What was the role of Montmorency in packing in Chapter 4 of Jerome's Three Men in a Boat?

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chsmith1957 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Montmorency is a fox terrier, the “dog” in the title. His role in the packing process was to interfere. J., the narrator of the book, first packed all of the clothing and equipment into a large Gladstone suitcase. Then George and Harris packed all of the food and utensils into hampers. Montmorency got in their way. Harris later claimed that J. encouraged the dog to be in the wrong place at the wrong time; but J. replied that Montmorency needed no such prodding to do what a dog naturally likes to do.

He came and sat down on things, just when they were wanted to be packed; and he laboured under the fixed belief that, whenever Harris or George reached out their hand for anything, it was his cold, damp nose that they wanted. He put his leg into the jam, and he worried the teaspoons, and he pretended that the lemons were rats, and got into the hamper and killed three of them before Harris could land him with the frying-pan.

This scene serves as a precursor to later escapades in which Montmorency takes part. He has an encounter with a cat in Chapter XIII. He argues with the tea kettle and brings a donation to George’s Irish stew in Chapter XIV.

jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Montmorency, a fox terrier, likes to get in the way of packing. As the narrator notes of the dog, "If he can squirm in anywhere where he particularly is not wanted, and be a perfect nuisance, and make people mad, and have things thrown at his head, then he feels his day has not been wasted." In Chapter IV, when objects are about to be packed, he jumps on them. When George and Harris are reaching for items to be packed, the dog inserts his wet nose into the equation so that they have to touch it. Montmorency inserts his leg into the jam, and he spills the teaspoons. He also decides to attack the lemons as if they were rats and jumps into the hamper to pretend to kill three of the lemons before Harris hits him with a frying pan. The other men accuse the narrator of encouraging the dog's antics, a claim that he rejects.

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