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CHAPTER 32: Relating chiefly to some remarkable Conversation...
Relating chiefly to some remarkable Conversation, and some remarkable Proceedings to which it gives rise
'London at last!' cried Nicholas, throwing back his greatcoat and rousing Smike from a long nap. 'It seemed to me as though we should never reach it.'
'And yet you came along at a tidy pace too,' observed the coachman, looking over his shoulder at Nicholas with no very pleasant expression of countenance.
'Ay, I know that,' was the reply; 'but I have been very anxious to be at my journey's end, and that makes the way seem long.'
'Well,' remarked the coachman, 'if the way seemed long with such cattle as you've sat behind, you MUST have been most uncommon anxious;' and so saying, he let out his whip-lash and touched up a little boy on the calves of his legs by way of emphasis.
They rattled on through the noisy, bustling, crowded street of London, now displaying long double rows of brightly-burning lamps, dotted here and there with the chemists' glaring lights, and illuminated besides with the brilliant flood that streamed from the windows of the shops, where sparkling jewellery, silks and velvets of the richest colours, the most inviting delicacies, and most sumptuous articles of luxurious ornament, succeeded each other in rich and glittering profusion. Streams of people apparently without end poured on and on, jostling each other in the crowd and hurrying forward, scarcely seeming to notice the riches that surrounded them on every side; while vehicles of all shapes and makes, mingled up together in one moving mass, like running water, lent their ceaseless roar to swell the noise and tumult.
As they dashed by the quickly-changing and ever-varying objects, it was curious to observe in what a strange procession they passed before the eye. Emporiums of splendid dresses, the materials brought from every quarter of the world; tempting stores of everything to stimulate and pamper the sated appetite and give new relish to the oft-repeated feast; vessels of burnished gold and silver, wrought into every exquisite form of vase, and dish, and goblet; guns, swords, pistols, and patent engines of destruction; screws and irons for the crooked, clothes for the newly-born, drugs for the sick, coffins for the dead, and churchyards for the buried-- all these jumbled each with the other and flocking side by side, seemed to flit by in motley dance like the fantastic groups of the old Dutch painter, and with the same stern moral for the unheeding restless crowd.
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