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Glimpse of the past

Wednesday, November 16, 2016 6:39
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The street itself was empty. In old times one would have heard the desolate nocturnal sound of a lame hoof-beat as a market-gardener's cart went by: they always brought out in the small hours the horses that were too bad to be seen by day. But all that was changed. The last lame horse had probably long since gone to the knacker's yard, and no link of sound was left between the Niagara-roar of the day and the hush before dawn.
Edith Wharton – The Mother's Recompense (1925)
Every now and then we come across another glimpse of the past, a hint that life was different in far too many ways for us to grasp and fit into our easy generalisations. 
Is it likely to be true in a general sense? Did market-gardeners avoid showing their more decrepit horses in public? Perhaps they did – to do otherwise may have been bad for business. Personal reputation would have been crucial. The horses didn't end up at Tesco, but some probably didn't end up at the knacker's yard either. 

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