Welcome to Part Two of Three Men in a Boat, our summer audio adventure in Tales for Our Time. I thank you for all your kind words about this choice for our twenty-ninth monthly yarn. Donald McKenzie is one of many Mark Steyn Club members glad that we've finally got around to Jerome K Jerome's whimsical but beloved classic:
Wonderful choice. I can't wait to listen to your reading of one of my favourite books. My Dad introduced me to Jerome K. Jerome many years ago. I have read with great pleasure several times since. Thank you.
J.M. Barrie was a man of limited cricketing ability but devoted to the game. His famous amateur team the Allahakbarries, founded in 1887, was studded with literary giants of the age. H.G. Wells, Arthur Conan Doyle, Jerome K. Jerome, G.K. Chesterton, A.A. Milne and P.G. Wodehouse were among those who played for him. It really was a phenomenal line-up, the creators of Winnie the Pooh, Sherlock Holmes, Jeeves and Bertie Wooster and Peter Pan united in their love of the drama, excitement, literacy and intelligence of cricket. And at times by the stillness, the inaction, the torpidity, the languid progress of the game — aspects of life that cricket truly reflects amid our turbulent times and our desperate need for instant gratification.
Indeed. Lower down the batting order you'd have found E W Hornung and A E W Mason, so Raffles and Feversham from The Four Feathers would be playing alongside Holmes and Jeeves and Eeyore. Also the second Lord Tennyson, son of the poet, whom our Aussie listeners will know better as their second Governor-General. The third baron was an actual cricketer, who played for Hampshire and England - as Tim will surely know.
Whoops, we're meandering almost as much as Three Men in a Boat does. In tonight's episode our plucky trio begin to make crucial decisions about their great adventure:
We arranged to start on the following Saturday from Kingston. Harris and I would go down in the morning, and take the boat up to Chertsey, and George, who would not be able to get away from the City till the afternoon (George goes to sleep at a bank from ten to four each day, except Saturdays, when they wake him up and put him outside at two), would meet us there.
Should we "camp out" or sleep at inns?
George and I were for camping out. We said it would be so wild and free... We run our little boat into some quiet nook, and the tent is pitched, and the frugal supper cooked and eaten. Then the big pipes are filled and lighted, and the pleasant chat goes round in musical undertone; while, in the pauses of our talk, the river, playing round the boat, prattles strange old tales and secrets, sings low the old child's song that it has sung so many thousand years—will sing so many thousand years to come, before its voice grows harsh and old—a song that we, who have learnt to love its changing face, who have so often nestled on its yielding bosom, think, somehow, we understand, though we could not tell you in mere words the story that we listen to...
Harris said: "How about when it rained?"
Tales for Our Time started as an experimental feature we introduced as a bonus for Mark Steyn Club members, and, as you know, I said if it was a total stinkeroo, we'd eighty-six the thing and speak no more of it. But I'm thrilled to say it's proved very popular, and and we now have quite an archive. If you're a Club member and you incline more to the stinkeroo side of things, give it your best in the Comments Section below.
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One other benefit to membership is our Comment Club privileges. So, whether you like my reading of this twenty-ninth Tale for Our Time or are minded to throw it overboard, then feel free to comment away below. And do join us tomorrow for Part Three of Three Men in a Boat.