Multiple Choice Question
1. What was the cause of confusion at 11.39 pm?
(a) The signal was not working.
(b) The train was late.
(c) The train was not ready.
(d) Skimble was no where to be found.
Answer: (d) Skimble was no where to be found.
2. The word 'nimble' means
Answer: (a) quick
3. "He gives one flash of his glass-green eyes" and what happens?
(a) The stationmaster gives the signal
(b) The train begins its journey
(c) Skimbleshanks drives the train
(d) Ticket Collector checks the tickets.
Answer: (b) The train begins its journey
4. How does Skimble establish his absolute control?
(a) By speaking to the stationmaster
(b) By a regular patrol
(c) By following the guard
(d) By talking to the passengers
Answer: (b) By a regular patrol
5. When Skimbleshanks is aboard
(a) no one could play pranks.
(b) all the passengers are tense.
(c) he drinks tea.
(d) he creates a havoc.
Answer: (a) no one could play pranks.
6. Which of the following is pleasant for the passengers?
(a) The berth is neat and clean
(b) There's not a speck of dust on the floor
(c) The light and fan are operative
(d) All of the above.
Answer: (d) All of the above.
7. What does Skimble remind the guards?
(a) The passengers choice of morning tea
(b) To wake up the passengers
(c) That he won't let anything go wrong
(d) That the station would arrive soon.
Answer: (a) The passengers choice of morning tea
8. The Railway Cat is
(a) bright and energetic.
Answer: (a) bright and energetic.
9. The whispering started at ______ and Skimbleshanks appeared at____
(a) 11:39 pm, 11:47 pm.
(b) 11:49 pm, 11:52 pm.
(c) 11:39 pm, 11:42 pm.
(d) 11:49 pm, 11:50 pm.
Answer: (c) 11:39 pm, 11:42 pm.
10. When everyone was looking for Skimbleshanks where was he?
(b) In the luggage van
(d) Playing games
Answer: (b) In the luggage van
11. The Railway Cat speaks to _______ at the Dumfries station.
(a) his friend
(b) a passenger
(c) the guards
(d) the police
Answer: (d) the police
12. How did Skimble bid goodbye to the passengers?
(a) By shaking hands
(b) By waving his tail
(c) By making loud noises
(d) By hugging the passengers
Answer: (b) By waving his tail
i) What's the whisper down the line? Who all are whispering?
The whisper down the line is about Skimbleshanks, the railway cat, being missing. The train staff and passengers are all whispering.
ii) Who is Skimble? What work does he do?
Skimble, or Skimbleshanks, is the railway cat. He ensures that everything on the Night Mail train runs smoothly and that all passengers have a comfortable journey.
iii) What does "hunt the thimble" mean? What was Skimble doing at this time?
"Hunt the thimble" is an old party game where one person hides a thimble and others try to find it. The line suggests that Skimble might be playing or hiding somewhere. At this time, Skimble was in the luggage van.
iv) Why can't the train start without Skimbleshanks? How did the train finally start?
The train can't start without Skimbleshanks because he is responsible for ensuring everything is in order for the journey. The train finally started when Skimbleshanks appeared from the luggage van.
v) Did it depart on time? How did the scene at the train change after Skimble appeared?
Yes, the train departed on time. Once Skimble appeared, there was a sense of relief and order, and the train could proceed with its journey.
i) Identify and name two figures of speech used in this extract?
The two figures of speech used in this extract are Alliteration (Skimble where is Skimble) and Hyperbole (unless he's very nimble Then the Night Mail just can't go).
ii) Why is it important for Skimbleshanks to be on the train?
It is important for Skimbleshanks to be on the train because he ensures that everything runs smoothly and that passengers have a comfortable and safe journey.
iii) Why would Skimble need to be very nimble'?
Skimble would need to be 'very nimble' to move quickly and efficiently throughout the train, ensuring that everything is in order.
iv) Who are 'They' in the second line? Why are they frantic? Did they calm down? How?
'They' refers to the guards, the porters, and the stationmaster's daughters. They are frantic because the train cannot depart without Skimbleshanks. They calmed down when Skimbleshanks appeared, ensuring that the train could start its journey.
v) Imagine you are onboard this train, describe the manhunt for Skimble.
Being onboard this train, the atmosphere was filled with anxiety and urgency. Everyone, from the guards to the porters and even the stationmaster's daughters, was searching every nook and corner. There were whispers and murmurs all around, and a palpable tension filled the air. The entire scene resembled a dramatic manhunt, with everyone eager to find Skimble and ensure the train's timely departure.
i) Who will supervise them all (the staff)? Who are they who need the supervision?
Skimbleshanks, the railway cat, will supervise them all. The staff, including the driver, the guards, and the bagmen playing cards, need his supervision.
ii) Whose faces does the supervisor examine? What can he gauge from their faces?
The supervisor, Skimbleshanks, examines the faces of the travellers in both the First and the Third classes. By examining their faces, he can gauge their comfort, needs, and any concerns they might have.
iii) Briefly describe how he establishes control. Why does he pace the corridor?
Skimbleshanks establishes control by regularly patrolling the corridors of the train and keeping an eye on everyone. He paces the corridor to make sure everything is in order and to keep a close watch on the passengers and staff.
iv) Do you think the supervisor can do the same in other modes of transportplane, bus, metro? State how.
While the role of Skimbleshanks is tailored for a train journey, the idea of a diligent supervisor ensuring safety and comfort can be applied to any mode of transport. In a plane, a similar figure might be the head flight attendant; in a bus, the conductor; and in a metro, the chief guard. Their roles would involve ensuring the passengers' safety, comfort, and addressing any concerns.
v) Why do you think the train is called 'Sleeping Car Express'? How does the supervisor ensure that the name holds true?
The train is called 'Sleeping Car Express' because it's meant for overnight journeys where passengers can sleep comfortably. Skimbleshanks ensures the name holds true by maintaining a peaceful and orderly environment so that passengers can sleep undisturbed.
Contact Admin if this message is visible to you....
i) What does Skimble do at Dumfries station? Why?
At Dumfries station, Skimble speaks to the police to share or gather any information they ought to know about. This is to ensure the safety and security of the passengers and the train.
ii) When do you think the train reaches its destination? Name the first and last stations of the Midnight Mail.
The train is likely to reach its destination by midnight, given it is called the 'Midnight Mail'. The extract does not specify the first and last stations, but Dumfries and Gallowgate are mentioned as stops.
iii)Why do the passengers not have to wait to get down at Gallowgate?
The passengers do not have to wait to get down at Gallowgate because Skimbleshanks is there to help and guide them, ensuring a smooth and swift exit.
iv) How does Skimble bid goodbye to the passengers? What does the wave of his long brown tail mean?
Skimble bids goodbye to the passengers by giving them a wave of his long brown tail. This gesture signifies a warm farewell, indicating that he looks forward to seeing them again on their next journey.
v) Once the passengers fall asleep, what does the railway cat do?
The extract does not specify what Skimbleshanks does once the passengers fall asleep, but given his diligent nature, he likely continues to patrol the train, ensuring everything is in order and that the journey remains smooth and safe.
1. Who is Skimbleshanks? Draw a character sketch of him.
Skimbleshanks is a central character from T.S. Eliot's poem "Skimbleshanks: The Railway Cat." At first glance, he might appear to be just a simple cat, but he is much more than that. He is portrayed as an efficient and diligent worker on the Night Mail train. He is both the guardian and supervisor, ensuring that everything goes as planned.
Skimbleshanks is characterized by his bright and energetic disposition, always alert and vigilant. His glass-green eyes are a reflection of his attentive nature, always on the lookout for any disruption or irregularity. He is a perfectionist, ensuring that every passenger has a comfortable journey. His dedication is evident from the fact that the train doesn't depart until he is present.
His personality is also reflected in the way he interacts with the passengers and staff. He is respected by all, from the guards to the porters. The passengers feel secure knowing that Skimbleshanks is on board. His presence instills a sense of order and discipline on the train. He is the epitome of responsibility and commitment to duty.
2. How was Skimbleshanks 'the supervisor' of the train?
Skimbleshanks played the role of a supervisor on the Night Mail train. Even though he was a cat, he was an indispensable part of the train's operations. His mere presence ensured that everything ran smoothly. The train wouldn't even start its journey without him being on board, showcasing his significance.
He supervised everyone, from the driver and the guards to the bagmen playing cards. He patrolled the corridors, examining the faces of passengers, ensuring their comfort and safety. Through his meticulous checks and regular patrols, he maintained order on the train. He was always alert, even during the night, making sure that everything was in place.
He was not just a supervisor in name; he took his role seriously. His commitment to ensuring a seamless journey for every passenger made him the true in-charge of the Sleeping Car Express.
3. The train journey aboard Skimbleshanks' train.
A journey aboard Skimbleshanks' train was unlike any other. From the moment one stepped on, there was a sense of order, discipline, and meticulousness in every detail, all thanks to Skimbleshanks. The train always left on time, provided Skimbleshanks was present.
As a passenger, once you found your cabin or "little den", you'd notice your name neatly written on the door. Inside, everything was in perfect order. The berth was neatly arranged with freshly folded sheets, and there wasn't a speck of dust to be found. The facilities, like the lights, fans, and windows, were all in perfect working condition, ensuring a comfortable journey.
Throughout the journey, one could occasionally spot Skimbleshanks pacing the corridors, inspecting and ensuring everything was in place. His presence was comforting. It was as if he was silently saying to each passenger, "Rest easy; I've got everything under control." And true to his word, with Skimbleshanks on board, nothing ever went wrong.
4. The role of a leader like Skimbleshanks.
Skimbleshanks embodies the qualities of an effective leader. His leadership is not about dominance but about service, ensuring the comfort and safety of all aboard the train. He takes responsibility for the entire operation, ensuring that everything runs smoothly and efficiently.
Like any great leader, Skimbleshanks leads by example. He is always the first to arrive and the last to leave, making sure everything is in order. He doesn't differentiate between the passengers, ensuring that everyone, irrespective of their class, is taken care of. His attention to detail, dedication, and commitment make him a role model for everyone on the train.
Moreover, his leadership is not authoritative but rather collaborative. He works alongside the guards, porters, and even the driver, ensuring they perform their duties well. His proactive approach, where he anticipates issues and resolves them before they become problems, showcases his foresight and planning.
In essence, Skimbleshanks' leadership style is a blend of dedication, service, and collaboration. He epitomizes the qualities of a leader who leads from the front, ensuring the well-being of all those under his care.