waited both as good as gold. We could see the canvas being violently jerked and tossed about, pretty considerably; but we supposed this was part of the method, and did not interfere.
We also heard much smothered language coming from underneath it, and we guessed that they were finding the job rather troublesome, and concluded that we would wait until things had got a little simpler before we joined in.
We waited some time, but matters seemed to get only more and more involved, until, at last, Georges head came wriggling out over the side of the boat, and spoke up.
Give us a hand here, cant you, you cuckoo; standing there like a stuffed mummy, when you see we are both being suffocated, you dummy!
I never could withstand an appeal for help, so I went and undid them; not before it was time, either, for Harris was nearly black in the face.
It took us half an hours hard labour, after that, before it was properly up, and then we cleared the decks, and got out supper. We put the kettle on to boil, up in the nose of the boat, and went down to the stern and pretended to take no notice of it, but set to work to get the other things out.
That is the only way to get a kettle to boil up the river. If it sees that you are waiting for it and are anxious, it will never even sing. You have to go away and begin your meal, as if you were not going to have any tea at all. You must not even look round at it. Then you will soon hear it sputtering away, mad to be made into tea.
It is a good plan, too, if you are in a great hurry, to talk very loudly to each other about how you dont need any tea, and are not going to have any. You get near the kettle, so that it can overhear you, and then you shout out: I dont want any tea; do you, George? to which George shouts back: Oh no, I dont like tea; well have lemonade insteadteas so indigestible. Upon which the kettle boils over, and puts the stove out.
We adopted this harmless bit of trickery, and the result was that, by the time everything else was ready, the tea was waiting. Then we lit the lantern and squatted down to supper.
We wanted that supper.
For five-and-thirty minutes not a sound was heard throughout the length and breadth of that boat, save the clank of cutlery and crockery, and the steady grinding of four sets of molars. At the end of five-and- thirty minutes, Harris said Ah! and took his left leg out from under him and put his right one there instead.
Five minutes afterwards, George said Ah! too, and threw his plate out on the bank; and, three minutes later than that, Montmorency gave the first sign of contentment he had exhibited since we had started, and rolled over on his side, and spread his legs out; and then I said Ah! and bent my head back, and bumped it against one of the hoops, but I did not mind it. I did not even swear.
How good one feels when one is fullhow satisfied with ourselves and with the world! People who have tried it, tell me that a clear conscience makes you very happy and contented; but a full stomach does the business quite as well, and is cheaper, and more easily obtained. One feels so forgiving and generous after a substantial and well-digested mealso noble-minded, so kindly hearted.
It is very strange, this domination of our intellect by our digestive organs. We cannot work, we cannot think, unless our stomach will so. It dictates to us our emotions, our passions. After eggs and bacon, it says: Work! After beefsteak and porter, it says: Sleep! After a cup of tea (two spoonfuls for each cup, and dont let it stand more than three minutes), it says to the brain: Now, rise, and show your strength.
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