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; youve 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 tastedput 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 youve come, old fellow; Ive 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, cant you?
Dont pull it; youve got it all wrong, you stupid ass! you shout.
No, I havent, he yells back; let go your side!
I tell you youve 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, then 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 youre playing at, and why the blarmed tent isnt 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.
|Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.|