Precis (Summary) Writing – 15
Creative Writing – 60
The following passage has 378 words. Your precis should ideally be within 135 words.
Passage from the story ‘Home’ by Somerset Maugham
The farm lay in a hollow among the Somersetshire hills, an old-fashioned stone house surrounded by barns and pens and out-houses. Over the doorway the date when it was built had been carved in the elegant figures of the period, 1673, and the house, grey and weather-beaten, looked as much a part of the landscape as the trees that sheltered it. An avenue of splendid elms that would have been the pride of many a squire’s mansion led from the road to the trim garden. The people who lived here were as stolid, sturdy and unpretentious as the house; their only boast was that ever since it was built from father to son in one unbroken line they had been born and died in it. For three hundred years they had farmed the surrounding land. George Meadows was now a man of fifty, and his wife was a year or two younger. They were both fine, upstanding people in the prime of life; and their children, two sons and three girls, were handsome and strong. They had no newfangled notions about being gentlemen and ladies; they knew their place and were proud of it. I have never seen a more united household. They were merry, industrious and kindly. Their life was patriarchal. It had a completeness that gave it a beauty as definite as that of a symphony by Beethoven or a picture by Titian. They were happy and they deserved their happiness. But the master of the house was not George Meadows (not by a long chalk, they said in the village); it was his mother. She was twice the man her son was, they said. She was a woman of seventy, tall, upright and dignified, with grey hair, and though her face was much wrinkled, her eyes were bright and shrewd. Her word was law in the house and on the farm; but she had humour, and if her rule was despotic it was also kindly. People laughed at her jokes and repeated them. She was a good business woman and you had to get up very early in the morning to best her in a bargain. She was a character. She combined in a rare degree good will with an alert sense of the ridiculous.
A seventy-year-old, burly domineering woman lorded over her family consisting of her fifty-year-old son, George Meadows, his wife, and their two sons and three daughters. The sprightly matriarch prided in her active habits, and her farm spread around her old ancestral house built in 1673. The year was inscribed on the front door. The family was well-knit, healthy, and contented. Despite her ripe age, George’s mother was jovial, full of humor, and jest. The mansion looked lacklustre due to its age. Farms, pens, and barns surrounded the house. The family lived off the farm. The old house had a succession of occupants of the same lineage all of whom were both born and had died there. The dull-looking house stood majestically amidst a thicket. Elms lined the lane from the mansion to the road. [134 words]