The Verger: AHSEC Class 12 Alternative English notes

The Verger
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Get summaries, questions, answers, solutions, notes, extras, PDF and guide of Class 12 (second year) Alternative English textbook, chapter 3 The Verger, which is part of the syllabus of students studying under AHSEC/ASSEB (Assam Board). These solutions, however, should only be treated as references and can be modified/changed. 

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Albert Edward Foreman had been the verger of St. Peter’s, Neville Square, a fashionable London church, for sixteen years. He performed his duties diligently and took great pride in his role. The story begins after a christening ceremony when the new vicar, recently appointed, calls Albert into the vestry. The two churchwardens are already present. The vicar, a more energetic and modern man compared to his predecessor, is astonished to discover that Albert cannot read or write. Despite acknowledging Albert’s competent service, the vicar insists that it is unacceptable for a verger at St Peter’s to be illiterate. He gives Albert three months to learn to read and write or face dismissal.

Albert did not think highly of the new vicar, often reminiscing about the old vicar who understood the sophisticated congregation and did not fuss over trivial matters. The old vicar knew of Albert’s illiteracy but did not consider it a hindrance. Albert, believing that he had managed well without literacy, declines the vicar’s ultimatum and offers his resignation.

Leaving the church, Albert is deeply troubled. He wanders aimlessly and finds himself on a street without a shop selling cigarettes. Struck by inspiration, he decides to open a tobacconist and newsagent shop there. He rents a shop and starts his business after leaving St. Peter’s. His venture proves successful, and he expands to multiple shops across London. Within a few years, he amasses a considerable fortune of over thirty thousand pounds.

One day at the bank, the manager suggests investing his substantial deposit in stocks and shares. Albert hesitates, revealing that he cannot read or write, which shocks the manager. The manager is astounded that Albert could build a successful business empire despite his illiteracy. Reflecting on this, Albert smiles and remarks that if he had been literate, he would still be the verger of St. Peter’s, implying that his lack of education led him to unexpected success.

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Textbook solutions

State whether true or False

1. Albert Edward was a habitual smoker.

Answer: False

2. Albert Edward was very particular about his gowns.

Answer: True

3. The churchwardens were young men.

Answer: False

4. The verger learnt to read and write only upon entering into business.

Answer: False

Answer these questions in one or two words

1. For how long had the verger been at St Peter’s?

Answer: Sixteen years

2. In the course of how many years did Albert Edward own ten shops?

Answer: Ten years

3. From where did the new vicar hail?

Answer: East End

4. How much money did Albert Edward have at the bank?

Answer: Thirty thousand pounds

5. Which brand of cigarettes did the verger want to buy?

Answer: Gold Flake

6. How much time did the new vicar propose to give the verger to learn reading and writing?

Answer: Three months

Answer these questions in a sentence or two

1. What did Albert Edward do before he became the verger at St Peter’s?

Answer: He was in service, starting as a page-boy and rising to butler.

2. What did the new vicar discover?

Answer: The new vicar discovered that Albert Edward could neither read nor write.

3. What is the opinion of the verger regarding the new vicar?

Answer: The verger does not have a favourable opinion of the new vicar and maintains that the new vicar’s appointment at St Peter’s was a mistake.

4. What does the bank manager suggest to Albert Edward?

Answer: The bank manager suggests that Albert Edward invest his money in gilt-edged securities to earn a better rate of interest.

Answer these questions briefly

1. What was the condition put forth by the new vicar to the verger?

Answer: The new vicar proposed to give the verger three months to learn reading and writing​​.

2. Briefly describe the verger’s attitude towards his gowns.

Answer: The verger took pains with his gowns; he pressed and ironed them himself and kept them neatly wrapped up in brown paper in the bottom drawers of his wardrobe​​.

3. Explain the significance of the following sentence: ‘The vergers of St Peter’s, like the Popes of Rome, were there for life’.

Answer: This sentence signifies that the position of the verger at St Peter’s was considered a lifelong appointment, similar to the tenure of the Popes of Rome​​.

4. How did the manager react upon his discovery that Mr Foreman could neither read nor write?

Answer: The manager was so surprised that he jumped up from his chair, and he stared at Mr Foreman as though he were a prehistoric monster​​.

Answer these questions in detail

1. Describe, in detail, how Albert Edward lost the job of the verger at St Peter’s.

Answer: The new vicar at St Peter’s, Neville Square, discovered that Albert Edward, the verger, could neither read nor write. Though the vicar had no complaints about Albert Edward’s performance, he and the churchwardens deemed it unacceptable for a verger in such a prominent church to be illiterate. They gave Albert Edward three months to learn to read and write, but Albert Edward, believing he was too old to learn new skills, refused. As a result, he offered to resign once his replacement was found.

2. Would you consider that the new vicar’s chance discovery of Foreman’s illiteracy was a blessing in disguise for the verger? Write a persuasive answer.

Answer: Yes, the new vicar’s discovery of Foreman’s illiteracy was indeed a blessing in disguise for the verger. This event pushed Albert Edward out of his comfort zone and forced him to explore new opportunities. His venture into business as a tobacconist and newsagent turned out to be incredibly successful, far beyond what he could have achieved as a verger. Within a few years, he became a wealthy man with a fortune worth more than thirty thousand pounds. Thus, what seemed like a setback initially, ultimately led to a prosperous and fulfilling career.

Extra true and false

1. Albert Edward Foreman was the verger at St Peter’s for sixteen years.

Answer: True

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30. Albert Edward became wealthier after leaving his position as a verger.

Answer: True

Extra questions and answers

1. For how long had Albert Edward been the verger at St. Peter’s?

Answer: Sixteen years.

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35. Would you consider the new vicar’s discovery of the verger’s illiteracy a blessing in disguise for Albert Edward? Provide reasons for your answer.

Answer: Yes, the discovery can be seen as a blessing in disguise. Although it led to Albert Edward losing his job, it prompted him to start his own business, which became highly successful. This newfound success provided financial security and independence that he might not have achieved if he had remained a verger. The situation ultimately allowed him to capitalize on his practical skills and business sense, leading to a prosperous outcome.

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