An Intelligent Horse Delivers the Mail – Mimi Matthews

The Edinburgh and London Royal Mail by John Frederick Herring, 1838.

One night in 1894, while on the mail route from Ramsgate to Dover, the driver of a mail cart was attacked by two armed men.  According to the Leeds Times, he was “cut about the head and face” and t…

Source: An Intelligent Horse Delivers the Mail – Mimi Matthews

18th and 19th Century: Fifteen Things a Good Georgian Coachman Would Not Do

Coachmen were the people entrusted with the management of a person’s carriage and horses. It was important they be reliable, honest, and wise, as a traveler’s safety depended on these traits. For instance, when traveling in a coach, loose nuts and bolts was a frequent occurrence, and, “a Careful Coachman” was said to be the person willing to check the coach every fortnight for any possible loose nuts or bolts and then screw them tight but also do it with such “care [as to] not to injure the Paint with the Wrench.”

There were also fifteen things a good Georgian coachman would not do. Here they are in their entirety.

He will not gratify a greedy Innkeeper, Hackney man. Hay Fanner, Coachmaker, Sadler, or other Tradesman, at the expense of his Employer; but, in laying out his Master’s Money, will be as careful as if it was his own.

He will not leave his Master to the care of the…

Source: 18th and 19th Century: Fifteen Things a Good Georgian Coachman Would Not Do.

The Origins of the Unicorn

Mimi Matthews

The Maiden and the Unicorn by Domenichino, 1602.The Maiden and the Unicorn by Domenichino, 1602.

According to historians, the legend of the unicorn first emerged in 398 BC courtesy of the Greek physician Ctesias.  Ctesias wrote an account of India, titled Indica.  He attests that all recorded within his account are things that he has witnessed himself or that he has had related to him by credible witnesses.  This account of India, though largely lost, has been preserved in a fragmentary abstract made in the 9th century by Photios I of Constantinople.  In the twenty-fifth fragment, Ctesias writes of the unicorn, stating:

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English Historical Fiction Authors: In and Out of Jane Austen’s Window

Originally posted on English Historical Fiction Authors

We do love our period costume dramas, don’t we?

I mean, what could be more restful than slipping back into a slower age, a more peaceful idyllic age, when horses clip-clopped their ways across the country, the corn was green in the fields, they wore elegant clothes that looked soft and weren’t all black, and society was stable and one found one’s Captain Wentworth or John Thornton in a garden of yellow roses? Or driving a high-perch phaeton with scarlet-wheels, wearing an eight-caped greatcoat, with a team of matched greys?

And that must be how it was, mustn’t it, because Austen for one never mentions a world beyond that charming and charmed existence, does she?

But here’s the thing, we tend to forget that…

via English Historical Fiction Authors: In and Out of Jane Austen’s Window.