Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/574

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Extensive dealers have expressed themselves to similar effect. The Bicycle Union of Great Britain, in its recommendations regarding road-riding, said, "It is desirable that a rider should at all times keep to the left-hand side of the road, even if no vehicle be in sight, and riding on the footway should never be resorted to." (Pope's "Manual," p. 128.)

The circumstances in which it is admissible for bicycles to deviate into the foot-path are thus stated in "The American Bicycle," p. 122: "As to riding on foot-paths and sidewalks, it may be said that bicyclers, like travelers generally, have not only a right to travel in the highway, but they have a right to a passage along the highway, notwithstanding obstructions; and, if the middle of the road be impassable for their. carriage, the side may be taken; and, if the whole roadway—including foot-paths—be impassable, they even have a right to turn out upon the abutting close, and pass over private land around the obstruction, provided they can do so without committing irreparable or very incommensurate damage. So that if, in suburban streets or country roads, the carriage-track is in so bad a condition as to be difficult or impossible of passage by a bicycle, and the foot-path can be taken without imminent risk to foot-passers at the time, it is justifiable for the bicycler to take it." The bicycle authorities are thus in full agreement with common sense.

And now about the impeachment of "the good name of Stockbridge." That lovely village, through its constituted authorities, and after due deliberation, decreed that such a nuisance as bicycles upon the sidewalks shall be tolerated. Is it not fair to take this fact as a measure of its moral status, and its grade in the scale of social progress? We were taught many years ago, in "Woodbridge's Geography," that communities of men are ranked as savage, barbarous, half-civilized, civilized, and enlightened. Any such classification is misleading which implies a stratification or a definite gradation of societies, so that one shall belong altogether at the bottom, and another at the top. The thing is much more mixed. There are savage streaks running through civilization, and enlightenment often coexists with barbarism. Society does not improve in all things alike. Every advanced community retains vestiges of its primitive lower condition. We gave Stockbridge credit for a large complement of virtues and excellences, but Stockbridge has proved herself to be no exception to the common law which gives rise to social anomalies. It has plenty of culture, intelligence, refinement, and religion; but, in common with many other highly cultivated communities, it betrays elements which are characteristic of the inferior grades of society. The ideal virtue of any community, its highest attainment, is justice. There is knowledge enough. People know well enough what is right, but in the undeveloped character conscience does not rule the actions. That is to he a matter of future evolution; and, meantime, we are concerned with the relative attainments of different societies in this respect. The sense of justice is so dull in Stockbridge that it is measured by the selfishness of a small group of boys. What those boys want for their personal gratification must be conceded, no matter what inconvenience to others stands in the way. What the standard of justice is among boys is pretty generally understood. The moral sentiments are the last to ripen in the growth of character, and the immature man has about him a good deal of the barbarian. Boys are thoughtless, selfish, uncompassionate, and often cruel. They delight to worry the cats, to stone the dogs, to plague their sisters, and fight each other. College practices and outbreaks often indicate the immaturity of youthful moral sense. The boys