An enthusiastic municipal employee, a drenched lass and a ‘hero’ II

I was recounting another of my favourite passages – sparkling with a wry and remarkable humour and inspired writing – from literature. And, I must say the title is honestly an apt description, and is not jazzed up…. However, I will not get in the way and continue with the account of what transpired when the ” chivalrous hero” jumped into the fray to help the damsel in distress. Read on and do pay some attention to the ending…. it is a good example of how to generate humour out of the commonplace even.. But see for yourself.

~~~~What he ought to have done, what any man retaining his common sense would have done the moment he got his hands upon the thing, was to turn off the tap. Then he might have played foot-ball with the man, or battledore and shuttlecock as he pleased; and the twenty or thirty people who had rushed forward to assist would have only applauded.  His idea, however, as he explained to us afterwards, was to take away the hose from the man, and, for punishment, turn it upon the fool himself.  The waterman’s idea appeared to be the same, namely, to retain the hose as a weapon with which to soak Harris.  Of course, the result was that, between them, they soused every dead and living thing within fifty yards, except themselves.  One furious man, too drenched to care what more happened to him, leapt into the arena and also took a hand.  The three among them proceeded to sweep the compass with that hose.  They pointed it to heaven, and the water descended upon the people in the form of an equinoctial storm.  They pointed it downwards, and sent the water in rushing streams that took people off their feet, or caught them about the waist line, and doubled them up.

Not one of them would loosen his grip upon the hose, not one of them thought to turn the water off.  You might have concluded they were struggling with some primeval force of nature.  In forty-five seconds, so George said, who was timing it, they had swept that circus bare of every living thing except one dog, who, dripping like a water nymph, rolled over by the force of water, now on this side, now on that, still gallantly staggered again and again to its feet to bark defiance at what it evidently regarded as the powers of hell let loose.

Men and women left their machines upon the ground, and flew into the woods.  From behind every tree of importance peeped out wet, angry heads.

At last, there arrived upon the scene one man of sense.  Braving all things, he crept to the hydrant, where still stood the iron key, and screwed it down.  And then from forty trees began to creep more or less soaked human beings, each one with something to say.

At first I fell to wondering whether a stretcher or a clothes basket would be the more useful for the conveyance of Harris’s remains back to the hotel.  I consider that George’s promptness on that occasion saved Harris’s life.  Being dry, and therefore able to run quicker, he was there before the crowd.  Harris was for explaining things, but George cut him short.

“You get on that,” said George, handing him his bicycle, “and go.  They don’t know we belong to you, and you may trust us implicitly not to reveal the secret.  We’ll hang about behind, and get in their way.  Ride zig-zag in case they shoot.”

I wish this book to be a strict record of fact, unmarred by exaggeration, and therefore I have shown my description of this incident to Harris, lest anything beyond bald narrative may have crept into it.  Harris maintains it is exaggerated, but admits that one or two people may have been “sprinkled.” I have offered to turn a street hose on him at a distance of five-and-twenty yards, and take his opinion afterwards, as to whether “sprinkled” is the adequate term, but he has declined the test.  Again, he insists there could not have been more than half a dozen people, at the outside, involved in the catastrophe, that forty is a ridiculous misstatement.  I have offered to return with him to Hanover and make strict inquiry into the matter, and this offer he has likewise declined.  Under these circumstances, I maintain that mine is a true and restrained narrative of an event that is, by a certain number of Hanoverians, remembered with bitterness unto this very day.


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