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Packing, Class 9 CBSE English Lesson Explanation, Summary

By Ruchika Gupta

 

Packing - CBSE Class 9 English Beehive Lesson 7 Explanation Notes

Packing CBSE Class 9 English Beehive Lesson - 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.

CBSE Class IX Beehive Lesson 7 - Packing

By Jerome K Jerome (an extract from Three Men in a Boat)

 

packing

 

Introduction to the lesson

Lesson and explanation
I SAID I’d pack.

The writer, Jerome liked to pack luggage for trips and announced that he would do the packing.

I rather pride myself on my packing. Packing is one of those many things that I feel I know more about than any other person living. (It surprises me myself, sometimes, how many such things there are.) I impressed the fact upon George and Harris and told them that they had better leave the whole matter entirely to me. They fell into the suggestion with a readiness that had something uncanny about it. George spread himself over the easy-chair, and Harris cocked his legs on the table.

pride myself on: am proud of
fell into: here, accepted
Uncanny: strange, weird
cocked his legs: bent the legs on the knee as he sat

Jerome thought that his ability to pack luggage was better than others. He asked his friends George and Harris to leave the task of packing to him. The two friends agreed to his offer instantly which was strange. George sat comfortably on the easy - chair and Harris bent his knees as he sat on the sofa and kept his feet on the table.

 

This was hardly what I intended. What I had meant, of course, was, that I should boss the job, and that Harris and George should potter about under my directions, I pushing them aside every now and then with, “Oh, you!” “Here, let me do it.” “There you are, simple enough!” — really teaching them, as you might say. Their taking it in the way they did irritated me. There is nothing does irritate me more than seeing other people sitting about doing nothing when I’m working.

Intended: planned, meant
potter about: do some unimportant things

By saying that he would pack, the writer did not mean that his friends would sit and relax while he would do all the work. He had meant that he would boss upon them while they would do all the chores. He would nag them and curse them for not knowing the work well and then, he would chip in to sort out the mess that they would create.He was irritated to see them sitting while he did all the work.

I lived with a man once who used to make me mad that way. He would loll on the sofa and watch me doing things by the hour together. He said it did him real good to look on at me, messing about. Now, I’m not like that. I can’t sit still and see another man slaving and working. I want to get up and superintend, and walk around with my hands in my pockets, and tell him what to do. It is my energetic nature. I can’t help it.

loll on the sofa: to recline or lean in a relaxed manner
messing about: to waste time doing something without a particular purpose
sit still: sit without doing anything
Superintend: supervise, manage

He recollects that once he lived with a man who would sit lazily on the sofa all day through and would watch the writer do all the work. The man would say that he enjoyed watching him go around, doing all the work. This would make the writer mad with anger. The writer adds that he could not sit idle and watch others work like slaves. On the other hand, he liked to check their work, walk around with his hands in his pockets and direct them on how to do the work properly. He feels that as he was energetic, it was a part of his nature to behave in that manner.

However, I did not say anything, but started the packing. It seemed a longer job than I had thought it was going to be; but I got the bag finished at last, and I sat on it and strapped it. “Ain’t you going to put the boots in?” said Harris. And I looked round, and found I had forgotten them. That’s just like Harris. He couldn’t have said a word until I’d got the bag shut and strapped, of course. And George laughed — one of those irritating, senseless laughs of his. They do make me so wild.

strapped it: closed it
Wild: mad with anger

The writer did not say anything to his friends and started packing. As he closed it, Harris said that he had forgotten to pack the boots. The writer felt that Harris could have reminded him before he had closed the bag but he thought that Harris was like that! This was followed by an irritating laughter by George which made Jerome wild with anger.

I opened the bag and packed the boots in; and then, just as I was going to close it, a horrible idea occurred to me. Had I packed my toothbrush? I don’t know how it is, but I never do know whether I’ve packed my toothbrush.

Jerome opened the bag to keep the boots in it. As he was about to close it, he was struck by a strange thought that had he kept the toothbrush or not. He says that he never remembers if he has packed the toothbrush or not.

My toothbrush is a thing that haunts me when I’m travelling, and makes my life a misery. I dream that I haven’t packed it, and wake up in a cold perspiration, and get out of bed and hunt for it. And, in the morning, I pack it before I have used it, and have to unpack again to get it, and it is always the last thing I turn out of the bag; and then I repack and forget it, and have to rush upstairs for it at the last moment and carry it to the railway station, wrapped up in my pocket-handkerchief.

Haunts: to repeatedly give trouble
Misery: sad
cold perspiration: sweat
Hunt: search

Jerome adds that while travelling, he always messes up with carrying his toothbrush. He has nightmares of not having packed it, wakes up in sweat and looks for it. In the morning, he packs it before using it, then unpacks the bag to get the brush and uses it. As it is the last thing that comes out of the bag and he has repacked the bag, he forgets packing it again. At the last moment, he rushes to his room to get the brush and, finally, he wraps it in his handkerchief and carries it to the railway station in his hand.

Of course I had to turn every mortal thing out now, and, of course, I could not find it. I rummaged the things up into much the same state that they must have been before the world was created, and when chaos reigned. Of course, I found George’s and Harris’s eighteen times over, but I couldn’t find my own. I put the things back one by one, and held everything up and shook it. Then I found it inside a boot. I repacked once more.

mortal thing: every ordinary thing
Rummaged: searched in a hurried or careless way
Chaos: confusion
Reigned: ruled

As Jerome was looking for his toothbrush in his bag, he had to remove everything but he could not find it. He created a mess. He found his friend’s brushes many times but could not find his brush. He kept everything back into the bag one by one, shaking each item, and finally, found the brush inside a boot. Then once again, he repacked the bag.

When I had finished, George asked if the soap was in. I said I didn’t care a hang whether the soap was in or whether it wasn’t; and I slammed the bag shut and strapped it, and found that I had packed my spectacles in it, and had to re-open it. It got shut up finally at 10.05 p.m., and then there remained the hampers to do. Harris said that we should be wanting to start in less than twelve hours’ time and thought that he and George had better do the rest; and I agreed and sat down, and they had a go.

didn’t care a hang: show no concern or interest
Slammed: shut the lid forcefully and loudly
Hampers: baskets used to carry food, utensils, etc.

Now when Jerome closed the bag, George asked if the soap was there inside it. As Jerome was impatient, he replied that he wasn’t concerned if it was there or not, closed the lid and strapped the  bag. Then he realized that he had packed his spectacle in it too and had to open it again to get them. Finally, the bag was closed at 10:05PM. Then they had to pack the food baskets. Harris said that as they were left with less than twelve hours to leave, they should pack the baskets as well. Harris decided that the food baskets would be packed by him and George. Jerome agreed to take his turn for some rest while his friends packed the baskets.

They began in a light-hearted spirit, evidently intending to show me how to do it. I made no comment; I only waited. With the exception of George, Harris is the worst packer in this world; and I looked at the piles of plates and cups, and kettles, and bottles, and jars, and pies, and stoves, and cakes, and tomatoes, etc., and felt that the thing would soon become exciting.

light-hearted spirit: to be cheerful
Evidently: clearly, obviously
Exception: a person or thing that does not follow the general rule

George and Harris started packing the hampers in a happy mood. They wanted to show Jerome that they could pack well. Jerome waited for them to create a mess because he considered Harris to be the worst packer in the world. Jerome looked at the piles of plates, cups, kettles and bottles, the jars, pies, cakes and tomatoes which had to be packed into the hampers. He thought that as the boys would mess up, it would be an interesting thing to watch.

 

 

It did. They started with breaking a cup. That was the first thing they did. They did that just to
show you what they could do, and to get you interested.

The scene became interesting as they broke a cup at the start. Jerome says that they broke the cup to indicate that they could do that too and to make things interesting.

Then Harris packed the strawberry jam on top of a tomato and squashed it, and they had to pick out the tomato with a teaspoon.

Squashed: crush or squeeze something with force so that it becomes flat, soft, or out of shape

Harris placed the jar of strawberry jam on top of the tomatoes. The tomatoes were squeezed by the jar and then, they removed the damaged tomato with the help of a spoon.

And then it was George’s turn, and he trod on the butter. I didn’t say anything, but I came over and sat on the edge of the table and watched them. It irritated them more than anything I could have said. I felt that. It made them nervous and excited, and they stepped on things, and put things behind them, and then couldn’t find them when they wanted them; and they packed the pies at the bottom, and put heavy things on top, and smashed the pies in.

trod on: stepped on

Next, George stepped on the butter. Jerome remained silent but sat on the edge of the table to watch the action. His silence irritated his friends. They became nervous and stepped on the things. They kept the things behind them and later, when they wanted them, they could not find them. They placed the pies on the bottom and kept heavier things on them which smashed the pies.

They upset salt over everything, and as for the butter! I never saw two men do more with one-and two pence worth of butter in my whole life than they did. After George had got it off his slipper, they tried to put it in the kettle. It wouldn’t go in, and what was in wouldn’t come out. They did scrape it out at last, and put it down on a chair, and Harris sat on it, and it stuck to him, and they went looking for it all over the room.

Upset: overturned
Scrape: drag or pull

The boys overturned the can of salt on everything. Jerome says that they created a lot of confusion with the small piece of butter. He had not seen anyone create so much mess with butter that was worth one and two pence (meaning it was a very small piece) as they did. George removed it from his slipper and tried to put it into the kettle. As he was unable to do that, he placed it on a chair. Harris sat on it, the butter stuck to him, he stood up and both the boys went around the room looking for the piece of butter.

“I’ll take my oath I put it down on that chair,” said George, staring at the empty seat. “I saw you do it myself, not a minute ago,” said Harris.

Oath: to swear upon something

George looked intently at the empty seat on which he had placed the butter a few minutes ago. He took an oath of truthfulness that he had placed it there not even a minute ago.

Then they started round the room again looking for it; and then they met again in the centre and stared at one another.

Once again, they searched it in the room. They met in the middle of the room empty handed.

“Most extraordinary thing I ever heard of,” said George.
“So mysterious!” said Harris.
Then George got round at the back of Harris and saw it.
“Why, here it is all the time,” he exclaimed, indignantly.
Indignantly: in a manner indicating anger or annoyance at something perceived as unfair

George said that the disappearance of the butter was the most amazing thing that he had known. Harris said that the disappearance of the butter was a mystery. George saw the butter sticking to Harris’s back and said that it had been there all this while.

“Where?” cried Harris, spinning round.
“Stand still, can’t you!” roared George, flying after him.
And they got it off, and packed it in the teapot.

Harris turned around and asked where it was. George flew to Harris’s back and asked him to stand still. They removed the butter and packed it inside the teapot.

 

 

Montmorency was in it all, of course. Montmorency’s ambition in life is to get in the way and be sworn at. If he can squirm in anywhere where he particularly is not wanted, and be a perfect nuisance, and make people mad, and have things thrown at his head, then he feels his day has not been wasted.

sworn at: get scolded
Squirm: to wriggle or twist one’s body
Nuisance: to cause inconvenience or annoyance

Jerome’s pet dog Montmorency participated in all this. His aim was to interrupt everyone and then get scolded for it. Jerome adds that if Montmorency was able to twist into a place and create nuisance by angering people and get things thrown at him in return, he felt that he had utilised the day in a good way.

To get somebody to stumble over him, and curse him steadily for an hour, is his highest aim and object; and, when he has succeeded in accomplishing this, his conceit becomes quite unbearable.

Stumble: to trip over a hurdle
Curse: scold
Conceit: here, his pride in himself

Montmorency’s aim was to get people trip over him and scold him. By doing this, he felt that he had fulfilled his aim and would feel proud of his achievement.

He came and sat down on things, just when they were wanted to be packed; and he laboured under the fixed belief that, whenever Harris or George reached out their hand for anything, it was his cold damp nose that they wanted. He put his leg into the jam, and he worried the teaspoons, and he pretended that the lemons were rats, and got into the hamper and killed three of them before Harris could land him with the frying-pan.

Worried: disturbed
Pretended: to behave as if something is true when you know that it is not
land him: hit or punch someone

Montmorency sat on the things to be packed. He thought that when George and Harris reached out for the things to be packed, they were reaching out for his cold wet nose and would bring it forward for them. He stepped into the jam bottle, he shook the teaspoons, he acted as if the lemons were rats and stepped into the hamper to kill these rats. He was stopped by Harris who hit him with a frying - pan.

Harris said I encouraged him. I didn’t encourage him. A dog like that doesn’t want any encouragement. It’s the natural, original sin that is born in him that makes him do things like that.

Harris blamed Jerome for encouraging Montmorency for doing all this mischief. Jerome say that a dog like Montmorency did not need encouragement. It was born to be like that  and act like that.

The packing was done at 12.50; and Harris sat on the big hamper, and said he hoped nothing would be found broken. George said that if anything was broken it was broken, which reflection seemed to comfort him. He also said he was ready for bed. We were all ready for bed. Harris was to sleep with us that night, and we went upstairs.

Reflection: thought

At 12:50, they had packed the hampers. Harris sat on it and said that hopefully, nothing would break in it. George was indifferent and said that if something broke it would not matter. As they were ready for bed, they went upstairs to sleep.

We tossed for beds, and Harris had to sleep with me. He said :
“Do you prefer the inside or the outside, J.?”
I said I generally preferred to sleep inside a bed.
Harris said it was odd.
George said:
“What time shall I wake you fellows?”
Harris said:
“Seven.”
I said:
“No — six,” because I wanted to write some letters.

Tossed: throw something somewhere lightly or casually

As they settled in their beds, Harris asked Jerome if he preferred the inside or the outside of the bed. Jerome said that he preferred to sleep on the inside of the bed. This seemed strange to Harris. George asked them that he should wake them up at what time. Harris replied seven while Jerome wanted to wake up at six as he had to write some letters.

Harris and I had a bit of a row over it, but at last split the difference, and said half-past six. “Wake us at 6.30, George,” we said.

a bit of a row: an argument
split the difference: this means that they agreed on 6.30 because it was halfway between six and seven

Harris and Jerome had a discussion on the time and finally, they settled on half past six, each accommodating his time by half an hour.

George made no answer, and we found, on going over, that he had been asleep for sometime; so we placed the bath where he could tumble into it on getting out in the morning, and went to bed ourselves.

Tumble: to fall quickly and without control

George did not respond as he was asleep. Harris and George made mischief by placing the bathtub next to George’s bed so that he would fall into out as he woke up on the pretext that this way he would take a bath as soon as he got up.

 

 

Summary

The narrator of the story, Jerome, was proud of his packing skills. He was supposed to go on a trip with his friends George and Harris. He told them to leave the whole matter of packing to himself, to which they readily agreed. George sat on the easy chair and Harris cocked his legs on the table and watched Jerome do the packing. But this wasn’t what Jerome wanted. When he said that he wanted to do all the packing himself, what he meant was that he was willing to be in charge of everything and direct his friends to work efficiently under his supervision. He was really pissed at them for just sitting about watching him work. It was uncomfortable for Jerome to just sit idle and see another person work alone. His energetic nature made him want to get up and superintend.

When Jerome packed the bag, Harris pointed out that Jerome had forgotten to pack the boots. So, he had to open the bag again and pack his boots in and just he was going to close it, he doubted if he had packed his toothbrush. Whenever he would be about to travel, he would get nightmares of forgetting to pack his toothbrush. Then he would wake up and go on to hunt for it. Then, in the morning, he would pack it before he used it and then he had to unpack again to get it and would repack, forgetting to put the toothbrush in again. Then, he had to rush upstairs to fetch it. He always ends up carrying the toothbrush wrapped up in his pocket-handkerchief.

As usual, Jerome had to search the whole bag. He found George’s and Harris’s toothbrushes eighteen times over but he couldn’t find his own toothbrush. At last, he found it inside a boot and he had to repack once more. After he was done, George asked him if the soap was in but Jerome was so exhausted that he just didn’t seem to care. But after he strapped the bag again, he noticed that he had packed his spectacles inside and he had to open the bag again. Finally, he finished packing at 10:05 pm and now George and Harris decided to pack the food hampers.

George and Harris started by showing that they were better than Jerome at packing. Jerome was excited to see how they would proceed. As he anticipated, they started with breaking a cup. Then, Harris accidentally squashed a tomato by placing strawberry jam on top of it and then he had to pick out the tomato with a teaspoon. Moreover, George stepped on the butter. Now it was Jerome’s turn to sit back and watch them which irritated them. They stepped on things, put things behind them, and then they were unable to find them when they needed them. They put the pie at the bottom and put heavy things on top of it, which ended up ruining the pies. They poured salt all over the place and did wonders with the butter.

George got the butter stuck to his slippers. After he got it off his slippers, they attempted to put it in the kettle but it wouldn’t go in. Then they put it down on a chair but Harris sat on it and the butter stuck to his back. Then they went around looking for it. After a lot of searching, George discovered that it was at the back of Harris the whole time and finally they packed it in the teapot.

And then their pet dog, Montmorency, came into the scene only to add to the commotion. Montmorency was a naughty dog whose aim in life was to create hurdles and get scolded. It was only when he was screamed at that he felt that his day had not been wasted. So, just when things were ready to be packed, he came into the room and sat on them. Whenever Harris or George extended their hand for anything, Montmorency made it a point that they reach for his nose. He put his leg into the jam, disorganized the teaspoons and hampered the lemons.

After uncountable obstacles and tremendous efforts, finally, the packing was done at 12:50 and Harris sat on the hamper hoping that nothing was broken. George consoled himself and Harris by saying that if anything was found broken then it would be because it was already broken.

They all were ready for bed and decided to wake up at half past six. George was already asleep by then. So, George and Jerome placed the bath where he could tumble into on getting up in the morning and went to bed themselves.

 

Question and Answers

Discuss in pairs and answer each question below in a short paragraph (30–40 words).

Q1. How many characters are there in the narrative? Name them. (Don’t forget the dog!).

A. There are four characters in the story. They are the narrator, Jerome, his friends George and Harris and a dog named Montmorency.

 

Q2. Why did the narrator (Jerome) volunteer to do the packing?

A. Jerome was proud of his packing skills and so, he offered to do the packing.Actually, he did not intend to do the packing work, but he wanted to supervise his friends and direct them to pack the right way.

 

Q3. How did George and Harris react to this? Did Jerome like their reaction?

A. George and Harris readily agreed to Jerome’s plan. They sat on the sofa and the chair respectively, and watched Jerome do the packing.

 

Q4. What was Jerome’s real intention when he offered to pack?

A. Jerome did not intend to do the packing work, but he wanted to supervise his friends and direct them to pack the right way.

 

Q5. What did Harris say after the bag was shut and strapped? Why do you think he waited till then to ask?

A. After the bag was shut and strapped, Harris pointed out that Jerome had forgotten to pack his boots. I think that he waited till then because he thought that Jerome would pack the boots in the end.

 

Q6. What “horrible idea” occurred to Jerome a little later?

A. The horrible idea that struck Jerome was that whether he had packed his toothbrush or not.

 

Q7. Where did Jerome finally find the toothbrush?

A. He found the toothbrush inside a boot.

 

Q8. Why did Jerome have to reopen the packed bag?

A. Jerome had to reopen the bag because he had packed his spectacles in it.

 

Q9. What did George and Harris offer to pack and why?

A. George and Harris offered to pack the food baskets. They did so because they wanted to show that they were better packers than Jerome.

 

Q10. While packing the hamper, George and Harris do a number of foolish and funny things.
Tick the statements that are true.
(i) They started with breaking a cup.
(ii) They also broke a plate.
(iii) They squashed a tomato.
(iv) They trod on the butter.
(v) They stepped on a banana.
(vi) They put things behind them, and couldn’t find them.
(vii) They stepped on things.
(viii) They packed the pictures at the bottom and put heavy things on top.
(ix) They upset almost everything.
(x) They were very good at packing.

A. The true statements are:
(i) They started with breaking a cup.
(iii) They squashed a tomato.
(iv) They trod on the butter.
(vi) They put things behind them, and couldn’t find them.
(vii) They stepped on things.
(ix) They upset almost everything.

 

Q. What does Jerome say was Montmorency’s ambition in life? What do you think of Montmorency and why?

A. Montmorency's aim in life was to create hurdles in the way of others and get scolded for it. I think that Montmorecy was a loving pet who liked playing with his masters.

 

Match the words/phrases in Column A with their meanings in Column B.

A

B

1. slaving

(i) a quarrel or an argument

2. chaos

 (ii) remove something from inside
another thing using a sharp tool

3. rummage

(iii) strange, mysterious, difficult to
explain

4. Scrape out

(iv) finish successfully, achieve

5. Stumble over, tumble into

 (v) search for something by moving
things around hurriedly or carelessly

6. accomplish

(vi) complete confusion and disorder

7. uncanny

(vii) fall, or step awkwardly while walking

8. (to have or get into) a row

(viii) working hard

A.


A

B

1. slaving

(viii) working hard

2. chaos

 (vi) complete confusion and disorder

3. rummage

(v) search for something by moving
things around hurriedly or carelessly

4. Scrape out

(ii) remove something from inside
another thing using a sharp tool

5. Stumble over, tumble into

(vii) fall, or step awkwardly while walking

6. accomplish

(iv) finish successfully, achieve

7. uncanny

(iii) strange, mysterious, difficult to
Explain

8. (to have or get into) a row

(i) a quarrel or an argument

 

Use suitable words or phrases from Column A above to complete the paragraph given below.

A Traffic Jam
During power cuts, when traffic lights go off, there is utter _________at crossroads. Drivers add to the confusion by _________ over their right of way, and nearly come to blows. Sometimes passers-by, seeing a few policemen ______________ at regulating traffic, step in to help. This gives them a feeling of having _________ something.


A.

A Traffic Jam
During power cuts, when traffic lights go off, there is utter chaos at crossroads. Drivers add to the confusion by getting into a row over their right of way, and nearly come to blows. Sometimes passers-by, seeing a few policemen slaving at regulating traffic, step in to help. This gives them a feeling of having accomplished something.

 

The table below has some proverbs telling you what to do and what not to do. Fill in the blanks and add a few more such proverbs to the table.

positive

negative

(i) Save for a rainy day.

(i) Don’t cry over spilt milk.

(ii) Make hay while the sun shines.

 (ii) Don’t put the cart before the
horse.

(iii) ________before you leap.

 (iii) _____________ a mountain out of a
mole hill.

(iv) ________ and let live.

(iv) _________ all your eggs in one
basket.

A.

positive

negative

(i) Save for a rainy day.

(i) Don’t cry over spilt milk.

(ii) Make hay while the sun shines.

 (ii) Don’t put the cart before the
horse.

(iii) Look before you leap.

 (iii) Making a mountain out of a
mole hill.

(iv) live and let live.

(iv) Don’t put all your eggs in one
basket.