The fleet of modernism

“I had occasion, repeatedly, to find the Pennsylvania Railroad a beguiling and predisposing influence — in relation to various objectives, and indeed I quite lost myself in the singularity of this effect, which existed for me, certainly, only in that connection, touching me with a strange and most agreeable sense that the great line in question, an institution with a style and allure of its own, is not, even the world over, as other railroads are.  It absolutely, with a little frequentation, affected me as better or higher than its office or function, and almost as supplying one with a mode of life intrinsically superior; as if it ought really to be on its way to much grander and more charming places than any that happen to mark its course — as if, indeed, should one persistently keep one’s seat, not getting out anywhere, it would in the end carry one to some such ideal city.”

— Henry James, The American Scene, chapter 9


Photograph of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas by Carl Van Vechten