21 - The Coachman Improves
Description‘The Road to Albalanda’ By Samuel Tuke Richardson of Darlington c.1896 ‘Leaving their friends very reluctantly they once more left their childhood’s home behind them. They drove down Lobley Hill with the Ravensworth woods on the left & very soon got into the unpleasing outskirts of Gateshead by way of Bensham but evaded the Tram lines by striking off to the Redheugh Bridge a comparatively modern bridge of extremely revolting aspect, what wonder then that their Leader shied rather badly & nearly landed them in a cart, this danger past they crossed the Tyne in safety & soon afterwards drove into the Inn Yard where the team were to tarry for the Night. This was the end of the drive as far as the De la Reynardez family were concerned & it now only remained for the Coachman & his wife to escort them to the station & there to take a reluctant leave of their late guests, who ensconsed in a first class compartment of the Corridor dining-sleeping Train de luxe were rapidly whirled away into the West. Gloom now filled the bosoms of the Coachman & spouse so after dinner they betook themselves to a performance of Professor Crocker’s horses, then returning to the hotel they retired to rest the coachman apparently in his usual robust health. Next morning however the coachman was seized with a very sudden & severe attack partaking of a chill in the stumyack accompanied with fainting necessitating the assistance of a Medical man. Although the ministrations of his faithful wife had allayed the more serious symptoms before the Drs arrival, of course the projected drive home had to be abandoned & it was with some difficulty that the impetuous Eleanor Postlethwaite was prevented from sending the Team home in charge of the guard & it was only when the invalid pointed out to her that the two blacks would come in useful in the event of a possible funeral that she was prevented from carrying out this rash & sinful prospect. A great improvement soon manifested itself in the condition of the sufferer & towards evening when the Dr came again he pronounced his patient to be quite out of danger & would probably be able to drive home on the morrow, which the coachman had fully made up his mind to do some time before’.
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