There were all kinds of carriages, suitable for a variety of purposes, during the Regency period. In Persuasion, Anne Elliott pointed out to Captain Benwick that she believed they were living in a great age for poetry. I feel the same way about the movies made within the last twenty years on Regency subjects. Particularly their display of horses and carriages. Willoughby drives Marianne in a phaeton (Sense and Sensibility, 1995), Sir Walter Elliott enters a town coach as he leaves Kellynch Hall (Persuasion, 1997), and Miss Elizabeth Bennett changes from her cousin’s gig to the public post-chaise, a large conveyance for regional travel (Pride and Prejudice, 1995). Which she prefers to Lady DeBurgh’s barouche!
In Notorious Vow, Vivien is impressed by the earl of Northam’s customized tilbury, a light, fast, two-wheeled carriage normally designed for one horse, but which he had modified to be pulled by a pair of “sweet-goers” bred at Wimberley.
The image to the right is a phaeton driven by an intrepid female driver. Read Heyer’s Regency Buck for an even more intrepid heroine who dares to drive her own racing curricle in a wagered race to Brighton that nearly lands her in the basket. Her guardian, the Earl of Worth, has to employ his own record-setting team to catch her.
“You are not to be the judge of the propriety of my actions! If it pleases me to drive a curricle to Brighton it is of no business of yours!”
“Do you think I will permit my ward to make herself the talk of the town? Do you think it suits my pride to have my ward drive down to Brighton wind-blown, dissheveled, a butt for every kind of coarse wit, a object of disgust to every person of taste and refinement?”
Strong words indeed from a man to a woman whose wardship he never sought nor desired. And small wonder it resulted in an unforgettable tension between two people hopelessly in love.