THREE MEN IN A BOAT
(TO SAY NOTHING OF THE DOG).
Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome
THREE INVALIDS. – SUFFERINGS OF GEORGE AND HARRIS. – A VICTIM TO ONE
HUNDRED AND SEVEN FATAL MALADIES. – USEFUL PRESCRIPTIONS. – CURE FOR
LIVER COMPLAINT IN CHILDREN. – WE AGREE THAT WE ARE OVERWORKED, AND NEED
REST. – A WEEK ON THE ROLLING DEEP? – GEORGE SUGGESTS THE RIVER. –
MONTMORENCY LODGES AN OBJECTION. – ORIGINAL MOTION CARRIED BY MAJORITY OF
THREE TO ONE.
THERE were four of us – George, and William Samuel Harris, and myself,
And Montmorency. We were sitting in my room, smoking, and talking about
How bad we were – bad from a medical point of view I mean, of course.
We were all feeling seedy, and we were getting quite nervous about it.
Harris said he felt such extraordinary fits of giddiness come over him at
that he hardly knew what he was doing; and then George said that
HE had fits of giddiness too, and hardly knew what HE was doing. With
Me, it was my liver that was out of order. I knew it was my liver that
Was out of order, because I had just been reading a patent liver-pill
Circular, in which were detailed the various symptoms by which a man
Could tell when his liver was out of order. I had them all.
It is a most extraordinary thing, but I never read a patent medicine
Advertisement without being impelled to the conclusion that I am
Suffering from the particular disease therein dealt with in its most
Virulent form. The diagnosis seems in every case to correspond exactly
With all the sensations that I have ever felt.
I remember going to the British Museum one day to read up the treatment
For some slight ailment of which I had a touch – hay fever, I fancy it
Was. I got down the book, and read all I came to read; and then, in an
Unthinking moment, I idly turned the leaves, and began to indolently
Study diseases, generally. I forget which was the first distemper I
Plunged into – some fearful, devastating scourge, I know – and, before I
Had glanced half down the list of “premonitory symptoms,” it was borne in
Upon me that I had fairly got it.
I sat for awhile, frozen with horror; and then, in the listlessness of
Despair, I again turned over the pages. I came to typhoid fever – read
The symptoms – discovered that I had typhoid fever, must have had it for
Months without knowing it – wondered what else I had got; turned up St.
Vitus’s Dance – found, as I expected, that I had that too, – began to get
Interested in my case, and determined to sift it to the bottom, and so
Started alphabetically – read up ague, and learnt that I was sickening
For it, and that the acute stage would commence in about another
Fortnight. Bright’s disease, I was relieved to find, I had only in a
Modified form, and, so far as that was concerned, I might live for years.
Cholera I had, with severe complications; and diphtheria I seemed to have
Been born with. I plodded conscientiously through the twenty-six
Letters, and the only malady I could conclude I had not got was
I felt rather hurt about this at first; it seemed somehow to be a sort of
Slight. Why hadn’t I got housemaid’s knee? Why this invidious
Reservation? After a while, however, less grasping feelings prevailed. I
Reflected that I had every other known malady in the pharmacology, and I
Grew less selfish, and determined to do without housemaid’s knee. Gout,
In its most malignant stage, it would appear, had seized me without my