On April 16, 1812, Thomas De Quincey provides William Wordsworth with exaustive information on the appropriate coaches to get from Liverpool to London. Wordsworth is planning to come to London to try to reconcile with Coleridge.
My dear Sir,
I may perhaps save you as much money as will buy a decent edition of Shakespeare by giving you some information respecting the coaches from Liverpool to London.
There are two heavy coaches I don't know how many light ones and a mail: the mail, when I passed through Liverpool, was charging 5 , the light coaches 4; and the two heavy ones 2 I2s. 6d. a fellow passenger, indeed, from whom I learnt these rates, told me that he believed all the fares would soon be raised; but, if you should find this to be so, no doubt the propotions would still continue nearly the same. The heavy coaches start in the evening; one at 5 or 1/2 after 5, from the Talbot Inn in Water St. close to the Exchange (Water St. leads down from the Exchange end of Castle St. to the water side): this, I understand, is the quickest and genteelest of the two; but unfortunately I was too late for it; and was obliged to put up with the disgrace of going by the other which sets off at 1/2 Past 6 in the evening from the Saracens Head in Dale St. The bad points about this coach are that it keeps you up two nights is 12 hours longer on the road than the light coaches (it calls itself indeed The Expedition; but it is called, on the road, Old Heavy) and finally, as I said before, that it is not a coach for a gentleman. But on this head I say as a Roman Emperor said to his son who reproached him for a certain tax by holding up a chamber pot to his nose and asking him if that was a fit source of revenue to a Roman Emperor Ah my son! but I find nothing offensive in the money which this yields me. True it is that I set off from Liverpool at 1/2 past six on Tuesday evening March 24th. and was not landed in Piccadilly until the Thursday night following after the lamps were lighted; nonetheless I agreed with myself, as I was walking up Piccadilly, that two guineas (or upwards) was an affront that in such a case ought to be pocketed. For two guineas, I believe, is an under calculation of what you may save by this coach; since, besides the difference of fare, they charged me nothing for luggage and, from the irregularity of it's motions, no meals are prepared on the road except Breakfast; so that it rests with yourself to determine your own expenses in that article. A further recommendation of this coach to you, I believe, will be that it carries you through Oxford; which the light coaches and the mail, I think, do not. However, as it stops only to change horses, only so much of the city is seen as the coach passes through, Still I would not disguise that the coach is infamously blackguard; I do acknowledge that every man in it was ashamed of his vehicle; accordingly one had been disappointed of a place in the light coaches; another made it a constant rule that nothing could induce him to depart from No! on that point he was inflexible, never to get into a heavy coach ever since he had (many years ago) by accident got into one and discovered what sort of a conveyance it was; but most unfortunately, in this case, he found all the places in the mail engaged; and go that night he must; a third had a mind to see what sort of a thing it was ; &c. &c. Balancing all the pros and cons, however, I still think that so long as it continues at a decent blackguard price, this blackguard coach ought to have and shall have my patronage.
I called on Dr. Stoddart 1 the Monday after I arrived in London. He was very friendly and communicative; so that I got all the in formation that was necessary to me in forming a judgment on the Civil Law as a profession ; indeed quite enough to make me anxious for no more, I have now determined to enter at Gray's Inn ; 2 and, as a preliminary, have written down to my College for an attested account of the number of terms which I kept at Oxford ; to expedite which, and for- other purposes, I am now on the point of going down to Oxford. I shall be up again, of course, in time to keep the Easter term at Gray's Inn; which point is accomplished, as perhaps you know, by masticating for three days in the Hall of that honourable society. In the mean time, if you should have leisure enough to give me the favor of a call, you will either find me at this place or hear where I am.
You will not, I presume, want lodgings for yourself whilst in London: otherwise I can recommend the rooms which I now occupy, as comfortable and tolerably respectable; the family is a very decent and orderly one.
I remain, dear Sir, with kind respects to the ladies and my best love to all the children,
Your faithful friend,
Thomas De Quincey.
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