When Jerome becomes politically lyrical, he is brought back to reality rather rudely. Is there any such instance in the story of Three Men in a Boat?

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chsmith1957 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This story happens in Chapter XI, near the town of Staines. The narrator, known as J., launches into a fanciful history of King John, the Magna Carta, and the year 1215, because the boat has traveled toward the spot where the important document was signed. J. imagines the scene in great detail, with knights and squires in colorful garb. Many people have been crowding in and waiting for hours to witness the event. King John rides in from one direction, and the Barons ride in from another. J. concludes the chapter with this assessment:

We wait in breathless silence till a great shout cleaves the air, and the great cornerstone in England’s temple of liberty has, now we know, been firmly laid.

The subsequent text of Chapter XII brings us abruptly back to the present day. George complains to J., saying that if he has rested enough, maybe he could help with cleaning up after breakfast. J. brings himself back to reality and “cleaned out the frying-pan with a stick of wood and a tuft of grass, polishing it up finally with George’s wet shirt.”

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