A Bicycle of Cathay (Chapter 2, page 1 of 11)


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Chapter 2

It was about the middle of the afternoon that I found myself bowling
along a smooth highway, bordered by trees and stretching itself almost
upon a level far away into the distance. Had I been a scorcher, here
would have been a chance to do a little record-breaking, for I was a
powerful and practised wheelman. But I had no desire to be extravagant
with my energies, and so contented myself with rolling steadily on at
a speed moderate enough to allow me to observe the country I was
passing through.

There were not many people on the road, but at some distance ahead of
me I saw a woman on a wheel. She was not going rapidly, and I was
gaining on her. Suddenly, with no reason whatever that I could see,
her machine gave a twist, and, although she put out her foot to save
herself, she fell to the ground. Instantly I pushed forward to assist
her, but before I could reach her she was on her feet. She made a step
towards her bicycle, which lay in the middle of the road, and then she
stopped and stood still. I saw that she was hurt, but I could not help
a sort of inward smile. "It is the old way of the world," I thought.
"Would the Fates have made that young woman fall from her bicycle if
there had been two men coming along on their wheels?"

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