From the Log of the Velsa

Arnold Bennett From the Log of the Velsa
Project Gutenberg
Arnold Bennett
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Опис: The skipper, who, in addition to being a yachtsman, is a Dutchman, smiled with calm assurance as we approached the Dutch frontier in the August evening over the populous water of the canal which leads from Ghent to Terneuzen. He could not abide Belgium, possibly because it is rather like Holland in some ways. In his opinion the bureaucrats of Belgium did not understand yachts and the respect due to them, whereas the bureaucrats of Holland did. Holland was pictured for me as a paradise where a yacht with a seventy-foot mast never had to wait a single moment for a bridge to be swung open. When I inquired about custom-house formalities, I learned that a Dutch custom-house did not exist for a craft flying the sacred blue ensign of the British Naval Reserve. And it was so. Merely depositing a ticket and a tip into the long-handled butterfly-net dangled over our deck by the bridge-man as we passed, we sailed straight into Holland, and no word said! But we knew immediately that we were in another country—a country cleaner and neater and more garnished even than Belgium. The Terneuzen Canal, with its brickwork banks and its villages “finished” to the last tile, reminded me of the extravagant, oily perfection of the main tracks of those dandiacal railroads, the North Western in England and the Pennsylvania in America. The stiff sailing breeze was at length favorable. We set the mainsail unexceptionably; and at once, with the falling dusk, the wind fell, and the rain too. We had to depend again on our erratic motor, with all Holland gazing at us. Suddenly the whole canal was lit up on both sides by electricity. We responded with our lights. The exceedingly heavy rain drove me into the saloon to read Dostoyevsky.

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