On The Face Of it, Explanation, Line by Line, Meaning of Difficult Words, English CBSE Class 12 NCERT Vistas Chapter 6
ON THE FACE OF IT
(Explanation and Meaning of difficult word)
Author – Susan Hill
|Rustling||Sound when tree leaves move|
|Walk tentatively||Walk aimlessly or hesitantly|
|Screen of bushes||Group of bushes, Curtain of bushes|
|Close at hand||Very near|
It is Mr Lamb’s garden. [One can hear sound of birds singing and movement of tree leaves. A boy Derry is walking aimlessly in the long grass. His footsteps can be heard. He stops in between. Derry crosses a group of bushes. Now he is very close to Mr Lamb. Derry is surprised when Mr Lamb speaks to him.]
Mr Lamb requests Derry to take care of apples. Derry is surprised and asks who is there.
Mr Lamb tells his name. He asks Derry to be careful about apples. Some apples have fallen because of wind into the long grass. He says these are crab apples. Be careful about these. You may fall down.
|Empty place||Place where nobody lives|
Derry says he thought that nobody lived there. Lamb assures him that it was OK. He should not be frightened.
Derry says he thought that it was an empty house. Lamb says yes, the house is empty because he is in the garden. And the house will be empty till I go back to the house. Lamb wants to stay in the garden for some more time. He says that it is a lovely day. So he wants to stay outdoors.
|I do not mind||I have no objection|
Derry is afraid and says that he should go. Lamb tells that Derry should not go because of him. I have no objection if someone comes to the garden. Its gates are always open. But you climbed the wall to come to the garden.
Derry angrily tells that Lamb had been watching him. Lamb replies that he had seen him. Lamb repeats that gates of garden are open and everybody is welcome to the garden. He sits in the garden because he likes sitting there. Derry clarifies that he had not come to the garden to steal anything.
|Scrump||Steal a fruit|
Mr Lamb assures Derry that only young boys steal apples. Derry was not so young. Derry says that he simply wanted to come into the garden. Lamb says that he had come to the garden and they were together.
Derry tells that Lamb did not know him. Lamb replies that Derry is a boy. His age should be about 13 years. Derry says that he is fourteen. Derry says that he had to go. Good-bye
Mr Lamb again assures that Derry should not be afraid of. It is a garden and Lamb is also in the garden. Derry says that he is not afraid. People are afraid of him. Lamb asks why anybody should be afraid of Derry.
|I can see||I can understand|
Derry says that everybody is afraid of him. Whoever they are, whatever they say, how they look or whatever they pretend, they are afraid. Derry says that he knows and can understand that.
Lamb asks Derry what he can understand. Derry says that he understands what others are thinking about him. Lamb asks Derry to tell what others are thinking.
|Underneath||Actually, In your thoughts|
Derry narrates. You (implying everybody) look at me, look at my face and say that it is ugly face. An ugliest face. Then you say I am poor boy and take pity at me. But actually you are afraid. When I look into mirror, I also get frightened.
|Whole of you||Your complete personality|
Lamb says that it is not the complete personality of Derry. However Derry insists that it is his complete personality.
|Magic fruit||Very good fruit|
|Give me a hand||Help me|
Lamb says it will be cooler after sometime. He will get a ladder and a stick to pluck apples. These apples are now ripe. He makes jelly of apples. In September, colour of these apples changes to green and orange. It is a very good fruit to make jelly. He asks if Derry will help him.
Derry asks Lamb why he has changed the topic of discussion. People always do that while discussing with Derry. Why did you change subject? Why do you pretend that I am not ugly? I get upset when you look at me. But you did not ask me before changing the subject because you are afraid of me.
Lambs says he will ask if Derry wants him to ask. Lamb request him to tell. Derry says that he does not like company of any person. He wants to be alone. Lamb says that it is his guess that Derry got burnt in a fire.
Derry says it was not fire. Acid spilled on that side of his face. It was burning wherever acid touched his body. It destroyed his face and his body. And now he will remain that way for ever. It will never improve. Lamb expresses his sorrow by saying ‘no’ Derry says that now Lamb will not like to talk to him.
Lamb clarifies that Derry was a boy who had come to his garden. Many children come. I talk to everyone. I am interested in everything that God has made. Lamb asks Derry to look towards the wall which is at the far end of the garden. Lamb asks him what he sees near the wall.
Derry replies that it is rubbish. Lamb request him to see once again. Derry says it is grass and weeds.
Lamb clarifies that some people call these weeds. You can even say it is a weed garden. In this garden I have fruits, flowers, trees and herbs. But that side I have planted weeds. Lamb asks why one plant is called a flower and other plant is called weed. Both are growing and are similar. Just like you and me are similar.
|Tin leg||Artificial leg of metal|
Derry says that Lamb and he are not same. Lamb says that he himself is old, Derry is young. Derry has a burnt face. I have an artificial leg. You are standing and I am sitting. There is no difference. (Lamb is telling that everybody has some deficiency or problem)
|Blown off||Cut in a bomb blast|
Derry asks why lamb has an artificial leg. Lamb says that years ago his real leg was blown off. Kids started calling me as Lamey-Lamb. You might have heard these words. But it does not bother me. I do not get angry
Derry suggests that lamb can wear pants to cover his tin leg. Then nobody will see it. Lamb says that some people still recognize. Finally they get tired of looking at my leg. There are many other things to look at. Derry says other things like his own face. [Derry is not happy about himself. He is have inferiority complex]
|Silken ladder||Web of a spider|
Lamb says that one can look at crab apples, weeds or at a spider climbing in its web. One can look at the sun-flowers in my garden. Derry says these are things.
Lamb says that everything is relative in this world. Some may see a beast and other may call it beauty. Derry asks the meaning of it. Lamb request Derry to explain.
Derry tells that people have narrated fairy tales earlier. It not important what you look, more important is what is in your heart. A person is handsome if his deeds are good. A beautiful lady loved a horrible beast. When that lady kissed it, it became a handsome prince. If he were bad at his heart, he would not have become a prince. But I will never change.
Lamb tells that Derry will never change like that. Derry says that no one will kiss him. Even my mother kisses me on the cheek which is not damaged. I do not like that my mother kisses me. But she kisses me because she is my mother. It does not bother me if no one will ever kiss me.
Lamb says if Derry would like to kiss any one. Derry is surprised by the question. Lamb asks if Derry would like to kiss beautiful girls having long hair and big eyes. Or the people Derry loves. Derry says no one would give him permission to kiss them. Lamb says that it is not certain.
Derry says that he will remain the same lifelong. Even when I get old I will have only half face. Lamb says that it is true. But the world has a complete face. [Meaning that world is full of so many beautiful things] Derry can look at the world. [Lamb is trying to motivate him to look beyond himself and his feelings]
Derry asks if Lamb thought that this old garden was his world. Lamb replies that when he is present in the garden it was his world. But this is not the only world. World is everywhere. [Meaning that beauty is everywhere. One should look beyond himself]
Derry asks if Lamb’s artificial leg is painful. Lamb replies no. Derry asks was it painful when his leg was broken. Lamb says certainly it was very painful.
|Now and then||Occasionally, Sometimes|
|Wet season||Rainy season|
|It does not signify||It is not important|
Derry asks if it is painful at the joint of natural leg and the artificial leg. Lamb says that occasionally it is painful. It is more painful in rainy season. But it not important. He is used to it.
Derry told that one more thing people tell. Look at those people who are in trouble. They are brave. They do not cry or complain. They do not feel bad about themselves. Lamb told that he had not told such things.
|Daft in your head||Mentally sick|
|Dribble||Water coming out of mouth|
Derry says they also ask him to think about those people who are worse than himself. They say if you were blind, deaf, confined to a wheel chair, a mentally sick person or water coming out of your mouth, then you would be in bigger problem. Lamb told that Derry knew that it was correct
|Went by||Crossed, Went ahead|
|Whispered||Spoke in low voice|
Derry tells that such talks cannot change his face. He tells that one day a woman crossed him at the bus stand. One more woman was with her. She whispered to the other woman that my face was an ugly face. Only a mother can love such an ugly face.
Lamb asks if Derry believes whatever he hears. Derry said that the talk was very cruel. Lamb says probably those women did not really mean that. They did not want to say anything to Derry. It was a private discussion between them.
Derry insists that he had heard their talk. Lamb asks if that was the only thing he had heard in his entire life time. Derry says that he had heard many more talks. Lamb advises Derry to stop hearing such talks.
Derry says that Lamb is an unusual person. He asks strange questions. Derry is not able to understand those questions. Lamb says that he likes company of people and to talk. Derry does not need to answer any of his questions. Derry need not remain in the garden. The gate is open, he is free to go. Derry has no reply.
|Hive||House of bees|
|Buzz||Sound of bees|
Lamb says that he has hive of bees behind trees. Some people say that bees buzz. But I say that they sing. I can hear them singing.
Derry says that he likes being in this garden. When he looked over the wall into the garden he had liked it. Lamb asks if Derry had seen him, would he have come in. Derry replies no. Lamb is surprised.
|Trespassing||Entering without permission|
Derry says if he had come after seeing Lamb, it would have been entering garden without permission. Lamb says that that is not the real reason. Derry agrees and says that he does not like company of people. Because they stare at him and they get afraid of him.
Lamb says that one can lock himself in a room and always remain there. There was a man who was afraid of everything. Lamb gives many examples of his fears. So the man locked himself in a room and stayed there only.
|For a while||For some time|
|You see?||Do you understand|
Derry asked if that man stayed in the room forever. Lamb says that he stayed only for some time . Then a picture frame fell on his head and he died. Derry laughs a lot. Lamb asks if Derry has understood the message. [Lamb is trying to tell that looking inwards is injurious. Looking outward is better]
Derry says that Lamb talks strange. Lamb says these (his point of view or opinion) are unusual to some people. Derry asks what Lamb does in a day. Lamb says he sits in the sun. I read books. The house is not empty. It has books and many other things in it.
Derry asks if house does not have any curtains on window. Lamb replies that he does not like curtains. They limit your views. I like light and darkness both. [the reference here is about both aspects of life – good and bad]. I want to keep window open so that I can hear the wind.
[This is a great message. One should not restrict views towards life. Life has good moments and bad moments. We should understand and tolerate both. We should remain open for suggestion and changes. Wind signifies change]
Derry says that he likes what Lamb has said. Derry likes to listens to sound of rain falling on roof. Lamb says it means Derry is not completely defeated. Derry listens to sounds around him.
Derry says that people talk about me. They talk at the ground floor of my house when I am not there. What will he (Derry) do in future? What will happen to him when we are not with him? Will he survive in this world? What is that on his face? They all talk such things.
|Set your mind to||Decide, Determine|
|Get on better||Become better|
Lamb says that Derry has two arms, two legs, ears and eyes. He has a tongue and brain. By using these wisely, he can achieve anything he wants, similar to what others have achieved. And if he decides to use his mind, he can be better that any other.
|By yourself||You alone|
Derry asks how I can become better that many. Lambs replies in the same manner I have become better. Derry asks if Lamb has friends. Lamb says he has hundreds of friends. Derry says that Lamb lives alone in the house. And it is a big house.
|Pears||A type of fruit|
Lamb says that he has friends everywhere. Many people know him. The gate is always open. [Meaning they are always welcome]. They come to my house. They sit in the garden. In winter they sit in front of a fire. Kids come here to eat apple and pears. Lamb makes toffee with honey. Kids come to take these toffees. Anybody can come to his house. Derry has also come to his house.
Derry tells that he is not friend of Lamb. But Lamb replies that for him Derry is his friend. Derry has not done anything wrong to think that he is not a friend. Derry says that Lamb does not know him. Lamb does not even know his name.
|Signify||To be important|
Lamb says that these are not important things. Lamb asks if he needs to write all the details of Derry on a paper and put that in a file before becoming friend. Derry confirms that it is not required.
Lamb tells that if Derry wants he can tell his name. If he does not want to, he should not tell. Derry says that his name is Derry. Actually it is Derek, but he does not like it. Derry says that if Derry is friend of Lamb, Lamb need not be friend of Derry. He (Derry) is aware of this situation. Lamb agrees.
Derry asks Lamb if he never comes to the garden again, and Lamb does not meet him again, can he be a friend of Lamb. Lamb says that yes he can be a friend.
|Pass people||See or cross people|
Derry asks how they can he be a friend in that case. Lamb sees many people in the street. Lamb may even speak to them but he would never meet them again. It does not been that they are friends of Lamb. Lamb replies that but they are not enemies.
Derry says that those people are nothing. [Means they are not to be taken note of]. Lamb says that people are never nothing. Derry says that he hates some people.
Lmab says that such thought will damage him more than acid. Because acid burns only your face [body]. Derry is surprised. Lamb says it is just like a bomb that damaged my leg. Worse than that can happen. It could have damaged my feelings and thoughts. [Lamb is trying to say that damage of thought and feelings is much more than damage of body]
Derry narrates what people told after he had come back to his home from hospital. One person told that I should stay in hospital with people like me. [Those with burnt faces] She thought that blind people should stay with blind people and fools should stay with fools.
Lamb says does it mean that people with no legs should stay together. Derry agrees. Lamb says it will then be a very bad world. Derry says in that case people will not be staring at each other because everybody is similar.
Lamb asks if Derry thinks that people who look similar with burnt faces are similar. Lamb further says that they are similar only in their looks. But they are different in every other aspect. In this world everything looks similar but everything is different.
|Make out||Assess, Find out, Determine|
Derry asks how Lamb can determine it. Lamb says by watching them, listening to them and speaking with them. Derry says that he likes the house of Lamb. He likes the garden. Derry would like to live in house that does not have curtains. [This is the first sign that Derry is now opening up and trying to look outwards]
Lamb says that gate is always open, meaning that Derry can come anytime. Derry says that the house is not his. Lamb says that whatever is for himself, it is for everybody.
Derry says does it mean that he could come to the garden even when Lamb was not there. Lamb says Derry can come. There may be other people in the garden. Derry is surprised.
Lamb says that presence of other people should not stop Derry to come to the garden. Derry says that others may go away because of him. They may run away after looking at my face.
Lamb says that they may run away or may not run away. Derry needs to take the chance. Others would also be taking a chance to stay with Derry. Derry says that this would be a risk for Lamb. Because Lamb may have friendship of Derry and lose friendship of others. Because whenever people see him, they run away if they can.
Lamb says that he has not run away from Derry. When I in a street, kids shout ‘Lamey-Lamb’. But they come to my garden to play. They are not afraid of me. And I am not afraid of them, therefore they are not afraid of me.
|Take it steady||Take it easy, Remain calm|
Derry asks if the leg of Lamb was cut in a war. Lamb agrees. Derry asks how Lamb climbs on a ladder to pluck apples. Lamb replies that he has learnt to do many thing. And I have lot of time to do these works. Lamb says that he handles every situation with cool mind.
|On you own||Alone|
Derry says if Lamb falls from ladder and breaks his neck, he can die. It could happen if he was alone. Lamb agrees. Derry says that Lamb told that Derry could Lamb. Lamb says Derry can help him if Derry wants.
|To make fuss||Worry or get angry without cause|
Derry says that his mother would want to know his whereabouts. His home is beyond those fields. It is three miles away. My age is 14. But still they (my parents) want to know where I am. Lamb says that some people worry a lot. Derry says that they worry without a reason.
Lamb advises Derry to go to his house to tell where he is. Derry says it is three miles away. Lamb says that it is a pleasant evening and he has legs. [Meaning that he can easily go]
Derry says that when he reaches home, his parents will not allow him to come back to the garden. Lamb says once Derry reaches home, he will not like to come back. Derry says that Lamb does not know what all he can do. [Lamb is challenging Derry. He wants Derry to motivate to take his own decisions]
Lamb agrees that he does know what Derry can do. Lamb says he does not know everything. So he cannot tell Derry what he should do. Derry says that they tell him not to go. Lamb asks Derry if he needs to agree to what is said. [Lamb is trying to motivate Derry to think in a different way]
Now Derry says that he himself does not know what he wants. He wants to have something which no other person has. Something which is his own. May be it is a garden. But he is not sure. Lamb says that he can find out what he wants. Lamb advises him to wait (stay calm), watch (look outside himself) and listen (to his own inner voice).
Then Lamb says that he needs to take care of his bees.
Derry asks Lamb if other children talk to him. Do they ask question to him. Lamb replies that some children talk to him. He asks them questions because he likes to learn new things.
|Nobody cares||Nobody bothers|
Derry says that he does not believe other people. He does not believe that anybody comes to the garden. He thinks Lamb is always alone and always sad. Nobody knows that Lamb is alive. And nobody bothers if Lamb died.
|Tom, Dick and Harry||Anybody, Nobody specific|
Lamb says that Derry can think whatever he likes. Derry asks Lamb to tell names of kids coming to his garden. Lamb says their name can be anything. (He means to say that he does not care about their names). Lamb now get up and starts going towards his bee hives.
Derry says that lamb is mad and unreasonable. Lamb replies that it is a good excuse. Derry wants to know what excuse Lamb is referring to. Lamb says that it is a good excuse (Parents not allowing Derry to come back) for not coming back. And you have a burnt face. It is an excuse for other people for not playing with Derry.
|Feel sorry||Feel bad|
Derry says that Lamb is just like other persons. You say things like other persons say. If you do not feel bad about my face then you are afraid of it. And if you are not afraid you think that I am bad person. You know that I am a bad person.
[Derry shouts. Lamb has gone to his bees. He does not reply]
Derry says in a low voice that Lamb is not like that. (Like other persons). Derry likes to be in the garden. I am going but I will come back. He asks Lamb to wait for him. I can run. I do not have an artificial leg.
[Derry runs towards his house]
Lamb speaks to himself. My dear friend, you have seen it so many times. Those who go do not come back. Though they tell to come back.
This seen is of house of Derry.
Derry has told his mother about Lamb. Mother tells him that she knows about Lamb. I have heard many things about him. Derry tells her mother that she should not believe what she had heard.
Mother tells that she has heard about Lamb. She has been warned about him. Though they have been living there since only three months, she knows about Lamb. Mother tells Derry to not to go back to Lamb’s house.
Derry asks his mother why she is afraid. What does she think about Lamb? He is an old man with an artificial leg. He lives in a big house. His house has a garden. Windows of his house does not have curtains. I want to go there. I want to sit there, look and listen to things.
Mother asks what does Derry wants to listen to. Derry replies that he wants to listen to singing of bees. He wants to talk to Lamb. Mother asks what does Lamb talk. Derry replies that Lamb talks about things that are very important. Nobody has ever talked such things to him. I want to think about those things.
Mother asks Derry to stay at home and do his thinking. It would be best for Derry to stay at home. Derry does not like to be at home. You cannot change the things you are talking about. I forgive you for talking like that. Such talks will surely make you feel bad. But you are not responsible for such talks.
Derry says that those talks are not about his face or how he looks. I do not bother about my look. The looks are not important. What I think, I feel, I want to see, hear and find out are important. Derry declares that he is going there. I want to help him pluck apples. To look at and listen to things, I am going.
|The door slams||Door is shout loudly|
|I want the world||I want to live in open|
Mother asks Derry to remain at home. But Derry goes out of the house. He says that if he does not go there today, he will never be able to go anywhere again. The door is shut loudly. He runs. He is breathing quickly. And I want the world, I want it, I want it.
It is Lamb’s garden. [There is sound of branch moving or vibrating, apples are falling down and a sound of movement of branch again comes]
|Creak||Sound of bending, breaking or grinding|
|Thump||Sound of falling|
|Swish||Move quickly in air with a sound|
Lamb is speaking to himself. He is telling the branch to remain steady. Again more apples fall.
[There is sound of a crash. Ladder falls. Lamb also falls with the ladder. The branch jumps back to its original position. Again a sharp noise. Then it is silence. Derry opens the gate. He is still breathing heavily]
Derry shouts for Lamb to listen that he has come back. You said that I would not come but I have come back. [He stops completely. There is silence]
Derry calls out for Mr Lamb. He runs through the grass. He asks if Mr Lamb is allright. Derry kneels near the body of Lamb. Derry says that he has come back. Actually Mr. Lamb has died. [Derry starts crying]