CBSE Class 9 English Chapter 4 Keeping It From Harold Summary, Explanation and Question Answers from Literature Reader (Communicative) Book
Keeping It From Harold – CBSE Class 9 English Literature Reader (Communicative) Book Lesson 4 Keeping It From Harold Summary and Detailed explanation of the lesson along with the meanings of difficult words. Also, the explanation is followed by a Summary of the lesson. All the exercises and Questions and Answers given at the back of the lesson have been covered.
Keeping It From Harold Class 9 English Chapter 3
by P.G. Wodehouse
- Keeping it From Harold Introduction
- Keeping it From Harold Summary
- Video Explanation of Keeping it From Harold
- Keeping it From Harold Explanation
- Keeping it From Harold Question Answers
Keeping It From Harold Introduction
The story is a humorous one. Harold is a genius and an exception in his family. His parents, uncle, grandparents, priest at the church and in fact everyone who meets the family is concerned that the parents must hide the truth of Harold’s father’s profession from him. Everyone thinks that the fact that his father Bill Bramble is a professional boxer will have a bad effect on Harold and so they insist on telling him that he is a sales representative. Finally, the truth is disclosed to Harold by Bill’s friend and trainer Jerry Fisher. Everyone is amazed to know that Harold likes the sport and follows it keenly. He asks his father to go ahead with the fight fixed for next week.
Keeping It From Harold Summary
Harold is a genius and a well mannered boy. He studies well. He is an exception and is considered to be too good for his family. His parents hide the truth about his father, Bill Bramble’s profession from him as they feel that he will feel ashamed that his father is a boxer. Everyone around them advices them to hide this from him. Harold is told that his father is a sales representative in a company. As Harold grows, he doubts the truth of his father’s profession but as he is busy in other important works, overlooks it. Bill decides to leave boxing and take up a job as a boxing instructor in a school or college which is a milder profession. He has the last fight after a week for which he is practising at the White Hart. Mrs. Bramble is very happy and relaxed that finally they would not have to hide something from Harold. She is keen on the reward money which Bill will get from the last match. Percy and Bill arrive home when Bill is supposed to be training for the fight. He is hesitant to face his wife and seeks Percy’s help. Mr. Bramble withdraws from the fight as he does not want Harold to know about it. He tries to convince his wife about it. She is sad that they will lose the reward money. Bill’s trainer Jerry arrives looking for Bill. When he sees Percy, he knows the reason for Bill’s absence from training and attacks Percy. Bill tries to convince him that he has withdrawn for the sake of Harold. To their surprise Harold arrives. The truth that his dad is a professional boxer is told to him by Jerry Fisher. Harold is sad that they did not tell him earlier as he was also interested in the sport. He had a bet with his friends, and this fact would help him scare his friends who teased him by calling him ‘goggles’. Everyone is amazed to see that Harold loves boxing, has a vast knowledge of it and is not ashamed that his dad is a professional boxer. Bill Bramble has nothing to worry now and so, goes with Jerry for the training.
Video Explanation of Keeping It From Harold
Keeping It From Harold Lesson Explanation
“Ma!” Mrs. Bramble looked up, beaming with a kind of amiable fat-headedness. A domestic creature, wrapped up in Bill, her husband, and Harold, her son. At the present moment only the latter was with her. He sat on the other side of the table, his lips gravely pursed and his eyes a trifle cloudy behind their spectacles. Before him on the red tablecloth lay an open book. His powerful brain was plainly busy.
beaming: shining brightly
gravely: in a serious or solemn manner
pursed: pucker or contract, typically to express disapproval or irritation
a trifle: little or somewhat
cloudy: misted with tears
The story starts when Harold calls his mother, Mrs. Bramble. Mrs. Bramble looks up, her face shining with a mixture of friendliness and stupidity. This indicates that Mrs. Bramble was a nice person but also stupid at certain times. She is described to be a domestic creature, meaning that she was a housewife and had no professional life. Her life revolved around two people – her husband, Mr. Bill Bramble and her son, Harold. At the moment, only one of the two people was with her and that was Harold. He was sitting on the other side of the table, meaning that the mother and son were sitting face-to-face. His lips were puckered in a serious manner, and that expression meant that he was irritated with his mother. He had tears in his eyes because he was putting a lot of strain on his eyes. There was a red coloured tablecloth on the table, and on top of the tablecloth was an open book. Harold, who had a powerful brain, was busy reading the book.
“Will you hear me?”
Mrs. Bramble took the book.
“Yes, mother will hear you, precious.”
Mrs. Bramble asked him why he had called her and Harold replied that he wanted her to hear him recite something from the book. Mrs. Bramble took the book and said that she would hear him. She calls him ‘dearie’ and ‘precious’ as a sign of motherly affection and love.
A slight frown marred the smoothness of Harold Bramble’s brow. It jarred upon him, this habit of his mother’s, of referring to herself in the third person, as if she were addressing a baby, instead of a young man of ten who had taken the spelling and dictation prize last term on his head.
marred: spoiled the beauty or quality of something
jarred: annoyed or irritated
Harold frowned, which spoiled the smoothness of his eyebrows. He was irritated with his mother’s habit of addressing herself in the third person and him as a baby. He considered himself to be a ten-year-old young man who had won the spelling and dictation prize last term. He was so accomplished that he was capable of achieving great heights, and so he wanted to be treated as a grown-up man and not a baby.
He cleared his throat and fixed his eyes upon the cut-glass hangings of the chandelier.
“Be good, sweet maid,” he began, with the toneless rapidity affected by youths of his age when reciting poetry…..
“You do study so hard, dearie, you’ll give yourself a headache. Why don’t you take a nice walk by the river for half an hour, and come back nice and fresh?”
cut-glass: glass ornamented with patterns cut into it by grinding and polishing
toneless: monotonous, without any tone
Harold did not convey anything about his irritation to his mother and he cleared his throat. He looked at the chandelier made up of glass and he did not stop looking at it. He was looking at the hangings of the chandelier which were pieces of glasses with patterns cut into it by grinding and polishing. He began reciting a poem in a similar way to how some youth used to recite poetry. After he finished the recitation, his mother advised him to take a walk by the river for half an hour, so that he would not get any headaches and he would be nice and fresh for the next study session.
The spectacled child considered the point for a moment gravely. Then nodding, he arranged his books in readiness for his return and went out. The front door closed with a decorous softness.
readiness: preparation, to be ready
decorous: polite and restrained
The child, who wore spectacles, thought about this suggestion for a second in a serious manner. Then he nodded, meaning that he agreed with his mother and had no objection with it. He arranged his books in such a manner that he could come back and get back to studies immediately. He closed the front door politely and softly and went out.
It was a constant source of amazement to Mrs. Bramble that she should have brought such a prodigy as Harold into the world. Harold was so different from ordinary children, so devoted to his books, such a model of behaviour, so altogether admirable. The only drawback was, that his very ‘perfection’ had made necessary a series of evasions and even deliberate falsehoods, on the part of herself and her husband, highly distasteful to both. They were lovers of truth, but they had realized that there are times when truth must be sacrificed. At any cost, the facts concerning Mr. Bramble’s profession must be kept from Harold.
prodigy: a young person with exceptional qualities or abilities
evasion: the action of evading or avoiding something
Mrs. Bramble was amazed every second that she was able to bring a child like Harold into the world. This was because not only Harold was different from his parents, but also that he was not an ordinary child. He was admirable because he was devoted to his books and he was considered to be a model of behaviour, meaning that he was clever and well-mannered. He had one drawback though. He was so perfect, that his perfection forced his parents, who loved truth, to lie to him about their professional lives. They had to avoid the truth and they did not like to do that, but they had realised that it was necessary for them to lie in this situation. With this, they tried their best to hide Mr. Bramble’s profession from Harold.
While he was a baby it had not mattered so much. But when he began to move about and take notice, Mrs. Bramble said to Mr. Bramble, “Bill, we must keep it from Harold.” A little later, when the child had begun to show signs of being about to become a model of goodness and intelligence, and had already taken two prizes at the Sunday-school, the senior curate of the parish, meeting Mr. Bramble one morning, said nervously-for after all, it was a delicate subject to broach, “Er- Bramble, I think, on the whole, it would be as well to-er-keep it from Harold.”
curate: a member of the clergy, a parish priest
parish: a section of a church district in the care of a priest or minister
broach: raise (a difficult subject) for discussion
sunday-school: a class held on Sundays to teach children about Christianity or Judaism
When Harold was just a baby, the Brambles did not face any problem. However, when Harold began to move and observe his surroundings, Mrs. Bramble told Mr. Bramble that they must keep the truth a secret from Harold. Mr. Bramble’s first name was Bill. Then, the child had developed in such a way that he showed signs of goodness and intelligence. He had won two prizes at the Sunday-school, even though he was still very young. The senior priest of the parish met Mr. Bramble one morning and told him something in a very nervous manner. He was nervous because he was discussing a delicate and difficult topic. He too advised Bill to keep the truth about his profession away from Harold.
And only the other day, Mrs. Bramble’s brother, Major Percy Stokes, dropping in for a cup of tea, had said, “I hope you are keeping it from Harold. It is the least you can do”, and had gone on to make one or two remarks about men of wrath which, considering that his cheek-bones were glistening with Mr. Bramble’s buttered toast, were in poor taste. But Percy was like that. Enemies said that he liked the sound of his own voice.
major: a rank of officer in the army and the US air force, above captain and below lieutenant colonel
wrath: extreme anger
One day, Mrs. Bramble’s brother, Major Percy Stokes visited the Brambles for a talk and a cup of tea. He told them that he hoped that they were keeping the truth from Harold and that it was the least that they could do. He then made a few remarks about men who have extreme anger. He was insulting Mr. Bramble’s profession, which was not nice since he was busy enjoying buttered toast, which was made by Mr. Bramble himself. This was the main characteristic of Percy. His enemies often said that Percy liked the sound of his own voice, meaning that he was quite selfish and arrogant.
Certainly he was very persuasive. Mr. Bramble had fallen in with the suggestion without demur. In private life he was the mildest and most obliging of men, and always yielded to everybody. The very naming of Harold had caused a sacrifice on his part.
demur: raise objections or show reluctance
Percy could easily persuade someone to do something. Mr. Bramble took his advise without raising an objection or even being hesitant. Even though his profession made his look tough, he was the mildest and most obliging person. Unlike Percy, he could be easily persuaded. He had to sacrifice his choice of name during the naming of his son.
When it was certain that he was about to become a father, he had expressed a desire that the child should be named John, if a boy, after Mr John L. Sullivan, or, if a girl, Marie, after Miss Marie Lloyd. But Mrs Bramble saying that Harold was such a sweet name, he had withdrawn his suggestions with the utmost good- humour.
When it had become certain that he was about to become a father, he had told Mrs. Bramble that he had selected a few names for the baby. He wanted the child to be named John if the child were a boy. He would be named after Mr John L. Sullivan. If the child were to be a girl, the child should be named Marie, the name inspired by Miss Marie Lloyd. However, after the baby was born, Mrs. Bramble said that Harold was a sweet name and she insisted that their child should be named Harold. Mr. Bramble named him Harold without any reluctance and in good nature.
Nobody could help liking this excellent man which made it all the greater pity that his walk in life was of such a nature that it simply had to be kept from Harold.
He was a professional boxer. That was the trouble.
Mr. Bramble happened to be a very likeable and excellent person. This made people pity on him as he had to keep a part of his life, his profession a secret from Harold. The trouble was that he was a professional boxer, something which was in total contrast to Harold’s character.
Before the coming of Harold, he had been proud of being a professional boxer. His ability to paste his fellow-man in the eye while apparently meditating an attack on his stomach, and vice versa, had filled him with that genial glow of self-satisfaction which comes to philanthropists and other benefactors of the species. It had seemed to him a thing on which to congratulate himself that of all London’s teeming millions there was not a man, weighing eight stone four, whom he could not overcome in a twenty-round contest. He was delighted to be the possessor of a left hook which had won the approval of the newspapers.
paste: beat or defeat severely
meditate: plan mentally; consider
genial: friendly and cheerful
philanthropist: a person who seeks to promote the welfare of others, especially by the generous donation of money to good causes
teem: to be filled with something
Before Harold was born, Bill was proud of his profession. His ability to beat the opponent in the eye while planning an attack on his stomach gave him a friendly and cheerful glow on his face and a sense of self-satisfaction to his heart, a feeling which comes to philanthropists and benefactors when they successfully help someone. He used to congratulate himself on the fact that even though London was full of millions of people, not even a single man weighing eight stone four could beat him in a twenty-round contest. His left hook move was so brilliant that not only was he a delighted possessor of it but the newspapers had also appreciated it.
And then Harold had come into his life, and changed him into a furtive practitioner of shady deeds. Before, he had gone about the world with a match-box full of press-notices, which he would extract with a pin and read to casual acquaintances. Now, he quailed at the sight of his name in print, so thoroughly had he become imbued with the necessity of keeping it from Harold.
furtive: attempting to avoid notice or attention, typically because of guilt or a belief that discovery would lead to trouble; secretive
practitioner: someone who practices or follows something
quail: feel or show fear or apprehension
imbued with: to fill someone or something with a quality or feeling
Now we see how he had transformed when Harold had come into his life. Harold changed his father into a person who kept his profession a secret and practised suspicious methods of hiding the truth from Harold. Before Harold, he would not be afraid to read an extract of a newspaper article about his victory. However, now he showed fear whenever he would see his name or anything related to him in the newspaper as he feared that Harold would see it and he would discover the truth. He became so frightened as he was filled with the feeling of the necessity to hide the truth from Harold.
With an ordinary boy it would not have mattered. However, Harold was different. Secretly proud of him as they were, both Bill and his wife were a little afraid of their wonderful child. The fact was, as Bill himself put it, Harold was showing a bit too much class for them. He had formed a corner in brains, as far as the Bramble family was concerned. They had come to regard him as being of a superior order.
Mr. and Mrs. Bramble would not have been so secretive if their child had been an ordinary boy. However, Harold was different. He was more intelligent and good-mannered than an ordinary child. They were proud of him, but at the same time, they were a little afraid of their own child. Harold was showing too much class for them, which led them to think that Harold was more superior than his own parents.
Yet Harold, defying the laws of heredity, had run to intellect as his father had run to muscle. He had learned to read and write with amazing quickness. He sang in the choir.
And now, at the age of ten, a pupil at a local private school where they wore mortar boards and generally comported themselves like young dons, he had already won a prize for spelling and dictation. You simply couldn’t take a boy like that aside and tell him that the father whom he believed to be a commercial traveller was affectionately known to a large section of the inhabitants of London, as “Young Porky.” There were no two ways about it. You had to keep it from him.
defy: openly resist or refuse to obey
mortar board: an academic cap with a stiff, flat, square top and a tassel
don: head of the mafia family
While Mr. Bramble had a lot of muscle-power, Harold had developed his brain-power, and so, he was able to go against the laws of heredity means that he hadn’t inherited his father’s qualities. He learned to read and write quicker than expected, and he also sang in the choir. Now, he was a ten-year-old student at the local private school where they wore mortar boards and behaved as if they were young heads of the mafia family. Harold had won prizes in spelling and dictation. He, hence, was quite a distinguished person, and he believed his father to be a commercial traveller. Everyone believed that telling a person like Harold that his father was a professional boxer who was called ‘Young Porky’ by a large section of the inhabitants of London instead of a commercial traveller would lead to big trouble. Even worse, there was no alternative for this. There was only one way and that was to keep Harold away from the truth.
So, Harold grew in stature and intelligence, without a suspicion of the real identity of the square-jawed man with the irregularly-shaped nose who came and went mysteriously in their semi-detached, red-brick home. He was a self-centred child, and, accepting the commercial traveller fiction, dismissed the subject from his mind and busied himself with things of more moment. And time slipped by.
stature: importance or reputation gained by ability or achievement
semi-detached: joined to another house on one side only by a common wall
Harold became an important person as he kept on achieving more and more, much more than expected. He concentrated on himself and so he never thought about his father’s profession and the real identity of his father. Mr. Bramble had a square shaped jaw and an irregular nose. He came in and went out of the house without sharing any details with Harold. Their house was semi-detached and made up of red bricks, indicating that he was making less money than what a commercial traveller made. However, Harold accepted the story of his father being a commercial traveller and did not doubt it. He became busy in other important things and time passed on.
Mrs. Bramble, left alone, resumed work on the sock which she was darning. For the first time since Harold had reached years of intelligence she was easy in her mind about the future. A week from tonight would see the end of all her anxieties. On that day Bill would fight his last fight, the twenty-round contest with that American Murphy at the National Sporting Club for which he was now training at the White Hart down the road. He had promised that it would be the last. He was getting on. He was thirty-one, and he said himself that he would have to be chucking the game before it chucked him. His idea was to retire from active work and try for a job as an instructor at one of these big schools or colleges. He had a splendid record for respectability and sobriety and all the other qualities which headmasters demanded in those who taught their young gentlemen to box and several of his friends who had obtained similar posts described the job in question as extremely soft. So that it seemed to Mrs. Bramble, that all might now be considered well. She smiled happily to herself as she darned her sock.
darning: the skill or activity of mending a hole in knitted material by interweaving yarn
sobriety: the quality of being practical and serious
After Harold had gone outside, Mrs. Bramble continued doing her work. She was mending a hole in her knitted socks. It had been a long time since she was finally calm about the future of her family. Ever since they had become aware about Harold’s intelligence, she had been worried that Harold would get to know their secret and they would be destroyed. Now she was calm because the next week, Bill would play the next and final boxing match of his career. It was a twenty-round contest against a boxer named American Murphy at the National Sporting Club. Bill was training for this fight at the White Hart located right down the road. He had promised his wife that the match would be his final one. He was thirty-one years old. He believed that it was time to put an end to his boxing career. He wanted to be a boxing instructor at any prominent schools or colleges. He thought that he had a chance of getting such a job as he was a respectable and serious man who was capable of instructing and training future boxers. He had all the qualities which headmasters demand in instructors. Many of his friends worked as instructors and they told Mr. Bramble that the job was extremely soft and not as tough as actual boxing. Mrs. Bramble was now thinking of how all of this would solve their problems. She was so happy that her happiness was clearly visible as she smiled happily to herself while repairing the sock.
She was interrupted in her meditations by a knock at the front door. She put down her sock and listened.
Martha, the general, pattered along the passage, and then there came the sound of voices speaking in an undertone. Footsteps made themselves heard in the passage. The door opened. The head and shoulders of Major Percy Stokes insinuated themselves into the room.
The Major cocked a mild blue eye at her.
“Harold anywhere about?”
“He’s gone out for a nice walk. Whatever brings you here, Percy, so late? “
Percy made no answer. He withdrew his head.
patter: make a repeated light tapping sound
insinuate: suggest or hint (something bad) in an indirect and unpleasant way
cock: tilt (something) in a particular direction
There was a knock at the door and Mrs. Bramble’s thought was interrupted. There were footsteps of Martha and sound of people talking softly. The door opened and Mrs. Bramble saw the face of Percy appearing. The Major tilted his eyes at Mrs. Brambles. His eyes were blue-coloured in a mild tone. He asked her if Harold was nearby. Mrs. Bramble replied that he was out for a nice walk. She then asked him why he was at her house at such a late hour. Percy did not answer her question. He withdrew his head and he went back outside the house.
He then reappeared, this time in his entirety, and remained holding the door open. More footsteps in the passage, and through the doorway in a sideways fashion suggestive of a diffident crab, came a short, sturdy, red-headed man with a broken nose and a propitiatory smile, at the sight of whom Mrs. Bramble, dropping her sock, rose as if propelled by powerful machinery, and exclaimed, “Bill!”
diffident: modest or shy because of a lack of self-confidence
sturdy: (of a person or their body) strongly and solidly built
propitiatory: intended to please someone and make them feel calm
propelled: being driven to do something by a force
Percy then reappeared, and instead of just his head and shoulders, his whole body was visible to Mrs. Bramble. He held the door open for someone else to come in. Then someone came through the doorways in a sideways fashion, and it looked as if the person were a shy crab. The person was a strongly built, red hair man, with a broken nose, not much height, and a relaxing smile. It was Mr. Bramble, which caused Mrs. Bramble to drop the sock she was darning. She stood up as if she were driven to do so by a powerful machine, meaning that she did it involuntarily. She exclaimed, because she was surprised to Bill standing in front of her, even though he was supposed to be training at the White Hart.
Mr. Bramble – for it was he – scratched his head, grinned feebly, and looked for assistance to the Major.
“The scales have fallen from his eyes.”
“What scales?” demanded Mrs. Bramble, a literal-minded woman. “And what are you doing here, Bill, when you ought to be at the White Hart, training?”
scales have fallen from the eyes: someone suddenly realizes the truth about something after a long period of not understanding it or of being deceived about it
literal: taking words in their usual or most basic sense without metaphor or exaggeration
Mr. Bramble scratched his head, indicating that he had no idea how to explain the situation to his wife. He was grinning in a weak manner, indicating that he was nervous and was trying his best to be confident. He looked at Major for some help, and the Major told his sister that the scales had fallen from his eyes, meaning that he had realised his mistake and he had finally realised the truth after a long period of time. This was an idiom, which Mrs. Brambles did not understand due to lack of education and because she understood things only if they were told in a basic and in an unexaggerated way. She then asked Bill the reason why he was at home instead of training at the White Hart.
“That’s just what I’m telling you,” said Percy. “I’ve been wrestling with Bill, and I have been vouchsafed the victory.”
“You!” said Mrs. Bramble, with uncomplimentary astonishment, letting her gaze wander over her brother’s weedy form.
vouchsafe: give or grant (something) to (someone) in a gracious or condescending manner
weedy: (of a person) thin and physically weak in appearance
Percy told her that what he said before was the reason why Bill was not training anymore. He told her that he had been wrestling with Bill and he had been granted the victory. Mrs. Bramble could not believe what she had just heard. She exclaimed in astonishment which was insulting for Percy. She then gazed at her brother’s appearance, which seemed to be thin and weak.
“Jerry Fisher’s a hard nut,” said Mr. Bramble, apologetically. “He don’t like people coming round talking to a man he’s training, unless he introduces them or they’re newspaper gents.”
“After that I kept away. But I wrote the letters and I sent the tracts. Bill, which of the tracts was it that snatched you from the primrose path?”
“It wasn’t so much the letters, Perce. It was what you wrote about Harold. You see, Jane—”
nut: a crazy or eccentric person
tract: a short article expressing a stron opinion on a sensitive topic
primrose path: the pursuit of pleasure, especially when it is seen to bring disastrous consequences
Mr. Bramble told Mrs. Bramble, and he used an apologetic tone, because he felt there was a need to apologise to her for the decision he had taken. He told her that the man named Jerry Fisher was a crazy person who was very hard to persuade. He did not like Percy coming to the White Hart and talking to him in the middle of the training session. Percy interrupted Mr. Bramble and said that after he got to know that, he should not go back to the White Hart. Instead, he wrote tracts to Bill, which were short articles in which he persuaded Bill to stop participating in the last fight. Percy said that he wrote many tracts and then asked Bill which tract stopped him from going down the primrose path. The primrose path here means that Bill was going down a path which would give him money and pleasure but it would result in Harold getting to know the secret. Bill replied that Percy wrote something regarding Harold that stopped him from participating in the last match.
“Perhaps you’ll kindly allow me to get a word in edgeways, you two,” said Mrs. Bramble, her temper for once becoming ruffled. “You can stop talking for half an instant, Percy, if you know how, while Bill tells me what he’s doing here when he ought to be at the White Hart with Mr. Fisher, doing his bit of training.”
edgeway: talking too much
Mrs. Bramble was irritated because she could not understand what the men were trying to say. The men were saying too much and it did not make any sense to Mrs. Bramble. She asked Percy to stop talking and she insulted him by saying that he had a difficulty in staying quiet because he was always talking and gossiping. She again expressed that she wanted Bill to tell her why he was here when he was supposed to be at the White Hart. Here, we get to know that he was training with Jerry Fisher, meaning that Jerry Fisher was Bill’s boxing instructor.
Mr. Bramble met her eye and blinked awkwardly.
“Percy’s just been telling you, Jane. He wrote—”
“I haven’t made head or tail of a single word that Percy’s said, and I don’t expect to. All I want is a plain answer to a plain question. What are you doing here, Bill, instead of being at the White Hart? “
make head or tail: understand at all
Mr. Bramble looked at Jane’s eyes. He was so nervous and scared of his wife’s reaction that he looked away and blinked awkwardly. He did not know how to explain the situation to her. He told her that Percy had told her everything. He was about to explain the letters and tracts when Jane interrupted him and said that she had been unable to understand a single word that Percy said. She said that she did not expect to understand what Percy said because she did not want to understand anything else. She just wanted a plain answer to a plain question. She again asked Bill what he was doing at home instead of training at the White Hart.
“I’ve come home, Jane.”
“Glory!” exclaimed the Major.
“Percy, if you don’t keep quiet, I’ll forget I’m your sister and let you have one. What do you mean, Bill, you’ve come home? Isn’t there going to be the fight next week, after all?”
glory: being happy and proud of a victory
let you have one: to attack someone in a violent way
Bill replied that he had come home. The Major, who had a bad habit of speaking unnecessarily, exclaimed that he was happy and proud of this. Jane got even more irritated and told Percy that if he would not keep quiet. She would forget that she was his sister and she would attack him violently. She then asked Bill what he meant when he said that he had come home. She asked if the match was cancelled.
“The fight’s over,” said the unsuppressed Major, joyfully, “and Bill’s won, with me seconding him.”
Mr. Bramble pulled himself together with a visible effort.
“I’m not going to fight, Jane,” he said, in a small voice.
“You’re not going—!”
“He’s seen the error of his ways,” cried Percy, the resilient.”That’s what he’s
gone and done. At the eleventh hour.”
“Oh! I have waited for this joyful moment. I have watched for it. I—”
“You’re not going to fight!”
unsuppressed: something or someone who is not suppressed
resilient: able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions
the eleventh hour: the latest possible moment
When Mr. Bramble told Mrs. Bramble thay he was not going to fight in the last match, she was about to shout at him. Percy interrupted her and told her loudly and with exaggeration that Mr. Bramble had seen the mistake he was making and he made the right move at the last possible moment. He had waited for this moment for a long time, and now that it had finally arrived, he was enjoying the moment. This showed that Percy was resilient, because he was able to withstand the difficult situation everyone were in and he was able to express himself in such a situation. Mrs. Brambles asked Mr. Bramble if it was really true that he was going to fight.
Mr. Bramble, avoiding his wife’s eye, shook his head.
“And how about the money?”
“What’s money? “ said the Major, scornfully.
“You ought to know,” snapped Mrs. Bramble, turning on him. “You’ve borrowed enough of it from me in your time.”
The Major waved a hand in wounded silence. He considered the remark in poor taste.
scornfully: in a way that shows you have no respect for someone or something and think they are stupid
snap: say something quickly and irritably
poor taste: something or someone offensive
Mr. Bramble still would not look at her. He shook his head, which was his answer to his wife’s question. Mrs. Bramble then asked about the money they were about to get from the match. The Major thought that she had asked a stupid question and he said what money was and how it was so important that one would be disrespectful to earn it. Mrs. Bramble, who was angry at Mr. Bramble, got angry with Percy for his disrespectful comment about money. She said that he should know the answer to his question because he had borrowed some from her when he was in trouble as well. The Major waved his hand in a wounded silence, meaning that even though he was hurt by what she said, he refused to actually express something verbally. He considered her comment to be very insulting.
“How about the money?” repeated Mrs. Bramble. “Goodness knows I’ve never liked your profession, Bill, but there is this to be said for it, that it’s earned you good money and made it possible for us to give Harold as good an education as any Duke ever had, I’m sure. And you know, you yourself said that the five hundred pounds you were going to get if you beat this Murphy, and even if you lost it would be a hundred and twenty, was going to be a blessing, because it would let us finish him off proper and give him a better start in life than you or me ever had, and now you let this Percy come over you with his foolish talk, and now I don’t know what will happen.”
Mrs. Bramble repeated her question. She then told Bill that even though she had never liked his profession, she was content with the amount of money he earned from it. This was because they became capable of giving Harold an education of good quality, something which only people of the royal class could afford to get. She then reminded him that he would have gotten five hundred pounds if he defeated Murphy, and hundred and twenty pounds if he lost. She told him that even if he would have lost, he would have earned so much money that Harold would have been able to live a much better life than them. However, there was no chance of this happening because he let himself get persuaded by Percy’s foolish talk. She then concluded that she did not know what would happen now.
There was an uncomfortable silence. Even Percy seemed to be at a loss for words. Mrs. Bramble sat down and began to sob. Mr. Bramble shuffled his feet.
“Talking of Harold,” said Mr. Bramble at last, “ That’s really what I’m driving at. It was him only whom I was thinking of when I hopped it from the White Hart. It would be written up in all the papers, instead of only in the sporting ones. As likely as not there would be a piece about it in the Mail, with a photograph of me. And you know Harold reads his Mail regularly. And then, don’t you see, the fat would be in the fire. “That’s what Percy pointed out to me, and I seen what he meant, so I hopped it.”
sob: cry loudly
shuffled his feet: move your feet slightly because you are uncomfortable or embarrassed
driving at: what they are trying to say or what they are saying indirectly
hopped it: to go away quickly
fat is in the fire: said when something has been said or done that will cause a lot of trouble
When Jane ended her speech, everyone was silent, and the silence was making everyone uncomfortable. Even Percy, who talked a lot, could not think of something to say at that moment. Mrs. Bramble sat down and began to cry loudly because she was anxious about her son’s future. Mr. Bramble move his feet because he was uncomfortable. Finally, he gathered enough courage to be able to talk. He told Jane that he was trying to tell her something related to Harold and that Harold was the reason why he decided not to fight anymore and he quickly came away from the White Hart. The match would become so popular that it would be in all the newspapers and not just the newspapers which cover sports. It was also likely that there would something related to this in the mail with a photograph of him. He then reminded his wife that Harold read the newspaper on a daily basis. Hence, participating in the fight would lead to a lot of trouble. Percy pointed this out to him and he quickly got out of the White Hart.
“At the eleventh hour,” added the Major, rubbing in the point.
“You see, Jane—” Mr. Bramble was beginning, when there was a knock at the door, and a little, ferret-faced man in a woollen sweater and cycling knickerbockers entered, removing as he did so a somewhat battered bowler hat.
knickerbocker: loose-fitting breeches gathered at the knee or calf
battered: damaged by age and repeated use
The Major then added that Bill made the right decision at the last moment because of him, and he put pressure on that point because he wanted his sister to thank him and apologise for insulting him. Mr. Bramble had just begun telling Jane something when there was a knock at the door. A man of short height, face similar to a ferret, wearing a woolen sweat and cycling knickerbockers entered the house. The man removed a bowler hat from his head, and the hat looked damaged by age and repeated use.
“ Beg pardon, Mrs. Bramble,” he said, “ coming in like this. Found the front door ajar, so came in, to ask if you’d happened to have seen-”
He broke off and stood staring wildly at the little group.
“I thought so!” he said, and shot through the air towards Percy.
“Jerry !” said Bill.
ajar: slightly open
The man came and asked Mrs. Bramble to excuse him for entering the house without permission. He had found the front door to be slightly open and so he came in. He asked if she had seen Bill. However, he never finished the question because he could Percy and Bill sitting right in front of him. He was so confused that he started wildly at the people. Then, he realised that Percy was the reason why Bill was there. He jumped in the air and tried to attack him. Bill exclaimed with horror, and we come to know that the visitor was the instructor, Jerry Fisher.
“Mr. Fisher!” said Mrs. Bramble,
“Be reasonable,” said the Major, diving underneath the table and coming up the other side like a performing seal.
“Let me get at him,” begged the intruder, struggling to free himself from Bill’s restraining arms.
Mrs. Bramble exclaimed. The Major asked Jerry to be reasonable. He dived underneath the table and came up from the other side in a manner similar to that of a seal performing a show. The intruder, that is Mr. Fisher, begged Bill to let him go so that he could attack Percy. He struggled so that he could free himself from Bill’s arms.
Mrs. Bramble rapped on the table.
“Kindly remember there’s a lady present, Mr. Fisher.”
The little man’s face became a battlefield on which rage, misery, and a respect for the decencies of social life struggled for mastery.
rapped: strike (a hard surface) with a series of rapid audible blows, especially in order to attract attention
Mrs. Bramble struck the hard surface of the table in order to attract the attention of the intruder. She reminded him that there was a lady present here and so, it was expected from him to be well-mannered and reasonable. The man who was little in size had several emotions running in him. He felt angry, sad, and also wanted to be respectful and decent. All these emotions battled with one another as they all wanted to be let out, causing his face to become a battlefield of emotions.
“It’s hard,” he said at length, in a choked voice. “I just wanted to break his neck for him, but I suppose it’s not to be. I know it’s him that’s at the bottom of it. And here I find them together, so I know it’s him. Well, if you say so, Mrs. B., I suppose I mustn’t put a hand on him. But it’s hard. Bill, you come back along with me to the White Hart. I’m surprised at you. Ashamed of you, I am. All the time you and me have known each other, I’ve never known you do such a thing. You are such a pleasure to train as a rule. It all comes from getting with bad companions.”
at length: after a long time
choked voice: when a voice does not have its full sound, because the person or thing is upset or frightened
After a long time, Jerry spoke up. His voice was choked because he was upset. He said that it was hard for him to control his anger because he wanted to break Percy’s neck. He knew that Percy was the reason why Bill abruptly left the White Hart. He then told Bill that he was surprised at his strange behaviour. He was ashamed of him, because he had disrespected him by leaving the White Hart in the middle of the training session. He said that he had known Bill for a long time, and in that duration, he had never seen Bill do such a thing. He then added that it was probably because of Percy’s influence that he had done such a thing.
Mr. Bramble looked at his brother-in-law miserably.
“You tell him,” he said.
“You tell him, Jane,” said the Major.
“I won’t,” said Mrs. Bramble.
“Tell him what? “ asked the puzzled trainer.
“It’s only that I’m not going to fight on Monday.”
Mr. Bramble looked at his brother-in-law, that is Percy, in a sad manner. He then told him to tell Jerry the truth. The Major then asked Jane to tell him the truth. Jane refused to do so. Meanwhile, the trainer became confused and asked what it was that they were trying to tell. Bill then told him that he was not going to fight on Monday. Jerry exclaimed in astonishment.
“Bill has seen a sudden bright light,” said Percy, edging a few inches to the left, so that the table was exactly between the trainer and himself. “At the eleventh hour, he has turned from his wicked ways. You ought to be singing with joy, Mr. Fisher, if you really loved Bill. This ought to be the happiest evening you’ve ever known. You ought to be singing like a little child.”
edge: move or cause to move gradually or furtively in a particular direction
Percy then moved a little to the left, so that the table was between the trainer and himself. He then said that Bill had seen a sudden bright light, meaning that he was enlightened. At the last moment, he turned away from something wicked and did something good for himself and his family. He told Mr. Fisher that he should sing with joy if he really loved Bill. This should be his happiest evening ever because Bill was going down the right path. He should sing like a little child, that is, in a carefree and cheerful manner.
A strange, guttural noise escaped the trainer. It may have been a song, but it did not sound like it.
“It’s true, Jerry,” said Bill, unhappily. “I have been thinking it over, and I’m not going to fight on Monday.”
“Glory!” said the Major, tactlessly.
Jerry Fisher’s face was a study in violent emotions. His eyes seemed to protrude from their sockets like a snail’s. He clutched the tablecloth.
guttural: produced in the throat; harsh-sounding
tactlessly: in a way that shows you are not being careful to avoid upsetting someone
protrude: to stick out
clutched: held tightly
The trainer made a strange, harsh-sounding noise. That might have been a song, but he was feeling so angry towards Percy that it did not sound like a song. Bill sadly told the trainer that after thinking about it again and again, he had decided that he was not going to fight on Monday. The Major shamelessly expressed his happiness, without thinking of how hurt Mr. Fisher was. The trainer’s face showed a variety of violent emotions. His eyes looked like they were sticking out from their sockets, similar to that of snails. He held the tablecloth tightly in order to control his rage.
“I’m sorry, Jerry,” said Bill. “ I know it’s hard on you. But I’ve got to think of Harold. This fight with Jimmy Murphy being what you might call a kind of national affair, in a way of speaking, will be reported in The Mail as like as not, with a photograph of me, and Harold reads The Mail regular. We’ve been keeping it from him all these years that I’m in the profession, and we can’t let him know now. He would die of shame, Jerry.”
Bill saw what Jerry was going through and he felt sad. He apologised to him. He said that he knew that this was going to a heartbreaking news for him, but his son happened to be more important. He told him that the fight with Jimmy Murphy would most likely be a national affair. It would be reported in all the newspapers and in The Mail, something that Harold read everyday. They had been keeping the truth from him ever since he was born, but all that will go to waste if he let him become aware of the truth now. Harold would die of shame.
Tears appeared in Jerry Fisher’s eyes.
“Bill,” he cried, “ you’re off your head. Think of the purse!”
“Ah!” said Mrs. Bramble.
“Think of all the swells that’ll be coming to see you. Think of what the papers’ll say. Think of me.”
purse: a sum of money given as a prize in a sporting contest, especially a boxing match
swell: increase in the amount or volume
Tears appeared in Jerry Fisher’s eyes. He told Bill in a whining manner that he had lost his mind. He then asked him to think about all the money he would get as a prize. Mrs. Bramble reacted to this, as she too told Bill to think about the money. The trainer continued and told Bill to think of how his fame, popularity, and fan following would increase. The papers would be applauding his boxing skills. Think of him too, who worked hard as an instructor.
“I know, Jerry, it’s chronic. But Harold—”
“Think of all the trouble you’ve taken for the last few weeks getting yourself into condition.”
“I know. But Har—”
“You can’t not fight on Monday.”
“But Harold, Jerry. He’d die of the disgrace of it. He ain’t like you and me, Jerry. He’s a little gentleman. I got to think of Harold”
chronic: of poor quality, terrible
To Jerry’s cry, Bill replied that he knew that dropping out of the match at the last minute was a terrible thing to do. He began to say something related to Harold when Jerry interrupted him and told him to think of all the trouble he himself had taken to get into shape and condition for the fight. They had to work really hard in the past few weeks, that too would go to waste if he left the match. Bill said he knew that. He again began about his son, when Jerry again interrupted him and told him that he could not not fight on Monday. Bill told him that he had to think of Harold. He would die of shame if he would have gotten to know the truth. Unlike boxers like himself and Jerry, he was a gentleman, who would not want to be near a boxer due to their personality and behaviour. He had to think about Harold.
“What about me, pa?” said a youthful voice at the door; and Bill’s honest blood froze at the sound. His jaw fell, and he goggled dumbly.
There, his spectacles gleaming in the gaslight, his cheeks glowing with the exertion of the nice walk, his eyebrows slightly elevated with surprise, stood Harold himself.
goggle: look with wide open eyes, typically in amazement
exertion: physical or mental effort
When Bill finished, there came a voice of a young man from the door. He referred to Bill as ‘pa’ and asked him what he had to think about him. Bill’s blood, which was honest meaning that he had difficulty in lying to his son, froze at the sound of the young voice. His jaw fell and his mouth was open. He looked at the young man with his eyes wide open, because he was amazed and surprised at the sudden entrance of the man. He goggled in a dumb manner. At the door stood Harold, his spectacles glowing in the gaslight, his cheeks red due to the physical effort he put into the nice walk, and his eyebrows slightly elevated because he was surprised to hear his name in a conversation among the adults.
“Hallo, pa! Halloa, Uncle Percy! Somebody’s left the front door open. What were you saying about thinking about me, pa? Ma, will you hear me, my piece of poetry again? I think I’ve forgotten it.”
The four adults surveyed the innocent child in silence.
Harold came in and he greeted his father and uncle. He informed them that somebody had left the front door open. He then again asked his father what he was saying about him. He also asked his mother if she could hear him recite the poem again. He felt like he had forgotten a little bit of it.
On the faces of three of them consternation was written. In the eyes of the fourth, Mr. Fisher, there glittered that nasty, steely expression of the man, who sees his way to getting a bit of his own back, Mr. Fisher’s was not an un-mixedly chivalrous nature. He considered that he had been badly treated, and what he wanted most at the moment was revenge. He had been fond and proud of Bill Bramble, but those emotions belonged to the dead past. Just at present, he felt that he disliked Bill rather more than anyone else in the world, with the possible exception of Major Percy Stokes.
consternation: a feeling of anxiety or dismay, typically at something unexpected
steely: coldly determined; hard
chivalrous: in manner similar to that of a gentleman
Bill, Jane and Percy were feeling anxious as they had not expected Harold to come home at such a moment. However, Mr. Fisher wanted to take revenge from Bill. His eyes had a cruel expression. Mr. Fisher generally was not a gentleman. He was very straightforward and selfish, and he only cared about getting back what he deserved. At that moment, he felt like he had been treated in a bad way. He used to be fond and proud of Bill. However, now he felt angry at him, and those feelings regarding Bill were dead. Right now, he found Bill to be his most hated person in the world, with the possible exception of Percy Stokes because it was his influence that Bill had changed.
“So you’re Harold, are you, Tommy? “ he said, in a metallic voice.” Then just you listen here a minute.”
“Jerry,” cried Bill, advancing, “you keep your mouth shut, or I’ll dot you one.”
Mr. Fisher retreated and, grasping a chair, swung it above his head.
“You better! “ he said, curtly.
metallic: sharp and harsh, strict
curtly: in a way that is very quick and slightly rude
Jerry referred to Harold as Tommy or young boy. He asked him if he was Harold, and he should listen to what he had to say. He spoke in a strict voice. Bill went to Jerry and told him to keep his mouth shut or he would attack him. Mr. Fisher put some distance between him and Bill. He then grabbed a chair and swung it above his head. He then dared him to hit him in a quick and rude way.
“Mr. Fisher, do be a gentleman,” entreated Mrs. Bramble.
“My dear sir.” There was a crooning winningness in Percy’s voice. “My dear sir, do nothing hasty. Think before you speak. Don’t go and be so silly as to act like a mutton-head. I’d be ashamed to be so spiteful. Respect a father’s feelings.”
entreat: ask someone earnestly or anxiously to do something
croon: hum or sing in a soft, low voice, especially in a sentimental manner
mutton-head: a stupid person
spiteful: mean and hurtful
Mrs. Bramble anxiously asked Mr. Fisher to be a gentleman. Percy asked Jerry to think before speaking and stop acting like a stupid person. If he were in his place, he would never be so mean towards Bill. He should be ashamed to say something so hurtful to Bill. He told Jerry to respect a father’s feelings. He said all of this in a soft, low voice, as he wanted to persuade Jerry and stop him from doing what he was about to do.
“Tommy,” said Mr. Fisher, ignoring them all, “you think your pa’s a commercial. He ain’t. He’s a fighting-man, doing his eight-stone-four ringside, and known to all the heads as ‘ Young Porky.’ “
Bill sank into a chair. He could see Harold’s round eyes staring at him.
Mr. Fisher ignored them all. He told Harold that his father was not a commercial. Instead, he was a man who fought eight-stone-four boxing matches. He was quite good at it too, and he was popularly known as ‘ Young Porky.’ Bill sank down into the chair. He saw that Harold was looking at him.
“I’d never have thought it of you, Jerry,” he said, miserably. “If anyone had come to me and told me that you could have acted so raw I’d have dotted him one.”
“And if anyone had come to me and told me that I should live to see the day when you broke training a week before a fight at the National, I’d given him one for himself.”
raw: rude, crude
Bill felt sad, and he told Jerry that he did not expect such behaviour from him. If anyone had come and told him that Jerry Fisher could act so rudely, he would have punched him. He meant to say that he trusted Fisher and he did not expect him to act so rude. Fisher replied that if anyone would have come to him and told him that Bill could leave training a week before a fight at the national level, he would have punched him. Jerry meant to say that he was disappointed that Bill left training for a big fight.
“Harold, my lad,” said Percy, “you mustn’t think none the worse of your pa for having been a man of wrath. He hadn’t seen the bright light then. It’s all over now. He’s given it up for ever, and there’s no call for you to feel ashamed.”
Bill seized on the point.
“That’s right, Harold,” he said, reviving, “I’ve given it up. I was going to fight an American named Murphy at the National next Monday, but I ain’t going to now, not if they come to me on their bended knees. Not even if the King of England came to me on his bended knees.”
Percy told Harold to not be ashamed of his father for being a man who had a lot of anger and who expressed it in a violent and un-gentleman like manner. He told him that he was following the wrong path then but, now that he had realised his mistake, it was all over and he was now following the right path. He had given up boxing forever. There was no reason to be ashamed. Bill took the point and elaborated it even further. He revived, meaning that he got the confidence to say something to Harold. He told him that he had absolutely given it up and he was not going to fight the American named Murphy at the National next Monday. He would not fight them at all and he would not change his mind if Murphy or even the King of England would come to him begging him to change his mind on bended knees.
Harold drew a deep breath.
“Oh!” he cried, shrilly. “Oh, aren’t you? Then what about my two bobs? What about my two bobs, I’ve betted Dicky Saunders that Jimmy Murphy won’t last ten rounds?”
He looked round the room wrathfully.
bob: a moderately large but unspecified amount of money
Harold took a deep breath. He said in a shrill voice that he had betted Dicky Saunders that Jimmy Murphy would not last ten rounds in the boxing match. He then told his parents that he would not be able to get the money if his dad did not fight and win the match.
“It’s thick,” he said in the crisp, gentlemanly, voice of which his parents were so proud. “It’s jolly thick. That’s what it is. A chap takes the trouble to study form and saves up his pocket-money to have a bet on a good thing, and then he goes and gets let down like this. It may be funny to you, but I call it rotten. And another thing I call rotten is you having kept it from me all this time that you were ‘Young Porky,’ pa. That’s what I call so jolly rotten! There’s a fellow at our school who goes about swanking in the most rotten way because he once got Phil Scott’s autograph.
Fellows look up to him most awfully, and all the time they might have been doing it to me. That’s what makes me so jolly sick. How long do you suppose they’d go on calling me, ‘Goggles’ if they knew that you were my father? They’d chuck it tomorrow, and look up to me like anything, I do call it rotten. And chucking it up like this is the limit. What do you want to do it for? It’s the silliest idea, I’ve ever heard. Why, if you beat Jimmy Murphy they’ll have to give you the next chance with Sid Sampson for the Lonsdale belt. Jimmy beat Ted Richards, and Ted beat the Ginger Nut, and the Ginger Nut only lost on a foul to Sid Sampson, and you beat Ted Richards, so they couldn’t help letting you have the next go at Sid.”
thick: of low intelligence; stupid
jolly: very; extremely
swank: display one’s wealth, knowledge, or achievements in a way that is intended to impress others
Harold said that it was stupid of everyone to think that Bill should not fight in the match. He worked really hard in his studies and he saved up a lot of money through that so that he could finally bet on a good thing. However, all that would now go to waste. He told them that they might find that funny, but he thought it to be disgusting. He said that there was another disgusting thing about this matter and that was how no one told him that Young Porky was none other than his own father. There was a boy in his school who impressed everyone in the school by showing off the autograph he had gotten from Phil Scott. He went on and said that the students in his school made fun of him for his knowledge and bookish personality. They used to call him ‘Goggles’. He then asked them how long they would have continued calling him if they had known that Young Porky was his father. They would have dropped the name the next day and they would have appreciated him. It was also a silly idea to drop out of the match and to give up the profession. He then told his father that if he would defeat Murphy, he would get to fight Sid Sampson for the Lonsdale belt. He then explained the logic behind it.
Mr. Fisher beamed approval.
“If I’ve told your pa that once, I’ve told him twenty times,” he said. “You certainly know a thing or two, Tommy.”
Mr. Fisher approved of Harold’s opinion and he showed that by smiling brightly. He told Harold that he had told his father this exact thing twenty times. He then told him that he definitely knew many things about boxing.
“Well, I’ve made a study of it since I was a kid, so I jolly well ought to. All the fellows at our place are frightfully keen on it. One chap’s got a snapshot of Jimmy Wilde. At least, he says it’s Jimmy Wilde, but I believe it’s just some ordinary fellow. Anyhow, it’s jolly blurred, so it might be anyone. Pa, can’t you give me a picture of yourself boxing? I could swank like anything. And you don’t know how sick a chap gets of having chaps call him, ‘Goggles.’ “
Harold replied that he had been studying this ever since he had been a kid. He said that it was quite obvious of him to do so because everyone in school was really keen to see what would happen in the sport. He then told his father that a boy had a picture of Jimmy Wilde. According to the boy, it was Jimmy Wilde but to him, the man in the picture did not seem to be Jimmy Wilde. He then asked his father to give him a picture of him boxing so that he could impress his schoolmates and get rid of students mocking him.
“Bill,” said Mr. Fisher, “you and me had better be getting back to the White Hart.”
Bill rose and followed him without a word.
Harold broke the silence which followed their departure. The animated expression which had been on his face as he discussed the relative merits of Sid Sampson and the Ginger Nut had given place to the abstracted gravity of the student.
animated: full of life or excitement; lively
abstracted: lacking concentration on what is happening around one
Mr. Fisher said that since Harold had no problem with Bill being a boxer and he actually wanted his father to fight, he and Bill must go back to the White Hart and continue their training. Bill rose from his chair and followed Jerry without speaking even a single word. After their departure, everyone left in the room was silent. Harold had an excited and lively expression on his face as he discussed boxing and boxers like Sid Sampson and the Ginger Nut. It was further added to his personality, which mainly consisted of having no idea of what was happening around him and being a serious student. He broke the silence.
Mrs. Bramble started convulsively.
“Will you hear me? “
Mrs. Bramble took the book.
“Yes, mother will hear you, precious,” she said, mechanically.
Harold fixed his eyes upon the cut-glass hangings of the chandelier.
“Be good, sweet maid, and let who will be clever-clever. Do noble things.. “
convulsively: to do something while having convulsions, in a jerky way
mechanically: in a manner that indicates that something or someone is robotic or has been programmed to do something
He called his mother, and she experienced a jerk (as if she had been under a spell due to all the happening and now Harold’s words broke the spell). She asked him what he wanted. He asked if she could hear the poem. She replied that she would do so, and she said in a way that suggested that she was programmed to say such a thing. Harold again fixed his eyes on the cut-glass hangings of the chandelier and recited the poem.
Keeping It From Harold Question Answers
Q1. The sequence of events has been jumbled up. Rearrange them and complete the given flowchart.
1) Major Percy and Bill come to the house.
2) Harold comes to know that his father is a boxer.
3) Bill tells his wife that he is doing it for Harold.
4) Jerry Fisher tries to convince Bill to reconsider.
5) Mrs. Bramble is amazed to think that she has brought such a prodigy as Harold into the world.
6) Harold wants to know what will happen to the money he had bet on Murphy losing.
7) Mrs. Bramble is informed that Bill had decided not to fight.
8) Mrs. Bramble resumes work of darning the sock.
9) Harold is alone with his mother in their home.
Q2. Based on your reading of the story, answer the following questions by choosing the correct option.
(a) Mrs Bramble was a proud woman because
(i) she was the wife of a famous boxer.
(ii) she had motivated her husband.
(iii) she was a good housewife
(iv) she was the mother of a child prodigy.
Ans. (iv) she was the mother of a child prodigy.
(b) “The very naming of Harold had caused a sacrifice on his part.” The writer’s tone here is
Ans. (i) admiring
(c) Harold had defied the laws of heredity by
(i) becoming a sportsperson.
(ii) being good at academics.
(iii) being well-built and muscular
(iv) respecting his parents
Ans. (ii) being good at academics.
(d) Harold felt that he was deprived of the respect that his classmates would give him as _________
(i) they did not know his father was the famous boxer, ‘Young Porky’.
(ii) his hero, Jimmy Murphy had not won the wrestling match.
(iii) he had not got Phil Scott’s autograph.
(iv) Sid Simpson had lost the Lonsdale belt.
Ans. (i) they did not know his father was the famous boxer, ‘Young Porky’.
(e) ‘It’s hard,’ he said at length in a choked voice.
What was hard according to Mr. Fisher?
(i) To accept the truth.
(ii) To fight with American Murphy.
(iii) To control his anger.
(iv) To give up boxing.
Ans. (iii) To control his anger.
(f) What do you gauge about Major Percy Stokes’ character from the story? Select the most appropriate option from the following.
(1) man of wrath
(i) (1), (3) and (5)
(ii) (1), (2) and (4)
(iii) (2), (4) and (5)
(iv) (3), (4) and (5)
Ans. (iv) (3), (4) and (5)
Q3. Read the given extracts and answer the questions by selecting the correct options.
- The only drawback was that his very ‘perfection had made necessary a series of evasions and even deliberate falsehoods on the part of herself and her husband, highly distasteful to both. They were lovers of truth, but they had realised that there are times when truth must be sacrificed. At any cost, the facts concerning Mr. Bramble’s profession must be kept from Harold.
(i) His very ‘perfection’ refers to Harold’s
(1) gentlemanly manners.
(2) aspiration to be the best.
(3) exceptional intelligence.
(4) obsession with cleanliness.
- (1) and (3)
- (2) and (3)
- (1) and (4)
- (2) and (4)
(ii) What was highly distasteful to both Mrs. and Mr. Bramble?
- Consciously choosing to lie.
- Harold’s perfection.
- Mr. Bramble’s profession.
- Their relationship with each other.
Ans. A. Consciously choosing to lie.
(iii) The facts concerning Mr. Bramble’s profession ‘must be kept’ from Harold
because it would make him feel
Ans. B. ashamed.
- On the faces of three of them consternation was written. In the eyes of the fourth, Mr. Fisher, there glittered that nasty, steely expression of the man, who sees his way to getting a bit of his own back, Mr. Fisher’s was not an un-mixedly chivalrous nature. He considered that he had been treated badly…
(i) Three of them felt anxious because
- Mr. Fisher was about to hit Major Percy.
- they suspected Mr. Fisher would take revenge.
- Harold had heard a part of their conversation.
- Harold did not like arguments at home.
Ans. C. Harold had heard a part of their conversation.
(ii) Get a bit of his own back implies _____________
- feeling offended.
- getting his way.
- being forceful.
- taking revenge.
Ans. D. taking revenge.
(iii) How was Mr. Fisher planning to get his own back?
- By telling Harold the truth about his father.
- By persuading Mr. Bramble to change his mind.
- By hitting Major Percy and Mr. Bramble.
- By kidnapping Harold and blackmailing Brambles.
Ans. A. By telling Harold the truth about his father.
(iv) Mr. Fisher felt he had been treated badly because Mr. Bramble had
- cheated him and lied
- called off his fight with Murphy.
- been spending time with Percy.
- been insensitive and aggressive.
Ans. B. called off his fight with Murphy.
Q4. Answer the following questions briefly.
(a) Why was it necessary to keep Harold’s father’s profession a secret from him?
Ans. Mr. Bill Bramble was a professional boxer. They considered the profession to be full of anger and so felt that it would impact his intelligent brain and make him feel ashamed. They felt that Harold was a class apart and so it was necessary to keep this secret from him.
(b) Describe Mr. Bramble as he has been described in the story.
Ans. Mr. Bramble is a short, sturdy, red – haired man. He has a square – shaped jaw and a broken nose. He is a mild, accommodating and friendly person. Professionally, he is an unopposed boxer, a man of wrath. On the contrary, in his personal life, he is very mild, good – natured and gives in to others easily. He even sacrificed his choice of name for his to – be – born child at the insistence of his wife.
(c) Who was Jerry Fisher? What did he say to try and convince Bill to change his mind?
Ans. Jerry Fisher was Bill’s friend and trainer at White Hart. He was training Bill for the last fight and as Bill had decided not to fight, Jerry tried to convince him. He asked him to think about the money that he would get from the fight and that he was in need of it.
(d) Why was Harold upset that his father had not told him about his true identity? Give two reasons.
Ans. Harold was upset that his father had not disclosed his true identity for the following reasons:
- He could scare his classmates by telling them that his father was a boxer and prevent them from teasing him by calling him ‘Goggles’.
- He could take his dad’s photograph to school and show off to other boys that he had a picture of ‘Young Porky’.
(e) Do you agree with the decision of Harold’s parents of hiding the fact that his father was a boxer? Why / Why not?
Ans. I agree with Harold’s parents’ decision of hiding the fact that his father was a boxer. All the parents take decisions for their child’s betterment. The profession of a boxer is not well – accepted in the society. Harold’s parents did not want him to feel low and so they kept this from him. As parents their act was justified and correct.
(f) Why did Mr. Bramble decide at the last minute not to fight with American Murphy at the National Sporting Club?
Ans. Mr. Bramble decided at the last minute not to fight with American Murphy at the National Sporting Club. He received several letters and tracts from Percy which let him change his mind about participating in the last match. He got influenced by what Percy had written about Harold, and decided to quit boxing and become an instructor.
(g) ‘There are times when truth must be sacrificed.’ Do you agree? Why / why not?
Ans. No, I do not agree with this statement. Many people believe that it is okay to lie to other people, especially children, because if they would know the truth, they would develop negative feelings like anxiety and shame. However, lying just makes more trouble, as one has to hide the truth from the person. What people fail to realise is that the truth will come out someday, so it is better to tell the truth now.
(h) “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Discuss with reference to Mr. Bramble’s personality.
Ans. We see that Mr. Bramble’s profession is in total contrast with his looks. Although he has a sturdy body, he has a genial smile and he is one of the mildest and most obliging men of all. Although he was a man of wrath, he could be easily persuaded, and in private life, he did not seem to be a violent man. When most people meet boxers, they think that the person will be very violent. However, this was not true in case of Bill Bramble, hence proving that the phrase “Don’t judge a book by its cover” is valid.
Q5. Answer in detail.
(a) Did Harold react the way his parents expected him to on finding out about his father’s true profession? Give reasons for your answer.
Ans. No, Harold did not react the way his parents expected him to on finding out about his father’s true profession. Bill, Jane and Percy thought that Harold would die of shame if he got to know the truth. Harold was considered to be a gentleman, someone who was in total contrast with Bill and Jerry, who were men of wrath. So, they thought that Harold would be disgraced by his father’s true profession, and this would lead to him hating his own father. They thought that Harold was superior to them, and so they treated themselves like whatever they did for a living would be looked down upon by him. When the truth came out, Harold was angry at his father, not because he was ashamed of his profession, but because he was disgusted to know that his father never told him, his own son, that he was the popular boxer, Young Porky. He revealed that he liked boxing, and even discussed the merits of fighting Jimmy Murphy at the National. He wanted his father to be boxer, because now he could get rid of his bullies and win the bet with Dicky Saunders.
(c) We often go with preconceived notions which are usually baseless. Do you think this was the case with Mrs. and Mr. Bramble? Give reasons for your answer.
Ans. Yes, I do think that Mrs. and Mr. Bramble had a preconceived notion which was baseless. They saw that, unlike his father, Harold was developing in stature and intelligence. He learned to learn and read with amazing quickness. His voice, mannerisms, and level of achievement was similar to that of a well-established gentleman. He was only ten years old and he had already won prizes in spelling and dictation. So, they thought him to be superior than them, because neither of them had such qualities. When they saw the development of Harold, they realised that there was a possibility that Harold would not like the fact that his father was a professional boxer. Therefore, they decided to hide the truth from Haeold. Not only this, but they were encouraged to do so by the parish priest and Major Percy Stokes. What they did not realise was that it was wrong to keep such a personal and important thing from Harold, and that their child would get to know the truth someday. So, we get to see that they kept the truth from Harold because they felt like their child would be ashamed of them and because the child was a gentleman.