A Question of Trust Explanation, Line by Line, Meaning of Difficult Words, English CBSE Class 10 NCERT Footprints without Feet Chapter 4


(Explanation and meaning of difficult words)

Author – Victor Canning

Word Meaning
Housekeeper Servant

Horace Danby was regarded as a good and honest person by everyone. His age was about 50 years and he was unmarried. He lived with a servant. The servant was always worried about health of Danby.



Word Meaning
Hay fever Allergy due to pollen and dust

Normally Danby was keeping good health. But in summer he suffered from allergy due to pollen or dust. He used to make locks and was a successful business. He could afford to keep two helpers for his business. Horace Danby was respectable but he was not honest.



Word Meaning
Sentence Punishment
Expensive Costly
Safe Almira

Fifteen years ago Horace was arrested for a theft. It was the only time he was punished and sent to prison. A prison that had library. Danby liked rare and costly books. So he made one robbery every year.




Every year Danby used to make plan for only one robbery. He would steal the amount that was sufficient for one year. With the stolen money he secretly bought books of his choice. He bought books through an agent.



Danby was walking in the sun of a bright day of July month. He was thinking about robbery of this year, He was sure that this robbery would also be as successful as that of earlier years.



During last two weeks he had studied the house. Name of the house was Shotover Grange. He had studied its rooms, it electric wiring, its paths and the garden of the house. The full family living in the house had gone to London. Two servants were staying in the house. This afternoon these two servants had gone to see a movie.



Horace saw the two servants going out of the house. He felt happy though he had a mild attack of hay fever. He was feeling irritation in his nose. He packed his tools in a bag and put the bag on his back. He entered the Shotover Grange by climbing wall of the garden.




Word Meaning
Safe Locker, Almira
Jewels Gems
Worth Cost, Value

There were jewels in the locker of the house. Their value was about fifteen thousand pounds. If Danby sold these jewels one by one, he expected to earn about five thousand pounds. This amount would be enough for him for one more year.



Word Meaning
Coming up for sale Would be available for sale

During the season of autumn, three very interesting book would be available for sale. Now Danby will get enough money to buy those books.



Word Meaning
Put on To wear

He had seen that the servant had hung the key in a hook at the outside of the kitchen door. He wore a pair of gloves in his hands. Took the key and opened the door. He never left his finger prints while making a theft.




Word Meaning
Stirred Moved

A small dog was in the kitchen. It moved a bit, made a low noise and wagged its tail in a friendly manner.



Horace crossed the dog and called out its name – Sherry. If you want to keep a dog quiet, you need to call it by its correct name. And speak to it lovingly.



Word Meaning
Too much room Large space

The locker was in the drawing room behind a painting. Horace thought if he should start collecting paintings instead of books. But then he realised that paintings would take more space. In a small house it is better to collect books.




Word Meaning
Tickle Irritation, Itching
Sneeze Quick blow of air through nose

On the table there was a big bowl. Flowers were kept in that bowl. Horace felt itching in his nose. He sneezed a bit and put his bag down. He took out his tools carefully. He knew that servants would return after four hours.



Word Meaning
Burglar Thief
Burglar alarm Alarm to sound in case of theft

It will not be difficult to open the safe. Because Horace has been making locks for safes throughout his life. The alarm to prevent theft was not installed correctly. He went into the hall and cut its wires. He came back to drawing room. He sneezed loudly because of smell of flowers.



Word Meaning
Valuable Costly

Horace thought that people act foolishly when they are owner of costly things. An article in a magazine had given complete description of this house. It had given map of all the rooms and picture of drawing room. The writer had also mentioned about the safe behind the painting.




Word Meaning
Hinder Disturb, Obstruct

Horace noted that flowers were disturbing him. [He was sneezing because of pollen of flowers]. So he put a handkerchief on his face.



Somebody asked Horace if the sneezing was because of cold or hay fever. Horace could not see face of the person. The voice was coming from door of the house. Without thinking Horace replied that it was because of hay fever. And he again sneezed.



Word Meaning
Went on Continued
See a doctor Consult a doctor

The voice continued to speak. It said that Horace could cure his disease by a special treatment. Horace needs to find out which plant causes the disease to him. The voice advised him to consult a doctor. The voice said that she had heard him sneeze from top of the house. [When Horace sneezed, the speaker was on the top of the house]




Word Meaning
Quiet Calm
Doorway Path towards door
Rub against To play

It was calm and kind voice but a firm voice as well. A woman was standing in the doorway. Sherry was playing with the woman. She was young and beautiful. She was wearing red dress. She came near the fireplace of drawing room. She adjusted her ornaments a bit.



The woman asked Sherry to sit down. She said  if Sherry continued to play with her, people would think that she had been out of the house for about a month. [She wanted to convey to Horace that she had been out of the house for a short period]  However I came just at the right time. But I did not expect to meet a thief.



Word Meaning
To be amused To be happy

Horace had some hope of saving himself because the woman appeared to be happy to meet him. He thought he may avoid problems if he gave good respect to the lady. So he replied that he did not expect to see any member of the family in the house.



Word Meaning
Inconvenience Problem, Trouble

She nodded her head. She said it must be a great trouble for Horace to meet her in the house. She asked Horace what he would do. Horace replied that in the beginning he thought of running away.



Word Meaning
Get you Catch you
At once Immediately

The lady said that Horace could certainly do that. [run away]. But I will telephone the police and tell everything about you. Police will immediately catch you.



Horace said that he would certainly cut telephone wires before running away. Then he smiled. He said he would make sure that the lady was not able to do anything for some time. A time of some hours would be sufficient.



Word Meaning
Hurt To injure, To hit
Frighten Afraid, Feared

The lady looked at Horace and  asked if he would injure her. Horace did not speak for some time. The he said that he was trying to frighten the lady. The lady said she did not get afraid.



Word Meaning
Suggested Requested

Horace requested the lady to forget that she ever saw him. He requested her to allow him to go away. The lady suddenly raised her voice. She asked why she should allow him to go. He was about to rob her. If she allowed him to go, he will rob somebody else. We must protect society from people like you.



Horace smiled and told that he was not a person who was a threat [danger] to society. He said that he stole from people who had lot of money. I steal for a good cause. And I do not like to go to prison.



Word Meaning
Persuade Convince
Begged Requested
Desperate Very eager, Urgent need

She laughed at his explanation. Horace thought he had convince her. He requested her to allow him to go away from the house. He said he does not have any authority to ask for anything but he is in urgent need to go. He promised that he would never do such things [theft] again. He promised.



She was silent and kept looking at him. She said that he was really afraid of going to prison. She came near to Horace and told that she always liked the wrong type of persons.



Word Meaning
Took off Removed

A silver box was on the table. She took out a cigarette from it. Horace wanted to make her happy in the hope that she would help him. He removed his glove and gave her his cigarette lighter.



Horace held the lighter for lighting her cigarette. He requested her to let him go. She said she will allow him to go if he did some work for her. Horace agreed to do anything she said.



She said that before we went to London I had promised my husband to keep the jewels in the bank. But I forgot to do that. Those jewels are in the safe. I want to wear them tonight in a party. So I came to this room to get these but …



Horace smiled and told her that she had forgotten numbers of the lock to open the safe. She replied yes. Horace said that he could certainly take out jewels from the safe within one hour. But he will have to break the lock of the safe.



Word Meaning
Mended Repaired

She said not to worry about breaking the lock. Her husband will come back after one month. During this time she will get the lock repaired. And within one hour Horace opened the safe. He gave all the jewels to the lady. He happily went out of the house.



For two days only Horace kept his promise to the kind lady of not stealing any more. In the morning of third day he again thought of books he wanted to have. He realized that he will have to search for another safe to steal.



But Horace did not get a chance to make a plan. During afternoon, a policeman arrested him for the theft at Shotover Grange.



Because he had opened the safe without gloves, his finger prints were found everywhere. He said that he had opened the safe because wife of the owner of the house had asked him to do so. But nobody believed him.



The wife of the house owner also said that his statement was wrong. She was of about 60 year age and she had white hair. [While the lady who had met Horace was young]



Word Meaning
Often Many times, Usually
Charming Beautiful
Tricked Deceived

Horace is now in the prison. He is assistant librarian in the library of the prison. He usually thinks of a clever young beautiful lady who was also a thief. The lady had deceived him. Whenever somebody tell him that a thief respects a thief, he gets very angry.





Important Links
A Question of Trust – Textbook Q&A A Question of Trust – Extra Q&A
The Midnight Visitor – Explanation Footprints Without Feet – Explanation
The Midnight Visitor – Textbook Q&A Footprints Without Feet – Textbook Q&A
The Midnight Visitor – Extra Q&A Footprints Without Feet – Extra Q&A
Re-arrange Exercises Error Finding Exercises
Active-Passive Rules Gap Filling Exercises
Passages Direct-Indirect Speech Rules
Story Writing Tips Letter Writing




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