« PreviousContinue »
dies is particular. He touches his hat to Mr. Smith.' He gives the young woman" a ride; and lends her his box-coat 'in the rain. His liberality in imparting his knowledge to any one that has the good fortune to ride on the box with him, is a happy mixture of deference, conscious possession, and familiarity. His information chiefly lies in the occupancy of houses on the road, prize-fighters, Bow-street runners, and accidents. He concludes that, you know Dick Sams, or Old Joey ; and proceeds to relate some of the stories that relish his pot and tobacco in the evening. If any of the four-in-hand gentry go by, he shakes his head, and thinks they might find something better to do. His contempt for them is founded on modesty. He tells you that his off-hand horse is as pretty a goer as ever was, but that Kitty"Yeah now there, Kitty-can't you be still?-Kitty's a devil, Sir,-for all you would'nt think it.” He knows the boys on the road admire him, and gives the horses an indifferent lash with his whip as they go by.
you wish to know what rain and dust can do, you should look at his oid hat. There is an indescribably placid and paternal look in the position of his corderoy knees and old top boots on the footboard, with their pointed toes, and never-cleaned soles. His beau ideal of appearance, is a frock coat with mother-o'-pearl buttons, a striped yellow waistcoat, and a flower in his mouth.
But all our praises why for Charles and Robert ?
Rise, honest Mews, and sing the classic Bobart. Is the quadrijugal virtue of that learned person still extant ? That Olympic and Baccalaureated charioteer? That best-educated and most erudite of coachmen, of whom Dominie Sampson is alone worthy to speak ? - That singular punning and driving commentary on the Sunt quos curriculo collegisse, -in short, the worthy and agreeable Mr. Bobart, Bachelor of Arts, who drove the Oxford stage some years ago, capped verses and the front of his hat with equal dexterity, and read Horace over his brandy and, water of an evening? We once had the pleasure of being beaten by him in that capital art, he having brought up against us an unusual number of those cross-armed letters, as puzzling to verse-cappers as iron-cats unto cavalry, ycleped X's; which said warfare he was pleased to call to mind in after-times, unto divers of our comrades. The modest and natural.greatness with which he used to say Yait to his hörses, and then turn round with his' rosy gills, and an eye like a tish, and give out the required verse, can never pass away from us, as long as verses os horses run.
Of the Hackney-coach we cannot make as short work, as many persons like to make of it in reality. Perhaps indeed it is partly a sense of the contempt it undergoes, which induces us to endeavour to make the best of it. But it has its merits, as we shall shew presently. In. the account of its demerits, we have been anticipated by a new, and we are sorry to say a very good poetess, of the name of Lucy V. I-, who has favoured us with a sight of a manuscript poem, in which they are related with great nicety and sensitiveness. : Reaper. What, Sir, sorry to say that a lady is a good poetess?
INDICATOR. Only inasmuch, Madam, as the lady gives such nuthority to the antisocial view of this subject, and will not agree with us
as to the beatitude of the Hackney-coach.Bet hold :-upon turning to the Manuscript egnin, we find that the objections are put into the inouth of a Dandy Courtier. This makes a great difference. The Hackney resumes all which it had lost in the good graces of the fair authoress. The only wonder is, how the Courtier could talk so well. Here is the passage.
Eban, untempted by the Pastry-Cooks,
Just as he made his vow, it'gan to rain,
"I'll pull the string," said he, and further said,
Who prov’st, with jolting arguments and bitter,
• Thou inconvenience! thou hungry crop
Of dowdies, for some dance or party drest,
By thy ungallant bearing and sad mien,
To wbisking Tilburies, or Phaetons rare,
Philosophising thus, he pulld the check,
Louted full low, and hoursely did him greet. The tact here is so nice, of all the infirmities which are but too likely to beset our poor old friend, that we should only spoil it to say moje. To pass
then to the merits. [We are sorry we must break off here for want of room.]
Printed and published by JOSEPH APPLEYARD, No. 19, Catherine-street, Strand.
Price 2d. And sold also by A. GLIDDON, Importer of Snuffs, No. 31, Tavistockstreet, Covent-garden. Orders received at the above places, and by all Books sellers and Nowsmeña
There he arriving round about doth fie, ,
No. XLVII. WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 30th, 1820.
COACHES AND THEIR HORSES.
(CONCLUDED FROY LAST WEEK.)
One of the greatest helps to a sense of merit in other things, is a consciousness of one's own wants. Do you despise a Hackney-Coach? Get tired; get old; get young again. Lay down your own carriage, or make it less uneasily too easy. Have to stand up half an hour, out of a storm, under a gateway. Be ill, and wish to visit a friend who is worse. Fall in love, and want to sit next your mistress. Or if all this will not do, fall in a cellár.
Ben Jonson in a fit of indignation at the niggardliness of James the First, exclaimed, “ He despises me, I suppose, because I live in an alley :- tell him, his soul lives in an alley.” We think we see a hackney-coach moved out of its ordinary patience, and hear it say, “You there, who sit looking so scornfully at me out of your carriage, you are yourself the thing you take me for. Your understanding is a hackney-coach. It is lumbering, rickety, and at a stand. When it moves, it is drawn by things like itself. It is at once the most sta. tionary and the most servile of commod-places. And when a good thing is put into it, it does not know it."
But it is difficult to imagine a hackney-coach under so irritable gn aspect. It is Hogarth, we think, who has drawn a set of hats or wigs with countenances of their own. We have noticed the same thing in the faces of houses; and it sometimes gets in one's way in a landscape painting, with the outlines of the massy trees. A friend tells us, thật the hackney-coach has its countenance, with gesticulation besides : and now he has pointed it out, we can easily fancy it. Some of them look chucked under the chin, some nodding, some coming at you sideways. We shall never find it easy however to fancy the irritable aspect above-mentioned. A hackney-coach always appeared to us the most quiescent of moveables. Its horses and it, slumbering on a
stand, are an emblem of all the patience in creation, animate and inanimate. The submission with which the coach takes every variety of the weather, dust, rain, and wind, never moving but when some eddying blast makes its old body seem to shiver, is only surpassed by the vital patience of the horses. Can any thing better illustrate the poet's line about
-Years that bring the philosophic mind,than the still-hung head, the dim indifferent eye, the dragged and blunt-cornered mouth, and the gauut imbecility of body dropping its weight on three tired legs in order to give repose to the lame one ? When it has blinkers on, they seem to be shutting up its eyes for death, like the windows of a house. Fatigue and the habit of suffering have become as natural to the creature, as the bit to its mouth. Once. in half an hour it moves' the position of its leg or shakes its drooping old ears, The whip makes it go, more from habit than from pain. Its coat has become almost callous to minor stings. The blind and staggering fly in autumn might come to die against its cheek.
Of a pair of hackney-coach horses, one so much resembles the other, that it seems unnecessary for them to compare notes. They have that within which is beyond the comparative. They no longer bend their heads towards each other, as they go. They stand together as if unconscious of one another's company, but they are not. An old horse misses his companion like an old man. The presence of an associate, who has gone through pain and suffering with us, need not say any *thing. It is talk, and memory, and every thing. Something of this it may be to our old friends in harness. What are they thinking of, while they stand motionless in the rain ? Do they remember? they dream? Do they still, unperplexed as their old blood is by too 'many foods, receive a pleasure from the elements ; a dull refreshment 'from the air and sun ? Have they yet a palate for the hay 'which they pullsö feebly? or for the rarer grain, which induces them to perform their only voluntary gesture of any vivacity, and toss up the bags that are fastened on their mouths, to get'at its shallow feast? 19.si
If the old horse were gifted with memory, (and who shall say he is * not, in one thing as well as another ?) it might be at once the most melancholy and pleasantest feeling he has ; for the commonest hack has I very likely been a hunter or racer; has had his days of lustre and en
joyment; has darted along the course, and scoured the pasture; hås ricarried his master proudly, or his lady gently ; thas-pranced, has gal
loped, has neighed aloud, has dared, has forded, has spurned. at masAtery, has graced it and made it proud, has rejoiced the eye, has been - crowded to as an actor, has been alt instinct with life and quickness, J has had its very fear admired as courage, and been sat opon by valour : as its chosen seat.
His ears up prick'd ; big braided hanging mane Sisi
Upon his compassed crest now stands on end;
His vostrila drink'ike air; and forili again, oiltat
As from a furnace, vapours doth he send ;'
His eye, which scornfully glistens like fire,
Sometimes lie trots as if he told the steps, 7 Willy gentle majesty, and modest pride;
Anon he rears upright, cursets, and leaps,
And thus I do 1o captivate the eye
Of the fair breeder ihat is standing by.
He sees his love, and nothing else he sees,
For nothing else with his proud siglit agrees.
In shape, in courage, colour, pace, and bone.
Look what a horse should have, he did not lack,
Suve a proud rider on so proud a bach. Alas! his only riders now are the rain and and a sordid harness! The least utterance of the wretchedest voice makes him stop and become a fixture. His loves were in existence at 'the time, the old sign, fifty miles hence, was first painted. His nostrils drink nothing " but what they cannot help,—the water out of an old tub.. Not all the hounds in the world could make his ears attain any eminence. His mane is scratchy and lar: his shape an anatomy: his name a mockery. The same great poet who wrote the triumphal verses for him and his lores, has written their living epitaph :
The poor jades :
k, Henry 5th, Act 4. There is a song called the High-mettled Racer, describing the pros gress of a favourite horse's life, from its time of vigoar and glory, down! to its furnishing food for the dogs. It is not as good as Shakspeare; but it will do, to those who are half as kind as he. We defy any body to read that song, or be in the habit of 'singing it or hearing it sung, and treat horses as they are sometimes treated. So nuch good may! an author do, who is in earnest, and does not go a' pedantic way to work. We will not say that Plutarch’s good-natured observation about taking care of one's old horse, did more for that class of retired servants than all the graver lessons of philosophy. For it is philosophy which 'first sets people thinking; and then some of them put it' in a more popular shape. But we will venture to say, , that Plutarch's observation saved many a steed of antiquity a superfluous thump, and in this respect; the author of the Iligh-mettled Racer (Mr: Dibdint, wéi