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I have burst through the crust of a gravel pit by the roadside, and been deposited in the ditch; I have come down with a crash on the stones through collision with a wagon, when a fellow-passenger was killed on the spot; I have been left in the snow on a moonless night in consequence of the driver nodding on his box; I have come to grief in various ways, as well through the weather or unavoidable accident as by the neglect, the thoughtlessness, and the insobriety of those to whom the public safety was confided. When I recall the casualties by stage coaches, and compare them with those attendant upon railway travelling, I am forced to the conclusion that, looking to the number of travellers by both modes of conveyance, the percentage of the killing and maiming on the turnpike road was ten times the amount of the same disasters on the rail."
In my early youth, of course, great strides had been made in travelling, nevertheless the "good old coaching days" which a generation fortunate enough to escape its discomforts is occasionally apt to glorify, were, except in the finest of weathers, supremely uncomfortable; whilst, though there were famous old inns where excellent fare was to be obtained, the facilities for obtaining good food were often very poor.
Our chief standby on our journeys, I remember, was a box of the famous "Threadneedle-Street Biscuits" which made the fortunes of several generations of biscuit-bakers,-the Lemanns by name-a
very old firm which still exists. The recipe for them, as given in an old book, was as follows: "Mix three ounces of good butter with two pounds of the very best sifted flour, and work into the smallest possible crumbs; then take four ounces of fine, dry, sifted sugar, and make your crumbs into a firm paste with new milk. Beat this with a rolling-pin, roll it out one-third of an inch thick, and cut with a square of lozenge cutter; bake in a very slow oven till the biscuits are crisp to the centre; no part must remain soft. Half a teaspoonful of carbonate of soda will improve them."
The present generation would not, I believe, put up with turnpikes (the last private one, I read, was removed this year-1912), which, besides being a great nuisance, led to extortion on the part of coachmen and others, for it was almost impossible to check what they called "Turnpike Money" in their books.
In the Sixties only did the turnpikes begin to be removed.
In 1865, the turnpike gates on the Surrey and Sussex roads were taken away, and next year those who drove to the Derby did not pull up at Kennington and Sutton, as they had had to do for so many years that "memory of man ran not to the contrary." In consequence of this, there were amusing contests at some of the gates and sidebars around London. Cab-drivers knew that twelve o'clock at night was the time when the new Act of Parliament came into operation, and refused to pay
toll; while, on the other hand, the gatekeepers were desirous of taking the advantage of a few minutes to increase their "takings." The police, however, came to the rescue, and those who had purchased the material of the gates and houses followed, so that in a short time neither keepers, bars, nor gates were to be seen.
In connexion with turnpikes, a curious incident was a legal point raised in the Fifties of the last century, when the Court of Queen's Bench was to decide whether a person driving in one of Her Majesty's carriages is liable to pay toll. In the case in question Mrs. Groves, the wife of Major Groves, was driving through Bathampton, in Somersetshire, in one of the Queen's carriages, driven by the Queen's servants. She refused to pay toll, and the toll-keeper brought his action. It was contended on his part that the toll was personal, and did not depend on the ownership of the carriage. But the Court overruled that pleading, and laid it down that the prerogative of the Crown gave exemption to the carriage whenever used by Her Majesty's permission.
Careless cooking and tough meat were by no means uncommon. A well-known old story indeed used to relate how a party of travellers, taking a meal at a country inn, found the poultry so tough that it was impossible to carve.
One of the guests, after exercising his ingenuity to no effect in trying to dissect an old fowl, at last turned to the waiter, and asked
RAILWAY OR RAILROAD
"Have you any such thing as a powder-flask?" No, sir, we have not; do you want one?" Why, yes. I think the shortest way would be to blow the fellow up."
When there were no railways, and when the steamers were neither frequent in their passages nor punctual in their arrivals, the "Times" had organized its own system of couriers, and for a long time it competed with the "Morning Herald" as to the greatest expedition in the conveyance of the Overland Mail from Marseilles to London. At one time the "Times" had the best of it; on another occasion the couriers of the "Times" were beaten by the couriers of the "Herald." The agents of the papers sowed their money broadcast on the route between Marseilles and Calais; they outwitted one another in retaining all the post-horses, until these expensive manoeuvres were finally rendered unnecessary by the railway service and the submarine telegraph. Owing to this, extraordinary stories were current on the Continent, where it was generally believed that the "Times" had its score or so of special trains steaming away on all the railroads of England from year's end to year's end.
'Railway," it is curious to remember, is a purely English word, whereas "railroad" is not, being an importation from America.
"Tramway" is also purely English; the origin of this word is odd. I suspect that very few people now alive know that it was taken from part of the
name of the founder of the great Butterley Ironworks -Sir James Outram's father. Mr. Outram was a man of great ability, energetic, self-reliant, of fertile and ready resource, so much so that his opinion was deferred to by many of the most eminent engineers of the day, such as Sir John Rennie and Thomas Telford. He was the first, in connexion with these works, to lay down an iron way, and it is to this circumstance, and from his name, that we have the term "tramway."
birth-was the starting year in the development of the England of our day, and it may emphatically be asserted that the new order of things commenced with that first instalment of the modern railway system-the line between Stockton and Darlington.
The spread of railways after this first line had been laid down was extraordinarily rapid; very soon navvies were at work all over England. They penetrated into the east and the west, spread themselves over the south, and covered the midland counties with a network of iron. This then extended into Scotland, crossed over to Ireland, and before a decade had passed railways had become institutions in France, Germany, and the United States of America.
Early railway travelling, though an improvement upon the slow progress of the road, "was none too comfortable,"-third-class passengers were treated like cattle. Many of the newly-appointed officials were