What did
the author spot in the junk shop?

Ans: – The author spotted a roll-top desk in the junk shop in Birdport, Dorset,
England. The roll-top desk was of early nineteenth century and it was made up
of oak wood.
What was
the condition of the roll-top desk?

Ans: – The roll-top desk that the author spotted in the junkshop was in a bad condition.
The roll-top desk was broken in several pieces, one leg was clumsily mended and
there was scorch marks all down one side. Besides, the Veneer had lifted almost
everywhere because of water.
Why did the
author think buying the roll-top was a risk?

Ans: – The author bought the roll-top desk from a junk shop. And when the
author bought the roll top desk, it was in a bad condition with water and fire damage.
The author considered buying it a risk because if he could not restore the
roll-top desk properly, it would be a loss for him.
How did the
author open the last drawer?

Ans: – While opening the drawers, the author found the last drawer stuck fast. He
put all his efforts to ease it out gently. But all his efforts were futile. At
last the author used brute force to open the drawer. He struck the last drawer
sharply with the side of his fist and the drawer flew open.
Tell us
about the secret drawer.
Ans: – When the author opened the last
drawer with brute force, he found another secret drawer in there. The author
reached in and found a small black tin box. On the top of the box there was, a
lined notepaper cello-taped on the top and on it, there was written “Jim’s last
letter, received 25, 1915. To be buried with me when the time comes.”

 Explain critically – “Curiosity got better of
my scruples.”

Ans: – This line reflects how curiosity of us defeats our scruples i.e. the
morality which makes us reluctant to do something that may be wrong. Here the
poet talks about the box which aroused his curiosity to open it. .Though his
morality made him feel that opening the box of someone is incorrect, he could
not contain himself and opened the box.
What was
inside the box?

Ans: – Opening the box, the author found an envelope. On the envelope there was
an address: “Mrs.  Jim Macpherson, 12,
Copper Beeches, Birdport, Dorset. “. And on the top written with pencil, the
date reflected “December 26, 1914.”
 Which incident did Jim talk about at the
beginning of the letter?
– The letter that the author wrote on December 26, 1914, he highlighted an
unprecedented incident that took place in the battleground between the British
and Germans. He wrote in an elated manner how the blood thirst enemies observed
Christmas   enemies observed
Christmas   enemies observed Christmas
jubilantly forgetting their enmity.
 How was the weather of the day as described by
– The day which was talked about by Jim Macpherson was Christmas morning. Jim
and other soldiers were standing in there trenches. It was crisp quiet and very
beautiful morning. According to Jim it resembled cold and frosty as Christmas
morning should be.
Explain the line- “I should like
to be able to tell you that we began it.”
– Here Jim Macpherson regrets over the fact that they could not initiate the
very noble work that their enemies did. On the Christmas morning the Germans
wished the Christmas first and offered to celebrate the day they do on
Christmas days.

What did the Fritz begin?
– On the Christmas morning, 25th December 1914 the Fritz i.e. the
Germans and British were facing each other in the battleground expecting
bloodshed. But the day begin a pious one, they decided to observe in utmost
brotherhood forgetting enmity. Across no man’s land from the side of the
Germans some waved a white flag and wished the British solders ‘Happy
Christmas, Tommy! Happy Christmas!’
 How did the British solder react to the
German’s Christmas wish?
– When the Germans wished the British solders Christmas, the British soldiers
were perplexed for moment for this unexpected wish, and then realising the true
spirit of the wish instinctively they wished back ‘Same to you Fritz! Same to
“Don’t shoot lads!” – Explain the
– This statement was made by one of the soldiers. It was made so because after
wishing Christmas one of the German soldiers got up on the parapet in grey
great coat and started waving a white flag.
Why did Jim Macpherson consider
German’s action to be trick?
– This has been witnessed many times that soldiers employ various means to win
a battle. Here in the story in a battle situation when German soldiers
surprisingly wished Christmas and stood on the parapet with the purpose of
meeting them, this aroused suspicion and the British officer Jim Macpherson
thought this to be trick and warned his solders.
How did the Germans start
approaching toward the British to celebrate Christmas?
– Germans made the start to celebrate Christmas. One of the Germans started to
wave a bottle over his head and said, “It is Christmas Day, Tommy”. And then
they mentioned about schnapps and sausage and asked to meet them. After this in
a short while dozens of Germans started to move towards the British solders
through no man’s land.

Explain the line- “I should have
stopped them there and then, I suppose, but the truth is that is never ever
occurred to me I should.”
– Through this line Jim Macpherson reflects the spontaneous response of the
British soldiers to meet the Germans to celebrate Christmas. Jim Macpherson
being the officer of the British soldiers should have stopped other soldiers
from doing this because this could lead to their defeat and death.
Describe the scene where the
German and English solders meet each other in no man’s land for the first time.
– When the Germans first started to approach, the first English soldier who
responded was Little Private Mooris. He gave a call to all other soldiers and
they responded. Jim Macpherson even did not feel to stop them. All he could see
had been men walking slowly towards one another grey coats and khaki coats
meeting in the middle.
 Describe the scene where Jim Macpherson and
Hans Wolf met each other first time.
– Jim Macpherson writes his wife about his inexplicable feeling when he met the
German soldier. The German officer approached hand outstretched and gripping
Jim’s hand warmly said, “Hans Wolf I’m from Dusseldorf. I play the cello in the
orchestra. Happy Christmas.” Then Jim Macpherson also replied, “Captain Jim
Macpherson, And Happy Christmas to you too. I’m a school teacher from Dorset,
in the west of England.”
How did Hans Wolf know about
Dorset, English and England?
Hans Wolf had never been to England or Dorset. But in spite of being a German,
he spoke perfect English. The Jim got to know that he had learned about Dorset,
England and English from his school and reading books in English.
Which book was the most favourite
to Hans Wolf and what about the book they discussed?
– Hans Wolf’s favourite book was “Far From the madding Crowd” (Forth novel of
Thomas Hardy- 1874) written by Thomas Hardy (Famous English Novelist). In no man’s
land they were discussing about the characters like Bathsheba, Gabriel Oak and
Sergeant troy of Far From the Madding crowd.

What food did Jim Macpherson and
Hans Wolf share?
Ans:-  Hans Wolf and Jim Macpherson enjoyed food
they had in spite of being enemy. They shared Jim’s rum ration and Hans Wolf’s
excellent sausage. Later on, they shared Connie’s left bit of Christmas cake.
Hans Wolf complimented the marzipan to be best he had ever tasted.
Explain- “We agreed about
everything and he was my enemy.”
– This sentence is the most striking sentence in the whole story. Generally
enmity comes to two persons or groups for having strong disagreement over an
issue or issues. But here in the story both Hans Wolf and Jim Macpherson had no
disagreement over anything. Rather they agreed about everything .They were
enemies because they were made enemies by the leaders and warlords of their
How did they started playing
football match?
– When both the German and British soldiers were enjoying Christmas, smoking,
laughing, talking, drinking and eating someone brought out a football. They
used the great coats dumping in piles to make goal posts. Then there was the
battle of football between Tommies against Firtzs.
 How did Hans Wolf and Jim Macpherson enjoy the
football match?
– When the Tommies and the Fritzs started playing football match, they enjoyed
it to the utmost. They looked on and cheered clapping their hands and stamping
their feet to enjoy the match and to keep out the cold as much as anything.
What do the breaths mingling
– When Hans Wolf and Jim Macpherson were enjoying playing football match, there
was a moment when Jim Macpherson saw their breaths mingling in the air between
them. Even Hans Wolf noticed it and smiled. The significance is that not only
they are not having any enmity between them but also their breaths have no
issues in unification.
 How according to Hans Wolf, football is a
better way to resolve war?
– When the football match was going on, suddenly Hans Wolf commented that
football match was the way to resolve the war. He reasoned that in a football
match no one dies. No children are orphaned and no wives become widows. Indeed
Hans Wolf was right. War cannot be the solution. Rather it gives birth to
another war. War means bloodshed, loss and pain.

Why did Jim Macpherson say that
he would prefer a cricket match?
– According to Jim Macpherson to resolve a war or dispute between the British
and Germans, he would prefer cricket instead of football match. He would do so
because he knew that Germans are stronger in football match; but they are dumb
in the skills of cricket. So the British would be sure of wining the match.
 What was the result of the football match and
what did Hans Wolf say over the result of the match?
Ans:-  In the football match Germans defeated the
British to two goals to one. But Hans Wolf opined that the result was not fair
because the goal of the British was wider than the Germans.
What did Hans Wolf and Jim
Macpherson say at the end of the Christmas day?
Ans:-  As the Christmas day got over and all knew
that it was all over  Jim said that they
would meet their family soon and fighting would end soon and all could go home.
In reply Hans Wolf said, “I think that is what every solder wants, on both
sides.” Then again Hans Wolf said, “Take care Jim Macpherson, I shall never
forget this moment nor you.”
 How did both the British and Germans spend the
Christmas night?
Ans:-  Both the armies enjoyed the Christmas night
singing carols. Germans were singing the Christmas carol beautifully. The
British solders also sang in chorus. The German solders sang ‘Stille Nacht,
Silent Night’ and the British solders sang ‘While Shepherds Watched’. Then they
exchanged their carols and fell silent. That very Christmas had been a time of
peace good will that they would treasure always.
        31.   How did Jim
Macpherson end his letter?
Ans: Jim
ended the letter with an optimistic tone. He said his wife that by the next
year this war will be nothing but a distant and terrible memory and he realized
from the incident of the Christmas day that both the armies longed for peace.
Jim promised that they would be together again soon.

        32. What did the author do the next morning?
Ans: The
author had decided to return the letter to Connie Macpherson. So in the morning
he got up, drove to Bridport and asking people the address of Copper Beeches,
found out the house of Connie Macpherson.
        33.  How was the house no.
Ans: When
the author reached House no. 12, he found that to be nothing but a burned out shell.
The roof of the house was in a gaping state. The windows were boarded up.
Evidently no one was present in the house.
        34.  What information did
the author get from the neighbor about Mrs. Macpherson?
Ans: When
the author found the house no 12 burned and deserted, he asked a neighbour
about the whereabouts of Mrs. Macpherson. The neighbour knew her and considered
her a lovely old lady, but a bid muddle headed. He reasoned that at the age of
hundred and one years, one must be muddled headed.
        35.   How was the house of
Mrs. Macpherson burned?
Ans: No one
really knew how the fire started but it is doubted that the reason of the fire
was candles. Mrs. Macpherson preferred candles than electricity because she
always thought electricity to be expensive. She was inside her house when it
was on fire. The firemen had got her out just in time saving her life.
        36. What was the atmosphere of the Burlington House Nursing Home
when the author reached there?
Ans: When
the author reached the Burlington House Nursing Home, he found everyone to be
in the festive mood. There were paper chains in the hallway and lighted
Christmas tree. Stood on the corner with a lopsided angel on top, the author
expressed the purpose of his visit. He found that in the dining room everyone
along with the Matron was wearing a paper cap and singing.

        37.  What did the Matron inform author?
Ans: When
the author met the Matron and told the purpose of his visit, the matron offered
him a mince pie. Then the Matron informed the author that Mrs. Macpherson was
rather confused that day so they decided to give her a good rest. After this
she added that Mrs. Macpherson doesn’t have a family and seeing the author she
would be happy.

            38. How did the author find Mrs. Macpherson in the conservatory?

            Ans: When
the author saw Mrs. Macpherson in the conservatory, she was sitting in a wheel
chair, her hands folded in her lap. She had silver white hair pinned into a
wispy bun. She was gazing out at                the garden.

            39. Briefly note down the initial reaction of Mrs. Macpherson
after seeing             the tin box?

            Ans: The
author wished Mrs. Macpherson merry Christmas and gave the tin box to her. She
did not reply back and her eyes lit back with recognition and her face became
suffused with a sudden glow of             happiness. The author explained her about the
desk and everything about it but she was not listening. She said nothing and
stroked the letter tenderly with her fingertips.