Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wondrous Words Wednesday 11

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Kathy at the Bermuda Onion where you "can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love. Feel free to get creative!

Eek! It's Wednesday already ?!? How did that happen ?

So this week I started reading No Place for a Lady by Barbara Hodgson and got curious about conveyances. There are several names in this book for the vehicles used and I wanted to try to sort them out. 

Diligence - four wheeled coach that seats six to eight passengers. The term is apparently French and the 19th-century ones came in three sizes, La petite diligence, La grande diligence and L'impériale

A diligence of Gothard
© Swiss National museum, Zurich

Post-chaise - a lighter four wheeled, closed-bodied carriage that carried two to four passengers and was drawn by two or four horses. This is distinct from a chaise which is a pleasure vehicle typically with a fold-down top and which only carried one or two people. These coaches could have a driver (coachman) mounted on the vehicle or a postillion (as in this picture). A postilion rider was the driver of a coach, or post chaise, mounted on one of the horses. Postilion riders normally rode the left (or "near") horse of a pair because horses usually were trained only to be mounted from the left.

Char-à-banc - an open-topped (or with a light shade) four-wheeler with two or more rows of crosswise bench seats, plus a slightly lower rear seat for a groom, and most also had a slatted trunk for luggage. (This term carried over from horse drawn carriages into early motor coaches.)

Well - this is just the first three but I have to prep a lecture, so I will leave it here - I plan to pick this up again with some more though.


  1. Now I haven't heard of diligence in that context.

  2. These are great! The photos are so helpful. I clearly should have looked up postillion long ago, because I thought that was someone riding alongside the coach on a horse.

  3. Wow, thanks for the great lesson. I had no idea what those words meant and would have had to look them up. Love the pictures. It must be a good book you are reading.

  4. Interesting words and interesting modes of transportation!

  5. Love the photos of the carriages and the names.

  6. Yep, I'm going to really need a diligence for my personal life, now that I know what they are.


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