A “bummel” is a journey without end. Whether we want to or not, most of us have to settle with a return to our regular exertions. So do these heroes of Three Men in a Boat, only on this occasion, a cycling trip through the Black Forest, it seems they may cycle on forever, such are their problems. Whether it’s George attempting to buy a cushion for his aunt or Harris’s harrowing experience with a road-waterer, not to mention the routine problems with language and directions, things get very confused indeed! “A delightful excursion in a world which, alas, exists no longer–and indeed may only have been found in the author’s lively imagination.”
“What we want,” said Harris, “is a change.”
At this moment the door opened, and Mrs. Harris put her head in to say that Ethelbertha had sent her to remind me that we must not be late getting home because of Clarence. Ethelbertha, I am inclined to think, is unnecessarily nervous about the children. As a matter of fact, there was nothing wrong with the child whatever. He had been out with his aunt that morning; and if he looks wistfully at a pastrycook’s window she takes him inside and buys him cream buns and “maids–of–honour” until he insists that he has had enough, and politely, but firmly, refuses to eat another anything. Then, of course, he wants only one helping of pudding at lunch, and Ethelbertha thinks he is sickening for something. Mrs. Harris added that it would be as well for us to come upstairs soon, on our own account also, as otherwise we should miss Muriel’s rendering of “The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party,” out of Alice in Wonderland. Muriel is Harris’s second, age eight: she is a bright, intelligent child; but I prefer her myself in serious pieces. We said we would finish our cigarettes and follow almost immediately; we also begged her not to let Muriel begin until we arrived. She promised to hold the child back as long as possible, and went. Harris, as soon as the door was closed, resumed his interrupted sentence.
“You know what I mean,” he said, “a complete change.”