Book the First - Recalled to Life
4. IV. The Preparation
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 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 disageeable smell, and its
obscurity, was rather like a larger 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, tomorrow, drawer?"
"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, sir?"
"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.