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In the tin mines of Cornwall during the first decades of the nineteenth century, death is the constant companion of the working man. Ben Retallick has grown to sturdy manhood among the miners and fisherfolk, through the hard and hungry years when blood was often the price of bread. When cruel fate steals away Jesse, his dark-eyed love, Ben searches the hiring fairs to find her again, knowing nothing of her parentage and caring only for the day he’ll make her his wife.