Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Stagecoach Etiquette

These tips for people travelling by stagecoach come from a 1877 issue of the Omaha Herald newspaper. They give you a good idea of how uncomfortable it must have been to make long journeys by stagecoach in olden days, and they don't even mention the poor sods who had to sit on top!

an overcrowded stagecoach
The best seat inside a stage is the one next to the driver. Even if you have a tendency to sea-sickness when riding backwards - you'll get over it and will get less jolts and jostling. Don't let "sly elph" trade you his mid-seat.

In cold weather, don't ride with tight-fitting boots, shoes or gloves. When the driver asks you to get off and walk, do so without grumbling, he won't request it unless absolutely necessary. If the team runs away - sit still and take your chances. If you jump, nine out of ten times you will get hurt.

In very cold weather abstain entirely from liquor when on the road, because you will freeze twice as quickly when under its influence.

Don't growl at the food received at the station - stage companies generally provide the best they can get.

roads were hair-raising
Don't keep the stage waiting.

Don't smoke a strong pipe inside the coach.

Spit on the leeward side...

Don't lean or lop over neighbours when sleeping.

Take small change to pay expenses.

Never shoot on the road as the noise might frighten the horses. Don't discuss politics or religion.

Don't point out where murders have been committed, especially if there are women passengers.

Don't lag at the wash basin. Don't grease your hair, because travel is dusty. Don't imagine for a moment that you are going on a picnic. Expect annoyances, discomfort and some hardships.

Find out more about Stagecoaches, Saloons, Spittoons, and Scalpings at my Western Mysteries session on Friday 26 August 2011 from 4.00-5.00 at the Edinburgh Book Festival

watch the mini-trailer on YouTube
Trailer for the first Western Mystery, The Case of the Deadly Desperados

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