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neat one-horse fly, and a one-horse cart," had
established his business, himself, and his family,
in a part of the extensive stables. Another
part was lopped clean off from the Dolphin's
Head, and now comprised a chapel, a wheel-
wright's, and a Young Men's Mutual Improvement
and Discussion Society (in a loft): the
whole forming a back lane. No audacious hand
had plucked down the vane from the central
cupola of the stables, but it had grown rusty
and stuck at NNil: while the score or two of
pigeons that remained true to their ancestral
traditions and the place, had collected in a row
on the roof-ridge of the only outhouse retained
by the Dolphin, where all the inside pigeons
tried to push the outside pigeon off. This I
accepted as emblematical of the struggle for post
and place in railway times.

Sauntering forth into the town, by way of the
covered and pillared entrance to the Dolphin's
Yard, once redolent of soup and stable-litter,
now redolent of musty disuse, I paced the
street. It was a hot day, and the little sun-blinds
of the shops were all drawn down, and the more
enterprising tradesmen had caused their
'Prentices to trickle water on the pavement
appertaining to their frontage. It looked as if they
had been shedding tears for the stage-coaches,
and drying their ineffectual pocket-handkerchiefs.
Such weakness would have been excusable;
for business wasas one dejected
porkman who kept a shop which refused to
reciprocate the compliment by keeping him,
informed me— "bitter bad." Most of the harness-
makers and corn-dealers were gone the way of
the coaches, but it was a pleasant recognition of
the eternal procession of Children down that old
original steep Incline, the Valley of the Shadow,
that those tradesmen were mostly succeeded by
vendors of sweetmeats and cheap toys. The
opposition house to the Dolphin, once famous
as the New White Hart, had long collapsed.
In a fit of abject depression, it had cast whitewash
on its windows, and boarded up its front
door, and reduced itself to a side entrance; but
even that had proved a world too wide for the
Literary Institution which had been its last
phase; for the Institution had collapsed too, and
of the ambitious letters of its inscription on the
White Hart's front, all had fallen off but these:

        L          Y       INS         T

suggestive of Lamentably Insolvent. As to
the neighbouring market-place, it seemed to have
wholly relinquished marketing, to the dealer in
crockery whose pots and pans straggled half across
it, and to the Cheap Jack who sat with folded
arms on the shafts of his cart, superciliously
gazing around: his velveteen waistcoat,
evidently harbouring grave doubts whether it was
worth his while to stay a night in such a place.

The church bells began to ring as I left this
spot, but they by no means improved the case,
for they said, in a petulant way, and speaking
with some difficulty in their irritation, " WHAT'S-
be-come-of-THE-coach-ES!" Nor would they (I
found on listening) ever vary their emphasis,
save in respect of growing more sharp and
vexed, but invariably went on, " WHAT's-
become-of-THE-coach-ES!" always beginning the
inquiry with an unpolite abruptness. Perhaps
from their elevation they saw the railway, and
it aggravated them.

Coming upon a coachmaker's workshop, I
began to look about me with a revived spirit,
thinking that perchance I might behold there
some remains of the old times of the town's
greatness. There was only one man at work
a dry man, grizzled, and far advanced in years,
but tall and upright, who, becoming aware of me
looking on, straightened his back, pushed up his
spectacles against his brown paper cap, and
appeared inclined to defy me. To whom I
pacifically said:

"Good day, sir!"

"What?" said he.

"Good day, sir."

He seemed to consider about that, and not to
agree with me.— "Was you a looking for
anything?" he then asked, in a pointed manner.

"I was wondering whether there happened
to be any fragment of an old stage-coach here."

"Is that all?"

"That's all."

"No, there ain't."

It was now my turn to say "Oh!" and I
said it. Not another word did the dry and
frizzled man say, but bent to his work again.
In the coachmaking days, the coach-painters
had tried their brushes on a post beside him;
and quite a Calendar of departed glories was to
be read upon it, in blue and yellow and red and
green, some inches thick. Presently he looked
up again.

"You seem to have a deal of time on your
hands," was his querulous remark.

I admitted the fact.

"I think it's a pity you was not brought up
to something," said he.

I said I thought so too.

Appearing to be informed with an idea, he
laid down his plane (for it was a plane he was
at work with), pushed up his spectacles again,
and came to the door.

"Would a po-shay do for you?" he asked.

"I am not sure that I understand what you

"Would a po-shay," said the coach-maker,
standing close before me, and folding his arms
in the manner of a cross-examining counsel
"would a po-shay meet the views you have
expressed? Yes, or no?"


"Then you keep straight along down there
till you see one. You'll see one if you go fur

With that, he turned me by the shoulder in
the direction I was to take, and went in and
resumed his work against a background of
leaves and grapes. For, although he was a
soured man and a discontented, his workshop was
that agreeable mixture of town and country,
street and garden, which is often to be seen in
a small English town.