NCERT Solutions for Class 9 English Main Course Book Unit 5 Mystery Chapter 3 The Tragedy of Birlstone are part of NCERT Solutions for Class 9 English. Here we have given NCERT Solutions for Class 9 English Main Course Book Unit 5 Mystery Chapter 3 The Tragedy of Birlstone.
|Subject||English Main Course Book|
|Chapter||Unit 5 Chapter 3|
|Chapter Name||The Tragedy of Birlstone|
Look at the picture below and list some phrases and words that come to your mind when you look at it.
Can you make some guesses about the dead man ? Give reasons for your answers.
(a) Did the man die a natural death or was he murdered ?
(b) Was the dead man rich or poor ?
(c) Who is the man bending over him ?
(а) No the man didn’t die a natural death. His dead body lying on the floor rules out this fact. Then the stick, his posture, the blood, etc, clearly show that he has been murdered.
(b) The dead man seems to be rich. It is clear from the clothes he wore and the house. A deep mystery is involved in his murder.
(c) The man bending over him is a detective. He is investigating his murder. He wants to know the reasons behind his murder. He is being assisted by other detectives.
Here are a police constable’s notes of his investigation of the murder at Manor House. After reading the notes, discuss where the murder could have taken place. What was the motive behind the evil act ? How was the act committed ?
For discussion by the students as desired. Some relevant pointwise information is given below :
The murder had taken place in the Manor House or it might have taken place outside the Manor House. The reasons where it had taken place are not clear yet. The circumstantial evidence suggests that the motive behind the evil act could have been the great popularity of John Douglas. This was due to his cheery and genial nature and some jealousy in his wife’s heart. The disparity between the nature of the two due to nerve strain supports this aspect. Third, the frequent visit of an outsider Cecil Barker may form a love triangle. This sort of triangle usually leads to such tragic occurrences. The white-faced servants, frightened butler, injury signs deepen the mystery of the murder.
The murder could have been committed most mercilessly. The horrible injuries and their terrible marks indicate this aspect. Mr. Douglas could have resisted and struggled with the murderer with full force as per the situation. Then the murderer could have shot him dead. .
Dr. Wood, the capable general practitioner, has been requested to solve this case. He gathers information about the murder from the inmates of the house. The information is presented in two parts.
Parts A : Background story by Arthur Canon Doyle
Parts B : Conversation between Dr. Wood and Cecil Barker
The village of Birlstone is a small and very ancient cluster of half-timbered cottages on the northern border of the county of Sussex. For centuries it had remained unchanged but its picturesque appearance has attracted well-to-do residents. A number of small shops have come into being to meet the wants of the increased population. About half a mile from the town, standing in an old park famous for its huge beech trees, was the ancient Manor House, with its many gables and its small diamond paned windows. The only approach to the house was over a drawbridge,the chains and windlass of which had been rusted and broken.
The family consisted of only two individuals – John Douglas and his wife. Douglas was cheery and genial to all and had acquired great popularity among the villagers. He appeared to have plenty of money. Thus it came about that John Douglas had, within five years,won himself quite a reputation in Birlstone. His wife was a beautiful woman, tall, dark, and slender, younger than her husband; a disparity which seemed in no way to mar the contentment of their family life. It was remarked sometimes, that the confidence between the two did not appear to be incomplete.
There were signs sometimes of some nerve strain upon the part of Mrs. Douglas. Cecil Barker, was a frequent and welcome visitor at Manor House, Barker was an easy going, free handed gentleman. It was on Jan 6th at 11:45 that the alarm reached the small local police station that John Douglas had been murdered. Dr. Wood seemed to be unnerved and troubled.
Conversation between Dr. Wood and Cecil Barker
Dr. Wood : We will touch nothing until my superiors arrive. (He spoke in a hushed voice, staring at the dreadful head)
C Barker : Nothing has been touched until now.
Dr. Wood : When did this happen?
C Barker : It was just half-past eleven. I was sitting by the fire in my bedroom when I heard the gun shot. In thirty seconds I was in the room.
Dr. Wood : Was the door open?
C. Barker : Yes, it was open. Poor Douglas was lying as you see him.
Dr. Wood : Did you see anyone?
C. Barker : No, I heard Mrs. Douglas coming down the stairs behind me, and I rushed out to prevent her from seeing this dreadful sight.
Dr. Wood : But I have heard that the drawbridge is kept up all night.
C. Barker : Yes, it was up until I lowered it.
Dr. Wood : Then how could any murderer have got away? It is out of question! Mr Douglas must have shot himself.
C. Barker : That was our first idea. But see! The diamond paned window is open to its full extent.
Dr. Wood : I think someone stood there while trying to get out.
C. Barker : You mean that someone waded across the moat?
Dr. Wood : Exactly!
C. Barker : I agree with you.
Dr. Wood : But what I ask you is, how did he even get into the house at all if the bridge was up?
C. Barker : Ah, that’s the question.
Dr. Wood : At what time was the bridge raised?
C. Barker : It was nearly 6 O’clock.
Dr. Wood : Then it comes to this, if anyone came from outside – if they did – they must have got in across the bridge before six and had been in hiding ever since. The man was waiting. He shot him, when he got the chance. – adapted
No Question asked.
Answer the following questions by ticking the correct options.
1. The only change in Birlstone in years has been ___________ .
(a) the opening of a few shops.
(b) the timbered cottages.
(c) an improvement in its
(d) a number of well-to-do residents have
2. picturesque appearance. settled there ___________. The Manor House stood out because of its .
(a) diamond-paned windows.
(b) huge beech trees.
(c) drawbridge and windows.
3. John Douglas had won quite a reputation for himself in Birlstone because of his ___________ .
(a) genial temperament.
(b) Manor House.
(c) his wealth.
(d) his beautiful wife.
4. Cecil Barker’s first reaction at the sight of the dead Douglas was to ___________.
(a) inform Mr Woods.
(b) stop Mrs Douglas from seeing the dead body,
(c) call for help.
(d) observe the open door.
2. (a), (b) and (c)
In Question 3. you read an eye-witness account of a robbery. On the basis of your reading of the Birlstone tragedy, in about 125 words, write Dr. Wood’s account of the discovery of John Douglas’s body.
Dr. Wood’s Account of the discovery of John Douglas’s body :
It was approaching midnight when I got a call from Mr. Barker that Mr. Douglas had been murdered. I rushed at once to the scene. I found to my utter astonishment that the drawbridge had been down which should have been up at this hour of the night. On reaching the murder scene I found Mr. Douglas’s body lying sprawled near the fireplace. His head was towards the fireplace. Mr. Barker was there when he should not and Mr. Douglas’s wife was in another room. This naturally raised some doubt in my mind as I apprehended some complexity between her and Mr. Barker.
When I asked Mr. Barker about the drawbridge etc, he told that the door was open when he arrived on the scene and he himself had lowered the drawbridge. He also added that usually the drawbridge was put up at 6 pm and nobody could enter the house during the night. A doubt in my mind lurked that the murderer might have entered the House before 6 pm and had hidden himself inside it to commit the crime at the right time. Mrs. Douglas and Mr. Barker also need to be investigated thoroughly to reach the truth behind this murder.
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