Hypocritical Cant, Politics, Satire, Social Justice, Transported

Of Triumphant Emancipation From Waged Slavery!

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Of all the righteous deeds that ever took place beneath the sun this was the best, of all the pleasures that from justice should ever transpire this was the most enduring.  To see now the gates to Newgate Prison opening slowly and the prisoners both dazed and bemused stumbling forth. T’is a clear, cold, day my friends and one as will be etched in the memories of those who reluctantly did the liberating for some time to come. To have made reparations for a great social wrong and to have been made to do it, for fear of blossoming scandal! Why, even the bells of St Sepulchre ring out exultant over this triumph!

Look there my brothers and sisters look there! T’is the Union Rep! Valiant yet shrewd, heroic and yet longsuffering! Borne away upon the bowed shoulders of the silk mill workers, they whose reputations once smeared and sunk in calumny, now stand vindicated. An open cart stands a’fore the prison gates and as they place him down in it there he stands, waving his arms aloft and waiting for silence. All necks are stretched eagerly in his direction, all starved faces upturned. So many earnest faces, so many hope filled gazes from those who have braved the workhouse and prison for this victory.

“My Brothers and sisters! I stand before you as a man humbled by your sacrifices! For whilst I have slept comfortably upon a prison bed, many amongst you have braved the charity of Mr Ethelbert-Smythe and his workhouse!”.

Hearing the muttered curses and surveying the scarce hidden rage of the workers the Union Rep smiles inwardly, he continues “Ours has been a great sacrifice, family members transported to the colonies ne’er to be seen again if our masters had their way!”. Here and there loud sobs and howls of rage may be heard and still the Union Rep speaks on,”We have lost much my brothers and sisters, so much and yet in the end, they as called themselves our masters were forced to defeat! The eight hour day is ours my friends! It is ours and with it decent pay!”

“How much?” cries first one soul then another, for though word has reached them all, they will not believe it until he as has led them says it is so.

“Five shillings a piece for every adult, two shillings for every child”. Silence and something worst than silence, a thousand faces struggling betwixt faith and disbelief, five shillings? Five? They glance at each other, they look up at the stolid face of a man who has never yet lied to or misled them. Five shillings? Can it be true? After all this hardship and heartache? To return to work with improved wages and working conditions? Without further transportations or hangings? Can it be so? The adults struggle with this good news, but the children roar exultantly,“Hurrah for the Union Rep! Hurrah Hurrah for the Union Rep!”. And soon their cheers are joined by their mothers and fathers, their aunts and uncles, their brothers and sisters and grandparents, in short all the vast, grimy forest of indigent poor bearing London aloft on its shoulders. “Hurrah for the Union Rep!” the cart makes its way through the crowds that throng it and is soon lost amongst them as it is driven back to that place from whence it came,St Giles.

“Can it be true? Are they indeed freed? It seems but a dream! Would that my brother were here to enjoy this sight!”

Wendy Woodbine tilts her beribboned bonnet at the cart as it passes her, “T’is certainly strange” remarks the young man with her, tilting his hat with one hand, whilst the other, gloved in grey leather, rests upon an elegantly carved cane, “One would think he was royalty!”

Not since the funeral of that venerable fireman Master Braidwood, have such crowds lined the streets and thronged the byways of London. Not since the hanging of Mother Birthe-Rugge has there been such high spirits and good humour. See there calmly marching the chimney sweeps, red scarves tied around their necks, their scarlet banners held aloft for all to see. The music hall entertainers trail behind them, armed with musical insturments and waving their bowler hats in the air, whilst the ladies twirl their skirts and dance to the tune ‘Oh Susannah!’.

All the traders along the way have shut up shop, and now they also line the streets cheering and waving their caps in the air,”Hurrah for the silk mill workers, hurrah, hurrah and down with the rich!”. Hurrah and down with the rich! What a cry to freeze the heart and chill the bones of the aristocracy were it to be taken seriously! But only a few of its members are present and they are wholly disinclined to attend to the brayings of an impoverished mob. See there that glossy black carriage with the Westminster Palace coat of arms emblazoned upon it. But pray who is seated within it? None other than the Prime Minister and Palmerston!

“Is all in order?” asks the Prime Minister, Lord Palmerston nods,

”Yes, but there were complications”

“What complications? How hard can it be to make off with a carpet bag?! Don’t tell me its still here! Lord Grid-Iron cannot still be in England!”

“A robbery was attempted by American secessionists and foiled by the Bow Street Police”

“By whom?!” The Prime Minister looks horrified but Lord Palmerston smiles,

“Mr Thickett-Kane whom we now have under arrest, fortuitously Inspector Depta was on hand with his men and so was able to take matters in hand”

“But what would he want with Lord Grid-Iron? Please tell me they shot the ingrate! The carpet bag, where is it now?”

Lord Palmerston pulled out his pocket watch, glancing down at it he said, “At this precise hour he’ll be aboard the Resurgam and on his way to the Americas, I don’t expect we shall ever lay eyes on him again

“But what if he should think to return?”

“He will already have been apprised of how much the government knows, about his business dealings in the Crimea, t’is an act of high treason he has committed. I feel sure that once he comes to his senses he will consider his imposed exile a mercy!”

“Excellent! Now tell me, how goes our venture in the Crimea?”

One hundred and eighty dead from the failed Light Brigade charge in Balaklava, five hundred dead at the Battle of Inkerman…in fact this ‘venture’ fares not very well at all. Truth be told with statistics as inconvenient as this mounting up like the bodies of the dead, t’is a relief that such as Lord Tennyson exist. “Why such soaring prose as his stirs the patriotic and urges us on to further bravery, for ours is a just cause!” declares the recalcitrant Palmerston. The carriage glides on through the crowds with its politicians deep in discourse and wholly oblivious to the power of the poor that will, in due course, bring about the downfall of the cabinet, if these politicians but knew it!

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ACCESSIBILITY, Hackgate, Hypocritical Cant, Politics, Satire, Social Justice, The Hearthlands of Darkness, Transported

A Visit To Master Turple-Sleath

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“Is that all?” silence met by a stolid face and a worst than indifferent demeanour,

“I say again is that all? Pray tell what do you stare at? Dommy Woodbine was an idle boy, an insolent lazy wretch not fit to dredge the streets let alone clean chimneys! D’you know how much I paid for that indolent swiveller? Two shillings! He has a sister you say? Mayhap I’ll be able to recoup my losses from her!”

Francis Page eyes the man as keenly as he has Lord Grid-Iron, for if ever there was a companion piece to him this man is it. A slaver of children, worst yet an educated slaver of children. Francis lets his eyes drop on the book case nearby the fireplace in which are lined up the works of Marx, Plato and Aristotle. The works of Shakespeare lie on a nearby wooden table with the page marked and open at the tale of ‘Timon of Athens’. Once a man of culture and of feeling then, now reduced to being nothing more than an ill-natured, alcohol soused, ruffian. Above the fireplace a plaque has been nailed to the coarse stone wall, it bears a coat of arms that is scarcely familiar to the gathered company, though Francis thinks he knows whose it is.

“That is the Elderberry coat of arms?” the master chimney sweep nods, a bitter look rests upon his face. “I was a Latin master once but no more, no more! I that taught the works of Homer and of Plato must now stuff brushes and boys up chimney stacks!”

“Latin master or no, at least you are alive!” Francis snarled,

“Alive? Alive? You call this living? Would a gentleman used to being master of his own fate and now mastered by it, think so? Would one used to having his opinions on the works of Cicero deferred to, say so? Living call you this? How I wished I had descended into the fires of hell that devoured that foolish boy!”

Bert, who had been sitting all the while in a murky corner of the lodgings, smiled grimly at Boodoo who with a curt nod got to his feet and left the room. Francis watched his departure then turned his attentions back to Master Turple-Sleath,

“So you admit to having stuffed young Dommy  Woodbine up a burning chimney?”

“T’weren’t burning when he climbed up it! T’was his laziness that rendered him into the crisp remnant that he became! Let us hope that his soul abides presently in heaven as mine can never hope to” throwing himself down upon a roughly hewn stool he drew up a tankard of gin, throwing his head back he bolted down its contents. He swiped his hand roughly across his mouth, reached once more for the earthen jug of gin on the table, filled his tankard to the brim and laughed. A series of hoarse, staccato sounds that made the hair on the nape of Bert’s neck stand on end. Is the man mad? Thought Bert, and if e is mad how can we justify murdering the varmint?

Francis Page pulled up a stool calmly and seated himself upon it, he pulled out his pistol, dismantled it and calmly cleaned it before putting it back together. He pulled out pristine bullet after bullet slowly and carefully loading his gun with them. When he had finished he looked up and saw that the villain now sat brooding in front of the fire. Glancing at the hunched ( and sobbing) figure of the Master Chimney Sweep, Francis had this to say,

“I have seen men reduced to brute beasts by their masters, but I don’t ever recall hearing of a child being burn’t alive by a master or even, by his own kind. Nor of a master deliberately withholding the means of his escape” he looked coldly at Master Turple-Sleath,”There is simply no profit in it” he whispered as he re-holstered his revolver. Seated there with his slender brown fingers clasped elegantly in front of him he waited, neither drinking nor smoking but simply observing the implacable, silent antagonism of Bert and the sullen man sat by the fire. The indomitable Francis Page would sooner have been at dinner, waiting hand & foot on the cursed Grid-Iron. For he had no love of blood-letting for blood-lettings sake, but as a Pinkerton agent it seemed clear to him that justice should prevail here.

But now, what was this? A series of sharp blunt knockings at the ill-hewn door till at last the door shudders, buckles inwards and a flood of begrimed, sooty faced boys tumble through the splintered wood and into the room. Indeed dear reader, one could think oneself mired in the cold depths of hell! What with the sooty begrimed faces of these belligerent beings, the gleaming, sharp edged chimney scrapers being held threateningly aloft, and worst of all that coarse and unbridled language, most foul in its utterance! Dare one sympathise with Master Turplesleath, who upon sighting these foaming mouthed imps cries out “No!” and then again “Oh God no!” before staggering back into a fetid corner of his room? Ah! But he tries to make his escape! Clambering up the chimney nook and reaching towards a recess carved into the side of the chimney, but like the hounds of Siberius they drag him down, falling upon him like a pack of wild dogs,for like Master Francis Page they too are ravenous for justice!

“So, we’ll be going then” says Bert dispassionately watching the chimney sweeps meting out that justice which they themselves had so plentifully experienced at the hands of their brutal master. “Yes indeed” replies Francis pulling on grey kid gloves and tilting his bowler hat upon his close shaven head. But Boodoo does not move, he has seen buildings crumble to dust midst a fire he has set, he has seen workers desperately flee a dynamited blaze. But he has rarely seen a sight such as this, enraged poverty devouring one of its oppressors, it makes him sad just as it makes him feel elated. Francis Page feels no sentiment what so ever, for there is still a terrorist conspiracy to be thwarted and an abduction to be carried out,”If we might be on our way gentlemen” whispers he, as he calmly steps through the shattered front door,”We still have much to do”.

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Hypocritical Cant, Politics, Satire, Social Justice, Transported, Uncategorized

The Forsaken Brother

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T’was a long, wearisome night, dear reader and a fraught one. For had not Montaperti abandoned his ward in the midst of a raging fire, which he himself had set? And so, half-dragged to the docks, and then hauled aboard a longboat, the venerable Headmaster and Abilene Montaperti make their escape. Lying prone in the longboat they drift along, steering wide of the burning wax and tallow floating in patches upon the waters of the River Thames.

Oi oi! Look sharp Anansie! Peelers overhead! Sink low! Sink low all!“. The Headmaster does as he is bid, covering Abilene with his damp linen dressing gown and wrapping his arms around her to keep her warm. Little Anansie sliding as low as his little height (and seaman’s jacket) permits continues to helm the boat, steering it as near to the shore as he dares, given the burning wharves and the tallow. Anansie isn’t afraid of the little white men on the bridge, in their serge-blue uniforms with their shiny brass buttons, Anansie is afraid of no one. But he appreciates that his newly adopted father might not appreciate their interest in either him or their strange cargo.

“Helm left! Helm left mah boy! We’re almost home!”

“Yes’m Pa!”

Overhead, the London Bridge gleams almost as brightly as the waters below, in this hellish light it is possible to make out tiny figures running about and swinging their tiny beacons to and fro. Fire! They scream as infernal clouds of it blossom and bloom along the river banks. Fire! The likes of which has never been seen by Boodoo, let alone dreamt of by this sombre arsonist! Fire! And he perceives it not, yearns for it not! “Helm left Anansie! Left I said! That’s it my cove! Just so! Just there!” the boat slips quietly under the bridge and into the inky black darkness of the waters, travelling up towards Vauxhall.

“My mother bore me in the southern wild” whispers the Headmaster uneasily, observing the Negro child who in turn is observing him intently through glittering green eyes. He is not a little perturbed by the little black boy steering the boat. Given the circumstances, he ought not to give voice to his concern, and yet he can’t contain himself from asking,

“Where is its mother?”

“It matters not” replied Boodoo, keeping a lookout for river-rats, the water borne thieves littering the muddy shores of the River Thames, “e iz my son! Had it not bin for him you would have fallen foul of greater evil than ‘e is capable of! Steer rightwards mah boy!

“Yes’m Pa!”

“Quite so dear Boodoo, quite so” it has grown quiet on the river, so quiet that the esteemed Headmaster can hear only his own breath, mingled with the quiet sobbing of his sweet Abilene. The Scovell Warehouse fire is soon behind them and as Boodoo reaches down into the inky waters, pulling the longboat towards the shore and tying it to a private quay below, the Headmaster utters an audible sigh of relief.

“Anansie! Get them ashore!”

“Yes’m Papa!”

Clambering ashore, the strangely garbed child extends a hand to first one and then the other of the passengers flipping them dextrously ashore. “Follow me!” he cackles as he trails off the wharf and up the wooden staircase at a run. They follow, permitting him to lead them past a cluster of crumbing, tottering buildings, former silk mills brought to ruin by their owners abject refusal to agree terms with their workers. Down narrow begrimed alleyways they sidle, Anansie in front and Boodoo behind. And all the while around them, in the pitch dark, the industrious to-ing and fro-ing of Gonophs and Badgers; creeping in and out of the abandoned mills, and down to the river at speed. Carrying bundles of wax and tallow, brass and linen goods ‘purloined’ from the Thames.

“Tooley Street is a-flame!” they whisper excitedly, ”Tooley Street a-flame! Look to it my coves! Move fast!”

Picking their way amongst the silent, bustling crowds (who part like the red sea for Boodoo and his party), they find themselves standing in front of a lodging house.

“Where are we pray tell?”

“The Sapphire of Jhansi, Anansie lead on!

“Yes’m Papa!”

Down a wooden staircase they climb, and into a warm, brightly lit cellar, a freshly lit fire is burning at the rear of the room and in front of it, to an angle, lies a love-seat. The Headmaster and Abilene stagger towards it collapsing wordlessly into its plush embrace.

“Boodoo! Boodoo mah boy you’re back!” Bert is at once grateful for Boodoo’s reappearance. For news has reached him of the Tooley Street fire and he wondering if Boodoo has gone back to his old ways, knows by the look of him that this is not so. Bert notes the mingled look of concern and of rage on his face, as he glances towards the mucky looking gent and lady on the love-seat.

“Sinister goings-on?” he asks with misgiving, Boodoo nods glancing towards Abilene Montaperti and her beau,”The Scovell Warehouse is a-flame and Tooley Street with it!”

“T’was it you az set the fire?” Boodoo shook his head,

“Iz Lordship!”

“Iz lordship?! What Lord Montaperti?!” at the mention of that sinister nom de plume a moan arises from the love-seat, and such as threatens to evolve into a hysterical shriek. “There, there, my love” murmurs the Headmaster throwing a warning look toward Bert and Boodoo. “The Scovell Warehouse?” Bert whispers, “But the whole of Tooley Street is a-flame!” Boodoo shook his head sorrowfully, “Never seen a fire so badly set and with iz ward smack in the middle of it!”

“His ward? So its attempted murder then? ” Bert chuckled, “We need to pay him a visit!”

Boodoo grimaced; he had hoped that that part of his life was over,

”Anansie! Orf to bed with ye!”

“Yes’m Pa! Nite Mr Raddle-man!”

“Nite nite Anansie!” replies Bert watching the departing child with something akin to horror mingled with a growing fascination. For e knew not from whence the child had sprung, nor from whom. Save that one day he had gone out gonophing, and had returned to the lodging house to find Boodoo dandling a Negro child on his knee whom he declared to all and sundry was his son.

“Drawn from the fires of hell?” remarked someone and a good laugh would have been had all round, had not that ‘someone’ suddenly choked to death on a remnant of Turkey Twizzler. Similar accidents were had from time to time (the occasional heart attack and in one case instantaneous lock-jaw), as the residents of St-Martins-in-the-Fields acclimatized themselves to the fact that Boodoo had borne a Negro child. From thereon in the occupants of the lodging house took that as a marker, Boodoo the infernal arsonist had a son and nobody valuing their-selves dare say otherwise. But come dear reader, let us row ever backwards against the streams of time and pause to reflect upon that world which birthed such a child as Anansie LeFevre….

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ACCESSIBILITY, Hypocritical Cant, Politics, Satire, Social Justice, Transported

Of Incontestable Arguments

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A global political, and commercial enterprise has been brought to a dead halt, by the disappearance of Her Majesty’s Railway Servants, and the Royal Dock Workers of London. Where ever can they be? Not idling at home surely! Why such hard grained men as these  work even on a Sunday! Passengers sit fretting on trains which can’t run themselves and all timetabled services have been suspended indefinitely. Cargo bound for the Indies lies heaped upon the dock; and in such a manner as to obstruct the best efforts of the most energetic clerk to negotiate his way past. What is to be done? The cargo cannot unload itself, any more than the trains can navigate their way from Paddington train station to Neyland.

But take a brisk stroll from the direction of the Liverpool Street Terminus, hop aboard a Hackney Cab bound for the Old Bailey and there you will have the solution to this puzzle. For you will get no further than Ludgate Hill, crammed as the thoroughway is with sluggish Omnibuses transporting reporters for the various London broadsheets, teeming as it is with stolid railway men and Royal Dockers, a prodigious profusion of them, stern and unsmiling and unyielding as the very metal the trains are made of! 

“Pray tell where are you bound?”

“To Newgate!” one man tersely replies and another and another, the march is slow, ponderous and heavy. The sound of their plodding feet? T’is as the rumble of underground thunder, t’is as the hammerings of the Greek God Vulcan upon the raw elements of the earth. To Newgate! The dwelling place of murderers, swindlers and those silk mill workers who dared to protest and riot against their meagre pay and working conditions. To Newgate! That point from whence hundreds of silk mill workers have been ferried to New South Wales, a place which even the denizens of hell have forsaken!

“Ours are the skills on which Her Majesty’s empire is built ! Our labours the fuel on which this empire is founded! And shall we forsake our brothers as they lie in chains for that very cause which is our own? Never! Why even now the orphans of our fallen comrades suffer for the sake of poor pay and worse conditions! Nay, their sufferings are our own! If we fail our comrades we fail ourselves! Let us march to Newgate!” And so they march dear reader, past St Martins of Ludgate, past the Old Bailey until, at length, they stand in front of the impenetrable walls of Newgate Prison.

Pitch darkness lit up by dozens and then hundreds of torches held aloft by men and children who have marched dozens of miles and would march thrice more to achieve their end, justice! Dear readers, justice of the purest and most beneficient kind for the much oppressed silk mill workers! “Can you see him da? Can you see him?” asks a weary, dust begrimed road sweeper arching his neck back in the hopes of viewing that near-legend whose stolid intransigence and fiery disposition has fueled many a protest and caused those who stand beside him to hope against reason. “Aye son, there he stands betwixt the prison walls! T’is The Union Rep!”

Well might you remark how, on such a night as this, it might be possible to espy a man perched on a prison wall and know who t’is. But the streets that surround Newgate Prison are lit up so fiercely that had the sun plummeted from its place in the heavens the streets could not shine more radiantly than they now do.”No chair behind the battlements for him!” declares a railway man his face lit up with fervour,”Nor sitting at rest with his missus whilst his workers suffer and fight for him! He is a man of true principle and truer purpose and I would travel to hell and back for the likes of him as stands up and fights for us! Hurrah for the Union Rep!” and that cry is echoed up and down the streets that encompass Newgate Prison, “Hurrah for the Union Rep!” the walls of Newgate Prison reverberate with the cry whilst the Old Bailey itself seems to shudder,”Hurrah for the Union Rep!”.

“When the union’s inspiration through the workers’ blood shall run
There can be no power greater anywhere beneath the sun;
Yest what force on earth is weaker than the feeble strength of one,
But the union makes us strong.

Solidarity forever,

Solidarity forever,

Solidarity forever,

For the Union makes us strong.

Is there aught we hold in common with the greedy parasite,
Who would lash us into serfdom and would crush us with his might?
Is there anything left to us but to organise and fight?
For the union makes us strong.

Solidarity forever,

Solidarity forever,

Solidarity forever,

For the Union makes us strong.

All the world that’s owned by idle drones (ants!) is ours and ours alone.
We have laid the wide foundations; built it skyward stone by stone.
It is ours, not to slave in, but to master and to own.
While the union makes us strong.

Solidarity forever,

Solidarity forever,

Solidarity forever,

For the Union makes us strong.

They have taken untold millions that they never toiled to earn,
But without our brain and muscle not a single wheel can turn,
We can break their haughty power, gain our freedom when we learn
That the union makes us strong!”

Dear reader t’is a song of righteous fervour sung with such thrilling passion, such fervid ardour that it must chill the blood of every industrialist who hears it! Sung to the tune of ‘John Brown’s Body Lies A-mouldering In His Grave’ t’is not possible to tell who brought forth the song first, but t’is possible to see those who move gently amongst us sustaining it! See there the scarlet tri-cornered hat! And those jet black tresses that gleam so lustrously in the torch light. T’is none other than Madame Guacamoley and with her Madame Le Breton (knitting in hand) and behind her a ragged and uncouth looking selection of women armed with cudgels and bludgers. Dawn is but a few hours away and as we cluster beneath the oppressive walls of Her Majesty’s ‘Bastille’ one cannot help but wonder how things will end…

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Transported

Of Transportation & Genetic Algorithms

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Statistically speaking,there are degrees in murder and therefore life must be held sacred; not merely from the insidious invasion of choleric disease, nor only from the heinous onslaught of stubborn, homicidal intent, but from that most sinister and dare I say it, most nefarious of transports, the London Omnibus. In this vast metropolis, with it’s streets mired in mud throughout the greater part of Winter, travelling abroad on foot, bag in hand, with one’s skirts held aloft, all the way from Hay Market to the Spitalfield’s Workhouse, is unthinkable.

For one, there are the little ragged children, masquerading as street sweepers, who importune one so aggressively for a farthing here and a shilling there, that one is rather apt to call the fire of jove down upon their little heads. Then there are the penny steamers, a much safer, and one might say picturesque mode of transport via the River Thames. That is, until one recalls the maiden voyage of the SS Princess Alice, sunk in collision with a collier (650 lives lost), or the explosion of the boiler aboard the Superbiam (400 lives and an entire livelihood lost).

Indeed, it might be said that the safest way to travel is upon one’s feet; though many centuries have past since man felt inclined to demonstrate his affinity with mother earth by treading barefoot upon her. Hence Cabriolets, Hacks and Drays and the nefarious evolution of the Omnibus. Generations of gentlefolk have clambered delicately aboard these vehicles; just as generations of working folk have driven ’em and made ’em profitable.

Observe the honourable Miss Peepy the elder, as she daintily ascends the ‘Halfway Dilligent’ and is expertly manhandled into a comfy seat by Mr Herbert, the cad. Observe Mr Herbert tip his hat, and proffer a courtly bow, as a precussor to his assuring Miss Peepy the elder, that the journey from Paddington to Spitalfields will cost no more today, than it did yesterday.

“A good day to you Miss Peepy! I ‘opes this day finds you in pwistine ‘ealth Miss Peepy! That’ll be six pence Miss Peepy!” Miss Peepy responds in kind, gently inclining her head and offering up a contrained smile (it doesn’t do to be too familiar!), “A good day to you Mr Herbert! Spitalfields if you please!” and Spitalfields it is, though Mr Herbert and the driver have calculated that if they turn up Tenter Street, instead of turning left at White’s Row, they should be able to make a further thruppence out of Miss Peepy and so increase their profit margins.

The Omnibus driver canters on picking up one gentle-person after another till the bus is suffuse with the the scent of Rose Water mingled with Eau de Cologne. And now the Omnibus is packed nearly to the rafters with a dozen over dressed, esteemed persons seated cheek by jowl. Ah but there is always room for more! And so the driver pauses first at London Bridge, and then at Liverpool Street, and then again at Phoenix Street, picking up several gentlemen along the way for the princely sum of 2 shillings a piece. Nice and gently the Omnibus canters along, that is until Mr Herbert, leaning out of the door and surveying the whole breadth of Commercial Steet says he espies Squivers in the distance and a-picking up speed.

“Oi Oi! It’s Squivers! Comin up off-side! Look sharp Mr Gubbins!” and with a ferocious twirl of the whip on the horses’ back sides they’re off! The gentle canter becomes a trot, the trot becomes a gallop, and the gallop becomes a  headlong rush down Commercial Street, a mad cap dash up Hen Cage Row. Now the Omnibuses are neck and neck and Squiver’s twirling his whip like a man gone insane turns briefly to observe Gubbins and his Omnibus falling behind. “Ha!” he screeches, “Ha Ha Ha!” a look of exultant triumph lighting up his face, he is oblivous to the screams and wails of fear issuing forth from the mouths of his passengers.

And indeed, just as he is about to turn into Fashion Street one of his gentleman passengers is thrown out of the bus and left clinging onto the doors leathern strap for dear life. On the corner of Church Street the gallop slows to a trot and the trot to a most subtle canter, until at length they’ve arrived at Montague Street, whereupon all the passengers hastily disembark, straightening their clothes, re-adjusting their hats and tossing many a baleful glance behind them. They are horrified by the behaviour of Squires! They are outraged! But then they contemplate the prospect of having to walk all the way from Paddington to Church Street (as the poor do) and become resigned.

As for Mr Squivers, he climbs down from his perch and is soon joined by the bus boy who congratulates him on his triumph over Herbert and Gubbins. Cantering gently down White Street they pull up outside the Brass Bell pub, there they will count up the surplus profit they have made off the passengers and Squivers will recount his racing triumph, to any that care to give him their ear.

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