
cerning him : and they sent him away, and Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the his wife, and all that he had. land.
ī And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, 'Unto thy seed will I give this land : and there builded he an 'altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him.
8 And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Beth-el, and pitched his tent, having Beth-el on the west, and Hai on the east : and there he builded an altar unto the Lord, and called upon the name of the Lord.
9 And Abram journeyed, 'going on still toward the south.
10 | And there was a famine in the land : and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there ; for the famine was grievous in the land.
11 And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife, Behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon :
TURPENTINE TREE (Pistachia Terebinthus.)
Verse 6. The place of Sichem,—that is, to the place was again inhabited by the returning Jews, and was fortiwhere Sichem, or Shechem afterwards stood; for Shechem fied by Bacchides the Syrian in the time of the Maccabees, the son of Hamor who lived in the time of Jacob, probably Ezra ii. 8; Neh. vii. 32; xi. 31; 1 Macc. ix. 50. It is not founded and gave his name to the city. See the note on mentioned in the New Testament, but it still existed, and xxxiii. 18.
was captured in the great war by Vespasian (Josephus. De - The plain of Moreh,' or rather the terebinth tree Bell. Jud. iv. 9. 9). Eusebius and Jerome describe it as
being in their day a small village. After this the site of Moreh.' It is very certain that the word jis x ailon,
passed out of knowledge, and its restoration to a place here translated plain,' designates a species of tree; but it among the ascertained sites of the Holy Land is not the has been disputed whether this tree be the oak or the tere least of the benefits which Biblical Geography owes to the binth. That 7 alah, or jibg allon, and 172x ailah, or
labours of Professor Robinson. He recogpised it in a
place now called Beitîn, exactly corresponding with all piss ailon, do not indicate the same tree is clear, because the ancient intimations and measurements. The Arabic
termination in for the Hebrew el is not an unusual change: they are distinguished (Isa. vi. 13 and Hos. iv. 13), although the common version renders them equally by oak.'
yet the name has been preserved entirely by the common But they are now usually discriminated, and the former
people; the monks appear for centuries not to have been rendered by .oak,' and the latter, which is the word here,
aware of its existence, and to have assigned to Bethel a by 'terebinth. The full effect of this criticism would be
location much farther towards the north. The Greek to substitute the word terebinth' for 'oak' wherever it
priests at Taiyibeh had however recognised the identity of
Beitîn and Bethel; and had endeavoured to bring into use occurs in the common version, except in Gen. xxxviii. 8;
the Arabic from Beitil, as being near to the original; but Josh. xix. 33 ; Isa. ii. 13; xliv. 14; Hos. iv, 13; Amos,
it had found currency only within the circle of their acii. 9; and Zech. xi. 2; for plain' here and in Gen. xiii.
quaintance. The notices of Bethel in the Old Testament 18; xiv. 13; xviii. 1; Deut. xi. 30; Josh. xxiv. 26 ;
are familiar to the reader. In the New Testament it is Judg. iv. 11; ix. 6, 37; 1 Sam. X. 3; for "teil tree' in Isa. vi. 13; and for elms' in Hos. iv. 13. This shows
not mentioned; but it still existed, as we learn from Jose
phus that it was captured by Vespasian. Eusebius and with what frequency the original mentions a tree which is
Jerome describe it as a small village in their day. The not once named in the authorized version : and this frequency of its occurrence in Scripture is explained by its
name is mentioned by writers of the time of the Crusades,
but seemingly only as a place known in Scripture history, commonness in Palestine. It is in fact one of the most
and not as then in existence. Yet the present ruins are common of the forest trees of that country, where, as in
greater than those of a small village, and show that after other countries of Western Asia, it appears to have been
the time of Jerome the place must probably have revived regarded with much the same distinction and respect which the oak has acquired in our northern latitudes. This tree,
and been enlarged. The ruined churches upon the site
and beyond the valley, betoken a town of importance, the Pistachia terebinthus, stands as the head and representative of a numerous family of trees, most of which are
even down to the middle ages. The ruins lie on the point noted for the fragrant resins which they yield. The
of a low hill, between the heads of two shallow wadys,
which unite below : the spot is shut in by higher land on branches of this tree are large and diffusive; the foliage a
every side. The ruins cover a space of three or four deep green, interspersed with clusters of reddish-white flowers. The best Venice turpentine, which, when it can
acres, and consist of very many foundations and halfbe obtained in a genuine state, is superior to all the rest of
standing walls of houses and other buildings. On the its kind, is the produce of this tree. It would seem that in
highest part are the remains of a square tower, and the the vale of Sichem there grew either a grove of trees, or
walls of a Greek church, standing within the foundations some tree of remarkable size and appearance. The tree of
of a much larger and earlier edifice, built of large stones, Moreh appears to be mentioned in some other places. See
part of which have been used for erecting the later strucChapter xxxv. 4 and 8; Josh. xxiv. 26; Judges ix. 6.
ture. The broken walls of several other churches are • The Canaanite was then in the land. - See also xiii. 7.
also to be distinguished ; and in the western valley are the This has often been referred to as a remark which could
remains of one of the largest reservoirs to be seen in the only have been made by a writer who lived in Palestine
country. The bottom is now a grass-plat, having in it
two living springs of good water. “Here,' says Dr. Roafter the extirpation of the Canaanites. But the sense of the passage does not seem to be that the Canaanites had not
binson, 'we spread our carpets on the grass for breakfast,
by the side of these desolations of ages. A few Arabs, proas yet been extirpated, but merely that Abraham, on his arrival in Canaan, had already found the Canaanites there.
bably from some neighbouring village, had pitched their This intimation may be necessary, since the author subse
tents here for the summer, to watch their flocks and fields quently describes the intercourse between Abraham and
of grain; and they were the only inhabitants. From them the Canaanites, the lords of the country; whereas it be
we obtained milk and also butter of excellent quality, comes a superfluous triviality under the explanation which
which might have done honour to the days when the ascribes to it a later date.
flocks of Abraham and Jacob were pastured on these hills
It was indeed the finest we found anywhere in Palestine.' 8. "Beth-el.' —This is an anticipation; the place was - Hai,' elsewhere called . Ai.'' It lay on the east of first called Bethel by Jacob, on his journey from Beer- | Bethel, from which it was not so distant but that the men sheba to Haran, its previous name being Luz. Beth-el | of Bethel mingled in the pursnit of the Israelites, as they means literally house of God.' It does not appear that feigned to flee before the King of Ai, and thus both cities any towu was ever built on the precise spot to which Jacob were left defenceless, Josh. viii, 17; and yet not so near gave this name; but the appellation was afterwards trans but that Joshua could place an ambush on the west (or ferred to the adjacent city of Luz, which thus became the south-west) of Ai without its being observed by the men historical Bethel, and was so called by Jacob in commemo | of Bethel, while he himself remained behind a valley on ration of his vision of the ladder on which the angels of the north of Ai, Josh, viii. 4, and 11-13. The town was then God ascended and descended, ch. xxviii. 10, 19. Jacob destroyed by the victorious Israelites, Josh. viii. 28; but built an altar here on his return home, ch. xxxi. 1-15; at a later period it was again rebuilt, and is mentioned by and this circumstance consecrated the spot in the eyes of Isaiah, and also after the Captivity, Isa. x. 28; Ezr. ii. 28 ; his descendants. Samuel came once a year to Bethel to Neh. vii. 32; xi. 31. In the days of Eusebius and Jerome judge the people, 1 Sam. vii. 6. In later times it was no its site and scanty ruins were still pointed out, not far from torious as a seat of idolatrous worship, after Jeroboam had Bethel on the east, but it has since gone out of knowledge; erected here one of the golden calves, 1 Kings xii. 28-33. and it is not without hesitation that Dr. Robinson proposes Bethel afterwards fell into the possession of Judah ; and to recognise it in a place of ruins about two and a half King Josiah destroyed its altars and idols, 2 Chron. xiii. miles east of Bethel, and just south of the modern village 19; 2 Kings xxiii. 15-18. After the Captivity, the place of Deir Diwan: this site is a low hill, or point projecting
southward between two shallow valleys (wadys).* There of their consonants, alike : this arose, perhaps, from a are some foundations of hewn stone upon the hill, and fancied resemblance which the horned front of an ox bears three ancient reservoirs in the broadest of the valleys. to the amber radiance of the sun when on the point of just Near by, on the north, is a deep wady, and towards the emerging from below the horizon, south-west several smaller wadys, in which the ambuscades - He asses . . . . she asses.'-When we find original of the Israelites might easily have been concealed.
terms so unlike each other as nian chamor and ying athon, 13. "Say thou art my sister.'—She was his step-sister, here rendered he ass,' and she ass,' we are apt to think the daughter of his father, but not the daughter of his mo
that a different animal must have been meant by athon. ther (ch. xx. 12). This, therefore, was a truth in terms, But in that memorable passage forming the ninth verse of but a moral untruth, because it was intended to convey the the ninth chapter of Zechariah, we have an ass, the foal of impression that Sarai was nothing more than a sister to a she ass,' where the terms chamor and athon occur in the him.
relation of mother and son. This passage shuts the door 15. “ The woman was taken into Pharaoh's house.'—Of against all the further excursions of conjecture, by showing course Abraham could not have been a consenting party that our translators have properly rendered the words. in this transaction; and yet it does not appear that the Besides, in the Arabic, we find the word athen or aten king intended to act, or was considered to act, oppressively given to the ass in general. An extended note on the ass in taking away a man's sister without thinking his consent would be here misplaced ; and we shall only state our necessary. The passage is illustrated by the privilege belief that the real worth of this creature is not underwhich royal personages still exercise in Persia and other stood. He has seldom the benefit of training, but in its countries of the East, of claiming for their harem the un- stead a mode of treatment extremely calculated to impair married sister or daughter of any of their subjects. This the growth and destroy the spirit. It is not improbable exercise of authority is rarely, if ever, questioned or re that the herd of Abraham offered specimens of size, sisted, however repugnant it may be to the father or the strength, and agility, far superior to any that were ever brother: he may regret, as an inevitable misfortune, that | seen in later times. his relative ever attracted the royal notice; but, since it has happened, he does not hesitate to admit the right which
- Camels' Dis gemallim.—The camel (Camelus royalty possesses. When Abimelech, king of Gerar, acted dromedarius) is one of the most interesting as well as the in a similar manner towards Sarah, taking her away from
most useful of animals. The physical constitution of the her supposed brother, it is admitted that he did so in the
camel seems to have been especially adapted by Providence integrity of his heart, and innocency of his hands,' which to the condition of the country in which it is found, and to allows his right to act as he did if Sarah had been no more the wants of the inhabitants. The humble fare with which than Abram's sister.
it is contented, its extraordinary power of enduring thirst, 16. • Oxen.'— The ox is an animal extremely well and the peculiar adaptation of its foot to the soil which it known, both in respect to his form and utility ; but whether has to traverse, are points to which our admiration is conthe oxen of Abram bore the same shape as our own, istinually directed, and on which it is unnecessary to exvery much to be questioned. Animals in a state of domes- patiate in this place. One of the important services which tication are liable to such changes in appearance, that their that most observant traveller Burckhardt has rendered to identity with the wild or original species can seldom be the cause of science and general knowledge, consists in his traced with any degree of certainty. In the Hebrew, the correction of some impressions that have been entertained words denoting an ox' and the morning are, in respect concerning this remarkable animal; and to these we shall
* A wady is the valley of a river, whether a perennial stream or a winter torrent. It is therefore equivalent, for practical purposes, to our word · valley.'
at present limit our statement. We have all heard stories with an instance of a camel being killed for the sake of of travellers who, when ready to perish with thirst in the the water in its stomach. Desert, have been saved by slaughtering the camels, and! In another of his works (Travels in Syria), Burckextracting the water contained in a reservoir in their hardt corrects another impression concerning the camel; stomachs. But Burckhardt assures us (Notes on the Be- which is, that the animal delights in sandy ground. It does, douins, p. 260) that he never, in all his extensive expe- indeed, cross such ground better than any other animal ; rience, saw or heard of such a circumstance. He does not but wherever the sands are deep, the weight of himself absolutely deny its possibility ; but he believes the practice and his load makes his feet sink into the ground at every to be unknown in Arabia: and even the Darfur caravans, step, and he groans, and often sinks under his burden. which are often reduced to incredible suffering by want of | He found that the skeletons of such animals as had perished water, 'never resort to such an expedient. Indeed, he in the Desert were most frequent where the sands were remarks, the last stage of thirst renders a traveller so un deepest : and adds, that the hard gravelly grounds of the willing and unable to support the exertion of walking, Desert are the most agreeable to this animal. In his other that he continues his journey on the back of his camel, in work, above-cited, he says it is also an erroneous opinion hopes of finding water, rather than expose himself to cer that camels are not capable of ascending hills. They are tain destruction by killing the serviceable creature.' He certainly capable,' for we have often met them in the adds that, although he had frequently seen camels slaugh | mountains of Persia ; but we still think that, although they tered, he never discovered a copious supply of water in the may in the abstract be able to ascend as well as other stomachs of any but those which had been watered on the beasts of burden, yet that the rocky asperities and the holsame day. Our own observations, so far as they go, con- lows of the mountain pathways and defiles are very incon. firm this in all points ; for our acquaintance with camels venient and distressing to their 'unaccustomed feet.' and caravans never brought us acquainted, even by report,
had en die the one also, wland tente to bear
thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to
the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, 1 Abram and Lot return out of Egypt. 7 By disagreement they part asunder. 10 Lot goeth to
then I will go to the left. wicked Sodom. 14 God reneweth the promise to 10 9 And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld Abram. 18 He removeth to Hebron, and there all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered buildeth an altar.
every where, before the Lord destroyed Sodom AND Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto him, into the south.
Zoar. 2 And Abram was very rich in cattle, in 11 Then Lot chose him all the plain of silver, and in gold.
| Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they 3 And he went on his journeys from the separated themselves the one from the other. south even to Beth-el, unto the place where | 12 Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, his tent had been at the beginning, between and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and Beth-el and Hai;
pitched his tent toward Sodom. 4 Unto the place of the altar, which he 13 But the men of Sodom were wicked and had made there at the first : and there Abram sinners before the Lord exceedingly. called on the name of the LORD.
14 | And the LORD said unto Abram, 5 And Lot also, which went with Abram, | after that Lot was separated from him, Lift had flocks, and herds, and tents.
up now thine eyes, and look from the place 6 And the land was not able to bear them, where thou art northward, and southward, that they might dwell together : for their | and eastward, and westward : substance was great, so that they could not 15 For all the land which thou seest, to dwell together.
thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. 7 1 And there was a strife between the herd- | 16 And I will make thy seed as the dust men of Abram's cattle and the herdmen of of the earth : so that if a man can number Lot's cattle: and the Canaanite and the the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also Perizzite dwelled then in the land.
be numbered. 8 And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be 17 Arise, walk through the land in the no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, length of it and in the breadth of it; for I and between my herdmen and thy herdmen ; | will give it unto thee. for we be brethren.
18 | Then Abram removed his tent, and came 9 Is not the whole land before thee? and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if | Hebron, and built there an altar unto the LORD.
1 Chap. 12.7. Heb, men brethren. 8 Chap. 12. 7, and 26. 4. Deut. 34. 4. Heb. plains.
Verse 1. • Into the south.'-Of course, not southward, and at others of minute threads, variously entangled with from Egypt, but into the southern parts of Canaan, which each other. In some specimens the silver is crystallized in is called the south, and the south country,' in different cubes, or three, four, and six-sided pyramids, of very great parts of Scripture.
minuteness, which are heaped one upon another in the most 2. • Rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold.' – The Arab fanciful manner. Silver is found alloyed with copper, tribes, which claim to be descended from Abraham, and antimony, and arsenic; but the variety we have described which still wander in or near the regions which the patriarch is nearly if not quite pure. traversed, continue to follow a mode of life which affords 7. There was a strife,'-The cause of strife between the the most instructive illustrations of the primitive manners herdsmen is not mentioned; but it appears from the context described in the book of Genesis. The wealth of their that the flocks and herds of the uncle and nephew were so sheikhs, and other persons of distinction, is of the same kind near, that mutual encroachments took place either upon the as that of Abraham. It is true that few are rich in silver good pasture grounds or the wells of water, or both. As and gold;' but many are very rich in cattle, and in the same quarrels about water are particularly mentioned in ch. kinds of cattle which are assigned to Abraham in v. 16 of | xxvi. 20, see the note on that passage. Quarrels from both the preceding chapter. The number of the patriarch's cattle causes still arise among the Arab tribes, although the pasis not given; but, in considering the number which makes ture boundaries and the property of wells are in general an Arab rich, we may have some idea of the property in carefully defined. The noble and disinterested conduct of cattle which made Abraham very rich. Burckhardt says, Abraham on this occasion can only be well appreciated by that the property of an Arab consists almost wholly in horses those who know the practical importance of the privilege of and camels. But this must be understood with limitations; selection, which in this instance he conceded to Lot. for we have known tribes which, in favourable situations, 10. •Jordan.'—This river, being the principal stream of have few camels or horses, but extensive flocks of sheep and Palestine, has acquired a distinction much greater than its goats. Burckhardt proceeds to say, that • 10 Arab family geographical importance could have given. It is sometimes can exist without one camel at least: a man who has but called the river,' by way of eminence, being in fact almost two is reckoned poor; thirty or forty place a man in easy the only stream of the country which continues to flow in circumstances; and he who possesses sixty is rich. The summer. It was formerly usual to refer the source of the standard of wealth is of course lower in poor tribes. The river to the stream which issues from the cave at Banias same traveller mentions sheikhs who had as many as three (the ancient Paneas, the Caesarea Philippi of the New Teshundred camels; and one, who was his guide to Tadmor, tament), over which rises a perpendicular rock, whose face was reputed to possess one hundred camels, between three has been sculptured in niches for statues. But this is by no hundred sheep and goats, two mares, and one horse. In the means the most distant of the fountains whose waters go to richest tribes, a father of a family is said to be poor with form the Jordan; and it is perhaps better to regard the river less than forty camels; and the usual stock of a family is as taking its source about an hour and a quarter's journey from one hundred to two hundred. Although some Arab (say three or three miles and a quarter) north-east from families pride themselves on having only camels, there is Banias, in a plain near a hill called Tél-el-Kadi. Here no tribe wholly destitute of sheep or goats. It is observable there are two springs near each other, one smaller than the that Abraham is not stated to have had any horses. The other, whose waters very soon unite, forming a rapid river, horse was not much in use among the Israelites till the time from twelve to fifteen yards across, which rushes over a of So.omon; nor does it appear to have been very common stony bed into the lower plain, where it is joined by the then or afterwards. Horses are even now by no means so river from Banias. A few miles below their junction the common among the Arabs as the reports of some travellers now considerable river enters the small lake of Huleh, or would lead us to conclude. Among the Aeneze tribes, Samochonitis (called the waters of Merom' in the Old Burckhardt could not find more than one mare to six or Testament). This lake receives several other mountainseven tents; but they are rather more numerous in some streams, some of which seem to have as good claim to be other tribes. Some tribes exclusively use the mares, selling regarded as forming the Jordan as that to which it is the male colts to the peasants and townspeople.-(See given in the previous statement; and it would perhaps be Burckhardt's Notes on the Bedouins, pp. 39, 40, and 138, safest to consider the lake formed by their union as the real 139.) Upon the whole, it seems that the property of these source of the Jordan. About two miles below this lake the Arab sheikhs, whose wealth is rumoured far and wide in river passes under Jacob's Bridge in a rapid stream through the East, seems in most cases very moderate when esti- a narrow bed; and in about ten miles further reaches the mated by European standards of value. It may be useful larger lake, known by several names, but most commonly to remember this, when riches in cattle are mentioned in as the Lake of Tiberias, through which its course is disdefinitely in the Old Testament. We may, however, con | tinctly marked by the smoothness of the water in that part. clude that the wealth of Abraham more nearly approxi The Jordan rushes from the southern extremity of the lake mated to that of Job than to that of most Arab sheikhs. with considerable force, in a stream which is about fourteen It is therefore fortunate that we are acquainted with the yards across at the end of April. On quitting the lake, the numbers of the cattle which constituted wealth in primitive rivers enters a broad valley, or Ghor, by which name the natimes, and the possession of which rendered Job • the tives designate a depressed tract, or plain, between mountains. greatest of all the men of the East,' Job i. 3. Abraham's This name is applied to the plain of the Jordan, not only • silver and gold' no doubt arose from the same source between the Lake of Tiberias and the Dead Sea, but quite which supplies the conveniences of life to the existing across the Dead Sea and to some distance beyond. This nomade tribes, namely, the sale of animals for slaughter, valley varies in breadth from five to ten miles between the and of butter, cheese, and wool to the townspeople. He mountains on each side. The river does not make its way would naturally accumulate much property from this source straight through the midst of the Ghor. It flows first near in Egypt, the inhabitants of which depended chiefly for the western hills, then near the eastern, but advances to their supplies upon the pastoral people who abode in or near the Dead Sea through the middle of the valley. Within their country. The Egyptians themselves hated pastoral this valley there is a lower one, and within that, in some pursuits. See note on ch. xlvi. 34.
parts, another still lower, through which the river flows. . -- Silver.'—We see, at this early period, that the pre The inner valley is about half a mile wide, and is genecious metals, especially silver, were used as the general rally green and beautiful, covered with trees and bushes, representative of all kinds of property, and the medium of while the upper or large valley is for the most part sandy exchange. Silver, which often in the original corresponds or barren. The distance between the two lakes, in a direct to our word money,' was in all probability the first metal line, is about sixty miles. In the first part of its course that was converted to this use, since it is found in a state of | between them, the stream is clear ; but it become id as comparative purity in a much greater abundance than gold. it approaches the Dead Sea, probably from passing over Specimens of native silver are among the most elegant of beds of sandy clay. The water is very wholesome, always minerals. They consist sometimes of thin plates or spangles, I cool, and nearly tasteless. The breadth and depth of the