We looked at the maps and we discussed plans. We decided to start from Kingston the following Saturday.
'Harris, you and I will go to get the boat at Kingston,' I said. 'Then we'll take it up the river to Chertsey, I where we'll meet George.'
George works in the City until the afternoon. (George goes to sleep at a bank from ten o'clock to four o'clock, Monday to Friday, except on Saturdays. On Saturdays, they wake him up at two o'clock, and put him outside the door.)
The next problem was where to sleep at night. George and I didn't want to sleep at inns. We wanted to camp out in the middle of nature.
'How beautiful,' we said, 'sleeping in the country, under the stars, by the river!'
'I can imagine it all!' I said. There is a golden sunset. The river is moving along quietly. The forest is full of trees and birds. The grass around us is green, and little flowers grow here and there.
'Soon it is dark. We row I our boat into a quiet corner on the river. We put up our tent and cook a simple, healthy meal. We all sit around a warm fire and eat our meal.
'We look up and see the moon and the stars. Then we sit in silence. How wonderful this is! We go to bed, and then we dream under the stars! We dream that the world is young again.'
As we all sat there dreaming, Harris said, 'What happens if it rains?'
There is nothing poetic about Harris. He is not romantic at all. If Harris ever has tears in his eyes, he is eating raw onions. If you stand by the sea with Harris and say, 'Listen to the sounds of the sea. Can you hear spirits singing sad songs — the songs of those who died in these waters?' he will take you by the arm and say, 'I understand, my friend. You're not feeling well. Now, come with me. I know a place around the corner here, where you can get some good whisky. You'll feel better soon.' Harris always knows where you can find a good whisky.
Harris was right about camping out when it rains. It's not nice at all. Just imagine: it is evening. You are all wet. There is water in the boat and all your things are wet. You find a place on the river bank. You get out of the boat and pull out the tent. Now two of you try to put it up.
The tent is wet and very heavy. It is raining hard. The wind is blowing. The wet tent flies about. It falls on your head and makes you angry. It is difficult to put up a tent in good weather. It is impossible to do so in wet weather. The other man is of no help at all. He is a complete fool!
The wind continues to blow and the rain continues to fall. You look at the other man and say, 'What are you doing with your side of the tent?'
'What are you doing?' he answers.
'Don't pull on your side!' you shout.
'I didn't pull. You pulled!' he shouts.
'You're doing everything wrong!' you shout.
'What?' he shouts, 'I can't hear you.'
'You don't know how to put up a tent! We'll never put up this tent,' you say.
At this point, the third man has pulled the boat out of the water. He is completely wet. He wants to know why the tent isn't up yet. Everyone is wet and angry.
Harris was right. Camping out in rainy weather is not a good idea. We decided to camp out in good weather and sleep at an inn or a hotel in bad weather. Montmorency agreed with this decision. He likes inns and hotels.
Montmorency doesn't like the quiet life. He prefers noise and confusion. He looks like a good, well-behaved dog. But he's not. When you look at Montmorency, you see an angel from paradise, in the form of a small fox-terrier. You think he is a sweet, gentle little dog. When old ladies and gentlemen look at him, tears come to their eyes.
When he killed twelve chickens, and I paid for them, I changed my opinion of Montmorency. In one year, he had one hundred and fourteen street fights with other dogs. An angry woman brought me her dead cat and called me a murderer. Montmorency loves to join the worst dogs. He then takes them around town to fight other dogs. This is his idea of a happy life.