Text: Edgar Allan Poe (ed. T. O. Mabbott), “Cabs,” The Collected Works of Edgar Allan PoeVol. II: Tales and Sketches (1978), pp. 493-494 (This material is protected by copyright)


[page 493, continued:]


This jeu d’esprit was first printed in Alexander's Weekly Messenger, April 1, 1840; and reprinted by its discoverer, Clarence S. Brigham, in Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society for April 1942. Like “Instinct vs Reason” it is included in Brigham's Edgar Allan Poe's Contributions to Alexander's Weekly Messenger. Because of its fanciful nature it is here collected among the Tales and Sketches. Brigham observed that it is most unlikely that anyone associated with Alexander's paper except Poe would have brought the two great French naturalists, Buffon and Cuvier, into a discussion of cabdrivers. The little piece is perhaps a first sketch for the second of the articles headed “A Moving Chapter” in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, July 18, 1844, assigned to Poe's pen with great plausibility by his friend Eli Bowen.


The sole authorized text, that of Alexander's Weekly Messenger, April 1, 1840, is reproduced.


These anomalous vehicles, of which we Americans know so little by personal inspection, and so much through the accounts of the travelled, and the pages of the novelist, are about to be introduced among us “as a regular thing.” In New-York they are already gaining ground, and going over it. The cab proper, as used in London, is an affair sui generis, and has very little affinity with any thing else in nature. It resembles, in some respect, the old-fashioned sedan chair, and carries two inside passengers, who sit vis a vis, with the coachman at top. The bottom nearly touches [page 494:] the pavement, and the entire vehicle has an outré appearance. Those in New York at present, are of a bright chocolate color, and look very stylish. Their charge is twenty five cents for any distance under two miles. The cab-introduction will bring about among us a peculiar race of people — the cabman. These creatures are not mentioned in Buffon, and Cuvier has entirely forgotten them. They bear a droll kind of resemblance to the human species — but their faces are all fashioned of brass, and they carry both their brains and their souls in their pockets.

[page 494, continued:]


None is needed for this jeu d’esprit. T.O.M.





[S:1 - TOM2T, 1978] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Editions-The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe (T. O. Mabbott) (Cabs)