Take Five

A lone mule drew the car, and sometimes drew it off the track, when the passengers would get out and push it on again.  They really owed it courtesies like this, for the car was genially accommodating:  a lady could whistle to it from an upstairs window, and the car would halt at once and wait for her while she shut the window, put on her hat and cloak, went downstairs, found an umbrella, told the “girl” what to have for dinner, and came forth from the house.

The previous passengers made little objection to such gallantry on the part of the car:  they were wont to expect as much for themselves on like occasion.  In good weather the mule pulled the car a mile in a little less than twenty minutes, unless the stops were longer; but when the trolley-car came, doing its mile in five minutes and better, it would wait for nobody.  Nor could its passengers have endured such a thing, because the faster they were carried the less time they had to spare!  In the days before deathly contrivances hustled them through their lives, and when they had no telephones–another ancient vacancy profoundly responsible for leisure–they had time for everything:  time to think, to talk, time to read, time to wait for a lady!

The Magnificent Ambersons, Booth Tarkington

This reminded me of a nineteenth century version of the now ubiquitous Louis C.K. bit.

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