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Three Men in a Boat Chapter 16 Summary

The friends enjoy being towed by a steam boat from Reading till Pangbourne. The author’s turn to row and his attempt to argue his way out of it. The discovery of the dead body of a woman and her story.

They reached Reading at about eleven in the morning. The author explained that while it was not a pretty sight, it was, historically, an important place. At Reading Lock, the three friends came upon a steam launch belonging to one of their friends, which towed their boat till Streatley. The author and his friends enjoyed being towed. Contradictory to his early views on steam launches and his usual practice of not getting out of their way, the author now expressed his annoyance with small boats which did not get out of the way of the steam launches.

A little above Mapledurham, they passed by the neighbourhood of Pangbourne, where the steam launch left them. The author tried to reason that the area where he was to row the boat had already passed, but George and Harris refused to agree, which the author thought was proof that they were shirking their work again. To keep peace, the author began rowing. However, they soon stopped when they discovered the dead body of a woman floating on the river. The body was taken to shore by some men on the bank. The friends later found out the woman’s story, where she had been deceived in love, left homeless with a small child and finally had drowned herself.

The author and his friends had intended to reach Wallingford that day, but the area of Streatley and Goring was so beautiful that they decided to spend some more time there.