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  1. Senior Member
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    #1

    Lack of patronage

    Hi,

    I am struggling with an English text from the early 20th century. Can anybody tell me if my ideas about what the bold text could possibly mean are correct?


    The alley runs between high walls—the walls of the gardens of "Ivanhoe" and "Belle Vista" respectively. It smells a little all the way, and is scarcely twenty yards long, including the turn at the end. So not unnaturally the boy soon came to a standstill. "I'd like to kick that Shelley," he exclaimed, and glanced idly at a piece of paper which was pasted on the wall. Rather an odd piece of paper, and he read it carefully before he turned back. This is what he read:


    S. AND C.R.C.C.
    Alteration in Service.


    Owing to lack of patronage (lack of passangers) the Company are regretfully compelled to suspend the hourly service, and to retain only the Sunrise and Sunset Omnibuses, which will run as usual. It is to be hoped that the public will patronize an arrangement which is intended for their convenience (the public will understand the steps we have taken to establish its satisfaction). As an extra inducement, the Company will, for the first time, now issue Return Tickets, available one day only, which may be obtained of the driver. Passengers are again reminded that no tickets are issued at the other end, and that no complaints in this connection will receive consideration from the Company. Nor will the Company be responsible for any negligence or stupidity on the part of Passengers, nor for Hailstorms, Lightning, Loss of Tickets, nor for any Act of God. For the Direction. (the Company is responsible only for the direction you are going in)

    Now he had never seen this notice before, nor could he imagine where the omnibus went to. S. of course was for Surbiton, and R.C.C. meant Road Car Company. But what was the meaning or the other C.? Coombe and Maiden, perhaps, of possibly "City." Yet it could not hope to compete with the South-Western. The whole thing, the boy reflected, was run on hopelessly unbusiness-like lines. Why no tickets from the other end? And what an hour to start! Then he realized that unless the notice was a hoax, an omnibus must have been starting just as he was wishing the Bonses good-bye.


    Edward Morgan Forster, The Celestial Omnibus, 1911.

    Thank you very much.
    Not a Teacher. A guy who is fond of old horror and weird literature and who is interested in English language.

  2. VIP Member
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    #2

    Re: Lack of patronage

    For the Direction looks like a signature.
    I am not a teacher.

  3. probus's Avatar
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    Retired English Teacher
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    #3

    Re: Lack of patronage

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    For the Direction looks like a signature.
    I think so too. It's old-fashioned and it means the board of the bus company has approved the notice.

    ",,, hoped the public will patronize ..." They have cut the bus schedule from every hour to sunrise and sunset only, and they hope there will be enough people willing to travel at those times.

    The whole passage is amusing. Judging by the title, the first C may stand for celestial. "...negligence or stupidity on the part of Passengers.. " makes me want to read more.
    Last edited by probus; 25-Aug-2019 at 11:55. Reason: Correct

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