8 Pages

Chapter the Eighth How the Hungarians of Old Loaded

First of all, in those days there were usually six horses harnessed to a coach, sometimes eight; but no one had ever heard of driving them from the box, but the coachman, even with the Prince, saddled the near-horse and drove the four horses from the saddle . Coachmen were usually bearded, and harness was of wide leather and had big buckles, not as it is nowadays; there was usually a rope in the harness, which was cal led the trace, and so it was a rope that held the harness; bridles too were wide, and below the horse's eyes was a large heart-shaped piece of leather reaching almost to its nose. Plumes were unheard of, but horses' forelocks were bound up with a strap or strip of hide; there was a thick pole between the two middle horses and those in front, with a short chain and a cross-piece, called the fore-spar, and on the harness there were rings by means of which the fore-spar was secured to the horses two by two. For show, great lords had harness of Muscovy leather embroidered with red or green hide, and on it large tinned buckles; on the whips of coachman and outrider right at the end of the handle and at intervals of a third of its length there were tassels; they were dressed according to their master's means, but the fur of their hats was usually fox-tail . Noblemen of modest means in particular, when they went on a journey in winter, fastened horse-blankets on the horse's backs with girths of hemp or leather, and so they harnessed the horses and set off. Now let us see how one made preparations when one meant to take a journey.