So into a carriage we got; in came Madame’s box and my bag; Madame stood at the door, and, I think, frightened away intending passengers, by her size and shrillness.
At last the bell rang her into her place, the door clapt, the whistle sounded, and we were off.
I had passed a miserable night, and, indeed, for many nights had not had my due proportion of sleep. Still I sometimes fancy that I may have swallowed something in my tea that helped to make me so irresistibly drowsy. It was a very dark night—no moon, and the stars soon hid by the gathering clouds. Madame sat silent, and ruminating in her place, with her rugs about her. I, in my corner similarly enveloped, tried to keep awake. Madame plainly thought I was asleep already, for she stole a leather flask from her pocket, and applied it to her lips, causing an aroma of brandy.
But it was vain struggling against the influence that was stealing over me, and I was soon in a profound and dreamless slumber.
Madame awoke me at last, in a huge fuss. She had got out all our things and hurried them away to a close carriage which was awaiting us. It was still dark and starless. We got along the platform, I half asleep, the porter carrying our rugs, by the glare of a pair of gas-jets in the wall, and out by a small door at the end.
I remember that Madame, contrary to her wont, gave the man some money. By the puzzling light of the carriage-lamps we got in and took our seats.
‘Go on,’ screamed Madame, and drew up the window with a great chuck; and we were enclosed in darkness and silence, the most favourable conditions for thought.
My sleep had not restored me as it might; I felt feverish, fatigued, and still very drowsy, though unable to sleep as I had done.
I dozed by fits and starts, and lay awake, or half-awake, sometimes, not thinking but in a way imagining what kind of a place Dover would be; but too tired and listless to ask Madame any questions, and merely seeing the hedges, grey in the lamplight, glide backward into darkness, as I leaned back.
We turned off the main road, at right angles, and drew up.
‘Get down and poosh it, it is open,’ screamed Madame from the window.
A gate, I suppose, was thus passed; for when we resumed our brisk trot, Madame bawled across the carriage—
’We are now in the ‘otel grounds.’
And so all again was darkness and silence, and I fell into another doze, from which, on waking, I found that we had come to a standstill, and Madame was standing on the low step of an open door, paying the driver. She, herself, pulled her box and the bag in. I was too tired to care what had become of the rest of our luggage.
I descended, glancing to the right and left, but there was nothing visible but a patch of light from the lamps on a paved ground and on the wall.