The Verger

the vergerIn this story by W Somerset Maugham, a man who has worked hard in a church for 16 years is told that he must leave the job because he cannot read or write. He soon proves that you don’t need a good education to become rich. All you need is the ability to think creatively, and the to back your ideas.

English Learner Vocabulary Help

The words and expressions in our Pre-Intermediate level Simplified English story which are not in our 1200 word list are: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , and .

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courage(n: courage, noncount) The ability to do something that you know is difficult or dangerous; bravery. The soldier showed great courage in battle.
(adj: courageous) Having or showing courage. A courageous soldier. 3000

amaze(v: amaze, amazes, amazed, amazing) To surprise someone very much. It amazes me that no one noticed the mistake. 2. To fill someone with wonder. He amazed the audience with his magic tricks.
(n: amazement, noncount) A feeling of being amazed. To the amazement of her family, she left school to become a musician. 2000

butler(n: butler pl butlers) A male servant who has charge of wines and service at the table, and is usually the head servant in a wealthy person's household. (ทนายหน้าหอ) 6000

christen(v: christen, christens, christened, christening) 1. To officially make someone a member of a Christian church through the ceremony of baptism. The priest christened three babies today. 2. To give a name to. She was christened Joanna. 5000

(n: churchwarden pl churchwardens) One of two officers in the Church of England who administer the legal and other non-religious affairs of a church.

dignity(n: dignity, noncount) 1. A calm and serious manner that deserves respect. She showed dignity in defeat. 2. The quality of being given honor and respect by people. The dignity of the occasion. 3. A sense of your own importance and value. It's difficult to preserve your dignity when you have no job. 6000

exact(adj: exact) 1. Very careful and accurate. Please make sure it is the exact size we need. 2. Fully and completely correct or accurate. Those were his exact words.
(adv: exactly) In an exact way or manner. 1000

funeral(n: funeral pl funerals) The ceremony held for a dead person before their body is put in the ground [buried] or burned [cremated]. 3000

invest(v: invest, invests, invested, investing) To use money to buy shares, stocks, property, etc., in order to make more money.
(n: investment pl investments) 1. The act of investing. 2. A sum of money invested.
(n: investor pl investors) A person who invests. 1000

nod(v: nod, nods, nodded, nodding) 1. To move your head up and down as a way of answering 'yes' or of showing agreement, understanding, or approval. 2. To move your head up and down as a signal to someone or as a way of saying hello or goodbye to someone. 3000

organ(n: organ pl organs) 1. A musical instrument that has a keyboard and pipes; an electronic instrument that makes a similar sound. 2. A part of the body (such as the heart or liver) that has a particular function.
(n: organist pl organists) A person who plays the organ. 3000

proud(adj: proud, prouder, proudest) 1. Feeling very pleased because of something you have done or own, someone you know, etc. She felt proud as she watched her daughter graduate. 2. Having a too high opinion of oneself; arrogant. She was too proud to talk to us. 2000
(n: pride, noncount) A feeling of pleasure and satisfaction at one's achievements, possessions, family etc. She watched with pride as her daughter graduated. 3000

rent(v: rent, rents, rented, renting) 1. To pay money in return for being able to use something that belongs to someone else. 2. To allow someone to use something that you own in return for payment. We rent this flat from Mr Smith. Mr Smith rents this flat to us. 2000

respect(n: respect, noncount) Admiration or high opinion of someone or something that is good, valuable, important, etc.
(adj: respectful) Treating someone or something that is important, serious, etc., in an appropriate way.
(v: respect, respects, respected, respecting) To show or feel respect. 1000

risk(n: risk pl risks) 1. The possibility that something bad or unpleasant will happen. All investments have an element of risk. 2. Someone or something that may cause something bad or unpleasant to happen. Kids think smoking is fun, but they don't realize the risks involved. 2000

robe(n: robe pl robes) 1. A long, loose piece of clothing. Many Arabs still wear robes. 2. A long, loose piece of clothing that is worn on top of other clothes to show that someone has a high rank or an important job. 3. A loose piece of clothing that wraps around your body to wear at home; a dressing gown. 6000

servant(n: servant pl servants) Someone who is hired to do household or personal duties [such as cleaning and cooking]. 1000

sigh(v: sigh, sighs, sighed, sighing) To take in and let out a long, loud breath in a way that shows you are bored, disappointed, unhappy, relieved, etc. 4000

tobacco(n: tobacco, noncount) [a plant that produces] Leaves which are dried and chewed or smoked in cigarettes, pipes, etc. (ยาสูบ)
(n: tobacconist pl tobacconists) A person who sells tobacco, cigarettes etc. (พ่อค้าขายผลิตภัณฑ์ประเภทยาสูบ) 4000

verger(n: verger pl vergers) A church officer who takes care of the interior of the building and performs simple duties during church services. (ผู้ดูแลโบสถ์ เจ้าหน้าที่ถือคทานำหน้าพระ)

vestry(n: vestry pl vestries) A small room in a church where a priest dresses for the services and where the items used during services are kept. (ห้องซึ่งพระใช้เตรียมตัวเพื่อทำพิธีทางศาสนาในโบสถ์) 10000

vicar(n: vicar pl vicars) A priest in the Church of England who is in charge of a particular church. (พระในคริสต์ศาสนานิกายแองกลิแคน) 5000
(n: vicarage pl vicarages) The house of a vicar. (ที่อยู่ของพระในศาสนาคริสต์นิกายแองกลิแคน) 7000

wedding(n: wedding pl weddings) The act of getting married; marrying. (การแต่งงาน) 2000

An 18 minute film segment from the 1950 movie ‘Trio’, which featured three of Maugham’s short stories. The introduction to the story is by Maugham himself. It is interesting to note that Maugham also wrote the screenplay for the film. To watch online, click here. To download the mp4, click here.

3 thoughts on “The Verger”

  1. This is my favorite story in the English language. A simple but virtuous man turns adversity into triumph. Well done.

  2. I have always understood that this story,”The Verger”, is by O. Henry. Can you explain this, please ? I’d be very grateful as I have been puzzling over this for some time.
    Thank you, in anticipation.
    Alexandra Bruce.

    1. Thank you for the question, Alexandra. The Verger is definitely by Maugham, and to my knowledge O. Henry (Porter) did not write any stories with this name. The writing styles of Maugham and Porter share similar characteristics (use of irony and surprise endings) and are often compared. It may be that you associate O. Henry with The Verger through such a comparison.

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