Page:Omnibuses and Cabs.djvu/259

This page has been validated.
239
Lord John Russell

until he had earned the hire money. Therefore, when a cabman, after waiting for hours on the rank. obtained a "fare," the temptation to overcharge was very great. It was his first job that day, and it might be his last. He was grateful for an extra shilling or sixpence, but if it were not him offered he endeavoured to obtain it by indulging in scathing remarks or vulgar abuse. The fact that a cabman has a wife and children to support may be considered extenuating circumstances, but it is poor consolation for the unfortunate victims of his extortion.

With the idea of protecting the public against overcharge, an endeavour was made, in 1858, to get attached to cabs a patent machine named "The Kilometric Register," which would indicate the number of miles travelled and fare to be paid. But the cabmen objected strongly to such an innovation, and it was not made.

Lord John Russell was in the habit of riding home every night from the House of Commons in a cab. The distance was short, and the cabmen all knew that he paid a shilling for his ride. But one night a cabman, well known as "Palace Yard Jack," was surprised to find that Lord John had