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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 15, Issue 1 (April 1, 1940)

Ghosts of the Exhibition

Ghosts of the Exhibition

(Continued from page 45).

of place—“The Comet,” first passenger steam-vessel to challenge the seas.

Even Playland is invaded. Crinolines swing out as the merry-go-ground whirls its joyous way. On the roller-coaster an adventurous antique train takes a single track in a swift downward sweep. Tinkle of laughter, joining with the wind in its leaping play…

In the Tower of London these old shades move more slowly, in dignified procession. Monarchs passed and gone. Statesmen, clerics, leaders; their velvet gowns trailing noiselessly across the stone-flagged floor—out into that ghostly concourse that overflows the courts.

Only the modern Exhibit Courts stand cold and silent, their faces blank to the night. For them there is only the present—and the future. No crowding ghosts here to flit and haunt…

In a back room an old caretaker stirs uneasily, wakes at some outward sound, and grumbling, takes up a torch to make his rounds.

An agitated stir moves that ghostly multitude. There is a sound like a mighty rush of wind.

Was that a cloud that drifts low above the deserted grounds, moving silently into the velvet darkness beyond?

From their marble pedestals and gilded frames, the old pioneers gaze austerely down. The Pioneer Hut is cast once more into its enchanted sleep. The modelled hills and valleys of the Dominion Court are wrapped again in sombre shadow. The cities and busy harbours are still. In the British Court a curious procession of vehicles, trains, airplanes and ships voyage once more on their mechanised tracks. The Tower of London is cold, emotionless, still.

In the quiet pools the stars gaze down….

Still grumbling, the old caretaker shuffles back to his room and climbs into bed.

Silence—only the wind outside, resounding faintly round the deserted courts.