Horses and cross-country travel
Posted by Roger V on June 29, 1998 at 16:16:26:
In response to Changing horses, written by Constanza on June 29, 1998 at 14:58:00
] When travellers changed horses at an inn (was it an inn, wasn't it?) to whom belonged the new animals?
This is a rather complex and confusing subject, as Austen's books were written at a time when everyone understood what different terms regarding travel meant.
Public "stage" or mail coaches took paying passengers, and their horses were changed at regular invervals, the horses belonging to the stage or coach company. This allowed a coach to maintain a fairly fast rate of travel, because it usually had "fresh" horses.
Private citizens such as the Gardiners in "Pride & Prejudice" could also travel with their own horses and carriage, but had to maintain a slower pace to keep from wearing out the horses. They would stop periodically to rest and water the horses, and when they stopped overnight at an inn, the accommodation was for their horses as well as themselves.
A thrid option for the very wealthy who were in a hurry was to travel "post." This meant paying for the privilege of changing horses in the same way as stage or mail coaches. One could either rent a carriage for this purpose, or use one's own carriage, but the horses were rented, not owned, and were usually accompanied by a driver known as a "postillion."
Poor people walked or hitched rides in wagons of one type or another.
- Postillions and other herbs Constanza 17:07:45 6/29/98 (2)
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