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书虫四级《三怪客泛舟记》:第十六章 返航归家

所属教程:书虫四级 三怪客泛舟记




Chapter16 The journey home

第十六章 返航归家

We left Oxford on the third day, to go back home. The weather changed, and, when we left Oxford, it was raining. It continued to rain, not heavily, but all the time.


When the sun is shining, the river turns everything into a golden dream. But when it rains, the river is brown and miserable.


It rained all day, and, at first, we pretended we were enjoying it. We said that it was a nice change. We added that it was good to see the river in all kinds of weather. Harris and I sang a song about how good it was to be free and to be able to enjoy the sun and the rain.


George thought it was much more serious, and he put up the umbrella.


Before lunch, he put the cover on the boat, and it stayed there all afternoon. We just left a little hole, so that we could see out. We stopped for the night, just before Day's lock, and I cannot say that we spent a happy evening.


The rain came down without stopping. Everything in the boat was wet. Supper was not a success. We were all tired of cold meat, and we talked about our favourite foods. When we passed the cold meat to Montmorency, he refused our offer. He went and sat at the other end of the boat, alone.


We played cards after supper. We played for about an hour and a half, and George won ten pence. Harris and I lost five pence each. We decided to stop then, because the game was getting too exciting.


After that we had some whisky, and we sat and talked. George told us about a man he had known. This man had slept on the river, in a wet boat, like ours, and it had made him very ill. Ten days later, the poor man died, in great pain. George said he was quite a young man, so it was very sad.


Then Harris remembered one of his friends who had camped out on a wet night. When he woke up the next morning, he was in great pain, and he was never able to walk again.


So then, of course, we began to talk about other illnesses. Harris said it would be very serious if one of us became ill because we were a long way from a doctor.


After this we really needed something to make us feel a bit happier, so George sang to us. That really made us cry.


After that we could think of nothing else to do, so we went to bed. Well. we undressed and we lay down in the boat. We tried to go to sleep but it was four hours before we did so. At five o'clock we all woke up again, so we got up and had breakfast.


The second day was the same as the first. It rained all day. We sat in our raincoats under the cover, and we travelled slowly along the river. I did try to sing again, but it was not a success.


However, we all agreed that we should continue our trip. We had come to enjoy ourselves for a fortnight on the river, and we were going to finish the trip. If it killed us-well, that would be a sad thing for our friends and families, but we would not give in to the weather.


'It's only two more days,' Harris said, 'and we are young and strong. Perhaps we'll be all right.'


At about four o'clock we began to discuss our plans for that evening. We were a little past Goring then, and we decided to go on to Pangbourne and spend the night there.


'Another happy evening,' George said.


We sat and thought about it. We would be in Pangbourne by five o'clock. We would finish our dinner by half past six. After that we could walk about the village in the rain, or we could sit in a dark little pub.


'It would be more interesting to go to the Alhambra Theatre in London,' Harris said, and he looked out at the sky.


'With supper afterwards at that little French restaurant,' I added.


'Yes, I'm almost sorry we've decided to stay on the boat,' Harris said. Then we were silent for a time.


'I know we've decided to stay and die on this boat,' George said,' but there is a train which leaves Pangbourne soon after five o'clock. We could be in London in time to get something to eat, and afterwards we could go on to the theatre.'


Nobody said a word. We looked at each other, and we all felt badly about it. We did not speak, but we got out the bag. We looked up the river, and down the river. There was nobody there.


Twenty minutes later, three figures and an ashamed dog quietly left the nearest boathouse, and went towards the station.


We had told the boatman a lie. We had asked him to take care of the boat for us until nine o'clock the next morning. We said we would come back for it then. However, if (only' if') something happened to stop us from coming back, then we would write to him.


We reached Paddington station at seven o'clock, and we drove straight to the restaurant. We had a light meal and left Montmorency there. Then we went to the theatre. For some reason everybody stared at us, and this made us very happy. Perhaps it was because of our interesting clothes, or because we looked so healthy.


Afterwards we went back to the restaurant, where supper was waiting for us.


We really did enjoy that supper. For ten days we had lived on cold meat and bread, and not much else. We ate and drank without speaking, and then we sat back and rested. We felt good, and thoughtful, and kind.


Then Harris, who was sitting next to the window, pulled back the curtain and looked out into the street. It was still raining, and it was dark and very wet. One or two people hurried past. The rain was running from their umbrellas, and the women were holding up their long skirts.


Harris picked up his glass.


'Well,' he said,' we've had a good trip, and I'm very grateful to Old Father Thames. But I think we were right to give up and come back. Here's to Three Men well out of a Boat!'


And Montmorency stood on his back legs in front of the window, looked out into the night, and gave a short bark to show that he agreed.


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