Read the following passage from the story Vanka and answer the questions that follow:

Vanka sighed, dipped his pen in the ink, and went on writing: ‘And yesterday I had such a hiding. The master took me by the hair and dragged me out into the yard and beat me with the stirrup-strap because by mistake I went to sleep while rocking their baby. And one day last week the mistress told me to gut a herring and I began from the tail and she picked up the herring and rubbed my face with the head. The other apprentices make fun of me, they send me to the tavern for vodka and make me steal the master's cucumbers and the master beats me with the first thing he finds. And there is nothing to eat. They give me bread in the morning and gruel for dinner and in the evening bread again, but I never get tea or cabbage soup. They gobble it all up themselves. And they make me sleep in the passage and when their baby cries, I don't get any sleep at all. I have to rock it. Dear Grandad, for the dear Lords sake take me away from here. Take me home to the village. I can't bear it any longer. Oh Grandad I beg and implore you and I will always pray for you, do take me away from here or I'll die. . . .’

1. What is your opinion about Vanka’s master and mistress?

2. How was Vanka’s life at his master’s house?

3. How did the other apprentices treat Vanka?

4. Identify the sentence which shows that Vanka was underfed.

5. Identify the word from the passage which means ‘ to eat hastily’.


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