An innovative way of getting someone to stop drinking II

I was writing about an innovative way of getting someone to stop drinking, I came across in a much cherished book. I was giving the passage in two or three parts so as to keep the post from becoming interminably long.

In the first part, I gave the background and genesis of the plan. In this, you can read about the plan being put in motion and its initial effects……. Read on..

So during dinner we sounded him, judiciously; and finding him ignorant of the matter, we took him out, and led him by side-streets to the place where stood the real statue. 

George was for looking at it and passing on, as is his way with statues, but we insisted on his pulling up and viewing the thing conscientiously.  We walked him round that statue four times, and showed it to him from every possible point of view.  I think, on the whole, we rather bored him with the thing, but our object was to impress it upon him.  We told him the history of the man who rode upon the horse, the name of the artist who had made the statue, how much it weighed, how much it measured.  We worked that statue into his system.  By the time we had done with him he knew more about that statue, for the time being, than he knew about anything else.  We soaked him in that statue, and only let him go at last on the condition that he would come again with us in the morning, when we could all see it better, and for such purpose we saw to it that he made a note in his pocket-book of the place where the statue stood.

Then we accompanied him to his favourite beer hall, and sat beside him, telling him anecdotes of men who, unaccustomed to German beer, and drinking too much of it, had gone mad and developed homicidal mania; of men who had died young through drinking German beer; of lovers that German beer had been the means of parting for ever from beautiful girls.

At ten o’clock we started to walk back to the hotel.  It was a stormy-looking night, with heavy clouds drifting over a light moon.  Harris said:

“We won’t go back the same way we came; we’ll walk back by the river.  It is lovely in the moonlight.”

Harris told a sad history, as we walked, about a man he once knew, who is now in a home for harmless imbeciles.  He said he recalled the story because it was on just such another night as this that he was walking with that man the very last time he ever saw the poor fellow.  They were strolling down the Thames Embankment, Harris said, and the man frightened him then by persisting that he saw the statue of the Duke of Wellington at the corner of Westminster Bridge, when, as everybody knows, it stands in Piccadilly.

It was at this exact instant that we came in sight of the first of these wooden copies.  It occupied the centre of a small, railed-in square a little above us on the opposite side of the way.  George suddenly stood still and leant against the wall of the quay.

“What’s the matter?” I said; “feeling giddy?”

He said: “I do, a little.  Let’s rest here a moment.”

He stood there with his eyes glued to the thing.

He said, speaking huskily:

“Talking of statues, what always strikes me is how very much one statue is like another statue.”

Harris said: “I cannot agree with you there—pictures, if you like.  Some pictures are very like other pictures, but with a statue there is always something distinctive.  Take that statue we saw early in the evening,” continued Harris, “before we went into the concert hall.  It represented a man sitting on a horse.  In Prague you will see other statues of men on horses, but nothing at all like that one.”

“Yes they are,” said George; “they are all alike.  It’s always the same horse, and it’s always the same man.  They are all exactly alike.  It’s idiotic nonsense to say they are not.”

He appeared to be angry with Harris.

“What makes you think so?” I asked.

“What makes me think so?” retorted George, now turning upon me.  “Why, look at that damned thing over there!”

I said: “What damned thing?”

“Why, that thing,” said George; “look at it!  There is the same horse with half a tail, standing on its hind legs; the same man without his hat; the same—”

Harris said: “You are talking now about the statue we saw in the Ringplatz.”


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