The Comedy of Errors by Shakespeare

September 30, 2015 at 9:48 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Comedy of Errors

(Page ..217 –237)

There was a lot of bad blood between two city-states – Syracuse & Ephesus. The duke of Ephesus passed a law that virtually closed the gates of his dukedom to the traders from the rival Syracuse. The law stipulated that any trader from Syracuse apprehended inside Ephesus would be sent to the gallows for his transgression. However, he could pay a ransom amount of a thousand marks and get a reprieve.

Aegeon, an old trader from Syracuse fell victim to this draconian law. He was taken to custody and brought before the Duke of Ephesus. Aegeon was unable to pay the steep fine. So, hanging awaited him. Before ordering the execution, the Duke desired to know from Aegeon what made Aegeon to venture into Ephesus to face such fatal consequence.
The old merchant with death penalty on his head said that he was not afraid to die. The misery and sorrow he had endured in his lifetime had robbed him of all zest for life. Death would bring him the deliverance from such insufferable travails, he declared. Saying this, he proceeded to narrate his life history.

He said he was born into a merchant’s family in Syracuse. At the ripe age, he married and lived happily. On one occasion, he had to go to Epidamnum on some business work. As the work didn’t get over in time, he had to extend his stay there. He felt it necessary to send for his wife.
Soon on arrival, the lady gave birth to twins in the lodge where Aegeon was staying. The two male babies looked deceptively similar to each other. Quite strangely, around the same time, a maid servant in the lodge also gave birth to twins who, like the two babies of Aegeon, looked strikingly similar to each other. The maid and her husband were too poor to rear their two new-born sons. Aegeon bought the two sons assuming that they will attend upon his own two sons in coming years.

After some time, the wife pleaded with her merchant husband to return home. Aegeon reluctantly agreed. Arrangements were made for the departure of the family along with the two other ‘bought’ babies. Unaware that the time was in auspicious, the family set sail for their homeward journey aboard a ship. Only a short distance from the port, a violent storm raged. Soon it looked so gloomy for Aegeon’s ship as the howling winds shook the ship dangerously. Seeing the impending danger, the sailors on board the ship got into small life boats and fled abandoning the Aegeon family in the ship.
The storm blew with no respite. The four babies little understood the perils of the sea. Nonetheless, they cried in unison as they do normally. Their mother, however, was to nervous to restrain herself. She cried uncontrollably as the fear of the impending disaster gripped her. All this noise frayed Aegeon’s nerves.
Page 219 ..
Aegeon pulled himself up and began to think of ways to confront the danger. He tied his youngest son to a mast. To the other end of the mast, he tied the other youngest of the ‘slave’ sons. Having secured the two young babies, Aegeon instructed his wife to tie the two elder sons to another mast. After this, the husband and the wife tied themselves to the masts so that they are not thrown off into the water by the violently shaking sea.
Hardly had the duo completed this act, the inevitable happened. The storm wrecked the ship at the middle. The vessel sank. Luckily, the wooden masks to which the Aegeon family were tied remained afloat preventing the two seniors and the four toddlers from drowning. The wife and the two children near her drifted away despite Aegeon’s efforts to hold them back. Some boatmen were nearby in their fishing crafts. They picked up Aegeon’s wife and the two toddlers to safety.
After sometime, Aegeon and the two toddlers in his custody wre sighted by a ship whose crew happened to know him. With great welcome and warmth, he was taken aboard their ship. He made his way back to Syracuse. But, tragedy began thereafter. Despite all his efforts to trace his wife and the two toddlers, he failed to trace them.
The father and his youngest son and the ‘slave’son grew up. The memory of the missing half of the family haunted them. When his son reached the age of eighteen, he proposed that he along with the slave boy should go on a mission to trace the mother and the two boys, one his own brother and the other, the slave.
Page 220 ..

When Aegeon has abandoned all hopes of mobilizing the one thousand marks needed to save his life. At this time, it emerged that his two sons were in Ephesus. Their two slaves were living with them.

Because of their nearly perfect resemblance to one another, they were given a common name – Antipholous. In the same way, their salves, also looking identical, were given the name Dromio.

By a strange coincidence, the youngest son of Aegeon, known as Antipholous of Syracuse had arrived in Syracuse on the same day Aegeon, his own father had arrived to face arrest and subsequent death penalty. Luckily for Antipholous, one of his friends warned him of the new law barring traders from Syracuse and the possible death penalty for those who did not obey the law. The friend also narrated how an old trader from Syracuse had landed himself in dire trouble by sneaking in to Ephesus. Antipholous did not know that the man held captive was indeed his own father. As per his friend’s advice, he described himself as a trader of Epidamnum.

The older son was called Antipjolous of Ephesus to avoid mix-up between the two sons. He was an affluent businessman having made a lot of money from trading. He had lived in Ephesus for twenty years. If he knew that it was his father who was in such distress, he could have paid the ransom demand of 1000 marks without any difficulty. Because of the long time gap, he had only faint memories of his childhood and his father.

He also remembered that the fisherman who had rescued his mother, him and his slave had forcibly separated the mother from them. His intention was to sell the duo off as slaves. He did sell the two young boys to the Duke of Menaphon. He was a great warrior and was the uncle of the Duke of Ephesus.

On a visit to Ephesus, the Duke of Menaphon took the two boys as slaves to the his nephew – the Duke of Ephesus. The latter developed a liking for the young Antipholous and employed him in the army. Later, Antipholous proved to be a gallant officer and became a trusted favourite of the Duke of Ephesus. In o0ne battle he saved the Duke from certain death. The Duke was immensely pleased with Antipholous and had him married to Adriana, a rich lady of Ephesus.




September 25, 2015 at 9:12 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

by Nasira Sharma

Introduction ….  The story is set in Afghanistan. This cursed country has been embroiled in coups, big power rivalry, internecine warfare, internal strife, and religious chauvinism for a very long time. The unending conflict has plagued the country for nearly 50 years causing large scale destruction, poverty, and deprivation. The interminable struggle to fight hunger and want has robbed the people of their hopes, vigor, and humanism. Looting, robbery, kidnapping for ransom, and abuse of women and children are rife. With so many ills stalking the country, the land has become unlivable.

Story … Rizwan & Kasim are the two characters in the story. Rizwan is a wannabe journalist. Kasim hawks old clothes to make a living. Hunger and poverty have gripped them both, but Rizwan, with his education in journalism, is better off than Kasim. Kasim with no land, no education and no skill has fallen into a bottomless pit. His body is worn with the daily grind and his mind has become a parched land where no seed of hope can sprout. He is virtually at the end of the tether.

Rizwan is on the verge of getting a reporter’s job in a local daily, but for that he has to conduct three interesting interviews and file the stories.
Rizwan sets out to the market place looking for someone he could interact with. In a land where criminals and petty thieves outnumber decent citizens, everyone in the street is wary of a stranger. No one is willing to talk freely. Strangely in the market, stores overflow with consumer goods. It is clear, the destitute and the deprived living in the fringes of the society can not patronize these shops.

Rizwan stands near a shop and looks around to spot a person he could interview. His eyes fall on Kasim who carries a load on his head. Rizwan approaches him with uncertain steps. Soon he discovers that his target, a middle-aged man, goes by the name Kasim. He earns his bread selling old clothes. The profession fetches him a paltry five hundred rupees a month.

Rizwan struggles to draw Kasim out. The latter is reticent and wary of talking to a stranger. It emerges that Kasim is a shelter-less landless person who has left his family back in his village.

Rizwan attempts to start a conversation with his target, but meets with limited success. Rizwan mentions about a government scheme to assist landless citizens like Kasim stand on their feet again. Kasim evinces little interest in thos information. Rizwan continues to coax him to reveal more about his background. Kasim says how his family has been battling poverty for generations. His father and grandfather had no land to till. So, they toiled as landless labourers till their limbs failed. The long legacy of want and impoverishment had made Kasim a cynic. Life has been very hard for him thus far. He has a small boy as son. He would assist his father in the hawking business as soon as he turns five. Kasim can’t even dream of sending him to school. Illiteracy will continue to choke Kasim’s young son as it has done to his forefathers.

Kasim is even unaware of the legendary Afghan king Mohammed Zahir Shah whose rule ended with a coup plunging the country to total turmoil that continues to bedevil Afghanistan till this day. This surprises Rizwan who is educated enough to know Shah.

Rizwan wants to extend the conversation. He says he can arrange for a loan for Kasim to start farming. Even he could get some government land allotted. None of these inducements has any effect on Kasim. He shrugs off the loan offer saying that he is already in debt, and does not want to increase the burden.

Kasim recalls how some people made similar offers during last election time. All those offers vanished in thin air soon. On one day of electioneering, Kasim did a lot of slogan shouting for a whole day at the behest of a politician. He got nothing in return. He remained hungry that day. With such bitter memories fresh in his mind, Kasim’s offers were doomed to be ignored.
Kasim has lost all appetite for the comforts of living.

Rizwan can retain Kasim no longer. The latter walked off saying he could spot some buyers for his warm clothes among the labourers near the bridge. Rizwan pleaded with him to give his address. He disclosed that he had no house: he lived like a tramp. Rizwan suggests that they could meet the next day. Kasim says he is going to his village the next day.
Dusk is approaching. The darkness makes Rizwan gloomier. His cup of woes is full with a home beset with problems. His widowed mother is ill. His two younger brothers have stopped going to school. Hunger and want cast their long shadow over his family. It is six in the evening. He has barely an hour to reach the newspaper office and file his report. He is hungry. Yet, he manages to trudge towards the newspaper office.
At the newspaper’s office, he slumps on to a chair. A staff of the office asks him to write his name on his day’ report and leave it on the table.

For Kasim, it is a job well done. Despite the all round gloom, he sees a ray of hope. He can come to the newspaper’s the next day. However, he has to spot another ‘Kasim’ the next day! With tired steps and a stomach wrenched with hunger, the small ray of hope enables Rizwan to reach home.


Characterization of Kusum and Rizwan

Kasim and Rizwan are the two victims of the protracted strife and anarchy in Afghanistan. Poverty, deprivation and lack of hope seem to stare both in their eyes. However, Rizwan seems better equipped to face the situation than Kasim ashe is educated and young. He can work as a journalist or any such white-colour job. As he is just about to start his career, his mind has hope and youthfulness. Optimism has not deserted him despite hunger stalking him at every step.
Kasim, on the other hand, is middle-aged, with a family to feed. Kasim’s forefathers did not go to school, and so, had no recourse to climb in the social ladder. They slogged all their life to eke out a living. No wonder, they passed on this in-built inadequacy to Kasim in full measure. Kasim makes a paltry amount hawking second hand clothes. He has a young son living with him, and a family in the village. The son, true to the family’s legacy of illiteracy, has not gone to school. Kasim is too poor to afford schooling for him.
Despite everything else arrayed against him, Kasim prods on, clinging to his old clothes trade as his lifeline. He is frustrated, and angry, but stoic and determined. For him, every dawn unfolds a daunting day, but he faces them with remarkable resilience. Very incredulous of the political class, he treats Rizwan’s offer of government assistance with disdain. Unbearably hard life has made him glum, suspicious, and gruff. In the midst of so much negativity, he stands like a hero. He toils hard, never thinks of giving up, and has not taken to crime despite the lure money in that dark world. Sadly, he will fall one day, and carry his grief to the grave.



Answers for Baby Steps to writing good English

September 23, 2015 at 9:23 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Answers to Baby Steps …..


a. Why doctors and nurses in hospitals wear white aprons?

Answer .. Doctors and nurses come in direct contact with patients in course of their duty. As a result, they are exposed to infection of many types. Wearing a white apron makes the medical staff aware of the stains from the patients’ body waste like blood, phlegm, posh, urine, stool etc.. They can then change it and wear a fresh one. The apron also prevents their garments from being infected due to the contact with the patients.

The second reason is related to identification of the medical staff. In hospital wards, visitors often move around and crowd round their patients. A person wearing white aprons is instantly identified as medical personnel on duty. This gives them the desired respect, priority, and attention, both from the visitors and the patients.

b. Why diesel engines are preferred to steam engines for hauling trains?

The answer is simple. Diesel engines are more powerful and have higher hauling power. The steam engines are messy, slow, and give out a lot of black smoke. In hauling power, they are no match for the diesel engines. So, for rapid movement of goods and passenger trains, diesel engines are the preferred option.

c. Why eating cut fruits from street vendors is not a good idea at all?

The hygiene is the problem. Exposure to flies, contact with human hands, cleanliness of the vessels, and dirt in wind are the major concerns. Most commonly, eating cut fruits causes stomach upsets due to germs. In times of epidemics like cholera, eating cut fruits from vendors is a sure recipe for disaster.

 d. Why do mountaineers carry oxygen cylinders?

At high altitudes, air is thinner. So, oxygen availability in a certain volume of air is less than what we get at ground level. It causes breathing difficulties. To get over this problem, climbers carry oxygen cylinders.

e. Why are CCTV cameras installed in public places?

The CCTV cameras record the movement of people and objects continuously. For crime investigators and prosecutors, CCTV footages give invaluable clue about the involvement of criminals in the crime. The evidence is irrefutable and courts accept it. CCTV cameras are the 24×7 sentinels dedicated to our security.

f. Why do empty ships carry a good quantity of sea water?

Empty ships tend to be unstable while floating in the sea. To make them stable, they need to become heavier. The weight for this purpose is provided by the load of sea water purposely carried by the ship. When the ship is loaded later by goods, this water is emptied into the sea. Such water that provides stability to a ship is called ‘ballast’.

g. Why do onion prices skyrocket and crash sometimes?

It is a demand and supply question. When there is a bumper crop in onion-producing states like Maharastra, UP. Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka etc., the mandis overflow with onion bags. Inevitably, prices fall. The reverse happens when the crops fail and demand exceeds supply. Prices soar causing hardship to consumers.

h. Why do some farmers commit suicide?

Farm income has progressively declined in the last two to three decades. Farm holdings have also become smaller, and price of inputs like those of seeds, fertilizer, pesticides etc. have gone up sharply. The farmers have to borrow to raise a crop. In those years, when rains fail, the harvest dwindles leaving the farmer with a debt burden. When the drought comes in successive years, farmers find themselves in an un-sustainable position. They can neither feed themselves, nor can they repay the loans. Lenders come in to humiliate them for their default. The hopelessness of the situation drives them to take their lives.

i. Why is an aluminum plate embedded to the bottom of a stainless steel pressure cooker?

Stainless steel is a poor conductor of heat. This is the reason, aluminium plates are embedded to the bottom of pressure cookers. It makes cooking quicker and saves fuel.

j. Why have oil prices crashed in recent months?

The main reason is the widespread availability of shale gas in America and elsewhere. The United States is soon going to be self-sufficient with regard to its energy needs. Its oil import will taper off. The other reason is the entry of Iran to world oil market after the lifting of international sanctions. Iran is a big seller of crude oil. The third reason is the slowing down of the Chinese economy. It no longer imports as much crude oil as it used to before. The OPEC led by Saudi Arabia has not reduced its oil output. All these factors have contributed to the fall in oil prices in recent months.


Grammar Exercise (Punctuation mark)

September 18, 2015 at 2:29 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Grammar exercise (Punctuation marks)

[Insert a suitable punctuation mark like comma, semicolon, or nothing in the spaces between the words marked in red.]

1. One pupil stood up and asked a question about the late Dr. Abdul Kalam then there was a long silence.

2. We will declare the result as soon as the computer finishes its job.

3. The joints are worn out also the muscles are weak.

4. It was blisteringly hot and cattle rested under the trees.

5. The judge could not deliver the judgment because the convict fell ill suddenly in the court.

6. Rama is taller than Hari, and Hari is taller than Gopal therefore Rama is taller than Gopal.

7. Not enough people came to the meeting so the rally was cancelled.

[Answers will be posted tomorrow.]


Answers …

1. One pupil stood up and asked a question about the late Dr. Abdul Kalam ; then there was a long silence. [Semicolon introduced after Kalam.]

2. We will declare the result, as soon as the computer finishes its job. [Insert comma.]

3. The joints are worn out; also the muscles are weak. [Insert semicolon.]

4. It was blisteringly hot, and the cattle rested under the trees. [Insert comma.]

5. The judge could not deliver the judgment, because the convict fell ill suddenly in the court. [Insert comma.]

6. Rama is taller than Hari, and Hari is taller than Gopal; therefore Rama is taller than Gopal. Insert semicolon

7. Not enough people came to the meeting, so the rally was cancelled. Insert comma.

Many readers may differ with the answers. We would like to hear from them.

Sentence correction 2

September 17, 2015 at 3:58 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sentence correction 2..

[Mark ‘C’ for correct sentences and ‘W’ for wrong sentences. Also correct the wrong ones.]

1. In my grandfather’s time, children usually left the school at 4pm.

2. My brother-in-law is doctor in the local government hospital.

3. Could you close a door when you go out?

4. In our country, the most people like to watch cricket.

5. In Bollywood, who is the most beautiful actress?

6. Computers can do nearly everything.

7. I lived in the South India for a few years.

8. How is the Modi’s new cabinet working?

9. My eldest brother-in-law has got the very complicated mind.

10. Have you got Saridon? I have got a headache.

11. What is most beautiful story you have ever written?

[Answers will be posted soon.]


Answers ..

1. In my grandfather’s time, children usually left school at 4pm.  [Omit ‘the’.]

2. My brother-in-law is a doctor in the local government hospital.  [Insert ‘a’.]

3. Could you close the door when you go out?  [Replace  ‘a’ with ‘the’.]

4. In our country, most people like to watch cricket.  [Omit ‘the’

5. In Bollywood, who is the most beautiful actress?  Correct

6. Computers can do nearly everything.   Correct

7. I lived in  South India for a few years.  [Omit ‘the’ ]

8. How is  Modi’s new cabinet working? 

[Omit ‘the’ ]

9. My eldest brother-in-law has got a very complicated mind. [Replace ‘the’ by ‘a’ .]

10. Have you got Saridon? I have got  headache. [Omit ‘a’]

11. What is the most beautiful story you have ever written? [Insert ‘the’.]

Sentence correction 1

September 17, 2015 at 10:05 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sentence correction 1..
[Mark ‘C’ for correct sentences and ‘W’ for wrong sentences. Also correct the wrong ones.]

1. We have no hope of winning the match if we don’t our practice from today.

2. I hate the thought to get old when I am just 42.

3. Is it time for going now?

4. Lucy had difficulty locating the new office.

5. We made a decision of going home when we learned that the train had been cancelled.

6. I got over my fear to fly after a lot of counseling.

7. We gave up our plan to move when our brother fell sick.

8. There is no need to be disagreeable when a mere hint will change your wife.

9. After her long-awaited marriage, she liked the idea of taking a year off.

10. I have a strong wish to be alone when I lose money heavily.

11. Is there any need me to translate??

12. My idea was for us to meet at 10am to discuss the proposal.

(Answers in the next post)



Answers …

1. Correct

2. Wrong. The correct answer is … I hate the thought of getting old when I am just 42.

3. Wrong .. The correct answer is .. Is it time to go now?

4. Correct

5.  WrongWe made a decision to get home when we learned that the train had been cancelled.

6. Wrong  .. I got over of my fear of flying after a lot of counseling.

7. Correct

8. Correct

9. Wrong  After her long-awaited marriage, she liked the idea of taking a year off.

10. Wrong  I have a strong wish of being alone after I lose money heavily.

11. Wrong  Is there need for me to do the translation?

12. Correct

Of Travel by Francis Bacon

September 9, 2015 at 1:59 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Of Travel by Francis Bacon

TRAVEL, in the younger sort, is a part of education, in the elder, a part of experience. He that travelleth into a country, before he hath some entrance into the language, goeth to school, and not to travel.
Meaning … When a young child travels around in alien places, he learns a lot from the sight and sound around him. In the process, his awareness grows and his learning process is accelerated. So, travel for a young child has good educational value. So, the countryside becomes a school for him, although in an informal way.

That young men travel under some tutor, or grave servant, I allow well; so that he be such a one that hath the language, and hath been in the country before; whereby he may be able to tell them what things are worthy to be seen, in the country where they go; what acquaintances they are to seek; what exercises, or discipline, the place yieldeth.
Meaning ….. A youngster travelling to an unknown place under the watchful eye of a knowledgeable chaperon is always desirable. By virtue of the knowledge and experience, the chaperon can guide the young traveler where to go, what to see, and the type of people to befriend. The able guide can also tell the youngster about the pastime, hobbies and crafts the places are famous for.

For else, young men shall go hooded, and look abroad little. It is a strange thing, that in sea voyages, where there is nothing to be seen, but sky and sea, men should make diaries; but in land-travel, wherein so much is to be observed, for the most part they omit it; as if chance were fitter to be registered, than observation.
Meaning… Without the company of a guide, he will fail to observe the important and interesting things in the new places. While on a voyage in the sea, the sea farer gets to see nothing other than the vast expanse of blue water and the un-ending sky above. In such a case, the voyager should maintain a travel diary. When travelling over land, there is an overwhelming abundance of new sights and sounds and myriad things to observe. People generally fail to keep note of every detail of what they come across.

Let diaries, therefore, be brought in use. The things to be seen and observed are: the courts of princes, especially when they give audience to ambassadors; the courts of justice, while they sit and hear causes; and so of consistories ecclesiastic; the churches and monasteries, with the monuments which are therein extant; the walls and fortifications of cities, and towns, and so the heavens and harbors; antiquities and ruins; libraries; colleges, disputations, and lectures, where any are; shipping and navies; houses and gardens of state and pleasure, near great cities; armories; arsenals; magazines; exchanges; burses; warehouses; exercises of horsemanship, fencing, training of soldiers, and the like; comedies, such whereunto the better sort of persons do resort; treasuries of jewels and robes; cabinets and rarities; and, to conclude, whatsoever is memorable, in the places where they go.
Meaning … So, maintain a diary is always a good idea. In the diary, one can record his observations about the following.
a. The royal courts of princes, kings and sovereigns. He can observe the opulence, splendor, courtiers, and the practices followed in the courts. The elaborate protocol followed while formally accepting the ambassadors from other countries is worth observing and noting.

b. The royal courts that hear pleas, and dispense justice also offer interesting sights. The practices followed in the Roman courts and those in the English clergy are also interesting.

c. The churches, monasteries, their architectural styles offer much visual delight. It is advisable to observe and record these in the diary.

d. The city walls, the fortresses and the watch towers that ring a city to ward off invaders are also very interesting to watch.

e. The beautiful towns and harbours also deserve to be seen with observant eyes.

f. The antiquities, the ruins standing as witness to past attacks of marauding invaders are worth seeing minutely.

g. Colleges, universities, centers of learning, town halls where debates are held, stadia etc. bear testimony to the intellectual vigour of any society. So, they should be visited too.

h. Shipping facilities and naval yards are the yardsticks of a nation’s maritime prowess. So, they deserve to be keenly looked at.

i. Public office buildings are the citadels of power and authority. They are deliberately built majestically to tower over other private buildings nearby. They project the state’s power. Similarly, parks and recreational open spaces speak about the taste and habits of the way people spend their leisure time. Their architecture reflect the aesthetic sense of the character of a race. So, these public places are to be visited and keenly observed.

j. Visit to the country’s armoury and ammunition storage facilities is quite enlightening too.

k. Visits to warehouses, stock exchanges and wholesale markets are also of good educational value.

l. Seeing equestrian sports and horse rearing centers indicate the ability of the country to use horse for military and recreational purposes.

m. Visit to opera houses shows how cultured the upper sections of the society are.

n. Exhibition of fine jewelry, fine clothing, antiques etc. throws light on the wealth and taste of the people.

o. In this way, one needs to visit all places of interest to bring back a treasure trove of highly rewarding information and knowledge.


As for triumphs, masks, feasts, weddings, funerals, capital executions, and such shows, men need not to be put in mind of them: yet are they not to be neglected.

Meaning …. Social occasions like marriages, funerals, feasts, public executions, victory celebrations etc. are, no doubt, important, but they need not be documented or observed so keenly.

If you will have a young man to put his travel into a little room, and in short time to gather much, this you must do: first, as was said, he must have some entrance into the language before he goeth; then he must have such a servant, or tutor, as knoweth the country, as was likewise said: let him carry with him also some card, or book, describing the country where he travelleth, which will be a good key to his inquiry; let him keep also a diary; let him not stay long in one city or town, more or less as the place deserveth, but not long: nay, when he stayeth in one city or town, let him change his lodging from one end and part of the town to another, which is a great adamant of acquaintance; let him sequester himself from the company of his countrymen, and diet in such places where there is good company of the nation where he travelleth: let him, upon his removes from one place to another, procure recommendation to some person of quality residing in the place whither he removeth; that he may use his favour in those things he desireth to see or know; thus he may abridge his travel with much profit.

Meaning ….. Bacon proceeds to give some ‘do’s and ‘don’ts for a travel expedition to yield maximum value. These are as follows ……

  1. The youngster has to have some basic learning before he sets out on his journey.

  2. He must have a dedicated and knowledgeable guide. This man must be well-conversant with the country he is visiting.

  3. The guide should carry with him some books, catalogues or brochures about the places he has in his travel. These will prove to be handy in course of the travel.

  4. The learner must have a diary where he can jot down whatever he sees as he moves from place to place.

  5. He should not stay more than it is necessary to stay in one place.

  6. In case he stays in a city or a town for a longer duration, he must change his lodging, and move to another in the other end of the town to get the maximum exposure.

  7. While staying in a place, he must not choose to stay among people from his own place. Instead, he must choose to live among people of the host country, so that he gets to observe their habits.

  8. He must procure and carry with him letters of introduction from eminent people from his own locality to those in the places he is going to visit. This will ease travel, stay and availability of other conveniences.

As for the acquaintance which is to be sought in travel, that which is most of all profitable, is acquaintance with the secretaries and employed men of ambassadors; for so in travelling in one country he shall suck the experience of many: let him also see and visit eminent persons in all kinds, which are of great name abroad, that he may be able to tell how the life agreeth with the fame; for quarrels, they are with care and discretion to be avoided: they are commonly for mistresses, healths, place, and words; and let a man beware how he keepeth company with choleric and quarrelsome persons; for they will engage him into their own quarrels.

Meaning … In the places where he goes, he must seek out people of eminence like ambassadors, senior bureaucrats, and other eminent people who can offer practical help in sight-seeing, gathering information, and in availing other comforts needed during travel in a new place. He should avoid getting into arguments, quarrels and fights with locals. He should avoid the company of mistresses and quarrelsome people, because these are the persons who drag him to unnecessary fights and unpleasant situations.

When a traveller returneth home, let him not leave the countries where he hath travelled altogether behind him; but maintain a correspondence by letters with those of his acquaintance which are of most worth; and let his travel appear rather in his discourse than in his apparel or gesture; and in his discourse, let him be rather advised in his answers, than forward to tell stories: and let it appear that he doth not change his country manners for those of foreign parts; but only prick in some flowers of that he hath learned abroad into the customs of his own country.

Meaning … On returning to his native home, he must not completely forget the people and places he has visited. He must maintain the link through correspondence with those eminent men who had extended courtesy and help to him during his sojourn. His heightened knowledge and awareness acquired during the journey are not to be shown off through elaborate attire or mannerisms of the foreign lands. This might invite ridicule and derision. On the contrary, his new wisdom must reflect in his talking and lectures to his fellowmen. He should be concise and factual in his accounts, and not weave stories. He must not give an impression that he has forsaken his country manners and dress to adopt those of the lands he has visited. He should selectively describe all the good things he has learnt abroad.



Baby steps to writing well –1

September 5, 2015 at 8:07 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Writing practice … [Answer in 4 to 6 sentences each]

a. Why doctors and nurses in hospitals wear white aprons?
b. Why diesel engines are preferred to steam engines for hauling trains?
c. Why eating cut fruits from street vendors is not a good idea at all?
d. Why do mountaineers carry oxygen cylinders?
e. Why are CCTV cameras installed in public places?
f. Why do empty ships carry a good quantity of sea water?
g. Why do onion prices skyrocket and crash sometimes?
h. Why some farmers commit suicide?
i. Why an aluminum plate embedded to the bottom of a stainless steel pressure cooker?
j. Why have oil prices crashed in recent months?

You may send your answers for correction to

First 200 responses will be evaluated.

Mother’s Day by J. B. Prestley

September 3, 2015 at 4:52 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Mother’s Day

Page 33,34 and 35 …

Mrs. Pearson’s well-appointed house has a living room having furniture, doors and a fireplace –all in the right places. At the centre there is a table with four chairs, two on either side. Mrs. Fitzgerald has dropped in for a quiet causerie with the landlady, Mrs. Pearson. Although she is the mistress of the house, Mrs. Pearson is weighed down by the burden of running the household. Her harried face bears testimony to her inner torment. On the contrary, Mrs. Fitzgerald is cool, and confident. The two ladies sit down over tea to play cards. The visitor has come to show off her skill as a clairvoyant.

Mrs. Peterson starts the conversation gracefully, wondering if the visiting friend had learnt her sooth-saying skills in the East.

Mrs. Fitzgerald says that she had learnt the skill while living in the East with her husband – a senior army officer. It had taken the duo 12 years to master the craft. In a boastful way, she says she is ahead of her husband in this craft.

Mrs. Fitzgerald knows her friend’s owes. She knows how an insensitive household is robbing her of the dignity she deserves as the key anchor of the family. Mrs. Fitzgerald implores her friend to assert her position in the family and not tolerate the slights, barbs, and aloofness of other family members.

Mrs. Peterson is a soft, loving and docile person. Doing anything acerbic to others simply does not come to her. She, therefore, has chosen to take the humiliation lying down.

Mrs. Fitzgerald belongs to a different breed. She is forthright and superbly confident of herself. She loves Mrs. Peterson very much. She can’t stand the way her friend has been at the receiving end all her life – unable to counter the emotional torture inflicted by her near and dear ones. So, Mrs. Fitzgerald persists. She coaxes her friend to be determined once and for all, and put a strong foot down to stop the hurtful behavior of her family members.

Mrs. Fitzgerald is unrelenting in her persuasion. She tells Mrs. Peterson how her husband, grown-up son and daughter take her for granted. They expect the senior-most woman in the family to fetch things, cook food, do the chores, and keep an eye on the house when the others go out to have fun. It should be the other way round, argues Mrs. Fitzgerald. She presses her point further saying that a husband should know that his ageing wife needs rest, and the children must learn to share the burden of the house with their mother.

Mrs. Peterson is, as expected meek and feeble in her reply. She says that she has in fact brought her plight to the notice of her indifferent family members.
It annoys Mrs. Fitzgerald to see her friend’s inscrutable submissiveness. She demands that Mrs. Peterson deal with the situation more sternly to force her near and dear ones to mend their ways.

Mrs. Peterson agrees to her friend’s strong suggestion. But, she says she does not like any unpleasantness in the family that can result from her asserting her authority. She says she has many times decided to bring up the issue with her family members, but, on the spur of the moment, has stepped back choosing to remain silent. Mrs. Peterson looks at her watch and jerks herself to action. She remembers she has to cook food for the family so that she could serve them promptly as soon as they arrive home. In case they plan to go out, any slight delay in eating their food must not inconvenience them, feels Mrs. Peterson. She begins to get up. Mrs. Fitzgerald is indeed as surprised as she is sorry. She gets up to pin her friend down onto her chair.
Mrs. Fitzgerald is unusually adamant. She asks her friend to listen to her first even if others come and find no cooked food. Let them fend for themselves, says she.
Mrs. Peterson is in a quandary. She can’t be rude to her sympathetic friend whose heart weeps at her predicament. Nor she can summon the courage to precipitate matters so that her family members change their attitude towards her. She dreads offending them in any way. She values harmony in the family much more than her own well-being. She pleads with Mrs. Fitzgerald to appreciate her helplessness, and not harp on the matter.

Her meek resignation to her fate upsets Mrs. Fitzgerald. She is a dour and determined woman. She says that she would confront Mrs. Peterson’s family members herself.

Mrs. Fitzgerald’s strident stance leaves her mild-mannered friend aghast. She is horrified at the prospect of the intervention of an outsider in her family matter of such delicate nature. Exasperated with the suggestion, Mrs. Peterson pleads with her friend to desist from intervening in the matter. She tells her friend that her husband and children would never listen to her. Instead, the confrontation could lead to very undesirable consequences.

Mrs. Fitzgerald chuckled to see her friend’s predicament. She comes forward with a novel solution that flummoxes her friend still trying to regain her composure.
She says that through a sleight of hand she will impersonate Mrs. Peterson by interchanging their external looks. This trick will be just for one day. As a result, Mrs. Fitzgerald will have her friend’s exterior shrouding her own steely interior, and vice versa. Mrs. Peterson is incredulous, and utterly confused.

Mrs. Fitzgerald coolly proceeds to clear the air. She says she learnt such magic when she was in the East. Mrs. Peterson is still convinced about how the trick would work out practically and ethically.

Page 36, 37, 38, 39, 40

Mrs. Fitzgerald proceeds to demonstrate her magical prowess. She holds her friend’s hand and utters some very unintelligible rhyming words. On being queried by Mrs. Peterson clarifies that these are some magic mantras that she learned in the East.
The magic casts a spell on both of them. Both are benumbed as if life has deserted them. But, the spell soon fades. They come back to life looking radically different. Mrs. Peterson looks like Mrs. Fitzgerald, and vice versa.

Mrs. Peterson is no longer Mrs. Peterson—the meek, sulking character. She has become the assertive Mrs. Fitzgerald. She snatches the cigarette from her friend’s hand.

Mrs. Fitzgerald is quite taken aback at the way the magic worked. She sighs in relief.
Quite strangely, Mrs. Peterson, in her new avatar, is cool and not the least disconcerted.

Mrs. Fitzgerald (with Mrs. Peterson’s body and soul) appears nervous. She dreads the prospect of facing George and the children.

Mrs. Peterson, in the garb of Mrs. Fitzgerald, is nonchalant. She says she will deal with them effortlessly.

Mrs. Fitzgerald (as Mrs. Peterson) is apprehensive and wary. She asks her friend if they could swimmingly revert to their own forms smoothly. Otherwise, the consequence could be disastrous.

Mrs. Peterson (as Mrs. Fitzgerald) is relaxed. She advises her friend that changing back would be easier. With a suppressed chuckle, she says that her life is not un-livable, after all. It would be more enjoyable, she advises.

After a bit of chat, Mrs. Fitzgerald (as Mrs. P) prepares to take on George and the children, advising her friend to hang around stealthily.

As expected, Mrs. Fitzgerald (as Mrs. P) is nervous and Mrs. Peterson (as Mrs. F) is confident.

The former makes a quick exit out of the house, and the latter, quite uncharacteristically) puffs away her cigarette, and sits down to play cards.

Doris Pearson, the pampered twenty-plus pampered daughter comes in and asks her mother (Mrs. F in disguise) to iron her yellow silk dress which she would wear that night. However, she is taken aback to see her mother indolently sitting at the card table.

She finds her mother surprisingly assertive as the latter replies firmly that she is doing something, after all.

Doris can’t fathom the sight of her mother smoking. She protests. Her mother is unapologetic.

Doris asks if they were going to have tea in the kitchen. She gets angry to see her mother the least interested in making tea.

Mrs. Peterson ( The real Mrs. F) says she had had her tea and could go out for dinner at the Clarendon.

It rattles Doris. She finds her ever-obliging mother rather unusual and a bit arrogant.

The mother stands her ground and behaves as if she does not care.

Doris is upset. She chides her mom for being so recalcitrant. She demands her tea and her yellow dress ironed.

Doris is angry because she can’t go out with her man Charlie Spence with the yellow silk dress.

She says she has every right to go out with Charlie, and her mother can have no objection to it. Instead, she must do her duty, and iron the silk dress.

Mrs. Peterson (Mrs. F) decides to rub salt on Doris’s wounds by speaking derisively about Charlie referring to his buck teeth and coarse intelligence.

Doris protests vigorously.

The mother continues her tirade against Charlie saying in her young age, she would never have fallen for a guy like Charlie.

Doris explodes in indignation and rage. She storms out.

Mrs. Peterson (Mrs. F) is unruffled. She continues to play cards.

Page 39 …Cyril comes in to ask if his tea is ready.

As expected, he hears a ‘No’.

Cyril wants to know if his mother is indisposed or something.

Mrs. Peterson is calm and gives an impression that she does not care. She says she feels really good, as she had never felt in her life.

Cyril wants to jerk his mom to action and commands her to make tea. He says he is in haste, and prepares to leave the place when Mrs. Peterson (Mrs. F) stop him.

Cyril again reminds her that he has a busy night ahead. He inquires if she has taken out his clothing.

Mrs. Peterson (as Mrs. F) acts as if she is hardly concerned.

Cyril sternly reminds her mother that he had told her in the morning itself to take out his clothes and check them if they needed any mending.

Mrs. Peterson (Mrs. F) says she no longer likes mending.

Cyril is irritated. He his back saying such rudeness would invite more rudeness from other members of the family.

Mrs. Peterson (Mrs. F) is adamant. She says she can’t be forced to do chores she does not like. Just as Cyril’s Union protects his right to refuse jobs he dislikes, she has decided not to do things she loathes.

Cyril is confused to see his mother talking so assertively.

Doris comes in with a crest-fallen face and sullen mood. She wears an ordinary dress.

Mrs. Peterson (Mrs. F) comments that even a dull man like Charlie wouldn’t like his girl to wear such an un-attractive dress.

Doris is hurt and distraught. She blames her mother for spoiling her mood.

Unaware of what had gone on between his sister and mother some time ago, he asks Doris if anything was wrong. Doris asks him to stay off.
Mrs. Peterson (Mrs. F) gets up to look for some stout (a very strong beer) in the kitchen. Cyril is quite surprised to see his mother, otherwise a very sober lady, craving for such hard drink.
Both Doris and Cyril are surprised to see their mother behave so unusually. They exchange notes about their strange experience with their mother. It was so un-motherly!
Both the siblings are totally confused to find their soft, patronizing and obliging mother behave so differently and indifferently, refusing to do the tasks she had been doing for years.
Doris wonders if she is having a hang-over of some hard drink she had earlier.
The brother and sister laugh loudly imagining how their daddy would react on seeing their mother with such a strange demeanour.
Around that time, Mrs. Peterson (Mrs. F) enters the scene with the bottle of stout and a half-filled glass. Doris and Cyril instantly fall silent.
Mrs. Peterson (Mrs. F) appears aloof and conceited. She chides her two grown-up children to stop behaving like kids and do things themselves. Saying this, she sits down on the sofa contentedly.
The siblings protest mildly. They say why they can not share a laugh. The mother retorts saying they can always do so if they can make their mother share the fun.
Doris says she wouldn’t understand the jokes of young folks.
Page 42, 43, 44 and 45
Mrs. Peterson (Mrs. F) has more scorn to pour on her children. She says their jokes are stale and boring.
It irritates Doris more (as intended).
The mother says she can’t be at their beck and call all the time.
Cyril is annoyed. He says if she does not make him a cup of tea, he will manage it anyway.
His mother, sipping the stout, asks him to go ahead and do his things himself.
Cyril protests saying it was insensitive as he had been at work all day.
Doris claims she too was busy the whole day.
Cyril rubs the point again saying he had worked for eight long hours.
The mother says she too had already put in eight hours.
Both her son and daughter are not ready to give her the credit.
Mrs. Peterson (Mrs. F) asserts it is going to be 40-hour week for her too from now on. She says she would be resting and enjoying her time this week end – like her ‘working’ son and daughter.
The mother’s stern declaration stuns Doris and Cyril. They exchange glances and gape at their mother. The latter is unruffled.
Cyril goes into the kitchen to get something to eat. He is resentful and resigned to his fate.
Doris is baffled by the unfolding scenario. She proceeds to her mother and demands to know if indeed she was going to keep away from chores on Saturday and Sundays.
Mrs. Peterson (Mrs. F) gets the opportunity she was looking for. She says she can do some small chores like doing up the bed etc., but only if she is asked very politely and thanked sincerely for her magnanimity. Any indication of ordering or demanding would see her going out of the house for two days for outdoor recreation, she averred.
Doris is completely flummoxed to hear her mother threatening to go out for two complete days.

Mrs. Peterson (Mrs. F) refuses to change her stand. She maintains she is as entitled to her weekly offs as anyone else in the family.

It leaves Doris more worried. She is apprehensive about her mother’s strange new ways. Quite perplexed, she demands to know where her mother would go and with whom.

The mother snapped she would choose her place and her companion the same way Doris chooses.

Doris contends that she is young, and so, she deserves the freedom.

Her mother counters it saying her age and experience in life enables her to make the right decision about the place and the friend for the outing. Doris’s lack of maturity could make her err and then repent for choosing a wrong person to go out with.

Doris asks inquisitively if she (her mother) had ‘hit’ (found) a companion.

Mrs. Peterson (Mrs. F) shows her true colours. She blurts out that she would ‘hit’ Doris with something if she didn’t stop asking such silly questions.

The rudeness of her mother hits Doris like a storm. She is as perplexed as she is humiliated. Doris protests strongly.

Mrs. Peterson (Mrs. F) reprimands her daughter strongly. She says if Doris considers herself matured to choose Charlie Spence, she should show the same maturity in behaving decently with her mother.

George, the father and master of the house, appears in the scene. He wonders why there are so many sparks flying.

Doris sobs to invite sympathy from him.

George tries to understand why there was so much rancor between the mother and the daughter.

Mrs. Peterson (Mrs. F) bluntly asks him to find out from his daughter.

George looks around vacantly until his eyes fall on the bottle of stout in his wife’s hand.

Page 44 ..

George is puzzled. He wants to know why she was drinking stout at such an odd time of the day.

His wife says she just likes it.

Addressing his wife by her first name Annie, George says it was so unusual for her to drink stout like this.

She declares that it is going to be her habit from then on.

George does no attempt to conceal his utter disgust at Annie’s (Mrs. Peterson) new fad.

Mrs. Peterson (Mrs. F) retorts that he should not expect her to be perfectly agreeable always.

George can’t understand what his wife means.

She decides to rub her point further saying he is in for nastier surprises.

George says he dislikes being subjected to surprises. Then he proceeds to say that due to some function in thye club, he was not going to drink tea.

Pat comes the reply from his wife that there was no tea, after all.

George is somewhat surprised. He asks if she had not made tea for her.

Mrs. Peterson has no apologies for not making tea.

George is hurt and unable to figure out his wife’s reply. He wants to know if he had needed tea, what would have happened.

Mrs. Peterson virtually explodes with disapproval. She unilaterally abrogates the family’s right to make tea for each of them, including George, the master of the house. She asks her husband if he could expect such blind compliance at his club. She says his getting annoyed at tea being kept ready for him (when he didn’t want it) was totally uncalled for. His club people would not like such show of anger, she quipped.

George is distraught.

Mrs. Peterson (Mrs. F) fires another salvo at her husband reeling from her earlier show of defiance. She says such bad temper would invite more ridicule for him at the club – worse than what he is facing now.

Page 45…

George does not believe that his club people will have any occasion to laugh at him.

Mrs. Peterson (Mrs. F) makes a deliberate attempt to belittle her husband. She says that they call him all sorts of names behind his back because they don’t like his pompous and bloated personality. She even says that they call him Mr. Pompy-ompy Pearson.

George protests quite visibly.

Mrs. Peterson (Mrs. F) does not cease4 her tirade. She wonders why her husband spends such long hours at the club. Even she accuses him of going with another woman.

Soon Cyril enters the scene with a glass of milk and a cake on a plate.

George uses his son as a witness to counter his wife’s derogatory assertions. He urges his son to tell his mother that the club people never ridicule him either openly or covertly.

Cyril makes a startling revelation. He states that they, in fact, they do caricature him at times.

George leaves in a huff. His son’s statement comes as a bolt from the blue. He is indeed very hurt.

After his father leaves, Cyril pulls up his mother for having broached the matter so insensitively.

His mother has no sense of guilt. On the contrary she exudes happiness at having called a spade a spade. Quite snidely, she says that his father is inviting ridicule at the club by hanging around there too long and too often.

Cyril does not quite agree.

Page 46 ..

Mrs. Peterson (Mrs. F) takes a pot shot at his son. She says he is too flippant a character to merit much recognition. She accuses him of spending too much time and money on silly pastimes like dog races and dirt tracks etc.

Cyril resents his mother’s critical remarks. He maintains that he needs some avenue for his own recreation.

His mother, however, is convinced that such entertainment is worthless and vacuous.

Some vigorous knocking at the door is heard.

Cyril says it could be for him and hurries off.

He renters saying it was Mrs. Fitzgerald, their neighbor. He wonders why the woman wants to come in.

He is pulled up by his mother for being so offensive towards her good friend. She asks him to be more respectful towards her wise friend.

Mrs. Fitzgerald (Mrs. P) comes in and says she wants to know if everything is fine.

Cyril replies in the negative.

His mother asks him to shut up.   She hurls very nasty abuses to Cyril.

Mrs. Fitzgerald (Mrs. P) appears a bit embarrassed and sorry for Cyril.

Mrs. Peterson (Mrs. F) sternly tells her friend Mrs. Fitzgerald (Mrs. P) to stop intervening in her family matters.

Cyril is almost at breaking point after such pummeling from his mother.

Page 47 …

Mrs. Fitzgerald (Mrs. P) recoils in horror on seeing the salvos her friend is firing and the rancor being created in the household because of that.

Mrs. Peterson (Mrs. F) is not the least worried. She assures her friend that she is undoing what she has done for years trying to pander to everyone’s wishes.

Mrs. Peterson (Mrs. F) boastfully tells her friend how she reproached her husband George for frequenting the club so often despite being called names at his back.

Mrs. Fitzgerald (Mrs. P) is nervous to hear this.

Mrs. Peterson (Mrs. F) brushes aside her friend’s apprehensions and asserts that all her family members will soon be cut to size and soon capitulate before her meekly.

George enters the scene. He looks angry and unhappy. He is somewhat discomforted to see his neighbor seated by his wife.

Mrs. Peterson (Mrs. F) continues to behave as rudely as she could. It is a deliberate attempt to humiliate her husband as much as she can. Quite derisively, she asks George if he considers himself as the Duke of Edinburgh.

George blurts out the list of insulting behavior his wife has shown to him and Doris.

Page 48 …

Utterly embarrassed, and unprepared for the position she has found herself, Mrs. Fitzgerald (Mrs. P) breaks down.

She faces the fury of George who asks her to leave.

As she prepares to leave, Mrs. Peterson (Mrs. F) stops her. She tells very sternly to George that he must show minimum courtesy to her friends when they come. He can not be rude to them.

Mrs. Peterson (Mrs. F) continues her belligerent stance towards George. She taunts her husband suggesting that he should go off the club that evening and stay there overnight. The people in the club can entertain themselves at his cost by passing derogatory comments.

George is hurt and humiliated. Shedding all his inhibitions, he growls at his wife and asks her why she has been so abrasive in her manners towards everyone in the family.

Mrs. Peterson (Mrs. F) roars back at her angry husband. Countering fire with fire, she threatens to slap her husband if he continues his aggressive manners.

Mrs. Fitzgerald (Mrs. P) intervenes to calm things down. Inadvertently, she calls her friend as Mrs. Fitzgerald instead of Mrs. Peterson. This gaffe leaves George angrier. He tells his wife to behave herself.

Page 49

There is no remission in Mrs. Pearson’s (Mars. P) thunder. She throws a counter challenge at her husband.

George is on the point of exploding.

Doris enters and is greeted by the visitor. She is crestfallen.

As if adding insult to injury, Mrs. Fitzgerald (Mrs. P) asks if she is going out with Charlie Spence that night.

She protests only to be pulled up by Mrs. Peterson (Mrs. F). She sharply rebukes her daughter for being so uncouth to the elderly neighbor.

Doris looks at her father for sympathy. In despair, he says he has already given up.

Mrs. Peterson (Mrs. F) admonishes her daughter, Doris. With a very commanding voice, she makes Doris to speak to Mrs. Fitzgerald politely. Doris says she had to abandon her plan to go out with her boyfriend as her mother spoiled her mood by criticizing her boyfriend. She gets the customary sympathy from the visitor.

A verbal duel erupts between the two elderly women as Mrs. Fitzgerald (Mrs. P) intervenes on Doris’s behalf. The two ladies exchange sharp words over this matter.

George wants to pull up his wife for her coarse behavior towards her friend.

Mrs. Peterson (Mrs. F) targets her jibe at her husband. Quite sarcastically, she advises George to go to club where he can spend his leisure. She cautions Doris to stop whining.

Mrs. Fitzgerald (Mrs. P) stands up in disgust. She says she has had enough.

Doris and her father look perplexed.

Page 50

Mrs. Fitzgerald (Mrs. P) stares at George and Doris. She says she wants to have some private conversation with her friend Mrs. Peterson (Mrs. F). While saying this, she was about to call her friend as Mrs. Fitz.., but corrected herself in the nick of time.

George looks relieved to find that the unbearable situation could come to an end through the neighbour’s help. Doris also leaves.

Now the two ladies sit together at the table.

Mrs. Fitzgerald (Mrs. P) is restless to go back to her original form. She feels she things have come to a head, and they must retrace their path.

Her friend feels the family members are already reeling under the onslaught, but need some more dressing down.

Mrs. Fitzgerald (Mrs. P) pleads with her friend to see the all round misery, and return to their original forms. She coaxes her friend to agree.

Finally, her friend relents. The two ladies chant the magic mantras to undo their conversion. They return to their original avatars smoothly.

Mrs. Fitzgerald cautions her docile friend not to re-adopt her earlier soft attitude to her family members.

Page 51 …

Mrs. Fitzgerald feels that the family members were let off too soon. Some more drubbing was in order, she quips.

Mrs. Peterson hopes her husband and children will mend their manners, but she worries thinking how she will explain what has happened that far.

Mrs. Fitzgerald reprimands her friend and virtually commands her not to let the cat out of the bag. Now that they have been cut to size, Mrs. Peterson must not let them ride roughshod over her feelings, suggested Mrs. Fitzgerald.

Mrs. Fitzgerald advises her good-natured friends to let her family members do some chores themselves and give her a helping hand in cooking. In the free time, she could do anything to please herself – like playing rummy.

With her firm advice to assert her authority in the household, Mrs. Fitzgerald begins to leave the house.

George, Doris and Cyril walk in calmly looking apprehensively at the mistress of the house.

Page 52 …

Chastened by her earlier brush with her mother, Doris begins to talk softly and warmly to her mother.

Mrs. Peterson reciprocates the new warmth and tells her about the work she could do as she is staying back in the house.

Mrs. Fitzgerald gives a stern parting glance to her friend to remind her.

Mrs. Peterson proposes to play a game or two of rummy with her family members after which the son and daughter could prepare supper. She says she has to talk to their father.

All of them agree without a whimper. Good humour seems to pervade the family.

Mrs. Fitzgerald leaves as all of them bid her a warm good bye.




—————————-To be continued————————


Villa for Sale by Sacha Guitry

September 1, 2015 at 3:21 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Drama — Villa for Sale by Sacha Guitry

Maid: Won’t Madame be sorry?

Juliette: Not at all. Mind you, if someone had bought it on the very day I placed it for sale, then I might have felt sorry
because I would have wondered if I hadn’t been a fool to sell at all. But the sign has been hanging on the gate for over a month now and I am beginning to be afraid that the day I bought it was when I was the real fool.


Explanation …. Juliette, an elderly lady, is the owner of a villa which is not exactly like a spacious sprawling house the name suggests. She wants to sell it off, and, therefore, has put up a ‘For Sale’ board on the gate. However, there has hardly been any inquiry for the property. This has left Juliette a bit sad and anxious. The maid wants to comfort her employer by asking if the dearth of prospective buyers was causing some worry for her.

Juliette does not quite like the suggestion because it seems to kindle a degree of anxiety in her mind. She has some contradictory thoughts in her mind. She tells the maid that if a buyer would have come to buy the house the day after the notice was put, and closed the deal by paying the full cost, she could have surmised that the villa was under-sold. However, with no buyer coming forward in the last one month, Juliette was worried that the property was over-priced, and she had made an error of judgment by buying it in the first place.

Maid.. All the same …… hung it yourself, Madame
Juliette … I know, you see. ……………… lady would call?

Explanation …. The maid, always eager to pamper her mistress’s ego, told Juliette that she had held back hanging the board till the night fell and it was all dark. This was enough to conclude that Juliette was in n tearing hurry to sell the villa. Juliette said she put it up in the night’s darkness as passers-by can’t read the board at night, and, thus, she could delay the sale for a day and prolong her stay a bit longer. Juliette thought buyers would throng her villa the next day vying to outbid each other in an effort to buy the prized property. To the land lady’s disappointment, none came although seven days went by. She felt awkward while looking at the solitary board that seemed to yearn for buyers’ eyes. To add to her misery, her neighbours appeared to look at her with quizzical eyes. That made her feel somewhat diminished before them.
Now, it is a month since the board was hung. Yet, not a single buyer has approached Juliette. Her mind is getting restless. Now, she wants the sale to go through, somehow. She is ready to lower the price, if that could lead to an early closure.
Apparently, Juliette had bought the property for fifty thousand francs some years back. Now, she wants just one hundred thousand francs. Quite a bargain Juliette feels. She reckons that she can get up to two hundred thousand francs for the villa. But, it is a vain hope. Juliette is now ready to scale down her expectations, to get rid of the uncertainty. In the last one week, some four buyers had come to inquire, but they appeared to be non-serious ones. It has heightened Juliette’s angst. Lost in these thoughts, she asks the maid about the time a buyer coming through an estate agency is going to call.

Maid: Between four and five, Madame.

Juliette: Then we must wait for her.

Maid: It was a nice little place for you to spend the weekends, Madame.

Juliette: Yes . . . but times are hard and business is as bad as it can be.
Maid: In that case, Madame, is it a good time to sell?

Juliette: No, perhaps not. But still. . . there are moments in life when it’s the right time to buy, but it’s never the right time to sell. For fifteen years everybody has had money at the same time and nobody has wanted to sell.
Now nobody has any money and nobody wants to buy. But still.. even so … it would be funny if I couldn’t manage to sell a place here, a stone’s throw from Joinville, the French Hollywood, when all I’m asking is a paltry hundred thousand!

Explanation …. The caller will call between four and five, informs the maid. Juliette has no other way but to wait. The maid wants to keep her mistress amused. She says a word or two in praise of the villa. Juliette smiles wryly, and says she was going through hard times.
The maid persists in her attempt to please her employer. She asks if it was the opportune time to sell the villa. Juliette slips into a contemplative mood. She says the buyers are rare because business has nose-dived. Yet, she feels the property so close to Joinville, the Hollywood equivalent of Hollywood, is a posh one. So, she should get buyers. After all, she was asking for just one hundred thousand francs, not a very great amount.

Maid: That reminds me, there is a favour I want to ask you, Madame,

Juliette: Yes, what is it, my girl?

Maid: Will you be kind enough to let me off between nine and noon tomorrow morning?

Juliette: From nine till noon?

Maid: They have asked me to play in a film at the Joinville Studio.

Juliette: You are going to act for the cinema?

Maid: Yes, Madame.

Juliette: What kind of part are you going to play?

Maid: A maid, Madame. They prefer the real article. They say maids are born; maids not made maids. They are giving me a hundred francs a morning for doing it.

Juliette: One hundred francs!

Maid: Yes, Madame. And as you only pay me four hundred a month, I can’t very well refuse, can I, Madame?

Juliette: A hundred francs! It’s unbelievable!

Maid: Will you permit me, Madame, to tell you something I’ve suddenly thought of?

Juliette: What?

Maid: They want a cook in the film as well. They asked me if I
knew of anybody suitable. You said just now, Madame, that times were hard.
… Would you like me to get you the engagement?

Juliette: What?

Maid: Every little helps, Madame. Especially, Madame, as you have such a funny face.

Juliette: Thank you.

Maid (taking no notice). They might take you on for eight days, Madame. That would mean eight hundred francs. It’s really money for nothing. You would only have to peel potatoes one minute and make an omlette the next, quite easy. I could show you how to do it, Madame.

Juliette: But how kind of you. … Thank God I’m not quite so hard up as that yet!

Maid: Oh, Madame, I hope you are not angry with me?

Juliette: Not in the least.

Maid: You see, Madame, film acting is rather looked up to round here.
Everybody wants to do it. Yesterday the butcher didn’t open his shop, he was being shot all the morning. Today, nobody could find the four policemen, they were taking part in Monsieur Milton’s fight scene in his new film. Nobody thinks about anything else round here now. You see, they pay so well. The manager is offering a thousand francs for a real beggar who has had nothing to eat for two days. Some people have all the luck! Think it over, Madame.

Explanation … Sensing her mistress’s friendly mood, the maid asks for a few hours break the next morning. She says she has got a chance to do a small role as a maid in a film being shot in the nearby Joinville Studio. She got the offer as the film people needed a real maid, not a made-up one, to do the role. They had offered her a very handsome payment of one hundred francs for this fleeting appearance.
Juliette is both amused and surprised to hear this.
The maid has more surprises up her sleeve for her mistress. She says the film crew are looking for someone to do the role of a cook. She dares to suggest that her mistress could do the role admirably as she has a nicely sculpted face befitting for the role. The job involves peeling potatoes and making omelets. She tries to entice Juliette to accept the role saying the role would last for eight days, and works out to quite a tidy sum. As final push, the maid says that acting in films is considered glamorous in the town. People in the locality were more than eager to do roles in films. She narrated how the butcher kept his shop closed to do the small role he got in the film. Even four of the local policemen had taken a day off to do a fight scene in Monsieur Milton’s fight scene. The film crew were offering a thousand francs to enlist the services of a real-life beggar with a truly famished look. Reeling off information like this, she tried to bring the lady around to doing the cook role.

Juliette: Thanks, I will.

Maid: If you would go and see them with your hair slicked back the way you do when you are dressing,

Madame, I am sure they would engage you right away. Because really, Madame, you look too comical!

Juliette: Thank you! (The bell rings.) I am going upstairs for a moment. If that is the lady, tell her I will not be long. It won’t do to give her the impression that
I am waiting for her.
Maid: Very good, Madame.

(Exit JULIETTE, as she runs off to open the front door.) Oh, if I could become a Greta Garbo! Why can’t I? Oh! (Voices heard off, a second later, the MAID returns showing in GASTON and JEANNE.)

Maid: If you will be kind enough to sit down, I will tell Madame you are here.

Jeanne: Thank you.

(Exit MAID)

Gaston: And they call that a garden! Why, it’s a yard with a patch of grass in
the middle.

Jeanne: But the inside of the house seems very nice, Gaston.

Gaston: Twenty-five yards of Cretonne and a dash of paint… you can get that

Jeanne: That’s not fair. Wait until you’ve seen the rest of it.

Gaston: Why should I? I don’t want to see the kitchen to know that the garden is a myth and that the salon is impossible.

Jeanne: What’s the matter with it?

Gaston: Matter? Why, you can’t even call it a salon.

Jeanne: Perhaps there is another.

Gaston: Never mind the other. I’m talking about this one.

Jeanne: We could do something very original with it.

Gaston: Yes, make it an annex to the garden.

Jeanne: No, but a kind of study.

Gaston: A study? Good Lord! You’re not thinking of going in for studying
are you?

Jeanne: Don’t be silly!

You know perfectly well what a modern study is

Explanation .. Juliette consents to her maid’s proposition. The maid still can’t stop coaxing her mistress to do the cook’s role. She said Juliette’s hair-do is just right for the role. She says the film people would need little time to decide on her participation.

The bell rings disrupting the duo’s conversation.

Juliette feels the visitor is one of the buyers who was due to come around that time. In order not to give an impression that she is no great hurry to sell her villa, decides to retreat to the first floor, so that the buyer is made to wait for a while. She rushes off fast instructing her maid accordingly. The prospect of acting in a film lifts her mood. For a while, she fancies herself as another Greta Garbo – the celebrated actress of the silver screen.

Soon the maid opens the front door and ushers in the visitors. It is not the buyer who was scheduled to come. Instead, it is husband-wife team. Gaston and his wife Jeanne have come to see property.

The maid leaves after making the couple seated comfortably. The husband and wife are alone.

Gaston talks very disapprovingly about the villa. Particularly, he refers to the tiny patch of grass at the centre of a small vacant area which has been described as a garden by the seller.

Jeanne has a different view. She argues that the house’s interiors are quite upscale.

That triggers another spate of derisive comments from her husband Gaston. He says the property is just ordinary.

Jeanne is not silenced. She pleads with Gaston to hold back his comments till he sees the whole house.

Gaston seems to bristle with anger. He continues to pass caustic comments about the property. He says the salon is too ordinary to be called a salon.

Jeanne says they could modify it to their needs, later.

Gaston grumbles that it is fit to be broken down and its space can be merged with the garden.

Jeanne says it could be renovated to be a study.

Gaston chides his wife for making such a suggestion. An argument is soon to erupt.

Gaston: No, I don’t.

Jeanne: Well. .. er.. . it’s a place where . .. where one gathers . ..

Gaston: Where one gathers what?

Jeanne: Don’t be aggravating, please! If you don’t want the house, tell me so at once and we’ll say no more about it.

Gaston: I told you before we crossed the road that I didn’t want it. As soon as you see a sign ‘Villa for Sale’, you have to go inside and be shown over

Jeanne: But we are buying a villa, aren’t we?

Gaston: We are not.

Jeanne: What do you mean: ‘We are not’?
Then we’re not looking for a villa?

Gaston: Certainly not. It’s just an idea you’ve had stuck in your head for the past month.

Jeanne: But we’ve talked about nothing else….

Gaston: You mean you’ve talked about nothing else. I’ve never talked about it.
You see, you’ve talked about it so much that you thought that we are talking. … You haven’t even noticed that I’ve never
joined in the conversation. If you say that you are looking for a villa, then that’s different!

Jeanne: Well… at any rate . . . whether I’m looking for it or we’re looking for it, the one thing that matters anyway is that I’m looking for it for

Gaston: It’s not for us . . . it’s for your parents. You are simply trying to make me buy a villa so that you can put your father and your mother in it. You see, I know you. If you got what you want, do you realize what would happen? We would spend the month of August in the villa, but your parents would take possession of it every year from the beginning of April until the end of September. What’s more they would bring the whole tribe of your sister’s children with them. No! I am very fond of your family, but not quite so fond as

Jeanne: Then why have you been looking over villas for the past week?

Gaston: I have not been looking over them, you have, and it bores me.

Jeanne: Well…

Gaston: Well what?

Jeanne: Then stop being bored and buy one. That will finish it. We won’t talk about it any more.

Gaston: Exactly!

Jeanne: As far as that goes, what of it?
Suppose I do want to buy a villa for papa and mamma? What of it?

Explanation ….. Gaston and Jeanne get into some arguments about the house. Gaston is averse to the idea where as his wife is quite open to the idea of buying the property. Gaston finds fault with everything about the house. On the contrary, Jeanne likes it.
Jeanne’s nerves are frayed as her husband tends to bury the idea. It seems clear that Jeanne saw the ‘Villa for Sale’, and walked in to see it. Her husband had opposed the idea from the very outset.
Gaston accuses Jeanne of being fickle in deciding to buy a property, when both had discussed the idea only perfunctorily. He shoots down the idea almost contemptuously.
Jeanne is hurt and resentful at her husband’s aloofness. She reminds him that the property would be acquired for their joint use, not her alone.
Gaston, seething in anger at his wife’s obstinacy, hits back with some comments that are bound to annoy Jeanne more. He says the villa would be occupied by her parents for most parts of the year – from April to September. The parents could even bring their grandchildren along! In contrast, the two would live there only in August.
Jeanne is sore and indignant at the way Gaston shrugs off the suggestion that the decision to buy a house was a joint decision, not a whim of hers.
Gaston: My darling. I quite admit that you want to buy a villa for your father and mother. But please admit on your side that I don’t want to pay for it.

Jeanne: There’s my dowry.

Gaston: Your dowry! My poor child, we have spent that long ago.

Jeanne: But since then you have made a fortune.

Gaston: Quite so. I have, but you haven’t. Anyway, there’s no use discussing it. I will not buy a villa and that ends it.

Jeanne: Then it wasn’t worth while coming in.

Gaston: That’s exactly what I told you at the door.

Jeanne: In that case, let’s go.

Gaston: By all means.

Jeanne: What on earth will the lady think of us.

Gaston: I have never cared much about anybody’s
opinion. Come along.(He takes his hat and goes towards the door.
At this moment JULIETTE enters.)

Juliette: Good afternoon, Madame… Monsieur….

Jeanne: How do you do, Madame?

Gaston: Good day.

Juliette: Won’t you sit down? (They all three sit.) Is your first impression a good one?

Jeanne: Excellent.

Juliette: I am not in the least surprised. It is a most delightful little place. Its appearance is modest, but it has a charm of its own. I can tell by just looking at you that it would suit you admirably, as you suit it, if you will permit me to say so. Coming from me, it may surprise you to hear that you already appear to be at home. The choice of a frame is not so easy when you have such a
delightful pastel to place in it. (She naturally indicates JEANNE who is flattered.) The house possesses a great many advantages. Electricity, gas, water, telephone, and drainage. The bathroom is beautifully fitted and the roof was entirely repaired last year.

Jeanne: Oh, that is very important, isn’t it, darling?

Gaston: For whom?

Juliette: The garden is not very large . . . it’s not long and it’s not wide, but…

Gaston: But my word, it is high.

Explanation .. The argument gets nastier and nastier. Jeanne brazenly asserts that she wants to buy a house for her parents. Gaston demands to know if she could pay for the house.
Jeanne reminds her husband that she had bought a good amount of dowry that can be utilized for the purpose.
Gaston pooh-poohs the idea saying that the money had been spent long ago.
Jeanne reminds her husband that he had made enough money utilizing the dowry she had bought. Gaston says that he had put in enough hard work to make the money. He proceeds to end the acrimony by unequivocally declaring that he was not going to buy the property under any circumstances.
With the bitter argument lingering in their minds, they prepare to leave.
Jeanne feels it would be bad manners to leave the place abruptly without informing the land lady.
But, Gaston is determined to leave.
Just then Juliette comes in.
She exchanges pleasantries with the visitors and makes them seated. Then she proceeds to sing the praise of her property. As a clever salesman, she tries to subtly flatter Jeanne by indicating that a beautiful woman deserves a beautiful home. It had its desired effect on Jeanne. Then, she proceeds to describe how comfortable her villa is with all the amenities gas, water, telephone etc. available.
Jeanne can not hold back her fascination.
Gaston prepares to dampen his wife’s enthusiasm.
Juliette modestly admits that the garden is rather small in size.
Gaston is sarcastic.

Juliette: That’s not exactly what I meant. Your husband is very witty, Madame. As I was saying, the garden is not very large, but you see, it is surrounded by other gardens. . . .

Gaston: On the principle of people who like children and haven’t any can always go and live near a school.

Jeanne: Please don’t joke,

Gaston. What this lady says is perfectly right. Will you tell me, Madame, what price you are asking for the villa?

Juliette: Well, you see, I must admit, quite frankly, that I don’t want to sell it any more.

Gaston : (rising) Then there’s nothing further to be said about it.

Juliette: Please, I…

Jeanne: Let Madame finish, darling.

Juliette: Thank you. I was going to say that for exceptional people like you, I don’t mind giving it up. One arranges a house in accordance with one’s own tastes – if you understand what I mean – to suit oneself, as it were – so one would not like to think that ordinary people had come to live in it. But to you, I
can see with perfect assurance, I agree. Yes, I will sell it to you.

Jeanne: It’s extremely kind of you.

Gaston: Extremely. Yes … but …er… what’s the price, Madame?

Juliette: You will never believe it…

Gaston: I believe in God and so you see …

Juliette: Entirely furnished with all the fixtures, just as it is, with the exception of that one little picture signed by Corot. I don’t know if you have ever heard of that painter, have you?

Gaston: No, never.

Juliette: Neither have I. But I like the colour and I want to keep it, if you don’t mind. For the villa itself, just as it stands, two hundred and fifty thousand francs. I repeat, that I would much rather dispose of it at less than its value to
people like yourselves, than to give it up, even for more money, to someone
whom I didn’t like. The price must seem…

Gaston: Decidedly excessive….

Juliette: Oh, no!

Gaston: Oh, yes, Madame.

Juliette: Well, really, I must say I’m..

Explanation … Juliette tries to gloss over Gaston’s sarcasm about the small-sized garden in her villa. She tells Jeanne that her husband is quite witty. She adds that her tiny garden space is surrounded by larger gardens and that yields the visual delight to the inmates of her villa.

Gaston has more sarcasm ready to belittle Juliette’s villa. He says a childless couple can live beside a school and conveniently satisfy their need for children.

Jeanne obviously does not like her husband’s diatribe against the villa’s garden. She pulls up Gaston.

Gaston changes gear and asks Juliette about the price she expects for her villa.

Juliette starts her sales pitch a bit clumsily. She says she does not want to sale the house.

Without waiting for Juliette to complete her offer, Gaston assumes the sale is aborted.

Jeanne implores her husband to be patient.

Juliette begins to make her offer. She says she would sell her villa to people with fine tastes, and she finds Gaston and his wife to be the right choice as they appear to be suave and aristocratic.

Finally, Juliette comes up with her offer. She says the price is two hundred and fifty thousand francs. She will sell everything in the villa in ‘as-is-where-is’ condition except a painting by Corot that she would retain.

Gaston instantly says that the price is exorbitant.

Juliette sighs indignantly.

Gaston remains firm in his opinion.

Gaston: Quite so, life is full of surprises, isn’t it?

Juliette: You think it dear at two hundred and fifty thousand? Very well, I can’t be fairer than this: make me an offer.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………[Lines omitted.]…………………………………………………………………………

Jeanne: If you please, Madame.(Exit JULIETTE) Jeanne(to her husband): You’re not over-polite, are you?

Explanation …..Seeing Gaston’s staunch disapproval of the price, Juliette pleads with him to give his offer.

Gaston says his offer will be much less. Juliette pleads with him to make his offer anyway.
Jeanne, too, tells her husband to make an offer.
Gaston quotes sixty thousand francs.

Both Jeanne and Juliette sigh disappointedly at the low price quoted by Gaston.
Gaston stands his ground. He maintains that the villa does not command a higher price.

Juliette reiterates her stand, though a little diluted. She says she will never sell her villa for anything less than two hundred thousand francs – down from two hundred fifty thousand.

Gaston says, as the seller, she is within her rights to set her price.

Juliette makes a brazen sales pitch. She says, she could be generous enough to sell the villa to them (Gaston and Jeanne) for two hundred thousand francs.

Gaston withdraws from the deal gracefully and diplomatically.

Juliette prepares to bring down the curtain on the negotiation.

Gaston says ‘Good day’ before leaving.

On the spur of the moment, Jeanne intervenes and suggests to her husband to have a last look at the upper floor before bidding good bye.

Juliette seizes the opportunity with relish. She offers to take the couple to the upper floor.

Gaston again sulks, refusing to go upstairs. Juliette agrees to leave him behind and take Jeanne alone.
Juliette exits.

Jeanne pauses to chide her husband for being impolite.

Gaston: Oh, my darling! For Heaven’s sake, stop worrying me about this shanty. Go and examine the bathroom and come back quickly. (Exit JEANNE
following JULIETTE) Gaston (to himself): Two hundred thousand for a few yards of land . . . She must think I’m crazy. . . .(The door bell rings and, a
moment later, the MAID re-enters showing in Mrs. Al Smith)

Maid: If Madame would be kind enough to come in.

Mrs Al Smith: See here now, I tell you I’m in a hurry. How much do they want for this house?

Maid: I don’t know anything about it, Madame.

——————-Lines omitted——————————–

Gaston: I? … Oh, I’d love to!
Mrs Al Smith: Then what about it? I haven’t more than five minutes to spare.

Explanation … Gaston makes no attempt to hide his disgust about his wife’s persistence with the villa that he considers as appalling. He asks Jeanne to see the toilets to form her opinion.

Jeanne and Juliette both exit leaving Gaston alone. He reflects on the price of two hundred thousand francs mentioned by the landlady. He convinces himself that the price is too high to merit any consideration.

The door bell rings and the maid brings in one lady named Mrs. Al Smith. She appears to be a buyer who is in great haste. She asks the maid about the price. Naturally, the maid says she does not know.

Mrs. Al Smith is an American. She bears all the hallmarks of being so. She gruffly asks why the price has not been mentioned in the ‘Villa for Sale’ board. She appears to be in a tearing hurry to finalize the purchase as she had many other important jobs to do. Quite curtly she asks the maid to rush and ask the owner (Juliette) to come and talk to her.

Her eyes fall on Gaston whom she mistakes to be Juliette’s husband. Under the notion that he is the owner of the villa, she demands to know the price of the villa.

Not knowing how to respond, Gaston asks her to take her seat.
She says she wants to close the deal right away and does not have the time to sit and talk.

There is further confusion awaiting to come. When Mrs. Al Smith asks Gaston where his wife (wrongly thinking her to be the owner) was. Quite meekly, Gaston says she is upstairs.

Mrs. Al Smith, being in great haste, wants to conclude the deal with Gaston!

On being asked if Gaston would like to consult with his wife on this matter, he declines the suggestion.
Mrs. Al Smith is pleasantly (and so mistakenly) surprised to see Gaston, though French, taking decisions independently.

Mrs. Al Smith again stresses that she has just five minutes to close the deal.

Gaston: Sit down for three of them anyway. To begin with, this villa was built by my grandfather…

Mrs Al Smith: I don’t care a darn about your

Gaston: Neither do I. … But I must tell you that… er…

Mrs Al Smith: Listen, just tell me the price.

Gaston: Let me explain that…
———————————Lines omitted———————————-
Mrs Al Smith: What a pity you don’t try and copy us more.

Gaston: Copies are not always good. We could only imitate you and imitations are no better than parodies. We are so different. Think of it…. Europeans go to
America to earn money and Americans come to Europe to spend.

Explanation … Gaston requests Mrs. Al Smith to be seated for just three minutes. He says that the villa was built by his grandfather.

Mrs. Al Smith is rather boorish and impatient. She says she does not care for whoever built it. She has no patience to hear any blarney. She demands to know the price right away. She even refuses to see the villa. She says she wants to demolish it and build a new one. She just wants the price. She says she wants to be near Paramount, so it is the place, not the villa that interests her.

Mrs. Al Smith boastfully says that she is a big star.

Gaston is extraordinarily polite. He says that he will sell the villa, but would retain a painting that has been there since the time of his grandfather.

Mrs. Al Smith rubs the point that she is a rich forward-looking American, not tied to the past. There is some arrogance in her voice when she chides Gaston for not adopting American ways.

Gaston counters her politely saying Europeans can never be like Americans. He says Europeans go to America to make money where as Americans come to Europe to spend money.

Mrs Al Smith: Just the same, you ought to learn how to do business.

Gaston: We are learning now. We are practicing…

Mrs Al Smith: Well then, how much?

Gaston: The house! Let me see. … I should say three hundred thousand francs. . . . The same for everybody, you know. Even though you are an American, I wouldn’t dream of raising the price.
———————————–Lines omitted————————–

Mrs. Al Smith: When are you leaving?

Gaston: Well…er … I don’t quite know . . . whenever you like.

Mrs. Al Smith: Make it tomorrow and my architect can come on Thursday.
Good-bye. I’m delighted.

Explanation ….Gaston says Europeans are gradually trying to adopt the American ways. That flatters Mrs. Smith’s ego, possibly.

Gaston quotes the price as three hundred thousand francs.

Mrs. Al Smith seems to agree to the price showing no intention to bargain.

Gaston is immensely satisfied with himself, and feels lucky. He feels grateful to the buyer.

Mrs. Al Smith proceeds to write the check.

Gaston pretends to be looking for the pen in the drawer (as if he owns and lives in the house).

Mrs. Al Smith jokingly suggests to Gaston to buy a pen with the money he is going to get.

She puts the date on the check – 24th – the same day.

She hands over the cheque to Gaston suggesting that he put the payee’s name himself.

She says that she lives in Ritz Hotel, Vendome. She says her lawyer is Mr. Who, Rue Cambon. He will be in touch with Gaston to complete the paper work. Her architect would come on Thursday to carry forward the process.

Gaston: Delighted to hear it, Madame. (She goes and he looks at the cheque.)
It’s a very good thing in business when everyone is delighted! (At that
moment, JEANNE and JULIETTE return)

Gaston: Well?

Jeanne: Well… of course …it’s very charming. …

Juliette: Of course, as I told you, it’s not a large place. I warned you. There are two large bedrooms and one small one.
————————————-Line omitted———————-

Jeanne: What on earth are you driving at?

Gaston: Just trying to please you, darling.

Juliette: Yes, two hundred thousand is my lowest. Cash, of course.

Explanation … With the three thousand francs cheque in hand, Gaston’s mood is buoyant. He sees of Mrs. Al Smith most courteously and chuckles that the deal, fortunately, has left both the buyer and seller happy.

Jean and Juliette reappear in the scene.

Gaston wants to know Jeanne’s opinion on the villa after her inspection.
Jeanne speaks eloquently about the house. It encourages Juliette to add her voice to the praise of her villa.

Unaware of what has transpired when they both were away, Jeanne sadly says it was time to go as her husband would never agree to the purchase.

Juliette formally readies herself to let Gaston and Jeanne go.
Just then, Gaston steps in. He evinces interest in the villa. As Juliette nonchalantly describes the rooms in her villa again, Gaston becomes incredibly receptive.

Gaston’s sudden change of heart takes both Jeanne and Juliette by surprise.

Now, Gaston talks as if he is a great admirer of the villa. He seems to forget all the deficiencies of the house. He looks at his wife and says her parents, in their dotage, deserve a good house to stay. Saying this, he looks at Juliette and asks her to confirm her price at two hundred thousand francs.

Gaston’s sudden burst of enthusiasm for the house confounds his wife.

Juliette loses no time to affirm that the price was indeed two hundred thousand francs.

Gaston: Well, that’s fixed. I won’t argue about it. (He takes out his cheque book.)

Juliette: But there are so many things to be discussed before…

Gaston: Not at all. Only one thing. As I am not arguing about the price, as I’m not bargaining with you . . . well, you must be nice to me, you must allow me to keep this little picture which has kept me company while you and my wife
went upstairs.

Juliette: Very well. I’ll show you the garden, on the way out.(Exit JULIETTE)

Jeanne: What on earth have you done?

Gaston: I? Made a hundred thousand francs and a Corot!

Jeanne: But how?

Gaston: I’ll tell you later.


Example …. With unusual promptness, Gaston takes out his cheque book.

Juliette, surprised at Gaston’s readiness to close the deal and make the payment, mildly protests saying there are so many lose ends to be tied up.

Gaston makes his final plea. Reminding Juliette that he did not barghain at all on the price, he says he wants to retain the picture that he has begun to take so much fancy on.

Juliette agrees.

Deftly maintaining his composure to keep Juilette in the dark about the deal he has already cut with Mrs. Al Smith, Gaston magnanimously writes the cheque and hands it over to Juliette in exchange for her receipt.

Gaston hands over his card, and says his lawyer will contact Juliette to complete the formalities.

To Juliette, immensely relieved and happy at the close of the transaction, he makes the most crucial request in a very innocuous manner: she must vacate the villa the next morning. This baffles Juliette somewhat, but with the cheque in her hand, she could hardly complain.
Instead of the morning, they mutually agree for the evening for the formal handover of the property.

Juliette exits.

Jeanne is flummoxed at the fast pace of developments. She chides her husband for the indiscretion to close the deal at such break-neck haste.

Gaston has more surprise in store for her. He says he has become richer by one hundred thousand francs after the transaction.

A dazed Jeanne wants to know how.

Gaston promises to explain everything soon.

Questions –answers to be posted soon.


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