Esoteric London

No. 1048: Bath Street, EC1

Posted in Graffiti, Transport by esotericlondon on March 5, 2014

© Roger Dean RED_6848 copy

Bath Street, London, EC1. Photo © Roger Dean 2014

A Wanderer In London – E.V. Lucas, 1906:

The secret of successful dealing with cabmen was whispered to me years ago by a wise man, and I have never had trouble since. “In addition to the legal fare,” said he, “give them twopence. It is not enough to corrupt them or make them harshly exorbitant with others; it is so small that you will not feel it; it shows the cabman that you wish him well, while it may, if you like, flatter you into a good opinion of yourself as a man who has generous impulses. If you give a cabman sixpence above his fare he knows you to be a fool and will probably demand a shilling; if you give him his just fare and twopence extra he recognises a gentleman.”

I commend the policy to others, especially to women, who seem to have a special gift for bringing out the worst side of the cabman’s character. Lacking any instinctive knowledge of distance, and being compelled by circumstances very often actually to exercise that economy of which their husbands only talk, they are peculiarly at a disadvantage when they alight from a cab. In Paris the taximeter comes to their rescue; but the taximeter is far too sensible a device for London, and so the agony of payment must be endured, with the cabman’s eyes watching from above as a hovering hawk watches a shrew mouse.