To disarm criticism at the outset, the writer acknowledges a thousand imperfections in this discursive story. In all truth, it is a most garrulous and incoherent narrative. Like the automobile, part of the time the narrative moves, part of the time it does not; now it is in the road pursuing a straight course; then again it is in the ditch, or far afield, quite beyond control and out of reason. It is impossible to write coolly, calmly, logically, and coherently about the automobile; it is not a cool, calm, logical, or coherent beast, the exact reverse being true.
The critic who has never driven a machine is not qualified to speak concerning the things contained herein, while the critic who has will speak with the charity and chastened humility which spring from adversity.
The charm of automobiling lies less in the sport itself than in the unusual contact with people and things, hence any description of a tour would be incomplete without reflections by the way; the imagination once in will not out; it even seeks to usurp the humbler function of observation. However, the arrangement of chapters and headings - like finger-posts or danger signs - is such that the wary reader may avoid the bad places and go through from cover to cover, choosing his own route. To facilitate the finding of what few morsels of practical value the book may contain, an index has been prepared which will enable the casual reader to select his pages with discrimination.
These confessions and warnings are printed in this conspicuous manner so that the uncertain seeker after "something to read" may see at a glance the poor sort of entertainment offered herein, and replace the book upon the shelf without buying.