Page:Omnibuses and Cabs.djvu/290

This page has been validated.
Omnibuses and Cab

occurred in 1897. For more than a century English people, strong in their belief that Mother Shipton's prophecy would be fulfilled, have regarded with great interest every attempt to invent horseless carriages. As long ago as 1771 our very good friend the horse was threatened with elimination, if not extinction, and pictures of superannuated and disconsolate horses gazing over a hedge at horseless vehicles careering along the road, to the evident enjoyment of the riders, were almost as plentiful as they were four years ago. In 1771 a horseless carriage, invented by a mathematical instrument maker, had a trial run in the Artillery ground near the Minories. The event aroused the greatest interest, and the failure of the vehicle to realise the expectations formed of it by no means disheartened the horseless carriage enthusiasts. They declared that before long a reliable horseless carriage would certainly be invented. In 1790 there was a belief that their prophecy had been fulfilled, for invitations were sent out to members of the Society of Arts, engineers, and all interested in mechanics and vehicular tratlie to attend a certain place on a stated day to inspect a horseless carriage, which possessed the additional novelty of