A fly was a horse-drawn public coach or delivery wagon, especially one let out for hire. In Britain, the term also referred to a light covered vehicle, such as a single-horse pleasure carriage or a hansom cab.
1. Mayhew, Henry & Tuckniss (1861)
LONDON LABOUR AND THE LONDON POOR: A Cyclopedia of the Condition and Earnings of Those that Will Work, Those that Cannot Work, and Those that Will Not Work. Volume 3, Griffin, Bohn, and Company. p.359
2. Chambers, Montaqu (Editor 1837). Law Journal Reports for the Year 1837: Comprising reports of cases in the courts of Equity and Bankruptcy, Kings Bench, Common Pleas and Exchequer of Chamber, from Michaelmas Term 1836, to Trinity Term 1837 both inclusive, E. B. Ince, 5, Quality Court, Chancery Lane, London. p. 120
Thanks Drive when I think of handsome cab I think of the type where the driver 'can't spin around and converse with the terrified passengers at eye level while the horse is heading for home at a hand gallop
Is a fly a surry lacking the finge on top? It was pouring 'Italian' rain' when the two heroines arrived and the short novel didn't mention the main characters being soaked on the way.
Perhaps someone has a link to old pics from 1920's italy.
Wow. That's some interesting story you're reading.
Hanging on our dining room wall is a wonderful old hand tinted 1800's era etching of "The Farnham Fly Leaving La Belle Savage [Inn]" (clothing circa 1770's) - this was a famous public coach running the London to Winchester line. Most of the public coaches back then were called "flys" because they were simply run as fast as possible from stage to stage....or inn to inn.
Edited to add: in reading the passage: (a) it was heavily raining, pouring down cats and dogs, and (b) it would appear the "fly" was a lightweight one horse (folding hood) carriage big enough to accomodate guests and luggage, and a driver's box seat, but small enough to be pulled by one horse through tight city streets. It seems ( to me at least) to be a nickname for a private phaeton.
Last edited by gothedistance; Oct. 7, 2012 at 10:56 PM.
Thanks Go- I have seen a phaeton in disrepair years ago and I have a clearer picture of what they are describing -it was bothering me to the point that I could not concentrate on the chatacters and wiki wasn't much help imagination wise.