Here I have shared with you Class 12 The verger summary and detailed question -answers of The Verger so that you can prepare yourself for your exam better.
You can also read The Verger summary in hindi from here
About the Author
Somerset Maugham was an English novelist, playwright, and short-story writer with an understanding of human nature reflected in his work. He was orphaned at an early age and brought up by an uncle, an emotionally cold vicar.
He studied medicine but did not pursue a medical career. His plays and novels were well received and he became a successful writer. His novel ‘Of Human Bondage’ is semi-autobiographical, with its main character reflecting key aspects of Maugham’s life. His work is characterized by the depiction of human flaws, clear lucid style, and unadorned writing.
Brief Summary of ‘The Verger’
This short story deals with the life of Albert Edward Foreman, a verger at St Peter’s Church, for the last 16 years. He loses his job when the vicar comes to know that he is illiterate. He embarks on the idea of being a tobacconist and is very successful. Thus he turns his loss into an opportunity and benefits from it.
A Verger at Work
Albert Edward Foreman, Verger at St. Peter’s Church, Neville Square took pride in his job and wore his gown with satisfaction. He took immense care of his gown and ironed it himself.
In his 16 years as verger, he had a collection of several old gowns piled away nearly wrapped in the bottom drawer of his wardrobe since he didn’t have the heart to throw it away.
There was a christening that afternoon and it had just got over. He got busy clearing things and waited for the vicar to leave the vestry so that he could tidy it up and leave. He saw the vicar, walk across the chancel, bow in front of the altar, and come down the aisle towards him.
The New Vicar
The vicar was in his forties, red-faced and energetic, new to the church, and had been recently appointed. He got himself involved in all the activities of the church.
Albert Edward missed the previous vicar who wanted things in church to be done neatly. He didn’t create a fuss nor did he interfere in all things. Albert Edward was patient and hoped that the new vicar would change with time.
Interaction with the Vicar
The vicar asks Foreman to go with him to the vestry since he had something to say to him. While they walk to the vestry, Foreman compliments the vicar on his smooth handling of the crying infant.
The vicar takes pride in that he can quieten crying babies and he also knew that he was admired by the mothers for the deft handling of the whimpering infants. They enter the vestry and Albert Edward is surprised to see the two churchwardens sitting there.
Intimation to Albert Edward
The two churchwardens were elderly men and had been churchwardens for several years. The vicar sits between the two church wardens at the refectory table.
Albert Edward wonders what the matter could be and feels slightly uneasy. He observes that the vicar looks obstinate but the other two look slightly troubled. He feels that the vicar has forced them to do something that they are not so keen on. Albert Edward stands respectfully in front of them without revealing any thoughts on his face.
Before working at St. Peter’s church, he was in service in very good houses. He had started as pageboy and was employed as a butler before taking up the post of verger at St. Peter’s. He was tall, thin, grave, dignified with Clean-cut and distinguished features.
He resembled if not a Duke, then at least like an actor specializing in dukes’ parts. He was also tactful, firm, self-assured with an unimpeachable character. The vicar says that Albert Edward has conducted his duties in a satisfactory way but he was astonished to know that the verger was illiterate and could neither read nor write.
Albert Edward replied that the former vicar knew about it and said that it didn’t make a difference. The two churchwardens too express outrage that he had been verger of the church for 16 years without learning to read and write.
The vicar issues an ultimatum to Albert Edward that he learn to read and write within three months or else he loses his job. He responds that at his age he would not be able to acquire literacy. He would resign once they found a replacement for him.
He had never liked the new vicar and thought him a misfit with the classy congregation at St. Peter’s. He knew his worth and didn’t want to be taken advantage of by having his good nature exploited.
Reflections of Albert Edward
Politely Albert Edward closed the door and stepped out. Though he maintained his dignity in presence of the vicar and churchwardens, after coming out, he was shaken and upset.
Being immersed in sad thoughts, while walking home, he took a wrong turn. He did not know what he should do regarding a job. He did not want to go back to domestic work. Though he had some savings, that would run out soon. He had never thought about this situation on the contrary he had imagined that he would continue as verger till his death. He was tired and wanted a cigarette to comfort him.
He looked for a shop to buy a packet of cigarettes. He could not sight one and walked further. It was a long street with all kinds of shops, but not a single one sold cigarettes. He found it strange and checked again. There wasn’t a single shop selling tobacco.
He reflected that a person with a small shop selling tobacco would be able to do well. He wonders about how things come to a person suddenly when the expectations are least.
Reaching home, he constantly the matter from all aspects. The next day he went to the same street and found a little shop to let. He took it and after a month on leaving St. Peter’s set up in business as a tobacconist and newsagent.
In a year’s time, his business was doing well, which made him think about taking another shop and entrusting the runner of it to a manager. He searched for another street without a tobacconist in it, found a shop, and started his business there too.
He thought of further expansion and in ten years, he had ten shops which earned him a lot of money, that he deposited in the bank.
Life Comes a Full Circle
One day when he went to the bank to deposit money, the bank manager spoke to him and suggested that he invest his money in stocks and securities. Albert Edward didn’t want to risk his money and preferred to keep it safely in the bank.
The manager said that they would do the investment on his behalf. All he had to do was sign the transfers. Albert Edward replied that how would he know what he was signing. The manager pointed out that he could first read and then sign the papers.
Upon which Albert Edward reveals that apart from signing his name, he can neither read nor write. The manager was shocked to know this and wonders what Albert Edward would have achieved if he was literate. With a smile on his face, Albert Edward said that he would be the verger at St. Peter’s church.
QUESTION- ANSWERS OF THE VERGER
Answer the following Questions -2 Marks
1. What was the discovery that astonished the vicar?
Ans. The discovery that astonished the vicar was that the verger could neither read nor write. The vicar did not know that Albert Edward was completely an illiterate person. He could not imagine a verger in ST. Peter’s church did not know how to read or write.
2. What is occupation did the verger take up after resigning from the church?
Ans. After resigning from the church, the verger set up in business as a tobacconist and newsagent.
3. What is the impression did the verger have about the new vicar?
Ans. The verger did not like the new vicar. He thought that the new vicar wanted to control everything according to his own way. The verger regretted his predecessors because the new vicar always wanted to rule every activity of the church.
4. What was the verger told by the vicar in the vestry?
Ans. In the vestry, the verger was told that St. Peter’s Church was a famous and dignified church. It was very surprising that being a verger of this church, Edward Foreman did not know how to read and write. He was also told that they would give him three months’ time to learn how to read and write and if he would fail to do that, then he had to leave the job.
Short Answer Questions Type – 2 Marks
1. What did the verger do with his old gown? 2016 2018
Ans. The verger treated his gowns as the dignified symbol of his office and preserved even the old and worn out ones with care in the bottom drawer of his wardrobe.
2. What was the talent of the new vicar?
Ans. According to Foreman, the new vicar had a special talent. He could stop the babies from crying simply by holding them. Foreman was also surprised to see that the two churchwardens who had been with him all these while, now follow the new vicar and disagree with Foreman.
3. Why did the verger miss the previous vicar?
Ans. Foreman thought that the new vicar was too much ruling and demanding compared to the old vicar. Hence he missed the old vicar.
4. What was the ‘most extraordinary circumstance’ referred to by the vicar?
Ans. The ‘most extraordinary circumstance’ referred to by the vicar was his discovery that the verger could neither read nor write.
5. How did the verger react to the sudden disclosure by the vicar about his ‘deficiency’?
Ans. The verger’s face betrayed so sign of embarrassment the sudden disclosure by the vicar about his ‘deficiency’.
6. Why couldn’t the verger learn the letters when he was young?
Ans. The verger could not learn the letters when he was young because he was in service since he was twelve. And besides, neither he felt the need nor had he the time to learn.
7. What was the decision taken by the vicar regarding the verger? What kind of a man was the new vicar?
Ans. The vicar decided that either the verger should learn how to read and write within three months of time, or he should leave the job.
The new vicar was a straightforward man. He gave importance to education. And he was not the type of a classy congregation like.
8. Why couldn’t the new vicar be expected to blend in perfectly with the fashionable parishioners at St. Peter’s?
Ans. The new vicar was not the type of a classy congregation. He had his own ways. He was a straightforward man. Hence, the new vicar could not be expected to blend in perfectly with the fashionable parishioner at St. Peter’s.
9. Where had the verger been in service before starting work in St. Peter’s?
Ans. The verger had been in service with a cook when was twelve, before starting work in St. Peter’s.
10. What is the verger’s opinion about ‘reading’?
Ans. The verger thought that reading was a waste of time. People should do something useful instead of wasting their valuable time reading.
11. What is the condition laid down before the verger by the vicar and the two churchwardens?
Ans. The condition laid down before the verger by the vicar and the two churchwardens are that either the verger should learn how to read and write within three months of time or he should resign from his job.
12. What was the verger’s answer to the condition laid down by the vicar?
Ans. The verger said that he was too old a dog to learn sewing tricks. Hence, he was ready to leave his job than to agree with the condition laid down by the vicar.
13. What reason does the vicar put forth for his decision to relieve the verger of his duties at St. Peter’s?
Ans. The vicar told the verger that he and the two churchwardens have made their minds and that he should either learn how to read and write or leave the job. Because he believed that without education one cannot do anything.
14. What was Albert Foreman’s reply to his wife on the matter of his business?
Ans. Albert Foreman’s reply to his wife on the matter of his business was that people should move with time. Everything changes with time, even the church and its ways changed.
15. Why did the manager of the bank want to see Albert Foreman?
Ans. The manager of the bank wants to see Albert Foreman because he was bringing a lot of cash and coins to the bank. He wants to suggest to him to open an account in their bank.
16. What did the manager suggest Albert Foreman?
Ans. The manager suggested Albert Foreman open an account in their bank.
17. Why was Albert Foreman troubled to hear about stocks and shares?
Ans. Albert Foreman was troubled to hear about stocks and shares because he never had encountered such before and hence he did not know what to do.
18. Surprised that Albert Foreman had built up a huge fortune without being able to read or write, what did the bank manager ask him?
Ans. Without being able to read and write Albert Foreman had built up a huge fortune. Surprised, the bank manager asked Foreman what he would have done if he knew how to read and write.
Answer the following questions in one or two words.
1. Where was St. Peter’s Church located?
Ans. In Neville Square.
2. What was the name of the verger of St. Peter’s church?
Ans. Albert Edward Foreman.
3. Who were in the vestry besides the verger and the vicar?
Ans. The two churchwardens.
4. At what age did the verger being working?
Ans. The verger started working at the age of twelve.
5. What did the verger want to buy while walking in the street?
Ans. A packet of Gold Flakes.
Very Short Answer Questions 1 Marks
1. Who is the author of the prose piece, “The Verger”?
Ans. William Somerset Maugham is the author of the prose piece, “The Verger”.
2. Who is the verger in the lesson?
Ans. Albert Edward Foreman is the verger in the lesson.
3. Where does the verger work?
Ans. The verger works in St. Peter’s church.
4. Where is St. Peter’s church located?
Ans. St. Peter’s church is located at Neville Square.
5. What was the occasion that particular afternoon?
Ans. There had been a christening that particular afternoon.
6. What was the verger’s gown made of?
Ans. The verger’s gown was made of perennial bronze.
7. Who were the people that frequented St. Peter’s, Neville Square?
Ans. The fashionable people frequented St. Peter’s, Neville Square.
8. For how long had the verger been working at St. Peter’s?
Ans. The verger had been working for sixteen years at St. Peter’s.
9. What is ‘vestry’?
Ans. A ‘vestry’ is a room attached to a church or chapel, used for keeping vestments, vessels, and records.
10. Where had the new vicar come from?
Ans. The new vicar has come from the East End.
Short Answer Questions 2 Marks
1. How do fact and fiction work in Maugham’s work?
Ans. Fact and fiction are so intermingled in Maugham’s work that he himself and his readers can hardly distinguish one from the other.
2. On what occasions did the verger use his new gown?
Ans. It was the occasion of christening at St. Peter’s. And that is why the verger wore his new gown.
3. How did the verger regard his official dress?
Ans. The verger regarded his official dress as the dignified symbol of his office, and without the gown, he had the disconcerting sensation of being somewhat insufficiently clad.
4. On the day of the christening, what did the verger compliment the new vicar on?
Ans. On the day of the christening, what did the verger compliment the new vicar on his ability to hush a baby from crying
5. Who was awaiting the verger and the vicar in the vestry?
Ans. Two churchwardens were awaiting the verger and the vicar in the vestry.
6. How long had the two churchwardens been there at St. Peter’s?
Ans. The two churchwardens had been there at St. Peter’s almost as long as Albert Edward had been verger.
7. Who had brought in the handsome refectory table at the church and from where?
Ans. The handsome refectory table was brought at the church by the old vicar from Italy.
8. What was the expression on the face of the two churchwardens and the vicar?
Ans. The vicar wore a red face with a look of resolute benignity and the two churchwardens bore an expression that was slightly troubled.
9. Where did the verger head to after his meeting with the two churchwardens?
Ans. After the meeting with the two churchwardens, the verger walked back to the vestry to hand his gown on its proper peg.
10. How much time is offered to the verger to learn his letters?
Ans. A time period of three months is offered to the verger to learn his letters.
11. Why didn’t Albert Foreman want to go back to doing domestic service?
Ans. After being his own master for so many years, he could not go back to doing domestic service.
12. What was Albert Foreman looking for in the street where he mistakenly ventured into? Did he find it there?
Ans. Albert Foreman was looking for a shop where he could buy a packet of Gold Flakes.
No, he did not find any shop in the street where he mistakenly ventured into
13. What idea came to Albert Foreman’s mind as he walked along the street looking for cigarettes?
Ans. The idea of starting a business of tobacco and sweets came to Albert Foreman’s mind as he walked along the street looking for cigarettes.
14. What business did Albert Edward Foreman set up and where?
Ans. Albert Foreman set up the business of a tobacconist and newsagent in the street where he mistakenly ventured into.
15. What was the reaction of Albert Foreman’s wife to his new venture?
Ans. Albert Foreman’s wife told that her husband’s new venture was a dreadful comedown.
The verger Long Answer Questions: 5 Marks
1. Attempt a character sketch of the verger.
Ans. The verger was a man of distinguished features who did his job in a dignified way with great dedication. He worked very hard. He rendered his service to the best satisfaction of the fashionable parishioners of St. Peter’s. While satisfying the fashionable parishioners, he also served some other people from different capacities. Though he was incapable of reading and writing, yet it did not cause any trouble in the successful completion of his duties. Once he got an opportunity from the vicar to learn how to read and write. But he refused the opportunity on the ground that he was too old a dog to learn new tricks. He was so hardworking that even though he was in any trouble, he always found a way. When he denied learning to read and write even when he was asked by the vicar himself; he had to lose his job. But he lost no time to set up in a business that brought him unimaginable success. Though he was illiterate he could set up his own business and earn a lot of money. He could prove that one can move with time if one has that much ability to work hard, no matter what.
2. Describe the circumstances under which the verger had to lose his job.
Ans. After the new vicar was appointed, the verger came in trouble with him. The new vicar represented the new, educated generation. He wanted all of the workers of St. Peter’s to be educated. Foreman, the verger was an illiterate person and the new vicar wanted his verger to be literate. For the vicar, it is impossible to have a verger who cannot read and write. He gave Foreman an option to learn the alphabet in three months. But for Foreman, he did not need any education to help him do his job better. He in fact went to the two churchwardens to ask for their support. But he was shocked to find them agreeing with the vicar instead. Therefore, for the verger, there was the only way left to have some education to continue with his job. The vicar gave him three months time to learn reading and writing. Foreman rejected the option on the ground that he was too old to learn new things and therefore he resigned from the job.
3. What was Albert Foreman’s reply to the question of the bank manager? What does his answer reflect?
Ans. Albert Foreman replied to the question of the bank manager that if he knew reading and writing he would have been the verger of St. Peter’s church.
This answer reflects the change of luck that Foreman could have. If he had known reading and writing from the very beginning he need not have to leave his job from the church and hence he would have remained a verger only for the rest of his life. Only because he didn’t know reading and writing he had to resign from the job where he worked for sixteen years. And that ultimately led him to choose a different path or to say a different way to earn his living. He started the business as a tobacconist and newsagent. He earned money hand over first and became a successful businessman.