Gessler Brothers and the Art of Boot Making
The author had known the shoemaker for many years because he used to make boots for his father. Mr Gessler was the shoemaker who lived with his elder brother in London. The shop didn’t have any signs apart from the name of the Gessler Brothers. He used to make boots only on orders. Once the author questioned Mr Gessler if it wasn’t awful to make those shoes perfectly fitting into the feet they were meant for. The man answered with a heavy German accent that it is an art.
Mr Gessler will be engrossed in his boot making art most of the time and won’t talk much with his customers. He strongly admired every piece of material he used to work with. The boots made by Gessler brothers were of supreme quality and lasted very long. But on one occasion the author had a different experience. He complained about it to Mr Gessler. To this the old man promised that he will repair the shoe and if couldn’t he will return the money to the author.
Mr Gessler’s Grief and the Hard Times is his Life
On one occasion while placing an order for a shoe, the author was a bit absent-minded. He was wearing a pair of boots bought in an emergency from a large shop. Mr Gessler looked carefully and pressed at a point where the left boot wasn’t comfortable. With a sad face he commented that it hurts the customers but still the big firms don’t have any self-respect. They lure customers with their advertisements and not with their works. Because of this Mr Gessler was losing on business. The author has heard such things for the first time from Mr Gessler he felt bad and ordered many pairs of boots instantly.
After several months he went to their shop again, but this time he mistook Mr Gessler for his elder brother. After a while he realised his mistake and learnt that the elder brother had passed away. He again ordered many pair of shoes and soon after that he left for abroad. After returning back, he went to his favourite boot shop again. This time Mr Gessler looked more aged, only a year had passed but from his face it appeared as though he has covered a journey of a decade.
The Artist’s End but with a Bitter Truth
Mr Gessler failed to recognise the author. The author as usual placed his orders and this time the boots were better than ever. The author one evening went personally to thank Mr Gessler for such a splendid work. But the name plate was missing from the shop. He found an Englishman inside. The man informed him that Mr Gessler had passed away and they have taken up the shop. The man further added that Mr Gessler died of starvation.
The man used to make all the boots himself, he never allowed anyone else to touch them. Used the finest quality leather and worked hard day and night to complete the orders in time. He made the best boots in London with the finest leather yet he lost it to competition. Everything that he earned went on paying rent for the shop and on buying leathers. He skipped his meals working for hours for each pair of boots.
Word Meaning in English
Lasted terribly to last long
By-street a side street off the main thoroughfare
Guttural produced in the throat, harsh sounding
Essence the intrinsic nature, something abstract that determines its character
Restfully having a quiet and soothing quality
Whence from what place or source
Inhaling breathe in
Incense a gum, spice or other substance that is burned for the Sweet smell that it produces
Creaked making a harsh, high pitched sound when being moved or pressed
Contempt the feeling that a person or thing is beneath consideration or worthless
Circumstances a condition connected with an action or event
Omen an event regarded as a portent of bad or evil
Peered to look closely or carefully
Wan looking pale, giving an impression of illness or exhaustion
Pinched tense and pale from cold worry or hunger
Downstairs down a flight of stairs
Splendidly excellent, extremely well
Flowery full of, resembling or smelling like flowers
Penniless used to denote no money at all
Working with the Text (NCERT Page 78)
Answer the following questions.
- What was the author’s opinion about Mr Gessler as a bootmaker?
Ans. The author was very impressed with Mr Gessler. He liked the boots made only on order and those boots perfectly fitted the customers. Their boots had the best materials and lasted long. He found the work mysterious and wonderful.
- Why did the author visit the shop so infrequently?
Ans. The author visited the shop so infrequently because the boots made by Gessler brothers lasted too long.
- What was the effect on Mr Gessler of the author’s remark about a certain pair of boots?
Ans. Mr Gessler at first found the remark unbelievable. He argued that the author might have got them wet. He was shocked. He told the author that he will either repair them or adjust the money in his bills.
- What was Mr Gessler’s complaint against ‘big firms’?
Ans. Mr Gessler complained that the big firms didn’t value the money of the customers. They were capturing the markets from advertisements and not from the quality of their work. He was mostly out of work because of those firms and day by day the volume was getting reduced.
- Why did the author order so many pairs of boots? Did he really need them?
Ans. The author felt bad for Mr Gessler who was really talented and made great boots. He ordered so many pairs to help the bootmaker.
No, he didn’t really need them.
Working with Language
(NCERT Pages 78 and 79)
- Study the following phrases and their meanings. Use them appropriately to complete the sentences that follow.
look after : take care of
look down on : disapprove or regard as inferior
look in (on someone) : make a short visit
look into : investigate
look out : be careful
look up : improve
look up to : admire
(i) After a very long spell of heat, the weather is ………… at last.
(ii) We have no right to …………… people who do small jobs.
(iii) Nitin has always ………………… his uncle, who is a self-made man.
(iv) The police are ………….. the matter thoroughly.
(v) If you want to go out, will …………… the children for you.
(vi) I promise to ………………… on your brother when I visit Lucknow next.
(vii) ………………… when you are crossing the main road.
Ans. (i) looking up (ii) look down iii) looked up (iv) looking into
(v) look after (vi) look in (vii) Look up
- Read the following sets of words loudly and clearly.
Cot – coat
Cost – coast
tossed – toast
got – goat
rot – rote
blot – bloat
knot – note
Ans. Do it yourself.
- Each of the following words contains the sound ‘sh’ (as in shine) in the beginning or in the middle or at the end. First speak out all the words clearly. Then arrange the words in three groups in the table.
sheep trash marsh fashion
anxious shriek shore fish
portion ashes sure nation
shoe pushing polish moustache
- In each of the following words ‘ch’ represents the same consonant sound as in ‘chair’. The words on the left have this sound initially. Those on the right have it finally. Speak each word clearly.
Underline the letters representing this sound in each of the following words.
(i) feature (ii) archery
(iii) picture (iv) reaching
(v) nature (vi) matches
(vii) riches (vii) batch
(i) Feature (ii) Archery
(iii) Picture (iv) Reaching
(v) Nature (vi) Matches
(vii) Riches (viii) Batch
Speaking (NCERT Pages 80 and 81)
- Do you think Mr Gessler was a failure as a bootmaker or as a competitive businessman?
Ans. Mr Gessler was successful as a bootmaker because his customers were immensely satisfied with the boot he made. This perfectly fit them and lasted long. Yes, he was a failure as a competitive businessman. He didn’t have money like the big firms so couldn’t invest on advertisements. He lost his business to them. He took time in delivering the boots because he made them alone. He lost his customers because of the delay in delivery.
He worked hard, striving for long hours. Whatever, he earned went on paying the rent for his shop and for buying leathers. He spent days of great penury.
- What is the significance of the title? To who or to what does it refer?
Ans. The title refers to the great quality boots Mr Gessler made. It is an ideal title for the lesson. It refers to the business practices followed these days where no one cares about quality.
For Mr Gessler, quality was of optimum significance. He worked for long hours, didn’t allow anyone else to touch his boots. He lost on business, was spending days in poverty still the man didn’t compromise on quality.
- Notice the way Mr Gessler speaks English. His English is influenced by his mother tongue. He speaks English with an accent.
- When Mr Gessler speaks, p, t, k, sound like b,d,g. Can you say these words as Mr Gessler would say them?
It comes and never stops. Does it bother me?
Not at all. Ask my brother, please.
Ans. Mr Gessler used to speak English with a German accent. His English sounded funny and a bit difficult to understand.
Mr Gessler would have spoken these lines as.
Id comes and never sdobs. Does id bodder me?
Nod ad all. Ask my brodher blease.
- Speak to five adults in your neighbourhood. Ask them the following questions (in any language they are comfortable in). Then come back and share your findings with the class.
(i) Do they buy their provisions packed in plastic packets at a big store or loose, from a smaller store near their house?
(ii) Where do they buy their footwear? Do they buy branded footwear or footwear made locally? What reasons do they have for their preference?
(iii) Do they buy readymade clothes or buy cloth and get their clothes stitched by a tailor? Which do they think is better?
(i) Yes, they prefer buying their provisions loose from the smaller stores near their house.
(ii) They buy footwear for daily purpose from local shops. For office and part purpose they prefer buying it from branded shops.
They don’t like spending too much on their regular footwear. So, they buy it from local shops.
For office and party they want to look good and want the footwear to last long and comfortable. So, they are fine spending on t.
(iii) They do the both. At times they buy readymade clothes and at times get them stitched from the tailor. They find it easy to buy readymade clothes. They get the latest fashion and it saves time as well.
- Look at the picture.
Let pairs of students talk to each other about leaving the country. One student repeats Ajiť’s statements. The other gives a reason for not agreeing with Ajit. The sentence openings given below should be used.
- If I leave this country, l’ll miss ………………… .
- There are some things which you can get only here, for example ………………… .
- There are some special days l’ll miss, particularly …………………….. .
- Most of all I’ll miss …………………….. because …………………… .
- I think it’s impossible for me to leave my country because ………………. .
- How can you leave your own country except when …………………?
- Depends on one’s intention. I can’t leave for good because …………….. .
- Maybe for a couple of years ……………………. .
Ans. Ajit: I have decided to go abroad for higher studies
Anisa: Have you? I don’t think l’ll ever do that. I love my country.
If I leave this country, I’ll miss my friends and family. I will also miss the food.
There are some things which you can get only here, for example the food, snacks and the care and concern of people around.
There are some special days l’ll miss, particularly the festivals, birthdays and my parents anniversary.
Most of all l’ll miss my sister because we have been very close to each other and I share all my secrets with her.
I think it’s impossible for me to leave my country because I love my country and family too much and can’t go too far from them.
How can you leave your own country except when there is an emergency?
Depends on one’s intention. I can’t leave for good because I want to celebrate all my special moments with my close ones.
May be for a couple of years I think it should be fine.
Writing (NCERT Page 82)
Based on the following points write a story.
Your aunt has gone to her mother’s house.
- Your uncle does his cooking.
- He is absent-minded.
- He puts vegetables on stove.
- He begins to clean his bicycle outside.
- The neighbour calls out saying something is burning.
- Your uncle rushes to the kitchen.
- To save vegetables, he puts some oil in them.
- Unfortunately, it’s machine oil, not cooking oil.
- What do you think happens to the vegetables?
Ans. Begin like this.
Last month my aunt decided to visit her parents. They live in some other city. In absence of my aunt my uncle had to do all the cooking. He is very forgetful and absent-minded. One day he puts vegetable on stove for cooking and at the same time he goes out to clean his bicycle.
My uncle got involved in cleaning his bicycle so much that he completely forgot about the vegetables he had kept on the stove. One of his neighbour came to his place hurriedly telling about some burning smell coming from his kitchen. My uncle remembered about the vegetables he had kept on stove for cooking. He rushed to the kitchen and to save them from getting burnt he poured some oil over them immediately. Only at the time of eating he realised it was not cooking oil but machine oil. The vegetables were completely spoiled, my uncle had to throw them away.
Questions and Answers
Very Short Answer Type Questions
- What proves that Mr Gessler was not an Englishman?
Ans. Mr Gessler spoke English with an influence of his mother tongue which proved that his wasn’t an Englishman.
- Where did Mr Gessler live?
Ans. Mr Gessler lived in London in his shoe shop.
- What distinction Mr Gessler’s shop had?
Ans. Mr Gessler’s shop didn’t had any other signs except Gessler Brothers written on it.
- How did Mr Gessler found that the boot was not comfortable for author?
Ans. Mr Gessler pressed with his finger at a particular point and he could make it out that the left boot wasn’t giving comfort to the author.
- What material Mr Gessler used to make the boots?
Ans. Mr Gessler made boots from the finest quality leather.
- How did Mr Gessler described his brother?
Ans. Mr Gessler said that his brother was a good man. He made good boots.
- Give one stance from the lesson that proves that Mr Gessler was getting older.
Ans. Mr Gessler failed to recognise the author during his final days which proves that he had really grown old.
- Why did the author went to the shoe shop for the last time?
Ans. The author went to the shop for the last time to thank Mr Gessler for making the great boots.
- Why was the name plate missing at Mr Gessler’s shop?
Ans. Mr Gessler had died and the shop was taken over by another man so his name plate was not there anymore.
Short Answer Type Questions
- Why did author preferred boots made by Mr Gessler than that of big firms?
Ans. The author preferred boots made by Mr Gessler than that of big firms because Mr Gessler’s boots were durable, were made from best leathers and they fitted perfectly well. The author was very attached to Mr Gessler.
- The author felt sorry for complaining about his boots. What made him feel so?
Ans. Mr Gessler was shocked at the complaint. He failed to believe it. He became silent and then started thinking deeply where he went wrong. This made the author regret making such a complaint.
- Why the author called those boots bought from big firm ‘ill-omened’?
Ans. Seeing those boots Mr Gessler for the first time informed the author about the hardships of his trade and the hard times he was going through. Finding Mr Gessler in pain, the author called those boots bought from big firm ill-omened’ ones.
- Describe the boots made by Mr Gessler.
Ans. Mr Gessler made boots only on orders. His boots were perfect in size. They lasted long and were made from the best leathers. For Mr Gessler bootmaking was an art which was exhibited perfectly in each pair carved by him.
Long Answer Type Questions
- Mr Gessler in his last wasn’t in good health. Give three examples to prove this.
Ans. Author had mistaken Mr Gessler for his elder brother because he looked too old. There was very thin lining of hair left on the top portion of his head. During the last meeting with the author within a period of one year, Mr Gessler had grown older by around 10 years. He looked tired and exhausted.The hardships of the trade have taken a toll on his health. He even failed to recognise the author at first.
- Mr Gessler was spending his days with great difficulty. Give suitable arguments in favour of this.
Ans. Mr Gessler was having a tough time in his final years. He had lost his customers because of the delay in delivery of his orders.
He used to work really hard to make each pair of shoe. But still everything he earned went on paying the rent of his shop and in buying leather. There wasn’t much money with him. He nearly killed himself working for hours at the shop without any food and rest.
Value Based Question
Quality is an important aspect of business. Elaborate
Ans. Quality plays an important role in business. Every customer looks for quality in the products they buy. Everyone wants to buy an item that has high quality. If we keep the quality of our products high then our customers will visit us again. Popularity of our products also increases in the market. But in other hand if, we sell products of low quality then people might buy them once but will feel being cheated. They will never lose our trust and we will lose them as customer forever.
Extra Questions and Answers
Directions (Q. Nos. 1-6) Read the extract given below and answer the following questions.
I remember well my shy remarks, I day, while stretching out to him my youthfull foot. “Isn’t it awfully hard to do, Mr Gessler?” And his answer given with a sudden smile from out of the redness of his beard: “id is an ardt!”
- Whom does ‘I’ refer to in the above lines?
Ans. In the above lines ‘I’ refers to the author.
- Why is he feeling awkward?
Ans. Mr Gessler was many years elder than him, he felt awkward in stretching his feet before him and allowing him to touch them.
- What is the art Mr Gessler refers to?
Ans. Mr Gessler refers to the art of bootmaking.
- Find a word from the above lines that means ‘introvert’.
(a) Awful (b) Shy (c) Redness (d) Ardt
Ans. (b) Shy
- Mr Gessler smiled while replying the question because he
(a) agreed with the speaker
(b) felt proud of his work
(c) was pleased that someone had praised him
(d) None of the above
Ans. (b) felt proud of his work.
- Find out one word from the list below that means “terrible’.
(a) Shy (b) Youthfull (c) Awful (d) Hard
Ans. (c) Awful
Directions (Q. Nos. 1-6) Read the extract given below and answer the following questions.
But his face and voice made so deep an impression that during the next few minutes I ordered many pairs. They lasted longer than ever. And I was not able to go to him for nearly 2 years.
It was many months before my next visit to his shop.
- Name the speaker in the above lines.
Ans. The author of the lesson John Galsworthy is the speaker of the above lines.
- Whom does ‘his’ refers to in the above lines?
Ans. ‘His’ in the above lines refers to Mr Gessler.
- Why his voice and face made such an impact?
Ans. The author was moved after realising the hard times Mr Gessler was going through. The truth about Mr Gessler’s hardship has made such an impact over the author.
- What did the author placed the order for?
(a) Gloves (b) Boots (c) Socks (d) None of these
Ans. (b) Boots
- What has caused such reaction from ‘him’?
(a) The author had bought shoes from a big fir
(b) The author’s shoe didn’t last long
(c) The fact that the Mr Gessler was losing on business and was having a difficult time
(d) The author had not visited Mr Gessler’s shop for long
Ans. (c) The fact that the Mr Gessler was losing on business and was having a difficult time.
- The above lines show that the author was
(a) a kind person
(b) careless about other’s emotions
(c) avoiding going to the shop
(d) a busy man
Ans. (a) a kind person