“But that will cost money, Tim.”
“It’s economy, I tell you; for a shilling, if you bargain, you may ride the whole night, and if we stop at a public-house to sleep, we shall have to pay for our beds, as well as be obliged to order something to eat, and pay dearer for it than if we buy what we want at cooks’ shops.”
“There is sense in what you say, Timothy; we will look out for a wagon.”
“Oh! it’s no use now—wagons are like black beetles, not only in shape but in habits, they only travel by night—at least most of them do. We are now coming into long dirty Brentford, and I don’t know how you feel, Japhet, but I find that walking wonderfully increases the appetite—that’s another reason why you should not walk when you can ride—for nothing.”
“Well, I’m rather hungry myself; and dear me, how very good that piece of roast pork looks in that window!”
“I agree with you—let’s go in and make a bargain!”
We bought a good allowance for a shilling, and after sticking out for a greater proportion of mustard than the woman said we were entitled to, and some salt, we wrapped it up in a piece of paper, and continued our course, till we arrived at a baker’s, where we purchased our bread, and then taking up a position on a bench outside a public-house, called for a pot of beer, and putting our provisions down before us, made a hearty, and, what made us more enjoy it, an independent meal. Having finished our pork and our porter, and refreshed ourselves, we again started and walked till it was quite dark, when we felt so tired that we agreed to sit down on our bundles and wait for the first wagon which passed. We soon heard the jingling of bells, and shortly afterwards its enormous towering bulk appeared between us and the sky. We went up to the wagoner, who was mounted on a little pony, and asked him if he could give two poor lads a lift, and how much he would charge us for the ride.
“How much can you afford to give, measters? for there be others as poor as ye.” We replied that we could give a shilling. “Well, then, get up in God’s name, and ride as long as you will. Get in behind.”
“Are there many people in there already?” said I, as I climbed up, and Timothy handed me the bundles.
“Noa,” replied the wagoner, “there be nobody but a mighty clever poticary or doctor, I can’t tell which; but he wear an uncommon queer hat, and he talk all sort of doctor stuff—and there be his odd man and his odd boy; that be all, and there be plenty of room, and plenty o’ clean stra’.”
After this intimation we climbed up, and gained a situation in the rear of the wagon under the cloth. As the wagoner said, there was plenty of room, and we nestled into the straw without coming into contact with the other travellers. Not feeling any inclination to sleep, Timothy and I entered into conversation, sotto voce, and had continued for more than half an hour, supposing by their silence that the other occupants of the wagon were asleep, when we were interrupted by a voice clear and sonorous as a bell.