Log in

Blogging - WIth Computer

October 2015



Powered by LiveJournal.com
Romanticism - In the Square

All Hail the Hansom - Travel in Victorian Cities

Periodically, as you may well know by now, Gentle Reader, I am distracted by my own research. Often, as my characters are in motion, such research has to do with transport and distances. Yesterday's detour into Victoriana involved the relative differences between a hansom cab (AKA a hansom) a kind of fly (or 2 seat 2 wheel conveyance for-hire drawn by 1 horse - think Victorian chariot); versus a hackney carriage (AKA a hack) that could refer to any rental horse-drawn carriage that was not a hansom; versus a hackney coach (a jarvey) which is a hirable vehicle with 4 wheels, 2 horses and 6 seats, driven by a jarvey (to confuse matters the whole coach was also referred to as a jarvey).

So far as I can determine, in Alexia's day (mid 1870s), most cabs around London and Europe would be hansoms, except those used by elegant ladies, for whom a hansom was considered a trifle risqué. Ladies, in general, would not hire public transport at all, but if they had to, it would have been a hack - a proper carriage, enclosed cab (here's a nice little explanation on how to drive one. The highest-end privately owned upper-class conveyances were coaches (usually a landau or Berlin style) with 2 or 4 matched horses. Middle class or more modern families would own a barouche that seated 4 people but was drawn by 1 or 2 horses. If you're getting confused, that's nowhere near what I became. I had no idea there were so many different kinds of carriages, for example the Britzka was the motor-home if its day.

Much could be determined about a gentleman's character from his choice of conveyance. In Northanger Abbey Henry Tilney drives a curricle (a kind of chaise drawn by 2 horses, thus very fast and very light - notoriously accident prone) while John Thorpe drives a gig (chaise drawn by only 1 horse and considered more staid). Mabel Dair in Soulless drives a high-flyer, which is a kind of phaeton. As with Austen, this says a good deal about her personality.

The result of all this toil? You might well ask, Gentle reader. The result is three people crammed into a hansom cab racing along the French Rivera. And for any further detail, I must beg your patience in waiting to read Book the Third.

Gail's Daily Dose
Your Infusion of Cute:
Retroscape Fashion has parasols to suit all your needs.
Your Tisane of Smart:
Pimp My Satellite from the Drabble Cast - you can download it from their Outlet Center just find "Pimp" or read the lyrics here. Here's a sample of the genius:
We be pimpin the Hubble tonight
Put dem 20 inch rims on spinnin round right
Got da chrome on the dubs, got da subs thumpin bass
New spectrograph camera taking pictures of space

Your Writerly Tinctures:
Mark Sarvas discusses kindling.

CAKE in Space: With agent.
Soulless: "Will appeal to Lovers of Steampunk, Urban Fantasy and Romance. A fast paced novel filled with vampires, werewolves, tea and parasols, this book will appeal to a wide range of readers. The main character, Alexia Tarabotti, is feisty and fun reminding one of Buffy the Vampire Slayer at some times and Elizabeth Bennett at others. A clever reworking of the Victorian era."
~ Jessica Strider From my first online review!
Steampunk short: Troublesome beastie is about an adventure of its own.
Changeless: Gone poof. Starting to gather corrections.

Quote of the Day:
"Too often travel, instead of broadening the mind, merely lengthens the conversation."
~ Elizabeth Drew


Alexia's day was 1770's? Wouldn't that put her during the reign of Mad King George? Not Victoria?
Ahe-hem - oops, my bad. Have fixed. Thanks for spotting that.