8 hours ago
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
"What manner of public conveyance in France could be used to travel for free, or very cheaply, so long as you were not in a hurry to get directly to a particular destination, and didn't mind traveling with some light, but bulky cargo?"
The answer: By mail coach.
I first came across this, not as an 18th century, but a 17th century occurance. In fact, the Mancini sisters famously used it to escape from their husbands, which is an intriguing story all by itself. Passengers sometimes found the conditions of travel by mail coach to be cleaner and more comfortable than travel by Diligence (public carriage). The cost was less than that of hiring a coach, but since it couldn't be determined just how many places the coach would need to stop your travel time could be slower than desired. Happily, if there were few letters to be delivered and the stops along the way had little mail to add, your trip could also be surprisingly short. There tended to be fewer people traveling by mail carriage, and (as they frequently included a guard) were less likely to be robbed.
I'm going to be pretty busy with plans of my own through the holidays, so no new trivia for now; but I want to wish everyone a very happy, safe, and fulfilling New Year!