Three Men in a Boat(chapter 7)
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After passing Hampton Court, the men row through a lock — that is, a section of the river where the levels are lowered or raised between gates, to regulate traffic and water flow. This particular lock attracts many picnickers and pleasure-boaters, and J. remarks how nice it is to see people dressed up in their summer clothes. However, he criticizes his friends’ outfits – Harris has chosen to wear yellow, which does not suit him, and George has bought an ugly new blazer for the trip.
J. digresses to consider how women’s boating clothes tend to be pretty but impractical. He recounts a time he and a friend took several women rowing. The women wore such delicate clothes that even a drop of water would stain them, and they were unable to have fun on the trip because they were concerned about ruining their outfits.
The boat nears Hampton Church, and Harris proposes stopping to visit the graveyard, where someone named Mrs. Thomas is rumored to have a funny tombstone. J. protests, as he finds cemeteries depressing. For the reader, he recounts a time that he visited one with his friends. He refused to enter, and insulted the groundskeeper rudely when the man offered to show him the graveyard’s points of interest.
However, Harris insists on visiting the tombstone. George has gone into town to run some errands for the bank where he works. J. and Harris bicker about whether to visit the cemetery, and Harris decides he needs a drink. While trying to find the whiskey bottle, he falls head-first into the food hamper.