Mrs P. arouses us

Mrs P. arouses us—George, the sluggard—The `weather forecast' swindle—Our luggage—Depravity of the small boy—The people gather round us—We drive off in great style, and arrive at Waterloo—Innocence of South Western Officials concerning such wordly things as trains—We are afloat, afloat in an open boat.

It was Mrs Poppets that woke me up next morning.

She said: ‘Do you know that it’s nearly nine o’clock, sir?’

‘Nine o’what?’ I cried, starting up.

‘Nine o’clock,’ she replied, through the keyhole. ‘I thought you was a-over-sleeping yourselves.’

I woke Harris, and told him. He said:

‘I thought you wanted to get up at six?’

‘So I did,’ I answered; ‘why didn’t you wake me?’

‘How could I wake you, when you didn’t wake me?’ he retorted. ‘Now we shan’t get on the water till after twelve. I wonder you take the trouble to get up at all.’

‘Um,’ I replied, ‘lucky for you that I do. If I hadn’t woke you, you’d have lain there for the whole fortnight.’

We snarled at one another in this strain for the next few minutes, when we were interrupted by a defiant snore from George. It reminded us, for the first time since our being called, of his existence. There he lay—the man who had wanted to know what time he should wake us—on his back, with his mouth wide open, and his knees stuck up.

I don’t know why it should be, I am sure, but the sight of another man asleep in bed when I am up, maddens me. It seems to me so shocking to see the precious hours of a man’s life—the priceless moments that will never come back to him again—being wasted in mere brutish sleep.

There was George, throwing away in hideous sloth the inestimable gift of time; his valuable life, every second of which he would have to account for hereafter, passing away from him, unused. He might have been up stuffing himself with eggs and bacon, irritating the dog, or flirting with the slavey, instead of sprawling there, sunk in soul-clogging oblivion.

It was a terrible thought. Harris and I appeared to be struck by it at the same instant. We determined to save him, and, in this noble resolve, our own dispute was forgotten. We flew across and slung the clothes off him, and Harris landed him one with a slipper, and I shouted in his ear, and he awoke.

‘Wassermarrer?’ he observed, sitting up.

‘Get up, you fat-headed chunk!’ roared Harris. ‘It’s quarter to ten.’

‘What!’ he shrieked, jumping out of bed into the bath; ‘—— Who the thunder put this thing here?’

We told him he must have been a fool not to see the bath.

We finished dressing, and, when it came to the extras, we remembered that we had packed the toothbrushes and the brush and comb (that toothbrush of mine will be the death of me, I know), and we had to go downstairs, and fish them out of the bag. And when we had done that George wanted the shaving tackle. We told him that he would have to go without shaving that morning, as we weren’t going to unpack that bag again for him, nor for anyone like him.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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