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

Three Men in a Boat

how do the three friends describe each other their diseases they think they have?

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The narrator, J., is smoking in his room with his friends, Georgeand William Samuel Harris, and his dog Montmorency. The men, all hypochondriacs, are chatting about their latest illnesses, each man certain that he is in danger of death or serious disease.

In a flashback, J. recollects how he once went to the British Museum to research a treatment for his hay fever, and after reading about diseases, convinced himself that he was suffering from every illness known to man except for housemaid’s knee. J.’s doctor, clearly recognizing the man's paranoia, prescribed him beefsteak, beer, walking, and good sleep habits, and urged him not to “stuff up your head with things you don’t understand” (10).

J. still believes that he suffers from every disease, but he is especially concerned about his ‘liver condition’ – the main symptom of which is “a general disinclination to work of any kind” (10).

"Harris said he felt such extraordinary fits of giddiness come over him at times, 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."

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