Sterneana | Sterne in Coxwold

This entry was posted on 5th April 2012

Letter – 16 May 1762


The Right Honble the Earl Fauconberg


Date-stamped 19 May; place stamp EASING / WOULD

Complete red wax seal

Newborough 16th. May 1762

Last Thursday Mrs: Sterne was here, who is Shortly going with her Daughter to France, and Desired I would Recomend her Postillion to your Lordship if you wanted one, he is a Coxwold Boy about 14 or 15 years of Age was one of your Lordships Plough Drivers who I Recomended to Mrs: Sterne above two years agoe, the lad is cut out on purpose, and he’s been Cast in the Postillion Mould, Mrs: Sterne gives him a good Character, if your Ldship want one Shou’d be glad to know for he’l Soon be gone —-

France: in a letter dated 16 May 1762 from Paris to his publisher, Thomas Beckett, Sterne observed. ‘She [Mrs Sterne] will sooner be in Town than I expected in her way to france and possibly you will see her the middle of June’ (Curtis 90).

Postillion: quite what Mrs Sterne’s postilion was required to do is debatable as the term was used to cover a range of activities: OED postilion 2, is defined as ‘A person who rides a post-horse, a post-boy; (more generally) a courier, a swift messenger’; while postilion 3 is: ‘A person who rides the (leading) nearside (left-hand side) horse drawing a coach or carriage, esp. when one pair only is used and there is no coachman. Also in extended use: an outrider for a carriage.’ Chapman’s reference to the ‘Postillion Mould’ makes clear his view of such positions.