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loud and fast; and in the next moment, ushered by a servant, stalked forward, booted and fully equipped, my travelling companion if such a word can at all express the relation between the arrogant young blood, just fresh from assuming the toga virilis, and a modest child of profound sensibilities, but shy and reserved beyond even English reserve. The aged servant, with apparently constrained civility, presented my mother's compliments to him, with a request that he would take breakfast. This he hastily and rather peremptorily declined. Me, however, he condescended to notice with an approving nod, slightly inquiring if I were the young gentleman who shared his post-chaise. But, without allowing time for an answer, and striking his boot impatiently with a ridingwhip, he hoped I was ready. Not until he has gone up to my mistress,' replied my old protector, in a tone of some asperity. Thither I ascended. What counsels and directions I might happen to receive at the maternal toilet, naturally I have forgotten. The most memorable circumstance to me was, that I, who had never till that time possessed the least or most contemptible coin, received, in a net-work purse, five glittering guineas, with instructions. to put three immediately into Mr. H-ll's hands, and the rest when he should call for them.
The rest of my mother's counsels, if deep, were not long; she, who had always something of a Roman firmness, shed more milk of roses, I believe, upon my cheeks than tears; and why not? What should there be to her corresponding to an ignorant child's sense of pathos, in a little journey of about a hundred miles? Outside her door, however, there awaited me some silly creatures, women of course, old and young, from the nursery and the kitchen, who gave and who received those fervent kisses, which wait only upon love without awe and with
out disguise. Heavens! what rosaries might be strung for the memory of sweet female kisses, given without check or art, before one is of an age to value them! And again, how sweet is the touch of female hands as they array one for a journey! If anything needs fastening, whether by pinning, tying, or any other contrivance, how perfect is one's confidence in female skill; as if by mere virtue of her sex and feminine instinct, a woman could not possibly fail to know the best and readiest way of adjusting every case that could arise in dress. Mine was hastily completed amongst them; each had a pin to draw from her bosom, in order to put something to rights about my throat or hands; and a chorus of God bless hims' was arising, when, from below, young Mephistopheles murmured an impatient groan, and perhaps the horses snorted. I found myself lifted into the chaise: counsels about the night and the cold, flowing in upon me, to which Mephistopheles listened with derision or astonishment. I and he had each our separate corner; and, except to request that I would draw up one of the glasses, I do not think he condescended to address one word to me until dusk, when we found ourselves rattling into Chesterfield, having barely accomplished four stages, or forty or forty-two miles, in about nine hours. This, except on the Bath or great north roads, may be taken as a standard amount of performance, in 1794, (the year I am recording,) and even ten years later. In these present hurrying and tumultuous days, whether time is really of more value, I cannot say; but all people on the establishment of inns are required to suppose it of the most awful value. Now-a-days, no sooner have the horses stopped at the gateway of a posting-house, than a summons is passed down to the stables; and in less than one minute, upon a great road, the horses next in rotation, always ready
harnessed, when expecting to come on duty, are heard trotting down the yard. Putting to,' and transferring the luggage, (supposing your conveyance a common postchaise,) once a work of at least twenty minutes, is now easily accomplished in three. And scarcely have you paid the ex-postilion before his successor has mounted; the ostler is standing ready with the steps in his hands, to receive his invariable sixpence; the door is closed; the representative waiter bows his acknowledgment for the house, and you are off at a pace never less than ten miles an hour; the total detention at each stage not averaging above four minutes. Then (i. e. at the latter end of the eighteenth and beginning of the nineteenth century) half an hour was the minimum of time spent at each change of horses. Your arrival produced a great bustle of unloading and unharnessing; as a matter of course, you alighted and went into the inn; if you sallied out to report progress, after waiting twenty minutes, no signs appeared of any stir about the stables. The most choleric person could not much expedite preparations, which loitered not so much from any indolence in the attendants as from faulty arrangements and total defect of foresight. The pace was such as the roads of that day allowed; never so much as six miles an hour, except upon a very great road; and then only by extra payment to the driver. Yet even under this comparatively miserable system, how superior was England, as a land for the traveller, to all the rest of the world, Sweden only excepted. Bad as were the roads, and defective as were all the arrangements, still you had these advantages; no town so insignificant, no posting-house so solitary, but that at all seasons, except a contested election, it could furnish horses without delay, and without license to distress the neighboring farmers. On the worst road, and on a win
ter's day, with no more than a single pair of horses, you generally made out sixty miles; even if it were necessary to travel through the night, you could continue to make. way, although more slowly; and finally, if you were of a temper to brook delay, and did not exact from all persons the haste or energy of Hotspurs, the whole system in those days was full of respectability and luxurious ease, and well fitted to renew the image of the home you had left, if not in its elegancies, yet in all its substantial comforts. What cozy old parlors in those days! low-roofed, glowing with ample fires, and fenced from the blasts of doors by screens, whose foldings were, or seemed to be, infinite! What motherly landladies! won, how readily, to kindness the most lavish, by the mere attractions of simplicity and youthful innocence, and finding so much interest in the bare circumstance of being a traveller at a childish age! Then what blooming young handmaidens, how different from the knowing and worldly demireps of modern high roads! And sometimes gray-headed faithful waiters, how sincere and how attentive, by comparison with their flippant successors, the eternal 'Coming, sir, Coming, sir,' of our improved generation.
Such an honest, old butler-looking servant waited on us during dinner at Chesterfield, carving for me, and urging me to eat. Even Mephistopheles found his pride relax under the influence of wine; and when loosened from this restraint, his kindness was not deficient. To me he showed it in pressing wine upon me, without stint or measure. The elegancies which he had observed in such part of my mother's establishment, as could be supposed to meet his eye on so hasty a visit, had impressed him perhaps favorably towards myself: and could I have a little altered my age, or dismissed my excessive reserve, I doubt not that he would have admitted me, in default of a
more suitable comrade, to his entire confidence for the rest of the road. Dinner finished, and myself at least, for the first time in my childish life, somewhat perhaps overcharged with wine, the bill was called for- the waiter paid in the lavish style of antique England - and we heard our chaise drawing up under the gateway — the invariable custom of those days, by which you were spared the trouble of going into the street, stepping from the hall of the inn, right into your carriage. I had been kept back for a minute or so by the landlady, and her attendant nymphs, to be dressed and kissed; and, on seating myself in the chaise which was well lighted with lamps, I found my lordly young principal in conversation with the landlord, first upon the price of oats, which youthful horsemen always affect to inquire after with interest, but secondly, upon a topic more immediately at his heart — viz., the reputation of the road. At that time of day, when gold had not yet disappeared from the circulation, no traveller carried any other sort of money about him; and there was consequently a rich encouragement to highwaymen, which vanished almost entirely with Mr. Pitt's act of 1797, for restricting cash payments. Property which could be identified and traced, was a perilous sort of plunder; and from that time the free-trade of the road almost perished as a regular occupation. At this period it did certainly maintain a languishing existence; here and there it might have a casual run of success: and, as these local ebbs and flows were continually shifting, perhaps, after all, the trade might lie amongst a small number of hands. Universally, however, the landlords showed some shrewdness, or even sagacity, in qualifying, according to the circumstances of the inquirer, the sort of credit which they allowed to the exaggerated ill-fame of the roads. Returning on this very road, some months after, with a timid