Study Guide

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand Chapter 5

By Helen Simonson

Chapter 5

  • Sitting on a park bench, the Major remembers when his father died and left him and Bertie one Churchill shotgun each.
  • The guns were a gift to the Major's father by an Indian prince for courageous service.
  • The Major never understood why his father divided the guns. He wanted both. Bertie wasn't a shooter, after all.
  • A seagull snaps the Major out of his reverie, and Mrs. Ali is nearby.
  • Mrs. Ali asks if the Major wants to go for a walk before returning to the car, and, since this was his plan all along, he agrees.
  • On their walk, Mrs. Ali shows the Major a book by Rudyard Kipling she checked out from the library. They talk about her family for a bit before crossing paths with a six-year-old playing with a ball.
  • The Major kicks the boy his ball, and a nearby lady in a tea kiosk chastises them. "No football allowed 'ere" (5.75), she says, prompting the boy's mother, a young Indian woman, to yell at the tea lady.
  • It escalates when tea lady remarks, "I don't know what it's like where you come from" (5.78), and the young Indian woman takes this as a racial comment.
  • Mrs. Ali and the Major stay out of it and talk to the lady's son, George, until his mother grabs him and storms away.
  • The Major and Mrs. Ali get tea, glad the tea lady isn't mad at them, too, and they talk about his visit to the solicitor.
  • Then the Major and Mrs. Ali return home, but not before Mrs. Ali asks if she can pop by to discuss Kipling with him sometime.
  • The Major is delighted.

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