Not a member?     Existing members login below:

The Lazy Tour of Two Idle Apprentices

Chapter II
The dog-cart, with Mr. Thomas Idle and his ankle on the hanging seat behind,
Mr. Francis Goodchild and the Innkeeper in front, and the rain in spouts and
splashes everywhere, made the best of its way back to the little inn; the broken
moor country looking like miles upon miles of Pre-Adamite sop, or the ruins of
some enormous jorum of antediluvian toast-and-water. The trees dripped; the
eaves of the scattered cottages dripped; the barren stone walls dividing the land,
dripped; the yelping dogs dripped; carts and waggons under ill-roofed
penthouses, dripped; melancholy cocks and hens perching on their shafts, or
seeking shelter underneath them, dripped; Mr. Goodchild dripped; Thomas Idle
dripped; the Inn-keeper dripped; the mare dripped; the vast curtains of mist and
cloud passed before the shadowy forms of the hills, streamed water as they were
drawn across the landscape. Down such steep pitches that the mare seemed to
be trotting on her head, and up such steep pitches that she seemed to have a
supplementary leg in her tail, the dog-cart jolted and tilted back to the village. It
was too wet for the women to look out, it was too wet even for the children to look
out; all the doors and windows were closed, and the only sign of life or motion
was in the rain-punctured puddles.
Whiskey and oil to Thomas Idle's ankle, and whiskey without oil to Francis
Goodchild's stomach, produced an agreeable change in the systems of both;
soothing Mr. Idle's pain, which was sharp before, and sweetening Mr.
Goodchild's temper, which was sweet before. Portmanteaus being then opened
and clothes changed, Mr. Goodchild, through having no change of outer
garments but broadcloth and velvet, suddenly became a magnificent portent in
the Innkeeper's house, a shining frontispiece to the fashions for the month, and a
frightful anomaly in the Cumberland village.
Greatly ashamed of his splendid appearance, the conscious Goodchild quenched
it as much as possible, in the shadow of Thomas Idle's ankle, and in a corner of
the little covered carriage that started with them for Wigton - a most desirable
carriage for any country, except for its having a flat roof and no sides; which
caused the plumps of rain accumulating on the roof to play vigorous games of
bagatelle into the interior all the way, and to score immensely. It was comfortable
to see how the people coming back in open carts from Wigton market made no
more of the rain than if it were sunshine; how the Wigton policeman taking a
country walk of half-a- dozen miles (apparently for pleasure), in resplendent
uniform, accepted saturation as his normal state; how clerks and schoolmasters
in black, loitered along the road without umbrellas, getting varnished at every
step; how the Cumberland girls, coming out to look after the Cumberland cows,
shook the rain from their eyelashes and laughed it away; and how the rain
continued to fall upon all, as it only does fall in hill countries.
 
Remove