The Raven
by Edgar Allan Poe

 Church Going
by Philip Larkin

 Frost at Midnight
by Samuel Coleridge

 I sit & look out
by Walt Whitman

 The Lady of Shallot
by Alfred Lord Tennyson

 Telephone Conversation
by Wole Soyinka

 Going Places
by A.R. Barton

 Village Cricket Match
by A. G. Macdonell

 The Night Train at Deoli
by Ruskin Bond

 Growing Up
by Joyce Cary

 The Castaway
by Rabindranath Tagore

Page 2

A Village Cricket Match

-by A. G. Macdonell

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(Continued from Page 1)

As the Blacksmith approaches, 'after a long stillness, the ground shook, the grasses waved violently, small birds arose with shrill clamours, aloud puffing sound alarmed the butterflies' and the audience hold their breath for the climax to unfold. The author describes the blacksmith as 'Venus Anadyomene' and likens his aggressive and desperate charge as the 'charge of von Bredow's Dragoons at Gravelotte', referring to the Franco-Prussian war of August 1870, in which although greatly outnumbered by the French, the Prussian Major General Friedrich von Bredow led the cavalry charge against the French artillery and had won the battle of Mars-La-Tour. His daring cavalry charge known as von Bredow's 'Death Ride' is used to describe a brave attempt against all overwhelming odds.
However, the umpire Mr Harcourt 'swinging slightly from leg to leg' had other plans. He is a person of agreeable sense of humour but, being tipsy, he does something eccentric. He had recognized the 'titanic effort' of the bowler and just as he rushes past him, he shouts 'No ball!' The ball slipped out of the bowler's hand, hit the person standing in the third slip and the poor player fell flat on his face, screaming loudly. The bowler on the other side is thrown off balance, and falls in the centre of the wicket twisting his ankle-all making Mr. Harcourt laugh inwardly at the admirable result of his antic.
At this moment, Mr. Hodge after surveying the scoreboard, asked Southcott 'to play his own game'. Doing just the reverse, the novelist starts playing defensive, scoring only a run in the next quarter of an hour. The ball then touches the batsman at his leg and he is declared out by the esteemed umpire even before an appeal is made. The score now is sixty-nine for six.
The game proceeds without further incidents, until Shakespeare Pollock comes to bat. He is new to the game and not well aware of its fundamental principles. He suddenly throws off his bat and runs towards the cover point. A dead silence ensues as the batsman realises his mistake.

'Well, well! I thought I was playing baseball.' He smiled disarmingly round.

The author seems to be at his best as he ineptly combines the three elements of humour-verbal humour, situational humour and humour in characterization. He uses verbal humour in describing the blacksmith, calling him 'local Achilles' or comparing him to 'Vulcan and Venus Anadyomene' and his titanic effort and his desperate charge to that of 'von Bredow's Dragoons'.
Situational humour is employed to describe the sloping field, the local audience and the antics and the laughable performance of the much experienced and decorated city team members. The author has created instances that amuse the reader like the blacksmith tripping over, his gigantic feet getting mixed up and the ball hitting the slip player, create a entertaining visual. Besides Shakespeare Pollock throwing his bat and presenting the excuse of thinking to play baseball gives the humorous story a perfect end.
Humour in characterisation is implemented through Mr. Harcourt who hits his own wicket while batting and even comes out to umpire under the influence of wine along with his sense of mischievous humour. He plays an amusing prank on the blacksmith, declaring the ball delivered with all his power and strength as No ball, and in turn producing hilarious results to which he has a good laugh internally. Robert Southcott, the novelist is the youngest member of the city team who hardly seems to be strong enough to bat powerfully, scores the maximum runs and plays just the opposite of what Mr. Hodge, his captain tells him to play.

Page 2

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