The Heart to Artemis: A Writer's Memoirs

The Heart to Artemis: A Writer's Memoirs

The Heart to Artemis: A Writer's Memoirs

The Heart to Artemis: A Writer's Memoirs

Excerpt

When I was born in September, 1894, Dorothy Richardson's Miriam was a secretary. Mallarmé had just retired and was no longer teaching English to French schoolboys. The death duties that were to obliterate most of our feudal estates had been introduced in that year's budget while the Fram was drifting through the polar ice and would-be explorers dreamed about Bokhara, a fabulous city that was then more difficult of access than Tibet. I opened my eyes upon the end of not only the nineteenth century but of a second Puritan age. An epoch passed away while I was learning to speak and walk. Its influence remains as the start of memory and as a measuring rod for progress that even Edwardian survivors lack.

There were no motorcars, no taxis and no aeroplanes. The garden flowers were different; speech followed a more complex and leisurely pattern, the houses were usually cold. The real background to these formative years, however, was the sound of hooves; the metallic thunder of the big animals drawing the carriages called landaus, the lighter trip-trop of the hansom cabs. On land, apart from a few trains, horses comprised the whole of transportation. I only realized how largely they formed a part of my earliest consciousness when I woke up in Lahore over fifty years later to listen to the passing tongas and wonder why . . .

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