From the Library of Henry Goldman, Ph.D. 1886-1972



All that has been done no extra charge has to color them . will. August. may rival it in originality anJ but. LONDON. and blood especially George. in the eye it. as sin:p!e form the record of events is that really hap- pened. George and Harris and Montmorency are but things of flesh not poetic ideals. for this. i8bq. information li* pages conveys. nothing This. more than all it: it is felt. and. been made. of the earnest reader. . for hopeless and incurable veracity. yet discovered can surpass other charms. make the volume precious. and will lend adai* tional weight to the lesson that the story teaches. Other works may excel in : depth other of thought and knowledge of human books nature size . who weighs about this tiveh>e stone.Annex PREFACE l lie chief beauty of this book its r lies not so much in literal \ st\h\ it or in the extent in its anJ usefulness of the truthfulness.


We were all feeling seedy. tion. Sufferings of George and Harris. We were sitting in my room. smoking. were four of us George.THREE MEN IN A BOAT (TO SAY NOTHING OF THE DOG). A Useful prescriptions. hundred and seven fatal maladies. that he hardly knew what he was doing. of course. Cure for liver complaint in We need rest. and William Samuel Harris. children. fits of giddiness come over him at extraordinary times. and myself. and talking about how bad we were bad from a medical point of view I mean. and we were getting Harris said he felt such quite nervous about it. and week on the rolling deep ? George suggests the River. Montmorency lodges an objec- Original motion carried by majority of three to one. [HERE . A agree that we are overworked. and Montmorency. CHAPTER Three Invalids victim to one I.

. it was my liver that was out of order. but I nevei" read a patent medicine advertisement without being impelled to the conclusion that I am suffering from the particular disease therein dealt with in its most virulent form.2 TfJRKE MEN SJV A BOA T. With me. devastating scourge. I knew it was my liver that was out of order. and hardly knew what he was doing. and read all I down upon me that I had fairly got it. It is a most extraordinary thing. have ever I remember going to the British Museum one day to read up the treatment for some slight ailment of which I had a touch hay fever. got came to read and in an unthinking moment. and then George said that he had fits of giddiness too. I idly turned the then. I know and. The diagnosis seems in every case to correspond exactly with I all the sensations that felt. I fancy it was. and began to indolently study diseases. I . because I had just been reading a patent liver-pill circular. I generally." it was borne in the book. I had them all. leaves. forget which was the first distemper I plunged into some fearful. in which were detailed the various symptoms by which a man could tell when his liver was out of order. before I had glanced half down the list of "premonitory symptoms.

and learned that I alphabetically was sickening for it. and so started read up ague. in its most malignant it would appear. I came to typhoid fever read the in discovered that I had typhoid fever. I was relieved to find. and then. cerned. began termined to sift it to the bottom. the listlessness of despair. Cholera I had. and that the acute stage would commence in about another fortnight.THREE I sat MEN IN A BOA T. Why got housemaid's knee? Why this invidious reservation? After a while. and the only malady I could conclude I had not got was housemaid's knee. Vitus's Dance found. must have had it for months without knowing it wondered what else I had got turned up St. as I expected. Bright's disease. and. being aware of it and zymosis I had evidently grew housemaid's knee. less grasping feelings prevailed. and I and determined to do without Gout. however. I had only in a modified form. I plodded con- scientiously through the twenty-six letters. had every the pharmacology. I might live for years. . that I had that to get interested in my case. and diphtheria I seemed to have been born with. 3 for a while. I again turned over the pages. I felt rather hurt about this at first . with severe complications. and detoo. I reflected that I in other known malady less selfish. had seized me without my stage. so far as that was con- symptoms . it seemed hadn't I somehow to be a sort of slight. . frozen with horror.

come to the opinion that I tried to look at my anything. could not at forty-seven to the minute. from what I call my waist up to my head. it seemed to start off. so I concluded there was nothing else the matter with me. I thought what an intercase I must be from a medical point of esting view." if they had me. tals. tongue. all of a sudden. and the only thing that I could gain from that was to feel more certain than before that I had scarlet fever. and tried to examine it with the other. first feel I I any pulse at all. have since been induced to it must have been there all the time. take their diploma.X IN A BOAT. Then. All they need do would be to walk round me. what an acquisition I should be to a class! Students would have no need to "walk the hospiI was a hospital in myself. and I went a bit round each side. I pulled out my watch and timed it. but 1 cannot account for it.4 THREE Ml-'. and must have been beating. There wen no more diseases after zymosis. I sat and pondered. after that. been suffering with from boyhood. and a little way up the back. But I could not feel or hear stopped beating. I felt my pulse. Then tried I to wondered how long I had to live. and I shut one eye. examine myself. and. I could only see the tip. I made it a hundred and heart. I patted myself all over my front. I stuck it out as far as ever it would go. . I could not feel I I tried to feel It my had my heart.





had walked into that reading-room a happy, I crawled out a healthy man. decrepit wreck. I went to He is an old chum medical man. my of mine, and feels my pulse, and looks at my tongue, and talks about the weather, all for nothing, when I fancy I'm ill; so I thought I would do him a good turn by going to him now. "What

He shall doctor wants," I said, "is practice. have me. He will get more practice out of me than out of seventeen hundred of your ordinary, commonplace patients, with only one

two diseases each." So I went up and saw him, and he said


"Well, what's the matter with you?"

"I will not take

up your time, dear

boy, with telling you what is the matter with me. Life is brief, and you

might pass away before I had finished. But I will tell you what is not the matter with me. I have not got housemaid's knee. Why I have not got housemaid's

I cannot tell you but the fact remains that have not got it. Everything else, however, I hare got."


I told him how I came to discover it all. Then he opened me and looked down me, and

clutched hold of



and then he
it it



over the chest when
thing to

wasn't expecting

a cow-

and immediately





afterward butted


with the side of his head.
a prescrip-

After that, he sat

down and wrote out

up and gave it me, and I put it in my pocket and went out. I did not open it. I took it to the nearest The man read it. chemist's, and handed it in. and then handed it back.

and folded



he didn't keep




are a chemist?"

If I was a co-operative store chemist. and family hotel combined, I might be able to oblige you. Being only a chemist hampers me."

He said "I am a

read the prescription.




"i Ib. beefsteak, with
pt. bitter


every 6 hours.
I i

ten-mile walk every morning



1 1

sharp every night.




up your head with things you

don't understand."


followed the directions, with the happy respeaking for myself that my life was pre-

served, and is still going on. In the present instance, going back to the liverpill circular, I

had the symptoms, beyond



take, the chief

among them being "a general inclination to work of any kind." What I suffer in that wav no tongue can






From my earliest infancy I have been a martyr to As a boy, the disease hardly ever left me for a day. They did not know, then, that it was my


state than

Medical science was in a far less advanced now, and they used to put it down to

"Why, you skulking


you," they

would say, "get up and do something for your not knowing, of course, that living, can't you?" I was ill.

And they didn't give me pills; they gave me clumps on the side of the head. And, strange as it may appear, those clumps on the head often cured me for the time being. I have known one clump on the head have more effect upon my liver, and make me feel more anxious to go straight away then and there, and do what was wanted to be done, without further loss of time, than a whole box of pills does now.
You know,




those simple, old-

fashioned remedies are sometimes



the dispensary stuff. sat there for half an hour, describing to each other our maladies. I explained to George


and William Harris how I felt when I got up in the morning, and William Harris told us how he and George stood on felt when he went to bed the hearth-rug, and gave us a clever and powerful piece of acting, illustrative of how he felt in the



George fancies he
is ill;

but there's rever anythe

thing really the matter with him, you know. At this point, Mrs. Poppets knocked at

door to know


we were ready

smiled sadly at one another, and we had better try to swallow a bit.

for supper. said we supposed


Harris said a

stomach often kept the disease in check; and Mrs. Poppets brought the tray in, and we drew up to the table, and toyed with a little steak and onions, and some rhubarb
in one's

must have been very weak at the time beI know, after the first half-hour or so, I seemed to take no interest whatever in my food an unusual thing for me and I didn't want any



This duty done,we


our glasses,



pipes, and resumed the discussion upon our state of health. What it was that was actually the matter with us, we none of us could be sure of; but the unanimous opinion was that it whatever it was had been brought on by overwork. "What we want is rest," said Harris. "Rest and a complete change," said George.



upon our brains has produced

a general



of scene, and absence of the necessity for thought, will restore the mental equilibrium."


George has a cousin, who is usually described in the charge-sheet as a medical student, so that he

naturally has a somewhat family-physicianary of putting things.



I agreed with George, and suggested that we should seek out some retired and old-world spot,

from the madding crowd, and dream away a sunny week among its drowsy lanes some halfforgotten nook, hidden away by the fairies, out of reach of the noisy world some quaint-perched eyrie on the cliffs of Time, from whence the surging waves of the nineteenth century would sound far off and faint. Harris said he thought it would be humpy. He said he knew the sort of place I meant where everybody went to bed at eight o'clock, and you couldn't get a Referee for love or money, and had to walk ten miles to get your baccy. "No," said Harris, "if you want rest and

change, you can't beat a sea trip." I objected to the sea trip strongly.


sea trip

does you good when you are going to have a couple of months of it, but, for a week, it is

on Monday with the idea implanted your bosom that you are going to enjoy yourself. You wave an airy adieu to the boys on shore, light your biggest pipe, and swagger about the deck as if you were Captain Cook, Sir Francis Drake, and Christopher Columbus all rolled into one. On Tuesday, you wish you hadn't come. On Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, you wish




On Saturday, you are able to beef tea, and to sit up on deck and answer with a wan, sweet smile when kindyou were dead.
swallow a
hearted people ask you how you feel now. On Sunday, you begin to walk about again, and take


And on Monday




your bag and umbrella
to thoroughly like

your hand, you stand by the gunwale, waiting to step ashore, you begin
brother-in-law going for a short sea trip once, for the benefit of his health. He took a return berth from London to Liverpool



and when he got to Liverpool, the only thing he was anxious about- was to sell that return ticket. It was offered round the town at a tremendous reduction, so I am told and was eventually sold

for eighteenpence to a bilious-looking had just been advised by his medical

youth who men to go

to the sea-side, and take exercise. "Sea-side !" said my brother-in-law, pressing the ticket affectionately into his hand "why, you'll

have enough to last you a lifetime and as for exercise why, you'll get more exercise, sitting down on that ship, than you would turning somersaults on dry land." He himself my brother-in-law came back by train. He said the Northwestern Railway was

healthy enough for him.
I knew went for a week's voyround the coast, and, before they started, the age

Another fellow

it The steward recommended the latter would come so much cheaper. and at one time it seemed to him that he had been eating nothing but boiled beef for weeks.V A BOA T. and he held on to ropes and things and went down. but he felt that there was some of that two-pound-five to be worked off. whole week at He said for breakfast there He didn't feel so hungry as he thought he should. Neither the beef nor the strawberries and cream seemed happy. friend thought he would close on the twoMy pound-five job (he is a hearty eater). as said they two pounds would be fish. Lunch came just as they were -off Sheerness. He for the course. At six. and And a light meat supper at ten. fish. Lunch was at one. they came and told him dinner was The announcement aroused no enthusiready. dessert. would do him five. or arrange beforehand for the whole series. and at other times it seemed that he must have been living on strawberries and cream for years. 1 1 steward came to him to ask whether he would pay for each meal as he had it. and did so. and so contented himself with a bit of boiled beef. He pondered a good deal during the afternoon. and conDinner at six soup. sweets. and some strawberries and cream. asm within him. sisted of four courses. poultry. followed by a grill. mingled with . salad. cheese.THREE MEN 7. either seemed discontented like. A pleasant odor of onions and hot ham. entree. joint.

So I I set my face against the sea trip. "there she goes. For the next four days he lived a simple and And blameless life on thin cap- tain's biscuits (I mean that the biscuits were thin. He left the ship on Tuesday. and said : "What can "Get I get you. and on Monday he was gorging himself on chicken broth." he said. and left him. Not. greeted him at the bottom of the ladder. and propped him over to leeward.12 fried fish THREE MEN IN A BOA T. and went in for weak tea and dry toast. and greens. toward Saturday. with two pounds' worth of food on board that belongs to me." was the feeble reply." He said that if they had given him another day he thought he could have put it straight. "There she goes. after it regretfully. not the captain) and soda water. and then the steward came up with an oily smile. and as it steamed away from the landing stage he gazed but. they ran him up quick. and that I haven't had. as explained. I was never . sir?" me out of this. he got uppish. upon my own account.

13 said he should be all right. it. George and would rather like but he would advise Harris and me not to think I it. But was of as he felt sure we should both be it ill. on land.THREE queer. but had tation never been able. most men were like a fellow I saw on the Yarmouth boat one day. whole boat-loads of them people very but I never met a man yet. said to himself. Then he told us anecdotes of how he had gone across f he Channel when it was so rough that the passengers had to be tied into their berths. At . It was just off Southend Pier. and he and the captain were the only two living souls on board who were not ill. the thousands upon thousands of bad sailors that swarm in every ship hide themselves when they are on land in a mystery. who had ever known at all what it was to be seasick. I could account for the seeming enigma easily enough. MEN IN A afraid BOA T. Where It is a curious fact. how people managed to get sick at sea said he thought people must do it on purpose. Sometimes it was he and the second mate who were not ill. and he was leaning out through one of the port-holes in a very If . but on land. Harris was always a mystery that. for George. I recollect. you come across plenty of bad indeed. other man. then it was he by himself. but it was genIf not he and anerally he and one other man. nobody ever is seasick sea. from affecsaid he had often wished to be.

could get the sea. I did feel a little queer once. save him. answered. "Good sailor!" he replied in answer to a mild young man's envious query. with enthusiasm.V . I went up to him to try and in.. It was off Cape Horn. I met him in the coffeeroom of a Bath hotel. in balancing myself." I wish I was.V /. going down to Yarmouth. The vessel was wrecked the next morning. with a puzzled expression. three weeks." was the only answer I and here I had to leave him. as the . you know." I said : "Weren't you a little shaky by Southend Pier one day. dangerous position./ BOAT. Did you have any?" For myself. and explaining. how he loved "Oh my! . "Yes." last Friday "Oh. shaking him by "You'll be overboard. ventive against seasickness. talking about his voyages. brightening up did have a headache that . It was the pickles. 1 confess. and wanted to be thrown overboard?" "Southend Pier!" he replied.14 THREE J//-." I "Hi! come further the shoulder. You stand in the center of the deck. and. They were the most disgraceful pickles I ever tasted in a respectable boat." he I remember now. ah "I yes. I have discovered an excellent pre- afternoon. "well. said. Three weeks afterward.

Harris said. you move your body about. if you haven't had any dinner). you lean forward. summer and winter alike. seeing that there were only twenty-four hours in each day. exercise and quiet the constant change of scene would occupy our minds (including what there was of Harris's) ." He . . as it might be danHe said he didn't very well understand gerous. you lean backward. and is cheap at the price. which includes bread-andbutter and cake ad lib. It seems to suit . that the river him to a "T. 15 ship heaves and pitches. said we should have fresh air. and the hard work would give us a good appetite. and make us sleep well. till and when its back end gets up. how George was going to sleep any more than he did now. When the front of the ship rises." I don't know what a would suit "T" is (ex- cept a sixpenny one. so as to keep it always straight.THREE MEN IN A BOA T.. Harris said he didn't think George ought to do anything that would have a tendency to make him sleepier than he always was. he might just as well be dead. the deck almost touches your nose . George said "Let's go up the : river. This is all very well for an hour or two but you can't balance yourself for a week. however. but thought that if he did sleep any more. and so save his board and lodging.

It greatly to its suited both said said it in me to a "T" too. and the motion . however. never did did Mont- the morency. There's nothing "It's all for in me to do. I call the whole thing bally foolishness. and Harris and I was a good idea of George's and we a tone that seemed to somehow imply it . "y u like it. and . I don't smoke. and slop me overboard. Scenery If I is not my line. care for He river. see a rat.i6 THREE MEN IN A BOA T. which is everybody. credit. very well for you he says." but / don't. fellows. you wont stop and if I go to sleep. If you ask me." We were was carried. however. three to one. you get fooling about with the boat. that we were surprised that George should have come out so sensible. The only one who was not struck with the suggestion was Montmorency.

the golden memory of the dead sun Slowly fades from Silent. except Saturdays. who would not be able to get away from the City till the afternoon (George goes to sleep at a bank from ten to four each day. sad clouds. would meet us there. first impressions of. sorrowing children. nights. so patriarchal like. lest II. on. We said it would be so wild and free. and only the moor-hen's plaintive cry and the harsh croak of the corn-crake 17 the birds have . Fears he is too good for this world. Compromise decided Montmorency. and take We the boat up to Chertsey. and discussed plans.CHAPTER discussed. ceased their song. Meeting adjourns. Should we "camp out" or sleep at inns? George and I were for camping out. when they wake him up and put him outside at two). Pleasures of " camping out" on fine Ditto. E pulled out the maps. and George. would go down in the morning. fears subsequently dismissed as groundless. like the hearts of the cold. wet nights. and I arranged to start on the followHarris ing Saturday from Kingston.

throne. unseen feet above the waving river-grass. From the dim woods on either bank.V IN A BOAT. and. lit by the pale stars. reigns in stillness. and pass with noiseless. and through the sighing rushes and Night. where the dying day breathes out her last. from her phantom palace. folds her black wings above the darken- ing world. the gray shadows. and the pleasant chat goes . stirs the awed hush around the couch of waters. creep out \vith noiseless tread to chase away the lingering rear- guard of the light. Then we run our little boat into some quiet nook. and the frugal sup- per cooked and eaten. Night's ghostly army. upon her somber . and the tent is pitched.18 THREE ME. filled Then the big pipes are and lighted.

THREE round MEN IN A BOAT. her children. we understand. rising. playing round the boat. and do not care or want to speak till we laugh. stoops down to kiss it and throws her silver arms around clingingly and we watch it as it flows. in the pauses of our talk. half sad. somehow. ere her children's sins and follies had made old her loving heart sweet as she was in those bygone days when. while the moon. the pipes go out till we. ever singing. ever whispering. a new-made mother. the sea till our voices die away in silence. sings low the old child's song that it has sung so many thousand years will sing so many thousand years to come. feel strangely full of thoughts. still "Good-night. and. lulled by the lapping water trees." and. and dream that the world is young again young and sweet as she used to be ere the centuries of fret and care had furrowed her fair face. who have voice grows harsh and old a song that learnt to love its changing face. commonplace. by its margin. think. upon her own deep . it . and with a sister's kiss. she nursed us. the river. out to meet its king. and say and the rustling great. we fall asleep beneath the stars. before its we. every- day young men enough. who its have so often nestled on yielding bosom. half sweet. And we sit there. knock the ashes from our burnt-out pipes. prattles strange old tales and secrets. who loves it too. though we could not tell you in mere words the story that we listen to. 1 9 in musical undertone. while.

stately home where mankind was born so many oned sneers of thousand years ago. If you were to stand at night by the sea-shore with Harris." If Harris's eyes fill with tears. he knows not why. and the poisartificiality had made us ashamed of the simple life we led with her.THREE breast lured us MEN IN A BOA T. chanting dirges for white corpses. Harris would take you by the arm. Is but the mermaids singing deep below the waving waters or sad spirits. I know a place round the corner here. There is no poetry about Harris no wild yearning for the unattainable. and "How say: "Hark! do you not hear? it . where you can get a drop . held "I by seaweed?'' . or has put too much Worcester over his chop. Now. and say: know what it is. Harris said : about when it rained?" You can never rouse Harris. old man you've got a chill. you come along with me. had ere the wiles of painted civilization away from her fond arms. you can bet it is because Harris has been eating raw onions. Harris never "weeps. and the simple.

where you can : get some really first-class nectar. and it flops about. It is : difficult a tent in dry weather in wet. as regarded the camping out. I've found a nice place round the corner here. and you land and lug out the tent. Camping out in weather is not pleasant. old fellow. it herculean. You are wet through. the task Instead of helping you. You find a place on the banks that is not quite so puddly as other places you have seen. "Here! what are you up to?" you call out. he gives it a hoist from his end. Just as you get your side beautifully fixed. It is soaked and heavy. enough to fix becomes seems to you that the other man is simply playing the fool. in Paradise (supposing such a thing likely). and tumbles down on you. and spoils it all. however." In the present instance." Harris always does know a place round the corner where you can get something brilliant in the I believe that if you met Harris up drinking line. and all the things are damp. .THREE of the finest Scotch MEN IN A BOA T. 21 whiskey you ever tasted put you right in less than no time. and there is a good two inches of water in the boat. his practical view of the matter came as a very timely hint. and two of you proceed to fix it. rainy It is evening. he would immediately greet you with "So glad you've come. and clings round your head and makes you mad. The rain is pouring steadily do\vn all the time.

can't pull it. At last. and leaves each other across its ruins. and you give your ropes a lug that pulls all his pegs out. and then comes a savage haul. he retorts. him. swearing at one another. and who has spilled the water down his sleeve. and has been cursing away to himself steadily for the last ten minutes. so you light the methylated spirit stove. at the same time. and away goes your side. you "No. until the tent you you both indignantly exclaim. "Ah. in the same breath "There you are! what did I tell you?" Meanwhile the third man. it up to?" "leggo. "let go your side!" "I tell wishing that you you've got it you could get all at wrong!" you roar. I haven't. You lay down the mallet and start to go round and tell him what you think about the whole business. who has been bailing : looking at tumbles down in a heap. wants to know what the thundering blazes you're playing at. you've got stupid ass!" you shout. it does you land the It is make get up. and why the blarmed tent isn't up yet. the bally idiot!" you hear him mutter to himself. when out the boat. somehow or other. a wood fire. and hopeless attempting to things. and. and crowd round that. And you follow each other round and round. you "Don't all wrong. ." he yells. he starts round in the same direction to come and explain his views to you.22 THREE "What are yon ?" MEN IX A BOAT.

and that the volcano has exploded and thrown you down to the bottom of the sea the elephant still sleeping peacefully on your bosom. at all events. the beefsteakexceedingly rich in it. No help comes. hitting out right and left with arms and legs. Two feet off. and then you think be. you . or else fire. and all you know is that thousands of people are kicking you. and this restores to you suffilife to induce you to go to bed. You wake up and grasp the idea sat that something first terrible is really has happened. you find your tobacco is damp. Determining. all com- bined with to make and you cannot smoke. you struggle frantically. Somebody else seems in trouble. and this opinion you express in the usual method. There you dream that an elephant has suddenly down on your chest. in After supper. and yelling lustily the while. find and at last something gives way. Rainwater is 23 The bread pie is the chief article of diet at supper. that the end of the world that this cannot and that it is thieves and murderers. two-thirds rainwater. if taken cient interest in proper quantity. too.THREE MEN IN A BOA T. Luckily you have a bottle of the stuff that cheers and inebriates. Your impression has come. You can hear his faint cries coming from underneath your bed. however. and the it salt. and the is butter. and you are being smothered. and you your head in the fresh air. and the coffee have soup. and the jam. to sell your life dearly.

recognizing you same moment.24 THKEE MEN IN A BOAT. and you swear at each other in hoarse whispers during the whole of . "Yes." he says. and pub. he being under the evident belief that the whole thing has been done on purpose. And In the morning you are all three speechless. I think. waiting to kill you. a muddy. Montmorency hailed this compromise we would sleep out and inn it. at the it's you. felt inclined for a change. is it?" he says. We on it. breakfast time. therefore decided that fine nights. rubbing your eyes. when we respectable folks." you answer. like and hotel it. when it begins to dawn upon "Oh. can't you?" : : Bill struggles out. when it was wet. "what's happened?" "Bally tent's blown down. Where's Bill?" Then you both raise up your voices and shout for "Bill !" and the ground beneath you heaves and rocks. dimly observe a half-dressed ruffian. or with . owing to having caught severe colds in the night you also feel very quarrelsome. and you are preparing for a life-and-death struggle with him. and the muffled voice that you heard before replies from out the ruin "Get off my head. you that it's Jim. trampled and in an unnecessarily aggressive moodwreck.

had won . When first he came to live at my expense. and if a trifle low. that had kept him pinned up in his own tool-shed. sat on the rug and looked up at me.something -to-make-it- better-and-nobler expression about Montmorency that has been known to bring the tears into the eyes of pious old ladies and gentlemen. There the shape of a small fox-terrier. He will be snatched : up will to the bright skies in a chariot. . MEN IN A BOA T. I never thought I should be able to get him to stop I used to sit down and look at him.THREE much approval. for over two hours on a cold night and had learned that the gardener. afraid to venture his nose outside the door. out of a hundred and fourteen street fights and had had a dead cat brought round for my inspection by an irate female. by the scruff of his neck. To look at Montwould imagine that he was an angel morency you sent upon the is earth. who called me a murderer. growling . and think "Oh. ." is what But. and kicking. when I had paid for about a dozen chickens that he had killed and had dragged him. that dog will never live. unknown to myself. 25 He does not revel in romantic Give him something noisy. for in some reason withheld from mankind. that happen to him. solitude. a sort of Oh-what-a-wicked-world-this-is- and-how-I-wish-I-could do . and had been summoned by the man next door but one for having a ferocious dog at large. so much the jollier. as he long.

is Montmorency's idea of "life" and so. and proposed that we should go out and we had begun have a smile.26 THREE MEX 7. saying that he had found a place.Y A BOA T. would do whisky. warm. then I . and pubs. and collect a gang of the most disreputable dogs to be found in the town. Having thus left to the satisfaction of to discuss this settled the sleeping arrangements all four of us. and hotels his most emphatic approbation. by . my complaint good. by backing him to kill rats against began to think that maybe they'd let him remain on earth for a bit longer. thirty shillings time. as I had a presentiment that a little . and lead them out to march round the slums to fight other disreputable dogs. round by the square. where you could really get a drop of Irish worth drinking. and to argue. . when Harris said he'd had enough oratory for one night. common assent. with a slice of lemon.. adjourned to the following night and the assembly put on its hats and went out. the only thing was what we should take with us. after all. George said he felt thirsty (I never knew George when he didn't) and. as I before observed. To hang about a stable. he gave to the suggestion of inns. the debate was.

George. waiting to be put up. family man puts up a picsensible George makes a of early morning bathing. Delights Provisions for getting |O." That's Harris all over so ready to take the burden of everything himself. : "Now. you get a bit of paper and write down.CHAPTER Arrangements set/led. He always reminds me of my poor Uncle Podger. and you get the grocery catalogue. upset. picture would have come home from the frame-maker's and be A standing in the dining-room. the first thing to settle is what to take with us. remark. You never saw such a commotion up and down a house. ]hm' ture. and somebody give me a bit of pencil. the elderly JJam's' s method of doing work. Now. we again assembled. J. and Aunt Podger would ask what was to be done with it.. and then I'll make out a list. III. and Uncle Podger would say: 27 . and put it on the backs of other people. on the following evening. as when my Uncle Podger undertook to do a job. to discuss and arrange our Harris said plans. in all your life.

and. . she must go out again for a bit of picturecord and Tom where's Tom? Tom. here . ." then he would lift up the picture. and cut himself.28 THREE MEN IX A BOA T. and. because I shall want somebody to hold me the light and when the girl comes size to get. "Now you go and get me my hammer. and then he would spring round the room. Will. Tom and I shall want the step-ladder. he would gradually work down. He would send the girl out forsixpen'orth of nails. and then one of the boys after her to tell her what from that. and all the house had to leave off his handkerchief. Ta's kind regards. you leave that to me. /'// do all that. Maria. back. and hopes his leg's better. you come ." And then he would take off his coat and begin. Don't you. chief. . and drop and it would come out of the frame. Jim! you run round to Mr. and I had better have a kitchen-chair. "Oh. and start the whole house. looking for And He could not find his handkerbecause it was in the pocket of the coat he had taken off. and he did not know where he had put the coat. would try to save the glass. too. any of worry yourselves about that. and tell him. and he it. I shall want you to hand me up the picture." he would shout "and you bring me the rule. and will he lend him his spirit-level?' And don't you go. you. . Goggles.

Might just as well ask the cat to sitting on it myself find any- thing as expect you people to find it. in an injured tone. and start looking for his coat while he would dance round and hinder them. he would have another go. and a new glass had been got. and the chair. "There !" he would say. and a fourth would hand him a nail. and he would take hold of the nail. and find that he had been : it. and the candle had been brought." And. ready to help. that all Six of you! put down not and you can't find a coat five minutes ago! Well. and would call out "Oh. Two people would have to hold the chair. and a fifth would pass him up the hammer. 29 looking for his tools.THREE MEN IN A BOA T. and drop it. and the tools. of the" Then he'd get up. "Doesn't anybody in the whole house know where my coat is? I never came across such a set in all my I life upon my word I didn't. to go down on our while he would stand on ." And we would all have knees and grovel for it. when half an hour had been spent in tying up his finger. including the girl and the charwoman. and a third would help him up on it. you can give it up! I've found now. the whole family. and the ladder. and hold him there. . "now the nail's gone. standing round in a semicircle.

and each of us had to get up on a chair. He would use a bit of string this time. and by that time he would have lost the hammer. We other. And in the general row. and sneer at one an. and grunt. and at the critical moment. "Where's the hammer? hammer? the Great heavens! round there. gaping and you don't know what I did with What hammer!" would find the hammer for him. and see if we could find it and we would each discover it in a different place. and then he would have lost sight of the mark he had made on the wall.30 THREE MEN IN A BOA T. and tell us to get down. when the old fool was leaning over the chair at an angle of forty-five. and all arrive at different results. where the nail was to go in. and would try to do it in his head. beside him. one after another. and trying to reach a point three inches beyond what was possible for him to reach. the original number would be forgotten. and down he would slide on to the piano. And he would take the rule. and find that he wanted half thirty-one and three-eighths inches from the corner. did I do with the Seven of you. know if he was The nail would be found at last. the chair. a really . and he would call us all fools. and Uncle Podger would have to measure it again. and go mad. the string would slip. And we would all try to do it in our heads. and want to to be kept there all the evening. and re-measure.

with a yell. ! was being a fuss over "Oh you women. At somebody's toes. and half the hammer after it. And. and. I like doing a little job of this sort. picking himself up. you make such everything. he would smash his thumb. "Why. the picture would be up very crooked and .THREE fine MEN IN A BOA T. the nail would go clean through the plaster. 31 ness with which his head and musical effect being produced by the suddenbody struck all the notes at the same time. left hand. with the first blow. Uncle Podger would get the spot fixed and put the point of the nail on it with his again. about mid. and drop the hammer. next time Uncle Podger was going to hammer a nail into the wall. at the second blow. Aunt Maria would mildly observe that. and a new hole was made and. and Uncle Podger be precipitated against the wall with force nearly sufficient to flatten his nose. on last. make arrangements to go and it spend a week with her mother while done. And Aunt Maria would say that she would not allow the children to stand round and hear such language. Then we had to find the rule and the string again." And then he would have another try. she hoped he'd so that she could let her know in time." Uncle Podger would reply. and take the hammer in his right hand. night.

I know. and the . I grows up. "There you off are. "Why. and : I told him said I could not permit him to take so said much labor upon "No. round looking as if it had been smoothed down with a rake. himself. and surveying the mess he had made with evident pride. stepping heavily the chair on to the charwoman's corns. the wall for yards Podger. you get the paper. some people would have had do a I a man in to little thing like that !" Harris will be just that sort of man when he so." he would say. and everybody dead beat and wretched except Uncle insecure. and the pencil.32 THREE MEN IN A BOA T.

but which are really only useless lumber. genpeople. and a host of swell friends that do not care twopence three them. How they pile the poor little craft mast-high with. with formalities and ostentation. but only of the things that we can't do without. ! . but with reference to our trip up the river of How many till it up the boat life. and I'll 33 do the work. We must not think of the things we could do with. and as indispensable looked at one another! The It : George said : "You know we are on a wrong track altogether.THREE MEN IN A BOA T. maddest lumber of all the dread of what will my neighbor think. I call that downright wissurprised. heaviest. and that they do not care ha'ppence for. catalogue. with luxufor ." George comes out really quite sensible at times. with expensive entertainments that nobody enjoys. as regards the present case." first list we made out had to be discarded. and George write down. with pretence and with oh. not merely erally. was clear that the upper reaches of the Thames would not allow of the navigation of a boat sufficiently large to take the things we had set down so we tore the list up. and fashions. fine clothes and big houses. with useless servants. You'd be dom. load is ever in danger of swamping with a store of foolish things which they think essential to the pleasure and comfort of the trip. on that voyage.

plain merchandise You will have time to think as . with empty show that. Throw the lumber over. and a little more than enough to drink. lightly o'er the shallows. man of life be light. good. you faint at the oars. and if it boat easier to pull then. does upset. and it it will not mattei so much will stand water. or the blue Let your boat what you need a homely home and simple pleasures. that only cloy. and a pipe or two. or the woods all green and golden. never gain a moment's rest for dreamy laziness no time to watch the windy shadows skimming board. enough to eat and enough to wear. some one to love and some one to love you. It makes it so cumbernearly some and dangerous to manage.34 ries THREE MEN 7A r A BOA T. a cat. You will will find the not be so liable to upset. or the sedges. or the lilies white and yellow. packed with only dangerous thing. or the somber-waving flitting in beams rushes. It man all lumber! Throw it over- makes the boat so heavy to pull. or the glittering sun- and out among the ripples. you never know a moment's freedom from anxiety and care. with pleasures that bore. worth the name. (or thirst is a ! forget-me-nots. or the great trees by the margin looking down at their own image. one or two friends. a dog. or the orchis. makes to bleed and swoon the aching head that wears It is it ! lumber. like the criminal's iron crown of yore.

in that case we must take a rug each. but there. though a trifle stuffy. it. from stem to stern. and we adopted it. and more comfortable. a toothbrush (each). time to listen to the ^Eolian music that the wind of God draws from the human hearttime to strings around us shine I beg your pardon. well as 3$ Time to drink in life's sunto work. really. a lamp. and they came down upon him for the funeral expenses. some shaving tackle (sounds like a George said that . some soap. You fix iron hoops up over the boat. and he began . and fasten it down all round. to George. "We wont boat a It is take a tent. a basin.THREE MEN IN A BOA T. some tooth-powder. do not know whether you have ever seen the thing I mean. ever so sim- much pler. as the man said when his mother-in-law died." suggested George "we have a with cover. will we left the list I quite forgot. everything has its drawbacks." It seemed a good thought. Well. and I it is beautifully cosy. and it converts the boat into a sort of little house. a brush and comb (between us). and stretch a huge canvas over them.

They suit my complexion when I I so. and notice that people always make gigantic arrangements for bathing when they are going anywhere the water. MEN IN A I BOA T. and . I to the sea- always deter- thinking over the matter in Lon- mine when don that I'll get up early morning. French exercise. But get to the sea I don't feel somehow that as want that early morning bathe nearly so much I did when I was in town.religiously pack pair of drawers I every up and a a bath towel. and go and have a dip before breakfast.THREE towels for bathing. "*get red I I always bathing drawers. rather fancy myself in red drawers. . It is are the same when you go side. doesn't a couple of big it?). near but that they don't bathe much when they *' there.

I feel more that I want to stop bed till the last moment. the wave comes back and carries ! me out to mid-ocean. it is rough and two miles in my arms up quite insulting. so that I have to huddle myjelf and hop. Just when I have given up ail hope. and I get up and look back and find that I've been swimming for my life in two tically for the shore. and I have got out at six and halfdressed myself. shivering. and they sharpen up the rocks and cover the points over with a bit of sand so that them. and wish I'd been kinder to my little sister when a boy (when / was a boy. through six inches of water. me in a sitting posture. and then come down and have my breakfast. .THREE MEN IN A BOA T. And when I do get to the sea. and put them on the top. in On enjoyed in it. 37 the contrary. and stumbled dismally off. I mean). to keep a specially cutwhen I go to bathe the early morning and they pick out all the three-cornered stones. as hard as ever down on to a rock which has been put there for me. ting east wind waiting for me. They seem . and they take the sea and put it I can't see out. before I've said "Oh Ugh !" and found out what has gone. And. One huge wave catches me up and it chucks can. I begin to strike out fran- and wonder if I shall ever see home and friends again. Once or twice virtue has triumphed. and have taken my drawers and But I haven't towel. a wave retires and leaves me sprawling like a starfish on the sand.

In the present instance. we could wash them when they got dirty. so as not to keep each other waiting. and crawl have to pretend I liked it. and withdrew his opposition to anter . He said there would be quite enough hard work in towing I sufficient it food for Harris up against stream. as was.$8 feet THREE of water. however. Harris's bath. George said that if it was going to make Harris eat more than Harris ordinarily ate. I MEN IN A BOA T. and plunge into the Harris said there was nothing like a limpid river. where I hop back and dress. how much pleasit would be to have Harris clean and fresh about the boat. swim before breakfast to give you an appetite. For clothes. urged upon George. and . George said two suits of flannel would be selves. He said it always gave him an appetite. and he replied: "No. even if we did have to take a few more hundredweight of provisions and he got to see it in my light. as the if river. but he knew some fellows who had. we all talked as if we were going to have a long swim every morning. then he should protest against Harris having a bath at all. our- We asked him he had ever tried washing flannels in the river. Agreed. that we should take three bath towels. in sufficient. not exactly himself like. finally. home. George said it was so pleasant to wake up in the boat in the fresh morning.



it was easy enough" and Harris and I were weak enough to fancy he knew what he was talking about, and that three respectable young men, without position or influence, and with no expe-

rience in washing, could really clean their own shirts and trousers in the river Thames with a bit of soap.

We were to learn in the days to come, when it was too late, that George was a miserable impostor, who could evidently have known nothing whatever about the matter. If you had seen
these clothes after

but, as the shilling shockers



George impressed upon us to take a change of under-things and plenty of socks, in case we got upset and wanted a change also plenty of handkerchiefs, as they would do to wipe things, and a

pair of leather boots as well as our boating shoes, as we should want them if we got upset.

The food



paraffine oil as an



Advantages of cheese as a traveling A married woman deserts her home.

Further provision for getting upset. / pack. Cussedness of tooth-brushes. George and Harris






retire to rest.

[HEN we

discussed the food question.

George said "Begin with breakfast."
so practical.)




for breakfast


want a frying-pan" (Harris said it was indigestible; but we merely urged him not to be an "a tea-pot and a kettle, ass, and George went on) and a methylated spirit stove."


oil," said

George, with a significant look;

and Harris and agreed. We had taken up an oil-stove once, but "never It had been like living in an oil-shop that again." week. It oozed. I never saw such a thing as
paraffine oil

to ooze.

We kept



the nose of

the boat, and, from there, it oozed down to the rudder, impregnating the whole boat and every-






way, and

oozed over the




and saturated the scenery and spoilt the atmosSometimes a westerly oily wind blew, and at other times an easterly oily wind, and sometimes a northerly oily wind, and maybe a southerly oily wind but whether it came from the Arctic snows or was raised in the waste of the desert




alike to us laden with the fragrance

of paraffine oil. And that oil oozed

and as

for the

up and ruined the sunset; moonbeams, they positively reeked

of paraffine.
tried to get away from it at Marlow. the boat by the bridge, and took a walk through the town to escape it, but it followed us.
left full of oil. passed the churchyard, and it seemed as if the through people had been buried in oil. The High Street



The whole town was


stunk of



we wondered how people could


And we walked

mingham way

miles upon miles out Birwas no use, the country was

steeped in oil. At the end of that trip we met together at midnight in a lonely field, under a blasted oak, and

took an awful oath (we had been swearing for a whole week about the thing in an ordinary, mid' die-class way, but this was a swell affair) an awful oath never to take paraffine oil with us in a
boat again except, of course, in case of sickness. Therefore, in the present instance, we confined ourselves to methylated spirit. Even that is bad






lated cake.

get methylated pie and methyBut methylated spirit is more wholesome when taken into the system in large quanti-


than paraffine


For other breakfast things, George suggested eggs and bacon, which were easy to cook, cold meat, tea, bread and butter, and jam. For lunch, he said we could have biscuits, cold meat, bread and butter, and jam but no cheese. Cheese, like It wants the whole oil, makes too much of itself. boat to itself. It goes through the hamper, and
gives a cheesy

to everything else


You can't tell whether you are eating apple-pie or German sausage, or strawberries and cream. It all seems cheese. There is too much odor
about cheese.


cheeses at

a friend of mine buying a couple of Liverpool. Splendid cheeses they

were, ripe and mellow, and with a two hundred horse-power scent about them that might have

been warranted to carry three miles, and knock a man over at two hundred yards. I was in Liverpool at the time, and my friend said that if I didn't mind he would get me to take them back with me to London, as he should not be coming up for a day or two himself, and he did not think the cheeses ought to be kept much longer. "Oh, with pleasure, dear boy," I replied, "with
pleasure." I called for the cheeses, and took

them away


a cab.


It was a ramshackle affair, dragged along by a knock-kneed, broken-winded somnambulist, which his owner, in a moment of enthusiasm, durI put ing conversation, referred to as a horse. the cheeses on the top, and we started off at a

shamble that would have done credit to the swiftest steam-roller ever built, and all went merry as a
funeral bell, until we turned the corner. There, the wind carried a whiff from the cheeses full on
to our steed.
of terror,

woke him

up, and, with a snort

he dashed off at three miles an hour. The wind still blew in his direction, and before we reached the end of the street he was laying himself out at the rate of nearly four miles an hour, leaving the cripples and stout old ladies simply nowhere. It took two porters as well as the driver to hold him in at the station and I do not think they would have done it, even then, had not one of the men had the presence of mind to put a handkerchief over his nose, and to light a bit of brown





and marched proudly up

the platform, with

cheeses, the people falling back respectfully on either side. The train was crowded, and I had to get into a carriage where there were already seven other people. One old gentleman objected, but I got in, notcrusty withstanding; and, putting my cheeses upon the rack, squeezed down with a pleasant smile, and






said it was a warm day. A few moments passed, and then the old gentleman began to fidget. "Very close in here," he said.

"Quite oppressive," said the man next him. then they both began sniffing, and, at the third sniff, they caught it right on the chest, and rose up without another word and went out. And then a stout lady got up, and said it was disgrace-


that a respectable married woman should be harried about in this way, and gathered up a bag and eight parcels and went. The remaining four

passengers sat on for a while, until a solemn-locking man in the corner, who, from his dress and
general appearance, seemed to belong to the undertaker class, said it put him in mind of dead baby;

and got into another had drunk it which I thought From Crewe I had the compartment to myself. "I'll have half-a-crown's worth of brandy. if you And rpean. neat. carriage. and we forced our way into the buffet. and then a young lady came. and fight round the door to get in first. and so. seeing my empty "Here y' are. thing. after we had started." they would shout. 45 and the other three passengers tried to get out of the door at the same time. and stagger . Tom. miss. though the train was crowded." he responded. he went off quietly after he carriage.THREE MEN IN A BOA T. we'll get in here. and said that some people made such a fuss over a little But even he grew strangely depressed thing." "All right. And they would run along. I asked him to come and have a drink. As we drew up at the different stations. where we yelled. And one would open the door and mount the steps. "What's yours?" I said. would rush for it. come along. and asked us if we wanted any. carrying heavy bags. I smiled at the black gentleman. and waved our umbrellas for a quarter of an hour. plenty of room. and stamped. turning to my friend. when we reached Crewe. please. Maria. and said I thought we were going to have the carriage to ourselves and he laughed pleasantly. He accepted. and hurt them selves. the people.

" she queried. and that nobody was to touch them." said : "It's cheeses." And I added that I hoped she understood that it had nothing to do with me. I took the cheeses down to my friend's house. When his wife came into the she room she smelt round said : for an instant. Tom bought them in Liverpool. My friend was detained in Liverpool longer than he expected and. She said : "Nobody's smelt them?" I likely to touch them. She I said "What did Tom replied that he say about those cheeses?" had directed they were to be kept in a moist place. and added that he seemed greatly attached to them.4<* THREE MEN IN A BOA T. and asked me to bring them up with me. "You think he would be upset. and she said that she was sure of that. Then "What I is it? Tell me the worst. and then droop off and squeeze into other carriages. but that she would speak to Tom about it when he came back. or pay the difference and go first. Had he thought he had. as he . three days later. back into the arms of the man behind him and they would all come and have a sniff. hadn't returned home. "if . From Euston. . his wife called : on me.

when asked if she could stand the smell. when taken close to the cheeses and told to sniff hard. for all She has a strong. said she could detect a faint odor of melons. But." of cheese. "all I have to say is." "Very well. who. then. objection to being what she terms 'put upon. The lady under whose roof I have the honor of residing is a widow. rising. possibly an orphan too. I decline to live any longer in the same house with them. replied." said my friend's wife. in this world. "What smell?" and who. and it shall never be said that I put upon the widow and the orphan. and.THREE MEN IN A BOA T. and go to an hotel until those cheeses are eaten. we must consider others." for him? I Let me "Madam. "for myself like the smell and the journey the other day with them from Liverpool I shall ever look back upon as a happy ending to a pleasant holiday. 47 I gave a man a sovereign to take them away and bury them?" I answered that I thought he would never smile again. that I shall take the children she would. . regard as a 'put upon'. She said : "Do you mind keeping them send them round to you.' The of your husband's cheeses in her house presence I instinctively feel. An idea struck her. may say an eloquent." She kept her word. I I know. leaving the place in charge of the charwoman. I replied.

I hold that right in declining to take any. But night the coroner discovered them." said George (Harris's as I am fell at this). and made a fearful And. and . at last. fuss. and she was The hotel bill to fifteen guineas. Fond George was "We face of cheese. square. tea. after that. but it He was beyond said he dearly loved a bit of cheese." "but we'll have a good. and burying them It gained the place quite a repuVisitors said they had never noticed be- on the beach. round.4^ It THREE MEN IN A BOA T. therefore. He threw them into the canal get rid of them. was argued from left. faint. as the bargemen complained. tation. and my friend. found that the cheeses had cost him eight-and-sixpence a pound. . at seven dinner. said it He of his liv- My them friend got rid of them. but had to fish them out again. by taking down to a sea-side town. this that little injury could result to the woman from came the atmosphere. slap-up meal supper combined. was a plot to deprive him ing by waking up the corpses. shant want any tea. his means so he determined to . after reckoning everything up. They said it made them feel quite he took them one dark and left them in the parish mortuary. fore how strong the air was. and weak-chested and consumptive people used to throng there for years afterward.

to me that We didn't take beer or wine. For drink. we evening. . fruit. Packing one of those many things that I feel I know . A glass doing a mouch round the town and looking at the but don't drink when the girls is all right enough sun is blazing down on your head. and a bottle of whisky. before we parted that The next day. and you've got hard work to do. and sat round and looked at it. and green stuff. and a pretty lengthy one it was. in case. But I'm glad we took the whisky. upset. We made a list of the things to be taken. piled everything in a heap in the middle of the floor. got them all altogether. and a couple of hampers for the victuals and the . I is rather pride myself on my packing. They are a mismake you feel sleepy They in the evening when you are moved the table up against cooking utensils. plenty of tea. which was Friday. George suggested meat and fruit pies. river. as George said. the window. I We said I'd pack. which you mixed with water and called lemonade. take up the and heavy. It we got seemed George harped too much on the getting-upset idea. It seemed to me the wrong spirit to go about the trip in. tomatoes. and met in the evening to We got a big Gladstone for the clothes pack. we took some wonderful sticky concoction of Harris's. cold meat. 49 Harris grew more cheerful.THREE MEN IN A BOA T.

) Harris. There taking it. was. He said he often wondered now at that . living. following me round the room with his eyes." nothing does irritate me more than seeing other people sitting about doing nothing when I'm is working. (It more about than any other person surprises these myself. into the suggestion with a readiness that had something uncanny about it. full of duty and stern work. and that Harris and George should potter about under my directions. messing about. What I had meant. as you might say. wherever I went. that I should boss the job. He said it did him real good to look on watch me. I lived with a man once who mad that way. He would loll used to make me on the sofa and me doing things by the hour together. "Oh. of course. He said it made him feel life was not an idle dream to be gaped and yawned through. how many of I impressed the fact subjects there are. let me do "There you are. sometimes. it in the way they did irritated me.$0 THREE MEN IN A BOA T. you !" "Here. me upon George and better leave and told them they had They fell the whole matter entirely to me. George put on a pipe and spread himself over the easychair. simple enough !" Their really teaching them. lit and Harris cocked his legs on the table and a cigar. This was hardly what I intended. but a noble task. I pushing them aside every now and then with.

"Aint you going to put the boots in?" said Harris. how he never having anybody worked. I dream that I haven't packed it. but started However. I'm not man I can't help it. I They chuckle-headed. and makes my life a misery. idea occurred to me. and found I had forgotten That's just like Harris. And them. and wake up in a cold perspiration. and get out of bed and hunt for . another I can't sit still and see and working. My tooth-brush is a thing that haunts me when I'm traveling. He couldn't have a word until I'd got the bag shut and I strapped. energetic nature. It Now. the packing. of course. and tell him vvhat to do. a horrible . just as I was going to close it. And George senseless. It seemed a longer job than I had is my thought it finished at last. and walk round with my hands in my pockets.THREE MEN IN A BOAT. my I tooth- brush? I don't know how packed but never do know whether I've my tooth-brush. to look at while they like that. I want to get slaving up and superintend. laughed one crack-jawed laughs of wild. was going to be. $1 could have gone on before he met me. but I got the bag and I sat on it and strapped it. I did not say anything. said looked round. his. do make me so opened the bag and packed the boots in and then. Had I it packed is. of those irritating.

my pocket-hand- had to turn every mortal thing out I could not find it. Then I found it inside I Of course now. and it is always the last thing I turn out of the bag. and thought that he and George had better do the rest and I Harris said that in less . agreed and sat down. evidently . and have to unpack again to get it. of course. and they had a go. and found tobacco pouch in it and had . found George's and Harris's eighteen times over. They began in a light-hearted spirit. my whether it wasn't and I and strapped it. THREE MEN IN A BOA T. and have to rush upstairs for it at the last moment and carry it to the railway station. and when chaos reigned. in the morning. I rumthe things up into much the same state maged that they must have been before the world was Of course. George I said I the soap was in. I created. and. I put the things back one by one.52 it.05 r-M-. and then there remained the hampers to do. I When asked if had finished. but I couldn't find my own. and then I repack and forget it. to re-open It we should be wanting to start than twelve hours' time. wrapped up in kerchief. I pack it before I have it. and held everything up and shook it. a boot. used And. got shut up finally at 10. didn't care a hang whether the soap was slammed the bag that I in or to had packed it. I repacked once more.

and put heavy things on top. and they had to pick out the tomato with a teaspoon. and stoves. first started with breaking a cup. and as for the butter! I never saw two men do more with oneand-twopence worth of butter in my whole life than they did. It made them nervous and excited. to 53 it. When George is hanged. It wouldn't go in. They upset salt over everything. and put things behind them. and cakes. They did that just to show you what they could do. and pies. and to get did. and kettles. I felt that. and tomatoes. I . And then it was George's turn. do I made only waited. cups. and fell that the thing It would soon become exciting. and they stepped on things. Harris packed the strawberry jam on top tomato and squashed it. They That was the you of a interested. and he trod on the butter. and bottles and jars.. It irritated them more than anything I Then could have said. but I came over and sat on the edge of the table and watched them. Harris will be the worst packer in this world and I looked at the piles of plates and no comment . they tried to put it in the kettle. and smashed the pies in. slipper.THREE intending to show MEN IN A me how BOA T. After George had got it off his . etc. and what was in wouldn't come . I didn't say anything. thing they did. and then couldn't and they find them when they wanted them packed the pies at the bottom.

"Where?" "Stand after him." said Harris. and packed in it it in the teapot. Mont- morency's ambition in life is to get in the way and be sworn at. then he feels his day has not been wasted. at the Then George got round back of Harris "Why. and be a perfect nuisance. and make people mad. Montmorency was all. flying And they got it off. still. and . and put it on a chair. and they went looking for it all over the "I'll take my oath it I put it down on that chair. I ever heard of. said Harris. and stared at one another. started round the room again lookand then they met again in the center. and Harris sat on it. THREE They MEX IX A BOA T. Then they it ." "So mysterious!" and saw it. cried Harris. If he can squirm in anywhere where he particularly is not wanted. can't you !" roared George. "I saw you do myself. did scrape it out at last. spinning round. here it is all the time. and it stuck to him. of course." said George. down room. and have things thrown at his head. staring at the empty seat." he exclaimed indignantly. ing for "Most extraordinary thing said George.54 out. not a minute ago. To get somebody to stumble over him.

and Harris had to sleep upstairs.50. when he has succeeded in accomplishing this. which reflection seemed to comfort him. . age him. is his highest aim and object and. It's the natural. George said that if anything was broken it was broken. his leg into the jam. whenever Harris or George reached out their hand for anything. He also said he was born in The packing was done ready for bed. ris We were all ready for bed. Harwas to sleep with us that night. at 12. He came I didn't encourHarris said I encouraged him. 55 curse him steadily for an hour. and we went tossed for beds. . original sin that is A him that makes him do things like that. damp nose that they wanted.?" generally preferred to sleep inside a bed. just when were wanted to be packed and he labored they under the fixed belief that. able. J. It was He put his cold. dog like that don't want any encouragement. and got into the hamper and killed three of them before Harris could land him with the frying-pan. and he pretended that the lemons were rats. We with me. and sat down on things. and said he hoped nothing would be found broken. He I said : "Do you I said prefer the inside or the outside. his conceit becomes quite unbear.THREE MEN IN A BOA T. and Harris sat on the big hamper. and he worried the teaspoons.

six. and went to bed our over. on going had been asleep for some time so we placed the bath where he could tumble into it on getting out in the morning." because I I wanted to write some row over it. George made no answer. . selves. Harris said it : was old.30. that he . George." I said : "No letters." we said.56 THREE MEX IN A BOA T. and said half-past us at 6. and we found. six. Geoige said "What time Harris said : shall I wake you fellows?" "Seven. Harris and last split had a bit of a but at "Wake the difference.

Innocence of South (is Western trains." I answered. Officials concerning such worldly things afloat. George the sluggard. afloat in We are an open boat.CHAPTER Mrs. selves. He said thought you wanted to get up at six?" "So I did. 'T was Mrs. when you didn't wake "Now we shant get on the 57 . said Poppets : that woke me up next morning. Waterloo. sir?" "Nine o'what?" I cried. The arouses us. starting up. forecast" swindle. We drive off in great style. "why didn't you wake me?" I woke Harris." she replied. : "I "How me?" he could I retorted. through the key"I thought you was a-oversleeping yourhole. wake you. " weather Our luggage." and told him. and arrive at us. P. De- The people gather round pravity of the small boy. "Nine o'clock. She "Do you know that it's nearly nine 'clock. V.

An /"7 / I IB* f/ A s^' M^' ^Th*n^_^ [ George. you'd have lain there for the whole fortnight. maddens me. I am sure. his valuable life. with his mouth wide open. It reminded us." We snarled at one another in this strain for the next few minutes.58 THREE MEN till 7Ar A I BOA T. another man asleep in bed I am up. throwing away hideous sloth the inestimable gift of time. irritating the dog. all. every second of which he would have to account for hereafter. There was George. passing away from him. water after twelve. and his knees stuck up. There he lay the man who had wanted to know what time he should wake us on his back. "lucky for do. or flirting . I don't know why but the sight of it should be. It seems so shockto see the precious hours of a man's life ing the priceless moments that will never come back when to him again being wasted in mere brutish in sleep. when we were interrupted by a defiant snore from ^ 4J * Hi. for the first time since our being called. of his exist- Wr^' ence." I I replied. unused. He might have been up stuffing himself with eggs and bacon." wonder you take the you that I trouble to get up at "Urn. If hadn't woke you.

like this?" How can I go into the City . our own dispute was forgotten. finished dressing. and. And when we had done that George wanted the shaving tackle. instead of sprawling there. Who the thunder put this thing fool not to here?" We told him he must have been a see the bath. we remembered that tooth-brushes and the when it came to the we had packed the brush and comb (that tooth- brush of mine will be the death of me. sitting up. you fat-headed chunk!" roared Harris. jumping out of bed into bath ' . peared \Ye determined to save him. and Harris landed him one with a slipper. "\Yasermarrer?" he observed. 59 with the slavey. I know). "Get up. We extras. and he awoke. nor for any one like him. in this noble We flew resolve. sunk terrible thought.THREE MEX AV A BOA T. He said : "Don't be absurd. We told him that he would have to go without shaving that morning. Harris and I apbe struck by it at the same instant." "What!" he the shrieked. It was a to across and slung the clothes off him. "It's quarter to ten. and. and we had to go downstairs. and I shouted in his ear. in soul-clogging oblivion. as we weren't going to unpack that bag again for him. and fish them out of the bag.

Bar. George got hold of the paper.6o It THREE for MEN IN A BOA 7. east wind. an umbrella. this "weather-forecast" fraud vating. and they were whiling away the time by fighting on the We calmed them with doorstep. Harris said : "The great thing is to make a good breakfast. the City would have to lump it. which latter prophesied "rain. Montmorency had invited t\vo other dogs to come and see him off. It about the most aggra"forecasts" precisely what happened ." and he started with a couple of chops. vulgar way." I do think that. wet to fine" (whatever more than usually ghastly thing in weather that may be). and read us out the boating fatalities. and sat down to chops and cold beef. but was certainly rather rough on the what cared we said. as the beef could wait. and the weather forecast. of all the silly. cold. in his human suffering? As Harris common. irritating torn- foolishness by which we is are plagued. "occasional local thunderstorms. with general depression over the Midland Counties (London and Channel). saying that he would take these while they were hot. City. \Ye went downstairs to breakfast. falling.

as it seemed such a lovely day. may be ex- would say on Monday. pected to-day. and arranged our specimens of seaweed and cockle shells. "Oh. and came back and stirred the fire. "Ah they'll come in the afternoon. with thunderstorms. the heat those became quite oppressive. with a knowing chuckle. the sun shining out. By twelve o'clock." we replied. and so our picnic. the house. and precisely the opposite of what is going to happen to-day. waiting for the rain. you'll find.THREE MEN IN A BOAT 61 yesterday or the day before. "Heavy showers. no. going off in wagonettes and coaches as jolly and merry as could be. and got our books. "wont they come home soaked !" And we chuckled to think how wet they were going to get. and we wondered when heavy showers and occasional thunderstorms were going to begin." it we would and not a cloud to be seen. "Ah!" we said. I remember a holiday of mine being completely attention ruined one late to autumn by our paying the weather report of the local newspaper. and stop indoors all give up And people would pass day. as we stood looking out at them through the window. What a lark!" At one o'clock. with the sun pouring into the room. "No. the landlady would come in to ask if we weren't going out. wont those people ! get wet." we said to each other. .

and were out of the reach of any shelter. we tried to cheer ourselves up with the idea that it would come still And when all at once. The baromegether. and a lovely night after it. and a bitterly cold wind would spring up. to "not no. . and we would dress ourselves in flimsy things. and. the afternoon was nearly gone. and there was no sign of rain. and had been all day pouring and I couldn't quite make matters out. and it jumped up and pointed to "very dry. and we would come home with colds and rheumatism all over us. There was one hanging up in a hotel at Oxford which I was staying last spring. and. But not a drop ever fell. half an hour after we had started. The weather is a thing that is beyond me altoI never can understand it. and it finished a grand day. and go to bed. and go out. I tapped the barometer. and that they would thus get more drenched lhan ever.62 THREi: we. just as the people had started home. much heat"." The Boots stopped as he was passat . when I got It was simply there. it would commence to rain hard." with rain outside. MEN IN A mean BOAT. down for ter is useless : it is as misleading as the newspaper forecast." We don't get wet no. and both would keep on steadily for the whole day. fine to set-fair day. it was pointing to "set fair. The next morning we would read that it was going to be a "warm.

and prognosticate drought. but Boots said. and the lower part of the town was under water. The fine weather never came that summer. about " Long foretold. but the peg prevented it. I expect that machine must have been referring to the following spring." "very dry. and sunstroke. and water. 63 I ing and said he expected it meant to-morrow. and it went higher. fancied that maybe it was thinking of the week before last. I tapped still up again the next morning. Boots said it was evident that we were going to have a prolonged spell of grand weather some time." Meanwhile the rain came down in a steady tor- rent. long last Short notice. I On Wednesday that it it than couldn't prophesy fine weather any harder did without breaking itself. and the pointer went round toward "set fair. and such things. he thought not." . soon past. . No. and read out a poem which was printed over the top of the oracle. It evidently wanted to go on. and it had to be content with pointing to the mere commonplace "very dry. and simooms. famine. owing to the river having overflowed." until it was stopped by the peg. and couldn't go any further.THREE MEN IN A BOA T. It tried its best." and "much heat. and the rain came down faster it went and hit it again. but the instrument was built so than ever.

without our having the misery of knowing about it beforehand. "he did his best. as we wish him good- morning. The prophet we like is the old man who. But who wants to be foretold the weather? It is bad enough when it comes." For the man that prophesies us bad weather. sir. and start off. he knows." "Ah. It rises or falls for rain and fine. looks round the horizon with a particularly knowing eye. to-day. "wonderful how these old fellows can tell !" And we feel an affection for that man which is not at all lessened by the circumstances of its not clearing up. and one side for 10 A. but you can't always get there as early as ten. "Ah. well. And you've got to it doesn't tell you anything. and reduce it to Fahrenheit. sir. and if you tap it. break all right enough.64 THREE ME A' IX A ROA T.M." we feel. and says ticularly : "Oh will It no. ." we say. you know. it to sea-level. on the par- correct when we gloomy-looking morning of some day particularly want it to be fine. with much or less wind. and even then I don't know the answer. tail of those. I think it will clear up all right. yesterI new the long straight ones. and one end is "Nly" and the other "Ely" (what's Ely got to do with it?). Then there are those styles of barometers. never can make head or one side for 10 AM. but continuing to rain steadily all day. There is day.

THREE MEN IN A BOA T. finding that he could not make us wretched. because it . shaking his head." "atmospheric disturbance. There was the Gladstone and the small hand-bag. It was too bright and sunny on for this especial morning George's blood-curdling readings about "Bar." and "pressure increasing. having finished up the few things left on the table. still we come back feeling more angry against him. passing in an oblique line over Southern Europe. and "Going to clear up. There seemed a good deal of luggage. d'ye think?" we shout cheerily. and a large roll of rugs." to very much upset us: and so. "what's he know about it?" And. "Well. no." we mutter. somehow or other. if his portent proves correct. when we put it all together. Then Harris and I. and the two hampers. sir. and then there was a melon by itself in a bag. and went. and waited for a cab." he replies. 65 bitter on the contrary. and a few umbrellas. carted out our luggage on to the doorstep. and was only wasting his time. we entertain only revengeful thoughts. I'm afraid it's settled down for the day. falling. he sneaked the cigarette that I had carefully rolled up for myself. and some four or five overcoats and macintoshes. as \ve pass. and with a vague notion that. "Stupid old fool. he has had something to do with it.

was too bulky to go in anywhere. but the street boys did. It did look a lot. which. of began to feel rather though why we should be. and a Japanese paper umbrella. ashamed see. and a couple of pounds of grapes in another bag. apparently. I can't cab came by. and Harris and I it. being too long to pack. and got interested in the show. Biggs's boy was the first to come round. and a frying-pan.66 THREE MEN IN A BOA T. and his chief talent lies No . and stopped. Biggs is our greengrocer. we had wrapped round with brown paper.

He evidently meant to see this dawned upon the sight of Harris thing out- . touchy. and Montmorency. Biggs's boy. and selecting a straw to chew. but. 19. we know that it is Biggs's latest. he eased up and stared. when he called there for orders the morning after the crime (assisted by No. Harris and I frowned at him. it would have gone hard with him. as ner. on catching and me. and. leaning up against the yard railings. who happened to be on the step at the time). He came to a dead stop. but. a from our step. I should not have attached that alibi myself. 67 in securing the services of the most abandoned and unprincipled errand-boys that civilization has If anything more than usually as yet produced.THREE MEN IN A BOA T. This might have wounded a more sensitive nature. in He was evidently a great hurry came round the corwhen he vision. from what have seen of them since. at the time of the Great Coram Street murder. to prove a complete alibi. villainous in the boy-line crops up in our neighborhood. fixed us with his eye. as a rule. and the things. in reply to the severe cross-examination to which he was subjected by No. but Biggs's boys are not. 21. I was told that. it was promptly concluded by our street that Biggs's boy (for that period) was at the bottom of it. I didn't know I Biggs's boy at that time. and had he not been able. first I much importance to have said.

and people were asking each other what was the matter. and hang about. and get in your way). the opposite hailed him : the boy passed on Biggs's boy "Hi! ground floor o' 42*5 a-moving. and when they are not wanted." By this time. the Atlantic." "they're a-going to find Stanley. as a rule. and elder and pointed out Harris as the bridegroom while the more thoughtful among the populace to the idea that it was a funeral and that inclined . Then the position young gentleman from the boot-shop stopped. quite a small crowd had collected." a-going to cross the Atlantic in a "if you was small boat. One party (the young and giddy portion of the crowd) held that it was a wedding. "Ah you'd want to take a thing or two with ! you" retorted "The Blue Posts. and joined Biggs's boy while the empty-can superintendent from "The Blue Posts" took up an independent position on the curb. At last.68 THREE MEN IN A BOA T. an empty cab turned up (it is a street where. The boy came "They aint a-going to starve. grocer's ." "They struck aint a-going to cross in Biggs's boy. empty cabs pass at the rate of three a minute. the side of grocer's street. are they?" said the gentleman from the boot-shop. and packing I . and took up a on the other side of the step. was probably the corpse's brother." across. In another moment.

and he told us that he had just met a man. \Ve got to Waterloo at eleven. and shooting out a couple of Montmorency's friends. nobody train is at Waterloo ever does know going to start from. Biggs's boy shying a carrot after us for luck. But they were sure it wasn't the Kingston train. on the other hand. 69 ourselves and our belongings into it. We went to number three platform. had heard a rumor that it would go from number one. or Windsor loop. Of course nobody knew . The porter who took our things thought it would go from number two platform. though why they were sure it wasn't they couldn't say. who had evidently sworn never to forsake him. or anything about it. we drove away amidst the cheers zi the crowd. The station-master. was convinced it would start from the where a local. or where a train when it does start is going to. and asked the traffic superintendent. So we went to the high-level .THREE MEN IN A BOA T. who said he had seen it at number three platform. while another porter. we went upstairs. but the said that they rather authorities there \vas the thought that train else the Southampton express. and asked where the eleven-five started from. Then our porter it said he thought that must be on the high-level platform said he thought he . knew the train. To put an end to the matter. with whom he discussed the question.

"Are you all right. gents." "Well. sir?" said the man. and into it we stepped. You know the way. and to it we wended our way. you slip off quietly and go to Kingston. We slipped half-a-crown 1 1 : into and begged him to be the will 05 for Kingston. or where you're going. and I'll do it. "Nobody "what you are. or somewhere in that direction. couldn't say for certain. Gimme the halfcrown. on this line. I don't know. that the train we had come by was really the Exeter mail. He said he rather thought he was. if he wasn't the 1 1 :05 for Kingston. of course. ever know. Our boat was waiting for us at Kingston just below bridge. he said he was pretty confident he was the 9:32 for Virginia Water. express for the Isle of Wight. and asked if he was going to Kingston. .70 THREE MEN IN A BOA T. and that they had spent hours at Waterloo looking for it." replied the noble fellow. and round it we stored our luggage. him platform." Thus we got to Kingston by the London and Southwestern Railway. and we should all know when we got his hand. and nobody knew what had become of it. or the 10 A. but that he Anyhow. We learnt. there." we said. "but I suppose some train's got to go to Kingston. and saw the engine-driver. afterward.M.

71 is. and with Harris at and Montmo- unhappy and deeply suspicious. out we .THREE "Right rency. shot on to the waters which." I we answered the sculls and at the tiller-lines. in the prow. for a fortwere to be our home. night. it MEN IN A . BOA T.

looked of quite picturesque in the flashing sunlight. early in the day though 72 it was. Instructive remarks on early English hisInstructive observations on carved oak and life in general. all made a sunny picture. Musings on ing. and yet so peaceful. blushing to a deeper green and the year seems like a fair young maid. tory. the glinting river with its drifting barges. where they came down to the water's edge. fhat. the wooded towpath. when the dainty sheen leaf is of grass and . late spring or early summer. wakening pulses on the brink womanhood. myself being dreamily lulled off into a musing . trembling with strange. / forget that I am steerHampton Court Maze. the trim-kept villas on the other side. antiquity. in a red and orange blazer. The quaint back streets of Kingston. |T was a glorious morning. so full of life. so bright but calm. as you care to take it. grunting away at the sculls. I felt fit. Sad case of S/fwt'ftgs. the distant glimpses of the gray old palace of the Tudors. VI. Interesting result.CHAPTER Kingston. Harris as a guide. Harris. junior.

was England's Virgin Queen. There's scarcely a pub. and got to be Prime Minister. there would be too many of them would be the houses that he had never entered that would become famous. I 73 it mused on Kingston. Maybe boar's head ! ! . She was nuts on public-houses. say. in later years. "Harris was chucked from here in : wonder now. like. of any attractions within ten miles of London that she sloping uplands. and died. Great Caesar crossed the river there. in at. other." as was once called in the days when Saxon "kinges" were crowned there. December." It No. Elizabeth. "Only house in South London that Harris never had a drink in !" The people would flock to it to see what could have been the matter with it. he didn't put up at the public-houses.THREE MEN IN A BOA T. some time or supposing Harris. and became a great and good man. "Harris had two of Scotch cold here in the summer of "88". or "Kyningestun. seems to Caesar. and the Roman legions camped upon its have stopped everywhere: cnly he was more respectable than good Queen Bess. if they would put up signs over the public-houses that he had patronized "Harris had a glass of bitter in this house". turned over a new leaf. 1886. or I stopped at. does not seem to have looked or slept at. How poor weak-minded King Edwy must have hated Kyningestun The coronation feast had been too much for him.

" old Many royal very plainly of those days houses. and the royal barges strained at their moorings on the river's gered down bank. lo rise once more when Hampton Court became the palace of the Tudors and the Stuarts. of the ho ! Gadzooks. from the casement. near their King. and nobles and courtiers lived there. and hurl coarse Queen. round about. they were watching the calm moonlight on the river. gramercy. wouldn't with me. and Kingston's greatness passed away for a time. and he had had . and rustling silks and vel- . standing hand in hand. Dunstan force their way into the quiet room. enough Perhaps. speak when Kingston was a borough. while from the distant halls the boister- ous revelry floated din and tumult. Saxon kings and Saxon revelry were buried side by side. I of sack and mead stuffed with sugar-plums did not agree with (it him know). to insults at the sweet-faced Edwy brawl. in broken bursts of faint-heard rude Then brutal Odo and St. Years the crash of battle-music. and the long road to the palace gates was gay all day with clanking steel and prancing palfreys. so he slipped from the noisy revel to steal a quiet moonlight hour with his beloved Elgiva.74 THREE MEN IN A BOA T. and bright-cloaked gallants swagthe water-steps to cry: "What Ferry. and drag poor loud clamor of the drunken back to the later.

" The hard red bricks have only grown more firmly set with time. latticed windows. friend) was natu- staggered at first but. their huge places. put his hand in his pocket and paid for it then and there. I.THREE MEX vets. and feeling that something ought to be done to encourage this sort of thing. breathe of the days of hose and doublet. 75 and fair faces. thereupon. went in there to buy a hat one day. and up the staircase of the house. quickly recov- ering himself. The large and spacious houses. They were up- raised in the days "when men knew how to build. and their gabled roofs. in a thoughtless moment. Speaking of oak staircases reminds me that there is a magnificent carved oak staircase in one of the houses in Kingston. they went into the drawing- . The shopman rally a little (he knows my . My friend said he would. asked our hero if he would like to see some fine old carved oak. in was evidently once the mansion of some great personage. it the market-place. of pearl-embroidered stomachers. and the wall all the way up was oak-paneled. and their oak stairs do not creak and grunt when you try to go down them quietly. The balusters were a superb piece of workmanship. fire- with their oriel.\ A BOA T. took him through the shop. with carving that would have done credit to a palace. and the shopman. From the stairs. A friend of mine. but It is a shop now. and. who lives at Kingston. and complicated oaths.

which would be can't say householder." I altogether blame the man (which From his a great relief to his mind). but it is no doubt somewhat depressing to live in. right up to the ceiling. however. which was a large. But the room looks cheerful now. of course." expostulated my "you don't mean to say you have covered over carved oak with blue wall-paper?" "Yes. bright with a somewhat startling though cheerful paper of a blue ground. The proprietor went up to the paper. would be like living in a church. room." was the reply: "it was expensive work. and tapped it. for It those whose fancy does not lie that way. decorated room. It was awful gloomy I before. there is reason on his side. pleasant to look Carved oak is very and to have a little of. and my friend wondered why he had been brought there. remarkable about the apartment. while people who do . is doubtless that of the average point of view. No. who didn't care for carved oak. Had to match-board it all over first. friend . gave forth a wooden sound. what was sad in his case was that he. There was nothing. "All carved oak. and not that of the old-curiosity-shop maniac. just the same as you saw on the It staircase." "But. desiring to take life as lightly as possible. at. "Oak. great Caesar! man. should have his drawing-room paneled with it.76 THREE MEN IN A BOAT." he explained.

THREE care for \. ever came across. Married men have wives. He used to get into awful rows for sitting up in bed and reading Greek and as for French irregular verbs there was simply no keeping him away from them. They never The They girls mean It to marry. with no one to leave their . die childless. . . I believe he really liked study. have lovers never want them. Poor people who can hardly keep themselves have eight hearty children. His real name was He was the most extraordinary lad I Stivvings. and why don't they go and make love to Miss Smith and Miss Brown. does not do to makes one so sad. money to. and haven't got any lovers? They themselves don't want lovers. dwell on these things. it There was a boy at our school. say they would rather be without them. Rich old couples. He was full of weird and unnatural notions about being a credit to his parents and an honor to the school and he yearned to win prizes. Then there are girls with that lovers. we used to call him Sandford and Merton. and other people have what he does want. seems to be the rule of this world. and don't seem to want them and young single fellows cry out that they can't get them. . who are plain and elderly. Each person has what he doesn't want. that they bother them. 7? it have to pay enormous prices to get it. : MEN IN A BOA T.

set. our neighborhood was singularly free from it. I never knew such a strange creature. and drew all his teeth. There never was such a boy to get ill as that Sandford and Merton. Well. During the great cholera scare of 1871. and he would go out in a November fog and come home with a sunstroke. yet harmless. mind you. because they wouldn't exercises. and have hay-fever at Christmas.78 THREE MEN IN A BOA T. he had it. and gave him a because he suffered so terribly with toothache. days. except ear-ache. and grow up and be a clever man. him do Latin and took his German grammar away from him. to stop in bed when he was ill. If there was any known disease going within ten miles of him. and then it turned to neuralgia and He was never without a cold. There was only one reputed case that case was young Stivvings. he After a would be stricken down with rheumatic fever. gas one year. as the babe unborn. and in the whole parish : He had he would let lie there and sob. and had all those sorts of weak-minded ideas. They put him under laughing poor false lad. . and eat chicken and custards and hot-house grapes. and had it He would take bronchitis in the dogbadly. and he always had chilblains. that boy used to get ill about twice a week. so that he couldn't go to school. once for nine weeks while he had scarlet fever . six weeks' period of drought.

and freshened us up and we took things to make us sick. we caught colds. and had no desire whatever to give our parents any excuse for being stuck-up about us. ever. and they made us fat. into the and we are but as grass that oven and baked. and whooping cough. beer-mugs. to the fair is cut very the beautiful. that we prize so now. or if it is only the halo of age glowing around them that gives them their charms in our eyes. which lasted till the term recommenced when. in spite of everything we could maneuver to the contrary. 79 And we other boys. Such is life down. we would get suddenly well again. Then. they notions of the artistic and beauty in the and candle-snuffers soup-plates.THREE MEN IN A BOA T. on the breaking-up day. and gave us an appe. The "old blue" that we hang about our walls as ornaments were the common every-day household utensils of a few centuries if wonder there is real intrinsic old . I carved-oak question. We fooled about in draughts. and it did us good. and put To go back must have had . who would have sacrificed ten terms of our school-life for the sake of being ill for a day. Nothing we could think until the of us ill . all our art treasures of to-day are only the dug-up commonplaces of three or four hundred years ago. seemed to make holidays began. and all kinds of disorders. Why. our great-great-grandfathers. couldn't catch so much as a stiff neck. and be better than tite.

Its Its nose is a delicate is Its head is pain- expression is amicarried to the verge of imbeability I do not admire it myself.8o THREE . our Sarah Janes now break in sheer lightheartedness of spirit. a white dog. with black spots. be carefully mended. fully erect. Thoughtless friends jeer at it. and the pink shepherds and the yellow shepwe hand round now for all our friends to gush over. MEN IN A BOA T. >red. and dusted only by the lady of the house? That china dog that ornaments the bedroom of my furnished lodgings. and even my landlady herself has no admiration for it. and stood upon a bracket. It eyes are blue. Will it be the same in the future? Will the prized treasures of to-day always be the cheap Will rows of our willowtrifles of the day before? pattern dinner-plates be ranged above the chimney-pieces of the great in the years 2000 and odd? Will the white cups with the gold rim and the beautiful that gold flower inside (species unknown). may say . and excuses its presence by the circumstance that her aunt gave it to her. I it irritates me. cility. were the unvalued mantle ornaments that the mother of the eighteenth century would have given the agp herdesses that baby to suck when he cried. its and Considered as a work of art. and pretend they understand.

The making people will have become a lost art. and will be sold for old china. and produced those china dogs. will buy up all the "Presents of and "Souvenirs fronvRamsgate." Margate. The blue- and-white day roadside inn will be hunted up. dog. all cracked and chipped. minus its legs. 81 200 years' time it is more than probable dog will be dug up from somewhere or other. We. and rich people will use them for c'aret cups and travelers from Japan mugs of the present ." that may have . sunset and the stars loveliness We So are too familiar with : It is like the we are not awed by to their because they are common it is with that china dog. Our dogs ants will clever our In 2288 of such descend- wonder how we did were. They will be struck by the wonderful depth of the color on the nose. and speculate as to how beautiful the bit of the tail that is lost no doubt that that was. and sold for their weight in gold.THREE But in MEN IN A BOA T. and with its tail broken. and put in a glass cabinet. in this age. and admire it. And people will pass it round." that the eldest daughter did at school will be spoken of as "tapestry of the Vic- and be almost priceless. it. do not see the beauty of that it. and say how we We shall be referred to lov- ingly as in "those grand old artists that flourished the nineteenth century. will gush over it." The "sampler" torian era. eyes.

forgot. and take as ancient English curios. and all the things came out. and ran the boat on past Hampton Court.82 THREE MEN IN A BOA T. Montmorency howled. At this point Harris left up and his seat. had done enough for a and proposed that I should take a turn so. for the moment. as I know Harris was thinking of other things. and stuck his legs in the air. a dear old wall that is that runs along by the river . that I was steering. I will not repeat what Harris said. It was difficult to say. which was us and which was the Middlesex bank of the river. threw away the sculls. What Harris. pleasantly enough "Hulloa! what's that for?" "What's that for? No. I admit it but nothing excuses violence of language and . I got out and took the tow-line. and any one might easily understand. especially in a man who has been carefully brought up. as I rated ourselves. got and sat on his back. as we were in. however. I was somewhat surprised. and the consequence was that we had got mixed up a good deal with the tow-path. said he bit. but I did not lose : my temper. and the top hamper jumped up. them back to Jedo escaped destruction. and turned a somersault. but we found out after a while. . and sepahas been. I may have been to blame. on second thoughts. Why" coarseness of expression. I said.

sweet old wall what a charming picture it would make. when your lamp cast uncanny shadows on the paneled walls. Such a mellow. be so ghastly dull and depressing in the evening. crowd into the towns and cities. I don't suppose I should really care It would for it when it came to actual practice. with . a shy young vine peeping over the top at what is going on upon the busy and the sober old ivy clustering a little There are fifty shades and tints farther down. we like the open but in hill-sides and the deep woods well enough women. I could make a lovely sketch of that old wall. and knew how to paint. ! 83 I never pass it without feeling better for there the sight of it. it is looks so peaceful and so quiet. and the moss growing there. I'm sure. In the sunlight in the daytime. I've often thought It I should like to live at Hamp- ton Court. If I could only draw. save the beating of one's We are creatures of the sun. But there. : own heart. the lichen creeping here. to see river. this spot. bright. and such a dear old place to ramble round in the morning before many people are about. and now drew nearer. and all was deathlike early silence. and the country grows more and more deserted every year. and the echo of distant feet rang through the cold stone corridors. when Nature is alive and busy all around us.THREE MEN IN A BOA T. we men and That is why we . and hues in every ten yards of that old wall. and now died away. We love light and life.

and the answering throb of human life. We'll just walk round for ten ing to the right. and their silent Let us gather together sighs make us feel so sad. He had studied it I'd ever said he so simple that it seemed hardly worth the twopence charged for Harris said he thought that map must admission. when the dark trees rustle in the night wind. and we get frightened.84 THREE and MEN IN A ! BOA T. oh the world seems so silent house. He show somebody else up in a map. and it was foolish been in the maze at went in once to the way. gas-lit lonesome. and feel brave. and shout and sing together. He said : "We'll just go in here. because it wasn't a bit like the real thing. There are so many ghosts about. so that you can say you've been. but it's very simple. when our Mother Earth has gone left us waking. like children in a Then we sit and sob and long for the streets. minutes. and only misleadIt was a country cousin that Harris took in." They met some people soon after they had got . to the night. and the sound of human voices. and then go and get some lunch. in the great cities. ing. have been got up as a practical joke. It's absurd to You keep on taking the first turncall it a maze. and light huge bonfires of a million gas-jets. sleep. Harris asked me if Hampton Court. We feel so helpless and so little in the great stillness.

and fell behind. if they liked . and then should come out again.THREE inside. 85 for three- who said they had been there quarters of an hour. until . They picked up various other people who turn round and wanted to get it over. and followed. Harris told them they could follow him. MEN IN A BOA T. as they went along. They said it was very kind of him. he was just going in. and had had about enough of it.

it must be. "The map may be all right enough." replied the cousin. and exan opinion that he was an imposter. and joined the procession. Harris kept on turning to the right. in all and one woman with a baby. impossible !*' but the woman with the baby said. met She also she wished she never had met .86 THREE MEN IN A BOA T. "Not at all. "Oh. Harris said he should judge there must have been twenty people following him. "because we've walked a good two miles already. "Yes. Harris said: "Oh. insisted on taking his arm. rather strange himself. at last. People who had given up all hopes of ever getting cither in or out." said Harris. or of ever seeing their home and friends again. one of the largest in Europe. just before she added that Harris. and explained his theory. blessing him. ." as she herself had taken it from the child." said one Harris. they had absorbed all the persons in the maze. pressed That made Harris mad. who had been there all the morning. and his cousin said he supposed it was a very big maze. plucked up courage at the sight of Harris and his party. and he produced his map. and thrown it down there. but it seemed a long way. for fear of losing him. they passed the half penny bun on the ground that Harris's cousin swore he had noticed there seven minutes ago." Harris began to think it but he held on of a until.

and waited for the others to take a walk round. and come back to them. and trailed after Harris again. in the opposite direction. they simply couldn't get anywhere else. but the sight of it only infuri- . then. of the party. passed. After that." 87 in it you know whereabouts we Harris didn't know. after a while. and the was once more consulted. and then center. and the thing map seemed simpler than the third time. Anyhow. About ten minutes more they found themselves in the first Harris thought at of pretending that that . but with regard to the advisability of going back to the entrance there was complete unanimity. "if are now. and suggested that the best thing to do would be to go back to the entrance. they had got something to start from They did know where they were. ever. that some of the people stopped there. and he decided to treat it as an accident. back to the middle. Harris drew out his map again. and so they turned.THREE MEN IN A BOA T. and off they started for And three minutes later they were back in the center again. was what he had been aiming at but the crowd looked dangerous. For the beginning again part of it there was not much enthusiasm . and begin again. Whatever way they turned brought them It became so regular at length.

he would come to them. and sang out for the keeper. and rush to get to them. he had become unpopular. and they would wait there for about five minutes. and then he would reappear again in exactly the same spot. and he would see them. and he wandered about. and waited and he climbed down. and we agreed that we would try to get George to go into it. and the man came and climbed up the ladder outside. . and new to the business and when he got in.88 THREE MEN IN A BOA T. on our way back. by this time. Harris said he thought it was a very fine maze. so far as he was a judge. in such a confused whirl that they were incapable of grasping anything. as luck would have it. every now and then. . trying to get to them. He was a young keeper. ated the mob. caught sight of him. and came in. and shouted out directions to But all their heads were. and so the man told them tc them. They had to wait till one of the old keepers came back from his dinner before they got out. and then he got lost. They huddled together. rushing about the other side of the hedge. he couldn't find them. and ask them where they had been. They all got crazy at last. and they told him to go and curl his Harris said that he couldn't help hair with it. They stop where they were. to a certain extent. feeling that. and .

Thomas' s tomb. when you could not see any water at all.CHAPTER The river in its VII. but only a brilliant tangle of bright blazers. as we were the only boat. Sunday garb. His views on George and Banks and lemonlady. day with the fashion-plate young Mrs. and it is a big lock. and silken rugs. and dainty whites when looking down into the lock from the quay. sometimes. It took us some time to pass through. Boulter's not even excepted. have stood and watched it. before. |T was while passing through Moulsey Lock that Harris told me about his maze experience. Dress on the river. George's blazer. and saucy hats. I don't think I ever remember to have seen Moulsey Lock. It is. Harris mad. and streaming ribbons. He performs tricks. I suppose. and cloaks. and many-colored parasols. the busiest lock on the I river. ade. A Absence of taste in Harris. A chance for the men. The man who loves not graves and coffins and skulls. with only one boat in it. you might fancy it was a huge box . into which flowers of every hue and shade had . and gay caps.

river. we men show our taste in colors. so that the down sunny blue. and lay piled up heap. and watch the boats and. and a pair of those Russian-leather and a red silk handkerchief round the shoes I .90 THREE MEN IN A BOA T. and the sparkling water. and then so well with always think a light-blue necktie goes it. altowhat with the caps and jackets of the men. and white. and come and mouch round the lock with their dogs. the white sails. gether. All the from the Palace up to Hampton dotted and decked with yellow. up the stream. and the pretty colored dresses of the women. inhabitants of . and smoke. in a rain- bow been thrown pell-mell. it is one of the gayest sights I know of near this dull old London town. red and black. rather a pretty shade I've been told. You know my hair is my things a sort of golden brown. For once way. and . and a dark red matches it beautifully. On nearly a fine all Sunday it presents this appearance day long. outside the gates. and Moulsey Hampton dress themselves up in boating costume. the moving boats. I always like a little red in natty. and flirt. the excited dogs. and orange. while. long lines of still more boats and boats are drawing near and passing away. the pleasant landscape. lie. that covered every corner. is Church. and I think we come out very if you ask me. waiting their turn. the stream. and pink. and red. The river affords in a a good opportunity are able to for dress.

Harris always keeps to shades or mixtures of orange or yellow. him it was an Oriental design. a background. We asked him what color he called it.THREE MEN IN A BOAT. He brought it home and showed it to us on Thursday evening. the more obstinate he always seems to be. that I thought so. because he will never be a success as it r two colors in which he is. but there really is no other word for it. a Margate nigger. and he said he didn't know. it made him ill. and asked us what we thought Harris said that. His complexion is too dark for yel- Yellows don't suit him there can be no I want him to take to blue as question about it. told on. why did he ask for it? George got wao* . as an object to hang over a flower-bed in early spring to frighten the birds away. if he didn't his opinion. it was a name for the color. as Harris said. with white or cream for relief. but. lows. while there are one might not really look so bad. he should respect it but that. : ! He didn't think there The man had George put of it. George has bought some new things for this The trip. there the less taste a person has in dress. except . 91 a handkerchief looks so much better than waist a belt. but. but I don't think he is at all wise in this. and I'm rather vexed about them. I should not like George to know blazer is loud. with his hat on. considered as an article of dress for any human being. It is a great pity. quite huffy.

Girls. The first thing was that they thought the boat was not clean. for a photographic studio. also. It was They were both and silky stuff. and dainty But they were dressed was ridiculous." utterly spoils an in excursion if you have folk the boat who are thinking all the time a good deal more of their dress than of my misfortune once to go for a water picnic with two ladies of this kind. with regard we are afraid it will attract attention don't in a boat. and not merely under a glass case. but they didn't . look half bad is prettily dressed. was. ought to be a costume that can be worn in a boat. We did have a lively time. if fetching. it costume. is MEN IN A BOA T. fooling about in them anywhere near real earth.THREE What to it. air. and water. that troubles Harris and myself. They were the "boating costumes" of a French fashion-plate. Nothing more my But a "boating would be as well if all ladies would understand. beautifully got and flowers. and light gloves. It up all lace and ribbons. the trip. It ing costume. than a tasteful boat- to the boat. to thinking. not for a river picnic. We dusted and then assured them that all it the seats for them. shoes.

(Bow said. and sat down. notI would. and drop them the blades drip before returning picked out a smooth bit of water to into again each time. . I got wild and fitful gether. and set their lips firm. He said withstanding not help an occasional flicker of water from going over those dresses. The mark never came out. and let I at the end of each stroke to them. and they both sighed. You are liable to occasionally splash a little when sculling. interested him.Y believe us. and a stain was left on the dress forever. and splashed more and more. they visibly shrank and shuddered. but they huddled up close together. and it appeared that a drop of water ruined those costumes. in my rowing. I could and try as The girls did not complain. all this. It was a noble sight to see them suffering thus in silence. and study it my stroke.) But. and showed the result to the other. that he did not feel himself a sufficiently accomplished oarsman to pull with me.THREE ME. /. 93 One of them rubbed the cushion with the forefinger of her glove. if I would allow him. I did I my best. but it unnerved me altoI am too sensitive. after a while. the harder I tried not to. paused I feathered some two feet high. I was stroke. with to the air of early Christian martyrs trying make themselves comfortable up against the stake. and every time a drop touched them.V A BOA T. but that he would sit still.

You might look daggers at him for an hour and he would not notice it. and the grass was dusty and the tree-trunks. and it would not He set a trouble him if he did. ! good. light-hearted. I'm sure". against which they were invited to lean. .94 THREE MEX IN A . and made the whole crowd sit up straight in no time. thick-headed sort of a chap. and covertly draw rugs and coats over themselves. BOA T. so they spread their handkerchiefs on the ground and sat on those. and say: "I beg your pardon. . he would give a pleasant little laugh. and try and protect of themselves with their lace parasols. People wanted them to sit on the grass. I gave it up at last I said I'd row bow." the poor girls "Oh. did not appear to have been brushed for weeks. The ladies gave an involuntary sigh of relief when they saw me go. Poor girls they had better have put up with me. When he spread more than a pint of water over one of those dresses. Bow thought the arrangement would be better too. The man they had got now was a jolly. with about as much sensitiveness in him as there might be in a Newfoundland puppy. and we changed places. would murmur in reply. no consequence. and quite brightened up for a moment. At lunch they had a very bad time of it. and offer them his handkerchief to it's wipe it off with. rollicking dashing stroke that sent the spray playing all over the boat like a fountain.

tripped up over a root. and agitated them and. Somebody. "Now then. at "come first. along. you girls. but the accident suggested a fresh danger to them. fortunately. they said they feared they know how I'll to wash "Oh. you've got to wash up!" They didn't understand did not him up. When they grasped the idea. after it was all over. "it's rare I mean you lean lie down on your . with anything in his hand that could fall and make a mess." said our friend Bow to . them cheerily. fun! You soon show you. None of it went over them." he cried. 95 bolt upright. they watched that person with growing anxiety until he sat down again. whenever anybody moved about. and sent the pie flying. in walking about with a plate of beefsteak pie. after that.THREE MEN IN A BOA T.

Not even the sight of a bit of . I "She's a lady that's see it." 1 got a funny tomb. when you get to a village or town. and reading epitaphs. you know. should know?" replied Harris. over the bank. to do." The work. eldest sister said that she was afraid that they hadn't got on dresses suited to the "Oh. and I want to that I objected. he light-heart- edly.1 it is a recreation that I always deny take no interest in creeping round dim myself." And nic." said too. and enjoy the wrong. Thomas's tomb.g6 THREE MEX IX A BOA T. and chilly churches behind wheezy old men. he made them do it. Thomas?" I I asked. "Who "How is Mrs. is thing to rush off to the churchyard. was that young man as dense-headed as we thought? or was he Now no. and sloush the things about in the water. child- like expression about him Harris wanted to get out at Hampton Church. "tuck 'em up. built don't I know whether it is am never did seem to hanker I know that the proper after tombstones myself. to go and see Mrs. I come to think it over. but . He told them that that sort of thing was half the fun of a pic- They said it was very interesting. impossible ! there was such ! a simple. they'll be all right. but graves .

was doing for them. cracked brass call real I 97 let into a stone affords me what I happiness. of a sunny day. I leant the low stone wall that guarded a little against village church. I would come and live here. all They did not know that I They went their abandoned way unconscious of what I. felt I didn't want to be sinful and wicked any more. and lead a blameless. poetiI I felt good and noble. shock respectable sextons by the imperturbaI bility am tions. the thatched-roof cottages peeping above their trimkept hedges. calm gladness from the sweet. and all ! that sort of thing.THREE MEN IN A BOA T. ful village. restful scene the One golden morning gray old church with its clustering ivy and its quaint carved wooden porch. and . In that moment I forgave relations for their wickedness I all my friends and and cussedness. It was idyllic. and never do any more wrong. the wooded It hills beyond was a lovely landscape. and drank in deep. and have silver hair when I got old. but I did it. far away in that peacethem. cal. the silver river in the hollow. and I smoked. and blessed blessed them. and by able to assume before exciting inscripmy lack of enthusiasm for the local family history. beautiful life. the white lane winding down the hill between tall rows of elms. while my ill-concealed anxiety to get outside wounds their feelings. and it inspired me.

Go away. I'm a little lame." He seemed surprised. and don't disturb me. I am chock full of beautiful and noble thoughts. "No. sur. and saw an old bald-headed man hobbling across the churchyard toward me carryI ing a huge bunch of keys in his hand that shook and jingled at every step. tender thoughts. sur. till just this minute. but he still advanced. "My missis never see you . "Don't you want to see the tombs?" he said. This way. I'm a-coming. when my reverie was broken in shrill piping voice crying out "All right." upon by a : looked up." he replied. and slay you. "I've come as soon as I could. and I want to stop like it. because it feels nice and good. I'm a-coming. chivying . sur." I repeated "leave me before I get over the wall. I aint as spry as I used to be. you miserable old man. You follow me. sur." "Go away." I answered." I said. don't you be in a hurry. "I don't. It's all right. making me mad. because I wanted to make them happj. screeching out the while: "I'm a-coming. leaning up against this gritty old wall. I'm a-coming. sur. sur. I was going on thinking away all these grand. I want to stop here.98 THREE MEN IN A BOA T." "Go away. I motioned him away with silent dignity. I wished that I c<~uld let tnem know that I had done it. Don't you come fooling about.

He live said : "Yuise a stranger here?" in these parts? You don't YJU wouldn't if /did. I seemed human enough on the outside: he couldn't make it out. "I do not want to see tombs not your tombs. and pay half the expense." he said. and get someI'll you cheap." I said. "I don't. ^J ^ ' <U L ." "No. 99 my better feelings with this silly tomb- stone nonsense of yours." I replied. country-side is capable of and my grandfather's vault at Bow my accommodating eight visitors. Why should I? We 1 have graves of our own. our family h a s . getting roused. you know coffins!" "You are an untruther. that is the pride of that . while great-aunt Susan has a brick grave in Finch- ." bewildered for a moment.THREE away body all MEN IN A BOA T. He was his eyes. He rubbed and looked hard at me. my uncle f I'odger has a tomb Green in -'""[ Kensal Cemeall tery. "Well then. to bury Go away. "you want to see the tombs graves folks been buried.J Why.

and. calling to see the skulls. revels in tombs. in brokenI still hearted tones. I will come and see yours.loo THREE MEN S<V A BOA T. He said that one of the of it tombs had a bit of stone upon the top that had been said by some to be probably part of the remains of a figure of a man. come back and see the skulls!" Harris. and whispered hoarsely: : "I've got a couple of skulls down in the crypt. . Oh. When I want graves. carved upon it. that cost pounds. When you yourself are buried. that nobody had ever been able to decipher. wont you come and see the memorial window?" I would not even see that. with a head-stone with a coffeepot sort of thing in bas-relief upon it." He burst into tears. and a six- inch best white stone coping all the way round. He drew near." he said. and you want to enjoy yourself. and that another had some words. That is all I can do for you. and graves. so he fired his last shot. I do not want other folk's. he said "Well. it is to those places that I go and revel. however. and see the skulls!" Then I turned and fled. remained obdurate. do come and see the skulls! You are a young man out fora Come holiday. and as I sped I heard him me: come and "Oh. "come and see those. ley Churchyard.

IOI and epitaphs. and monumental inscriptions. and how we had to get the boat up to Shepperton by five o'clock to meet him. I That's the sort of trick they served me I'm not going to stand it much shall withdraw my account. and come down with us? Bank be blowed What good was he at the bank? "I never see him doing any work there. He said he had looked forward to seeing Mrs. Thomas's grave from the first moment that the trip was proposed said he wouldn't have joined if it hadn't been for the idea of seeing Mrs. If he was . and the thought of not seeing Mrs. What's the good of a man behind a bit of glass? I have to work for my living. Thomas's tomb. and leave us to lug this lumbering old top-heavy barge up and down the river by ourselves to meet him? Why couldn't George come and do some work? Why couldn't he have got the day off.' ! that? twice last week. and then he went for George. He sits behind a bit of glass all day.' 'Refer to drawer. Why can't he work? What use is he there and what's the good of their banks? They take your money. trying to look as if he was doing something. I reminded him of George." continued Harris. Why was George to fool about all day.THREE MEN IN A BOA T. Thomas's grave made him crazy. "whenever I go in. longer. and then. they send it back smeared all over with 'No What's the good of effects. when you draw a check.

here. from a topsy-turvy point of view. and climbed upon the seat. and sent the . we could go and believe he's at the somewhere. ginger beer. etc. Then he pumps himself out. and were the cause of half the crime in England. I reminded him that there was concentrated lemonade in the hamper. and he had to lean over further and further. Then he He said they all produced dyspepsia. beverage.. and that the two only wanted mixing to make a cool and refreshing . however." as he termed them. etc. in trying to steer at the same time. It was right at the bottom of the hamand seemed difficult to find. per. He's larking about what he's doing. a drink. and is quiet afterward. He said he must drink something. flew off about lemonade. leaving us to I'm going to get out. and was every one who came on the river to die of thirst? It is always best to let Harris have his head when he gets like this. and "such like Sunday-school slops. raspberry syrup. and a gallon jar of water in the nose of the boat. that's do all the work.102 THREE MEN IN A BOAT." I don't see that tomb. and what was the good of the river. and then he went on about the river. and ruined body and soul alike. he pulled the wrong line. bank at all. and leant over to get the bottle. and. and have I pointed out to him that we were miles away from a pub.

his legs sticking up into the He dared not move for fear of going over. and haul him back. and he Q'ved down right into the hamper. . holding on to the sides of the air. and the shock upset him. boat like grim death.THREE MEN IN A BOA T. and that made him mad- der than ever. and stood there on his head. and had to stay there till I could get hold of his legs. 103 boat into the bank.

Harris Unchristianlike feelings of Harris. It is a pretty little spot there a pleasant grass pla: running along by the water's We had just edge. if man that we were he assured us on his word as a gentletrespassing. VIII. sings a comic song. we would. |E stopped under the willows by Kempton Park. boorishness boards. and seemed to be dissatisfied. How A Shameful conduct of two abandoned young men. came along. without assurance. We said we hadn't given the matter sufficient consideration as yet to enable us to arrive at a definite conclusion on that point. The proper course to pursue. further hesitation. He gave us the required 104 . commenced the third course the bread and jam when a gentleman in shirt-sleeves and a short pipe teau. Some useless information. and lunched. George buys a banjo. but he still hung about. Selfish " " Notice of river-side landowner. and we thanked him. believe it. and wanted to know if we knew that we were trespassing. and overhung with willows.CHAPTER Blackmailing. high-class party. so we asked him if there was anything further that we could do for him and . but that.

if he really has anything to do with the matter. by slouching about the banks and blackmailing weak-minded noodles in this way. regard to the best means for accomplishing it. The proper course to pursue is to offer your name and address. him a clined it quite gruffly.THREE Harris. are a certain number of riverside roughs who make quite an income. offered bread and jam. 105 who is of a disposition. as tempted with it. during the summer. Of course. that they prefer to encourage the imposition by giving in to it rather than put an end to it by the exertion of a little . all he really wanted was a shilling. Harris is what you would call a well-made man of about number one size. we never saw him any more. and said he would go and consult his master. and. to summon you. But the majority of people are so intensely lazy and timid. They represent themselves as sent by the proprietor. and the man measured him up and down. of There course. and looks hard and bony. MEN IN A chummy BOA T. and then come back and chuck us both into the river. I fancy he must have belonged to some society sworn to abstain from bread and jam for he debit of . duty to turn us off. and prove what damage you have done to his land by sitting down on a bit of it. Harris said that he were vexed at being and he added that it was his if if it was a duty it ought to be and asked the man what was his idea with done. and leave the owner.




owners that are

it is

really the

to blame, they ought to be shown up. The selfishness of the riparian proprietor grows with every year. If these men had their way they


close the river




actually do this along the minor tributary streams and in the backwaters. They drive posts into the bed of the stream, and draw chains across from bank to bank, and nail huge notice-boards on





of those

I feel I

rouses every evil instinct in my nature. want to tear each one down, and hammer


the head of the

man who put


up, until



killed him, and then I would bury him, and put the board up over the grave as a tombstone.
I mentioned these feelings of mine to Harris, and he said he had them worse than that. He said he not only felt he wanted to kill the man who caused the board to be put up, but that he should like to slaughter the whole of his family and all his friends and relations, and then burn down his house. This seemed to me to be going too far, and I said so to Harris but he answered

jolly well right, and I'd go and sing comic songs on the ruins." I was vexed to hear Harris go on in this bloodbit of

"Not a

Serve 'em


never ought to allow our inthirsty strain. stincts of justice to degenerate into mere vindictiveness. It was a long while before I could get
Harris to take a more Christian view of the sub-






that he

I succeeded at last, and he promised me would spare the friends and relations at events, and would not sing comic songs on the



never heard Harris sing a comic song, would understand the service I had renyou dered to mankind. It is one of Harris's fixed ideas that he can sing a comic song; the fixed idea, on the contrary, among those of Harris's friends who have heard him try, is that he can't, and never will be able to, and that he ought not
to be allowed to try.

You have




at a party,



asked to sing,

he replies: "Well, I can only sing a comic song, you know" and he says it in a tone that implies

that his singing of that, however, is a thing that you ought to hear once, and then die.

"Oh, that is nice," says the hostess. "Do sing one, Mr. Harris"; and Harris gets up and makes for the piano, with the beaming cheeriness of a
generous-minded man somebody something.




about to give




hostess, turning round;

everybody," says the "Mr. Harris is going to

sing a comic song!"

"Oh, how jolly !" they murmur; and they hurry from the conservatory, and come up from the stairs, and go and fetch each other from all over the bouse, and crowd into the drawing-room, and




in anticipation.





Then Harris


Well, you don't look for much of a voice in a comic song. You don't expect correct phrasing or vocalization. You don't mind if a man does
find out,



too high, and comes bother about time.

the middle of a note, that he is down with a jerk. You don't

two bars

in front of

ing up in the pianist, and then starting But you do expect the words.

You don't mind a man being the accompaniment, and easthe middle of a line to argue it out with
verse afresh.


more than the

don't expect a man to never first three lines of the



and to keep on repeating these

it is

time to

begin the chorus. You don't expect a man to break off in the middle of a line, and snigger, and say, it's very funny, but he's blest if he can think
of the rest of

for himself, and, afterward,

and then try and make it up suddenly recollect it,

when he has got
ing, to

the song, and break

to an entirely different part of off, without a word of warnlet

go back and

you have


then and there.



well, I will just give

Harris's comic singing, it for yourself.

you an idea and then you can judge



(standing up in front of piano

and adit's

dressing the expectant mob}: "I'm afraid very old thing, you know. I expect you all



you know.


But it's the only thing I know. the Judge's song out of Pinafore no, I don't

mean Pinafore



I0 9


the other thing, you know. in the chorus, you know."

you know what I mean You must all join

\Murmurs of delight and anxiety to join in
the chorus. Brilliant

performance of prelude to the Judge's " Trial song in by


by nervous pi-



rives for



takes no notice of

Nervous pianist comagain,

mences prelude over and Harris,

commencing singing at the same time,



off the first of the First
tries to

Lord's song out of "Pinafore" Nervous pianist


prelude, gives




tries to





" Trial by Jury" finds Judge's song out of that doesn't answer, and tries to recollect

what he is doing, and where he is, feels mind giving way, and stops short.



(with kindly encouragement}


'.'It's all








very well, indeed


take somewhere.

NERVOUS PIANIST: "I'm afraid there's amisWhat are you singing?"
"Why, the Judge's song Don't you know it?" FRIEND OF HARRIS'S (from the back of

HARRIS (promptly} out of Trial by Jury.


the room}-.

"No, you're not, you chucklehead, you're singing the Admiral's song from Pinafore." [Long argument between Harris and Harris s
friend as to what Harris is really singing. Friend finally suggests that it doesn't matter what Harris is singing so Iongas Harris gets on and sings it, and Harris, with an evident
sense of injustice rankling inside him, rePianist, therequests pianist to begin again. starts prelude to the Admiral's song, upon, and Harris, seizing what he considers to be a

favorable opening in the music, begins.



When I was young

and called

to the Bar.'


\General roar of laughter, taken by Harris as a compliment. Pianist, thinking of his wife and family, gives up the unequal contest and retires ; his place being taken by a strongernerved man.

man, you

start off,

PIANIST (cheerily}: "Now then, old and I'll follow. We wont

bother about any prelude."






(upon whom the explanation of mathas slowly dawned laughing]'. "By Jove! I beg your pardon. Of course I've been mixing up the two songs. It was Jenkins confused me,

you know.



his voice appearing to come from [Singing the cellar, and suggesting the first low warn-

ings of an approaching earthquake.



was young


served a term


office-boy to an attorney's firm.'

(Aside to pianist): "It is too low, old man; we'll have that over again, if you don't mind."
[Sings first two lines over again, in a high falGreat surprise on the part setto this time.

of the audience.
fire begins to cry,

Nervous old lady near the

and has

to be led out.




swept the windows and




swept the door.


no, I cleaned the

windows of the big



polished up the floor

that line.

funny and I oh, well, to the chorus, and chance it (sings)

beg your pardon

no, dash it thing, I can't think of
we'll get







And I diddle-diddle-diddle-diddle-diddle-diddle-de. now I am the ruler of the Queen's navee.'

Now then




lines repeated,

you know."

. . among us. to be recorded in these pages. commonplace young men.112 GENERAL CHORUS: " Till And he diddle-diddle-diddle-diddle-diddle-diddle-de'd. reminds me of a rather curious incident at which I once assisted which. He honestly imagines that he has given them a treat. They were out of place. who seemed restless and uncomfortable. We were even humorous in a high-class way. discussed philosophy and ethics. were a fashionable and highly cultured We had on our best clothes. we were too Our brilliant but polished conclever for them. EveryI We body agreed upon that. as it throws much light upon the inner mental working of human nature in general. They never ought to have been there at all. and says he will sing another comic song after supper. and our high-class tastes. Speaking of comic songs and parties. now he is the ruler of the Queen's navee. ought. and we party. students." Harris never sees what an ass he is And making and how he is annoying a lot of people who never did him any harm. just returned from Germany. think. We We flirted Somebody recited a French poem after supper. were beyond versation. We played morceaux from the old German masters. later on. of himself. The truth was. with graceful dignity. them. and were very happy all except two young fellows. talked pretty. as if they found the proceedings slow.

to be carried off to They through said senn Boschen it nobody could sing it like Herr Sloshe was so intensely serious all that you might fancy he was reciting . whom they knew very well. and then a lady sang made one asked then those two young men got up. It was his air of serifunny almost of pathos. of course. and that. to sing it. They said he never once suggested by his tone or manner that he was singing anything that would spoil it. had had bed. and was then us in And down the supper-room) sing his great of us German comic song. had heard said it. when Herr Slossenn Boschen had sung it once before the German Emperor. downstairs. They said it was so funny that. ibly amusing. they would get Herr Slossenn Boschen. 113 was beautiful a sentimental ballad in Spanish and it or two of us weep it was so pathetic. that made it so irresistousness. a tragedy. it. we liked. that we could remem- The young men it was the funniest song if that had ever been written. he (the German Emperor. and that. made it all the funnier.THREE and we said it MEN IN A . said we We yearned to hear . and . and if we had ever heard Herr Slossenn Boschen (who had just arrived. that we wanted a good laugh and they went fetched Herr Slossenn Boschen. None ber. BOA T.

I I tittered. soulful it air. . These other people also tittered when the young men tittered. and two young roared. I learned at school. it will amuse you. The prelude did not suggest a comic song exactly. that but we murmured to one another was the German method. that a good many other people seemed to have their eye fixed on the two young men. don't understand German myself. I guess my to be rather a good idea. and they tittered. as well as myself. also threw in a little snigger all by myself humor I now and then. When students. and sat down to the piano without another word. on this particularly artful my part." whisthe two young men. and have felt much better ever since. I when they roared. He appeared to be quite pleased to sing it. behind the Professor's back. . but forgot every word of it two years after I had left. and roared when the young men roared. as the song progressed. for he came up at once. It quite made one's flesh creep. You will laugh.I 14 THREE MEN IN A BOA T. as they passed through pered the room and took up an unobtrusive position "Oh. Still. as if I had seen a bit of I considered that had escaped the others. and prepared to enjoy I it it. noticed. did not want the people there to ignorance so I hit upon what I thought I kept my eye on the followed them. Herr Slossenn Boschen accompanied himself. It was a weird.

as if laughter were the very last thing he had exfirst. but added to his mock seriousness oh. And happy. if we had not known it was a funny song. it went exceedingly well. and he threw such a wailing note of agony into the weird music that. : We thought this very funny we said his earnest manner was half the humor. was the funniest thing we had ever . being behind him. we might have \vept. As we continued to laugh. this thing.THREE MEN IN A BOAT. the expression of his face was one of intense surprise. we should have been nervous. who. At German Professor when we began did not to seem pected to be greeted with. we said. and. he surpassed himself. but for our being forewarned as to the German method of comic singing. his surgave way to an air of annoyance and indignation. were enough to send us into fits. and he scowled fiercely round upon us all prise (except upon the two young men. as the two 1 15 young men tittered and roared and exploded with laughter pretty continuously all through the song. The slightest hint on his part that he knew how funny he was would have completely ruined it all. told each other it would be the We The words alone. He glowered round upon us with a look of such concentrated ferocity that. he could not see). yet that laugh. ! He finished it We said amid a perfect shriek of laughter. That sent us into convulsions. it was too much In the last verse. death of us.

said how strange it was the face of things like these. had sung it once before the German Emperor. and went on awful. and he (the German Emperor) had sobbed like a little He (Herr Boschen) said it was generally child. in the last verse. It appeared that the song was not a comic song It was about a young girl who lived in the at all. It was a trying situation for us very trying. but they had left the house in an unosten- . so that the common people could understand it. heard our lives. There seemed to be no answer. pathetic songs in the German language. He swore at us in German (which I should judge to be a singularly effective language for that purpose). and then. And we asked the Professor why he didn't translate the song into English. and he danced. Hartz Mountains.Il6 THREE in all MEX IX A BOAT. said he had never been so insulted in all his life. Then Herr Slossenn Boschen got up. and hear what a real comic song was like. he jilted her spirit. there should be a popular notion that the Germans hadn't any that. acknowledged to be one of the most tragic and . and called us all the English he knew. and met her spirit in the air. and shook his He fists. but it was someHerr Boschen said he thing very sad. and went on with another spirit I'm not quite sure of the details. and who had given up her life to save her lover's soul and he died. in We sense of humor. looked We around for the two young men who had done this thing. I know.

if I pulled hard. I never saw a party break up so quietly. they thought so. and slipped out. in have never taken much interest German songs since then. and set myself up. and opened the door for ourselves. walking softly. I was sculling. My two friends said it was a pleasure to watch me. U? end of the manner immediately after the song. I rhythmical swing. and back into it. my got well into a steady put my arms. I . quick.THREE tatious MEN IN A BOA T. came downstairs one at a time. yes. and I bent down over the sculls. We and keeping the shady side. and asked who were steering if they thought it could be done. oh. tried to the fellows I pulled splendidly. We reached Sunbury Lock at half-past three. when they said this. . do so once. The river is sweetly pretty just there before you come to the gates. dashing stroke. and my legs. We never said good-night even to one another. and worked in really grand style. We asked the servant for our hats and coats in whispers. That was the end of that party. \Ve were just under the little foot-bridge that crosses it between the two weirs. and pulled. avoiding each other as I much as possible. and the backwater is charming but don't attempt to row up I it. and they said. I set myself a good. and got round the corner quickly. and with so little fuss.

that I we were when two We sculled up to Walton. injuring I had been grinding away like mad to keep ing.II 8 THREE MEN IN A BOAT. or something of that sort. Windsor and Abingdon are the only towns between large place riverside places. she was there. We were under the bridge. all told. and merely peep at the river down one street my thanks to them for being so considerate. I let that boat stuck still under that bridge. in exactly the same spot began. Caesar was a regular up-river man. so that from the boat you might fancy it was a village of some half-dozen houses. and leaving the river-banks to woods and fields and water-works. of course. As with only the tiniest corner of it water. Also Queen Elizabeth. is good-natured enough to keep ugly face a good deal out of sight. had a little place at Walton a camp. and I looked up. At the end of five minutes. Even Reading. too. go where you . : really see anyAll the others hide round corners. its Caesar. though it does its best to spoil and sully and make hideous as much of the river as it can reach. a rather for a riverside town. I thought we ought to be pretty near the weir. or an entrenchment. comes down to the all London and Oxford that you can thing of from the stream. You can never get away from that woman. and there were those themselves by violent laughidiots. other people pull up backwaters against strong streams now.

and was afraid I should never get Harris past them but he didn't seem to think of them. and there they lie. altogether. Above the bridge the river winds tremenThis makes it look picturesque. 1 19 Cromwell and Bradshavv (not the guide man. up suppose iron was getand nothing else would be strong ting scarce. Henry VIII. who lived myself. in which to bury them when they died. about fifty of them. She had a special graveyard made. stole it from some one or the other. . They have given I the attempt now.THREE MEN IN A BOAT. but it dously. and an epitaph inscribed thereon. and we went on. enough. and causes argument between the man who is pulling and the man who is steering. with a tombstone over each. in There Church. and kept an immense number. I forget whom now. was very fond of dogs. at Oatlands. It is a famous old place. There are also tombs of note in the church. but the King Charles's head man) likewise soThey must have been quite a journed here. will. You pass Oatlands Park on the right bank here. and lived in it. an iron "scold's bridle" Walton They used these things in ancient days for curbing women's tongues. I . irritates you from a towing or sculling point of view. . and which is supposed to be very wonderful but I cannot see much in it The late Duchess of York. pleasant little is party. There is a grotto in the park which you can see for a fee.

and the first thing that we saw. and inspection showing that George was inside it. poem on it. Halliford and Shepperton are both pretty little spots where they touch the river. . but there is nothing remarkable about either of them. and the Basingstroke Canal all enter the Thames together. and one and his indignation at my about his beloved graves.1 20 THREE MEN IN A BOA T. so I managed. I dare say they deserve the average Christian does. I saw him fix a longing eye on the landing-stage as we drew near it. Cassivelaunus had prepared the river for Caesar. There in spite of this. He is the sort of man we want round the backwaters now. is You a with a tomb in Shepperton churchyard. But Caesar crossed couldn't choke Caesar off that river. The lock is just opposite the town. no doubt. he forgot all At Weybridge. however. quite as Well. closer I explore. by planting it full of stakes (and had. and I was nervous lest Harris should want to get out and fool round it. put up a notice-board i. to jerk his cap into the water. navigable for small boats up to Guildford. and in the excite- ment of recovering that. was George's blazer on one of the lock gates. it much as At "Corway Stakes" the first bend above Walton Bridge was fought a battle between Caesar and Cassivelaunus. which have always been making up my mind to never have). when we came in view of it. the Wey (a pretty little stream. by an adroit movement. the Bourne. clumsiness.

"What's that?" said Harris "a frying-pan?" "No. they tell me. I Harris roared. The lock-keeper rushed out with a drag. "Not exactly. everybody . "they are all the rage this has got them up the river. wild look glittering in his eyes season It's a . banjo. under the impression that somebody had fallen into the lock. 121 set up a furious barking." "I never knew you played the banjo!" I. It was round and flat at one end. shrieked. in cried Harris and one breath.THREE Montmorency MEN JN A BOA T. and yelled back. and appeared annoyed at finding that no one had." said George. with a strange. and I've got the instruction book!" ." replied George: "but it's very easy. George waved his hat. with a long straight handle sticking out of it. George had rather a curious oilskin-covered parcel in his hand.

perhaps. Being towed by girls : ex- citing sensation. that goes without saying. Strange disappearance of an elderly lady. while Harris and I towed. to work. for every one. He could not in conscience object. and he took it and stepped out. skiff. now we had got him. The missing Saved ! lock or the haunted JE made George work. less speed. was to pass him over the tow-line. : and not prone to pity. because getting tea was such a worrying work. A use discovered for lovers. Out you get !" not even George's though he did suggest that. however.CHAPTER George is IX. and get tea ready. so he explained. who is callous in his nature. introduced tow-lines. He did not want to work. of He course. Much river. it would be better for him to stop in the boat. conscience 122 . said "Ah and now you are going to have a hard time on the river for a change change is good ! . Heathenish instincts of Ungrateful conduct of a double-sculling Towers and towed. The only reply we made to this. and Harris and I looked tired. had had a hard time in the City. Music. haste. Harris.

opinion of tow-lines in general. and lost its two ends. I say there may be such . that. There is 123 able about a tow-line. it is one ghastly. There may be tow- That is my lines that are a credit to their profession consci- entious. and tied itself into knots. when you pick it up. sitting down there on the grass and swearing all the while. and stretched it out straight across the middle of a field. respectable tow-lines not imagine they are crochet-work. Of there may be honorable exceptions. and become all loops. and five minutes afterward. something very strange and unaccountYou roll it up with as much patience and care as you would take to fold up a new pair of trousers. tangle. you would find that it had got itself altogether in a heap in the middle of the field. but lieve that you took an firmly be. and then turned your back on it for thirty seconds. when you looked round again. and it would take you a good half-hour. I do course. ' soul - revolting : jypfr Ur ^^^tl^y^&^ "{^ ** i d if not wish to be I insulting. and had twisted itself up.THREE ME\ IX A BOAT. aver- age tow-line. to disentangle it again. tow-lines that do and try to knit themselves up into antimacassars the instant they are left to themselves. not say that there are not.

thinks all the fault lies with the man who rolled it up and when a man up the river thinks a thing. George had taken it firmly. But I have not met with them. and had put it into George's hand. the thing was more like a badly-made to the lock. and held it away from him. who is trying to disentangle it. and had begun to unravel it as if he were taking the swaddling clothes off a new-born infant. On the other hand. he says it. why couldn't you wind it up properly. lifted it up scientifically. THREE MEN IN A BOA T. This tow-line had taken I myself just before would not let Harris touch it. before he had unwound a dozen yards. and lays it out flat on the tow-path. you silly dummy?" he grunts from time to time as he struggles wildly with it. and folded it in two. "What have you been trying to do with it. because he is careless. make a fishing-net of it? You've made a nice mess. I sincerely I hope there in are. the man who wound it up . and laid it down Harris had gently at the bottom of the boat. we had got door-mat than anything else. and the same sort of thing always goes on in connection with it. . you have. I had looped it round slowly and cautiously.i4 tow-lines . and tied it up in the middle. and runs round and round it. and. The man on the bank. trying to find the end. It is always the same.

and wonder where it is In the end. They both get hold of the same bit of line. one rather windy edge. this only gets it into a tighter tanthat they like to would Ten minutes go gle than ever. and the first man a yell and goes mad. of the boat and in Then the second man climbs out comes to help him. we noticed a couple of men on the bank. it in turn round and find that the boat has drifted off. and pull at opposite directions.THREE MEN IN A BOAT. This really happened once to my own knowlIt \vas up by Boveney. We were pulling down stream.feel so angry with one another hang each other with the thing. you !" would And then they . gives and tries to pull it straight by seizing hold of the first piece that comes to his hand and hauling at it. They were looking at each other with as bewildered and helplessly miserable an expression as I have ever witnessed on any human countenance before or since. morning.'" he exclaims indignantly. "Why don't you think what you are doing? style. and dances on the rope. and then caught. Of course. they do get it clear. and they get each other's way and hinder one another. thinks the whole cause of the 1*5 rests muddle it. You go about things in such a slap-dash You'd get a scaffolding pole entangled. and. and is making straight for the weir. with the man who was all is trying to unwind "It right when you took it . by. as we came round the bend. and they held a long .

boat's gone off!" they replied in an "We just got out to disentangle the tow-line. quite gently and politely at first. and when we looked round. so we eased up and asked them what was the matter. Something has gone wrong. He calls to them to stop. It tow-line between them. walk- ing briskly along. . while the man is in animated disthe boat. "Why. sees a One good many funny incidents up the river in connection with towing.ia6 THREE MEN IN A BOA T. and we brought it back to them. a hundred an yards behind them. or his hat has dropped into the water and is floating rapidly down stream. And found the truant for them half a mile held by some rushes. it was gone!" they seemed hurt at what they evidently regarded as a mean and ungrateful act on the part of the boat. was clear that some- thing had happened. deep in cussion. line. the rudder has come off. I shall never forget the picture of those two men walking up and down the bank with a towfurther down. vainly shrieking to them and making frantic signs of distress with a scull. to stop. our indignant tone. We looking for their boat. or the boat-hook has slipped overboard. I bet they did not give that boat another chance for a week. One of the most common is the sight of a couple of towers.

And the small boys on the bank stop and jeer at him. and dances about. at the rate of four miles an hour. and a little above Cookham lock they noticed a fellow and a girl walking . so he said. and can't get out. and curses everything he knows. as it does. but little resistance. and the doing this sort of trouble Much of who are towing itself. when we were discussing the subject after supper. George told us. MEN IN A will BOA T. It is best to let one person tow. and give a pretty frequent look round to see how their man is getting on. were scull- ing a very heavily laden boat up from Maidenhead one evening. and pitch stones at him as he headed idiots! Hi! stop! pulled along past them. of a very curious instance. is of no real service in reminding them of the fact.THREE Hi! cheerily. When two are it. you dunderOh you !" After that he springs up. offering. and roars himself red in the face. later on in the evening. you?" he 127 stop a minute. they get chattering. boat As an example of how utterly oblivious a pair of towers can be to their work. is those would be saved if would keep remembering that they are towing. "I've shouts dropped overboard. and forget. He and three other men. Confound you." Then: Then: "Hi! "Hi! Tom Dick! can't you hear?" not quite so affably this time.

what ghastly and those who had been had overtaken it. boat was near. They had the boat-hook and they had the line. were carrying a boat-hook between them. and attached to the boat-hook was a tow-line. come of it. was buried in Whatever the accident may have been. it had in no way disturbed the young lady and gentleman who were towing. There must have been a boat attached to that tow-line at some time or other. no boat was in sight. its end in the water. along the tow-path. that was certain but what had be. however. George was about to call out and wake them .I 28 THREE MEX IN A BOAT. both deep in an apparently They interesting and absorbing conversation. and that seemed to be all that they thought necessary to fate left in their work. which No trailed behind them. mystery. it.

if it had not been for the restraining influence of the sweet woman at his side. at that moment.THREE MEN IN A BOA T. and drew in the end of and they made a loop in it. George said he never saw so much thoughtful sadness concentrated into one glance before. then where Harris. 129 up. at the lock. lit And their pipes. and . but. she clasped her hands. . and then they tidied up the sculls. that young man and young woman towed those four hulking chaps and a heavy boat up to Marlow. a bright idea flashed across him. The maiden was the first to recover from her surprise. they had been towing the wrong boat. Another example of the dangerous want of sympathy between the tower and towed was witnessed by George and myself once up near WaiIt was where the tow-path shelves gently ton. is auntie?" "Did they ever recover the old lady?" asked George replied he did not know. the young man might have given way to violent language. George fancied that. when she did. the tow-line and reached over. Henry. for the last two miles. and put it over their mast. and. and went and sat down in the stern. and he didn't. He got the hitcher instead. as when. and said wildly : "Oh. that young couple grasped the idea that.

The last man went on twenty yards further. and the boat rushed up the bank with a noise like the ripping up of forty thousand linen sheets. other. on which sat a very small boy. flying after him. however. but. . and we watched them. 'and urging his steed into a gallop. and one and a half moments afterward. precise him pull the as they passed. noticing things in general.13 THREE MEN IN A BOAT. and it went on much easier." And at that moment the man did it. By and by a small boat came in sight. The It fellows sat up and stared at one anwas some seconds before they realized what had happened to them. He. This seemed to sort of lighten the boat. "I should like to see murmured George. in dreamy and reposeful attitudes. down into the water. when they did. and reclined on the bank. Two men. wrong line. until the distance hid them from view. a hamper. was too much occupied with the horse to hear them. and sat down among boat-hooks and sails and carpet-bags and bottles. the man who was steering having a particularly restful appearance. two other men disembarked from the starboard. and then got out on his head. and we were camping on the opposite bank. lay five fellows. the small boy shouting at the top of his voice. and three oars immediately left the boat on the larboard side. Scattered about the boat. they began to shout lustily for the boy to stop. towed through the water at a tremendous pace by a powerful barge horse.

THREE I MEN IN A BOAT. 13! In- cannot say I was sorry at their mishap. It is a It takes sensation that nobody ought to miss. however. or cuts their face open. and the other one runs round and round. The best plan is to stand your ground. deed. and suddenly stop. I only wish that all the young fools who have their boats towed in this fashion and plenty could meet with similar misfortunes. and be prepared to keep them off with the butt-end of a mast. Of all experiences in connection with towing. generally begin by getting themselves tied They get the line round their legs. and have up. they become a danger and an annoyance to every other boat they do Going at the pace they do. at last. hitched across your mast. three girls to tow always . and overturns you. and then they twist it round their necks. and giggles. Besides the risk they run themselves. At the end of a hundred yards they are naturally breathless. and are They nearly strangled. They off fix it straight. and all sit down on the grass and . for them to get out of anybody else's way. it is impossible pass. the most exciting is being towed by girls. or for anybody Their line gets else to get out of theirs. or it catches somebody in the boat. to sit down on the path and undo each other. and either throws them into the water. and start at a run. two hold the rope. pulling the boat along at quite a dangerous pace.

or can get hold of a scull. and your boat drifts out to mid-stream and turns round. only go on. and asks what it is. and push it off. laugh. look!" they say. once occurs to one of them that she will pin up her frock. and are surprised. "Oh. if you keep You must keep some way on the boat. What's the matter?" they shout back. we can't steer." you roar. and they ease up for the purpose." They pull it and then all at on pretty steadily for a bit. before you know what has happened. "Yes. "Why. after this. "it's all right." "Why not?" stopping. "Don't stop. and see what is they want. and the boat runs aground." says one. Then they stand up. "What do you want?" she says." "Keep some what?" . "Don't what?" "Don't stop go on go on!" "Go it back. You jump up." you reply. and Emily comes back.THREE MEN IN A BOA T. "anything happened?" "No. you know don't stop. and you shout to them not to stop. "he's gone right out into the middle. Emily.

and had either to lay up just about there. and toxved us steadily on to Penton Hook. George got the line right after a while. and hand it out. It is about twenty minutes before they get off again. and Mary does not want it. a u c . only don't stop. 133 all right. thought it "Oh. yes." keep "I see. and by this time another one has come back and thinks she will have hers too. on steady at it. at the next corner.THREE "Some way "Oh. \Ye had decided to sleep on board that night. or go on It seemed early to think about past Staines. with the sun still in the heavens. it's simple enough." I difficult at all." You find the shawl. and. Are we doing it all nicely. no. Give me out my red shawl.V A BOA T. shutting up then. that's all. so they bring it back and have a pocket-comb instead. three and a half miles further. and we settled to push straight on for Runnymead. and they take Mary's on chance." You want to "Oh. indeed. very "It doesn't seem was so hard. I'll tell you must keep the boat moving. it's under the cushion. There is never a dull moment in the boat while girls are towing it." 'em. however. There u c discussed the important question of camping. and you have to leave the boat to chivy the cow out of their way. right?" MEX 7. they see a cow.

It was half-past six when we reached Benson's lock. You can hardly believe you are only where you are. begin to seriously fear that there to Cleeve. that we had Penton Hook. I saw it was just a mile and a half to the next lock Wallingford and five on from sight. "We'll be through . when you have trudged along for what seems to you at least ten miles. is quiet part of the river. and you are convinced that the map must be wrong. stopped stream is a at wished. "Oh. and dusk was drawing on. and we were anxious to get in at least she was anxious to get in. I remember being terribly upset once up the river (in a figurative sense. too and I drew out a map I had with me to see exactly how far it was. it's all right !" I said. but it is a weary pull at the end of a long day. I said it was a thing I felt I wanted to be in at.134 THREE wooded shelter. and she began to get excited then. however. afterward. Every half- mile you cover seems like two. all MZN IN A BOA T. You do not chat and laugh. Three or four miles up miles. and run off with it. She said she must be in to supper. . You take no interest in the scenery during these last few trifle. It was rather late. and still the lock is not in you somebody must have sneaked it. I mean). and. I was out with a young lady cousin on my mother's side and we were pulling down to Goring. and where there good We early in the morning.

if passed the bridge. It seemed an excessive punishment. and Another asked her to look again. "No. we might have somehow got into the weir stream. I thought but my cousin thought not. and then I not see any lock. "Oh!" and pulled minutes went by. as I suggested. and then there . and soon after that I she saw the lock. and she began to cry. . The river stretched out straight before us in the twilight for about a mile not a ghost of a lock was to be seen. do companion. when you do see one?" I asked hesitatingly. This idea did not comfort her in the least. only and I settled down and pulled steadily We asked on. and be making for the falls. "I can't see any signs of a lock.V A BOAT. f.THREE MEX one more" away. we have lost our way. and that it was a judgment on her for coming out with me. and hoped it would all soon be over. She said no. "You don't think you?" asked my : ." she said. she did five I said. question did offend her. so I laid The down the sculls." "You you are sure you know a lock. not wishing to offend her. and she suggested that I had better look for myself. however. is 135 the next lock before seven. . She said we should both be drowned. I did not see how that was possible though. and took a view.

and in I still lock came . There was Wallingford lock. who was the real one that was dreaming. Where were we? What had happened to twice. was. and those wicked girls who sit up all night on rocks. I and to make as I whole that I said that the light of the fact evidently was was not rowing as fast fancied I . and. however. and that I was really asleep in bed. went on pulling. a mile and a half below Benson's.V A BOA T. and will-o'-the-wisps. I recolI had been through it lected the lock myself. and who was the one that was only a dream it got quite interclearly It . and I wished I had been a better man. tried to reassure her. marked. and should wake up in a minute. reliable map. I looked again at the map. and knew more hymns. and still no in sight. esting. and lure people into whirlpools and things. and if so.136 I THREE MEX 7. I thought of hobgoblins and banshees. and the river grew more and more gloomy and mysterious under the gathering shadows of night. and things seemed to be getting weird and uncanny. . but that I we should soon reach the lock now and pulled on for another mile. and be told it was past ten. Then I began to get nervous myself. us? I began to think it must be all a dream. affair. besides. was a good. and she replied that she was just about to ask me the same question and then we both wondered if we were both asleep. I asked my cousin if she thought it could be a dream.

and soon the boat from which they were worked lay alongside us. But about the strains of "He's got 'em on. or any- thing of that sort could have sounded.THREE MEN IN A BOA T. and have given up 3!! hope. the middle of these reflections strains I '37 heard the blessed "He's got 'em on. The sweet sounds drew nearer. far more beautiful than the of voice of Orpheus or the lute of Apollo. and with involuntary variations. there was some- thing singularly human and reassuring. badly. . but oh! how beautiful the music seemed to us both then far. as a rule." played. we should have taken as a spirit-warning. and knew that we were saved." jerked spasmodically. I do not admire the tones of a concertina. out of a wheezy accordion. Heavenly would only have still further harrowed us. on a concertina. A soul-moving harmony. melody. in our then state of mind. correctly performed.

We thanked them over and over again. and we said it was a lovely night. and I explained that I had been looking for it for the last two hours. (There was not any moon. lovable people in all my life. that's been done away with for over a year.) I never saw more I attractive. And we sang the soldier's chorus out of Faust and got home in time for supper after all. love you. sir. Bill I !" had never thought of that. . and asked if they could tell me the way to Wallingford lock. I invited them all to come and spend a week with me. There aint no Wallingford lock now. sir. said her mother would be pleased to see them. I wanted to fall but the upon all their necks and bless them stream was running too strong just there to allow of this. Blow me tight if 'ere aint a gentleman been looking for Wallingford lock. and. contained a party of provincial 'Arrys and 'Arriets. so I had to content myself with mere coldsounding words of gratitude. I think. hailed them. and my cousin pleasant trip. "Lor* "Wallingford lock!" they answered. but that was not their fault. and we wished them a . You're close to Cleeve now. out for a moonlight sail.I3 8 It THREE MEN IN A BOAT.

Ho u to feel virtuous. and sculled to haul up close to the left bank. and we all got in.CHAPTER Our first night. and to camp in one of the many picturesque inlets to be found round that tiny shore. a sweetly pretty part of the river. somehow. Supper. it winds through a soft. where we did not feel that we yearned 139 for the picturesque . It was half-past seven when we were through. night. George had towed us up to Staines. Under > canvas. Funny restless A (ARRIS and I began to think that Bell Weir lock must have been done away with after the same manner. overcome. green valley. Wanted ! a com- fortably-appointed. But. and were walking forty miles. An appealfor help. X. looking out for a spot up in. thing that happened to George's father. how to Contrariness of tea-kettles. and we had taken the boat from there. neigh- borhood of South Pacific Ocean preferred. We had originally intended to go on to Magna Charta Island. and it seemed that we were dragging fifty tons after us. well-drained desert island.

and fastened it down it would take quite ." it is called and dropped into a very pleasant nook under a great elm-tree. and began to drop them into the sockets placed for them. but. and fitted them up over the boat. to the spreading roots of which we fas- nearly so A bit tened the boat. : Then we thought we were going ten minutes. before it got quite dark. simple like gigantic croquet hoops. You would not imagine this to be dangerous work. (we but George said no that we had better get the canvas up first. We did not want scenery. We took up the hoops. looking back now. It looked so in the abstract. They were not hoops. as we had earlier in the day. we did pull up to the point "Picnic Point. First they would not fit into their . to have supper had dispensed with tea. we thought. the wonder to me is that any of us are alive to tell the tale. he said. However. That canvas wanted more putting up than I think any of us had bargained for. Then. between a coal-barge and a gasworks would have quite satisfied us for that night. That was an under-estimate.140 THREE much now of water MEN IN A BOA T. We wanted to have our supper and go to bed. and we could sit down to eat with an easy mind. all our work would be done. so as to save time). and then stretched the canvas over them. You took five iron arches. and while we could see what we were doing. they were demons.

and he bungled it. How not of he managed it I do not know. when we were not kick them. it turned out that hook. MEN IN A BOAT. But they would not come out. he could explain himself. and hammer at them with the boatwhen they were in. in getting himself comfirmly in it. and looking. while we were wrestling with one side of the hoop. 141 and we had to jump on them. and try and throw us into the water and drown us. they were the wrong hoops for those particular sockets.THREE sockets at all. when they would jump up suddenly. and. take it Harris stood in the middle to roll it from George and on to me. the other side would us in a cowardly manner. but it was new work to Harris. but by some mysterious process or other he succeeded. and I kept by the stern to receive it. George unrolled it. It was a long time coming down to me. and hit us over the head. and fastened one end over the We nose of the boat. George did his part all right. and endeavoring . come behind to do its duty. and. He was so wrapped . and then all that was done was to arrange the covering over them. until two of us had gone and struggled with them for five minutes. to persuade it to be got them fixed at last. They had hinges in the middle. after ten minutes pletely rolled superhuman up effort. they nipped us with these hinges in delicate parts of the body and. and they had to come out again.

and got himself entangled and rolled up.142 THREE MEN in IN A BOA T. round and tucked could not get out. and did not interfere. began to struggle George. of the. both as the good as gold. knocked at Harris. also heard much smothered language comfrom underneath it. that he He. 1 knew nothing about all this at the time. I did not understand . We could see the canvas being violently jerked and tossed about. . and we guessed that they ing were finding the job rather troublesome. and concluded that we would wait until things had got a little We simpler before we joined in. pretty considerably but we supposed this was part method. the business I at all myself. and. for and folded over. of course. and Montmorency and I stood there and waited. told to I had been stand where was. and wait till ft canvas came to me. made frantic freedom the birthright of every struggles Englishman. . in doing so (I learned this over George and then afterward). swearing too.

"I don't want any tea. do you. it will never even sing. a good plan. but matters seemed to get only more and more involved. 143 We waited some time. until. That is the only If it way the river. when you suffocated. you dummy !" either. to boil. and got our supper. It said : "Give us a hand here. but set to work to get the other things out. and went down to the stern and pretended to take no notice of it. are both being never could withstand an appeal for help. You must not even look round at it. Then you will soon sputtering away. 1 . before it was properly up. George's head came wriggling out over the side of the boat.THREE MEN IN A BOA T. sees that to get a kettle to boil up you are waiting for it and are anxious. and spoke up. for Harris It was nearly black in the face. as if you were not going to have any tea at all. You have to go away and begin your meal. too. so that it can overhear you. we mummy. mad to be made into tea. You get near the kettle. how you don't need any tea. so I went and undid them not before it was time. George?" to which George . and then we cleared the We put the kettle on decks. if you are in a great to talk very loudly to each other about hurry. and then you shout out. took us half an hour's hard labor. up in the nose of the boat. at last. can't you. you cuckoo standing there like a stuffed see . and are not going to hear It it is have any. after that.

and. don't like tea. ! . no. tell me that a clear conscience makes you very happy and contented but a full stomach does the business quite as well. "Ah !" and bent my head back. George said. the tea was waiting. and rolled over on his side. and puts the stove and We adopted this harmless bit of trickery. and is the first sign of contentment we had . "Ah !" and took his left leg out from under him and put his right one there instead. and bumped it against one of the hoops. . "Ah !" too. I did not even swear. save the clank of cutlery and crockery. and spread his legs out and then I said. lemonade instead which the kettle out. but I did not mind it. How good one feels when one is full how satisfied with ourselves and with the world People who have tried it. Montmorency gave he had exhibited since started. At the end of five and thirty minutes. "Oh." Upon boils over. and threw his plate out on the bank. by the time everything else was ready. For five and thirty minutes not a sound was heard throughout the length and breadth of that boat. Harris said.144 THREE MEN IN A I HO A T. We the steady grinding of four sets of molars. we'll have tea's so indigestible. Five minutes afterward. three minutes later than that. shouts back. wanted that supper. the result was that. and lantern. Then we lit the and squatted down to supper.

the whirling world beneath you. up through long lanes of flaming stars to the gates of eternity!" like a beast of After hot muffins. After eggs and bacon. see. the field a brainless animal." are but the veriest. sorriest slaves of our stomach. so kindlyhearted. "Sleep !" After a cup of tea (two spoonsful for each cup. it says to the brain. "Now rise. with listless eye. It dictates to us our emotions. "Be dull and soulless. One generous after a substantial and well-digested meal so noble-minded. that your "Now come. and tender. after brandy. or love. it says.THREE MEN IN A BOA T. and show what a helpless ninny is poor man whose side We wit and will are drowned. over . Reach not after morality and righteous' . and show your strength. and splutter in senseless sounds. or of hope. like kittens. by side. it says. our passions. and 145 feels so more easily obtained. unless our stomachs will so. and deep. "Work!" After beefsteak and porter it says. it says. tumble. with a clear eye. fool. or life. fellow-men may laugh drivel in folly. unlit by any ray or fear. this domination of our intelby our digestive organs. in half an inch of alcohol." in sufficient And of fancy. and soar. We cannot work. It is forgiving and lect very strange. taken grin and quantity. a god-like spirit. cheaper. into Nature and into life spread your white wings of quivering thought. Be eloquent. \ve cannot think. and don't let it stand more than three minutes).

" And Harris. And George was his . he said: "Steady. oM ft chap. too. I'm so sorry. . as he would have done before supper. and a tender father a noble. THREE . instead of merely observing. Had this happened before supper. and advising him to hang them over the side. ." said: "Not at all". As it was. that a fellow could hardly help treading on some bit of George's foot. we sat and beamed on one anWe other. in his most unpleasant tones. it was his. MEN IN A BOA T. loved each other. a loving husband. Harris and George and I were quarrelsome and snappy and ill-tempered after our supper. Then virtue and contentment will come and reign within your heart. pious man. George would have expressed wishes and desires concerning Harris's fate in this world and the next that would have made a thoughtful man shudder. trod on George's corn. Harris.146 ness. suggesting that George never ought to come into an ordinary sized boat with feet that length. I haven't hurt you. Before our supper. I hope fault . and diet it with care and judgment. in moving about. now said: "Oh. my friends watch vigilantly your stomach. if he had to move about at all within ten yards of where George was sitting. 'vare wheat. we loved everybody. old man. and we beamed upon the dog. unsought by any effort of your own and you will be a good citizen. that and Harris said no.

He said his father was traveling with another fellow through Wales. and that put . was that they were so damp but George said no. lives. And then we got on to drains. We George this said why could not we be always its sin like away from the world. and sat. They (George's father and George's father's friend) were to sleep in the same room. and spent the evening with them. peaceful I and doing good. quiet night. they stopped at a little inn. but in different beds. and temp- tation. where there were some other fellows. to some handy. by the time they came to go to bed. too. not if properly drained. They . sort of thing I had often for myself. ing there in the woods. with leading sober. and we dis- we four. as far as he had heard. lit our pipes. and sat up late. one night. 147 was quite pretty to hear them. They had a very jolly evening. and. they (this was when George's father was a very young man) were slightly jolly.THREE It MEN IN A BOA T. and. danger about desert islands. and they joined the other fellows. and liv- well-fitted desert island. Harris said that the George in mind of a very funny thing that happened to his father once. looking out on the and talked. said it was the longed cussed the possibility of our going away.

of getting into separate beds. Tonv?" replied Joe's voice from the other end of the bed. "but I'm blest if there isn't a man in my bed. followed by two heavy bumps on the floor. as they thought they were doing. and went up. Tom. to do?" asked George's "Well. I'm going to chuck him out. This they did but.14* THREE MEX IN A BOA T." answered the other. and then a rather doleful voice said : "I say. and lying with hi? feet on the pillow. There was a brief struggle. Tom'. and went out. "So am I. "Why. and then George's father said "What's the matter. they both climbed into the same one without knowing at it one getting in with his head the top." said George's father valiantly. it's an extraordinary thing. too!" "What are you going father. The candle lurched up against the wall when they got into the room. took the candle. instead ." George's "Well. and the other crawling in from the opposite side of the compass. There was "Joe!" silence : for a moment." said my pillow." replied Joe." "Yes!" "How have you got on?" . "here's his feet on my bed. and they had to undress and grope into bed in the dark. there's a man in father.

and the wind among the branches. I thought it might have been the same inn. I did get to sleep for a few hours. 1 49 you the I my man's chucked me out. "but precisely that very same thing happened to my father once at a country inn." We I turned in at ten that night. and it had disappeared by ness of the boat. I thought should sleep well. no. the sound of the lapping water round the boat. "The Pig and Whistle. "Why?" "Ah. it's tell the tale.THREE "Well. "What do you mean?" queried George. I undress and put my head on the pillow. I've often heard him 5 ' "Why. to tell MEN IN A truth. and then some part of the boat which seemed to have grown up in the night for it certainly was not there when we started. I slept . kept me restless and disturbed. to-night. and my head on anmy other). being tired but I didn't. and says is half-past seemed against me with feet but. the hard: . so curious. everything eight the novelty of it all. do you?" "What was the name of that inn?" said Harris. I "So's mine! don't think much of this inn. As a rule. then it isn't the same." say." said George. and then somebody bangs it at the door." replied Harris. murmured Harris. the the morning kept digging into my spine. cramped position (I was lying under one seat. and . BOAT.

because other- would accumulate so. and that they were cutting a hole in my back with a gimlet. It seemed as if. they were talking with her. thought I slipped on what clothes I could find about some of my own. and they should have it at the end of the month. But they would not hear of that. I got cross with them after a bit. and my head ached would step out into the cool night air. so whose small feet have some dim-lit temple of the god they have been taught to worship but know not and. so as to try and I thought it very unkind of them. these We are as children strange stars. and left the quiet earth alone with the stars. and told them quite what I thought of them. so cold. . standing where the echoing dome spans the long strayed into . and get it out. their sister conversing of mighty mysteries in voices too vast and deep for childish to catch the sound. us. I told them I would owe them the money. human ears They awe clear. The boat seemed I I so stuffy. and then they gave the gimlet such an excruciating wrench that I wise the interest woke up. while we her children slept. in the silence and the hush. The moon had sunk. and said it would be much better if they had it then. dreaming that I had swallowed a sovereign. . and some of George's and Harris's and crept under the canvas on to the bank. It was a glorious night.15 THREE MEN IX A BOA T. through it for a while.

because there is no language heart is full . like some great loving mother. shadowy light. borne on her dark wings. seems so full of comfort and of strength. Then Night. some awful vision hovering there. may not speak of it. and Sometimes. In its great presence. and. and the pain is gone. we know what she though would say. we stand before her very silent. she does not speak. The day has been so full of fret and care. glance up. only a moan. Only those who have worn the crown of suffering can look upon that wondrous light and they. our small sorrows creep away. the wondrous light of that great Presence. and lay our hot flushed cheek against tle tear-stained faces . Night's of pity for us: she cannot ease our aching she takes our hand in hers. vista of the 151 half afraid to see And yet it the night. ashamed. gently lays her hand upon our fevered head.THREE MEN IN A BOAT. and smiles and. . her bosom. . we pass for a moment and all into a mightier Presence than her own. when they return. human life lies like a book before us. for our pain. and the world has seemed so hard and wrong to us. and the little world grows very small and very far away beneath us. our pain is very deep and real. and our hearts have been so full of evil and of bitter thoughts. and we in know of that Pain and Sorrow are but the angels God. half hoping. and turns our lit- up to hers. or tell the mystery they know.

so that way in therein. he had befallen : And lain him down to die. there rode lay Once upon a time. torn and bleeding. when they reached the fair castle toward which they had been journeying. lo through the savage gloom there came to him a stately . wandered far away. and had wandered many wood days and nights. and tore the flesh of them that lost their trees that thick. and many sad wounds were on his sweet beggar's. as they passed by that dark wood. mourning him as one dead. they questioned him. some goodly knights. missing his comrades. flesh. but upon his face there shone a great radi. there came the comrade they had lost. and returned to them no more. And. and their path by a deep wood. and drank a loving measure. and His clothes were ragged. ! Then. when he was nigh unto death. where tangled briars grew very thick and strong. as they sat in cheerful ease around the logs that burned in the great hall. through a strange country. and they. ance of deep joy. till. Now. and made merry and one night. And the leaves of the grew no ray the wood were very dark and of light came through the branches to lighten the gloom and sadness. sorely grieving. they stayed there many days.152 THREE MEX IN A BOAT. like a greeted them. one knight of those that rode. asking him what had him and he told them how in the darkhe had lost his way. rode on without him.

that of his bleeding wounds he thought no more. and took him by the hand and led him en through devious paths. vision. and the knight. seen the vision that lay there hid. so he had . . unknown to any man. and so glorious. in that wondrous our wayworn knight saw as in a dream a light. whose joy is deep as is the sea. but stood as one entranced. so fair the vision seemed. And the name of the dark forest was Sorrow but of the vision that the good knight saw therein we may not speak nor tell. . And the vision faded.THREE MEN IN A BOA T. kneeling that sad upon the ground. whereof no man can tell the depth. thanked the good saint who into wood had strayed his steps. 153 maiden. until upon the darkness of the wood there dawned a light such as the light of day was unto but as a little lamp unto the sun and.

only worse. tion on the part of J. i4p George. when he was lodging by himself in the house 154 . Harris. and Montmorency do not like Heroism and determinathe look of the cold water. we should have dropped off while we were looking at our watches. As there was no earthly necessity for our getting up under another two hours at the very least. Historical retro- the use spect. Harris as cook. and our getting up at that time was an six the next WOKE at utter absurdity. once upon a time. and tried to go to sleep Had there again. been any particular reason why we should not have gone to sleep again. but we could not. and found George awake too. and have slept till ten. George and his shirt : story with a moral. got early in the morn- ing. had happened to him some eighteen months ago. it was only in keeping with the natural cussedness of things in general that we should both feel that lying down for five minutes more would be death to us. We both turned round.CHAPTER How XI. specially inserted for of schools. morning. George said that the same kind of thing. but have got up and dressed then and there. George.

and shaved himself in cold water because there was not time to wait for the hot. but certain it was that from a quarter past eight it had begun to go. so the fact that it was still very dark when George woke in the morning was no guide to him as to the time. he forgot to up when he went to bed (an unusual occur. this is a shame!" And he flung the watch down. no breakfast. and now pointed to twenty minutes to nine. George snatched it up. In the sitting-room. rence with him). and had a cold bath. Whether the shaking it had received in being thrown down on the bed had started it. 155 He said his watch went wrong one evening. He reached up. Why didn't somebody call me? Oh. It was a quarter past eight. and hauled down his watch. and hung it up over his pillow wind it without ever looking at the thing. George said it was a : .THREE MEN IN A BOA T. of a certain Mrs. and rushed downstairs. Gippings. and washed himself. . all was dark and silent there was no fire. and stopped past eight. very near the shortest day. and then rushed and had another look at the watch. for some reason or other. and dressed himself. George could not say. "Angels and ministers of grace defend us !" exclaimed George "and here have I got to be in the City by nine. He did not know at a quarter this at the time because. or how it was. and a week of fog into the bargain. It was in the winter when this happened. and sprang out of bed.

He stooped down and felt his legs. with his watch still in his hand.15^ THREE MEN IN A BOA T. G. one of whom was a policeman a market-cart full of cabbages. respectable time. and he made up his mind to tell her what he thought of her when he came home in the evening. The door was not even unbolted. seizing his umbrella.. Not a shutter was down not a bus was about There were three men in sight. and a dilapidated looking cab. unlocked and unbolted the door. wicked shame of Mrs. George anathematized Mrs. morning. but still it seemed an unusual course to stop all business on that account. and asked him if he knew what the time was. and thought it was very strange that people could not get up at a decent. he went up to the policeman. and that there were no shops It was certainly a very dark and foggy open. G. He had to go to business: why should other people stop in bed merely because it was dark and foggy At length he reached Holborn. "What's the time?" said the man. and ran out. eyeing George ! ! ! . and. He ran hard for a quarter of a mile. Then he dashed on his greatcoat and hat. for a lazy old woman. Then. and at the end of that distance it began to be borne in upon him as a strange and curious thing that there were so few people about. . made for the front door. George pulled out his watch and looked at it: it was five minutes to nine! He stood still and counted his pulse.

and let himself in. would sit he determined he would not. "well. musing as he walked along." said his George. . . up . but and go to sleep in the easy-chair. showing "Do you know where you dian live?" said the guarof public order. nine. he determined to un- dress and go to bed again but when he thought of the re-dressing and re-washing. '57 up and down with evident suspicion "why. "But injured it's only gone three!" said George in an tone. and how many did you want it to go?" replied the constable. "Well. "Oh! that's where it is. and a neighboring clock imme- diately obliged." George listened. is it?" replied the man. George thought.THREE listen MEN IN A BOA T." And George went home again. if you you will hear it strike. . when it had finished. "Why. and take that watch of yours with you and don't let's have any more of it. At first. when he got in. watch. and gave the address. and the having of another bath. severely. you take my advice and go there quietly.

heard the regulation flip-flop Of course. and this had such an effect upon him at last that he began to feel as if he really had done something. they looked as did not believe him. : But he could not get to sleep he never felt more wakeful in his life so he lit the lamp and got out the chess-board. and played himself a game of chess. But even that did not enliven him it seemed slow somehow so he gave chess up and tried to read. It he put on his was horribly lonesome and dismal. He thought he would light the fire when he got inside. They saw him go in with his key. and two plainthough they clothes constables came home with him to see if four o'clock he really did live where he had said he did. and when he answered. sort of interest in reading either. just to . and make himself some breakfast. and he got to slinking down the by-streets and hiding in dark door- ways when he approaching. and they would come and rout him out and ask him what he was doing there. "Nothing. and turned their lanterns on him and followed him about. BOAT. He did not seem able to take any : .I5 8 THREE MEN IN A . so coat again and went out for a walk." he had merely come out for a stroll (it was then in the morning). and then they took up a position opposite and watched the house. this conduct made the force only more distrustful of him than ever. and all the policemen he met regarded him with undisguised suspicion.

THREE pass MEN IN A . and that she would think was burglars and open the window and call "Police !" and then these two detectives would rush in and handcuff him. and wrapped himself up in his overcoat and sat in the easy-chair till Mrs. and his being sentenced to twenty years' penal servitude. and that he would have his lace-up boots. and he pictured the trial. and nobody believing him. We soon let him know where he was. The third prod did it and he turned over on the other side. and his trying to explain the circumstances to the jury. and he sat up suddenly. and on his finishing it I set to work to wake up Harris with a scull. came down at half-past seven. G. up. So he gave up trying to get breakfast. We had been sitting huddled up in our rugs while George had been telling me this true story. He said he had never got up too early since that morning: it had been such a warning to him. however. 159 away the time but he did not seem able to handle anything from a scuttleful of coals to a teaspoon without dropping it or falling over it. and making such a noise that he was in mortal fear that it would wake Mrs. and march him off to it the police court. sending Montmorency. and said he would be down in a minute. BOA T. G. and his mother dying of a broken heart. by the aid of the hitcher. who had been : . He was in a morbidly nervous state by this time.

spring into the river with a joyous shout. sprawling across the boat. pulled up the canvas. delicious swim. or weeds. and revel in a long. looked damp and chilly: the wind felt cold. fling off our rugs and shawls. sorted out his trousers. who's going to be first in?" said Harris at last. and looked down at the water and shivered. had been that we should get up early in the morning. now the morning had come. though I did not relish the plunge. as if merely thinking of the thing had given him the horrors. "Well. Somehow. Montmorency gave vent to an involuntary howl. There might be snags I meant to comproabout. I did not altogether like to give in. so I took a towel and crept out on the bank and wormed my way along on to the branch of a tree that dipped down into the water* . George he was concerned by retiring into the boat and pulling on his socks. and. mise matters by going down to the edge and just throwing the water over myself. and all four of us poked our heads out over the off-side. Then we throwing back the canvas. The idea. and went back and settled the matter so far as There was no rush for precedence. sleeping the sleep of the just right on the middle of his chest. and Harris said it would be so difficult to get into the boat again. I thought.160 THREE MEN IN A BOAT. overnight. The water the notion seemed less tempting.

I accidentally jerked wild. "I didn't think as I came blowing to the surface. "By Jove old J. water inside he'd have the pluck to do it.'s gone in. the silly branch gave way. would not throw the water over mythought self after all." I spluttered back. I worlds." I heard Harris say. and I turned to do so. and. "Lovely. Did you?" "Is it all right?" sung out George. especially as George could not see anything to . and I and the towel went in to- gether with a tre- mendous splash. as was bitterly cold.THREE MEN IX A BOA T. in my hurry to get my shirt It on. I it into the water." But I could not persuade them. It 161 The wind cut like a knife. Rather an amusing thing happened while dressI was very cold when I got ing that morning. I would go back into the boat and dress. and. back into the boat. little Why wont you wouldn't have missed this for It only wants a try it? determination. made me awfully burst out laughing. I I I turned. "You are duffers not to come in. and I was out midstream with a gallon of Thames ! me before I knew what had happened.

George's. George so. "You silly cuckoo! Why can't you be more careful what you're doing? Why the deuce don't you go and dress on the bank? You're not fit to be in a boat. And the more looked from George's wet shirt to George. just as I was landing the noticed that it was not my shirt at all." see the fun of the thing. is but he could not. the louder. MEX I AV A BOA T. roaring with laughter. I And then. very dense at seeing . between his shrieks. which I had mistaken for mine whereupon the humor of the thing struck me for the first time. springing up. and I laughed so much that I had to let the shirt fall I back into the water again. a joke sometimes. I was laughing so. and I pointed out to him what a drivelling maniac of an imbecile idiot he was. but . but. and he only never saw a man laugh so much. "Ar'n't you-you going to get it out?" said George. the more I was amused. between my peals I managed to jerk out "It isn't I : my shirt it's yours/" never saw a man's face change from lively to severe so suddenly in all my life before. I could not answer him at all for a while. but he only roared laugh and I told laughed the more.162 THREE at. I quite lost my temper with him at last. shirt. you're not. at last. I tried to make Gimme him George the hitcher. and / began to laugh. "What!" he yelled.

We thought at .THREE eggs for breakfast. flicking his finIndeed. and preventing them from running up his sleeve . that he was very good them He had some or rather not so much trouble in breaking the eggs trouble in breaking them exactly as in getting them into the frying-pan when broken. and we handed him out the stove and the frying-pan and all the eggs that had not smashed and gone over everything in the hamper. and begged him to begin. tasted his scrambled eggs. l6j Harris proposed that we should have scrambled seemed. It made our mouths water to hear him talk about the things. but pined away and died when they could not get them. seemed harrassing work. and then squatted down by the side of the stove and chivied It them about with a fork. and keeping them off his trowsers. would cook them. account. never cared for any other food afterward. so far as George and I could judge. from his at doing scrambled eggs. Whenever he went near the pan he burned himself. so we gathered from his conversation. every gers about and cursing the things. He was People who had once quite famous for them. He often did at picnics and when out on yachts. It MEN IN A He said he BOA T. but he fixed some half-a-dozen into the pan at last. time George and I looked round at him he was sure to be performing this feat. and then he would drop everything and dance round the stove.

V ^ BOAT. as we looked out upon the river in the morning sunlight. and we fancied that it must be some Red Indian or Sandwich Islands sort of dish that required dances and incantations for its proper cooking. and. of the culinary first was a necessary part arrangements. Altogether it was one of the most interesting and exciting operations I have ever witnessed. and then he began dancing and cursing. There seemed so little to show for the business. and the wind had dropped The sun had it and Little was was as lovely a in sight to morning as one could desire remind us of the nineteenth century. George and I were both quite sorry when it was over. and all that came out was a teaspoonful of burnt and unappetizing looking mess. We did not know what scrambled eggs were. Harris said it was the fault of the frying-pan.1 64 that it THREE ME A' 7. got more powerful by the time we had finished breakfast. Six eggs had gone into the frying-pan. and thought it would have gone better if we had had a fish-kettle and a gas-stove and we decided not to attempt the dish again until we had those . Montmorency went and put his nose over it once. aids to housekeeping by us. we could almost fancy that the centuries between us and that ever-to-be- famous June morning of 1215 had been drawn . and the fat spluttered up and scalded him. The result was not altogether the success that Harris had anticipated.

165 and that we. soft. and the shouts of captains.THREE aside. the meaning whereof was to be translated to the common people some four hundred and odd years later by one Oliver Cromwell. were waiting there to witness the writing of that stupendous page of history.V A BOAT. . who had deeply studied it. English yeoman's sons in homespun cloth. and eat and drink deep. and bellow forth roystering drinking songs. And all the evening long the timid townsmen's doors have had to be quick opened to let in rough groups of soldiers. plaintiff and executioner. billmen. King John has slept at Duncroft Hall. pikemen. and strange-speaking foreign spearmen. MEX 7. But through the air there runs a thrill of coming stir. all travel-stained and dusty. and pays for what it takes by sparing those from whom it takes it. if it pleases it to do so. for whom there must be found both board and lodging. It is a fine summer morning sunny. and the grim oaths and surly jests of bearded bowmen. and still. Round still more the camp-fire in the market-place gather of the Barons' troops. . and the clatter of great horses over its rough stones. and all the day before the little town of Staines has echoed to the clang of armed men. with dirk at belt. or woe betide the house and all within for the sword is judge and jury. in these tempestuous times. Gay-cloaked companies of knights and squires have ridden in. and the best of both.

and gamble and quarrel as the evening grows and deepens into night. and brawny country wenches. with sentinel in each dark street. and the sound of many workmen. The children of the town steal round to watch them. and over this fair valley of old Thame has broken the morning of the great day that is to close so big with the fate of ages tered. And so. there has been great clamor. The great pavilion brought there yester eve is being raised. Ever since gray dawn. peering faces. now despised. The firelight sheds quaint shadows on their piled-up arms and on their uncouth forms. who.1 66 THREE MEN IN A BOA T. draw near to bandy ale-house jest and jibe with the swaggering troopers. wondering. in the lower of the two islands. with vacant grins upon their And out from the fields broad. and carpenters are busy nailing tiers of seats. around. laughing. so unlike the village swains. yet unborn. the night has worn away. just above where we are standing. glitter the faint lights of more distant camps. lo down upon the road that winds along the river's bank from Staines there come ! . while 'prentices from London town are there with many-colored stuffs and silks and cloth of gold and silver. stand apart behind. And now. and twinkling watch-fires on each height around. as here some great lord's followers lie musand there false John's French mercenaries hover like crouching wolves without the town.

passes along to take his station at the head of his serfs and vassals. the way seems thick with glittering steel and prancing steeds. a half a score of stalwart halbertmen Barons' men. march up along the road ever fresh groups and bands of armed men. until. from hour to hour. just oppoare gathered the wondering rustics and curi- ous townsfolk. who have run from Staines. for they have heard such tales before. with his guard of squires around him. and lean upon their arms. . in 167 laughing and talking together deep gutteral bass. and wait. and none are quite sure what the bustle is about. And all the river down to Staines is dotted with small craft and boats and tiny coracles which last are growing out of favor now. and little banners are fluttering lazily in the warm breeze. and some great Baron on his war-horse. And shouting horsemen are galloping from group to group.THREE toward us. . and are used only by . these and halt at a hundred yards or so above us. as far as eye can reach. MEN IN A BOAT. but each one has a different version of the great event that they have come to see and some say that much good to all the people will come from this day's work but the old men shake their heads. their casques and breastplates flashing back the long low lines of morning sunlight. on the other bank. the ranks And up site. And so. the slope of Cooper's Hill. and every now and then there is a deeper stir as make way on either side.

He rides to where the barges lie in readiness. there ride the yeomen of the Barons.1 68 THREE folk. and the great Barons step forth from their ranks to meet him. where in after the poorer Over the rapids. and the pattering of many hoofs grows louder. and the rumor many has run round that slippery John has again escaped from the Barons' grasp. as though it were some feast in his honor to which he had been invited. Far down the road a little cloud of dust has risen. and pleasant honeyed words. the people have been an hour. there pushes on its way a brilliant cavalcade of gay-dressed lords and knights. years trim Bell Weir lock will stand. Not so! This time the grip upon . and either flank. and in the midst King John. they have been forced or dragged by their sturdy rowers. and in and out between the scattered groups of drawn-up men. and will soon be doing other work than signing him has been one of iron. he casts one charters for his people's liberty. MEN IN A BOA T. which lie in readiness to bear King John to where the fateful Charter waits his signing. And front and rear. and he has slid and wriggled in vain. But as he rises to dismount. and we and waiting patient for Duncroft Hall with his mercenaries at his heels. and now are crowding up as near as they dare come to the great covered barges. He greets them with a smile and laugh. and draws nearer and grows larger. and has stolen away from It is all noon.

mailed hand upon the sword-hilt. and the word is ! given to let go. blow at the unsusone cry to his French troops. and we wait in breathless silence till a great shout cleaves the air. they grate against the bank of the little island that from this day will bear the name of Magna Charta Island. and the great corner-stone in England's temple of erty has. till. and the taste of freedom held back for a hundred years. bright-decked barges leave the shore of Runningmede. and these rebellious Barons might rue the day they dared to thwart A bolder hand might have turned the his plans! even at that point. and he dismounts and takes his seat in the foremost And the Barons follow in. Had it been a Richard game there the cup of liberty might have been dashed from England's lips. .THREE drawn up Is it MEN IN A BOAT. Slowly against the swift current they work their ponderous way. too late ? One fierce pecting horseman at his side. But the heart of King John sinks before the stern faces of the English fighting men. And King John has stepped upon the shore. and the arm of King John drops back on to his rein. 169 hurried glance from his own French mercenaries in the rear to the grim ranks of the Barons' men that hem him in. with a low grumble. one desperate charge upon the unready lines before him. lib- now we know. with each barge. been firmly laid. Slowly the heavy.

170 . and Anne XII. thus recalled from the days of the glorious past to the prosaic present. We are WAS sitting on the bank. cursed. and had a look at the stone which stands in the cottage there and on which the great Charter is said to have been signed though. Disadvantages of livA trying ing in same house with pair of lovers. Homeless and houseless. perhaps I would not mind helping to wash up and. . Boleyn.CHAPTER Henry VIII. as to whether it really . Three fishers. night A the picturesque. with all its misery and sin. An Maidenhead. High price for mustard. A fearful battle. Effect of prepares sudden Joy on Harris. conjuring up this scene to myself. Han is angel comes along. polishing it up finally with George's wet shirt. We went over to Magna Charta Island. to die. A little supper. marked that when I when George was quite re- rested. search for time for the English nation. I slid down into the boat and cleaned out the frying-pan with a stick of wood and a tuft of grass. Lunch. Sailing.

had I been one of the Barons. when you get in. give weight to the popular island theory. As far as I my own inclined however. There are the ruins of an old priory in the grounds of Ankerwyke House. and. and you you march off there. Emily is over by the window. or. and your friend. and it was round about the grounds of this old priory that Henry VIII. . which is close to Picnic Point. As you open the door. 171 was signed there. as some say. is at the other end of the room with his whole soul held in thrall by photographs of other people's relatives. is said to have waited for and met Anne Boleyn. Have you ever been in a house where there are a couple courting? It is most trying. Certainly. You think will go and sit in the drawing-room. I should have strongly urged upon my comrades the advisability of our getting such a slippery customer as King John on to the island. you hear a noise as if somebody had suddenly recollected something. Albans. at the time. full of interest in the opposite side of the road." I decline to commit myself.THREE MEN IN A BOA T. am to personal opinion goes. John Edward. It must have been difficult for to the people of England in those days have found a spot where these thoughtless young folk were not spooning. He also used to meet her at Hever Castle in Kent. where there was less chance of surprises and tricks. on the other bank at "Runningmede. and also somewhere near St.

. Half an hour later. "Oh !" and Emily says that papa does not lit then you say you light the gas?" he hadn't noticed it : . pausing at the door. tell them one or two items of news. you go and sit in your own ." BOA T. The only will try a chair in the place is occupied by Emily. and John Edward. and are surprised to find that the door immediately closes behind you. after ten minutes of such style of conversation.I 72 THREE MEN IN A here. very dark. and shuts itself. so!" but this does not appear to interest question All they remark on any subject is. "I didn't know anybody was "Oh! didn't you?" says Emily coldly. and slip out." and "You don't say And. after walking up and down the stairs for a while. you think you pipe in the conservatory. like the gas in the afternoon. You are afraid to poke your nose into any room in the house now so. if the language of clothes can be relied upon. Why don't John Edward says. "Oh!" you say. in a tone which implies that she does not believe you. has evidently been sitting on the floor. and them your views and opinions on the Irish give You them. "Oh !" . and you back out promptly and shut the door behind you. you edge up to the door. but they give you a look that says all that can be said in a civilized community. They do not speak. without "Is it?" your having touched it. "Did he?" "Yes. You hang about "It's for a bit.

You walk down the path. sort of thing. Henry VIII. I'm so glad to see you met Mr. you are following them into one corner of . bedroom. and as you pass the summer-house you glance in. however. r . was courting his little Anne. "Yes. he'd just come over to see a man" and Anne would have said. People in Buckinghamshire would have come upon them unexpectedly when they were mooning round Windsor and W raysbury. when they got there. and you rush back to the hall and get your umbrella and go out.THREE MEN IN A BOAT. and so you put on your hat and stroll out into the garden. 173 This becomes uninteresting. and have exclaimed. It must have been much like this when that foolish boy Henry VIII. and the first thing they would see in Kent. We'll go down to Kent. huddled up it and they see you. the same ! Isn't in it funny? I've just the lane." they would go to Kent. "Why don't they have a special room for this and make people keep to it?" you mutter. and are under the idea that. and there are those two young idiots. And . for some wicked evidently purpose of your own. "Oh. after a time." Then those people would have gone away and said to themselves: "Oh! we'd better get out of here while this billing and cooing is on. about. "Oh! you here!" and Henry would have blushed and said. and he's going way I am.

Albans. Albans nice quiet place.174 THREE AIEX IX A BOA T. go away. . kissing under the Abbey Then these folks would go and be pirates walls. St. drat this!" they would have said. "Here. there would be that wretched couple. let's "Oh. would be Henry and Anne fooling round Hever Castle. Albans. Let's go to St. until the marriage was over. I can't stand any more of it." And when they reached St.

THREE From MEN IN A BOA T. George and I towed up past the Home Park. and on a matter of this kind you can Harris's word. Edward the Confessor had a palace here. and it choked him. dotted here and there with dainty little cottages. "If I choke am guilty. After you pass Old Windsor. and when we landed at Datchet at ten o'clock at night. Earl Godwin broke a piece of bread and held it in his hand. It was the Saturday before the August Bank . and a place where a very good glass of ale may be drunk so take Harris says. the river is somewhat uninteresting. runs by the bank up to the "Bells of Ouseley. as most up-river inns are. "may this bread Then he put the bread into his mouth and swallowed it. Old Windsor is a famous its spot in way. George asked me if I remembered our first trip up the river." a picturesque inn. and he died. A shady road." said the me when I eat it !" Earl. It will be some time before I forget it. and here the great Earl Godwin was proved guilty by the justice of that age of having encompassed the death of the King's brother. which stretches along the right bank from Albert to Victoria Bridge and as we were passing Datchet. and does not become itself again until you are nearing Boveney. I answered that I did remember it. and wanted to go to bed. . 175 is Picnic Point to Old Windsor Lock a delightful bit of the river.

and creeper over the porch. and such like things. We were tired and hungry. "there's the Manor House. and it had honeysuckle on like the it. and started off to look for Holiday. and see if there isn't one with honey: diggings. then. That was a very nice hotel. too." he said. suckle over it. with clematis We passed a very pretty little hotel. the hamper. you are coming away from them. and didn't like it no honeysuckle over it. and he wore ugly boots so we went on further. and then we met a look of a : man. and. just opposite. man at all. but Harris did not man who was leaning against He said he didn't look a nice the front door. You must turn right round and go back. we had been there." "Well. and then you will come to the Stag. don't let's go in there! Let's go on a bit further." : We said "Oh." So we went on till we came to another hotel. we same and when we got to Datchet we took out three. and the rugs and coats. and asked him to direct us to a few. but there was no honeysuckle about it. the two bags. Have you tried that?" . and I said "Oh. round at the side. He said : "Why.1 7 <* THREE MEN IN A BOA T. I had got my mind fixed on honeysuckle. for some reason or other. We went a goodish way without coming across any more hotels.

Then George spoke up. good-evening. I his hair. "Very afraid we sorry. 177 Harris replied that we did not want to go didn't like the looks of a man who was Harris did not like the color of stopping there "Well. and have some people made to put in." replied the man. and laid them down in the hall. can't we?" he continued. gentlemen. he was going back to the Stag. I'm sure. if we liked." said George. For his part. and followed George. turning to Harris and me. said our informant you'll do. "two will of us can sleep in one bed." "we want . "What on earth are we to do?" cried Harris. please." "but I'm "Oh. in "None." "Oh. never mind. We took our traps into the Stag." said the landlord can't manage it." "because they are the only two inns "No the place. don't know what . sir." said George. well. and Harris and I sighed over the hollowness of all earthly desires. three beds. either." other inns!" exclaimed Harris. Two .THREE there MEN IN A BOA T. He said Harris and I could get an hotel built for us. The greatest minds never realize their ideals in any matter. didn't like his boots. The landlord came up and said : "Good-evening. do.

Three gentlemen sleeping on the billiard-table already. and went over to the I It was a pretty little place. and two in the coffeeroom." This staggered us for a bit. doorstep with the teenth party she had turned away within the last hour and a half.I7 8 THREE MEN IN A BOAT. she The landlady met us on the greeting that we were the four- laughed . laughing cheerily. billiard-room. who is an old traveler. But Harris." We said I Manor House. besides. yes." again repeated the landlord : "but we really haven't got a bed vacant in the whole house." "Very sorry. "Oh. "Oh. we are putting two. the poor fellow couldn't help having red hair. as it is. Harris spoke quite kindly and sensibly about it. and we needn't look at the man with the red hair. sir. and. rose to the occasion. and Harris said. sir." it would be all right. said must rough it. In fact. or coal-cellars. well. and even three gentlemen in one bed. The people at the Manor House did not wait to hear us talk. "Very sorry. we can't help it. As for our meek suggestions of stables. You must give us a shake-down in the billiard: We room. I Harris said. picked up our things." he thought George and could sleep in one bed very easily. "Oh. yes. I should like it better than the thought other house. Can't possibly take you in to-night.

mind but there was a little beer shop half a mile down the Eton road \Ve waited to hear no more. There were only three beds in the whole house. The distance seemed more like a mile than half a mile. we reached the place and rushed. From there . at the beer shop were rude. This old woman walked very slowly. 179 all to scorn all these nooks had been snatched up long ago. if we didn't mind roughing it she did not recommend it. The grocer's was full. and ran. The people ever. into the bar.THREE them : MEN IN A BOAT. the various pains she had in her back. next door to the Stag. panting. She enlivened the journey by describing to us. and we were twenty minutes getting to her lady friend's. we caught up the hamper and the bags. to a lady friend of hers. An old woman we met the shop then kindly took us along with her for a quarter of a mile. They merely laughed at us. and parcels. and they had seven single gentlemen and two married couples sleeping A kind-hearted bargeman. and we went back. howthere already. and the coats and rugs. as we trailed along. who in occasionally let rooms to gentlemen. Her lady friend's rooms were let. who happened to be in the tap-room. thought we might try the grocer's. but at last. Did she know of any place in the whole village where we could get shelter for the night? "Well.

to not one handy come with him. could he recommend us to an empty pigsty.180 THREE MEN IN A BOA T. with a can of beer in one hand. 27 was to No. and he would like to die there. fell upon his neck there in the moonlight and blessed him. this producing a peculunattractive sound. or. his if we liked mother had a room to and could put us up for the night. At that moment an angel came by in the disguise of a small boy (and I cannot think of any more effective disguise an angel could have assumed). if not this. We . and to tell all his relations that he forgave them and died happy. and in the other something at the end of a string. He disused limekiln. and then pulled up again. and Harris sat down on the hamper and said he would go no further. 27. whose occupants were few and feeble (old ladies or paralyzed gentlemen preferred). He requested George and me to kiss his mother for him. He said it seemed a quiet spot. and sent us to No. or anything of that did not know of any such place at . who could be easily frightened into giving up their beds for the night to three desperate men. full. iarly \Ve asked this heavenly messenger (as we discovered him afterward to be) if he knew of any lonely house. suggestive of suffering. and 32 was full. we were recommended No. least. Then we went back into the highroad. which he let down on to every flat stone he came across. but he said that. 32. or a sort. and it would have made a very spare.

and two pots of tea. It was a little four-roomed cottage where the boy lived. down on top . on while we bathed. There were two beds in the room one was a 2ft. To return to our present trip: nothing exciting happened. and we found him. We tackled the cold beef for lunch. with two feet of bare leg sticking out at the bottom. truckle bed.THREE MEN IN A BOAT. and Harris had that all to himself. in the morning. and left George and me to bring on the luggage. l8l beautiful picture if the boy himself had not been so overpowered by our emotion as to be unable to sustain himself under letting us all and sunk to the ground. and then we found that we had forgotten to bring any . Harris was so overcome with joy that he fainted. and George and I slept in that. where we drew up and lunched. and we tugged steadily on to a little below Monkey Island. and we ate it all five pounds and a jam tart afterward. next time we went to Datchet. of him. and kept in by tying ourselves together with a sheet and the other was the little boy's bed. and then he started off at a run. \Ve were not so uppish about what sort of hotel we would have. . and then we went to bed. and his mother good soul !---gave us hot bacon for supper. and George and I used it to hang the towels it. and had to seize the boy's beer-can and half empty it before he could recover consciousness. 6in.

Harris said he would have given worlds for mustard too. don't think ever in my life. or since. but any one who had brought me a spoonful of mustard at that precise moment could don't know how many worlds have had them all. He said it was a scandalous imposition. there being no . of course. and for it then. when he came to a little most shanty where they kept it. once say he would give worlds for a glass of beer. I grow reckless like that when I want a thing and can't get it. mustard. surdly out of proportion they are with the value of the required article. It would have been a good thing for anybody who had come up to that spot with a can of mustard. there may be in the universe. he kicked up a fearful row because they charged him five of francs for a bottle Bass. and it I would have given worlds I wanted mustard as badly as I felt I then. and. One makes these extravagant offers in moments of excitement. I heard a man. and he wrote to the Times about It it. before felt I wanted it rule.1 82 I THREE MEN IN A I BOA T. I don't care for mustard as a is very seldom that I take it at all. when one comes to think of it. then he would have been set : dare say both Harris and I would have tried to back out of the bargain after we had got the mustard. going up a mountain in Switzerland. one sees how ab! up But there in worlds for the rest of his I life. cast a gloom over the boat. but.

three of us. There was no Then Harris . and rolled it into the middle of the boat. tried to open the tin with a and broke the knife and cut himself pocket-knife. and the tin rolled over. we felt that life was worth living after all. with. Then we all got mad. and Harris got a spoon ready. We took that tin out on the bank. We smiled at one another. it. We pulled up the boards at the bottom of the boat. We took everything out on to the bank and shook tin-opener to be found. when George drew out a tin of pine-apple from the bottom of the hamper. and broke a teacup. We thought of the happy days of childhood. 183 We ate our beef in silence. and nearly put his eye out. We We turned out the bags. and. over the apple-tart. badly and George tried a pair of scissors. uninjured. We He are very fond of pine-apple. and sighed. mustard. looked at the picture on the tin we thought of the juice. While they were dressing their wounds.THREE MEX IN A BOAT. Existence seemed hollow and uninteresting. and the scissors flew up. all . and the hitcher slipped and jerked me out between the boat and the bank into two feet of muddy water. and Harris went up into a field and got . Then we looked for the knife to open the tin turned out everything in the hamper. I tried to make a hole in the thing with the spiky end of the hitcher. however. We brightened up a bit.

a big sharp stone. whereupon Harris took it in hand. and hamat it with the mast till I was worn out and sick at heart. of a winter's evening. There was one great dent across the top that had the appearance of a mocking grin. and I went back into the boat and brought out the mast. and it drove us furious. Then George went at it. strength It was George's straw hat that saved his it my life He keeps that hat now (what is left of that day. I took the tin off myself. and caught it up. so unearthly in its wild hideousness. mered We beat it it out flat . and the stirring tale is told anew.1 84 THREE MEN IN A BOA T. After that. and. and gathered up all and brought it down. we beat it back square . that he got frightened and threw away the mast. Harris got off with merely a flesh wound. George brings it down and shows it round. and knocked it into a shape so strange. so weird. when the pipes are it). Then we all three sat round it on the grass and looked at it. we battered but we into every form known to geometry could not make a hole in it. and . and George held the tin and Harris held the sharp end of his stone against the top of it. so that Harris rushed at the thing. and I took the mast and poised high in the air. with fresh exaggerations every time. lit and the boys are telling stretchers about the dangers they have passed through.

THREE MEN IN A BOA T. and then eased up. as a rule on the river. when we were the lock. 185 flung it far into the middle of the river. his "little place" at and the heroine three-volume novel always dines there when she goes out on the spree \vith somebody else's husband. and . just below had tea. patronized chiefly by dudes and ballet girls. and never paused till we reached Maidenhead. A stiffish through breeze had sprung up in our favor. and as it sank we hurled our curses at it. in one long harmony of blended shades of fairy green. the wind is always dead It is against against you whatever way you go. the sweetest the river. it was evening. is the haunt of the river swell and his overdressed female companion. unbroken loveliness all stretch of up in the backwater. In its this is. and lingeringly we slowly drew our little boat away from its deep peace. for. for a wonder. perhaps. and. from the water's edge. It is the town of showy hotels. and rose up. Maidenhead itself is too snobby to be pleasant. pulled We Cookham. went through Maidenhead quickly. It is the witch's kitchen from which It go forth those launches. and we got into the boat and rowed away from the spot. of the demons of the river steamThe London Journal duke always has Maidenhead . and took leisurely that grand reach beyond Boulter's and Cookham locks. Clieveden We Woods still wore their dainty dress of spring.

then the wind is consistently in your favor both ways. and man was born to trouble as the sparks fly upward. We kept very quiet about it.morning. after tea. thinking how easy it will be to come back with the sail. however. and got the sail up quickly before they ! . they had evidently made a mistake. the wind veers round. Then. When you forget to take the sail at all. and you have to pull hard in its teeth all the way home. when you start for a day's and you pull a long distance.1 86 THREE MEN IN A BOA T. This evening. and had put the wind round at our back instead of in our face. you trip. in the. But there this world is only a probation.

And the red sunset threw a fire mystic light upon the waters. and no one spoke. and then we spread ourselves about the boat in thoughtful attitudes. plodding. and the boat I flew. We had the river to ourselves. and tinged with . raising you up against her heart! Your spirit is at one with hers. we could see that the three men fishing seemed old and solemn-looking men. on which three fishermen sat and we skimmed over the water. you know not where.THREE MEN IN A BOA T. comes as near to flying as know of man has got to yet except in dreams. is There than no more It thrilling sensation I sailing. I was steering. The wings of the rushing wind seem to be bearing you onward. . are brothers. steered. we could see a fishing-punt. intently their lines. and watched . They sat on three chairs in the punt. ! ous arms are round you. creeping tortuously upon the ground you are a part of Nature Your heart is throbbing against hers! Her glorilow. and strained. so close above your head. '187 found it out. and you stretch your arms to them. and passed the wooded banks. except that. As we drew nearer. and the clouds. ing to you. far in The the distance. and grumbled at the mast. You are no longer the puny thing of clay. your limbs grow light The voices of the air are sing! earth seems far away and little. and the sail bellied out. moored in mid-stream.

did slap men were happened view. seemed like knights of some old legend. at first. they worked. but with long. we gathered that we had come into the neighborhood of human beings. the towering woods. where those three old We did not know what had fishing. and included all our relations. and that they were vexed and discontented. and made a golden glory of the piled-up clouds. It was an hour of deep en- chantment. of ecstatic hope and longing. across some mystic lake into the unknown unto the great land of the sunset. behind us. We had knocked those three old gentlemen off their chairs into a general heap at the bottom of the boat. and picking fish off themselves . that embraced the and went away into the distant future. We We went sailing realm of twilight. because the sail shut out the from the nature of the language that . not go into the realm of twilight we into that punt.1 88 THREE MEN IN A BOA T. and then we saw what had happened. and covered everything connected with us good. Harris let the sail down. . the gloaming lay around us. curses. and they were now slowly and painfully sorting themselves out from each and as other. comprehensive \vhole of our career. but rose up upon the evening air. they cursed us not with a common cursory curse. crept the night. The little sail stood out against the purple sky. wrapping the world in rainbow shadows. substantial curses. and. carefully-thoughtout.

Harris told 189 to be grateful for there fishing all day. excitement. after that." the lines. And at Marlow we left the boat by the bridge. did not do any good. and went and put up for the night at the "Crown.THREE MEN IN A BOA T. He said mind like mine ought not to be expected to give itself away in steering boats better let a mere . George said he would steer. . before we jolly well all got drowned and he took and brought us up to Marlow. commonplace human being see after that boat. sitting and he also said that he was shocked and grieved a little them they ought to hear men But a it their age give way to temper so.

past itself is at its best here. if. A peaceful dog. Montmorency thinks he will murder an old Tom But eventually decides that he will let it live. on the whole. it There is lovely country round about it. . while the river Down to Cookham. lively little not very picturesque many it. ere conquering William seized nevertheless to give to Queen Matilda. useful We derecipes for annoying and hindering it. the councilor of four successive sovereigns.CHAPTER Marlow. Shameful conduct of a fox-terrier at the Civil Our departure from Marlow. cat. too. An imposing procession. Service Stores. cline to drink the river. The steam launch. XIII. you are fond of a walk. after boating. It is a bustling. The Medmenham Monks. 190 . is one of the pleasantest river centers I know town of. but there are quaint nooks and corners to be found in standing arches in the shattered over which our fancy travels back bridge of Time. it is true. to the days when Marlow Manor owned Saxon Algar for its lord. Bisham Abbey. ere it passed to the Earls of Warwick or to worldly-wise Lord Paget. Strange disappearance of Harris and a pie.

climbing paths. It contains a tapestry bed-chamber. trying to wash ghostly hands clean in a ghostly basin. and at anto From Marlow up other of Queen a Elizabeth. its walks there at night. Bisham Abbey is rich in melo-dramatic properties. Just before you come to the abbey. at one time. who did good still service at Poictiers. careless now about such trivial things as earthly kings and earthly kingdoms.FHREE the Quarry reach. The ghost of the Lady Holy. Warwick. and little winding glades. and right on the river's bank. MEN IN A BOA T. 191 Woods and the meadows. and Salisbury. rests there. how scented to this hour you seem with memories of sunny summer days! How haunted are your ! shadowy vistas with the ghosts of laughing faces ! how from your whispering the voices of long ago ! leaves there softly fall Sonning is even fairer yet. Grand old Bisham Abbey. is Bisham . is passed on the right bank just half mile above Marlow Bridge. was the home of Anne of Cleves. whose stone walls have rung to the shouts of the Knights Templars. who beat her little boy to death. and which. is a lovely Dear old Quarry Woods with your narrow. and a secret room hid high up in the thick walls. the king-maker.

dating. where the invading Danes once encamped. was founded. The famous Medmenham monks. if any tombs are worth inspecting. who was then living at Marlow (you can see his house now. as it does. The village of Hurley. composed The Revolt of Islam. were a fraternity whose motto was "Do as you please. a little higher up. nestling by a sweet corner of the stream.past the weir King (going up) is Danes' Field." Just ." as they were commonly called. or "Hell Fire Club. in West street). "from the times of Sebert and King Offa. Church. and of whom the notorious Wilkes was a member. and a little further still. It was while floating in his boat under the Bisham beeches that Shelley. jesters." and that invitation still stands over the ruined Many years before this with its congregation of irreverent bogus abbey. five minutes' walk from the lock. I have often thought that I could stay a month without having sufficient time to drink in all the beauty of the scene. they are the tombs and monuments in Bisham Church. during their march to Gloucestershire. By Hurley Weir. is what is left of phraseology of those Medmenham Abbey. whose monks doorway were of a somewhat different type to the revelers of the abbey. to quote the quaint dim days. is as old a little spot as there is on the river. perhaps.I9 2 THKEE MEN IN A BOA 7. . and. there stood upon this same spot a monastery of a sterner kind.

and heard From Medmenham the river is to sweet Hambledon Lock of peaceful beauty. vigorous or chatting genially to some old lock-keeper style. the music of the rushing wind should not have taught them a truer meaning of life than this. and over all their lives there reading. for A ! the soft singing of the waters. in all silence. no one spoke. the whisperings of the river grass.THREE that MEN IN A BOA T. it it day long and through the solemn spoke to them in myriad tones. wore no clothes but rough tunics and cowls. during the summer months. and they rose at to mass. as he passes through until well the other side of Henley. sculling himself along in easy. through the long days. They listened there. nor eggs. midnight They spent the day in labor. and ate no flesh. that God had made so bright Strange that Nature's voices all around them fell a silence as of death. five 1 93 were to follow them. hundred years afterward. The in Cistercian monks. whose abbey stood there the thirteenth century. who may often be met with about these regions. ing river residence of full my unassuming old gentleman. grim fraternity. waiting for a voice from heaven night . They lay upon straw. it is somewhat bare and dull. the rather uninteresting lookpasses news agent a quiet. passing grim lives in that sweet spot. nor fish. after it Greenlands. and prayer. . and they not. but.

him). Montmorency made an awful ass of himself. with merely clouting his head or throwing stones at nature. and wipes ers . down and tickle the side of "Poor Pussy !" and its head and . much original sin in them as other dogs and it will take years and years of patient effort on the part of us Christians to bring about any appreciable reformation in the rowdiness of times as the fox-terrier nature. waiting for the return of their owners. . The only subject on which Montmorency and I have any serious difference ing at . and all round about me were dogs. is cats. When Montmorency meets a cat. because I take it that it is his Fox-terriers are born with about four are. We got of opinion does not. I say. I like cats.194 THREE MEN IN A BOAT. I do not blame the dog (contenting myself. I remember being in the lobby of the Haymarket Stores one day. coming back. the whole street knows about it and there is enough bad language wasted in ten seconds to last an ordinarily . arches its back. as a rule. up tolerably early on the Monday mornMarlow. its nose up against all is my trous- gentleness and peace. with care. and respectable man all his life. and went for a bath before breakfast and. Montmorency When stoop I meet a cat. cast-iron manner. the cat sticks up its tail in a rigid.

THREE MEN IN A BOA T. looked round at the other dogs. The result of his first experiment seemed highly satisfactory to him. An air of calmness and resignation of gentle sadness pervaded the room. warning. about the size of rats. a French poodle. He sprang over bit that poodle's . and a couple of Yorkshire tykes. between the bull-dog and the He sat and looked about him for a minpoodle. and one or two collies. judging from Then he yawned. looked at the bull-dog. . Then. and thoughtful. without a word of haughty. a boar-hound. Then he ing of his mother. Then he cast up seemed. entered. and a yelp of agony rang through the quiet shades of that lobby. fox-terrier. all silent. with plenty of hair round its head. A solemn peacefulness seemed to reign in that lobby. but mangy about the middle a bull-dog. he his right. without the shadow of a provocation. erect and on his left. leading a him. Bernard. a few retrievers and Newfoundlands. who were shopping 195 inside. There were a mastiff. his eyes to the ceiling. and his expression. patient. meek-looking chained up there. a few Lowther Arcade sort of animals. He near fore-leg. good. to be think- and on dignified. There they sat. and he determined to go on and make things lively all round. grave. and a St. sleeping dreamlessly He looked at the poodle. little Then a sweet young lady and left ute.

and the little dogs fought among themselves. and caught the bull-dog by the ear. and had on the expression. and the bull-dog. the poodle and vigorously attacked a collie. a curiously impartial animal. including the hall-porter. The big dogs fought each other indiscriminately. The whole lobby was a perfect pandemonium.I9 6 THREE MEN IN A BOA T. And in the midst of the riot that sweet young lady returned. which gave that dear little tera fierce rier the opportunity to enjoy an uninterrupted fight of his own with an equally willing Yorkshire tyke. Any one who knows canine nature need hardly be told that. or. -and why? Men came with poles and ropes. went for everything he could reach. of a new-born lamb) into her arms. and the din was terrific. and snatched up that sweet little dog of hers (he had laid the tyke up for a month. Then Foxey came back to his own place. and immediately commenced and noisy contest with the poodle. A crowd assembled outside in the Haymarket. who was being murdered. and the collie woke up. now. and asked . and tried to throw him away. and filled up their spare time by biting the legs of the big dogs. if not. and the police were sent for. all the other dogs in the place were fighting as if their hearths and homes depended on the fray. and kissed him. and tried to separate the dogs. and asked if it was a vestry meeting. by this time.

contented air and a fairly was a long. sinewy-looking animal. I'm so glad you've come to take me away from this disgrace: ful scene!" said that the people at the Stores She had no right to allow great savage things like those other dogs to be put with respectable people's dogs. as I have said. It had a calm. but the cat did not . about it. Montmorency went rate of for that poor cat at the twenty miles an hour. and that she had a great fore. ' Such is the nature of fox-terriers and. theredo not blame Montmorency for his tendency to row with cats but he wished he had . It had lost half its tail. him 197 if he was killed. and he nestled up against her. I mind to summon somebody. and gazed up into her face with a look that seemed to say "Oh. were. and half-way up the High Street a cat darted out We from one of the houses to trot across the road. I never saw a larger cat. and began Montmorency gave a cry the cry of a stern warrior who sees his enemy given over to his hands the sort of cry Cromwell might have uttered when the Scots came down the hill and flew after his prey. of joy in front of him. not given way to it that morning.THREE MEN IN A BOAT. It appreciable proportion of its nose. returning from a dip. His victim was a large black Tom. nor a more disreputable-looking cat. and what those great nasty brutes of dogs had been doing to him. one of its ears. .


did not


BOA 7*.

hurry up

seem to have grasped the idea

It trotted quietly on danger. would-be assassin was within a yard of it, and then it turned round and sat down in the middle of the road, and looked at Montmorency with a gentle, inquiring expression, that said "Yes! You want me?" Montmorency does not lack pluck; but there was something about the look of that cat that might have chilled the heart of the boldest He stopped abruptly, and looked back dog.



until its




Neither spoke but the conversation that one could imagine was clearly as follows:



do anything




no, thanks."


"Don't you mind speaking, want anything, you know."


Street]: you trouble.

"Oh, no
I 1 I

(backing not at all





don't certainly afraid I've made a mistake.


knew you. Sorry I disturbed you." THE CAT: "Not at all quite a pleasure. Sure

you don't want anything, now?"

not at






very kind of you.



THE CAT: "Good-morning." Then the cat rose, and continued

his trot;


what he

calls his tail

fully into its


groove, came back to us, and took an unimportant position in the rear. up To this day, if you say the word "Cats. " to Montmorency, he will visibly shrink and look up

piteously at you, as "Please don't."


to say:

did our marketing after breakfast, and revictualled the boat for three days. George said we ought to take vegetables that it was un-


He said they were healthy not to eat vegetables. to cook, and that he would see to easy enough that so we got ten pounds of potatoes, a bushel

and a few cabbages. got a beefsteak a couple of gooseberry tarts, and a leg of mutpie, ton from the hotel and fruit, and cakes, and bread
of peas,


and butter, and jam, and bacon and eggs, and other things we foraged round about the town for. Our departure from Marlow I regard as one It was dignified and of our greatest successes. We had ostentatious. impressive, without being that the insisted at all the shops we had been to things should be sent with us then and there.
of your "Yes, sir, I will send them off at the boy will be down there before you are, sir!" and then fooling about on the landing-stage,



and going back to the shop twice to have a row about them, for us. We waited while the basket was packed, and took the boy with us. We went to a good many shops, adopting this





principle at each one;

and the consequence was that, by the time we had finished, we had as fine a collection



baskets following us around as heart could

and our final march down the mid-

dle of the High Street, to the river, must have been as imposing a

spectacle as

Marlow had seen



a long day.

The order

of the procession

was as follows

Montmorency, carrying a stick.


disreputable-looking curs, friends of

George, carrying coats and rugs, and smoking
a short pipe. Harris, trying to walk with easy grace, while carrying a bulged-out Gladstone bag in one

hand and a bottle

of lime-juice

the other.

Greengrocer's boy and baker's boy, with baskets.

20 1

Boots from the hotel, carrying hamper.
Confectioner's boy, with basket. Grocer's boy, with basket.

Long-haired dog. Cheesemonger's boy, with basket. Odd man, carrying a bag. Bosom companion of odd man, with his hands
his pockets, smoking a short clay. Fruiterer's boy, with basket.


Myself, carrying three hats and a pair of boots, and trying to look as if I didn't know it.

When we

Six small boys, and four stray dogs. got down to the landing-stage, the

boatman said "Let me see,
a house-boat?"


was yours a steam launch or


our informing him it was a double-sculling he seemed surprised. We had a good deal of trouble with steam


launches that morning. It was just before the Henley week, and they were going up in large numbers; some by themselves, some towing I do hate steam launches: I suphouse-boats.

pose every rowing man does. I never see a steam launch but I feel I should like to lure it to a lonely part of the river, and there, in the silence and the solitude, strangle it. There is a blatant bumptiousness about a steam



launch that has the knack of rousing every evil instinct in my nature, and I yearn for the good

when you could go about and tell peowhat you thought of them with a hatchet and ple a bow and arrows. The expression on the face of the man who, with his hands in his pockets,
old days,

stands by the stern smoking a cigar,



to excuse a breach of the peace by itself; and the lordly whistle for you to get out of the way would,


confident, insure

a verdict of "justifiable

homicide" from any jury of river men. They used to have to whistle for us to get out of their way. If I may do so, without appearing boastful, I think I can honestly say that our one small boat, during that week, caused more annoyance and delay and aggravation to the steam launches that we came across than all the other craft on the river put together. "Steam launch coming!" one of us would cry

on sighting the enemy


the distance



in an instant, everything was got ready to receive her. I would take the lines, and Harris and George




beside me,


of us with our backs

to the launch, and the boat into mid-stream.


out quietly

On would come
we would

the launch, whistling, and on At about a hundred yards go, drifting. she would start whistling like mad, and the

people would come and lean over *the side, and Harris roar at us but we never heard them





would be telling us an anecdote about his mother, and George and I would not have missed a word

for worlds.

that launch would give one final shriek ol a whistle that would nearly burst the boiler, and she would reverse her engines, and blow off steam,



and swing round and get aground every one on board of it would rush to the bow and yell at us, and the people on the bank would stand and shout to us, and all the other passing boats would stop and join in, till the whole river for miles up and down was in a state of frantic commotion. And then Harris would break off in the most interest' ing part of his narrative, and look up with mild surprise, and say to George "Why, George, bless me, if here isn't a steam


And George would


"Well, do you know,



heard some-

Upon which we would and not know how

get nervous and conto get the boat out of

the way, and the people in the launch would crowd round and instruct us

"Pull your right



No, not yon

you, you idiot! back with the other one leave

now, both together. !" Oh, you Then they would lower a boat and come to our assistance; and, after quarter of an hour's effort,
the lines alone, can't you


that way.

but sight again. We found ourselves short of water at Hambledon Lock." murmured George. are always intensely nervous of steam launches. "take as much as you want." replied the old gentleman. please could you spare us a little water?" "Certainly. He put on a winning smile. would get us clean out of their way. and could they lend us a saucepan." "Thank you so much. launch that came in view.204 THREE MEN IN A BOA T. Old ladies. was to mistake them for a beanfeast. Another good way we discovered of irritating the aristocratic type of steam launch. look- . and ask them if they were Messrs. so that they could go on and we would thank them so much. they insisted on landing down on the bank until it was out of They said they were very sorry. not accustomed to the river. and ask them to give us a tow. At the first glimpse of every steam exciting. would. Cubit's lot or the Bermondsey Good Templars. that they owed it to their families not to be fooland sitting hardy. so we took our jar and went up to the lock-keeper's house to beg for some. I remember going up once from Staines to Windsor a stretch of water peculiarly rich in these mechanical monstrosities with a party containIt was very ing three ladies of this description. and leave the rest. But they never . and said : "Oh. George was our spokesman.

"but we can't drink the river. out of a pump. after the course. "It's what f're drunk for the last fifteen years. water once. if we had known. enough of it to see. I What the eye does not see. you know!" "No. and had pulled up to have tea in a backwater near Windsor. did not seem a sufficiently good advertisement for the brand and that he would prefer it . bless us. it?" J/AYV A\ r A BOA T. but you can drink some of it. and it was a case of going without our tea or taking water from the river." said George. but We . aint there?" "Oh!" exclaimed George. my boy." replied the old fellow. so it was all right. Harris was for chancing it." was the stolid reply: "just behind you. the stomach does not tried river it get upset over. grasping the idea. later on in the seawas not a success. We got some from a cottage a little higher up. where's your eyes?" was the man's comment. 205 "Where where do you keep "It's always in the same place. But we did not know. turning round." George told him that his appearance. "Why. He said it must be all right if we boiled the water." "I don't see it. Our jar was empty. dare say that was only river water. son. We were coming down stream. as he twisted George round and "There's pointed up and down the stream.THREE Tng about him.

and there. He in we germs of poison present the water would be killed by the boiling. "Why that !" I Harris and said George. followed his gaze. . but I wished I had not. thirsty. It was floating dreamily on its back. a dog. and emptied feel his cup into the water. George said he didn't want any tea. and saw. coming down toward It us on the sluggish current. with its four legs It was what I stuck up straight into the air. a full-bodied dog. So filled our kettle with Thames backwater. just settling drink his when George. and settled down should call chest. Harris did not I had and followed suit. calm. among the rushes. he eased up. serene. drunk half mine. dignified. it did boil. was one of the quietest and peacefulest dogs I have ever seen. and oped until he was abreast of our boat.206 THREE MEN said that the various /A' A BOA T. I asked George if he thought I was likely to have typhoid. claimed "What's that?" "What's what?" asked Harris and I. cosily for the evening. We had made the down comfortably to his and were it. with paused and ex- cup half-way to : lips. with a well-develOn he came. boiled and very careful we were to see that tea. looking westward. I never met a dog who seemed more contented more easy in its mind. either. and it .

shady little piece of stream. the river. we got out and lunched and it was during this lunch that George . BOA T. Of course. being a pretty. take one or two of them down and throw them into . too but I do not think I . besides saving nearly half a mile of distance. imprisonment. and death to every one who dares set scull upon its waters I wonder some of these riparian boors don't claim the air of the river and threaten every one with forty shillings fine who breathes it but the posts and chains a little skill will easily avoid and as for the boards. 207 "Oh. no" he thought I had a very good chance indeed of escaping it. and surrounded with notice boards. if you have five minutes to spare. you might. and received rather a trying shock. Anyhow. and there is nobody about. its entrance is studded with posts and chains. Half-way up the backwater. I should know in about a fortnight.THREE MEN IN A . . leading out of the right-hand bank about half a mile above Marsh Lock. and is well worth taking. said : He We went up the backwater to Wargrave. whether I had or had not. It is a short cut. menacing all kinds of torture. Harris received a shock. Harris's shock could have been anything like so bad as the shock that George and I had over the business.

descending to the commonplace and practicable. Harris had the beefsteak pie between his knees. and George and I were waiting with our plates ready. : it was in this way we were sitting in about ten yards from the water's edge. open field. He could not have tumbled into the river. meadow. quake. "I gravy with. Then we gazed at each other.2o8 THREE see. When we looked round again. "They'd hardly have taken the George. and we had just settled down comfortably to feed. because we were on the water side of him." behind us. "Has he been snatched up to heaven?" I queried. and we is. George and I gazed all about." said There seemed weight in this objection. There was not a tree or a bit of hedge for hundreds of yards. and he would have had to climb over us to do it." . We were not five seconds getting it. too. and was carving it. pie. "I suppose the truth of the matter sug- gested George. "that there has been an earth. Harris and the pie were gone! It was a wide. You a "Have you got a spoon want a spoon to help the The hamper was close and I both turned round there?" says Harris." discarded the heavenly theory. to reach and George one out. MEN IN A BOA T.

the face very red. He had been sitting." "Did what?" exclaimed George and I. tumbled. as our blood and our hair stood up on end. after it. we saw Harris's head and nothing but his head last . on the very verge of a small gully. without . being able to conjecture in the slightest what had happened.THREE MEN IN A BOA T. froze in our veins sticking bolt upright among the tall grass. pie and all. . you did it on purpose. as when he first felt himself going. with a touch of sadness in "I wish he hadn't been carving that pie. He said he had never felt so surprised in all his life." And out of the middle of the earth. we turned our eyes once more toward the spot where Harris and the pie had his voice : And been seen on earth and there. grubby. ! "Speak !" he cried." With a sigh. rose the pie very much mixed up and and. catch hold of the pie. and wet. scrambled Harris damaged . are alive or dead "and tell us whether you and where is the rest of you?" "I believe "Oh. . without knowing it. don't be a stupid ass!" said Harris's head. put me to sit here darn silly trick! Here. as it seemed to us. 209 then he added. "Why. and bearing upon it an expression of great indignation George was the first to recover. the long grass hiding it from view and in leaning a little back he had shot over.

for. end of the world He thought had come.2IO THREE MEN IN A BOA T. picion follow even the most blameless. planned at first that the Harris believes to this day that George and I Thus does unjust susit all beforehand. "Who shall escape calumny?" Who. indeed! . as the poet says.

. Leslie has Hodgson has imagined the depicted the fight scene. the author of Sa ndford and Merton. George's banjo studies. R. "After the Fight" George. enjoying his pint of beer. makes a grave. Meet with discouragement. Montmorency is sarcastic. Fight between Montmorency and the tea-kettle. Learning play sad after supper.A. |E caught a breeze.. Warwhere the river bends. painted on one side by Leslie. Harris feels has a troubled night. lived 211 . Waxworks. Wargrave boasts a sign.CHAPTER XIV. Sunning. and one that lingers long upon the retina of The "George and Dragon" at memory. which took us gently up past Wargrave and Shiplake. nestling sweet old picture as you pass it. There is a strangeness about Harris. George and I go for a walk. Return hungry and wet. Difficulties to in the the bagpipes. Day. the work done. a remarkable story. after lunch. Our Steiv Wargrave. Harris way of the musical amateur. and on the other by Hodgson of that ilk. sunlight of a Mellowed in the drowsy summer's afternoon. Harris and the swans.

Few folk. but seen from the river. afterward in the He was exhibited for three weeks Town Hall. or to break windows. between two boys and two girls who "have never been undutiful to their parents. and dismal." Fancy and giving up not worth It is all it. many a boy appeared who really never had years ago. that for five shillings a year! It is in the town that once. and vanished forms and river The . has become of the They say since no one handed over to the always money nearest wax-works show. to be divided at Easter. at twilight. under a glass case. who have never been known to swear or to tell untruths. It is a part of the river in which to dream of bygone days. more credit to the place still was killed at Wargrave. walk aiong its banks. which was all rumored that was required or could be expected. and is very placid. Tenny- Shiplake church. hushed. who bequeathed 1 annually. Shiplake is a pretty village. Sarah Hill. a pair or two of rustic lovers. 'Any and Lord Fitznoodle have been left behind at Henley. except.2 1 2 THREE MEN IN A BOA T. dirty Reading is not yet reached. In the church is a memorial to Mrs. it is What knows. had never been known to do them and thus won the crown of glory. to steal. being upon the son was married in it cannot be hill. and lonely. done these things or at all events. up to Sonning winds in and out through many islands.

on seats beneath the trees." behind the church. with green. we decided to go back to one of the Shiplake islands. not. It is more like a stage village than one built of bricks and mortar. 213 and things that might have been. and no\v. We got out at Sonning. in early June. put up dainty splendor. It is a veritable picture of an old country inn. it being too late to push on past Reading. and George said that as we had plenty of time. George gathered wood and made a fire. . they were bursting forth in clouds of If you stop at Sonning. and stairs awkward and winding passages. and then. quaint rooms and latticed windows. It is the most fairy-like little nook on the whole river. where. we done up the should It make an Irish stew. it would be a splendid opportunity to try a good. seemed a fascinating idea. It was still early when we got settled. but are confound them. slap-up supHe said he would show us what could be per. river in the way of cooking. at the "Bull. of the cold beef and general odds and ends. the old men group of an evening to drink their ale and gossip over village politics with low. and put up there for the night. Every house is smothered in roses. MEN IN A BOA T. and went for a walk round the village. and sugwith the vegetables and the remains gested that. square courtyard in front.THREE faces. and Harris and I started to . We roamed about sweet Sonning for an hour or so.

and that was harder work than peeling. It seemed difficult to believe that the potato-scrapings in which Harris and I stood. that wont do! You're wasting them. . but our light-heartedricss was gone by the time the first potato was finished. The job turned out to be the biggest thing of its kind that fully. there was no potato left at least none worth speaking of. I had ever been in. Then we struck. George came and had a look at it it was about the size of a He said pea-nut. : said require the rest of the evening for ourselves. We began cheerone might almost say skittishly.214 THREE MEX IX A BOAT. so we washed half a dozen or so more. We and did four potatoes. "Oh. and put them in without peel- . You must scrape them. We worked steadily for five and twenty minutes. scraping I never saw such a thing as potato-scraping for we should making a fellow in a mess. that peeling potatoes was such an undertaking. I should never have thought peel the potatoes. The more we peeled." So we scraped them. potatoes all bumps and warts and hollows. It shows you what can be done with economy and care. the more peel there seemed to be left on by the time we had got all the peel off and all the eyes out. could have come off four potatoes. George said it was absurd to have only four potatoes in an Irish stew. half smothered. They are such an extraordinary shape.

THREE ing. which he evidently wished to present whether in a genuine desire to assist. strolled away with an earnest and thoughtful air. fished out a couple of eggs that had got cracked. cannot say. so we overhauled both the hampers. but . I know noth- ing was wasted and I remember that. He said he had never . 215 We also put in a cabbage and about half a peck of peas. and then he said that there seemed to be a lot of room to spare. toward the end. Harris said that he thought it would be all right. Then George found half a tin of potted salmon. We had a discussion as to whether the rat should go in or not. half a pork pie and a bit of cold boiled bacon left. Montmorency. I forget the other ingredients. MEN IN A BOA T. and he emptied that into the pot. and we put those in. reappearing. with a dead water-rat in his as his contribution to the dinner: sarcastic spirit. mixed up with the other things. I you got things. George stirred it all up. and picked out all the odds and ends and the remand added them to the stew. or with a I mouth. and that every little helped but George stood up for precedent. George said they would thicken the gravy. There were nants. . who had evinced great interest in the proceedings throughout. a few minutes afterward. He said that rid of was the advantage of such a lot of Irish stew. and we put them in.

but nutritious. The peas and potatoes might have been a bit softer. for a weak stomach. Harris said "If : you never try a new thing. so that did not matter much and as for the gravy. only. and would want to fight it. Montmorency had a fight with the kettle during tea-time. and came off a poor second. with a taste like nothing else on earth. And it was nourishing. I don't ever enjoyed a meal more. and not try expert ments. per: : haps. finished up with tea and cherry We tart. too. and would try and rouse it every now and then by growling at it. as it boiled.2l6 THREE MEN IN A BOA T. but we all had good teeth. When it began to splutter and steam. that Irish stew. he regarded it as a challenge. how can you tell what it's like? It's men such as you that hampei the world's progress. it was a poem a little too rich. Throughout the trip. heard of water-rats in Irish stew. Think of the man who first tried It German sausage!" was I think a great success. and watch it. with a puzzled expression. he had manifested great He would sit curiosity concerning the kettle. As George said. There was something so fresh and piquant about it. and he would rather be on the safe side. One's palate gets so tired of the old hackneyed things here was a dish with a new flavor. there was good stuff in it. at that precise mo- .

but it was full of pluck.THREE MEN IN A BOA T. till the whole tea business was over. ye miserable. tle that day Montmorency regarded the ketwith a mixture of awe. ! working. with his tail shut down. respectable dog. To-day he determined he would be beforehand. ye. and sit on the bank. Then. dirty- looking scoundrel. Whenever he saw it he would growl and back at a rapid rate. From ment . "Ah would ye !" growled Montmorency. and did a constitutional three times round the island at the rate of thirty-five miles an hour. off his 2 1 7 ment. suspicion. and hate. and seized it by the spout. showing his teeth. "I'll teach ye to cheek a harding. stopping every now and then to bury his nose in a bit of cool mud. and Montmorency left the boat. Come And he little rushed at that poor kettle. tude. across the evening stilU ness. and the moit was put upon the stove he would promptly climb out of the boat. broke a blood-curdling yelp. growl- and advanced toward it in a threatening attiIt was only a little kettle. he rose. some one would always dash up and bear prey before he could get at it. and it up and spit at him. on !" long-nosed. At the first sound the kettle made.

P.2l8 THKEE MEN IN A BOA T. "You let him alone. to come up and say she was very sorry for her- man . but Harris objected he said he had got a headache. to get a success. He tried on two or three evenings. added to which. and your playing ing. George got out his banjo after supper. just to show Harris what it was like. George thought the music might do him good said music often soothed the nerv es and took away a headache. and he twanged two or three notes. while taking aim at him with a boot. He can't help howlHe's got a musical ear. "What's he want to howl like that for when I'm playing?" George would exclaim indignantly. Har- language used to be enough to unnerve any . Harris said he would rather have the headache. used get much opportunity even there. But he did not Mrs." So George determined to postpone study of the banjo until he reached home. catching the boot. Montmorency would sit and howl steadily. while little ris's we were up it practice. and did not feel strong enough to stand it. makes him howl. and wanted to play it. "What do you want to play like that for when he is howling?" Harris would retort. It was not giving the man a fair chance. He has had too much all-round discouragement to meet. : r George has never learned to play the banjo to this day. right through the performance. but was never a the river.

Why. and he was The evidence against him was very captured. own sake. and he was bound over to keep the peace for six months. he despaired altogether. 219 she liked to hear him in a it was very delicate state. but there was always the same coldness the same want of sympathy on the part of the world to fight against and. who was studying to play the bagpipes. But it doesn't for its man I ! knew a young fellow once. and you would be surprised at the amount of opposition he had to contend with. but the lady upstairs and the doctor was afraid might injure the child. self.THREE MEX IX A BOAT. and a watch was set for him one night. It cal must be disheartening work learning a musiinstrument. after a while. He did make one or two feeble efforts to take up the work again when the six months had elapsed. and advertised the instrument for sale at a great sacrifice "owner having no further use for same" and took to learning card Then George tried taking at night. it out with him late and practising round the square. You would think that Society. clear. not even from the members of his own family did he receive what you could call act- . would do all it could to assist a to acquire the art of playing a musical instrument. : tricks instead. But the inhabitants complained to the police about it. He seemed to lose heart in the business after that.

as it got the house such a bad name. with all the doors shut successful passages could generally be heard . going home late. encouragement. murderer. Then they knocked up a little place for him at . Jefferson's the night before and would describe how they had heard the victim's shrieks and the brutal oaths and curses of the . she could not explain). in the more in but his back-kitchen. but that did not do. and would affect his mother almost to tears. friend used to get up early in the morning to practise. So he sat up at night instead. She said it put her in mind of her poor father (he had been swallowed by a shark. and the last dying gurgle of the corpse. So they let him practise in the day-time. the sitting-room. His father was dead against the business from the beginning. and then put it about all over the town. but he had to give that plan up. would stop outside to listen. in spite of these precautions. followed by the prayer for mercy. because of his sister. that a fearful murder had been committed at Mr. and spoke quite unfeelingly on the subject. She was somewhat religiously inclined. poor man.220 ive THREE MEN IN A BOAT. while bathing off the coast of New Guinea where the connection came in. People. My and she said it seemed such an awful thing to begin the day like that. and played after the family had gone to bed. the next morning.

You want to be in good health to play the bagpipes. come-to-the-battle sort of a note. about quarter of a mile from the house. it only gave him fits. or knowing what it was. full. but a person of mere average intellect it usually sent mad. 21 1 the bottom of the garden. and he would go out for a stroll round the garden and sometimes a visitor suddenly get within earshot of those bagpipes. You have to get enough breath for the whole tune before you from watching start at least. but never heard any com- plaints about the insufficiency of his repertoire . myself when listening to friend. without being prepared for it. it must be confessed. something very sad about the early efforts of an amateur in bagI have felt that pipes. There is. and caution him. If he were a man of strong mind. But he would get more and more piano as he went on.THREE MEN IN A BOA T. would come to the house who knew nothing of the matter. so I gathered Jefferson. my young They appear to be a trying instrument to perform upon. Young Jefferson only learnt to play one tune I on those bagpipes. that quite roused you. He would begin magnificently with a wild. and made him take the machine down there when he wanted to work it and . and they would forget to tell him all about it. and the last verse generally collapsed in the middle with a splutter and a hiss.

"Don't go to started. but they all agreed that it sounded Scotch. He said he should have a glass of whisky and a pipe. and in their pleasant company the time slipped by somewhat quickly. and was full of bustle. so George and I left him in the boat. Strangers were allowed three guesses. coldish.222 THREE MEN IN A BOAT. though his father always held that it was "The Blue Bells of Scotland. none whatever. and settled to go for a mouch it : round Henley." Nobody seemed quite sure what it was exactly. of them guessed a different tune each time. I think must have been the stew that had upset him he is not used to high living. We met a goodish number of men we knew about the town. Harris was disagreeable after supper. and he would row over from the island and fetch us." he grunted. and fix things up for the We were to shout when we returned. It was a dismal night. sleep. with a thin rain . as he pulled back to the island. night. Henley was getting ready for the regatta. so that fore we set off it was nearly eleven o'clock beon our four-mile walk home as we had learned to call our little craft by this time." we said as we "Not much fear of that while this stew's on. and most This tune was "The Campbells Hooray Hooray!" so he said. are Coming. old man.

our dear old boat. pecking away at cold meat. many are there?" How . filling all the space. and overflowing . We thoughtfully "You don't happen to islands it was. the shapeless trees and. passed Skiplake as the clock was striking the quarter to twelve and then George said. 223 and as we trudged through the dark. silent low to each other." I replied. want to go to bed uncertainties like that worry you. because prior to this we had not been sure whether we were walking toward the river or away from it. with the bright light streaming through the tight-drawn canvas. and when you are tired and us happy . and wished that there.THREE falling . and wondering if we were going right or not. and the whisky. "I don't. beginning to grow thoughtful too. hurried on to realize the vision. and we could passing each other chunks of bread hear the cheery clatter of our knives. We could see ourselves at supper there. the laughing voices. And we and that We made struck the tow-path at length. MEN IN A BOA T. little hungry of the gloomy river and . of Harris and Montmorency. . we thought of the fields talking cosy boat. like a giant glow-worm underneath them. through the opening out into the night. . so snug and warm and cheerful. we were We tired and a conjured up the picture of ourselves inside. do you?" : remember which of the "No.

so we went to the second. Y /.\//-:." said George." if "And not?" queried. but we dismissed that train of thought. We despairingly tried what seemed in the darkness to be the fourth island. knocking up cottagers and householders in the middle of the night. It was now The hotels at Skiplake and Hen./:/: . there was the thought. I he's awake. and tried there. "it was And we hallooed. and obtained the island. and No answer! The ley past midnight." the third one. shouted when we came opposite the first but there was no response. and so getting a But then night's lodging in the station-house.--4 r// A. to know if they let apart- ments! George suggested walking back to Henley and assaulting a policeman. "Suppose he only hits us back and refuses to lock us up!" We could not pass the whole night fighting policemen. We were wet to the ." answered George. we did not want to overdo the thing and get six months. ter success. We same result. ran on hopefully to the third one. and evidently meant to last. "Oh! I remember now.Y A BOAT. Besides. would be crammed and we could not go round. but met with no betThe rain was coming down fast now. "It will be all "Only right if four. case was becoming serious.

We strange and began to under- stand the sufferings of the Babes in the Wood. or in the wrong part of the river altogether. I always the time that things do hapin novels and tales. We shouted back loud enough to wake the Seven Sleepers I never could understand myself why it should take up hope. different in everything looked so the darkness. would be strictly truthful in all things. I It was just when we had given up all hope. For an instant I thought of ghosts: it was such a shadowy. or whether we were near the islands at all. or whether we were anywhere within a mile of where we ought to be. and must therefore say so. even if I have to employ hackneyed phrases for the purpose. 225 and cold and miserable. We began to won- der whether there were only four islands or more. of a strange. We waited breathless for a minute. and I sent up such a yell across the water that made the night seem to shake in its bed. Just when we had given all suddenly caught sight.THREE MEN IN A BOA T. that I resolved. then. but I can't help it. weird sort of glimmer flickering among the trees on the opposite bank. I pen when I began to write this book. and so is I know Just that when we had given up all hope will be. and then oh! divinest music of the darkness we heard the answering bark of Montmorency. I . mysterious light. The next moment it flashed across me that it was our boat. skin. yes. a little way below us.

and fetched up her old man. and he said "Swans!" It seemed we had moored close to a swan's nest. the female swan came back. He pulled the boat against a part of the bank from which it was quite impossible for us to get into it. soon after George and I had gone. about five minutes. but what was really. after more noise to wake seven sleepers than one and. Harris had a sad expression on him. and. and immediately went to sleep. so we when we got into the boat. what seemed an hour.226 THREE MEX IN A BOAT. and he had defeated them. and heard Harris's sleepy voice asking where we were. There was an unaccountable strangeness about It was something more than mere ordi- nary tiredness. It took us an immense amount of screaming and roaring to into wake him up again and put some sense but we succeeded at last. Harris had chivied her off. Harris. Half an hour afterward they returned with It must have been a feareighteen other swans We asked ! . and kicked up a row about it. He gave of a you the idea man who had been through if anything had happened. Harris said he had had quite a fight with these two swans. but courage and skill had prevailed in the end. and got safely on board. and she had gone away. him . we saw the lighted boat creeping slowly over the blackness. I suppose. trouble. noticed.

THREE ful battle. and lot ' all had killed the and they had paddled away die. ." grunted Harris. 221 we could understand Harris's The swans had tried to drag him and Montmorency out of the boat and drown so far as it. and he had defended himself like a hero for four hours. "I Think I can't count?" said twelve. "You said eighteen just now. to " How many swans did you there say were " ? asked George." replied Harris." said George. MEN IN A BOA T. "Thirty-two. "No. sleepily. account of them . I didn't.

"What swans?" and seemed to think that George and I had been dreaming. I slept well that night. looking for his clothes. after our trials and fears! and I. if we could have found the whisky. and we should hearty supper. vague recollection of having been woke up at least a dozen times during the night by Harris wandering about the boat with a lantern. He seemed to be worrying about his What were the never found out.228 THREE MEX LV A BOAT. We examined Harris as to what he had done with it but he did not seem to know what we meant by "whisky. the thunder do you want your trousers in the middle of the night?" he asked indig- nantly. but said nothing. George have had some toddy after it. George got quite wild the second time. We . "What for. . "Why don't you lie down. and he said. and should have slept I have a better if it had not been for Harris. but we could not." or what we were talking about at all. real facts about these swans we questioned Harris on the subject in the morning. Oh. Twice he routed up George and myself to see if we were lying on his trousers. the next time awoke. Montmorency looked as if he knew something. how delightful it was to be safe in the We ate a boat. clothes all night. and go to I sleep?" I found him in trouble.

3*9 last my and of hearing Harris muttering something about its being an extraordinary thing where his umbrella could have got to. and my hazy remembrance is of being rolled over on side. . because he could not find his socks.THREE MEN IN A BOAT.

set out on what we had determined should be a good day's journey. style. with "non dain- ties. Punting. A sad full of peace. So calm. of the new generation. and. The old river hand. what he does Skepticism Love of work. Pleasures of friendship. accident. E woke late the and. and put everything straight (a continual labor. my Possible reason why we were not first experience.CHAPTER Household duties. 230 ." Then we cleaned up. earnest next morning. Sailing. par- took of a plain breakfast. recollections. his method. XV. drowned. so The beginner. Early boating Rafting. at Harris's desire. house on her hands manages to pass away her time). and what he tells you he has done. George does the thing in The old boatman. at about ten. which was beginning to afford insight into a question that me a pretty clear had often posed me how a woman with the work of only one namely.

too. and Harris thought the best arrangement would be that George and I should scull. still like to . I But. I did not chime in with this idea at all I said I thought Harris would have been showing a more proper spirit if he had suggested that he and George should work. It more work than cinates me. It seemed to me that I was doing more than my fair share of the work on this trip. that there is an inch of room for any more. 231 We agreed that we would pull this morning. and he steer. It is not that I ob- ject to the work. I it always does seem to me that I am doing I should do. let me rest a bit. I like work : it fasI can and look at it for hours. Why. and there isn't I take a great pride in my a finger-mark on it. You cannot ulate give me too much work . I shall hardly have to throw out a wing soon. No man keeps his work I in a better state of presI ervation than do. to accum- work has almost become a passion with study is so full of it now. mind you sit : . as a change from towing. though crave for work. and I was beginning to feel strongly on the subject. work that . work I take it down now and then and dust it. some have by me now has been in my possession for years and years. love to keep it by me the idea of getting rid of nearly breaks my heart.THREE MEN IN A BOAT. : me my And of the I am careful of I my work. and .

I agreed with Harris that I never had most not since we had started on this trip. appears to this worries me and over-scrupulous nature that makes me fear I am having more than my due. on the other hand. In a boat. be do not ask it more than it my at proper so share. about half an hour of it would kill him. But I expect he only says this to comfort me. certainly "Well. I have always noticed that it is the fixed idea of each member of the crew that he is it doing everything. Harris's notion was. That amused Harris. "why. think I need trouble George says he does not He thinks it is only my myself on the subject. "Fancy old George talking about work!" he laughed. turning to me. ridiculed the idea of Harris's having done anything more than eat and sleep. that was he alone who had been working. and had a cast-iron opinion that it was he George himself who had done all the labor worth speaking of. I don't have half as much as I ought. But it I get without asking for least. and that both George and I had been imposing upon him. I don't see how you can know much . and that. George. Have you ever seen George work?" he added. I MEN IX for A BOA T. me. He said he had never been out with such a couple of lazily skulks as Harris and I. as a matter of fact.232 THREE fair.

We settled the present difficulty by arranging that Harris and George should scull up past Reading. and that I should tow the boat on from there. one way or the other." rejoined Harris. 233 about it. I've done more than old J. and taken care of them. except at meal-time?" asked George. "Well. "I suppose J. you couldn't very well have done less. whenever there is any stiff pull- You can always tell the old river . Truth compelled me to support George. "Well. so far as helping was concerned. hang it all. Harris had been very little good in the boat. And that was their gratitude to me for having brought them and their wretched old boat all the way up from Kingston." George retorted on Harris. and slaved for them.THREE MEN 7. notice that most of the old river hands are : similarly retiring. anyhow. "for I'm blest if you haven't been asleep half the time.. Have you ever seen Harris fully awake.V A BOA T. when I used to clamor for the hard work I now I like to give the youngsters a chance. ing to be done. addressing me. It is the way of the world." continued Harris. long ago. Pulling a heavy boat against a strong stream has few attractions for me now. from the beginning. and for having superintended and managed everything for them. There was a time." added George. thinks he is the passenger.

don't exaggerate." murmurs Jack reprovingly. Jim Biffles and Jack and I. pulled up from Marlow to Goring in one afternoon never stopped once. quite exhausted by this conversational effort." adds the first speaker. Do you remember that. between his contented whiffs. "thirty-three at the outside. last season." And Jack and Tom. and encourages the rowers by telling them anecdotes about the marvelous feats he performed last season. who have been grinding away steadily up stream for the last hour and a half. partially wakes up on being thus appealed and recollects all about the matter. Tom. "No no. and prow of who has been lying there asleep for the last two Jack. wind. who all has made hours. it must have been. "Call what you're doing hard work !" he drawls. hand by the way in which he stretches himself out upon the cushions at the bottom of the boat. drop off to sleep once more. "About thirty-four miles. And the two simple-minded youngsters at the sculls feel quite proud of being allowed to row . addressing the two perspiring novices. "why. and also remembers that there was an unusually strong stream against them all the way likewise a stiff to. I suppose. Jack?" himself a bed up in the the rugs and coats he can collect.234 THREE MEN IN A BOA T. reaching down another cushion to put under his head.

child could have believed withat out injuring much. there. and we plied him with the customary stretchers about the wonderful things we had done all the way up. and take them in. for ourselves. and myself took a "raw'un" up with us once last season. and was a young man. I used to listen to my elders. Harris. founded. and then come up for more but the new generation do not seem to have the simple faith of the old times. We George. and and got to chatting about our rowing experiences this morning. to a certain extent. which had actually fied happened in a modia degree some years ago to friends of ours story that a mere itself. My We boating recollection is of five of us contributing threepence each and taking out a curiously constructed craft on the Regent's Park earliest own . and swallow them. on an all but true episode. Tom. And that young man mocked them all. 235 such wonderful oarsmen as Jack and away harder than ever. We gave him all the regular ones the timehonored lies that have done duty up the river with every boating man for years past and added seven entirely original ones that we had invented I When these tales from . wanted us to repeat the feats then and to bet us ten to one that we didn't.THREE strain MEN IN A BOA T. and to recounting stories of our first efforts in the art of oarsmanship. and digest every word of them. including a really quite likely story.

THREE MEN IN A BOA T. having acquired a taste for the water.236 lake. and your object is. He. and make a raft of them know how to do this pretty you you are reluctant to put him to any trouble by accepting it. the offer. seeing that well already. you would rather avoid meeting him. however. with a big stick in his hand. and to go home quietly and quickly. appears that he knows your father. is yearning to take you by the hand. After that. and that. therefore. to get off on the opposite side of the pond to which he is. you to take his boards and He says he'll teach . His anxiety to meet you. but this does It not draw you toward him. is proof . if you could do so without appearing rude. and is intimately acquainted with yourself. seems a superfluous one on his part. Your first sensation on seeing this gentleman is that. especially when you are in the middle of the pond and the proprietor of the materials of which the craft is constructed suddenly appears on the bank. you don't feel equal to company and conversation. in drying ourselves subsequently the park- keeper's lodge. I did a good deal of rafting in various sub- urban brickfields an exercise providing more interest and excitement than might be imagined. and talk to you. but. somehow or other. though doubtless kindly meant. on the contrary. pretending not to see him.

and spry or at escaping being run it down by roughs swamped by barges. If he be of a stout and short-winded build. brief. can easily avoid his advances but. soon makes you smart at handling a craft. My style very much admired now. and. But I it does not give you style. Thames that I got style. and the energetic manner in which he dodges up and down the pond so as to be on the spot to greet is you when you land you really quite flattering.THREE MEN IN A BOA T. and joined one of the Lea yourself I boating clubs. being then as proficient as there was any need to be at that branch of the art. 237 against all your coolness. however. I determined to go in for rowing proper. especially on Saturday afternoons. and as soon as you can tear away you do so. People say . extremely most of the conversation being on his part. a meeting is inevitable. . when he is of the youthful and long-legged type. Being out in a boat on the river Lea. The interview is. your remarks being mostly of an exclamatory and monosyllabic order. It was not till came to the of rowing is it is so quaint. devoted some three months to rafting. and also affords plenty of opportunity for acquiring the most prompt and graceful method of lying down flat at the bottom of the boat so as to avoid being chucked out into the river by passing towlines.

boating! The tide was running out pretty rapidly when they reached the landing stage. who. and showed them two or three very comfortable-looking boats of the family-party build. The boy tried to damp their ardor for the outrigger. took their fancy. even in those days. but this did them at all. and promptly stepped into bow's place. named Joskins. So the boy launched it. and they proceeded to select their boat. The said they'd have that one. was always the heavy man of any party. and sat down with his back to the stern. The boy suggested that George. and pulling to Richmond and back one of theii sixteen. There was an eight-oared racing outrigger drawn up on the stage that was the one that . with the idea of hiring a boat there. and only his boy please. George never went near the water until he was Then he and eight other gentlemen of about the same age went down in a body to Kew one Saturday. told them it was jolly fun. number. . who had once or twice taken out a boat on the Serpentine. a shock-headed youth. ger was the boat they thought they would look best in. but those would not do at all the outrig. . should be number four. and there was a stiff not trouble breeze blowing across the river. and they took off their coats and prepared to take their seats. was in charge.238 THREE MKX LV A BOA T. George said he should be happy to be number four. The boatman was away.

t into tears. tried to help him. off. What He also noticed. at the same time that his own seat seemed to disappear from under him by magic. George. 239 They got him into his proper position at then the others followed. then followed George is unable to deHe has a confused recollection of having. to his in- They passed under Kew tense surprise. and A particularly nervous boy was appointed cox. broadside. and the boy on the landing stage took a boat-hook and shoved him . And then "cox" threw both rudder lines over- board. and nearly took him with it. on dipping his oar into the water.THREE MEN IN A BOA T. received a violent blow in the small of the back from the buttend of number five's scull. last. on recovering his seat. and the steering principle explained to him by He told Joskins himself took stroke. with his legs in the air. Bridge. that number two was at the same instant lying on his back at the bottom of the boat. disappeared under the boat. and bur. . apparently in a fit. scribe in detail. Joskins being the only one who was rowing. at the rate of eight miles an hour. They said they were ready. it immediately. but. and leave him sitting on the boards. the others that it was simple enough all they had to do was to follow him. Joskins. as a curious circumstance. immediately on starting.

underneath the water. and everybody shouted out to them different directions. as an exercise. and had to pull past them I in this ridicu- lous fashion. A dense crowd watched the entertainment from Kew Bridge with much interest. and says that. How I don't. I boat out at Eastbourne last remember taking a small summer: I used to do a good deal of sea rowing years ago.240 THREE MEN IN A BOA T. like to . his method. To get a grip of the water with both at the same time I had to stand up. and I thought I should be all right but I found I had forgotten the art entirely. watch an old boatman rowing. Harris is more accustomed to sea rowing than to river work. landed half-way do\vn the beach. espeone who has been hired by the hour. he prefers it. There cially is something so beautifully cairn and restful about It is so free from that fretful haste. Three times they managed to get their boat back through the arch. they got back George never knew. and secured the services of an old boatman to take I me back. but it took them just forty minutes. and every time "cox" looked up and saw the bridge above him he broke out into renewed sobs. and three times they were carried under it again. the other would be flourishing wildly about in the air. When one scull was deep down . The parade was crowded with I nobility and gentry. George said he little thought that afternoon that he should ever come to really like boating.

funny. is to adapt his Bow. It is the "It's jolly "time" that worries a youngster. an extraordinary Stroke is in- tensely indignant at this. that is every day becommore and more the bane of nineteenth century ing life.THREE that MEN IN A BOA 7". Plain practical rowing of the get-the-boat-along order is not a very difficult art to acquire." he says. He is all the other boats. as for the twentieth time within five minutes he disentangles his sculls from yours: "I can get on all right when I'm by myself!" To see two novices try to keep time with one another is very amusing. but it takes a good deal of practice before a man feels comfortable when rowing past girls. would trouble and irritate some people. not forever straining himself to pass If another boat overtakes it . in turn. it Bow finds impossible to keep pace with stroke. method to bow's limited then becomes insulted . him and passes him matter of does not annoy him as a do overtake him and pass fact. the sublime equanimity of the hired boatman under the ordeal affords us a beautiful lesson against ambiall tion and uppishness. and explains that what he has been endeavoring to do for the last ten minutes capacity. they This him all those that are going his way. 241 vehement striving. because stroke rows in such fashion.

I've been wondering how I couldn't get on with these. but to devote his mind to setting a sensible stroke. splash along for another hundred yards with still moderate success. and requests stroke not to trouble his head about him (bow). at each . with the evident idea that that would at once put the whole matter right. So back again. recovery. Stroke has to stretch his arms nearly out of their sockets to reach his sculls now while bow's pair. and over their mutual abuse of this man they become quite friendly and sympathetic. "Or." "pass yours over. and most willingly assisting in the exchange. do you know. shall / take stroke?" he adds. "Now we shall be all right. ." answers bow. hit blow in the chest. As in out getting the water all up your sleeve. it Punting is not as easy as rowing." But they are not not even then. you soon learn how to get along and handle the craft." was "Well. upon stroke like a "I tell you what turning to it is: he it cries. but it takes long practice before you can do this with dignity and with looks.242 THREE MEN IN A BOA T. you've got my sculls. quite brightening up. George said he had often longed to take to punting for a change. bow . and then the whole They secret of their trouble bursts flash of inspiration. and come to the concluthey change violent sion that the him a man has given them the wrong set altogether.

happen He had been getting on so well that he had grown quite cheeky over the business. could only sit and look at him. while looking round to enjoy the scenery. taken just one step more than there was any necessity for. we had not taken the proper I precaution to bring out a spare pole with us. A rude boy on sition for him. and was walking up and down the punt. grand. ." luck would have could not go to his assistance. unfortunately. plant his pole. because. and walked it And would all pole The punt altogether. His expression as the pole slowly sank with him I shall nevei forget . there was so much thought in it. working his pole with a knew had first him the careless grace that was quite fascinating to watch. as illit. just like an old punter. the bank immediately yelled out off the to a lagging chum to "hurry up and see a real monkey on a I stick. Up he would march to the head of the punt. was firmly fixed in the mud.THREE MEN IN A BOA T. and he was left clinging while the punt drifted to it It was an undignified poaway. and then run along right to the other end. One young man to I 243 a very sad accident time he went punting. Oh! it was have gone on being grand if he had not.

I drifted on in for about a quarter of a mile." I shouted back. me a I am pole.244 THREE MEN IN A BOAT. He might. nearer. We could not all start together. Here was I alone punt. at all events. The first time I went punting was in company with three other fellows they were going to show . they happened to be there. They called saw me bearing down upon them. 1 watched him gently let down into the water. I could not help laughing. and then I could potter about and practice me how to a bit until they came. and then it was suddenly forced in that really I had got very little to laugh I came to think of it. "I can't. sad and wet. have left me the for pole. he looked such a ridiculous figI continued to chuckle to ure. and they out to me to keep out of their way." they answered. and saw him scramble out. myself about it for some upon me at when time. so I said I would go down first and get out the punt. . do it. the try. in a I down began to feel very indignant with my friend having stepped overboard and gone off in that way. without a pole. and sat then I came in sight mid-stream. matter to them when I "But you don't I explained got glad and they caught me and lent The weir was just fifty yards below. which of a fishing-punt moored in two old fishermen. drifting helplessly mid-stream possibly toward a weir.

their beloved companion. when he put the pole in he evidently did happen not know himself. and his performance was most You never knew what was going to interesting. From this they immediately jumped to the conclusion that it was I. and to make bets with one another as to what would be the outcome of his next push. . and I "How rude of them to go on like that. In the course of time my friends arrived on the opposite bank. They commenced to chaff him unmercifully. . Sometimes he shot up stream and sometimes he shot down stream. and their delight knew no bounds. and at other times he simply spun round and came up the other side of the pole. they engaged so I had nothing else to do but . The people about the river began to get quite absorbed in him after a while. and waiting for my friends. I 245 ivere all could not get a punt out that afternoon. and they stopped and watched him too. and they only saw his jacket and cap. I had not been sitting there long before my attention became attracted to a man in a punt who. who was making an exhibition of himself. I noticed with some surprise. And with every result he seemed equally surprised and annoyed.THREE MEN IN A BOA T. to sit down on the bank. watching the river. I did not grasp their mistake at first. His back was toward them. He was evidently a novice at punting. thought. wore a jacket and cap exactly like mine.

him seemed to be a perfect Hercules in strength. unable to stand their brutal any longer. deriding him. and which must have been perfectly unintelligible to him. shouting ribaldry at him.246 THREE MEN IN A BOA T. and forcibly plunged under water. that Oh. when he felt himself suddenly seized by the neck from He behind. Of course their having mistaken him for a friend excused it. jeering at him. and all his efforts to escape were unavailing. he turned round on them. They said they hoped he would not deem them capable of so insulting any decency left in one except a personal friend of their own. ridiculing For five good minutes they young man ! stood there. and I withdrew behind a tree. but whoever had got hold of struggled violently. the explanation of the matter occurred to me. with a perfect stranger. He was swimming about there near the beach. mocking him. and saw his face they I was glad to notice that they had sufficient ! them to look very foolish. They peppered him with stale jokes. they even made a few new ones and threw all at him. too !" But before I could call out and reprove them. They hurled at him the private family jokes belonging to our set. He . They explained to him that they had thought he was some one they knew. jibes And then. how they enjoyed themselves. I remember Harris telling me once of a bathing experience he had at Boulogne.

He close regained his feet. idea it came natural to a body. rough day. We ping down at Yarmouth. The assassin . I did not think so. as a I had an boy.THREE MEN IN A BOA T. one windy day." said the man to us. as it moment emerged Harris thought it was lucky for him man had not mistaken him for a relation. he started back and seemed quite concerned. or he would probably have been drowned outright. We hired a sailing the yard by the bridge. laughing he caught sight from the water. when his captor released him." We said we would make a point of it. and so. and was trying to turn his thoughts upon solemn things. "I really beg your pardon. knew another boy who held this view likewise. as we put off: "better take in a reef and luff sharp when you get round the bend. like I rounders and touch. was standing by him. "but I took you for a friend of mine!" the heartily but the of Harris's face. Sailing is a thing that wants knowledge and practice too though. 247 had given up kicking. and started off. and looked round for his would-be murderer. and we decided we would go for a trip boat at up the Yare. we were stopthought we would try the sport. and left "It's rather a ." he stammered confusedly.

h\m with a cheery "Good-morning. but I accomplished it at length. and then. and then came the question." wondering to ourselves how you "luffed. eventually By a sort set to work to fix it upside-down. with a wide stretch of water in front of us. and the wind blowing a perfect hurricane across it. decided that the bottom was the top. idea." it. which was the top end? of natural instinct. We rowed until we were out of sight of the town. The impression on the mind of the sail seemed to be that we were play- and ing at funerals. went on seemed a complicated job. and what we were to do with it when we had got it. of course. we felt that the time had come to commence Hector operations." and where we were to get a "reef" from. we. . So I wetted it but that only made matters worse than they were . it hit refused to "Wet wet. When it found that this was not the me over the head with the boom. But it was a long time before we could get it up." said Hector. and that I was the corpse and itself was the winding-sheet. either that way or any other way. I think that was his I name It pulling while unrolled the sail. "drop it over and get it He said people in ships always wetted the sails before they put them up.THREE MEN IN A BOAT. and do anything.

but at I I simply state as a unable to offer have often thought about the matI am in arriving of the phenomenon. we just managed to keep inside the boat. 249 wrapping sail clinging to your legs and round your head is not pleasant. Why it did not upset I any reason. but. That the boat did not upset fact. the two of We exactly upside it down and we tied to the mast with the painter. judging from a cursory view of our behavior. which we cut more sideways like up off for the purpose. and thought we ought to try to do something of the kind but I was for letting her have her head to the wind. that we had come out for a morning's suicide. did get the thing up at us together. not We last. is That exhausting work. fixed it. top-jib. and hauled in the main during severe squalls. ter since. By clinging like grim death to the gunwale. it becomes A dry itself quite vexing. before. As my advice was by far the easiest to follow. but it was point us. . Hector said that pirates and other seafaring people generally lashed the rudder to something or other. .THREE MEN IN A BOA T. things in possibly have come to the conclusion. when the sail is sopping wet. any satisfactory explanation Possibly the result may have been brought all have never succeeded about by the natural obstinacy of this world. and had thereupon determined to disap- The boat may the only suggestion I can offer.

we crept forward and cut down the sail. exciting. we broke one of the We After that we proceeded with great caubut they were a wretched old pair. and the tion. and left for about a hundred and behind us was the water. at a bend. We had enough sailing. Then she righted a miracle and flew for a long. interesting sail and now we thought we would have a row. and don't want to again. We had had a sail a good. all-round. We did not want to overdo the thing and get a surfeit for it. we ended by adopting it. low bank us. brace the gunwale and give her her head.250 r/J'REE MEN IN A BOAT. just for a change like. took the sculls and tried to push the boat off the mud. That mud-bank saved was under water. . sculls. Finding that we were once more able to move according to our ideas. and. she heeled over till half her sail herself of soft by mud. The boat traveled up stream for about a mile at a pace I have never sailed at since. second one cracked almost easier than the first. It was not the sort of day to attract people out The mud us helpless. Then. and contrived to em. The only thing to be done was to sit and wait until some one came by. stretched out yards in front of us. instead of being pitched and thrown about like peas in a bladder. The boat ploughed it its way into the middle of and then stuck. in doing so.

THREE on the river. But rience. number of weeks' we learned expe- and they say that is always cheap at any . tipping the man who had us home. MEN IN A BOA T. It was an old fisherman who. with immense difficulty. and we were towed back in an ignominious fashion to the boat-yard. price. it What between cost us a pretty considerable pocket-money. brought and for having been out four hours and a half. 251 and it was three hours before a soul came in sight. that sail. and paying for the broken sculls. at last rescued us.

when the Danes anchored their in the Kennet. XVI.CHAPTER leading. We are towed by steam launch. steam launches. It must have been worth while having a mere ordinary plague now and regarded as a 252 fighting. hood King Ethelred. |E came in sight of is a famous not linger in the neighborof Reading. Irritating How they get in the way behavior of small boats. and in 1625 the Law followed suit. . Rather a hackneyed story. of George and Harris again shirk their work. The town itself is old place. dirty and dismal here. red and his brother Alfred fought and defeated them. and started from Reading to ravage all the land of Wessex and here Ethelwarships . Ethelred doing the praying and Alfred the Reading seems to have been handy place to run down to. dating from the dim days of The river One does Reading about eleven. when matters were becoming unpleasant in London. Streatley and Goring. and all the courts were held at Reading. Parliament generally rushed off to Reading whenever there was a plague on at Westminster. In later years.

if it had not been for a lot of wretched small boats that were continually getting in the way of our launch. *53 London to get rid of both the lawyers and the Parliament. would have been more delightful still. too. . and they towed us up to within about a mile of Streatley. in this same abbey. Gaunt was married to the Lady a steam At Reading lock we came up with launch. down now and then. just to teach them all a lesson. lies abbey founded by him buried at Reading. and. You can whistle till you nearly burst your boiler before they will trouble themselves to I would have one or two of them run hurry. It is I a launch. belonging to some friends of mine. which may still great John of Blanche. something ought to done to stop it. And they are so confoundedly impertinent. very delightful being towed up by The run prefer it myself to rowing. During the Parliamentary struggle. if I had my way. get in the way of one's launch up the river. and. we had to be It is really most continually easing and stopping. the Prince of King James's troops there. a quarter of a century later. Orange routed Henry dictine I. be seen and. to avoid running down which. over it.THREE then in MEN IN A BOAT. Reading was besieged by the Earl of Essex. the ruins of . in the Benethere. the manner in which these rowing boats annoying.

and we drew up to it. however. when George noticed something black floating on the water. I had not been pulling for more than a minute or so. I should bring the boat up to three miles Well. The neighborhood of Pangbourne. It lay very lightly on the water. where Charles I. here we were.254 THREE MEN IN A BOA T. below the and then Harris wanted to make out that it was my turn to pull. and the face was sweet anc' calm. in spite of save argument. that but it was a gentle. It had been arranged in the mornfriends' launch cast us loose just My grotto. The railway rather spoils it near Tilehurst. and laid hold of it. . And then he drew back with a cry. as we neared it. . to be maturely aged-looking. ten miles Surely it was now their turn could not get either George or Harris to see its I the matter in proper light. This seemed to me most unreasonable. ing that I above Reading. and a blanched face. The river becomes very lovely from a little above Reading. lovable face. but from Mapledurham up to Streatley it is glorious. little above Mapledurham lock Hardwick House. to took the sculls. where the quaint little Swan Inn stands. above Reading! again. It was not a beautiful face it was too pre~ too thin and drawn. must be as familiar to the habitues of the Art Exhibitions as A it is to its own inhabitants. It was the dead body of a woman. George leant over. . played you pass bowls. so.

Six shillings a week does not keep body and ever lower and lower. suppose. Left to fight the world alone. with the millstone of her shame around her neck. Anyhow. I . had closed their doors against her. and the mocking specter had frightened her. its 255 it stamp of pinch and poverty. naturally shocked and indignant. to get away from each other when there is only such 4 very slight bond as that between them and one day. she had sunk For a while she had kept both herself and the child on the twelve shillings a week that twelve hours' drudgery a day pro. soul together very unitedly. and keeping her own body and soul together on the remainder. and upon was that look of restful peace that comes to the faces of the sick sometimes when at last the pain has left them. They want . she had sinned some of us do now and then and her family and friends. cured her. Fortunately for us we having no desire to be kept hanging about coroner's courts some men on the bank had seen the body too. old vulgar tragedy. paying six shillings out of it for the child.THREE MEN IN A BOA T. the pain and the dull monotony of it all had stood before her eyes plainer than usual. She had loved and been deceived or had deceived herself. woman's story afterward. Of course it was the old. and now took charge of it from We found out the us.

the against voice of the erring outcast fell unheeded and . but. the chill wall of their respectability. in a weary. any more there be. perhaps. but women strangely hug the ind. . It seemed that the bitterest thoughts of her life must have centered about the wooded reaches and the bright green meadows around Goring. and afterward. and without betraying any particular emotion of its any kind. >pent upon those shadowed deeps over which the bend their branches down so low. She had made one last appeal to friends. She had wandered about the woods by the river's brink all day. amidst the knife that stabs them. when evening fell and great trees the gray twilight spread its dusky robe upon the waters. Thus had she sinned in all things sinned in God help her! and all other living and in dying. if sinners. then she had gone to see her child had held it in her arms 'and kissed it. after putting into hand a penny box of chocolate she had bought last few shillings.256 THREE MEN IN A BOAT. gall. And the old river had taken her into gentle arms. had it. and had hushed away the pain. she stretched her arms out to the silent river that had known her sorrow and her its joy. dull sort of way. there may have liingled also sunny memories of sweetest hours. with her taken a ticket and come down to Goring. and had laid her weary head upon its bosom. and then. and had left it.

ford that day.THREE Goring on the MEN IN A BOAT. ." much to Montmorency's satisfaction. and lunched at the "Bull. Streatley. and that then the ended there above Goring in one vast lake. bourne woo one for a sunny sail or for a moonlight row. and so we left our boat at the bridge. . but the sweet smiling face of the river here lured us to linger for a while . and is nearer the railway in case you want to slip off without paying your hotel bill. not in a position either to contradict affirm this statement. We and the country round about is full of had intended to push on to Walling. I simply offer it. beauty. Goring is not nearly so pretty a little spot to stop at as Streatley. It is am or an ancient place. They say that the hills on each side of the stream here once joined and formed a barrier across what river I is now the Thames. to British and Saxon times. most river-side towns and villages. dating back. if you have like your choice but it is passing fair enough in its way. 257 left bank and Streatley on the right are both or either charming places to stay The reaches down to Pangat for a few days. and went up into Streatley.

*we collected. it had been more than a failure. after we had washed our clothes in it. Indeed. We washing them ourselves. the river between Reading and Henley was much cleaner. and worked it into our clothes. because we were worse off after we had washed our clothes than we were before. and it had been a failure. We paid the bill without a murmur. The neighborhood of Streatley 258 and Goring is a . during that wash. day. under George's superintendence. |E stayed two days at Streatley. She said it had not been like washing. The washerwoman at Streatley said she felt sht owed it to herself to charge us just three times the usual prices for that wash. Pis/t and fishers. A fishy story. On the ait of ang- A conscientious fly -fisher. it is true. XVII. it had been more in the nature of excavating. Before we had washed them. but they were just wearable. they had been very. After we had washed them well. and got had tried our clothes washed.CHAPTER Washing ling. in the river. All the dirt contained in the river be- tween Reading and Henley. very dirty. than it was before.

all catching anything. of course. except minnows and dead cats. but that has nothing to do. out this statement. ing to be had here. never catch them. MEN The IN A BOA T. if you want to is : it will be all the same.THREE great fishing center. They knew anybody catch anything. or where you can fish for a longer Some fishermen come here and fish for a period. All it . gudgeon. good station for fishing" I seen of the district. am says is the place is "a and. from what I have quite prepared to bear There get more no spot in the world where you can fishing. with fishing! The ^ocal fisherman's guide doesn't say a word about Some day. and you can sit and fish for them never I people do. and eels. and others stop and fish for a month. roach. up the Thames. is 259 fish- There some excellent river abounds in pike. just here. dace. You can hang on and fish for a year. . day.

. and advised should me to give it up. not they! like it I devoted not a good fisherman myself." "jack but there the Angler s Guide is wrong. and that I seemed to have plenty of gumption for the thing. or a shilling shocker. or anything of that kind. Jack and perch may be about there. / fiO. and quite enough constitutional laziness.V . I had not got sufficient imagination. a considerable amount of attention to the subject anything I am one time. But they are not to be way.\' 7. Indeed. and get in your and irritate you. and was getting on.260 THREE . I know The Angler s Guide they are.-l T. but that. to gain any position as a Thames sess. nor go for a bathe. or a reporter. to the Thames says that and perch are also to be had about here. would require of invention than more play I of fancy. : they crowd round. I might be satisfactory. And. "had" by a bit of worm on the end of a hook. more power angler. if you for a fact that in shoals. You can see them there when you are out for a walk along the banks they come and stand half out of the water with their mouths open for biscuits. but the old hands told me that I fairly well never be any real good at it. But they were sure I should never make anything of a fisherman.1fr. at . They said that as a poet. appeared to posall Some people are under the impression that . as I thought. They said that I was an extremely neat thrower.

he removes the pipe from his mouth. tell no art. the tail. "Oh. the veriest tyro can manage that. with his hat on. but that is all. during a momentary lull. required for that sort shows pluck. that way. and in his tone. Mere bald fabrication is lies It useless." replies the old fellow calmly. a mistake.THREE that is MEN IN A make BOA T. weighing eighteen pounds. as he knocks the ashes a lie. the embellishing touches of probability. as without even a tinge of bitterness . come . No. lights his pipe. no skill. and remarks. He lets the youngsters brag away for a while. me if I don't expect anybody would believe did. your accomplished angler would scorn to It His method is a study in itself. I caught dozen perch yesterday evening" or "Last Monday I landed a gudgeon. is 261 required to tell is a good fisherman the ability to but this easily and without blushing. is in the circumstantial detail. and commences to puff in silence. appropriates the most comfortable chair. I had a haul on Tuesday evening that it's not much good my telling anybody about." "Oh! why's that?" they "Because I ask. and then. and measuring three feet from the tip to perienced angler Anybody can fifteen is seen. He comes in quietly out against the bars: "Well. that the exin and say." is There of thing. the general air of scrupulous almost of pedantic veracity.

if I could move the rod It took me half an hour half an hour. Hang me. listening to injure the tales that the fishermen about there told him and he said . his pipe. "No. ! A ! three of Scotch. if it did not him. I asked the landlord of an inn up the river once. sir! to land that fish and every moment I thought the line was going to snap I reached him at last.262 THREE refills MEN IN A BOAT. sir! Yes. sometimes. nobody feeling suffi- he ciently sure of himself to contradict the old gentleman. landlord." he continues thoughtfully. "I shouldn't believe it myself if anybody told it to me. suddenly felt a rather smart pull at the line. cold. and I went to jerk it up. I had been sitting there all the afternoon and had caught literally nothing except a few dozen dace and a score of jack and I was just about giving it up as a bad job when I . and what do you think it was? sturgeon! a taken on a line. forty pound sturgeon you may well look surprised I'll have another ! . So he has to go on by himself without any encouragement. and of and what his wife what Joe Buggies thought about it. and requests the landlord to him three of Scotch." And then he goes on to tell of the astonish- ment said. when he got home. for all that. : . please. bring There is a pause after this. but it's a fact. of everybody who saw it . I thought it was another little one.

and a he. he was a most conwhen he took to fly-fishing. fish. not now. But I will not lie any more than that. The greatest number was three. So he increased and-a-third . stuck to this arrangement for a couple of months." But the twenty-five per cent. he had really caught three small fish. his percentage to thirty-three- but that. he determined never to exaggerate his hauls by more than twenty-five per cent. he made up his mind to just double the . young man once. you know. lor' love you me and It's listens to 'em all day now. and. no. and so on. sir. "Oh. plan did not work well at all. quantity." I to. because it is sinful to lie. When and . what you're used used to. first. 263 It did used to knock ! me over a bit at the missus we but. therefore. He Nobody that at believed him when he told them that he no credit only doubled. was awkward. while hi? moderation put him disadvantage among the other anglers. again." said he. gained way whatever. "When I have caught forty fish. It's what you're knew a scientious fellow.THREE MEN IN A BOA T. not in of fish he ever caught in one day you can't add twenty-five per cent. "then I will tell people that I have caught fifty. He never was able to use it. to simplify matters. and then he grew dissatisfied with it. and to three at least. when he had only caught one or two so.

to give you indigestion for a month. T he had caught six. and to assume ten to begin with. . then he said he had caught ten fish you could never catch less than ten fish by his system that was the foundation of it. little ever you have an evening to spare. and so on. They said they would consider the idea if the number were doubled. while two fish would count thirty. the Committee of the Thames Anglers' Association did recommend its adoption about two years ago. three forty. and there has been some talk lately of its being made use of . by the angling fraternity in general. going about telling people he had landed two dozen. So.264 said THREE MEA IN A BOA T. but some of the older members opposed it. which he has religiously held to ever since. sipping their toddy there. and each fish counted as twenty. and they will tell you enough fishy stories. he made one final arrangement with himself. For example. Then. If river. will You and take a seat in the tap-room. he called it twenty. up the I should advise you to drop into one of the village inns. whom he knew for a fact had only caught one. it used to make him quite jealous to hear a man. be nearly sure to meet one or two old rodmen. eventually. Indeed. It is a simple and easily worked plan. if he did not catch any fish at all. in half an hour. if by any chance he really did catch one fish. and that was to count each fish that he caught as ten.

somehow or other. upon a dusty old glass-case. and other things. MEN IN A don't BOA T. that we were strangers in the neighborhood. and. there- and the dog. left to ourselves. and then we all told each other that we thought and George it would be a fine day to-morrow said the crops seemed to be coming up nicely. and had then come back and spent full forty minutes in pipeclaying his shoes. and we naturally began chatting. Then ensued in a pause the con- during which our eyes wandered round the room. and we told him that it had been a fine day yesterday. He told us that it had been a fine day to-day.THREE George and of Harris . There was an old fellow there. 265 I I know what had become he had gone out and had a shave. coming home. They finally rested versation. and con- . we had not seen him since George and I. morning. fixed very high up above the chimney-piece. . early in the afternoon. and that we were going away the next fore. After that it came out. smoking a long clay pipe. we called in at a little river-side inn. We went into the parlor and sat down. went for a walk to Wallingford on the second evening. for a rest.

following the direction of my gaze. turning round to him. aint first he?" "Quite uncommon. that. I'm thinking. "Ah !" said the old gentleman. gentlemen. that taining a trout. when that fish was . after a pull at his beer. "Yes. I thought it was a cod. many Good-night. and so I did. good-night." replied the man and then. and George asked the old man how much he thought it weighed. came to the door of the room with a pot of beer in his hand. who had just stopped at the inn. at . sir. sir. It rather fascinated me. "Ah! you may well say that. and left us alone. They told me he wur in the river." said George. We were still looking at it. I caught him just below the bridge with a minnow. "it wur sixteen year ago. when the local carrier. "Good-sized trout. he added "Maybe you wasn't here.266 THREE A/EN IN A BOA T. and he also looked at the fish. rising and taking down his coat. and I You don't see said I'd have him. : caught?" ." said our friend." I murmured. that I landed him. In fact. fish that size about here now." And out he went. trout it was such a monstrous fish. We that." he continued. glance. could not take our eyes off the It really was a remarkably fine fish after fish. come the third o' next month. "Eighteen pounds six ounces. "fine fellow that.

" caught much tell us how you !" "Why. gentlemen. I hope you will forgive the liberty that we perfect strangers in the neighborhood are taking. in 267 "No. and said "I beg your pardon. twenty-six pound. the genial old fellow. at length. sir. never thinking of a trout. then?" said I. . what was the lock then one Friday afternoon and replied . "then. George turned to the new-comer." Well. good- Five minutes afterward. and when whopper on the end of my line. night. "I caught him just below the lock leastways. how should you? It was nearly five years ago that I "Ah !" caught that trout. bless you. came and solemn-looking. middle-aged individual sat down over by the window. neighborhood. who told you I caught that trout was the surprised query. I'd gone out pike-fishing. and then he left." it you who caught it. a third man came in. the remarkable thing about it is that I caught him with a fly.THREE MEN IN A BOA T. blest quite take I if saw that it didn't me aback. . and a stolid." "Oh! was "Yes. We were strangers the said the carrier. you see. and described how he had caught it early one morning. but friend and myself would my be so obliged if you would that trout up there. : None of us spoke for a while but. in. with bleak. of course. he weighed Good-night." we told him.

as a matter of fact. said that We nobody had felt told us so. in my parlor. We told him the scale at thirty-four we had heard about his trout. you are quite right. But fancy your guessing it like it's really a most remarkable thing. I did catch it. that. He said he had weighed it carefully when he reached home. the landlord came in to us." And then he went on. and we all laughed various histories very heartily. to put ily." Yes. instinctively that was he "Well. when he was quite a lad not by any ! ! ! ! . and it had turned the pounds. but someit how or other we who had done it." answered the stolid stranger. they are the sort to give it me. It seemed that he had caught it himself. and when he was gone. . that is they had caught it. "because. and told us how it had taken him half an hour to land it. it's a most remarkable thing most remarkable. "Fancy Jim Bates and Joe Muggles and Mr. Jones and old Billy Maunders all telling you that Well. laughing. Dear me. if they had caught it. and he was immensely amused. they are up Ha! ha! ha!" And then he told us the real history of the fish.268 THREE MEN IN A BOA T. and how it had broken his rod. years ago. Ha ha ha said the honest old fellow. laughing heartgood. He went in his turn.

MEN IN A BOA T. with a bit of string tied on to the sunny end of a tree. We thought it strange and uanccountable that .THREE art or skill. George and the chair on top of it. wag from He said that bringing home that trout had saved him from a whacking. and down it came with a crash. I again turned our gaze upon The really was a most astonishing trout. rushing up. more we looked at it. have you?" I cried in alarm. and that even his schoolmaster had said it was worth the rule of three and practice put together. He was called out of the room at this point. 269 appears to always wait the but by that unaccountable luck that upon a boy when he plays school. And then the chair slipped. the more we marveled at It excited George so much that he climbed up on the back of a chair to get a better view it. I did not count them. and goes out fishing on a afternoon. That trout lay shattered into a thousand fragments I say a thousand. "I hope not. of it. but they may have only been nine hundred. "You haven't injured the fish. rising cautiously and looking about. and George clutched wildly at the trout-case to save himself." said George. and George and the It fish. But he had.

little a stuffed trout should break up into like that. pieces And so it if countable. That trout was plaster of . but it Paris.270 THREE ME\ r IN' A BOA T. would have been strange and unacit had been a stuffed trout. was not.

From Cleve you get a stretch of six and a half miles without a lock. But however satisfactory this absence of locks may be to rowing-men. while the gloomy gates creak. sinking down. and slept under the canvas.CHAPTER Locks. and the narrow strip of daylight between 271 them widens . A A of |E left Streatley early the next morning. it is to be regretted by the mere pleasure -seeker. as it were. I am fond of locks. and the Oxford Club make use of it for their trial eights. in the backwater there. and pulled up to Culham. The river is not extraordinarily interesting be- tween Streatley and Wallingford. They pleasI like sitantly break the monotony of the pull. Walling' family man. stretch I believe this is the longest uninterrupted anywhere above Teddington. For myself. ford. XVIII. bit George and I are photographed. in the boat and slowly rising out of the cool ting depths up into new reaches and fresh views or . difficult for drowning. out of the world. and then waiting. A good water. spot Abingdon. Demoralizing effect of river air. Dorchester.

smiling river lies full before you. or bright-eyed daughter. a speculative photographer was taking a picture of us all as we lay upon the rising waters. It was a glorious day. itself into The Conservancy of late seems to have constituted A good many crowded portions a society for the employment of idiots. and stick his cap on in a rakish manner at the back of his head. especially in the mo^e of the river. a common I did not catch what was going on at therefore.272 till THREE the fair MEN IN A BOA T. and the lock was crowded and. and was. and then. of the new lock-keepers. are pleasant folk to have a passing chat with. ruffle up his hair. are excitable. and you push your little boat out from its brief prison on to the welcoming waters once again. They are picturesque little spots. . Talking of locks reminds me of an accident George and I very nearly had one summer's morning at Hampton Court. noticing George hurriedly smooth out his trousers. The Thames would not be its the fairyland it is without flower-decked locks. and river gossip is exchanged. assuming an expression of mingled affability and sadness. sit down in a graceful attitude. nervous old men. or his cheerful-looking wife. and try to hide his feet. extremely surprised at first.* Y.ou meet other boats there. practice up the river. The stout old lock-keeper. these locks. My first idea was that he had suddenly caught * Or rather were. as is . quite unfitted for their post.

and looking stern and noble. So I faced round quickly. and threw an air of wondered if the first boat. Everybody in the lock seemed have been suddenly struck wooden." could not turn round to see what was the at matter. I should be in time. at last. heard some one behind call out : As we "Hi! look I your nose. Oh.THREE sight of see who to MEN IN A BOA T. there was nothing wrong with it that could be altered. expression. and that seemed all be expected also. Ours was tender wistfulness into my with suits a touch of cynicism. I thought. I 273 some it girl he knew. mingled which I am told me. I stood. and spoil the then. I squinted that could . arranged my hair with a curl over the forehead. And all the fellows were did look so sweet they frowning. ! And and I it would be unkind of me to man's picture. down at my own. and whose nose it was that was to be looked at. waiting for the eventful moment. They were all standing or sitting about in the most quaint and curious attitudes I have ever seen off a Japanese fan. in an attitude suggestive of I agility and strength. and looked about to was. All the girls were smiling. where I leant with careless grace upon the hitcher. the truth flashed across me. I stole a side glance at George's nose! It was all right at all events. and took up a position in the prow.

Was it us they were calling to? What was the matter with our noses? Why were they to be pushed out But now the whole lock started yelling. while the in-coming water was rising all round it." looked then. and tilting it up. we each seized an oar. and sent us sprawling on our backs. our luck ordained it. "Look your nose. and the picture And might be taken any moment. It's your two corpses that will get taken in that photo. We George and I. and saw that the nose of our We boat had got fixed under the woodwork of the lock. : same voice then another voice cried "Push your nose out. sir: you in the red and ! : black caps. did not come out well in that photograph. can't you. as was to be expected. and a vigorous blow against the side of the lock with the butt-ends released the boat. you stupid ass!" came the again. louder. you you two with the dog!" Neither George nor I dared to turn round. Quick as thought. and a stentorian voice from the back shouted "Look at your boat. that the man should at set his wretched machine in motion the precise mo- .274 THREE at MEN IN A BOA t. Of course. In another moment we should be over. The man's hand was on the cap. if you aint quick.

the business. ment it?" in 275 that a wild expression of we were both lying on our backs with "Where am I? and what is faces.THREE MEX AV A BOA T. seeing that the ought photo was about nine-tenths us. The owner of one steam launch. Wallingford. six miles above Streatley. could show him his launch. and bits of the surrounding scenery. but everything and everybody else in the lock looked so utterly insignificant and paltry compared with our feet. but nobody body could. you caught glimpses of the tirely. It was somewhere behind George's right foot. but we declined. that all the other people felt quite ashamed of themselves. and refused to subfeet in that Our scribe to the picture. There was a good deal of unpleasantness over The photographer thought we to take a dozen copies each. other boats. on our air. is a very ancient town. but we preferred being taken the right way up. and has been an active center for . They filled up the foreground enBehind them. and our four feet waving madly the were undoubtedly the leading article photograph. very little else was to be seen. rescinded the order on seeing the He said he would take them if any negative. Indeed. We said we had no objection to being photo'd full-length. who had bespoke six copies.

last.276 the THREE making of MEN IN A BOA T. nestling in stillness and silence and drowsiness. and Dorchester stands half a mile from picturesque. was a city in ancient British times. in later years. even hills. Dorchester. the trace of which Time has not yet succeeded in sweeping away. "the city on the water. Dorchester is a delight- way is fully peaceful old place. and take a walk across the fields. in the time of the Britons. until the Nomans came. if you have a small boat but the best . when a long and bitter siege from Fairfax. It was a walled and fortified town up to the soon . who squatted there. it suffered It fell at Fom Wallingford up to Dorchester the neighriver borhood of the grows more hilly. varied. time of the Parliamentary War. It can be reached by paddling up the Thames. though he halted at crumbled Romans to dust Roman walls. to leave the river at Day's Lock. it was then called Caer Doren. and on the ground. and replaced their clay-baked walls by mighty fortifications. But Time. mud-built town It \vas a rude. Saxon days it was the capital . fought savage Saxons and huge Danes. the river. until the Roman legions evicted them. and then the walls were razed." In more recent times the Romans formed a great camp here. the fortifications surrounding which now seem In like low. so well those old-world masons knew how to build. like Wallingford. English history.

to him. It is very old. itself a wonderfully pretty village. We were up early the next morning." It is. peaceful." At the "Barlow Mow" she would bump her head against the ceiling each time she did this. you cannot do better than put up at the "Barley Mow. If you stay the night on land at Clifton. old-fashioned. or ever finding his bed when he got up. I should say. most old-world inn up the river. as we wanted to be in Oxford by the afternoon. It stands on the right of the bridge. and it was very strong and great once. without exception. and nods and dreams. and dainty with flowers. 277 Wessex. It would not be a good place for the heroine of a modern novel to stay at. the quaintest. way of unexpected steps down into this room and up into that and as for getting upstairs to his bedroom. Now it sits aside from the stirring world.THREE of MEN IN A BOAT. quite away from the village. Its low-pitched gables and thatched windows give it quite a storybook appearance." and she is roof and latticed ever "drawing herself up to her full height. the river scenery is rich and beautiful. Round Clifton Hampden. It would also be a bad house for a drunken man There are too many surprises in the to put up at. while inside it is even still more once-upon-a-timeyfied. It is . The heroine of a modern novel is always "divinely tall. either operation would be an utter impossibility .

Nicholas Church. and within what is order quiet. lying wrapped up rug on the boards of a boat. there is a monument to John Blackwall and his wife Jane. Lee's numbered one hundred and ninety-seven. the river passes by the streets. At Abingdon. who both. W." If you you will find that Mr. it died in 1637. Lee five times Mayor of Abingdonhis loins . Lee. after leading a happy married life. surprising ing out. and uninteresting. at Abingdon. In St. but. *A famous abbey stood here once. desperately but whether it can compare in this respect with Wallingford and Dorchester seems doubtful. as one does in a feather bed. August 21. Clifton to Culham the river banks are flat. and It prides itself on being old. W. of its sanctified walls they brew bitter ale nowadays. with a Gladstone bag for a pillow. family Mr. Abingdon is a typical country town of the smaller eminently respectable. in his lifetime issue from work two hundred lacking but three. 1625. and were through Clifton Lock by From half-past eight. who Helen's Church.2 78 THREE MEN IN A BOA T. died on the very same day. dull. monotonous. clean. "had this out is recorded that W. and in left St. \Vc had finished breakfast. when campOne does not yearn for "just another minutes" nearly so much. after you get through Culham Lock the coldest and deepest lock on the river the landscape improves. five in a how early one can get up.

just behind the lock. and then. a benefactor to his generation. Mill. come quite up to the picthings. in this world. and the grounds are very beautiful. is tures of them. rather disappointing.THREE MEX IN A BOA T. however. The real article. tures and curiosities. is a very good place to drown yourself in. brethren of the bru^h. Between Iffley and Oxford is the most difficult You want to be born on bit of the river I know. . steps of the obelisk are generally used as a divingboard by young men now who \vish to see if the place really Iffley is is dangerous. The undercurrent is terribly strong. visit. while bathing there and the . and if you once get down into it you are all right. can be viewed on Tuesdays and ThursThe house contains a fine collection of pic- The pool under Sandford lasher. having tidied up the boat and made all ready for landing. no doubt. a a From Abingdon to Nuneham Courteney is Nuneham Park is well worth lovely stretch. An obelisk marks the spot where two men have already been drowned. 279 was. Few I have noticed. a mile before Lock and you reach a favorite subject with the river-loving Oxford. after the pictures. but I hope there are not many of his kind about in this overcrowded nineteenth century. \Ye passed through Iffley Lock at about half- past twelve. we set to work on our last mile. It days.

The man who could row a straight course from Oxford to Iffley live comfortably. under one with his wife. sister. his elder roof. over it a fairish number of times. I I that bit of water. his mother-in-law. and the old servant who was in the family ought to be able to when he was First the a baby. but have been have never been able to get the hang of it. current drives you on to the right .28o THREE MEN IN A BOA T. to understand it.

of course. drive you nearly frantic with rage when they occur on the water. we got in the way of a good many other boats during the mile. kill all The mildest-tempered become I when on land. When another boat gets in my the want to take an oar and people. she "why don't he look where he's going?" And.THREE MEN IN A BOA T. as a consequence of this. I is don't know why it always so exceptionally should be. "Oh. When Harris or George makes an ass of himself on dry land. that you would hardly notice on dry land. violent little and bloodthirsty when in a boat. I use the most bloodcurdling lan- guage to them. and they in ours. did a boating once with a young lady. bother the silly old thing!" . She was naturally of the sweetest and gentlest disposition imaginable. but everybody irritable on the river. 281 bank. people I river. and carries you up stream again. and. and always ends by trying to smash you up against a college barge. Little mishaps. feel I in it. Of course. and then on to the left. "Oh. as a consequence of that. but on the river it was quite awful to hear her. drat the man !" she would exclaim. then it taken you out into the middle. on the way. some unfortunate sculler would get in her when way. I smile indulgently when they behave in a chucklehead way . a good deal of bad language occurred. turns you round three times.

which causes even bargemen to be sometimes rude to one another. and to use language which. as I have said. when on shore she was kind-hearted and amiable enough. when the sail would not go up properly.282 THREE MEN IN A BOA T would say indignantly. And she would catch hold of it. no doubt. and this it is. in their calmer moments they regret. . and shake it quite brutally. The air of the river has a demoralizing effect upon one's temper. I suppose. Yes.

banjo. or too constitutionally it may be. beauties The Pride of the Thames. its up-river boat. A mournful melody. two very pleasant days at OxThere are plenty of dogs in the ford. Montinoi encys idea of Heaven. " XIX. Montmorency had eleven fights on the first day. The hired and advantages. The cheery chat goes round. however. relish whichever up-stream work. toast. The The weather changes. |E spent Among folk too constitutionally weak. A little supper and a George performs upon the Another wet day.CHAPTER Oxford. town of Oxford. Not a cheerful evening. and evidently thought he had got to heaven. There is more satisfaD 283 . It does not seem good to be always going with the current. Flight. the unattainable. and fourteen on the second. and row down. the up-stream journey is certainly to be preferred. it is a common practice to get a boat at Oxford. to lazy. For the energetic." river under different Yearnings for aspects.

284 THREE MEN IN A BOA T. of course. They are fairly water-tight and so long . as a rule. are very good boats. underneath the trees. He likes to keep on the shady side. tion in squaring one's back. or sink. a stop to any nonsense of that sort on the part That is its chief. and winning one's way forward in spite of it at least. when . so I feel. and they are complete with all the sit down on. when Harris and George steering. may of its occupants. I would say. take your unless. are let for hire on the Thames above Marlow. are sculling and I am To those who do contemplate making Ox- own boat ford their starting-place. they rarely come There are places in them to to pieces. as they are handled with care. and fighting against it. necessary arrangements or nearly you to row them and steer them. The man in the hired up-river boat is modest and retiring. its only recommendation. hire all to enable But they are not ornamental. and to do most of his traveling early in the morning or late at night. you can take some- one else's without any possible danger of being found out. The boats that. The boat you up the river above Marlow is not the sort of boat in which you can flash about and give yourThe hired up-river boat very soon puts self airs.

on first catching sight of the obwas that it was a Roman relic of some sort. and hides behind a tree.THREE MEN IN A BOAT. sculling skiff. for a few days' trip. of what I do not know. Thames The boy and reappeared five minutes afterward. I was one of a party who hired an up-river boat one summer. you're the party that wrote fora : double. and dug out carelessly. the man said "Oh yes. relic idea. round Pride " The the of ivent. st.uggling with an antediluvian chunk of wood. and gave our names. and my surmise seemed to m. and we did not know what it was when we did see it. The neighborhood in of the upper Thames is rich Roman relics. there are not 285 many people about on man in the river to look at him. and when we went down with our bags to the yard. It's all right. that looked as though it had been recently dug out of somewhere. My own ject. When the the hired up-river boat sees any one he knows. possibly of a coffin. so as to have been unnecessarily damaged in the process. he gets out on to the bank. We had none of us ever seen the hired up-river boat before.e a . We had written for a boat a double-sculling skiff. fetch Jim.

mother's washing-tub home again. "Come." The boat-builder himself came up then. and said it was clear to the meanest intellect (in which category he seemed to is a bit of a Roman relic be grieved that he could not conscientiously include mine) that the thing the boy had found was the fossil of a whale and he pointed out to us various evidences proving that it must have .286 THREE . too long. my lad !" said our captain sharpYou take ly. in fact. To settle the dispute. but to speak the plain truth it the fossil of a pre-Adamite an early Roman coffin? The boy said it was The Pride of tJie Thames. at least. on his word. MEN IN A BOA T. that the thing really was a boat was. come. and somebody gave him twopence as a reward for his ready wit but when he persisted in keeping up the joke. as we thought. we appealed to the boy. "don't let us have any nonsense. have had it whitewashed or We . we got vexed with him. We thought this a very humorous answer on the part of the boy at first. very probable one but our serious young marij who geologist. as a practical man. or was . pooh-poohed my theory. We told him not to be afraid. We thought he might. belonged to the pre-glacial period. the boat. us a boat. and as- sured us. and bring your : Was it whale. the "double-sculling skiff" selected to take us on our trip down the river. grumbled a good deal.

gilding gold the gray-green The beech trunks. 287 had something done to it to distinguish from a bit of a wreck but he could not see any it. had been it now stood (or rather as it now together). and he thought we might have been more He said he grateful. the third day. got a bit of wall-paper and some pieces pasted over the shabbier places. BOA T. He said in it. loan of the remnant for six days and we could have bought the thing out and out for four-and- sixpence at any sale of drift-wood round the coast. fastened the so-called boat together with of string. fault in even seemed offended at our remarks. He had picked us out the best boat in all his stock. just as hung fore. for the last forty years. They charged us thirty-five shillings for the . to his knowledge. said our prayers. The Pride of the Tliames. first and he did not see why we should be the to begin. and we started from Oxford upon our homeward journey ! The weather changed on am in the midst of a steady drizzle. and stepped on board. glinting through the dark. arid nobody had complained of it be- use. oh I talking about our present trip now. river with the sunlight flashing from its dancing wavelets.THREE tarred it MEN IN A . cool . We We argued no more.

and her children touch her hand. wantoning with the weir's waters. chasing flinging kisses to the shadows o'er the shallows. But the river chill and weary. She is as a widow who has lost the husband she loved. change. while the woods. all dark and silent. seem to know us or to care for us. that we liked to see the river under all its differ- . brightening every tiny townlet. when the sunlight has died away from out of her. with the ceaseless rain-drops falling on its brown and sluggish waters. gleaming gay on many a far sail. wood paths. but gain no smile from her. in with a sound as of a woman weeping low some dark chamber. throwing lilies. We pretended. making soft the air white with glory is a golden fairy stream. like . from each inlet. like the ghosts of evil actions. silvering moss-grown walls and bridges. that we enjoyed it. making sweet each lane and meadow. Earth looks at us with such dull. We rowed on all that day through the rain. diamonds from the mill-wheels. It makes us sad to be with her then she does not . and very melancholy work it was. peeping. at We said it wzz r. lying tangled in the rushes. stand like ghosts upon the margin silent ghosts with eyes reproachful. first. shrouded in their mists of vapor. laughing. and look up into her eyes.288 THREE MEN IN A BOA T. soulless eyes. Mother Sunlight is the life-blood of Nature. the ghosts of friends neglected is a spirit-haunted water through the land of vain regrets.

and how he laughed at people who a gypsy's lightful a gypsy's existence ! didn't like it. 289 to We we could not expect sunshine. Indeed. and to every wind that blew and how he enjoyed the rain. Harris and I were quite enthusiastic about the business. for the first few hours. MEN IN A said BOA T. nor should we wish it. and how dewas! free to storm and sunshine.THREE ent aspects. told each other that Nature was beautiful. And we sang a song about life. . even have in it all We her tears. and what a lot of good it did him.

apparently insulted by the offer. and. We hoisted the cover before all we had lunch. at all events until he had finished his cold boiled beef without mustard. 't breeds an unhealthy excitement carried too far. is apt to cloy. and passed the remains of his pie to Montmorency. Supper was not a success. by the end of which time George had won fourpence George always is lucky at cards and Harris and I had lost exfor We played penny actly We As when twopence each. I wanted whitebait and a cutlet. who declined it. when you don't feel hungry. went and sat over at the other end of the boat by himfelt I self. and the afternoon. George took the fun more soberly. Everything in the boat was damp and clammy. We played about an hour and a half. Harris said. Harris babbled of soles and white-sauce. The rain poured down with quiet persistency. George requested that we would not talk about these things. Cold veal pie. George offered to go on . and pulled up for the night a little below Day's Lock. I cannot honestly say that we had a merry evening. just leaving a little kept up in the bow. from which one of us could padspace dle and keep a look-out. nap after supper.9 THREE MEN IN A BOA T. and stuck to the umbrella. In this way we made it nine miles. thought we would give up gambling then.

lung diseases. and he had woke up in the morning a Harris said he. And that put Harris in mind of a friend of his. and sat round and talked. but Harris and I decided not to battle any further against Fate. and who had slept out in a damp boat on just such another night as that was. who had been in the Volunteers. After that. who had come up the river two years ago. and in a weak moment I suggested that George should . doctor. and he had died in great agony ten days afterward. George said he was quite a man. and it had given him rheumatic fever. There seemed to be a desire for something frolicsome to follow upon this conversation. and bronchitis. and who had slept out under canvas one wet night down at Aldershot. 291 and give us our revenge. and nothing was able to save him. and was engaged to be married. He young said it was one of the saddest things he had ever known. seeing how far away we were from a ." said Harris. fevers. George told us about a man he had known. would introduce cripple for life. This naturally led to some pleasant chat about sciatica. and Harris said how very awkward it would be if one of us were taken seriously ill in the night. chills.THREE MEN IN A BOAT. we mixed ourselves some toddy. "on just such another night as this. us both to the man when he got back to town it would make our hearts bleed to see him.

and George and few words behind : following a " Two Oh ! lovely black eyes ! . unable to bear. left his music at He I at was no nonsense about having home. and com- menced to play "Two Lovely Black Eyes. until that evening. in our then state of depression. or anything of that sort. . Only for what a surprise telling a man he was wrong. and listened to the wild yearnful When the chorus in melody in silence. of George's The unutterable pathos that accompaniment to "two" \ve were. The desire that grew upon Harris and myself. leading. The rich vein of sadness that George extracted from it quite surprised me.292 THREE MEN IN A BOA T. I will say for George that he did not want any There pressing. came v/e even made a despe- rate effort to be merry. and joined our glasses in a voice trembling with Harris. get out his banjo." had always regarded "Two Lovely Black Eyes" as rather a commonplace tune. and see if he could not give us a comic song. was to fall upon each other's necks and weep. but by great effort we kept back the rising tears. as the mournful strains progressed. " Two There we broke down. and the . Harris sobbed like a little child. once fished out his instrument. refilled I We emotion.

it might not seem so sad. He thought that when he had got a little more into the tune. and we sat. The second day was exactly like the first. we managed to get slumber until five A. when we all got up and had breakfast. wrapped up in our mackintoshes. we undressed ourselves. On one point we were all agreed. and tossed about at the bottom of the boat for some three After which. and that was . The feeling of the majority. and drifted slowly down.M. not " I ! was so painfully evident. and could throw more "abandon. however. One of us I forget which one now. That old . some fitful during the course of the morning to work up the gypsy foolishness about being children of Nature and enjoying the wet but it did not gc down well at all. There being nothing else to do. The rain continued to pour down. 93 dog howled till I thought his heart or his jaw must surely break." as it were. as expressing the senti ments of each of us. but I rather think it was myself made a few feeble attempts or four hours.TJfREE MEN IN A BOAT. George wanted to go on with another verse. that to sing it seemed un necessary. we went to bed. into the rendering. was opposed to the experiment. " I can not for the rain. underneath the canvas. that is..

half-past six. We right. Pangbourne. and we decided to paddle on to past Goring then. We "Another jolly evening!" murmured George. we would go through with We had come out for a fortnight's enjoyment on the river. a climate -such as ours would be a most disastrous We precedent. that would be a sad thing for our friends and relations. THREE MEN IN A BOA T. and a fortnight's enjoyment on the river we meant to have. . "and may get over it all young and strong. or we dimly-lit bar-parlor and read the almanac. this job to the bitter end. We sat and mused on the prospect." At about four o'clock for the we began to discuss our were a little arrangements evening. We should be in at five. If it killed us! well. the Alhambra would be almost mort lively. after all. "It's we are only two days more. say. venturing his head outside the cover for a moment and taking a survey of ing rain until the pourcould sit in a the sky." said Harris.294 that." said Harris. and put up there for the night. "Why. but it could not be felt that to give in to the weather in helped. come what might. bourne by dinner that We Pangshould finish After at. we could walk about the village in bed-time.

" answered Harris." added. river not a soul was in sight Twenty minutes later. half unconsciously. which would just land us in town in comfortable time to get a chop. in the neigh- where you can get one of the best-cooked borhood of and cheapest little French dinners or suppers that I know of. . it's almost a pity we've made up our minds to stick to and then there was "If this boat. ! creeping stealthily from the boat-house at the "Swan" toward the railway station." ob- served George. In silence. "Yes. . soon after five. suit of boating * flan- A capital little . we hadnt made up our minds in our certain deaths this bally old coffin. three figures. out-of-the-way restaurant." Nobody spoke. for three-and-six and which I am not going to be idiot enough to advertise. I know.THREE "With a little MEN IN A at the BOA T. followed by a shamed-looking dog. might have been seen . dirty. with an excellent bottle of Beaune. casting a glance of intense malevo" it might be worth while to lence over the boat. and then go on to the place you mentioned afterward. we dragged out and overhauled the GladWe looked up the river and down the stone. dressed in the following neither neat nor gaudy costume: Black leather shoes. to contract silence for a while. - *95 I supper * to follow. mention that there's a train leaves Pangbourne. We looked at one another. and each one seemed to see his own mean and guilty thoughts reflected in the faces of the others.

much battered. mackintosh. and then continued our way We to Leicester Square. Alnambra. it with structions that was to be ready for us at nine the next morning. We were the cynosure of every eye. we said if anything unforeseen should happen. in his charge. very dirty. Our fine bronzed countenances and picturesque clothes were followed round the place with admiring gaze. and drove I have before described. We convinced the man. We had not had the face to tell him that we were running away from the boat. If. . and were informed that we were halt an hour behind our time. with some difficulty. Inside we were still a greater success. THREE MEN IN A . attracted a good deal of attention at the our presenting ourselves at the gruffly directed to go round to Castle Street. BOA T. together be ready at half-past ten. we would write to him." and he took our money and let us pass. We had left the in- contained. and all it rain. On pay-box we were It was a proud moment for us all. very wet umbrella. that we were not "the world-renowned contortionists trom the Himalaya Mountains. where we partook of a light meal. We direct to the restaurant reached Paddington at seven. brown felt hat. left Montmowith suggestions for a supper to rency.29 6 nels. preventing our return. We had deceived the boatman at Pangbourne.

We adjourned soon after the wended our way back to the restaurant. and the smell of French sauces. We pegged and quaffed away in silence for a while. cake. and the sight of clean napkins and long knocked as a very welcome visdoor of our inner man. It glistened darkly in the wet. first *97 ballet. and thoughtful. and grasping the knife and fork firmly. instead of sitting bolt upright. the dim lamps flickered with each gust. let our napkins fall. Then Harris. a nutritious diet. and the odor of Burgundy. and bread and jam. I must confess to enjoying that supper. For about ten days we seemed to have been living. to the floor. unheeded. It had been a simple. and found time to more critically examine the smoky ceiling than we had hitherto been able to do when we rested our glasses at arm's-length upon the table. the rain splashed steadily into the puddles and trickled down the water- spouts into the running gutters. itor at the street. A few soaked . more or less. and forgiving. we leant back in our chairs and worked slowly and carelessly when we stretched out our legs beneath the table. until the time came when. and where supper was already awaiting us.THREE MEN IN A BOA T. drew aside the curtain and looked out upon the loaves. who was silting next the window. on nothing but cold meat. but there had been nothing exciting about it. and felt good.

reaching his hand out for "we have had a pleasant trip. the women holding up their skirts. peering out into the night. standing on his hind legs before the window. gave a short bark of decided concurrence with the toast. and my thanks for it to old Father Thames but hearty I think we did well to chuck it when we did. wayfarers hurried past.<9 8 THREE MEN IN A BOA T. his glass." said Harris. "Well. . crouching beneath their dripping umbrellas. Here's to Three Men well out of a Boat !" And Montmorency.




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