Tally-ho coach for Leicester'll be round in half an hour, and don't wait for nobody." So spake the boots of the Peacock Inn Islington, at half-past two o'clock on the morning of a day in the early part of November 183-, giving Tom at the same time a shake by the shoulder, and then putting down a candle; and carrying off his shoes to clean.
Tom and his father arrived in town from Berkshire the day before, and finding, on inquiry, that the Birmingham coaches which ran from the city did not pass through Rugby, but deposited their passengers at Dunchurch, a village three miles distant on the main road, where said passengers had to wait for the Oxford and Leicester coach in the evening, or to take a post-chaise, had resolved that Tom should travel down by the Tally-ho, which diverged from the main road and passed through Rugby itself.
Tom and his father had alighted at the Peacock at about seven in the evening; and having heard with unfeigned joy the paternal order, at the bar, of steaks and oyster-sauce for supper in half an hour, and seen his father seated cozily by the bright fire in the coffee-room with the paper in his hand, Tom had run out to see about him, had wondered at all the vehicles passing and repassing, and had fraternized with the boots and hostler, from whom he ascertained that the Tally-ho was a tip-top goer--ten miles an hour including stoppages--and so punctual that all the road set their clocks by her.
And just as he is swallowing his last mouthful, winding his comforter round his throat, and tucking the ends into the breast of his coat, the horn sounds; boots looks in and says, "Tally-ho, sir;" and they hear the ring and the rattle of the four fast trotters and the town-made drag, as it dashes up to the Peacock.
the hostlers let go their heads, the four bays plunge at the collar, and away goes the Tally-ho into the darkness, forty-five seconds from the time they pulled up.
It was another affair altogether, a dark ride on the top of the Tally-ho, I can tell you, in a tight Petersham coat, and your feet dangling six inches from the floor.