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72 SUAVITER IN MODO, FORTITER IN RE. ticular point perhaps excel, while in another they fall short: but, taking them all in all, it would be very difficult if not impossible, and certainly invidious, to give the preference to any one among the truly excellent. One coachman will hustle along a heavy lazy team that another equally good can scarcely keep his time with: but give a team of regular larking fly-away devils to the latter, he will keep them together, in temper and pace, better than the former, who would perhaps be too rude with them. He could drive all sorts; so they both could, but neither of them all sorts equally well. So in riding, one man excels on a light-mouthed nervous fidgety horse; he will coax him across country and prevent his taking too much out of himself. This can only be done by sitting quite still on him, baving fine delicate hands, patience, and temper that nothing can disturb. Another shines on a violent restive determined horse: here a man must have a seat firm as a Centaur, arms and shoulders of cast-iron, and resolution and courage that nothing can daunt. He must also keep his temper, or, what is bad to begin with, he will render quite unmanageable before his business is done. Temper is also a sine qua non in a coachman: it is even more necessary than in a horseman, for the sake of others. An irritated horse bolts off with his rider, or throws him, or both; he alone pays the penalty of his fault : but an irritated horse in harness, particularly in light private carriages, is perfectly awful. We may and can manage him as wheeler to a coach; the weight and his companions will hold him : but in a light carriage, let me tell very young coachmen who may think they are in little danger, that no man living can hold two horses determined to run away; and as to four all in the same mind, they are no
“ IT IS AN HONOUR THAT I DREAMT NOT OF.” 73 more to be held than a locomotive engine, for which reason we should never get their steam up too high.
Having got thus far in the Observations on Driving, I must now do what I ought to have done at the commencement; that is, show my motive for commencing at all: I have sometimes indulged in the habit of snatching up my pen, scribbling a few sheets of paper, and then beginning to make choice of a subject to write upon. I have not, however, in this instance been quite as remiss as I often am, for I really had a fixed motive in commencing my first line. It was neither more nor less than this —I consider a regular treatise on driving, in its general sense of the word, would be a work of great utility; and all I intend or hope to do by the few pages I propose to write on the subject is to show that driving is not quite comprehended in sitting behind a horse, or given number of horses, with the reins in the driver's hand, and trusting to Providence and good luck for getting along in safety by so doing. My hope is to induce some competent person to publish a work of the description to which I allude. I do not mean a mere- theoretical author, but one who, from practice and experience, is acquainted with all the minutiæ of the business that constitutes the finished coachman. I have been generally accounted in my own person a very tolerable waggoner; but I am deterred from attempting a work of the kind myself, from having just sense enough to be aware that if I could drive four horses about four times as well as I can, I could point out many others who would then be four times as good coachren as myself, though I have handled some very rum ones in private and public carriages, have met with my accidents
“ KNOW THYSELF."
If a man from inclination or circumstances is des-
A REAL DEVIL, A REAL COACHMAN. 75 and well, but he will not nor cannot drive every thing equally well. If the once-celebrated Dick Vaughan, better known as “ Hell-fire Dick,” could rise from his tomb, though he was generally accommodated with teams that no one but himself would drive, made up of as great devils in their way as poor Dick was in his, he could no more get the Duchess of Buccleuch's carriage up to the Opera-door on a crowded night as Her Grace's coachman can than he could fly; and give the other four of Dick's queer ones to handle, he would very soon, as Dick would say, “ begin to look nine ways for Sunday.” There can be no doubt but the stage-coachman requires, and fortunately acquires, generally speaking, more diversified knowledge in coachmanship than any other votary of the whip in existence, particularly if driving sixty or seventy miles across a country. Here he will have perhaps nine or ten teams to drive, to learn and manage the tempers of from forty to fifty different horses, independent of as many changes of those horses as lameness, illness, accidents, and various other circumstances may from time to time render necessary, and how to get over all sorts of ground, with the greatest advantage as to time, the ease of his horses, and the safety of his passengers-clearly showing that driving the same vehicle, I mean here a coach, in different situations and under different circumstances, requires quite different management. I will instance a fact that came under my immediate observation.
A coachman, whom I will not name further than by saying that he was considered a capital whip(and so he was in the situation he had held for many years) — drove from a country-place to Holborn, twenty-two miles, and back in the evening, over a
“ LEAVE WELL ALONE.”
perfectly flat road, and his time was three hours and a quarter. He was well horsed, and his stock, as they well might be, fat as pigs. He had driven several of them for many years, and so he might at the pace: in fact, unless they died from their age or fat, they had nothing else to kill them. He was removed from this road to another to drive an oppo sition, and here the case was widely different, and bad was the judgment that changed his situation. He had now to drive light horses over fifty miles of diversified country, great part of it hilly, the time specified by both coaches being ten miles and a half an hour including stoppages. What was the consequence ? In a few weeks, his stock, that he took to in fine condition, were torn to pieces; he was out of his place, in a hunting phrase out of his line of country ; was no judge of pace; was himself and had his horses all abroad, and was forced to be put back on his old coach, where his horses, which had during this time been driven by quite a young hand, were very glad to see him: so were his passengers, his horse-keepers, his neighbours, and every one on the road, for a more superior well-conducted man never lived: he was a man of that cast of mind and manners that falls to the lot of few men in his situation.
Nothing can certainly be prettier than to see a coach going over Smitham Bottom, or any other similar piece of choice ground, at the rate of fifteen miles an hour, with four nearly thorough-bred horses, careering along and playing with each other, all above their work, before a pet coach, the coachman with a cigar in his mouth and nothing to do but to hold them. Some beautiful specimens of coachhorses and coachmanship have been seen along that