runs to the office to receive his way bills, seat card, etc. Directly the horses stop, the grooms place the cloths quietly across their loins, slipping them carefully under the reins ; off' side, wheeler first, then leader ; near side, leader first, then wheeler ; this method allowing of one of the men being within easy reach of the leaders' heads if necessary. These men then station themselves, one at the leaders' heads, the other at the near wheeler's ; the head groom dismounts, disposes of the reins and whip properly (see Chapter IX on Driving), and stands at the off wheeler's head with the coachman's driving apron across his arm.
Four or five minutes before schedule time, the guard having the ladder 'ready, sings out Coach ! " as a signal for the passengers to take their places. About two minutes before the time the coachman has his apron buckled, takes up his reins and whip quietly, mounts the box, compares his footboard clock with the one in the guard's pouch, and is ready to start.
This should all be done without apparent haste, but it does not look well to have to wait for a minute or so to elapse. As soon as time is up the coachman calls out " Hold fast ! " " Sit tight ! " or some such expression, which is repeated by the guard ; the grooms strip the loin cloths off carefully, leaders first, then