In the 1914 chapter of Virginia Woolf's 1937 novel "The Years", Martin Pargiter walks across London with his niece Sara. Between the Law Courts and Charing Cross, they cannot hear each other because of "the roar of the traffic", and Martin looks closely at an automobile: "It was odd how soon one got used to cars without horses, he thought. They used to look ridiculous." By the time Woolf wrote the novel in the 1930s, cars would have been a natural part of the landscape to most Londoners. But Martin, like Woolf herself, lived through the automobile's invention, and in 1914, he still remembers how unnatural the "horseless carriage" once looked. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 9 August)
Sunday, August 09, 2020
"It was odd how soon one got used to cars without horses"
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