In which the Occurrence of the Accident mentioned in the last Chapter, affords
an Opportunity to a couple of Gentlemen to tell Stories against each other
'Wo ho!' cried the guard, on his legs in a minute, and running to the leaders'
heads. 'Is there ony genelmen there as can len' a hond here? Keep quiet, dang
ye! Wo ho!'
'What's the matter?' demanded Nicholas, looking sleepily up.
'Matther mun, matter eneaf for one neight,' replied the guard; 'dang the wall-eyed
bay, he's gane mad wi' glory I think, carse t'coorch is over. Here, can't ye len' a
hond? Dom it, I'd ha' dean it if all my boans were brokken.'
'Here!' cried Nicholas, staggering to his feet, 'I'm ready. I'm only a little abroad,
'Hoold 'em toight,' cried the guard, 'while ar coot treaces. Hang on tiv'em
sumhoo. Well deane, my lod. That's it. Let'em goa noo. Dang 'em, they'll gang
whoam fast eneaf!'
In truth, the animals were no sooner released than they trotted back, with much
deliberation, to the stable they had just left, which was distant not a mile behind.
'Can you blo' a harn?' asked the guard, disengaging one of the coach-lamps.
'I dare say I can,' replied Nicholas.
'Then just blo' away into that 'un as lies on the grund, fit to wakken the deead,
will'ee,' said the man, 'while I stop sum o' this here squealing inside. Cumin',
cumin'. Dean't make that noise, wooman.'
As the man spoke, he proceeded to wrench open the uppermost door of the
coach, while Nicholas, seizing the horn, awoke the echoes far and wide with one
of the most extraordinary performances on that instrument ever heard by mortal
ears. It had its effect, however, not only in rousing such of their fall, but in
summoning assistance to their relief; for lights gleamed in the distance, and
people were already astir.
In fact, a man on horseback galloped down, before the passengers were well
collected together; and a careful investigation being instituted, it appeared that
the lady inside had broken her lamp, and the gentleman his head; that the two
front outsides had escaped with black eyes; the box with a bloody nose; the
coachman with a contusion on the temple; Mr Squeers with a portmanteau bruise
on his back; and the remaining passengers without any injury at all--thanks to the
softness of the snow-drift in which they had been overturned. These facts were
no sooner thoroughly ascertained, than the lady gave several indications of
fainting, but being forewarned that if she did, she must be carried on some
gentleman's shoulders to the nearest public-house, she prudently thought better
of it, and walked back with the rest.
They found on reaching it, that it was a lonely place with no very great
accommodation in the way of apartments--that portion of its resources being all
comprised in one public room with a sanded floor, and a chair or two. However, a
large faggot and a plentiful supply of coals being heaped upon the fire, the
appearance of things was not long in mending; and, by the time they had washed