Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog)

by Jerome K. Jerome
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What discussion did the three friends have about their stay at night?

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In Chapter II, the friends are considering how they want to conduct their boat trip. J., the narrator, speaks about the wonders of pulling their boat alongside the river. There, the three friends can smoke pipes and listen to the burble of the river in peace until they fall asleep...

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In Chapter II, the friends are considering how they want to conduct their boat trip. J., the narrator, speaks about the wonders of pulling their boat alongside the river. There, the three friends can smoke pipes and listen to the burble of the river in peace until they fall asleep under the stars. However, Harris interjects with a question about what they will do if it rains. Then, J. thinks about the horrors of camping in the rain, including the hassle of putting up a heavy and soggy tent. Then, the friends would likely eat a dinner that is soaked through with rainwater and wake up with colds in the morning. Then, as the narrator says:

"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."

Their dog, Montmorency, agrees with this compromise, in which the friends will sleep outside in good weather and sleep in an inn, hotel, or pub if it's rainy or they simply crave the indoors. 

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After J., George, and Harris decide to go on a boat trip along the River Thames (in Chapter I), they must determine how they are going to travel and what supplies they will take along. In Chapter II, they debate the issue of whether or not they should “camp out” at night. This would involve taking a tent along and setting it up in a different place each afternoon. The alternative would be to sleep in local inns along the way. Narrator J. waxes poetic about how wonderful and relaxing it would be to make a late dinner over a campfire and sleep under the stars. Then Harris asks, “How about when it rained?” J. quickly imagines a scene where two people struggle to put up a tent in a driving downpour. They may eventually be successful, only to have the tent collapse and fall on the sleepers in the middle of the night. The three friends therefore reach a consensus “to sleep out on fine nights; and to hotel it, and inn it, and pub it, like respectable folks, when it was wet, or when we felt inclined for a change.” They end up using a canvas and hoops tent that covers the boat.

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