"hailed a hansom"
A Hansom Cab
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeA Hansom Cab - Credit: Andrew Dunn/Wikimedia Commons

A hansom was a light, agile two-wheeled carriage drawn by one horse, designed for speed. They were seen as a little ‘racy’ and not generally used by respectable women. They were used as vehicles for hire, and could easily nip in and out of the notorious traffic jams of 19th century London.