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CHACUN A SON TOUR.
to eleven miles an hour according to the variation of ground. Still there may be situations and circumstances arise that even with this light weight may render it judicious to make a further variation in our mode of getting over the ground, which I will specify in the proper place.
We now turn to the four-wheeled machine or crueltyvan: this, to carry four persons (happy horse if he does not get six, if six can sit in it) and proportionate luggage, is about as follows: 500 lb. the machine or carriage; 656 lb. the four persons; 20 lb. luggage each, 80 lb. ; 1236 lb. the lot. This we must allow is less than the proportion of weight that often, nay generally, falls to the lot of the coach-horse to draw ; but we must not by this consider the berth of the fourwheel horse as a comparatively easy one, for four horses will draw a load of three tons, which is 15 cwt. each, with more ease than a single horse can his 12361b.; and for this very simple reason, that three horses can for a time take the coach along; so the fact is, each horse is not at every moment drawing his 15 cwt. During a stage, each horse feels himself at some one part of it a little more distressed than his neighbours; consequently, as they can do the work for a few hundred yards, he can, by going a little loose in his traces for that distance, recover himself: he then turns to to work again, and another indulges himself in his turn: thus they all get a little occasional respite; and, as I remarked in speaking of hunters, two minutes' ease is an age to a horse in distress. Here the coachman as well as the horseman shows himself, by judging whether the horse slackens from laziness or distress: if in the latter case he was to lay the whip in, he would sew him up in half a mile. It is quite HORSES, LIKE MEN, HAVE THEIR FORTE. 147 true that a good coachman will make all his horses do their share of the work: this by no means implies that he is to make each horse draw one-fourth of the coach over every yard of the stage ; he would tear his stock to pieces if he did : what is meant by making horses work fairly is, making the whole, taking one day with another, share the labour. In riding on a box, if a man is one of the sort (I should call him one of the right sort) who notices the horses and the coachman, he may probably see one or more of the team merely carrying the harness : we must not infer, because the driver permits them to do this, be it for two or three miles, that he is a bad or careless coachman : no man can judge of the propriety of his doing so but himself. Some horses, like some hounds, like to do all the work at first; others, at the end of the chase or stage; and in this they must be indulged, or they are good for nothing, or would be rendered so. Some horses will never want a touch of the whip over anything like level ground, but are bits of rogues at steep hills: they, therefore, do their share on the whole; and were they punished to make them work up hill, they would shut up, jib, and not draw an ounce, probably kick into the bargain. Others, particularly if not quite so fast as their comrades, take very little of the load over the flat, but at hills will take half a coach up it. This is their forte, and for this their exertions must be reserved. Some for the first five miles are hasty, and do more than their share, are then to a certain degree exhausted, and worth but little for the remainder of the stage : others only set to work when, in road phrase, they “smell home :” then they lug away, and pull your arms off, unless you let them take half the coach.
AN INFERNAL MACHINE.
I remember once travelling by a coach, and remarking the two wheel-horses, both fine powerful greys. I had observed the near horse had not once tightened his traces for upwards of four miles, and on my saying “I supposed he was making up his mind as to when he should set to work,” the coachman laughed and said, “His time is very near up now, Sir.” He said true enough: in another half mile I saw a hill before us; a couple of hundred yards before we came to it Grey sprang into a gallop, and others joined, and this horse took certainly half the coach to the very top of the hill. The remainder of the stage was all against collar, and Grey never wanted a word said to him the whole way; in fact, he was a horse and a half till we changed, and his comrade about one fourth of one. I am ready to allow that those two wheelers were not such as a man of fortune would select for his team, but in their place they were both good ones ; and so long as horses look well and bring their coach home, coachowners must not be too particular how they do it, or coachman either, provided it is done safely, and well as to time.
I have calculated the four-wheel machine, horseslayer, cruelty-van, hell upon earth, by whichever you please to call the abomination, with its appurtenances, at about 1236 lb. weight, nearly double that of a gig with its appurtenances. Now we must bear in mind that one carriage double the weight of another is considerably more than double its specific gravity against the horse, for we must recollect there is, first, double the friction which double weight must occasion, and, secondly, low wheels. How far a four-wheeled carriage might be constructed to carry only the same weight as a gig, and be as easy to the horse, we will VOILA MON ONCLE.
149 not investigate here, for we are only considering increased weight as that weight is usually to be taken along. As it is, if it was driven in the same way as the gig, it would kill all the horses in England, for we should only have, as Bobadil says, to find “twenty more, kill them,” and so on. It must be remembered I am only supposing the four-wheel machine to go nine miles an hour; so it is not the pace that would do the mischief, but the way the ground would be driven over with the weight, which with such persons as drive four to one horse is generally something in this way. Supposing the horse to be a free one, Uncle Thomas, whom I have supposed as the coachman elect, sits rather low, as he does on another seat of a different description: his FIST, for he has no hands (at least no driving ones), I will answer for it, is poked about one-foot-eight inches before his body : this brings it within four inches of the dash. Now this is quite necessary for him, for, as his reins are loose, possibly with the kind intention of letting the horse go where he likes, it requires a good long length of pull to enable him to feel the horse's mouth, which is only effected by throwing back his body in the face of the person behind him, Uncle at the same time bringing his fist with the reins in it up to his own chin, and the whip (such a whip!) against the nose of Aunt who sits beside him, for Uncle always holds his tool directly across the vehicle, or pointing rather backwards, angling for flies on the hind-wheels, in which ever and anon it gets entangled. Here, as Sterne says, "voila mon oncle !” If, as I have stated, the nag happens to be a free one, Uncle Thomas being in disposition a kind man, the only use his whip is to him is the very desirable one I have mentioned: if he does
attempt to use it, he hits the harness three times; the fourth, Aunt catches it in her face; and then the fifth, he gets it round the shaft. As Uncle is, I dare say, a disciple of Walton, he has learned, that to hold a fish, and not break the rod, it should be elevated; so to disengage his whip he does this, bringing it into something like a half circle: being most likely half whalebone, it stands this, but not succeeding in undoing the accursed knot, as Dr. Slop would call it, my Nevy is called upon, who gets from behind and effects the job. This, however, he does not do quite in the way of a guard to a fast coach; so this occupies no short time: then, after turning himself round three or four times like a terrier dog before he lies down, Nevy gets right (the word is out of place here, so we will say seated), and on they go. “Thank ye, Bobby, you did that very nicely !” — Very!
Now Uncle and all the set have no objection to going fast in every situation and over any sort of road but that precise part where such a machine can be got along with any ease to the horse ; so over level ground they go twelve miles an hour, on moderately rising ground ten. If the ground declines a little, and the horse, with more sense than his driver, attempts to get along, he is stopped, fearing he inight go too fast; so here he goes eight: if it declines a little more, six ; and at anything bordering on a hill, nothing but a walk is permitted : so that, in point of fact, it is only where extreme labour is required that the horse is allowed to make his ground, and thus are numberless horses unwittingly distressed and worn out.
Now I am quite willing to allow that with such hands as Uncle Thomas's there is some danger in