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Unselfish patriots oft-times strove to gain
The general ear that deafly spurn'd their warning;
Now, Truth .and Wisdom never toil in vain
Night flies before the struggling beam of morning.

Crown'd with the laurels they had dearly earn'd,
Methought they stood beside the grave of Faction;
And England's sons, from feud and discord turn'd,
Were pledged to union by a solemn paction.


A LONDON cab-stand is one of our great
national, real original ill-regulated public
inconveniences. As an existing buttress of our
liberties, it is to be presumed that it is
inseparably connected with the glory of the
country, and that the country would receive
a fatal shock if it were in anywise improved;
but I diffidently incline to the opinion,
nevertheless, that it is capable of some small
changes for the better.

It has never been clearly made outexcept
by prescription and precedentwhy it is
indispensable that a London cab should be
dirty; why the palsied window-sashes must
be artfully made not to fit the window; why
one door must never open, and the other
never shut; why there must be, at least, one
broken window, replaced (in the genteeler
sort of cab) with a wooden shutter; why
the check-line must be broken or gone, and
the bands for pulling up the glasses cropped
short off; why the nose-bags of the horses
must be under the seat; why there must
be a view of the pavement through the
chinks in the bottom; why the fare must
sit in a foot-bath of foul straw; why the
cab must be damp; why the driver must
be dirty; why the rate of fares and
distances must be nominal; why everything
connected with the crazy, ricketty, jolting,
ramshackle, ugly, unsavoury, cheating, dear
Institution must be exactly the reverse of
what it ought to be.

Suppose the cab were clean and comfortable.
Suppose the driver were civil and sober.
Suppose eightpence were understood to mean
not more than a shilling, and three-quarters of
a mile not more than a mile. Suppose the
complicated back-fare question were set at
rest by the abolition of back fares. Suppose
we had Inspectors of public vehicles, and that
neither Lords nor younger sons were eligible
for those offices. Suppose, in the event of my
being overturned, abused, or overcharged, I
had some easy means of redress, which did
not involve my dancing attendance at a
villanous police-office, among the scum of the
land;—I am afraid the Constitution would go
by the board directly?

Otherwise, I really think we might do
something to reform it altogether. The Railway
Companies have tried, but they have not
a great deal in their power without the aid of
the Government. Consider the materials
with which they have to deal. Look at an
ordinary cab-stand. Here is one, under my

Fifteen cabs on the rank, and three piratical
cabs hovering about the street, on kidnapping
expeditions. One of the fifteen is a Hansom
clean and well-built, but with a perilous
driver up behinda reckless man at
street-cornersnot at all accustomed to the care of
childrena neck or nothing sort of fellow, and
much more neck than nothing. Of the other
fourteen drivers, eight don't know how to
drive, and six don't care. Some are on
their boxes, some at their horses' heads,
some " chaffing " a common acquaintance
outside the tap-room window of the Red
Lion, where there are three shallow tubs, a
little pump, and that wonderful character
the waterman, in a suit of door-mat. What
is the fiction concerning this mysterious
waterman ? Is he supposed to be the father
of the stand? Has he any place of residence
besides the stand ? Has he any relations or
friends ? Had he any youth ? Was he ever
anything but a waterman ? Was his father
a waterman ? Was his mother the bride of
a waterman ? Will his son (if he have one)
be a waterman? Was he always red in the
face, and full of gin and beer? What does
he do here? What does he mean? Is he
what MR. CARLYLE calls a self-constituted
Impostor, or did anybody ever constitute him
what he is? And if so, why so, and what
is he?

He can't be on the stand to inspect the
cabs. Look at the cabs, in every degree of
ramshacklement, and each cab puts its veto
on the supposition! He can't be on the
stand to inspect the horses. Look at the
horses! He can't be on the stand to inspect
the drivers. Look at the drivers! He can't
be here to preserve order; for, see, when the
elderly gentleman with the brown umbrella
calls a cab; seven cabs draw off the rank,
block up the street, dash into one another,
and imperil the elderly gentleman's life. Then
why is this strange being perpetually stumping,
day and night, about the stand, in his
suit of door-mat, with shoes four inches high
in the sole, soliciting "a copper" of all
engagers of cabs ? What a wonderful people
we are in some of our institutions, and how
constantly we jog on, never so much as guessing
at the riddles of our Deputy Chaff-Waxes
and our watermen, and many other such
puzzling matters.

A sensible Belgravian has put forth his
might in the "Times" newspaper, towards
effecting Jehuicular reform. He states very
truly, that cab-stands are, in the abstract and
to their immediate neighbours, simply
nuisances. He proposes to convert them into
urban ornaments. He would have them
properly paved and drained. He would promote
the waterman to the dignity of an important
public officer; making him a member of the
police force, to be paid out of the police-rates,
instead of the drivers' pockets. He is not to

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