From , a letter by Edward Beecher Hooker, in Hartford, to Helen Yale Ellsworth, travelling in Europe, 1873:

“Miss Nellie Stanley gave a little party last Wednesday night. I drove over, with Sam, in the carriage carrying Belle Spence, Hattie Coit, and Bob Andrews. We had barely started, when in briskly going over a crosswalk, the carriage bounced and a spring broke. Luckily it was not the main leaf spring, but a minor one, so we went on though the carriage rattled and tipped considerably. It was lovely moonlight. Arrived at Miss Stanley’s about eight. The evening was passed in dancing and conversation, not forgetting the refreshments, oysters, coffee, cake, nuts, candy, and grapes. I danced the Boston, but did not find anyone with whom I could dance quite as easily as Lucy and you.

Left Miss Stanley’s some after eleven. The horse had not been put under a shed and a frost had fallen so the seats were icy and cold. The bridge and causeway on the other side of the river is often dangerous on account of robbers etc. but we were not molested. I was prepared for there was a revolver and slung-shot under the front cushion ready for emergencies. If anything had happened I, with great presence of mind, probably would have shot someone in the carriage and pitched the slung-shot in the river. I really wonder what I would do if I should be attacked. I am afraid I would run or surrender all my valuables and beg for quarter. No one can tell how he would act till he has been tried. I wonder what you will do if you happen to travel in Italy and fall in with brigands. Something heroic and grand without doubt.”

I think it is a sling-shot he is talking about here.  Hartford seems to have had a plague of highway-men in the late 1800’s; at least once a robbery was fought off by the girls.  Hooker’s letters, of which there are about 3o are truly entertaining.  They have a huge amount of information about the social life, culture and education of college age men and women in Hartford at the time.  They also tend to be at once dramatic and understated.  Having finished discussing highway-men, this letter goes back to discussing literature without any histronics.