Historical Reprints Religion Real Life in London

Real Life in London

Real Life in London
Catalog # SKU3782
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 4.00 lbs
Author Name an Amateur, Pierce Egan
ISBN 10: 0000000000
ISBN 13: 0000000000000


Real Life in London

Two Volumes

A Living Picture Of
Fashionable Characters,
Manners, And Amusements
In High And Low Life

an Amateur
(Pierce Egan)

A comical, satirical, and critical look at the lives of Londoners and the cultures of that great city. Written in a fashion of fiction, the author portrays London in its ugliness and its raw beauty.

Print size, 14 point font



ORDINARY minds, in viewing distant objects, first see the obstacles that intervene, magnify the difficulty of surmounting them, and sit down in despair. The man of genius with his mind's-eye pointed steadfastly, like the needle towards the pole, on the object of his ambition, meets and conquers every difficulty in detail, and the mass dissolves before him as the mountain snow yields, drop by drop, to the progressive but invincible operation of the solar beam. Our honourable friend was well aware that a perfect knowledge of the art of driving, and the character of a "first-rate whip," were objects worthy his ambition; and that, to hold four-in-hand-turn a corner in style-handle the reins in form-take a fly off the tip of his leader's ear-square the elbows, and keep the wrists pliant, were matters as essential to the formation of a man of fashion as dice or milling: it was a principle he had long laid down and strictly adhered to, that whatever tended to the completion of that character, should be acquired to the very acme of perfection, without regard to ulterior consequences, or minor pursuits.

In an early stage, therefore, of his fashionable course of studies, the whip became an object of careful solicitude; and after some private tuition, he first exhibited his prowess about twice a week, on the box of a Windsor stage, tipping coachy a crown for the indulgence and improvement it afforded.

Few could boast of being more fortunate during a noviciate: two overturns only occurred in the whole course of practice, and except the trifling accident of an old lady being killed, a shoulder or two dislocated, and about half a dozen legs and arms broken, belonging to people who were not at all known in high life, nothing worthy of notice may be said to have happened on these occasions. 'Tis true, some ill-natured remarks appeared in one of the public papers, on the "conduct of coachmen entrusting the reins to young practitioners, and thus endangering the lives of his majesty's subjects;" but these passed off like other philanthropic suggestions of the day, unheeded and forgotten.

The next advance of our hero was an important step. The mail-coach is considered the school; its driver, the great master of the art-the Phidias of the statuary-the Claude of the landscape-painter. To approach him without preparatory instruction and study, would be like an attempt to copy the former without a knowledge of anatomy, or the latter, while ignorant of perspective. The standard of excellence-the model of perfection, all that the highest ambition can attain, is to approach as near as possible the original; to attempt a deviation, would be to bolt out of the course, snap the curb, and run riot. Sensible of the importance of his character, accustomed to hold the reins of arbitrary power; and seated where will is law, the mail-whip carries in his appearance all that may be expected from his elevated situation.

Stern and sedate in his manner, and given to taciturnity, he speaks sententiously, or in monosyllables. If he passes on the road even an humble follower of the profession, with four tidy ones in hand, he views him with ineffable contempt, and would consider it an irreparable disgrace to appear conscious of the proximity. Should it be a country gentleman of large property and influence, and he held the reins, and handled the whip with a knowledge of the art, so to "get over the ground," coachy might, perhaps, notice him "en passant," by a slight and familiar nod; but it is only the peer, or man of first-rate sporting celebrity, that is honoured with any thing like a familiar mark of approbation and acquaintance; and these, justly appreciating the proud distinction, feel higher gratification by it than any thing the monarch could bestow: it is an inclination of the head, not forward, in the manner of a nod, but towards the off shoulder, accompanied with a certain jerk and elevation from the opposite side. But here neither pen nor pencil can depict; it belongs to him alone whose individual powers can nightly keep the house in a roar, to catch the living manner and present it to the eye.

"--A merrier man

Within the limit of becoming mirth,
I never spent an hour's talk withall:
His eye begets occasion for his wit;
For every object that the one doth catch
The other turns to a mirth-moving jest."

And now, gentle reader, if the epithet means any thing, you cannot but feel disposed to good humour and indulgence: Instead of rattling you off, as was proposed at our last interview, and whirling you at the rate of twelve miles an hour, exhausted with fatigue, and half dead in pursuit of Life, we have proceeded gently along the road, amusing ourselves by the way, rather with drawing than driving. '

Tis high time, however, we made some little progress in our journey: "Come Bob, take the reins-push on-keep moving-touch up the leader into a hand-gallop-give Snarler his head-that's it my tight one, keep out of the ruts-mind your quartering-not a gig, buggy, tandem, or tilbury, have we yet seen on the road-what an infernal place for a human being to inhabit!-curse me if I had not as lief emigrate to the back settlements of America: one might find some novelty and amusement there-I'd have the woods cleared-cut out some turnpike-roads, and, like Palmer, start the first mail"--"Stop, Tom, don't set off yet to the Illinois-here's something ahead, but what the devil it is I cant guess-why it's a barge on wheels, and drove four-in-hand."-"Ha, ha-barge indeed, Bob, you seem to know as much about coaches as Snarler does of Back-gammon: I suppose you never see any thing in this quarter but the old heavy Bridgewater-why we have half a dozen new launches every week, and as great a variety of names, shape, size, and colour, as there are ships in the navy-we have the heavy coach, light coach, Caterpillar, and Mail-the Balloon, Comet, Fly, Dart, Regulator, Telegraph, Courier, Times, High-flyer, Hope, with as many others as would fill a list as long as my tandem-whip.

What you now see is one of the new patent safety-coaches-you can't have an overturn if you're ever so disposed for a spree. The old city cormorants, after a gorge of mock-turtle, turn into them for a journey, and drop off in a nap, with as much confidence of security to their neck and limbs as if they had mounted a rocking-horse, or drop't into an arm-chair."-"Ah! come, the scene improves, and becomes a little like Life-here's a dasher making up to the Safety-why its-no, impossible-can't be-gad it is tho'-the Dart, by all that's good! and drove by Hell-fire Dick!-there's a fellow would do honour to any box-drove the Cambridge Fly three months-pass'd every thing on the road, and because he overturned in three or four hard matches, the stupid rascals of proprietors moved him off the ground. Joe Spinum, who's at Corpus Christi, matched Dick once for 50, when he carried five inside and thirteen at top, besides heavy luggage, against the other Cambridge-never was a prettier race seen at Newmarket-Dick must have beat hollow, but a d--d fat alderman who was inside, and felt alarmed at the velocity of the vehicle, moved to the other end of the seat: this destroyed the equilibrium-over they went, into a four-feet ditch, and Joe lost his match. However, he had the satisfaction of hearing afterwards, that the old cormorant who occasioned his loss, had nearly burst himself by the concussion."

"See, see!-Dick's got up to, and wants to give the Safety the go by-gad, its a race-go it Dick-now Safety-d--d good cattle both-lay it in to 'em Dick-leaders neck and neck-pretty race by G--! Ah, its of no use Safety-Dick wont stand it-a dead beat-there she goes-all up-over by Jove "--"I can't see for that tree-what do you say Tom, is the race over?"-"Race, ah! and the coach too-knew Dick would beat him-would have betted the long odds the moment I saw it was him."

The tandem had by this time reached the race-course, and the disaster which Tom had hardly thought worth noticing in his lively description of the sport, sure enough had befallen the new 'patent Safety, which was about mid way between an upright and a side position, supported by the high and very strong quicksett-hedge against which it hath fallen. Our heroes dismounted, left Flip at the leader's head, and with Ned, the other groom, proceeded to offer their services. Whilst engaged in extricating the horses, which had become entangled in their harness, and were kicking and plunging, their attention was arrested by the screams and outrageous vociferations of a very fat, middle-aged woman, who had been jerked from her seat on the box to one not quite so smooth-the top of the hedge, which, with the assistance of an old alder tree, supported the coach. Tom found it impossible to resist the violent impulse to risibility which the ludicrous appearance of the old lady excited, and as no serious injury was sustained, determined to enjoy the fun.

Softcover, 8½ x 11, 800+ pages
Perfect-Bound - 2 Volumes
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