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An excerpt from the beginning of the first chapter:
JOHN TRUMBLE, seventh Earl of Watermead, was notoriously the best driver of a motor in London. The police admitted that, even when giving testimony against him.
Watermead Manor is not much more than sixty miles from London, but when the young man did the distance from his park gates to the Marble Arch in fifty-six minutes on his new Brusier-Grolier, a machine of the same make which, to the eternal glory of France, had won the Gordon-Bennett Cup that year, the bench of magistrates universally agreed that his lordship had not only gone too far, but too fast.
The excuse which he gave the bench on this occasion came near to augmenting his fine.
He said that he had been a week at Watermead, and suddenly there occurred to him the thought of the dreamy beauty of Marble Arch.
England, he said, was deficient in the artistic sense, and in order that the impression might not pass away from him, and thus be lost forever, he leaped upon his motor, and came as quickly as he could to view the Marble Arch by moonlight; and his lordship assured the bench, almost with tears in his eyes, that the sight of the grimy marble had filled his mind with poetic thought, which should be encouraged in these days of commercialism.
The senior magistrate dryly remarked that his position compelled him to take the commercial, rather than the poetic, view of his lordship's action, whereupon he fined him a sum about as near to the maximum as he could get without actually reaching it.
Yet it was but two days later that his lordship gave the Pullman express from Brighton three minute's start, overtook it, passed it, and would have beaten it into London had not the authorities, warned by telegraph, placed a barrier across the road south of Croydon, although they allowed the express to pass through, which Lord Watermead held was unfair treatment.
He accused the express of furious loitering, to the exasperation of all passengers, and held that he should be commended for consenting to teach that train its duty. Instead of approval he received censure, and was mulcted a fine as heavy as the law allowed.
He always referred to this race with the Brighton express as a delightful leisurely episode in an otherwise fast life, and claimed with pride that there had then been applied to him, for the first time in England, the term " Road-hog."