Version A -- Illustrations from UK edition --
This was published in 1899 in "The Saturday Evening Post" as "Three Men on Four Wheels", and published in book form in 1900.
A decade has passed since the humorous adventures and mis-adventures of "Three Men in a Boat." J., Harris, and George feel they need a break, and decide to take a bicycle tour of Germany. This fictionalized travelogue is filled with anecdotes of the cyclists' experiences and commentary on the behavior of the German citizen (and the British citizen as well).
Although not quite up to the standard of its predecessor, this is an amusing book with many chuckle-worthy moments, and some that are truly side-splitting.
...Thus encouraged, he set to work to refix the gear-case. He stood the bicycle against the house, and worked from the off side. Then he stood it against a tree, and worked from the near side. Then I held it for him, while he lay on the ground with his head between the wheels, and worked at it from below, and dropped oil upon himself. Then he took it away from me, and doubled himself across it like a pack-saddle, till he lost his balance and slid over on to his head.
Three times he said: “Thank Heaven, that’s right at last!”
And twice he said: “No, I’m damned if it is after all!”
What he said the third time I try to forget.
Then he lost his temper and tried bullying the thing. The bicycle, I was glad to see, showed spirit; and the subsequent proceedings degenerated into little else than a rough-and-tumble fight between him and the machine. One moment the bicycle would be on the gravel path, and he on top of it; the next, the position would be reversed — he on the gravel path, the bicycle on him. Now he would be standing flushed with victory, the bicycle firmly fixed between his legs. But his triumph would be short-lived. By a sudden, quick movement it would free itself, and, turning upon him, hit him sharply over the head with one of its handles.
At a quarter to one, dirty and dishevelled, cut and bleeding, he said: “I think that will do;” and rose and wiped his brow.
The bicycle looked as if it also had had enough of it. Which had received most punishment it would have been difficult to say. I took him into the back kitchen, where, so far as was possible without soda and proper tools, he cleaned himself, and sent him home.
I made an "editorial choice" to add some section breaks; some run-on segments seemed confusing otherwise. There were no breaks in the original, if you want to edit and change that.
Embedded decorative font for chapter heads. Small drop-caps.
Sixteen pen-and-ink illustrations taken from the Arrowsmith UK edition. These are more cartoon-like and much funnier than the Harrison Fisher illustrations used in the US version ( uploaded here
). The text of these two ebooks is identical.
My first attempt to wrap text around full illustrations (not just decorated drop-caps), and I hope it is successful. I am uploading a second "no-wrap" version for readers that don't play well with floated images.
EDIT: uploaded revised versions with some format tweaks.
regular edition, previous downloads 94.
no-wrap edition, previous downloads 66.
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