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No Thoroughfare - Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens

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NO THOROUGHFARE

THE OVERTURE



Day of the month and year, November the thirtieth, one thousand
eight hundred and thirty-five.  London Time by the great clock of
Saint Paul's, ten at night.  All the lesser London churches strain
their metallic throats.  Some, flippantly begin before the heavy
bell of the great cathedral; some, tardily begin three, four, half a
dozen, strokes behind it; all are in sufficiently near accord, to
leave a resonance in the air, as if the winged father who devours
his children, had made a sounding sweep with his gigantic scythe in
flying over the city.

What is this clock lower than most of the rest, and nearer to the
ear, that lags so far behind to-night as to strike into the
vibration alone?  This is the clock of the Hospital for Foundling
Children.  Time was, when the Foundlings were received without
question in a cradle at the gate.  Time is, when inquiries are made
respecting them, and they are taken as by favour from the mothers
who relinquish all natural knowledge of them and claim to them for
evermore.

The moon is at the full, and the night is fair with light clouds.
The day has been otherwise than fair, for slush and mud, thickened
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