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Then inns every few yards, post-houses every five minutes... and my travellers!

The Amtmand, by letter to all the authorities, likewise requires the tariff to be hung conspicuously in all the inns; which tariff, says the law, "is altered according to the rise and fall of provisions."

As for Inns, there are none in the country; Hotels abound as well furnished as Mulholliganville; but again there are no such people as landlords and land-ladies; the landlord is out with the hounds, and my lady in the parlour talking with the Captain or playing the piano.

They had provided against part of the evil to be encountered from a want of convenient inns, by carrying a stock of provisions in the carriage, so that they might take refreshment on any pleasant spot, in the open air, and pass the nights wherever they should happen to meet with a comfortable cottage.

They look exactly as they did a hundred years ago, "when the Cossacks were here," as they say in the country. Some of the inns have still kept their old-fashioned signs and names. There are quantities of big white oxen, cows, and horses in the fields, but the roads are solitary. One never meets anything except on market day.

Salt was everywhere, much more like coal than salt, certainly as black. The blocks were stacked up by the sides of inns ready for transport, carried on the backs of a multitude of poor wretches who work like oxen from dawn to dusk for the merest pittance, on the backs of droves and droves of ponies, scrambling and spluttering along over the slippery once-paved streets.

I have travelled all over Ireland, closely as few other men can have done, and have never had my portmanteau robbed or my pocket picked. At hotels I have seldom locked up my belongings, and my carelessness has never been punished. I doubt whether as much can be said for English inns. Irish novels were once popular enough.

For the accommodation in Japanese inns is of a distressingly communistic character at best, and although at present there were few patients in the place, the germs were presumably still there on the lookout for a victim. Immediate comfort, however, getting the better of problematical risk, I went in.

It was in the yard of one of these inns of no less celebrated a one than the White Hart that a man was busily employed in brushing the dirt off a pair of boots, early on the morning succeeding the events narrated in the last chapter. He was habited in a coarse, striped waistcoat, with black calico sleeves, and blue glass buttons; drab breeches and leggings.

Three days of this awful monotony, varied only by the halts at wayside inns, the changing of troops at one of the guard-houses on the way, the reiterated commands given to the fresh squad before starting on the next lap of this strange, momentous way; and all the while, audible above the clatter of horses' hoofs, the rumbling of coach-wheels two closed carriages, each drawn by a pair of sturdy horses; which were changed at every halt.