Page:Omnibuses and Cabs.djvu/45

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An Omnibus Library

occupied. If he happened to be a stout party, the burning question was on which side ought he to sit. The matter was generally settled by the new-comer flopping down on some one's lap. Then a quarrel would ensue. As late as 1882 an omnibus with a seat in front of the fareboard was running from Oxford Circus to Henden, viâ Kilburn. It was a most uncomfortable seat, but, nevertheless, it was nearly always occupied, for the conductor, being a very amusing fellow, had a knack of quickly soothing passengers who protested against sitting on a small, cramped seat.

Soon after the removal of the bookcases, some of the Hammersmith omnibuses acquired the habit of loitering, and thereby obstructing the streets. By Act of Parliament, the police had the power to take into custody the driver of any public vehicle who obstructed the high road and refused to move on. One morning they exercised their power by pulling two omnibus-drivers from their boxes and taking them to the police-station. The following day the drivers were fined forty shillings or a month's imprisonment. For a few days there was no loitering on the Hammersmith Road. But one Saturday evening an omnibus