Skimbleshanks: The Railway Cat Question Answers


ICSE Class 9 English Skimbleshanks: The Railway Cat Important Question Answers from Treasure Chest Book (MCQs and Extract-based Questions)


Skimbleshanks: The Railway Cat Question Answers: Looking for Skimbleshanks: The Railway Cat question answers for ICSE Class 9 English Treasure Chest Book? Look no further! Our comprehensive compilation of important questions will help you brush up on your subject knowledge. Practising ICSE Class 9 English question answers can significantly improve your performance in the exam. Our solutions provide a clear idea of how to write the answers effectively. Improve your chances of scoring high marks by exploring Skimbleshanks: The Railway Cat question answers now. The questions listed below are based on the latest ICSE exam pattern, wherein we have given multiple choice questions and extract-based questions (Comprehension Passage)




ICSE Class 9 English Treasure Chest Poem Skimbleshanks: The Railway Cat Text-Based Multiple Choice Questions


Answer the following questions by choosing the most appropriate options.

1. Who is the speaker in the poem?
(a) the poet
(b) one of the passengers on the train
(c) all the passengers
(d) the cat

2. What kind of situation is presented in the poem?
(a) realistic
(b) absurd but amusing
(c) amusing
(d) serious

3. Choose the option that correctly describes Skimbleshanks :
(a) amusing
(b) alert
(c) dull
(d) uncaring

4. Which of these statements is NOT true?
(a) The cat offers morning tea to the passengers.
(b) The cat watches all the passengers and their actions and thoughts.
(c) the cat is the most important one on the train.
(d) The train is heading towards the far North.

5. ‘The cat has been treated like a human being.’ Which figure of speech is involved in it?
(a) alliteration
(b) metaphor
(c) personification
(d) none of the above

6. What kind of tone is adopted by the speaker?
(a) light and colloquial
(b) solemn
(c) serious
(d) sarcastic

7. What is the whisper all around at 11.39?
(a) It is very cold
(b) Where is Skimble?
(c) I want my tea
(d) How is Skimble?

8. The destination of the train is towards …………… .
(a) The South
(b) The North
(c) The West
(d) The East

9. Which of the cat’s acts is most amusing?
(a) its remaining busy in the luggage van
(b) its having a drop of Scotch to fresh himself
(c) its watching all the faces carefully
(d) its going on regular patrol

10. Which of these would you associate with Skimble?
(a) conscientious
(b) silly
(c) intruding
(d) dictatorial

11.Where was Skimbleshanks, when everyone was searching for him?
(a) In the stationmaster’s office.
(b) Searching for the missing thimble.
(c) Busy in the luggage van.
(d) Having tea with the guard.

12. What does Skimbleshanks do before the train departs?
(a) He announces the destination.
(b) He flashes a signal light.
(c) He gives a green-eyed stare.
(d) He collects tickets from passengers.

13. How do the passengers behave when Skimbleshanks is around?
(a) They play loud games.
(b) They remain quiet and well-behaved.
(c) They argue with him.
(d) They throw a party.

14. Which of the following amenities is not available in the passenger’s compartment?
(a) A comfortable berth
(b) A desk and a chair
(c) Adjustable lighting
(d) A wash basin

15. What does the guard ask the passenger about?
(a) Their preferred destination.
(b) Their luggage situation.
(c) Their tea preference.
(d) Their travel documents.

16. Why does the speaker feel comfortable sleeping soundly?
(a) The train has automatic lock system
(b) They know the guard is watching over them.
(c) They are confident the train will arrive on time.
(d) They trust Skimbleshanks to keep them safe from mice.

17. Identify the figure of speech- “He will watch you without winking and he sees what you are thinking”
(a) Personification
(b) Simile
(c) Metaphor
(d) Imagery

18. The central theme of the poem Skimbleshanks: The Railway Cat revolves around:
(a) The importance of a good night’s sleep on a long journey.
(b) The strict hierarchy and discipline on a passenger train.
(c) The humorous portrayal of a self-important but dedicated cat.
(d) The challenges faced by train staff during night journeys.

19. The chapter Skimbleshanks: The Railway Cat is a
(a) Poem
(b) Story
(c) Drama
(d) Folklore

20. Who is the author of “Skimbleshanks: The Railway Cat”?
(a) T.S. Eliot
(b) P.B. Shelly
(c) D. H. Lawrence
(d) W. H. Auden


1. (b) one of the passengers on the train
2. (b) absurd but amusing
3. (a) amusing
4. (a) The cat offers morning tea to the passengers.
5. (c) personification
6. (a) light and colloquial
7. (b) Where is Skimble?
8. (b) The North
9. (b) its having a drop of Scotch to fresh himself
10. (a) conscientious
11. (c) Busy in the luggage van.
12. (c) He gives a green-eyed stare.
13. (b) They remain quiet and well-behaved.
14. (b) A desk and a chair
15. (c) Their tea preference.
16. (d) They trust Skimbleshanks to keep them safe from mice.
17. (a) Personification
18. (c) The humorous portrayal of a self-important but dedicated cat.
19. (a) Poem
20. (a) T.S. Eliot




ICSE Class 9 English Skimbleshanks: The Railway Cat Extract-Based Questions


Read the extracts given below and answer the questions.


Passage 1


Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:

There’s a whisper down the line at 11.39
When the Night Mail’s ready to depart,
Saying “Skimble where is Skimble has he gone to hunt the thimble?
We must find him or the train can’t start.”
All the guards and all the porters and the stationmaster’s daughters
They are searching high and low,
Saying “Skimble where is Skimble for unless he’s very nimble
Then the Night Mail just can’t go.”
At 11.42 then the signal’s nearly due
And the passengers are frantic to a man –
Then Skimble will appear and he’ll saunter to the rear:
He’s been busy in the luggage van!

(i) Who is the speaker? What does he observe? Is it normal?
Ans. The speaker in this excerpt is not explicitly mentioned. It could be a narrator, a passenger, or even a member of the train crew observing the commotion. The speaker observes a frantic search for Skimbleshanks, the cat, right before the Night Mail is scheduled to depart.
No, it’s not normal for a train to be delayed because of a missing cat.

(ii) What is surprising about Skimble?
Ans. It is surprising that a cat’s presence is crucial for the train’s departure.

(iii) What tells you that Skimble is dutiful?
Ans. While everyone is searching for Skimbleshanks, the line “He’s been busy in the luggage van!” implies he wasn’t simply doing nothing. He was attending to some important task related to the train.

(iv) What causes commotion among all the passengers and the railway crew?
Ans. The commotion is caused by the impending departure time of the train and the realization that the Night Mail can’t leave without Skimbleshanks. The passengers are restless and the railway crew is worried about the train not moving as per the schedule.

(v) What duties are performed by the cat during the journey?
Ans. Skimble supervises the train’s driver, guards and porters. He patrols the passenger compartments and keeps an eye on their conduct. He ensures that everything is in order.


Passage 2

Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:

He gives one flash of his glass-green eyes
And the signal goes “All Clear!”
And we’re off at last for the northern part
Of the Northern Hemisphere!

(i) Why was there restlessness among the passengers early in the poem?
Ans. The sudden disappearance of Skimbleshanks was the cause of worry and restlessness among the passengers and the railway crew.

(ii) What tells you about the importance of the cat?
Ans. The line “And the signal goes ‘All Clear!’” after Skimbleshanks’ simple action tells us about his importance. This implies that his action is somehow connected to the train’s permission to depart.

(iii) Where is the train heading towards? Why has no particular city of its destination been mentioned?
Ans. The poem says the train is headed for “the northern part of the Northern Hemisphere!” No particular city is mentioned to allow the reader to imagine the train journey as a grand adventure to a faraway and exciting place.

(iv) Which of the actions of the cat are quite amusing?
Ans. Skimble’s actions like signalling the train, drinking tea with scotch, catching fleas and supervising the railway crew are quite amusing.

(v) Whom, in your opinion, does the cat represent? Why
Ans. Skimbleshanks represents a dedicated worker who takes his job seriously and ensures the train’s smooth running.

Passage 3

Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:

You may say that by and large it is Skimble who’s in charge
Of the Sleeping Car Express.
From the driver and the guards to the bagmen playing cards
He will supervise them all, more or less.
Down the corridor he paces and examines all the faces
Of the travellers in the First and the Third;
He establishes control by a regular patrol
And he’d know at once if anything occurred.
He will watch you without winking and he sees what you are thinking
And it’s certain that he doesn’t approve
Of hilarity and riot, so the folk are very quiet
When Skimble is about and on the move.
You can play no pranks with Skimbleshanks!
He’s a Cat that cannot be ignored;
So nothing goes wrong on the Northern Mail
When Skimbleshanks is aboard.

(i) Who is most important being on the northern Mail, and why?
Ans. Skimbleshanks, the cat, as the most important being on the Northern Mail as he supervises everyone on the train, from the driver and guards to the passengers.

(ii) Which actions of the cat remind you of a dictator?
Ans. Skimbleshanks’ constant observation creates a feeling of being watched and reinforces his power like that of a dictator.

(iii) Why does nothing go wrong on the northern Mail?
Ans. When Skimbleshanks is onboard, he ensures everything runs smoothly on the train and does not allow anything to go wrong due to his supervision.

(iv) What does the cat do when the train reaches its destination?
Ans. When the train reaches its destination, Skimbleshanks helps passengers get off the train and also bids farewell to them by waving his long brown tail.

(v) Why does the cat dislike ‘hilarity’ and noisy merriment?
Ans. Skimbleshanks maintains an orderly environment hence he dislike hilarity and noisy merriment.


Passage 4

Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:

Oh, it’s very pleasant when you have found your little den
With your name written up on the door.
And the berth is very neat with a newly folded sheet
And there’s not a speck of dust on the floor.
There is every sort of light-you can make it dark or bright;
There’s a funny little basin you’re supposed to wash your face in
And a crank to shut the window if you sneeze.

(i) What does ‘little den’ signify? How is it made cosy?
Ans. “Little den” refers to the passenger’s berth on the train. It’s called a den to create a sense of a private and cozy space, similar to an animal’s den. The newly folded sheet, clean floor, and lack of dust all contribute to its comfort.

(ii) What facilities are available in the ‘little den’?
Ans. Several facilities are available in the little den-

Different lighting options (bright or dark)
A basin for washing
A window that can be shut using a crank

(iii) How does Skimble ensure that the passengers have no trouble during the journey?
Ans. Skimbleshanks keeps a watchful eye on everyone, and supervises the railway crew.
He also keeps the train rodent-free, eliminating a potential source of discomfort for passengers.

(iv) What impression do you form of Skimble?
Ans. Skimbleshanks is dedicated to his role, staying alert throughout the night and making stops at stations. He contributes to the comfort and safety of the passengers.

(v) In what way does the poet make the cat a hilarious creature?
Ans. The humor in Skimbleshanks’ character comes from the following:

Exaggerated Importance: Skimbleshack’s self-proclaimed role as supervisor makes it humorous.
Human-like Activities: The image of a cat enjoying tea or “supervising” creates a humorous contrast between animal nature and human-like behaviour.

Passage 5

Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:

Then the guard looks in politely and will ask you very brightly
“Do you like your morning tea weak or strong?”
But Skimble’s just behind him and was ready to remind him,
For Skimble won’t let anything go wrong.
And when you creep into your cosy berth
And pull up the counterpane,
You ought to reflect that it’s very nice
To know that you won’t be bothered by mice –
You can leave all that to the Railway Cat,
The Cat of the Railway Train!

(i) What has made the passengers and the crew of the Night Mail restless earlier in the context?
Ans. Earlier, the sudden disappearance of Skimbleshanks made the passengers and the railway crew worried and restless.

(ii) How does the cat perform his task as a supervisor?
Ans. Skimbleshanks constantly patrols the train, keeping a watchful eye on passengers and crew. He stays alert throughout the night, suggesting his dedication for his work.

(iii) ‘…..Skimble won’t let anything go wrong.’ How does he do this?
Ans. Skimbleshanks’ watchful eye deters bad behaviour and may catch potential problems early on. The poem suggests that he has influence on the train’s operations. He also helps in keeping the train rodent-free.

(iv) How does the cat provide all comforts to the passengers?
Ans. The poem portrays Skimbleshanks as a supervisor who keeps a watchful eye on everything.The passengers might not be aware of Skimbleshanks’ constant vigilance, but he’s always on guard.He also helps keep the train rodent-free. This eliminates a major discomfort for passengers who wouldn’t want to deal with mice or other pests during their journey.

(v) Which of the cat’s actions could make us wonder whether he is more than a mere cat?
Ans. Skimbleshanks supervises the railway crew and maintains an orderly environment in the train.The poem mentions him enjoying tea (and maybe even a drop of Scotch!), which is a humorous touch that goes beyond typical cat behaviour.

Passage 6

Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:

In the watches of the night he is always fresh and bright;
Every now and then he has a cup of tea
With perhaps a drop of Scotch while he’s keeping on the watch,
Only stopping here and there to catch a flea.
You were fast asleep at Crewe and so you never knew
That he was walking up and down the station;
You were sleeping all the while he was busy at Carlisle,
Where he greets the stationmaster with elation.
But you saw him at Dumfries, where he speaks to the police
If there’s anything they ought to know about:
When you get to Gallowgate there you do not have to wait –
For Skimbleshanks will help you to get out!
He gives you a wave of his long brown tail
Which says: “I’ll see you again!
You’ll meet without fail on the Midnight Mail
The Cat of the Railway Train.”

(i) What role is played by the Cat on the Night Mail? Describe briefly.
Ans. Skimbleshanks sees himself as responsible for the well-being of the train and its passengers.He constantly patrols the train, speaks to the police at Dumfries to keep an eye out for trouble and communicate any concerns and helps passengers get off at stations.

(ii) How does the speaker view the role of the cat?
Ans. The speaker’s view of the cat has a touch of humour and wonder:

Humour: The image of a cat enjoying tea and “perhaps a drop of Scotch” is humorous.
Wonder: The cat’s ability to be alert throughout the night, interact with station staff, and seemingly understand human actions creates a sense of wonder.

(iii) What does the cat do to keep all the passengers comfortable?
Ans. Skimbleshanks helps in keeping the train rodent-free and ensures its smooth operation which contributes to a more comfortable journey.

(iv) What does the cat not allow anyone to do?
Ans. Skimbleshanks disapproves of “hilarity and riot,” suggesting he dislikes noisy and disruptive behaviour.

(v) How would you view the last gesture of the ‘Cat of the Railway Train’? Is it benevolent or sinister?
Ans. The final wave of the tail can be interpreted in two ways:

Benevolent: It can be seen as a friendly farewell and a promise to meet again on the “Midnight Mail,” indicating a sense of care for the passenger.

Sinister (playful): Considering the poem’s humorous tone, it could also be seen as a mischievous wink, suggesting the cat enjoys his perceived power over the passengers.



Related Link : ICSE Class 9 English Language and Literature Syllabus 2024-25


Also See  : 

ICSE Class 9 English Important Question Answers


ICSE Class 9 English Summary