36. The Sunday Cab
One morning, as Jerry had just put me into the shafts and was fastening the traces, a
gentleman walked into the yard. "Your servant, sir," said Jerry.
"Good-morning, Mr. Barker," said the gentleman. "I should be glad to make some
arrangements with you for taking Mrs. Briggs regularly to church on Sunday mornings.
We go to the New Church now, and that is rather further than she can walk."
"Thank you, sir," said Jerry, "but I have only taken out a six-days' license,* and therefore
I could not take a fare on a Sunday; it would not be legal."
* A few years since the annual charge for a cab license was very much reduced, and the
difference between the six and seven days' cabs was abolished.
"Oh!" said the other, "I did not know yours was a six-days' cab; but of course it would be
very easy to alter your license. I would see that you did not lose by it; the fact is, Mrs.
Briggs very much prefers you to drive her."
"I should be glad to oblige the lady, sir, but I had a seven-days' license once, and the
work was too hard for me, and too hard for my horses. Year in and year out, not a day's
rest, and never a Sunday with my wife and children; and never able to go to a place of
worship, which I had always been used to do before I took to the driving box. So for the
last five years I have only taken a six-days' license, and I find it better all the way round."
"Well, of course," replied Mr. Briggs, "it is very proper that every person should have
rest, and be able to go to church on Sundays, but I should have thought you would not
have minded such a short distance for the horse, and only once a day; you would have all
the afternoon and evening for yourself, and we are very good customers, you know."
"Yes, sir, that is true, and I am grateful for all favors, I am sure; and anything that I could
do to oblige you, or the lady, I should be proud and happy to do; but I can't give up my
Sundays, sir, indeed I can't. I read that God made man, and he made horses and all the
other beasts, and as soon as He had made them He made a day of rest, and bade that all
should rest one day in seven; and I think, sir, He must have known what was good for
them, and I am sure it is good for me; I am stronger and healthier altogether, now that I
have a day of rest; the horses are fresh too, and do not wear up nearly so fast. The six-day
drivers all tell me the same, and I have laid by more money in the savings bank than ever
I did before; and as for the wife and children, sir, why, heart alive! they would not go
back to the seven days for all they could see."
"Oh, very well," said the gentleman. "Don't trouble yourself, Mr. Barker, any further. I
will inquire somewhere else," and he walked away.
"Well," says Jerry to me, "we can't help it, Jack, old boy; we must have our Sundays."
"Polly!" he shouted, "Polly! come here."
She was there in a minute.