Chapter 29: Cockneys
Then there is the steam-engine style of driving; these drivers
were mostly people from towns, who never had a horse of their own
and generally traveled by rail.
They always seemed to think that a horse was something like a steam-engine,
only smaller. At any rate, they think that if only they pay for it
a horse is bound to go just as far and just as fast and with just as heavy
a load as they please. And be the roads heavy and muddy, or dry and good;
be they stony or smooth, uphill or downhill, it is all the same -- on, on,
on, one must go, at the same pace, with no relief and no consideration.
These people never think of getting out to walk up a steep hill. Oh, no,
they have paid to ride, and ride they will! The horse? Oh, he's used to it!
What were horses made for, if not to drag people uphill? Walk!
A good joke indeed! And so the whip is plied and the rein is chucked
and often a rough, scolding voice cries out, "Go along, you lazy beast!"
And then another slash of the whip, when all the time we are doing
our very best to get along, uncomplaining and obedient,
though often sorely harassed and down-hearted.
This steam-engine style of driving wears us up faster than any other kind.
I would far rather go twenty miles with a good considerate driver
than I would go ten with some of these; it would take less out of me.
Another thing, they scarcely ever put on the brake, however steep
the downhill may be, and thus bad accidents sometimes happen;
or if they do put it on, they often forget to take it off
at the bottom of the hill, and more than once I have had to pull
halfway up the next hill, with one of the wheels held by the brake,
before my driver chose to think about it; and that is a terrible strain
on a horse.
Then these cockneys, instead of starting at an easy pace,
as a gentleman would do, generally set off at full speed
from the very stable-yard; and when they want to stop, they first whip us,
and then pull up so suddenly that we are nearly thrown on our haunches,
and our mouths jagged with the bit -- they call that pulling up with a dash;
and when they turn a corner they do it as sharply as if there were
no right side or wrong side of the road.