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Three Men in a Boat Chapter 15 Summary
Household work, duties and their general aversion to work. Observations on the changed attitudes of the younger generation. Sharing of their earlier boating experiences.
Waking up early the next morning, the author and his friends had a quick breakfast and then started cleaning up and tidying things. This gave them an insight into how a housewife is kept constantly occupied. By ten o’clock they were ready to continue on their journey. However, upon the question of who should row, the three friends could not agree. Each felt that the other two had not been doing enough work. According to the author, while he loved work and always kept around it, he was not too keen on actually doing more than observing it.
Finally it was decided that George and Harris would row and then later on the author would tow the boat past Reading. The author then discussed the strange change in the attitudes of the younger generation. According to him, the old experienced sailors always relaxed and made the new ones do all the work, all the while telling them mostly fictitious stories about how they had once rowed in far worse conditions. The author had noticed a change in the younger generation, however, as once, when he and his friends were trying out this strategy with a new sailor, instead of listening to them, he refused to believe their stories.
As the three friends rowed along, they shared their early boating experiences. The author recalled rafting in the backwaters, with the owner of the planks chasing him for stealing them. George recalled his first outing on the river-at the age of sixteen, when he and his friends hired a racing boat and had a terrible time trying to row it. Harris on the other hand, was more used to the sea than to river boating.
The author then discussed the temperament and method of the old boatman, who calmly allows all other boats to overtake him without the slightest objection. He then commented on the funny sight of two novices rowing together, as neither can keep pace with the other and they end up blaming the oars and the man who rented the boat out to them.
When George mentioned that he would like to try punting, the author related the story of a friend who went punting and sadly got stuck in the middle of the river, clinging onto his pole like a monkey. The author was now alone on the punt with no form of oars on board. He was saved by a fishing punt.
However, the author’s first experience of punting was amusing, because his friends saw another fellow on the water who they thought was him, and in their friendly manner had mocked him. They had felt very foolish later on. The author had shared his first sailing trip with a friend, when he was a boy. According to him, they did everything wrong and it was surprising that they had not fallen into the water and drowned!