NCERT Class 11 English The Browning Version. Download NCERT Chapters and Books in pdf format. Easy to print and read. Copies of these textbooks may be downloaded and used as textbooks or for reference. Refer to other chapters and books at other links (NCERT now providing you soft copies of all textbooks of all subjects from class first to twelfth online).
The Browning Version
This is an excerpt from The Browning Version*. The scene is set in a school. Frank is young and Crocker-Harris, middle-aged. Both are masters. Taplow is a boy of sixteen who has come in to do extra work for Crocker-Harris. But the latter has not yet arrived, and Frank finds Taplow waiting.
FRANK: Do I know you?
TAPLOW: No, sir.
FRANK: What’s your name?
FRANK: Taplow! No, I don’t. You’re not a scientist I gather?
TAPLOW: No, sir, I’m still in the lower fifth. I can’t specialise until next term — that’s to say, if I’ve got my remove all right.
FRANK: Don’t you know if you’ve got your remove?
TAPLOW: No sir, Mr Crocker-Harris doesn’t tell us the results like the other masters.
FRANK: Why not?
TAPLOW: Well, you know what he’s like, sir.
FRANK: I believe there is a rule that form results should only be announced by the headmaster on the last day of term.
TAPLOW: Yes — but who else pays attention to it — exceptMr Crocker-Harris?
FRANK: I don’t, I admit — but that’s no criterion. So you’ve got to wait until tomorrow to know your fate, have you?
TAPLOW: Yes, sir.
FRANK: Supposing the answer is favourable — what then?
TAPLOW: Oh — science, sir, of course.
FRANK: (sadly) Yes. We get all the slackers.
TAPLOW: (protestingly) I’m extremely interested in science, sir.
FRANK: Are you? I’m not. Not, at least, in the science I have to teach.
TAPLOW: Well, anyway, sir, it’s a good deal more exciting than this muck (indicating his book)
FRANK: What is this muck?
TAPLOW: Aeschylus, sir. The Agamemnon.
FRANK: And your considered view is that the Agamemnon is muck?
TAPLOW: Well, no, sir. I don’t think the play is muck — exactly. I suppose, in a way, it’s rather a good
plot, really, a wife murdering her husband and all that. I only meant the way it’s taught to us — just a lot of Greek words strung together and fifty linesif you get them wrong.
FRANK: You sound a little bitter, Taplow.
TAPLOW: I am rather, sir.
FRANK: Kept in, eh?
TAPLOW: No, sir. Extra work.
FRANK: Extra work — on the last day of school?
TAPLOW: Yes, sir, and I might be playing golf. You’d think he’d have enough to do anyway himself, considering he’s leaving tomorrow for good — but oh no, I missed a day last week when I was ill — so here I am — and look at the weather, sir.
FRANK: Bad luck. Still there’s one comfort. You’re pretty well certain to get your remove tomorrow for being a good boy in taking extra work.
TAPLOW: Well, I’m not so sure, sir. That would be true of the ordinary masters, all right. They just wouldn’t dare not to give a chap a remove after his taking extra work. But those sort of rules don’t apply to the Crock — Mr Crocker-Harris. I asked him yesterday outright if he’d given me a remove and do you know what he said, sir?
FRANK: No. What?
TAPLOW: (imitating a very gentle, rather throaty voice) “My dear Taplow, I have given you exactly what you deserve. No less; and certainly no more.” Do you know sir, I think he may have marked me down, rather than up, for taking extra work. I mean, the man’s hardly human. (He breaks off quickly.) Sorry, sir. Have I gone too far?
FRANK: Yes. Much too far.
TAPLOW: Sorry, sir. I got carried away.
FRANK: Evidently. (He picks up a newspaper and opens it) — Er Taplow.
TAPLOW: Yes, sir?
FRANK: What was that Crocker-Harris said to you? Just — er — repeat it, would you?
TAPLOW: (imitating again) “My dear Taplow, I have given you exactly what you deserve. No less; and certainly no more.”
FRANK: (looking severe) Not in the least like him. Read your nice Aeschylus and be quiet.
TAPLOW: (with dislike) Aeschylus.
Understanding the text
1. Comment on the attitude shown by Taplow towards Crocker-Harris.
2. Does Frank seem to encourage Taplow’s comments on Crocker- Harris?
3. What do you gather about Crocker-Harris from the play?
Talking about the text
Discuss with your partners
1. Talking about teachers among friends.
2. The manner you adopt when you talk about a teacher to other teachers.
3. Reading plays is more interesting than studying science. Working with words
A sadist is a person who gets pleasure out of giving pain to others. Given below are some dictionary definitions of certain kinds of persons.
Find out the words that fit these descriptions.
1. A person who considers it very important that things should be correct or genuine e.g. in the use of language or in the arts: P...
2. A person who believes that war and violence are wrong and will not fight in a war: P...
3. A person who believes that nothing really exists: N...
4. A person who is always hopeful and expects the best in all things: O...
5. A person who follows generally accepted norms of behaviour: C...
6. A person who believes that material possessions are all that matter in life: M...
Please refer to attached file for NCERT Class 11 English The Browning Version
Click for more English Study Material ›