Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome


Three invalids.—Sufferings of George and Harris.—A victim to one hundred
and seven fatal maladies.—Useful prescriptions.—Cure for liver complaint
in children.—We agree that we are overworked, and need rest.—A week on
the rolling deep?—George suggests the River.—Montmorency lodges an
objection.—Original motion carried by majority of three to one.

There were four of us—George, and William Samuel Harris, and myself, and
Montmorency. We were sitting in my room, smoking, and talking about how
bad we were—bad from a medical point of view I mean, of course.

We were all feeling seedy, and we were getting quite nervous about it.
Harris said he felt such extraordinary fits of giddiness come over him at
times, that he hardly knew what he was doing; and then George said that
_he_ had fits of giddiness too, and hardly knew what _he_ was doing.
With me, it was my liver that was out of order. I knew it was my liver
that was out of order, because I had just been reading a patent
liver-pill circular, in which were detailed the various symptoms by which
a man could tell when his liver was out of order. I had them all.

It is a most extraordinary thing, but I never read a patent medicine
advertisement without being impelled to the conclusion that I am
suffering from the particular disease therein dealt with in its most
virulent form. The diagnosis seems in every case to correspond exactly
with all the sensations that I have ever felt.

[Picture: Man reading book] I remember going to the British Museum one
day to read up the treatment for some slight ailment of which I had a
touch—hay fever, I fancy it was. I got down the book, and read all I
came to read; and then, in an unthinking moment, I idly turned the
leaves, and began to indolently study diseases, generally. I forget
which was the first distemper I plunged into—some fearful, devastating
scourge, I know—and, before I had glanced half down the list of
“premonitory symptoms,” it was borne in upon me that I had fairly got it.

I sat for awhile, frozen with horror; and then, in the listlessness of
despair, I again turned over the pages. I came to typhoid fever—read the
symptoms—discovered that I had typhoid fever, must have had it for months
without knowing it—wondered what else I had got; turned up St. Vitus’s
Dance—found, as I expected, that I had that too,—began to get interested
in my case, and determined to sift it to the bottom, and so started
alphabetically—read up ague, and learnt that I was sickening for it, and
that the acute stage would commence in about another fortnight. Bright’s
disease, I was relieved to find, I had only in a modified form, and, so
far as that was concerned, I might live for years. Cholera I had, with
severe complications; and diphtheria I seemed to have been born with. I
plodded conscientiously through the twenty-six letters, and the only
malady I could conclude I had not got was housemaid’s knee.

I felt rather hurt about this at first; it seemed somehow to be a sort of
slight. Why hadn’t I got housemaid’s knee? Why this invidious
reservation? After a while, however, less grasping feelings prevailed.
I reflected that I had every other known malady in the pharmacology, and
I grew less selfish, and determined to do without housemaid’s knee.
Gout, in its most malignant stage, it would appear, had seized me without
my being aware of it; and zymosis I had evidently been suffering with
from boyhood. There were no more diseases after zymosis, so I concluded
there was nothing else the matter with me.

I sat and pondered. I thought what an interesting case I must be from a
medical point of view, what an acquisition I should be to a class!
Students would have no need to “walk the hospitals,” if they had me. I
was a hospital in myself. All they need do would be to walk round me,
and, after that, take their diploma.

Then I wondered how long I had to live. I tried to examine myself. I
felt my pulse. I could not at first feel any pulse at all. Then, all of
a sudden, it seemed to start off. I pulled out my watch and timed it. I
made it a hundred and forty-seven to the minute. I tried to feel my
heart. I could not feel my heart. It had stopped beating. I have since
been induced to come to the opinion that it must have been there all the
time, and must have been beating, but I cannot account for it. I patted
myself all over my front, from what I call my waist up to my head, and I
went a bit round each side, and a little way up the back. But I could
not feel or hear anything. I tried to look at my tongue. I stuck it out
as far as ever it would go, and I shut one eye, and tried to examine it
with the other. I could only see the tip, and the only thing that I
could gain from that was to feel more certain than before that I had
scarlet fever.

[Picture: Man with walking stick] I had walked into that reading-room a
happy, healthy man. I crawled out a decrepit wreck.

I went to my medical man. He is an old chum of mine, and feels my pulse,
and looks at my tongue, and talks about the weather, all for nothing,
when I fancy I’m ill; so I thought I would do him a good turn by going to
him now. “What a doctor wants,” I said, “is practice. He shall have me.
He will get more practice out of me than out of seventeen hundred of your
ordinary, commonplace patients, with only one or two diseases each.” So
I went straight up and saw him, and he said:

“Well, what’s the matter with you?”

I said:

“I will not take up your time, dear boy, with telling you what is the
matter with me. Life is brief, and you might pass away before I had
finished. But I will tell you what is _not_ the matter with me. I have
not got housemaid’s knee. Why I have not got housemaid’s knee, I cannot
tell you; but the fact remains that I have not got it. Everything else,
however, I _have_ got.”

And I told him how I came to discover it all.

Then he opened me and looked down me, and clutched hold of my wrist, and
then he hit me over the chest when I wasn’t expecting it—a cowardly thing
to do, I call it—and immediately afterwards butted me with the side of
his head. After that, he sat down and wrote out a prescription, and
folded it up and gave it me, and I put it in my pocket and went out.

I did not open it. I took it to the nearest chemist’s, and handed it in.
The man read it, and then handed it back.

He said he didn’t keep it.

I said:

“You are a chemist?”

He said:

“I am a chemist. If I was a co-operative stores and family hotel
combined, I might be able to oblige you. Being only a chemist hampers

I read the prescription. It ran:

“1 lb. beefsteak, with
1 pt. bitter beer

every 6 hours.

1 ten-mile walk every morning.

1 bed at 11 sharp every night.

And don’t stuff up your head with things you don’t understand.”

I followed the directions, with the happy result—speaking for myself—that
my life was preserved, and is still going on.

In the present instance, going back to the liver-pill circular, I had the
symptoms, beyond all mistake, the chief among them being “a general
disinclination to work of any kind.”

What I suffer in that way no tongue can tell. From my earliest infancy I
have been a martyr to it. As a boy, the disease hardly ever left me for
a day. They did not know, then, that it was my liver. Medical science
was in a far less advanced state than now, and they used to put it down
to laziness.

“Why, you skulking little devil, you,” they would say, “get up and do
something for your living, can’t you?”—not knowing, of course, that I was

And they didn’t give me pills; they gave me clumps on the side of the
head. And, strange as it may appear, those clumps on the head often
cured me—for the time being. I have known one clump on the head have
more effect upon my liver, and make me feel more anxious to go straight
away then and there, and do what was wanted to be done, without further
loss of time, than a whole box of pills does now.

You know, it often is so—those simple, old-fashioned remedies are
sometimes more efficacious than all the dispensary stuff.

We sat there for half-an-hour, describing to each other our maladies. I
explained to George and William Harris how I felt when I got up in the
morning, and William Harris told us how he felt when he went to bed; and
George stood on the hearth-rug, and gave us a clever and powerful piece
of acting, illustrative of how he felt in the night.

George _fancies_ he is ill; but there’s never anything really the matter
with him, you know.

At this point, Mrs. Poppets knocked at the door to know if we were ready
for supper. We smiled sadly at one another, and said we supposed we had
better try to swallow a bit. Harris said a little something in one’s
stomach often kept the disease in check; and Mrs. Poppets brought the
tray in, and we drew up to the table, and toyed with a little steak and
onions, and some rhubarb tart.

I must have been very weak at the time; because I know, after the first
half-hour or so, I seemed to take no interest whatever in my food—an
unusual thing for me—and I didn’t want any cheese.

This duty done, we refilled our glasses, lit our pipes, and resumed the
discussion upon our state of health. What it was that was actually the
matter with us, we none of us could be sure of; but the unanimous opinion
was that it—whatever it was—had been brought on by overwork.

“What we want is rest,” said Harris.

“Rest and a complete change,” said George. “The overstrain upon our
brains has produced a general depression throughout the system. Change
of scene, and absence of the necessity for thought, will restore the
mental equilibrium.”

George has a cousin, who is usually described in the charge-sheet as a
medical student, so that he naturally has a somewhat family-physicianary
way of putting things.

I agreed with George, and suggested that we should seek out some retired
and old-world spot, far from the madding crowd, and dream away a sunny
week among its drowsy lanes—some half-forgotten nook, hidden away by the
fairies, out of reach of the noisy world—some quaint-perched eyrie on the
cliffs of Time, from whence the surging waves of the nineteenth century
would sound far-off and faint.

Harris said he thought it would be humpy. He said he knew the sort of
place I meant; where everybody went to bed at eight o’clock, and you
couldn’t get a _Referee_ for love or money, and had to walk ten miles to
get your baccy.

“No,” said Harris, “if you want rest and change, you can’t beat a sea

I objected to the sea trip strongly. A sea trip does you good when you
are going to have a couple of months of it, but, for a week, it is

You start on Monday with the idea implanted in your bosom that you are
going to enjoy yourself. You wave an airy adieu to the boys on shore,
light your biggest pipe, and swagger about the deck as if you were
Captain Cook, Sir Francis Drake, and Christopher Columbus all rolled into
one. On Tuesday, you wish you hadn’t come. On Wednesday, Thursday, and
Friday, you wish you were dead. On Saturday, you are able to swallow a
little beef tea, and to sit up on deck, and answer with a wan, sweet
smile when kind-hearted people ask you how you feel now. On Sunday, you
begin to walk about again, and take solid food. And on Monday morning,
as, with your bag and umbrella in your hand, you stand by the gunwale,
waiting to step ashore, you begin to thoroughly like it.

I remember my brother-in-law going for a short sea trip once, for the
benefit of his health. He took a return berth from London to Liverpool;
and when he got to Liverpool, the only thing he was anxious about was to
sell that return ticket.

It was offered round the town at a tremendous reduction, so I am told;
and was eventually sold for eighteenpence to a bilious-looking youth who
had just been advised by his medical men to go to the sea-side, and take

“Sea-side!” said my brother-in-law, pressing the ticket affectionately
into his hand; “why, you’ll have enough to last you a lifetime; and as
for exercise! why, you’ll get more exercise, sitting down on that ship,
than you would turning somersaults on dry land.”

He himself—my brother-in-law—came back by train. He said the
North-Western Railway was healthy enough for him.

Another fellow I knew went for a week’s voyage round the coast, and,
before they started, the steward came to him to ask whether he would pay
for each meal as he had it, or arrange beforehand for the whole series.

The steward recommended the latter course, as it would come so much
cheaper. He said they would do him for the whole week at two pounds
five. He said for breakfast there would be fish, followed by a grill.
Lunch was at one, and consisted of four courses. Dinner at six—soup,
fish, entree, joint, poultry, salad, sweets, cheese, and dessert. And a
light meat supper at ten.

My friend thought he would close on the two-pound-five job (he is a
hearty eater), and did so.

Lunch came just as they were off Sheerness. He didn’t feel so hungry as
he thought he should, and so contented himself with a bit of boiled beef,
and some strawberries and cream. He pondered a good deal during the
afternoon, and at one time it seemed to him that he had been eating
nothing but boiled beef for weeks, and at other times it seemed that he
must have been living on strawberries and cream for years.

Neither the beef nor the strawberries and cream seemed happy,
either—seemed discontented like.

At six, they came and told him dinner was ready. The announcement
aroused no enthusiasm within him, but he felt that there was some of that
two-pound-five to be worked off, and he held on to ropes and things and
went down. A pleasant odour of onions and hot ham, mingled with fried
fish and greens, greeted him at the bottom of the ladder; and then the
steward came up with an oily smile, and said:

“What can I get you, sir?”

[Picture: Man feeling ill] “Get me out of this,” was the feeble reply.

And they ran him up quick, and propped him up, over to leeward, and left

For the next four days he lived a simple and blameless life on thin
captain’s biscuits (I mean that the biscuits were thin, not the captain)
and soda-water; but, towards Saturday, he got uppish, and went in for
weak tea and dry toast, and on Monday he was gorging himself on chicken
broth. He left the ship on Tuesday, and as it steamed away from the
landing-stage he gazed after it regretfully.

“There she goes,” he said, “there she goes, with two pounds’ worth of
food on board that belongs to me, and that I haven’t had.”

He said that if they had given him another day he thought he could have
put it straight.

So I set my face against the sea trip. Not, as I explained, upon my own
account. I was never queer. But I was afraid for George. George said
he should be all right, and would rather like it, but he would advise
Harris and me not to think of it, as he felt sure we should both be ill.
Harris said that, to himself, it was always a mystery how people managed
to get sick at sea—said he thought people must do it on purpose, from
affectation—said he had often wished to be, but had never been able.

Then he told us anecdotes of how he had gone across the Channel when it
was so rough that the passengers had to be tied into their berths, and he
and the captain were the only two living souls on board who were not ill.
Sometimes it was he and the second mate who were not ill; but it was
generally he and one other man. If not he and another man, then it was
he by himself.

It is a curious fact, but nobody ever is sea-sick—on land. At sea, you
come across plenty of people very bad indeed, whole boat-loads of them;
but I never met a man yet, on land, who had ever known at all what it was
to be sea-sick. Where the thousands upon thousands of bad sailors that
swarm in every ship hide themselves when they are on land is a mystery.

If most men were like a fellow I saw on the Yarmouth boat one day, I
could account for the seeming enigma easily enough. It was just off
Southend Pier, I recollect, and he was leaning out through one of the
port-holes in a very dangerous position. I went up to him to try and
save him.

“Hi! come further in,” I said, shaking him by the shoulder. “You’ll be

“Oh my! I wish I was,” was the only answer I could get; and there I had
to leave him.

Three weeks afterwards, I met him in the coffee-room of a Bath hotel,
talking about his voyages, and explaining, with enthusiasm, how he loved
the sea.

“Good sailor!” he replied in answer to a mild young man’s envious query;
“well, I did feel a little queer _once_, I confess. It was off Cape
Horn. The vessel was wrecked the next morning.”

I said:

“Weren’t you a little shaky by Southend Pier one day, and wanted to be
thrown overboard?”

“Southend Pier!” he replied, with a puzzled expression.

“Yes; going down to Yarmouth, last Friday three weeks.”

“Oh, ah—yes,” he answered, brightening up; “I remember now. I did have a
headache that afternoon. It was the pickles, you know. They were the
most disgraceful pickles I ever tasted in a respectable boat. Did _you_
have any?”

For myself, I have discovered an excellent preventive against
sea-sickness, in balancing myself. 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.

George said:

“Let’s go up the river.”

He said we should have fresh air, exercise and quiet; the constant change
of scene would occupy our minds (including what there was of Harris’s);
and the hard work would give us a good appetite, and make us sleep well.

Harris said he didn’t think George ought to do anything that would have a
tendency to make him sleepier than he always was, as it might be
dangerous. He said he didn’t very well understand how George was going
to sleep any more than he did now, seeing that there were only
twenty-four hours in each day, summer and winter alike; but thought that
if he _did_ sleep any more, he might just as well be dead, and so save
his board and lodging.

Harris said, however, that the river would suit him to a “T.” I don’t
know what a “T” is (except a sixpenny one, which includes
bread-and-butter and cake _ad lib._, and is cheap at the price, if you
haven’t had any dinner). It seems to suit everybody, however, which is
greatly to its credit.

It suited me to a “T” too, and Harris and I both said it was a good idea
of George’s; and we said it in a tone that seemed to somehow imply that
we were surprised that George should have come out so sensible.

[Picture: Montmorency] The only one who was not struck with the
suggestion was Montmorency. He never did care for the river, did

“It’s all very well for you fellows,” he says; “you like it, but _I_
don’t. There’s nothing for me to do. Scenery is not in my line, and I
don’t smoke. If I see a rat, you won’t stop; and if I go to sleep, you
get fooling about with the boat, and slop me overboard. If you ask me, I
call the whole thing bally foolishness.”

We were three to one, however, and the motion was carried.


Plans discussed.—Pleasures of “camping-out,” on fine nights.—Ditto, wet
nights.—Compromise decided on.—Montmorency, first impressions of.—Fears
lest he is too good for this world, fears subsequently dismissed as
groundless.—Meeting adjourns.

We pulled out the maps, and discussed plans.

We arranged to start on the following Saturday from Kingston. Harris and
I would go down in the morning, and take the boat up to Chertsey, and
George, who would not be able to get away from the City till the
afternoon (George goes to sleep at a bank from ten to four each day,
except Saturdays, when they wake him up and put him outside at two),
would meet us there.

Should we “camp out” or sleep at inns?

George and I were for camping out. We said it would be so wild and free,
so patriarchal like.

Slowly the golden memory of the dead sun fades from the hearts of the
cold, sad clouds. Silent, like sorrowing children, the birds have ceased
their song, and only the moorhen’s plaintive cry and the harsh croak of
the corncrake stirs the awed hush around the couch of waters, where the
dying day breathes out her last.

From the dim woods on either bank, Night’s ghostly army, the grey
shadows, creep out with noiseless tread to chase away the lingering
rear-guard of the light, and pass, with noiseless, unseen feet, above the
waving river-grass, and through the sighing rushes; and Night, upon her
sombre throne, folds her black wings above the darkening world, and, from
her phantom palace, lit by the pale stars, reigns in stillness.

[Picture: River scene]

Then we run our little boat into some quiet nook, and the tent is
pitched, and the frugal supper cooked and eaten. Then the big pipes are
filled and lighted, and the pleasant chat goes round in musical
undertone; while, in the pauses of our talk, the river, playing round the
boat, prattles strange old tales and secrets, sings low the old child’s
song that it has sung so many thousand years—will sing so many thousand
years to come, before its voice grows harsh and old—a song that we, who
have learnt to love its changing face, who have so often nestled on its
yielding bosom, think, somehow, we understand, though we could not tell
you in mere words the story that we listen to.

And we sit there, by its margin, while the moon, who loves it too, stoops
down to kiss it with a sister’s kiss, and throws her silver arms around
it clingingly; and we watch it as it flows, ever singing, ever
whispering, out to meet its king, the sea—till our voices die away in
silence, and the pipes go out—till we, common-place, everyday young men
enough, feel strangely full of thoughts, half sad, half sweet, and do not
care or want to speak—till we laugh, and, rising, knock the ashes from
our burnt-out pipes, and say “Good-night,” and, lulled by the lapping
water and the rustling trees, we fall asleep beneath the great, still
stars, and dream that the world is young again—young and sweet as she
used to be ere the centuries of fret and care had furrowed her fair face,
ere her children’s sins and follies had made old her loving heart—sweet
as she was in those bygone days when, a new-made mother, she nursed us,
her children, upon her own deep breast—ere the wiles of painted
civilization had lured us away from her fond arms, and the poisoned
sneers of artificiality had made us ashamed of the simple life we led
with her, and the simple, stately home where mankind was born so many
thousands years ago.

Harris said:

“How about when it rained?”

You can never rouse Harris. There is no poetry about Harris—no wild
yearning for the unattainable. Harris never “weeps, he knows not why.”
If Harris’s eyes fill with tears, you can bet it is because Harris has
been eating raw onions, or has put too much Worcester over his chop.

[Picture: Mermaid] If you were to stand at night by the sea-shore with
Harris, and say:

“Hark! do you not hear? Is it but the mermaids singing deep below the
waving waters; or sad spirits, chanting dirges for white corpses, held by
seaweed?” Harris would take you by the arm, and say:

“I know what it is, old man; you’ve got a chill. Now, you come along
with me. I know a place round the corner here, where you can get a drop
of the finest Scotch whisky you ever tasted—put you right in less than no

Harris always does know a place round the corner where you can get
something brilliant in the drinking line. I believe that if you met
Harris up in Paradise (supposing such a thing likely), he would
immediately greet you with:

“So glad you’ve come, old fellow; I’ve found a nice place round the
corner here, where you can get some really first-class nectar.”

In the present instance, however, as regarded the camping out, his
practical view of the matter came as a very timely hint. Camping out in
rainy weather is not pleasant.

It is evening. You are wet through, and there is a good two inches of
water in the boat, and all the things are damp. You find a place on the
banks that is not quite so puddly as other places you have seen, and you
land and lug out the tent, and two of you proceed to fix it.

It is soaked and heavy, and it flops about, and tumbles down on you, and
clings round your head and makes you mad. The rain is pouring steadily
down all the time. It is difficult enough to fix a tent in dry weather:
in wet, the task becomes herculean. Instead of helping you, it seems to
you that the other man is simply playing the fool. Just as you get your
side beautifully fixed, he gives it a hoist from his end, and spoils it

“Here! what are you up to?” you call out.

“What are _you_ up to?” he retorts; “leggo, can’t you?”

“Don’t pull it; you’ve got it all wrong, you stupid ass!” you shout.

“No, I haven’t,” he yells back; “let go your side!”

“I tell you you’ve got it all wrong!” you roar, wishing that you could
get at him; and you give your ropes a lug that pulls all his pegs out.

“Ah, the bally idiot!” you hear him mutter to himself; and then comes a
savage haul, and away goes your side. You lay down the mallet and start
to go round and tell him what you think about the whole business, and, at
the same time, he starts round in the same direction to come and explain
his views to you. And you follow each other round and round, swearing at
one another, until the tent tumbles down in a heap, and leaves you
looking at each other across its ruins, when you both indignantly
exclaim, in the same breath:

“There you are! what did I tell you?”

Meanwhile the third man, who has been baling out the boat, and who has
spilled the water down his sleeve, and has been cursing away to himself
steadily for the last ten minutes, wants to know what the thundering
blazes you’re playing at, and why the blarmed tent isn’t up yet.

At last, somehow or other, it does get up, and you land the things. It
is hopeless attempting to make a wood fire, so you light the methylated
spirit stove, and crowd round that.

Rainwater is the chief article of diet at supper. The bread is
two-thirds rainwater, the beefsteak-pie is exceedingly rich in it, and
the jam, and the butter, and the salt, and the coffee have all combined
with it to make soup.

After supper, you find your tobacco is damp, and you cannot smoke.
Luckily you have a bottle of the stuff that cheers and inebriates, if
taken in proper quantity, and this restores to you sufficient interest in
life to induce you to go to bed.

There you dream that an elephant has suddenly sat down on your chest, and
that the volcano has exploded and thrown you down to the bottom of the
sea—the elephant still sleeping peacefully on your bosom. You wake up
and grasp the idea that something terrible really has happened. Your
first impression is that the end of the world has come; and then you
think that this cannot be, and that it is thieves and murderers, or else
fire, and this opinion you express in the usual method. No help comes,
however, and all you know is that thousands of people are kicking you,
and you are being smothered.

Somebody else seems in trouble, too. You can hear his faint cries coming
from underneath your bed. Determining, at all events, to sell your life
dearly, you struggle frantically, hitting out right and left with arms
and legs, and yelling lustily the while, and at last something gives way,
and you find your head in the fresh air. Two feet off, you dimly observe
a half-dressed ruffian, waiting to kill you, and you are preparing for a
life-and-death struggle with him, when it begins to dawn upon you that
it’s Jim.

“Oh, it’s you, is it?” he says, recognising you at the same moment.

“Yes,” you answer, rubbing your eyes; “what’s happened?”

“Bally tent’s blown down, I think,” he says. “Where’s Bill?”

Then you both raise up your voices and shout for “Bill!” and the ground
beneath you heaves and rocks, and the muffled voice that you heard before
replies from out the ruin:

“Get off my head, can’t you?”

And Bill struggles out, a muddy, trampled wreck, and in an unnecessarily
aggressive mood—he being under the evident belief that the whole thing
has been done on purpose.

In the morning you are all three speechless, owing to having caught
severe colds in the night; you also feel very quarrelsome, and you swear
at each other in hoarse whispers during the whole of breakfast time.

We therefore decided that we would sleep out on fine nights; and hotel
it, and inn it, and pub. it, like respectable folks, when it was wet, or
when we felt inclined for a change.

Montmorency hailed this compromise with much approval. He does not revel
in romantic solitude. Give him something noisy; and if a trifle low, so
much the jollier. To look at Montmorency you would imagine that he was
an angel sent upon the earth, for some reason withheld from mankind, in
the shape of a small fox-terrier. There is a sort of
make-it-better-and-nobler expression about Montmorency that has been
known to bring the tears into the eyes of pious old ladies and gentlemen.

When first he came to live at my expense, I never thought I should be
able to get him to stop long. I used to sit down and look at him, as he
sat on the rug and looked up at me, and think: “Oh, that dog will never
live. He will be snatched up to the bright skies in a chariot, that is
what will happen to him.”

But, when I had paid for about a dozen chickens that he had killed; and
had dragged him, growling and kicking, by the scruff of his neck, out of
a hundred and fourteen street fights; and had had a dead cat brought
round for my inspection by an irate female, who called me a murderer; and
had been summoned by the man next door but one for having a ferocious dog
at large, that had kept him pinned up in his own tool-shed, afraid to
venture his nose outside the door for over two hours on a cold night; and
had learned that the gardener, unknown to myself, had won thirty
shillings by backing him to kill rats against time, then I began to think
that maybe they’d let him remain on earth for a bit longer, after all.

To hang about a stable, and collect a gang of the most disreputable dogs
to be found in the town, and lead them out to march round the slums to
fight other disreputable dogs, is Montmorency’s idea of “life;” and so,
as I before observed, he gave to the suggestion of inns, and pubs., and
hotels his most emphatic approbation.

Having thus settled the sleeping arrangements to the satisfaction of all
four of us, the only thing left to discuss was what we should take with
us; and this we had begun to argue, when Harris said he’d had enough
oratory for one night, and proposed that we should go out and have a
smile, saying that he had found a place, round by the square, where you
could really get a drop of Irish worth drinking.

[Picture: Whisky glass] George said he felt thirsty (I never knew George
when he didn’t); and, as I had a presentiment that a little whisky, warm,
with a slice of lemon, would do my complaint good, the debate was, by
common assent, adjourned to the following night; and the assembly put on
its hats and went out.