Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

It

exhibit the speed of the car without due regard to the circumstances. So I would advise every private owner having a hired driver to watch him rigorously, and to keep an eye on the speedometer the while. Of drivers other than paid, who are known to me as such, some approach-a few may equal, none excel-my friend; but a good many approximate to the methods of the paid driver, assert their rights obtrusively, scowl at the nervous, forget the discomfort caused by clouds of dust, omit to remember that, in the case of a horse-drawn vehicle, the chances of a mistake are at least double those which are open to a motorcar and its driver. In their case an appeal may be made to their better feelings, which exist, although they are sometimes in abeyance, and an argument may be addressed from experience to their reason. It is really incomparably more enjoyable to drive with consideration than without it. makes you "feel good," as our American cousins say, even if you receive no gratitude in return; and to drive brutally makes you feel like a brute. Motor-cars, on our present roads, must needs be more or less a nuisance always; but the more one can mitigate the annoyance to others, the greater is one's own pleasure. If there be those who do not feel this, let them be addressed on a lower ground. In proportion to the acuteness of the sufferings they inflict on others will be the severity with which those others will exhort members of the House of Commons to legislate for, or against, motorists; and those others are, and always must be, in the overwhelming majority. Even those who have no sympathy with them cannot afford to exasperate them.

Into the road question I shall not enter–because it seems to be almost out. side my legitimate scope--much further than to say that there appears to be

some reason to believe that the various tarring processes, or some of them, will prove to be more economical in the long run than the old, or rather the modern, methods; for it is clear that our roads are not made so well and are not kept up so thoroughly as they were in coaching days. A shaft sunk in the Bath Road not long since revealed, it is understood, a practically impene. trable stratum some eighteen inches down-an admirable example of what macadam really ought to be. Let that aspect of the matter go—not because it lacks interest for the motorist, whose pleasure dustless roads would enhance amazingly, not because it is wanting in importance for payers of rates and taxes, but because experiments are now being made which may carry us some way towards the solution of the grievous problem of the roads. The materials were laid down, many kinds of them, on many stretches of road near London-near in an automobile sense—at the expense of the Royal Automobile Club, the Motor Union, and the Roads Improvement Association, early in 1907. Cost was carefully noted, the efficacy and expense of various machines for spraying tar, solutions of tar, and the like were fully considered; but months or even years of traffic must elapse before we know how each material withstands the wear and tear of wheels, vicissitudes of sun and rain and disintegrating frost. So the time has not come yet for writing of this grave matter, in connection with which the huge question of the nationalization of the main roads will bave to be considered some day.

But the time has emphatically arrived for making some effort to dissipate a delusion, perfectly natural and intelligible on the part of the non-motorist, in which the occasional motorist sometimes shares. It is that the motorist, because he travels through the country a great deal faster than men

have ever travelled before, except in during a run through the Cotswolds, railway trains, sees nothing, observes I began to notice small things—for exnothing, is interested in nothing, is ample, that the Tolsey House at Burnothing better than a debauchee revel- ford had been repaired since I had last ling in the wild intoxication of speed. seen it, and that Bibury was undoubtIt has been written that this is a de- edly, as Mr. William Morris had aslusion, and a natural delusion, because serted, the loveliest village in England. it has been proved to be both by my Incidentally here was one of the new personal experience; and, if this be a advantages of travel by motor-car. fallacious method of argument on the We went through Bibury fairly fast, face of it, because no two individuals noticing a river running through the ure identically equipped with faculties valley, pleasant woods, gray and manyand senses, it can only be urged that gabled cottages of stone, abundant ora man's own experience is the first fact chards laden with fruit, and surmised from which he forms an opinion, and it to be a place well worthy a more that, on comparing reminiscences with prolonged visit on some more conothers, I have found my recollection of venient occasion. Nor was the calcumy own experience to tally with theirs. lation in any respect erroneous, for the My first ride on a motor-car, with no little pilgrimage made in more leisurely less famous a driver than Mr. S. F. fashion a few weeks later showed Edge at the wheel, was one long and Bibury to be a picture indeed, by no bewildering delight, ending in an irre- means over-painted in "A Cotswold sistible desire for sleep, or rather in a Village," having great trout in its transhopeless struggle to keep awake. Next parent stream, the Coln, a comfortable morning I remembered nothing at all hotel kept by kindly folk, a delightful of any part of the country between church, its churchyard planted with London and Folkestone, or between many roses, a stately Tudor mansion, Folkestone and London, which we had and the most pleasant-spoken inhabipassed through at speed. Roads that tants the heart of travelling man could seemed to open in horizontal and con- desire. Full of memories it was, too, tinuous welcome in front of us, hedges of the days when Burford, now “a forthat streamed past us, air that bathed gotten town," was famous in the annals one's face as if in deliciously cool of sport and the Bibury Club was a liquid on a scorching day, and a beetle living and local reality in connection which had bruised my closed eyelid se- with Burford Races. Also there were verely, were the only remaining im- other villages of exceeding charm hard pressions of the actual travel. A few by-Coln St. Aldwyns, Coln Denys, and days later I ran down in another car Coln Roger, yielding to none for quiet to a familiar part of Berkshire, and prettiness—which were found to be my driver asked me to direct him dur- within easy reach on foot or by bicycle. ing the last twenty miles or so. The Of Fairford, justly renowned for its task, willingly and confidently under- glass and its trout, and of Burfordtaken, proved to be far beyond my Falkland's Burford and that of Speaker powers.

Well-known turnings were Lenthall-it would not be true to claim passed unrecognized by hundred that they became known to me as an yards or more before the error was indirect consequence of this passing realized. The mind refused to work glance from a motor-car, for I knew at the pace necessitated by the new them well before, but Bibury and the mode of travel. By degrees it accom- three other villages were more than modated itself. A few months later, a sufficient reward. They were testi

a

can

mony that if, travelling by motor-car, but only perhaps, that from an "obone cannot always stop to enjoy at lei- servation-car" on the Canadian Pacific sure, one

very often see just Railway. But this latter is in its esenough of a place to know whether it sence the less cheerful and exhilaratwill be worthy of the devotion of a ing. It is a view of things constantly few days on some future occasion out passing away, growing less and less of a life that is sure to be all too short clear. The motor-car shows objects to revel in all the beauties of our coun- becoming more and more definite. It try. Without going into detail, it may passes from promise to fulfilment; it be said that like suggestions have been coinpels the observer to concentrate his received, and have been acted upon, in attention, and it rewards the effort. Wales, in East Anglia, and in the West The "observation-car” view persuades of England; and, it must be added, mo- the eye to strain itself upon disaptoring has another special advantage, pearing objects, and ends in despairat once analogous and contrary to that ing effort. The things seen are all which has been stated. It teaches the going away, or seem so to be, and none traveller that many a much-belauded can be observed as they appear to place is not to his taste, which is to approach. Again, your railway line him all-important, promising of pleas- avoids high hills, so far as the engiure; and so, while on the one hand it neers may have found them possible of suggests to him where he may go with avoidance; and only now and againprofit, it saves him, on the other hand, for example, during the descent of the from wasting any of the “brief life" western face of the Rocky Mountains which “is here our portion" (more cer- does the traveller revel in really wide tainly, by the way, than "brief sorrow” prospects. But your modern motoror "short-lived care") in journeys to see car laughs at hills. A really sharp places not worth seeing for him, al- gradient is one of the few chances of though they may delight others.

allowing the mighty engine to exert its It was on this same journey that the full strength; and so one gets a rolling joy of a glass wind-screen first became series of bird's-eye views and panoknown to me; and perhaps that was ramas of a quite new character which, the reason why my powers of observa- I like to think, give one such an insight tion were developed rather more rap- into the picturesque tone of a whole idly and noticeably than ever before. district as could not be secured in any To be buffeted by a roaring gale has other way. This thought began to dealways produced in me a feeling of velop itself, I think, that day in the glorious freshness combined with Cotswolds; but it has been present most inglorious and puzzle-headed stu- many a time since. There is an adpidity; and in the unscreened motor- vantage, too, in coming upon a glorious car one makes one's own roaring gale. panorama suddenly, and in haltingIn the unscreened car I can see, and I for motor-cars can be stopped at will can think, far more clearly than used to enjoy it. Who will forget his start to be possible for me; in the screened of awe-stricken delight when Cantercar I can see everything and think at bury Cathedral first appeared before ease, partly no doubt because the aid of his eyes? He walked in ancient streets, tobacco can be called in to stimulate the view strictly confined on either gentle thought. No other prospect side. He passed under a narrow archknown to me from experience is com- way and, in a moment, in the twinkling parable to that from the front seat of of an eye, the stately fabric rose bea screened motor-car, except, perhaps, fore him out of the green turf at foot,

a

to take his mind by storm through the and can observe more and more closely gateway of the astonished eye. Simile on each fresh journey. What manwould be out of place here, for Canter- ner of things does one notice?

Το bury is like itself only. It is the sud- choose them at haphazard, let me inden appearance of the vision that stance here and there a church-Botcharms, and one obtains the same sud- tisham, near Cambridge, for example, den quality over and over again in a with a striking clerestory visible from motor-car. Comparisons are excep- the road, the wonderful desolation of tionally odious when the question is the coast between Cromer and Wellsone of landscape; but a very good il- next-Sea, the different methods of lustration of my meaning may be ob- "shocking" the bound corn in the hutained when the first glance at the mid West Country and in the SouthValley of the Exe is taken by one jour- ern Midlands, the hoodie-crows among neying westward, and the motor-car, the cock-pheasants on Cambridgeshire by its very swiftness, reveals the vision stubbles, grouse "cheepers" crossing in the most effective way.

The appro

the road in Scotland, a heron croaking priate thoughts come crowding into the overhead, the quarrymen returning mind soon, but the instantaneous im- from their work at Bethesda or at pression on the eye is the delight which Llanberis, the character of the land is remembered.

and of the agriculture, the demeanor The glass screen, once enjoyed, has of an approaching horse, the blue eyes never again been willingly discarded, and the white teeth of a smiling peasexcept in rage of rain, when the swim- ant girl, the scowling face of a rider ming drops upon it blur the vision. more frightened than his horse, the True it is, as some recent experiments beauty of woodland or of gleaming have shown, that a screen five feet by water. One notices, in a word, everysix feet (which is rather more than one thing, or almost everything; and with needs) will reduce the speed of a car the growing power of observation, of from eighty miles an hour to fifty recording impressions more rapidly (which last, again, is more than one and more frequently than in the days requires). True it is, therefore, that at of old, comes an intelligent and surely extremely high speeds a large screen laudable desire to know what each tries engine and tires very hard. But great house and park passed may be, what of that? Non sequitur that at a to remember (or more often to seek to more reasonable speed the resistance discover) what men and women famous of the air is proportionately as great; for good or for evil, makers of history in fact, it seems probable that it would or writers of books, have haunted them be a great deal less proportionately; in the past or inhabit them now. In and, after all, an engine has no feel- short, the desire arises irresistibly to ings, or at least none of which we keep on learning more and more of know. To tax an engine for one's this country of ours, with its endless comfort is not, as to give horses store of beauty in many kinds and its heavier task than one need ask of them boundless treasures of association. is, to inflict unnecessary suffering. At Let this paper end with a sincere all events, behind my screen I secure confession of disappointment. It was all the fresh air man could desire-a begun with a definite purpose, and the little too much of it sometimes from end of that purpose is desperately far the backward eddy-can smoke and away still. The original intention was, talk in reasonable comfort, can refer in part at any rate, so to describe the to a map or a road-book if need arise, rational enjoyment of the car, its quickening influence upon the intelli- but smouldering embers, and let them gence, its stimulating effect upon the be fanned by the breath of imagination brain, that those who have little or no until tbey become a glorious flame. present opportunity of feeling the one Then, perhaps, with kindly help, I shall or the other should not begrudge them have demonstrated the proposition that to the more fortunate that those who the motor-car, rightly used, is capable misunderstand the moderate motorist of imparting so much new knowledge should begin to see him in a true light. in close union with so much fresh and The task has shown itself to be too se- healthy pleasure that, apart from its vere for him who set himself to per- obvious uses, it is to be encouraged as form it. I have done grievous injustice a humanizing influence. Yet one word, to a glorious theme; but something and one only, must be written of those may perhaps be suggested to remedy obvious uses of the car. To take a sinthe defect. If any kind man or woman gle example only, and that the bestwould fain know at second-hand to it enables a medical man in town or what lengths the innocent and illumi- country to visit more patients than benating delight of motoring may extend, fore, to bring relief to suffering more let the following recipe be employed. rapidly than of yore, to stay with his First banish the notion that it consists patients longer than he was apt to, linin mere speed, the pleasure of which ger when he knew that his hardsoon palls, the sensation of which is worked horse was shivering in the cold often entirely delusive. Vibration, in- outside, to do more healing work and different suspension, a rough engine, to enjoy more healthy leisure than was and a broken surface will make twenty humanly possible in the past. The miles an hour seem faster than fifty doctor's motor-car alone is an abundant in a well-hung and smooth-running car justification of the automobile. But on a good road. Next, if any sentence I must not permit myself the pleasure or words of mine should percbance ap- of explaining even a few of the practipear to be used as if they were desired cal advantages of the motor-car, for to glow, as indeed they were used, let my object was mainly to show its pothem be treated as though they were tentialities in quite another direction. Cornhill Magazine.

J. E. Vincent.

FROM A POOR MAN'S HOUSE.

I.

brutalizes him on the other. But I Some critics assert that, since edu- fancy that the main differences becated people cannot really follow the tween the educated and uneducated workings of an uneducated mind, it is are first of expression and secondly of worse than useless to write about the the diverse sets of experiences on psychology of the poor man.

You which the two types of mind have to must, they say, confine yourself to his work. The actual workings of the actions; beware of trying to unravel mind, the operations which result in his mixed motives; treat him objec- action, are not so different. The crittively, picture-wise, and let the psy- ic's exquisite and the poor man's chology of him follow by implication, proper fine, the critic's inevitable and the if it will. Certainly the ordinary poor man's can't be helped, 'tis the way novel about the poor man either senti- it, mean much the same thing. mentalizes him on this side truth, or Astonishment at, and zest in, these

« ZurückWeiter »