The arc light

November 9 2012

When, as a child, I used to come home from Kensington Gardens, on winter evenings, after dark, across the bridge leading from Westbourne Terrace to Upper Westbourne Terrace over the Great Western Railway, a palaeotechnic arc light was mounted on a tall standard, overlooking the bridge, to illuminate the marshalling yard below; and, as I passed by, I used to be fascinated by the blue flame flickering between the two black carbon points. Long afterwards, when I was ruminating on the mysterious process through which spiritual illumination arises out of schism in the Soul and in Society, a vivid memory of my early impression of the arc light came to the aid of my imagination.

A Study of History, Vol X, OUP, 1954

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