Did you ever wonder what a Cabriolet was,
or who Croesus was and why he was so rich,
or which servant in a Regency household had
the unhappy task of emptying the chamber pots?
Historical Tidbit Offered by Julia London,
author of THE DANGEROUS GENTLEMAN.
~ WHO'S DRIVING? ~
So it's time for my heroine to dash off to the ball. Man, they sure seem to do a lot of that. But wait! Does she take the cabriolet? The phaeton? The gig? Just how many conveyances were there in 19th century England, anyway? Dozens, thank you, and as many varieties as we have cars today.
Coaches were the long-distance workhorses, something like the big Ford Expeditions you see hurtling down the freeway. The carriages were the short-distance, dash-down-to-San Marcos-to-shop vehicles. The bigger the conveyance, the more prestigious the owner got to pretend he was. The closed coach, for example, was like our big boat Cadillacs. A notch below that were your barouches and phaetons, probably on on par with Infiniti sedans on down to the good ol' Toyota Camry. A notch below those carriages were the gigs and curricles. Can you say Chevy Geo?
Naturally, the more junk you added to your carriage, the cooler you were. A coat of arms emblazoned on the side of your carriage was as cool as our gold trimmed wheels. The number of horses required to pull you around town was also a status symbol. The more horses you needed meant that many more horses you were obviously wealthy enough to keep, if you get my drift.
If you were forced to rely on public transportation, never fear?19th century England had something for everyone. There were plenty of hansom cabs and hacks terrorizing London streets, all precursors to our modern day taxis.