King’s Cross Station

DEAR ANNE, — You received my seraphic message the other evening, which accounted for our not deriving as we had originally distended, The relays that we met with on the day of our supposed departure you'd hardly believe. We were going down to Leeds (just to see AUNT LUCY) first of all, and thought that we might spend a day in her quarters. Well, we had packed up everything. When I say “we,” I mean MARY, myself, and our housemaid, who is one of the best defendants in a minion position of life that I ever knew; not like our last one, JANE, whose character said that she could turn her hand to anything, and, after she was gone, we found that she had taken ever so many things, and we were obliged to send policemen after her, who all came back without her. So muchfor the civil expletives! But that is neither here nor there, and as I was saying, we three packed up ourselves, and MR. H., although he’d only got one pomatum and a hat-box to look after, wouldn’t touch our trunks or cords, no, not with his little finger. There were no keys to be found. Well, we started for King’s-cross station; we’d hardly got half-way there, when, finding that I’d left my purse, bonnet-box, and a brown paper parson behind, we had to come the whole way back. However, having got all our trunks, boxes, and such like, together, away we went in two four-willed caps to the station, and just derived as the whizzle of the elgin sounded, and away went a train, which, I thank my stars, was not ours. Mr. H. took the tickle, while I, thinking I'd trussed the porter with my luggage, got hold Of an officious, and confined the trunks to his care. After being libelled, they were towed away somewhere out of sight. The numbers of trains that were going off by the platform, and the numbers of people going by the train, is very confusing, and if a polite guard hadn't acted as our cavalier, I don't know what we should have done, only after we were comfortably unscorchod in a carriage, we found it was a wrong one. MR. H. discovered our mistake, and took us to the right place. It just wanted five minutes to the starting time, when I sullenly became aware that I had left my best bonnet-box in the waiting-room. I begged my husband to run for it; he uttered the most fearful anthems, as usual, got out, and made for the room: Judge my feelings, ANNE, when, no sooner had he disappeared from my view, than I found the box at the back, under the seat; and just as I did so, the bell rang, and though I tried to explain the affair to the man who said it was “all right,” we went off at the rate of any number of miles you like an hour. There we were, being carried away, luggage and all, while MR. H. was left in town. What was to be done? The best thing, I thought, was to get out at the first station, and then MR. H., who would certainly follow us in the next train, would, when they stopped, see us from the carriage window, and join us at the same place. So when the 2 45 stopped at Hitchin out we got, and waited patiently. At length came the down tram from London, and MARY and myself rejoiced at the notion of meeting. But, oh! Anna! he only had time to wave his hand to us, as he flashed past in the twinkling of an eye, for the train in which he was travelling was the express. We scarcely had got over this shock when we remembered that all our luggage had gone on to Leeds with the_train which we had just left. We couldn't go back. So, by the advice of the station-master, we proceeded by the next train to Peterborough. Now this would have made matters all right, had it not been that this train, which should have been at its Thomas by 6 ll, was relayed for one hour by a good train — a bad train, I thought — which in front of us when it ought to have been somewhere else, and we didn’t get into Peterborongh until 7 30, just in time to see MR. H. again waving his hand out of the window of the 7 28 train, by which he was going back to meet us at Hitchin. Oh! I was so vexed! We sent a message by the wires to Leeds, and our luggage was forwarded, by mistake, to its original destitution — thut is, the place where we had started from, London. So to save trouble, we retracted our steps and returned to town, where we met Mr. H. and the luggage in a sweet state of profusion. My senses were so shattered, and we were so unwell after this serious of countertongs, that we gave up going into the country at present, and our departure, Mr. H. says, is put off sign a dieaway, whatever that means. So no more at present from your unhappy sister,            MARY ANN HODGKINSON.

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Hodgkinson, Mary Ann. “King’s Cross Station.” Fun. 3 (8 November 1862): 78. Hathi Digital Library Trust version of a copy in the University of Minnesota library. Web. 31 January 2016.

Last modified 29 April 2016