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[142]

Chapter 20: classes and masses

When we read in the newspapers of balloon-flying or horseless vehicles, it hardly comes home to us that impending changes in human invention may transform our lives anew and make these days of bicycles and electric trains seem very far away. The most impressive thought inspired by the great Columbian Exposition was the reflection that the vast Machinery Hall, if locked up for fifty years, might be valued only as a museum of antiquities. Men always feel for a time that the inscription Ne Plus Ultra is written on the latest step forward. It is the same with all great social changes. A lifelong New-Yorker, still under seventy, told me, some years since, that he remembered the time when he could easily name the owner of every private vehicle in that city. It was like a country village, where one distinguishes at a

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