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4. CHAPTER IV.
THE FOOD QUESTION. - OBJECTIONS TO PARAFFINE OIL AS AN ATMOSPHERE. - ADVANTAGES OF CHEESE AS A TRAVELLING COMPANION. - A MARRIED WOMAN DESERTS HER HOME. - FURTHER PROVISION FOR GETTING UPSET. - I PACK. - CUSSEDNESS OF TOOTH-BRUSHES. - GEORGE AND HARRIS PACK. - AWFUL BEHAVIOUR OF MONTMORENCY. - WE RETIRE TO REST.
THEN we discussed the food question. George said:
"Begin with breakfast." (George is so practical.) "Now for breakfast we shall want a frying-pan" - (Harris said it was indigestible; but we merely urged him not to be an ass, and George went on) - "a tea-pot and a kettle, and a methylated spirit stove."
"No oil," said George, with a significant look; and Harris and I agreed.
We had taken up an oil-stove once, but "never again." It had been like living in an oil-shop that week. It oozed. I never saw such a thing as paraffine oil is to ooze. We kept it in the nose of the boat, and, from there, it oozed down to the rudder, impregnating the whole boat and everything in it on its way, and it oozed over the river, and saturated the scenery and spoilt the atmosphere. Sometimes a westerly oily wind blew, and at other times an easterly oily wind, and sometimes it blew a northerly oily wind, and maybe a southerly oily wind; but whether it came from the Arctic snows, or was raised in the waste of the desert sands, it came alike to us laden with the fragrance of paraffine oil.
And that oil oozed up and ruined the sunset; and as for the moonbeams, they positively reeked of paraffine.
We tried to get away from it at Marlow. We left the boat by the bridge, and took a walk through the town to escape it, but it followed us. The whole town was full of oil. We passed through the church-yard, and it seemed as if the people had been buried in oil. The High Street stunk of oil; we wondered how people could live in it. And we walked miles upon miles out Birmingham way; but it was no use, the country was steeped in oil.
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