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Three Men in a Boat Chapter 6 Summary
Some remarks on early English history and observations on life in general. The author gives his views on the contradictory nature of people who always want what they don’t have and never realize the value of what they do have. Harris narrates an incident when he acted as a guide in the maze at Hampton Court.
Harris rowed the boat down the river, as the author sat back and thought about the beauty of the day and the history of Kingston. The author then commented that Queen Elizabeth had stopped over at many places around the river, as she was especially fond of public inns. According to him, if Harris were to ever become the Prime Minister, he should never allow the innkeepers to place boards outside their inns proclaiming that he had stopped there.
There were many houses in the area, built during the Tudor era. The author commented on one such house which had been converted to a shop and which had a marvellous oak staircase. The owner of the house also had an entire room which was panelled in oak, which he had covered up with bright blue wallpaper, as he found the oak rather gloomy.
Based on this incident, the author observed that people usually have what they do not want and want what they do not have. As an example, the author narrated the case of a boy named Stiwings, in his school, who loved studying, but who fell ill very often and had to miss school. On the other hand, every other boy in school wished that they could fall sick and miss school, but they could not.
The author also raised the question of what was valued as antique in those days. While he was thinking of these matters, Harris suddenly stopped rowing and lay down with his legs in the air. Montmorency jumped up, upsetting one of the hampers and spilling its contents into the boat. It turned out that the author should have been steering, but had forgotten to do so, and the boat had landed onto the bank.
As they were near Hampton Court at that time, Harris and the author got into a discussion about the maze there. Harris had once visited the maze with a cousin, and thought it would be simple to get out of it. He had collected all the people within the maze who were lost, and led them all confidently through it, only to find that he was as lost as the rest of them. Therefore, Harris now thought it was a very fine maze and they decided to visit it as soon as George joined them.