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The Reluctant Widow

The Reluctant Widow


Description : The Reluctant Widow
It was dusk when the London to Little Hampton stagecoach lurched into the village of Billingshurst, and a cold mist was beginning to creep knee-high over the dimly seen countryside. The coach drew up at an inn, and the steps were let down to enable a passenger to alight. A lady, soberly dressed in a drab-colored pelisse and a round bonnet without a feather, descended onto the road. While she waited for a corded trunk and a valise to be extricated from the boot, the coachman, finding himself to be some minutes ahead of his time sheet, hitched up his reins, clambered down from the box, and in defiance of the regulations governing the conduct of stage coachmen, rolled into the taproom in search of such stimulant as would enable him to aplish the remainder of the journey without endangering an apparently enfeebled constitution.

The passenger, meanwhile, stood in the roadway with her trunk at her feet, and looked about her in a little uncertainty. She was expecting to be met, but as her experience had taught her that the gig was moremonly employed for the purpose of picking up the new governess than the carriage used by her employers, she hesitated to approach the only conveyance she could perceive, which was a light traveling coach, drawn up on the opposite side of the road. While she stood looking about her, however, a servant jumped down from the box and came up to her, touching his hat and inquiring whether she would be the young lady who hade down from London in answer to the advertisement. Upon her enting, he made her a little bow, picked up the valise, and led the way across the road to the traveling coach. She stepped up into...
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