Study Material of Best Seller (Summary, Character Sketch and Word Meanings)

Character Sketch

• John A Pescud: He was small man and not good looking. He was a travelling salesman for a plate glass company. He was very successful and had his salary raised twice in the previous year and his company was to give him few shares as well. In his view, plate-glass was the most important commodity in the world. He was hypocrite, mocks the stories of Best Sellers by calling them unrealisitic but in his real life, he himself followed a girl like hearo of some best seller and later marries that girl.

• Jessie Allyn was fine and pretty. She was the only daughter of Colonel Allyn belonging to the oldest family in Virginia. She was proud of her aristocratic lineage and rich mansion. She was observant and perceptive and was attracted to Pescud.

• Colonel Allyn: He was father of Jessie and retired colonel with a stern and strict face. He was angry looking man who rarely laughed. He had hobby of telling and listening to the stories from strangers and travellers who came to him.

Summary of the Chapter

One day, the narrator was on his way to Pittsburgh for business purpose by the chair-car. He was sitting on the chair No. 7. After a while, he noticed someone on the chair No. 9 When he saw him, remembered him at once. They both were old acquaintances and met after two years. His name was John A Pescud. He was reading the Best Seller ‘The Rose Lady and Trevelyan’. Pescud was a travelling salesman for a plate-glass company. He also believed that plate-glass was the most important commodity in the world.
Pointing towards the book he was reading, Pescud said that the novel dealt with an American hero who falls in love with a royal princess from Europe. He believed that such romances only happened in novels because in real life, any sensible fellow will pick out a girl from the same kind of status and family.
After mocking the imaginative content of the novel, Pescud informs the writer that professionally, he was prospering and he had also invested in real estate. On being asked regarding his love-interest, Pescud relates his personal experience. He was going to Cincinnati, when he came across a very beautiful girl, whom he wished to marry. He chased her wherever she went, crossing many stations and finally reached Virginia. She was escorted to a palatial mansion by a tall old man. Pescud stayed back in the village and discovered that she was the daughter of Colonel Allyn, who was the biggest and finest man in Virginia. He met the beautiful girl next day and tried to converse with her. He discovers that her name was Jessie and her father was the royal descendant of a renowned British family. She had been aware all along that Pescud was following her and warned him that her father would feed him to the hounds, if Pescud ever thought of a proposal. Nevertheless, nothing seemed to deter Pescud and with due ceremony, he arrives at the mansion. He was surprised to see that the inside of the palace was very impoverished with very old furniture. Colonel Allyn arrived in great style, despite his shabby clothes. Amidst talking of anecdotes and humorous occurrences, Pescud frankly put forth his proposal, giving all details of his business and family. He is accepted by Jessie and her family and the marriage had taken place a year ago.
Pescud had built a house in East End and the Colonel was also residing with him. He waited daily at the gate for Pescud to hear a new story. By this time, the train was nearing Coketown. It appeared to be a dull and dreary place and the writer questioned Pescud regarding his purpose of getting down at Coketown. Pescud told the writer that he was halting there to get some Petunias which Jessie had seen in one of the houses. Pescud invites the writer to pay a visit and gets down at the station. The train moves forward and the writer discovers that Pescud had left his bestseller behind. He picked it up and smiled to himself because Pescud’s own story was no less than a bestseller.

Terms and Meanings form the Chapter

• Tepidest curiosity – mild curiosity
• Swell - a wealthy person of upper class and fashionably dressed
• Alias – false name
• Principality – a state ruled by a prince
• Turkish pashas - a high official of the Ottoman empire
• Vermont - a state of north east US bordering Canade
• Clamdiggers - people who hunt for clams.
• Aristocracy - class of people of high social rank
• General prosperity - doing well
• For keeps – for ever
• Proposition – theory
• Contrived – forced
• Frazzled - worn out
• Garnet – red, semi-precious gemstone
• Clumsy – awkward
• Earl - a British nobleman between a viscount and a marquess
• Quadrille - a square dance for four couples
• Rattled - shaking briskly, confused, nervous
• Ragged - having a rough or uneven surface or edge

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