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old gentleman, whose very slovenliness is pathetic. Thou shalt be made gay, as he is over a younger and richer table, and thou shalt be still more touching for the gaiety.
We wish the hackney-coachman were as interesting a machine as either his coach or horses ; but it must be owned, that of all the driving species, he is the least agreeable specimen. This is partly to be attributed to the life which has most probably put him into his situation ; partly to his want of outside passengers to cultivate his gentility; and partly to the disputable nature of his fare, which always leads him to be lying and cheating. The waterman of the stand, who beats him if possible in sordidness of appearance, is more respectable. He is less of a vagabond, and cannot cheat you. Nor is the hackney-coachman only disagreeable in himself, but, like Falstaff reversed, the cause of disagreeableness in others; for he sets people upon disputing with him in pettiness and ill-temper. He induces the mercenary to be violent, and the violent to seem mercenary. A man whom you took for a pleasant laughing fellow, shall all of a sudden put on an irritable look of calculation, and vow that he will be charged with a constable rather than pay the sixpence. Even fair woman shall waive her all-conquering softness, and sound a shrill trumpet in reprobation of the extortionate chariotcer, who, if she were a man, she says, she would expose. Being a woman, then, let her not expose herself. Oh, but it is intolerable to be so imposed upon! Let the lady then get a pocket-book, if she must, with the hackney-coach fares in it; or a pain in the legs, rather than the temper; or, above all, let her get wiser, and have an understanding that can dispense with the good opinion of hackney-coachmen. Does she think that her rosy lips were made to grow pale about two and sixpence ? or that the cut of them will ever be like her cousin Fanny's, if she goes on ?
The stage-coachman likes the boys on the road, because he knows they admire him. The hackney-coachman knows that they cannot admire him, and that they can get up behind his
coach ; which makes him very savage. The cry of “cut behind,” from the malicious urchins on the pavement, wounds at once his self-love and his interest. He would not mind overloading his master's horses for another sixpence; but to do it for nothing is what shocks his humanity. He hates the boy for imposing upon him, and the boys for reminding him that he has been imposed upon ; and he would willingly twinge the cheeks of all nine. The cut of his whip over the coach is very malignant. He has a constant eye to the road behind him. He has also an eye to what may be left in the coach. He will undertake to search the straw for you, and miss the half-crown on purpose. He speculates on what he may get above his fare, according to your manners or company ; and knows how much to ask for driving faster or slower than usual. He does not like wet weather so much as people suppose ; for he says it rots both his horses and harness, and he takes parties out of town when the weather is fine ; which produces good payments in a lump. Lovers, late supper-eaters, and girls going home from boarding-school, are his best pay. He has a rascally air of remonstrance when you dispute half the overcharge ; and, according to the temper he is in, begs you to consider his bread, hopes you will not make such a fuss about a trifle, or tells you you may take his number, or sit in the coach all night.
Lady. There, sir !
Indicator. Oh, pray, madam, don't trouble yourself. Leave the gentleman alone with him. Do you continue to be delightful at a little distance.
A great number of ludicrous adventures must have taken place in which hackney-coaches were concerned. The story of the celebrated harlequin, Lunn, who secretly pitched himself out of one into a tavern window, and when the coachman was about to submit to the loss of his fare, astonished him by calling out again from the inside, is too well known for repetition. There is one of Swift, not perhaps so common. He was going, one dark evening, to dine with some great man, and was accompained with some other clergymen, to whom he gave their cue. They were all in their canonicals. When they arrive at the house, the coachman opens the door, and lets down the steps. Down steps the Dean, very reverendly, in his black robes; after him comes another personage, equally black and dignified; then another ; then a fourth. The coachman, who recollects taking up no greater number, is about to put up the steps, when another clergyman descends. After giving way to this other, he proceeds with great confidence to toss them up, when lo ! another comes. Well; there cannot, he thinks, be well more than six. He is mistaken. Down comes a seventh; then an eighth ; then a ninth, all with decent intervals, the coach in the meantime rocking as if it were giving birth to so many demons. The coachman can conclude no less. He cries out, “The devil ! the devil !” and is preparing to run away, when they all burst into laughter at the success of their joke. They had gone round as they descended, and got in at the other door.
We remember in our boyhood an edifying comment on the proverb of “ All is not gold that glistens.” The spectacle made such an impression upon us, that we recollect the very spot, which was at the corner of a road in the way from Westminster to Kennington, near a stone-mason's. It was a severe winter ; and we were out on a holiday, thinking perhaps of the gallant hardships to which the ancient soldiers used to accustom themselves, when we suddenly beheld a group of hackney-coachmen, not, as Spenser says of his witch,
“ Busy, as seemed, about some wicked gin," but pledging each other in what appeared to us to be little glasses of cold water. What temperance! thought we. What extraordinary and noble content! What more than Roman simplicity! There are a set of poor Englishmen, of the homeliest order, in the very depth of winter, quenching their patient and
honourable thirst with modicums of cold water! O true virtue and courage ! O sight worthy of the Timoleons and Epaminondases ! We know not how long we remained in this error; but the first time we recognised the white devil for what it was,the first time we saw through the crystal purity of its appearance,-was a great blow to us. We did not then know what the drinkers went through ; and this reminds us that we have omitted one great redemption of the hackney-coachman's character,—his being at the mercy of all sorts of chances and weathers. Other drivers have their settled hours and pay. He only is at the mercy of every call and every casualty; he only is dragged, without notice, like the damned in Milton, into the extremities of wet and cold, from his alehouse fire to the freezing rain; he only must go anywhere, at what hour, and to whatever place you choose, his old rheumatic limbs shaking under his weight of rags, and the snow and sleet beating into his puckered face, through streets which the wind scours like a channel.
[Note.—The hero of the Irish "pike" anecdote was Shelley. The real author of the unpublished poem from which a rather long quotation is made was Keats, who wrote it under the assumed name of Miss Lucy Vaughan Lloyd. It was published among the poet's "remains” by Mr Monckton Milnes (now Lord Houghton) in his “Life and Letters of Keats” (1848). The reader must needs have admired in this essay the beautiful passage about the worn-out old hackney-coach horse-one of the finest pieces of pathetic writing in the language.—E. O.]
OF THE SIGHT OF SHOPS.
'HOUGH we are such lovers of the country, we can ad
mire London in some points of view; and among others,
for the entertainment to be derived from its shops. Their variety and brilliancy can hardly fail of attracting the most sluggish attention ; and besides reasons of this kind, we can never look at some of them without thinking of the gallant figure they make in the “Arabian Nights," with their bazaars and bezesteins ; where the most beautiful of unknowns goes shopping in a veil, and the most graceful of drapers is taken blindfold to see her. He gocs, too, smitten at heart to think of the danger of his head ; and finds her seated among her slaves (exquisite themselves, only very inferior), upon which she encourages him to sit near her, and lutes are played ; upon which he sighs, and cannot help looking tenderly ; upon which she claps her hands, and a charming collation is brought in ; upon which they cat, but not much. A dance ensues, and the ocular sympathy is growing tenderer, when an impossible old woman appears, and says that the Sultan is coming. Alas! how often have we been waked up, in the person of the young draper or jeweller, by that ancient objection! How have we received the lady in her veil, through which we saw nothing but her dark eyes and rosy cheeks ! How have we sat cross-legged on cushions, hearing or handling the lute, whose sounds faded away like our enamoured eyes! How often have we not lost our hearts