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" BLESSINGS," QUERE ? level roads, are all very well and very commodious for those who like them, and are blessed with a lot of little olive branches that want to get the air ; in which case, unless papa is rich, though he must take care of the branches, I suspect he gets but few of the olives, and a very small modicum of wine to take with them. But supposing he does keep this said carriage, if he thinks, because he gets along very well from Wandsworth, Camberwell, or some such neither London nor country sort of locality, he can take the whole lot pleasantly and easily along a fair and equal trot over a hilly country, he will find himself very far from the mark: he will find he will want mettle, and weight of metal in his horse, and all the knowledge of a coachman accustomed to heavy work, or he will find both himself and the olive branches very soon PLANTED.
I am not at all prepared to say but a four-wheeled carriage may be so constructed as to be quite as advantageous to a horse in a hilly country as a twowheeled one; for the former has this advantage, that, in going down hill with a dragon, the horse has nothing to do but trot down himself, whereas in a gig he has to hold it: but then again he has the advantage in the latter in getting up hills; for, build a four-wheeled carriage as you like, it has to get over every obstruction it meets twice, while the twowheeled machine has only to surmount it once. But if we wish to enable a horse to draw these two carriages over the same road with equal ease, the four-wheeled one must not have the ordinary wheels under thirty inches, and the fore ones in proportion less. Such a vehicle would never be got along by the side of a good running gig.
Being fond of very fast horses, I have built many
MESSRS. TRAVELLERS AND CO. 157 gigs for them. The ordinary run of gigs weigh from three hundred to three hundred and a half. I always, as I have before stated, limit mine for travelling to two hundred, quite enough if they are made of picked materials. Of course I do not allude to Stanhopes, Tilburys, or cabs, all three of which, though quite proper for London stones, are about as fit to drive forty miles on a journey as the Master of the Horse's state-carriage. I once determined to try a four-wheel carriage, and built one: it was only two hundred and a half when complete, as high as a gig, the fore-wheels locking under the seat, so I got them as high as an ordinary Stanhope wheel. This certainly ran along the level as well as any gig, but I was beat up the hills, and found my horse labour at them very differently to what he was accustomed to do in my buggies. I drove it twice; a friend of mine fell in love with it; I did not balk his inclination.
I have asked many travellers, I mean commercial ones, their opinions as to the advantage or disadvantage of four wheels, and find they generally pre-ferred the latter. They stated that they found they got along quite as well in them as in gigs, and they held them to be safer. Now I in no way doubt these good people's assertions that THEY got along “ quite as well ;” but I was and am unfortunately debarred from getting the question I put to them answered by their horse, consequently I am a little sceptical as to whether the horse was included in the THEY, and whether he was considered as one of the firm in the getting along business : for, though not knowing much of trading affairs, I do consider there may be cases where in a firm one partner gets along well enough, while the other, though he perhaps gets on
GAZETTING A HORSE.
in his business as the horse does on the road, by no means does so with the same satisfaction as his partner. If a man advances ten thousand pounds as capital, and the other nothing, if each make two hundred a-year, it is all very well for him that advances nothing. This is the case with the man in the carriage; the horse is the man advancing the capital, for he advances all the labour: therefore, till the rider has had a pull at the carriage to ascertain its weight, he may be a little incorrect in his statement of the ease with which the concern is got along; and I rather think he is, for half a ton weight of iron samples must come along rather sulkily after a horse ; and I shrewdly suspect, that, as the gentleman does not probably deal in iron necks, the supposed security of his own goes a long way in inducing him to think this travelling emporium of iron commodities is got along with as much ease as he supposes. There is but one thing saves their horses : they go slow; and, if not coachmen, at least show their judgment by using a drag: but do what they will, a heavy load on four wheels is getting the power of a horse gazetted long before he ought to leave off business. If, added to this, he is made to go fast, he would certainly not.“ take the benefit of the Act,” but would very shortly do what many others in business who have gone too fast have done—“cut it.”
Horses are often put to much greater exertion than their owners imagine, from their not being aware of the actual weight of the carriages they use. A lady will perhaps go to a coachmaker's and select for her favourite ponies the lightest looking carriage she sees there: nor is this confined to ladies : many men would do the same thing, and would very reasonably think that with so toy-like a vehicle their
SACRIFICING TO APPEARANCE.
horses could run along, in common phrase, “as if they had nothing behind them.” It would be quite mauvais ton to ask the lady to take a pull at the carriage; but we will ask the gentleman to do so; and he would find that the lightest looking vehicle (of its class) is and must be precisely the heaviest he could select. Nothing can look lighter than the shafts of a fashionable Stanhope or Tilbury: they are nevertheless quite as heavy as those of any cart that takes a ton of hay to market. So it is with all the component parts of a fashionable carriage, to give the appearance of lightness: the truth is, these carriages are half iron, and really horse-killers.
I have often heard persons remark, that during the day they saw some horse going a great pace in some “large cart.” This person would probably be much surprised if he was told that the horse that had the credit of going so fast in the large cart was drawing a vehicle far lighter than his gig in specific weight, and constructed on the true principle for following well : in fact, these carts are made on the principle of the match-carts--namely, scarcely any iron, high wheels, straight shafts, and the horse drawing nearly on a line with the axletree ; and so to go should all gigs be made. I have mentioned I always limit my own to about two hundred: a man not a judge would fancy them nearly double ; but the secret is, I use plenty of good tough wood, consequently want very little iron, for I prefer my horses feeling my carriagelight to my friends thinking it so. This of course holds good with every carriage; and this is the reason why foreign vehicles are not by any means so heavy as they look. Heavy they are, no doubt, for their paved roads require strength; but if they were made to
WEIGHT OF METAL WILL TELL.
look light with the same strength, horses could not move them. Those enormous machines we see as carts there are surprisingly light in comparison with their appearance: they are nearly all wood, and not certainly half the weight of our city carts : nor is one of the provincial built German carriages so heavy as a britska built by a fashionable London coachmaker. Let me hope that horses may benefit by these hints on the weight of fashionable carriages, by their owners being assured, that though a carriage may appear light, or draw light, on the boards of a coachmaker's shop, on the road against collar they are in reality specifically heavy, and if with low wheels most distressing to horses.
If people merely want a pleasant carriage to lounge in about London, weight matters but little, and a great deal may be sacrificed to taste and appearance; but for any carriage intended for travelling on our roads, there is but one way to get such a one as will save horses, which is, to order it on a good principle, and limit the coachmaker as to weight. He must, for his own character's sake, build it strong enough for its destined purpose, and to do this he must use more wood and less iron. The carriage will not be perhaps so elegant, but the horses will derive incalculable advantage from the order.
I have, in alluding to horses drawing even heavy weights, strongly advocated the using horses very well bred, as I advocate their use for almost every purpose: but I must beg to be understood as doing so only where the weight is in moderation. I do not mean that a thorough-bred horse is equal to draw a onehorse britska with four persons in and two out, with luggage. Where we really want ponderous weight to