The novel “Three Men in a Boat”, is the story of three men, accompanied by a dog, as they travel in a boat up the River Thames. It was written by Jerome Klapka Jerome and was first published in 1889.
The story begins as the three main characters George, William Samuel Harris and J, the narrator, are sitting a room discussing what should be done to alleviate themselves of their supposed illnesses. Accompanying them is Montmorency, the narrator’s dog. George and Harris feel they are ill because they are bored. The narrator however is assured that his liver is failing him because he recently read of the symptoms of liver disease. They felt over-worked and began discussing how they should travel on a boat for a week to calm their nerves.
Before their departure, they must first agree on the details. It is decided that on clear nights they will camp outside in tents but in rainy weather they will find lodging. With that part of the plan agreed upon difficulties now arise as they begin to list the items that they will need to bring along. After some arguing they instead begin to list the things that they won’t need.
Next they turn their attention to listing food and cooking materials. Above all else they declare that paraffin oil must not be taken as they had done so in the past. By the end of that trip they couldn’t rid themselves of its smell. The group held similar thoughts against bringing any cheese along. J narrates a story where he once traveled with some cheese and its smell bothered other travelers and even sent a horse running in fear.
The next day they gathered everything on their lists and begin to pack. To be sure that he had taken his toothbrush, J searches the bags only to find it after unpacking everything. He now has to repack all of the supplies a second time. After breaking many of the supplies they were finally done.
On the morning of their departure they oversleep. Over breakfast they review the weather report but declare it must be wrong because the report seemed to recall yesterday’s weather. “It is bad enough when it comes without our having the misery of knowing about it before hand.”
Stacking all of the bags outside they wait for a cab to bring them to the train station. A large crowd forms to cheer their departure as it is believed it is a wedding or funeral. At the train station no one seems to know which train runs from Waterloo to Kingston. They pay an engine driver to make sure he goes to Kingston as no one will notice if it is the wrong stop for that particular train. The engine driver agrees and they are eventually able to board their boat. And hence the journey begins.