1. I SAID I'd pack.
I rather pride myself on my packing. Packing is
one of those many things that I feel I know more
about than any other person living. (It surprises
me myself, sometimes, how many such things there
are.) I impressed the fact upon George and Harris
and told them that they had better leave the whole
matter entirely to me. They fell into the suggestion
with a readiness that had something uncanny about
it. George put on a pipe and spread himself over
the easy-chair, and Harris cocked his legs on the
table and lit a cigar.
2. This was hardly what I intended. What I had
meant, of course, was, that I should boss the job,
and that Harris and George should potter about
under my directions, I pushing them aside every
now and then with, "Oh, you! Here, let me do it."
"There you are, simple enough!" — really teaching
them, as you might say. Their taking it in the way
they did irritated me. There is nothing does irritate
me more than seeing other people sitting about doing
nothing when I'm working.
3. I lived with a man once who used to make me
mad that way. He would loll on the sofa and watch
me doing things by the hour together. He said it did
him real good to look on at me, messing about.
Now, I'm not like that. I can't sit still and see
another man slaving and working. I want to get up
and superintend, and walk round with my hands
in my pockets, and tell him what to do. It is my
energetic nature. I can't help it.
4. However, I did not say anything, but started the
packing. It seemed a longer job than I had thought
it was going to be; but I got the bag finished at last,
and I sat on it and strapped it.
"Ain't you going to put the boots in?" said Harris.
And I looked round, and found I had forgotten them.
That's just like Harris. He couldn't have said a word
until I'd got the bag shut and strapped, of course.
And George laughed — one of those irritating,
senseless laughs of his. They do make me so wild.
5. I opened the bag and packed the boots in; and
then, just as I was going to close it, a horrible idea
occurred to me. Had I packed my toothbrush? I don't
know how it is, but I never do know whether I've
packed my toothbrush.
My toothbrush is a thing that haunts me when I'm
travelling, and makes my life a misery. I dream
that I haven't packed it, and wake up in a cold
perspiration, and get out of bed and hunt for it.
And, in the morning, I pack it before I have used it,
and have to unpack again to get it, and it is always
the last thing I turn out of the bag; and then I
repack and forget it, and have to rush upstairs for
it at the last moment and carry it to the railway
station, wrapped up in my pocket-handkerchief.
6. Of course I had to turn every mortal thing out
now, and, of course, I could not find it. I rummaged
the things up into much the same state that they
must have been before the world was created, and
when chaos reigned. Of course, I found George's
and Harris's eighteen times over, but I couldn't find
my own. I put the things back one by one, and held
everything up and shook it. Then I found it inside a
boot. I repacked once more.
7. When I had finished, George asked if the soap
was in. I said I didn't care a hang whether the soap
was in or whether it wasn't; and I slammed the bag
shut and strapped it, and found that I had packed my
tobacco-pouch in it, and had to re-open it. It got shut
up finally at 10.05 p.m., and then there remained the
hampers to do. Harris said that we should be wanting
to start in less than twelve hours' time and thought
that he and George had better do the rest; and I agreed
and sat down, and they had a go.
8. They began in a light-hearted spirit, evidently
intending to show me how to do it. I made no
comment; I only waited. With the exception of
George, Harris is the worst packer in this world;
and I looked at the piles of plates and cups, and
kettles, and bottles, and jars, and pies, and stoves,
and cakes, and tomatoes, etc., and felt that the
thing would soon become exciting.
It did. They started with breaking a cup. That
was the first thing they did. They did that just to
show you what they could do, and to get you
Then Harris packed the strawberry jam on top
of a tomato and squashed it, and they had to pick
out the tomato with a teaspoon.
9. And then it was George's turn, and he trod
on the butter. I didn't say anything, but I came over
and sat on the edge of the table and watched them.
It irritated them more than anything I could have
said. I felt that. It made them nervous and excited,
and they stepped on things, and put things behind
them, and then couldn't find them when they
wanted them; and they packed the pies at the
bottom, and put heavy things on top, and smashed
the pies in.
10. They upset salt over everything, and as for the
butter! I never saw two men do more with one-and-two
pence worth of butter in my whole life than
they did. After George had got it off his slipper, they
tried to put it in the kettle. It wouldn't go in, and
what was in wouldn't come out. They did scrape it
out at last, and put it down on a chair, and Harris
sat on it, and it stuck to him, and they went looking
for it all over the room.
11. "I'll take my oath I put it down on that chair,"
said George, staring at the empty seat.
"I saw you do it myself, not a minute ago," said
Then they started round the room again looking
for it; and then they met again in the centre and
stared at one another.
"Most extraordinary thing I ever heard of," said
"So mysterious!" said Harris.
Then George got round at the back of Harris
and saw it.
"Why, here it is all the time," he exclaimed,
"Where?" cried Harris, spinning round.
"Stand still, can't you!" roared George, flying
And they got it off, and packed it in the teapot.
12. Montmorency was in it all, of course.
Montmorency's ambition in life is to get in the way
and be sworn at. If he can squirm in anywhere
where he particularly is not wanted, and be a
perfect nuisance, and make people mad, and have
things thrown at his head, then he feels his day
has not been wasted.
To get somebody to stumble over him, and curse
him steadily for an hour, is his highest aim and
object; and, when he has succeeded in
accomplishing this, his conceit becomes quite
13. He came and sat down on things, just when
they were wanted to be packed; and he laboured
under the fixed belief that, whenever Harris
or George reached out their hand for anything,
it was his cold damp nose that they wanted.
He put his leg into the jam, and he worried
the teaspoons, and he pretended that the lemons
were rats, and got into the hamper and killed
three of them before Harris could land him with
14. Harris said I encouraged him. I didn't encourage
him. A dog like that doesn't want any encouragement.
It's the natural, original sin that is born in him
that makes him do things like that.
The packing was done at 12.50; and Harris sat
on the big hamper, and said he hoped nothing would
be found broken. George said that if anything was
broken it was broken, which reflection seemed to
comfort him. He also said he was ready for bed. We
were all ready for bed. Harris was to sleep with us
that night, and we went upstairs.
15. We tossed for beds, and Harris had to sleep with
me. He said :-
"Do you prefer the inside or the outside, J.?"
I said I generally preferred to sleep inside a bed.
Harris said it was odd.
George said: "What time shall I wake you fellows?"
Harris said: "Seven."
I said: "No, six," because I wanted to write some letters.
Harris and I had a bit of a row over it, but at
last split the difference, and said half-past six.
"Wake us at 6.30, George," we said.
16. George made no answer, and we found, on going
over, that he had been asleep for sometime; so we
placed the bath where he could tumble into it on
getting out in the morning, and went to bed
The Duck and the Kangaroo.
This is a humorous poem of a kind known as 'Nonsense Verse',
by Edward Lear. Read it and enjoy.
Said the Duck to the Kangaroo,
"Good gracious! how you hop!
Over the fields and the water too,
As if you never would stop!
My life is a bore in this nasty pond,
And I long to go out in the world beyond!
I wish I could hop like you!"
Said the Duck to the Kangaroo.
"Please give me a ride on your back!"
Said the Duck to the Kangaroo.
"I would sit quite still, and say nothing but 'Quack',
The whole of the long day through!
And we'd go to the Dee, and the Jelly Bo Lee,
Over the land, and over the sea;
Please take me a ride! O do!"
Said the Duck to the Kangaroo.
Said the Kangaroo to the Duck,
"This requires some little reflection;
Perhaps on the whole it might bring me luck,
And there seems but one objection,
Which is, if you'll let me speak so bold,
Your feet are unpleasantly wet and cold,
And would probably give me the roo-
Matiz!" said the Kangaroo.
Said the Duck, "As I sat on the rocks,
I have thought over that completely,
And I bought four pairs of worsted socks
Which fit my web-feet neatly.
And to keep out the cold I've bought a cloak,
And every day a cigar I'll smoke,
All to follow my own dear true
Love of a Kangaroo!"
Said the Kangaroo, "I'm ready!
All in the moonlight pale;
But to balance me well, dear Duck, sit steady!
And quite at the end of my tail!"
So away they went with a hop and a bound,
And they hopped the whole world three times round;
And who so happy — O who,
As the Duck and the Kangaroo?
Online Lessons with Spoken text and correct pronounciation