I will admit that, having sprung from my dear old mother nearing 200 years ago, I am an aged old cove now. I am approaching the well-seasoned nature, if not the venerability, of old Methuselah his self. Some may put this long-livedness down to stubbornness, after all, after a life lived as mine, I am in no particular hurry to see what is waiting for me on the other side. Others may put it down to me being well-pickled, and there would be some truth, if not cruelness, to this comment as I was no stranger to the bottle and the old Whitechapel air had a habit of sticking to the skin and did marvelous at keeping the illness out.
Whatever the reason for this preservation of mine, it does mean that in my current state of decrepitude, me old pins are not what they were (not that they ever were anything to write home about, even in youth they were like two sticks of forced rhubarb); and it is because of this that my current patrons came home with this modern contraption for me.
In truth, I have had the occasion in the past where I have felt the need for a conveyance and for a friendly soul to convey me, but all we had back then was the Bath chair which, although, very comfortable, was not the most manoeuvrable of devices.
But this one what I have now, although perhaps lacking in style and comfort, and being a threadbare and tatty old thing (although my current patrons promise me that they will be giving it a spruce-up for me), it does the job admirably. As I said, it is quite a modern contrivance, having come fresh from the manufactory in the 1930s. The stretched canvas seat laces at the back of the chair and I very much like this as it brings to mind the old Mrs Sloper, as she was, with her corsetry at strain after an over-indulgence of the Bass Ale of which she was fond of partaking in.
It also has a shelf at the back which suffices for storing your Topper and hanging your brolly and is most convenient as I wouldn’t like to impose on the poor soul what has to push me by insisting they carry these accoutrements, as they will need a free hand or two to bring along the liquid refreshments; perambulating being such thirsty work for the perambulater and the perambulatee both.
My patrons have assured me that this device will bring about a manner of freedom for me and, rather than being house-bound as I was, I may now be able to take the air. Perhaps I can think of a way to convince them that it would be in their interest to let me experience the sea-air, something I was fond of on my Half-Holidays.