My beautiful new watch had run eighteen months without losing or gaining, and without breaking any part of its machinery or stopping. I had come to believe it infallible in its judgments about the time of day, and to consider its constitution and its anatomy imperishable. But, at last, one night, I let it run down. I grieved about it as if it were a recognised messenger and forerunner of calamity. But by and by I cheered up, set the watch by guess, and commanded my bodings and superstitions to depart. Next day I stepped into the chief jeweller’s to set it by the exact time, and the head of the establishment took it out of my hand and proceeded to set it for me. Then he said, ‘she is four minutes slow— regulator wants pushing up’. I tried to stop him—tried to make him understand that the watch kept perfect time. But no; all this human cabbage could see was that the watch was four minutes slow and the regulator must be pushed up a little;
so, while I danced around him in anguish, and implored him to let the watch alone, he calmly and cruelly did the shameful deed. My watch began to gain. It gained faster and faster day by day. Within a week it sickened to a raging fever and its pulse went up to a hundred and fifty in the shade. At the end of two months it had left all the timepieces of the town far in the rear and was a fraction over thirteen days ahead of the almanac. It was away into November enjoying the snow, while the October leaves were still turning. It hurried up house rent, bills payable and such things in such a ruinous way that I could not abide it. I took it to the watchmaker to be regulated. He asked me if I had ever had it repaired. I said no, it had never needed any repairing. He looked a look of vicious happiness and eagerly pried the watch open, and then put a small dice-box into his eye and peered into its machinery. He said it wanted cleaning and oiling, besides regulating, and asked me to come in a week. After being cleaned and oiled, and regulated, my watch slowed down to that degree that it ticked all appointments I go to, missing my dinner, I gradually drifted back into yesterday, thenthe day before, then into last week and by and by the comprehension came upon me that, all solitary and alone, I was lingering alone in week before last and the world was out of sight. I seemed to detect in myself a sort of sneaking fellow-feeling for the mummy in the museum, and a desire to swap news with him. I went to a watchmaker again. He took the watch all to pieces while I waited and then said the barrel was ‘swelled’. He said he could reduce it in three days. After this the watch averaged well, but nothing more.
UNDERSTANDING THE TEXT
1. What was the importance of the watch to the author?
2. What were the attempts made by the author to get his watch repaired?
3. Why did the author finally give up on his watch?
4. What was Uncle Williams’ comment on the ‘tinkerers’ of the world?
5. Explain these lines
a. ‘I seemd to detect in myself a sort of sneaking fellow-feeling for the mummy in the museum, and a desire to swap news with him.’
b. ‘Within a week it sickened to a raging fever and its pulse went up to a hundred and fifty in the shade.’
c. ‘She makes too much steam—you want to hang the monkey wrench on the safety valve!’
TALKING ABOUT THE TEXT
Discuss in pairs or groups of four
1. Replacing old machines with new is better than getting them repaired.
2. It is difficult to part with personal items like a watch which have a sentimental value attached to them.
Please refer to attached file for NCERT Class 11 English Elective My Watch