The Road by T.E. Lawrence - an excerpt

"Boa is a top-gear machine, as sweet in that as most single-cylinders in middle.  I chug lordlily past the guard-room and through the speed limit at no more than sixteen.  Round the bend, past the farm, and the way straightens.  Now for it.  The engine's final development is fifty-two horsepower.  A miracle that all this docile strength waits behind one tiny lever for the pleasure of my hand. 

      "Another bend: and I have the honour of one of England's straightest and fastest roads.  The burble of my exhaust unwound like a long cord behind me.  Soon my speed snapped it, and I heard only the cry of the wind which my battering head split and fended aside.  The cry rose with my speed to a shriek: while the air's coldness streamed like two jets of iced water into my dissolving eyes.  I screwed them to slits, and focused my sight two hundred yards ahead of me on the empty mosaic of the tar's gravelled undulations."

"...Over the first pot-hole Boanerges screamed in surprise, its mud-guard bottoming with a yawp upon the tyre. Through the plunges of the next ten seconds I clung on, wedging my gloved hand in the throttle lever so that no bump should close it and spoil our speed... 

"A skittish motor-bike with a touch of blood in it is better than all the riding animals on earth, because of its logical extension of our faculties, and the hint, the provocations, to excess conferred by its honeyed untiring smoothness.  Because Boa loves me, he gives me five more miles of speed than a stranger would get from him." 

Excerpts from The Road, a chapter of The Mint by T.E. Lawrence 


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