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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 4, Issue 7 (November 1, 1929)

The Farce of Gravity and the Force of Levity

page 25

The Farce of Gravity and the Force of Levity.

Interrogate yourself, gentle reader; is there not some irresistible attraction about a railway station, stronger even than the farce of gravity or the force of levity? Do not all roads lead, sooner or later, to the rails? There is magic in a railway station, for it is there you see human nature at its best—warm, happy, busy, tingling, palpitating, expectant, humanity; kisses, handclasps, partings, and welcomings; fat luggage, homely parcels, all manner of merchandise; paternal officials whose very appearance makes you feel constrained to take their arms and call them daddy, and all the three thousand and ninety-nine phases of human nature that, in the aggregate, make “life.”

Let's sit awhile and watch the world entrain. We see the careful commuter (which is Americanese for train-catcher); he is a small man with an O.S. wife and many head of children wearing his ear-mark. Having arrived an hour and a quarter before schedule time, they wrap themselves round half a gross of bananas and gaze at the goods shed fixedly, with a sort of surfeited satisfaction.

We see the inevitable late-comer, who is invariably a large male; his bag bears a labelled itinerary which should entitle him to the freedom of the seas and the earth and all that in them is.

We recognise the brand new married couple who, despite their air of matrimonial indifference, are so obviously fresh from the altar that the engine hums “Here Comes the Bride,” and the porters come over all goosey. There is the cute C.T., who is itching to tell someone something he heard at the Savage Club; also, the old lady who wants to know if the train really goes; the human luggage lift accompanied by the marital inspiration of his perspiration; the fat girl who appears to gaze hungrily at the plump baby on the next seat; the modern incarnation of the Queen of Sheba, who never travels without eight air cushions and a vanity case as big as a mail-bag; the semidetached wife; the self-contained spinster; and—in short, the whole box of human tricks.

A gay scene, demme! — a bright and colourful scene.