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Opis ebooka Three Men in a Boat - Jerome K. Jerome

This collector's edition is cleanly formatted for easy reading. 12 point Garamond, 1.15 spacing. Three Men in a Boat is a comical account of three friends: Jerome, Harris, George and their dog Montmorency. The three friends agree that they are overworked and tired and in dire need of a holiday. After weighing options of a country trip and a sea voyage they decide on a boat ride to the River Thames. Right from hiring the boat to planning their activities the story escalates into a comical sketch of numerous camping and boating mishaps. Three Men in a Boat is a humourous and witty book for all ages and all generations. Jerome has a knack for accentuating the comical even in the mundane and serious. Every chapter brings with it an abundance of amusement and laughter. The writing is sharp, witty and timeless. One of the many remarkable things about Three Men in a Boat is how fresh the humour is to modern day readers. It was an instant success when it appeared in 1889 and is still a bestseller to this day.

Opinie o ebooku Three Men in a Boat - Jerome K. Jerome

Fragment ebooka Three Men in a Boat - Jerome K. Jerome

Three Men in a Boat

TOSAY NOTHING OF THE DOG

Three Men in a Boat(To Say Nothing of the Dog)

By Jerome K. Jerome

ISBN978-1-77335-046-2

Creative Content Copyright © Magdalene Press

https://archive.org/details/threemeninboatto00jerorich

First Published by Bristol,J.W.Arrowsmith,

11QuayStreet,London,

Simpkin,Marshall,Hamilton,Kent&Co.Limited,1889

Magdalene Press, 2016

PREFACE

Thechiefbeautyofthisbookliesnotsomuchinitsliterarystyle,orintheextentandusefulnessoftheinformationitconveys,asinitssimpletruthfulness.Itspagesformtherecordofeventsthatreallyhappened.Allthathasbeendoneistocolourthem;and,forthis,noextrachargehasbeenmade.GeorgeandHarrisandMontmorencyarenotpoeticideals,butthingsoffleshandblood—especiallyGeorge,whoweighsabouttwelvestone.Otherworksmayexcelthisindepthofthoughtandknowledgeofhumannature:otherbooksmayrivalitinoriginalityandsize;but,forhopelessandincurableveracity,nothingyetdiscoveredcansurpassit.This,morethanallitsothercharms,will,itisfelt,makethevolumepreciousintheeyeoftheearnestreader;andwilllendadditionalweighttothelessonthatthestoryteaches.

London,August,1889

CHAPTER1

Threeinvalids.—SufferingsofGeorgeandHarris.—Avictimtoonehundredandsevenfatalmaladies.—Usefulprescriptions.—Cureforlivercomplaintinchildren.—Weagreethatweareoverworked,andneedrest.—Aweekontherollingdeep?—GeorgesuggeststheRiver.—Montmorencylodgesanobjection.—Originalmotioncarriedbymajorityofthreetoone.

Therewerefourofus—George,andWilliamSamuelHarris,andmyself,andMontmorency.Weweresittinginmyroom,smoking,andtalkingabouthowbadwewere—badfromamedicalpointofviewImean,ofcourse.

Wewereallfeelingseedy,andweweregettingquitenervousaboutit.Harrissaidhefeltsuchextraordinaryfitsofgiddinesscomeoverhimattimes,thathehardlyknewwhathewasdoing;andthenGeorgesaidthathehadfitsofgiddinesstoo,andhardlyknewwhathewasdoing.Withme,itwasmyliverthatwasoutoforder.Iknewitwasmyliverthatwasoutoforder,becauseIhadjustbeenreadingapatentliver-pillcircular,inwhichweredetailedthevarioussymptomsbywhichamancouldtellwhenhisliverwasoutoforder.Ihadthemall.

Itisamostextraordinarything,butIneverreadapatentmedicineadvertisementwithoutbeingimpelledtotheconclusionthatIamsufferingfromtheparticulardiseasethereindealtwithinitsmostvirulentform.ThediagnosisseemsineverycasetocorrespondexactlywithallthesensationsthatIhaveeverfelt.

IremembergoingtotheBritishMuseumonedaytoreadupthetreatmentforsomeslightailmentofwhichIhadatouch—hayfever,Ifancyitwas.Igotdownthebook,andreadallIcametoread;andthen,inanunthinkingmoment,Iidlyturnedtheleaves,andbegantoindolentlystudydiseases,generally.IforgetwhichwasthefirstdistemperIplungedinto—somefearful,devastatingscourge,Iknow—and,beforeIhadglancedhalfdownthelistof“premonitorysymptoms,”itwasborneinuponmethatIhadfairlygotit.

Isatforawhile,frozenwithhorror;andthen,inthelistlessnessofdespair,Iagainturnedoverthepages.Icametotyphoidfever—readthesymptoms—discoveredthatIhadtyphoidfever,musthavehaditformonthswithoutknowingit—wonderedwhatelseIhadgot;turnedupSt.Vitus’sDance—found,asIexpected,thatIhadthattoo,—begantogetinterestedinmycase,anddeterminedtosiftittothebottom,andsostartedalphabetically—readupague,andlearntthatIwassickeningforit,andthattheacutestagewouldcommenceinaboutanotherfortnight.Bright’sdisease,Iwasrelievedtofind,Ihadonlyinamodifiedform,and,sofarasthatwasconcerned,Imightliveforyears.CholeraIhad,withseverecomplications;anddiphtheriaIseemedtohavebeenbornwith.Iploddedconscientiouslythroughthetwenty-sixletters,andtheonlymaladyIcouldconcludeIhadnotgotwashousemaid’sknee.

Ifeltratherhurtaboutthisatfirst;itseemedsomehowtobeasortofslight.Whyhadn’tIgothousemaid’sknee?Whythisinvidiousreservation?Afterawhile,however,lessgraspingfeelingsprevailed.IreflectedthatIhadeveryotherknownmaladyinthepharmacology,andIgrewlessselfish,anddeterminedtodowithouthousemaid’sknee.Gout,initsmostmalignantstage,itwouldappear,hadseizedmewithoutmybeingawareofit;andzymosisIhadevidentlybeensufferingwithfromboyhood.Therewerenomorediseasesafterzymosis,soIconcludedtherewasnothingelsethematterwithme.

Isatandpondered.IthoughtwhataninterestingcaseImustbefromamedicalpointofview,whatanacquisitionIshouldbetoaclass!Studentswouldhavenoneedto“walkthehospitals,”iftheyhadme.Iwasahospitalinmyself.Alltheyneeddowouldbetowalkroundme,and,afterthat,taketheirdiploma.

ThenIwonderedhowlongIhadtolive.Itriedtoexaminemyself.Ifeltmypulse.Icouldnotatfirstfeelanypulseatall.Then,allofasudden,itseemedtostartoff.Ipulledoutmywatchandtimedit.Imadeitahundredandforty-seventotheminute.Itriedtofeelmyheart.Icouldnotfeelmyheart.Ithadstoppedbeating.Ihavesincebeeninducedtocometotheopinionthatitmusthavebeenthereallthetime,andmusthavebeenbeating,butIcannotaccountforit.Ipattedmyselfallovermyfront,fromwhatIcallmywaistuptomyhead,andIwentabitroundeachside,andalittlewayuptheback.ButIcouldnotfeelorhearanything.Itriedtolookatmytongue.Istuckitoutasfaraseveritwouldgo,andIshutoneeye,andtriedtoexamineitwiththeother.Icouldonlyseethetip,andtheonlythingthatIcouldgainfromthatwastofeelmorecertainthanbeforethatIhadscarletfever.

Ihadwalkedintothatreading-roomahappy,healthyman.Icrawledoutadecrepitwreck.

Iwenttomymedicalman.Heisanoldchumofmine,andfeelsmypulse,andlooksatmytongue,andtalksabouttheweather,allfornothing,whenIfancyI’mill;soIthoughtIwoulddohimagoodturnbygoingtohimnow.“Whatadoctorwants,”Isaid,“ispractice.Heshallhaveme.Hewillgetmorepracticeoutofmethanoutofseventeenhundredofyourordinary,commonplacepatients,withonlyoneortwodiseaseseach.”SoIwentstraightupandsawhim,andhesaid:“Well,what’sthematterwithyou?”

Isaid:“Iwillnottakeupyourtime,dearboy,withtellingyouwhatisthematterwithme.Lifeisbrief,andyoumightpassawaybeforeIhadfinished.ButIwilltellyouwhatisnotthematterwithme.Ihavenotgothousemaid’sknee.WhyIhavenotgothousemaid’sknee,Icannottellyou;butthefactremainsthatIhavenotgotit.Everythingelse,however,Ihavegot.”

AndItoldhimhowIcametodiscoveritall.

Thenheopenedmeandlookeddownme,andclutchedholdofmywrist,andthenhehitmeoverthechestwhenIwasn’texpectingit—acowardlythingtodo,Icallit—andimmediatelyafterwardsbuttedmewiththesideofhishead.Afterthat,hesatdownandwroteoutaprescription,andfoldeditupandgaveitme,andIputitinmypocketandwentout.

Ididnotopenit.Itookittothenearestchemist’s,andhandeditin.Themanreadit,andthenhandeditback.

Hesaidhedidn’tkeepit.

Isaid:“Youareachemist?”

Hesaid:“Iamachemist.IfIwasaco-operativestoresandfamilyhotelcombined,Imightbeabletoobligeyou.Beingonlyachemisthampersme.”

Ireadtheprescription.Itran:

“1lb.beefsteak,with1pt.bitterbeerevery6hours.

1ten-milewalkeverymorning.

1bedat11sharpeverynight.

Anddon’tstuffupyourheadwiththingsyoudon’tunderstand.”

Ifollowedthedirections,withthehappyresult—speakingformyself—thatmylifewaspreserved,andisstillgoingon.

Inthepresentinstance,goingbacktotheliver-pillcircular,Ihadthesymptoms,beyondallmistake,thechiefamongthembeing“ageneraldisinclinationtoworkofanykind.”

WhatIsufferinthatwaynotonguecantell.FrommyearliestinfancyIhavebeenamartyrtoit.Asaboy,thediseasehardlyeverleftmeforaday.Theydidnotknow,then,thatitwasmyliver.Medicalsciencewasinafarlessadvancedstatethannow,andtheyusedtoputitdowntolaziness.

“Why,youskulkinglittledevil,you,”theywouldsay,“getupanddosomethingforyourliving,can’tyou?”—notknowing,ofcourse,thatIwasill.

Andtheydidn’tgivemepills;theygavemeclumpsonthesideofthehead.And,strangeasitmayappear,thoseclumpsontheheadoftencuredme—forthetimebeing.Ihaveknownoneclumpontheheadhavemoreeffectuponmyliver,andmakemefeelmoreanxioustogostraightawaythenandthere,anddowhatwaswantedtobedone,withoutfurtherlossoftime,thanawholeboxofpillsdoesnow.

Youknow,itoftenisso—thosesimple,old-fashionedremediesaresometimesmoreefficaciousthanallthedispensarystuff.

Wesatthereforhalf-an-hour,describingtoeachotherourmaladies.IexplainedtoGeorgeandWilliamHarrishowIfeltwhenIgotupinthemorning,andWilliamHarristoldushowhefeltwhenhewenttobed;andGeorgestoodonthehearth-rug,andgaveusacleverandpowerfulpieceofacting,illustrativeofhowhefeltinthenight.

Georgefanciesheisill;butthere’sneveranythingreallythematterwithhim,youknow.

Atthispoint,Mrs.Poppetsknockedatthedoortoknowifwewerereadyforsupper.Wesmiledsadlyatoneanother,andsaidwesupposedwehadbettertrytoswallowabit.Harrissaidalittlesomethinginone’sstomachoftenkeptthediseaseincheck;andMrs.Poppetsbroughtthetrayin,andwedrewuptothetable,andtoyedwithalittlesteakandonions,andsomerhubarbtart.

Imusthavebeenveryweakatthetime;becauseIknow,afterthefirsthalf-hourorso,Iseemedtotakenointerestwhateverinmyfood—anunusualthingforme—andIdidn’twantanycheese.

Thisdutydone,werefilledourglasses,litourpipes,andresumedthediscussionuponourstateofhealth.Whatitwasthatwasactuallythematterwithus,wenoneofuscouldbesureof;buttheunanimousopinionwasthatit—whateveritwas—hadbeenbroughtonbyoverwork.

“Whatwewantisrest,”saidHarris.

“Restandacompletechange,”saidGeorge.“Theoverstrainuponourbrainshasproducedageneraldepressionthroughoutthesystem.Changeofscene,andabsenceofthenecessityforthought,willrestorethementalequilibrium.”

Georgehasacousin,whoisusuallydescribedinthecharge-sheetasamedicalstudent,sothathenaturallyhasasomewhatfamily-physicianarywayofputtingthings.

IagreedwithGeorge,andsuggestedthatweshouldseekoutsomeretiredandold-worldspot,farfromthemaddingcrowd,anddreamawayasunnyweekamongitsdrowsylanes—somehalf-forgottennook,hiddenawaybythefairies,outofreachofthenoisyworld—somequaint-perchedeyrieonthecliffsofTime,fromwhencethesurgingwavesofthenineteenthcenturywouldsoundfar-offandfaint.

Harrissaidhethoughtitwouldbehumpy.HesaidheknewthesortofplaceImeant;whereeverybodywenttobedateighto’clock,andyoucouldn’tgetaRefereeforloveormoney,andhadtowalktenmilestogetyourbaccy.

“No,”saidHarris,“ifyouwantrestandchange,youcan’tbeataseatrip.”

Iobjectedtotheseatripstrongly.Aseatripdoesyougoodwhenyouaregoingtohaveacoupleofmonthsofit,but,foraweek,itiswicked.

YoustartonMondaywiththeideaimplantedinyourbosomthatyouaregoingtoenjoyyourself.Youwaveanairyadieutotheboysonshore,lightyourbiggestpipe,andswaggeraboutthedeckasifyouwereCaptainCook,SirFrancisDrake,andChristopherColumbusallrolledintoone.OnTuesday,youwishyouhadn’tcome.OnWednesday,Thursday,andFriday,youwishyouweredead.OnSaturday,youareabletoswallowalittlebeeftea,andtositupondeck,andanswerwithawan,sweetsmilewhenkind-heartedpeopleaskyouhowyoufeelnow.OnSunday,youbegintowalkaboutagain,andtakesolidfood.AndonMondaymorning,as,withyourbagandumbrellainyourhand,youstandbythegunwale,waitingtostepashore,youbegintothoroughlylikeit.

Iremembermybrother-in-lawgoingforashortseatriponce,forthebenefitofhishealth.HetookareturnberthfromLondontoLiverpool;andwhenhegottoLiverpool,theonlythinghewasanxiousaboutwastosellthatreturnticket.

Itwasofferedroundthetownatatremendousreduction,soIamtold;andwaseventuallysoldforeighteenpencetoabilious-lookingyouthwhohadjustbeenadvisedbyhismedicalmentogotothesea-side,andtakeexercise.

“Sea-side!”saidmybrother-in-law,pressingtheticketaffectionatelyintohishand;“why,you’llhaveenoughtolastyoualifetime;andasforexercise!why,you’llgetmoreexercise,sittingdownonthatship,thanyouwouldturningsomersaultsondryland.”

Hehimself—mybrother-in-law—camebackbytrain.HesaidtheNorth-WesternRailwaywashealthyenoughforhim.

AnotherfellowIknewwentforaweek’svoyageroundthecoast,and,beforetheystarted,thestewardcametohimtoaskwhetherhewouldpayforeachmealashehadit,orarrangebeforehandforthewholeseries.

Thestewardrecommendedthelattercourse,asitwouldcomesomuchcheaper.Hesaidtheywoulddohimforthewholeweekattwopoundsfive.Hesaidforbreakfasttherewouldbefish,followedbyagrill.Lunchwasatone,andconsistedoffourcourses.Dinneratsix—soup,fish,entree,joint,poultry,salad,sweets,cheese,anddessert.Andalightmeatsupperatten.

Myfriendthoughthewouldcloseonthetwo-pound-fivejob(heisaheartyeater),anddidso.

LunchcamejustastheywereoffSheerness.Hedidn’tfeelsohungryashethoughtheshould,andsocontentedhimselfwithabitofboiledbeef,andsomestrawberriesandcream.Heponderedagooddealduringtheafternoon,andatonetimeitseemedtohimthathehadbeeneatingnothingbutboiledbeefforweeks,andatothertimesitseemedthathemusthavebeenlivingonstrawberriesandcreamforyears.

Neitherthebeefnorthestrawberriesandcreamseemedhappy,either—seemeddiscontentedlike.

Atsix,theycameandtoldhimdinnerwasready.Theannouncementarousednoenthusiasmwithinhim,buthefeltthattherewassomeofthattwo-pound-fivetobeworkedoff,andheheldontoropesandthingsandwentdown.Apleasantodourofonionsandhotham,mingledwithfriedfishandgreens,greetedhimatthebottomoftheladder;andthenthestewardcameupwithanoilysmile,andsaid:“WhatcanIgetyou,sir?”

“Getmeoutofthis,”wasthefeeblereply.

Andtheyranhimupquick,andproppedhimup,overtoleeward,andlefthim.

Forthenextfourdayshelivedasimpleandblamelesslifeonthincaptain’sbiscuits(Imeanthatthebiscuitswerethin,notthecaptain)andsoda-water;but,towardsSaturday,hegotuppish,andwentinforweakteaanddrytoast,andonMondayhewasgorginghimselfonchickenbroth.HelefttheshiponTuesday,andasitsteamedawayfromthelanding-stagehegazedafteritregretfully.

“Thereshegoes,”hesaid,“thereshegoes,withtwopounds’worthoffoodonboardthatbelongstome,andthatIhaven’thad.”

Hesaidthatiftheyhadgivenhimanotherdayhethoughthecouldhaveputitstraight.

SoIsetmyfaceagainsttheseatrip.Not,asIexplained,uponmyownaccount.Iwasneverqueer.ButIwasafraidforGeorge.Georgesaidheshouldbeallright,andwouldratherlikeit,buthewouldadviseHarrisandmenottothinkofit,ashefeltsureweshouldbothbeill.Harrissaidthat,tohimself,itwasalwaysamysteryhowpeoplemanagedtogetsickatsea—saidhethoughtpeoplemustdoitonpurpose,fromaffectation—saidhehadoftenwishedtobe,buthadneverbeenable.

ThenhetoldusanecdotesofhowhehadgoneacrosstheChannelwhenitwassoroughthatthepassengershadtobetiedintotheirberths,andheandthecaptainweretheonlytwolivingsoulsonboardwhowerenotill.Sometimesitwasheandthesecondmatewhowerenotill;butitwasgenerallyheandoneotherman.Ifnotheandanotherman,thenitwashebyhimself.

Itisacuriousfact,butnobodyeverissea-sick—onland.Atsea,youcomeacrossplentyofpeopleverybadindeed,wholeboat-loadsofthem;butInevermetamanyet,onland,whohadeverknownatallwhatitwastobesea-sick.Wherethethousandsuponthousandsofbadsailorsthatswarmineveryshiphidethemselveswhentheyareonlandisamystery.

IfmostmenwerelikeafellowIsawontheYarmouthboatoneday,Icouldaccountfortheseemingenigmaeasilyenough.ItwasjustoffSouthendPier,Irecollect,andhewasleaningoutthroughoneoftheport-holesinaverydangerousposition.Iwentuptohimtotryandsavehim.

“Hi!comefurtherin,”Isaid,shakinghimbytheshoulder.“You’llbeoverboard.”

“Ohmy!IwishIwas,”wastheonlyanswerIcouldget;andthereIhadtoleavehim.

Threeweeksafterwards,Imethiminthecoffee-roomofaBathhotel,talkingabouthisvoyages,andexplaining,withenthusiasm,howhelovedthesea.

“Goodsailor!”herepliedinanswertoamildyoungman’senviousquery;“well,Ididfeelalittlequeeronce,Iconfess.ItwasoffCapeHorn.Thevesselwaswreckedthenextmorning.”

Isaid:“Weren’tyoualittleshakybySouthendPieroneday,andwantedtobethrownoverboard?”

“SouthendPier!”hereplied,withapuzzledexpression.

“Yes;goingdowntoYarmouth,lastFridaythreeweeks.”

“Oh,ah—yes,”heanswered,brighteningup;“Iremembernow.Ididhaveaheadachethatafternoon.Itwasthepickles,youknow.TheywerethemostdisgracefulpicklesIevertastedinarespectableboat.Didyouhaveany?”

Formyself,Ihavediscoveredanexcellentpreventiveagainstsea-sickness,inbalancingmyself.Youstandinthecentreofthedeck,and,astheshipheavesandpitches,youmoveyourbodyabout,soastokeepitalwaysstraight.Whenthefrontoftheshiprises,youleanforward,tillthedeckalmosttouchesyournose;andwhenitsbackendgetsup,youleanbackwards.Thisisallverywellforanhourortwo;butyoucan’tbalanceyourselfforaweek.

Georgesaid:“Let’sgouptheriver.”

Hesaidweshouldhavefreshair,exerciseandquiet;theconstantchangeofscenewouldoccupyourminds(includingwhattherewasofHarris’s);andthehardworkwouldgiveusagoodappetite,andmakeussleepwell.

Harrissaidhedidn’tthinkGeorgeoughttodoanythingthatwouldhaveatendencytomakehimsleepierthanhealwayswas,asitmightbedangerous.Hesaidhedidn’tverywellunderstandhowGeorgewasgoingtosleepanymorethanhedidnow,seeingthattherewereonlytwenty-fourhoursineachday,summerandwinteralike;butthoughtthatifhedidsleepanymore,hemightjustaswellbedead,andsosavehisboardandlodging.

Harrissaid,however,thattheriverwouldsuithimtoa“T.”Idon’tknowwhata“T”is(exceptasixpennyone,whichincludesbread-and-butterandcakeadlib.,andischeapattheprice,ifyouhaven’thadanydinner).Itseemstosuiteverybody,however,whichisgreatlytoitscredit.

Itsuitedmetoa“T”too,andHarrisandIbothsaiditwasagoodideaofGeorge’s;andwesaiditinatonethatseemedtosomehowimplythatweweresurprisedthatGeorgeshouldhavecomeoutsosensible.

TheonlyonewhowasnotstruckwiththesuggestionwasMontmorency.Heneverdidcarefortheriver,didMontmorency.

“It’sallverywellforyoufellows,”hesays;“youlikeit,butIdon’t.There’snothingformetodo.Sceneryisnotinmyline,andIdon’tsmoke.IfIseearat,youwon’tstop;andifIgotosleep,yougetfoolingaboutwiththeboat,andslopmeoverboard.Ifyouaskme,Icallthewholethingballyfoolishness.”

Wewerethreetoone,however,andthemotionwascarried.

CHAPTER2

Plansdiscussed.—Pleasuresof“camping-out,”onfinenights.—Ditto,wetnights.—Compromisedecidedon.—Montmorency,firstimpressionsof.—Fearslestheistoogoodforthisworld,fearssubsequentlydismissedasgroundless.—Meetingadjourns.

Wepulledoutthemaps,anddiscussedplans.

WearrangedtostartonthefollowingSaturdayfromKingston.HarrisandIwouldgodowninthemorning,andtaketheboatuptoChertsey,andGeorge,whowouldnotbeabletogetawayfromtheCitytilltheafternoon(Georgegoestosleepatabankfromtentofoureachday,exceptSaturdays,whentheywakehimupandputhimoutsideattwo),wouldmeetusthere.

Shouldwe“campout”orsleepatinns?

GeorgeandIwereforcampingout.Wesaiditwouldbesowildandfree,sopatriarchallike.

Slowlythegoldenmemoryofthedeadsunfadesfromtheheartsofthecold,sadclouds.Silent,likesorrowingchildren,thebirdshaveceasedtheirsong,andonlythemoorhen’splaintivecryandtheharshcroakofthecorncrakestirstheawedhusharoundthecouchofwaters,wherethedyingdaybreathesoutherlast.

Fromthedimwoodsoneitherbank,Night’sghostlyarmy,thegreyshadows,creepoutwithnoiselesstreadtochaseawaythelingeringrear-guardofthelight,andpass,withnoiseless,unseenfeet,abovethewavingriver-grass,andthroughthesighingrushes;andNight,uponhersombrethrone,foldsherblackwingsabovethedarkeningworld,and,fromherphantompalace,litbythepalestars,reignsinstillness.

Thenwerunourlittleboatintosomequietnook,andthetentispitched,andthefrugalsuppercookedandeaten.Thenthebigpipesarefilledandlighted,andthepleasantchatgoesroundinmusicalundertone;while,inthepausesofourtalk,theriver,playingroundtheboat,prattlesstrangeoldtalesandsecrets,singslowtheoldchild’ssongthatithassungsomanythousandyears—willsingsomanythousandyearstocome,beforeitsvoicegrowsharshandold—asongthatwe,whohavelearnttoloveitschangingface,whohavesooftennestledonitsyieldingbosom,think,somehow,weunderstand,thoughwecouldnottellyouinmerewordsthestorythatwelistento.

Andwesitthere,byitsmargin,whilethemoon,wholovesittoo,stoopsdowntokissitwithasister’skiss,andthrowshersilverarmsarounditclingingly;andwewatchitasitflows,eversinging,everwhispering,outtomeetitsking,thesea—tillourvoicesdieawayinsilence,andthepipesgoout—tillwe,common-place,everydayyoungmenenough,feelstrangelyfullofthoughts,halfsad,halfsweet,anddonotcareorwanttospeak—tillwelaugh,and,rising,knocktheashesfromourburnt-outpipes,andsay“Good-night,”and,lulledbythelappingwaterandtherustlingtrees,wefallasleepbeneaththegreat,stillstars,anddreamthattheworldisyoungagain—youngandsweetassheusedtobeerethecenturiesoffretandcarehadfurrowedherfairface,ereherchildren’ssinsandfollieshadmadeoldherlovingheart—sweetasshewasinthosebygonedayswhen,anew-mademother,shenursedus,herchildren,uponherowndeepbreast—erethewilesofpaintedcivilizationhadluredusawayfromherfondarms,andthepoisonedsneersofartificialityhadmadeusashamedofthesimplelifeweledwithher,andthesimple,statelyhomewheremankindwasbornsomanythousandsyearsago.

Harrissaid:“Howaboutwhenitrained?”

YoucanneverrouseHarris.ThereisnopoetryaboutHarris—nowildyearningfortheunattainable.Harrisnever“weeps,heknowsnotwhy.”IfHarris’seyesfillwithtears,youcanbetitisbecauseHarrishasbeeneatingrawonions,orhasputtoomuchWorcesteroverhischop.

Ifyouweretostandatnightbythesea-shorewithHarris,andsay:

“Hark!doyounothear?Isitbutthemermaidssingingdeepbelowthewavingwaters;orsadspirits,chantingdirgesforwhitecorpses,heldbyseaweed?”Harriswouldtakeyoubythearm,andsay:“Iknowwhatitis,oldman;you’vegotachill.Now,youcomealongwithme.Iknowaplaceroundthecornerhere,whereyoucangetadropofthefinestScotchwhiskyyouevertasted—putyourightinlessthannotime.”

Harrisalwaysdoesknowaplaceroundthecornerwhereyoucangetsomethingbrilliantinthedrinkingline.IbelievethatifyoumetHarrisupinParadise(supposingsuchathinglikely),hewouldimmediatelygreetyouwith:“Sogladyou’vecome,oldfellow;I’vefoundaniceplaceroundthecornerhere,whereyoucangetsomereallyfirst-classnectar.”

Inthepresentinstance,however,asregardedthecampingout,hispracticalviewofthemattercameasaverytimelyhint.Campingoutinrainyweatherisnotpleasant.

Itisevening.Youarewetthrough,andthereisagoodtwoinchesofwaterintheboat,andallthethingsaredamp.Youfindaplaceonthebanksthatisnotquitesopuddlyasotherplacesyouhaveseen,andyoulandandlugoutthetent,andtwoofyouproceedtofixit.

Itissoakedandheavy,anditflopsabout,andtumblesdownonyou,andclingsroundyourheadandmakesyoumad.Therainispouringsteadilydownallthetime.Itisdifficultenoughtofixatentindryweather:inwet,thetaskbecomesherculean.Insteadofhelpingyou,itseemstoyouthattheothermanissimplyplayingthefool.Justasyougetyoursidebeautifullyfixed,hegivesitahoistfromhisend,andspoilsitall.

“Here!whatareyouupto?”youcallout.

“Whatareyouupto?”heretorts;“leggo,can’tyou?”

“Don’tpullit;you’vegotitallwrong,youstupidass!”youshout.

“No,Ihaven’t,”heyellsback;“letgoyourside!”

“Itellyouyou’vegotitallwrong!”youroar,wishingthatyoucouldgetathim;andyougiveyourropesalugthatpullsallhispegsout.

“Ah,theballyidiot!”youhearhimmuttertohimself;andthencomesasavagehaul,andawaygoesyourside.Youlaydownthemalletandstarttogoroundandtellhimwhatyouthinkaboutthewholebusiness,and,atthesametime,hestartsroundinthesamedirectiontocomeandexplainhisviewstoyou.Andyoufolloweachotherroundandround,swearingatoneanother,untilthetenttumblesdowninaheap,andleavesyoulookingateachotheracrossitsruins,whenyoubothindignantlyexclaim,inthesamebreath:“Thereyouare!whatdidItellyou?”

Meanwhilethethirdman,whohasbeenbalingouttheboat,andwhohasspilledthewaterdownhissleeve,andhasbeencursingawaytohimselfsteadilyforthelasttenminutes,wantstoknowwhatthethunderingblazesyou’replayingat,andwhytheblarmedtentisn’tupyet.

Atlast,somehoworother,itdoesgetup,andyoulandthethings.Itishopelessattemptingtomakeawoodfire,soyoulightthemethylatedspiritstove,andcrowdroundthat.

Rainwateristhechiefarticleofdietatsupper.Thebreadistwo-thirdsrainwater,thebeefsteak-pieisexceedinglyrichinit,andthejam,andthebutter,andthesalt,andthecoffeehaveallcombinedwithittomakesoup.

Aftersupper,youfindyourtobaccoisdamp,andyoucannotsmoke.Luckilyyouhaveabottleofthestuffthatcheersandinebriates,iftakeninproperquantity,andthisrestorestoyousufficientinterestinlifetoinduceyoutogotobed.

Thereyoudreamthatanelephanthassuddenlysatdownonyourchest,andthatthevolcanohasexplodedandthrownyoudowntothebottomofthesea—theelephantstillsleepingpeacefullyonyourbosom.Youwakeupandgrasptheideathatsomethingterriblereallyhashappened.Yourfirstimpressionisthattheendoftheworldhascome;andthenyouthinkthatthiscannotbe,andthatitisthievesandmurderers,orelsefire,andthisopinionyouexpressintheusualmethod.Nohelpcomes,however,andallyouknowisthatthousandsofpeoplearekickingyou,andyouarebeingsmothered.

Somebodyelseseemsintrouble,too.Youcanhearhisfaintcriescomingfromunderneathyourbed.Determining,atallevents,tosellyourlifedearly,youstrugglefrantically,hittingoutrightandleftwitharmsandlegs,andyellinglustilythewhile,andatlastsomethinggivesway,andyoufindyourheadinthefreshair.Twofeetoff,youdimlyobserveahalf-dressedruffian,waitingtokillyou,andyouarepreparingforalife-and-deathstrugglewithhim,whenitbeginstodawnuponyouthatit’sJim.

“Oh,it’syou,isit?”hesays,recognisingyouatthesamemoment.

“Yes,”youanswer,rubbingyoureyes;“what’shappened?”

“Ballytent’sblowndown,Ithink,”hesays.“Where’sBill?”

Thenyoubothraiseupyourvoicesandshoutfor“Bill!”andthegroundbeneathyouheavesandrocks,andthemuffledvoicethatyouheardbeforerepliesfromouttheruin:“Getoffmyhead,can’tyou?”

AndBillstrugglesout,amuddy,trampledwreck,andinanunnecessarilyaggressivemood—hebeingundertheevidentbeliefthatthewholethinghasbeendoneonpurpose.

Inthemorningyouareallthreespeechless,owingtohavingcaughtseverecoldsinthenight;youalsofeelveryquarrelsome,andyouswearateachotherinhoarsewhispersduringthewholeofbreakfasttime.

Wethereforedecidedthatwewouldsleepoutonfinenights;andhotelit,andinnit,andpub.it,likerespectablefolks,whenitwaswet,orwhenwefeltinclinedforachange.

Montmorencyhailedthiscompromisewithmuchapproval.Hedoesnotrevelinromanticsolitude.Givehimsomethingnoisy;andifatriflelow,somuchthejollier.TolookatMontmorencyyouwouldimaginethathewasanangelsentupontheearth,forsomereasonwithheldfrommankind,intheshapeofasmallfox-terrier.ThereisasortofOh-what-a-wicked-world-this-is-and-how-I-wish-I-could-do-something-to-make-it-better-and-noblerexpressionaboutMontmorencythathasbeenknowntobringthetearsintotheeyesofpiousoldladiesandgentlemen.

Whenfirsthecametoliveatmyexpense,IneverthoughtIshouldbeabletogethimtostoplong.Iusedtositdownandlookathim,ashesatontherugandlookedupatme,andthink:“Oh,thatdogwillneverlive.Hewillbesnatcheduptothebrightskiesinachariot,thatiswhatwillhappentohim.”

But,whenIhadpaidforaboutadozenchickensthathehadkilled;andhaddraggedhim,growlingandkicking,bythescruffofhisneck,outofahundredandfourteenstreetfights;andhadhadadeadcatbroughtroundformyinspectionbyaniratefemale,whocalledmeamurderer;andhadbeensummonedbythemannextdoorbutoneforhavingaferociousdogatlarge,thathadkepthimpinnedupinhisowntool-shed,afraidtoventurehisnoseoutsidethedoorforovertwohoursonacoldnight;andhadlearnedthatthegardener,unknowntomyself,hadwonthirtyshillingsbybackinghimtokillratsagainsttime,thenIbegantothinkthatmaybethey’dlethimremainonearthforabitlonger,afterall.

Tohangaboutastable,andcollectagangofthemostdisreputabledogstobefoundinthetown,andleadthemouttomarchroundtheslumstofightotherdisreputabledogs,isMontmorency’sideaof“life;”andso,asIbeforeobserved,hegavetothesuggestionofinns,andpubs.,andhotelshismostemphaticapprobation.

Havingthussettledthesleepingarrangementstothesatisfactionofallfourofus,theonlythinglefttodiscusswaswhatweshouldtakewithus;andthiswehadbeguntoargue,whenHarrissaidhe’dhadenoughoratoryforonenight,andproposedthatweshouldgooutandhaveasmile,sayingthathehadfoundaplace,roundbythesquare,whereyoucouldreallygetadropofIrishworthdrinking.

Georgesaidhefeltthirsty(IneverknewGeorgewhenhedidn’t);and,asIhadapresentimentthatalittlewhisky,warm,withasliceoflemon,woulddomycomplaintgood,thedebatewas,bycommonassent,adjournedtothefollowingnight;andtheassemblyputonitshatsandwentout.

CHAPTER3

Arrangementssettled.—Harris’smethodofdoingwork.—Howtheelderly,family-manputsupapicture.—Georgemakesasensible,remark.—Delightsofearlymorningbathing.—Provisionsforgettingupset.

So,onthefollowingevening,weagainassembled,todiscussandarrangeourplans.Harrissaid:“Now,thefirstthingtosettleiswhattotakewithus.Now,yougetabitofpaperandwritedown,J.,andyougetthegrocerycatalogue,George,andsomebodygivemeabitofpencil,andthenI’llmakeoutalist.”

That’sHarrisallover—soreadytotaketheburdenofeverythinghimself,andputitonthebacksofotherpeople.

HealwaysremindsmeofmypoorUnclePodger.Youneversawsuchacommotionupanddownahouse,inallyourlife,aswhenmyUnclePodgerundertooktodoajob.Apicturewouldhavecomehomefromtheframe-maker’s,andbestandinginthedining-room,waitingtobeputup;andAuntPodgerwouldaskwhatwastobedonewithit,andUnclePodgerwouldsay:“Oh,youleavethattome.Don’tyou,anyofyou,worryyourselvesaboutthat.I’lldoallthat.”

Andthenhewouldtakeoffhiscoat,andbegin.Hewouldsendthegirloutforsixpen’orthofnails,andthenoneoftheboysafterhertotellherwhatsizetoget;and,fromthat,hewouldgraduallyworkdown,andstartthewholehouse.

“Nowyougoandgetmemyhammer,Will,”hewouldshout;“andyoubringmetherule,Tom;andIshallwantthestep-ladder,andIhadbetterhaveakitchen-chair,too;and,Jim!yourunroundtoMr.Goggles,andtellhim,‘Pa’skindregards,andhopeshisleg’sbetter;andwillhelendhimhisspirit-level?’Anddon’tyougo,Maria,becauseIshallwantsomebodytoholdmethelight;andwhenthegirlcomesback,shemustgooutagainforabitofpicture-cord;andTom!—where’sTom?—Tom,youcomehere;Ishallwantyoutohandmeupthepicture.”

Andthenhewouldliftupthepicture,anddropit,anditwouldcomeoutoftheframe,andhewouldtrytosavetheglass,andcuthimself;andthenhewouldspringroundtheroom,lookingforhishandkerchief.Hecouldnotfindhishandkerchief,becauseitwasinthepocketofthecoathehadtakenoff,andhedidnotknowwherehehadputthecoat,andallthehousehadtoleaveofflookingforhistools,andstartlookingforhiscoat;whilehewoulddanceroundandhinderthem.

“Doesn’tanybodyinthewholehouseknowwheremycoatis?Inevercameacrosssuchasetinallmylife—uponmywordIdidn’t.Sixofyou!—andyoucan’tfindacoatthatIputdownnotfiveminutesago!Well,ofallthe—”

Thenhe’dgetup,andfindthathehadbeensittingonit,andwouldcallout:“Oh,youcangiveitup!I’vefounditmyselfnow.Mightjustaswellaskthecattofindanythingasexpectyoupeopletofindit.”

And,whenhalfanhourhadbeenspentintyinguphisfinger,andanewglasshadbeengot,andthetools,andtheladder,andthechair,andthecandlehadbeenbrought,hewouldhaveanothergo,thewholefamily,includingthegirlandthecharwoman,standingroundinasemi-circle,readytohelp.Twopeoplewouldhavetoholdthechair,andathirdwouldhelphimuponit,andholdhimthere,andafourthwouldhandhimanail,andafifthwouldpasshimupthehammer,andhewouldtakeholdofthenail,anddropit.

“There!”hewouldsay,inaninjuredtone,“nowthenail’sgone.”

Andwewouldallhavetogodownonourkneesandgrovelforit,whilehewouldstandonthechair,andgrunt,andwanttoknowifhewastobekeptthere