The five hundred and sixty-odd miles to Buffalo had been covered with no trouble that delayed us for more than an hour, but our troubles were about to begin.

The Professor had still a few days to waste frivolously, so he said he would ride a little farther, possibly as far as Albany. However, it was not our intention to hurry, but rather take it easily, stopping by the way, as the mood - or our friends - seized us.

It rained all the afternoon of Tuesday, about all night, and was raining steadily when we turned off Main Street into Genesee with Batavia thirty-eight miles straight away. We fully expected to reach there in time for luncheon; in fact, word had been sent ahead that we would "come in," like a circus, about twelve, and friends were on the lookout, - it was four o'clock when we reached town.

The road is good, gravel nearly every rod, but the steady rain had softened the surface to the depth of about two inches, and the water, sand, and gravel were splashed in showers and sheets by the wheels into and through every exposed part of the mechanism. Soon the explosions became irregular, and we found the cams operating the sparker literally plastered over with mud, so that the parts that should slide and work with great smoothness and rapidity would not operate at all. This happened about every four or five miles. This mechanism on this particular machine was so constructed and situated as to catch and hold mud, and the fine grit worked in, causing irregularities in the action. This trouble we could count upon as long as the road was wet; after noon, when the sun came out and the road began to dry, we had less trouble.

When about half-way to Batavia the spark began to show blue; the reserve set of dry batteries was put in use, but it gave no better results. Apparently there was either a short circuit, or the batteries were used up; the bad showing of the reserve set puzzled us; every connection was examined and tightened. The wiring of the carriage was so exposed to the weather that it was found completely saturated in places with oil and covered with mud. The rubber insulation had been badly disintegrated wherever oil had dropped on it. The wires were cleaned as thoroughly as possible and separated wherever the insulation seemed poor. The loss of current was probably at the sparking coil; the mud had so covered the end where the binding parts project as to practically join them by a wet connection. Cleaning this off and protecting the binding parts with insulating tape we managed to get on, the spark being by no means strong, and the reserve battery for some reason weak.

If we had had a small buzzer, such as is sold for a song at every electrical store, to say nothing of a pocket voltmeter, we would have discovered in a moment that the reserve battery contained one dead cell, the resistance of which made the other cells useless. At Batavia we tested them out with an ordinary electric bell, discovering at once the dead cell.

After both batteries are so exhausted that the spark is weak, the current from both sets can be turned on at the same time in two ways; by linking the cells in multiples, - that is, side by side, or in series, - tandem.

The current from cells in multiples is increased in volume but not in force, and gives a fat spark; the current from cells in series is doubled in force and gives a long blue hot spark. Both sparks, if the cells are fresh, will burn the points, though giving much better explosions.

As the batteries weaken, first connect them in multiples, then, as they weaken still more, in series.

Always carry a roll of insulating tape, or on a pinch bicycle tire-tape will do very well. Wrap carefully every joint, and the binding-posts of the cells for the tape will hold as against vibration when the little binding-screws will not. In short, use the tape freely to insulate, protect, and support the wires and all connections.

If the machine is wired with light and poorly insulated wire, it is but a question of time when the wiring must be done over again.

When we pulled up in Batavia at an electrician's for repairs, the Professor was a sight - and also tired. The good man had floundered about in the mud until he was picturesquely covered. At the outset he was disposed to take all difficulties philosophically.

"I should regret exceedingly," he remarked at our first involuntary stop, "to return from this altogether extraordinary trip without seeing the automobile under adverse conditions. Our experiences in the sand were no fault of the machine; the responsibility rested with us for placing it in a predicament from which it could not extricate itself, and if, in the heat of the moment and the sand, I said anything derogatory to the faithful machine, I express my regrets. Now, it seems, I shall have the pleasure of observing some of the eccentricities of the horseless carriage. What seems to be the matter?" and the Professor peered vaguely underneath.

"Something wrong with the spark."

"Bless me! Can you fix it?"

"I think so. Now, if you will be good enough to turn that crank."

"With pleasure. What an extraordinary piece of mechanism. - "

"A little faster."

"The momentum - "

"A little faster."

"Very heavy fly-wheel - "

"Just a little faster."

"Friction - mechanics - overcome - "

"Now as hard as you can, Professor."

"Exercise, muscle, but hard work. The spark, - is it there? Whew!" and the Professor stopped, exhausted.

It was the repetition of those experiences that sobered the Professor and led him to speak of his work at home, which he feared he was neglecting. At the last stop he stood in a pool of water and turned the crank without saying anything that would bear repetition.

While touring, look out for glass, nails, and the country mechanic, - of the three, the mechanic can do the largest amount of damage in a given time. His well-meant efforts may wreck you; his mistakes are sure to. The average mechanic along the route is a veritable bull in a china shop, - once inside your machine, and you are done for. He knows it all, and more too. He once lived next to a man who owned a naphtha launch; hence his expert knowledge; or he knew some one who was blown up by gasoline, therefore he is qualified. Look out for him; his look of intelligence is deception itself. His readiness with hammer and file means destruction; if he once gets at the machine, give it to him as a reward and a revenge for his misdirected energy, and save time by walking.

Even the men from the factory make sad mistakes; they may locate troubles, but in repairing they will forget, and leave off more things than the floor will hold.

At Batavia we put in new batteries, repacked the pump, covered the coil with patent leather, so that neither oil nor water could affect it, and put on a new chain. Without saying a word, the bright and too willing mechanic who was assisting, mainly by looking on, took the new chain into his shop and cut off a link. A wanton act done because he "thought the chain a little too long," and not discovered until the machine had been cramped together, every strut and reach shortened to get the chain in place; meanwhile the factory was being vigorously blamed for sending out chains too short. During it all the mechanic was discreetly silent, but the new link on the vise in the shop betrayed him after the harm was done.

The run from Batavia to Canandaigua was made over roads that are well-nigh perfect most of the way, but the machine was not working well, the chain being too short. Going up stiff grades it was very apparent something was wrong, for while the motor worked freely the carriage dragged.

On the level and down grade everything went smoothly, but at every up grade the friction and waste of power were apparent. Inspection time and again showed everything clear, and it was not until late in the afternoon the cause of the trouble was discovered. A tell-tale mark on the surface of the fly-wheel showed friction against something, and we found that while the wheel ran freely if we were out of the machine, with the load in, and especially on up grades with the chain drawing the framework closer to the running gear, the rim of the wheel just grazed a bolt-head in a small brace underneath, thereby producing the peculiar grating noise we had heard and materially checking the motor. The shortening of the struts and reaches to admit the short chain had done all this. As the chain had stretched a little, we were able to lengthen slightly the struts so as to give a little more clearance; it was also possible to shift the brace about a quarter of an inch, and the machine once more ran freely under all conditions.

Within twenty miles of Canandaigua the country is quite rolling and many of the hills steep. Twice we were obliged to get out and let the machine mount the grades, which it did; but it was apparent that for the hills and mountains of New York the gearing was too high.

On hard roads in a level country high gearing is all well enough, and a high average speed can be maintained, but where the roads are soft or the country rolling, a high gear may mean a very material disadvantage in the long run.

It is of little use to be able to run thirty or forty miles on the level if at every grade or soft spot it is necessary to throw in the hill-climbing gear, thereby reducing the speed to from four to six miles per hour; the resulting average is low. A carriage that will take the hills and levels of New York at the uniform speed of fifteen miles an hour will finish far ahead of one that is compelled to use low gears at every grade, even though the latter easily makes thirty or forty miles on the level.

The machine we were using had but two sets of gears, - a slow and a fast. All intermediate speeds were obtained by throttling the engine. The engine was easily governed, and on the level any speed from the lowest to the maximum could be obtained without juggling with the clutches; but on bad roads and in hilly localities intermediate gears are required if one is to get the best results out of a motor. As the gasoline motor develops its highest efficiency when it is running at full speed, there should be enough intermediate gears so the maximum speed may be maintained under varying conditions. As the road gets heavy or the grades steep, the drop is made from one gear down to another; but at all times and under all conditions - if there are enough intermediate gears - the machine is being driven with the motor running fast.

With only two gears where roads or grades are such that the high gear cannot be used, there is nothing to do but drop to the low, - from thirty miles an hour to five or six, - and the engine runs as if it had no load at all. American roads especially demand intermediate gears if best results are to be attained, the conditions change so from mile to mile.

Foreign machines are equipped with from three to five speed-changing gears in addition to the spark control, and many also have throttles for governing the speed of the engine.

Going at full speed down a long hill about two miles out of Canandaigua, we discovered that neither power nor brakes had any control over the machine. The large set-screws holding the two halves of the rear-axle in the differential gears had worked loose and the right half was steadily working out. As both brakes operated through the differential, both were useless, and the machine was beyond control. An obstacle or a bad turn at the bottom meant disaster; happily the hill terminated in a level stretch of softer road, which checked the speed and the machine came slowly to a stop.

The sensation of rushing down hill with power and brakes absolutely detached is peculiar and exhilarating. It is quite like coasting or tobogganing; the excitement is in proportion to the risk; the chance of safety lies in a clear road; for the time being the machine is a huge projectile, a flying mass, a ton of metal rushing through space; there is no sensation of fear, not a tremor of the nerves, but one becomes for the moment exceedingly alert, with instantaneous comprehension of the character of the road; every rut, stone, and curve are seen and appreciated; the possibility of collision is understood, and every danger is present in the mind, and with it all the thrill of excitement which ever accompanies risk.

During the entire descent the Professor was in blissful ignorance of the loss of control. To him the hill was like many another that we had taken at top speed; but when he saw the rear wheel far out from the carriage with only about twelve inches of axle holding in the sleeve, and understood the loss of control through both chain and brakes, his imagination began to work, and he thought of everything that could have happened and many things that could not, but he remarked philosophically, -

"Fear is entirely a creature of the imagination. We are not afraid of what will happen, but of what may. We are all cowards until confronted with danger; most men are heroes in emergencies."

Detaching a lamp from the front of the carriage, repairs were made. A block of wood and a fence rail made a good jack; the gear case was opened up, the axle driven home, and the set-screws turned down tight; but it was only too apparent that the screws would work loose again.

The next morning we pulled out both halves of the axle and found the key-ways worn so there was a very perceptible play. As the keys were supposed to hold the gears tight and the set-screws were only for the purpose of keeping the axle from working out, it was idle to expect the screws to hold fast so long as the keys were loose in the ways; the slight play of the gears upon the axles would soon loosen screws, in fact, both were found loose, although tightened up only the evening before.

As it had become apparent that the machine was geared too high for the hills of New York, it seemed better to send it into the shop for such changes as were necessary, rather than spend the time necessary to make them in the one small machine shop at Canandaigua.

Furthermore the Professor's vacation was drawing to a close; he had given himself not to exceed ten days, eight had elapsed.

"I feel that I have exhausted the possibilities and eccentricities of automobiling; there is nothing more to learn; if there is anything more, I do not care to know it. I am inclined to accept the experience of last night as a warning; as the fellow who was blown up with dynamite said when he came down, 'to repeat the experiment would be no novelty.'"

And so the machine was loaded on the cars, side-tracked on the way, and it was many a day before another start could be made from Buffalo.

It cannot be too often repeated that it is a mistake to ever lose sight of one's machine during a tour; it is a mistake to leave it in a machine shop for repairs; it is a mistake to even return it to the place of its creation; for you may be quite sure that things will be left undone that should be done, and things done that should not be done.

It requires days and weeks to become acquainted with all the peculiarities and weaknesses of an automobile, to know its strong points and rely upon them, to appreciate its failings and be tender towards them. After you have become acquainted, do not risk the friendship by letting the capricious thing out of your sight. It is so fickle that it forms wanton attachments for every one it meets, - for urchins, idlers, loafers, mechanics, permits them all sorts of familiarities, so that when, like a truant, it comes wandering back, it is no longer the same, but a new creature, which you must learn again to know.

It is monotonously lonesome running an automobile across country alone; the record-breaker may enjoy it, but the civilized man does not; man is a gregarious animal, especially in his sports; one must have an audience, if an audience of only one.

The return of the Professor made it necessary to find some one else. There was but one who could go, but she had most emphatically refused; did not care for the dust and dirt, did not care for the curious crowds, did not care to go fast, did not care to go at all. To overcome these apparently insurmountable objections, a semi-binding pledge was made to not run more than ten or twelve miles per hour, and not more than thirty or forty miles per day, - promises so obviously impossible of fulfillment on the part of any chauffeur that they were not binding in law. We started out well within bounds, making but little over forty miles the first day; we wound up with a glorious run of one hundred and forty miles the last day, covering the Old Sarnia gravel out of London, Ontario, at top speed for nearly seventy miles.

For five weeks to a day we wandered over the eastern country at our own sweet will, not a care, not a responsibility, - days without seeing newspapers, finding mail and telegrams at infrequent intervals, but much of the time lost to the world of friends and acquaintances.

Touring on an automobile differs from coaching, posting, railroading, from every known means of locomotion, in that you are really lost to the world. In coaching or posting, one knows with reasonable certainty the places that can be made; the itinerary is laid out in advance, and if departed from, friends can be notified by wire, so that letters and telegrams may be forwarded.

With an automobile all is different. The vagaries of the machine upset every itinerary. You do not know where you will stop, because you cannot tell when you may stop. If one has in mind a certain place, the machine may never reach it, or, arriving, the road and the day may be so fine you are irresistibly impelled to keep on. The very thought that letters are to be at a certain place at a certain date is a bore, it limits your progress, fetters your will, and curbs your inclinations. One hears of places of interest off the chosen route; the temptation to see them is strong exactly in proportion to the assurances given that you will go elsewhere.

The automobile is lawless; it chafes under restraint; will follow neither advice nor directions. Tell it to go this way, it is sure to go that; to turn the second corner to the right, it will take the first to the left; to go to one city, it prefers another; to avoid a certain road, it selects that above all others.

It is a grievous error to tell friends you are coming; it puts them to no end of inconvenience; for days they expect you and you do not come; their feeling of relief that you did not come is destroyed by your appearance.

The day we were expected at a friend's summer home at the sea-side we spent with the Shakers in the valley of Lebanon, waiting for a new steering-head. Telegrams of inquiry, concern, and consolation reached us in our retreat, but those who expected us were none the less inconvenienced.

Then, too, what business have the dusty, grimy, veiled, goggled, and leathered party from the machine among the muslin gowns, smart wraps, and immaculate coverings of the conventional house party; if we but approach, they scatter in self-protection.

From these reflections it is only too plain that the automobile - like that other inartistic instrument of torture, the grand piano - is not adapted to the drawing-room. It is not quite at home in the stable; it demands a house of its own. If the friend who invites you to visit him has a machine, then accept, for he is a brother crank; but if he has none, do not fill his generous soul with dismay by running up his drive-way, sprinkling its spotless white with oil, leaving an ineradicable stain under the porte-cochere, and frightening his favorite horses into fits as you run into the stable.

But it is delightful to go through cities and out-of-the-way places, just leaving cards in a most casual manner upon people one knows. We passed through many places twice, some places three times, in careering about. Each time we called on friends; sometimes they were in, sometimes out; it was all so casual, - a cup of tea, a little chat, sometimes without shutting down the motor, - the briefest of calls, all the more charming because brief, - really, it was strange.

We see a town ahead; calling to a man by the roadside, -

"What place is that?"

"L - " is the long drawn shout as we go flying by.

"Why, the S___s live there. I have not seen her since we were at school. I would like to stop."

"Well, just for a moment."

In a trice the machine is at the door; Mrs. S_ is out - will return in a moment; so sorry, cannot wait, leave cards; call again some other day; and we turn ten or fifteen or twenty miles to one side to see another old school-friend for five or ten minutes - just long enough for the chauffeur to oil-up while the school-mates chat.

The automobile annihilates time; it dispenses with watch and clock; it vaguely notes the coming up and the going down of the sun; but it goes right on by sunlight, by moonlight, by lamplight, by no light at all, until it is brought to a stand-still or capriciously stops of its own accord.