A Providence ‘trolley-car’. When Lovecraft refers in letters or a story to a ‘trolley’ or a ‘car’ this is the sort of public passenger vehicle he means. According to local transport buffs, they were green-and-cream in Providence until 1928, so I’ve colourised accordingly.

A Lovecraft dream of November 1927 involved a ‘trolley’…

“… under a grey autumn sky … lit up by a faint moonlight which had replac’d the expiring orb of day. Casting my eyes about, I beheld no living object; but was sensible of a very peculiar stirring far below me, amongst the whispering rushes of the pestilential swamp I had lately quitted. After walking for some distance, I encoun­ter’d the rusty tracks of a street-railway, & the worm-eaten poles which still held the limp & sagging trolley wire. Following this line, I soon came upon a yellow, vestibuled car numbered 1852 … It was untenanted, but evidently ready to start; the trolley being on the wire & the air-brake pump now & then throbbing beneath the floor. I boarded it & looked vainly about for the light switch — noting as I did so the absence of controller handle which implied the brief absence of the motorman. Then I sat down in one of the cross seats toward the middle, awaiting the ar­rival of the crew & the starting of the vehicle.

Presently I heard a swishing in the sparse grass toward the left, & saw the dark forms of two men looming up in the moonlight. They had the regulation caps of a railway company, & I could not doubt but that they were the conductor & motorman. Then one of them sniffed with singular sharpness, & raised his face to howl to the moon. The other dropped on all fours to run toward the car. I leaped up at once & raced madly out of that car & away across endless leagues of plateau till exhaustion waked me — doing this not because the conductor had dropped on all fours, but because the face of the motorman was a mere white cone tapering to one blood-red tentacle….”