A Basketful of Sea Trout (Questions)
Question No.1 The atmosphere is eerie and makes even the judge jumpy. Let us see how the eerie atmosphere is built up.
(i) The wind: Does it moan or does it blow gently?
(ii) The lodge: Is it in the heart of a village or is it isolated?
(iii) Servants: Do servants live in the lodge or not?
(iv) Glen: Is it silent or is it full of strange sounds?
(V) Time of the day: Does the action take place at twilight or when there is pitch dark outside?
Answer:- (i) The wind is moaning. It blows hard and then dies down and again blows hard and so on, making a sound as if someone moans i.e. cries in pain.
(ii) The lodge is situated far away from human habitation in an isolated and a solitary place. It is rather desolate, bleak and deserted and creates awe and insecurity.
(iii) No, there are no servants in the lodge. It is a shooting and fishing lodge, located in an isolated and desolate area. It presents a terrible atmosphere. It‘s so frightening that servants shriek to stay there.
(iv) The glen is full of strange sounds which make the atmosphere quite eerie. Strange and terrifying sounds are heard from the glen during the night.
(v) The action takes place when there‘s pitch dark outside. Being terribly dark and full of strange moans of wind the night is jumpy.
Question No.2 Nellie Salter “rejoiced in evil”. Was Mrs Lomond justified in summing up Nancy’s character in these words? If so, why?
Answer:- Nellie Salter was an extremely beautiful and buxom woman. She added to her glamour by frequent use of cosmetics. Her charming beauty made young men mad and crazy. She was a lecherous lady and wanted to prove the power of her beauty by making men lose their reason and kill each other for her. She rejoiced in doing so. So, Mrs Lomond is absolutely justified in summing up Nellies’ character in the words she does.
Question No.3 “I have lost my son”. Why did Mrs Lomond make this statement?
Answer:- Actually, it was not Mrs Lomond but her ghost that was in conversation with the judge. She had drowned herself in the afternoon and her son had sailed away to Canada. She virtually lost her son, the moment she committed suicide. She made this statement to confess that she had committed suicide to atone for her crime. She wanted her son to be absolved from any sort of involvement in the murder.
Question No.4 The judge did not believe that Hector was tracking Nellie. Why?
Answer:- Brodie suspected Lomond Hector’s involvement in Nellie’s murder. He thought that after tracking Nellie and killing her, he might have informed his mother about it. But the judge did not agree with Brodie. He did not believe that Hector used to track Nellie because he thought that Hector was decent and unimaginative. He could not have guessed what Nellie Salter‘s gestures meant. Only Mrs Lomond being a woman could have understood that. Further, he believed that Hector was too daring to think of harming, not to talk of killing anybody.
Question No.5 Why do you think Mrs Lomond committed suicide?
Answer:- Nellie Salter had set out to ruin Mrs Lomond‘s son named Hector and other lads whom she trapped by her bewitching beauty. To save her son and a number of young men from the death-trap spread by Nellie, Mrs Lomond killed her. Her son, Hector, being one of Nellie‘s lovers, was suspected to be the killer. But he was then acquitted on not being found guilty by the court. But, Mrs Lomond feared that she might be apprehended for further
investigation and sentenced. Besides she was still apprehensive that her son might be rearrested. To save herself and her son from the clutches of the police, she committed suicide. However, before her suicide, she left a note for police confessing her crime & helped to resolve the mysterious murder of Nellie.
Question No.6 While leaving the judge”s lodge, the chief constable “it has been a most interesting experience”. Why does he say so?
Answer:- It has really been an amazing and interesting experience for Colonel as well as for the judge and Brodie. Nellie Salter was killed. Mrs Lomond‘s son, Hector, is Nellie‘s lover was suspected to be the killer and was thus detained. But he was soon acquitted on not being found guilty by the court. Mrs Lomond told the court that she knew nothing about Nellie‘s movements on the day of her murder but she told a different story to the judge when she visited his solitary lodge during the night. It could easily be deduced from her statement that she was the real murderer. Further, according to the police, Mrs Lomond had committed suicide a day before colonel met the judge and Brodie during the night at the lodge. She had also left a confessional note for the police. But she had a long conversation with the judge and Brodie only minutes before colonel‘s arrival in the lodge with the news of her suicide. The lady had been asked to stay in the adjacent room but on searching for her after a little time she was found missing from the room. To cap it all, the colonel found the basketful of sea trout still there, that the ghost had got for the judge. This was a mystery quite difficult to be untangled or unravelled.
Question No.7 Why was the play given the title “A basketful of sea trout”?
Answer:- The play might have been given many titles like “The ghost”, “A Murder Mystery”, or “The Strange Confession” but the title “A basketful of sea trout” has a great significance and appropriation. Mrs Lomond had been feeling on tenterhooks regarding her son. Though acquitted on not being found guilty, she strangely feared that her son would be re-arrested as the murder was shrouded in mystery. To save her son from being re-arrested Mrs Lomond visited the judge‘s lodge one dark night to confess her crime. She pretended to have come to thank the judge for having freed her son from the gallows. She had brought a basketful of sea trout as evidence of her gratitude. But the weather was too good to catch fish as she said that she had caught them herself. Later it was confirmed that the lady had died before the fall of night in the afternoon. So, it could only have been her ghost. But strangely enough, at the end of the story, the basketful of sea trout was found under the arch near the door. So, it again created a mystery quite difficult to be untangled. Was the basketful of sea trout real or fake? Had the judge and Brodie seen Mrs Lomond or the ghost? Had they experienced the whole episode in a dream or in senses? So, the basketful of sea trout plays the most important role in creating and solving the mystery. Hence, it is given the same title.
B. Answer the following questions in about 250 words each.
Question No.1 How did the judge and Brodie deduce that Mrs Lomond had killed Nellie Salter?
Answer:- Nellie Salter‘s murder was shrouded in mystery. No clear evidence as to who was involved in the murder had been found. Mrs Lomond‘s son, a lover of Nellie was arrested for interrogation. But he was later acquitted on not being found guilty by the court. Mrs Lomond was also suspected but she evaded the issue on a perfect alibi. In the court, she said that on the day of the murder, she had been on the beach from dawn to dusk and had no information about Nellie‘s movements on that day. The last person who had seen Neilie Salter alive was the farmer at the Dykes Farm. The farmer had seen her walk on the road only up to a spot 100 yards away from the farm. At that spot, the road divided into two paths, one path going by the side of the loch, the other, going up the hill. But no one knew which path Nellie had taken. Her dead body was found 200 yards from the junction of the two roads. Mrs Lomond came to the judge’s lodge during a pitch-dark night with a basketful of seatrout as a gift for the favour, she thought, he had shown favour in Hector‘s acquittal. During her conversation with the judge and Brodie, she gave a detailed description of Nellie’s movements before her murder which was unexpected of her as in the court, she had totally denied having any information about Nellie’s movements on the day of her murder. She unveiled such facts about Nellie’s movements which were quite unknown to anyone else. Nellie is getting ready to meet an airman, her dressing for the occasion, her going up on the hillside, applying paint and powder, looking around on the hills and the lake was heard for the first time. She gave an accurate description of even the slightest movements of Nellie. She could also recall the words that Nellie uttered. The judge and his guest, Brodie were stupefied and surprised how she knew all that. Thus, they concluded that she must have followed Nellie Salter and then killed her.
Question No.2 Why did Mrs Lomond come to the judge”s lodge? Give two reasons?
Answer:- Mrs Lomond being a mother had a great concern for the safety and happiness of her son Hector Lomond. She had killed Nellie Salter to save her son from the latter‘s false love-trap. She had committed suicide after killing Nellie. However, this painful story had been haunting Mrs Lomond even after her death. It was her perturbed and anxious ghost that visited the judge during the night. She came to the judge to confess before him that she had murdered Nellie. She, during her conversation with the judge and Brodie, made so clear statements that helped them deduce/conclude unambiguously that she had been after Nellie and murdered her in cold-blood. She did it only to save her own son as well as other credulous lads from the butcherous snares of Nellie. Secondly, Mrs Lomond had also come to get an assurance from the judge that her son’s case will not be reopened. She was afraid that her son could be rearrested and punished as he was a suspect. However, the judge assured her that her son’s case once finished would not be reopened.