On the Rule of the Road by A.G. Gardiner: A complete Study

On the Rule of the Road: A.G. Gardiner
A stout old lady was walking with her basket down the middle of a street in Petrograd to the great confusion of the traffic and with no small peril to herself. It was pointed out to her that the pavement was the place for foot-passengers, but she replied: "I'm going to walk where I like. We've got liberty now." It did not occur to the dear old lady that if liberty entitled the foot-passenger to walk down the middle of the road it also entitled the cab-driver to drive on the pavement, and that the end of such liberty would be universal chaos. Everybody would be getting in everybody else's way and nobody would get anywhere. Individual liberty would have become social anarchy.
There is a danger of the world getting liberty-drunk in these days like the old lady with the basket, and it is just as well to remind ourselves of what the rule of the road means. It means that in order that the liberties of all may be preserved the liberties of everybody must be curtailed. When the policeman, say, at Piccadilly Circus steps into the middle of the road and puts up his hand, he is the symbol not of tyranny, but of liberty. You may not think so. You may, being in a hurry and seeing your motor-car pulled up by this insolence of office, feel that your liberty has been outraged. How dare this fellow interfere with your free use of the public highway? Then, if you are a reasonable person, you will reflect that if he did not, incidentally, interfere with you he would interfere with no one, and the result would be that Piccadilly Circus would be a maelstrom that you would never cross at all. You have submitted to a curtailment of private liberty in order that you may enjoy a social order which makes your liberty a reality.
Liberty is not a personal affair only, but a social contract. It is an accommodation of interests. In matters which do not touch anybody else's liberty, of course, I may be as free as I like. If I choose to go down the Strand in a dressing-gown, with long hair and bare feet, who shall say me nay? You have liberty to laugh at me, but I have liberty to be indifferent to you. And if I have a fancy for dyeing my hair, or waxing my moustache (which heaven forbid), or wearing a tall hat, a frock-coat and sandals, or going to bed late or getting up early, I shall follow my fancy and ask no man's permission. I shall not inquire of you whether I may eat mustard with my mutton. I may like mustard with my mutton. And you will not ask me whether you may be a Protestant or a Catholic, whether you may marry the dark lady or the fair lady, whether you may prefer Ella Wheeler Wilcox to Wordsworth, or champagne to shandygaff.
In all these and a thousand other details you and I please ourselves and ask no one's leave. We have a whole kingdom, in which we rule alone, can do what we choose, be wise or ridiculous, harsh or easy, conventional or odd. But directly we step out of that kingdom our personal liberty of action becomes qualified by other people's liberty. I might like to practice on the trombone from midnight till three in the morning. If I went on to the top of Helvellyn to do it I could please myself, but if I do it in my bedroom my family will object, and if I do it out in the streets the neighbours will remind me that my liberty to blow the trombone must not interfere with their liberty to sleep in quiet. There are a lot of people in the world, and I have to accommodate my liberty to their liberties.
We are all liable to forget this, and unfortunately we are much more conscious of the imperfections of others in this respect than of our own.
I got into a railway carriage at a country station the other morning and settled down for what the schoolboys would call an hour's "swot" at a Blue-book. I was not reading it for pleasure. The truth is that I never do read Blue-books for pleasure. I read them as a barrister reads a brief, for the very humble purpose of turning an honest penny out of them. Now, if you are reading a book for pleasure it doesn't matter what is going on around you. I think I could enjoy "Tristram Shandy" or "Treasure Island" in the midst of an earthquake.
But when you are reading a thing as a task you need reasonable quiet, and that is what I didn't get, for at the next station in came a couple of men, one of whom talked to his friend for the rest of the journey in a loud and pompous voice. He was one of those people who remind one of that story of Horne Tooke who, meeting a person of immense swagger in the street, stopped him and said, "Excuse me, sir, but are you someone in particular?" This gentleman was someone in particular. As I wrestled with clauses and sections, his voice rose like a gale, and his family history, the deeds of his sons in the war, and his criticisms of the generals and the politicians submerged my poor attempts to hang on to my job. I shut up the Blue-book, looked out of the window, and listened wearily while the voice thundered on with themes like these: "Now what French ought to have done..." "The mistake the Germans made..." "If only Asquith had..." You know the sort of stuff. I had heard it all before, oh, so often. It was like a barrel-organ groaning out some banal song of long ago.
If I had asked him to be good enough to talk in a lower tone I daresay he would have thought I was a very rude fellow. It did not occur to him that anybody could have anything better to do than to listen to him, and I have no doubt he left the carriage convinced that everybody in it had, thanks to him, had a very illuminating journey, and would carry away a pleasing impression of his encyclopædic range. He was obviously a well-intentioned person. The thing that was wrong with him was that he had not the social sense. He was not "a clubbable man."
A reasonable consideration for the rights or feelings of others is the foundation of social conduct. It is commonly alleged against women that in this respect they are less civilised than men, and I am bound to confess that in my experience it is the woman—the well-dressed woman—who thrusts herself in front of you at the ticket office. The man would not attempt it, partly because he knows the thing would not be tolerated from him, but also because he has been better drilled in the small give-and-take of social relationships. He has lived more in the broad current of the world, where you have to learn to accommodate yourself to the general standard of conduct, and his school life, his club life, and his games have in this respect given him a training that women are only now beginning to enjoy.
I believe that the rights of small people and quiet people are as important to preserve as the rights of small nationalities. When I hear the aggressive, bullying horn which some motorists deliberately use, I confess that I feel something boiling up in me which is very like what I felt when Germany came trampling like a bully over Belgium. By what right, my dear sir, do you go along our highways uttering that hideous curse on all who impede your path? Cannot you announce your coming like a gentleman? Cannot you take your turn? Are you someone in particular or are you simply a hot gospeller of the prophet Nietzsche? I find myself wondering what sort of a person it is who can sit behind that hog-like outrage without realising that he is the spirit of Prussia incarnate, and a very ugly spectacle in a civilised world.
And there is the more harmless person who has bought a very blatant gramophone, and on Sunday afternoon sets the thing going, opens the windows and fills the street with "Keep the Home Fires Burning" or some similar banality. What are the right limits of social behaviour in a matter of this sort? Let us take the trombone as an illustration again. Hazlitt said that a man who wanted to learn that fearsome instrument was entitled to learn it in his own house, even though he was a nuisance to his neighbours, but it was his business to make the nuisance as slight as possible. He must practise in the attic, and shut the window. He had no right to sit in his front room, open the window, and blow his noise into his neighbours' ears with the maximum of violence. And so with the gramophone. If you like the gramophone you are entitled to have it, but you are interfering with the liberties of your neighbours if you don't do what you can to limit the noise to your own household. Your neighbours may not like "Keep the Home Fires Burning." They may prefer to have their Sunday afternoon undisturbed, and it is as great an impertinence for you to willfully trespass on their peace as it would be to go, unasked, into their gardens and trample on their flower beds.
There are cases, of course, where the clash of liberties seems to defy compromise. My dear old friend X., who lives in a West End square and who is an amazing mixture of good nature and irascibility, flies into a passion when he hears a street piano, and rushes out to order it away. But nearby lives a distinguished lady of romantic picaresque tastes, who dotes on street pianos, and attracts them as wasps are attracted to a jar of jam. Whose liberty in this case should surrender to the other? For the life of me I cannot say. It is as reasonable to like street pianos as to dislike them—and vice versa. I would give much to hear Sancho Panza's solution of such a nice riddle.
I suppose the fact is that we can be neither complete anarchists nor complete Socialists in this complex world—or rather we must be a judicious mixture of both. We have both liberties to preserve—our individual liberty and our social liberty. We must watch the bureaucrat on the one side and warn off the anarchist on the other. I am neither a Marxist, nor a Tolstoyan, but a compromise. I shall not permit any authority to say that my child must go to this school or that, shall specialise in science or arts, shall play rugger or soccer. These things are personal. But if I proceed to say that my child shall have no education at all, that he shall be brought up as a primeval savage, or at Mr. Fagin's academy for pickpockets, then Society will politely but firmly tell me that it has no use for primeval savages and a very stern objection to pickpockets, and that my child must have a certain minimum of education whether I like it or not. I cannot have the liberty to be a nuisance to my neighbours or make my child a burden and a danger to the commonwealth.
It is in the small matters of conduct, in the observance of the rule of the road, that we pass judgment upon ourselves, and declare that we are civilised or uncivilised. The great moments of heroism and sacrifice are rare. It is the little habits of commonplace intercourse that make up the great sum of life and sweeten or make bitter the journey. I hope my friend in the railway carriage will reflect on this. Then he will not cease, I am sure, to explain to his neighbour where French went wrong and where the Germans went ditto; but he will do it in a way that will permit me to read my Blue-book undisturbed.
B. Objective Questions:
01. A. G. Gardiner is:
A. A politician
B. A scientist
C. A writer
D. A musician
Answer: C
02. A. G. Gardiner was born in:
A. 1865
B. 1875
C. 1885
D. 1895
Answer: A
03. A.G. Gardiner was born in:
A. Chelmsford, England
B. Moscow, Russia
C. Bombay, India
D. Stuttgart, Germany
Answer: A
04. The pen name of A.G. Gardiner was:
A. G.K. Chesterton
B. George Orwell
C. H.G. Wells
D. Alpha of the Plough
Answer: D
05. A.G. Gardiner's full name was:
A. Alfred Gart Gardiner
B. Alfred George Gardiner
C. Alfred Gerrard Gardiner
D. Alfred Godam Gardiner
Answer: B
06. A. G. Gardiner's profession was:
A. Teaching
B. Playing
C. Journalism
D. Engineering
Answer: C
07. A. G. Gardiner was appointed as an editor of Blackburn Weekly Telegraph in:
A. 1899
B. 1898
C. 1897
D. 1896
Answer: A
08. A. G. Gardiner was appointed as an editor of Daily News in:
A. !899
B. 1900
C. 1901
D. 1902
Answer: D
09. Which genre did A. G. Gardiner specialize in?
A. Science fiction
B. Mystery
C. Humour
D. Romance
Answer: C
10. A.G. Gardiner's religion was:
A. Christian
B. Jewish
C. Muslim
D. Buddhist
Answer: A
11. A.G. Gardiner's attitude towards life was:
A. Pessimistic
B. Optimistic
C. Realistic
D. Cynical
Answer: B
12. A. G. Gardiner's writing style was:
A. Flowery
B. Simple
C. Complicated
D. Abstract
Answer: B
13. What is ‘On the Rule of the Road’?
A. A story
B. A song
C. An essay
D. A poem
Answer: C
14. The author of ‘On the Rule of the Road’ is:
A. Bacon
B. Lamb
C. Hazlitt
D. Gardiner
Answer: D
15. ‘On the Rule of the Road’ was included in Gardiner’s:
A. Leaves in the Wind
B. Pebbles on the Shore
C. Prophets, Priests & Kings
D. The Anglo American Future
Answer: A
16. ‘On the Rule of the Road’ was published under pseudonym:
A. Ellia
B. Alpha of the Plough
C. Jacob
D. Yayavar
Answer: B
17. ‘On the Rule of the Road’ is an essay about:
A. The importance of following traffic rules while driving
B. The importance of following classical rules while singing
C. the importance of following game rules while playing
D. the importance of following reading rules while reading
Answer: A
18. ‘On the Rule of the Road’ deals with:
A. Taxation
B. Friendship
C. Culture
D. Proper conduct
Answer: D
19. ‘On the Rule of the Road’ emphasizes on:
A. Constraints
B. Relaxation
C. Reading
D. Writing
Answer: A
20. ‘On the Rule of the Road’ is an essay about:
A. Friendship
B. Reading
C. Writing
D. Manners of the people on the road
Answer: D
21. ‘On the Rule of the Road’ has in it the element of:
A. Humour
B. Pathos
C. Tragedy
D. Comedy
Answer: A
22. The style of the essay ‘On the Rule of the Road’ is:
A. Formal
B. Frozen
C. Conversational
D. Complicated
Answer: C
23. Piccadilly Circus is in:
A. London
B. New York
C. India
D. Scotland
Answer: A
24. Horne Took mentioned in the essay ‘On the Rule of the Road’ is a:
A. Person
B. Place
C. Thing
D. Street
Answer: A
C. Short Answer Type Questions:
01. Who is A. G. Gardiner?
Answer: A. G. Gardiner is a popular essayist.
02. When was A. G. Gardiner born?
Answer: A. G. Gardiner was born in 1865.
03. Where was A.G. Gardiner born?
Answer: A. G. Gardiner was born in Chelmsford, England.
04. What was the pen name of A.G. Gardiner?
Answer: The pen name of A.G. Gardiner was Alpha of the Plough.
05. What was A.G. Gardiner's full name?
Answer: A.G. Gardiner's full name was Alfred George Gardiner.
06. What was A. G. Gardiner's profession?
Answer: A. G. Gardiner was a journalist.
07. When was A. G. Gardiner appointed as an editor of Blackburn Weekly Telegraph?
Answer: A. G. Gardiner was appointed as an editor of Blackburn Weekly Telegraph in 1899.
08. When was A. G. Gardiner appointed as an editor of Daily News?
Answer: A. G. Gardiner was appointed as an editor of Daily News in 1902.
09. What is ‘On the Rule of the Road’?
Answer: ‘On the Rule of the Road’ is an essay.
10. Who is the author of ‘On the Rule of the Road’?
Answer: The author of ‘On the Rule of the Road’ is A.G. Gardiner.
11. In which compilation of Gardiner was ‘On the Rule of the Road’ included?
Answer: ‘On the Rule of the Road’ was included in one of Gardiner’s compilations titled Leaves in the Wind.
12. Under which pseudonym was ‘On the Rule of the Road’ published?
Answer: ‘On the Rule of the Road’ was published under Gardiner’s pseudonym Alpha of the Plough.
13. What is the subject matter of ‘The Rule of the Road’?
Answer: The subject matter of ‘The Rule of the Road’ is the importance of following traffic rules while driving.
14. What does A. G. Gardiner mean by ‘the rule of the road’?
Answer: By ‘the rule of the road’ A. G. Gardiner means the laws and regulations that govern traffic on roads.
15. What is the purpose of traffic laws according to A. G. Gardiner?
Answer: According to A. G. Gardiner the purpose of traffic laws is to ensure safety on the road and prevent accidents.
16. Where was a stout old lady walking with her basket?
Answer: A stout old lady was walking with her basket down the middle of a street in Petrograd.
17. ‘I'm going to walk where I like. We've got liberty now.’ Whose is this statement?
Answer: ‘I'm going to walk where I like. We've got liberty now.’ This is the statement of a stout old lady who was walking with her basket down the middle of a street in Petrograd.
18. Why should we curtail personal liberty?
Answer: In order to fulfill the liberty in the real sense, we should curtail personal liberty.
19. Why is it essential to observe the rules of the road?
Answer: It is essential to observe the rules of the road to avoid chaos.
20. Why should we respect the rights of the small people?
Answer: We should respect the rights of the small people so that they can enjoy their liberty.
21. What is liberty according to A.G. Gardiner?
Answer: According to A.G. Gardiner liberty is not a personal affair only, but a social contract.
22. What is social sense according to Gardiner?
Answer: According to Gardiner the social sense is the feeling of accommodation of the interests of others.
23. In Gardiner's opinion, why do some people break traffic laws?
Answer: In Gardiner's opinion, some people break traffic laws due to over self confidence.
24. What is Gardiner's opinion on driving under the influence of alcohol?
Answer: Gardiner is of the opinion that driving under the influence of alcohol is one of the most dangerous activities.
25. What is Tristram Shandy?
Answer: Tristram Shandy is a novel by Laurence Sterne.
26. What is Treasure Island?
Answer: Treasure Island is an adventure novel by R.L. Stevenson.
27. According to Gardiner, what is the consequence of breaking traffic laws?
Answer: The consequence of breaking traffic laws is very dangerous and it should be avoided.
28. What is the foundation of social conduct?
Answer: A reasonable consideration for the rights or feelings of others is the foundation of social conduct.
D. Write a short note on A. G. Gardiner
Alfred George Gardiner is popularly known as A. G. Gardiner. He was a British journalist, essayist and author. He was born in 1865 in Chelmsford, Essex, United Kingdom.
A.G Gardiner is known for his witty and insightful essays that covered a wide range of topics. ‘On Saying Please’ and ‘On the Rule of the Road’ are Gardiner’s most popular essays. In ‘On Saying Please’ the essayist explores the importance of politeness in everyday interactions. In ‘The Rule of the Road’ Gardiner discusses the importance of following traffic laws.
He was not only a popular essayist but he was a prolific writer of short stories too. ‘Pebbles on the Shore’ is a collection of his fantastic short stories. These stories often convey moral lessons.
Gardiner's writing style is characterized by its clarity and humor. He had a keen sense of the absurdities of human behavior. His essays are both entertaining and thought-provoking. The compositions of Gardiner are appreciated in the entire world for their timeless relevance, wit and style. His observations on human nature and society are very relevant even today. In short, Gardiner's legacy as a writer remains an important part of British literary history.
Hindi Translation:
अल्फ्रेड जॉर्ज गार्डिनर को लोकप्रिय रूप से एजी गार्डिनर के नाम से जाना जाता है। वे एक ब्रिटिश पत्रकार, निबंधकार और लेखक थे। उनका जन्म 1865 में चेम्सफोर्ड, एसेक्स, यूनाइटेड किंगडम में हुआ था।
एजी गार्डिनर अपने मजाकिया और अंतर्दृष्टिपूर्ण निबंधों के लिए जाने जाते हैं जिनमें विषयों की एक विस्तृत श्रृंखला शामिल है। गार्डिनर के सबसे लोकप्रिय निबंध ऑन सेइंग प्लीज और ऑन द रूल ऑफ द रोड हैं। ऑन सेइंग प्लीज में निबंधकार रोजमर्रा की बातचीत में विनम्रता के महत्व की पड़ताल करता है। द रूल ऑफ द रोड में गार्डिनर यातायात कानूनों के पालन के महत्व पर चर्चा करते हैं।
वे न केवल एक लोकप्रिय निबंधकार थे बल्कि वे लघु कथाओं के भी शानदार लेखक थे। पेबल्स ऑन द शोर उनकी शानदार लघु कथाओं का संग्रह है। ये कहानियाँ अक्सर नैतिक शिक्षा देती हैं।
गार्डिनर की लेखन शैली इसकी स्पष्टता और हास्य की विशेषता है। उन्हें मानवीय व्यवहार की बेरुखी का गहरा बोध था। उनके निबंध मनोरंजक और विचारोत्तेजक दोनों हैं। गार्डिनर की रचनाओं को उनकी कालातीत प्रासंगिकता, बुद्धि और शैली के लिए पूरी दुनिया में सराहा जाता है। मानव प्रकृति और समाज पर उनके विचार आज भी बहुत प्रासंगिक हैं। संक्षेप में, एक लेखक के रूप में गार्डिनर की विरासत ब्रिटिश साहित्यिक इतिहास का एक महत्वपूर्ण हिस्सा बनी हुई है।
E. Write the Summary of On the Rule of the Road.
‘On the Rule of the Road’ is a fantastic social essay by A.G. Gardiner. It is included in one of Gardiner’s compilations titled ‘Leaves in the Wind’. It was published under A. G. Gardiner’s pseudonym Alpha of the Plough. It discusses the importance of following traffic laws.
In the essay ‘On the Rule of the Road’ A.G. Gardiner emphasizes that reckless driving can have severe consequences. He notes that people often fail to consider the potential consequences of their actions on the road. Gardiner tells that following traffic laws is not only a subject of individual responsibility but also a moral obligation. He suggests that drivers have a duty to protect themselves and others on the road by driving safely and responsibly.
In ‘On the Rule of the Road’ Gardiner addresses the issue of enforcement of traffic laws. He acknowledges that enforcement can be difficult due to the large number of drivers and the limited resources of law enforcement agencies. However, he argues that enforcement is necessary to deter reckless driving.
In short, ‘On the Rule of the Road’ is a beautiful essay on the importance of following traffic laws. It can be said that Gardiner has made an enduring contribution to the discussion of road safety and responsible driving.
Hindi Translation:
ऑन द रूल ऑफ द रोड ए.जी. गार्डिनर का एक शानदार सामाजिक निबंध है। यह गार्डिनर के एक संकलन लीव्स इन द विंड में शामिल है। यह ए.जी. गार्डिनर के छद्म नाम अल्फा ऑफ द प्लॉ के तहत प्रकाशित हुआ था। इसमें यातायात नियमों का पालन करने के महत्व पर चर्चा की गई है।
ऑन द रूल ऑफ द रोड में ए.जी. गार्डिनर इस बात पर जोर देते हैं कि लापरवाह ड्राइविंग के गंभीर परिणाम हो सकते हैं। उनका मानना है कि लोग अक्सर सड़क पर अपने कार्यों के संभावित परिणामों पर विचार करने में विफल रहते हैं। गार्डिनर बताते हैं कि यातायात कानूनों का पालन करना न केवल व्यक्तिगत जिम्मेदारी का विषय है बल्कि नैतिक दायित्व भी है। उनका सुझाव है कि ड्राइवरों का कर्तव्य है कि वे सुरक्षित और जिम्मेदारी से वाहन चलाकर सड़क पर खुद को और दूसरों को सुरक्षित रखें।
ऑन द रूल ऑफ द रोड में गार्डिनर यातायात कानूनों के प्रवर्तन के मुद्दे को संबोधित करते हैं। वह स्वीकार करते हैं कि ड्राइवरों की बड़ी संख्या और कानून प्रवर्तन एजेंसियों के सीमित संसाधनों के कारण प्रवर्तन मुश्किल हो सकता है। हालांकि, उनका तर्क है कि लापरवाह ड्राइविंग को रोकने के लिए प्रवर्तन आवश्यक है।
संक्षेप में, ऑन द रूल ऑफ द रोड यातायात कानूनों के पालन के महत्व पर एक सुंदर निबंध है। यह कहा जा सकता है कि गार्डिनर ने सड़क सुरक्षा और जिम्मेदार ड्राइविंग की चर्चा में स्थायी योगदान दिया है।


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