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Two Thousand Miles on an Automobile Being a Desultory Narrative of a Trip Through New England, New York, Canada, and the West, By "Chauffeur"   By: (1859-1920)

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TWO THOUSAND MILES ON AN AUTOMOBILE

BEING A DESULTORY NARRATIVE OF A TRIP THROUGH NEW ENGLAND, NEW YORK, CANADA, AND THE WEST

BY "CHAUFFEUR"

1902

WITH EIGHTEEN ILLUSTRATIONS BY FRANK VERBECK

To L. O. E.

Who for more than sixteen hundred miles of the journey faced dangers and discomforts with an equanimity worthy a better cause, and whose company lightened the burdens and enhanced the pleasure of the "Chauffeur"

CONTENTS

CHAPTER I. Some Preliminary Observations II. The Machine Used III. The Start IV. Into Ohio V. On to Buffalo VI. Buffalo VII. Buffalo to Canandaigua VIII. The Morgan Mystery IX. Through Western New York X. The Mohawk Valley XI. The Valley of Lebanon XII. An Incident of Travel XIII. Through Massachusetts XIV. Lexington and Concord XV. Rhode Island and Connecticut XVI. Anarchism XVII. New York to Buffalo XVIII. Through Canada Home

FOREWORD

To disarm criticism at the outset, the writer acknowledges a thousand imperfections in this discursive story. In all truth, it is a most garrulous and incoherent narrative. Like the automobile, part of the time the narrative moves, part of the time it does not; now it is in the road pursuing a straight course; then again it is in the ditch, or far afield, quite beyond control and out of reason. It is impossible to write coolly, calmly, logically, and coherently about the automobile; it is not a cool, calm, logical, or coherent beast, the exact reverse being true.

The critic who has never driven a machine is not qualified to speak concerning the things contained herein, while the critic who has will speak with the charity and chastened humility which spring from adversity.

The charm of automobiling lies less in the sport itself than in the unusual contact with people and things, hence any description of a tour would be incomplete without reflections by the way; the imagination once in will not out; it even seeks to usurp the humbler function of observation. However, the arrangement of chapters and headings like finger posts or danger signs is such that the wary reader may avoid the bad places and go through from cover to cover, choosing his own route. To facilitate the finding of what few morsels of practical value the book may contain, an index has been prepared which will enable the casual reader to select his pages with discrimination.

These confessions and warnings are printed in this conspicuous manner so that the uncertain seeker after "something to read" may see at a glance the poor sort of entertainment offered herein, and replace the book upon the shelf without buying.

CHAPTER ONE SOME PRELIMINARY OBSERVATIONS THE MADDING CROWD

Any woman can drive an electric automobile, any man can drive a steam, but neither man nor woman can drive a gasoline; it follows its own odorous will, and goes or goes not as it feels disposed.

For this very wilfulness the gasoline motor is the most fascinating machine of all. It possesses the subtle attraction of caprice; it constantly offers something to overcome; as in golf, you start out each time to beat your own record. The machine is your tricky and resourceful opponent. When you think it conquered and well broken to harness, submissive and resigned to your will, behold it is as obstinate as a mule, balks, kicks, snorts, puffs, blows, or, what is worse, refuses to kick, snort, puff, and blow, but stands in stubborn silence, an obdurate beast which no amount of coaxing, cajoling, cranking will start.

One of the beauties of the beast is its strict impartiality. It shows no more deference to maker than to owner; it moves no more quickly for expert mechanic than for amateur driver. When it balks, it balks, inventor, manufacturer, mechanic, stand puzzled; suddenly it starts, they are equally puzzled... Continue reading book >>




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