In chapter one of Elizabeth Janet Gray’s Adam of the Road, the reader meets the main character, Adam Quartermayne, and learns about his family, friends, and hobbies.
Adam is an eleven-year-old boy who is attending a religious boarding school. In this chapter, he reminisces about his father and the times he spent with him before school. Adam’s dad performs in minstrel shows, which are live variety acts. He had to leave Adam at the school so he could go to school himself and is currently away at minstrel school in France.
The reader also learns about Adam’s friends. His best friend is a boy named Perkins. Perkins is older than Adam and is from a family that works the land for a lord. This book is set in medieval England, a time in which many people were tied to the land by landowners in exchange for a place to stay. This was called the feudal system. Perkins's father had to pay the lord he worked for so that Perkins could go to school. Through Perkins’s story, the reader learns about what life was like for young men in the medieval era.
This chapter also discusses Adam’s interests. The reader learns that he loves to play the harp, which suggests that his father’s love of music must have been passed down. Adam also likes to spend time with his dog Nick. He is not allowed to have Nick live with him at school, but the dog lives with a woman nearby and Adam can see him on school holidays.
Overall, the chapter provides a detailed overview of Adam’s life that is useful for understanding the rest of the text.