Dusting off the Shelves

I decided to peruse my bookshelves this evening and take a gander at some of these old and extremely old books I’ve been collecting!  It’s so easy to keep picking from the recently published pile, but I promised myself I would try to do a better job at actually READING some of the oldies. So tonight I pulled out a little gem called Coaching Days and Coaching Ways by W. Outram Tristram.

Published in London in 1893, Tristram tells in detail the history of horse drawn transportation along the main thoroughfares of England. His brilliant descriptions of the people riding the coaches, the highwaymen and the coaching inns and hostelries are amazing.

This little portion of a paragraph written by a passenger in a stagecoach just cracks me up~~

Inside Coach — Crammed full of passenger –three fat fusty old men — a young Mother and sick child –a cross old maid — a poll parrot — a bag of red herrings — double-barrelled gun (which you are afraid is loaded) –and a snarling lap dog in addition to yourself. Awake out a sound nap with the cramp in one leg and the other in a lady’s bandbox — pay the damages (four or five shillings) for gallantry’s sake — getting out in the dark at the half-way house, in the hurry stepping into the return coach and finding yourself next morning at the very spot you had started from the evening before — not a breath of air- asthmatic old woman and child with the measles — window closed in consequence –unpleasant smell –shoes filled with warm water — find it’s the child –obliged to bear it — no appeal — shut your eyes and scold the dog — pretend sleep and pinch the child — mistake –pinch the dog and get bit.

There are over 200 illustrations by Hugh Thomson and Herbert Railton and they are pretty brilliant too!
I’m very glad I dusted off the shelves tonight and hopefully I can make this a weekly occurrence because it was sure a lot of fun!


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