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When the World marches onward! Like a tree,
She lives and grows: no earthly building she
That fears the crumble of old arch and vault!
'Tis some, who to her service minister,
Who feign a Church themselves have subtly
A flimsy thing of gloom and gossamer,
From which they fence the light and truth's rough
Because they most succeed, when men most err,
To suck through fogs the fatness of the land.


BEFORE the waitress had shut the door, I
had forgotten how many stage-coaches she said
used to change horses in the town every day.
But it was of little moment; any high number
would do as well as another. It had been a
great stage-coaching town in the great stage-
coaching times, and the ruthless railways had
killed and buried it.

The sign of the house was the Dolphin's
Head. Why only head, I don't know; for the
Dolphin's effigy at full length, and upside down
as a Dolphin is always bound to be when artistically
treated, though I suppose he is sometimes
right side upward in his natural condition
graced the sign-board. The sign-board chafed its
rusty hooks outside the bow-window of my room,
and was a shabby work. No visitor could
have denied that the Dolphin was dying by inches,
but he showed no bright colours. He had once
served another master; there was a newer
streak of paint below him, displaying with
inconsistent freshness the legend, BY J. MELLOWS.

My door opened again, and J. Mellows's
representative came back. I had asked her what
I could have for dinner, and she now returned
with the counter question, what would I like?
As the Dolphin stood possessed of nothing that
I do like, I was fain to yield to the suggestion
of a duck, which I don't like. J. Mellows's
representative was a mournful young woman,
with one eye susceptible of guidance, and one
uncontrollable eye; which latter, seeming to
wander in quest of stage-coaches, deepened the
melancholy in which the Dolphin was steeped.

This young woman had but shut the door on
retiring again when I bethought me of adding
to my order, the words, " with nice vegetables."
Looking out at the door to give them emphatic
utterance, I found her already in a state of
pensive catalepsy in the deserted gallery, picking
her teeth with a pin.

At the Railway Station seven miles off, I had
been the subject of wonder when I ordered a
fly in which to come here. And when I gave
the direction "To the Dolphin's Head," I had
observed an ominous stare on the countenance
of the strong young man in velveteen, who was the
platform servant of the Company. He had also
called to my driver at parting, "All ri-ight!
Don't hang yourself when you get there,
Geo-o-rge!" in a sarcastic tone, for which I had
entertained some transitory thoughts of reporting
him to the General Manager.

I had no business in the townI never have
any business in any townbut I had been
caught by the fancy that I would come and look
at it in its degeneracy. My purpose was fitly
inaugurated by the Dolphin's Head, which every-
where expressed past coachfulness and present
coachlessness. Coloured prints of coaches, starting,
arriving, changing horses, coaches in the
sunshine, coaches in the snow, coaches in the
wind, coaches in the mist and rain, coaches on the
King's birthday, coaches in all circumstances
compatible with their triumph and victory, but
never in the act of breaking down or overturning,
pervaded the house. Of these works of
art, some, framed and not glazed, had holes in
them; the varnish of others had become so
brown and cracked, that they looked like overdone
pie-crust; the designs of others were
almost obliterated by the flies of many summers.
Broken glasses, damaged frames, lop-sided
hanging, and consignment of incurable cripples
to places of refuge in dark corners, attested the
desolation of the rest. The old room on the
ground floor where the passengers of the
Highflyer used to dine, had nothing in it but a
wretched show of twigs and flower-pots in the
broad window to hide the nakedness of the
land, and in a corner little Mellows's perambulator,
with even its parasol-head turned despondently
to the wall. The other room, where
post-horse company used to wait while relays
were getting ready down the yard, still held its
ground, but was as airless as I conceive a hearse
to be: insomuch that Mr. Pitt, hanging high
against the partition (with spots on him like
port wine, though it is mysterious how port
wine ever got squirted up there), had good
reason for perking his nose and sniffing. The
stopperless cruets on the spindle-shanked
sideboard were in a miserably dejected state: the
anchovy sauce having turned blue some years
ago, and the cayenne pepper (with a scoop in it
like a small model of a wooden leg) having turned
solid. The old fraudulent candles which were
always being paid for and never used, were
burnt out at last; but their tall stilts of candlesticks
still lingered, and still outraged the
human intellect by pretending to be silver. The
mouldy old unreformed Borough Member, with
his right hand buttoned up in the breast of his
coat, and his back characteristically turned on
bales of petitions from his constituents, was there
too; and the poker which never had been among
the fire-irons, lest post-horse company should
overstir the fire, was not there, as of old.

Pursuing my researches in the Dolphin's Head,
I found it sorely shrunken. When J. Mellows
came into possession, he had walled off half
the bar, which was now a tobacco-shop with its
own entrance in the yardthe once glorious
yard where the postboys, whip in hand and
always buttoning their waistcoats at the last
moment, used to come running forth to mount
and away. A "Scientific Shoeing-Smith and
Veterinary Surgeon," had further encroached
upon the yard; and a grimly satirical Jobber,
who announced himself as having to Let " A