While Reading Questions (Page 105,106)
a. Describe the activity that was going on in the sale room at King Street.
In the sale room at king’s street, an auction was going on. They were selling Barbizon pictures for large sums of money. They were getting 2000 £ or 3000 £ even for small pictures. The pictures contained forest scenes, pools, shepherdesses and the lake.
b. What can you say about the author’s attitude when he high-handedly participated in the auction?
The author started to bid just for fun. He had only sixty three pounds in his bank account. He did not have enough securities to borrow even 500 £. But he was confident that somebody would outbid him and he could escape. This was his high handed attitude.
Why was the author sure he would not be caught?
The author had just sixty-three pounds in his bank
account and he did not have enough securities to borrow money. But still he was
bidding for fun. He was confident that somebody would outbid him and he could
escape. And so it happened for some time.
What made the author ignore his friend’s warning?
The author’s friend advised him, “Don’t bid like this. You will be
caught”. But the author ignored his friend’s advice, because for a long time he
was safe. Somebody announced a higher offer than the author’s and the author
escaped. Therefore he ignored his friend’s advice.
How had the author managed the auction without getting involved in the
The author had just sixty three pounds in his bank
account and he did not have enough securities to borrow money. But still he was
bidding for fun. He. was confident that somebody would outbid him and he could
escape. And so it happened for some time.
What came as a shock to the author?
When a new picture was put up, a short red-faced man
in a new top hat offered “Four thousand Guineas”. The author announced, “And
fifty”, expecting that the red-faced man would outbid him. But the man did not
outbid the author. He was silent. This came as a shock to the author. Now, he
What did the falling of the hammer indicate?
The auctioneer announced “Four thousand and Fifty
Guineas”, and looked all around. Nobody offered more than that and auctioneer
said, “The picture is sold” and the hammer fell. The falling of hammer
indicated that the picture was sold.
What made the friend laugh heartily?
The author had first sixty-three guineas, but he had
offered Four thousand fifty guineas for a picture. Earlier his friend had
advised him against bidding. Now, the author was caught. This made his friend
What kind of excuses did the narrator think he could make?
The narrator was caught bidding a picture for 4050
guineas while he had only sixty-three guineas. So he thought of conferring his
real financial condition to the staff of Christie and requesting the picture to
be auctioned again.
Why did the friend desert the narrator, a second time?
The narrator’s friend left the place a second time.
This time he went to the first red-faced bidder in order to save the narrator.
He talked to the man and convinced to get.the picture from the narrator by
offering fifty guineas.
How does the narrator describe the man who approached him?
A man approached the narrator and said, “The
gentleman who bade for four thousand guineas will give you fifty guineas and
take the picture”. Now, the narrator felt that this man was like a messenger
from the god, wearing a rough apron, speaking in a rough cockney dialect.
How does the narrator show presence of mind in the sudden turn of
The first bidder offered the narrator fifty guineas
for the picture. The narrator had presence of mind and asked for a hundred
guineas and got it!
m. The narrator would not forget two
things about his friend. What are they?
The narrator would not forget two things about his friend.
His friend took the narrator to the auction. Otherwise the narrator
would not have gone there.
ii. The narrator’s friend secretly met and requested the red faced man to offer fifty guineas to the narrator. The narrator knew this later.
a. ‘Tight Corner’ means a difficult situation.
i. difficult situation
ii. crowded corner
iii. tragic incident
iv. fierce fight
b. Barbizon refers to a French school of painters.
i. kind of paint
ii. type of architecture
iii. region in Britain
iv. French school of painters
c. The narrator visited the sale-room as he was persuaded by his friend.
i. wished to see an auction
ii. had a painting to sell
iii. was persuaded by his friend
iv. wanted to buy a painting
d. The narrator had been a safe contributor at the auction, as there were bidders quoting
i. there were bidders quoting higher prices
ii. he had a sound financial background
iii. his friend had lent him money
iv. he did not make any bidding
e. “And I got it.” Here ‘it’ refers to the money he asked for.
i. picture he wanted to buy
ii. money he asked for
iii. card to participate in the auction
iv. amount he had to pay
a. What is a tight corner? What happens when one finds oneself in a tight corner?
“To be in a tight comer “means to be in a
difficult situation physically or mentally. A person in a tight comer thinks of
different ways of escaping and struggles hard.
b. What is the difference between a physical and mental tight corner?
A physical tight comer refers to a dangerous
situation. Being caught in a tide or attacked in war. Mental tight comer refers
to a difficult financial situation or some other problem.
c. Why did the narrator visit Christie’s?
The narrator’s friend asked him to go with him
to the Christie’s and so the narrator visited the Christie’s.
d. The narrator heard his own voice saying, ‘and fifty’. What does this suggest?
As soon as the red-faced man offered four
thousand guineas, the narrator said “and fifty” without thinking about his own
financial condition. The auction of bidding was sudden and impulsive. That’s
why the narrator heard his own voice.
e. What was the narrator’s financial condition?
The narrator had only sixty-three guineas in his
bank account. Moreover he did not have enough securities to borrow money.
f. The narrator could not pretend to have made a mistake in bidding. Why?
Every time when the narrater did the bidding,
somebody else outbid him. So the narrator went on bidding. His action was
sincere, there was no pretension.
g. What could have been the best way for the narrator, to get himself out of the tight corner?
First the narrator thought of borrowing money
from his uncles and aunts. But then he thought that the best way was to confess
to Christie’s his real financial condition and request them to auction the
h. Why did the narrator feel he could have welcomed a firing party?
The narrator bade for four thousand and fifty
guineas, expecting the red-faced man to outbid. But it did not happen and now
the narrator was caught in a tight comer. So, he thought of even dying and he
was ready to welcome a firing party.
i. What was the bidder’s offer to the narrator?
The first bidder offered the extra fifty guineas
and wanted to take the picture.
j. How did the narrator take advantage of the situation?
When the first bidder offered fifty guineas, the
narrator took advantage of the situation and asked for a hundred and he got it.
Additional Question & Answers:
Where did the author have his lunch and with whom?
The author had lunch at a club in St. James’ street
with his friend.
How did the red faced man electrify the room?
Usually when a picture was put up for auction, people
started with “fifty”, “hundred” etc. But when a picture was put up, the
red-faced man offered, “four thousand guineas”. Thus he electrified the room.
Who bade after the narrator?
On all earlier occasions some other person outbid the
narrator. But after his bidding “Four thousand and fifty”, nobody outbid him.
Whose names was the author recollecting for money?
The author was recollecting the names of his uncles
and other persons for borrowing money. He also thought of some money lenders.
What was the author curious to know?
The author was curious to know whether some
moneylender would lend him four thousand guineas on a note of hand (promissory
Describe the rich dealer.
The rich dealer was a red-faced man in a new top-hat.
He was a well-known dealer who had bought several pictures.
What was seen by the narrator and his friend at King’s street?
At King’s street, the narrator and his friend saw
Christie’s. It was a sale room where pictures were auctioned.
The author narrated a few incidents of his friends, who were caught in a
tight situation. What were they?
The narrator’s friends gave a few incidents of tight comers.
One man was caught in a tide, but had a narrow escape.
Another gentleman was on an elephant when a wounded tiger attacked it.
A third gentle man was on the top storey of a burning house.
The fourth was caught in a war.
What happened at the sale room, as soon as the narrator bid fifty
When the narrator offered “fifty more”, a terrible
silence followed. The auctioneer looked at the first bidder and surveyed the
whole gathering. The first bidder was silent.
10. What was the attitude of the narrator
after the messenger of red faced dealer offered him fifty guineas?
When the messenger of the red-faced dealer offered the
narrator fifty guineas, the narrator felt relieved. He thought that a messenger
of the high gods had come down to him.
i. The narrator had only 63 pounds with him and did not know how to manage the situation.
ii. The narrator thought of all his relations from whom he could borrow.
iii. Unfortunately he had made the highest bid.
iv. The narrator entered Christie’s as his friend persuaded him to visit the sale‒room.
v. Every time someone else made a higher bid and the narrator was not caught.
vi. The narrator on a sudden impulse added 50 more guineas, to the amount offered.
vii. His friend joined him then but left immediately unable to control his laughter.
viii. He even thought of borrowing from moneylenders and considered the possibility of confessing the truth to the staff at Christie’s.
ix. The picture was declared sold to the narrator.
x. After sometime a picture was put up and a bid for 4000 guineas was raised.
xi. A sudden stroke of luck befell the narrator when he heard that the gent who had made the bid of 4000 guineas would offer him the additional 50 guineas and buy the picture.
xii. The narrator kept bidding just for fun.
xiii. The picture was given away to the other bidder and the narrator was saved from humiliation.
xiv. His friend had left the place roaring with laughter at the narrator’s predicament.
xv. The narrator was quite happy at the offer but demanded 100 guineas instead of the 50. Now there was no need for him to make any payment.
d) The narrator entered Christie's as his friend persuaded him to visit
1) The narrator kept bidding just for fun.
e) Every time someone else made a higher bid and the narrator was not
j) After sometime a picture was put up and a bid for 4000 guineas was
f) The narrator on a sudden impulse added 50 more guineas, to the amount
c) Unfortunately he had made the highest bid.
i) The picture was declared sold to the narrator.
a) The narrator had only 63 pounds with him and did not know how to
manage the situation.
n) His friend had left the place roaring with laughter at the narrator’s
10. b) The narrator thought of all his relations
from whom he could borrow.
11. h) He even thought of borrowing from
moneylenders and considered the possibility of confessing the truth to the
staff at Christie’s.
12. g) His friend joined him then but
left immediately unable to control his laughter.
13. k) A sudden stroke of luck befell the
narrator when he heard that the gent who had made the bid of 4000 guineas would
offer him the additional 50 guineas and buy the picture.
14. o) The narrator was quite happy at
the offer but demanded 100 guineas instead of the 50. Now there was no need for
him to make any payment.
m) The picture was given away to the other bidder and
the narrator was saved from humiliation.
a. Narrate the circumstances that led to the narrator getting into a tight corner, by his own folly.
The narrator’s friend took him to the Christie’s, an auction house in
king street. In the sale room Barbizon pictures were auctioned and many dealers
The narrator had just sixty-three guineas in his bank, but he joined the
bidding, just for fun. Every time after his bidding, some other person out bid
him. The narrator felt happy and safe. His friend warned him against bidding,
but the narrator did not listen to him.
Then, a picture was put up and a red-faced dealer
offered “Four thousand Guineas”. Immediately the narrator offered “And fifty”
expecting the red-faced dealer would outbid him. But nothing happened. The
auctioneer announced that the narrator had bought the picture. Thus the
narrator was caught in a tight comer.
b. Trace the thoughts that went on in the mind of the narrator when picture after picture was put up and sold at the auction.
The narrator had only sixty three guineas in his bank,
but he went on bidding for fun. Every time some other dealer outbid him. But
when a dealer offered four thousand guineas for a picture, the narrator
announced “And fifty more”. There was no further bidding and the narrator was
caught in a tight comer. Picture after picture was auctioned, but the narrator
did not bother about it. The author was recollecting the names of his uncles
and other persons for money. He also thought of some money lenders. He was also
thought of confessing his poverty to the staff of Christie’s and requesting
them to auction the picture again.
c. Explain how the narrator got out of the tight corner that he was in.
When the narrator was very much upset, a messenger
from the red faced dealer approached him: The messenger said that the red-faced
dealer was ready to give him fifty guineas and take the picture. The narrator
thought that the messenger was from the high gods. The narrator asked for a
hundred and he got it. Thus the narrator got out of the tight comer. The
narrator’s friend had arranged all this for the escape of the narrator.
d. As the narrator, make a diary entry about the tight corner you faced at Christie’s and how you were saved from the dire situation.
My friend Smith took me to Christie’s auction house. They were
auctioning Barbizon pictures. I had only sixty three guineas in my bank, but I
started bidding. I was sure that somebody would outbid me. Smith warned me, but
I ignored his warning. It was going on well for some time and I was feeling
But when one picture was put up a red-faced dealer offered four thousand
guineas. Immediately and thoughtlessly I shouted “And fifty more,” expecting
that the red faced man would outbid me. But nothing happened and I was declared
the buyer. I was caught.
But after sometime a messenger from the red-faced dealer
told me that the dealer offered fifty guineas and would buy the picture. Thus I
was saved. Smith had talked to the dealer and saved me.
e. Describe the incident in which the narrator exhibited his guile in
spite of being saved from the mental tight corner.
The narrator offered “And fifty more” for a picture; it meant four
thousand and fifty guineas. But he had only sixty three guineas. Now he was
caught in a tight comer, because nobody offered more, and he was declared the
After sometime a messenger told him that the red-faced
dealer was ready to give fifty guineas and buy the picture. The narrator would
have been happy even to receive fifty farthings, because he was saved from
dishonour. But the narrator asked for a hundred guineas and he got. Thus he
exhibited his guile (trick, cheating)