Mr. and Mrs. Brown's Journey in the Family Coach

The following is a story written for the 'Family Coach,' a game in which the players sit round the room, whilst some one reads (or tells) a story, in which the names of the different parts of a coach frequently occur. The players each take a name, at the mention of which the owner of it rises and turns round, on penalty of a forfeit. Each time the Family Coach is mentioned all the players change places. The following are names which might be given to the several players: John Brown—Coachman—Cushions—Rugs—Step—Horses—Whip—Dog—Windows—Seats—Wheels—Curtains—Door—Lamp—Box.

Whilst sitting by the fire one night John Brown said to his wife,
'My dear, I think we'll go and see your sister, Mrs. Fife;
We'll travel by the famous coach owned by the good John Brown,
There's not a better coach and man in any market town.'
The morn was bright and frosty, and there the Family Coach
Stood ready in the stable-yard of the fine old inn, the 'Roach.'
The coachman was arranging his cushions and his rugs,
And passengers were giving their friends their parting hugs.
'Now fare ye well,' 'good-bye to you,' and 'may you be safe to-day;'
'Oh, accidents,' the coachman said, 'are never in our way.
The step is very easy, not high at all,' he said,
'And you'll find the cushions quite as soft as any feather bed.
The horses are good, fast ones, they never need the whip,
But the whip, of course, I always take in case of any slip.
My good dog, Bruno, always comes, so I hope you'll not object,
My passengers in danger he would pluckily protect.
The windows are so very large, they make it cheerful too;
So you may view the country, which to some may be quite new.
Come, take your seats, this Family Coach it can no longer wait,
Or else at night,' the coachman said, 'we shall be very late.'
The whip he cracked, the wheels went round, so very, very fast,
The people at each other some anxious glances cast.
The coachman said his horses were the steadiest in town;
'I'm sure I don't agree with him,' cried frightened Mrs. Brown.
'Take care, my dear, or I am sure you will jolt off your seat:
'Indeed, I'm sure I shall be glad when we your sister meet.'
The dog by this was far behind, but now there was a hill,
Up which the coachman's horses walked, and at the top stood still.
''Twas down this hill,' the coachman said, 'that Benson's got smashed up,
When his dog—Bruno's mother—was but a little pup.'
And so they travelled on again through village and through town,
But all around the country now looked white instead of brown;
For snow was falling thickly, and the rugs about their feet
Did not feel half as warm and snug as when they took their seat;
The step outside was covered o'er with snow some inches thick,
The hedges, they were covered, too, you scarce could see a stick.
'This Family Coach was said to be the warmest in the town;
My dear, I don't agree again,' said angry Mrs. Brown.
'Let's draw these curtains, for my seat is in a horrid draught;'
At which the other passengers looked up, and then they laughed.
'There's very little light comes through these windows now,' they said;
'And if these curtains are drawn round, we might all be in bed.'
'I never go to sleep until I've had a supper good,
And among my fellow-passengers I don't see one who would.
I'm much afraid we shan't get one, at any rate to-night;
The wheels scarce go, this Family Coach is in a pretty plight!
Let's put the dog inside with us, he is so cold, poor chap;
And he may sleep upon this rug—if you object, my lap.'
The coachman's whip was broken quite, he urged the horses so,
But all this was of no avail, the horses could not go.
'The snow has drifted high,' the coachman opened the door, and said,
'I do believe the horses are very nearly dead.
I never knew this happen to my Family Coach before,
And if I'd known I would have brought two good, strong horses more.
The horse that is the least done up is jolly little "Clown,"
And by your leave, if you'll stay here, I'll ride off to the town;
In two good hours I will come back with four good horses more,
And long before the morning comes you'll find your own friends' door,'
They shouted out as in one voice, 'And, coachman, if you please,
Do bring us something back to eat, if only bread and cheese!'
'All right!' the coachman said; 'and here's my lamp, for it is dark,
Although the little light it gives is not more than a spark.
If you, good sirs, would take my place, and mind these horses three,
The ladies on the cushions quite warm and snug might be.
This Family Coachcontains a box, and in it you will see
A poker and some other things, and they might useful be.'
With this the coachman said 'Good-bye,' and mounted on the 'Clown.'
He left the Family Coach to reach Braintree—a market town.
A hunt was made, the box was found just underneath the seat,
The ladies lay on cushions with rugs wrapt round their feet.
'I'll take this good strong poker,' said brave old Mr. Brown,
'And if a robber comes to me I just will knock him down!
Look sharp! here's some one coming! Oh, dear! what shall I do?
I would jump into the Family Coach if the door would but undo.
Oh, if I could but get in safe!' cried out poor Mr. Brown;
'I'm sure I always will again stay in my little town.
Here, take this poker, do, you chap, and I will stand behind,
And if the fellow gives you one, be brave, and never mind.
If I were just as young as you I should enjoy it quite.
Oh, dear! oh, dear! I do declare the fellow is in sight!'
'All right! all right!' a voice cried out; 'I am your own coachman,
And I, to get you safe to town, have hit upon a plan.
This drift is only fifty yards, and then the road is clear,
This horse can take the ladies through to me it does appear;
But such a man as Mr. Brown I'm sure he will not mind,
But walk right bravely through the snow unless he's left behind.'
'Not so, indeed,' he did reply; 'if on a horse you get,
I shall as well, or else I know my two feet I shall wet.'
And so he did; although they laughed and called him Johnny Brown,
He safe was carried through the snow on the horse called 'little Clown.'
The walk was done in safety, but when they passed the wood
Old Mr. Brown he clasped his wife as tight as e'er he could.
And when they reached the sister's door he said to Mrs. Fife,
'By Family Coach I ne'er again will travel with my wife.'