Hoopdriver was up, and after one terrific lurch of the machine, the heathkeeper dropped out of earshot. Mr. Hoopdriver would have liked to look back at his enemy, but he usually twisted round and upset if he tried that. He had to imagine the indignant heath-keeper telling the carter all about it. He tried to infuse as much disdain aspossible into his retreating aspect.
It was like abusing the Lions in Trafalgar Square. But the heathkeeper felt his honour was at stake. "Don't you make no remarks to 'IM," said the keeper as the carter came up broadside to them. "'E's a bloomin' dook, 'e is. 'E don't converse with no one under a earl. 'E's off to Windsor, 'e is; that's why 'e's stickin' his be'ind out so haughty. Pride!
The handle was twisted askew again He said something under his breath. He would have to unscrew the beastly thing. "THAT ain't the way to get off," repeated the heathkeeper, after a silence. "I know that," said Mr. Hoopdriver, testily, determined to overlook the new specimen on his shin at any cost. He unbuckled the wallet behind the saddle, to get out a screw hammer.
He drove on his sinuous way down the dip by the new mere and up the little rise to the crest of the hill that drops into Kingston Vale; and so remarkable is the psychology of cycling, that he rode all the straighter and easier because the emotions the heathkeeper had aroused relieved his mind of the constant expectation of collapse that had previously unnerved him.
He was still irresolute when he found the machine on the ground, himself kneeling upon it, and a vague feeling in his mind that again Providence had dealt harshly with his shin. This happened when he was just level with the heathkeeper. The man in the approaching cart stood up to see the ruins better. "THAT ain't the way to get off," said the heathkeeper. Mr. Hoopdriver picked up the machine.