The dangers of waking up (too) early

There was a time when my sleep was over at dawn (and I still can when needed) but the pattern of my days currently precludes the need. So it is quite often the late morning that I finally open my eyes (I do get up earlier due to force of habit but turn over and return to sleep). I was thinking over the change when an old passage from a favourite read returned to mind – it deals with the perils of those who get up too early….. and apart from this is a sterling example of how to evoke humour. But to the passage itself (a lot of people will find the feelings expressed in the very first para familiar).

…….I woke at six the next morning; and found George awake too.  We both
turned round, and tried to go to sleep again, but we could not.  Had
there been any particular reason why we should not have gone to sleep
again, but have got up and dressed then and there, we should have dropped
off while we were looking at our watches, and have slept till ten.  As
there was no earthly necessity for our getting up under another two hours
at the very least, and our getting up at that time was an utter
absurdity, it was only in keeping with the natural cussedness of things
in general that we should both feel that lying down for five minutes more
would be death to us.

George said that the same kind of thing, only worse, had happened to him
some eighteen months ago, when he was lodging by himself in the house of
a certain Mrs. Gippings.  He said his watch went wrong one evening, and
stopped at a quarter-past eight.  He did not know this at the time
because, for some reason or other, he forgot to wind it up when he went
to bed (an unusual occurrence with him), and hung it up over his pillow
without ever looking at the thing.

It was in the winter when this happened, very near the shortest day, and
a week of fog into the bargain, so the fact that it was still very dark
when George woke in the morning was no guide to him as to the time.  He
reached up, and hauled down his watch.  It was a quarter-past eight.

“Angels and ministers of grace defend us!” exclaimed George; “and here
have I got to be in the City by nine.  Why didn’t somebody call me?  Oh,
this is a shame!”
  And he flung the watch down, and sprang out of bed,
and had a cold bath, and washed himself, and dressed himself, and shaved
himself in cold water because there was not time to wait for the hot, and
then rushed and had another look at the watch.

Whether the shaking it had received in being thrown down on the bed had
started it, or how it was, George could not say, but certain it was that
from a quarter-past eight it had begun to go, and now pointed to twenty
minutes to nine.

George snatched it up, and rushed downstairs.  In the sitting-room, all
was dark and silent: there was no fire, no breakfast.  George said it was
a wicked shame of Mrs. G., and he made up his mind to tell her what he
thought of her when he came home in the evening.  Then he dashed on his
great-coat and hat, and, seizing his umbrella, made for the front door. 
The door was not even unbolted.  George anathematized Mrs. G. for a lazy
old woman, and thought it was very strange that people could not get up
at a decent, respectable time, unlocked and unbolted the door, and ran

He ran hard for a quarter of a mile, and at the end of that distance it
began to be borne in upon him as a strange and curious thing that there
were so few people about, and that there were no shops open.  It was
certainly a very dark and foggy morning, but still it seemed an unusual
course to stop all business on that account.  HE had to go to business:
why should other people stop in bed merely because it was dark and foggy!

At length he reached Holborn.  Not a shutter was down! not a bus was
about!  There were three men in sight, one of whom was a policeman; a
market-cart full of cabbages, and a dilapidated looking cab.  George
pulled out his watch and looked at it: it was five minutes to nine!  He
stood still and counted his pulse.  He stooped down and felt his legs. 
Then, with his watch still in his hand, he went up to the policeman, and
asked him if he knew what the time was.

“What’s the time?” said the man, eyeing George up and down with evident
suspicion; “why, if you listen you will hear it strike.”

George listened, and a neighbouring clock immediately obliged.

To be continued…..


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