Centuries are best measured by the events that signify them rather than by dates. The day the nineteenth century truly ended was not quiet. It did not begin like any other day. Casting our eye over it, we would be disappointed if we expected some ignorant and sleepy backdrop. And yet what changed everything was a small thing. A motorcycle came roaring down a country lane. It was not the roar of that later powerful refinement which ended the century, but an early roar that clanked and chattered. And yet, being new to the earth, it was no less impressive. It was something which made you gape or whistle through your teeth. Something which excited those for whom the future was not merely another place in time, but a value, a promise toward which the spirit of the universe was driving us. Driving at speed; accelerating. From then on, even when it sat in its shed quietly, this machine gave off echoes of speed and achievement. With a man on its back it was a mythical god, resurrected from his grave when the Spirit of Progress passed over, giving him a new form in this second birth. Steel, chrome. A warrior’s armour for a warrior whose weapon and purpose was speed, and whose beauty was not hairy muscle and sweat but a form and function of polished perfect metal. A gleaming thing. In the belly of this god an atmosphere was exploded every second. Its own being was like a forge of the future, fire and steel working and hammering to thrust itself forward. It was not pulled by lowly animal strength, nor was it pushed like a beggar by the elements. Sucking in wind and liquid by force, it compressed itself and stole fire by its own science and, bellowing from its bowls the sound of that achievement, thrust at its circular foot with the power it itself had made. Begging from neither the animals nor nature, the man-machine dictated his own motion. God was dead, nature enslaved; a new god had risen, and the twentieth century began. Its symbol and sword was a motor cycle, coming down a country lane. .