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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 243 pages of information about The Land of Contrasts.

Bicycling also is exposed, as a public sport, to the same reproaches on both sides of the Atlantic.  The bad roads of America prevented the spread of wheeling so long as the old high bicycle was the type, but the practice has assumed enormous proportions since the invention of the pneumatic-tired “safety.”  The League of American Wheelmen has done much to improve the country roads.  The lady’s bicycle was invented in the United States, and there are, perhaps, more lady riders in proportion in that country than in any other.  As evidence of the rapidity with which things move in America it may be mentioned that when I quitted Boston in 1893 not a single “society” lady so far as I could hear had deigned to touch the wheel; now (1898) I understand that even a house in Beacon Street and a lot in Mt.  Auburn Cemetery are not enough to give the guinea-stamp of rank unless at least one member of the family is an expert wheelwoman.  An amazing instance of the receptivity and adaptability of the American attitude is seen in the fact that the outsides of the tramway-cars in at least one Western city are fitted with hooks for bicycles, so that the cyclist is saved the unpleasant, jolting ride over stone pavements before reaching suburban joys.

FOOTNOTES: 

[13] I wish to confess my obligation to this interesting book for much help in writing the present chapter.

[14] A match played in no less aristocratic a place than Newport on Sept. 2, 1897, between the local team and a club from Brockton, ended in a general scrimmage, in which even women joined in the cry of “Kill the umpire!”

[15] It is, perhaps, only fair to quote on the other side the opinion of Mr. Rudolf Lehmann, the well-known English rowing coach, who witnessed the match between Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania in 1897.  He writes in the London News:  “I have never seen a finer game played with a manlier spirit.  The quickness and the precision of the players were marvellous....  The game as I saw it, though it was violent and rough, was never brutal.  Indeed, I cannot hope to see a finer exhibition of courage, strength, and manly endurance, without a trace of meanness.”

And to Mr. Lehmann’s voice may be added that of a “Mother of Nine Sons,” who wrote to the Boston Evening Transcript in 1897, speaking warmly of the advantages of football in the formation of habits of self-control and submission to authority.

VIII

The Humour of the “Man on the Cars”

“A difference of taste in jokes is a great strain on the affections.”  So wrote George Eliot in “Daniel Deronda.”  And the truth of the apothegm may account for much of the friction in the intercourse of John Bull and Brother Jonathan.  For, undoubtedly, there is a wide difference between the humour of the Englishman and the humour of the American.  John Bull’s downrightness appears

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