English CBSE Class 12 NCERT Flamingo Chapter 8 Going Places Line by Line Explanation and Meaning of Difficult Words



Notice these expressions in the text. Infer their meaning from the context

Phrase Meaning
Incongruity Not matching, Strange
Arcade Gallery with arch
Prodigy Young person with talent
Amber glow Yellow light
Chuffed Became happy
Wharf Boat
Solitary elm The only elm tree
Pangs of doubts Thoughts of doubt

“When I leave,” Sophie said, coming home from school, “I’m going to have a boutique.” Jansie, linking arms with her along the street; looked doubtful. “Takes money, Soaf, something like that.”

Word Meaning
Boutique A small shop
Linking arms Joining or holding arms
Takes money Requires money

Two friends Sophie and Jansie were coming home from school. They were walking in a street. On their way, Sophie told that she would open a boutique after completing her schooling. Jansie joined her arms with that of Sophie’s and told that it was doubtful. She further told that it required lot of money to open a boutique.

“I’ll find it,” Sophie said, staring far down the street.

“Take you a long time to save that much.”

Sophie said that she will earn or arrange money. She was looking at the other end of the street. [Means she was dreaming] Jansie replied that it took a long time to save enough money for boutique.

“Well I’ll be a manager then — yes, of course — to begin with. Till I’ve got enough. But anyway, I know just how it’s all going to look.”

“They wouldn’t make you manager straight off, Soaf.”

Word Meaning
Straight off In the beginning

Sophie said that she will start her career as a manger. She will do a job till she saves enough money. She said that she was aware how her boutique would look. Jansie replied that no one would make her a manager in the beginning.



“I’ll be like Mary Quant,” Sophie said. “I’ll be a natural. They’ll see it from the start. I’ll have the most amazing shop this city’s ever seen.’”

Word Meaning
Amazing Best, Very beautiful

Mary Quant was a famous designer of fashionable cloths and an icon. Sophie says that she will be just like Mary Quant. Everybody will notice her right from the beginning. She says that she will own the most beautiful shop the city has ever seen.

Jansie, knowing they were both earmarked for the biscuit factory, became melancholy. She wished Sophie wouldn’t say these things.

Word Meaning
Earmarked Destined
Melancholy Sad

Jansie knew that destiny of both of them was to work at the biscuit factory. So she became very sad. She hoped that Sophie would not dream of owning a boutique.



When they reached Sophie’s street Jansie said, “It’s only a few months away now, Soaf, you really should be sensible. They don’t pay well for shop work, you know that, your dad would never allow it.”

Soon two friends reached the street in which house of Sophie was situated. Jansie said that after few months they would be leaving school. She urged Sophie to be more sensible. Jansie said that payment for working at a shop is very low. Jansie reminded that Sopjie’s father would not allow her to work at a shop.

“Or an actress. Now there’s real money in that. Yes, and I could maybe have the boutique on the side. Actresses don’t work full time, do they? Anyway, that or a fashion designer, you know — something a bit sophisticated”.

Word Meaning
Real Money More money
On the side Additionally
Sophisticated Elegant, Stylish

Sophie again tells her dreams to Jansie.

She thinks of becoming an actress because there is more money in this profession. And she wants to have a boutique also with her acting career. She thinks that actress need not work for full time of the day. She says that she would become a fashion designer or an actress. She wants to be do something which is stylish.

And she turned in through the open street door leaving Jansie standing in the rain.

“If ever I come into money I’ll buy a boutique.”

Sophie went into her house. Door of her house was open. Jansie was standing in the street in the rain. While entering her house, Sophie said to Jansie that whenever she had money, she would buy a boutique.



“Huh – if you ever come into money… if you ever come into money you’ll buy us a blessed decent house to live in, thank you very much.”

Sophie’s father was scooping shepherd’s pie into his mouth as hard as he could go, his plump face still grimy and sweat — marked from the day.

Word Meaning
Scooping To move with a scoop,
Shepherd’s pie A dish of meat and potato
Plump Round shape
Grimy Full of dirt
Marked from the day Looking tired after day’s work

Her father said that whenever she earned enough money she should buy a decent house  for themselves. Father was eating shepherd’s pie with the help of a scoop. [scoop is a type of spoon].His round face was full of dirt and sweat. He looked tired after day’s work.

“She thinks money grows on trees, don’t she, Dad?’ said little Derek, hanging on the back of his father’s chair. Their mother sighed.

Word Meaning
Hanging on Standing
Money grows on trees Easy to earn money

Her younger brother Derek was standing at the back of father’s chair. He said to his father that Sophie thought it was easy to earn money. Their mother took a deep breath.

Sophie watched her back stooped over the sink and wondered at the incongruity of the delicate bow which fastened her apron strings. The delicate-seeming bow and the crooked back.

Word Meaning
Stooped Bent
Incongruity Not matching
Bow Knot
Crooked Curved

Sophie looked at the back of her mother which was bent over the sink. She thought at the mismatch of the soft knot of strings of the apron. The delicate bow and the curved back. The back had become curved due to hard work her mother had been doing.



The evening had already blacked in the windows and the small room was steamy from the stove and cluttered with the heavy-breathing man in his vest at the table and the dirty washing piled up in the corner.

Word Meaning
Blackened in windows It was dark, Sun was setting
Steamy Full of smoke or steam
Cluttered Scattered
Vest Baniyaan
Washing Clothes yet to be washed
Piled up Heaped

It had already become dark outside i.e. the Sun had already set. Because of stove there was smoke in the room. The person (her father) was wearing a vest and breathing heavily. Many things were scattered in the room. Dirty clothes were heaped in a corner.

Sophie felt a tightening in her throat. She went to look for her brother Geoff. He was kneeling on the floor in the next room tinkering with a part of his motorcycle over some newspaper spread on the carpet.

Word Meaning
Felt tightening in throat Felt uncomfortable or anxious
Look for Search
Kneel Sit or bend such that knee touches floor
Tinker Attempt to repair, Fiddle with

Sophie felt uncomfortable. She started looking for her elder brother Geoff. He was in the next room. He was kneeling on the floor. He had spread a newspaper on the carpet. He had placed a part of his motorcycle on the newspaper. He was trying to repair it.

He was three years out of school, an apprentice mechanic, travelling to his work each day to the far side of the city.

He had completed his schooling three years ago. He was now a trainee mechanic. He travelled to the other side of the city for his job.

He was almost grown up now, and she suspected areas of his life about which she knew nothing, about which he never spoke. He said little at all, ever, voluntarily.

He was almost grown up i.e. a matured person. Sophie did not know about some parts of his life. So she had a doubt about those parts. He did not tell her anything about those parts. On his own he never told anything.



Words had to be prized out of him like stones out of the ground. And she was jealous of his silence.

He had to be motivated to speak. It was similar to somebody digging the ground to obtain stones. [Meaning that he spoke very less.] Sophie did not like that he spoke so less.

When he wasn’t speaking it was as though he was away somewhere, out there in the world in those places she had never been.

When Geoff was not speaking it looked as if he was dreaming. He used to dream about some places she had never visited. [Meaning that Geoff used to think differently.]

Whether they were only the outlying districts of the city, or places beyond in the surrounding country — who knew? — they attained a special fascination simply because they were unknown to her and remained out of her reach.

Word Meaning
Outlying Away, Distant
Fascination Liking

She did not know if those places were just outside the city. Or these were too far away and in the rural area around the city. These places were of special interest to her because she had not visited these places.

Perhaps there were also people, exotic, interesting people of whom he never spoke — it was possible, though he was quiet and didn’t make new friends easily.

Perhaps in those places, there were some interesting people of foreign country. And he did not tell about those people, although Geoff did not make friends easily. Here Sophie is suspecting that Geoff has some friends and he is keeping it a secret.

She longed to know them. She wished she could be admitted more deeply into her brother’s affections and that someday he might take her with him.

Word Meaning
Longed Eagerly wanted

She eagerly wanted to know about them. She hoped that her brother would share many things with her. She wanted to feel affection of her brother. She wished that someday his brother will take her with him to those places.



Though their father forbade it and Geoff had never expressed an opinion, she knew he thought her too young. And she was impatient.

Word Meaning
Forbade Refused
Too young Very small, Not grown up
Impatient Eager, In a hurry

Her father had refused that Geoff should take her with him. And Geoff did not tell his opinion. She was aware that Geoff thought she had not grown. But she was very eager to go with her brother.

She was conscious of a vast world out there waiting for her and she knew instinctively that she would feel as at home there as in the city which had always been her home.

Word Meaning
Conscious Aware
Vast Very big
Instinctively Think without logic, Inner voice
Feel at home Feel comfortable or relaxed

She was aware that the huge world outside of her house  was waiting for her. Her inner voice told her that she would be very comfortable in the world of the city. Because she had lived in the city for quite some time.

It expectantly awaited her arrival. She saw herself riding there behind Geoff. He wore new, shining black leathers and she a yellow dress with a kind of cape that flew out behind. There was the sound of applause as the world rose to greet them.

Word Meaning
Expectantly Eagerly, Excitedly
Cape Shawl, A garment without sleeves
Applause Clap, Appreciate

Sophie thought that the world was eagerly waiting for her arrival. She imagined that she was sitting on a bike behind Geoff. He was wearing new shining black clothes of leather. She was wearing a yellow dress and a shawl. The cape flew behind as they rode on the bike. All people clapped and appreciated them. The whole world was greeting them.

He sat frowning at the oily component he cradled in his hands, as though it were a small dumb animal and he was willing it to speak.

Word Meaning
Frowning Being angry
Cradled Hold in hands with affection

Geoff was sitting and angrily looking at the part of his motorcycle. He was holding the part in his hands as if it was an animal who could not speak. And he wanted to speak to it. (Meaning that Geoff was fully occupied in repairing that part)



“I met Danny Casey,” Sophie said.

He looked around abruptly. “Where?”

Sophie told Geoff that she had met Danny Casey. (Danny Casey is a very famous football player). Suddenly Geoff looked at Sophie and asked her where she met Danny.

“In the arcade — funnily enough.”

“It’s never true.”

“I did too.”

“You told Dad?”

Word Meaning
Arcade Gallery with arch

Sophie replies that she met him at the arcade. It was a funny incident. Geoff does not believe it. Sophie insists that she had met Danny. Geoff asks if Sophie had informed their father about it.

She shook her head, chastened at his unawareness that he was always the first to share her secrets.

“I don’t believe it.”

Word Meaning
Chastened Felt sad or unhappy, Regretted

Sophie shook her head, meaning that she had not told father. She felt sad that Goeff could not understand that she shared her secrets first with him. Geoff said that he could not believe that Sophie had met Danny.

“There I was looking at the clothes in Royce’s window when someone came and stood beside me, and I looked around and who should it be but Danny Casey.”

Word Meaning
Beside Near

Sophie explains that she was looking at clothes in a store. Name of the store was Royce. There someone came and stood near her. She turned around and she saw that it was Danny Casey.

“All right, what does he look like?”

“Oh come on, you know what he looks like.”

“Close to, I mean.”

Goeff asks Sophie how Danny looks like. Sophie says that he himself knew about looks of Danny. Geoff insists to know from Sophie by saying how does Danny look when he is so close. [Meaning that they had never seen Danny from close.] Sophie should approximately narrate looks of Danny.

“Well — he has green eyes. Gentle eyes. And he’s not so tall as you’d think…” She wondered if she should say about his teeth, but decided against it.

Sophie describes Danny. He has green eyes. Gentle eyes. He is not very tall as one would imagine. She wanted to say about his teeth, but she did not say.

Their father had washed when he came in and his face and arms were shiny and pink and he smelled of soap.

Word Meaning
Had washed Had taken bath

Their father came to room after taking bath. His face and arms were clean and shining. Smell of soap was coming from his body.

He switched on the television, tossed one of little Derek’s shoes from his chair onto the sofa, and sat down with a grunt.

Word Meaning
Grunt Low sound from throat

Father switched on the TV. He threw shoe of Derek from his chair to sofa. Then he sat down on his chair. He made a low sound from his throat while sitting.

“Sophie met Danny Casey,” Geoff said.

Sophie wriggled where she was sitting at the table. Her father turned his head on his thick neck to look at her. His expression was one of disdain.

“It’s true,” Geoff said.

Word Meaning
Wriggled Moved, Twisted
Disdain Arrogance, Not happy

Geoff said that Sophie had met Danny Casey. Sophie moved at her place. Her father turned his thick neck to look at her. Her father was looking arrogant meaning that he was not happy to know. Geoff said that it was true.

“I once knew a man who had known Tom Finney,” his father said reverently to the television. “But that was a long time ago.”

Tom Finney was a famous football player of England. Her father continued to look at the TV. Her father said that once he knew a person, who knew Tom Finney. He further said that that was very long ago.

“You told us,” Geoff said.

“Casey might be that good some day.”

“Better than that even. He’s the best.”

Geoff said that father had already told about it. Father said that Casey may become a good player. Geoff replied that Casey could become better that Tom Finney. In fact Casey is the best.

“If he keeps his head on his shoulders. If they look after him properly. A lot of distractions for a youngster in the game these days.”

Word Meaning
Keep head on shoulder Be intelligent, To remain humble
Take care after Look after, To give training
Distractions Diversions
These days Nowadays

Father says that Danny can become a better player if he remains humble. And if they take good care of him. (Here ‘they’ means coach and team of Danny). Nowadays, for a youngster, there are lot of opportunities for diversion.

“He’ll be all right. He’s with the best team in the country.”

“He’s very young yet.”

“He’s older than I am.”

Geoff says that he (Danny) will be all right because he is in the best team of the country. Father says that he is very young. Geoff say that Danny is older than him.

“Too young really for the first team.”

“You can’t argue with that sort of ability.”

“He’s going to buy a shop,” Sophie said from the table.

Father says that he (Danny) is very young so he should not be in the first team. Geoff says that he (father) should not say this for Danny because he (Danny) is a very talented player. Sophie says that Danny would be buying a shop.

Her father grimaced. “Where’d you hear that?”

“He told me so.”

Word Meaning
Grimaced Looked angrily

Father angrily looked at her and asked where she had heard about it. Sophie replied that Danny had told her.

He muttered something inaudible and dragged himself round in his chair. “This another of your wild stories?”

Word Meaning
Muttered Said in low voice, Murmured
Inaudible Not possible to hear
Dragged Pulled
Wild story Imagination

Father said something in low voice. It was not possible to hear what he said. Father pulled himself to turn in his chair. He further said that it was one of her imaginations.

“She met him in the arcade,” Geoff said, and told him how it had been.

“One of these days you’re going to talk yourself into a load of trouble,” her father said aggressively.

Word Meaning
Load of trouble Lot of troubles
One of these days Some day

Geoff told that she had met Danny in the arcade. Then he told him how they (Danny and Sophie) had met. Her father told angrily to Sophie that someday she may get into lot of trouble. Father thinks that Sophie is telling a lie.

“Geoff knows it’s true, don’t you Geoff?”

“He don’t believe you -though he’d like to.”

Sophie says that Geoff knows that it is true. Father says he (Geoff) does not believe you. Though he wants to believe you.

* * *


The table lamp cast an amber glow across her brother’s bedroom wall, and across the large poster of United’s first team squad and the row of coloured photographs beneath, three of them of the young Irish prodigy, Casey.

Word Meaning
Amber glow Yellow light
Beneath Below
Prodigy Young person with talent

United is very famous football team in England.

The table lamp was giving yellow light on the wall of bedroom of her brother. On the wall was a big poster of first team of United. Below the poster was a row of coloured photographs of young players. One of the photo was of Casey. He was from Ireland so referred as Irish.

“Promise you’ll tell no-one?” Sophie said.

“Nothing to tell is there?”

“Promise, Geoff — Dad’d murder me.”

Sophie requested Geoff to tell to no one. Geoff replied there was nothing to tell anyone. (Meaning that what Sophie will tell is not important). Sophie asks Geoff to promise that he will not tell to anyone. She is afraid of her father. She thinks that her father will scold her a lot.

“Only if he thought it was true.”

“Please, Geoff.”

“Christ, Sophie, you’re still at school. Casey must have strings of girls.”

“No he doesn’t.”

Geoff says that father will scold her if he thinks it was true. (Geoff wants to say that father would not believe that Sophie had met Danny) Sophie requests Geoff not to play jokes. Geoff says to Sophie that she is still in school. Meaning that at this tender age she should not meet Danny. He further says that Casey must be having many girlfriends. Sophie says he does not have any other girlfriend.

“How could you know that?” he jeered.

“He told me, that’s how.”

“As if anyone would tell a girl something like that.”

Word Meaning
Jeered Taunted, Teased

Geoff tauntingly asked Sophie how she knew about it. Sophie replied that Danny had told her. Geoff said that nobody would tell such things to a girl.

“Yes he did. He isn’t like that. He’s… quiet.”

“Not as quiet as all that — apparently.”

Sophie insisted that Danny had told her. Sophie thinks that Danny is not a person to have many girlfriends. He is peaceful person. Geoff replied that he does not seem to be such a peaceful person. [Geoff thinks that Danny has many girl friends]

“It was nothing like that, Geoff — it was me spoke first. When I saw who it was, I said, “Excuse me, but aren’t you Danny Casey?” And he looked sort of surprised.

Sophie told Geoff that she was the first who spoke to Danny. When she recognized him, she asked if he was Danny Casey. He was surprised at the question.

And he said, “Yes, that’s right.” And I knew it must be him because he had the accent, you know, like when they interviewed him on the television.

Word Meaning
Accent Style of speaking

He replied that he was Danny Casey. And I became sure that he was Danny. His style of speaking was exactly same as she had seen on a TV interview.

So I asked him for an autograph for little Derek, but neither of us had any paper or a pen. So then we just talked a bit. About the clothes in Royce’s window.

Sophie requested Danny to give an autograph. She wanted to get autograph for their younger brother Derek. But neither Sophie nor Danny had paper or pen. So they talked about clothes displayed at Royce

He seemed lonely. After all, it’s a long way from the west of Ireland. And then, just as he was going, he said, if I would care to meet him next week he would give me an autograph then. Of course, I said I would.”

Word Meaning
Long way Very far

He seemed lonely. Because he was far from his home situated in western part of Ireland. While going Danny asked Sophie if she would like to meet him next week. He would give her an autograph. Sophie agreed to meet him.

“As if he’d ever show up.”

“You do believe me now, don’t you?”

Word Meaning
Show up Come

Geoff said Danny is not likely to come again to meet Sophie. But Sophie says that now Geoff should believe her.

He dragged his jacket, which was shiny and shapeless, from the back of the chair and pushed his arms into it. She wished he paid more attention to his appearance.

Word Meaning
Dragged Pulled
Pushed his arms into Wore it
Wished Hoped
Appearance Looks

Geoff pulled his jacket from back of the chair. It was shining but was shapeless (not ironed). He wore the jacket. Sophie hoped that Geoff should be more careful about how his looks.

Wished he cared more about clothes. He was tall with a strong dark face. Handsome, she thought.

“It’s the unlikeliest thing I ever heard,” he said.

Sophie hoped that Geoff would take more care about his clothes. She thought that he was tall and had a slightly dark coloured face that looked strong. She thought Geoff looked handsome.

Geoff replied that Danny is unlikely to come to meet Sophie.

* * *


On Saturday they made their weekly pilgrimage to watch United. Sophie and her father and little Derek went down near the goal — Geoff, as always, went with his mates higher up.

Word Meaning
Pilgrimage Fixed routine
Mates Friends

Every Saturday, the family of Sophie had a fixed routine. They would watch a football game in which United was playing. Sophie, her father and Derek sat near the goal posts. Geoff sat with his friends far from them.

United won two-nil and Casey drove in the second goal, a blend of innocence and Irish genius, going round the two big defenders on the edge of the penalty area, with her father screaming for him to pass, and beating the hesitant goalkeeper from a dozen yards.

Word Meaning
Blend Mixture
Innocence Simplicity
Screaming Shouting
Hesitating Uncertain

United won the game by the score of two-nil. Casey had scored the second goal. This goal was a mix of simplicity and genius. At the edge of the penalty area, Casey went around two defenders. Sophie’s father was shouting that Casey should give a pass. But Casey took a shot himself from about 12 yards from the goal. The goalkeeper did not know how to  stop the shot.

Sophie glowed with pride. Afterwards Geoff was ecstatic.

“I wish he was an Englishman,” someone said on the bus.

Word Meaning
Ecstatic Overjoyed, Jubilant
Englishman Person from England

Sophie was proud that Casey had scored a goal. Geoff was also very happy. The family was returning in a bus. Someone in bus said that it would have been good if Casey were an Englishman.

“Ireland’ll win the World Cup,” little Derek told his mother when Sophie brought him home. Her father was gone to the pub to celebrate.

Derek came home with his sister Sophie. He told his mother that Ireland would win world cup. Father had gone to the bar to celebrate victory of United.

“What’s this you’ve been telling?” Jansie said, next week.

“About what?”

“Your Geoff told our Frank you met Danny Casey.”

Next week Jansie asked Sophie about something she (Sophie) had been telling. Sophie asked what was she asking about. Jansie replied that Geoff had told Frank that Sophie had met Danny Casey. Frank is brother of Jansie

This wasn’t an inquisition, just Jansie being nosey. But Sophie was startled.

“Oh, that.”

Word Meaning
Inquisition Inquiry, Questioning
Nosey Curiosity in other’s matters
Startled Greatly surprised

Sophie was greatly surprised. She thought it was not an inquiry. It was being curious in other’s matters. She tried to avoid answering it by saying Oh, that.

Jansie frowned, sensing she was covering. “Yes — that.”

“Well-yes, I did.”

“You never did?” Jansie exclaimed.

Word Meaning
Frowned Became angry
Sensing Understanding, Realising
Covering Hiding
Exclaimed Shouted in surprise

Jansie became angry. She understood that Sophie was trying to hide something. She replied that yes, she was asking about that. Sophie accepted that she had met Danny. Jansie was surprised but could not believe.

Sophie glared at the ground. Damn that Geoff, this was a Geoff thing not a Jansie thing. It was meant to be something special just between them. Something secret.

Sophie looked at the ground. Now she understood that Jansie had come to know because of Geoff. Her meeting with Danny was supposed to be a special thing between Geoff and Sophie. It was to be a secret. But Geof had told Frank and Frank told Jansie.

It wasn’t a Jansie kind of thing at all. Tell gawky Jansie something like that and the whole neighbourhood would get to know it. Damn that Geoff, was nothing sacred?

Word Meaning
Gawky Awkward, Not disciplined
Sacred Pious, Holy

Sophie concluded that it was not a fault of Jansie. If you tell anything to Jansie, then everybody will come to know about it. She did not have discipline in this matter. Sophie cursed Geoff and wished  he had kept it a secret.

“It’s a secret — meant to be.”

“I’ll keep a secret, Soaf, you know that.”

Word Meaning
Meant to be Required to be

Sophie told Jansie that it was required to be a secret. Jansie promised that she will keep it a secret.

“I wasn’t going to tell anyone. There’ll be a right old row if my dad gets to hear about it.”

Jansie blinked. “A row? I’d have thought he’d be chuffed as anything.”

Word Meaning
Row Noisy argument
Blinked Quick closing and opening of eyes
Chuffed Became happy

Sophie told that she did not want to tell about it to anyone. If her father comes to know about it, there will be a noisy argument. Jansie said why should there be an argument. He should feel very happy about it.

She realised then that Jansie didn’t know about the date bit — Geoff hadn’t told about that. She breathed more easily.

Word Meaning
Breathed easily Felt relaxed

Sophie understood that Jansie did not know about the date of their next meeting. Geoff had not told about it. She felt relaxed

So Geoff hadn’t let her down after all. He believed in her after all. After all some things might be sacred.

Word Meaning
Let her down Disappointed her

So Geoff had not disappointed Sophie. He believed her. He had kept certain things as secret.

“It was just a little thing really. I asked him for an autograph, but we hadn’t any paper or a pen so it was no good.” How much had Geoff said?

“Jesus, I wish I’d have been there.”

Sophie tells Jansie that it was just a small meeting. I had asked for an autograph. But we did not have pen or paper. So I could not get his autograph. She wonders how much Geoff has told Frank. Jansie wished that she too should have been there.

“Of course, my dad didn’t want to believe it. You know what a misery he is.

Sophie says to Jansie that her father did not believe it. She further says that her father is a bit of problem. He would be sad to know this.

But the last thing I need is queues of people round our house asking him, “What’s all this about Danny Casey?”

He’d murder me. And you know how my mum gets when there’s a row.”

Jansie said, hushed, “You can trust me, Soaf, you know that.”

Word Meaning
Murder me Punish me
Hushed In a low and serious voice

Sophie did not want people to ask her father about her meeting Danny Casey. Sophie tells Jansie that if that happens her father will punish her. And her mother will get disturbed if there is a noisy argument in the house. Jansie seriously told Sophie that she would not tell anybody about it.

* * *

After dark she walked by the canal, along a sheltered path lighted only by the glare of the lamps from the wharf across the water, and the unceasing drone of the city was muffled and distant.

Word Meaning
Sheltered Covered
Wharf Boat
Unceasing Continuous, Non-stop
Drone Humming noise, Unclear sound
Muffled Not loud

After it had become dark, Sophie was walking along the canal. It was a covered path. The covered path was getting light from the lamps of boats parked in the river. The continuous noise (humming) from the city was not loud. It appeared to be coming from a large distance.

It was a place she had often played in when she was a child. There was a wooden bench beneath a solitary elm where lovers sometimes came. She sat down to wait.

Word Meaning
Solitary Only one, Alone
Elm Type of tree

Sophie used to play there when she was a child. There was only one tree of elm. Below the tree was a wooden bench. Lovers used to sit on this bench. She sat there to wait for Danny Casey.

It was the perfect place, she had always thought so, for a meeting of this kind. For those who wished not to be observed. She knew he would approve.

Sophie had thought that it was the perfect place for meeting Danny Casey. It was a meeting place for those who did not want people to see them. She thought that Danny Casey will like this place.

For some while, waiting, she imagined his coming. She watched along the canal, seeing him come out of the shadows, imagining her own consequent excitement. Not until sometime had elapsed did she begin balancing against this the idea of his not coming.

Word Meaning
Sometime elapsed Sometime passed

While waiting, Sophie imagined that Danny was coming. She imagined that he was coming out of the shadows near the canal. And she was so happy to see him. When Danny did not come even after considerable time, she started thinking that he may not come.

Here I sit, she said to herself, wishing Danny would come, wishing he would come and sensing the time passing.

Sophie started talking to herself. She thought that she is sitting here in the hope that Dany would come. But she could feel that lot of time has passed.

I feel the pangs of doubt stirring inside me. I watch for him but still there is no sign of him.

Word Meaning
Pangs of doubts Thoughts of doubt
Stirring Coming

Now Sophie started having doubts within herself. She was looking for him but she could not see him.

I remember Geoff saying he would never come, and how none of them believed me when I told them. I wonder what will I do, what can I tell them now if he doesn’t come?

Sophie continues to talk to herself.

I remember Geoff had told that Danny would never come. And none of them believed me when I told them that Danny would meet me. I do not know what will I do now? What should I tell them if Danny does not come?

But we know how it was, Danny and me — that’s the main thing. How can you help what people choose to believe? But all the same, it makes me despondent, this knowing I’ll never be able to show them they’re wrong to doubt me.

Word Meaning
Despondent Disheartened, Hopeless

Sophie continues to talk to herself.

But we (Danny and Sophie) know we are friends and that is the main thing. You cannot do anything if people do not believe you. But it (Danny not coming) makes me lose hope. And I will never be able to prove that they were wrong to doubt about our meeting.

She waited, measuring in this way the changes taking place in her. Resignation was no sudden thing.

Sophie waited there. She was trying to understand several changes in her feelings. Gradually she accepted the fact. (The fact that Danny will not come.)

Now I have become sad, she thought. And it is a hard burden to carry, this sadness. Sitting here waiting and knowing he will not come I can see the future and how I will have to live with this burden.

Sophie continues to talk to herself.

Sophie thought that she had become sad. And she found that this sadness was a burden on her. Sitting there and knowing that he will not come. She can see that in future she will need to carry this burden of sadness.

They of course will doubt me, as they always doubted me, but I will have to hold up my head remembering how it was.

Word Meaning
Hold up my head Remain confident

Sophie continues to talk to herself.

They will certainly doubt me. They have always doubted me. But I will need to remain confident of myself. I should always remember how it had happened.

Already I envisage the slow walk home, and Geoff’s disappointed face when I tell him, “He didn’t come, that Danny.”

Word Meaning
Envisage Imagine

Sophie continues to talk to herself.

I can imagine that I will be walking slowly to my house. When I tell Geoff that Danny did not come, he would be disappointed.

And then he’ll fly out and slam the door. “But we know how it was,” I shall tell myself, “Danny and me.” It is a hard thing, this sadness.

Sophie continues to talk to herself.

And then Geoff will quickly go out. He will loudly shut the door. I will tell him that we (Danny and Sophie) know each other, we are friends. It is very difficult to accept that Danny did not come. It is a sad thing.

She climbed the crumbling steps to the street. Outside the pub she passed her father’s bicycle propped against the wall, and was glad. He would not be there when she got home.

Word Meaning
Crumbling Broken, In poor condition
Propped Supported

Sophie climbs the broken steps and comes to the street. Now she is walking back to her house. She sees bicycle of her father parked outside the bar. The bicycle is supported by the wall. She is happy to note that. Because when she reaches home, she will not meet her father.

“Excuse me, but aren’t you Danny Casey?”

Coming through the arcade she pictured him again outside Royce’s.

He turns, reddening slightly. “Yes, that’s right.”

Sophie again starts her imagination.

She sees Danny coming out of the arcade just outside Royce’s. She asks him if he is Danny Casey. He replies that yes he is Danny Casey.

“I watch you every week, with my dad and my brothers. We think you’re great.”

“Oh, well now — that’s very nice.”

“I wonder — would you mind signing an autograph?”

Sophie continues her imagination.

Sophie tells him that she along with her father and brothers, watch him play every week. They think that he is a great player. Danny replies that it was so nice of them. Sophie request him for an autograph.

His eyes are on the same level as your own. His nose is freckled and turns upwards slightly, and when he smiles he does so shyly, exposing teeth with gaps between.

Word Meaning
Freckled Having brown spots

Sophie continues her imagination.

Height of Sophie and Danny is same. (That is why their eyes are at the same level) His nose has some brown spots. It bends slightly upwards. His smile is so shy. When he smiles, one can see gap between his teeth.

His eyes are green, and when he looks straight at you they seem to shimmer. They seem gentle, almost afraid. Like a gazelle’s. And you look away. You let his eyes run over you a little. And then you come back to find them, slightly breathless.

Word Meaning
Shimmer To twinkle
Gazzelle Type of an animal


Sophie continues her imagination.

Colour of his eyes is green. His eyes are shining and look gentle. His eyes look as that of a gazelle. Then you look away and he continues to see you. When  you look back at him, you tend to lose your breath.


And he says, “I don’t seem to have a pen at all.”

You realise you haven’t either.

“My brothers will be very sorry,” you say.

Sophie continues her imagination.

He says that he does not have a pen. You also do not have a pen. And you say that your brother would feel bad for not getting autograph.

And afterwards you wait there alone in the arcade for a long while, standing where he stood, remembering the soft melodious voice, the shimmer of green eyes. No taller than you. No bolder than you. The prodigy. The innocent genius. The great Danny Casey.

Sophie continues her imagination.

He goes away. But you are still standing in the arcade. You recall his sweet voice and his green shining eyes. His height is equal to you. He is as bold as you are. He is a simple genius. He is talented. Danny Casey is great.

And she saw it all again, last Saturday — saw him ghost past the lumbering defenders, heard the fifty thousand catch their breath as he hovered momentarily over the ball, and then the explosion of sound as he struck it crisply into the goal, the sudden thunderous eruption of exultant approbation.

Word Meaning
Lumbering Move slowly and awkwardly
Catch their breath Become silent
Hovered Stopped, Lingered
Explosion of sound Big sound
Crisply Neatly, Firmly
Thunderous Very loud
Eruption Sudden beginning, Explosion
Exultant Happy
Approbation Praise

Sophie started imagining the last Saturday football match.

He moved awkwardly around the defenders. About fifty thousand spectators became silent. He stopped for a moment with the ball. Then he kicked the ball into the goal. One could hear the sound as he kicked the ball with great force. There was huge noise from the happy  crowd to praise Danny Casey.



Important Links
Going Places – Textbook Q&A Going Places – Extra Q&A
Poets & Pancakes – Explanation My Mother at 66 – Explanation
Poets & Pancakes – Textbook Q&A My Mother at 66 – Textbook Q&A
Poets & Pancakes – Extra Q&A My Mother at 66 – Extra Q&A
Passages Note Making
Letter Writing Notice Writing
Advertisement Writing Article Writing
Report Writing




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