Terribly Quiet

Stanislawa de Karlowska, Barrage Balloons, c.1914

Stanislawa de Karlowska, Barrage Balloons, c.1914

‘Terribly quiet; that is in two words the spirit of this age, as I have felt it from my cradle. I sometimes wondered how many other people felt the oppression of this union between quietude and terror. I see blank well-ordered streets, and men in black moving about inoffensively, sullenly. It goes on day after day, day after day, and nothing happens; but to me it is like a dream from which I might awake screaming. To me the straightness of our life is the straightness of a thin cord stretched tight. Its stillness is terrible. It might snap with a noise like thunder’ (G. K. Chesterton, The Napoleon of Notting Hill, 1904)

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