Page images

to the side of the road, propped up rambled away from home on the useless bicycle, and sat down in

& cycling tour of discovery, the hedge, surprised and disgusted.

and never came back. Two “If I had not been out of condition the thing would not have happened are mainly topographical. A like that. It was the first ride of my third discourses eloquently of vacation. But there it was ; and for the strong appeal that medihalf an hour I sat in the hedge, and eval art still makes to the for half that time I felt quite beaten, and decided to go lamely back into wayfarer through the great Ipswich

monuments which have sur“But I revived and revolted. Only vived the cupidity, the fanatthirty miles more, and perhaps not icism, and the ignorance of so much! It would never do to make intervening ages. Two of the my day meaningless by surrender to mere weariness. Since the flesh was

best-“A Duli Afternoon” and weak, the spirit must be the more By the Fire are rather willing. I felt an immense distaste metaphysical; but all alike refor my bicycle ; I hated the thought veal an essayist of genuine of the road ahead; I told myself that it did not matter in the least where power and distinctive charm, I got to, since I had to stop some- who writes always because he where. But I knew better. These has something to say, never things, I felt, were an allegory.

for the mere sake of writing. “I remounted at last and went on to the end. It was rather painful. I cannot allow the book to I remember that I made every little suffer any detraction in my upward slope an excuse for walking. regard from the fact that it The milestones got further and fur- is dedicated to me-in unduly ther apart, so that I felt like Sisy; flattering terms. I have known phus. Ten miles from home a steady pouring of rain began, and again I the author since he was was sorely tempted. But I kept on. short clothes, and, Mr Through the darkness — for it had Micawber said of his playgrown late - I pushed and plashed fellowand stumbled to my haven of rest. And what a delicious drowsiness, “ We twa hae run about the braes, what a fine, dreamy sense of insuper- And pu'd the gowans fine.” able obstacles overcome, rewarded by labour! 'Home was the sailor, home We were always convinced at from the sea, and the hunter home school that allen would “do from the hill !! The analogy of a well-spent life occurred to me ; but, something," as

as a good Engindeed, no life is well spent, though, lishman should. First as here and there, a day may be.” bowler: for as a bowler he had

a remarkable leg-break and a These, of course, mere formal, administrative manner scraps, and give a very im- of delivery that disconcerted perfect idea of Mr Allen's the gravest batsman. And complete panoply. Two of his then

historian. In papers are capital stories : one this field he has already disembodies a rencontre with a tinguished himself by an ghost, the other with a more cumulation of knowledge which interesting personage - 8 na- puts most of the professors to ture worshipper, who uses the shame; and by his recent book cycle as a praying-wheel, who on The Place of History in












?? which no one who Days there were when grown takes an interest, whether pro- men were chiefly interested in fessional or general, in the one on account of one's grandscience and art of history and father. It is appalling now to historical teaching can pos- think how few people there are sibly afford to neglect, and who really knew one's father. which deserves a disquisition And the third stage is defined to itself. Or rather several for all time by Charles Lamb's disquisitions ; for it is contro- hungry lament—"There is no versial at many points, and one left to call me Charlie must be regarded from now.” But no, I am not to be many points of view as there demoralised by a caress, and I are separate schools of thought do not think I am unduly preon the subject. In such a judiced, for if I know, to my book, as was indispensable, the cost, how difficult the subject dyer's hand was in evidence is, I know also what a very and not to be concealed. real thing is Wheel Magic. Wheel Magio' is pure relax- There is a magic power about ation, but the relaxation of the wheel, to be sure, and to an historian and of a philos. prove it I will instance no opher. Of such books is good more than the transformation reading made. The material it can effeot in the faculties of was intractable enough. Few an average townsman, — how men could build a volume from during the space of one brief the dreams of a velocipedist. year, in & being who knows Discover for yourself by ex- only streets, suburbs, and railperiment how hard it is to way stations, it will engender disengage a philosophy of pure a knowing interest in the literary charm from such a

a country-side, in natural obvolatile essence as these im- jects, in rural beauties, and in pressions and reminiscences as the arterial network of roads the wheel runs round; and that connect the whole, then estimate what Mr J. W. rigid iron framework Allen has " done."

to lacerate the

landscape I may be prejudiced, of on which it is geometrically course. It is nice to be the superimposed, but roads that object of a dedicatory letter so have grown up and into the well written and expressive as landscape and made it what that prefixed to 'Wheel Magic.' it is. Boats, camps, links, It is nice to an extent, the moors, river-beds will effect as greatness of which a younger much, and more, no doubt, essayist for all his cunning can upon a suitable soil; but their perhaps hardly conceive, to be operation is slower and more called by one's Christian name costly,- they take time and

-by a duly authorised person. money.

money. As soon as the cyclist


1 The Place of History in Education. By J. W. Allen, formerly Brakenbury Exhibitioner, Balliol College, Oxford ; Hulsean Professor of Modern History at Bedford College, University of London. W. Blackwood & Sons. VOL. CLXXXVI.—NO. MCXXVI.


[ocr errors]




realises that the Chilterns and - old faces peering at the the Downs, with their whale- sailer-by over a blind-young backs and their mamelons, girls in their best clothes their subtle suggestion of racing home the clock mountain and their distant strikes ten — the glances of peep of plain, are within easy young men as they cross the striking distance, he is as good street—the hesitation of groups as saved. The magic of the with children preparing to wheel will enter into his being, plunge across the road and the throng of associations, Here are a few beats of the the train of observations pro- ceaseless tide of impressions per and peculiar to the wheel- that flit through the brain of man, will become a part of his the least heedful of cyclists consciousness. The dive into whose mind is attuned to the the dusky shadow of the wood hum of the wheel. as twilight approaches — the The historic destinies of the wan atmospherio effect over bioycle would have been more bare hills to the north-west- intere

interesting had it developed the mysterious reservoirs of contemporaneously with the warm and often hay-laden air roads that prepared the way that one passes through in the for it and made it possible. all-day-long days of summer- Had it preceded railways, for the unwary confidences of instance, or been used in the small mammals and finches Napoleonic wars, or even had surprised in the gloaming, it been grafted immediately the apparition of girl cyclists upon the caprice of the hobbyin light blouses, like white horse from which it derived, moths in the hot dusk, con- its annals, perchance, had been verging upon some provincial more illustrious. Lord Shercity—the warm breath of west brooke, it is said, once cast a wind or spring rain on the blighting eye upon it in its face as

one rounds a corner, infanoy as a possible source of breathing of the space beyond revenue. Society played with the town—the lunge forward it for a season in Battersea in the saddle, the swerves of Park. But, like the warship machines avoiding the traffic- Shannon, it has always been the vibrating disk of light that an unassuming vehicle - the one's lamp lets down in front Cinderella of the sports family. — the hammer - tick of the It has the distinction, indeed, motor-cycle — the concentrio of being a wholly popular and rings of electric light on the democratio invention. Machinexpanse of wood pavement- ery has nearly always been the the stealthy approach of the rich man's prescription, imtrolley-car—the click-click of posed from above. The bicycle, the free - wheel movement - contrariwise, has asserted itself oyolists pedalling rapidly along and reasserted itself persistthe transverse street — the ently from below; and though effort of the ankles as a road I do not think that it is asascends sharply over a bridge signed a place of any import

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

[ocr errors]

ance in Mr Wallace's Wonder- chine of which you will hardly

· ful Century,' it seems to me un- discern specimens dangling in mistakably the most benevolent chains from the roof like conmechanical invention of the demned felons. Suspercollated Industrial Era. If you wander placards describe the historical through the sheds that contain development of the pendent the admirable science collec- machines - hoary bioycles of

– tions at Kensington, you can the early 'Seventies. Montaigne trace with infallible accuracy once said that he would like to the development of the die travelling-on horseback. steam - engine, of locomotive Charles Lamb once expressed and postal machinery, of a desire that his last breath the marine engines that might be drawn through a you watch so intently dur- pipe ; a better ending than ing a stormy channel cross- either, in my opinion, was that ing, of the motor-car, the type- of Edward Bowen, who “died writer, the telephone, the pile- in a moment, while mounting driver, the spinning-jenny, et id his bicycle after a long ascent, genus omne. Trains and steam- among the lonely forests of ers between them have spoiled Burgundy, then bursting into travel. The Post Office has leaf under an April sun. destroyed letter-writing. The foot was on his bicycle step; motor - car and the telephone and then in one brief moment between them have tainted life —'as the lightning cometh out whole-at its source. Such in- of the east and shineth even ventions could only come from unto the west' - all above. The one unmixed bene- over.” factor to mankind is that ma


»°« His

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]



EVERY well-wisher of South servative Government of the Africa rejoices at the prospect 'Seventies. It is also true that of the early unification of the the retrocession of the Transfour British Colonies. We vaal by Mr Gladstone indefregret therefore to observe in initely postponed the realisacertain quarters a disposition tion of this ideal. The necessity to exploit this feeling for party of some form of union was early purposes and to congratulate seen by most South African the present Government at the statesmen, but the establishexpense of

its predecessors. ment after 1881 of an The argument used is as fol- sentially hostile Republic in lows: unification is the result the north made room

for of the grant of self-government alternative aspirations. The to the Transvaal and Orange need for union might be adRiver Colony; this was the mitted, but the question rework of the Liberal Adminis. mained under what flag ? tration, reversing the policy of How long this might have Mr Lyttelton. The inference remained an open question it drawn is, that the Liberals are is hard to say, had not the the friends, and the Conserva- discovery of gold in the Transtives the foes, of the new South vaal profoundly

vaal profoundly altered the Africa. We believe this line situation in two respects. On of argument to be both untrue the one hand, it provided and ungenerous. It is unfair President Kruger with the to the present Opposition, be- means for his attempt to create cause when they are told that a United Dutch South Africa. a certain event is the direct On the other hand, the growth result of their defeat at the of the mining industry estabpolls in 1906, they are sorely lished a British garrison in the tempted to question the de- heart of Boerdom, and brought sirability of that event. So the question of supremacy to a far, we are glad to see, their head. It cannot be doubted patriotism has stood the strain. that this was the true issue in That the argument is untrue, the Boer War, and that war we think a brief reference to was made inevitable by the recent South African history conflict of inconsistent ideals. will show. It is a well-worn The war established British theme, but our excuse must

supremacy. The political probe that the lessons to be drawn blem (as distinguished from are often forgotten.

those that may be called maIt is undoubtedly true that terial or economic) which faced the first attempts to establish Lord Milner was how that one central administration in supremacy was to be mainSouth Africa

were made by tained. The Boers were Lord Carnarvon and the Con- turning to their homes, still


« PreviousContinue »