1

What is the meaning of the "six [...] and sixty" passage in the following quote from Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities, Chapter 3?

So with the three passengers shut up in the narrow compass of one lumbering old mail-coach; they were mysteries to one another, as complete as if each had been in his own coach and six, or his own coach and sixty, with the breadth of a county between him and the next.

1 Answer 1

3

A coach and six is a carriage drawn by six horses, like so:

White carriage drawn by six white horses in three pairs

What Dickens is saying is that even though the three passengers are all in the same coach, they were so unknown to each other and interacted so little, they could well have been each in their own coach drawn by six horses. Or exaggeratedly, by sixty. Obviously there is no such thing as a coach and sixty, but hypothetically, such a vehicle would take up a lot of room on the road. Hence there might as well have been the breadth of a county between one passenger and the next.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.