Friday, February 28, 2014

Cabinet des Modes, 12e Cahier, 2e Planche

May 1, 1786

PLATE II.


"Flee, go away; you are not far enough. I am, you say, under the other Tropic; pass under the Pole and into the other Hemisphere; climb to the stars, if you can. - Here I am. - Very good, you are secure: I discover on the earth a greedy, insatiable, inexorable man, who wants, at the expense of all who will be found in his path and at his meeting, and what it may cost to others, to provide for himself alone, to increase his fortune, and to abound with goods." This was said, in all the dolor of his soul, by the Philosopher whom we have cited as the authority. This turn and these sublime words, could they not be repeated today, in a very suitable manner, because of these young people who, mounted in light cabriolets, fly rather than roll on the cobblestones, and never examine what is before them, nor at their sides, how many people they are going to drive over? They may run in the roads, if there is no man in danger; they may fly in the plain, but they walk in the streets! What glory can they thus take in having killed or injured some unfortunates who have difficulty in dragging their legs, and who couldn't save themselves from peril when they have been thrown by these accursed cabriolets? They may do better, these young people, if they find so much honor in contests of speed; they may go to the racetrack, and compete in the Tourney. They may give this new spectacle, if they are permitted; they may expose only themselves to danger. Their chariots are as light as those of the Greeks; if the shape is not the same as those, their triumph will be as glorious.

Can there be any lighter and more nimble than the Cabriolet that we have drawn in the 2nd Plate? On a rather long, rather thin, and very narrow Shaft, where a narrow Box is suspended, capable of holding, at most, one person. This Box, made of a very-thin wood, is painted with wide red and yellow stripes. The Dome of a very-glossy black leather, folds by means of four silver springs, and settles in the back on the Box. Two very light Wheels carry the Shaft. The Springs are gilded. The Wheels, Shaft, and Footboard are painted green. The inside of the Box is trimmed with a Louvier wool or another white cloth, and the underside is of a very-glossy black leather.

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