George, Harris and the narrator were friends. All the three considered themselves to be seriously ill. They felt seedy. They met to discuss how to deal with their problems. George and Harris thought they suffered from fits of giddiness. But the narrator was sure that he suffered from the ailment of liver. He was certain about his ailment because he had recently been reading a patent liver-pill circular. He had been in the habit of imagining, after reading patent medicine advertisements, that he had the same symptoms of the ailment as described in them.
Visit to the British Museum
One day, the narrator went to the British Museum. There he consulted a medical dictionary and went through every disease alphabetically. After reading it, he was convinced that he suffered from every disease mentioned in the dictionary. He thought that the only disease that he did not suffer from was the disease of the housemaid’s knee (arthritis) though he suffered from ‘gout’ in the extreme form. He thought that the students of the medical colleges would not have to ‘walk the hospitals’ if they had him as a patient. He was a hospital himself.
The doctor’s advice
He went to the doctor who was his friend. He his pulse, looked at his tongue and examined thoroughly. The doctor, then, prescribed medicines . He went to the chemist to get the medicines. The chemist refused to give him the prescribed medicines by saying that he was only a chemist The narrator read the prescription. The medicines prescribed were “one pound beefsteak, with one pint bitter beer every six hours, a ten-mile walk every morning and sleep at 11 sharp every night.”
Plan for a boat-trip
The narrator, then, said that he suffered from a weak liver even as a boy. The disease never left him even for a day. The family considered it laziness and cured it by giving him clumps on the side of his head. The friends described to each other their maladies. They came to the conclusion that the remedy for their maladies was ‘rest’ and a holiday. They should seek out some old—world spot far away from the crowd. They discussed a sea4rip but the narrator was strongly opposed to it. He gave a graphic detail of what happened to his brother-in-law and a friend who went to sea-trips. George seemed to be the only person who liked sea-trips and he boasted about it He, finally, put forward a suggestion : “Let’s go up the river a boat trip” . They all agreed with this suggestion. The only one who did not accept this suggestion was Montmorency — the dog. But his objection was ruled out.
Three friends — George, Harris and the narrator.
The Dog- Montmorency
He is a hypochondriac. He has the habit of imagining that he suffers from the same disease as described in the patent medical advertisements. He is very friendly with his doctor. He hates to go on a sea-voyage. He narrates to his friends about what happened to his brother-in-law and a friend.
Harris thinks that he suffers from fits of giddiness. He pretends to be interested in sea-trips. He thinks that all of them need rest and a holiday.
He likes to talk in medical terms. He suggests to his friends that they should undertake a boat trip. His suggestion surprises his friends think that he is incapable of making such a suggestion. He is considered lazy by his He weighs about twelve stones.
He opposes the suggestion of going up the river. He doesn’t like outside scenery. He is not allowed to run after a rat.
The three friends — George, Harris and the narrator — discuss about their imagined illness. Then they decide to go out for a holiday. The readers can have a peep into the working of the narrator’s mind. They come to know how people suffer from sea-sickness and how they refuse to admit it in their conversation with others on land.
VERY SHORT ANSWER TYPE QUESTIONS
Q.1.What will you do If you suffer from a headache?
Ans. I’ll take a painkiller.
Q.2.Do you like to go out for a picnic?
Ans. Yes/ no.
Q.3.What can keep you healthy?
Ans. A long walk daily can keep us healthy.
Q.4.When should one get up In the morning?
Ans. One should get up early
Q.5. Do you know how to swim?
DETAILED AND SHORT ANSWER TYPE QUESTIONS
Give an account of the argument made to reject the sea trip.
Why is the sea trip rejected by the three friends in “Three Men in a Boat” by Jerome K. Jerome?
What were the reasons for Jerome rejecting a sea trip?
Why is the sea trip rejected by the three friends in the novel ‘Three Men in a Boat’?
Ans.- In Chapter One, Harris suggests that the three friends should initiate on a sea trip. Jirom, the writer is the first one to disagree. He argues that a sea trip is a great experience if one can take a few months for it; however, if the sea trip will only last a week, it can be a devastatingly joyless experience. He maintains that it usually takes a week to overcome the propensity of getting seasick, and by the time one does, the trip will be over.
J relates the story of his brother-in-law, who made the mistake of going on a short sea trip. By the time he got to Liverpool, his brother-in-law was anxious to sell his return ticket at a discount; he had had enough of the sea and wanted to take the train home. Evidently, the short sea trip had been too taxing for him, and he maintained that one could get more exercise sitting down (presumably being seasick) than “turning somersaults on dry land.”
Next, J relates the story of his friend, who went on a week’s voyage around the coast. This friend paid full price for a week’s worth of food that he never got to eat. The initial fare was unappetizing, and then his friend got seasick. This left him having to survive on thin captain’s biscuits and soda-water for four days. By the time he was well enough to sample the food he had paid for, the voyage was over.
Jerome tells his friends that he worries George will suffer the same fate. For his part, George maintains that J and Harris will likely be the ones to get seasick before he does. He declares that he’s never gotten seasick, even during tempestuous sea trips. Then, J offers some strange advice on balancing one’s body during sea trips; he argues that it is “an excellent preventive against sea-sickness.”
You stand in the centre of the deck, and, as the ship heaves and pitches, you move your body about, so as to keep it always straight. When the front of the ship rises, you lean forward, till the deck almost touches your nose; and when its back end gets up, you lean backwards. This is all very well for an hour or two; but you can’t balance yourself for a week.
Upon hearing this terrible advice, George pipes up that they should go up the river instead. He argues that they will have “fresh air, exercise and quiet,” and eventually, this is what the three friends decide to do. They reject the sea trip because none of them can agree that a week’s voyage will prove enjoyable.
Q.1. What did the three friends—George, Harris and the narrator—think about their illness?
Ans: George and Harris thought that they suffered from fits of giddiness. But the narrator was sure that he suffered from the ailment of liver. He was certain because he thought, after reading a patent liver-pill circular, that he had the same symptoms of the ailment as described in it.
Q.2. What did the narrator come to know after reading a medical dictionary In the British Museum ?
Ans: After reading about every disease alphabetically in the medical dictionary he came to know that he suffered from every disease mentioned in it except the disease called the housemaid’s knee (arthritis).
Q.3. What were the medicines that the doctor prescribed the narrator?
Ans. The medicines prescribed were: ‘One pound beefsteak, with one pint bitter beer every six hours, a ten-mile walk every morning, and sleep at at eleven sharp every night.’
Q.4.What conclusion did the friends arrive at about their ailments?
Ans. The friends Came to the conclusion that the remedy for their ailments Was ‘rest’ and a holiday. They thought that they should seek out Some old-world spot far away from the crowd.
Q.5. What did George suggest ? Who disagreed with the suggestion?
Ans. George Suggested that they should take a boat trip along the river. Montmorency the dog, disagreed with the suggestion.