+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error

referred are, of course, so far from being
objections to the effort made, that they are
strongest evidence of its necessity. The
impulse given by Miss Coutts to the Church
schools of Middlesex, others may give to
any schools they pleasechurch or dissenting
in the districts nearest to themselves.
A great expenditure of money is not necessary;
only there must be active benevolence
and a determined will.

Miss Coutts renews her offer, and intends,
apparently, to work on without flagging.


I AM in the diligence, on the road
between Paris and Lyons. I have been
journeying wearily all the night, and now,
with an uneasy stretch, have roused myself
to let down the window of the coupé. I
look out inquiringly into the night. It is
darkpitch darkall round us. But there
is a grey streak a-head, joyfully welcomed as
significant of morning. Not quite so
comforting is the chilling blast which enters,
well iced, by the window; making my teeth
chatter galvanically, and my whole body
shiver in supreme wretchedness. So I draw
it up furiously, and sink back again into
the corner.

It has been freezing fiercely for the last
fortnight. Indeed, it is the hardest frost
the Bon Dieu has been pleased to send these
many years. At least, so an aged travelling
companion was pleased to remark, as he walked
by the coupé window, up a hill. The roads
are thus assimilated to an endless continuity
of Dresden mirrors, admirably suited for
headlong and express travelling; but highly
perilous for delicate nervous organisations.

By-and-by it begins to grow lighter. The
grey streak has made progress during our
last doze, and we find it now spread all over
the heavens. I begin to feel aspirations
beyond the four sides of the coupé. I
hearken complaisantly to the driver, who is
chaunting his morning song over head,
enlivened by stray cracking of his long whip,
and join carelessly in the refrain. Anon
he turns him round, and hails his gossip,
the conductor, across the baggage, which is
piled to a fearful height upon the roofa
very Pelion upon Ossa of luggage. The
gossip answers with a neat jest in the French
manner; whereof the subject may be the
Normandy team before usperhaps the
worthy driver himself; or, more likely, the
unsuspecting occupant of the coupé. Very
merry they are, whatever be the reason.
And, not long after, there is a hollow sound,
as of tramping, overhead, which signifies
that Pelion and Ossa have been traversed by
some one from behind. Shortly come
fragrant aromatic gales, suggestive of a social
morning pipe.

Another hour has passed. We are going
slowly up a steep hill. There is a gentle
tapping at the frosty pane, which I hastily
let down, and so discover our driver saluting
me profoundly, even to the tops of his huge
jack-boots. Has Monsieur reposed well? He
has the honour to inform Monsieur that we
shall shortly attain the Aubergethat is,
after surmounting this hill, D'Enfer. True, we
were slightly behind time; but what of that?
After the hill we should gallop all the way, as
Monsieur should see. A graceful bow, and
the jack-boots are seen swinging perilously
at the sides of the diligence, en route to
the box.

We are on the brow of the hill at last
the hill D'Enfer. There is a long white
causewayan extended sheet of the Dresden
mirror aforesaidstretching far down into
the valley, till, at the extreme end, something
like a cluster of white cottages is descried
the promised land for the traveller unbreakfasted.
The manner of our descent is awful
to conceive. Gathering up the reins with
fury, our driver seems to grow delirious.
The long whip descends fore and aft upon
the backs of the white Normandy team,
who plunge forward at full speed. The
huge machine, Pelion upon Ossa and all,
rolls heavily after, reeling and swaying in a
manner perfectly sickening. The single occupant
of the coupé holds on convulsively to
his seat, and bethinks him of the state
of his soul. A fearful din, compounded
of window-panes dancing in their frames; of
timber straining and groaning dismally; of
stones being crunched; of hollow rambling;
of chains jangling: an everlasting chorus of
shrieks, of fierce Holoas! Holoas! of Sacr-r-
r-és, Tête Dieus, Diantres, and other
profane matter. The white Normandies, with
long flying tails, bound madly on, kicking
and biting one another, and whining all the
while in the most unearthly fashion. Anon
comes a fearful convulsion, and the huge
machine totters. A Normandy has fallen,
and the others appear to make one kicking
struggling heap of horse-flesh over him. Yet
we stop not for that. Diligence and the heap
roll on together of their own momentum, our
charioteer standing up in the jack-boots, and
plying the long cracking whip remorselessly,
lashing the horses to their feet. More Sacr-r-rés
and Diantres, and we are speeding on as
before; only the white Normandies are now
grown delirious, their red eye-balls glaring
wildly. In a few minutes more we are at
the bottom, without accident, and drive up,
jingling and clanking, to the door of the
village Auberge.

Half-an-hour for breakfast; that is, half-
an-hour and a little moreequivalent, as
everybody knows, to a good hour. A
picturesque scene at the door of the old village
inn: many groups standing round, admiring
the huge diligence and its freight. Monsieur
would like breakfast? Monsieur rather
thinks he would; and Monsieur is further
inclined to believe that a petite verre would