Support the Monkey! Tell All your Friends and Teachers
to put this letter of her writing in his hand at this time, and to
enable you to tell her, in the moment of parting, that he has got
it, will be a kindness to both of them. I solemnly accepted his
commission, dear good fellow, and cannot discharge it too
completely. The journey is nothing to me. I am restless, and
shall be better in motion. I'll go down tonight.'
Though he anxiously endeavoured to dissuade me, I saw that he was
of my mind; and this, if I had required to be confirmed in my
intention, would have had the effect. He went round to the coach
office, at my request, and took the box-seat for me on the mail.
In the evening I started, by that conveyance, down the road I had
traversed under so many vicissitudes.
'Don't you think that,' I asked the coachman, in the first stage
out of London, 'a very remarkable sky? I don't remember to have
seen one like it.'
'Nor I - not equal to it,' he replied. 'That's wind, sir.
There'll be mischief done at sea, I expect, before long.'
It was a murky confusion - here and there blotted with a colour
like the colour of the smoke from damp fuel - of flying clouds,
tossed up into most remarkable heaps, suggesting greater heights in
the clouds than there were depths below them to the bottom of the
deepest hollows in the earth, through which the wild moon seemed to
plunge headlong, as if, in a dread disturbance of the laws of
nature, she had lost her way and were frightened. There had been
a wind all day; and it was rising then, with an extraordinary great
sound. In another hour it had much increased, and the sky was more
overcast, and blew hard.
But, as the night advanced, the clouds closing in and densely
over-spreading the whole sky, then very dark, it came on to blow,
harder and harder. It still increased, until our horses could
scarcely face the wind. Many times, in the dark part of the night
(it was then late in September, when the nights were not short),
the leaders turned about, or came to a dead stop; and we were often
in serious apprehension that the coach would be blown over.
Sweeping gusts of rain came up before this storm, like showers of
steel; and, at those times, when there was any shelter of trees or
lee walls to be got, we were fain to stop, in a sheer impossibility
of continuing the struggle.
When the day broke, it blew harder and harder. I had been in