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CHAPTER 39: In which another old Friend encounters Smike...
In which another old Friend encounters Smike, very opportunely and to some Purpose
The night, fraught with so much bitterness to one poor soul, had given place to a bright and cloudless summer morning, when a north-country mail-coach traversed, with cheerful noise, the yet silent streets of Islington, and, giving brisk note of its approach with the lively winding of the guard's horn, clattered onward to its halting-place hard by the Post Office.
The only outside passenger was a burly, honest-looking countryman on the box, who, with his eyes fixed upon the dome of St Paul's Cathedral, appeared so wrapt in admiring wonder, as to be quite insensible to all the bustle of getting out the bags and parcels, until one of the coach windows being let sharply down, he looked round, and encountered a pretty female face which was just then thrust out.
'See there, lass!' bawled the countryman, pointing towards the object of his admiration. 'There be Paul's Church. 'Ecod, he be a soizable 'un, he be.'
'Goodness, John! I shouldn't have thought it could have been half the size. What a monster!'
'Monsther!--Ye're aboot right theer, I reckon, Mrs Browdie,' said the countryman good-humouredly, as he came slowly down in his huge top-coat; 'and wa'at dost thee tak yon place to be noo--thot'un owor the wa'? Ye'd never coom near it 'gin you thried for twolve moonths. It's na' but a Poast Office! Ho! ho! They need to charge for dooble-latthers. A Poast Office! Wa'at dost thee think o' thot? 'Ecod, if thot's on'y a Poast Office, I'd loike to see where the Lord Mayor o' Lunnun lives.'
So saying, John Browdie--for he it was--opened the coach-door, and tapping Mrs Browdie, late Miss Price, on the cheek as he looked in, burst into a boisterous fit of laughter.
'Weel!' said John. 'Dang my bootuns if she bean't asleep agean!'
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