Three Men in a Boat                                                      (Summary) The novel, narrated by the Englishman J., tells of a boat trip J. takes up with Thames River with his friends George and William Samuel Harris. His prose is rambling, and often digresses into anecdotes or long observational passages.One night, the three men smoke together in J.'s London apartment, discussing their anxiety over their sicknesses. The reader can discern that they are actually hypochondriacs. After researching diseases at the British Museum, J. has recently concluded that he suffers from every disease known to man except for housemaid’s knee. The men decide that a vacation will be good for their health, and after some deliberating, they decide to spend a week rowing up the Thames with their dog, Montmorency. The men make arrangements for the trip. They decide to bring a cover for the boat so they can sleep in it, rather than bringing a tent or staying in inns. They compile a long list of items to bring, but quickly realize that they should only pack the essentials. Although they are friends, J. seems to dislike Harris, and compares him at length to J.’s incompetent Uncle Podger. They end up bringing a hamper of food, clothing, a cover for the boat, and a methylated spirit stove for cooking. Packing takes a long time because the men keep forgetting items they need, and prove somewhat ill-fit for the the task.