I have just discovered a fascinating book, 'Three in Norway by Two of Them'. It tells, in humorous Jerome-like style, of a canoe trip 'in search of trout, reindeer and the picturesque.' One of the participants, 'Skipper' is described as having 'outgrown his strength in boyhood and never summoned up pluck enough to recover it again.' All of the incidents in the book are also said to be 'simple facts, but here and there is introduced some slight fiction which is too obviously exaggerated to require any comment.'
My initial assumption that Jerome's ideas had been borrowed and transferred to a canoe in Norway was somewhat weakened by the further discovery that the canoe story was published several years before 'Three Men in a Boat'!
It must have been coincidence, then!
A check on google shows that others have also noticed the similarities. See http://www.fishandfly.co.uk/jbedit1003.html
for a more detailed comparison.
Have any other Jeromians read it? If not (and if you can find a copy!) you will almost certainly enjoy it!
R W (Bill) Smith