A Triumph of Surgery CBSE Class 10 NCERT English Footprints without Feet Book Lesson 1 Explanation, Summary, Difficult words
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CBSE Class 10 English Lesson Explanation Notes
A Triumph of Surgery Class 10 English Footprints without Feet Lesson 1 - Detailed explanation of the lesson along with meanings of difficult words. Also, the explanation is followed by a Summary of the lesson. All the exercises and Question and Answers given at the back of the lesson have been covered.
Class 10 English (Footprints without Feet) Chapter 1 - A
Triumph of Surgery
By- James Herriot
Introduction to the lesson
Tricki, a small dog, is pampered and overfed by his rich mistress. He falls seriously ill and his mistress consults a veterinary surgeon. Does he perform an operation? Does the dog recover?
This story is about Tricki, a dog who is the pet of a rich lady named Mrs. Pumphrey. She loves her dog very much and is unable to refuse him anything he wants. Tricki, is fond of eating cream cakes and chocolates. So one day when Mrs. Pumphrey is out with Tricki for a walk the narrator sees them and stops to talk. While talking to Mrs. Pumphrey he realises that she has been overfeeding Tricki and also had been giving him things that he shouldn’t eat due to which Tricki had started looking like a bloated sausage. Soon Tricki got unwell and Mrs. Pumphrey has to call Mr. Herriot (narrator) for help. She does not want to send him away but the only way suggested by Mr. Herriot is to get him hospitalised for 15 days. Then the story unfolds into how he gets well. Read the description to know more.
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About the Author
James Alfred Wight (3 October 1916 – 23 February 1995), known by the pen name James Herriot, was a British veterinary surgeon and writer, who used his many years of experiences as a veterinary surgeon to write a series of books each consisting of stories about animals and their owners. He is best known for these semi-autobiographical works, beginning with If Only They Could Talk in 1970, which spawned a series of movies and television series.
See Video for Explanation and Summary of the Lesson
A Triumph of Surgery Summary
The story starts when Mrs. Pumphrey, a rich lady takes her dog out for a walk. A nearby veterinary doctor who knows the lady sees the dog and is shocked as he sees that the dog looks like a bloated sausage with a leg at each end. He advises her to stop giving him unhealthy things to eat but Mrs. Pumphrey is not able to refuse him. Soon he falls sick and the doctor is called. The narrator, Mr. Herriot then somehow takes Tricki, the dog to the hospital even though he knows that Mrs. Pumphrey is not ready to leave her dog and nearly fainted just by hearing these words.Then he takes the dog along and puts a bed for him in his surgery. The dog doesn't move much nor eats anything for the first two days. On the second day he looks around and whimpers a bit. He wanted to go out on the third day and started playing with the bigger dogs when he was taken out. He also licked the bowls of other dogs clean on the third day.
Then his condition started improving very fast. He started fighting for his meals with other dogs. Then when this news reached Mrs. Pumphrey, she started sending him eggs as she thought that Tricki was recovering from an illness and needed energy foods. Mr. Herriot and his partners started eating those eggs for morning breakfast. Then for improving Tricki’s blood, Mrs. Pumphrey started sending in bottles of wine which was again consumed by Mr. Herriot. He used to take two glasses before lunch and some more glasses while having his lunch. Then when she started sending in bottles of brandy for Tricki that was the time when Mr. Herriot thought that he would really like to keep Tricki as a permanent guest in the surgery. Mr. Herriot used to be really happy someday by having two extra eggs every morning. Then having few glasses of wine in the afternoon and closing the day by having brandy at night. But then he took a wise decision and called up Mrs. Pumphrey as she was really worried and on this side Tricki was ready to be taken back home. Tricki was really happy to see his mistress and jumped into the car. Mrs. Pumphrey said that she won't be able to ever thank him for what he had done and also, that his surgery had been successful as Tricki was now cured.
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A Triumph of Surgery Lesson and explanation (with word meanings)
I was really worried about Tricki this time. I had pulled up my car when I saw him in the street with his mistress and I was shocked at his appearance. He had become hugely fat, like a bloated sausage with a leg at each corner. His eyes, bloodshot and rheumy, stared straight ahead and his tongue lolled from his jaws.Mrs Pumphrey hastened to explain, “He was so listless, Mr Herriot.He seemed to have no energy. I thought he must be suffering from malnutrition, so I have been giving him some little extras between meals to build him up, some malt and cod-liver oil and a bowl of Horlicks at night to make him sleep — nothing much really.”“And did you cut down on the sweet things as I told you?”“Oh, I did for a bit, but he seemed to be so weak I had to relent. He does love cream cakes and chocolates so. I can’t bear to refuse him.”I looked down again at the little dog. That was the trouble. Tricki’s only fault was greed. He had never been known to refuse food; he would tackle a meal at any hour of the day or night. And I wondered about all the things Mrs Pumphrey hadn’t mentioned.“Are you giving him plenty of exercise?”“Well, he has his little walks with me as you can see, but Hodgkin,the gardener, has been down with lumbago, so there has been no ring-throwing lately.”
Mistress- a woman in a position of authority or control.
Bloated- excessive in size or amount.
Sausage- an item of food in the form of a cylindrical length of minced pork or other meat encased in a skin, typically sold raw to be grilled or fried before eating.
Bloodshot- (of the eyes) inflamed or tinged with blood, typically as a result of tiredness.
Lolled- sit, lie, or stand in a lazy, relaxed way.
Hastened- be quick to do something.
Listless- lacking energy or enthusiasm.
Malnutrition- lack of proper nutrition
Cod liver oil- oil pressed from the liver of cod
Relent- become less severe or intense.
Lumbago- pain in the muscles and joints of the lower back.
The narrator starts telling us that how he was worried about Tricki, a pet dog. The narrator, Mr. Herriot stops his car as he sees Tricki with his mistress on the road as the narrator is shocked to see Tricki because he looks like a bloated sausage. He has become very fat, his eyes are red and watery. Mrs. Pumphrey, Tricki’s owner starts giving explanations. She told Mr. Herriot that she thought that Tricki was malnourished because he did not have any energy and excitement. She told him that she used to give him malt, cod liver oil and a bowl of Horlicks at night, apart from his regular meals so that he could sleep at night. Although she gave him so much to eat, she says that she doesn't give him much to eat.
Then the narrator asks her if she had cut down on his sweets as he had asked her to do to which she replies that she did it for a while but she felt that he was getting weaker because of which she had to stop being so harsh with him. Also, she says that she is unable to refuse him cakes and chocolates as those were his favourite things. Then the narrator understood Tricki’s problem. The dog was very greedy and could eat at any time of the day. He did not know how to say no to food when his stomach was full. The narrator also thought to himself of all the things that Mrs. Pumphrey would not have mentioned which she fed Tricki. Again the narrator asked Mrs. Pumphrey whether Tricki was exercising to which Mrs. Pumphrey replies that she does take him out for walks once in a while but he is not playing his ring throwing exercise as the gardner who takes him out to play is not coming these days because of pain in his lower back.
Severe- very great; intense.
Regime- a system or ordered way of doing things.
Tottering- move in a feeble or unsteady way.
Tweed- a rough-surfaced woolen cloth
Wardrobe- a large, tall cupboard or recess in which clothes may be hung or stored.
Harness- a set of straps and fittings
Distraught- very worried and upset.
Bouts- a short period of intense activity of a specified kind.
Rug- a floor covering
Panting- breathing with short, quick breaths; out of breath.
Fortnight- a period of two weeks.
Swooned- a partial or total loss of consciousness
Wailings- crying with pain, grief, or anger.
Marched- walk quickly and with determination.
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The narrator tried to talk seriously to Mrs. Pumphrey that if she did not control Tricki’s eating habits and increased his exercise, he would soon fall ill. He told her that she should stay strong and strict with him and put him on a diet. Mrs. Pumphrey accepted that although she knew that Mr. Herriot was right but it was too difficult for her to refuse him for anything. But then she left the place as if she was now ready to follow the new routine properly. Mr. Herriot was watching them go and looking at Tricki walking unsteadily. The narrator was also looking at the tweed coat that Tricki was wearing. He had a wardrobe full of these coats and also raincoat for the rainy days. This line also suggests that Mrs. Pumphrey was a rich lady as she had a lot of money to spend on her dog. But the narrator knew that soon he would be receiving a call about Tricki falling ill and it came. The call came after a few days. Mrs Pumphrey was very upset as Tricki was not eating anything, not even his favourite dishes and was vomiting frequently. He didn’t even want to do anything.
Being a veterinary doctor, the narrator knew that the only way to get Tricki well was to get him out of the house for a few days. He then suggested to Mrs. Pumphrey that it would be good to get Tricki hospitalized and keep him under observation for 15 days. Upon hearing this Mrs. Pamphrey nearly fainted. She was sure that if Tricki did not see her everyday, he would surely die. But the narrator kept his words. He told her that this was the only option as Tricki was very ill. The narrator thought it would be best to avoid any delays and get him to the hospital as soon as possible. He went to their house and even though Mrs. Pumphrey was crying because she did not want her dog to go away from her, he took the dog, wrapped it in a blanket and put him in the car.
The entire staff was roused and maids rushed in and out bringing his day bed, his night bed, favourite cushions, toys and rubber rings,breakfast bowl, lunch bowl, super bowl. Realising that my car would never hold all the stuff, I started to drive away. As I moved off, Mrs Pumphrey, with a despairing cry, threw an armful of the little coats through the window. I looked in the mirror before I turned the corner of the drive; everybody was in tears.Out on the road, I glanced down at the pathetic little animal gasping on the seat by my side. I patted the head and Tricki made a brave effort to wag his tail. “Poor old lad,” I said. “You haven’t a kick in you but I think I know a cure for you.”At the surgery, the household dogs surged round me. Tricki looked down at the noisy pack with dull eyes and, when put down, lay motionless on the carpet. The other dogs, after sniffing round him for a few seconds,decided he was an uninteresting object and ignored him.
I made up a bed for him in a warm loose box next to the one where the other dogs slept. For two days I kept an eye on him, giving him no food but plenty of water. At the end of the second day he started to show some interest in his surroundings and on the third he began to whimper when he heard the dogs in the yard.When I opened the door, Tricki trotted out and was immediately engulfed by Joe, the greyhound, and his friends. After rolling him over and thoroughly inspecting him, the dogs moved off down the garden.Tricki followed them, rolling slightly with his surplus fat.Later that day, I was present at feeding time. I watched while Tristan slopped the food into the bowls. There was the usual headlong rush followed by the sounds of high-speed eating; every dog knew that if he fell behind the others he was liable to have some competition for the last part of his meal.
Roused- cause to stop sleeping.
Maids- a female domestic servant.
Rushed- done or completed too hurriedly; hasty.
Supper- an evening meal, typically a light or informal one.
Despairing- showing loss of all hope.
Glanced- take a brief or hurried look.
Patted- touch quickly and gently with the flat of the hand.
Wag- (especially with reference to an animal's tail) move or cause to move rapidly to and fro.
Surged- move suddenly and powerfully forward or upward.
Motionless- not moving; stationary.
Sniffing- the action of drawing in air audibly through the nose.
Whimper- make a series of low, feeble sounds expressive of fear, pain, or unhappiness.
Trotted- run at a moderate pace with short steps.
Engulfed- sweep over (something) so as to surround or cover it completely.
Slopped- spill or flow over the edge of a container, typically as a result of careless handling.
Liable- likely to do or to be something.
The maids were then woken up and asked to get out all of Tricki’s stuff. His stuff included things like his day bed, night bed, favourite cushions, toys, rubber rings, breakfast bowl, lunch bowl and his snack bowl. Mr. Herriot knew that so much stuff won’t fit in his car, so he started rushing things. As the doctor was leaving with Tricki, Mrs. Pumphrey threw a lot of coats that Tricki used to wear in the car. As the narrator was turning the car, on the turn he saw thorugh the rear mirror that everyone was crying. He patted the little helpless animal who responded by wagging his tail. The narrator then thought and told Tricki that he knew that Tricki did not have any energy but he surely had a way to get him better.
As soon as they reached the hospital, all the other dogs gathered around the doctor. Tricki looked at all of them and when the doctor put him down on the carpet he couldn't even move. The other dogs then sniffed him and thought to themselves that he was a very uninteresting object and that there was no use standing there and left. Then the narrator made the bed for Tricki in a warm box along with the other dogs. For two days the narrator kept him just on water and nothing else. On the second day, he roamed around looking at the place around him and on the third day he was also making noise to let the people in the hospital know that he too wanted to go out with the other dogs. When the narrator opened the door Tricki quickly came out and was surrounded by Joe who was a greyhound and his friends. Again after sniffing him for a moment, all of them left for the garden where Tricki followed them. Later in the evening, the narrator was present at the dinner time and was watching all of them, specially Tristan as he was slopping the food. All of them were eating with great speed because they knew that if they din't finish quickly, then the other dog, after finishing his meal would come to eat their meal.
When they had finished, Tricki took a walk round the shining bowls,licking casually inside one or two of them. Next day, an extra bowl was put out for him and I was pleased to see him jostling his way towards it.From then on, his progress was rapid. He had no medicinal treatment of any kind but all day he ran about with the dogs, joining in their friendly scrimmages. He discovered the joys of being bowled over, trampled on and squashed every few minutes. He became an accepted member of the gang, an unlikely, silky little object among the shaggy crew, fighting like a tiger for his share at mealtimes and hunting rats in the old hen-house at night. He had never had such a time in his life.All the while, Mrs Pumphrey hovered anxiously in the background,ringing a dozen times a day for the latest bulletins. I dodged the questions about whether his cushions were being turned regularly or his correct coat worn according to the weather; but I was able to tell her that the little fellow was out of danger and convalescing rapidly.The word ‘convalescing’ seemed to do something to Mrs Pumphrey.She started to bring round fresh eggs, two dozen at a time, to build upTricki’s strength. For a happy period my partners and I had two eggs each for breakfast, but when the bottles of wine began to arrive, the real possibilities of the situation began to dawn on the household.It was to enrich Tricki’s blood. Lunch became a ceremonial occasion with two glasses of wine before and several during the meal.
Licking- pass the tongue over (something) in order to taste, moisten, or clean it.
Pleased- feeling or showing pleasure and satisfaction,
Jostling- push, elbow, or bump against (someone) roughly, typically in a crowd.
Scrimmages- a confused struggle or fight.
Trampled- tread on and crush.
Squashed- flat, soft, or out of shape as a result of being crushed or squeezed with force.
Shaggy- long, thick, and unkempt.
Hovered- remain poised uncertainty in one place or between two states.
Anxiously- feeling or showing worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome.
Dozen- 12 in number
Bulletins- a short official statement or broadcast summary of news.
Convalescing- recover one's health and strength over a period of time after an illness or medical treatment.
When everybody finished their food, Tricki went around looking at the shining bowls and also licked a few bowls. The very next day, an extra bowl was put for him and the narrator was happy to see him running towards his bowl. Then he started getting better really quick. He did not require any medicines and started playing with the other dogs the whole day. They all used to play with each other, bump into each other, walk over each other and squash each other. All of the other dogs accepted him as a family member although he was very different from others as he was very well taken care of by his owner and the others were not. He also used to fight for his meals with his fellow dogs who were much larger in size than him. At night, he would also hunt rats in the hen- house. He was enjoying as he had never done such things befdore.
All this while, Mrs. Pumphrey used to call more than twelve times a day to inquire about Tricki. Mr. Herriot used to avoid questions about the coats, beds etc. But he told her that Tricki was doing very good and was recovering very fast. Mrs. Pumphrey wanted Tricki to recover fast. She started sending two dozen eggs everyday for him but Mr. Herriot and his partners would have 2 eggs each for Breakfast. Then, to improve the quality of blood, Mrs. Pumphrey started sending in bottles of wine. Then it became Mr. Herriot’s habit to have two glasses of wine before lunch and a few along with it.
We could hardly believe it when the brandy came to put a final edge on Tricki’s constitution. For a few nights the fine spirit was rolled around, inhaled and reverently drunk.
Within minutes, about thirty feet of gleaming black metal drew up outside the surgery. The chauffeur opened the door and I could just make out the figure of Mrs Pumphrey almost lost in the interior. Her hands were tightly clasped in front of her; her lips trembled. “Oh, Mr Herriot, do tell me the truth. Is he really better?” “Yes, he’s fine. There’s no need for you to get out of the car — I’ll go and fetch him.” I walked through the house into the garden. A mass of dogs was hurtling round and round the lawn and in their midst, ears flapping, tail waving, was the little golden figure of Tricki. In two weeks he had been transformed into a lithe, hard-muscled animal; he was keeping up well with the pack, stretching out in great bounds, his chest almost brushing the ground. I carried him back along the passage to the front of the house. The chauffeur was still holding the car door open and when Tricki saw his mistress he took off from my arms in a tremendous leap and sailed into Mrs Pumphrey’s lap. She gave a startled “Ooh!” And then had to defend herself as he swarmed over her, licking her face and barking. During the excitement, I helped the chauffeur to bring out the beds, toys, cushions, coats and bowls, none of which had been used. As the car moved away, Mrs Pumphrey leaned out of the window. Tears shone in her eyes. Her lips trembled. “Oh, Mr Herriot,” she cried, “how can I ever thank you? This is atriumph of surgery!”
Brandy- a strong alcoholic spirit distilled from wine or fermented fruit juice.
Constitution- the composition of something.
Reverently- with deep and solemn respect.
Temptation- the desire to do something, especially something wrong or unwise.
Compelled- bring about (something) by the use of force or pressure.
Awaiting- wait for (an event).
Gleaming- reflecting light, typically because very clean or polished.
Chauffeur- a person employed to drive a private or hired car.
Clasped- grasp (something) tightly with one's hand.
Trembled- shake involuntarily, typically as a result of anxiety, excitement, or frailty.
Fetch- go for and then bring back (someone or something) for someone.
Hurtling- move or cause to move at high speed, typically in an uncontrolled manner
Midst- in the middle of.
Lithe- thin, supple, and graceful.
Startled- feeling or showing sudden shock or alarm.
Swarmed- move somewhere in large numbers.
Shone- a quality of brightness produced
Mrs. Pumphrey started sending in brandy. At that time Mr. Herriot was not able to believe that Mrs. Pumphrey actually wanted them to give brandy to Tricki. They shared it amongst themselves. Some days, Mr Herriot used to feel very happy as he would start his day with extra eggs, then he would have a few glasses of wine in the afternoon and then ending the day with brandy in the evening. Because of all the things that were being sent for Tricki, Mr. Herriot was really tempted to keep him as a permanent guest at the surgery. He really wanted that Tricki should stay with them forever but then he realised that Mrs Pumphrey who was like a mother to Tricki was really suffering and really wanted Tricki to come back soon. After 15 days, Tricki was ready to go back home and Mr. Herriot called up Mrs. Pumphrey to come pick him up. Within a few minutes a long black car came outside. When the chauffeur opened the door Mrs. Pumphrey was sitting inside really nervous as well as excited. She was asking with a nervousness in her voice that was Tricki really better to which the doctor replied positively. Then Mr. Herriot went inside to get Tricki
When Mr. Herriot went to the garden behind the house, he saw all the dogs moving around in the garden, and Tricki was sitting between them. He had recovered wonderfully in two weeks. He was looking much healthier, playing with the other dogs and his chest was touching the ground. He had become a good muscular dog within two weeks. When Mr. Herriot took Tricki to the front of the house he saw that the chauffeur was still holding the door of the car and as soon as Tricki saw his mother like mistress he was overjoyed. He ran away and jumped into the lap of Mrs. Pumphrey and started licking her face, barking in excitement. While all this was happening, the chauffeur and Mr. Herriot got all his stuff out to the car which had not been used during the treatment in the last 14 days. When Mrs. Pumphrey was leaving she leaned out of the window and said to Mr. Herriot with tears of joy in her eyes that she could not thank him enough for what he had done. “This is a triumph of surgery!” meant that the treatment that was given to Tricki had been successful.
A Triumph of Surgery Question and Answers
Q1. What kind of a person do you think the narrator, a veterinary surgeon, is? Would you say he is tactful as well as full of commonsense?
Ans. The narrator, a veterinary doctor is a very compassionate and an honest man as he does not unnecessarily operate upon Tricki. He goes out of the way to guide Mrs. Pumphrey that she should start keeping a strict check on Tricki’s diet and his exercise schedule. He is tactful because he knows how to get Tricki to the hospital and his common sense can be seen by the simple fact that he just changed the eating and exercise schedule of Tricki which helped him recover from his problems. He did not unnecessarily put him on medicines.
Q2. Do you think Tricki was happy to go home? What do you think will happen now?
Ans. Yes, Tricki was as happy to go home as much as he was staying in the surgery. He was happy staying in the surgery because he got many friends which he did not have at home and was happy to go back home because he did not have his lavish lifestyle at the surgery. His excitement to go back home can be seen from the fact that as soon as he saw his mistress, he jumped back into the car and started licking her face and roaming around in excitement. I think now he will be fine at home as well because earlier Mrs. Pumphrey did not take Mr. Herriot’s advice seriously which led to Tricki’s hospitalization.
Q3. Do you think this is a real-life episode, or mere fiction? Or is it a mixture of both?
Ans. I feel that this story is a mixture of both because it is not a new thing that rich people overfeed their dog or maintain excessive wardrobes for their pets but for a doctor to go out of his way to help another person who doesn't want his advice is unusual. A doctor being so honest that he doesn't wrongly treat the dog and instead, just works on him by keeping him in his surgery and trackS his health by feeding him less and maintains a regular exercise schedule seems to be more of a fiction.
Q4 Why is Mrs Pumphrey worried about Tricki?
Ans Mrs. Pumphrey was worried about Tricki as Tricki was not eating anything, not even his favourite dishes. Tricki was vomiting and lied down on the rug, panting. He did not even want to go out for walks or anything.
Q5 What does she do to help him? Is she wise in this?
Ans She calls the doctor to see him as he was unwell. Yes, she was wise this time as earlier, she was acting foolish by overfeeding him. The doctor told her that Tricki needed to be hospitalized. She was crying over it but later accepted that she needed to listen to the doctor.
Q6 Who does ‘I’ refer to in this story?
Ans “I” refers to the narrator who is a veterinary doctor, Mr. Herriot.
Q7 Is the narrator as rich as Tricki’s mistress?
Ans According to the story, the narrator is not as rich as Mrs. Pumphrey because Mr. Herriott is able to provide Tricki with a box bed whereas in Mrs. Pumphrey’s house he has his own bed, different bowls to eat and servants at his disposal. Then Tricki’s mistress used to send two dozen eggs, wine and brandy everyday for Tricki’s recovery. Towards the end of chapter, Tricki’s mistress comes in 30 feet of gleaming black metal which is obviously a luxury car. So, it can be seen that Tricki’s mistress used to live a very luxurious life in comparison to the narrator.
Q8 How does he treat the dog?
Ans He treats the dog very well. He knows that Tricki does not need medicinal treatment but requires a change in his lifestyle. He gives him only water for two days and then he sees that Tricki has started licking the empty food bowls and started mixing up with other dogs. Then he gives him food and Tricki starts to recover well. Then soon after living there for a few days, he is much better and goes back home.
Q9 Why is he tempted to keep Tricki on as a permanent guest?
Ans He is tempted to keep Tricki as a permanent guest because Mrs. Pumphrey wants Tricki to recover quickly. So she used to send two dozen eggs, wine bottles and brandy everyday. Mr. Herriot knew that there was no need of giving Tricki all that so he used to eat the extra eggs and drink the wine with his partners. With all that food and drinks coming in, Mr. Herriot used to be very happy so he was tempted to keep Tricki on as a permanent guest.
Q10 Why does Mrs Pumphrey think the dog’s recovery is “a triumph of surgery”?
Ans Tricki had recovered completely in two weeks. He had been turned into a hard muscle animal. Upon seeing Mrs. Pumphrey, Tricki ran towards her, jumped on her lap and started licking her face. She was overwhelmed to see Tricki all well and so she says as a token of gratitude that it was “a triumph of surgery”.
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