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In Three Books.




WHEN the mail got successfully to Dover, in
the course of the forenoon, the head-drawer at the
Royal George Hotel opened the coach-door, as
his custom was. He did it with some flourish
of ceremony, for a mail journey from London
in winter was an achievement to congratulate
an adventurous traveller upon.

By that time, there was only one adventurous
traveller left to be congratulated; for, the two
others had been set down at their respective
roadside destinations. The mildewy inside of
the coach, with its damp and dirty straw, its
disagreeable smell, and its obscurity, was rather
like a larger sort of dog-kennel. Mr. Lorry, the
passenger, shaking himself out of it, in chains
of straw, a tangle of shaggy wrapper, flapping
hat, and muddy legs, was rather like a larger
sort of dog.

"There will be a packet to Calais to-morrow,

"Yes, sir, if the weather holds and the wind
sets tolerable fair. The tide will serve pretty
nicely at about two in the afternoon, sir. Bed,

"I shall not go to bed till night; but I want
a bedroom, and a barber."

"And then breakfast, sir? Yes, sir. That
way, sir, if you please. Show Concord! Gentleman's
valise and hot water to Concord. Pull
off gentleman's boots in Concord. (You will
find a fine sea-coal fire, sir.) Fetch barber to
Concord. Stir about there, now, for Concord!"

The Concord bed-chamber being always
assigned to a passenger by the mail, and passengers
by the mail being always heavily wrapped up
from head to foot, the room had the odd interest
for the establishment of the Royal George, that
although but one kind of man was seen to go
into it, all kinds and varieties of men came out
of it. Consequently, another drawer, and two
porters, and several maids, and the landlady,
were all loitering by accident at various points
of the road between the Concord and the coffee-
room, when a gentleman of sixty, formally
dressed in a brown suit of clothes, pretty well
worn, but very well kept, with large square
cuffs and large flaps to the pockets, passed along
on his way to his breakfast.

The coffee-room had no other occupant, that
forenoon, than the gentleman in brown. His
breakfast-table was drawn before the fire, and as
he sat, with its light shining on him, waiting for
the meal, he sat so still, that he might have been
sitting for his portrait.

Very orderly and methodical he looked, with a
hand on each knee, and a loud watch ticking a
sonorous sermon under his flapped waistcoat, as
though it pitted its gravity and longevity against
the levity and evanescence of the brisk fire. He
had a good leg, and was a little vain of it, for
his brown stockings fitted sleek and close, and
were of a fine texture; his shoes and buckles,
too, though plain, were trim. He wore an odd
little sleek crisp flaxen wig, setting very close
to his head: which wig, it is to be presumed, was
made of hair, but which looked far more as
though it were spun from filaments of silk or
glass. His linen, though not of a fineness in
accordance with his stockings, was as white as
the tops of the waves that broke upon the
neighbouring beach, or the specks of sail that
glinted in the sunlight far at sea. A face, habitually
suppressed and quieted, was still lighted up
under the quaint wig by a pair of moist bright
eyes that it must have cost their owner, in years
gone by, some pains to drill to the composed
and reserved expression of Tellson's Bank. He
had a healthy colour in his cheeks, and his
face, though lined, bore few traces of anxiety.
But, perhaps the confidential bachelor clerks in
Tellson's Bank were principally occupied with
the cares of other people; and perhaps second-
hand cares, like second-hand clothes, come easily
off and on.

Completing his resemblance to a man who was
sitting for his portrait, Mr. Lorry dropped off
asleep. The arrival of his breakfast roused him,
and he said to the drawer, as he moved his chair
to it:

"I wish accommodation prepared for a young
lady who may come here at any time to-day. She
may ask for Mr. Jarvis Lorry, or she may only
ask for a gentleman from Tellson's Bank. Please
to let me know."

"Yes, sir. Tellson's Bank in London, sir."


"Yes, sir. We have oftentimes the honour to
entertain your gentlemen in their travelling
backwards and forwards betwixt London and