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Enjoying the river
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  Themes Homepage > Launches
Enjoying the river

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The curse of the river
"Steam Launches are too often the curse of the river." So said Charles Dickens Junior, in his Dictionary of the Thames, 1889. He continues: "Driving along at an excessive rate of speed, with an utter disregard to the comfort or necessities of anglers, oarsmen, and boating-parties, the average steam-launch engineer is an unmitigated nuisance. There are some owners who show consideration for other people, but their number, unfortunately is very limited, and for the most part the launches are navigated with a recklessness which is simply shameful."

"Perhaps the worst offenders are the people who pay their £5.5s. a day for the hire of a launch, and whose idea of a holiday is the truly British notion of getting over as much ground as possible in a given time."

"Parties of this kind, especially after the copious lunch which is one of the features of the day's outing, stimulate the engineer to fresh exertions, and appear to enjoy themselves considerably as they contemplate the anxiety and discomfort of the occupants of the punts and rowing-boats which are left floundering helplessly in their wash. Should there be ladies on board a boat in difficulties, their terror proportionately enhances the amusement of these steam-launch 'Arries."
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