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Jerome and Harris found these people quite frustrating; they saw them as thieves.
"I wonder some of these riparian boors don’t claim the air of the river and threaten everyone with forty shillings fine who breathes it—but the posts and chains a little skill will easily avoid; and as for the boards, you might, if you have five minutes to spare, and there is nobody about, take one or two of them down and throw them into the river."
In a way.... they were right.
Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog)