What are the 9 Coaches in Nine Coaches Waiting?

Identify the 9 Coaches

The coaches are a symbol of transportation and transformation. In Mary Stuart's novel, Nine Coaches Waiting each identified coach represents a car ride that takes Linda, the narrator, to her next destination in life.

First Coach

Abandon the Past

Nine Coaches Waiting Old Fashioned Coach Nine Coaches Waiting Cadillac In chapter one the first coach is a taxi ride that takes Linda from the airport in Paris. She was going to the hotel to meet Heloise de Valmy, her new employer, but instructs the driver to take her to her childhood home instead. We learned she has been out of France for ten years since her parents died and she was sent to a London orphanage. Staring at her old home, finding no one who remembered her, Linda stated:

Because of Daddy and Maman and the Rue du Printemps I made myself a stranger in England, not only bereaved but miserably depaysee, drifting with no clear aim, resenting the life I had been thrust into with such tragic brutality; I had refused to adapt myself to it and make myself a place there, behaving like a spoiled child who, because he cannot have the best cake, refuses to eat at all. I had waited for life to offer itself back to me on the old terms. Well, it wasn't going to. Because of my childhood I had rejected what England had for me, and now the Paris of my childhood had rejected me. And if I was ever to have a place, in whatever country – well, nobody ever wanted you unless you d*** well made them. And that was what I would have to do.

Second Coach

Embraces her future

Nine Coaches Waiting Old Fashioned Coach Nine Coaches Waiting Cadillac Her second coach is the taxi from her old neighborhood to the hotel where she arranged to meet Heloise. She puts the past behind her and embraces the future with a venegeance. Quoting the verses at the opening of the chapter, she tells the taxi cab driver to "Hurry".

It wasn't apprehension, it was excitement. I laughed to myself, my spirits suddenly rocketing. To the devil or not I was on my way.

Third Coach

Onward to Chateau Valmy

Nine Coaches Waiting Old Fashioned Coach Nine Coaches Waiting Cadillac In Chapter 2 Linda rides in the back with Heloise de Valmy, and notes the sour brother-sister team of Bernard and Albertine in the front seat.

If I – as the classic tales of governessing led me to expect – was to be insecurely poised between the salon and the servant's hall, at least I was now at what might be called the right end of the car. (ie, the back seat with madame) I might be at the right end of the car but it seemed I must keep to my own side.

Linda feels the rejection from both quarters.

Fourth Coach

She meets Raoul

Nine Coaches Waiting Old Fashioned Coach Nine Coaches Waiting Cadillac Three weeks after her arrival at Valmy, she met Raoul when he almost hits her in a fog while she was standing on the bridge. In the heated exchange of words after the near-accident, she realized she was speaking French which she pretends not to know. Shaken by her mistake, the almost-accident, and the kindness of the handsome stranger (once his initial fright wore off), she tells him her history from the inside of his expensive Cadillac.

Raoul: "I'm not your employer, you know. You don't have to explain. But as a matter of curiosity, do I understand that you did deliberately deceive my father and Madame de Valmy over this?"
Linda: "I'm afraid so."
Raoul: "Why?"
(After her long explanation)
Raoul: "You misunderstood me. I asked you why you had deceived my father and Heloise about it."
Linda: "I told you...."
Raoul: "I should have said, rather, why you HAD to deceive them. I'm not concerned in the least with the fact that you did do so."

This fourth coach ride ends with the two of them sharing a secret (and the question of why, exactly, Heloise and Leon care what language she speaks.) She observes Raoul being grilled by his father afterwards.

Fifth Coach

A date and a passion

Nine Coaches Waiting Old Fashioned Coach Nine Coaches Waiting Cadillac The day after meeting Raoul, there is the first near-miss with Philippe almost getting shot. At Raoul's suggestion, Leon gives her the night off and she thinks Bernard will drive her to town.

But it is not Bernard who is her chauffeur, but the good-looking, quick-witted son of her employer. After a night of dancing and fine restaurants, the pragmatic Linda was beside herself:

It was stupid, it was terrifying, it was wonderful. For better or worse I was head over heels over Raoul de Varmy.

Sixth Coach

A Kiss from a Jealous Raoul

Nine Coaches Waiting Old Fashioned Coach Nine Coaches Waiting Cadillac In another trip into town, Linda again runs into the English forester William Blake and has coffee and a conversation. The Cadillac drives up as she waves good-bye to William. Raoul gives her a ride back, but she finds him surly, interogating her over her companion. During an angry silence she glances at him:

Pride had joined force with common sense and the two were flaying me. Now I was undoubtedly sober and it was raining and the charm wasn't turned on. And I was still in love with this cold-voiced stranger who was making futile and slightly irritating conversation at me. At least I'd had the sense all along to try and laugh at my own folly, but it was no longer even remotely amusing.

To her surprise, he kisses her roughly. As she storms away from him she runs into his father, and suspects he knows what happened.

Seventh Coach

A Ride to an Unwanted Discovery

Nine Coaches Waiting Old Fashioned Coach Nine Coaches Waiting Cadillac While fleeing with Philippe in chapter 15, she catches a short ride with a local farmer who obviously had no idea there is a missing heir and governess in the vicinity. This ride would have had almost no significance, except that the farmer lets them off along the road where their paths separate, and it is at that location another car comes flying by with barely time for them to take cover. It couldn't be Raoul's because he told her he was in Paris and she is doing all she can to find any evidence of his innocence.

We flung ourselves down in one of the small citadels as the Cadillac took a bend three hundred yards away. The road leveled and ran straight below us. He went by with a splatter of dust and the hush of a gust of wind. The top was down and I saw his face. The litle claw closed on the base of my spine.

He's looking pretty bad at the moment. But she still isn't giving up:

Everything that had happened since Raoul had entered the affair, everything he had said and done, could bear an innocent interpretation as well as a guilty one...or so I told myself.

Well okay. Except while they are hiding in the bushes, Philippe sees Bernard above him looking for them. Almost caught in the snare, they huddle deeper into the tall grass and Bernard meets Raoul and gets in his car.

Just how do you find an innocent interpretation in THAT?

Eighth Coach

Linda and William Pursue Raoul to Valmy - and Linda has a Choice

Nine Coaches Waiting Old Fashioned Coach Nine Coaches Waiting Cadillac In Chapter 19 the chase is up, the climax has passed. Both the confession of Leon to Raoul earlier that day AND the confession of Heloise to the group at the Mireille Villa prove Raoul's innocence and Leon and Heloise' guilt. In a fit of anger Raoul - who appears to have rejected Linda due to her belief in his guilt - dashes from Mireille and drives the Cadillac back to Chateau Valmy. Afraid he is going to keep his vow to kill his father, Linda begs her friend William to drive her, and they steal Hippolyte's car which is faster than William's jeep. William tries to reason with Linda:

Linda, Linda. Where are you going? Keep out of this. You can't do a thing....

You've been mixed up in enough of their dirty game as it is. Let me take you away....What's it to you if they murder each other?

She could have left them. Perhaps she should have left them. But she was unable to do so. Once again, she rejects the faithful William's offer. It is, after all, Raoul and not Wiliam she is in love with.

Ninth Coach

Forward, Together

Nine Coaches Waiting Old Fashioned Coach Nine Coaches Waiting Cadillac Thinking he has left her forever, Linda streaks across the zigzag and jumps in front of Raoul's car to tell him good-bye and apologize for doubting him. Unknown to her, he was heading to Mireille to look for her and, in spite of the drama and trauma of the last 36 hours, had no intent of saying good-bye. They have a future that includes each other - and Philippe - but not the Chateau.

And presently the car edged forward through the mist and turned north off the Valmy bridge.

Nine Coaches Waiting

Get the low-down, deep-dive, in-the-know analysis of Mary Stuart's Gothic novel.

Main Analysis Nine Coaches Waiting Analysis
Is Mary Stuart's novel classic literature?
Themes/Symbols Themes, Symbols, Vocabulary in Nine Coaches Waiting
Symbolism, Themes, and Vocabulary
9 Coaches Nine Coaches Waiting - What are the 9 coaches
What are the Nine Coaches?
Map Thonon and Soubirous
Map of the area
Literary References Christmas Carol Lesson Plans
Find the meaning of all her references.

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