Read the following extracts and answer the questions that follow :
Q1. “It would never do for them to find you in colours.”
(i) Identify the speaker and the listener.
Ans : The speaker is Mrs. Slater and the listener is her daughter Victoria.
(ii) Who is referred to as ‘them’ in the above statement?
Ans : ‘Them’ refers to Mrs. and Mr. Jordan.
(iii) Explain – ‘in colours’.
Ans : Victoria is wearing colourful clothes, whereas she should be wearing a mourning dress.
(iv) What is the context of the above remark?
Ans : Victoria’s grandfather is supposed to be dead.
Q2. “Elizabeth’s that sharp she’ll see I’m after it and she’ll drive a hard bargain over it. Eli, what it is to have a low money grubbing spirit?”
(i) What is Elizabeth’s relation with the speaker?
Ans : Elizabeth is the speaker Mrs slater’s sister.
(ii) What bargain is being discussed here?
Ans : The plan of shifting the grandpa’s bureau before Elizabeth arrives.
(iii) Explain – low money grubbing spirit.
Ans : It refers to money-mindedness, or greed to possess things.
(iv) What do the above remarks reflect about the speaker’s attitude and nature?
Ans : The speaker herself is very mean, manipulative and clever.
3. “No, my child, Grandpa gave it to your mother before he died.”
(i) Identify the speaker and the listener.
Ans : The speaker is Henry Slater and he is addressing his daughter.
(ii) What does ‘it’ refer to?
Ans : ‘It’ refers to the ‘bureau’
(iii) What impression do you form of the speakers from the above statement?
Ans : Both the Slaters are greedy and great hypocrites.
(iv) What do you think will be the impact of the above statement on the listener?
Ans : Victoria will end up losing respect for her parents.
Q4. “He is too honourable to have gone without paying his premium.”
(i) Who is the speaker and who is the listener?
Ans : Mrs. Jordan is the speaker and her sister is the listener.
(ii) Who is “He” in the above statement?
Ans : ‘He’ is Abel Merryweather, Mrs Slater and Mrs Jordan’s father.
(iii) What is the speaker’s relation with the person mentioned.
Ans : She is Abel’s daughter.
(iv) What is the speaker’s conception of ‘honour’?
Ans : ‘Honour’ refers here to ‘paying one’s insurance premium.’
5. “I like ‘Never Forgotten’. It’s refined.”
(i) Who is the speaker?
Ans : Mrs Jordan is the speaker.
(ii) What is the context of the above remark?
Ans : The discussion is regarding the obituary to be put in the newspaper.
(iii) For whom is ‘Never forgotten’ used?
Ans : For Abel Merryweather.
(iv) Point out the irony inherent in the above remark.
Ans : It was only in words that he was not forgotten in its reality both the daughters had forgotten him already.
Q6. “He’s done it on purpose, just to annoy us.”
(i) Identify ‘He’ and ‘us’.
Ans : ‘He’ is Abel Merryweather and ‘us’ means the Jordans and Slaters.
(ii) Mention the context of the above remark.
Ans : The discussion is whether Abel has paid his insurance premium or not.
(iii) What mistake has the person mentioned made?
Ans : Abel appears to have deliberately messed out paying the premium.
(iv) Do you think the speakers and the others like him deserve that kind of treatment?
Ans : Yes, they do because they are all very greedy.
Q7. “Drat me if that isn’t my clock too. What the devil’s been going on in the house?”
(i) What is the confusion regarding the clock?
Ans : Abel Merryweather’s clock has been pinched by his daughter.
(ii) What exactly has been going on in the house?
Ans : Mrs. Slater, the daughter, thought that her father was dead and she was taking away his things.
(iii) Who is the speaker and whom is he addressing?
Ans : The speaker is Abel and he is addressing his daughters.
(iv) What do the above remarks reflect about the listeners?
Ans : The listeners are very greedy and not attached to their father.
Q8. Mrs Jordan, “You know father, it’s quite time you come to live with us again we’d make you very comfortable.”
(i) What has brought about the above change in the speaker’s attitude?
Ans : The father’s new terms for the will has brought about this change.
(ii) What about the above turn of events?
Ans : Abel has announced that his money will go to the daughter with whom he would be staying at the time of his death.
(iii) Who is instrumental in this change and why?
Ans : The greedy nature of his daughters has brought this change.
(iv) What does it reflect about Mrs Jordan’s character?
Ans : Mrs. Jordan is very mercenary, greedy and opportunistic.
Q9. I felt I was bit of a burden to you, so I found someone who’d think it a pleasure to look after me.
(i) For whom is the speaker supposed to be a burden?
Ans : Abel is supposed to be a burden for his daughters.
(ii) Who is the speaker and who are the listeners?
Ans : Abel is the speaker and both the daughters and their husbands are the listeners.
(iii) Who has the speaker found to look after him?
Ans : Abel has found a widow, Mrs Shorrock, to look after him.
(iv) How does the speaker’s decision affect the listeners?
Ans : The daughters are denied all the rights to the property and money of their father.
Q10. I’ll tell you what I’ve got to do. On Monday next I’ve got to do three things.
(i) Who is the speaker?
Ans : Abel Merryweather, the father.
(ii) What has he decided to do?
Ans : He has decided to marry Mrs Shorrod, a widow, who runs a school in the neighbourhood.
(iii) Why did he take such a decision?
Ans : He took such a decision so that Mrs. Shorock would take care of him. His own daughters were very greedy and were not attached to him.
SHORT ANSWER QUESTIONS
Q1. Why does Mrs Slater instruct Victoria to change her dress?
Ans : Mrs. Slater is very particular about mourning dresses. Since her father has expired, she instructs her daughter Victoria to quickly change her colourful dress into something sober, before the guests and relatives arrive.
Q2. Why were Mr and Mrs Jordan visiting the Slaters after so many years?
Ans : Since Mr Abel Merryweather had expired, Mrs. Jordan, the daughter, was visiting her sister’s family, to look after the arrangements to be made for the father’s death.
Q3. Henry says, “I suppose it’s in the family.” Why does Henry make this comment and what does it reflect about the two sisters?
Ans : Henry is well aware that both the sisters Mrs Slater and Mrs. Jordan are very mean and calculative, so they will not lose any chance to pinch things belonging to their family. When his wife brings the new slippers of her father and gives to Henry, he makes this humorous comment.
Q4. “Mother and me is going to bring grandfather’s bureau down here.” Who makes this remark and in what context? What does this reflect about the speaker?
Ans : Henry Slater tells his daughter Victoria that they were shifting grandfather’s bureau down because he had gifted it to them. Victoria cannot believe it. This remark depicts that Henry is not only a hen-pecked husband but also a hypocrite, who just does what his wife tells him. He has no individuality of his own.
Q5. “For myself it’s such a relief to get into the black.” Who makes the above remark and what is the context?
Ans : Mrs Jordan makes the above remark because she got delayed due to a new mourning dress for herself. She was not bothered about her father but worried about appearing in a new mourning dress. This indicates her pretentious nature without any thought for her father.
Q6. Mrs Slater says, “he must have gone round to the ‘Ring-O-Bells’ afterwards, for he came in as merry as a sand boy” regarding Abel Merryweather. Do you think this remark is a prediction of the things to come?
Ans : Yes, this remark is a death-knell on the plans forged by the two sisters to grab their father’s money. The fact that Abel is going there too often and is looking extremely pleased is a prediction of the future course of things.
Q7. Mrs Jordan, “we want a verse that says how much we loved him and refers to all his good qualities and says what a heavy loss we’re had.” Point out the irony in this remark.
Ans : Mrs. Jordan, the daughter, wishes to show to the world how much they all loved their father, by choosing such words for his obituary. But the irony is that in reality, they do not love him nor do they care for any of his good qualities.
Q8. “After all I’ve done for him, having to put up with him in the house these three years. It’s nothing short of swindling” who makes this remark and what does this reflect about the speaker’s attitude?
Ans : Mrs. Slater makes the above remark in great agitation when Abel states that his entire property will go to the person with whom he would be staying, at the time of his death, Mrs. Slater feels cheated. She believes that looking after her father for these years has not benefitted her at all.
Q9. Describe the reaction of all Slaters and the Jordans when Abel Merryweather walks in the parlour?
Ans : Both the Jordans and the Slaters are too shocked. There are no gasps of relief, none of them heaves a sigh of happiness. Both the sisters are displeased to see their father alive. They had spent quite some money on their mourning dresses. Mrs. Jordan had made this visit only because of her father’s death.
Q10. Why are Amelia and Elizabeth reluctant to tell the truth to their father regarding their mourning dresses? What stories do they cook up to convince their father?
Ans : Abel Merryweather is shocked to see his daughters in mourning dresses and when he wishes to know the reason, he is told that Ben’s brother has expired. They further tell lies that the brother was in Australia and he was older by five years.
Q11. Why does Mr Abel Merryweather decide to make another will? What is the reaction of the others?
Ans : Abel notices how his things are pinched away and his daughters are wearing mourning dresses, without even going and looking him up. Mrs Slater is shocked and even after keeping father for three years, Abel has decided to gift his money to the daughter, who will be with him at the time of his death. Both the daughters fight with each other to keep him.
Q12. What is the most surprising announcement made by Mr Abel in the end? How does it affect the other characters? [C.B.S.E. 2011 (T-1)]
Ans : Abel makes a very dramatic announcement in the end that he is going to marry Mrs. Shorrocks who keeps the ‘Ring-O-Bells’. Moreover he is going to take away his things and leave nothing for his daughters.