Mon oncle a un dirigeable
Yes, yes. But has your postillion been struck by lightning?
I was delighted to discover that this isn't entirely apocryphal. According to a reliable source, John Murray's Handbook of Travel-Talk (1847) includes this calamitous scenario:
Oh, dear! The postilion has been thrown (off) down.
Is he hurt? Run for assistance to the next cottage.
Ask for a surgeon.
I am afraid he has broken his leg — his arm.
He has been bruised on his head.
He must be carried home gently.
It rains in torrents.
It lightens—it thunders.