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9. CHAPTER IX.
GEORGE IS INTRODUCED TO WORK. - HEATHENISH INSTINCTS OF TOW-LINES. - UNGRATEFUL CONDUCT OF A DOUBLE-SCULLING SKIFF. - TOWERS AND TOWED. - A USE DISCOVERED FOR LOVERS. - STRANGE DISAPPEARANCE OF AN ELDERLY LADY. - MUCH HASTE, LESS SPEED. - BEING TOWED BY GIRLS: EXCITING SENSATION. - THE MISSING LOCK OR THE HAUNTED RIVER. - MUSIC. - SAVED!
WE made George work, now we had got him. He did not want to work, of course; that goes without saying. He had had a hard time in the City, so he explained. Harris, who is callous in his nature, and not prone to pity, said:
"Ah! and now you are going to have a hard time on the river for a change; change is good for everyone. Out you get!"
He could not in conscience - not even George's conscience - object, though he did suggest that, perhaps, it would be better for him to stop in the boat, and get tea ready, while Harris and I towed, because getting tea was such a worrying work, and Harris and I looked tired. The only reply we made to this, however, was to pass him over the tow-line, and he took it, and stepped out.
There is something very strange and unaccountable about a tow-line. You roll it up with as much patience and care as you would take to fold up a new pair of trousers, and five minutes afterwards, when you pick it up, it is one ghastly, soul-revolting tangle.
I do not wish to be insulting, but I firmly believe that if you took an average tow-line, and stretched it out straight across the middle of a field, and then turned your back on it for thirty seconds, that, when you looked round again, you would find that it had got itself altogether in a heap in the middle of the field, and had twisted itself up, and tied itself into knots, and lost its two ends, and become all loops; and it would take you a good half-hour, sitting down there on the grass and swearing all the while, to disentangle it again.
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