Skip to main content

THIRD THOUGHTS - E.V. Lucas, England (1868-1938)

E.V. Lucas, England (1868-1938)

The story ‘Third Thoughts’ by E.V. Lucas (1868-1938) is a great satire of the common human mentality. This story was told to Lucas by his friend who had a business especially buying at dearer (higher) prices and selling at cheap. However, he always used to bear the loss. He used to think that one day luck would favour him. As he thought, once he earned abnormal profit by selling Turner’s panting at 50 pounds which he had bought at only 10 shillings from a curio (Something unusual -- perhaps worthy of collecting) shop at Cathedral city. He was really happy and excited for the first time in his business so he wanted to share half of his profit with the dealer. But since he had no stamps to send the parcel, he went to the bed. 

When he woke up at 3.30 am, again he began to think that sharing half of the profit is not a good idea because no one had done this to him yet. Then he thought of giving ten pounds. Due to unexpectedly earning an abnormal profit, he was not feeling sleepy still he thought, five pounds will be plenty rather than ten pounds. In the morning while he was dressing up, he thought, it is the first time he gained profit so, why share a large part of it with a dealer? Finally, he decided to give one pound. He put the cheque and parcel in his pocket and went to the club for lunch. There he played bridge (one of the popular card games) and lost all his money. At last, he even did not give a single penny to the dealer.

Literal Comprehension:

Third Thoughts is a story by E.V. Lucas in which the writer is narrating an event that took place in the life of his friend. The writer narrates chronologically how his friend went into economic slum regularly in his business, how he got unexpected profit and how he again failed in the world of business. In the story, initially, the writer tells why his friend turned into an unsuccessful businessman. The narrator says it was because his friend purchased expensive goods in expensive markets and sold those things at cheaper prices. Because of this, he was in despair.

One day it happened that the writer’s friend was just wandering in the market and suddenly he went inside a curiosity shop. In the shop, his eyes were dragged into a painting and opted (preferred) to know with the shopkeeper whether the painting was an original painting of Turner or not. He explained that if the painting were original, it would be much more expensive. He asked the dealer but the dealer was not sure about its originality. The dealer just desired to charge 10 shillings. Finally, the writer’s friend paid 10 shillings for the painting and went to an inquiry of the painting’s originality. He found that the painting was original and so expensive. 

He found the customer and sold the painting for 50 pounds.  As a result, he got a huge profit and decided to be honest with the painting dealer by sharing fifty per cent of his profit. He wanted to be ethically loyal to the shopkeeper for his undesired and unexpected profit. Therefore, he became ready to dispatch half of the profit putting it in an envelope to the painting dealer.  But he postponed dispatching the envelope till the next day due to lack of postage stamp.

The next day, he woke up early in the morning and started to recall all the past mistakes that he committed in the business. He questioned himself why he failed in the business world. Due to his self-thoughts, he changed his mind immediately and revised his plan to send just 10 pounds to the dealer. He thought that he could not become so ideal. After this event, he just thought for a few moments and again changed his mind. He decided that he would not give him 10 pounds in the sense that such kind of his action might generate more expectation and greed in the mind of the dealer from other customers as well. This time, he decided to send 5 pounds and thought it would be fair for his sense of business responsibility.

In the morning, he again started to reconsider his plan for the fourth time and this time too revised his plan. Finally, he just prepared to send just one pound to the painting dealer. He thought that one pound is a fair amount because he could not dispatch more money from his profit. He viewed that if he intended to give more amounts lavishly (in a wasteful manner/extravagantly), it could hurt the goddess of business. At last, he wrote a note and packed one pound in an envelope to give to the dealer. Then after, he went to a club for lunch. In the club, he played a disastrous game and lost all the money including the one pound in his pocket that he had in his pocket.

Interpretation/Theme/Central Message or Idea:

The world of business is full of gambling-involved risk. Sometimes business is favourable yielding (bearing/affording) profit and sometimes it yields loss. The human elements like a sense of responsibility, morality, and after all human emotions do not have any role to play within the world of business. The job is done between the buyer and seller once the transaction is carried out in between the two parties. It is in the sense that a business dealer or seller always expects to take money as much as possible from the customer and while on the other hand, a buyer always intends to buy at the lowest price. Therefore, human impulse (a sudden desire) and emotion do not have any place in the world of business. In the story, the writer’s friend only understands the truth of success in business the moment he loses all his money in gambling.

Critical Thinking:

The ideas expressed in the story are to some extent unconvincing. We do not have any evidence to trust that writer’s friend always loses. Further, can it be convincing such an expensive painting is possible to be found in such a small shop? The most important thing is how the central character imagines sharing his profit just for nothing in the world of business. It is hard to believe that business is only for profit and it does not give any value to human sensibilities and emotions.  The idea of sharing business profit is presented humorously. So, the question comes, is it justifiable?


I accept the point that rose in the story that business is for profit. The present world of business is complex. For example, a farmer sells milk to a broker. The broker sells it to a factory owner and there comes layers of marketing procedures and business management of a final product. Each procedure is conducted for profit. Therefore, the final consumer of a dairy product even does not know who the farmer is. In this regard, the sharing of profit never becomes the issue of the well-being of a farmer in the practical world of business.

(Once, I went to a medical shop to buy an inhaler taking Rs. 500. I bought medicine for Rs.100 but he returned me a change of Rs. 500 again. I was just amazed and felt happy that I got a profit of Rs. 100 unexpectedly. But I didn't speak a word and walked away. This coincidence makes me think for many days since, the day while walking by the same shop. I feel a little ashamed.)


Lucas, E. (2013). Third Thoughts. In M. Nissani, & S. Lohani, Flax-Golden Tales: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Learning English (pp. 207-210). Kathmandu, Nepal: Ekta Books.


  1. Please upload "Third Thoughts" Questions and Answers Also.🤗

    1. The summary I have presented answers all the questions that might get asked. In case you need any help please do not hesitate to ask. Thank you very much for the support

  2. Very attractive and provide full story related to this lesson

  3. Very interesting....even a person who didn't read the chapter can easily understand this.... It's too good

  4. Useful ideas .It will surely help the students.

  5. amazing work it's osm
    you are great

  6. Thank you all. Your feedbacks are highly appreciated.

  7. very nice explaination ever ,Thankyou for uploading 💖

  8. Excuse my language but fuck other blog pages, subodh, you is the man. You the goat.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

BBS First Year English Question Paper with Possible Answers (TU 2021)

PROFESSIONS FOR WOMEN - Virginia Woolf (1882-1941)

Summary : Virginia Adeline Woolf (1882-1941) was an English novelist and essayist, regarded as one of the foremost modernist literary figures of the twentieth century. She was one of the leaders in the literary movement of modernism.  The speech of  Professions for Women  was given in 1931 to the Women’s Service League by Virginia Woolf. It was also included in  Death of a Moth  and  Other Essays  in 1942. Throughout the speech, Virginia Woolf brings forward a problem that is still relevant today:  gender inequality .   Woolf’s main point in this essay was to bring awareness to the phantoms (illusions) and obstacles women face in their jobs. Woolf argues that women must overcome special obstacles to become successful in their careers. She describes two hazards she thinks all women who aspire to professional life must overcome: their tendency to sacrifice their own interests to those of others and their reluctance (hesitancy) to challenge conservative male attitudes .  She starts her

The Etiquette of Freedom - Gary Snyder

  In his essay " The Etiquette of Freedom ," Gary Snyder explores the concept of freedom in relation to nature and culture. He argues that freedom is not simply the absence of constraints (restrictions), but rather the ability to live in harmony with the natural world. This requires a deep understanding of the environment and a willingness to respect its limits. Snyder begins by defining the terms " wild " and " culture ." He argues that " wild " does not mean " untamed " or " uncivilised ," but rather " self-organizing ." A wild system is one that is able to maintain its own equilibrium (balance) without the intervention of humans. Culture, on the other hand, is a human-made system that is designed to meet our needs. Snyder then goes on to discuss the relationship between freedom and culture. He argues that our culture has become increasingly alienated from nature and that this has led to a loss of freedom. We have