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THREE MEN IN A BOAT (TO SAY NOTHING OF THE DOG). by Jerome K. Jerome CHAPTER I. THREE INVALIDS. - SUFFERINGS OF GEORGE AND HARRIS. - A VICTIM TO ONE HUNDRED AND SEVEN FATAL MALADIES. USEFUL PRESCRIPTIONS. - CURE FOR LIVER COMPLAINT IN CHILDREN. - WE AGREE THAT WE ARE OVERWORKED, AND NEED REST. - A WEEK ON THE ROLLING DEEP? - GEORGE SUGGESTS THE RIVER. - MONTMORENCY LODGES AN OBJECTION. - ORIGINAL MOTION CARRIED BY MAJORITY OF THREE TO ONE. boyhood. There were no more diseases after zymosis, so I concluded there was nothing else the matter with me. I sat and pondered. I thought what an interesting case I must be from a medical point of view, what an acquisition I should be to a class! Students would have no need to "walk the hospitals," if they had me. I was a hospital in myself. All they need do would be to walk round me, and, after that, take their diploma.
Then I wondered how long I had to live. I tried to examine myself. I felt my pulse. I could not at first feel any pulse at all. Then, all of a sudden, it seemed to start off. I pulled out my watch and timed it. I made it a hundred and forty-seven to the minute. I tried to feel my heart. I could not feel my heart. It had stopped beating. I have since been induced to come to the opinion that it must have been there all the time, and must have been beating, but I cannot account for it. I patted THERE were four of us - George, and William Samuel Harris, and myself, myself all over my front, from what I call my waist up to my head, and I and Montmorency. We were sitting in my room, smoking, and talking went a bit round each side, and a little way up the back. But I could about how bad we were - bad from a medical point of view I mean, of not feel or hear anything. I tried to look at my tongue. I stuck it out course. as far as ever it would go, and I shut one eye, and tried to examine it with the other. I could only see the tip, and the only thing that I We were all feeling seedy, and we were getting quite nervous about it. could gain from that was to feel more certain than before that I had Harris said he felt such extraordinary fits of giddiness come over him at scarlet fever. times, that he hardly knew what he was doing; and then George said that HE had fits of giddiness too, and hardly knew what HE was doing. With I had walked into that reading-room a happy, healthy man. I crawled out me, it was my liver that was out of order. I knew it was my liver that a decrepit wreck. was out of order, because I had just been reading a patent liver-pill circular, in which were detailed the various symptoms by which a man I went to my medical man. He is an old chum of mine, and feels my could tell when his liver was out of order. I had them all. 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 It is a most extraordinary thing, but I never read a patent medicine him now. "What a doctor wants," I said, "is practice. He shall have me. advertisement without being impelled to the conclusion that I am He will get more practice out of me than out of seventeen hundred of your suffering from the particular disease therein dealt with in its most ordinary, commonplace patients, with only one or two diseases each." So virulent form. The diagnosis seems in every case to correspond exactly I went straight up and saw him, and he said: with all the sensations that I have ever felt. "Well, what's the matter with you?" 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, I fancy it I said: was. I got down the book, and read all I came to read; and then, in an unthinking moment, I idly turned the leaves, and began to indolently "I will not take up your time, dear boy, with telling you what is the study diseases, generally. I forget which was the first distemper I matter with me. Life is brief, and you might pass away before I had plunged into - some fearful, devastating scourge, I know - and, before I finished. But I will tell you what is NOT the matter with me. I have had glanced half down the list of "premonitory symptoms," it was borne in not got housemaid's knee. Why I have not got housemaid's knee, I cannot upon me that I had fairly got it. tell you; but the fact remains that I have not got it. Everything else, however, I HAVE got." I sat for awhile, frozen with horror; and then, in the listlessness of despair, I again turned over the pages. I came to typhoid fever - read And I told him how I came to discover it all. the symptoms - discovered that I had typhoid fever, must have had it for months without knowing it - wondered what else I had got; turned up St. Then he opened me and looked down me, and clutched hold of my wrist, Vitus's Dance - found, as I expected, that I had that too, - began to get and then he hit me over the chest when I wasn't expecting it - a cowardly interested in my case, and determined to sift it to the bottom, and so thing to do, I call it - and immediately afterwards butted me with the started alphabetically - read up ague, and learnt that I was sickening side of his head. After that, he sat down and wrote out a prescription, for it, and that the acute stage would commence in about another and folded it up and gave it me, and I put it in my pocket and went out. fortnight. Bright's disease, I was relieved to find, I had only in a modified form, and, so far as that was concerned, I might live for years. I did not open it. I took it to the nearest chemist's, and handed it in. Cholera I had, with severe complications; and diphtheria I seemed to have The man read it, and then handed it back. been born with. I plodded conscientiously through the twenty-six letters, and the only malady I could conclude I had not got was He said he didn't keep it. housemaid's knee. I said: I felt rather hurt about this at first; it seemed somehow to be a sort of slight. Why hadn't I got housemaid's knee? Why this invidious "You are a chemist?" reservation? After a while, however, less grasping feelings prevailed. I reflected that I had every other known malady in the pharmacology, and I He said: grew less selfish, and determined to do without housemaid's knee. Gout, in its most malignant stage, it would appear, had seized me without my "I am a chemist. If I was a co-operative stores and family hotel being aware of it; and zymosis I had evidently been suffering with from combined, I might be able to oblige you. Being only a chemist hampers me."
I read the prescription. It ran: "1 lb. beefsteak, with 1 pt. bitter beer every 6 hours. 1 ten-mile walk every morning. 1 bed at 11 sharp every night. And don't stuff up your head with things you don't understand." I followed the directions, with the happy result - speaking for myself that my life was preserved, and is still going on. In the present instance, going back to the liver-pill circular, I had the symptoms, beyond all mistake, the chief among them being "a general disinclination to work of any kind." What I suffer in that way no tongue can tell. From my earliest infancy I have been a martyr to it. As a boy, the disease hardly ever left me for a day. They did not know, then, that it was my liver. Medical science was in a far less advanced state than now, and they used to put it down to laziness. "Why, you skulking little devil, you," they would say, "get up and do something for your living, can't you?" - not knowing, of course, that 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, it often is so - those simple, old-fashioned remedies are sometimes more efficacious than all the dispensary stuff. We 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 felt when he went to bed; and George stood on the hearth-rug, and gave us a clever and powerful piece of acting, illustrative of how he felt in the night. George FANCIES he is ill; but there's never anything really the matter with him, you know. At this point, Mrs. Poppets knocked at the door to know if we were ready for supper. We smiled sadly at one another, and said we supposed we had better try to swallow a bit. Harris said a little something in one's 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 tart. I must have been very weak at the time; because I 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 cheese. This duty done, we refilled our glasses, lit our 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. "The overstrain upon our brains has produced a general depression throughout the system. Change 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 way of putting things. I agreed with George, and suggested that we should seek out some retired and old-world spot, far from the madding crowd, and dream away a sunny week among its drowsy lanes - some half-forgotten 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. A sea trip does you good when you are going to have a couple of months of it, but, for a week, it is wicked. You start on Monday with the idea implanted in 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 you were dead. On Saturday, you are able to swallow a little beef tea, and to sit up on deck, and answer with a wan, sweet smile when kind-hearted people ask you how you feel now. On Sunday, you begin to walk about again, and take solid food. And on Monday morning, as, with your bag and umbrella in your hand, you stand by the gunwale, waiting to step ashore, you begin to thoroughly like it. I remember my 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 youth who had just been advised by his medical 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. Another fellow I knew went for a week's voyage round the coast, and, before they started, the steward came to him to ask whether he would pay for each meal as he had it, or arrange beforehand for the whole series. The steward recommended the latter course, as it would come so much cheaper. He said they would do him for the whole week at two pounds five. He said for breakfast there would be fish, followed by a grill. Lunch was at one, and consisted of four courses. Dinner at six - soup, fish, entree, joint, poultry, salad, sweets, cheese, and dessert. And a light meat supper at ten. My friend thought he would close on the two-pound-five job (he is a hearty eater), and did so.
Lunch came just as they were off Sheerness. He didn't feel so hungry as he thought he should, and so contented himself with a bit of boiled beef, and some strawberries and cream. He pondered a good deal during the afternoon, and at one time it seemed to him that he had been eating nothing but boiled beef for weeks, and at other times it seemed that he must have been living on strawberries and cream for years. Neither the beef nor the strawberries and cream seemed happy, either seemed discontented like. At six, they came and told him dinner was ready. The announcement aroused no enthusiasm within him, but he felt that there was some of that two-pound-five to be worked off, and he held on to ropes and things and went down. A pleasant odour of onions and hot ham, mingled with fried fish and greens, greeted him at the bottom of the ladder; and then the steward came up with an oily smile, and said: "What can I get you, sir?" "Get me out of this," was the feeble reply. And they ran him up quick, and propped him up, over to leeward, and left him. For the next four days he lived a simple and blameless life on thin captain's biscuits (I mean that the biscuits were thin, not the captain) and soda-water; but, towards Saturday, he got uppish, and went in for weak tea and dry toast, and on Monday he was gorging himself on chicken broth. He left the ship on Tuesday, and as it steamed away from the landing-stage he gazed after it regretfully. "There she goes," he said, "there she goes, with two pounds' worth of food on board that belongs to me, and that I haven't had." He said that if they had given him another day he thought he could have put it straight. So I set my face against the sea trip. Not, as I explained, upon my own account. I was never queer. But I was afraid for George. George said he should be all right, and would rather like it, but he would advise Harris and me not to think of it, as he felt sure we should both be ill. Harris said that, to himself, it was always a mystery how people managed to get sick at sea - said he thought people must do it on purpose, from affectation - said he had often wished to be, but had never been able. Then he told us anecdotes of how he had gone across the Channel when it was so rough that the passengers had to be tied into their berths, and he and the captain were the only two living souls on board who were not ill. Sometimes it was he and the second mate who were not ill; but it was generally he and one other man. If not he and another man, then it was he by himself. It is a curious fact, but nobody ever is sea-sick - on land. At sea, you come across plenty of people very bad indeed, whole boat-loads of them; but I never met a man yet, on land, who had ever known at all what it was to be sea-sick. Where the thousands upon thousands of bad sailors that swarm in every ship hide themselves when they are on land is a mystery. If most men were like a fellow I saw on the Yarmouth boat one day, I could account for the seeming enigma easily enough. It was just off Southend Pier, I recollect, and he was leaning out through one of the port-holes in a very dangerous position. I went up to him to try and save him. "Hi! come further in," I said, shaking him by the shoulder. "You'll be overboard." "Oh my! I wish I was," was the only answer I could get; and there I had to leave him. Three weeks afterwards, I met him in the coffee-room of a Bath hotel, talking about his voyages, and explaining, with enthusiasm, how he loved the sea. "Good sailor!" he replied in answer to a mild young man's envious query; "well, I did feel a little queer ONCE, I confess. It was off Cape Horn. The vessel was wrecked the next morning." I said: "Weren't you a little shaky by Southend Pier one day, and wanted to be thrown overboard?" "Southend Pier!" he replied, with a puzzled expression. "Yes; going down to Yarmouth, last Friday three weeks." "Oh, ah - yes," he answered, brightening up; "I remember now. I did have a headache that afternoon. It was the pickles, you know. They were the most disgraceful pickles I ever tasted in a respectable boat. Did you have any?" For myself, I have discovered an excellent preventive against seasickness, in balancing myself. You stand in the centre of the deck, and, as the ship heaves and pitches, you move your body about, so as to keep it always straight. When the front of the ship rises, you lean forward, till the deck almost touches your nose; and when its back end gets up, you lean backwards. This is all very well for an hour or two; but you can't balance yourself for a week. George said: "Let's go up the river." He said we should have fresh air, exercise and quiet; the constant change of scene would occupy our minds (including what there was of Harris's); and the hard work would give us a good appetite, and make us sleep well. Harris said he didn't think George ought to do anything that would have a tendency to make him sleepier than he always was, as it might be dangerous. He said he didn't very well understand how George was going to sleep any more than he did now, seeing that there were only twenty-four hours in each day, summer and winter alike; but thought that if he DID sleep any more, he might just as well be dead, and so save his board and lodging. Harris said, however, that the river would suit him to a "T." I don't know what a "T" is (except a sixpenny one, which includes bread-andbutter and cake AD LIB., and is cheap at the price, if you haven't had any dinner). It seems to suit everybody, however, which is greatly to its credit. It suited me to a "T" too, and Harris and I both said it was a good idea of George's; and we said it in a tone that seemed to somehow imply that we were surprised that George should have come out so sensible. The only one who was not struck with the suggestion was Montmorency. He never did care for the river, did Montmorency. "It's all very well for you fellows," he says; "you like it, but I don't. There's nothing for me to do. Scenery is not in my line, and I don't smoke. If I see a rat, you won't stop; and if I go to sleep, you get fooling about with the boat, and slop me overboard. If you ask me, I call the whole thing bally foolishness."
We were three to one, however, and the motion was carried. Harris said: CHAPTER II. "How about when it rained?" PLANS DISCUSSED. - PLEASURES OF "CAMPING-OUT," ON FINE NIGHTS. - DITTO, WET NIGHTS. - COMPROMISE DECIDED ON. - MONTMORENCY, FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF. - FEARS LEST HE IS TOO GOOD FOR THIS WORLD, FEARS SUBSEQUENTLY DISMISSED AS GROUNDLESS. - MEETING ADJOURNS. WE pulled out the maps, and discussed plans. We arranged to start on the following Saturday from Kingston. Harris and I would go down in the morning, and take the boat up to Chertsey, and George, 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, except Saturdays, when they wake him up and put him outside at two), would meet us there. Should we "camp out" or sleep at inns? George and I were for camping out. We said it would be so wild and free, so patriarchal like. Slowly the golden memory of the dead sun fades from the hearts of the cold, sad clouds. Silent, like sorrowing children, the birds have ceased their song, and only the moorhen's plaintive cry and the harsh croak of the corncrake stirs the awed hush around the couch of waters, where the dying day breathes out her last. From the dim woods on either bank, Night's ghostly army, the grey shadows, creep out with noiseless tread to chase away the lingering rearguard of the light, and pass, with noiseless, unseen feet, above the waving river-grass, and through the sighing rushes; and Night, upon her sombre throne, folds her black wings above the darkening world, and, from her phantom palace, lit by the pale stars, reigns in stillness. Then we run our little boat into some quiet nook, and the tent is pitched, and the frugal supper cooked and eaten. Then the big pipes are filled and lighted, and the pleasant chat goes round in musical undertone; while, in the pauses of our talk, the river, playing round the boat, prattles strange old tales and secrets, sings low the old child's song that it has sung so many thousand years - will sing so many thousand years to come, before its voice grows harsh and old - a song that we, who have learnt to love its changing face, who have so often nestled on its yielding bosom, think, somehow, we understand, though we could not tell you in mere words the story that we listen to. And we sit there, by its margin, while the moon, who loves it too, stoops down to kiss it with a sister's kiss, and throws her silver arms around it clingingly; and we watch it as it flows, ever singing, ever whispering, out to meet its king, the sea - till our voices die away in silence, and the pipes go out - till we, common-place, everyday young men enough, feel strangely full of thoughts, half sad, half sweet, and do not care or want to speak - till we laugh, and, rising, knock the ashes from our burnt-out pipes, and say "Good-night," and, lulled by the lapping water and the rustling trees, we fall asleep beneath the great, still stars, 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, ere her children's sins and follies had made old her loving heart - sweet as she was in those bygone days when, a new-made mother, she nursed us, her children, upon her own deep breast - ere the wiles of painted civilization had lured us away from her fond arms, and the poisoned sneers of artificiality had made us ashamed of the simple life we led with her, and the simple, stately home where mankind was born so many thousands years ago. You can never rouse Harris. There is no poetry about Harris - no wild yearning for the unattainable. Harris never "weeps, he knows not why." If Harris's eyes fill with tears, you can bet it is because Harris has been eating raw onions, or has put too much Worcester over his chop. If you were to stand at night by the sea-shore with Harris, and say: "Hark! do you not hear? Is it but the mermaids singing deep below the waving waters; or sad spirits, chanting dirges for white corpses, held by seaweed?" Harris would take you by the arm, and say: "I know what it is, old man; you've got a chill. Now, you come along with me. I know a place round the corner here, where you can get a drop of the finest Scotch whisky you ever tasted - put you right in less than no time." Harris always does know a place round the corner where you can get something brilliant in the drinking line. I believe that if you met Harris up in Paradise (supposing such a thing likely), he would immediately greet you with: "So glad you've come, old fellow; I've found a nice place round the corner here, where you can get some really first-class nectar." In the present instance, however, as regarded the camping out, his practical view of the matter came as a very timely hint. Camping out in rainy weather is not pleasant. It is evening. You are wet through, and there is a good two inches of water in the boat, and all the things are damp. You find a place on the banks that is not quite so puddly as other places you have seen, and you land and lug out the tent, and two of you proceed to fix it. It is soaked and heavy, and it flops about, and tumbles down on you, and clings round your head and makes you mad. The rain is pouring steadily down all the time. It is difficult enough to fix a tent in dry weather: in wet, the task becomes herculean. Instead of helping you, it seems to you that the other man is simply playing the fool. Just as you get your side beautifully fixed, he gives it a hoist from his end, and spoils it all. "Here! what are you up to?" you call out. "What are YOU up to?" he retorts; "leggo, can't you?" "Don't pull it; you've got it all wrong, you stupid ass!" you shout. "No, I haven't," he yells back; "let go your side!" "I tell you you've got it all wrong!" you roar, wishing that you could get at him; and you give your ropes a lug that pulls all his pegs out. "Ah, the bally idiot!" you hear him mutter to himself; and then comes a savage haul, and away goes your side. You lay down the mallet and start to go round and tell him what you think about the whole business, and, at the same time, he starts round in the same direction to come and explain his views to you. And you follow each other round and round, swearing at one another, until the tent tumbles down in a heap, and leaves you looking at each other across its ruins, when you both indignantly exclaim, in the same breath: "There you are! what did I tell you?"
Meanwhile the third man, who has been baling out the boat, and who has spilled the water down his sleeve, and has been cursing away to himself steadily for the last ten minutes, wants to know what the thundering blazes you're playing at, and why the blarmed tent isn't up yet. At last, somehow or other, it does get up, and you land the things. It is hopeless attempting to make a wood fire, so you light the methylated spirit stove, and crowd round that. Rainwater is the chief article of diet at supper. The bread is twothirds rainwater, the beefsteak-pie is exceedingly rich in it, and the jam, and the butter, and the salt, and the coffee have all combined with it to make soup. After supper, you find your tobacco is damp, and you cannot smoke. Luckily you have a bottle of the stuff that cheers and inebriates, if taken in proper quantity, and this restores to you sufficient interest in life to induce you to go to bed. There you dream that an elephant has suddenly sat down on your chest, and that the volcano has exploded and thrown you down to the bottom of the sea - the elephant still sleeping peacefully on your bosom. You wake up and grasp the idea that something terrible really has happened. Your first impression is that the end of the world has come; and then you think that this cannot be, and that it is thieves and murderers, or else fire, and this opinion you express in the usual method. No help comes, however, and all you know is that thousands of people are kicking you, and you are being smothered. Somebody else seems in trouble, too. You can hear his faint cries coming from underneath your bed. Determining, at all events, to sell your life dearly, you struggle frantically, hitting out right and left with arms and legs, and yelling lustily the while, and at last something gives way, and you find your head in the fresh air. Two feet off, you dimly observe a half-dressed ruffian, waiting to kill you, and you are preparing for a life-and-death struggle with him, when it begins to dawn upon you that it's Jim. "Oh, it's you, is it?" he says, recognising you at the same moment. "Yes," you answer, rubbing your eyes; "what's happened?" "Bally tent's blown down, I think," he says. "Where's Bill?" Then you both raise up your voices and shout for "Bill!" and the ground beneath you heaves and rocks, and the muffled voice that you heard before replies from out the ruin: "Get off my head, can't you?" And Bill struggles out, a muddy, trampled wreck, and in an unnecessarily aggressive mood - he being under the evident belief that the whole thing has been done on purpose. In the morning you are all three speechless, owing to having caught severe colds in the night; you also feel very quarrelsome, and you swear at each other in hoarse whispers during the whole of breakfast time. We therefore decided that we would sleep out on fine nights; and hotel it, and inn it, and pub. it, like respectable folks, when it was wet, or when we felt inclined for a change. Montmorency hailed this compromise with much approval. He does not revel in romantic solitude. Give him something noisy; and if a trifle low, so much the jollier. To look at Montmorency you would imagine that he was SO, on the following evening, we again assembled, to discuss and arrange our plans. Harris said: "Now, the first thing to settle is what to take with us. Now, you get a bit of paper and write down, J., and you get the grocery catalogue, George, and somebody give me a bit of pencil, and then I'll make out a list." That's Harris all over - so ready to take the burden of everything himself, and put it on the backs of other people. He always reminds me of my poor Uncle Podger. You never saw such a commotion up and down a house, in all your life, as when my Uncle Podger undertook to do a job. A picture would have come home from the frame-maker's, and be standing in the dining-room, waiting to be put up; and Aunt Podger would ask what was to be done with it, and Uncle Podger would an angel sent upon the earth, for some reason withheld from mankind, in the shape of a small fox-terrier. There is a sort of Oh-what-a-wickedworld-this-is-and-how-I-wish-I-could-do-something-to-make-it-betterand-nobler expression about Montmorency that has been known to bring the tears into the eyes of pious old ladies and gentlemen. When first he came to live at my expense, I never thought I should be able to get him to stop long. I used to sit down and look at him, as he sat on the rug and looked up at me, and think: "Oh, that dog will never live. He will be snatched up to the bright skies in a chariot, that is what will happen to him." But, when I had paid for about a dozen chickens that he had killed; and had dragged him, growling and kicking, by the scruff of his neck, out of a hundred and fourteen street fights; and had had a dead cat brought round for my inspection by an irate female, who called me a murderer; and had been summoned by the man next door but one for having a ferocious dog at large, that had kept him pinned up in his own tool-shed, afraid to venture his nose outside the door for over two hours on a cold night; and had learned that the gardener, unknown to myself, had won thirty shillings by backing him to kill rats against time, then I began to think that maybe they'd let him remain on earth for a bit longer, after all. To hang about a stable, and collect a gang of the most disreputable dogs to be found in the town, and lead them out to march round the slums to fight other disreputable dogs, is Montmorency's idea of "life;" and so, as I before observed, he gave to the suggestion of inns, and pubs., and hotels his most emphatic approbation. Having thus settled the sleeping arrangements to the satisfaction of all four of us, the only thing left to discuss was what we should take with us; and this we had begun to argue, when Harris said he'd had enough oratory for one night, and proposed that we should go out and have a smile, saying that he had found a place, round by the square, where you could really get a drop of Irish worth drinking. George said he felt thirsty (I never knew George when he didn't); and, as I had a presentiment that a little whisky, warm, with a slice of lemon, would do my complaint good, the debate was, by common assent, adjourned to the following night; and the assembly put on its hats and went out. CHAPTER III. ARRANGEMENTS SETTLED. - HARRIS'S METHOD OF DOING WORK. - HOW THE ELDERLY, FAMILY-MAN PUTS UP A PICTURE. - GEORGE MAKES A SENSIBLE, REMARK. DELIGHTS OF EARLY MORNING BATHING. - PROVISIONS FOR GETTING UPSET.
and each of us had to get up on the chair. you can give it up! I've found it myself now. and he would call us all fools. head. when the old fool was leaning over the chair at an angle of forty-five. and the pencil. at the second blow. of all the . and down he would slide on to the piano. and all arrive at different results. and a fourth would hand him a nail." And we would all have to go down on our knees and grovel for it. picking himself up. and hopes his leg's better. Will. then he would spring round the room. and we would each discover it in a different place. and surveying the mess he had made with evident pride." he would shout." At last. one after another. you leave that to ME. standing round in a semi-circle. including the girl and the charwoman. and at the critical moment. about midnight. the original number would be forgotten. from that. and trying to reach a point three inches beyond what was possible for him to "Now you go and get me my hammer.6 say: "Oh. He would use a bit of string this time. you come here. and you don't know what I did with the hammer!" We would find the hammer for him. And. I shall want you to hand me up the picture. and I shall want the step-ladder. I said: "No. and George write down. you make such a fuss over everything. the whole family. "Why." George comes out really quite sensible at times. and then he would have lost sight of the mark he had made on the wall. and a fifth would pass him up the hammer. any of you. "There!" he would say. and I had better really fine musical effect being produced by the suddenness with which have a kitchen-chair. and the chair. and Uncle Podger be precipitated against the wall with force nearly sufficient to flatten his nose. Might just as well ask the cat to find anything as expect you people to find it. and Tom! . and he would try to save the glass. the picture would be up . and tell his head and body struck all the notes at the same time. and I'll do the work. and. and cut himself. and Uncle Podger would have to measure it again." he would say. and find that he had been sitting on it. We must not think of the things we could do with." And then he would take off his coat. and all to hammer a nail into the wall. and will he lend him his spirit-level?' And don't you go. Then we had to find the rule and the string again. It 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 as indispensable. and begin. next time Uncle Podger was going he had taken off. I know." Then he'd get up. And we would all try to do it in our heads. He would send the girl out for sixpen'orth of nails." The first list we made out had to be discarded. and the tools.upon my word I didn't. Goggles. I "Oh! you women. gaping round there. "Where's the hammer? What did I do with the hammer? Great heavens! Seven of you. "now the nail's gone. so we tore the list up. while he would stand on the chair. and drop it. but only of the things that we can't do without. The nail would be found at last.where's Tom? . ready to help. and everybody dead beat and wretched .Tom. and re-measure. the wall for yards round looking as if it had been smoothed down with a rake. on somebody's toes. You'd be surprised. and would try to do it in his Harris will be just that sort of man when he grows up. and half the hammer after it. too. beside him. and go mad. and grunt. And he would take the rule. and a new glass had been got. and the ladder. and. he would have another go. and sneer at one another. and when the girl comes back. He could not find his handkerchief. a bring me the rule. Maria. and he would take hold of the nail. and start looking for she could make arrangements to go and spend a week with her mother his coat. with the first blow. him. while he would dance round and hinder them. looking for his handkerchief. and put the point of the nail on it with his left hand. Two people would have to hold the chair.very crooked and insecure. when half an hour had been spent in tying up his finger. and the candle had been brought. stepping heavily off the chair on to the charwoman's corns. Jim! you run round to Mr. the string would slip. Uncle Podger would get the spot fixed again.except Uncle Podger. `Pa's kind regards. and looked at one another! George said: "You know we are on a wrong track altogether. out again for a bit of picture-cord. in an injured tone. "There you are. Tom. "Doesn't anybody in the whole house know where my coat is? I never came across such a set in all my life . and would call out: "Oh. YOU get the paper. and. because I shall want And Aunt Maria would say that she would not allow the children to stand somebody to hold me the light. "and you reach. some people would have had a man in to do a little thing like that!" . I LIKE doing a little job of this sort. "Why." Uncle Podger would reply. and drop it. and drop the of the frame. Six of you! and you can't find a coat that I put down not five minutes ago! Well. while it was being done. and a new hole was made. And in the general row. and take the hammer in his right And then he would lift up the picture. Don't you. and." And then he would have another try. because it was in the pocket of the coat Aunt Maria would mildly observe that. he would smash his thumb. so that the house had to leave off looking for his tools. and he did not know where he had put the coat. worry yourselves about that. and a third would help him up on it. she must go round and hear such language. and the catalogue. the nail would go clean through the plaster. I said I could not permit him to take so much labour upon himself. and start the whole house. and want to know if he was to be kept there all the evening. and see if we could find it. where the nail was to go in. and hammer. with a yell. and tell us to get down." And. he would gradually work down. she hoped he'd let her know in time. but by that time he would have lost the hammer. and I told him so. and hold him there. and then one of the boys after her to tell her what size to get. and find that he wanted half thirty-one and three-eighths inches from the corner. I'LL do all that. and it would come out hand.
a homely home and simple pleasures. George said that if it was going to make Harris You will find the boat easier to pull then. but which are really only useless lumber. as the man said when his mother-in-law died. with pretence and ostentation.when thinking over the matter in London . though a trifle stuffy. that George was a miserable impostor. plain Harris having a bath at all. with empty show that. you never know a moment's for the shore. and freedom from anxiety and care. and with . I notice that people always make gigantic arrangements for bathing when they are going anywhere near the water. and I have got out at six and half-dressed myself. and Well. and a pair of leather boots as well as our boating shoes. and stumbled dismally off. It makes the boat before I've said "Oh! Ugh!" and found out what has gone. suggested George. On the contrary. We asked him if he had ever tried washing flannels in the river. It makes it so back and carries me out to mid-ocean. heaviest. How they pile the poor little craft mast-high with fine clothes and big houses. on that voyage. as the shilling shockers say. as they would do to wipe things. even if we did have to take a few more hundredweight of provisions. however. I laziness . and a couple of big-towels for bathing. "we will have a boat with a cover. and it was easy enough.time to listen to the AEolian He said there would be quite enough hard work in towing sufficient food music that the wind of God draws from the human heart-strings around us for Harris up against stream. never gain a moment's rest for dreamy wish I'd been kinder to my little sister when a boy (when I was a boy. You fix iron hoops up over the boat. with expensive entertainments that nobody enjoys. I always determine . or the lilies white and yellow. with pleasures that bore. worth the name. some toothpowder. merchandise will stand water. I feel more that I want to stop in bed till the last moment. one or two friends. good. so as not to keep each other waiting.no time to watch the windy shadows skimming lightly o'er the mean). man . through six inches of water. when it was too late." It seemed a good thought. a toothbrush (each). Harris clean and fresh about the boat. a basin. And when I do get to the sea. George impressed upon us to take a change of under-things and plenty of socks. and he began it. with luxuries that only cloy. and a pipe or two. waving rushes. George said it was so pleasant to wake up in the boat in the fresh a dog. from stem to stern. . really. It is lumber. like the criminal's iron crown of yore. I rather fancy myself in red drawers. Harris said there was nothing more than enough to drink. finally. and fasten it down all round. Just when I have given up all hope. not exactly himself like. and a little morning. as it was. and it is beautifully cosy.7 call that downright wisdom. or the orchis. that we should take THREE bath towels. and crawl home. in case we got upset and wanted a change. In the present instance. and go and have a dip before breakfast. like a swim before breakfast to give you an appetite. We were to learn in the days to come. only what you need . someone to love and someone to love you. or the find that I've been swimming for my life in two feet of water.that I'll get up early every morning. Once or twice virtue has triumphed. everything has its drawbacks. when they got dirty. and put them on the top. without position or influence. a brush and comb (between us). and then come down and have my breakfast. as we should want them if we got upset. enough to eat and enough to wear. so that I have to huddle myself up in my arms and hop. doesn't it?). waiting for me. and we adopted it. I quite forgot. and I religiously pack up a pair of drawers and a bath towel. They suit my complexion so. where I have to pretend I liked it. It is the same when you go to the sea-side. and they take the sea and put it two miles out. man! Let your boat of life be light. you nearly faint at the oars. maddest lumber of all! . and that they do not care three ha'pence for. He said it always gave him an appetite. They seem to keep a specially cutting east wind. and he replied: "No. withdrew his opposition to Harris's bath. You will have time to think as well as to work.but. and it will not matter so much if it does upset. If you had seen these clothes after . I hop woods all green and golden. and stretch a huge canvas over them. a lamp. and he got to see it in my light. for thirst is a dangerous thing. the wave comes so heavy to pull. and more comfortable. but with reference to our trip up the river of life. or the sedges. and they sharpen up the rocks and cover the points over with a bit of sand so that I can't see them. and it will not be so liable eat more than Harris ordinarily ate. and they pick out all the three-cornered stones. how much pleasanter it would be to have I beg your pardon. down on to a rock which has been put there for me. One huge wave catches me up and chucks me in a sitting posture. with useless servants. we all talked as if we were going to have a long Throw the lumber over. a cat. and that three respectable young men. packed with swim every morning. some shaving tackle (sounds like a French exercise.all lumber! Throw it overboard. makes to bleed and swoon the aching head that wears it! bathe nearly so much as I did when I was in town. How many people. generally. But when I get to the sea I don't feel somehow that I want that early morning Agreed. could really clean their own shirts and trousers in the river Thames with a bit of soap.the dread of what will my neighbour think. some soap. it is rough and quite insulting. And. George said two suits of flannel would be sufficient. in the river. who could evidently have known nothing whatever about the matter. and plunge into the limpid river. and wonder if I shall ever see home and friends again. and they came down upon him for the funeral expenses." and Harris and I were weak enough to fancy he knew what he was talking about. then he should protest against to upset. and I get up and look back and or the great trees by the margin looking down at their own image. but he knew some fellows who had. not merely as regards the present case. we left the list to George. a wave retires and leaves me shallows. and it converts the boat into a sort of little house. It is ever so much simpler.time to I urged upon George. as hard as ever it can.oh. or the sombreback and dress. or the blue forget-me-nots. and with no experience in washing. sprawling like a star-fish on the sand. and have taken my drawers and towel. . George said that in that case we must take a rug each. shivering. or the glittering sunbeams flitting in and out among the ripples. I do not know whether you have ever seen the thing I mean. but that they don't bathe much when they are there. load up the boat till it is ever in danger of swamping with a store of foolish things which they think essential to the pleasure and comfort of the trip. when I go to bathe in the early morning. For clothes. Time to drink in life's sunshine . but there. we anticipate. as we could wash them ourselves. But I haven't enjoyed it. "We won't take a tent. also plenty of handkerchiefs. and a host of swell friends that do not care twopence for them. I always get red bathing drawers. with formalities and fashions. I begin to strike out frantically cumbersome and dangerous to manage.
It all seems cheese. which I thought mean. . with a snort of terror. We left the boat by the bridge. putting my cheeses upon the rack. and we started off at a shamble that would have done credit to the swiftest steam-roller ever built. . it oozed down to the rudder. tea. It oozed. impregnating the whole boat and everything in it on its way. from there. and all went merry as a funeral bell. I put the cheeses on the top. with a significant look. . Splendid cheeses they were. and said that some people made such a fuss over a little thing.FURTHER PROVISION FOR GETTING UPSET. It woke him up. and hurt themselves. which were easy to cook. I was in Liverpool at the time. in case of sickness. leaving the cripples and stout old ladies simply nowhere. THEN we discussed the food question. and jam.) "Now for breakfast we shall want a frying-pan" . "Very close in here.OBJECTIONS TO PARAFFINE OIL AS AN ATMOSPHERE. ." (George is so practical. bread and butter. and as for the moonbeams. We tried to get away from it at Marlow. and maybe a southerly oily wind. and I had to get into a carriage where there were already seven other people. and. And that oil oozed up and ruined the sunset. where we yelled. We had taken up an oil-stove once. who. and so. and knock a man over at two hundred yards. ADVANTAGES OF CHEESE AS A TRAVELLING COMPANION. at the third sniff. Sometimes a westerly oily wind blew.but NO CHEESE. ripe and mellow. George suggested eggs and bacon. in a moment of enthusiasm. and saturated the scenery and spoilt the atmosphere. A few moments passed. they caught it right on the chest. and stamped. But methylated spirit is more wholesome when taken into the system in large quantities than paraffine oil. but I got in. From Crewe I had the compartment to myself. and. with pleasure. and I do not think they would have done it. miss. "I'll have half-a-crown's worth of brandy. or strawberries and cream. but "never again. At the end of that trip we met together at midnight in a lonely field. the wind carried a whiff from the cheeses full on to our steed. One crusty old gentleman objected. Cheese. and at other times an easterly oily wind." he said. under a blasted oak. THE FOOD QUESTION. and said it was disgraceful that a respectable married woman should be harried about in this way.A MARRIED WOMAN DESERTS HER HOME. And then a stout lady got up. The train was crowded. though the train was crowded. we confined ourselves to methylated spirit.(Harris said it was indigestible. and it seemed as if the people had been buried in oil. and a methylated spirit stove. We passed through the church-yard. in the present instance. and then a young lady came. and. But even he grew strangely depressed after we had started. we wondered how people could live in it. and it oozed over the river. It wants the whole boat to itself." "No oil. when we reached Crewe. I took my ticket. and marched proudly up the platform. .I PACK. It goes through the hamper. and asked us if we wanted anything. The High Street stunk of oil. it came alike to us laden with the fragrance of paraffine oil. The whole town was full of oil. And we walked miles upon miles out Birmingham way. For lunch. referred to as a horse. and the other three passengers tried to get out of the door at the same time. but we merely urged him not to be an ass. 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." he responded. and my friend said that if I didn't mind he would get me to take them back with me to London. I never saw such a thing as paraffine oil is to ooze. as he should not be coming up for a day or two himself.CUSSEDNESS OF TOOTH-BRUSHES. It took two porters as well as the driver to hold him in at the station. from his dress and general appearance. squeezed down with a pleasant smile. the people falling back respectfully on either side. and. middle-class way. There is too much odour about cheese. and with a two hundred horse-power scent about them that might have been warranted to carry three miles. . and he did not think the cheeses ought to be kept much longer. cold meat. said it put him in mind of dead baby. turning to my friend. the people. and Harris and I agreed. I remember a friend of mine. You can't tell whether you are eating apple-pie or German sausage. and rose up without another word and went out. . and then the old gentleman began to fidget. and said it was a warm day. or was raised in the waste of the desert sands. It was a ramshackle affair. but this was a swell affair) . which his owner. they positively reeked of paraffine. and said I thought we were going to have the carriage to ourselves. I smiled at the black gentleman. "Oh." said George. the country was steeped in oil. The remaining four passengers sat on for a while. and took them away in a cab. like oil.AWFUL BEHAVIOUR OF MONTMORENCY. and gives a cheesy flavour to everything else there. but whether it came from the Arctic snows. You get methylated pie and methylated cake. even then. and George went on) . until we turned the corner. and took an awful oath (we had been swearing for a whole week about the thing in an ordinary. with my cheeses. dear boy. and jam . buying a couple of cheeses at Liverpool. notwithstanding. Even that is bad enough. And then they both began sniffing. until a solemn-looking man in the corner. And he went off quietly after he had drunk it and got into another carriage. We kept it in the nose of the boat. if you please. and gathered up a bag and eight parcels and went. bread and butter. seeing my empty . I asked him to come and have a drink. and to light a bit of brown paper. and he laughed pleasantly. had not one of the men had the presence of mind to put a handkerchief over his nose. but it followed us. He accepted.an awful oath never to take paraffine oil with us in a boat again-except. and waved our umbrellas for a quarter of an hour."a tea-pot and a kettle. dragged along by a knock-kneed. and we forced our way into the buffet. "What's yours?" I said.8 CHAPTER IV. neat." I replied. and took a walk through the town to escape it. For other breakfast things. we could have biscuits. he dashed off at three miles an hour. seemed to belong to the undertaker class. cold meat.GEORGE AND HARRIS PACK. . "with pleasure. makes too much of itself.WE RETIRE TO REST. There. and sometimes it blew a northerly oily wind. broken-winded somnambulist. he said." It had been like living in an oil-shop that week. during conversation. of course. but it was no use. "Quite oppressive." said the man next him. As we drew up at the different stations. Therefore." I called for the cheeses. George said: "Begin with breakfast.
and fight round the door to get in first. and she said that she was sure of that. My friend was detained in Liverpool longer than he expected. before we parted that evening.' The presence of your husband's cheeses in her house she would. means. and weak-chested and consumptive people used to throng there for years afterwards. in case." "There you are. and added that he seemed greatly attached to them. This was hardly what I intended. Fond as I am of cheese. Packing is one of those many things that I feel I know more about than any other person living. George suggested meat and fruit pies. and then droop off and squeeze into other carriages. and told them that they had better leave the whole matter entirely to me. of course. "You think he would be upset. but don't drink when the sun is blazing down on your head.) I impressed the fact upon George and Harris. fruit. When his wife came into the room she smelt round for an instant. Then she said: "What is it? Tell me the worst. We moved the table up against the window." She kept her word. and supper combined. Tom bought them in Liverpool." "Very well. and green stuff. piled everything in a heap in the middle of the floor. simple enough!" . "for myself I like the smell of cheese. A glass in the evening when you are doing a mouch round the town and looking at the girls is all right enough. And. we must consider others. said she could detect a faint odour of melons. What I had meant. square." And I added that I hoped she understood that it had nothing to do with me." "All right. therefore." "Madam. and asked me to bring them up with me. he took them one dark night and left them in the parish mortuary." they would shout. She said: "Do you mind keeping them for him? Let me send them round to you. at last. when asked if she could stand the smell. He said it was a plot to deprive him of his living by waking up the corpses. we got them all together. how many of these subjects there are. It gained the place quite a reputation. Their taking it in the way they did irritated me. We made a list of the things to be taken. when taken close to the cheeses and told to sniff hard. and. cold meat. would rush for it. (It surprises me myself. I pushing them aside every now and then with. and the journey the other day with them from Liverpool I shall ever look back upon as a happy ending to a pleasant holiday." said George (Harris's face fell at this). "Nobody's likely to touch them." I replied. I rather pride myself on my packing. It was argued from this that little injury could result to the woman from the atmosphere. I hold that George was right in declining to take any. and met in the evening to pack. And one would open the door and mount the steps. and you've got hard work to do. and made a fearful fuss. They are a mistake up the river. "all I have to say is. replied. and a pretty lengthy one it was. Had he smelt them?" I thought he had. and burying them on the beach. and sat round and looked at it. his wife called on me.!" "Here. rising. It seemed to me that George harped too much on the getting-upset idea. objection to being what she terms `put upon. that I shall take the children and go to an hotel until those cheeses are eaten. I said I'd pack. I took the cheeses down to my friend's house. It seemed to me the wrong spirit to go about the trip in. The next day.dinner. regard as a `put upon'. He threw them into the canal. But the coroner discovered them. but it was beyond his We didn't take beer or wine. or pay the difference and go first. found that the cheeses had cost him eight-and-sixpence a pound. and Harris cocked his legs on the table and lit a cigar. and that nobody was to touch them. "What smell?" and who. There is nothing does irritate me more than seeing other people sitting about doing nothing when I'm working. after that. "We shan't want any tea. "but we'll have a good round. An idea struck her. you . From Euston. leaving the place in charge of the charwoman. sometimes. we got upset. and they would all come and have a sniff." Harris grew more cheerful. and my friend." I said: "It's cheeses. Maria. She said: "What did Tom say about those cheeses?" I replied that he had directed they were to be kept in a moist place. They make you feel sleepy and heavy." she queried. But. The hotel bill came to fifteen guineas. for all I know. in this world. "if I gave a man a sovereign to take them away and bury them?" I answered that I thought he would never smile again. was. Visitors said they had never noticed before how strong the air was. And they would run along. For drink. as George said. My friend got rid of them. and that Harris and George should potter about under my directions.really teaching them. I decline to live any longer in the same house with them. tomatoes. let me do it. we'll get in here. as he hadn't returned home." said my friend's wife. and it shall never be said that I put upon the widow and the orphan. after reckoning everything up. slap-up meal at seven . tea. and she was left. She has a strong. Tom. "Here y' are. three days later. but had to fish them out again. come along. "Oh. then. who. that I should boss the job. as the bargemen complained. we took some wonderful sticky concoction of Harris's. They said it made them feel quite faint. I may say an eloquent. We got a big Gladstone for the clothes. George put on a pipe and spread himself over the easy-chair. . which was Friday.9 carriage. The lady under whose roof I have the honour of residing is a widow. possibly an orphan too. but that she would speak to Tom about it when he came back. so he determined to get rid of them. carrying heavy bags. and. She said: But I'm glad we took the whisky. and a couple of hampers for the victuals and the cooking utensils. by taking them down to a sea-side town. and stagger back into the arms of the man behind him. He said he dearly loved a bit of cheese. and a bottle of whisky. plenty of tea. which you mixed with water and called lemonade. as you might say. plenty of room. They fell into the suggestion with a readiness that had something uncanny about it. I instinctively feel.
messing about. That was the first thing they did. chuckle-headed. Now. Then they started round the room again looking for it. It got shut up finally at 10. and wake up in a cold perspiration. Montmorency was in it all. and they went looking for it all over the room. Then I found it inside a boot. and he trod on the butter. They do make me so wild. staring at the empty seat. and he laboured under the fixed belief that. wrapped up in my pockethandkerchief. a horrible idea occurred to me. but I came over and sat on the edge of the table and watched them. flying after him. indignantly. And George laughed . and he worried the teaspoons. I didn't say anything. George said that if anything was broken it was broken. and I looked at the piles of plates and cups. and got into the hamper and killed three of them before Harris could land him with the frying-pan. original sin that is born in him that makes him do things like that. "I'll take my oath I put it down on that chair. I put the things back one by one. A dog like that don't want any encouragement. and held everything up and shook it. He would loll on the sofa and watch me doing things by the hour together. and then couldn't find them when they wanted them. Of course I had to turn every mortal thing out now. and as for the butter! I never saw two men do more with one-and-twopence worth of butter in my whole life than they did. and stared at one another. Montmorency's ambition in life. They upset salt over everything. I found George's and Harris's eighteen times over. not a minute ago. but I got the bag finished at last. and they packed the pies at the bottom. Had I packed my toothbrush? I don't know how it is. If he can squirm in anywhere where he particularly is not wanted. and bottles and jars. When George is hanged. He said he often wondered now how he could have gone on before he met me. The packing was done at 12. They began in a light-hearted spirit. and it stuck to him. crack-jawed laughs of his. his conceit becomes quite unbearable. and thought that he and George had better do the rest." said George. I could not find it. After George had got it off his slipper. and kettles. and make people mad." said Harris. And I looked round.. "Ain't you going to put the boots in?" said Harris. "So mysterious!" said Harris. and to get you interested. And. He put his leg into the jam. and when chaos reigned. and pies. and he pretended that the lemons were rats. and cakes. and they stepped on things. I can't help it. and get out of bed and hunt for it. My tooth-brush is a thing that haunts me when I'm travelling. and they had to pick out the tomato with a teaspoon. and then. and then I repack and forget it. and I sat on it and strapped it. And then it was George's turn. I only waited. and be a perfect nuisance. They started with breaking a cup. and stoves. "Most extraordinary thing I ever heard of. but started the packing. &c. and I agreed and sat down. is his highest aim and object. and Harris sat on the big hamper. and makes my life a misery. However. Of course. I pack it before I have used it. wherever I went. I felt that. It is my energetic nature. It wouldn't go in. When I had finished. I dream that I haven't packed it. of course.50. They did scrape it out at last. They did that just to show you what they COULD do. and found that I had packed my tobacco-pouch in it. and put things behind them. when he has succeeded in accomplishing this. and put it down on a chair. but I couldn't find my own. but a noble task. and tell him what to do. of course. and I slammed the bag to and strapped it. and tomatoes.one of those irritating. . I opened the bag and packed the boots in. is to get in the way and be sworn at. then he feels his day has not been wasted. George asked if the soap was in. and had to re-open it. evidently intending to show me how to do it. never having anybody to look at while they worked. I want to get up and superintend. I can't sit still and see another man slaving and working. He said it made him feel that life was not an idle dream to be gaped and yawned through. and smashed the pies in.5 p. I didn't encourage him. It seemed a longer job than I had thought it was going to be. here it is all the time. and felt that the thing would soon become exciting.. I rummaged the things up into much the same state that they must have been before the world was created. "Why. It irritated them more than anything I could have said. He also said he was ready for bed. and then there remained the hampers to do. and found I had forgotten them." he exclaimed. That's just like Harris. and have to rush upstairs for it at the last moment and carry it to the railway station. and have things thrown at his head. Harris said I encouraged him." said George. I repacked once more. but I never do know whether I've packed my tooth-brush. Then Harris packed the strawberry jam on top of a tomato and squashed it. it was his cold. He came and sat down on things. and said he hoped nothing would be found broken. damp nose that they wanted. It's the natural. It made them nervous and excited. and curse him steadily for an hour. He said it did him real good to look on at me. I'm not like that. and have to unpack again to get it. of course. in the morning. "Stand still. and walk round with my hands in my pockets. which reflection seemed to comfort him. To get somebody to stumble over him. whenever Harris or George reached out their hand for anything. and then they met again in the centre. just as I was going to close it. and. Harris will be the worst packer in this world. and packed it in the teapot. and put heavy things on top. and. they tried to put it in the kettle.10 I lived with a man once who used to make me mad that way.m. and Harris sat on it. And they got it off. and what WAS in wouldn't come out. spinning round. can't you!" roared George. full of duty and stern work. He couldn't have said a word until I'd got the bag shut and strapped. I made no comment. and they had a go. and it is always the last thing I turn out of the bag. I said I didn't care a hang whether the soap was in or whether it wasn't. following me round the room with his eyes. "Where?" cried Harris. Then George got round at the back of Harris and saw it. just when they were wanted to be packed. It did. senseless. "I saw you do it myself. I did not say anything. Harris said that we should be wanting to start in less than twelve hours' time.
. but the sight of another man asleep in bed when I am up. Harris and I had a bit of a row over it. and they were whiling away the time by fighting on the doorstep. and he awoke. as the beef could wait. "lucky for you that I do. We finished dressing. AFLOAT IN AN OPEN BOAT. J." I answered. when we were interrupted by a defiant snore from George. Poppets that woke me up next morning. "why didn't you wake me?" "How could I wake you. vulgar way. I don't know why it should be.DEPRAVITY OF THE SMALL BOY. and. on going over. AND ARRIVE AT WATERLOO.the priceless moments that will never come back to him again . in his common. and fish them out of the bag. jumping out of bed into the bath. Harris was to sleep with us that night. starting up." she replied. so we placed the bath where he could tumble into it on getting out in the morning. We determined to save him. We tossed for beds." We were all ready for bed. for the first time since our being called. throwing away in hideous sloth the inestimable gift of time. the City would have to lump it. our own dispute was forgotten. "It's quarter to ten. every second of which he would have to account for hereafter. you fat-headed chunk!" roared Harris. P. I am sure. with his mouth wide open. MRS. There he lay . George. and told him. and Harris had to sleep with me. And when we had done that George wanted the shaving tackle. saying that he would take these while they were hot. It was a terrible thought. and we had to go downstairs. CHAPTER V. when you didn't wake me?" he retorted. We calmed them with an umbrella. cold. and. THE SLUGGARD. George said: "What time shall I wake you fellows?" Harris said: "Seven. Harris said it was old. and his knees stuck up. He said: "Do you prefer the inside or the outside. "Get up. sir?" "Nine o' what?" I cried.WE ARE AFLOAT.OUR LUGGAGE.six. but at last split the difference. He said: "I thought you wanted to get up at six?" "So I did. I know). .THE "WEATHER FORECAST" SWINDLE. through the keyhole. in this noble resolve. INNOCENCE OF SOUTH WESTERN OFFICIALS CONCERNING SUCH WORLDLY THINGS AS TRAINS. "Now we shan't get on the water till after twelve." I said: "No . and the weather forecast. He said: "Don't be absurd. "Who the thunder put this thing here?" We told him he must have been a fool not to see the bath.the man who had wanted to know what time he should wake us . we remembered that we had packed the tooth-brushes and the brush and comb (that tooth-brush of mine will be the death of me. We told him that he would have to go without shaving that morning. THE PEOPLE GATHER ROUND US." It reminded us.30. George got hold of the paper. IT was Mrs. but what cared we for human suffering? As Harris said. How can I go into the City like this?" It was certainly rather rough on the City. nor for anyone like him. as we weren't going to unpack that bag again for him.WE DRIVE OFF IN GREAT STYLE." and he started with a couple of chops. or flirting with the slavey. of his existence. passing away from him.being wasted in mere brutish sleep. "Nine o'clock. ." we said. when it came to the extras. It seems to me so shocking to see the precious hours of a man's life . She said: "Do you know that it's nearly nine o'clock. wet to fine" There was George.on his back. AROUSES US. which latter prophesied "rain. and I shouted in his ear. We flew across and slung the clothes off him. and we found.GEORGE. Harris and I appeared to be struck by it at the same instant." "Um. and said half-past six. "Wake us at 6. irritating the dog. . . instead of sprawling there. and we went upstairs." I replied. George made no answer. . maddens me. and read us out the boating fatalities. Montmorency had invited two other dogs to come and see him off. and went to bed ourselves. I wonder you take the trouble to get up at all." I woke Harris.?" I said I generally preferred to sleep INSIDE a bed. and Harris landed him one with a slipper.11 have lain there for the whole fortnight. . We snarled at one another in this strain for the next few minutes. his valuable life. If I hadn't woke you. "Wasermarrer?" he observed. you'd "What!" he shrieked. Harris said: "The great thing is to make a good breakfast. sitting up. that he had been asleep for some time. and sat down to chops and cold beef. We went downstairs to breakfast." because I wanted to write some letters. unused. sunk in soul-clogging oblivion. "I thought you was aoversleeping yourselves. He might have been up stuffing himself with eggs and bacon.
falling. passing in an oblique line over Southern Europe. as it seemed such a lovely day. if his portent proves correct. It tried its best. sir. and said he expected it meant to-morrow. and precisely the opposite of what is going to happen to-day. and it finished a grand day. fine to set-fair day. and not a cloud to be seen. WON'T those people get wet." and we would dress ourselves in flimsy things. he sneaked the cigarette that I had carefully rolled up for myself. much heat. no. I tapped the barometer. and arranged our specimens of seaweed and cockle shells. and with a vague notion that. you'll find. Then there are those new style of barometers. It rises or falls for rain and fine. the landlady would come in to ask if we weren't going out. but Boots said. No. we come back feeling still more angry against him. The weather is a thing that is beyond me altogether. "Oh. "Ah. What a lark!" At one o'clock. he knows". this "weather-forecast" fraud is about the most aggravating." it would say on Monday.12 (whatever more than usually ghastly thing in weather that may be). and came back and stirred the fire." It was simply pouring with rain outside.m. and I couldn't quite make matters out. the rain came down in a steady torrent. as we stood looking out at them through the window. of all the silly. WE don't mean to get wet . with the sun pouring into the room." Meanwhile. By twelve o'clock. as we wish him good-morning. But not a drop ever fell. when I got there. and was only wasting his time. and it had to be content with pointing to the mere commonplace "very dry. d'ye think?" we shout. and simooms. "Stupid old fool!" we mutter. There seemed a good deal of luggage. "Ah!" we said. Bar." And when the afternoon was nearly gone. "Heavy showers. it doesn't tell you anything. Boots said it was evident that we were going to have a prolonged spell of grand weather SOME TIME. and even then I don't know the answer. on the contrary. "what's HE know about it?" And. you know. looks round the horizon with a particularly knowing eye. "Well. on the particularly gloomylooking morning of some day when we particularly want it to be fine." until it was stopped by the peg. but the instrument was built so that it couldn't prophesy fine weather any harder than it did without breaking itself." to very much upset us: and so." we feel." and "pressure increasing. falling." The Boots stopped as he was passing. and were out of the reach of any shelter. "occasional local thunder-storms. he has had something to do with it. There was one hanging up in a hotel at Oxford at which I was staying last spring. cheerily. may be expected to-day. "Ah! they'll come in the afternoon. and we wondered when those heavy showers and occasional thunderstorms were going to begin." and "much heat. shaking his head. "not we. to-day. no. it would commence to rain hard. the heat became quite oppressive. On Wednesday I went and hit it again. and sunstroke. we tried to cheer ourselves up with the idea that it would come down all at once. "No. and couldn't go any further." we replied. and. irritating tomfoolishness by which we are plagued. The next morning we would read that it was going to be a "warm. with much or less wind.m. when we put it all together. having finished up the few things left on the table. just as the people had started for home. and such things. about "Long foretold." "Ah. It was too bright and sunny on this especial morning for George's bloodcurdling readings about "Bar. and we would come home with colds and rheumatism all over us. and stop indoors all day. as we pass. and waited for a cab. Short notice." The fine weather never came that summer. soon past." For the man that prophesies us bad weather. and it went up still higher." "atmospheric disturbance. and. and start off. east wind. he thought not. and the pointer went round towards "set fair. and water famine. It evidently wanted to go on. somehow or other.no. I fancied that maybe it was thinking of the week before last. and says: "Oh no. owing to the river having overflowed. The prophet we like is the old man who. and the rain came down faster than ever. waiting for the rain. and go to bed. "he did his best. and a lovely night after it. we entertain only bitter and revengeful thoughts. going off in wagonettes and coaches as jolly and merry as could be. There is one side for 10 a. and so we would give up our picnic. but the peg prevented it. sir. There . I never can understand it. and one side for 10 a. "Going to clear up. finding that he could not make us wretched. no. and reduce it to Fahrenheit. with thunderstorms. and got our books. well. I think it will clear up all right. and one end is "Nly" and the other "Ely" (what's Ely got to do with it?)." I do think that. and prognosticate drought. carted out our luggage on to the doorstep. and it jumped up and pointed to "very dry. the long straight ones. I remember a holiday of mine being completely ruined one late autumn by our paying attention to the weather report of the local newspaper. long last. . and still there was no sign of rain. And you've got to correct it to sea-level. and the lower part of the town was under water. and had been all day. and went." we said to each other." "very dry. I never can make head or tail of those. but you can't always get there as early as ten. It "forecasts" precisely what happened yesterday or a the day before. we say. The barometer is useless: it is as misleading as the newspaper forecast. without our having the misery of knowing about it beforehand. sir. it was pointing to "set fair. yesterday. and that they would thus get more drenched than ever. I expect that machine must have been referring to the following spring. But who wants to be foretold the weather? It is bad enough when it comes. but continuing to rain steadily all day. I tapped it again the next morning." he replies. and if you tap it. with general depression over the Midland Counties (London and Channel). and go out. Then Harris and I.And people would pass the house. "won't they come home soaked!" And we chuckled to think how wet they were going to get. the sun shining out. I'm afraid it's settled down for the day. half-an-hour after we had started. and read out a poem which was printed over the top of the oracle. and both would keep on steadily for the whole day. It will break all right enough. with a knowing chuckle. and a bitterly cold wind would spring up. "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.
said he thought he knew the train. you slip off quietly and go to Kingston. for a fortnight. that the train we had come by was really the Exeter mail. Harris and I frowned at him. and a frying pan. He said he couldn't say for certain of course. "Nobody will ever know. and his chief talent lies in securing the services of the most abandoned and unprincipled errand-boys that civilisation has as yet produced. Anyhow. and he told us that he had just met a man. and asked where the eleven-five started from. fixed us with his eye. and took up a position on the other side of the step. was convinced it would start from the local. Then our porter said he thought that must be it on the high-level platform. with whom he discussed the question. and the year seems like a fair young maid. I didn't know Biggs's boy at that time. . and saw the engine-driver. .m. Biggs's boy was the first to come round. "They ain't a-going to starve. and people were asking each other what was the matter. sir?" said the man. "they're a-going to find Stanley. No cab came by. and into it we stepped. on the other hand. or somewhere in that direction. while the empty-can superintendent from "The Blue Posts" took up an independent position on the curb. In another moment. Biggs is our greengrocer. 19. it would have gone hard with him. express for the Isle of Wight. This might have wounded a more sensitive nature. and with Harris at the sculls and I at the tiller-lines. but the street boys did. or the 10 a." struck in Biggs's boy. we drove away amidst the cheers of the crowd. We slipped half-a-crown into his hand. and joined Biggs's boy.INSTRUCTIVE OBSERVATIONS ON CARVED OAK AND LIFE IN GENERAL." "They ain't a-going to cross the Atlantic. . leaning up against the railings." replied the noble fellow. He was evidently in a great hurry when he first dawned upon the vision. wakening pulses on the brink of womanhood. unhappy and deeply suspicious. Of course nobody knew." The grocer's boy came across. while the elder and more thoughtful among the populace inclined to the idea that it was a funeral. are they? " said the gentleman from the boot-shop. and when they are not wanted. if he wasn't the 11. on catching sight of Harris and me. afterwards. 21. in the prow. "Are you all right. though why they were sure it wasn't they couldn't say. It did look a lot. and packing ourselves and our belongings into it. "Right it is. He evidently meant to see this thing out.MUSINGS ON ANTIQUITY.I FORGET THAT I AM STEERING. We got to Waterloo at eleven. because it was too bulky to go in anywhere. and then there was a melon by itself in a bag." we answered. One party (the young and giddy portion of the crowd) held that it was a wedding. I can't see. touchy. but that he rather thought he was.SAD CASE OF STIVVINGS. The porter who took our things thought it would go from number two platform.HAMPTON COURT MAZE. trembling with strange. looking for it. a yard from our step. and round it we stored our luggage. I don't know. in reply to the severe cross-examination to which he was subjected by No. but the authorities there said that they rather thought that train was the Southampton express. The station-master. out we shot on to the waters which. IT was a glorious morning." "Well. and shooting out a couple of Montmorency's friends.5 for Kingston.INSTRUCTIVE REMARKS ON EARLY ENGLISH HISTORY. while another porter. We learnt. we went upstairs. Gimme the halfcrown. and nobody knew what had become of it. we know that it is Biggs's latest." we said. on this line. He came to a dead stop. and a couple of pounds of grapes in another bag.5 for Kingston. and asked the traffic superintendent. as a rule. and Montmorency. To put an end to the matter. were to be our home. I was told that. "Ah! you'd want to take a thing or two with YOU. or where a train when it does start is going to. and that they had spent hours at Waterloo. as a rule. . late spring or early summer. and. Biggs's boy. gents. the grocer's boy passed on the opposite side of the street. or else the Windsor loop. You know the way." By this time. came round the corner. INTERESTING RESULT. "but I suppose SOME train's got to go to Kingston. and a few umbrellas. "what you are. and stopped. and Montmorency. to prove a complete ALIBI. and Harris and I began to feel rather ashamed of it. who happened to be on the step at the time). Our boat was waiting for us at Kingston just below bridge. empty cabs pass at the rate of three a minute. and selecting a straw to chew. We went to number three platform. I should not have attached much importance to that ALIBI myself. as I have said. he eased up and stared. he said he was pretty confident he was the 9. . though why we should be. or anything about it. . and begged him to be the 11. Then the young gentleman from the boot-shop stopped. and we should all know when we got there. and the things. So we went to the highlevel platform. quite a small crowd had collected. or where you're going. and that I was probably the corpse's brother." "if you was a-going to cross the Atlantic in a small boat. but. and get in your way). . it was promptly concluded by our street that Biggs's boy (for that period) was at the bottom of it. nobody at Waterloo ever does know where a train is going to start from. and pointed out Harris as the bridegroom." retorted "The Blue Posts. being too long to pack. and to it we wended our way. but Biggs's boys are not. as you care to take it. from what I have seen of them since. had heard a rumour that it would go from number one. apparently. and got interested in the show. Biggs's boy hailed him: "Hi! ground floor o' 42's a-moving. and the two hampers.32 for Virginia Water. when he called there for orders the morning after the crime (assisted by No. and hang about. At last.13 was the Gladstone and the small hand-bag. and a large roll of rugs. KINGSTON. who said he had seen it at number three platform. we had wrapped round with brown paper. and had he not been able.HARRIS AS A GUIDE. when the dainty sheen of grass and leaf is blushing to a deeper green." Thus we got to Kingston by the London and South-Western Railway. but. and a Japanese paper umbrella. . and some four or five overcoats and macintoshes. which. and asked him if he was going to Kingston. at the time of the Great Coram Street murder. Biggs's boy shying a carrot after us for luck. If anything more than usually villainous in the boy-line crops up in our neighbourhood. and I'll do it. CHAPTER VI. an empty cab turned up (it is a street where. JUNIOR. But they were sure it wasn't the Kingston train. who had evidently sworn never to forsake him.
and young single Years later. and feeling that something ought to be done to encourage this sort of thing. and my friend wondered why he had been brought there. He used to get into awful how rows for sitting up in bed and reading Greek. the wooded towpath. revelry floated in broken bursts of faint-heard din and tumult. if they would put up signs over the public-houses that he had patronised: "Harris had a glass of bitter in this house. early in the day though it was. with their oriel. mind you. He was the most extraordinary lad I ever and complicated oaths. to rise once more when Hampton Court became the palace of the one to leave their money to. with no time. who lives at Kingston." expostulated my friend." he explained. there is reason on his side. in later years." "Harris had two of Scotch cold here in the summer of `88. or "Kyningestun. who Many of the old houses. of course. remarkable about the apartment. great Caesar! man. looked quite picturesque in the flashing sunlight. so he slipped from the noisy revel to steal a quiet moonlight hour with his beloved Elgiva. There was nothing. turned over a new leaf. gramercy. I mused on Kingston. but it was evidently once the mansion of some great Well. and died. put his hand in his pocket and paid for it then and there. and had all those sorts of weak-minded ideas. I never knew Speaking of oak staircases reminds me that there is a magnificent carved such a strange creature. and haven't got any lovers? They themselves don't when Kingston was a royal borough. The proprietor went up to the paper. Married men have wives. die childless. what was sad in his case was that he. back to the loud clamour of the drunken brawl. they were watching the calm moonlight on the river." "But. and Kingston's greatness passed away for a keep themselves have eight hearty children. speak very plainly of those days are plain and elderly. took him through the shop. and tapped it. honour to the school. Carved oak is very pleasant to look at. I wonder now. I believe he really liked study. thereupon. to the crash of battle-music. however. for those whose fancy does not lie that way. went in there to buy a hat one day. some time or other. so full of life. Perhaps. and the long road to the palace gates was gay all day with clanking steel and prancing palfreys. My friend said he would. and he yearned to win prizes. and drag poor Edwy what he does want. They say they would rather be without them. the trim-kept villas on the other side. their huge fireplaces. of pearl-embroidered stomachers." was the reply: "it was expensive work. and as for French irregular to build. Maybe boar's head stuffed with sugar-plums did not agree with him (it wouldn't with me. It was awful gloomy before." I can't say I altogether blame the man (which is doubtless a great relief to his mind).14 The quaint back streets of Kingston. The large and spacious houses. and the wall all the way up was oak-panelled. just the same as you saw on the staircase. quickly recovering himself. and why don't they go and make love to Miss Smith and Miss Brown. I felt myself being dreamily lulled off into a musing fit. His real name was Stivvings. round about. or stopped at. The balusters were a superb piece of workmanship. 1886. He was full of time. we used to call him Sandford and Merton. of any attractions within ten miles of London that she does not seem to have looked in at. should have his drawing-room panelled with it. velvets. seems to have stopped everywhere: only he was more respectable than good Queen Bess. "All carved oak. which was a large. in a red and orange blazer. all made a sunny picture. It is a shop now. and bright-cloaked gallants swaggered down the Then there are girls with lovers. from the casement. and rustling silks and It does not do to dwell on these things. like. and the shopman. It would be like living in a church. who didn't care for carved oak. want lovers. The shopman (he knows my friend) was naturally a little staggered at first. near their King. in a thoughtless moment. It seems to be the rule of Then brutal Odo and St. She was nuts on public-houses." as it was once called in the days when Saxon "kinges" were crowned there. while from the distant halls the boisterous No. and don't seem to want them. and up the staircase of the house. Rich old couples. this world. But the room looks cheerful now. bright room. there would be too many of them! It would be the houses that he had never entered that would become famous. From his point of view. and became a great and good man. which would be that of the average householder. right up to the ceiling. supposing Harris. and their gabled roofs. From the stairs. and got to be Prime Minister. There was a boy at our school. that they bother them. A friend of mine. it makes one so sad. Tudors and the Stuarts. Harris. Caesar. personage. asked our hero if he would like to see some fine old carved oak. "Oak. and to have a little of. How poor weak-minded King Edwy must have hated Kyningestun! The coronation feast had been too much for him. the glinting river with its drifting barges. "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. They were upraised in the days "when men knew came across. so bright but calm. I know). decorated with a somewhat startling though cheerful paper of a blue ground. ho! Gadzooks. say. he didn't put up at the public-houses. the distant glimpses of the grey old palace of the Tudors. grunting away at the sculls. but. and. but it is no doubt somewhat depressing to live in. "you don't mean to say you have covered over carved oak with blue wall-paper?" "Yes. Poor people who can hardly were buried side by side. Elizabeth. with carving that would have done credit to a palace. latticed windows. and nobles and courtiers lived there. that boy used to get ill about twice a week. and their oak stairs do not creak and grunt when you try to go down weird and unnatural notions about being a credit to his parents and an them quietly. Great Caesar crossed the river there. and he had had enough of sack and mead. and the Roman legions camped upon its sloping uplands. was England's Virgin Queen. as the babe unborn. oak staircase in one of the houses in Kingston. standing hand-in-hand. and not that of the old-curiosity-shop maniac." them. in the market-place. where they came down to the water's edge. Each person has what he doesn't want. yet harmless. they went into the drawing-room. Had to match-board it all over first. and fair faces." "Harris was chucked from here in December. and yet so peaceful. while people who do care for it have to pay enormous prices to get it." No. They never mean to marry. so that he couldn't go . and other people have and hurl coarse insults at the sweet-faced Queen. It gave forth a wooden sound. breathe of the days of hose and doublet." The hard red bricks have only grown more firmly set with verbs there was simply no keeping him away from them. and the royal barges strained at their moorings on the river's bank. or slept at. and grow up and be a clever man. There's scarcely a pub. Dunstan force their rude way into the quiet room. Saxon kings and Saxon revelry fellows cry out that they can't get them. that. desiring to take life as lightly as possible. The girls that have lovers never want water-steps to cry: "What Ferry.
what a charming picture it would make. To go back to the carved-oak question. We shall be referred to lovingly as "those grand old artists that flourished in the nineteenth century. and separated ourselves. except once for nine weeks while he had scarlet fever. I wonder if there is real intrinsic beauty in the old soup-plates. and candle-snuffers that we prize so now. After a six weeks' period of drought. I do not admire it myself. and they made us fat. couldn't catch so much as a stiff neck. which lasted till the term recommenced. Such a mellow." that may have escaped destruction. he had it. It was difficult to say. we like the open hill-sides and the deep woods well enough: but in the night. There was only one reputed case in the whole parish: that case was young Stivvings. with spots. and take them back to Jedo as ancient English curios. and gave us an appetite. and speculate as to how beautiful the bit of the tail that is lost no doubt was. and had it badly. Nothing we could think of seemed to make us ill until the holidays began. and had no desire whatever to give our parents any excuse for being stuck-up about us. and he would go out in a November fog and come home with a sunstroke. and excuses its presence by the circumstance that her aunt gave it to her. which was us and which was the Middlesex bank of the river. said he had done enough for a bit. and dusted only by the lady of the house? That china dog that ornaments the bedroom of my furnished lodgings. were the unvalued mantel-ornaments that the mother of the eighteenth century would have given the baby to suck when he cried. If I could only draw. and pretend they understand. but I did not lose my temper. We. and say how clever we were. and now died away. but we found out after a while. and have hay-fever at Christmas. It is a white dog. and will be sold for old china. our neighbourhood was singularly free from it." The "sampler" that the eldest daughter did at school will be spoken of as "tapestry of the Victorian era." and "Souvenirs of Margate. I will not repeat what Harris said. and it did us good. Its nose is a delicate red. And we other boys. and stood upon a bracket. and with its tail broken. and forgot. In 2288 people will gush over it. I may say it irritates me. and freshened us up. save the beating of one's own heart. they must have had very fair notions of the artistic and the beautiful. I could make a lovely sketch of that old wall. a shy young vine peeping over the top at this spot. poor lad. What a dear old wall that is that runs along by the river there! I never pass it without feeling better for the sight of it. It is like the sunset and the stars: we are not awed by their loveliness because they are common to our eyes. and the sober old ivy clustering a little farther down! There are fifty shades and tints and hues in every ten yards of that old wall. Then. Its head is painfully erect. and produced those china dogs. and travellers from Japan will buy up all the "Presents from Ramsgate. and the country grows more and more deserted every year. I've often thought I should like to live at Hampton Court. That is why we crowd into the towns and cities. and gave him a false set. I said. They will be struck by the wonderful depth of the colour on the nose. its expression is amiability carried to verge of imbecility. Why. Harris. because they wouldn't let him do Latin exercises. and whooping cough. and he always had chilblains. do not see the beauty of that dog. we would get suddenly well again. to see what is going on upon the busy river. It looks so peaceful and so quiet. I was somewhat surprised.in the daytime. and the pink shepherds and the yellow shepherdesses that we hand round now for all our friends to gush over. as I know Harris has been. During the great cholera scare of 1871. and he would lie there and sob. he would be stricken down with rheumatic fever. Will it be the same in the future? Will the prized treasures of to-day always be the cheap trifles of the day before? Will rows of our willowpattern dinner-plates be ranged above the chimneypieces of the great in the years 2000 and odd? Will the white cups with the gold rim and the beautiful gold flower inside (species unknown). all our art treasures of to-day are only the dug-up commonplaces of three or four hundred years ago. Considered as a work of art. Such is life. I may have been to blame. however. We love light and life. and knew how to paint. and it is such a dear old place to ramble round in the early morning before many people are about. minus its legs. especially in a man who has been carefully brought up. but nothing excuses violence of language and coarseness of expression. and turned a somersault. And people will pass it round. and took his German grammar away from him. Its eyes blue. for the moment. and put into the oven and baked. and be better than ever. I got out and took the tow-line. when Nature is alive and busy all around us. in this age. He was never without a cold. our great-great-grandfathers. when our Mother Earth . But in 200 years' time it is more than probable that that dog will be dug up from somewhere or other. If there was any known disease going within ten miles of him. But. sweet old wall. The blue-andwhite mugs of the present-day roadside inn will be hunted up. He had to stop in bed when he was ill. and proposed that I should take a turn. who would have sacrificed ten terms of our school-life for the sake of being ill for a day. and ran the boat on past Hampton Court. when your lamp cast uncanny shadows on the panelled walls.15 to school. so. He would take bronchitis in the dog-days. and all kinds of disorders. when. We are too familiar with it. got up and left his seat. we caught colds. I admit it. Our descendants will wonder how we did it. that our Sarah Janes now break in sheer light-heartedness of spirit. In the sunlight . and the echo of distant feet rang through the cold stone corridors. and stuck his legs in the air. and sat on his back. The making of such dogs will have become a lost art. and even my landlady herself has no admiration for it. all cracked and chipped. and eat chicken and custards and hot-house grapes. and admire it. There never was such a boy to get ill as that Sandford and Merton. that I was steering. on second thoughts. and rich people will use them for claret cups. and we are but as grass that is cut down." and be almost priceless. Thoughtless friends jeer at it. We are creatures of the sun. It would be so ghastly dull and depressing in the evening. beer-mugs. At this point Harris threw away the sculls. I was thinking of other things. and put in a glass cabinet. and all the things came out. So it is with that china dog. be carefully mended. there. and now drew nearer. and we took things to make us sick. and then it turned to neuralgia and ear-ache. we men and women. and sold for their weight in gold. I'm sure. with the lichen creeping here. They put him under laughing-gas one year. and the top hamper jumped up. on the breaking-up day. Montmorency howled. bright." No. The "old blue" that we hang about our walls as ornaments were the common every-day household utensils of a few centuries ago. and drew all his teeth. in spite of everything we could manoeuvre to the contrary. and the moss growing there. pleasantly enough: "Hulloa! what's that for?" "What's that for? Why . as we were in. I don't suppose I should really care for it when it came to actual practice. as any one might easily understand. or if it is only the halo of age glowing around them that gives them their charms in our eyes. We fooled about in draughts. and the consequence was that we had got mixed up a good deal with the towpath. and all was death-like silence. because he suffered so terribly with toothache.
"if you know whereabouts in it we are now. CHAPTER VII. and he would come to them. and suggested that the best thing to do would be to go back to the entrance. and so the man told them to stop where they were." replied the cousin. in such a confused whirl that they were incapable of grasping anything. and saucy hats. waiting their turn. Harris said he should judge there must have been twenty people. and dainty whites. and he climbed down. and then go and get some lunch. you might fancy it was a huge box into which flowers of every hue and shade had been thrown pell-mell.THE MAN WHO LOVES NOT GRAVES AND COFFINS AND SKULLS. THE RIVER IN ITS SUNDAY GARB. in the opposite direction. and waited for the others to take a walk round. and had had about enough of it. outside the gates.MRS. before. and expressed an opinion that he was an impostor. and the man came and climbed up the ladder outside. and cloaks. until they had absorbed all the persons in the maze. impossible!" but the woman with the baby said. and begin again. . and long for the gas-lit streets. Let us gather together in the great cities. so that the sunny river.A DAY WITH THE FASHION-PLATE YOUNG LADY. and shout and sing together. "Not at all. with only one boat in it." They met some people soon after they had got inside. but only a brilliant tangle of bright blazers. and thrown it down there. They picked up various other people who wanted to get it over.HIS VIEWS ON GEORGE AND BANKS AND LEMONADE. but with regard to the advisability of going back to the entrance there was complete unanimity. as we were the only boat. and he produced his map. and off they started for the third time. But all their heads were. from the Palace up to Hampton Church." as she herself had taken it from the child. On a fine Sunday it presents this appearance nearly all day long. I suppose. They all got crazy at last. and fell behind. so that you can say you've been. and came in. He said he went in once to show somebody else the way. . for fear of losing him. and light huge bonfires of a million gas-jets. that some of the people stopped there. following him.16 has gone to sleep. and boats are drawing near and passing away. and silken rugs. at last. Then we sit and sob. but the sight of it only infuriated the mob. up the stream. and feel brave. and the thing seemed simpler than ever.A CHANCE FOR THE MEN. It's absurd to call it a maze. the busiest lock on the river. and rush to get to them. and we agreed that we would try to get George to go into it. and down the stream. when looking down into the lock from the quay. Harris said that he couldn't help feeling that. just before she met Harris. insisted on taking his arm. is dotted and decked with yellow. when you could not see any water at all. and new to the business. Harris kept on turning to the right. For the beginning again part of it there was not much enthusiasm. to a certain extent. by this time. they had got something to start from then. It became so regular at length. They huddled together. sometimes. and it was so simple that it seemed foolish . as they went along. They had to wait till one of the old keepers came back from his dinner before they got out. "Oh. Boulter's not even excepted. and the answering throb of human life. "because we've walked a good two miles already. while. and they told him to go and curl his hair with it. . blessing him. they simply couldn't get anywhere else. and one woman with a baby. She also added that she wished she never had met Harris. like children in a silent house. and sang out for the keeper. but it seemed a long way. or of ever seeing their home and friends again. and ask them where they had been. when the dark trees rustle in the night-wind. Harris asked me if I'd ever been in the maze at Hampton Court." Harris began to think it rather strange himself. and so they turned. and pink. and we get frightened. and waited. He was a young keeper. and when he got in. plucked up courage at the sight of Harris and his party. It took us some time to pass through. one of the largest in Europe. and then HE got lost. he was just going in. and left us waking. and gay caps. and it is a big lock. and he would see them. . Whatever way they turned brought them back to the middle. and trailed after Harris again. and lay piled up in a rainbow heap. and white.ABSENCE OF TASTE IN HARRIS." said Harris. who said they had been there for three-quarters of an hour. trying to get to them. because it wasn't a bit like the real thing.hardly worth the twopence charged for admission. Harris drew out his map again. He said: "We'll just go in here. Harris said he thought it was a very fine maze. but it's very simple. . IT was while passing through Moulsey Lock that Harris told me about his maze experience. that covered every corner." said one of the party. as luck would have it. and orange. It was a country cousin that Harris took in. so far as he was a judge. and streaming ribbons. And three minutes later they were back in the centre again. on our way back. THOMAS'S TOMB. . if they liked. it must be. and then should turn round and come out again. and only misleading. lie. We feel so helpless and so little in the great stillness.HE PERFORMS TRICKS. and his cousin said he supposed it was a very big maze. I have stood and watched it. oh! the world seems so lonesome.HARRIS MAD. and come back to them. . and they would wait there for about five minutes. That made Harris mad. Harris said: "Oh. and their silent sighs make us feel so sad." Harris didn't know. Anyhow. It is. and blue. There are so many ghosts about. and the map was once more consulted. Harris told them they could follow him. and he decided to treat it as an accident. who had been there all the morning. after a while. He had studied it up in a map. and he wandered about. Harris thought at first of pretending that that was what he had been aiming at. About ten minutes more passed. I don't think I ever remember to have seen Moulsey Lock. rushing about the other side of the hedge. "Yes. and then they found themselves in the centre. "The map may be all right enough. All the inhabitants of Hampton and Moulsey . People who had given up all hopes of ever getting either in or out. They did know where they were. long lines of still more boats. and followed. but he held on until. They caught sight of him.GEORGE'S BLAZER. . We'll just walk round for ten minutes. and red. and then he would reappear again in exactly the same spot. and joined the procession. but the crowd looked dangerous. and explained his theory. he had become unpopular. in all. . they passed the half of a penny bun on the ground that Harris's cousin swore he had noticed there seven minutes ago.DRESS ON THE RIVER. and the sound of human voices. . After that. and many-coloured parasols. They said it was very kind of him. Harris said he thought that map must have been got up as a practical joke. he couldn't find them. every now and then. You keep on taking the first turning to the right. and shouted out directions to them.
is that we are afraid it will attract attention to the boat. but that. and dainty shoes. One of them rubbed the cushion with the forefinger of her glove. also. When they grasped the idea. if I would allow him. They said it was very interesting. and it appeared that a drop of water ruined those costumes. and a dark red matches it beautifully. The first thing was that they thought the boat was not clean. But a "boating costume. after it was all over. When he spread more than pint of water over one of those dresses. and try as I would. and sloush the things about in the water. I am too sensitive. after a while." and offer them his handkerchief to wipe it off with. and I think we come out very natty." And he made them do it. We asked him what colour he called it. they visibly shrank and shuddered. they watched that person with growing anxiety until he sat down again. bolt upright. I should not like George to know that I thought so. and. and asked us what we thought of it. impossible! there was such a simple. and not merely under a glass-case. considered as an article of dress for any human being. "Oh. It utterly spoils an excursion if you have folk in the boat who are thinking all the time a good deal more of their dress than of the trip. It was my misfortune once to go for a water picnic with two ladies of this kind. I gave it up at last. "come along. after that. "tuck `em up. and agitated them. altogether. and light gloves. I did my best. with white or cream for relief. we men are able to show our taste in colours. tripped up over a root. the pretty coloured dresses of the women. but they didn't believe us. The river affords a good opportunity for dress. and the grass was dusty. it is one of the gayest sights I know of near this dull old London town. Bow thought the arrangement would be better too. with regard to it.no. Now I come to think it over. Girls. He brought it home and showed it to us on Thursday evening. and set their lips firm. thick-headed sort of a chap. Nothing is more fetching. with anything in his hand that could fall and make a mess. that he did not feel himself a sufficiently accomplished oarsman to pull with me. fortunately. and then assured them that it was. and covertly draw rugs and coats over themselves.a handkerchief looks so much better than a belt. but that he would sit still. you girls. and the tree-trunks. while there are one or two colours in which he might not really look so bad." the poor girls would murmur in reply. I'm sure. and I picked out a smooth bit of water to drop them into again each time. The girls did not complain. He didn't think there was a name for the colour. and ribbons. and flowers. and we changed places. but. Somebody. was that young man as dense-headed as we thought? or was he . It was ridiculous. At lunch they had a very bad time of it. and. You are liable to occasionally splash a little when sculling. He set a good. and a pair of those Russian-leather shoes and a red silk handkerchief round the waist . but the accident suggested a fresh danger to them. They were the "boating costumes" of a French fashion-plate. the moving boats. the harder I tried not to. but it unnerved me altogether. dashing stroke that sent the spray playing all over the boat like a fountain. don't look half bad in a boat. It is a great pity. You know my hair is a sort of golden brown.all lace and silky stuff. and smoke. but I don't think he is at all wise in this. I feathered some two feet high. ought to be a costume that can be worn in a boat. I got wild and fitful in my rowing. in walking about with a plate of beef-steak pie. "Oh. with his hat on. child-like expression about him! Harris wanted to get out at Hampton Church. and study my stroke. George got quite huffy. the more obstinate he always seems to be. We did have a lively time! They were both beautifully got up ." The elder sister said that she was afraid that they hadn't got on dresses suited to the work. and he said he didn't know. I said I'd row bow. air. the pleasant landscape." it would be as well if all ladies would understand. why did he ask for it? What troubles Harris and myself. and they both sighed. His complexion is too dark for yellows.red and black. with the air of early Christian martyrs trying to make themselves comfortable up against the stake. You might look daggers at him for an hour and he would not notice it. he should respect it. you know. and every time a drop touched them. "Now then. For once in a way. "it's rare fun! You lie down on your . to go and see Mrs. you've got to wash up!" They didn't understand him at first. it's of no consequence. and the sparkling water. than a tasteful boating costume. fooling about in them anywhere near real earth. Harris always keeps to shades or mixtures of orange or yellow. and a stain was left on the dress for ever. I always like a little red in my things . Thomas's . George has bought some new things for this trip. but they huddled up close together. but there really is no other word for it." he cried. Poor girls! they had better have put up with me. and made the whole crowd sit up straight in no time. rather a pretty shade I've been told. The ladies gave an involuntary sigh of relief when they saw me go. and splashed more and more." said our friend Bow to them." said he light-heartedly. (Bow said. He said it interested him. did not appear to have been brushed for weeks. they said they feared they did not know how to wash up. and sent the pie flying. and flirt. Harris said that. The man had told him it was an Oriental design. if you ask me. and I'm rather vexed about them. The mark never came out. they'll be all right. and watch the boats.17 dress themselves up in boating costume. so they spread their handkerchiefs on the ground and sat on those. People wanted them to sit on the grass. the excited dogs. too. and it would not trouble him if he did. the white sails.I mean you lean over the bank. whenever anybody moved about. I want him to take to blue as a background. and quite brightened up for a moment. and showed the result to the other. It was a noble sight to see them suffering thus in silence.) But. "Oh. it made him ill. He told them that that sort of thing was half the fun of a picnic. not for a river picnic. if he didn't want his opinion. there! the less taste a person has in dress. I was stroke. he would give a pleasant little laugh. notwithstanding all this. The man they had got now was a jolly. if prettily dressed. and try and protect themselves with their lace parasols. what with the caps and jackets of the men. George put it on. But they were dressed for a photographic studio. and say: "I beg your pardon. light-hearted. and I paused at the end of each stroke to let the blades drip before returning them. except a Margate nigger. I could not help an occasional flicker of water from going over those dresses. against which they were invited to lean. We dusted all the seats for them. and sat down. and water. with about as much sensitiveness in him as there might be in a Newfoundland puppy. as an object to hang over a flower-bed in early spring to frighten the birds away. None of it went over them. and come and mouch round the lock with their dogs. cheerily. because he will never be a success as it is. Yellows don't suit him: there can be no question about it. and then I always think a light-blue necktie goes so well with it. as Harris said. to my thinking. rollicking. The blazer is loud. but. I'll soon show you.
poetical. I will come and see yours. carved upon it." "Well then. leaning up against this gritty old wall. however." I said. I would come and live here. I am chock full of beautiful and noble thoughts. and I want to see it." He burst into tears." I replied. I do not want other folk's. far away in that peaceful village. When I want graves. sur. it is to those places that I go and revel. with a headstone with a coffee-pot sort of thing in bas-relief upon it. and the thought of not seeing Mrs. while my ill-concealed anxiety to get outside wounds their feelings. do come and see the skulls! You are a young man out for a holiday. In that moment I forgave all my friends and relations for their wickedness and cussedness. Not even the sight of a bit of cracked brass let into a stone affords me what I call real happiness. "Who is Mrs. I felt I didn't want to be sinful and wicked any more. and epitaphs. tender thoughts. and looked hard at me." he said. and don't disturb me. Why my uncle Podger has a tomb in Kensal Green Cemetery. It was idyllic. when you get to a village or town. screeching out the while: "I'm a-coming. He said he had looked forward to seeing Mrs. when my reverie was broken in upon by a shrill piping voice crying out: "All right. "How should I know?" replied Harris. "No. Go away. and reading epitaphs.the grey old church with its clustering ivy and its quaint carved wooden porch. I want to stop here. He said: "Yuise a stranger in these parts? You don't live here?" "No. "I don't. I still remained obdurate. He rubbed his eyes. and monumental inscriptions. was doing for them. I shock respectable sextons by the imperturbability I am able to assume before exciting inscriptions. I seemed human enough on the outside: he couldn't make it out. They went their abandoned way all unconscious of what I. "I've come as soon as I could. and whispered hoarsely: "I've got a couple of skulls down in the crypt. chivying away all my better feelings with this silly tombstone nonsense of yours.graves . sur. Thomas's grave made him crazy. Thomas's tomb." He seemed surprised. he said: "Well. I reminded him of George. is to rush off to the churchyard. I ain't as spry as I used to be. restful scene ." I repeated." I objected. you know . the silver river in the hollow. the thatched-roof cottages peeping above their trim-kept hedges. making me mad. and I'll pay half the expense. because I wanted to make them happy. YOU wouldn't if I did. and you want to enjoy yourself." He was bewildered for a moment. that nobody had ever been able to decipher. in broken-hearted tones. I'm a little lame. and lead a blameless." he replied. beautiful life. and I blessed them. "My missis never see you till just this minute. come and see the skulls. and how we had to get the boat up to Shepperton by five o'clock to meet him. and enjoy the graves. that is the pride of all that country-side. I take no interest in creeping round dim and chilly churches behind wheezy old men. "leave me before I get over the wall. That is all I can do for you. but he still advanced. I was going on thinking away all these grand. Thomas?" I asked. "I do not want to see tombs . Oh. because it feels nice and good. Thomas's grave from the first moment that the trip was proposed . and slay you. and a six-inch best white stone coping all the way round. I'm a-coming. and have silver hair when I got old. You follow me.coffins!" "You are an untruther. This way. I motioned him away with silent dignity. They did not know that I blessed them. and saw an old bald-headed man hobbling across the churchyard towards me. sur. He drew near. carrying a huge bunch of keys in his hand that shook and jingled at every step. and drank in deep. Why was George to fool about all day. "come and see those. He said that one of the tombs had a bit of stone upon the top of it that had been said by some to be probably part of the remains of the figure of a man." "Go away." I answered. 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. and come down with us? Bank be blowed! What good was he at the bank? ." "Go away. sur.18 tomb. and graves. One golden morning of a sunny day. and all that sort of thing. It's all right." I looked up. and never do any more wrong. and my grandfather's vault at Bow is capable of accommodating eight visitors. and as I sped I heard him calling to me: "Oh. the wooded hills beyond! It was a lovely landscape. and by my lack of enthusiasm for the local family history. "you want to see the tombs . "I don't. and that another had some words. that cost pounds. our family has. Go away. sur. the white lane winding down the hill between tall rows of elms. I felt good and noble. and I want to stop like it. When you yourself are buried. I don't know whether it is that I am built wrong.not your tombs. but I never did seem to hanker after tombstones myself. Don't you come fooling about. "She's a lady that's got a funny tomb. sur. don't you be in a hurry. but it is a recreation that I always deny myself.said he wouldn't have joined if it hadn't been for the idea of seeing Mrs." he said. and it inspired me. but I did it. and I wished that I could let them know that I had done it. and then he went for George. Come and see the skulls!" Then I turned and fled. I know that the proper thing to do. getting roused. and I smoked. and.folks been buried. while my great-aunt Susan has a brick grave in Finchley Churchyard. you miserable old man. "Don't you want to see the tombs?" he said. won't you come and see the memorial window?" I would not even see that." I said. revels in tombs. I leant against the low stone wall that guarded a little village church. I'm a-coming. so he fired his last shot. come back and see the skulls!" Harris. Why should I? We have graves of our own. calm gladness from the sweet. and get somebody to bury you cheap. I'm a-coming.
but he still hung about. Harris said that if it was a duty it ought to be done. and then die. and draw chains across from bank to bank." and Harris gets up. so we asked him if there was anything further that we could do for him. and looks hard and bony. Then he pumps himself out. and that he ought not to be allowed to try. It is one of Harris's fixed ideas that he CAN sing a comic song. If he was here. This seemed to me to be going too far.GEORGE BUYS A BANJO.SHAMEFUL CONDUCT OF TWO ABANDONED YOUNG MEN. They represent themselves as sent by the proprietor. of course. &c. but he answered: "Not a bit of it. and seemed difficult to find. but that. however. He said he must drink something." continued Harris.the bread and jam . Harris is what you would call a well-made man of about number one size. and stood there on his head. and then he went on about the river. I don't believe he's at the bank at all. The sight of those notice-boards rouses every evil instinct in my nature." I pointed out to him that we were miles away from a pub. UNCHRISTIANLIKE FEELINGS OF HARRIS. everybody" says the hostess. if he assured us on his word as a gentleman that we WERE trespassing. They drive posts into the bed of the stream. turning round. Where it is really the owners that are to blame. "Oh. WE stopped under the willows by Kempton Park. and "such-like Sunday-school slops. and prove what damage you have done to his land by sitting down on a bit of it. and what was the good of the river. We said we hadn't given the matter sufficient consideration as yet to enable us to arrive at a definite conclusion on that point. &c. CHAPTER VIII. . I reminded him that there was concentrated lemonade in the hamper. and then I would bury him. He said they all produced dyspepsia. we could go and see that tomb. Then he flew off about lemonade. please. He gave us the required assurance. among those of Harris's friends who have heard him try. and he said he had them worse than that. who is of a chummy disposition. I can only sing a COMIC song. and we thanked him. we would. . leaving us to do all the work. and were the cause of half the crime in England. and nail huge notice-boards on every tree." says the hostess. raspberry syrup. holding on to the sides of the boat like grim death. It was a long while before I could get Harris to take a more Christian view of the subject. when you draw a cheque. they send it back smeared all over with `No effects. If these men had their way they would close the river Thames altogether. he replies: "Well. his legs sticking up into the air. if he really has anything to do with the matter. and is quiet afterwards. and he added that it was his duty to turn us off. and leave the owner. What use is he there. without further hesitation. with the beaming cheeriness of a generous-minded man who is just about to give somebody something. we never saw him any more. He dared not move for fear of going over. "whenever I go in.' `Refer to drawer. We had just commenced the third 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 firmness. and that made him madder than ever. When Harris is at a party.SOME USELESS INFORMATION. and asked the man what was his idea with regard to the best means for accomplishing it. We never ought to allow our instincts of justice to degenerate into mere vindictiveness. I feel I want to tear each one down. and he had to lean over further and further. I'm not going to stand it much longer. and then. But the majority of people are so intensely lazy and timid. There are a certain number of riverside roughs who make quite an income. during the summer. It is a pretty little spot there: a pleasant grass plateau. "Mr. in trying to steer at the same time.19 "I never see him doing any work there. and a gallon-jar of water in the nose of the boat. What's the good of a man behind a bit of glass? I have to work for my living. and said he would go and consult his master. and I said so to Harris. BLACKMAILING. that's what he's doing.. silence. and then come back and chuck us both into the river. on the contrary. Why can't he work. is that he CAN'T and never will be able to. and." as he termed them. You have never heard Harris sing a comic song. the fixed idea. and was everyone 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 then burn down his house. for he declined it quite gruffly. and what's the good of their banks? They take your money." I was vexed to hear Harris go on in this blood-thirsty strain. and hammer it over the head of the man who put it up. . Mr. to summon you. . ginger-beer. offered him a bit of bread and jam. and overhung by willows. and the man measured him up and down. I mentioned these feelings of mine to Harris. and makes for the piano. and sent the boat into the bank. as if he were vexed at being tempted with it. Serve `em all jolly well right. by slouching about the banks and blackmailing weak-minded noodles in this way. The selfishness of the riparian proprietor grows with every year. It was right at the bottom of the hamper. however. and haul him back." and he says it in a tone that implies that his singing of THAT. and have a drink. . and. and ruined body and soul alike. .when a gentleman in shirt-sleeves and a short pipe came along.HOW HARRIS SINGS A COMIC SONG. . "Do sing one. until I have killed him. I fancy he must have belonged to some society sworn to abstain from bread and jam. "Now. He's larking about somewhere. and I'd go and sing comic songs on the ruins. and leant over to get the bottle. and is asked to sing.A HIGH-CLASS PARTY. that IS nice. Harris.' What's the good of that? That's the sort of trick they served me twice last week.. and Harris. and put the board up over the grave as a tombstone. and he dived down right into the hamper. but that he should like to slaughter the whole of his family and all his friends and relations. or you would understand the service I had rendered to mankind. and had to stay there till I could get hold of his legs. and lunched. all he really wanted was a shilling.SELFISH BOORISHNESS OF RIVER-SIDE LANDOWNER. they ought to be shown up. Of course. trying to look as if he was doing something. and would not sing comic songs on the ruins. he pulled the wrong line. and seemed to be dissatisfied. from a topsy-turvy point of view. He said he not only felt he wanted to kill the man who caused the board to be put up. . I'm going to get out. and that the two only wanted mixing to make a cool and refreshing beverage. The proper course to pursue is to offer your name and address. and climbed upon the seat. They actually do this along the minor tributary streams and in the backwaters. you know. and he promised me that he would spare the friends and relations at all events. I shall withdraw my account. and wanted to know if we knew that we were trespassing. but I succeeded at last. He sits behind a bit of glass all day. believe it. and the shock upset him. is a thing that you ought to hear once.THE PROPER COURSE TO PURSUE. "NOTICE" BOARDS. running along by the water's edge.
Harris takes no notice of it. old man. You don't mind a man being two bars in front of the accompaniment.' Now then. and they hurry in from the conservatory. Till now I am the ruler of the Queen's navee. seizing what he considers to be a favourable opening in the music. begins. without a word of warning. GIVES UP THE UNEQUAL CONTEST AND RETIRES. Moment arrives for Harris to join in. And I . and break off. chorus . I cleaned the windows of the big front door. to go back and let you have it then and there. IN A HIGH FALSETTO THIS TIME." [SINGS FIRST TWO LINES OVER AGAIN. Pianist. and crowd into the drawing-room. you know. commencing singing at the same time.the other thing. you start off. you're singing the Admiral's song from PINAFORE. and to keep on repeating these until it is time to begin the chorus. And I polished up the floor . you know. and. you're not. indeed . I think. I expect you all know it.I mean .and I . and Harris. It's the Judge's song out of PINAFORE . You don't expect a man to break off in the middle of a line. I can't think of that line. GENERAL CHORUS: "And he diddle-diddle-diddle-diddle-diddle-diddle-dee'd. HIS PLACE BEING TAKEN BY A STRONGER-NERVED MAN. and says he will sing another comic song after supper. you know. all smirking in anticipation. and snigger. He honestly imagines that he has given them a treat. you don't look for much of a voice in a comic song. and Harris. You must all join in the chorus. when he has got to an entirely different part of the song. But you do expect the words. and where he is." Nervous pianist tries to push on with prelude. And I . it's very funny. NERVOUS OLD LADY NEAR THE FIRE BEGINS TO CRY. Well. Till now he is the ruler of the Queen's navee. Of course . AND SUGGESTING THE FIRST LOW WARNINGS OF AN APPROACHING EARTHQUAKE.you know what I mean . THINKING OF HIS WIFE AND FAMILY. we'll have that over again. It was Jenkins confused me. You're doing it very well. and then starting the verse afresh. ought. HIS VOICE APPEARING TO COME FROM THE CELLAR. I will just give you an idea of Harris's comic singing. starts prelude to the Admiral's song. HARRIS (STANDING UP IN FRONT OF PIANO AND ADDRESSING THE EXPECTANT MOB): "I'm afraid it's a very old thing. and go and fetch each other from all over the house.' " [GENERAL ROAR OF LAUGHTER. you know. You don't mind if a man does find out.] " `When I was young and called to the Bar. and stops short. suddenly recollect it. Now then. but he's blest if he can think of the rest of it. . and then try and make it up for himself. and Harris." And Harris never sees what an ass he is making of himself.no. Don't you know it?" SOME FRIEND OF HARRIS'S (FROM THE BACK OF THE ROOM): "No. old man. afterwards. you chuckle-head. if you don't mind. I don't mean PINAFORE . feels his mind giving way. and tries to follow Harris with accompaniment to Judge's song out "Trial by Jury. PIANIST. You don't expect a man to never remember more than the first three lines of the first verse. But it's the only thing I know.well. GREAT SURPRISE ON THE PART OF THE AUDIENCE. requests pianist to begin again. and comes down with a jerk. Then Harris begins.] HARRIS (WITH KINDLY ENCOURAGEMENT): "It's all right. You don't bother about time. well. and say.Oh.` No . as it throws much light upon the inner mental working of human nature in general. we'll get on to the chorus.it is the last two lines repeated. and tries to recollect what he is doing.no. with an evident sense of injustice rankling inside him." [Long argument between Harris and Harris's friend as to what Harris is really singing. how jolly!" they murmur. you know.go on. you know.I beg your pardon ." NERVOUS PIANIST: "I'm afraid there's a mistake somewhere. Brilliant performance of prelude to the Judge's song in "Trial by Jury" by nervous Pianist. Nervous pianist commences prelude over again.I've been mixing up the two songs. thereupon. and how he is annoying a lot of people who never did him any harm. and I'll follow. and come up from the stairs." [Murmurs of delight and anxiety to join in the chorus. to be recorded in these pages.] HARRIS (continuing): "I swept the windows and I swept the door." finds that doesn't answer. and chance it (SINGS): `And I diddle-diddle-diddle-diddle-diddle-diddle-de. We won't bother about any prelude. [SINGING. AND HAS TO BE LED OUT.no. and easing up in the middle of a line to argue it out with the pianist.funny thing. when in the middle of a note. " `When I was young I served a term As office-boy to an attorney's firm. and sit round. reminds me of a rather curious incident at which I once assisted. dash it .' (Aside to pianist): "It is too low." HARRIS (UPON WHOM THE EXPLANATION OF MATTERS HAS SLOWLY DAWNED LAUGHING): "By Jove! I beg your pardon. which. dashes off the first two lines of the First Lord's song out of "Pinafore. You don't expect correct phrasing or vocalization.20 Harris is going to sing a comic song!" HARRIS: "Oh. and then you can judge of it for yourself. Friend finally suggests that it doesn't matter what Harris is singing so long as Harris gets on and sings it. gives it up. You don't . What are you singing?" HARRIS (PROMPTLY): "Why the Judge's song out of Trial by Jury. THE NEW PIANIST (CHEERILY): "Now then. TAKEN BY HARRIS AS A COMPLIMENT. that he is too high. Speaking of comic songs and parties.
I noticed. I roared. and fetched Herr Slossenn Boschen. You will laugh. I have never taken much interest in German songs since then. we were too clever for them. it will amuse you. I did not want the people there to guess my ignorance. We were even humorous in a high-class way. they thought so. The young men said it was the funniest song that had ever been written. At first. The river is sweetly pretty just there before you come to the gates. but we murmured to one another that it was the German method. I tittered. It was a weird. who seemed restless and uncomfortable. None of us had heard it.that would spoil it. I tried to do so once. and followed them. commonplace young men. were beyond them. were enough to send us into fits. Somebody recited a French poem after supper. and it made one or two of us weep . and they said. Still. It was about a young girl who lived in the Hartz Mountains. and called us all the English he knew. and who had given up her life to save her lover's soul. We said we yearned to hear it. and sat down to the piano without another word. He swore at us in German (which I should judge to be a singularly effective language for that purpose). and we said it was beautiful. but don't attempt to row up it. made it all the funnier. and we talked pretty. These other people also tittered when the young men tittered. Everybody agreed upon that. It was a trying situation for us . We came downstairs one at a time. and I bent down over the sculls.very trying. we might have wept. when we began to laugh. They said he never once suggested by his tone or manner that he was singing anything funny . in the face of things like these. and the backwater is charming. They said it was so funny that. but forgot every word of it two years after I had left. that we wanted a good laugh. and prepared to enjoy it. and I also threw in a little snigger all by myself now and then. We said it was the funniest thing we had ever heard in all our lives. and with so little fuss. if I pulled hard. He (Herr Boschen) said it was generally acknowledged to be one of the most tragic and pathetic songs in the German language. and they went downstairs. so that the common people could understand it. and he threw such a wailing note of agony into the weird music that. and asked us if we had ever heard Herr Slossenn Boschen (who had just arrived. as well as myself. They never ought to have been there at all. and pulled. and were very happy . We reached Sunbury Lock at half-past three. he surpassed himself. when they said this. As we continued to laugh. later on. he could not see)." whispered the two young men.I'm not quite sure of the details. It appeared that the song was not a comic song at all. We never said good-night even to one another. That was the end of that party. students. and he scowled fiercely round upon us all (except upon the two young men who. It quite made one's flesh creep. but they had left the house in an unostentatious manner immediately after the end of the song. I kept my eye on the two young students. but added to his mock seriousness . being behind him. and set myself up. and got round the corner quickly. We looked around for the two young men who had done this thing. when they roared. it was too much! In the last verse. of course. and that. They were out of place. soulful air. as if they found the proceedings slow.oh. the expression of his face was one of intense surprise. and asked the fellows who were steering if they thought it could be done. The prelude did not suggest a comic song exactly.21 We were a fashionable and highly cultured party. and keeping the shady side. but for our being forewarned as to the German method of comic singing. It was his air of seriousness. his surprise gave way to an air of annoyance and indignation. as if laughter were the very last thing he had expected to be greeted with. we should have been nervous. We played MORCEAUX from the old German masters. oh. as they passed through the room. and he died. and then a lady sang a sentimental ballad in Spanish. He finished amid a perfect shriek of laughter. We flirted with graceful dignity. in the last verse. and opened the door for ourselves. there should be a popular notion that the Germans hadn't any sense of humour. but it was something very sad. and he danced. walking softly. And we asked the Professor why he didn't translate the song into English. and he (the German Emperor) had sobbed like a little child. if we had not known it was a funny song. We asked the servant for our hats and coats in whispers. and then. I considered this particularly artful on my part. I know. and took up an unobtrusive position behind the Professor's back. and. He said he had never been so insulted in all his life. There seemed to be no answer. and was then down in the supper-room) sing his great German comic song. I never saw a party break up so quietly. and went on awful. yes. We were just under the little foot-bridge that crosses it between the two weirs. that made it so irresistibly amusing. And then those two young men got up.it was so pathetic. almost of pathos. as the two young men tittered and roared and exploded with laughter pretty continuously all through the song. We told each other that it would be the death of us. whom they knew very well. Our brilliant but polished conversation. he jilted her spirit. among us. and our high-class tastes. and hear what a real comic song was like. and met her spirit in the air. . that we could remember. "Oh. and roared when the young men roared. He glowered round upon us with a look of such concentrated ferocity that. and that. if we liked. just returned from Germany. That sent us into convulsions. when Herr Slossenn Boschen had sung it once before the German Emperor. The words alone. and went on with another spirit . and have felt much better ever since. and shook his fists. he was so intensely serious all through it that you might fancy he was reciting a tragedy. When they tittered. they would get Herr Slossenn Boschen. he (the German Emperor) had had to be carried off to bed. Herr Boschen said he had sung it once before the German Emperor. We discussed philosophy and ethics. as if I had seen a bit of humour that had escaped the others. we said.all except two young fellows. so I hit upon what I thought to be rather a good idea. it went exceedingly well. We thought this very funny: we said his earnest manner was half the humour. to sing it. Then Herr Slossenn Boschen got up. avoiding each other as much as possible. Herr Slossenn Boschen accompanied himself. We had on our best clothes. I learned it at school. that a good many other people seemed to have their eye fixed on the two young men. They said nobody could sing it like Herr Slossenn Boschen. I was sculling. And yet that German Professor did not seem happy. and slipped out. as the song progressed. He appeared to be quite pleased to sing it. this thing. for he came up at once. The truth was. We said how strange it was that. I don't understand German myself. The slightest hint on his part that he knew how funny he was would have completely ruined it all.
." replied George: "but it's very easy. and stepped out. . I suppose iron was getting scarce. George waved his hat. The lock-keeper rushed out with a drag. in one breath. Harris roared. who lived at Oatlands. under the impression that somebody had fallen into the lock.SAVED! who is steering. closer inspection showing that George was inside it. There is a grotto in the park which you can see for a fee. with a long straight handle sticking out of it. had a little place at Walton . when we came in view of it. they tell me. I set myself a good. was very fond "Ah! and now you are going to have a hard time on the river for a change.THE view. of course. . At Weybridge.HEATHENISH INSTINCTS the attempt now. that goes without saying. and worked in really grand style. but there is nothing remarkable about either of them. that. Cromwell and Bradshaw (not the "Not exactly. At the end of five minutes. Caesar was a regular up-river "I never knew you played the banjo!" cried Harris and I. They have given up GEORGE IS INTRODUCED TO WORK.STRANGE DISAPPEARANCE never get Harris past them. WE made George work. or an entrenchment. The lock is just opposite the town. and there were those two idiots. would be strong enough. it would be better for him to stop Well. Cassivelaunus had prepared the river for Caesar."a frying-pan?" "No. tea was such a worrying work. He is the sort of man we want round the new pair of trousers. navigable for small boats up to Guildford. went on. Above the bridge the river winds tremendously. and causes argument between the man who is pulling and the man MISSING LOCK OR THE HAUNTED RIVER. and kept an immense number. only the tiniest corner of it comes down to the water. it is one ghastly. I dare say they deserve it quite as much as the average Christian in the boat. We sculled up to Walton. Harris. of You pass Oatlands Park on the right bank here. . however. she was there." said George.was fought a took it. I shrieked. and there they lie. with a strange. but he didn't seem to think of them. and then turned your back on it for thirty seconds. when you looked round again. and lost its two ends. As with all riverside places. the Bourne. The only reply we made to this. the Wey (a pretty little stream. is good-natured enough to keep its ugly face a good deal out of sight.22 I pulled splendidly. and in the I do not wish to be insulting. though he did suggest that. who is callous in his nature.A There are also tombs of note in the church. He did not want to work. Montmorency set up a furious barking. and get tea ready. and the first thing that we saw. There is an iron "scold's bridle" in Walton Church. dashing stroke. This makes it MUCH HASTE. and tied itself into knots. with a poem on it. man. so I managed. in exactly the same spot that we were when I began. I thought we ought to be pretty near the weir. and I looked up. and merely peep at the river down one street: my thanks to them for being so considerate.BEING TOWED BY GIRLS: look picturesque. to jerk his cap into the water. I got well into a steady rhythmical swing. It is a famous old place. was to pass him over the tow-line. . and leaving the river-banks to woods and fields and water-works. of dogs. My two friends said it was a pleasure to watch me. he forgot all about his beloved graves. pity. however. I saw him fix a longing eye on the landing-stage as we drew near it. battle between Caesar and Cassivelaunus. while Harris and I towed. CHAPTER IX. wild look glittering in his eyes. LESS SPEED. . But Caesar crossed in spite of this. but I firmly believe that if you took an average tow-line.not even George's conscience . You up a notice-board). no doubt. injuring themselves by violent laughing. and his indignation at my clumsiness. excitement of recovering that. "What's that?" said Harris . and it . or something of that sort. because getting does. All the others hide round corners. and not prone to lived in it. and an epitaph inscribed thereon. I put my arms. It was round and flat at one end. go where you will. He had had a hard time in the City. by planting it full of stakes (and had. and my back into it. TOWERS AND TOWED. Also Queen Elizabeth. all told.the first bend above Walton Bridge . UNGRATEFUL CONDUCT OF A DOUBLE-SCULLING SKIFF. and become all loops. I forget whom now. You can never get away from that woman. She had a special graveyard made. but it irritates you from a towing or sculling point of EXCITING SENSATION. We were under the bridge. and we OF AN ELDERLY LADY. Out you get!" in which to bury them when they died. I let other people pull up backwaters against strong streams now. The late Duchess of York. "they are all the rage this season. by an adroit movement. put There is something very strange and unaccountable about a tow-line. Halliford and Shepperton are both pretty little spots where they touch the river. everybody has got them up the river. but I cannot see much in it myself.MUSIC. and five minutes afterwards. and guide man. He could not in conscience . They used these things in ancient days for curbing women's tongues. too. You couldn't roll it up with as much patience and care as you would take to fold up a choke Caesar off that river. and the Basingstoke Canal all enter the Thames together. I've got the instruction book!" They must have been quite a pleasant little party. stole it from some one or the other. quick. and one which I have always been making up my mind to explore. perhaps. though it does its best to spoil and sully and make hideous as much of the river as it can reach. George had rather a curious oilskin-covered parcel in his hand. and nothing else OF TOW-LINES. and Harris and I looked tired. altogether. soul-revolting tangle. so Henry VIII. Windsor and Abingdon are the only towns between London and Oxford that you can really see anything of from the stream. and had twisted itself up. and he explained. and he At "Corway Stakes" . and stretched it out straight across the middle of a field. so that from the boat you might fancy it was a village of some half-dozen houses. but the King Charles's head man) likewise sojourned here. and I was afraid I should USE DISCOVERED FOR LOVERS. a rather large place for a riverside town. when you pick it up. Even Reading. with a tombstone over each. about fifty of them. course. I had been grinding away like mad to keep that boat stuck still under that bridge. now we had got him." Caesar. was George's blazer on one of the lock gates. and never have). change is good for everyone.a camp. It's a banjo. There is a tomb in Shepperton churchyard. and yelled back. . and my legs. said: and which is supposed to be very wonderful. and appeared annoyed at finding that no one had. and I was nervous lest Harris should want to get out and fool round it. you would find that it had got itself altogether in a heap in the middle of the field.object. backwaters now.
Of course. You'd get a scaffolding pole entangled you would!" And they feel so angry with one another that they would like to hang each other with the thing. There may be tow-lines that are a credit to their profession . and they made a loop in it. no boat was in sight. One of the most common is the sight of a couple of towers. and is making straight for the weir. later on in the evening. make a fishing-net of it? You've made a nice mess you have. As an example of how utterly oblivious a pair of towers can be to their work. respectable tow-lines . And the small boys on the bank stop and jeer at him." Then: "Hi! Tom . a hundred yards behind them. and wonder where it is caught. and give a pretty frequent look round to see how their man is getting on. This really happened once to my own knowledge. and that seemed to be all that they thought necessary to their work. held by some rushes. and they get in each other's way. and runs round and round it. this only gets it into a tighter tangle than ever. and. and try to knit themselves up into antimacassars the instant they are left to themselves. and then turn round and find that the boat has drifted off. It is always the same. and tries to pull it straight by seizing hold of the first piece that comes to his hand and hauling at it. of a very curious instance. the man who wound it up thinks the whole cause of the muddle rests with the man who is trying to unwind it. and pitch stones at him as he is pulled along past them. I would not let Harris touch it. quite gently and politely at first. "Why. He and three other men. who is trying to disentangle it. it was gone!" And they seemed hurt at what they evidently regarded as a mean and ungrateful act on the part of the boat. thinks all the fault lies with the man who rolled it up. or the boat-hook has slipped overboard. I bet they did not give that boat another chance for a week. "We just got out to disentangle the tow-line.tow-lines that do not imagine they are crochetwork. and had put it into George's hand. were sculling a very heavily laden boat up from Maidenhead one evening. No boat was near. "Hi! stop a minute. When two are doing it. and tied it up in the middle. They had the boat-hook and they had the line. and the boat itself. "It was all right when you took it!" he exclaims indignantly. Then the second man climbs out of the boat and comes to help him. and curses everything he knows. and went and sat down in the stern. there may be honourable exceptions. at the lock. and forget. who were towing. that was certain. and roars himself red in the face. the rudder has come off. and when we looked round. and put it over their mast. George had taken it firmly. Then: "Hi! Confound YOU. will you?" he shouts cheerily. One sees a good many funny incidents up the river in connection with towing. as when. you dunder-headed idiots! Hi! stop! Oh you . Much of this sort of trouble would be saved if those who are towing would keep remembering that they are towing. They both get hold of the same bit of line. and dances about. It was up by Boveney. they get chattering. "What have you been trying to do with it. And that young man and young woman towed those four hulking chaps and a heavy boat up to Marlow. Harris had lifted it up scientifically. its end in the water. as it does. and then they tidied up the sculls. and can't get out. I sincerely hope there are. the thing was more like a badlymade door-mat than anything else. we noticed a couple of men on the bank. and we brought it back to them. and reached over. and hinder one another. you silly dummy?" he grunts from time to time as he struggles wildly with it. deep in an animated discussion. is of no real service in reminding them of the fact. what ghastly fate had overtaken it. and drew in the end of the tow-line. This tow-line I had taken in myself just before we had got to the lock. our boat's gone off!" they replied in an indignant tone. but what had become of it. There must have been a boat attached to that tow-line at some time or other. Something has gone wrong. or his hat has dropped into the water and is floating rapidly down stream. attached to the boat-hook was a tow-line. and dances on the rope. and folded it in two.23 would take you a good half-hour. is vainly shrieking to them to stop. one rather windy morning. offering. He got the hitcher instead. We were pulling down stream. while the man in the boat. as we came round the bend. It was clear that something had happened. when we were discussing the subject after supper. but little resistance. they do get it clear. and the first man gives a yell and goes mad. George said he never saw so much thoughtful sadness concentrated into one glance before. Ten minutes go by. it had in no way disturbed the young lady and gentleman. why couldn't you wind it up properly. both deep in an apparently interesting and absorbing conversation. It is best to let one person tow. he says it. Of course. and had begun to unravel it as if he were taking the swaddling clothes off a new-born infant. to disentangle it again. "I've dropped my hat over-board. He calls to them to stop.Dick! can't you hear?" not quite so affably this time. That is my opinion of tow-lines in general.!" After that he springs up. so we eased up and asked them what was the matter. because he is careless. In the end. sitting down there on the grass and swearing all the while. We found the truant for them half a mile further down. which trailed behind them. and when a man up the river thinks a thing. a bright idea flashed across him. But I have not met with them. They were carrying a boat-hook between them. I do not say that there are not. and. and those who had been left in it. and lays it out flat on the tow-path. that young couple grasped the idea . walking along the towpath. was buried in mystery. The man on the bank. trying to find the end. walking briskly along. On the other hand. George was about to call out and wake them up. and lit their pipes. and they held a long tow-line between them. and he didn't. "Why don't you think what you are doing? You go about things in such a slap-dash style. before he had unwound a dozen yards. and laid it down gently at the bottom of the boat.conscientious. I shall never forget the picture of those two men walking up and down the bank with a tow-line. I say there MAY be such tow-lines. at that moment. and pull at it in opposite directions. I had looped it round slowly and cautiously. however. They were looking at each other with as bewildered and helplessly miserable expression as I have ever witnessed on any human countenance before or since. Whatever the accident may have been. and. and held it away from him. so he said. looking for their boat. at the rate of four miles an hour. and the same sort of thing always goes on in connection with it. and a little above Cookham lock they noticed a fellow and a girl. George told us. and making frantic signs of distress with a scull. but.
It is about twenty minutes before they get off again. It was some seconds before they realised what had happened to them. and all sit down on the grass and laugh. George fancied that. At the end of a hundred yards they are naturally breathless. indeed. and Emily comes back. and we had either to lay up just about there. "I should like to see him pull the wrong line. It seemed early to think about shutting up then. Going at the pace they do.24 that. Another example of the dangerous want of sympathy between tower and towed was witnessed by George and myself once up near Walton. and.you must keep the boat moving. Scattered about the boat. flying after him. We had decided to sleep on board that night." you reply. and you have to leave the boat to chivy the cow out of their way. three and a half miles further. I thought it was so hard. We all wished. or cuts their face open. and asks what it is. two other men disembarked from the starboard." murmured George. and the boat runs aground. and your boat drifts out to midstream and turns round. Indeed. Emily. and the boat rushed up the bank with a noise like the ripping up of forty thousand linen sheets. and you shout to them not to stop. They get the line round their legs." you roar. they become a danger and an annoyance to every other boat they pass. and are nearly strangled. it is impossible for them to get out of anybody else's way. They fix it straight. It takes three girls to tow always. "Don't stop." "Oh. yes. pulling the boat along at quite a dangerous pace. I'll tell `em. Give me out my red shawl. The maiden was the first to recover from her surprise. This seemed to sort of lighten the boat. I cannot say I was sorry at their mishap. and. Every half-mile you cover seems like two. that's all. "anything happened?" " No. It was where the tow-path shelves gently down into the water. You jump up. as they passed. or go on past Staines. however." "It doesn't seem difficult at all. and they ease up for the purpose. and you are convinced that the map must be wrong. look!" they say." says one. very nicely." You find the shawl. she clasped her hands. no. they see a cow. the young man might have given way to violent language. George replied he did not know. towed through the water at a tremendous pace by a powerful barge horse. and urging his steed into a gallop. it's under the cushion. wildly: "Oh. and be prepared to keep them off with the butt-end of a mast. a quiet wooded part of the river.don't stop. and hand it out. and we were camping on the opposite bank. Are we doing it all right?" "Oh. Of all experiences in connection with towing. "Don't what?" "Don't stop . and three oars immediately left the boat on the larboard side. and said. "he's gone right out into the middle.and plenty do . you know . There we discussed the important question of camping. The best plan is to stand your ground. lay five fellows. Two men. "Oh. The fellows sat up and stared at one another. when they did. early in the morning. and either throws them into the water. You do not chat and laugh. or it catches somebody in the boat.go on . and still the lock is not in sight. Besides the risk they run themselves. Then they stand up. and run off with it. and then got out on his head. and one and a half moments afterwards. when you have trudged along for what seems to you at least ten miles. Three or four miles up stream is a trifle. and we watched them. and. and are surprised. and sat down among boat-hooks and sails and carpet-bags and bottles. for the last two miles. Their line gets hitched across your mast. they had been towing the wrong boat. and then it all at once occurs to one of them that she will pin up her frock. then WHERE is auntie?" "Did they ever recover the old lady?" asked Harris. and it went on much easier.could meet with similar misfortunes. you begin to seriously fear that somebody must have sneaked it. You take no interest in the scenery during these last few miles. the man who was steering having a particularly restful appearance. and then they twist it round their necks. two hold the rope. after this. if you keep stopping. before you know what has happened. I only wish that all the young fools who have their boats towed in this fashion . noticing things in general. afterward that we had stopped at Penton Hook. but. but it is a weary pull at the end of a long day. all right. and giggles. You must keep some way on the boat. or for anybody else to get out of theirs. at last. and see what it is they want. They generally begin by getting themselves tied up. at the next corner. and we settled to push straight on for Runnymead. the most exciting is being towed by girls. The last man went on twenty yards further." "I see. the small boy shouting at the top of his voice. . What's the matter?" they shout back. with the sun still in the heavens. and by this time another one has come back and thinks she will have hers too. and have to sit down on the path and undo each other. "What do you want?" she says. and reclined on the bank. There is never a dull moment in the boat while girls are towing it. was too much occupied with the horse to hear them. a hamper. and where there is good shelter. in dreamy and reposeful attitudes. until the distance hid them from view. and suddenly stop. George got the line right after a while. on which sat a very small boy. so they bring it back and have a pocket-comb instead. if it had not been for the restraining influence of the sweet woman at his side. Henry. when she did. And at that precise moment the man did it. only don't stop. or can get hold of a scull.go on!" "Go back. and overturns you. however. and start off at a run. it's simple enough. however. By-and-by a small boat came in sight. they began to shout lustily for the boy to stop." They pull on pretty steadily for a bit. It is a sensation that nobody ought to miss. "it's all right." "Oh. and towed us steadily on to Penton Hook. You want to keep on steady at it. only go on. and push it off. and they take Mary's on chance." "Why not?" "Why. You can hardly believe you are only where you are. "Yes. He. however. and the other one runs round and round. and Mary does not want it." "Keep some what?" "Some way . we can't steer.
We passed the bridge. lovable people in all my life. she did not see any lock." and I settled down and pulled steadily away. and she began to cry. however. And we sang the soldiers' chorus out of FAUST. and. Blow me tight if `ere ain't a gentleman been looking for Wallingford lock. and knew that we were saved. and we said it was a lovely night. I had been through it twice. we should have taken as a spirit-warning. clearly marked. but the stream was running too strong just there to allow of this. a mile and a half below Benson's.25 I remember being terribly upset once up the river (in a figurative sense. However. CHAPTER X. and soon the boat from which they were worked lay alongside us. Another five minutes went by. far more beautiful than the voice of Orpheus or the lute of Apollo. HARRIS and I began to think that Bell Weir lock must have been done away with after the same manner.WANTED! A COMFORTABLY-APPOINTED. . "Oh!" and pulled on. "Wallingford lock!" they answered. I saw it was just a mile and a half to the next lock . I said that the fact evidently was that I was not rowing as fast as I fancied I was. . and were walking forty miles. would only have still further harrowed us. She said we should both be drowned. sir. . as I suggested. but that was not their fault. and she suggested that I had better look for myself. WELL-DRAINED DESERT ISLAND. after all. I said it was a thing I felt I wanted to be in at. Where were we? What had happened to us? I began to think it must be all a dream. and my cousin said her mother would be so pleased to see them. Then I began to get nervous myself. I recollected the lock myself.cousin on my mother's side . but. badly. and got home in time for supper. we might have somehow got into the weir stream. and we were anxious to get in . I thought of hobgoblins and banshees.and we were pulling down to Goring.FUNNY THING THAT HAPPENED TO GEORGE'S FATHER.A RESTLESS NIGHT." played. and she replied that she was just about to ask me the same question. I tried to reassure her." it is called . and to camp in one of the many picturesque inlets to be found round that tiny shore. that's been done away with for over a year." jerked spasmodically. on a concertina. do you?" asked my companion. It was half-past six when we reached Benson's lock. or anything of that sort could have sounded.) I never saw more attractive. in our then state of mind. as a rule. It seemed an excessive punishment. reliable map. . sir. and that it was a judgment on her for coming out with me. so I had to content myself with mere cold-sounding words of gratitude. and I drew out a map I had with me to see exactly how far it was." she said. to the spreading roots of which we fastened the boat. however. and will-o'-the-wisps.AN APPEAL FOR HELP. and asked if they could tell me the way to Wallingford lock. . NEIGHBOURHOOD OF SOUTH PACIFIC OCEAN PREFERRED. and. and who was the one that was only a dream. and soon after that I asked if she saw the lock. we did not feel that we yearned for the picturesque nearly so much now as we had earlier in the day. A bit of water between a coal-barge and a gas-works would have quite satisfied us for that night. I looked again at the map. and sculled up close to the left bank. It contained a party of provincial `Arrys and `Arriets. The question did offend her. green valley. where it winds through a soft. not wishing to offend her. and that I was really asleep in bed. We did not want scenery. CONTRARINESS OF TEA-KETTLES. "You don't think we have lost our way. It was rather late. so I laid down the sculls. Bill!" I had never thought of that. and things seemed to be getting weird and uncanny. She said no. not a ghost of a lock was to be seen. there was something singularly human and reassuring. You're close to Cleeve now. a sweetly pretty part of the river. I mean). and I wished I had been a better man.you are sure you know a lock. and if so.SUPPER. It was half-past seven when we were through. The river stretched out straight before us in the twilight for about a mile.far. We had originally intended to go on to Magna Charta Island. I did not see how that was possible. But about the strains of "He's got `em on. Heavenly melody. I do not admire the tones of a concertina. I think. it's all right!" I said. We wanted to have our supper and go to bed. "I can't see any signs of a lock. I asked my cousin if she thought it could be a dream. too. I invited them all to come and spend a week with me. "Lor' love you. and lure people into whirlpools and things. and have given up all hope. We thanked them over and over again. "Oh. and took a view. (There was not any moon. who was the real one that was dreaming. "We'll be through the next lock before seven. There was Wallingford lock. "No. This idea did not comfort her in the least.HOW TO FEEL VIRTUOUS. and we had taken the boat from there. OUR FIRST NIGHT.Wallingford . somehow.and five on from there to Cleeve.at least SHE was anxious to get in. . A soul-moving harmony. and with involuntary variations. . and dusk was drawing on. and the river grew more and more gloomy and mysterious under the gathering shadows of night. and to make light of the whole affair. and I explained that I had been looking for it for the last two hours. looking out for a spot to haul up in. But. out of a wheezy accordion.and dropped into a very pleasant nook under a great elm-tree. I hailed them. and be making for the falls. it got quite interesting."Picnic Point. HOW TO OVERCOME. I was out with a young lady . but my cousin thought not. She said she must be in to supper. and be told it was past ten. we did pull up to the point . and then there is only one more. and she began to get excited then. and in the middle of these reflections I heard the blessed strains of "He's got `em on. besides.UNDER CANVAS. and I said. There ain't no Wallingford lock now. and should wake up in a minute. and I pulled on for another mile. and it seemed that we were dragging fifty tons after us. when you do see one?" I asked hesitatingly. though. correctly performed. and we wished them a pleasant trip. It was a good. and still no lock came in sight. and then I asked her to look again. out for a moonlight sail. and knew more hymns. I wanted to fall upon all their necks and bless them. . and those wicked girls who sit up all night on rocks. I thought." "You . and we all got in. George had towed us up to Staines. The sweet sounds drew nearer. but that we should soon reach the lock now. and then we both wondered if we were both asleep. I still went on pulling. and hoped it would all soon be over. oh! how beautiful the music seemed to us both then .
tell me that a clear conscience makes you very happy and contented. That canvas wanted more putting up than I think any of us had bargained for. so kindly-hearted. I knew nothing about all this at the time. this domination of our intellect by our digestive organs. and splutter in senseless sounds. and fitted them up over the boat. before it was properly up. it says. "I don't want any tea. and wait till the canvas came to me. can't you. and. it says to the brain. I don't like tea. We also heard much smothered language coming from underneath it. That was an under-estimate. and spread his legs out. and went down to the stern and pretended to take no notice of it. it will never even sing. and fastened it down: it would take quite ten minutes. George's head came wriggling out over the side of the boat. and he bungled it. George unrolled it. do you. taken in sufficient quantity. and spoke up. they nipped us with these hinges in delicate parts of the body. and they had to come out again. we cannot think. pretty considerably. and threw his plate out on the bank. into Nature and into life. standing there like a stuffed mummy. For five-and-thirty minutes not a sound was heard throughout the length and breadth of that boat. for Harris was nearly black in the face. either. We got them fixed at last. It looked so simple in the abstract. until two of us had gone and struggled with them for five minutes. "Now. We put the kettle on to boil. spread your white wings of quivering thought. "Ah!" too. We took up the hoops. over the whirling world beneath you. It took us half an hour's hard labour." And after brandy. and more easily obtained. so that it can overhear you. George did his part all right. You took five iron arches. at last." . that we had better get the canvas up first. like gigantic croquet hoops. and began to drop them into the sockets placed for them.how satisfied with ourselves and with the world! People who have tried it. and then all that was to be done was to arrange the covering over them. he could not explain himself. After eggs and bacon.26 Then we thought we were going to have supper (we had dispensed with tea. all our work would be done. They had hinges in the middle. First they would not fit into their sockets at all. Be eloquent. fool. you dummy!" I never could withstand an appeal for help. a godlike spirit. That is the only way to get a kettle to boil up the river. I did not understand the business at all myself." Upon which the kettle boils over. They were not hoops. and don't let it stand more than three minutes). before it got quite dark. One feels so forgiving and generous after a substantial and well-digested meal . "Be dull and soulless. by the time everything else was ready. It dictates to us our emotions. our passions. up in the nose of the boat. or of hope. but set to work to get the other things out. with a clear eye. It is very strange. You have to go away and begin your meal.so noble-minded. we'll have lemonade instead . but. "Now. and rolled over on his side. knocked over George. but by some mysterious process or other he succeeded. It is a good plan. three minutes later than that. not before it was time. Harris said. and. no. you cuckoo. in doing so (I learned this afterwards). or love.drivel in folly. it says. but matters seemed to get only more and more involved. to talk very loudly to each other about how you don't need any tea. but it was new work to Harris. of course. or fear. "Work!" After beefsteak and porter. and got out supper. It was a long time coming down to me. like kittens. You would not imagine this to be dangerous work. He. Then we lit the lantern. Then.a brainless animal. when they would jump up suddenly. and show what a helpless ninny is poor man whose wit and will are drowned. How he managed it I do not know. How good one feels when one is full . until. in half an inch of alcohol. and concluded that we would wait until things had got a little simpler before we joined in. and we had to jump on them. We adopted this harmless bit of trickery. the wonder to me is that any of us are alive to tell the tale. like a beast of the field . after that. and puts the stove out. and. unless our stomach wills so. and tender. You must not even look round at it. and deep. and did not interfere. and squatted down to supper. when we were not looking. so as to save time). But they would not come out. it turned out that they were the wrong hoops for those particular sockets. It said: "Give us a hand here. after ten minutes of superhuman effort. George said. Harris stood in the middle to take it from George and roll it on to me. and then stretched the canvas over them. and we guessed that they were finding the job rather troublesome. unlit by any ray of fancy. when they were in. "Ah!" and bent my head back. and the result was that. and hammer at them with the boat-hook. At the end of five-and-thirty minutes. and hit us over the head. it says. save the clank of cutlery and crockery. swearing at Harris. I had been told to stand where I was. Five minutes afterwards. and soar. but a full stomach does the business quite as well. grin and tumble. when you see we are both being suffocated. and got himself entangled and rolled up. so I went and undid them. I did not even swear. it says. He was so firmly wrapped round and tucked in and folded over. and the steady grinding of four sets of molars. he said. come. looking back now. and. and Montmorency and I stood there and waited. and try and throw us into the water and drown us. and endeavouring to persuade it to do its duty. began to struggle too. and are not going to have any.the birthright of every Englishman. and then George. mad to be made into tea. We could see the canvas being violently jerked and tossed about. and then we cleared the decks. while we were wrestling with one side of the hoop. If it sees that you are waiting for it and are anxious. We wanted that supper. We cannot work. and then I said. the tea was waiting. rise. and fastened one end over the nose of the boat.tea's so indigestible. too.and. and I kept by the stern to receive it. or life. but we supposed this was part of the method. and then you shout out. and bumped it against one of the hoops. the other side would come behind us in a cowardly manner. if you are in a great hurry. that he could not get out. side by side. and show your strength. made frantic struggles for freedom . and while we could see what we were doing. they were demons. we thought. in getting himself completely rolled up in it. but George said no. and kick them. Montmorency gave the first sign of contentment he had exhibited since we had started. "Sleep!" After a cup of tea (two spoonsful for each cup. with listless eye. as if you were not going to have any tea at all. You get near the kettle. "Ah!" and took his left leg out from under him and put his right one there instead. both as good as gold. and we could sit down to eat with an easy mind. up through long lanes of flaming stars to the gates of eternity!" After hot muffins. but I did not mind it. "Oh. see. that your fellow-men may laugh . We waited some time. Then you will soon hear it sputtering away. and is cheaper. George?" to which George shouts back. .
and then George's father said: "Joe!" "What's the matter. and then some part of the boat which seemed to have grown up in the night . This they did." We turned in at ten that night.a noble. Harris and George and I were quarrelsome and snappy and ill-tempered. "Why?" "Ah. 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. and said it would be much better if they had it then. I undress and put my head on the pillow. "Well. and sat up late. but I didn't. kept me restless and disturbed. and then somebody bangs at the door.one getting in with his head at the top. being tired. and then they gave the gimlet such an excruciating wrench that I woke up. and advising him to hang them over the side. do you?" "What was the name of that inn?" said Harris. Had this happened before supper. and I thought I should sleep well. `ware wheat. valiantly. There was a brief struggle. As a rule. to tell you the truth. and my head ached. not if properly drained. Tom?" replied Joe's voice from the other end of the bed. too!" "What are you going to do?" asked George's father. Then virtue and contentment will come and reign within your heart. They had a very jolly evening. Reach not after morality and righteousness. and Harris said no. with its sin and temptation. it was his.for it certainly was not there when we started. and doing good. and we discussed the possibility of our going away. It seemed as if. Before our supper. after our supper. Tom. "So am I. I've often heard him tell the tale. and they had to undress and grope into bed in the dark. to some handy. because otherwise the interest would accumulate so. I'm so sorry." It was a glorious night. I don't think much of this inn. and that they were cutting a hole in my back with a gimlet. "Why. they both climbed into the same one without knowing it . in the silence and the hush.kept digging into my spine. and it had disappeared by the morning . and they joined the other fellows. and you will be a good citizen. while we her children slept. There was silence for a moment. and. The boat seemed stuffy." answered the other. Harris said that the danger about desert islands. and living there in the woods." said George's father. I did get to sleep for a few hours. they were talking with her. They (George's father and George's father's friend) were to sleep in the same room. I got quite cross with them after a bit. and that put George in mind of a very funny thing that happened to his father once." And George said: "Not at all. everything seemed against me." said George's father. The candle lurched up against the wall when they got into the room. a loving husband. "but I'm blest if there isn't a man in my bed. too. and diet it with care and judgment. as far as he had heard. and the wind among the branches. "What do you mean?" queried George. and I told them I would owe them the money. and some of George's and Harris's . and says it is half-past eight: but. They took the candle. trod on George's corn. my friends. well-fitted desert island. dreaming that I had swallowed a sovereign. and they should have it at the end of the month. He said his father was travelling with another fellow through Wales. George said why could not we be always like this . he said: "Steady. and went out. their sister conversing of mighty mysteries in voices too vast and deep for childish human ears to catch the sound. and spent the evening with them. but. to-night. as they thought they were doing. "The Pig and Whistle. the sound of the lapping water round the boat. where there were some other fellows. I slept through it for a while. . and lying with his feet on the pillow. I thought it very unkind of them. and then a rather doleful voice said: "I say. no. "here's his feet on my pillow. old man." that it was his fault. and. peaceful lives. and told them what I thought of them. pious man. so I thought I would step out into the cool night-air. But they would not hear of that. "but precisely that very same thing happened to MY father once at a country inn. the hardness of the boat. so as to try and get it out. the cramped position (I was lying with my feet under one seat. it's an extraordinary thing. was that they were so damp: but George said no. The moon had sunk. the novelty of it all. my man's chucked me out. and went up." said George. and my head on another).and crept under the canvas on to the bank. I hope I haven't hurt you. we sat and beamed on one another. Harris. It was quite pretty to hear them. and sat. by the time they came to go to bed. now said: "Oh." "So's mine! I say. instead of merely observing. we loved everybody. then it isn't the same. "Why it's so curious. sorriest slaves of our stomach." And Harris. that a fellow could hardly help treading on some bit of George's foot. too. And then we got on to drains. in his most unpleasant tones. we four. and a tender father . watch vigilantly your stomach. they stopped at a little inn.27 We are but the veriest." replied Joe. they (this was when George's father was a very young man) were slightly jolly. As it was. old chap. unsought by any effort of your own.away from the world. Tom!" "Yes!" "How have you got on?" "Well. there's a man in my bed. We loved each other. I said it was the sort of thing I had often longed for myself. I thought it might have been the same inn. suggesting that George never ought to come into an ordinary sized boat with feet that length. if he had to move about at all within ten yards of where George was sitting." replied Harris. but in different beds. instead of getting into separate beds. and we beamed upon the dog." murmured Harris. as he would have done before supper. looking out on the quiet night. followed by two heavy bumps on the floor. I'm going to chuck him out. one night. and talked. I slipped on what clothes I could find about some of my own. and the other crawling in from the opposite side of the compass. and left the quiet earth alone with the stars. "Well. in moving about. We lit our pipes. leading sober.
the night. Night's heart is full of pity for us: she cannot ease our aching. and at the end of that distance it depth. whereof no man can tell the He ran hard for a quarter of a mile. and made merry. HOW GEORGE. because there is no language for our pain. HARRIS. and we know that Pain and Sorrow are but the angels of God. but of the vision that the good knight saw therein we may not speak nor tell.GEORGE. and that there were no shops open. and tried to go to sleep again. His clothes were ragged. sorely grieving. all human life lies like a book before us. borne on her dark wings. so that no ray of light came through the branches to lighten the gloom and sadness.28 They awe us.GEORGE AND HIS SHIRT: STORY WITH A MORAL. we should have dropped off while we were looking at our watches. and we stand before her very silent. We are as children whose small feet have strayed into some dim-lit temple of the god they have been taught to worship but know not. Then he dashed on his came to him a stately maiden. only a moan. and took him by the hand and led him on great-coat and hat. our way-worn at a decent. SPECIALLY INSERTED FOR THE USE OF SCHOOLS. seizing his umbrella. lo! through the savage gloom there thought of her when he came home in the evening. standing where the echoing dome spans the long vista of the shadowy light. AND MONTMORENCY DO NOT LIKE THE LOOK OF THE COLD WATER. why should other people stop in bed merely because it was dark and foggy! And the name of the dark forest was Sorrow. and turns our little tear-stained faces up to hers. George anathematized Mrs. seemed. It was And the vision faded. as they passed by that dark wood. As there was no earthly necessity for our getting up under another two hours at the very least. unknown to any man. G. and one night. like a beggar's. like some great loving mother. began to be borne in upon him as a strange and curious thing that there were so few people about. Had there been any particular reason why we should not have gone to sleep again. and. and then rushed and had another look at the watch. and. half hoping. or tell the mystery they know. but have got up and dressed then and there. rode on without him. We both turned round. "Angels and ministers of grace defend us!" exclaimed George. asking him what had befallen him: and he told them how in the dark wood he had lost his way. and lay our hot flushed cheek against her bosom. "and here have I got to be in the City by nine. he forgot to wind it up when he went to bed (an unusual occurrence with him). they stayed there many days. but certain it was that from a quarter-past eight it had begun to go. and hauled down his watch. and many sad wounds were on his sweet flesh. HE had to go to business: seen the vision that lay there hid. and sprang out of bed. He reached up. though she does not speak. where tangled briars grew very thick and strong. At length he reached Holborn. Then Night. The day has been so full of fret and care. we know what she would say. And the leaves of the trees that grew in the wood were very dark and thick. and ran knight saw as in a dream a vision. and they. And yet it seems so full of comfort and of strength. but stood as one entranced. through a strange country. there rode some goodly knights. 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. when he was nigh unto death. and the knight. glance up. GOT UP EARLY IN THE MORNING. only worse. made for the front door. may not speak of it. our small sorrows creep away. I WOKE at six the next morning. and he made up his mind to tell her what he Then. one knight of those that rode. And they questioned him. for some reason or other. George said it was a wicked shame of Mrs. so cold. and in the wondrous light of that great Presence. and thought it was very strange that people could not get up little lamp unto the sun. and hung it up over his pillow without ever looking at the thing. Sometimes. very near the shortest day. In its great presence. ashamed. Whether the shaking it had received in being thrown down on the bed had started it. and had wandered many George snatched it up.HISTORICAL RETROSPECT. so fair the vision out.. as they sat in cheerful ease around the logs that burned in the great hall. unlocked and unbolted the door. And. had happened to him some eighteen months ago. torn and bleeding. mourning him as one dead. in that wondrous light. ONCE UPON A TIME. these strange stars. so clear. Why didn't somebody call me? Oh. respectable time. but still it seemed an unusual the good saint who into that sad wood had strayed his steps. but we could not. CHAPTER XI. or how it was. In the sitting-room. we pass for a moment into a mightier Presence than her own. and they.HEROISM AND DETERMINATION ON THE PART OF J. and greeted them. missing his comrades. for a lazy the wood there dawned a light such as the light of day was unto but as a old woman. It was in the winter when this happened. . and our getting up at that time was an utter absurdity. till. . Once upon a time. Only those who have worn the crown of suffering can look upon that wondrous light. and found George awake too. and now pointed to twenty minutes to nine. kneeling upon the ground. George said that the same kind of thing. and so glorious. and a week of fog into the bargain. until upon the darkness of The door was not even unbolted. wandered far away. this is a shame!" And he flung the watch down. there came the comrade they had lost. It was a quarter-past eight. and dressed himself. no breakfast. when they reached the fair castle towards which they had been journeying. when they return. she takes our hand in hers. when he was lodging by himself in the house of a certain Mrs. and the little world grows very small and very far away beneath us. so he had course to stop all business on that account. and rushed downstairs. and. whose joy is deep as is the sea. and. and shaved himself in cold water because there was not time to wait for the hot. Now. gently lays her hand upon our fevered head. and our hearts have been so full of evil and of bitter thoughts. but upon his face there shone a great radiance of deep joy. . that of his bleeding wounds he thought no more. and washed himself. and returned to them no more. Gippings. and the world has seemed so hard and wrong to us. thanked certainly a very dark and foggy morning. . through devious paths. He did not know this at the time because. and their path lay by a deep wood. our pain is very deep and real. and smiles. G. and stopped at a quarter-past eight. and tore the flesh of them that lost their way therein. George could not say. He said his watch went wrong one evening. and. so the fact that it was still very dark when George woke in the morning was no guide to him as to the time. and drank a loving measure. was dark and silent: there was no fire. and had a cold bath. all days and nights.HARRIS AS COOK. and have slept till ten. . Not a shutter was down! not a bus was . and the pain is gone. he had lain him down to die. half afraid to see some awful vision hovering there.
so he lit the lamp and got out the chess-board. Of course. "Oh! that's where it is. you take my advice and go there quietly. just as I was landing the trial. spring into the river with a joyous shout. this conduct made the force only more distrustful of him than ever." I spluttered back. And then. "Well. The third prod did it: and he turned over on the other side. and on his finishing it I set to work to wake up Harris with a scull. nine. sprawling across the boat. He thought he would light the fire when he got inside. I thought I would not throw the water over myself after all. sending Montmorency." And George went home again. I did not altogether like to give in.'s gone in. and making such a noise that he was in mortal fear that it would wake Mrs. Montmorency gave vent to an involuntary howl. I accidentally jerked it into the water. so he gave chess up and tried to read. severely. as I came blowing to the surface. when he got in. and all the policemen he met regarded him with undisguised suspicion. and a dilapidated looking cab. though I did not relish the plunge. I thought. But even that did not enliven him: it seemed slow somehow. and let himself in. He stooped down and felt his legs. showing his watch. and wrapped himself up in his overcoat and sat in the easy-chair till Mrs. and Harris said it would be so difficult to get into the boat again. and I told George so. "Why. however. "But it's only gone three!" said George in an injured tone. as I turned. "By Jove! old J. It made me awfully wild. I wouldn't have missed this for worlds. and he got to slinking down the by-streets and hiding in dark doorways when he heard the regulation flip-flop approaching. 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 played himself a game of chess. "What's the time?" said the man. and asked him if he knew what the time was. and how many did you want it to go?" replied the constable. in my hurry to get my shirt on. he went up to the policeman. There might be snags about. and. I could not see anything to laugh at. and gave the address. and his trying to explain the circumstances to the jury. We had been sitting huddled up in our rugs while George had been telling me this true story. Why won't you try it? It only wants a little determination. George thought. I quite lost my temper with him at last. "I didn't think he'd have the pluck to do it. and two plain-clothes constables came home with him to see if he really did live where he had said he did. and I turned to do so. G came down at half-past seven. is it?" replied the man. and don't let's have any more of it. and. and march him off to the police-court. and he sat up suddenly. musing as he walked along. It was horribly lonesome and dismal. and he only laughed the more." I heard Harris say. he determined to undress and go to bed again. or weeds.29 about! There were three men in sight. and this had such an effect upon him at last that he began to feel as if he really had done something. He did not seem able to take any sort of interest in reading either. They saw him go in with his key. but when he thought of the redressing and re-washing. and he pictured the Then we pulled up the canvas. At first. George pulled out his watch and looked at it: it was five minutes to nine! He stood still and counted his pulse." said George. Rather an amusing thing happened while dressing that morning. He said he had never got up too early since that morning: it had been such a warning to him. "Nothing. and turned their lanterns on him and followed him about. "Do you know where you live?" said the guardian of public order. We soon let him know where he was. Then. up. and his mother dying of a broken heart. I never saw a man laugh so much. and looked down at the water and shivered. and then they took up a position opposite and watched the house. eyeing George up and down with evident suspicion. who's going to be first in?" said Harris at last. and take that watch of yours with you. now the morning had come. I would go back into the boat and dress. but he only roared the louder. George settled the matter so far as he was concerned by retiring into the boat and pulling on his socks. and that he would have his lace-up boots." George listened. but would sit up and go to sleep in the easy-chair. Somehow. who had been sleeping the sleep of the just right on the middle of his chest. by the aid of the hitcher. It was bitterly cold. the silly branch gave way. and his being sentenced to twenty years' penal servitude. The wind cut like a knife." he had merely come out for a stroll (it was then four o'clock in the morning). just to pass away the time. So he gave up trying to get breakfast. "well. "Well. The idea." But I could not persuade them. they looked as though they did not believe him. I was very cold when I got back into the boat. so he put on his coat again and went out for a walk. especially as George burst out laughing. and revel in a long delicious swim. Did you?" "Is it all right?" sung out George. he determined he would not. a market-cart full of cabbages. and I was out mid-stream with a gallon of Thames water inside me before I knew what had happened. and all four of us poked our heads out over the off-side. and I pointed out to him what a drivelling maniac of an imbecile idiot he was. and. and went back and sorted out his trousers. There was no rush for precedence. The water looked damp and chilly: the wind felt cold. I meant to compromise matters by going down to the edge and just throwing the water over myself. and I and the towel went in together with a tremendous splash. and when he answered. . throwing back the canvas. "You are duffers not to come in. with his watch still in his hand. and nobody believing him. and the having of another bath. "why. G. fling off our rugs and shawls. and they would come and rout him out and ask him what he was doing there. as if merely thinking of the thing had given him the horrors. and a neighbouring clock immediately obliged. overnight. if you listen you will hear it strike. had been that we should get up early in the morning. "Lovely. and that she would think it was burglars and open the window and call "Police!" and then these two detectives would rush in and handcuff him. and make himself some breakfast. 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. when it had finished. But he could not get to sleep: he never felt more wakeful in his life. one of whom was a policeman. and said he would be down in a minute. He was in a morbidly nervous state by this time. the notion seemed less tempting.
and lean upon their arms. "What!" he yelled. It seemed. He often did them at picnics and when out on yachts. peering faces. 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. were waiting there to witness the writing of that stupendous page of history. every time George and I looked round at him he was sure to be performing this feat. in these tempestuous times. George and I were both quite sorry when it was over. And shouting . with dirk at belt. for the sword is judge and jury. between my peals I managed to jerk out: "It isn't my shirt . Harris proposed that we should have scrambled eggs for breakfast. their casques and breastplates flashing back the long low lines of morning sunlight. and the best of both. The firelight sheds quaint shadows on their piled-up arms and on their uncouth forms. these . and begged him to begin. draw near to bandy alehouse jest and jibe with the swaggering troopers. He had some trouble in breaking the eggs . Ever since grey dawn. 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. We thought at first that it was a necessary part of the culinary arrangements. plaintiff and executioner.you .it's YOURS!" I never saw a man's face change from lively to severe so suddenly in all my life before. and then he would drop everything and dance round the stove. and. stand apart behind. And now. at last. The result was not altogether the success that Harris had anticipated. for whom there must be found both board and lodging. you're not. and keeping them off his trousers. who had deeply studied it. all travelstained and dusty. King John has slept at Duncroft Hall. and I laughed so much that I had to let the shirt fall back into the water again. whereupon the humour of the thing struck me for the first time. "Ar'n't you .going to get it out?" said George." I tried to make him see the fun of the thing. the way seems thick with glittering steel and prancing steeds. And so. on the other bank. Round the camp-fire in the market-place gather still more of the Barons' troops. as we looked out upon the river in the morning sunlight. I could not answer him at all for a while. there has been great clamour. who. and the fat spluttered up and scalded him. so unlike the village swains. and then he began dancing and cursing. from hour to hour. and eat and drink deep. but. But through the air there runs a thrill of coming stir. that he was very good at doing scrambled eggs. and gamble and quarrel as the evening grows and deepens into night. 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 yet unborn. And all the evening long the timid townsmen's doors have had to be quick opened to let in rough groups of soldiers. and there false John's French mercenaries hover like crouching wolves without the town. laughing. He said he would cook them. George is very dense at seeing a joke sometimes. It is a fine summer morning . with vacant grins upon their broad. And the more I looked from George's wet shirt to George. billmen. and brawny country wenches.sunny. and twinkling watch-fires on each height around. pikemen. and all the day before the little town of Staines has echoed to the clang of armed men. and all that came out was a teaspoonful of burnt and unappetizing looking mess. as here some great lord's followers lie mustered. march up along the road ever fresh groups and bands of armed men. the meaning whereof was to be translated to the common people some four hundred and odd years later by one Oliver Cromwell. Little was in sight to remind us of the nineteenth century. and the grim oaths and surly jests of bearded bowmen. Gimme the hitcher. He was quite famous for them. the night has worn away. or woe betide the house and all within. Gay-cloaked companies of knights and squires have ridden in. and it was as lovely a morning as one could desire. but pined away and died when they could not get them. and then squatted down by the side of the stove and chivied them about with a fork. People who had once tasted his scrambled eggs. Harris said it was the fault of the frying-pan. "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 pays for what it takes by sparing those from whom it takes it. until. We did not know what scrambled eggs were. so we gathered from his conversation. and carpenters are busy nailing tiers of seats. Six eggs had gone into the frying-pan. from his account. but he fixed some half-a-dozen into the pan at last.and halt at a hundred yards or so above us. I noticed that it was not my shirt at all. and still. And so. I was laughing so. and the clatter of great horses over its rough stones. but he could not. and we decided not to attempt the dish again until we had those aids to housekeeping by us. roaring with laughter. between his shrieks. while `prentices from London town are there with many-coloured stuffs and silks and cloth of gold and silver. and the shouts of captains. It seemed harassing work. English yeomen's sons in homespun cloth. Indeed. It made our mouths water to hear him talk about the things. The children of the town steal round to watch them. just above where we are standing. never cared for any other food afterwards. and thought it would have gone better if we had had a fish-kettle and a gas-stove. flicking his fingers about and cursing the things. The sun had got more powerful by the time we had finished breakfast. as far as eye can reach. Altogether it was one of the most interesting and exciting operations I have ever witnessed. glitter the faint lights of more distant camps. and wait. we could almost fancy that the centuries between us and that ever-to-be-famous June morning of 1215 had been drawn aside. and preventing them from running up his sleeve. There seemed so little to show for the business. And out from the fields around. springing up. lo! down upon the road that winds along the river's bank from Staines there come towards us. now despised.or rather not so much trouble in breaking them exactly as in getting them into the frying-pan when broken. wondering. and the wind had dropped. Whenever he went near the pan he burned himself. and that we. Montmorency went and put his nose over it once. the more I was amused. and I began to laugh. so far as George and I could judge. which I had mistaken for mine. and the sound of many workmen.Barons' men. and strange-speaking foreign spearmen. with sentinel in each dark street. but George's. and bellow forth roystering drinking songs. soft. if it pleases it to do so.30 shirt. The great pavilion brought there yester eve is being raised. laughing and talking together in deep guttural bass. a half-a-score of stalwart halbert-men . in the lower of the two islands.
passes along to take his station at the head of his serfs and vassals. you think you will try a pipe in the conservatory. thus recalled from the days of the glorious past to the prosaic present. . Is it too late? One fierce blow at the unsuspecting horseman at his side. and Emily says that papa does not like the gas lit in the afternoon. they have been forced or dragged by their sturdy rowers. Slowly the heavy. Far down the road a little cloud of dust has risen. had I been one of the Barons. . . Why don't you light the gas?" John Edward says.SAILING. with his guard of squires around him. one cry to his French troops. and some great Baron on his war-horse. after ten minutes of such style of conversation.HIGH PRICE FOR MUSTARD. are gathered the wondering rustics and curious townsfolk. in a tone which implies that she does not believe you.HOMELESS AND HOUSELESS. It is noon. . where there was less chance of surprises and tricks. you hear a noise as if somebody had suddenly recollected something. John Edward. and now are crowding up as near as they dare come to the great covered barges. He also used to meet her at Hever Castle in Kent. as though it were some feast in his honour to which he had been invited. for they have heard such tales before. Emily is over by the window. however. but the old men shake their heads. The only chair in the place is occupied by Emily. We went over to Magna Charta Island. and you march off there. which is close to Picnic Point. and John Edward. with each mailed hand upon the sword-hilt. and are used only by the poorer folk. .EFFECT OF SUDDEN JOY ON HARRIS. Had it been a Richard there! the cup of liberty might have been dashed from England's lips.A FEARFUL BATTLE. And all the river down to Staines is dotted with small craft and boats and tiny coracles . when you get in. bright-decked barges leave the shore of Runningmede. Half an hour later.LUNCH. is at the other end of the room with his whole soul held in thrall by photographs of other people's relatives. with a low grumble.31 horsemen are galloping from group to group. and your friend. you edge up to the door." and "You don't say so!" And. and. just opposite. is said to have waited for and met Anne Boleyn. but this does not appear to interest them. You tell them one or two items of news. Slowly against the swift current they work their ponderous way. and will soon be doing other work than signing charters for his people's liberty. 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. full of interest in the opposite side of the road. coldly. I am inclined to give weight to the popular island theory. He rides to where the barges lie in readiness. and little banners are fluttering lazily in the warm breeze. . then you say: "It's very dark. Over the rapids. now we know. and he has slid and wriggled in vain. on the other bank at "Runningmede. and in and out between the scattered groups of drawn-up men. has evidently been sitting on the floor. . And up the slope of Cooper's Hill. pausing at the door. CHAPTER XII. been firmly laid. and it was round about the grounds of this old priory that Henry VIII. Have you ever been in a house where there are a couple courting? It is most trying. But as he rises to dismount.WE ARE CURSED. as some say. till.A LITTLE SUPPER. . conjuring up this scene to myself. I WAS sitting on the bank. "Oh!" "Is it?" "Did he?" "Yes. but each one has a different version of the great event that they have come to see. "Oh!" he hadn't noticed it. which lie in readiness to bear King John to where the fateful Charter waits his signing. He greets them with a smile and laugh. Not so! This time the grip upon him has been one of iron. As you open the door. I should have strongly urged upon my comrades the advisability of our getting such a slippery customer as King John on to the island. . "I didn't know anybody was here. There are the ruins of an old priory in the grounds of Ankerwyke House. there ride the yeomen of the Barons. They do not speak. and in the midst King John. and draws nearer and grows larger. All they remark on any subject is. MAIDENHEAD. HARRIS PREPARES TO DIE. A NIGHT SEARCH FOR THE PICTURESQUE. without your having touched it. and also somewhere near St. Albans.AN ANGEL COMES ALONG. AND ANNE BOLEYN. and the great cornerstone in England's temple of liberty has. and. . HENRY VIII. and shuts itself." I decline to commit myself. and every now and then there is a deeper stir as the ranks make way on either side. when George remarked that when I was quite rested. You hang about for a bit. It must have been difficult for the people of England in those days to have found a spot where these thoughtless young folk were NOT spooning. one desperate charge upon the unready lines before him. and we and all the people have been waiting patient for many an hour. they grate against the bank of the little island that from this day will bear the name of Magna Charta Island. where in after years trim Bell Weir lock will stand. . and the taste of freedom held back for a hundred years. perhaps I would not mind helping to wash up. or. "Oh!" you say. and he dismounts and takes his seat in the foremost barge. As far as my own personal opinion goes. And King John has stepped upon the shore. and the great Barons step forth from their ranks to meet him. and the pattering of many hoofs grows louder. I slid down into the boat and cleaned out the frying-pan with a stick of wood and a tuft of grass. and either flank. polishing it up finally with George's wet shirt. and we wait in breathless silence till a great shout cleaves the air. though. and you back out promptly and shut . and pleasant honeyed words. . who have run from Staines. and these rebellious Barons might rue the day they dared to thwart his plans! A bolder hand might have turned the game even at that point. Certainly.THREE FISHERS. But the heart of King John sinks before the stern faces of the English fighting men. and give them your views and opinions on the Irish question. and the word is given to let go. and slip out. he casts one hurried glance from his own French mercenaries drawn up in the rear to the grim ranks of the Barons' men that hem him in.which last are growing out of favour now. and has stolen away from Duncroft Hall with his mercenaries at his heels. and none are quite sure what the bustle is about.A TRYING TIME FOR THE ENGLISH NATION." "Oh! didn't you?" says Emily.DISADVANTAGES OF LIVING IN SAME HOUSE WITH PAIR OF LOVERS. there pushes on its way a brilliant cavalcade of gay-dressed lords and knights. and are surprised to find that the door immediately closes behind you. if the language of clothes can be relied upon. with all its misery and sin. And the Barons follow in. but they give you a look that says all that can be said in a civilised community. and the arm of King John drops back on to his rein. You think you will go and sit in the drawing-room. And front and rear. at the time. and the rumour has run round that slippery John has again escaped from the Barons' grasp. as to whether it really was signed there. and some say that much good to all the people will come from this day's work.
didn't like the looks of a man who was stopping there ." "Very sorry. can't we?" he continued. and see if there isn't one with honeysuckle over it. You are afraid to poke your nose into any room in the house now. and followed George. and when we landed at Datchet at ten o'clock at night." "Oh. We went a goodish way without coming across any more hotels. too. It will be some time before I forget it. and he died. We passed a very pretty little hotel. let's go away. "Very sorry. St. don't let's go in there! Let's go on a bit further. and make people keep to it?" you mutter. Albans . and didn't like it . gentlemen. A shady road.32 the door behind you. "may this bread choke me when I eat it!" Then he put the bread into his mouth and swallowed it. and they see you. Old Windsor is a famous spot in its way. good evening." again repeated the landlord: "but we really haven't . and it had honey-suckle on it. and I said: "Oh." and Anne would have said. For his part. and when we got to Datchet we took out the hamper." said the landlord. with clematis and creeper over the porch. I don't know what you'll do. and as you pass the summer-house you glance in. well. "Well. there would be that wretched couple. He said: "Why." said George." 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. He said he didn't look a nice man at all. We took our traps into the Stag. which stretches along the right bank from Albert to Victoria Bridge. It must have been much like this when that foolish boy Henry VIII. for some reason or other. he'd just come over to see a man. and then we met a man. and asked him to direct us to a few." replied the man. "Here. and the first thing they would see in Kent. 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. you are following them about. you go and sit in your own bedroom. Let's go to St. for some wicked purpose of your own." said our informant. but there was no honeysuckle about it. I'm sure. Then George spoke up. The greatest minds never realise their ideals in any matter. and have some people made to put in. never mind. when they got there. kissing under the Abbey walls. and wanted to go to bed. and then you will come to the Stag. and he's going the same way I am. and on a matter of this kind you can take Harris's word. but Harris did not like the look of a man who was leaning against the front door. "What on earth are we to do?" cried Harris." And when they reached St. "we want three beds. and are evidently under the idea that. "If I am guilty." "No other inns!" exclaimed Harris. sir. if we liked. That was a very nice hotel.Harris did not like the colour of his hair. Edward the Confessor had a palace here. "Oh." said George. would be Henry and Anne fooling round Hever Castle. as most upriver inns are. the two bags. "Oh. Albans. you are coming away from them. just opposite. after walking up and down the stairs for a while. didn't like his boots. dotted here and there with dainty little cottages.no honeysuckle over it. and. and there are those two young idiots. and Harris and I sighed over the hollowness of all earthly desires. and so you put on your hat and stroll out into the garden. "but I'm afraid we can't manage it. and you rush back to the hall and get your umbrella and go out. in the lane. You must turn right round and go back. People in Buckinghamshire would have come upon them unexpectedly when they were mooning round Windsor and Wraysbury. "Oh! you here!" and Henry would have blushed and said. I had got my mind fixed on honeysuckle. please. either. From Picnic Point to Old Windsor Lock is a delightful bit of the river. however." said the Earl. You walk down the path. and laid them down in the hall. I'm so glad to see you! Isn't it funny? I've just met Mr. and the rugs and coats. he was going back to the Stag. Albans. then. "two will do. George and I towed up past the Home Park." a picturesque inn. This becomes uninteresting." And they would go to Kent. The landlord came up and said: "Good evening. We'll go down to Kent. George asked me if I remembered our first trip up the river. It was the Saturday before the August Bank Holiday." he said. and started off to look for diggings. turning to Harris and me. We were tired and hungry. "Why don't they have a special room for this sort of thing. I answered that I did remember it. and does not become itself again until you are nearing Boveney. after a time. huddled up into one corner of it. After you pass Old Windsor. He said Harris and I could get an hotel built for us. "Yes. and as we were passing Datchet. so. yes. "there's the Manor House. and a place where a very good glass of ale may be drunk so Harris says. we same three." he thought George and I could sleep in one bed very easily. Have you tried that?" Harris replied that we did not want to go there .nice quiet place. sir." So we went on till we came to another hotel. round at the side. Henry VIII. Two of us can sleep in one bed. runs by the bank up to the "Bells of Ouseley. and such like things. I can't stand any more of it. Earl Godwin broke a piece of bread and held it in his hand. was courting his little Anne. and he wore ugly boots: so we went on further. "None. we had been there." We said: "Oh. and have exclaimed. the river is somewhat uninteresting." "Oh. "Oh. Harris said. "because they are the only two inns in the place. drat this!" they would have said. Then these folks would go and be pirates until the marriage was over. and it choked him." "Well.
6in. I heard a man. suggestive of suffering. this producing a peculiarly unattractive sound. and then we went to bed. who is an old traveller. A kind-hearted bargeman. Her lady friend's rooms were let. He said it was a scandalous imposition. if we didn't mind roughing it . or coal-cellars. We brightened up a bit. next time we went to Datchet. We thought of the happy days of childhood. there being no mustard. They merely laughed at us. The distance seemed more like a mile than half a mile. and. and it would have made a very beautiful picture if the boy himself had not been so over-powered by our emotion as to be unable to sustain himself under it. but he said that. the poor fellow couldn't help having red hair. felt I wanted mustard as badly as I felt I wanted it then. and kept in by tying ourselves together with a sheet. I don't care for mustard as a rule. We asked this heavenly messenger (as we discovered him afterwards to be) if he knew of any lonely house. before or since. but anyone who had brought me a spoonful of mustard at that precise moment could have had them all. One makes these extravagant offers in moments of excitement. into the bar. In fact. we are putting two." This staggered us for a bit. and then we found that we had forgotten to bring any mustard. and we ate it all . when George drew out a tin of pineapple from the bottom of the hamper. however. and left George and me to bring on the luggage. I grow reckless like that when I want a thing and can't get it. or a disused limekiln. but we reached the place at last. and two in the coffee-room. over the apple-tart. if not this. Can't possibly take you in tonight." "Very sorry. then: he would have been set up in worlds for the rest of his life. and George and I used it to hang the towels on while we bathed. to a lady friend of hers. in the morning. We must rough it. one sees how absurdly out of proportion they are with the value of the required article. as it is. He did not know of any such place at least. and could put us up for the night. panting. the various pains she had in her back. and he would like to die there. and parcels. I said I thought I should like it better than the other house. rose to the occasion. and the other was the little boy's bed. But Harris. and we tugged steadily on to a little below Monkey Island. It was a pretty little place. 27. we caught up the hamper and the bags. This old woman walked very slowly. Existence seemed hollow and uninteresting. and had to seize the boy's beer-can and half empty it before he could recover consciousness. Harris was so overcome with joy that he fainted. We fell upon his neck there in the moonlight and blessed him. with a can of beer in one hand. and they had seven single gentlemen and two married couples sleeping there already. An old woman we met in the shop then kindly took us along with her for a quarter of a mile. but. 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)." We waited to hear no more. sir. which he let down on to every flat stone he came across. Then we went back into the high road. and we went back. and we needn't look at the man with the red hair.33 got a bed vacant in the whole house. and he wrote to the TIMES about it. and rolled it into the middle of the boat. going up a mountain in Switzerland. well. The landlady met us on the doorstep with the greeting that we were the fourteenth party she had turned away within the last hour and a half. and Harris sat down on the hamper and said he would go no further. and we found him. and to tell all his relations that he forgave them and died happy. She enlivened the journey by describing to us. But there! I daresay both Harris and I would have tried to back out of the bargain after we had got the mustard. however. once say he would give worlds for a glass of beer. Three gentlemen sleeping on the billiard-table already. Harris spoke quite kindly and sensibly about it. who happened to be in the tap-room. when one comes to think of it. It would have been a good thing for anybody who had come up to that spot with a can of mustard. and even three gentlemen in one bed. and then he started off at a run. truckle bed. his mother had a room to spare.she did not recommend it. next door to the Stag. We were not so uppish about what sort of hotel we would have. where we drew up and lunched. and Harris had that all to himself. thought we might try the grocer's. and we were twenty minutes getting to her lady friend's. or anything of that sort. he kicked up a most fearful row because they charged him five francs for a bottle of Bass. We tackled the cold beef for lunch.gave us hot bacon for supper. billiard-room. if we liked to come with him. when he came to a little shanty where they kept it. and went over to the Manor House. and. He said it seemed a quiet spot. Harris said he would have given worlds for mustard too. and two pots of tea. laughing cheerily. The people at the Manor House did not wait to hear us talk. No. From there we were recommended to No. and in the other something at the end of a string. and 32 was full." it would be all right. not one handy." We picked up our things. It was a little four-roomed cottage where the boy lived. and sent us to No. and. and it is very seldom that I take it at all. As for our meek suggestions of stables. and rushed. and George and I slept in that. We ate our beef in silence. and Harris said. and his mother good soul! . who could be easily frightened into giving up their beds for the night to three desperate men. To return to our present trip: nothing exciting happened. could he recommend us to an empty pigstye. one was a 2ft. 27 was full. said: "Oh. as we trailed along. There were only three beds in the whole house. or. You must give us a shake-down in the billiard-room. and sunk to the ground. and sighed.five pounds . The grocer's was full. and the coats and rugs. The people at the beershop were rude. 32. besides. she laughed them all to scorn: all these nooks had been snatched up long ago. of course. and then pulled up again. letting us all down on top of him. He requested George and me to kiss his mother for him. I don't think I ever in my life. "Oh. yes.and a jam tart afterwards. There were two beds in the room. I don't know how many worlds there may be in the universe. mind but there was a little beershop half a mile down the Eton road . we can't help it. who occasionally let rooms to gentlemen. . whose occupants were few and feeble (old ladies or paralysed gentlemen preferred). with two feet of bare leg sticking out at the bottom. but I would have given worlds for it then. It cast a gloom over the boat. and ran. Did she know of any place in the whole village where we could get shelter for the night? "Well. we felt that life was worth living after all.
we went slap into that punt. and then eased up. It is the haunt of the river swell and his overdressed female companion. of a winter's evening. It is the town of showy hotels. and no one spoke. When you forget to take the sail at all. the sweetest stretch of all the river. He keeps that hat now (what is left of it). It is against you in the morning. and. Harris got off with merely a flesh wound. however. and flung it far into the middle of the river. are brothers. In its unbroken loveliness this is. they had evidently made a mistake. Then we all three sat round it on the grass and looked at it. and George tried a pair of scissors. Harris told them they ought to be grateful for a little excitement. so unearthly in its wild hideousness. and as they worked. except that. and went away into the distant future. and hammered at it with the mast till I was worn out and sick at heart. we beat it back square. we could see that the three men fishing seemed old and solemn-looking men. It was an hour of deep enchantment. We kept very quiet about it. The wings of the rushing wind seem to be bearing you onward. Then we looked for the knife to open the tin with. and had tea. creeping tortuously upon the ground. There was one great dent across the top that had the appearance of a mocking grin. and grumbled at the mast.except in dreams. Then. perhaps. and the clouds. and tinged with fire the towering woods. whereupon Harris took it in hand. you are a part of Nature! Your heart is throbbing against hers! Her glorious arms are round you. and he also said that he was shocked and . and gathered up all my strength and brought it down. The little sail stood out against the purple sky. and strained. and you pull a long distance. Harris let the sail down. We went through Maidenhead quickly. and the heroine of the three-volume novel always dines there when she goes out on the spree with somebody else's husband. We looked at the picture on the tin. when you start for a day's trip. thinking how easy it will be to come back with the sail. the wind is always dead against you whatever way you go. carefully-thought-out. But there! this world is only a probation. that embraced the whole of our career. where those three old men were fishing. and broke a teacup. and man was born to trouble as the sparks fly upward. and rose up. for a wonder. it was evening. as a rule on the river.34 We are very fond of pine-apple. We took that tin out on the bank. After that. we gathered that we had come into the neighbourhood of human beings. the gloaming lay around us. but with long.steamlaunches. when we were through the lock. and. uninjured. and I went back into the boat and brought out the mast. and Harris went up into a field and got a big sharp stone. so weird. We had knocked those three old gentlemen off their chairs into a general heap at the bottom of the boat. and you have to pull hard in its teeth all the way home. We did not know what had happened at first. and Harris got a spoon ready.not with a common cursory curse. we thought of the juice. and broke the knife and cut himself badly. with fresh exaggerations every time. George brings it down and shows it round. after tea. they cursed us . We did not go into the realm of twilight. I was steering. and picking fish off themselves. all three of us.but we could not make a hole in it. We turned out everything in the hamper. and caught it up. and then we spread ourselves about the boat in thoughtful attitudes. There is no more thrilling sensation I know of than sailing. in one long harmony of blended shades of fairy green. They sat on three chairs in the punt. and then we saw what had happened. plodding. when the pipes are lit and the boys are telling stretchers about the dangers they have passed through. We turned out the bags. substantial curses. sitting there fishing all day. and the scissors flew up. and made a golden glory of the piled-up clouds. And the red sunset threw a mystic light upon the waters.in our favour. We pulled up in the backwater. then the wind is consistently in your favour both ways. but from the nature of the language that rose up upon the evening air. Clieveden Woods still wore their dainty dress of spring. behind us. and the hitcher slipped and jerked me out between the boat and the bank into two feet of muddy water. and watched intently their lines. I steered. We took everything out on to the bank and shook it. It is the witch's kitchen from which go forth those demons of the river . and the sail bellied out. that he got frightened and threw away the mast. and they were now slowly and painfully sorting themselves out from each other. of ecstatic hope and longing. just below Cookham. and included all our relations. and knocked it into a shape. The LONDON JOURNAL duke always has his "little place" at Maidenhead. because the sail shut out the view. We seemed like knights of some old legend. your limbs grow light! The voices of the air are singing to you. and George held the tin and Harris held the sharp end of his stone against the top of it. puny thing of clay. and I took the mast and poised it high up in the air. and passed the wooded banks. on which three fishermen sat. wrapping the world in rainbow shadows. we battered it into every form known to geometry . crept the night. and had put the wind round at our back instead of in our face. It comes as near to flying as man has got to yet . and you stretch your arms to them. and as it sank we hurled our curses at it. This evening. While they were dressing their wounds. As we drew nearer. Then we all got mad. raising you up against her heart! Your spirit is at one with hers.good. and. far in the distance. we could see a fishing-punt. We pulled up the boards at the bottom of the boat. We smiled at one another. I tried to make a hole in the thing with the spiky end of the hitcher. We beat it out flat. and the tin rolled over. and the stirring tale is told anew. patronised chiefly by dudes and ballet girls. Maidenhead itself is too snobby to be pleasant. so close above your head. and we skimmed over the water. and covered everything connected with us . and it drove us furious. you know not where. and we got into the boat and rowed away from the spot. Then George went at it. moored in mid-stream. and took leisurely that grand reach beyond Boulter's and Cookham locks. so strange. from the water's edge. and that they were vexed and discontented. comprehensive curses. I took the tin off myself. A stiffish breeze had sprung up . unto the great land of the sunset. There was no tin-opener to be found. sailing across some mystic lake into the unknown realm of twilight. The earth seems far away and little. so that Harris rushed at the thing. and got the sail up quickly before they found it out. for. You are no longer the slow. and nearly put his eye out. Then Harris tried to open the tin with a pocket-knife. and the boat flew. We had the river to ourselves. It was George's straw hat that saved his life that day. the wind veers round. and never paused till we reached Maidenhead. and lingeringly we slowly drew our little boat away from its deep peace.
MONTMORENCY THINKS HE WILL MURDER AN OLD TOM CAT.until well the other side of Henley. for no one spoke. the whisperings of the river grass. and which. while the river itself is at its best here." Just past the weir (going up) is Danes' Field. before we jolly well all got drowned.WE DECLINE TO DRINK THE RIVER. and. a boar-hound. nevertheless . with plenty of hair round its head. five hundred years afterwards.A PEACEFUL DOG. and a St. waiting for a voice from heaven. and brought us up to Marlow. When I meet a cat." CHAPTER XIII. or chatting genially to some old lock-keeper. USEFUL RECEIPTS FOR ANNOYING AND HINDERING IT. and of whom the notorious Wilkes was a member. whose abbey stood there in the thirteenth century. and they heard it not. passing grim lives in that sweet spot. There is lovely country round about it. The famous Medmenham monks. and. From Medmenham to sweet Hambledon Lock the river is full of peaceful beauty. after that. and there is enough bad language wasted in ten seconds to last an ordinarily respectable man all his life. was founded. after it passes Greenlands. and went and put up for the night at the "Crown. through the long days. . but. patient. who may often be met with about these regions. and they rose at midnight to mass. who were shopping inside. were a fraternity whose motto was "Do as you please. 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 the fox-terrier nature. five minutes' walk from the lock. as it does. lively little town. Fox-terriers are born with about four times as much original sin in them as other dogs are. And at Marlow we left the boat by the bridge. during their march to Gloucestershire. over which our fancy travels back to the days when Marlow Manor owned Saxon Algar for its lord. and a secret room hid high up in the thick walls. and prayer. but there are many quaint nooks and corners to be found in it. if. dating. is Bisham Church. and the cat sticks up its tail in a rigid. and over all their lives there fell a silence as of death. who was then living at Marlow (you can see his house now. We got up tolerably early on the Monday morning at Marlow. if any tombs are worth inspecting. and went for a bathe before breakfast.standing arches in the shattered bridge of Time. because I take it that it is his nature. Bernard.the soft singing of the waters. and right on the river's bank. trying to wash its ghostly hands clean in a ghostly basin. arches its back. The ghost of the Lady Holy. coming back. good. is passed on the right bank just half a mile above Marlow Bridge. . where the invading Danes once encamped. and thoughtful. ere it passed to the Earls of Warwick or to worldly-wise Lord Paget. still walks there at night. But it did not do any good. waiting for the return of their owners. MARLOW is one of the pleasantest river centres I know of. about the size of rats. it is true. . in West street). They lay upon straw. is as old a little spot as there is on the river.THE STEAM LAUNCH. By Hurley Weir. OUR DEPARTURE FROM MARLOW. Down to Cookham. sculling himself along in easy vigorous style. it is somewhat bare and dull. It was while floating in his boat under the Bisham beeches that Shelley. The Cistercian monks. It contains a tapestry bed-chamber. and he took the lines. a little higher up. with merely clouting his head or throwing stones at him). and wipes its nose up against my trousers. Grand old Bisham Abbey. When Montmorency meets a cat. composed THE REVOLT OF ISLAM. There were a mastiff. who beat her little boy to death. is a lovely reach. and Salisbury. There they sat. as he passes through . but mangy about the middle. nor fish." and that invitation still stands over the ruined doorway of the abbey.a quiet unassuming old gentleman. Just before you come to the abbey. and little winding glades. nor eggs. climbing paths. wore no clothes but rough tunics and cowls. that God had made so bright! Strange that Nature's voices all around them . there stood upon this same spot a monastery of a sterner kind. Dear old Quarry Woods! with your narrow. during the summer months. A solemn peacefulness . whose monks were of a somewhat different type to the revellers that were to follow them. a French poodle. they are the tombs and monuments in Bisham Church. to quote the quaint phraseology of those dim days. and a couple of Yorkshire tykes. cast-iron manner. who did good service at Poitiers. I remember being in the lobby of the Haymarket Stores one day. reading.should not have taught them a truer meaning of life than this. Many years before this bogus abbey. "from the times of King Sebert and King Offa. Warwick. The village of Hurley. I like cats. too. a few retrievers and Newfoundlands. and all is gentleness and peace. a bull-dog. 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 leaves there softly fall the voices of long ago! From Marlow up to Sonning is even fairer yet. Montmorency made an awful ass of himself. rests there.better let a mere commonplace human being see after that boat. A grim fraternity. George said he would steer. not very picturesque on the whole. or "Hell Fire Club. . and ate no flesh. you are fond of a walk. the whole street knows about it. They spent the day in labour.35 grieved to hear men their age give way to temper so. the king-maker. and a little further still. "Poor Pussy!" and stop down and tickle the side of its head. I say. was the home of Anne of Cleves and at another of Queen Elizabeth. I have often thought that I could stay a month without having sufficient time to drink in all the beauty of the scene. after boating. The only subject on which Montmorency and I have any serious difference of opinion is cats. the rather uninteresting looking river residence of my newsagent . as a rule. . I do not blame the dog (contenting myself. with care. He said a mind like mine ought not to be expected to give itself away in steering boats . They listened there. MARLOW. is what is left of Medmenham Abbey. perhaps. and all day long and through the solemn night it spoke to them in myriad tones. Montmorency does not. nestling by a sweet corner of the stream. and one or two collies. . in silence. . and all round about me were dogs. a few Lowther Arcade sort of animals.BUT EVENTUALLY DECIDES THAT HE WILL LET IT LIVE.BISHAM ABBEY.AN IMPOSING PROCESSION. at one time. . ere conquering William seized it to give to Queen Matilda. the music of the rushing wind . Bisham Abbey is rich in melodramatic properties. past the Quarry Woods and the meadows. with its congregation of irreverent jesters.STRANGE DISAPPEARANCE OF HARRIS AND A PIE.SHAMEFUL CONDUCT OF A FOX TERRIER AT THE CIVIL SERVICE STORES. . It is a bustling. careless now about such trivial things as earthly kings and earthly kingdoms.THE MEDMENHAM MONKS. whose stone walls have rung to the shouts of the Knights Templars. the councillor of four successive sovereigns." as they were commonly called.
sinewylooking animal.I am afraid I've made a mistake. as if to say: "Please don't. if you say the word "Cats!" to Montmorency. a bushel of peas. he bit that poodle's near fore-leg. and tried to separate the dogs.no. but he wished he had not given way to it that morning. so we got ten pounds of potatoes. without a word of warning." THE CAT: "Not at all . It had a calm. and that he would see to that. erect and haughty. sleeping dreamlessly on his right. sir. And in the midst of the riot that sweet young lady returned. a curiously impartial animal. must have been as imposing a spectacle as Marlow had seen for many . and he nestled up against her. and kissed him. and continued his trot. Neither spoke. His victim was a large black Tom.and flew after his prey. He looked at the bull-dog. Sorry I disturbed you. who was being murdered. It trotted quietly on until its would-be assassin was within a yard of it. adopting this principle at each one. He said they were easy enough to cook. He looked at the poodle. you know. all silent. a couple of gooseberry tarts. Then Foxey came back to his own place. grave. He sat and looked about him for a minute. thanks . We waited while the basket was packed. be told that. and a fairly appreciable proportion of its nose. Then he yawned. and half-way up the High Street a cat darted out from one of the houses in front of us. and began to trot across the road.36 seemed to reign in that lobby. A crowd assembled outside in the Haymarket. nor a more disreputable-looking cat. to be thinking of his mother. and bacon and eggs. and a yelp of agony rang through the quiet shades of that lobby. judging from his expression. The big dogs fought each other indiscriminately. and had on the expression. therefore. I thought I knew you. The whole lobby was a perfect pandemonium. and took up an unimportant position in the rear. We got a beefsteak pie. and snatched up that sweet little dog of hers (he had laid the tyke up for a month. Sure you don't want anything. and the bull-dog. and the din was terrific. The result of his first experiment seemed highly satisfactory to him. and that she had a great mind to summon somebody. thanks. but the cat did not hurry up . and our final march down the middle of the High Street. by the time we had finished. and asked him if he was killed.did not seem to have grasped the idea that its life was in danger. and a few cabbages. contented air about it. Anyone who knows canine nature need hardly. Montmorency gave a cry of joy . to the river. including the hall-porter. Good morning. went for everything he could reach." We did our marketing after breakfast. and other things we foraged round about the town for. and looked back at Tom. and caught the bull-dog by the ear. Then he cast up his eyes to the ceiling. fitting what he calls his tail carefully into its groove. if not. now?" MONTMORENCY (STILL BACKING): "Not at all. and took the boy with us. To this day. Then he looked round at the other dogs. and going back to the shop twice to have a row about them." MONTMORENCY (BACKING DOWN THE HIGH STREET): "Oh. and revictualled the boat for three days. but the conversation that one could imagine was clearly as follows:THE CAT: "Can I do anything for you?" MONTMORENCY: "No . without the shadow of a provocation. Then. and the consequence was that. and a leg of mutton from the hotel. of a new-born lamb) into her arms. and what those great nasty brutes of dogs had been doing to him. and looked at Montmorency with a gentle. he will visibly shrink and look up piteously at you. for us. and filled up their spare time by biting the legs of the big dogs. one of its ears.that it was unhealthy not to eat vegetables. leading a meek-looking little foxterrier. Such is the nature of fox-terriers. I . An air of calmness and resignation . sir!" and then fooling about on the landing-stage. I never saw a larger cat. on his left. None of your "Yes. Our departure from Marlow I regard as one of our greatest successes. and tried to throw him away. and bread and butter. and fruit." Then the cat rose. George said we ought to take vegetables . It was dignified and impressive. if you really want anything. and gazed up into her face with a look that seemed to say: "Oh. came back to us. and then it turned round and sat down in the middle of the road. We had insisted at all the shops we had been to that the things should be sent with us then and there. returning from a dip. and the little dogs fought among themselves.the cry of a stern warrior who sees his enemy given over to his hands . and the police were sent for. I'm so glad you've come to take me away from this disgraceful scene!" She said that the people at the Stores had no right to allow great savage things like those other dogs to be put with respectable people's dogs. We were. without being ostentatious. and jam. chained up there. that said: "Yes! You want me?" Montmorency does not lack pluck. and dignified. we had as fine a collection of boys with baskets following us around as heart could desire. and seemed. and he determined to go on and make things lively all round.don't you trouble. as I have said. and. and Montmorency. and why? Men came with poles and ropes." THE CAT: "Good-morning. He sprang over the poodle and vigorously attacked a collie. I will send them off at once: the boy will be down there before you are. It had lost half its tail. It was a long. by this time. but there was something about the look of that cat that might have chilled the heart of the boldest dog." THE CAT: "Don't you mind speaking. no not at all certainly . He stopped abruptly. which gave that dear little terrier the opportunity to enjoy an uninterrupted fight of his own with an equally willing Yorkshire tyke. I do not blame Montmorency for his tendency to row with cats. Then a sweet young lady entered. We went to a good many shops. and left him.not at all very kind of you.of gentle sadness pervaded the room.the sort of cry Cromwell might have uttered when the Scots came down the hill . Montmorency went for that poor cat at the rate of twenty miles an hour. inquiring expression. now. and cakes.quite a pleasure. or. and asked if it was a vestry meeting. and the collie woke up. all the other dogs in the place were fighting as if their hearths and homes depended on the fray. between the bull-dog and the poodle. and immediately commenced a fierce and noisy contest with the poodle.
and she would reverse her engines. ain't there?" "Oh!" exclaimed George.!" Then they would lower a boat and come to our assistance. whistling. If I may do so. and we would thank them so much. smoking a short clay. Cubit's lot or the Bermondsey Good Templars. and there. . We found ourselves short of water at Hambledon Lock." "I don't see it. and four stray dogs." rush to the bow and yell at us. if here isn't a steam launch!" And George would answer: "Well. Confectioner's boy. and swing round and get aground. with his hands in his pockets. with baskets. everyone on board of it would Another good way we discovered of irritating the aristocratic type of steam launch. It was very exciting. without appearing boastful. during that week. sir. and the boat would drift out quietly into mid-stream. stands by the stern. Then that launch would give one final shriek of a whistle that would nearly burst the boiler. while carrying a bulged-out Gladstone bag in one hand and a bottle of lime-juice in the other. At about a hundred yards off. when you could go about and tell people what you thought of them with a hatchet and a bow and arrows. and look up with mild surprise. with his hands in his pockets. as he twisted George round and pointed up and down the stream. Boots from the hotel. they insisted on landing and sitting down on the bank until it was out of sight again. Harris. There is a blatant bumptiousness about a steam launch that has the knack of rousing every evil instinct in my nature. NOT THAT way. I am confident. in an instant. bless us. you . trying to walk with easy grace. and ask them to give us a tow. everything was got ready to receive her. and all the other passing boats would stop and join in. smoking a cigar. No. so that they could go on. strangle it. and they were going up in large numbers.with a party containing three ladies of this description. he seemed surprised. with basket." "Thank you so much. on sighting the enemy in the distance. "There's enough of it to see. where's your eyes?" was the man's comment. I think I can honestly say that our one small boat. please could you spare us a little water?" "Certainly. so we took our jar and went up to the lock-keeper's house to beg for some. and said: "Oh. Two disreputable-looking curs. George. some by themselves. looking about him. Greengrocer's boy and baker's boy. do you know.you. George was our spokesman. carrying hamper. and not know how to get the boat out of the way.now.37 a long day. bless me. you know!" "No. We had a good deal of trouble with steam launches that morning." said George. was to mistake them for a beanfeast. On would come the launch. and the people in the launch would crowd round and instruct us: "Pull your right . 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. and trying to look as if I didn't know it. George. "Steam launch. But they never would." was the stolid reply: "just behind you. but we never heard them! Harris would be telling us an anecdote about his mother. the boatman said: "Let me see. I THOUGHT I heard something!" Upon which we would get nervous and confused. and on we would go. carrying a stick. she would start whistling like mad. The order of the procession was as follows:Montmorency. coming!" one of us would cry out. grasping the idea. When we got down to the landing-stage. and say to George: "Why. carrying coats and rugs. "take as much as you want. is sufficient to excuse a breach of the peace by itself. Myself. and George and I would not have missed a word of it for worlds. and. and could they lend us a saucepan. in the silence and the solitude. He put on a winning smile. friends of Montmorency's. It was just before the Henley week. would get us clean out of their way. carrying three hats and a pair of boots. And then Harris would break off in the most interesting part of his narrative. and ask them if they were Messrs. you idiot! back with your left. "Why. and smoking a short pipe. with basket. but you can drink SOME of it. Odd man carrying a bag.leave the lines alone.a stretch of water peculiarly rich in these mechanical monstrosities . are always intensely nervous of steam launches." replied the old fellow. I do hate steam launches: I suppose every rowing man does. and. turning round. I never see a steam launch but I feel I should like to lure it to a lonely part of the river. can't you . and the people on the bank would stand and shout to us. ensure a verdict of "justifiable homicide" from any jury of river men. "but we can't drink the river. Old ladies. all of us with our backs to the launch. I remember going up once from Staines to Windsor . with basket. and leave the rest. till the whole river for miles up and down was in a state of frantic commotion. some towing houseboats. The expression on the face of the man who." murmured George. and the lordly whistle for you to get out of the way would. Fruiterer's boy. Grocer's boy. They used to HAVE to whistle for us to get out of their way. At the first glimpse of every steam launch that came in view. was yours a steam-launch or a house-boat?" On our informing him it was a double-sculling skiff. "Where where do you keep it?" "It's always in the same place my boy. Oh. "It's what I've drunk for the last fifteen years. and blow off steam. not accustomed to the river. and Harris and George would sit down beside me. and roar at us. not YOU the other one . after quarter of an hour's effort. with basket. Long-haired dog. both together." replied the old gentleman. They said they were very sorry. I would take the lines. and I yearn for the good old days. Cheesemonger's boy. and the people would come and lean over the side. Six small boys. Bosom companion of odd man. drifting. but that they owed it to their families not to be fool-hardy.
when George. He could not have tumbled into the river. and George and I were waiting with our plates ready. we turned our eyes once more towards the spot where Harris and the pie had last been seen on earth. "and tell us whether you are alive or dead . It was floating dreamily on its back. if you have five minutes to spare. and calm. we saw Harris's head . after it.sticking bolt upright among the tall grass. with its four legs stuck up straight into the air. Harris and I followed his gaze. open field. Then we gazed at each other. We tried river water once. with a touch of sadness in his voice: "I wish he hadn't been carving that pie. dignified. and had pulled up to have tea in a backwater near Windsor. about ten yards There seemed weight in this objection. "I suppose the truth of the matter is. later on in the season. too. "that there has been an earthquake. he eased up. " Why. We got some from a cottage a little higher up. and wet. as the poet says. being a pretty. shady little piece of stream. and is well worth taking. catch hold of the pie.darn silly trick! Here. On he came. Harris did not feel thirsty. the long grass hiding it from view. Harris believes to this day that George and I planned it all beforehand." he thought I had a very good chance indeed of escaping it. He said: "Oh. He said that the various germs of poison present in the water would be killed by the boiling. and there is nobody about. but I do not think Harris's shock could have been anything like so bad as the shock that George and I had over the business. He said it must be all right if we boiled the water. its entrance is studded with posts and chains. I asked George if he thought I was likely to have typhoid. and surrounded with notice boards. "Speak!" he cried. "I want a spoon to help the gravy with. without being able to conjecture in the slightest what had happened. and followed suit. whether I had or had not. and it was during this lunch that George and I received rather a trying shock. a dog. He had been sitting. I never met a dog who seemed more contented more easy in its mind. So we filled our kettle with Thames backwater. When we looked round again. until he was abreast of our boat. Harris and the pie were gone! It was a wide. and bearing upon it an expression of great indignation! George was the first to recover. we got out and lunched. What the eye does not see. and was carving it. indeed! from the water's edge. Half-way up the backwater. Our jar was empty. and death to everyone who dares set scull upon its waters . but it was not a success. without knowing it. looking westward.but the posts and chains a little skill will easily avoid." With a sigh. It was one of the quietest and peacefullest dogs I have ever seen. and as for the boards. imprisonment. Harris received a shock. if we had known. There was not a tree or a bit of hedge for hundreds of yards. I should know in about a fortnight. and there. "Have you got a spoon there?" says Harris. George said he didn't want any tea. Harris had the beefsteak pie between his knees. and we had just settled down comfortably to feed. It is a short cut. "They'd hardly have taken the pie too. rose the pie very much mixed up and damaged." said George. I had drunk half mine. on the very verge of a small gully. and in leaning a little back he had shot over. grubby. and that he would prefer it out of a pump.I wonder some of these riparian boors don't claim the air of the river and threaten everyone with forty shillings fine who breathes it . Anyhow. "Why that!" said George. and George and I both turned round to reach one out. . the stomach does not get upset over." suggested George." The hamper was close behind us. "Has he been snatched up to heaven?" I queried. and boiled it. because we were on the water side of him. But we did not know." And out of the middle of the earth. so it was all right. you might. it was in this way: we were sitting in a meadow. scrambled Harris tumbled. leading out of the right-hand bank about half a mile above Marsh Lock. "I believe you did it on purpose. You see. serene. the face very red. no. "Who shall escape calumny?" Who. menacing all kinds of torture. with his cup half-way to his lips." And then he added. as our blood froze in our veins and our hair stood up on end. descending to the commonplace and practicable. as when he first felt himself going. It was what I should call a full-bodied dog. He thought at first that the end of the world had come. coming down towards us on the sluggish current. put me to sit here . paused and exclaimed: "What's that?" "What's what?" asked Harris and I.and nothing but his head . and saw. and were just settling down comfortably to drink it. besides saving nearly half a mile of distance. as it seemed to us. We were coming down stream. don't be a stupid ass!" said Harris's head. and. and he would have had to climb over us to do it. Of course. and very careful we were to see that it did boil. and emptied his cup into the water. with a well-developed chest. take one or two of them down and throw them into the river. did not seem a sufficiently good advertisement for the brand. We went up the backwater to Wargrave." "Did what?" exclaimed George and I. and settled down cosily for the evening. and it was a case of going without our tea or taking water from the river. and there. among the rushes. and we discarded the heavenly theory. but I wished I had not.38 George told him that his appearance. either. I daresay THAT was only river water.and where is the rest of you?" "Oh. George and I gazed all about. Thus does unjust suspicion follow even the most blameless for. Harris was for chancing it. We were not five seconds getting it. after the course. He said he had never felt so surprised in all his life. pie and all. We had made the tea.
the work done. and that every little helped. It is a part of the river in which to dream of bygone days. . and put them in without peeling. Every house is smothered in roses. Day. . a few minutes afterwards. Montmorency. confound them. and vanished forms and faces.more credit to the I never saw such a thing as potato-scraping for making a fellow in a place still . found half a tin of potted salmon. Then George afterwards in the Town Hall. George came and had a look at it . lived and . and not try experiments. could have come off four potatoes. Then . He said he had never heard of water-rats in Irish stew. but our light-heartedness A STRANGENESS ABOUT HARRIS. I fished out a couple of eggs that had got cracked. the old men group of an evening to drink their ale and gossip over village politics. a boy appeared who all up. but George stood up for precedent. we decided to go back to one of the Shiplake islands. and put up there for the night.GEORGE AND I GO FOR A WALK. It is a veritable picture of an old country inn. we struck. and is very placid. I cannot say. .HARRIS AND THE SWANS. . who had evinced great interest in the proceedings throughout.George. whether in a sarcastic spirit. and awkward stairs and winding passages. and one that lingers long upon the retina of memory. . . and AMATEUR. and dismal. that won't do! You're wasting them. with a dead waterrat in his mouth.LEARNING TO PLAY THE BAGPIPES. One's . and George said that. who have never been known to swear or to tell untruths. with the vegetables and the remains of the cold beef GEORGE'S BANJO STUDIES. slap-up supper.at least none worth speaking of.and the remnants. dirty Reading is not yet reached. makes a sweet old picture as "Oh. and picked out all the odds and ends was required or could be expected. that Irish stew. I should never have thought FEELS SAD AFTER that peeling potatoes was such an undertaking. after lunch. We roamed about sweet Sonning for an hour or so. CHAPTER XIV. . on seats beneath the trees.RETURN HUNGRY the biggest thing of its kind that I had ever been in. to steal.FIGHT BETWEEN MONTMORENCY AND THE TEA-KETTLE. and we put them in. George gathered wood and made a fire. Sarah Hill. and on the other by Hodgson of that ilk. Leslie an extraordinary shape. which he evidently wished to present as his contribution to the dinner. peel off and all the eyes out. So we scraped them. We began AND WET. and then. We said we should require the rest of the evening for scraping ourselves. as we had plenty of time. it WARGRAVE. The river up to Sonning winds in and out through many islands. mixed up with the other things. square courtyard in front. the more peel there seemed to be left on.A. painted on the one such side by Leslie. it being too He said that was the advantage of Irish stew: you got rid of such a lot of things. under a glass case. by the time we had got all the HARRIS HAS A TROUBLED NIGHT. quaint rooms and latticed windows. A was gone by the time the first potato was finished. Few folk. and things that might have been. and did four potatoes. The job turned out to be SUPPER. "After the Fight" worked steadily for five-and-twenty minutes. If you stop at Sonning. hushed. Think of the man who first tried German sausage!" It was a great success. . put up at the "Bull. one might almost say skittishly. but it cannot be seen from the river. .HARRIS Harris and I started to peel the potatoes.39 late to push on past Reading. we should make an Irish stew." behind the church. between two boys and two girls who "have never been undutiful to It shows you what can be done with economy and care. and went for a walk round the village. .all bumps and warts and hollows. a pair or two of rustic lovers.and suggested that. or to break windows. R. `Arry and Lord Fitznoodle have been left behind at Henley. They say it is always handed over to the nearest wax-works show. with green. . towards the end. they were bursting forth in clouds of dainty splendour. and put those in. He said MONTMORENCY IS SARCASTIC. He was exhibited for three weeks and a bit of cold boiled bacon left. and added them to the stew. except at twilight. and that was harder work than peeling. but are not. It is the most fairy-like little nook on the whole river. I don't think I ever enjoyed a meal more.or at all events. but I know nothing was wasted. He said: and Shiplake. nestling where the river bends. with low. walk along its banks." Fancy giving up all that for five shillings George said it was absurd to have only four potatoes in an Irish stew. George stirred it It is rumoured in the town that once.DIFFICULTIES IN THE WAY OF THE MUSICAL It seemed a fascinating idea. You must scrape them. reappearing. and he emptied that into the pot. There was something so fresh and piquant about it. in early June." you pass it. being upon the hill.SONNING. Easter. Tennyson was married in Shiplake Church.would be a splendid opportunity to try a good. really never had done these things . We had a discussion as to whether the rat should go in or not. We also put in a cabbage and about half a peck of peas. so a year! It is not worth it. Harris said: "If you never try a new thing. how can you tell what it's like? It's men such as you that hamper the world's progress. the author of SANDFORD AND MERTON. had never been known to do them . . Harris said that he thought it would be all right. I forget the other ingredients. George said they would thicken the gravy. There were half a pork pie and thus won the crown of glory. there was no potato left . which was all that so we overhauled both the hampers. Hodgson has imagined the scene. where. REMARKABLE STORY. . Shiplake is a pretty village. Wargrave. What has become of the money since no one knows. which took us gently up past Wargrave size of a pea-nut. . They are The "George and Dragon" at Wargrave boasts a sign. In the church is a memorial to mess. We got out at Sonning. enjoying his pint of beer.WAXWORKS.. and then he said that there seemed to be a lot of room to spare. to be divided at Harris and I stood. We has depicted the fight.OUR STEW. who bequeathed 1 pound annually. many years ago. It was still early when we got settled. we washed half-a-dozen or so more.THERE IS cheerfully. Mellowed in the drowsy sunlight of a summer's afternoon.MEET WITH DISCOURAGEMENT. The more we peeled. half smothered. their parents. and I remember that. or with a genuine desire to assist. and now. and he would rather be on the safe side.it was about the WE caught a breeze. he would show us what could be done up the river in the way of cooking. potatoes . It is more like a stage village than one built of bricks and mortar. It seemed difficult to believe that the potato-scrapings in which Mrs. and lonely. and general odds and ends.was killed at Wargrave. strolled away with an earnest and thoughtful air.
The evidence against him was very clear. after awhile.and took to learning card tricks instead. and he would go out for a stroll round the garden and suddenly get within earshot of those bagpipes. for a weak stomach. without being prepared for it. he rose. it must be confessed. to get a little practice. he had manifested great curiosity concerning the kettle. From that day Montmorency regarded the kettle with a mixture of awe.the same want of sympathy on the part of the world to fight against. and did not feel strong enough to stand it.at least. she could not explain). and he was bound over to keep the peace for six months. he despaired altogether."owner having no further use for same" .said music often soothed the nerves and took away a headache. right through the performance. and practising round the square. it was a poem a little too rich. He seemed to lose heart in the business after that. and she said it seemed such an awful thing to begin the day like that. ye miserable.40 palate gets so tired of the old hackneyed things: here was a dish with a new flavour. Mrs. She was somewhat religiously inclined. because of his sister. but he had to give that plan up. and a watch was set for him one night. And it was nourishing. The peas and potatoes might have been a bit softer. and spoke quite unfeelingly on the subject. going home late. but a person of mere average intellect it usually sent mad. and it up and spit at him. and sit on the bank. but it was never a success. His father was dead against the business from the beginning. Harris's language used to be enough to unnerve any man. and wanted to play it. used to come up and say she was very sorry . and your playing MAKES him howl. She said it put her in mind of her poor father (he had been swallowed by a shark. Throughout the trip. Then. at that precise moment. suspicion. come-to-the-battle sort of a note. so that did not matter much: and as for the gravy. with a taste like nothing else on earth. "You let him alone. and then put it about all over the town. long-nosed. so I gathered from watching Jefferson. You would think that Society. and the last verse generally collapsed in the middle with . and came off a poor second. He has had too much all-round discouragement to meet. He's got a musical ear. When it began to splutter and steam. and caution him. "I'll teach ye to cheek a hard-working. and the doctor was afraid it might injure the child. till the whole tea business was over. with his tail shut down. added to which. showing his teeth. and advanced towards it in a threatening attitude. and advertised the instrument for sale at a great sacrifice . At the first sound the kettle made. followed by the prayer for mercy. My friend used to get up early in the morning to practise. Harris said he would rather have the headache. and they would forget to tell him all about it. and the last dying gurgle of the corpse. George has never learned to play the banjo to this day. but there was always the same coldness . stopping every now and then to bury his nose in a bit of cool mud. across the evening stillness. that a fearful murder had been committed at Mr. who was studying to play the bagpipes. catching the boot. but Harris objected: he said he had got a headache. He would begin magnificently with a wild. Come on!" And he rushed at that poor little kettle. As George said. There is. and would try and rouse it every now and then by growling at it. But the inhabitants complained to the police about it. Montmorency would sit and howl steadily. something very sad about the early efforts of an amateur in bagpipes. in spite of these precautions. would stop outside to listen. but nutritious. and.where the connection came in. But he did not get much opportunity even there. It must be disheartening work learning a musical instrument. He can't help howling. while taking aim at him with a boot. Jefferson's the night before. would do all it could to assist a man to acquire the art of playing a musical instrument. some one would always dash up and bear off his prey before he could get at it. and Montmorency left the boat. He would sit and watch it. Whenever he saw it he would growl and back at a rapid rate. with a puzzled expression. and the moment it was put upon the stove he would promptly climb out of the boat. he regarded it as a challenge. broke a blood-curdling yelp. in the back-kitchen with all the doors shut. that quite roused you." So George determined to postpone study of the banjo until he reached home. not even from the members of his own family did he receive what you could call active encouragement. But it doesn't! I knew a young fellow once. about quarter of a mile from the house. there was good stuff in it. the next morning. We finished up with tea and cherry tart. too. while we were up the river. and played after the family had gone to bed. So they let him practise in the day-time. He tried on two or three evenings. respectable dog. dirtylooking scoundrel. Montmorency had a fight with the kettle during tea-time. full. "Ah! would ye!" growled Montmorency. George thought the music might do him good .for herself. George got out his banjo after supper. Then they knocked up a little place for him at the bottom of the garden. but his more successful passages could generally be heard in the sitting-room. and would want to fight it. It was not giving the man a fair chance. People. while bathing off the coast of New Guinea . and he was captured. I have felt that myself when listening to my young friend. perhaps. as it got the house such a bad name. It was only a little kettle. and did a constitutional three times round the island at the rate of thirty-five miles an hour. only. and hate. He did make one or two feeble efforts to take up the work again when the six months had elapsed. "What do you want to play like that for when he is howling?" Harris would retort. and made him take the machine down there when he wanted to work it. and you would be surprised at the amount of opposition he had to contend with. just to show Harris what it was like. and would describe how they had heard the victim's shrieks and the brutal oaths and curses of the murderer. for its own sake. and he twanged two or three notes. So he sat up at night instead. as it boiled. but we all had good teeth. and sometimes a visitor would come to the house who knew nothing of the matter. it only gave him fits. but that did not do. growling. Why. "What's he want to howl like that for when I'm playing?" George would exclaim indignantly. and seized it by the spout. P. or knowing what it was. poor man. If he were a man of strong mind. she liked to hear him but the lady upstairs was in a very delicate state. Then George tried taking it out with him late at night. but it was full of pluck. ye. They appear to be a trying instrument to perform upon. You have to get enough breath for the whole tune before you start . But he would get more and more piano as he went on. To-day he determined he would be beforehand. and would affect his mother almost to tears.
"Not much fear of that while this stew's on. our dear old boat. but I can't help it. We shouted back loud enough to wake the Seven Sleepers . It was a dismal night. and I must therefore say so. and hallooed. beginning to grow thoughtful too. a little way below us. Harris said he had had quite a fight with these two swans. but what was really.I never could understand myself why it should take more noise to wake seven sleepers than one and.yes." answered George. do you?" "No. the female swan came back. It was something more than mere ordinary tiredness. coldish. we saw the lighted boat creeping slowly over the blackness. filling all the space. The next moment it flashed across me that it was our boat. and then George said. with the bright light streaming through the tight-drawn canvas. And we ran on hopefully to the third one.oh! divinest music of the darkness! . and was full of bustle. we did not want to overdo the thing and get six months. it was now past midnight. "it was the third one. Strangers were allowed three guesses. This tune was "The Campbells are Coming. We waited breathless for a minute. "Suppose he only hits us back and refuses to lock us up!" We could not pass the whole night fighting policemen. and I sent up such a yell across the water that made the night seem to shake in its bed. after what seemed an hour. because prior to this we had not been sure whether we were walking towards the river or away from it. and so I will be. "It will be all right. We met a goodish number of men we knew about the town. I resolved. everything looked so strange and different in the darkness. Harris was disagreeable after supper." Nobody seemed quite sure what it was exactly. so we noticed. when we got into the boat. but we dismissed that train of thought. "Don't go to sleep. Just when we had given up all hope . if he's awake.I think it must have been the stew that had upset him: he is not used to high living. of the gloomy river and the shapeless trees. but they all agreed that it sounded Scotch. We passed Skiplake as the clock was striking the quarter to twelve. No answer! Young Jefferson only learnt to play one tune on those bagpipes. and. We began to wonder whether there were only four islands or more. silent fields. or in the wrong part of the river altogether. Hooray Hooray!" so he said. . when I began to write this book. then. and wished that we were there. or whether we were near the islands at all.we heard the answering bark of Montmorency. thoughtfully: "You don't happen to remember which of the islands it was. that I would be strictly truthful in all things. and in their pleasant company the time slipped by somewhat quickly. . We were to shout when we returned.as we had learned to call our little craft by this time. We conjured up the picture of ourselves inside. . Half-an-hour afterwards they returned with eighteen other swans! It must The case was becoming serious. even if I have to employ hackneyed phrases for the purpose. You want to be in good health to play the bagpipes. But then there was the thought. we could hear the cheery clatter of our knives. He gave you the idea of a man who had been through trouble. and evidently meant to last. and fix things up for the night. and settled to go for a mouch round Henley. but there was no response. weird sort of glimmer flickering among the trees on the opposite bank. so that it was nearly eleven o'clock before we set off on our four-mile walk home . and obtained the same result. though his father always held that it was "The Blue Bells of Scotland. and he would row over from the island and fetch us. It WAS just when we had given up all hope. We asked him if anything had happened. and passing each other chunks of bread. about five minutes. and immediately went to sleep. talking low to each other. or whether we were anywhere within a mile of where we ought to be. and cold and miserable. we thought of the cosy boat. For an instant I thought of ghosts: it was such a shadowy. old man. with a thin rain falling. and we could not go round.41 a splutter and a hiss. We despairingly tried what seemed in the darkness to be the fourth island. and fetched up her old man. I know that is always the time that things do happen in novels and tales." we said as we started. I suppose. How many are there?" "Only four. to know if they let apartments! George suggested walking back to Henley and assaulting a policeman. and overflowing through the opening out into the night. We began to understand the sufferings of the Babes in the Wood. The hotels at Skiplake and Henley would be crammed." "And if not?" I queried. soon after George and I had gone. and tried there. and most of them guessed a different tune each time." said George. knocking up cottagers and householders in the middle of the night. tired and a little hungry. I suddenly caught sight. and when you are tired and want to go to bed uncertainties like that worry you. "I don't. but met with no better success.so George and I left him in the boat. The rain was coming down fast now. and she had gone away. and he said"Swans!" It seemed we had moored close to a swan's nest. and kicked up a row about it. Besides. and the whisky. pecking away at cold meat. and he had defeated them." Harris had a sad expression on him. He pulled the boat against a part of the bank from which it was quite impossible for us to get into it. and then . and as we trudged through the dark. like a giant glow-worm underneath them." I replied. and got safely on board. Henley was getting ready for the regatta. the laughing voices. as he pulled back to the island. We could see ourselves at supper there. and wondering if we were going right or not. It took us an immense amount of screaming and roaring to wake him up again and put some sense into him. Harris had chivied her off. and that made us happy. We were wet to the skin. He said he should have a glass of whisky and a pipe. We struck the tow-path at length. so snug and warm and cheerful. of a strange. of Harris and Montmorency. so we went to the second. We shouted when we came opposite the first island. and. Just when we had given up all hope." he grunted. mysterious light. and heard Harris's sleepy voice asking where we were. There was an unaccountable strangeness about Harris. but we succeeded at last. "Oh! I remember now. And we hurried on to realise the vision. and so getting a night's lodging in the stationhouse. but I never heard any complaints about the insufficiency of his repertoire none whatever. but courage and skill had prevailed in the end.
"How many swans did you say there were?" asked George. I can sit and look at it for hours. Have you ever seen Harris fully awake. That amused Harris. HOUSEHOLD DUTIES. Think I can't count?" What were the real facts about these swans we never found out.THE OLD BOATMAN. and should have slept better if it had not been for Harris. We questioned Harris on the subject in the morning. how delightful it was to be safe in the boat. from the beginning. I love to keep it by me: the idea of getting rid of it nearly breaks my heart. CHAPTER XV. and he said.SCEPTICISM OF THE NEW GENERATION. I do not ask for more than my proper share. and that. how a woman with the work of only one house on her hands manages to pass away her time). too. "No. you couldn't very well have done less. addressing me. as a matter of fact. that it was he alone who had been working. ridiculed the idea of Harris's having done anything more than eat and sleep." rejoined Harris.GEORGE DOES THE THING IN STYLE. and for having suggested that he and George should work. He said he had never been out with such a couple of lazily skulks as Harris and I. and.POSSIBLE REASON WHY WE WERE NOT DROWNED. WHAT HE DOES AND WHAT HE TELLS YOU HE HAS DONE. . . in the middle of the night?" he asked indignantly. sleepily. and he steer. Twice he routed up George and myself to see if we were lying on his trousers. and I was beginning to feel strongly on the subject. Oh. looking for his clothes. and there isn't a finger-mark on it. I like work: it fascinates me. . I agreed with Harris that I never had . But I expect he only says this to comfort me. But I get it without asking for it ." or what we were talking about at all." Then we cleaned up. SAILING. and had killed the lot. Truth compelled me to support George. . I take a great pride in my work." said George.who had done all the labour worth speaking of. The swans had tried to drag him and Montmorency out of the boat and drown them. Harris had been very little good in the boat. "You said eighteen just now. at Harris's earnest desire. Have you ever seen George work?" he added. Montmorency looked as if he knew something. the next time I awoke. No man keeps his work in a better state of preservation than I do. turning to me. . It always does seem to me that I am doing more work than I should do. George and I. one way or the other. though I crave for work. "I suppose J. .namely. with "non dainties. George. but he did not seem to know what we meant by "whisky. "I said twelve.and this worries me. He thinks it is only my over-scrupulous nature that makes me fear I am having more than my due. SO FULL OF PEACE. And I am careful of my work.PLEASURES OF FRIENDSHIP. "Well. partook of a plain breakfast. George says he does not think I need trouble myself on the subject. He seemed to be worrying about his clothes all night.42 have been a fearful battle. . We agreed that we would pull this morning. so it appears to me . It seemed to me that I was doing more than my fair share of the work on this trip. as a change from towing. In a boat. . I don't see how YOU can know much about it. "What the thunder do you want your trousers for. Harris's notion was. . I take it down now and then and dust it. and they had all paddled away to die. mind you. "Well. It is not that I object to the work. and Harris thought the best arrangement would be that George and I should scull.most certainly not since we had started on this trip. And that was their gratitude to me for having brought them and their wretched old boat all the way up from Kingston. and had a castiron opinion that it was he . I have a vague recollection of having been woke up at least a dozen times during the night by Harris wandering about the boat with the lantern. some of the work that I have by me now has been in my possession for years and years.LOVE OF WORK. . but we could not..PUNTING. which was beginning to afford me a pretty clear insight into a question that had often posed me . I shall have to throw out a wing soon. I have always noticed that it is the fixed idea of each member of the crew that he is doing everything.at least. about half-anhour of it would kill him. to accumulate work has almost become a passion with me: my study is so full of it now.THE BEGINNER.SO CALM. and go to sleep?" I found him in trouble. "Well.A SAD ACCIDENT." George retorted on Harris. but said nothing.THE OLD RIVER HAND. "What swans?" and seemed to think that George and I had been dreaming. We examined Harris as to what he had done with it.RAFTING. I did not chime in with this idea at all. . and my last hazy remembrance is of being rolled over on my side. and put everything straight (a continual labour. I don't have half as much as I ought." grunted Harris. I didn't. MY FIRST EXPERIENCE. if we could have found the whisky. except at meal-time?" asked George. I've done more than old J. and let me rest a bit. . EARLY BOATING RECOLLECTIONS. anyhow. because he could not find his socks. George got quite wild the second time. You cannot give me too much work. "why." replied Harris. and we should have had some toddy after it. WE woke late the next morning." added George. so far as helping was concerned. that there is hardly an inch of room for any more. set out on what we had determined should be a good day's journey. "for I'm blest if you haven't been asleep half the time. Why. so far as we could understand Harris's account of it. and that both George and I had been imposing upon him. "Why don't you lie down. thinks he is the passenger. But. at about ten. after our trials and fears! We ate a hearty supper. HIS METHOD. I said I thought Harris would have been showing a more proper spirit if he had "Fancy old George talking about work!" he laughed. hang it all. . and of hearing Harris muttering something about its being an extraordinary thing where his umbrella could have got to. and. "Thirty-two." continued Harris. I slept well that night.George himself . on the other hand. I still like to be fair. and he had defended himself like a hero for four hours.
So the boy launched it. and talk to you. Harris. If he be of a stout and short-winded build. but. and swallow them.took a "raw'un" up with us once last season. much. and you are reluctant to put him to any trouble by accepting it. And that young man mocked at them all. When I was a young man. Pulling a heavy boat against a strong stream has few attractions for me now. Jim Biffles and Jack and I. and then come up for more.George. "thirtythree at the outside. reprovingly. you don't feel equal to company and conversation. but this does not draw you towards him. in the park-keeper's lodge. long ago. Tom. addressing the two perspiring novices.no. We got to chatting about our rowing experiences this morning. told them it was jolly fun. and. We gave him all the regular ones . pulled up from Marlow to Goring in one afternoon . you can easily avoid his advances. and that I should tow the boat on from there. George never went near the water until he was sixteen. a shock-headed youth. and as soon as you can tear yourself away you do so. My style of rowing is very much admired now. and there was a stiff breeze blowing across the river. and is intimately acquainted with yourself. He says he'll teach you to take his boards and make a raft of them. and to recounting stories of our first efforts in the art of oarsmanship. drop off to sleep once more. and slaved for them. and who has been lying there asleep for the last two hours. when he is of the youthful and long-legged type. and only his boy was in charge. and it 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 tow-lines. between his contented whiffs. But it does not give you style. His anxiety to meet you. extremely brief. when I used to clamour for the hard work: now I like to give the youngsters a chance. being then as proficient as there was any need to be at that branch of the art. And the two simple-minded youngsters at the sculls feel quite proud of being allowed to row such wonderful oarsmen as Jack and Tom. soon makes you smart at handling a craft. partially wakes up on being thus appealed to. seems a superfluous one on his part. I determined to go in for rowing proper. is proof against all your coolness.never stopped once. After that. please. but this did not trouble them at all. including a really quite likely story. however.an exercise providing more interest and excitement than might be imagined. pretending not to see him. The boy tried to damp their ardour for the outrigger. that was the one that took their fancy. George said he should be happy to be number four. and joined one of the Lea boating clubs. and encourages the rowers by telling them anecdotes about the marvellous feats he performed last season.a story that a mere child could have believed without injuring itself. seeing that you know how to do this pretty well already. boating! The tide was running out pretty rapidly when they reached the landingstage. and they took off their coats and prepared to take their seats.43 superintended and managed everything for them. and recollects all about the matter.the time-honoured lies that have done duty up the river with every boating-man for years past . and they proceeded to select their boat." murmurs Jack. who had once or twice taken out a boat on the Serpentine. It appears that he knows your father. Do you remember that. especially when you are in the middle of the pond and the proprietor of the materials of which the raft is constructed suddenly appears on the bank. I suppose. you would rather avoid meeting him. somehow or other. named Joskins. "why. and digest every word of them. I devoted some three months to rafting. it must have been. last season. Jack?" Jack. "Call what you're doing hard work!" he drawls. and pulling to Richmond and back. The boy suggested that George. and showed them two or three very comfortable-looking boats of the family-party build. The boatman was away. however. and promptly stepped into bow's place. People say it is so quaint. quite exhausted by this conversational effort. to get off on the opposite side of the pond to which he is. one of their number. We settled the present difficulty by arranging that Harris and George should scull up past Reading. I used to listen to these tales from my elders. Then he and eight other gentlemen of about the same age went down in a body to Kew one Saturday. My own earliest boating recollection is of five of us contributing threepence each and taking out a curiously constructed craft on the Regent's Park lake.and added seven entirely original ones that we had invented for ourselves.likewise a stiff wind. They said they'd have that one. It was not till I came to the Thames that I got style. . The interview is. but. but the new generation do not seem to have the simple faith of the old times. don't exaggerate. especially on Saturday afternoons. who has made himself a bed up in the prow of all the rugs and coats he can collect. even in those days. and your object is. which had actually happened in a modified degree some years ago to friends of ours . Being out in a boat on the river Lea. most of the conversation being on his part. and myself . whenever there is any stiff pulling to be done. your remarks being mostly of an exclamatory and mono-syllabic order. and to go home quietly and quickly. and we plied him with the customary stretchers about the wonderful things we had done all the way up. It is the way of the world. was always the heavy man of any party. reaching down another cushion to put under his head. founded. and to bet us ten to one that we didn't. a meeting is inevitable. the offer. if you could do so without appearing rude. There was a time. and sat down with his back to the stern. with a big stick in his hand. We . to a certain extent. though doubtless kindly meant. " No . on an all but true episode. and the energetic manner in which he dodges up and down the pond so as to be on the spot to greet you when you land is really quite flattering. "About thirty-four miles. and that. He. and then the others followed. and take them in. and taken care of them. I notice that most of the old river hands are similarly retiring. but those would not do at all. on the contrary is yearning to take you by the hand. having acquired a taste for the water. They got him into his proper position at last. the outrigger was the boat they thought they would look best in. and also remembers that there was an unusually strong stream against them all the way . Your first sensation on seeing this gentleman is that. and strain away harder than ever. therefore. There was an eight-oared racing outrigger drawn up on the stage. drying ourselves subsequently." And Jack and Tom. and spry at escaping being run down by roughs or swamped by barges. You can always tell the old river hand by the way in which he stretches himself out upon the cushions at the bottom of the boat. with the idea of hiring a boat there. I did a good deal of rafting in various suburban brickfields . should be number four." adds the first speaker. and wanted us to repeat the feats then and there. who have been grinding away steadily up stream for the last hour and a half. who.
Stroke has to stretch his arms nearly out of their sockets to reach his sculls now. Harris is more accustomed to sea rowing than to river work. you soon learn how to get along and handle the craft. The pole was firmly fixed in the mud. It is the "time" that worries a youngster. he looked such a ridiculous figure. shall I take stroke?" he adds." I could not go to his assistance. and then it was suddenly forced in upon me that really I had got very little to laugh at when I came to think of it. and they called out to me to keep out of their way. Joskins being the only one who was rowing. because stroke rows in such an extraordinary fashion. Here was I. when rowing past girls. and was walking up and down the punt. A dense crowd watched the entertainment from Kew Bridge with much interest. What then followed George is unable to describe in detail. As in rowing. Up he would march to the head of the punt. and I thought I should be all right. that number two was at the same instant lying on his back at the bottom of the boat. there was so much thought in it. sad and wet. "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. "I tell you what it is: you've got my sculls. and then I came in sight of a fishing-punt moored in mid-stream. but I found I had forgotten the art entirely.44 A particularly nervous boy was appointed cox. I watched him gently let down into the water. that vehement striving. When one scull was deep down underneath the water." answers bow. Joskins himself took stroke. plant his pole. received a violent blow in the small of the back from the butt-end of number five's scull. the sublime equanimity of the hired boatman under the ordeal affords us a beautiful lesson against ambition and uppishness. as ill-luck would have it. Plain practical rowing of the get-the-boat-along order is not a very difficult art to acquire. and leave him sitting on the boards." But they are not . And it would all have gone on being grand if he had not unfortunately. in turn. It is so free from that fretful haste. tried to help him. I began to feel very indignant with my friend for having stepped overboard and gone off in that way. in which sat two old fishermen. and then the whole secret of their trouble bursts upon stroke like a flash of inspiration. ." he cries. as for the twentieth time within five minutes he disentangles his sculls from yours. They saw me bearing down upon them." "Well. and every time "cox" looked up and saw the bridge above him he broke out into renewed sobs. I could not help laughing. but it takes a good deal of practice before a man feels comfortable. and the boy on the landing stage took a boathook and shoved him off. To get a grip of the water with both at the same time I had to stand up. I could only sit and look at him. as a matter of fact. and explains that what he has been endeavouring to do for the last ten minutes is to adapt his method to bow's limited capacity. I continued to chuckle to myself about it for some time. George said he had often longed to take to punting for a change. but it takes long practice before you can do this with dignity and without getting the water all up your sleeve. Bow finds it impossible to keep pace with stroke. they all do overtake him and pass him . I remember taking a small boat out at Eastbourne last summer: I used to do a good deal of sea rowing years ago. on dipping his oar into the water. have left me the pole. at each recovery. "It's jolly funny. So they change back again. taken just one step more than there was any necessity for." I shouted back. we had not taken the proper precaution to bring out a spare pole with us. broadside. to his intense surprise.possibly towards a weir. A rude boy on the bank immediately yelled out to a lagging chum to "hurry up and see real monkey on a stick. George. and secured the services of an old boatman to take me back. with his legs in the air. because. and saw him scramble out. "I can't. and he was left clinging to it while the punt drifted away. I don't. the other would be flourishing wildly about in the air. They passed under Kew Bridge. and the steering principle explained to him by Joskins. but it took them just forty minutes. And then "cox" threw both rudder lines over-board. He also noticed. hit him a violent blow in the chest. especially one who has been hired by the hour. apparently in a fit. and over their mutual abuse of this man they become quite friendly and sympathetic. alone in a punt. The parade was crowded with nobility and gentry. George said he little thought that afternoon that he should ever come to really like boating. drifting helplessly down mid-stream . He told the others that it was simple enough. I've been wondering how it was I couldn't get on with these.not even then. working his pole with a careless grace that was quite fascinating to watch. Oh! it was grand. If another boat overtakes him and passes him it does not annoy him. and I had to pull past them in this ridiculous fashion. and nearly took him with it. on recovering his seat. Bow. "Or. He has a confused recollection of having. and three times they were carried under it again. His expression as the pole slowly sank with him I shall never forget. that is every day becoming more and more the bane of nineteenth-century life. without a pole. turning to bow. He might. "NOW we shall be all right. he prefers it. I landed half-way down the beach. and most willingly assisting in the exchange. immediately on starting. at the rate of eight miles an hour. as an exercise. Stroke is intensely indignant at this. "pass yours over. I like to watch an old boatman rowing. They said they were ready. They splash along for another hundred yards with still moderate success. This would trouble and irritate some people. with the evident idea that that would at once put the whole matter right. it immediately.all those that are going his way. quite brightening up. just like an old punter. Three times they managed to get the boat back through the arch. as a curious circumstance. and burst into tears. He is not for ever straining himself to pass all the other boats. but. all they had to do was to follow him. but to devote his mind to setting a sensible stroke. It was an undignified position for him. while looking round to enjoy the scenery. How they got back George never knew. and says that. at the same time that his own seat seemed to disappear from under him by magic. I drifted on for about a quarter of a mile. and come to the conclusion that the man has given them the wrong set altogether. He had been getting on so well that he had grown quite cheeky over the business. One young man I knew had a very sad accident happen to him the first time he went punting. Punting is not as easy as it looks. then becomes insulted. do you know. disappeared under the boat. and everybody shouted out to them different directions. at all events. and requests stroke not to trouble his head about him (bow). and walked off the punt altogether. while bow's pair." he says. There is something so beautifully calm and restful about his method. and then run along right to the other end.
You never knew what was going to happen when he put the pole in. I could not get a punt out that afternoon. with a perfect stranger. and which must have been perfectly unintelligible to him. or he would probably have been drowned outright. and then came the question." and where we were to get a "reef" from. and his performance was most interesting. but that only made matters worse than they were before. and they stopped and watched him too. we. and then I could potter about and practice a bit until they came. not exactly upside down . They peppered him with stale jokes. when the sail is sopping wet. and to make bets with one another as to what would be the outcome of his next push. "I really beg your pardon. and all his efforts to escape were unavailing. He regained his feet. as it emerged from the water. and their delight knew no bounds. ." He said people in ships always wetted the sails before they put them up. which we cut off for the purpose. with a wide stretch of water in front of us. I did not grasp their mistake at first. We fixed it. and so. They commenced to chaff him unmercifully. From this they immediately jumped to the conclusion that it was I. and they caught me and lent me a pole. so I had nothing else to do but to sit down on the bank. eventually decided that the bottom was the top. and I thought. wore a jacket and cap exactly like mine. unable to stand their brutal jibes any longer. "but I took you for a friend of mine!" Harris thought it was lucky for him the man had not mistaken him for a relation. when his captor released him. it hit me over the head with the boom. That the boat did not upset I simply state as a fact. I remember Harris telling me once of a bathing experience he had at Boulogne. during severe squalls. It seemed a complicated job. We did get the thing up at last. Oh. "Wet it.went on pulling while I unrolled the sail. I did not think so. and set to work to fix it upside-down. I explained the matter to them when I got nearer. and thought we ought to try to do something of the kind. I noticed with some surprise. laughing heartily. but it was exhausting work. watching the river.though. The people about the river began to get quite absorbed in him after a while. And with every result he seemed equally surprised and annoyed." We said we would make a point of it.and we tied it up to the mast with the painter. I knew another boy who held this view likewise. We were stopping down at Yarmouth. and that I was the corpse and itself was the winding-sheet. He was swimming about there near the beach. and contrived to embrace the gunwale and give her her head. So I wetted it. the two of us together. and I withdrew behind a tree. and what we were to do with it when we had got it. we ended by adopting it. he started back and seemed quite concerned." they answered. that we had come out for a morning's suicide. we felt that the time had come to commence operations. and refused to do anything. and they only saw his jacket and cap. their beloved companion. which was the top end? By a sort of natural instinct. they even made a few new ones and threw at him. They explained to him that they had thought he was some one they knew. "How rude of them to go on like that. and at other times he simply spun round and came up the other side of the pole. They said they hoped he would not deem them capable of so insulting any one except a personal friend of their own. shouting ribaldry at him. and we decided we would go for a trip up the Yare. Why it did not upset I am unable to offer any reason. We could not all start together. and had thereupon determined to disappoint us.45 "But you don't try. one windy day. I had an idea it came natural to a body. He was evidently a novice at punting. Hector . so I said I would go down first and get out the punt. who was making an exhibition of himself. Of course their having mistaken him for a friend excused it. and hauled in the main top-jib. That is the only suggestion I can offer. and forcibly plunged under water. Sometimes he shot up stream and sometimes he shot down stream. The assassin was standing close by him. we thought we would try the sport. of course. he evidently did not know himself. The weir was just fifty yards below. but. ridiculing that young man! For five good minutes they stood there. the explanation of the matter occurred to me. and they saw his face! I was glad to notice that they had sufficient decency left in them to look very foolish. deriding him. how they enjoyed themselves. The impression on the mind of the sail seemed to be that we were playing at funerals. He had given up kicking." said the man to us. when he felt himself suddenly seized by the neck from behind. but I accomplished it at length. either that way or any other way. We rowed until we were out of sight of the town. mocking him. They hurled at him all the private family jokes belonging to our set. Sailing is a thing that wants knowledge and practice too . jeering at him." he stammered confusedly. but I have never succeeded in arriving at any satisfactory explanation of the phenomenon." wondering to ourselves how you "luffed. By clinging like grim death to the gunwale. I have often thought about the matter since. Possibly the result may have been brought about by the natural obstinacy of all things in this world." said Hector. too!" But before I could call out and reprove them. and left him with a cheery "Goodmorning. like rounders and touch. we just managed to keep inside the boat. and was trying to turn his thoughts upon solemn things. His back was towards them. they were all engaged. A dry sail clinging to your legs and wrapping itself round your head is not pleasant. But it was a long time before we could get it up. And then. The boat may possibly have come to the conclusion. When it found that this was not the idea. as we put off: "better take in a reef and luff sharp when you get round the bend. as a boy. but I was for letting her have her head to the wind. In the course of time my friends arrived on the opposite bank. As my advice was by far the easiest to follow. but the moment he caught sight of Harris's face. they were going to show me how to do it. I am glad they happened to be there. We hired a sailing boat at the yard by the bridge. and started off. The first time I went punting was in company with three other fellows.more sideways like . but whoever had got hold of him seemed to be a perfect Hercules in strength. and waiting for my friends. He struggled violently. he turned round on them. "It's rather a rough day. Hector said that pirates and other seafaring people generally lashed the rudder to something or other. "drop it over and get it wet. and looked round for his would-be murderer. it becomes quite vexing. judging from a cursory view of our behaviour. I had not been sitting there long before my attention became attracted to a man in a punt who. and the wind blowing a perfect hurricane across it. and then.I think that was his name .
but they were a wretched old pair. Then she righted herself by a miracle and flew for a long low bank of soft mud. It must have been worth while having a mere ordinary plague now and then in London to get rid of both the lawyers and the Parliament. and all the courts were held at Reading. at last rescued us. Henry I. and. The neighbourhood of Pangbourne. in spite of its stamp of pinch and poverty. and the face was sweet and calm. the manner in which these rowing boats get in the way of one's launch up the river. that sail. A little above Mapledurham lock you pass Hardwick House. to save argument. It lay very lightly on the water. What between tipping the man who had brought us home. she heeled over till half her sail was under water. STREATLEY AND GORING. The only thing to be done was to sit and wait until someone came by. we crept forward. just for a change like. . played bowls. if I had my way. That mud-bank saved us. The mud stretched out for about a hundred yards in front of us. She had loved and been deceived . George leant over. and a blanched face. had closed their doors against her. just to teach them all a lesson. . It is very delightful being towed up by a launch. against the chill wall of their respectability. and. and they towed us up to within about a mile of Streatley.some of us do now and then . instead of being pitched and thrown about like peas in a bladder. We had had enough sailing. and then Harris wanted to make out that it was my turn to pull. WE came in sight of Reading about eleven. And they are so confoundedly impertinent. And then he drew back with a cry. and left us helpless. lies buried at Reading. interesting sail . The run would have been more delightful still. My friends' launch cast us loose just below the grotto. paying six shillings out of it for the child. and. in this same abbey. where Charles I. however. with immense difficulty. I would have one or two of them run down now and then.we having no desire to be kept hanging about coroners' courts . if it had not been for a lot of wretched small boats that were continually getting in the way of our launch. and the second one cracked almost easier than the first. The railway rather spoils it near Tilehurst. This seemed to me most unreasonable. I suppose. and behind us was the water. to be that.RATHER A HACKNEYED STORY. but from Mapledurham up to Streatley it is glorious. Anyhow. it cost us a pretty considerable number of weeks' pocket-money. she had sunk ever lower and lower. must be as familiar to the HABITUES of the Art Exhibitions as it is to its own inhabitants. We had had a sail . and we were towed back in an ignominious fashion to the boat-yard. After that we proceeded with great caution. when matters were becoming unpleasant in London. over it. dating from the dim days of King Ethelred. we broke one of the sculls. we had to be continually easing and stopping. and don't want to again. and now took charge of it from us. the pain and the dull monotony of it all had stood before her eyes plainer than usual. It was not a beautiful face. Reading was besieged by the Earl of Essex. it was too prematurely aged-looking.HOW THEY GET IN THE WAY OF STEAM LAUNCHES. Left to fight the world alone. Six shillings a week does not keep body and soul together very unitedly. as we neared it. Of course it was the old.a good all-round exciting. During the Parliamentary struggle. and. Fortunately for us . but it was a gentle. and for having been out four hours and a half. We did not want to overdo the thing and get a surfeit of it.and now we thought we would have a row. too thin and drawn. At Reading lock we came up with a steam launch. so. The town itself is a famous old place. great John of Gaunt was married to the Lady Blanche. But we learned experience. CHAPTER XVI. and they say that is always cheap at any price. old vulgar tragedy. where the quaint little Swan Inn stands. I had not been pulling for more than a minute or so. The boat ploughed its way into the middle of it and then stuck. the ruins of which may still be seen. The river becomes very lovely from a little above Reading. It was not the sort of day to attract people out on the river.and her family and friends. You can whistle till you nearly burst your boiler before they will trouble themselves to hurry. the . and. a quarter of a century later. We found out the woman's story afterwards.46 The boat travelled up stream for about a mile at a pace I have never sailed at since. READING. and here Ethelred and his brother Alfred fought and defeated them. in the Benedictine abbey founded by him there. in 1625. something ought to done to stop it. We took the sculls and tried to push the boat off the mud. and it was three hours before a soul came in sight. too. the Prince of Orange routed King James's troops there. here we were. ten miles above Reading! Surely it was now their turn again. The river is dirty and dismal here. and cut down the sail. with the millstone of her shame around her neck. She had made one last appeal to friends.some men on the bank had seen the body too. It is really most annoying. I took the sculls. GEORGE AND HARRIS AGAIN SHIRK THEIR WORK. It had been arranged in the morning that I should bring the boat up to three miles above Reading. at a bend. For a while she had kept both herself and the child on the twelve shillings a week that twelve hours' drudgery a day procured her. and started from Reading to ravage all the land of Wessex.WE ARE TOWED BY STEAM LAUNCH. but.IRRITATING BEHAVIOUR OF SMALL BOATS. Reading seems to have been regarded as a handy place to run down to. I prefer it myself to rowing. the Law followed suit. when the Danes anchored their warships in the Kennet. and keeping her own body and soul together on the remainder. . Parliament generally rushed off to Reading whenever there was a plague on at Westminster. and one day. Finding that we were once more able to move according to our ideas. and the mocking spectre had frightened her. They want to get away from each other when there is only such a very slight bond as that between them. and laid hold of it. and paying for the broken sculls. Ethelred doing the praying and Alfred the fighting. belonging to some friends of mine. and we drew up to it. in doing so. to avoid running down which. she had sinned . I could not get either George or Harris to see the matter in its proper light. One does not linger in the neighbourhood of Reading. It was the dead body of a woman. lovable face. Well.or had deceived herself. and upon it was that look of restful peace that comes to the faces of the sick sometimes when at last the pain has left them. . Then. In later years. when George noticed something black floating on the water. It was an old fisherman who. naturally shocked and indignant.
but this is a mistake. She had wandered about the woods by the river's brink all day. but that. pluck. There is some excellent fishing to be had here. under George's pounds. he The washerwoman at Streatley said she felt she owed it to herself to removes the pipe from his mouth.veracity. Jack and perch Thus had she sinned in all things . I devoted a considerable amount of us to linger for a while. . SEE them there in shoals. and it had been a failure. but that is all. and commences to puff in silence. up into Streatley. or a shilling shocker. and the the end of a hook. after putting into its hand a penny box of chocolate she had bought it. to British and Saxon times. Anybody can come in and say. dating back. than it was before. we collected. . But they were sure formed a barrier across what is now the Thames. I caught fifteen dozen perch yesterday WE stayed two days at Streatley. perhaps. I had a haul on Tuesday evening that it's not much good my telling . like most river-side anything of that kind." much to Montmorency's fairly well. and you can sit and fish for them all day. and got our clothes washed. and irritate you. with her last few shillings. dace. God may BE about there.A almost of pedantic . and lunched at the "Bull. they had been very. from what I have seen of the district. And. It seemed that the bitterest thoughts of her life must have centred about the wooded reaches and the bright green meadows around Goring. if any more there be. But they are not to be "had" by a bit of worm on Pangbourne woo one for a sunny sail or for a moonlight row. and eels. but it is passing fair enough in its way. in a weary. and advised me to give it up. the general air of scrupulous ANGLING. The neighbourhood of Streatley and Goring is a great fishing centre. as he knocks the ashes out charge us just three times the usual prices for that wash. they crowd round. but the old hands told me that I should never be any real satisfaction. "Well. Some people do. it had been more than a failure. but the sweet smiling face of the river here lured I am not a good fisherman myself. They said that I was an extremely neat thrower.47 voice of the erring outcast fell unheeded. that way. spent upon those shadowed deeps over which the great trees bend their branches down so low. and that then the river I should never make anything of a fisherman.not they! country round about is full of beauty. and is nearer the railway in case you want to slip off without paying your hotel bill. She said it against the bars: had not been like washing. when evening fell and the grey twilight spread its dusky robe upon the waters. when you are out for a walk along the banks: they come and stand half out of the water with their mouths open for Goring on the left bank and Streatley on the right are both or either biscuits. Goring is not nearly so position as a Thames angler. of course. All it says is the place is "a good station for fishing. and went attention to the subject at one time. gudgeon. but that has nothing to do. if you want to: it will be all the same. to gain any towns and villages. the veriest tyro can manage that. I simply offer it. The river abounds in pike. Indeed." but there the ANGLER'S GUIDE is wrong. that the experienced angler is seen. and without betraying any particular emotion of any kind.ON THE ART OF embellishing touches of probability. more pretty a little spot to stop at as Streatley. Streatley. The reaches down to way. It is in the circumstantial detail. the WASHING DAY. during that wash.had held it in her arms and kissed it. dull sort of way. Before we had washed them. or where you can fish for a longer period. There is no spot in the world where you can get more fishing. because we were worse off after we had washed our clothes There is no art.sinned in living and in dying. They never catch them.A FISHY STORY. I am quite prepared to bear out this statement. I know for a fact that they are. it is true. up the Thames. Some fishermen come here and fish for a day. but they were just wearable. with fishing! The local fisherman's guide doesn't say a word about catching anything. appropriates the most comfortable and worked it into our clothes. Indeed. required for that sort of thing. chair. no skill.FISH AND FISHERS. if you go for a bathe. and was getting on. They said that as a poet. and measuring three feet from the tip to the tail. . We had evening. power of invention than I appeared to possess. in the river. after we method is a study in itself. weighing eighteen tried washing them ourselves. and get in your charming places to stay at for a few days. had taken a ticket and come down to Goring. CONSCIENTIOUS FLY-FISHER. Mere bald fabrication is useless. lights his pipe. good at it. He lets the youngsters brag away for a while. and afterwards. and then she had gone to see her child . as I thought. . there may have mingled also sunny memories of sweetest hours. I am not in a position either imagination. His . would require more play of fancy. or a reporter." superintendence. nor anything like it . but women strangely hug the knife that stabs them. "Oh. very dirty. and quite enough constitutional laziness. and. I never knew anybody catch anything. I had not got sufficient ended there above Goring in one vast lake. it had been more in the nature of excavating. and remarks. to contradict or affirm this statement. amidst the gall. and others stop and fish for a month. she stretched her arms out to the silent river that had known her sorrow and her joy. And the old river had taken her into its gentle The ANGLER'S GUIDE TO THE THAMES says that "jack and perch are arms. CHAPTER XVII. and had hushed away also to be the pain. had washed our clothes in it. or It is an ancient place." or "Last Monday I landed a gudgeon. and had left it. Some people are under the impression that all that is required to make a good fisherman is the ability to tell lies easily and without blushing. your accomplished angler would scorn to tell a lie. You can hang on and fish for a year. just here. and that I seemed to have plenty of gumption for They say that the hills on each ride of the stream here once joined and the thing. and then. We paid the bill without a murmur. AFTER we had washed them No. I might be satisfactory. and had laid her weary head upon its bosom. roach. had about here. It shows than we were before. He comes in quietly with his hat on. You can help her! and all other sinners. if you have your choice. and so we left our boat at the bridge. except minnows and dead cats." and. All the dirt contained in the river between Reading and Henley. We had intended to push on to Wallingford that day. the river between Reading and Henley was much cleaner.well. during a momentary lull. and then.
sir. we had not seen him since George and I. We went into the parlour and sat down. and take a seat in the taproom. and left us alone. while his moderation put him at a disadvantage among the other anglers. Then a pause ensued in the conversation. nobody feeling sufficiently sure of himself to contradict the old gentleman. and had then come back and spent full forty minutes in pipeclaying his shoes. You don't see many fish that size about here now. therefore. when that fish was caught?" "No. We were strangers in the neighbourhood. and. you may well look surprised I'll have another three of Scotch. "Because I don't expect anybody would believe me if I did." And then he goes on to tell of the astonishment of everybody who saw it. going about telling people he had landed two dozen. When he had really caught three small fish.to land that fish. but. . and that we were going away the next morning. George and I . I'm thinking. and he also looked at the fish. sipping their toddy there." said he. It did used to knock me over a bit at first. and you can't add twenty-five per cent. if I could move the rod! It took me half-an-hour . early in the afternoon. and George asked the old man how much he thought it weighed. it was such a monstrous fish. sometimes. following the direction of my gaze. and then he grew dissatisfied with it. "Eighteen pounds six ounces. eventually. "Ah! you may well say that. gentlemen." said George. lor love you! me and the missus we listens to `em all day now. he was a most conscientious fellow. three forty. when he took to fly-fishing. Indeed. and he said: "Oh. coming home. and what his wife said. sir! Yes. he made one final arrangement with himself. and then. which he has religiously held to ever since. turning round to him. that." we told him. If ever you have an evening to spare. sir! . and every moment I thought the line was going to snap! I reached him at last. rising and taking down his coat. he made up his mind to just double the quantity.half-an-hour. left to ourselves. and requests the landlord to bring him three of Scotch. and I went to jerk it up. I had been sitting there all the afternoon and had caught literally nothing . and the dog. and we naturally began chatting. good-night." he continued. please. They finally rested upon a dusty old glass-case. come the third o' next month. Then. but it's a fact." replies the old fellow calmly. ain't he?" "Quite uncommon. while two fish would count thirty. up the river. For example. went for a walk to Wallingford on the second evening. and that was to count each fish that he caught as ten. "When I have caught forty fish. he had gone out and had a shave. and other things. I caught him just below the bridge with a minnow. It's what you're used to. for all that. I thought it was another little one. and he. he called it twenty. because it is sinful to lie. and so I did." replied the man.you could never catch less than ten fish by his system. So. gained no credit that way whatever. They said they would consider the idea if the number were doubled." I murmured. smoking a long clay pipe. if by any chance he really did catch one fish. that we were strangers in the neighbourhood. landlord. "I shouldn't believe it myself if anybody told it to me. so. and then we all told each other that we thought it would be a fine day to-morrow. plan did not work well at all. not in fish. It rather fascinated me. again. It is a simple and easily worked plan. but that. therefore. We were still looking at it.at least.48 anybody about. He stuck to this arrangement for a couple of months." he continues thoughtfully. They told me he wur in the river. and each fish counted as twenty. was awkward. listening to the tales that the fishermen about there told him.I don't know what had become of Harris. and. to three . you know." I knew a young man once. and so on. to give you indigestion for a month. "Yes. "Good-sized trout. he added. at first glance. when he got home. after a pull at his beer. Hang me. but some of the older members opposed it. we called in at a little river-side inn. In fact. Nobody believed him when he told them that he only doubled. and George said the crops seemed to be coming up nicely. he determined never to exaggerate his hauls by more than twenty-five per cent. if he did not catch any fish at all. I asked the landlord of an inn up the river once. He never was able to use it. and I was just about giving it up as a bad job when I suddenly felt a rather smart pull at the line. "then I will tell people that I have caught fifty." said our friend. It really was a remarkably fine fish. Good-night." And out he went. I thought it was a cod. We could not take our eyes off the fish after that. it used to make him quite jealous to hear a man. then he said he had caught ten fish . if it did not injure him. "fine fellow that. that I landed him. and there has been some talk lately of its being made use of by the angling fraternity in general. and of what Joe Buggles thought about it. It's what you're used to. no. But I will not lie any more than that. when he had only caught one or two. for a rest. and said he had caught six. sir. cold.except a few dozen dace and a score of jack. There was an old fellow there. He told us that it had been a fine day to-day. sir. You will be nearly sure to meet one or two old rod-men. So he has to go on by himself without any encouragement. So he increased his percentage to thirty-three-and-a-third. whom he knew for a fact had only caught one. "Ah!" said the old gentleman. fixed very high up above the chimney-piece. and without even a tinge of bitterness in his tone. "it wur sixteen year ago. I should advise you to drop into one of the little village inns. and I said I'd have him. who had just stopped at the inn. and so on. the Committee of the Thames Angler's Association did recommend its adoption about two years ago." But the twenty-five per cent. and what do you think it was? A sturgeon! a forty pound sturgeon! taken on a line. There is a pause after this. came to the door of the room with a pot of beer in his hand. in half an hour. somehow or other. during which our eyes wandered round the room. "No. to simplify matters." "Oh! why's that?" they ask. as he refills his pipe. that was the foundation of it. and we told him that it had been a fine day yesterday. that trout. After that it came out. and containing a trout. not now. when the local carrier. and they will tell you enough fishy stories. and to assume ten to begin with. The greatest number of fish he ever caught in one day was three. "Maybe you wasn't here.
but. but my friend here and myself would be so much obliged if you would tell us how you caught that trout up there." "Why. A DIFFICULT BIT OF WATER. They are picturesque little spots. "You haven't injured the fish. CHAPTER XVIII. I did not count them. It seemed that he had caught it himself. bless you. laughing. WALLINGFORD. and he was immensely amused. but it was not. and told us how it had taken him half an hour to land it." Five minutes afterwards. especially in the more crowded portions of the river. . when he was quite a lad. that is good. and pulled up to Culham. or his cheerful-looking wife. and then he left.I say a thousand. he weighed twenty-six pound. but by that unaccountable luck that appears to always wait upon a boy when he plays the wag from school. They pleasantly break the monotony of the pull. and down it came with a crash. Ha! ha! ha! Well. and George clutched wildly at the trout-case to save himself. and you push your little boat out from its brief prison on to the welcoming waters once again. these locks. "Yes. Good-night. "then. Well. But fancy your guessing it like that. and. have you?" I cried in alarm. the more we marvelled at it. LOCKS.DEMORALIZING EFFECT OF RIVER AIR. He said he had weighed it carefully when he reached home." "Oh! was it you who caught it.are taking. while the gloomy gates creak. and when I saw that whopper on the end of my line.A FAMILY MAN. and the narrow strip of day-light between them widens till the fair smiling river lies full before you. solemn-looking. never thinking of a trout. laughing heartily. but they may have only been nine hundred. and slept under the canvas. and George and I again turned our gaze upon the fish. and a stolid." said the honest old fellow. . A good many of the new lock-keepers. and then waiting. Jones and old Billy Maunders all telling you that they had caught it. how should you? It was nearly five years ago that I caught that trout. That trout lay shattered into a thousand fragments . a third man came in. And so it would have been strange and unaccountable. or sinking down. But he had. what was the lock then . I am fond of locks.one Friday afternoon. "I caught him just below the lock . and that even his school-master had said it was worth the rule-of-three and practice put together. He went in his turn.49 "Ah!" said the carrier." answered the stolid stranger." replied the genial old fellow. I believe this is the longest uninterrupted stretch anywhere above Teddington. We said that nobody had told us so. and it had turned the scale at thirtyfour pounds. they are! Ha! ha! ha!" And then he told us the real history of the fish. The Conservancy of late seems to have constituted itself into a society for the employment of idiots. I'd gone out pike fishing. and described how he had caught it early one morning. it's really a most remarkable thing. * Or rather WERE. George and the chair on top of it. . For myself. . "because. and sat down over by the window.most remarkable. and goes out fishing on a sunny afternoon. rushing up. in the backwater there. The river is not extraordinarily interesting between Streatley and Wallingford. middle-aged individual came in.DORCHESTER. Talking of locks reminds me of an accident George and I very nearly had one summer's morning at Hampton Court. you see. It was a glorious day. you are quite right. He said that bringing home that trout had saved him from a whacking. then?" said I. and the Oxford Club make use of it for their trial eights. I did catch it. and how it had broken his rod. it is to be regretted by the mere pleasure-seeker. He was called out of the room at this point. as it were. . as a matter of fact. and the remarkable thing about it is that I caught him with a fly. . are pleasant folk to have a passing chat with. a speculative photographer was taking a picture of us all as we lay upon the rising waters. nervous old men. "Well. the landlord came in to us. It excited George so much that he climbed up on the back of a chair to get a better view of it. they are the sort to give it ME. who told you I caught that trout!" was the surprised query. good-night. I hope you will forgive the liberty that we . "I hope not. The Thames would not be the fairyland it is without its flower-decked locks. quite unfitted for their post. years ago. * You meet other boats there. if it had been a stuffed trout. if THEY had caught it. The stout old lockkeeper. ABINGDON. are excitable. 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.GEORGE AND I ARE PHOTOGRAPHED. at length. of course. WE left Streatley early the next morning. Dear me. None of us spoke for a while. to put up in MY parlour. The more we looked at it.leastways. and we all laughed very heartily. and when he was gone. it's a most remarkable thing . We told him the various histories we had heard about his trout. and said: "I beg your pardon.perfect strangers in the neighbourhood . It really was a most astonishing trout. George turned to the new comer. but somehow or other we felt instinctively that it was he who had done it. with a bit of string tied on to the end of a tree. That trout was plaster-of-Paris." said George. and the lock was crowded. "Fancy Jim Bates and Joe Muggles and Mr. I like sitting in the boat and slowly rising out of the cool depths up into new reaches and fresh views. blest if it didn't quite take me aback. and river gossip is exchanged. gentlemen. And then the chair slipped.A GOOD SPOT FOR DROWNING. or bright-eyed daughter. with bleak. rising cautiously and looking about. not by any art or skill. out of the world. sir. We thought it strange and unaccountable that a stuffed trout should break up into little pieces like that." And then he went on. "Yes. as is a common practice up the river.
and a vigorous blow against the side of the lock with the butt-ends released the boat. without exception. Indeed. Dorchester is a delightfully peaceful old place. seeing that the photo was about nine-tenths us. It would also be a bad house for a drunken man to put up at. fought savage Saxons and huge Danes. In Saxon days it was the capital of Wessex. Our feet were undoubtedly the leading article in that photograph. The photographer thought we ought to take a dozen copies each. while the in-coming water was rising all around it. And then. My first idea was that he had suddenly caught sight of some girl he knew. you stupid ass!" came the same voice again. oldfashioned. they did look so sweet! And all the fellows were frowning. From Wallingford up to Dorchester the neighbourhood of the river grows more hilly.50 I did not catch what was going on at first. we each seized an oar." We looked then. who squatted there. They were all standing or sitting about in the most quaint and curious attitudes I have ever seen off a Japanese fan. Its low-pitched gables and thatched roof and latticed windows give it quite a story-book appearance. "Look at your nose. but we preferred being taken the right way up. It can be reached by paddling up the Thame." In more recent times the Romans formed a great camp here. They filled up the foreground entirely. soon crumbled Romans to dust. We did not come out well in that photograph. and a stentorian voice from the back shouted: "Look at your boat. and tilting it up. It was somewhere behind George's right foot. As we stood. until the Normans came. in later years. I arranged my hair with a curl over the forehead. and replaced their clay-baked walls by mighty fortifications. And then another voice cried: "Push your nose out. and nods and dreams. It stands on the right of the bridge. George and I. the river scenery is rich and beautiful. while inside it is even still more once-upon-a-timeyfied. until the Roman legions evicted them. and our four feet waving madly in the air. Ours was the first boat. It was a walled and fortified town up to the time of the Parliamentary War. and I wondered if I should be in time. All the girls were smiling. rescinded the order on seeing the negative. the fortifications surrounding which now seem like low. waiting for the eventful moment. that the man should set his wretched machine in motion at the precise moment that we were both lying on our backs with a wild expression of "Where am I? and what is it?" on our faces. in an attitude suggestive of agility and strength. Oh. The heroine of a modern novel is always "divinely tall. We said we had no objection to being photo'd full-length. There are too many surprises in the way of unexpected steps down into this room and up into that. and as for getting upstairs to his bedroom. as we wanted to be in Oxford by the of the surrounding scenery. It's your two corpses that will get taken in that photo. I stole a side-glance at George's nose! It was all right . sir. and picturesque. extremely surprised at noticing George hurriedly smooth out his trousers. that all the other people felt quite ashamed of themselves. and stick his cap on in a rakish manner at the back of his head." I could not turn round to see what was the matter. and then the walls were razed. and the picture might be taken any moment. and I looked about to see who it was." At the "Barley Mow" she would bump her head against the ceiling each time she did this. and saw that the nose of our boat had got fixed under the woodwork of the lock. the truth flashed across me. and that seemed all that could be expected also. and whose nose it was that was to be looked at. six miles above Streatley. if you have a small boat. 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. If you stay the night on land at Clifton. ruffle up his hair. assuming an expression of mingled affability and sadness. and looking stern and noble. It would not be a good place for the heroine of a modern novel to stay at. louder. In another moment we should be over. It fell at last. it was then called Caer Doren. our luck ordained it. and bits Dorchester. and try to hide his feet. you in the red and black caps. He said he would take them if anybody could show him his launch. itself a wonderfully pretty village." and she is ever "drawing herself up to her full height. most old-world inn up the river. I squinted down at my own. So I faced round quickly. who had bespoke six copies. when it suffered a long and bitter siege from Fairfax. but nobody could. I thought. and has been an active centre for the making of English history. at last. But Time. and on the ground. which I am told suits me. The man's hand was on the cap. sit down in a graceful attitude. but the best way is to leave the river at Day's Lock. is a very ancient town. Everybody in the lock seemed to have been suddenly struck wooden.at all events. though he halted at Roman walls. The owner of one steam launch. but we declined.you two with the dog!" Neither George nor I dared to turn round. mud-built town in the time of the Britons. even hills. Round Clifton Hampden. you caught glimpses of the other boats. the trace of which Time has not yet succeeded in sweeping away. Now it sits aside from the stirring world. Behind them. where I leant with careless grace upon the hitcher. but everything and everybody else in the lock looked so utterly insignificant and paltry compared with our feet. quite away from the village. the quaintest. nestling in stillness and silence and drowsiness. There was a good deal of unpleasantness over the business. Dorchester stands half a mile from the river. mingled with a touch of cynicism. varied. like Wallingford. and it would be unkind of me to spoil the man's picture. and it was very strong and great once. Of course. and threw an air of tender wistfulness into my expression. Quick as thought. you cannot do better than put up at the "Barley Mow. can't you. either operation would be an utter impossibility to him. It is very old. you . . It was a rude. and was." It is. We were up early the next morning. and take a walk across the fields. if you ain't quick. peaceful. "the city on the water. was a city in ancient British times. therefore. there was nothing wrong with it that could be altered. or ever finding his bed when he got up. and then. I should say. Wallingford. I heard someone behind call out: "Hi! look at your nose. very little else was to be seen. as was to be expected. and refused to subscribe to the picture. and sent us sprawling on our backs. so well those old-world masons knew how to build. and dainty with flowers. and took up a position in the prow.
turns you round three times. And she would catch hold of it. they rarely come to pieces. its only recommendation. It can be viewed on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Lee's family numbered one hundred and ninety-seven. but whether it can compare in this respect with Wallingford and Dorchester seems doubtful. as a rule.GEORGE PERFORMS UPON THE BANJO. CHAPTER XIX.to enable you to row them and steer them. and so long as they are handled with care. and.or nearly all . a good deal of bad language occurred. W. and within what is left of its sanctified walls they brew bitter ale nowadays. FLIGHT. and carries you up stream again. just behind the lock. . a benefactor to his generation. When Harris or George makes an ass of himself on dry land. and evidently thought he had got to heaven. is a very good place to drown yourself in. The man who could row a straight course from Oxford to Iffley ought to be able to live comfortably. to relish up-stream work. whichever it may be. WE spent two very pleasant days at Oxford. drive you nearly frantic with rage. and fourteen on the second. a mile before you reach Oxford. The hired up-river boat very soon puts a stop to any nonsense of that sort on the part of its occupants. having tidied up the boat and made all ready for landing. eminently respectable. Iffley Lock and Mill.A LITTLE SUPPER AND A TOAST. You want to be born on that bit of water.A MOURNFUL MELODY. when they behave in a chuckle-head way on the river. and if you once get down into it you are all right.THE CHEERY CHAT GOES ROUND. with a Gladstone bag for a pillow. Nuneham Park is well worth a visit. and fighting against it. For the energetic. there is a monument to John Blackwall and his wife Jane. That is its chief .quiet. The man in the hired up-river boat is modest and retiring.the coldest and deepest lock on the river . it is a common practice to get a boat at Oxford. Of course. as a consequence of this. that you would hardly notice on dry land. after you get through Culhalm Lock . under one roof. of course. "had in his lifetime issue from his loins two hundred lacking but three. when they occur on the water. monotonous.at least." If you work this out you will find that Mr. but. I suppose. and this it is. after leading a happy married life. To those who do contemplate making Oxford their starting-place. you can take someone else's without any possible danger of being found out. In St. The boats that. I have noticed. Yet. W. He likes to . which causes even barge men to be sometimes rude to one another. Mr. Little mishaps. The real article. his mother-in-law. and to use language which. as a consequence of that. . Between Iffley and Oxford is the most difficult bit of the river I know. When another boat gets in my way. . One does not yearn for "just another five minutes" nearly so much. it is recorded that W. There is more satisfaction in squaring one's back. as one does in a featherbed. we got in the way of a good many other boats. with his wife. while bathing there. and in St. when Harris and George are sculling and I am steering. when some unfortunate sculler would get in her way. The undercurrent is terribly strong. who both.THE HIRED UP-RIVER BOAT. Few things. and were through Clifton Lock by half-past eight. drat the man!" she would exclaim. come quite up to the pictures of them. and then. so I feel. Abingdon is a typical country town of the smaller order . Helen's Church. OXFORD. and then on to the left. YEARNINGS FOR THE UNATTAINABLE. in their calmer moments they regret. his elder sister. and shake it quite brutally. From Clifton to Culham the river banks are flat. . First the current drives you on to the right bank. ANOTHER WET DAY. The boat you hire up the river above Marlow is not the sort of boat in which you can flash about and give yourself airs. I would say. the river passes by the streets. . is rather disappointing. and the old servant who was in the family when he was a baby. I feel I want to take an oar and kill all the people in it. at Abingdon. I don't know why it should be. who died in 1637. however. then it takes you out into the middle. An obelisk marks the spot where two men have already been drowned. They are fairly water-tight. Lee. I did a little boating once with a young lady. ITS BEAUTIES AND ADVANTAGES. and they in ours. The mildest tempered people. A famous abbey stood here once. bother the silly old thing!" she would say indignantly. It does not seem good to be always going with the current.NOT A CHEERFUL EVENING. the upstream journey is certainly to be preferred. when on land.51 afternoon. Lee . but everybody is always so exceptionally irritable on the river.the landscape improves. At Abingdon. Among folk too constitutionally weak. Nicholas Church. and the steps of the obelisk are generally used as a diving-board by young men now who wish to see if the place really IS dangerous. after the pictures. during the mile. died on the very same day. but I have never been able to get the hang of it. in this world. The house contains a fine collection of pictures and curiosities.THE RIVER UNDER DIFFERENT ASPECTS.unless. or too constitutionally lazy.five times Mayor of Abingdon was. and uninteresting. It is surprising how early one can get up. are let for hire on the Thames above Marlow. We passed through Iffley Lock at about half-past twelve. take your own boat .MONTMORENCY'S IDEA OF HEAVEN. There are plenty of dogs in the town of Oxford. There are places in them to sit down on. 1625. to understand it. no doubt. I have been over it a fairish number of times. and they are complete with all the necessary arrangements . She was naturally of the sweetest and gentlest disposition imaginable. . clean. however. "why don't he look where he's going?" And. From Abingdon to Nuneham Courteney is a lovely stretch. Montmorency had eleven fights on the first day.one may say. no doubt. or sink. when the sail would not go up properly. but on the river it was quite awful to hear her. The pool under Sandford lasher. when camping out. The air of the river has a demoralising effect upon one's temper. It prides itself on being old.THE "PRIDE OF THE THAMES. But they are not ornamental. are very good boats. . and always ends by trying to smash you up against a college barge. of course. . I use the most blood-curdling language to them. we set to work on our last mile. is a favourite subject with the river-loving brethren of the brush. We had finished breakfast. "Oh. and winning one's way forward in spite of it . and row down. August 21. and the grounds are very beautiful. but I hope there are not many of his kind about in this overcrowded nineteenth century. lying wrapped up in a rug on the boards of a boat. "Oh. I smile indulgently. when on shore she was kind-hearted and amiable enough. . become violent and bloodthirsty when in a boat. as I have said." THE WEATHER CHANGES. and desperately dull.
said our prayers. But the river . Jim. and we did not know what it was when we did see it. and to do most of his travelling early in the morning or late at night. at all events . had been in use. We told each other that Nature was beautiful. nor should and somebody gave him twopence as a reward for his ready wit. and my in some dark chamber. and re-appeared five minutes afterwards. stand like ghosts upon the margin. and very melancholy work it The boy said it was THE PRIDE OF THE THAMES. weeping low The neighbourhood of the upper Thames is rich in Roman relics. We told him not to be children touch her hand. And we sang a song about a gipsy's life. apparently insulted by the offer. They charged us thirty-five shillings for the loan of the remnant for six days. as we thought. even in her he persisted in keeping up the joke. flinging diamonds from the mill-wheels. but our serious young man.with the sunlight flashing from its dancing wavelets.relic of WHAT I do not know. We argued no more. The weather changed on the third day. We fastened the so-called boat together with some pieces of string. she does not seem to know us or to care for us. come. aspects. You take your mother's washing-tub home again.is a golden fairy stream. He said it. laughing. and he pointed out to us Sunlight is the life-blood of Nature. their mists of vapour. and hides behind a tree. you're the party that wrote for a double sculling skiff. yes.trunks. and assured us. from which one of us We grumbled a good deal. that the thing really was a boat . he gets bit of wall-paper and pasted over the shabbier places. Everything in the boat was damp and clammy." every wind that blew! . for the last forty years. at first. and he thought we might have been more Supper was not a success. is grateful.free to storm and sunshine. glinting through the dark. "don't let us have any first few hours. and nobody had complained of it before. on first catching sight of the object. cool wood paths. and what a lot of good it did him. George requested that we would not talk about these things. for a few days' trip. while the woods. we got vexed tears. and whitewashed or tarred . just leaving a little space in the bow. Cold veal pie. to at the other end of the boat by himself. In this way we made nine miles. We said we could not expect to have it all sunshine. the best boat in all his stock. and bring us a delightful a gipsy's existence was! . with the ceaseless rain-drops falling on its brown and sluggish waters. but to speak the plain truth: Was it the fossil of a pre-Adamite from her. but gain no smile afraid. his knowledge. She is as a widow who has lost the husband she loved. was that it was a Roman relic of some sort. . have had it could paddle and keep a look-out. all dark and silent. gleaming gay on many a far sail. making sweet each lane and meadow. We pretended. apt to cloy. Indeed. and stuck to the umbrella. got a When the man in the hired up-river boat sees anyone he knows. We hoisted the cover before we had lunch. I felt I wanted whitebait and a cutlet. soulless eyes. and. as a practical man. with a sound as of a woman. . and he did not see why we should be the first to begin. and passed the remains of his pie to Montmorency.was. and look up into her eyes. Harris and I were quite enthusiastic about the business. brightening every tiny townlet. and kept it up all the afternoon. with him. wantoning with the weirs' white waters. The boat-builder himself came up then. and her To settle the dispute. and said it of friends neglected . or was it an early Roman coffin? We rowed on all that day through the rain. too long. like the ghosts of evil actions. when you don't feel hungry. Mother Earth looks at us with such various evidences proving that it must have belonged to the preglacial dull. He said he had picked us out with quiet persistency. just as it now who declined it. from each inlet. fetch round THE PRIDE OF THE THAMES. we appealed to the boy.and how he enjoyed the rain. at least.had SOMETHING done to it to distinguish it from pulled up for the night a little below Day's Lock. makes us sad to be with her then. THE PRIDE OF THE THAMES. and to boat. struggling with an antediluvian chunk of wood.is a spirit-haunted water through the land of vain was clear to the meanest intellect (in which category he seemed to be regrets. and stepped on board.Oh! I am talking about our present trip now. gilding gold the grey-green beech. whale. a bit of a wreck.and we started from Oxford upon our homeward journey in the midst of a steady drizzle. and when we went down with our bags to the yard. but when we wish it. peeping. and how he laughed at people who didn't like it. chasing shadows o'er the shallows." The boy went. We said it was a change. and how nonsense. so as to have been unnecessarily damaged in the process. I cannot honestly say that we had a merry evening. I was one of a party who hired an up-river boat one summer.52 keep on the shady side. . was. but he could not see any fault in it. and that we liked to see the river under all its different We thought this a very humorous answer on the part of the boy at first. and we could have bought the thing out-and-out for four-andsixpence at any sale of drift-wood round the coast. We had none of us ever seen the hired up-river boat before. and gave our names. Harris babbled of soles and white-sauce. and dug out carelessly. my lad!" said our captain sharply. We had written for a boat . underneath the trees. making soft the air with glory . silent ghosts who with eyes reproachful. lying tangled in the rushes. It period. for the "Come. silvering moss-grown walls and bridges. My own idea. like the ghosts is a bit of a geologist. George took the fun more soberly. THE boat. We thought he might. when the sunlight has died away from out of her. that looked as though it had been recently dug out of somewhere. out on to the bank. The rain poured down He even seemed offended at our remarks. shrouded in surmise seemed to me a very probable one. pooh-poohed my Roman relic theory. possibly of a coffin. went and sat over stood (or rather as it now hung together). on his word. The river .chill and weary. in fact. when there are not many people about on the river to look at him. throwing kisses to the lilies. It's all right. that we enjoyed it. grieved that he could not conscientiously include mine) that the thing the boy had found was the fossil of a whale. the "double sculling skiff" selected to take us on our trip down the river. the man said: "Oh.a double sculling skiff.
" I had always regarded "Two Lovely Black Eyes" as rather a commonplace tune until that evening. We had come out for a fortnight's enjoyment on the river. * A capital little out-of-the-way restaurant. I know. Harris said he would introduce us both to the man when we got back to town. into the rendering. and sat round and talked.I forget which one now. We were a little past Goring then. we managed to get some fitful slumber until five a. and could throw more "abandon. We may get over it all right. The unutterable pathos of George's accompaniment to that "two" we were. We felt that to give in to the weather in a climate such as ours would be a most disastrous precedent. and bronchitis. and we sat. as expressing the sentiments of each of us. that would be a sad thing for our friends and relations." as it were. we went to bed . for three-and-six. That "I care not for the rain. "Another jolly evening!" murmured George. The feeling of the majority. This naturally led to some pleasant chat about sciatica.. come what might. who had been in the Volunteers. or anything of that sort. by the end of which time George had won fourpence . On one point we were all agreed. it might not seem so sad. We thought we would give up gambling then. There being nothing else to do. "on just such another night as this. "If we HADN'T made up our minds to contract our certain deaths in this bally old coffin. and drifted slowly down. and a fortnight's enjoyment on the river we meant to have. chills. I will say for George that he did not want any pressing. After which. unable to bear. was to fall upon each other's necks and weep. and that was that. We looked up the river and down the river. fevers. not a soul was in sight! . and it had given him rheumatic fever. "Why." said Harris. and then there was silence for a while." said Harris. There was no nonsense about having left his music at home. underneath the canvas. and which I am not going to be idiot enough to advertise. and he had woke up in the morning a cripple for life. we undressed ourselves." answered Harris. and the dog howled till I thought his heart or his jaw must surely break. and nothing was able to save him. the Alhambra would be almost more lively. when we all got up and had breakfast. after all. we would go through with this job to the bitter end. George offered to go on and give us our revenge. where you can get one of the best-cooked and cheapest little French dinners or suppers that I know of. not I!" was so painfully evident. He thought that when he had got a little more into the tune. which would just land us in town in comfortable time to get a chop. "With a little supper at the . We played for about an hour and a half. "it might be worth while to mention that there's a train leaves Pangbourne. but by great effort we kept back the rising tears. but it could not be helped. If it killed us! well. and then go on to the place you mentioned afterwards." At about four o'clock we began to discuss our arrangements for the evening. The second day was exactly like the first. George told us about a man he had known. and commenced to play "Two Lovely Black Eyes.m." said Harris. in the neighbourhood of . Oh! what a surprise! Only for telling a man he was wrong. He said it was one of the saddest things he had ever known. We sat and mused on the prospect. but I rather think it was myself made a few feeble attempts during the course of the morning to work up the old gipsy foolishness about being children of Nature and enjoying the wet. and tossed about at the bottom of the boat for some three or four hours. with an excellent bottle of Beaune. venturing his head outside the cover for a moment and taking a survey of the sky. lung diseases. and he had died in great agony ten days afterwards.that is. who had come up the river two years ago and who had slept out in a damp boat on just such another night as that was. that to sing it seemed unnecessary. and in a weak moment I suggested that George should get out his banjo.and Harris and I had lost exactly twopence each. and see if he could not give us a comic song." I added." Nobody spoke. After that. we dragged out and overhauled the Gladstone. After that we could walk about the village in the pouring rain until bed-time. say. it would make our hearts bleed to see him. half unconsciously. and who had slept out under canvas one wet night down at Aldershot. soon after five.George always is lucky at cards . wrapped up in our mackintoshes. We re-filled our glasses and joined in. George wanted to go on with another verse.. but Harris and I decided not to battle any further against Fate. In silence. The desire that grew upon Harris and myself. Harris sobbed like a little child. leading. The rich vein of sadness that George extracted from it quite surprised me. was opposed to the experiment. George said he was quite a young man. it breeds an unhealthy excitement when carried too far. in our then state of depression. in a voice trembling with emotion. and put up there for the night. We played penny nap after supper. and each one seemed to see his own mean and guilty thoughts reflected in the faces of the others.* to follow. and Harris said how very awkward it would be if one of us were taken seriously ill in the night." There we broke down. and George and I following a few words behind: "Two lovely black eyes." observed George. as the mournful strains progressed. We should finish dinner at. we mixed ourselves some toddy. "Yes it's almost a pity we've made up our minds to stick to this boat. and we decided to paddle on to Pangbourne. As Harris said. however. "and we are young and strong. One of us . The rain continued to pour down. and listened to the wild yearnful melody in silence. half-past six. or we could sit in a dimly-lit bar-parlour and read the almanac. Two . and was engaged to be married. We should be in at Pangbourne by five. When the chorus came we even made a desperate effort to be merry. And that put Harris in mind of a friend of his. Harris. He at once fished out his instrument.53 until he had finished his cold boiled beef without mustard. There seemed to be a desire for something frolicksome to follow upon this conversation. but it did not go down well at all. We looked at one another. seeing how far away we were from a doctor. casting a glance of intense malevolence over the boat. "It's only two days more.
dirty. with some difficulty. If. let our napkins fall. We convinced the man. brown felt hat. drew aside the curtain and looked out upon the street. It had been a simple. and found time to more critically examine the smoky ceiling than we had hitherto been able to do . three figures. Our fine bronzed countenances and picturesque clothes were followed round the place with admiring gaze. We reached Paddington at seven. and then continued our way to Leicester Square. but there had been nothing exciting about it. until the time came when. the dim lamps flickered with each gust. cake. in his charge. and all it contained. mackintosh. umbrella. much battered. We had left the boat. more or less. we would write to him. where supper was already awaiting us. that we were NOT "the world-renowned contortionists from the Himalaya Mountains. and forgiving." and he took our money and let us pass. very wet. might have been seen creeping stealthily from the boat-house at the "Swan" towards the railway station. peering out into the night. We attracted a good deal of attention at the Alhambra. the women holding up their skirts. and were informed that we were half-an-hour behind our time. It was a proud moment for us all. and felt good. left Montmorency. and thoughtful. A few soaked wayfarers hurried past. and the smell of French sauces. and my hearty thanks for it to old Father Thames . together with suggestions for a supper to be ready at half-past ten. suit of boating flannels. We adjourned soon after the first ballet.when we rested our glasses at arm's-length upon the table. and wended our way back to the restaurant. and the sight of clean napkins and long loaves. crouching beneath their dripping umbrellas. Then Harris. and drove direct to the restaurant I have before described. followed by a shamed-looking dog. reaching his hand out for his glass. and bread and jam. We had not had the face to tell him that we were running away from the rain. For about ten days we seemed to have been living. instead of sitting bolt upright. On our presenting ourselves at the paybox we were gruffly directed to go round to Castle Street. with instructions that it was to be ready for us at nine the next morning. very dirty. . I must confess to enjoying that supper. It glistened darkly in the wet.54 Twenty minutes later. Inside we were a still greater success. knocked as a very welcome visitor at the door of our inner man. "we have had a pleasant trip. who was sitting next the window. where we partook of a light meal. and grasping the knife and fork firmly. We pegged and quaffed away in silence for a while. the rain splashed steadily into the puddles and trickled down the waterspouts into the running gutters. "Well. we said . We were the cynosure of every eye. We had deceived the boatman at Pangbourne. before the window. standing on his hind legs. dressed in the following neither neat nor gaudy costume: Black leather shoes. on nothing but cold meat.but I think we did well to chuck it when we did. Here's to Three Men well out of a Boat!" And Montmorency. a nutritious diet. to the floor. unheeded. we leant back in our chairs and worked slowly and carelessly when we stretched out our legs beneath the table.IF anything unforeseen should happen. and the odour of Burgundy. gave a short bark of decided concurrence with the toast. preventing our return." said Harris.
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