The afternoon was drawing to a close, the rain had partially subsided, but the trees were heavy with water, and the streets ran rivulets.

Prudence would seem to dictate remaining in Le Roy over-night, but, so far as roads are concerned, it is always better to start out in, or immediately after, a rain than to wait until the water has soaked in and made the mud deep. A heavy rain washes the surface off the roads; it is better not to give it time to penetrate; we therefore determined to start at once.

There was not a soul on the streets as we pulled out a few moments after five o'clock, and in the entire ride of some thirty miles we met scarcely more than three or four teams.

We took the road by Bergen rather than through Caledonia; both roads are good, but in very wet weather the road from Bergen to Rochester is apt to be better than that from Caledonia, as it is more sandy.

To Bergen, eight miles, we found hard gravel, with one steep hill to descend; from Bergen in, it was sandy, and after the rain, was six inches deep in places with soft mud.

It was slow progress and eight o'clock when we pulled into Rochester.

We were given rooms where all the noises of street and trolley could be heard to best advantage; sleep was a struggle, rest an impossibility.

Hotel construction has quite kept pace with the times, but hotel location is a tradition of the dark ages, when to catch patrons it was necessary to get in their way.

At Syracuse the New York Central passes through the principal hotels, - the main tracks bisecting the dining-rooms, with side tracks down each corridor and a switch in each bed-room; but this is an extreme instance.

It was well enough in olden times to open taverns on the highways; an occasional coach would furnish the novelty and break the monotony, but people could sleep.

The erection of hotels in close proximity to railroad tracks, or upon the main thoroughfares of cities where stone or asphalt pavements resound to every hoof-fall, and where street cars go whirring and clanging by all night long, is something more than an anachronism; it is a fiendish disregard of human comfort.

Paradoxical as it may seem, - a pious but garrulous old gentleman was one time invited to lead in prayer; consenting, he approached the throne of grace with becoming humility, saying, "Paradoxical as it may seem, O Lord, it is nevertheless true," etc., the phrase is a good one, it lingers in the ear, - therefore, once more, - paradoxical as it may seem, it is nevertheless true that those who go about all day in machines do not like to be disturbed by machines at night.

We soon learned to keep away from the cities at night. It is so much more delightful to stop in smaller towns and villages; your host is glad to see you; you are quite the guest of honor, perhaps the only guest; there is a place in the adjoining stable for the machine; the men are interested, and only too glad to care for it and help in the morning; the best the house affords is offered; as a rule the rooms are quite good, the beds clean, and nowadays many of these small hotels have rooms with baths; the table is plain; but while automobiling one soon comes to prefer plain country living.

In the larger cities it costs a fortune in tips before the machine and oneself are well housed; to enter Albany, Boston, or New York at night, find your hotel, find the automobile station, find your luggage, and find yourself, is a bore.

No one who has ever ridden day after day in the country cares anything about riding in cities; it is as artificial and monotonous as riding a hunter over pavements. If one could just approach a city at night, steal into it, enjoy its lights and shadows, its confusion and strange sounds, all in passing, and slip through without stopping long enough to feel the thrust of the reality, it would be delightful. But the charm disappears, the dream is brought to earth, the vision becomes tinsel when you draw up in front of a big caravansary and a platoon of uniformed porters, bell-boys, and pages swoop down upon everything you have, including your pocket-book; then the Olympian clerk looks at you doubtfully, puzzled for the first time in his life, does not know whether you are a mill-hand from Pittsburgh who should be assigned a hall bed-room in the annex, or a millionaire from Newport who should be tendered the entire establishment on a silver platter.

The direct road from Rochester to Syracuse is by way of Pittsford, Palmyra, Newark, Lyons, Clyde, Port Byron, and Camillus, but it is neither so good nor so interesting as the old roads through Geneva and Auburn.

In going from Buffalo to Albany via Syracuse, Rochester is to the north and some miles out of the way; unless one especially desires to visit the city, it is better to leave it to one side. Genesee Street out of Buffalo is Genesee Street into Syracuse and Utica; it is the old highway between Buffalo and Albany, and may be followed to-day from end to end.

Instead of turning to the northeast at Batavia and going through Newkirk, Byron, Bergen, North Chili, and Gates to Rochester, keep more directly east through Le Roy, Caledonia, Avon, and Canandaigua to Geneva; the towns are old, the hotels, most of them, good, the roads are generally gravel and the country interesting; it is old New York. No one driving through the State for pleasure would think of taking the direct road from Rochester to Syracuse; the beautiful portions of this western end of the State are to the south, in the Genesee and Wyoming Valleys, and through the lake region.

We left Rochester at ten o'clock, Saturday, the 24th, intending to go east by Egypt, Macedon, Palmyra, - the Oriental route, as my companion called it; but after leaving Pittsford we missed the road and lost ourselves among the hills, finding several grades so steep and soft that we both were obliged to dismount.

An old resident was decidedly of the opinion that the roads to the southeast were better than those to the northeast, and we turned from the Nile route towards Canandaigua.

Though the roads were decidedly better, in many places being well gravelled, the heavy rains of the previous two days made the going slow, and it was one-thirty before we pulled up at the old hotel in Canandaigua for dinner.

As the machine had been there before, we were greeted as friends. The old negro porter is a character, - quite the irresponsible head of the entire establishment.

"Law's sakes! you heah agen? glad to see you; whar you come from dis time? Rochester! No, foh sure? - dis mawning? - you doan say so; that jes' beats me; to think I live to see a thing like that; it's a reg'lar steam-engine, aint it?"

"Sambo," called out a bystander, making fun of the old darkey, "do you know what you are looking at?"

"Well, if I doan, den I can't find out frum dis yere crowd."

"What do they call it, Sambo?" some one else asked.

"Sh-sh'h - that's a secret; an' if I shud tell you, you cudn't keep it."

"Is it yours?"

"I dun sole mine to Mistah Vand'bilt las' week; he name it de White Ghos' - after me."

"You mean the Black Devil."

"No, I doan; he didn't want to hu't youah feelings; Mistah Vand'bilt a very consid'rate man."

Sambo carried our things in, talking all the time.

"Now you jes' go right into dinnah; I'll take keer of the auto'bile; I'll see that nun of those ign'rant folk stannin' roun' lay their han's on it; they think Sambo doan know an auto'bile; didn't I see you heah befoh? an' didn't I hole de hose when you put de watah in? Me an' you are de only two pussons in dis whole town who knows about de auto'bile, - jes' me an' you."

After dinner we rode down the broad main street and around the lake to the left in going to Geneva. Barring the fact that the roads were soft in places, the afternoon's ride was delightful, the roads being generally very good.

It was about five o'clock when we came to the top of the hills overlooking Geneva and the silvery lake beyond. It was a sight not to be forgotten by the American traveller, for this country has few towns so happily situated as the village of Geneva, - a cluster of houses against a wooded slope with the lake like a mirror below.

The little hotel was almost new and very good; the rooms were large and comfortable. There was but one objection, and that the location at the very corner of the busiest and noisiest streets. But Geneva goes to bed early, - even on Saturday nights, - and by ten or eleven o'clock the streets were quiet, while on Sunday mornings there is nothing to disturb one before the bells ring for church.

We were quite content to rest this first Sunday out.

It was so delightfully quiet all the morning that we lounged about and read until dinner-time. In the afternoon a walk, and in the evening friends came to supper with us. In a moment of ambitious emulation of metropolitan customs the small hotel had established a roof garden, with music two or three evenings a week, but the innovation had not proven profitable; the roof remained with some iron framework that once supported awnings, several disconsolate tables, and some lonesome iron chairs; we visited this scene of departed glory and obtained a view of the lake at evening.

The irregular outlines of the long shadows of the hills stretched far out over the still water; beyond these broken lines the slanting rays of the setting sun fell upon the surface of the lake, making it to shine like a mass of burnished silver.

Some white sails glimmered in the light far across; near by we caught the sound of church-bells; the twilight deepened, the shadows lengthened, the luminous stretch of water grew narrower and narrower until it disappeared entirely and all was dark upon the lake, save here and there the twinkle of lights from moving boats, - shifting stars in the void of night.

The morning was bright as we left Geneva, but the roads, until we struck the State road, were rough and still muddy from the recent rains.

It was but a short run to Auburn, and from there into Syracuse the road is a fine gravel.

The machine had developed a slight pounding and the rear-axle showed signs of again parting at the differential.

After luncheon the machine was run into a machine shop, and three hours were spent in taking up the lost motion in the eccentric strap, at the crank-pin, and in a loose bushing.

On opening up the differential gear case both set-screws holding the axles were found loose. The factory had been most emphatically requested to put in larger keys so as to fit the key-ways snugly and to lock these set-screws in some way - neither of these things had been done; and both halves of the rear-axle were on the verge of working out.

Small holes were bored through the set-screws, wires passed through and around the shoulders of the gears, and we had no further trouble from this source.

It was half-past five before we left Syracuse for Oneida. The road is good, and the run of twenty-seven miles was made in little over two hours, arriving at the small, old-fashioned tavern in Oneida at exactly seven forty-five.

A number of old-timers dropped into the hotel office that evening to see what was going on and hear about the strange machine. Great stories were exchanged on all sides; the glories of Oneida quite eclipsed the lesser claims of the automobile to fame and notoriety, for it seemed that some of the best known men of New York and Chicago were born in the village or the immediate vicinity; the land-marks remain, traditions are intact, the men departed to seek their fortunes elsewhere, but their successes are the town's fame.

The genial proprietor of the hotel carried his seventy-odd years and two hundred and sixty pounds quite handily in his shirt-sleeves, moving with commendable celerity from office to bar-room, supplying us in the front room with information and those in the back with refreshment.

"So you never heard that those big men were born in this locality. That's strange; tho't ev'rybody knew that. Why 'Neida has produced more famous men than any town same size in 'Merika, - Russell Sage, General New, - comin'" (to those in the bar-room); "say, you fellers, can't you wait?" As he disappeared in the rear we heard his rotund voice, "What'll you take? Was jest tellin' that chap with the threshin'-machine a thing or two about this country. Rye? no, thet's Bourbon - the reel corn juice - ten years in wood - "

"Mixed across the street at the drug store - ha! ha! ha!" interrupted some one.

"Don't be faceshus, Sam; this ain't no sody-fountin."

"Where'd that feller cum frum with his steam pianer, - Syr'cuse?"

"Naw! Chicago."

"Great cranberries! you don't say so, - all the way from Chicago! When did he start?"

"Day 'fore yesterday," replied the old man, and we could hear him putting back the bottles; a chorus of voices, -


"Holy Mo - "

"Day afore yester - say, look here, you're jokin'."

"Mebbe I am, but if you don't believe it, ask him."

"Why Chicago is further'n Buf'lo - an' that's faster'n a train."

"Yes," drawled the old man; "he passed the Empire Express th' other side Syr'cuse."

"Get out."

"What do you take us fer?"

"Wall, when you cum in, I took you fer fellers who knowed the diff'rence betwixt whiskey and benzine, but I see my mistake. You fellers shud buy your alc'hol across the way at the drug store; it don't cost s' much, and burns better."

"Thet's one on us. Your whiskey is all right, grandpa, the reel corn juice - ten year in wood - too long in bottl'spile if left over night, so pull the stopper once more."