Three Men on the Bummel | Page 1 of 86

Author: Jerome K. Jerome | Submitted by: Maria Garcia | 5293 Views | Add a Review

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Three Men on the Bummel

By

Jerome K. Jerome

THREE MEN ON THE BUMMEL

CHAPTER I

Three men need change—Anecdote showing evil result of deception—Moral cowardice of George—Harris has ideas—Yarn of the Ancient Mariner and the Inexperienced Yachtsman—A hearty crew—Danger of sailing when the wind is off the land—Impossibility of sailing when the wind is off the sea—The argumentativeness of Ethelbertha—The dampness of the river—Harris suggests a bicycle tour—George thinks of the wind—Harris suggests the Black Forest—George thinks of the hills—Plan adopted by Harris for ascent of hills—Interruption by Mrs. Harris.

“What we want,” said Harris, “is a change.”

At this moment the door opened, and Mrs. Harris put her head in to say that Ethelbertha had sent her to remind me that we must not be late getting home

because of Clarence. Ethelbertha, I am inclined to think, is unnecessarily nervous about the children. As a matter of fact, there was nothing wrong with the child whatever. He had been out with his aunt that morning; and if he looks wistfully at a pastrycook’s window she takes him inside and buys him cream buns and “maids-of-honour” until he insists that he has had enough, and politely, but firmly, refuses to eat another anything. Then, of course, he wants only one helping of pudding at lunch, and Ethelbertha thinks he is sickening for something. Mrs. Harris added that it would be as well for us to come upstairs soon, on our own account also, as otherwise we should miss Muriel’s rendering of “The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party,” out of Alice in Wonderland.

Muriel is Harris’s second, age eight: she is a bright, intelligent child; but I prefer her myself in serious pieces. We said we would finish our cigarettes and follow almost immediately; we also begged her not to let Muriel begin until we arrived. She promised to hold the child back as long as possible, and went. Harris, as soon as the door was closed, resumed his interrupted sentence.

“You know what I mean,” he said, “a complete change.”

The question was how to get it.

George suggested “business.” It was the sort of suggestion George would make. A bachelor thinks a married woman doesn’t know enough to get out of the way of a steam-roller. I knew a young fellow once, an engineer, who thought he would go to Vienna “on business.” His wife wanted to know “what business?” He told her it would be his duty to visit the mines in the neighbourhood of the Austrian capital, and to make reports. She said she would go with him; she was that sort of woman. He tried to dissuade her: he told her that a mine was no place for a beautiful woman. She said she felt that herself, and that therefore she did not intend to accompany him down the shafts; she would see him off in the morning, and then amuse herself until his return, looking round the Vienna shops, and buying a few things she might want. Having started the idea, he did not see very well how to get out of it; and for ten long summer days he did visit the mines in the neighbourhood of Vienna, and in the evening wrote reports about them, which she posted for him to his firm, who didn’t want them.

I should be grieved to think that either Ethelbertha or Mrs. Harris belonged to that class of wife, but it is as well not to overdo “business”—it should be kept for cases of real emergency.

“No,” I said, “the thing is to be frank and manly. I shall tell Ethelbertha that I have come to the conclusion a man never values happiness that is always with him. I shall tell her that, for the sake of learning to appreciate my own

advantages as I know they should be appreciated, I intend to tear myself away from her and the children for at least three weeks. I shall tell her,” I continued, turning to Harris, “that it is you who have shown me my duty in this respect; that it is to you we shall owe—”

Harris put down his glass rather hurriedly.

“If you don’t mind, old man,” he interrupted, “I’d really rather you didn’t.

She’ll talk it over with my wife, and—well, I should not be happy, taking credit that I do not deserve.”

“But you do deserve it,” I insisted; “it was your suggestion.”

“It was you gave me the idea,” interrupted Harris again. “You know you said it was a mistake for a man to get into a groove, and that unbroken domesticity cloyed the brain.”

“I was speaking generally,” I explained.

“It struck me as very apt,” said Harris. “I thought of repeating it to Clara; she has a great opinion of your sense, I know. I am sure that if—”

“We won’t risk it,” I interrupted, in my turn; “it is a delicate matter, and I see a way out of it. We will say George suggested the idea.

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Alice
Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

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