Page:Omnibuses and Cabs.djvu/34

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Omnibuses and Cabs

and were, therefore, well acquainted with the duties of the position which they assumed. The idea of being the first omnibus conductors in England pleased them greatly, and prompted them to work their hardest to make Shillibeer's venture a success. They were attired in smart blue-cloth uniforms, cut like a midshipman's; they spoke French fluently, and their politeness to passengers was a pleasing contrast to the rudeness of the short-stage-coach guards—a most ill-mannered class of men.

Each omnibus made twelve journeys a day, and was generally full. So great a success were they that the takings averaged a hundred pounds a week. Nevertheless, Shillibeer had much to contend with. The short-stage-coach proprietors, disliking competition, endeavoured to incite the populace against Shillibeer by declaring that he was a Frenchman, and ought not to be allowed to run his foreign vehicles in England. Moreover, the aristocratic and wealthy residents of Paddington Green objected strongly to the omnibuses coming into their select neighbourhood, and petitioned the local authorities to prevent their doing so. And when they found that their