The comical Wheels of Chance was written in 1896 at the height of the golden age of the bicycle, when practical and affordable bicycles led to profound social shifts in England. Suddenly people of modest means could travel greater distances for work or even for pleasure, without the limitations of rail schedules, weakening England's rigid class structure and strengthening the movement towards the liberation of women. In the novel, the poorly-paid draper's assistant Mr...… (more)
If you (presuming you are of the sex that does such things)—if you had gone into the Drapery Emporium—which is really only magnificent for shop-of Messrs. Antrobus & Co.—a perfectly fictitious “Co.,” by the bye—of Putney, on the 14th of August, 1895, had turned to the right-hand side, where the blocks of white linen and piles of blankets rise up to the rail from which the pink and blue prints depend, you might have been served by the central figure of this story that is now beginning.
The gate closes upon him with a slam, and he vanishes from our ken.