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"Night lay upon Chicago like an electric hand, vibrant with power. Stars winked in the sky, but their light was high and lost and vague, like a lantern on a high nail in the stable, Mattie Thornton thought, wondering why she should be thinking of stables and lanterns at a time like this, with all the troubles and sorrows and complications of life suddenly solved and untangled, and with her trembling fingers held tight in Henry's, exactly the way they ought to be. (page 7)
"There are no windows!" Henry said. "Look, Mattie!--what do you think of that building over there?"
"Goodness!" Mattie said. "I never dreamed of such a thing." (page 10)
"We shall see the Fair," Henry said. "For forty years I have thought of those days we spent together. You wore a blue dress with very large sleeves."
"Puffed sleeves," Mattie said. "They came back in style again a few months ago." (page 24)
Here she was-in Chicago! In Chicago with the Century of Progress going on! Her step became quicker, and every breath was a pleasure to be gratefully received into the very depths of herself, and then released with reluctance. (page 85)
Time has already done too much, Mattie told herself. I am afraid to go on from here. Or to look back, either. (page 99)
"Do you suppose people will ever ride about in the air?" she said. "I mean, to go places every day, like they do on boats and in the steam cars. Do you think they will, Henry?"
"It is possible," Henry said. "And there are all manner of inventions and experiments along that line. But it scarcely seems practical, does it? No, Mattie, I don't believe they will." (page 117)
In such spirit the adventures of another day were undertaken. Come what might, the genuine excitement lay within the mysteries of retrospection; all else was negative-the triumph of science and the victory of the machine were empty syllables before it. The dream had won. To Mattie it was infinitely more important that Henry should recount the ruffles of her parasol, now thirty years lost, than that a magnificent city had risen, in less than a century, from a tiny log fort on the edge of a wilderness. (page 162)
"As for myself, I can't get used to the Agricultural Building. It looks like a petrified cabbage worm, many times enlarged."
"That is the new architecture," Henry said, his eyes soft with indulgence. "We shall have to get used to it."
"We shall do nothing of the kind," Mattie said. "We shall be at rest long before it has gained a foothold, and I am glad of it. What would become of my geraniums in the winter, in a ridiculous house with no windows at all." (page 164)
"The next time there is a World's Fair in Chicago," Henry said, "certain features of this one will be looked back upon the same way. It seems incredible, but all these new ideas will be old-fashioned and funny. People will make sport of them." (page 165)
"Perhaps I am really protesting the relentlessness of it all," Henry said. "It is not that I nurse a personal grudge against advancement: it is only that the years have overwhelmed me with too much speed. I do not enjoy seeing the old order changed, whatever I may say." (page 199)
"There is something about a World's Fair that never lets you forget it. I wouldn't have missed the one in ninety-three. And I wouldn't have missed this one, either!"