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BOULTON, ELLEN LOUISE CHANDLER, an
American novelist and poet; born at Pom
fret, Conn., April 10, 1835. At fifteen she began to contribute to periodicals, under the name of “ Ellen Louise.” In 1854 she published This, That, and the Other, a volume made of stories, essays, and poems. In 1855 she married William Moulton of Boston. She thereafter contributed largely, in prose and verse, to various periodicals. Her books include Juno Clifford, a novel (1855); My Third Book (1859); Bed-Time Stories (1873); Some Women's Hearts (1874); More Bed-Time Stories (1875); Poems (1877); Swallow Flights and Other Poems (1878); New Bed-Time Stories (1880); Random Rambles (1881); Firelight Stories (1883); Ourselves and Our Neighbors (1887); In the Garden of Dreams (1890); Stories Told at Twilight (1890); Swallow Flights, poems (1892); Lazy Tours in Spain and Elsewhere (1896); At the Wind's Will (1899), and Firelight Stories (1903).
THE LONDON CABBY.
Shall I ever forget my first solitary experience of the tender mercies of a London cabby? I had been there two weeks, perhaps, and had been driven here and there in friendly company; but at last I was to venture forth alone. It was a Sunday afternoon a lovely June day, which should have produced a melting mood even in the hard heart of a cabby. I had been bidden to an informal five o'clock tea at the house of a certain poet in a certain quiet “ road " among the many “roads" of Kensington. An American friend put me sadly but hopefully into a hansom. I asked him how much I was to pay, and was told eighteen pence. I always ask this question by way of
precaution; but I have found since that there is usually a sad discrepancy of opinion between my friend at the beginning and the driver at the end of the route; however, I had not learned this fact at that early epoch.
" Eighteenpence," said my friend. “I think you'll be all right; but if there's any trouble, you know, you must ask for his number, and I'll have him up for you tomorrow."
I thought he was pretty well “up” already. Indeed the upness, if I may coin a word, of the driver is the most extraordinary thing about a hansom.
I heard my friend announce the street and number of my destination, and the sweet little cherub that sat up aloft make reply:
“The lady knows where she's a-going', don't she?” And then we drove away. To me the drive did not seem long. As I have said, it was a day in June,
Sweet day, so pure, so calnı, so bright,
I could not see much of the sky, however, but I caught, when I strained my eyes upward, glimpses of a great, deep, blue dome, with white clouds drifting across it now and then, like the wings of gigantic birds. As we got a little out of the thick of the town the sweet breath of roses from gardens in bloom filled the air; in the gentle breeze the tree-boughs waved lazily; there was everywhere a brooding warmth and peace which I pleased my democratic heart by thinking that cabby must also enjoy.
Was he not grateful to me, I wondered, for taking him a little off his accustomed tract into these pleasant paths ?
Suddenly my revery was broken by his voice. He had opened the trap in the roof, and was calling down to me from his perch:
“ Which o' them turns, ma'am ? "
I had never been in Kensington before. I looked on in front, and down the cross street at each side. Instinct failed me; I had not even a conjecture to hazard. I answered mildly, “Why, I don't know, I'm sure.”
“Oh, you don't know, don't you? well then, I'm sure
I don't. The gentleman said as you knew where you was a-goin', or I wouldn't a took you.”
Then I spoke severely. The dignity of a free-born American asserted itself. I said:
"I am not driving this cab. I wish to go to 163 Blank Road, but it is not my business to find the way.
You can ask the first policeman you see.” But the peace of the June afternoon was over. It seemed to me that the very hansom moved sullenly.
We kept bringing up with a jerk at some corner, while cabby shouted out his inquiry, and then we went on again. At last we reached Blank Road. I saw the name on a street sign and soon we drew up before 163. I extracted eighteenpence from my purse, and handed it with sweet serenity to my charioteer. Words fail me to describe the contempt upon his expressive countenance. He turned the money over in his hand and looked at it, as a naturalist might at a curious insect. At length he demanded, in a tone which implied great self-control on his part, “Will you tell me what this 'ere money is fur?”
It is your fare,” I said, with a smile which should have melted his heart, but didn't.
My fare, is it?" and his voice rose to a wild shriek. “ My fare, is it? And you take me away, on a Sunday afternoon, from a beat where I was gettin' a dozen fares an hour, and bring me to this God-forsaken place, and then offer me one-and-six-pence! My fare! I ought to ’ave a crown; and a 'alf crown is the very least as I'll take.”
I took out another silver shilling, and handed it to him; but I felt that I had the dignity of an American to maintain. I remembered what my friend had told me, and I said, loftily:
And now I will take your number, if you please.” “Yes, I'll give you my number. Oh, yes, you shall 'ave my number! and welcome !” and he tore off from somewhere a sort of tin plate with figures on it.
I had been accustomed to the printed slip which every French cocher hands you without asking; and it occurred to me that this metal card was rather clumsy, and that if he carried many such about with him they must somewhat