NCERT Textbook: Chapter 6 - I Want Something in a Cage, English, Class 7 Class 7 Notes | EduRev

English An Alien Hand Class 7

Class 7 : NCERT Textbook: Chapter 6 - I Want Something in a Cage, English, Class 7 Class 7 Notes | EduRev

 Page 1


Mr Purcell owns a pet shop.
There is constant noise of screeching and twittering in
the shop, but Mr Purcell is happily unaware of it.
One cold morning, a strange customer calls.
MR PURCELL did not believe in ghosts. Nevertheless, the man
who bought the two doves, and his strange act immediately
thereafter, left him with a distinct sense of the uncanny. As
though, behind his departed customer, there had lingered
the musty smell of an abandoned, haunted house.
Mr Purcell was a small, fussy man; red cheeks and a
tight, melon stomach. Large glasses magnified his eyes so
as to give him the appearance of a wise and genial owl. He
owned a pet shop. He sold cats and dogs and monkeys; he
dealt in fish food and bird seed, prescribed remedies for
ailing canaries, and displayed on his shelves long rows of
ornate and gilded cages. He considered himself something
of a professional man.
A constant stir of movement pervaded his shop;
whispered twitters, sly rustling; squeals, cheeps, and
sudden squeaks. Small feet scampered in frantic circles —
uncanny: unusual magnified: made to appear big canary: a small, bright
yellow bird noted for its singing
2019-2020
Page 2


Mr Purcell owns a pet shop.
There is constant noise of screeching and twittering in
the shop, but Mr Purcell is happily unaware of it.
One cold morning, a strange customer calls.
MR PURCELL did not believe in ghosts. Nevertheless, the man
who bought the two doves, and his strange act immediately
thereafter, left him with a distinct sense of the uncanny. As
though, behind his departed customer, there had lingered
the musty smell of an abandoned, haunted house.
Mr Purcell was a small, fussy man; red cheeks and a
tight, melon stomach. Large glasses magnified his eyes so
as to give him the appearance of a wise and genial owl. He
owned a pet shop. He sold cats and dogs and monkeys; he
dealt in fish food and bird seed, prescribed remedies for
ailing canaries, and displayed on his shelves long rows of
ornate and gilded cages. He considered himself something
of a professional man.
A constant stir of movement pervaded his shop;
whispered twitters, sly rustling; squeals, cheeps, and
sudden squeaks. Small feet scampered in frantic circles —
uncanny: unusual magnified: made to appear big canary: a small, bright
yellow bird noted for its singing
2019-2020
37
frightened, bewildered, blindly seeking. Across the shelves
pulsed this endless flicker of life. But the customers who
came in said, “Aren’t they cute? Look at that little cage!
They’re sweet.” And Mr Purcell himself would smile and
briskly rub his hands and emphatically shake his head.
Each morning, when the routine of opening his shop
was completed, it was the proprietor’s custom to perch on
a high stool, behind the counter, unfold his morning paper,
and digest the day’s news. As he read he would smirk,
frown, reflectively purse his lips, knowingly lift his eyebrows,
nod in grave agreement. He read everything, even advice to
the lovelorn and the  detailed columns of advertisements.
It was a rough day. A strong wind blew against the high,
plate-glass windows. Smoke filmed the wintry city and the
perch: sit digest: read and understand fully
I Want Something in a Cage
2019-2020
Page 3


Mr Purcell owns a pet shop.
There is constant noise of screeching and twittering in
the shop, but Mr Purcell is happily unaware of it.
One cold morning, a strange customer calls.
MR PURCELL did not believe in ghosts. Nevertheless, the man
who bought the two doves, and his strange act immediately
thereafter, left him with a distinct sense of the uncanny. As
though, behind his departed customer, there had lingered
the musty smell of an abandoned, haunted house.
Mr Purcell was a small, fussy man; red cheeks and a
tight, melon stomach. Large glasses magnified his eyes so
as to give him the appearance of a wise and genial owl. He
owned a pet shop. He sold cats and dogs and monkeys; he
dealt in fish food and bird seed, prescribed remedies for
ailing canaries, and displayed on his shelves long rows of
ornate and gilded cages. He considered himself something
of a professional man.
A constant stir of movement pervaded his shop;
whispered twitters, sly rustling; squeals, cheeps, and
sudden squeaks. Small feet scampered in frantic circles —
uncanny: unusual magnified: made to appear big canary: a small, bright
yellow bird noted for its singing
2019-2020
37
frightened, bewildered, blindly seeking. Across the shelves
pulsed this endless flicker of life. But the customers who
came in said, “Aren’t they cute? Look at that little cage!
They’re sweet.” And Mr Purcell himself would smile and
briskly rub his hands and emphatically shake his head.
Each morning, when the routine of opening his shop
was completed, it was the proprietor’s custom to perch on
a high stool, behind the counter, unfold his morning paper,
and digest the day’s news. As he read he would smirk,
frown, reflectively purse his lips, knowingly lift his eyebrows,
nod in grave agreement. He read everything, even advice to
the lovelorn and the  detailed columns of advertisements.
It was a rough day. A strong wind blew against the high,
plate-glass windows. Smoke filmed the wintry city and the
perch: sit digest: read and understand fully
I Want Something in a Cage
2019-2020
38
An Alien Hand
air was grey with a thick frost. Having completed his usual
tasks, Mr Purcell again mounted the high stool, and
unfolded his morning paper. He adjusted his glasses, and
glanced at the day’s headlines. Chirping and squeaking
and mewing vibrated all around him; yet Mr Purcell heard
it no more than he would have heard the monotonous
ticking of a familiar clock.
There was a bell over the door that jingled whenever a
customer entered. This morning, however, for the first time
Mr Purcell could recall, it failed to ring. Simply he glanced
up, and there was the stranger, standing just inside the
door, as if he had materialised out of thin air.
The storekeeper slid off his stool. From the first instant
he knew instinctively, unreasonably, that the man hated
him; but out of habit he rubbed his hands briskly together,
smiled and nodded.
“Good morning,” he beamed. “What can 1 do for you?”
1. Write ‘True’ or ‘False’ against each of following  statements.
(i) Mr Purcell sold birds, cats, dogs and monkeys.
(ii) He was very concerned about the well-being of the birds
and animals in his shop. 
(iii) He was impressed by the customer who bought the two
doves. 
(iv) He was a successful shopowner, though insensitive and cold
as a person. 
2. Why is Mr Purcell compared to an owl?
3. From the third paragraph pick out
(i) words associated with cries of birds,
(ii) words associated with noise,
(iii) words suggestive of confusion and fear.
2019-2020
Page 4


Mr Purcell owns a pet shop.
There is constant noise of screeching and twittering in
the shop, but Mr Purcell is happily unaware of it.
One cold morning, a strange customer calls.
MR PURCELL did not believe in ghosts. Nevertheless, the man
who bought the two doves, and his strange act immediately
thereafter, left him with a distinct sense of the uncanny. As
though, behind his departed customer, there had lingered
the musty smell of an abandoned, haunted house.
Mr Purcell was a small, fussy man; red cheeks and a
tight, melon stomach. Large glasses magnified his eyes so
as to give him the appearance of a wise and genial owl. He
owned a pet shop. He sold cats and dogs and monkeys; he
dealt in fish food and bird seed, prescribed remedies for
ailing canaries, and displayed on his shelves long rows of
ornate and gilded cages. He considered himself something
of a professional man.
A constant stir of movement pervaded his shop;
whispered twitters, sly rustling; squeals, cheeps, and
sudden squeaks. Small feet scampered in frantic circles —
uncanny: unusual magnified: made to appear big canary: a small, bright
yellow bird noted for its singing
2019-2020
37
frightened, bewildered, blindly seeking. Across the shelves
pulsed this endless flicker of life. But the customers who
came in said, “Aren’t they cute? Look at that little cage!
They’re sweet.” And Mr Purcell himself would smile and
briskly rub his hands and emphatically shake his head.
Each morning, when the routine of opening his shop
was completed, it was the proprietor’s custom to perch on
a high stool, behind the counter, unfold his morning paper,
and digest the day’s news. As he read he would smirk,
frown, reflectively purse his lips, knowingly lift his eyebrows,
nod in grave agreement. He read everything, even advice to
the lovelorn and the  detailed columns of advertisements.
It was a rough day. A strong wind blew against the high,
plate-glass windows. Smoke filmed the wintry city and the
perch: sit digest: read and understand fully
I Want Something in a Cage
2019-2020
38
An Alien Hand
air was grey with a thick frost. Having completed his usual
tasks, Mr Purcell again mounted the high stool, and
unfolded his morning paper. He adjusted his glasses, and
glanced at the day’s headlines. Chirping and squeaking
and mewing vibrated all around him; yet Mr Purcell heard
it no more than he would have heard the monotonous
ticking of a familiar clock.
There was a bell over the door that jingled whenever a
customer entered. This morning, however, for the first time
Mr Purcell could recall, it failed to ring. Simply he glanced
up, and there was the stranger, standing just inside the
door, as if he had materialised out of thin air.
The storekeeper slid off his stool. From the first instant
he knew instinctively, unreasonably, that the man hated
him; but out of habit he rubbed his hands briskly together,
smiled and nodded.
“Good morning,” he beamed. “What can 1 do for you?”
1. Write ‘True’ or ‘False’ against each of following  statements.
(i) Mr Purcell sold birds, cats, dogs and monkeys.
(ii) He was very concerned about the well-being of the birds
and animals in his shop. 
(iii) He was impressed by the customer who bought the two
doves. 
(iv) He was a successful shopowner, though insensitive and cold
as a person. 
2. Why is Mr Purcell compared to an owl?
3. From the third paragraph pick out
(i) words associated with cries of birds,
(ii) words associated with noise,
(iii) words suggestive of confusion and fear.
2019-2020
39
I Want Something in a Cage
4. “...Mr Purcell heard it no more than he would have heard the
monotonous ticking of a familiar clock.” (Read para beginning
with “It was a rough day...”)
(i) What does ‘it’ refer to?
(ii) Why does Mr Purcell not hear ‘it’ clearly?
The customer wants something that has wings.
He spends his ten years’ earning on a pair of birds.
What he does after buying the birds is the strangest act
Mr Purcell has ever seen.
The man’s shiny shoes squeaked forward. His suit was
cheap, ill-fitting but obviously new. He had a shuttling
glance and close-cropped hair. Ignoring Purcell for the
moment, he rolled his gaze around the shadowy shop.
“A nasty morning,” volunteered the shopkeeper. He
clasped both hands across his melon-like stomach, and
smiled importantly. “I see by the paper we’re in for a cold
spell. Now what was it you wanted?”
The man stared closely at Mr Purcell, as though just
now aware of his presence. He said, “I want something
in a cage.”
“Something in a cage?” Mr Purcell was a bit confused,
“You mean—some sort of pet?”
“I mean what 1 said,” snapped the man. “Something in
a cage. Something that is small.”
“I see,” hastened the storekeeper, not at all certain that
he did. His eyes narrowed gravely and he pursed his lips.
“Now let me think. A white rat, perhaps? I have some very
nice white rats.”
“No,” said the man. “Not rats. Something with wings.
Something that flies.”
“A bird!” exclaimed Mr Purcell.
shuttling glance: constantly looking to and fro snapped: said angrily
2019-2020
Page 5


Mr Purcell owns a pet shop.
There is constant noise of screeching and twittering in
the shop, but Mr Purcell is happily unaware of it.
One cold morning, a strange customer calls.
MR PURCELL did not believe in ghosts. Nevertheless, the man
who bought the two doves, and his strange act immediately
thereafter, left him with a distinct sense of the uncanny. As
though, behind his departed customer, there had lingered
the musty smell of an abandoned, haunted house.
Mr Purcell was a small, fussy man; red cheeks and a
tight, melon stomach. Large glasses magnified his eyes so
as to give him the appearance of a wise and genial owl. He
owned a pet shop. He sold cats and dogs and monkeys; he
dealt in fish food and bird seed, prescribed remedies for
ailing canaries, and displayed on his shelves long rows of
ornate and gilded cages. He considered himself something
of a professional man.
A constant stir of movement pervaded his shop;
whispered twitters, sly rustling; squeals, cheeps, and
sudden squeaks. Small feet scampered in frantic circles —
uncanny: unusual magnified: made to appear big canary: a small, bright
yellow bird noted for its singing
2019-2020
37
frightened, bewildered, blindly seeking. Across the shelves
pulsed this endless flicker of life. But the customers who
came in said, “Aren’t they cute? Look at that little cage!
They’re sweet.” And Mr Purcell himself would smile and
briskly rub his hands and emphatically shake his head.
Each morning, when the routine of opening his shop
was completed, it was the proprietor’s custom to perch on
a high stool, behind the counter, unfold his morning paper,
and digest the day’s news. As he read he would smirk,
frown, reflectively purse his lips, knowingly lift his eyebrows,
nod in grave agreement. He read everything, even advice to
the lovelorn and the  detailed columns of advertisements.
It was a rough day. A strong wind blew against the high,
plate-glass windows. Smoke filmed the wintry city and the
perch: sit digest: read and understand fully
I Want Something in a Cage
2019-2020
38
An Alien Hand
air was grey with a thick frost. Having completed his usual
tasks, Mr Purcell again mounted the high stool, and
unfolded his morning paper. He adjusted his glasses, and
glanced at the day’s headlines. Chirping and squeaking
and mewing vibrated all around him; yet Mr Purcell heard
it no more than he would have heard the monotonous
ticking of a familiar clock.
There was a bell over the door that jingled whenever a
customer entered. This morning, however, for the first time
Mr Purcell could recall, it failed to ring. Simply he glanced
up, and there was the stranger, standing just inside the
door, as if he had materialised out of thin air.
The storekeeper slid off his stool. From the first instant
he knew instinctively, unreasonably, that the man hated
him; but out of habit he rubbed his hands briskly together,
smiled and nodded.
“Good morning,” he beamed. “What can 1 do for you?”
1. Write ‘True’ or ‘False’ against each of following  statements.
(i) Mr Purcell sold birds, cats, dogs and monkeys.
(ii) He was very concerned about the well-being of the birds
and animals in his shop. 
(iii) He was impressed by the customer who bought the two
doves. 
(iv) He was a successful shopowner, though insensitive and cold
as a person. 
2. Why is Mr Purcell compared to an owl?
3. From the third paragraph pick out
(i) words associated with cries of birds,
(ii) words associated with noise,
(iii) words suggestive of confusion and fear.
2019-2020
39
I Want Something in a Cage
4. “...Mr Purcell heard it no more than he would have heard the
monotonous ticking of a familiar clock.” (Read para beginning
with “It was a rough day...”)
(i) What does ‘it’ refer to?
(ii) Why does Mr Purcell not hear ‘it’ clearly?
The customer wants something that has wings.
He spends his ten years’ earning on a pair of birds.
What he does after buying the birds is the strangest act
Mr Purcell has ever seen.
The man’s shiny shoes squeaked forward. His suit was
cheap, ill-fitting but obviously new. He had a shuttling
glance and close-cropped hair. Ignoring Purcell for the
moment, he rolled his gaze around the shadowy shop.
“A nasty morning,” volunteered the shopkeeper. He
clasped both hands across his melon-like stomach, and
smiled importantly. “I see by the paper we’re in for a cold
spell. Now what was it you wanted?”
The man stared closely at Mr Purcell, as though just
now aware of his presence. He said, “I want something
in a cage.”
“Something in a cage?” Mr Purcell was a bit confused,
“You mean—some sort of pet?”
“I mean what 1 said,” snapped the man. “Something in
a cage. Something that is small.”
“I see,” hastened the storekeeper, not at all certain that
he did. His eyes narrowed gravely and he pursed his lips.
“Now let me think. A white rat, perhaps? I have some very
nice white rats.”
“No,” said the man. “Not rats. Something with wings.
Something that flies.”
“A bird!” exclaimed Mr Purcell.
shuttling glance: constantly looking to and fro snapped: said angrily
2019-2020
40
An Alien Hand
“A bird’s all right.” The customer pointed suddenly to a
suspended cage which contained two snowy birds. “Doves?
How much for those?”
“Five-fifty,” came the prompt answer. “And a very
reasonable price. They are a fine pair.”
“Five-fifty?” The man was obviously crestfallen. He
hesitantly produced a five dollar bill. “I’d like to have these
birds. But this is all I’ve got. Just five dollars.”
Mentally, Mr Purcell made a quick calculation, which
told him that at a fifty cent reduction he could still reap a
tidy profit. He smiled magnanimously.
“My dear man, if you want them that badly, you can
certainly have them for five dollars.”
“I’ll take them.” He laid his five dollars on the counter.
Mr Purcell tottered on tiptoe, unhooked the cage, and handed
it to his customer. The man cocked his head to one side,
listening to the constant chittering, the rushing scurry of the
shop. “That noise,” he blurted. “Doesn’t it get you?”
“Noise? What noise?” Mr Purcell looked surprised. He
could hear nothing unusual.
The customer glared. “I mean all this caged stuff. Drives
you crazy, doesn’t it?”
Mr Purcell drew back. Either the man was insane, or
drunk. He said hastily, “Yes, yes. Certainly, I guess so.”
“Listen.” The staring eyes came closer. “How long d’you
think it took me to make the five dollars?”
The merchant wanted to order him out of the shop. But,
oddly enough, he couldn’t. He heard himself dutifully
asking, “Why—why, how long did it take you?”
The other laughed. “Ten years—at hard labour. Ten
years to earn five dollars. Fifty cents a year.”
It was best, Purcell decided, to humour him. “My, my;
ten years. That’s certainly a long time. Now...”
snowy: white crestfallen: disappointed magnanimously: generously (He
smiled a broad smile.) tottered: moved unsteadily
2019-2020
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