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|It was the sports car of its day.....
Written by JulieW
(10/18/2008 6:23 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, BTW - what is a curricle?, penned by MarianneR
Dashing, wealthy young men had them, in JA's books at least : Darcy had one in P+P, Henry Tilney had one in NA, Mr Rushworth in MP and ( boo, hiss) Willoughby in S+S. The thing about them is that they were smart, fashionable and the young man drove himself ....an opportunity to show the world that he knew how to do these things in style.
Sandy Lerner, the chatelaine of Chawton House and noted carriage owner/driver, wrote this interesting snippet about curricles in The Female Spectator Volume 4, Issue 1 (Winter 200):
The curricle was a conspicous display of wealth and fashion analogous to the ownership of a high-priced, 2 seater convertible sports car. It was an unnecessary and expensive addition to an establishment as one necessarily had at least one other traveling all-weather vehicle. Also called a "bankrupt cart" becasue in the words of a contemporary judge they were "frequently driven by those who could afford neither the Money to support them nor the Time spent in using them, the want of which in their Buiness, brought them to Bankrutpcy". It was a young person's vehicle noted for its lightness and speed, especially as it was drawn by two horses.
The curricle shown above was by William Felton
In his book he estimated the cost of a new currcile at between £58 : 9 shillings and 3 pence and £ 103:5 shillings depending on the finish and extras added to it.
And now we can see a little more clearly one of Charles and Mary Musgrove's problems: Charles has a curricle ( a rich mans plaything) ...but as they have a growing family, they really need not a flash sports car but a "people carrier"-a coach- in order to get around all year in the countryside without constantly having to rely on the goodwill of Mr and Mrs Musgrove . You can see why Charles wants one, as a member of the "Heirs to a Pretty Little Estate Club". But I think in this case you can see that he is being a little selfish and Mary Musgrove is more than a little justified in saying that it is very disagreeable not having a carriage "of their own" ;-) Its rather like a man not wanting to sell his two seater Porche when the family has grown and they really need a Citroen Picasso.
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