J. discusses how “the Thames would not be the fairyland it is without its flower-decked locks” (170).

He recalls another rowing trip he took with George to Hampton Court. A photographer was taking pictures of a steam-launch, and called out to George and J. to try to stay out of his photograph. In attempting to keep their boat out of the frame, George and J. fell over and were photographed lying in the boat with their feet in the air. Their feet took up nine-tenths of the image, and the owner of the steam-launch – who had commissioned the photos – refused to pay for them.

J. describes the sights and attractions of Dorchester, Clifton, and Abingdon. These include Roman ruins, a pleasant park, and the grave of a man who is said to have fathered 197 children. J. warns readers about a challenging stretch of river near Oxford.

Chapter 19

The friends spend two days in Oxford. Montmorency has a wonderful time fighting with the many stray dogs there. J. explains that many who vacation on the Thames start in Oxford and row downriver to London, so that they travel with the current the whole time. He recommends bringing one’s own boat rather than renting one in Oxford, however, because the boats there are of low quality. He remembers once hiring a boat in Oxford and mistaking it for an archeological artifact.

On the journey back from Oxford, it rains incessantly. The men, miserable, pass the time by playing penny nap, a card game, and listening to George play the banjo. Although J. describes him as an unskilled player elsewhere in the book, George here plays a mournful rendition of “Two Lovely Black Eyes” that plunges the men further into depression.

Though they swore to complete the trip, the men decide to abandon the boat and spend the rest of the trip in an inn in Pangbourne. They enjoy a delicious supper there, and tell the other guests about their travels. As the novel ends, they toast their decision to end the trip when they did, and Montmorency barks in agreement.