I was sitting in my reading chair, soaking up the last morsels of sunlight and reading Howards End when I came across a passage which nearly made me fall off my chair, I certainly sat up straight. Forster was describing my London, it was his London, going through integral changes, but it was the same London that has been plaguing me for so long. So here is the extract of the week;
"And month by month the roads smelt more strongly of petrol, and were more difficult to cross, and human beings heard each other speak with greater difficulty, breathed less of the air, and saw less of the sky. Nature withdrew; the leaves were falling by midsummer; the sun shone through dirt with an admired obscurity.
To speak against London is no longer fashionable. The Earth is an artistic cult has had its day, and the literature of the near future will probably ignore the country and seek inspiration from the town. One can understand the reaction....Certainly London fascinated. One visualizes it as a tract of quivering grey, intelligent without purpose, and excitable without love; as a spirit that has altered before it can be chronicled; as a heart that certainly beats but with no pulsation of humanity. It lies beyond everything: Nature, with all her cruelty, comes nearer to us than do these crowds of men...who can explain Westminster Bridge Road or Liverpool Street in the morning- the city inhaling; or the same thoroughfares in the evening- the city exhaling her exhausted air? We reach in desperation beyond the fog, beyond the very stars, the voids of the universe are ransacked to justify the monster, and stamped with a human face....The Londoner seldom understands the city until it sweeps him, too, away from his moorings..."