Lady Bracknell fulminates about public transport
Lady Bracknell is not a young woman, and the high drama in which she spent her early years has taken its toll.To be brutally frank, Lady Bracknell is crippled. She is stalwart of character, nevertheless, and continues to conduct her duties with fortitude, although she expects that lesser ladies faced with comparable physical agonies would very probably sink fragrantly on to their daybeds, dabbing feebly at their temples with fine linen handkerchieves drenched in laudanum.
In the course of her daily duties, Lady Bracknell frequently travels by the local omnibus service. (She despairs of the poor standard of cleanliness which is generally evident in the interior of these vehicles, and of the lack of respect shown to one of her age and social standing by the local young ruffians. But the late Lord Bracknell's wealth was not infinite, and Lady Bracknell must make these small economies wherever she may safely do so without their exciting undue comment from her contemporaries.)
Lady Bracknell has three observations to make about her ease of travel. She cannot impress upon her readership enough that any of the three problems to which she is about to turn her pen could be easily rectified if all members of society would only summon the common decency to consider the needs of others.
- Lady Bracknell carries a handsome walking stick about her person when she leaves the house. She does not do this for idle show. Indeed, she could not walk safely without it. When she was first reduced to the exigencies of travelling by omnibus, she had supposed that younger and fitter passengers would recognise her physical infirmities, and offer her their seats. Lady Bracknell is grieved to report that her confidence in the capacity of her fellow travellers to demonstrate consideration in this matter was sadly misplaced.
- Lady Bracknell also deplores the tendency displayed by the drivers of said vehicles to draw out with considerable speed into traffic without waiting for their frailer passengers to be seated or, at the very least, to attach themselves firmly to one of the many rails intended to secure them against the potential damage to their persons occasioned by violent movement.
- Beyond all else, Lady Bracknell must protest in the strongest possible terms against the selfishness of motor car owners who park their vehicles at omnibus stops. The capacity of drivers to ignore the clear road markings which expressly forbid such a practice would cause Lady Bracknell's jaw to drop, were she not much too well bred to allow such a vulgar expression of emotion to sully the porcelain perfection of her features. Alighting from the step of the omnibus is a perilous undertaking for Lady Bracknell even when the vehicle has pulled in to be flush with the pavement. On those occasions when the presence of a motor car has resulted in her being forced to disembark onto the surface of the road itself, Lady Bracknell has experienced indescribable pain.
In closing, Lady Bracknell wishes to stress that consideration costs nothing, and to remind those who use public transport that a handsome walking stick is capable of inflicting considerable, albeit temporary, 'accidental' damage to the exposed ankles of passengers who are too engrossed in their daily periodicals to give up their seat to one whose need for it is greater than their own.