NCERT Class 7 English I want Something in a cage

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I want Something in a cage

MR PURCELL did not believe in ghosts. Nevertheless, the man who bought the two doves, and his strange act immediately thereafter, left him with a distinct sense of the uncanny. As though, behind his departed customer, there had lingered the musty smell of an abandoned, haunted house. Mr Purcell was a small, fussy man; red cheeks and a tight, melon stomach. Large glasses magnified his eyes so as to give him the appearance of a wise and genial owl. He owned a pet shop. He sold cats and dogs and monkeys; he dealt in fish food and bird seed, prescribed remedies for ailing canaries, and displayed on his shelves long rows of ornate and gilded cages. He considered himself something of a professional man.

A constant stir of movement pervaded his shop; whispered twitters, sly rustling; squeals, cheeps, and sudden squeaks. Small feet scampered in frantic circles  frightened, bewildered, blindly seeking. Across the shelves pulsed this endless flicker of life. But the customers who came in said, “Aren’t they cute? Look at that little cage! They’re sweet.” And Mr Purcell himself would smile and briskly rub his hands and emphatically shake his head.

Each morning, when the routine of opening his shop was completed, it was the proprietor’s custom to perch on a high stool, behind the counter, unfold his morning paper, and digest the day’s news. As he read he would smirk, frown, reflectively purse his lips, knowingly lift his eyebrows, nod in grave agreement. He read everything, even advice to the lovelorn and the detailed columns of advertisements. It was a rough day. A strong wind blew against the high, plate-glass windows. Smoke filmed the wintry city and the air was grey with a thick frost. Having completed his usual tasks, Mr Purcell again mounted the high stool, and unfolded his morning paper. He adjusted his glasses, and glanced at the day’s headlines. Chirping and squeaking and mewing vibrated all around him; yet Mr Purcell heard it no more than he would have heard the monotonous ticking of a familiar clock.

There was a bell over the door that jingled whenever a customer entered. This morning, however, for the first time Mr Purcell could recall, it failed to ring. Simply he glanced up, and there was the stranger, standing just inside the door, as if he had materialised out of thin air.  The storekeeper slid off his stool. From the first instanthe knew instinctively, unreasonably, that the man hated him; but out of habit he rubbed his hands briskly together, smiled and nodded.

“Good morning,” he beamed. “What can 1 do for you?”

Comprehensive Check

1. Write ‘True’ or ‘False’ against each of following statements.

(i) Mr Purcell sold birds, cats, dogs and monkeys.

(ii) He was very concerned about the well-being of the birds and animals in his shop.

(iii) He was impressed by the customer who bought the two doves.

(iv) He was a successful shopowner, though insensitive and cold as a person.

2. Why is Mr Purcell compared to an owl?

3. From the third paragraph pick out

(i) words associated with cries of birds,

(ii) words associated with noise,

(iii) words suggestive of confusion and fear

Please refer to attached file for NCERT Class 7 English I want Something in a cage

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