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Answer the following questions in detail:
Q1. Describe the village scene at Sonning.
Ans. The village Sonning is a fairy-like little nook on the river. It is more like a stage village than one built of bricks and mortar. Every house is smothered in roses and in the early June they burst forth in clouds of dainty splendour. The “Bull” is a village inn behind the church and in the writer’s words it is a genuine picture of an old country with green, square courtyard in front where groups of old people sit under the trees in the evening and they drink their ale and gossip over village politics. The houses have low, quaint rooms and latticed windows, awkward stairs and winding passages.
Q2. Describe the reaction of society against the people who wish to learn music.
Ans. Learning a musical instrument is quite a disheartening work. We would think that society could assist a man to acquire the art of playing a musical instrument. But it never helps anybody. The writer is reminded of a young fellow who was studying to play the bagpipes. He was opposed so vehemently not only by the neighbours but also by his family members that we would be surprised. His father opposed it and spoke unfeelingly on the subject. He used to get up early in the morning to practise, but gave it up because of his sister who was religious minded and thought it was an awful way to begin the day. He began to practise in the night after his family had gone to bed, but people going home late at night rebuked him and spread the tale that a murder had been committed at the Jefferson’s for they had heard the victim’s shrieks and the brutal oaths and curses of the murderer. Thus everybody including the whole society cursed the boy who wanted only to learn music.
Q3. Explain the experiences of the writer and Harris in pealing and scrapping the potatoes.
Ans. George suggested his friends to prepare an Irish stew when they were staying at Shiplake island. It seemed to them a fascinating idea. George gathered wood and made a fire. Harris and the writer started to peel the potatoes. The writer had never thought that peeling potatoes was such an undertaking. The job turned out to be the biggest thing of its kind that he had ever been in. They felt that the more they peeled, the more peel there seemed to be left on. They kept on peeling till no potato was left-it looked about the size of a peanut. George advised to scrap them and then they felt it harder work than peeling as the potatoes had extraordinary shapes–all bumps and warts and hollows. They worked steadily for five-and-twenty minutes and did only four potatoes. They felt tired and wanted rest. Then they just washed and without peeling put half-a-dozen potatoes in the stew.
Q4. Narrate Harris’s battle with swans as told by him.
Ans. Harris had a sad expression on him. When the writer and George noticed it and asked him the reason, Harris said “Swans!” He boasted that he had a fight with two swans and he defeated them with courage and skill. But after half-an-hour they returned with eighteen other swans and there had been a fearful battle. The swans had tried to drag him and Montmorency out of the boat. He had defended himself like a hero for four hours and had killed many of them. When George asked him about the number of swans, he replied “Thirty two” and then told they were twelve as he could not count them. We think his stomach was upset with stew and whisky he had consumed. His brain became foggy and confused. In the morning he could not even remember talking about swans and said “What swans?”
Q5. What did Montmorency do to the kettle and how was he rewarded?
Ans. Throughout the trip, Montmorency had manifested great curiosity concerning the Kettle. He sat and watched it, as it boiled, with a puzzled expression. He tried and roused it every now and then by growling at it. When it began to splutter and steam, he regarded it as a challenge and wanted to fight it. He wished to catch his prey before someone would take it. He advanced towards it growling in a threatening attitude and seized it by the spout and got hurt and burnt his nose. His reaction to the boiling kettle reveals his fighting nature. From that day whenever he saw it, he growled and ran away at a rapid speed and when it was upon the stove, he climbed out the boat and sat on the bank.
Q1. Do you feel sorry for George when he was forced to sell the Banjo?
Ans. To some extent we feel sorry for George as he was forced to sell his banjo. We agree that everyone has a right to learn and enjoy their hobbies but not at the cost of other’s comforts. It would have been better if he had at first acquainted himself with the basics of playing a banjo. He should have joined a good institution, coaching centre or a music teacher and learnt to play on it regularly. Then he would have been able to produce some good musical notes and not the blood-curdling shrieks to terrarise and disturb others. Actually he is very bad at playing it and so everybody feels annoyed and disturbed by the displeasing odd tunes he produced.
Q2. Do you think Harris’s encounter with swans was a real story or not?
Ans. We regard the story not real. We feel Harris was a bit foxed due to his upset stomach after eating the Irish stew and consuming whisky on top of it. His brain become more foggy and confused. He seems to create the story for he gave different accounts of the swans saying that they were thirty two, then eighteen and then twelve. He claimed that the swans had tried to drag him and Montmorency out of the boat and drown them in the river. He told that with courage and skill, he had defended himself for four hours and killed a lot of them. In the morning he could not even remember talking about swans in the night. He is also boastful by nature and good at creating fake stories.
Q3. Describe the character of three friends as lovers of food.
Ans. The three friends loved good food. Throughout the chapter we see that they are very fond of tasty foods. In this chapter we come across the first evidence of making Irish stew. The way it is described, the way they prepare it, the names of food items and the nourishment it could give them-everything shows they love food. The taste being piquant and appetising with a sharp taste liable to increase the desire to eat and all ready with their plates in hands show how eager they are to relish the new food item. While walking around Henley, they long to be back in their boat and indulge in talking of supper, whisky, cold meat and chunks of bread. Again after returning to their boat they have a hearty supper and wish to have some toddy which they could not find as Harris had no idea where it was.