Get here the summary of the short story The Verger written by William Somerset Maugham as well as questions and answers (very short, short, long). The story is part of Assam Higher Secondary Education Council’s (AHSEC) syllabus for Class 12 Alternative English. In Assam, SEBA takes care of the affairs of classes till HSLC while AHSEC takes care of class 11 and 12 (HSSLC).
Summary of the story The Verger: William Somerset Maugham’s short story The Verger is about the circumstances that led Albert Edward Foreman, the Verger of St Peter’s Neville Square, to resign. Foreman was a gentle and dignified man who had spent sixteen years serving St. Peter’s church. He rose to the position of church verger as a result of his hard work and dedication. Albert began his professional life as a page boy in the household of a merchant prince. But he rose through the ranks from footman to single-handed butler to widowed peeress.
Later, he became the verger at St. Peter’s Neville Square; however, with the appointment of the new Vicar, the Verger’s eligibility was called into question. One day after the christening, the new vicar summoned the verger to the vestry, where two elder churchwardens awaited them. The vicar praised Albert for his sincerity and ability to do the job, but he ignored his long years of dedicated service and wisdom gained through experience because of Albert’s illiteracy.
Albert was taken aback, but he defended himself by claiming that the previous vicar didn’t mind. He went on to say that he could manage everything well without any formal education. But the vicar was adamant. He gave the verger the option of learning the letters in three months, failing which he would lose his job. The proposal was turned down by the Verger, who preferred to resign, believing that it was too late to learn. The Verger was depressed after resigning. He didn’t want to be a servant again because he’d been his own master. While going home, he took a wrong turn and needed a cigarette but couldn’t find one on the street. This gave him the idea of setting up a tobacco shop there.
Foreman chose to work as a tobacconist and a newsagent. He began with a small shop and later opened a second shop with a manager. Within ten years, he had acquired at least ten stores. He made a lot of money and put it in the bank. He was a phenomenally successful businessman. Years later, when Foreman was asked to sign some papers and invest his money at the bank, he discovered that he was illiterate. The manager was astounded by what this man had accomplished despite his inability to read. When he asked Foreman what he would have done if he could read, Foreman simply replied, “I’d be a verger.”
Very short answers
1. Who wrote the story “The Verger”?
Answer: The author of the prose “The Verger” is William Somerset Maugham.
2. In the lesson, who is the Verger?
Answer: In the lesson, the Verger is Albert Edward Foreman.
3. Where was the Verger employed?
Answer: The Verger was employed at St. Peter’s Church in Neville Square.
4. How long had the verger worked at St. Peter’s?
Answer: The Verger had spent sixteen years at St. Peter’s church.
5. What is a vestry?
Answer: A vestry is a room attached to a church or chapel where vestments, vessels, and records are kept.
6. When did the verger start working?
Answer: The verger began working at the age of twelve.
7. What was the verger looking for while walking down the street?
Answer: The verger wanted to buy a pack of Gold Flake cigarettes while walking down the street.
8. Why did the verger miss the last vicar?
Answer: The former vicar was missed by the Verger because Albert had been on good terms with him and had no concerns about his talents.
1. In Maugham’s work, how do fact and fiction converse?
Answer: Fact and fiction are so intertwined in Maugham’s work that it’s difficult to tell one from the other. The extraordinary closeness between the imaginary and the real became a defining feature of his work.
2. On what occasions would the verger put on his new gown?
Answer: The verger wore the new gowns to funerals and weddings. For christenings and other formal occasions, he wore his second best. He wore it proudly because it was a dignified symbol of his position.
3. What did the verger think of his formal clothes?
Answer: On the Verger, his formal attire was regarded as a respectable indication of his position. Without it, he appeared to be under-dressed.
4. What did the verger say about the new vicar on the day of the christening?
Answer: On the day of the christening, the verger complimented the new vicar on a beautiful christening. When the vicar looked at him and placed him in the crook of his surplice arm, even the baby stopped sobbing.
5. How much time was allotted to the verger in order for him to master his letters?
Answer: The vicar gave the verger three months to learn his letters, and if he couldn’t read and write by the end of that time, he’d be dismissed.
6. Why did not Albert Foreman want to return to domestic work?
Answer: After so many years of being his own master and running St. Peter’s Neville Square as a Verger, Albert Foreman did not want to return to domestic service. As a result, he couldn’t bring himself to return to domestic service.
7. What thought occurred to Albert Foreman as he walked down the street seeking cigarettes?
Answer: Albert Edward Foreman did not come across it while walking down the street looking for cigarettes. That struck him as strange, and he reasoned that he couldn’t be the only man walking down that street looking for a cigarette. So he came up with the idea of opening a cigarette and candy shop there.
8. What kind of business did Albert Foreman start, and where did he do it?
Answer: Albert Edward Foreman became a tobacconist and newsagent. He started a tobacco and candy business. He began on a long street where there were no tobacconists.
9. What was Albert Foreman’s wife’s reaction to his new venture?
Answer: Albert Edward Foreman’s wife was not pleased with his new venture. According to her, it was a terrible fall from grace after being the verger of St. Peter’s.
10. What happened to the verger’s old gowns?
Answer: The Verger adored his robes, which he saw as a dignified symbol of his position. He never threw away his old gowns, preferring to keep them in the bottom drawer of his wardrobe. The package was wrapped in brown paper. He had a large collection of such old gowns.
11. What was the new vicar’s talent?
Answer: The new vicar, who embodied the educated modern generation, had a special talent for dealing with infants. He could almost always calm a whimpering infant with the way he held it. He could easily fit the baby into the crook of his surplice arm, which gave him a quiet sense of pride.
12. What were the most remarkable circumstances,’ as the vicar put it?
Answer: One of the most remarkable circumstances, according to the vicar, was the verger’s illiteracy. He was illiterate and couldn’t read or write. He’d been the verger of St. Peter’s Neville Square for sixteen years, but he’d never learned to read or write. He then ignored long years of his faithful service because of his illiteracy.
13. What was the verger’s reaction to the vicar’s unexpected disclosure of his deficiency?
Answer: The verger’s eligibility was called into question when the vicar revealed his ‘deficiency,’ i.e. his illiteracy. The Verger was surprised, but he reacted calmly. He was adamant that, despite his lack of formal education, he could always manage things very well. The verger’s face flushed and he was nervous, but he did not object. He simply refused to read or write and preferred to retire, claiming that it was too late for him to learn. He maintained his dignity.
14. Why couldn’t the verger learn to read and write when he was younger? How would he manage his life without being educated?
Answer: The verger was unable to study the letters when he was younger since he went to service at the age of twelve. First, the cook attempted to educate him, but Albert did not have the aptitude for it at the time. Later on, he had no more time to learn letters. Furthermore, he had never felt the need for it because he seemed to function very well without it. As a result of a lack of time and interest, the verger was unable to master the alphabet when he was young.
He managed his life with the help of his wife and newspaper pictures. Because his wife was a scholar, she wrote his letters, and he deduced the news from the pictures in the newspapers.
15. What was the vicar’s decision regarding the verger? What kind of man did the new vicar seem to be?
Answer: The vicar decided that the verger would lose his job if he didn’t learn letters within three months, because he couldn’t risk some accidents caused by his egregious ignorance. It was a question of prudence as well as principle. The new vicar, a young, red-faced man in his early forties, embodied the educated modern generation. He was a stern man who preferred to stay out of the church’s affairs as much as possible. He was a man who was clinging to his vanity and pride.
16. Why can’t the new vicar blend in with the fashionable parishioners of St. Peter’s?
Answer: The new vicar could hardly be expected to blend in completely with the fashionable parishioners at St. Peter’s since, having come from the east end, he had always maintained his pride and vanity. The new vicar was a stern man, and he could not fall at once with his fashionable congregation’s covert ways right away.
17. Where had the verger worked before starting at St. Peter’s?
Answer: The verger began his career as a page boy in a merchant prince’s household. For a year, he worked as a single-handed butler for a widowed peeress. He then worked as a butler in the house of a retired ambassador with two men beneath him before becoming a verger at St. Peter’s Church.
18. What does the verger think about reading?
Answer: Despite his lack of education, Verger claims that he was able to correctly manage everything. According to him, formal education has little value in real life. He thinks that young people squander a lot of time reading instead of doing anything productive. He believes that practical thought, hard work, and dedication, not education, are the keys to life success.
19. What are the conditions put on the verger by the vicar and the two churchwardens?
Answer: The vicar and the two churchwardens mandated that the verger learn letters within three months. He would lose his job if he did not do so because they could not risk an accident caused by his woeful ignorance.
20. What is the vicar’s argument for removing the verger from St. Peter’s duties?
Answer: The new vicar, who represented the educated modern generation, could not accept the verger’s illiteracy. He thought he had the highest regard for both his character and skills. Nonetheless, he could not stand the prospect of a mishap caused by his regrettable ignorance. It was an issue of prudence as much as principle. According to the vicar, a verger who cannot read or write cannot operate at a church like St. Peter’s Neville Square.
21. What was Albert Foreman’s reaction to his wife’s concern about his business?
Answer: Albert Foreman’s wife despised his tobacconist business since it was a terrible drop after he had been the verger of St. Peter’s. As a result, Albert informed his wife that one had to evolve with the times. With the passage of time, the church had evolved. As a result, he had to adapt to new circumstances.
22. Why was Albert Foreman troubled by the mention of stocks and shares?
Answer: Albert Foreman was troubled to hear about stocks and shares since he was hesitant to invest his money despite the bank manager’s assurances that the assets were perfectly safe. Because the verger was a simple man, he never dealt with stocks and shares. Furthermore, because he was illiterate, he could not comprehend the papers pertaining to the stock market and had no idea what he was signing. He had no choice but to put everything in the hands of the bank manager. All of these bothered him.
1. What was the verger’s reaction after he offered to hand in his resignation papers at St. Peter’s?
Answer: The verger was very sad after offering to hand in his resignation papers at St. Peter’s, but he did not show it on his face. He completed his final tasks at the church with his usual courtesy. Even so, he could not maintain the appearance of unflinching dignity with which he had absorbed the blow inflicted on him. His lips quivered. He moved slowly, his heart pounding. He did not take the road that would lead him home since he was preoccupied with his sorrowful thoughts. He made a bad turn. He was at a loss for what to do with himself after resigning from his job. He, too, was unwilling to do domestic service because he had been his own master for many years. In fact, the verger was troubled by doubts about his survival, and he had never expected to be troubled by such issues. He desired to have his sermon delivered by the vicar after his death in recognition of his long and devoted service. But it was all for naught when he lost his job due to illiteracy. He sighed deeply and desired a smoke to comfort himself and escape from the trauma.
2. Does the verger regret his inability to read and write? Is it impacting his life in any way?
Answer: No, the verger did not regret his inability to read and write. It had made no difference to his life. He did his job in a dignified and dedicated manner. Despite the fact that he was illiterate, he was able to complete his duties well. His wife also assisted him by writing for him whenever he desired. He was able to manage things properly despite his lack of formal schooling. He flatly denied the offer of instruction, claiming that he was too old a dog to learn new tricks. His illiteracy did not hinder him in any way, since he found a new route out after losing his job. He established himself as a tobacconist and news agent through his hard work, honesty, and perseverance. Despite his lack of formal education, the verger was worldly-wise. It helped him in his success.
3. How successful was Albert Foreman’s business? How did he expand it?
Answer: Albert Foreman was in trouble after being fired from his church job for being illiterate. But he could able to find a way out. He lost no time after leaving the verger’s office to establish himself as a tobacconist and news agency. He began with a modest shop and was successful within a year. Then he took over the second shop and hired a manager. Within ten years, he was able to open ten cigarette shops.
Albert Edward began his career as a tobacconist with a small shop. He was a successful businessman. In a year, he took over the second shop and hired a manager. He opened these stores on a lengthy roadway with no tobacconists. It was also a success. Then he reasoned that if he could run two, he could run a half-dozen, so he began wandering around the streets of London, and whenever he came across a long street with no tobacconist and a business for rent, he took it. Within ten years, he had acquired no fewer than ten businesses, and he was making money hand over fist. As a result of his practical thinking, hard work, and dedication, he was able to build his firm.
4. Why was the bank manager surprised? Why did it seem to him to be the most extraordinary thing he had ever heard?
Answer: The bank manager was surprised to learn that Albert Edward Foreman, a tobacconist, had accumulated a fortune of thirty thousand pounds despite the fact that he was illiterate. He could never have imagined an ignorant individual earning such a large sum of money. He was astounded by what Albert Foreman had accomplished despite his inability to read and write.
The manager thought that was the most extraordinary thing he had ever heard, despite the fact that Foreman was illiterate, but he developed a business empire and made money hand over fist. The manager of the bank approached Foreman and offered him to invest his money, but Foreman declined. The bank manager assured him that the securities were completely gilt-edged. The bank manager promised him that he would do whatever for him. Only Foreman had to sign. But Foreman was concerned because he couldn’t read the papers. In addition, as an illiterate, he would have no idea what he was signing. So, he told the manager that he couldn’t read or write; when the manager heard this, he was stunned; it appeared to him the most extraordinary thing that an illiterate man could collect such a large fortune. The manager was surprised to see his calibre without education.
5. Write a character sketch of the verger.
Answer: The Verger Albert Edward Foreman was a simple man. He carried out his responsibilities with honesty and dedication. He had been the verger of St. Peter’s church for sixteen years, performing all of the menial and laborious tasks. He enjoyed his job and there was no reason to criticize him until a new vicar discovered that he could not read or write. Verger, on the other hand, was a man on his own. When the vicar told him that if he did not learn the letters, he would lose his job. The verger maintained his dignity by declining the vicar’s proposal. He preferred to resign since he believed it was too late to learn. He realized that his illiteracy would never be a hindrance to his duties. Foreman then opened a tobacco shop, which was a huge success. Even the banker was taken aback by his ability despite his lack of formal schooling. He had a total of eleven stores. In reality, the verger was a strong man who dealt with his issues by becoming a great businessman. Even though he had enough money to live a luxurious life, he did not strive for social success and lived a modest existence. He realized that being illiterate was preferable to being literate. He had little formal education but a wealth of worldly wisdom gained through careful observation of the world. Verger’s practical thinking, devotion, and ability to undertake hard work bolstered his position.
6. Describe the circumstances under which the verger had to lose his job.
Answer: For sixteen years, the verger, Albert Edward Foreman, diligently performed his duties in a church. He had ascended to the prestigious position of verger through years of faithful dedication and hard work. With the appointment of the new Vicar, the Verger’s eligibility was called into question. One day following the christening, the new Vicar invited the verger to the vestry, where two churchwardens awaited them. The vicar first praised the verger for his earnestness and ability to do the job. But then he dismissed years of faithful devotion on the grounds that the verger could not read or write. The new vicar was taken aback when he discovered that the verger was illiterate. Albert was astonished, but he excused himself by claiming that the previous vicar didn’t mind and that even he could manage without education. But the vicar was certain. He warned the verger that he had no right to take the risk of an accident occurring as a result of the verger’s regrettable ignorance. He inquired if he was unable to learn. The Verger then made a decision. The Vicar gave the Verger the option of learning the letters or losing his position if he did not. Even the verger was resolute. He refused the offer and chose to resign, believing that it was too late to learn at that point. As a result of his lack of knowledge, the verger resigned from his prestigious position.
7. What was Albert Foreman’s response to the bank manager’s question? What does his response reflect?
Answer: The verger was making money hand over fist and putting it in the bank. The bank manager asked Foreman to invest his money. He told him that in order to do so, he needed to sign several papers after going over them. Verger told him that he was illiterate and could only write his name. The manager then asked as to what he would have done if he had been educated. In response to this query, the verger stated that he would have been the verger of a church in that situation. This response reflects the situation’s irony. The situation’s irony.
Albert would have been a better businessman if he had been literate, according to the manager. While Foreman was aware that in that circumstance, he would not have lost his position as verger, he would have been the verger of St. Peter’s Church in Neville Square. He was fired from the church due to his illiteracy.