Summary (Masterplots: Revised Category Edition, British Fiction Series)
J., Harris, and George were feeling seedy. They sat around idly in J.’s room discussing their ailments. J., especially, was prone to ailments. Once he had gone through a medical book and discovered that he had all the symptoms of typhoid, cholera, and zymosis; in fact, he had all the ills described except housemaid’s knee.
He visited a doctor, intent on giving him practice in diagnosis. After the examination, the doctor gave him a prescription for a pound of beefsteak and a pint of bitter beer every six hours. The prescription must have been efficacious; J. was still alive.
The three friends decided they needed a complete change and rest. Various possibilities were suggested, including a sea voyage. J. knew from experience that nearly everyone became sick on sea voyages. He had a friend who paid two pounds and a half in advance for his board during a week’s trip. By the end of the week, he had eaten so little that the steward had at least two pounds clear. A sea voyage was out. As a compromise, they decided on a boat trip up the Thames to Oxford. Montmorency was opposed to the idea but was outvoted.
They were to start from Kingston. George, who had to work until two on Saturdays, would join them at Chertsey. They discussed sleeping and eating arrangements. Although Harris was doubtful, they agreed to sleep in the boat and cook their own meals. Harris had no poetry in his soul; life in the raw had no appeal for him, for he was...
(The entire section is 1299 words.)
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