A Dandy

I bought this postcard from an ephemera dealer at the Elephant’s Trunk flea market in New Milford, Connecticut.


There is precious little information on the card: nothing except the title, in faint red serif lettering at upper left, and a serial number of sorts, “5533.” A quick Google search of “dandy,” “postcard,” and “5533” yields a surprising number of images of vegetable dumplings. Add “litter” to the search, however, and you come up golden: one fairly pricy online card dealer, Card Cow, places it in India and charges $14.95 (I think I paid $2). 

Given the title, one might expect the protagonist to be a man, but the hat suggests otherwise (unless we are witnessing an early casting call for RuPaul’s drag race, the Raj edition. But wait! I then found other images online of women being thus transported, and they too use the word “dandy.” Then it dawned on me: here “dandy” refers not to the person in the litter but to the litter itself. And yes, a quick check of the classic reference volume A Manual of Hospital Transport defines “dandy” as a rickshaw-type litter used in the Himalaya. On the back of a similar postcard, found online, the writer duly warns her correspodent that being carried about in a dandy was a regional mode of travel one occasionally has to “endure.”


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