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Breakfast: no table d'hôte-each by himself, and the bill according to the number of eatables ordered; good coffee never to be had in England at an inn, or hotel, scarcely anywhere; tea bad enough, as served at the inns. A traveller in England must resign himself never to have good tea or coffee; of the two, tea is most tolerable. The reasons are, first, in the villanies of the trade; next, so far as coffee is concerned, being afraid to use enough of it; and lastly, the want of skill. The bill being settled, the waiter, chambermaid, and boots “remembered," the traveller may be dismissed ;--the porter, of course, to be remembered, according to his trouble, it being understood that the minimum price for his services, if the coach goes from the door of the traveller's hotel, is sixpence. There is always, besides, a hangeron at an English coach, the name of whose office I have never yet learned, and through whose hands every article of luggage must pass; at least he must contrive to lay his hands upon it, in order to assert his claim. If the traveller has only an umbrella or a walking-stick, he must let him take that, and pass it back again; or if he has nothing at all, not even a great-coat, the claimant will notwithstanding appear before him, touching his hat for a threepence, you please.” It is his right, whether he actually performs a service or not, being always in attendance for that purpose.
At 9 o'clock left Birmingham for London ;-coach more than full, crowned high aloft with luggage, a quantity lashed behind, and not a little stowed away in a suspension-car under the coach, and swinging three or four inches above the ground-an invention provided for this purpose when required, and which, from the smoothness of the road, is never in danger of brushing the surface; attended by a guard with a red coat, the king's livery. Anybody may put on the king's livery, without being called in question. He may affect to be king himself.
The guard of a common coach is so called merely because he occupies the same place as the guard of the royal mail. He never carries any arms, either by day or night; there is no occasion for it in the present state of England. He is simply the servant of the coach, to wait upon passengers, to take charge of the luggage, to render every necessary assistance to the coachman, to be intrusted with errands, &c. &c. He is properly the footman of the establishment; but between such places as London and Birmingham it is a laborious and responsible office. He of course goes through, -up one day and down the next; and business, men at both extremities, and along at different stages of the line, find it convenient to intrust him with matters more or less important, besides the little errands which he has committed to him from a multitude of hands. He is ordinarily the busiest and most active being imaginable. I have supposed that the perquisites of that place, in one of the daily coaches between London and Birmingham-reckoning what he gets from passengers, and what from the discharge of his various trusts—would range from one guinea and a half to two guineas a day—more likely, I should think, two-or ten dollars. A part of this, of course, goes to his master, the proprietor of the coach, according as they can agree between themselves. If he wears the king's livery-scarlet-it is not as the king's servant, for the king has nothing to do with it, but only as a more obvious mark of his place in a crowd, and to all those who may wish to have any thing to do with him. The coachman, where the business is sufficient to employ a guard, is quite the gentleman. It is beneath his dignity to put his hand to any thing, except the reins and whip. His professional name is—The Whip.
The coach competition between London and Birmingham is so great, as to occasion the greatest activity and despatch, and the horses are ordinarily pushed through, 109 miles, in eleven hours-sometimes in ten. The average speed, while actually on the road, is about ten miles.
It was just night .coming on as we drove into London, The delay at the Peacock, Islington, where coaches on this route begin and end the measure of their time-being in no hurry before they start from this point, or after they arrive at it-made it quite night by the time we plunged into the heart of the town. It was at this place where, by the virtue of hints, I received some lessons as to the duties of the passenger who takes a seat on the box with the coachman. In the first place, whenever the coachman takes it into his head (which is not very unfrequent) that there is not enough in his head, and jumps down to get a little more, he passes the reins and whip into the hands of the passenger by his side, without betraying any symptom that he is to be obliged by the service; and when he resumes his place, he is supposed to be so absorbed and intent on his task, as to forget to acknowledge the favour. The truth is, the box is considered a privileged place, and he who presumes to take it must also assume the responsibility of doing the duties of the coachman when the coachman is not there; and this is not very formidable, as the horses are not only well trained, but a man is always ready at every stopping-place to stand by their heads. The most difficult part is to take, and hold, and deliver the reins and whip in proper style. In this business I happened to be uneducated, which did not fail to be made manifest to our second coachman from Birmingham, before we arrived in London. He himself had quite enough in his head, when he took the reins some forty miles back; or rather, was excused from taking charge of them at first, and tumbled on the top of the coach
to preside over the doings of his proxy for the time being, till he could see well enough to take the place himself. I supposed he was a passenger, and was not a little vexed at his presuming to meddle so much in giving advice to the hands that guided the reins before he took them. The technicalities he employed in the course and continuance of his lecture were to me perfectly unintelligible; but it was evident he was an adept in the science; and awake, drunk, or asleep, his skill and address in the art, as was afterward proved, were consummate. I would give a little to know his history. I partly suspected he had once been used to a better condition, but made content to take up with this; for his speech and manners were evidently those of a higher order of society. I never should have dreamed of his belonging to the establishment, except that, in going to Birmingham some nine months afterward, in the same coach, I found myself, on leaving London, on the box by the side of the same coachman, attended by the same guard. In the last instance he was all that could be wished of any man in that place, demonstrating the same superiority of breeding. I should not think that such a state of excitement as I first found him in was common with him.
To my no small uneasiness, about twenty miles before we arrived in London, he took the reins. He assumed them, by authority, because his proxy did not put up the horses to his satisfaction; and for some parts of the remaining distance we came in a genuine railroad style, and I was not a little apprehensive of a railroad disaster. So it happened, however, we arrived safe. The skill of his hand was demonstrated in a manner truly astonishing. In the neighbourhood of London, on so great a thoroughfare, at that hour of the day, the road is lined with coaches, carriages, and vehicles of various sorts, of pleasure or of burden; and to dash through them and by them at such a furious rateto run a turnpike, when others are stopping to pay the toll, guiding horses as quick to spring as dogs and cats, and all safe-seems like a miracle of the art.
But to the matter of my training.--We stopped a long time at the Peacock, as nearly all the passengers and their luggage were set down at that place; and being on the box, it became my duty to hold the reins and whip. Having before given sufficient proof of my awkwardness in these functions, and the coachman being in a mood easily tempted to make mischief, just reviving and coming to himself from an agreeable delirium, I verily believe he detained the coach fifteen or twenty minutes longer than was necessary, to make a public example of his new pupil, in that notable concentration of the multitude of idlers. He came and went times not a few, at each visitation adjusting the reins and whip in my hands, and giving a lesson, or sending up a
hint, as he stood below on the pavement all in a manner not to be complained of, and very courteous.
By this time the lamps lighted the town, and we drove down through St. John's-street into Smithfield, when, lo! the full blaze and the dense crowds of Bartholomew Fair opened upon us, with all the din of its music, dancing, jugglery, and its wild and boisterous mirth. The horses pricked up their ears, and were as unwilling to advance against these strange and menacing sights, and this deafening uproar, as the crowds were to open and let us pass. With much ado, however, our fearless and adroit coachman urged his way at the peril of being mobbed, and penetrated the entire mass from one side to the other, passing through and running down a lane into Skinner-street, where, directly at the foot of the tower of St. Sepulchre, we entered a narrow passage, and were dropped at the Saracen's Head.
The names of inns in England are sometimes very amusing. For example: Swan with Two Necks. Bull and Mouth, one of the largest in London, opposite the General Postoffice. There has been a great deal of learned commentary exhausted, without avail, to settle the origin of this
The sign is a most frightful mouth, as of a nondescript monster, and a bull of a somewhat natural shape. At Birmingham you have the Hen and Chickens, a firstrate hotel, where, it is reasonably presumed, may be had a bit of fowl and eggs. What connexion a Pig and Whistle may have had with each other to entitle the use of this name for an inn, history doth not aver. The Old Red Heifer is no otherwise monstrous than being a little paradoxical. Crab and Lobster are at least homogeneous, and promise a good dinner to those who are fond of fish. A Bag of Nails is not particularly sublime, on account of its tendency to descend by the force of gravitation. A Ship and Shovel was doubtless intended to show the connexion between agriculture and commerce. Bolt-in-Tun has baffled all attempts of the learned to expound; and millions, who, in the course of time, have started from or lighted down at that sign in Fleet-street, London, have probably been puzzled with this question. Labour in Vain is intelligible enough on the face of it, and many a poor man has felt what it is; but the meaning, in such a case, is not so obvious. Three Foxes may sound agreeably to the sportsmen of England, who are sufficiently happy if they can start one from a cover. Four Awls was probably first set up by a cobbler, who wished to preserve in memory the tools by which he had procured a capital to rise in the world. A Pickled Egg is a rarity. A Hog in the Pound is very fit, if he had been let go by the owner to injure a neighbour's garden; but a Hog in Armour is by no means an ordinary sight, and would be likely to at
WARREN'S BLACKING-MORRISON'S PILLS.
tract crowds. The Bear and Ragged Staff might perhaps be improved, since a pattern more civilized
has been set up in the Zoological Gardens, Regent's Park. The origin of Cock and Bottle must doubtless remain a subject of deep study; but the Cat and Boot belongs to the present generation, and points directly to Warren's Blacking, 30, Strand ; or, perhaps, Day & Martin would assert a claim to the honour of such notoriety. In the advertising columns of the London journals and periodicals may always be seen a cat bristling, or a cock fighting, at his own shadow, or some other invention of the kind, as reflected from a boot polished by Warren's blacking.
Besides employing men to paint “ Warren's Blacking, 30, Strand,” in letters from six to eighteen inches long, on the brick walls along the public roads in approaching London, so that the passenger can hardly ever get out of the sight, as he goes into or out of the metropolis, even for many miles distance, Warren employs, uninterruptedly, nearly every paper and periodical of London, and extensively over the empire, with various other modes, to exhibit his name and stand; and also a poet, of the cleverest abilities, who does nothing else (except such exercises as may improve this faculty), but to vary his metre and modes of illustration, in singing the praises of Warren's Blacking. It may be seen on the walls all over the kingdom; and a traveller narrates, that the first thing that attracted his attention when he entered Rome, as when one enters London, was the same inscription, displayed in the usual style on the walls“Warren's Blacking, 30, Strand.” It did not add, “ London"
- for that was as unnecessary as for Napoleon to hail from the “ Tuileries, Paris.” Warren has a retired and not very extravagant mansion at Hemdon, ten miles from London; keeps his carriage; goes in it to London in the morning, puts on his apron, and works all day in his shop; and returns in his carriage in the evening. I have seen it stated, that £250,000, or $1,200,000, are annually expended in London for advertising the single article of blacking.
The celebrated empiric Dr. Morrison pays to Government upwards of £7,000 ($33,600) a year, in the way of a tax of three halfpence on each pillbox. His boxes are of two sizes: one retails at a shilling, and the other at sixpence. Suppose he sells an equal number of both, which would make the average per box eightpence; allow for tax, materials, and making of the pills, and discount to the trade, fourpence, the net profit to himself would then be £37,666, or $180,796, annually! The professional practice of Mr. Brodie, Savillestreet, sergeant surgeon to the king, has been stated to me, by credible authority, to be worth £15,000, or $42,000, a year. In reputation as a surgeon, Mr. Brodie is second