THE COACHING AGE

INTRODUCTION

In these days of revived Coaching, when there seems to be a perfect mania amongst the young men of the present day for a trip ' down the Road,' and when the Park is enlivened by so many ' aspirants to the whip,' with their smart coaches and gaudy-going high-stepping teams, I trust I shall not be thought presumptuous in offering a sketch and a few anecdotes of old times to the young Coaching British Public. My coaching days are over; but as the worn-out charger neighs at the sound of the trumpet, as the old huntsman revives at the crack of the whip and the sound of the horn, so do I, when I see or hear of a coach, call back the days when coaches were in their glory. ' The light of other days ' has faded, it is true, but still there are some remaining who can recall with pleasure the ' palmy days of old.' 

There are few, very few, now remaining, I fear, who have really worked a coach by night and by day, through wind and rain, frost and snow, and who hasve really done the thing in rough and smooth. 

If there should be any of the old ones left to read my humble production, they will, I think, bear me out that, pleasant as it was, it was on many occasions hard work, and at times not quite devoid of danger and a considerable amount of responsibility. 

In producing my ' Reminiscences ' I wish to afford amusement to those of the present day, and to tell them how their poor old governors or their poor dear old grandpapas used to see and hear things now for ever past and gone. I wish I had either the pen or wit of a Whyte Melville or of a Wilkie Collins to put all I wish to say into better language, and to describe the incidents of the Road in a more ' juicy ' way. But not having either their pen or their wit, I must ask my readers to be what is termed ' kind readers,' and to be indulgent. I daresay some will take delight in picking ' my work ' to pieces; but when they consider that though educated at Eton I did not learn much there but mischief, and that though my education was supposed to be finished at Cambridge I did not learn much there but to drive coaches, they must not expect to get water out of an empty pitcher