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that between conversing together, and cheering up the boys, the
time passed with them as rapidly as it could, under such adverse

So the day wore on. At Eton Slocomb there was a good coach
dinner, of which the box, the four front outsides, the one inside,
Nicholas, the good-tempered man, and Mr Squeers, partook; while
the five little boys were put to thaw by the fire, and regaled with
sandwiches. A stage or two further on, the lamps were lighted, and
a great to-do occasioned by the taking up, at a roadside inn, of a
very fastidious lady with an infinite variety of cloaks and small
parcels, who loudly lamented, for the behoof of the outsides, the
non-arrival of her own carriage which was to have taken her on,
and made the guard solemnly promise to stop every green chariot
he saw coming; which, as it was a dark night and he was sitting
with his face the other way, that officer undertook, with many
fervent asseverations, to do. Lastly, the fastidious lady, finding
there was a solitary gentleman inside, had a small lamp lighted
which she carried in reticule, and being after much trouble shut
in, the horses were put into a brisk canter and the coach was once
more in rapid motion.

The night and the snow came on together, and dismal enough
they were. There was no sound to be heard but the howling of the
wind; for the noise of the wheels, and the tread of the horses’ feet,
were rendered inaudible by the thick coating of snow which
covered the ground, and was fast increasing every moment. The
streets of Stamford were deserted as they passed through the
town; and its old churches rose, frowning and dark, from the
whitened ground. Twenty miles further on, two of the front
outside passengers, wisely availing themselves of their arrival at

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