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GUEST,Bottle Tuner Jingle Bells: What means 240 as his speed (41) RE: Jingle Bells: What means240 as his speed 15 Dec 11


Once again, the Little House books provide us with some social history. When Laura Ingalls and Manzo Wilder were courting, the big winter treat was to run a sleigh down the main street of town after church on a Sunday. The street would be watered on Saturday night so the surface would be freshly frozen and fast.

A trotting horse that could do a measured mile in 2 minutes, 40 seconds was going 22-1/2 mph. A sleigh has less friction than a cart, so it went even faster on the straightaway. Racing up and down in a sleigh was as fast as a normal human could expect to go in those days. For the boys, a chance to show off; for the girls, a thrilling ride.

And the horse has no name; "bob tail" [sic] and "lean and lank" are epithets, not names -- not capitalized in the original sheet music.


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