You had no idea women drivers could be called driveresses; neither had I until I read this comment in an English motoring journal about remarks made by the columnist ‘Dagonet’ in the paper ‘The Referee’ early in 1899.
Dagonet was surprised to see a woman driving up Sherlock Holmes’ Baker Street, so apparently, women drivers were an uncommon sight in the London of that day. On the other hand, you might have spotted 12 ‘fair driveresses’ in an hour on Champs Elysees. And they didn’t go “careering wildly” but “with ease, dignity, and grace.”
The original comment:
The Referee, or rather “Dagonet,” expresses surprise at seeing a “motor of the yellow chariot order careering wildly up Baker Street” in charge of a lady, accompanied by a lady friend and a “groom.” If Dagonet’s “liver” or his “mother-in-law,” or any of his household impedimenta, will not interfere with his going to Paris, he may see during one short hour on the main boulevards, or in the Champs Elysees, at least twelve “fair driveresses,” as he terms them, all “tooling” motor-cars through the Parisian traffic with ease, dignity, and grace.