Three Men in a Boat
To Say Nothing of the Dog
by- Jerome Klapka Jerome
Extra Questions, Notes, Assignment and study material for Class 9th as Per CBSE Syllabus
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Summary ch- 14
Incident Wise Summary
Preparing an Irish stew
A favourable wind took the boat past Wargrave and Shiplake. Shiplake is a pretty village, but is invisible from the river. The river up to Sonning zigzags and is very calm. The friends got out at Sonning. They roamed about Sonning for an hour or so. Then they decided to go back to one of the Shiplake islands and stay there for the night. There they thought of preparing their supper. George gathered wood and made a fire. Harris and the narrator started peeling potatoes, which turned out to be a very hard task Only four potatoes could be scrapped. They were put in the stew. Many things went in the preparation of what the friends called an Irish stew-cabbage, peas. pork pie, boiled bacon, a couple of eggs, etc. The Irish stew was a grand success.
The encounter with the kettle
Montmorency had great curiosity concerning the boiling kettle. He would sit and watch it with a puzzled expression When the cattle began to splutter and steam, he regarded it as a challenge to fight it. He had never got the chance to get at it. Today he was beforehand to accept the challenge. He rushed at the kettle and held it by the spout. Then with a loud yelp, he left the boat and took a round of the island, running and stopping every now and then to busy his nose in cool mud. From that day he began to look at the kettle with awe and suspicion.
Love for Music
George took out his banjo after supper, and wanted to play it. Harris objected to it. George had never been able to play banjo. Whenever he played on banjo, Montmorency would sit and howl steadily. It was not easy to learn a musical instrument. The narrator knew a young fellow who was studying to play the bagpipes. He received no encouragement, even from his own family. When he continued to disturb them, they built a little place for him at the bottom of the garden, about a quarter of a mile from the house, He only learnt to play one tune on those bagpipes.
Harris left behind
After supper Harris was found in an unpleasant mood, perhaps because of the Irish stew. George and the narrator left him for a round of Henley. Harris said he wanted a glass of whisky and a pipe. His friends said that when they returned he should row over from the island and fetch them.
Harris’s story of Swans
At Henley George and the narrator met several men. They had nice time in their company. When they returned to the first island and shouted, there was no response. They were confused. They came to the second and then to the third island, with the same result. Only when they came near the fourth Island they heard the answering bark of Montmorency. Then Harris came with a sleepy and tired voice. With great difficulty they got safely on board their skiff. Harris had a sad expression on him. He told them that he had a fight with two swans. Half an hour, he said, they returned with eighteen other swans. He said he killed many of them. When George asked how many swans he said there were, Harris answered thirty-two. The facts remained unclear. When George and the narrator questioned Harris on the subject in the morning. he simply said “What swans?
Disturbing sleep by Harris
After a hearty supper George and the narrator had good sleep, which was of course disturbed now and then by Hams moving about in search of his trousers, socks and umbrella.
Montmorency: He is quite a curious dog. He comes to view the boiling kettle as a challenger. He accepts the challenge and suffers.
George: He is fond of playing banjo, though he has not been able to learn it properly. No one is ready to listen to his music.
Harris: When Harris gets drunk, he behaves strangely. His story of swans and his looking for his trousers, socks and umbrella the whole night are a source of good humour.
Plot In this episodic plot two incidents are quite humorous. Montmorency’s encounter with the boiling kettle and Harris’s story of the swans in his drunkenness.
Just after lunch the friends reached Ship lake. They decided that since it was too late to go to Reading, they agreed to stay the night at one of the Ship lake island, since they had time on their hands they decided to cook Irish stew for supper. Since George volunteered to cook, Harris and the narrator decided to peel the potatoes, thinking it to be an easy job. But the harder they peeled and scrapped them, they left a mess. So in the end they added all the odds and ends from their hamper to make a pot of a flavored stew.
After supper George and the narrator went to Henley but Harris stayed behind because of a Bad Stomach, accompanied by his drink and a pipe. However while returning from Henley the two friends lost their way. They shouted at way inlet for Harris since he was at the boat but they only heard silence. They were feeling cold and miserable because rain was lashing down making them soaked to their skin.
However just when they had given up hope, they caught a slight glimmer flickering on the opposite bank among the trees. Soon they realized that it was their boat so they yelled and immediately heard Montmorency barking. Somehow they boarded the boat but Harris had strangeness around him and on enquiring, they learnt that he had a fight with the swans but he defeated them with skill and courage. However, next morning, a sober Harris had no clue of anything of the previous night.
Answer the following questions in short:
- Who was Mrs. Sarah Hill? Why is there a memorial to her in the church?
Ans. Mrs. Sarah Hill was a lady who left 1 pound in her will to be divided at Easter, every year between two boys and two girls who have never been undutiful to their parents, who never told a lie to steal or to break windows and this was the reason why her memorial was put in the church.
- Why was the writer not satisfied with the contribution of Mrs. Sarah Hill?
Ans. The writer felt the sacrifice of the two boys and girls to be too great to receive such a petty amount.
- Mention the ingredients of Irish stew.
Ans. All the vegetables they found in their hampers including bacon, potted salmon and pork pie etc. were the ingredients of the Irish stew.
- What contribution did Montmorency want to make to the stew?
Ans. Montmorency wanted a dead rat to contribute to the stew.
- Mention how Montmorency and Harris reacted when George played the Banjo.
Ans. When George played on the banjo, Harris complained of headache and Montmorency howled steadily right through the performance.
- What happened to Harris after supper?
Ans. Harris felt upset due to the stew as he was not used to high living.
Answer the following questions in detail:
- Describe the village scene at Sonning.
Ans. The village Sonning is a fairy-like little nook on the river. It is more like a stage village than one built of bricks and mortar. Every house is smothered in roses and in the early June they burst forth in clouds of dainty splendour. The “Bull” is a village inn behind the church and in the writer’s words it is a genuine picture of an old country with green, square courtyard in front where groups of old people sit under the trees in the evening and they drink their ale and gossip over village politics. The houses have low, quaint rooms and latticed windows, awkward stairs and winding passages.
- Describe the reaction of society against the people who wish to learn music.
Ans. Learning a musical instrument is quite a disheartening work. We would think that society could assist a man to acquire the art of playing a musical instrument. But it never helps anybody. The writer is reminded of a young fellow who was studying to play the bagpipes. He was opposed so vehemently not only by the neighbours but also by his family members that we would be surprised. His father opposed it and spoke unfeelingly on the subject. He used to get up early in the morning to practise, but gave it up because of his sister who was religious minded and thought it was an awful way to begin the day. He began to practise in the night after his family had gone to bed, but people going home late at night rebuked him and spread the tale that a murder had been committed at the Jefferson’s for they had heard the victim’s shrieks and the brutal oaths and curses of the murderer. Thus everybody including the whole society cursed the boy who wanted
only to learn music.
- Explain the experiences of the writer and Harris in pealing and scrapping the potatoes.
Ans. George suggested his friends to prepare an Irish stew when they were staying at Shiplake island. It seemed to them a fascinating idea. George gathered wood and made a fire. Harris and the writer started to peel the potatoes. The writer had never thought that peeling potatoes was such an undertaking. The job turned out to be the biggest thing of its kind that he had ever been in. They felt that the more they peeled, the more peel there seemed to be left on. They kept on peeling till no potato was left-it looked about the size of a peanut. George advised to scrap them and then they felt it harder work than peeling as the potatoes had extraordinary shapes–all bumps and warts and hollows. They worked steadily for five-and-twenty minutes and did only four potatoes. They felt tired and wanted rest. Then they just washed and without peeling put half-a-dozen potatoes in the stew.
- Narrate Harris’s battle with swans as told by him.
Ans. Harris had a sad expression on him. When the writer and George noticed it and asked him the reason, Harris said “Swans!” He boasted that he had a fight with two swans and he defeated them with courage and skill. But after half-an-hour they returned with eighteen other swans and there had been a fearful battle. The swans had tried to drag him and Montmorency out of the boat. He had defended himself like a hero for four hours and had killed many of them. When George asked him about the number of swans, he replied “Thirty two” and then told they were twelve as he could not count them. We think his stomach was upset with stew and whisky he had consumed. His brain became foggy and confused. In the morning he could not even remember talking about swans and said “What swans?”
- What did Montmorency do to the kettle and how was he rewarded?
Ans. Throughout the trip, Montmorency had manifested great curiosity concerning the Kettle. He sat and watched it, as it boiled, with a puzzled expression. He tried and roused it every now and then by growling at it. When it began to splutter and steam, he regarded it as a challenge and wanted to fight it. He wished to catch his prey before someone would take it. He advanced towards it growling in a threatening attitude and seized it by the spout and got hurt and burnt his nose. His reaction to the boiling kettle reveals his fighting nature. From that day whenever he saw it, he growled and ran away at a rapid speed and when it was upon the stove, he climbed out the boat and sat on the bank.
- Do you feel sorry for George when he was forced to sell the Banjo?
Ans. To some extent we feel sorry for George as he was forced to sell his banjo. We agree that everyone has a right to learn and enjoy their hobbies but not at the cost of other’s comforts. It would have been better if he had at first acquainted himself with the basics of playing a banjo. He should have joined a good institution, coaching centre or a music teacher and learnt to play on it regularly. Then he would have been able to produce some good musical notes and not the blood-curdling shrieks to terrarise and disturb others. Actually he is very bad at playing it and so everybody feels annoyed and disturbed by the displeasing odd tunes he produced.
- Do you think Harris’s encounter with swans was a real story or not?
Ans. We regard the story not real. We feel Harris was a bit foxed due to his upset stomach after eating the Irish stew and consuming whisky on top of it. His brain become more foggy and confused. He seems to create the story for he gave different accounts of the swans saying that they were thirty two, then eighteen and then twelve. He claimed that the swans had tried to drag him and Montmorency out of the boat and drown them in the river. He told that with courage and skill, he had defended himself for four hours and killed a lot of them. In the morning he could not even remember talking about swans in the night. He is also boastful by nature and good at creating fake stories.
- Describe the character of three friends as lovers of food.
Ans. The three friends loved good food. Throughout the chapter we see that they are very fond of tasty foods. In this chapter we come across the first evidence of making Irish stew. The way it is described, the way they prepare it, the names of food items and the nourishment it could give them-everything shows they love food. The taste being piquant and appetising with a sharp taste liable to increase the desire to eat and all ready with their plates in hands show how eager they are to relish the new food item. While walking around Henley, they long to be back in their boat and indulge in talking of supper, whisky, cold meat and chunks of bread. Again after returning to their boat they have a hearty supper and wish to have some toddy which they could not find as Harris had no idea where it was.