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"Tst! Joe!" cried the coachman in a warning
voice, looking down from his box.

"What do you say, Tom!"

They both listened.

"I say a horse at a canter coming up, Joe."

"I say a horse at a gallop, Tom," returned
the guard, leaving his hold of the door, and
mounting nimbly to his place. "Gentlemen!
In the king's name, all of you!"

With this hurried adjuration, he cocked his
blunderbuss, and stood on the offensive.

The passenger booked by this history, was on
the coach step, getting in; the two other
passengers were close behind him, and about to
follow. He remained on the step, half in the
coach and half out of it; they remained in the
road below him. They all looked from the
coachman to the guard, and from the guard to
the coachman, and listened. The coachman
looked back, and the guard looked back, and
even the emphatic leader pricked up his ears
and looked back, without contradicting.

The stillness consequent on the cessation of
the rumbling and labouring of the coach, added
to the stillness of the night, made it very quiet
indeed. The panting of the horses communicated
a tremulous motion to the coach, as if it
were in a state of agitation. The hearts of the
passengers beat loud enough perhaps to be
heard; but at any rate, the quiet pause was
audibly expressive of people out of breath, and
holding the breath, and having the pulses
quickened by expectation.

The sound of a horse at a gallop came fast
and furiously up the hill.

"So-ho!" the guard sang out, as loud as he
could roar. "Yo there! Stand! I shall fire!"

The pace was suddenly checked, and, with
much splashing and floundering, a man's voice
called from the mist, "Is that the Dover
mail?"

"Never you mind what it is?" the guard
retorted. "What are you?"

"Is that the Dover mail?"

"Why do you want to know?"

"I want a passenger, if it is."

"What passenger?"

"Mr. Jarvis Lorry."

Our booked passenger showed in a moment
that it was his name. The guard, the coachman,
and the two other passengers, eyed him
distrustfully.

"Keep where you are," the guard called to
the voice in the mist, "because, if I should
make a mistake, it could never be set right in your
lifetime. Gentleman of the name of Lorry
answer straight."

"What is the matter?" asked the passenger,
then, with mildly quavering speech. "Who
wants me? Is it Jerry?"

("I don't like Jerry's voice, if it is Jerry,"
growled the guard to himself. " He's hoarser
than suits me, is Jerry.")

"Yes, Mr. Lorry."

"What is the matter?"

"A despatch sent after you from over yonder.
T. and Co."

"I know this messenger, guard," said Mr.
Lorry, getting down into the roadassisted from
behind more swiftly than politely by the other
two passengers, who immediately scrambled into
the coach, shut the door, and pulled up the
window. "He may come close; there's nothing
wrong."

"I hope there ain't, but I can't make so
'Nation sure of that," said the guard, in gruff
soliloquy. "Hallo you!"

"Well! And hallo you!" said Jerry, more
hoarsely than before.

"Come on at a footpace; dy'e mind me?
And if you've got holsters to that saddle o'
yourn, don't let me see your hand go nigh 'em.
For I'm a devil at a quick mistake, and when I
make one it takes the form of Lead. So now
let's look at you."

The figures of a horse and rider came slowly
through the eddying mist, and came to the side
of the mail, where the passenger stood. The
rider stooped, and, casting up his eyes at the
guard, handed the passenger a small folded
paper. The rider's horse was blown, and both
horse and rider were covered with mud, from
the hoofs of the horse to the hat of the man.

"Guard!" said the passenger, in a tone of
quiet business confidence.

The watchful guard, with his right hand at
the stock of his raised blunderbuss, his left at
the barrel, and his eye on the horseman, answered
curtly, "Sir."

"There is nothing to apprehend. I belong to
Tellson's Bank. You must know Tellson's Bank
in London. I am going to Paris on business.
A crown to drink. I may read this?"

"If so be as you're quick, sir."

He opened it in the light of the coach-lamp
on that side, and readfirst to himself and then
aloud: "'Wait at Dover for Ma'amselle.' It's
not long, you see, guard. Jerry, say that my
answer was, RECALLED TO LIFE."

Jerry started in his saddle. "That's a Blazing
strange answer, too," said he, at his hoarsest.

"Take that message back, and they will know
that I received this, as well as if I wrote. Make
the best of your way. Good night."

With those words the passenger opened the
coach door and got in; not at all assisted by his
fellow-passengers, who had expeditiously secreted
their watches and purses in their boots, and
were now making a general pretence of being
asleep. With no more definite purpose than to
escape the hazard of originating any other kind
of action.

The coach lumbered on again, with heavier
wreaths of mist closing round it as it began the
descent. The guard soon replaced his blunderbuss
in his arm-chest, and, having looked to the
rest of its contents, and having looked to the
supplementary pistols that he wore in his belt,
looked to a smaller chest beneath his seat, in
which there were a few smith's tools, a couple of
torches, and a tinder-box. For he was furnished
with that completeness, that if the coach-lamps
had been blown and stormed out, which did
occasionally happen, he had only to shut himself

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