The Luncheon: NBSE Class 11 Alternative English questions and answers

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Get here the summary, questions, answers, textbook solutions, extras, pdf of chapter 2 The Luncheon of NBSE Class 11 Alternative English. However, the given notes/solutions should only be used for references and should be modified/changed according to needs.

the luncheon

Summary: William Somerset Maugham penned the story “The Luncheon.” The story revolves around a woman who admires the author.  The story is based on an incident that occurred twenty years ago in Paris when the author was still living there. This is where he met his lady admirer. She’d read one of his books and written him a letter expressing her thoughts on it. 

Another letter stated her visit and her wish to have a small luncheon at the posh Foyots restaurant, where French senators dined. Maugham was not a wealthy guy and had never imagined himself in this situation, but he couldn’t say no to her. He calculated that the luncheon would cost no more than fifteen Francs, so he decided to eliminate coffee from his menu so that he would have plenty for the next two weeks. He scheduled their so-called “meeting” for Thursday at 12 p.m. The lady was in her forties, chatty but not particularly attractive. The author ordered the cheapest item on the menu, muttonchops, while she bought the most costly dishes on the table, salmon and Caviare.

She ordered white champagne after the meal. While she continued to enjoy the meal and spoke about art, literature, and music, William was preoccupied with the cost. The bill was astronomically high. When the waiter delivered the bill, the woman shoved him aside and placed an order for Asparagus, a dish that was highly pricey. Although the author’s heart fell and his mouth wet, he had to keep his emotions under check. She then ordered ice cream and coffee to add to his suffering. She kept proclaiming that she “never ate anything for luncheon, only a bite” while doing so. William began plotting how he could appear to be a victim of pick-pocketing. The head-waiter then stepped up to the table with a large basket full of enormous peaches adding further to the bill.

Finally, the bill was settled. The narrator was left with only a few Francs for the tip and no money left for the month. The narrator, on the other hand, got his last retribution when he met the woman after twenty years and discovered she weighed 21 stones.

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A. Answer the following questions briefly.

1. What was the author’s condition like when the woman wrote to him for an appointment to be followed by lunch?

Answer: The author was struggling to make ends meet in a cramped Paris flat. Given the economic situation at the time, visiting an expensive restaurant such as Foyot’s was out of the question because it would have a negative impact on his monthly budget.

2. What was the impression that the author had of the woman when they first met? 

Answer: The woman didn’t look as the author had imagined. She was, in fact, a forty-year-old woman who appeared formidable rather than young and beautiful. She had a lot of teeth that were white, huge, and even, and she was quite chatty.

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5. Why was the author past caring when he ordered coffee and ice cream? 

Answer: When the author ordered coffee and ice cream, he was “past caring” because he already knew the bill would be more than he had. He’d also made up his mind about how he’d behave if that occurred. It was pointless to worry about the money he needed to save for the rest of the month now.

B. Answer the following questions in detail.

1. Was the author flattered in some way that he agreed to meet the woman at the expensive restaurant?

Answer: Yes, in the story “The Luncheon” the narrator was flattered in some manner by the woman’s willingness to meet him at the posh restaurant. He is the ideal prey for such a seasoned expert in flattery because he is a young, inexperienced writer. We know he’s mindlessly and gladly rushing into the trap from the beginning of the story.

He couldn’t afford a place like Foyots, but he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to meet someone who seemed to appreciate his work. He was also too young to have learnt how to say no to a woman. There seemed to be a mist of mystery about her. She is only known to the author through her letters, and she has never met her. He doesn’t say what her name is or where she is from. We only know she wants to talk to him and have lunch with him at Foyot’s iron the author. In actuality, he falls prey to the woman’s flattery. Even when she insists on saying she never eats more than one thing for lunch while devouring food items one by one, infringing on the entire hospitality limit, his patience is dwindling.

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3. How did the author have his revenge in the end? Was it really revenge?

Answer: The story “the Luncheon” is about an event involving the author and a lady in a restaurant twenty years ago that is full of humour and sarcasm. He describes how he was persuaded by a lady to meet her at Foyots, an exclusive restaurant, and how, at the moment, he couldn’t say no, only to find himself in an awkward scenario at the restaurant. The lady began putting order after order for incredibly expensive goods from the menu, such as salmon, caviar, champagne, asparagus, and so on, in the name of the small luncheon, without giving a thought to the bill. The author kept making excuses for not ordering stuff for himself since he couldn’t reveal his true status.

In the end, he had to give away all of the money he had in order to pay the bill. Because the author was not a vindictive man, he preferred to endure rather than speak to her. In this connection, the author claims that when he sees the lady after twenty years, the lady’s embarrassment of him in the restaurant was avenged in due course, as the lady now weighs twenty-one stone. Her love of food, particularly consuming at the expense of others, had taken a toll on her body. She appeared to have grown chubby. This isn’t a case of vengeance; it’s purely coincidental.

Extras/additional questions and answers/solutions

1. How did the woman come to know the narrator? Why had she wanted to meet him?

Answer: The woman had read one of the narrator’s books and had written to him about it when he was a struggling writer. She asked him if he would give her a small luncheon at Foyot’s when she was going through Paris.

2. When the narrator first met the woman, what impression did he get of her?

Answer: The woman was not as young as the narrator had anticipated. She was imposing rather than appealing in appearance. She was, in fact, a forty-year-old woman. She was chatty, but since she seemed to be talking about him, he was ready to pay attention.

3. Why was the narrator panic-stricken while they were waiting for the asparagus to be cooked?

Answer: The asparagus was quite pricey. While they waited for them to be prepared, the narrator became panicked since the question was no longer how much money he should have left for the remainder of the month, but whether he was having enough to pay the bill. It would be humiliating for him to run out of money and have to borrow it from the visitor.

4. Why did the narrator also place an order for coffee?

Answer: The woman had placed a large order for pricey foods, and the narrator knew he was in trouble because the bill would be substantial. Either he’d run out of money for the remainder of the month or he’d be humiliated. As he saw his guest devour the pricey but excellent asparagus, he forgot all about his caution and he went out to get himself a cup of coffee.

5. What role did the waiter play in allowing the woman to enjoy a delicious meal?

Answer: The waiter kept coming back to their table, tempting the woman by asking if she wanted to order anything else. Despite the fact that salmon and asparagus were not on the menu, he assured her that they were available. He also brought a basket full of enormous peaches that were out of season and extremely expensive, despite the fact that no order had been placed for them.

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10: What did the narrator place an order for? Why had he chosen that?

Answer: In the story “The Luncheon” the narrator placed an order for a mutton chop. That was the cheapest dish on the menu, so he chose it.

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