"Well, you couldn't very well have done less," added George.
"I suppose J. thinks he is the passenger," continued Harris.
And that was their gratitude to me for having brought them and their
wretched old boat all the way up from Kingston, and for having
superintended and managed everything for them, and taken care of them,
and slaved for them. It is the way of the world.
We settled the present difficulty by arranging that Harris and George
should scull up past Reading, and that I should tow the boat on from
there. Pulling a heavy boat against a strong stream has few attractions
for me now. There was a time, long ago, when I used to clamour for the
hard work: now I like to give the youngsters a chance.
I notice that most of the old river hands are similarly retiring,
whenever there is any stiff pulling to be done. You can always tell the
old river hand by the way in which he stretches himself out upon the
cushions at the bottom of the boat, and encourages the rowers by telling
them anecdotes about the marvellous feats he performed last season.
"Call what you're doing hard work!" he drawls, between his contented
whiffs, addressing the two perspiring novices, who have been grinding
away steadily up stream for the last hour and a half; "why, Jim Biffles
and Jack and I, last season, pulled up from Marlow to Goring in one
afternoon - never stopped once.