Axis acquiring a slightly oblique set


Hello everyone,

Here's another extract from Hardy's Tess:
Down, down, they sped, the wheels humming like a top, the dog-cart rocking right and left, its axis acquiring a slightly oblique set in relation to the line of progress; the figure of the horse rising and falling in undulations before them.
I get the idea of this paragraph: it says here that there was a bias in the cart's trajectory, so to speak. However, I have some difficulty with the bolded phrase. Does "axis" basically mean "direction"? Or does it refer to a wheel axis?

Thank you.
  • Barque

    Senior Member
    It refers to the cart rocking from side to side or rolling, so that its axis deviated in relation to the path in front of it. The axis refers to the (imaginary) line either from the front to the back of the cart or from top to bottom.

    Or does it refer to a wheel axis?
    I think you might be confusing axle and axis here.
    Last edited:


    Thanks a lot.

    As to these two words, I've always thought they mean the same, although they seem to have quite different etymology.
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