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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/1973

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1771
DOMESTIC SERVANTS AND THEIR DUTIES

all probability a moderate pace of seven or eight miles an hour; less speed is injurious to the horses, getting them into lazy and sluggish habits; for it is wonderful how soon these are acquired by some horses. Unless he has contrary orders, a good driver will choose a smart pace, but not enough to make his horses sweat; on level roads this should never be seen. The true coachman's hands are so delicate and gentle, that the mere weight of the reins is felt on the bit, and the directions are indicated by a turn of the wrist rather than by a pull; the horses are guided and encouraged, and only pulled up when they exceed their intended pace, or in the event of a stumble; for there is a strong though gentle hand on the reins.

In choosing his horses every master will see that they are properly paired that—their paces are about equal. When their habits differ it is the coachman's duty to discover how he can, with least annoyance to the horses, get that pace out of them. Some horses have been accustomed to be driven on the check, and the curb irritates them; others, with harder mouths, cannot be controlled with the slight leverage this affords; he must, therefore, accommodate the horses as he best can. The reins should always be held so that the horses are "in hand"; but he is a very bad driver who always drives with a tight rein; the pain to the horse is intolerable and causes him to rear and plunge, and finally break away, if he can. He is also a bad driver when the reins are always slack; the horse then feels abandoned to himself; he is neither directed nor supported, and if no accident occurs, it is great good luck.

The whip, in the hands of a good driver, and with well-bred cattle, is there more as a precaution than a "tool" for frequent use; if he uses it, it is to encourage, by stroking the flanks; except, indeed, he has to punish some waywardness of temper, and then he does it effectually, taking care, however, that it is done on the flank, where there is no very tender part, never on the crupper.

THE CHAUFFEUR

The duties of the Chauffeur are very similar to those of the Coachman, and a careful perusal of the preceding article will instruct him in many important matters. His foremost duty is to possess a thorough knowledge of the mechanism of the car he controls, and to acquaint himself quickly with its vagaries. After a run he should always clean the car in accordance with the instructions given to the coachman for cleaning a carriage, and before starting out again he should see that all parts of the car are properly oiled, and that the tank of a petrol-driven car has been filled, that he carries a plentiful supply of petrol and accessories for slight repairs, that the lamps are filled and in proper order, and that the metal work and the seating of the car are clean and bright. When a long trip is contemplated