Page:Omnibuses and Cabs.djvu/194

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174
Omnibuses and Cabs

Two or three bullies always ride on the long-distance pirate omnibuses, and their fellow-travellers, as a rule, have not the slightest suspicion that they are not ordinary passengers. Of course they pay the second fare without a murmur, and if any other passenger does not follow their example they express great astonishment that any one could be so mean as to attempt to swindle a poor 'bus conductor. Generally that contemptuous speech has the desired effect—the passenger submits to being cheated. But sometimes a man is smart enough to guess that the indignant passengers are friends of the conductor, and is rash enough to say so. If he looks the kind of man that can be frightened, the bullies discard their rôle of being disinterested passengers, and join the conductor in swearing at him and threatening him alternately with personal violence and the police. Frequently those threats cause the passenger and his friends to pay up without any further complaints; but sometimes the bullies meet with a surprise—the passengers threaten them. Now, the pirate conductor, although frequently a big beery-faced fellow, is usually a cowardly cur, and his dislike of a thrashing is