English CBSE Class 12 NCERT Vistas Chapter 7 Evans Tries An O-Level Line by Line Explanation and Meaning of Difficult Words



Author – Colin Dexter

Word Meaning
In the early March During initial days of March

During initial days of March, Secretary of the Examinations Board received a phone call from Governor of Oxford Prison. The Governor of the prison makes a request to the Secretary. The request is to conduct an exam for a prisoner.

The Secretary says that normally they did not get such requests. But he agrees to conduct the exam. He confirms from Governor that there is only one candidate.



Word Meaning
Chap Person
Dead keen Highly interested

Governor confirms that there is only one candidate. Name of the candidate is Evans. In September he had started studying in night classes to prepare for O-level exam in German language. Governor informs that Evans is very much interested in getting a certificate of educational qualification.

Secretary asks if that person (Evans) is good in his studies.


Word Meaning
Cost a packet Very costly

Governor says that Evans was the only student in the class. So it was like taking individual tuition. He is not sure how much Evans knows. If he was outside the jail, the cost of tuition would have been too much for Evans. (Looks like jail authority paid for tuition)

Word Meaning
Jolly kind of you Very nice of you

The Secretary tells that we should give Evans a chance to appear at the exam. He asks opinion of Governor. The Governor say that it was so kind of him, The Governor asks about the procedure for writing the exam.



The Secretary assured Governor not to worry about the procedure. He will send all the forms and other papers to Governor. He again confirms that Evans is the name of the prisoner.

Word Meaning
Grand Impressive, Very big

Governor replied it was James Roderick Evans. The name looked impressive.

The Secretary asks Governor if Evans is a violent person. He does not want to know why Evans has been jailed. He only wants to know if Evans is violent.



Word Meaning
Bit of a card Funny, Naughty, Mischievious
Concert Musical performance

Governor clarifies that Evans does not have any record of violence. He is a pleasant person. He is naughty. He is a good performer at the Christmas concerts.

Word Meaning
Imitations Copy
Congenital Habitual
Kleptomaniac Tendency to steal
Tempted Wanted, Was eager
Look after Take care, To handle

He can do imitations and other such things just like Mike Yarwood used to do. [Mike Yarwood was a great comedian]. Evans is habitual thief. The Governor wanted to inform many more things about Evans but he did not. He thought that he will himself take care of those aspects.

Word Meaning
Presumably With an assumption

The Secretary asked if a room can be arranged for the exam. The Governor replies that Evans is alone in his cell. If the Secretary does not have an objection, Evans can write his exam there. The Secretary agrees.



Word Meaning
Parson Priest
Invigilate Supervise candidate during exam

The Governor says that he can easily get a priest from St Mary Mags church to supervise the exam.

Word Meaning
Chuckled Laughed
Good naturedly Friendly
Incommunicado Not able to communicate

The secretary agrees. He says that the church has many priests. The two man laughed as if they were friends. The secretary asked one more question. Will the Governor have any problem in preventing Evans to communicate with anyone?

Word Meaning
Reiterated Said once again

The Governor laughed very politely. [He wanted to say that it was so obvious and easy]. He once again thanked the Secretary and put the receiver of the phone on the cradle.

Word Meaning
Gracing the premises Stay in that building
Disgrace Insult

Among prison officers, Evans was known as ‘Evans the Break’. He had escaped from prison thrice. There was some unrest in the high security building of north side of the town. So Evans could be caught otherwise it was not possible to catch him. Evans was now staying in the Oxford Prison. Governor wanted to make sure that Evans did not escape from his prison. That would be an insult to Governor.



Word Meaning
Burden Problem
Persistent Continuous
Nagging Harassing, Painful, Worrying
See to it Make sure

Evans did not give problem to anybody. But he was a constant worry.[Because he was famous for escaping from prison] Governor wanted to personally make sure that Evans remained in the Oxford Prison.


Word Meaning
Besides In addition to

In addition to all these, probably Evans was really interested in O-level exam of German language.  Though it is a very low possibility.


On 7th June, Monday at 8:30 PM, the teacher of German language shook hand with Evans in the Recreation Block of jail. The jail had several guards. Cell of Evans was opposite to D wing.


The teacher said in German – Good Luck Mr Evans. But Evans did not understand. So teacher explained in English. Evans thanked the teacher for his good wishes.



Word Meaning
Cat in hell’s chance No chance

The teacher told Evans that he did not have any chance to pass in the exam. Evans replied that he would give surprise to everybody.

Word Meaning
Following morning Next day in the morning
Tuck in To put in
Grubby Dirty
String – vest Baniyaan of thin material
Trousers Pant
Bunk Bed

At 8:30 in the next morning a person, actually two persons came to meet Evans. Evans tucked-in his dirty vest into his dirty pant. He stood up from his bed. He was smiling and happy. He said to Mr Jackson good morning and that he was really happy to meet Mr Jackson.

Word Meaning
Burly Strong, Well built
Surly Bad tempered, Impolite

Jackson was the senior prison officer. He was in-charge of D wing. Evans and Jackson were enemies. Another officer Stephens was standing near Jackson. Stephens had recently joined his job. Jackson was a strong and bad tempered person.


Word Meaning
Curtly Rudely
Jew A tribe living in Israel

Jackson rudely asked Evans how was the little Einstein. Jackson had asked this questions sarcastically. Evans asked Jackson if Einstein was a mathematician. Then Evans told Jackson that in his opinion Einstein was a Jew.


Word Meaning
Filthy Dirty, Cheap
Bust in Come in

Evans had not shaved. He was wearing a dirty looking bobble hat. Colour of hat was red and white. Evans requested Jackson to give him some time to shave. Jackson had come when Evans was about to start shaving.



Word Meaning
Turned his eyes Looked at
Scraping Rubbing
Mug Face

Jackson looks at Stephens and orders to take razor from Evans after he completes his shaving of his ugly face. Jackson fears that Evans may cut his own throat with the help of razor. [Evans may commit suicide]. And that could be a problem for us. [Sarcastically Jackson uses the word ‘favour’ instead of ‘trouble’]


Word Meaning
Ramrod straight Perfectly straight, Upright
String of Series of, Many
Paraded Displayed

Evans looked at Jackson who was standing perfectly straight opposite to him. Many medals of Second World War were displayed on left side of his uniform.


Evans asked if Jackson had taken his scissors. He used to cut his nail with that scissors. Evans always took good care of his nails. Jackson replied that he had also taken his file used for filing of nails.

“Look!’ For a moment Evans’s eyes smouldered dangerously, but Jackson was ready for him.

Word Meaning
Smouldered Burned, Became red

Eyes of Evans started burning because of anger. But Jackson was ready for such reaction.

“Orders of the Governor, Evans.” He leaned forward and leered, his voice dropping to a harsh, contemptuous whisper. “You want to complain?”

Word Meaning
Leered Looked
Harsh Cruel
Contemptuous Disrespect

Jackson informed Evans that this was the order of Governor. Jackson bent forward and looked into eyes of Evans. He asked in a very low and cruel voice if Evans wanted to complain. Voice Jackson was full of disrespect towards Evans.

Evans shrugged his shoulders lightly. The crisis was over.

“You’ve got half an hour to smarten yourself up, Evans — and take that bloody hat off!”

Word Meaning
To shrug shoulders To raise shoulders
Crisis Problem
Smarten To look better
Take off Remove

Evans raised his shoulders. The problem was over. [Evans did not say anything]. Jackson reminded that Evans had half an hour to prepare himself and look better. [Because exam was to start after half an hour]. Jackson asked Evans to remove his hat.

“Me ’at? Huh!” Evans put his right hand lovingly on top of the filthy woollen, and smiled sadly. “D’you know, Mr Jackson, it’s the only thing that’s ever brought me any sort o’ luck in life. Kind o’ lucky charm, if you know what I mean. And today I thought — well, with me exam and all that…”

Word Meaning
Filthy Dirty, Bad looking
Lucky charm Something lucky

Evans put his hand on his dirty hat. He told Jackson that it was his lucky charm. The hat was the only thing lucky for him. And today is my exam. [Evans is requesting permission of Jackson to allow him to wear hat]

Buried somewhere in Jackson, was a tiny core of compassion; and Evans knew it.

“Just this once, then, Shirley Temple.” (If there was one thing that Jackson genuinely loathed about Evans it was his long, wavy hair.) “And get shaving!”

Word Meaning
Tiny core Small amount
Compassion Sympathy
Shirley Temple A famous child artist of Hollywood
Loathed Hated

Evans knew that Jackson had some small amount of sympathy in his heart. Jackson addresses Evans as Shirley Temple and says that he will be allowed to keep only his hat. [Jackson really hated long and curly hair of Evans.] Jackson asked Evans to do shaving.

At 8.45 the same morning the Reverend Stuart McLeery left his bachelor flat in Broad Street and stepped out briskly towards Carfax.

Word Meaning
Stepped out briskly Walked quickly
Carfax Main place in a city

At 8:45 in the morning of the same day, Reverend Stuart McLeery (he was a priest) came out of his bachelor’s flat. His flat was in Broad Street of the town. He started walking quickly towards Carfax of the town.

The weatherman reported temperatures considerably below the normal for early June, and a long black overcoat and a shallow-crowned clerical hat provided welcome protection from the steady drizzle which had set in half an hour earlier and which now spattered the thick lenses of his spectacles.

Word Meaning
Weatherman Those who forecast weather
Considerably below Much below
Drizzle Slow rains
Steady Continuous
Spattered Sprayed

As per weather forecast, temperature in June was to be much below normal. Mcleery was wearing a long overcoat of black colour and a clerical hat. He thought that these would protect him from rain. There was continuous slow rains which had started half an hour earlier than predicted. Drops of rains were falling on his spectacles that had thick glasses.

In his right hand he was carrying a small brown suitcase, which contained all that he would need for his morning duties, including a sealed question paper envelope, a yellow invigilation form, a special “authentication” card from the Examinations Board, a paper knife, a Bible (he was to speak to the Women’s Guild that afternoon on the Book of Ruth), and a current copy of The Church Times.

McLeery had a brown small suitcase in his right hand. This suitcase had a sealed question paper envelope, a yellow form of invigilation, a special card from Examinations Board, a paper knife, a Bible and a newspaper The Church Times. [In the afternoon Mcleery was to speak at a forum of Women’s Guild about a book ‘Book of Ruth’]

The two-hour examination was scheduled to start at 9.15 a.m.

Evans was lathering his face vigorously when Stephens brought in two small square tables, and set them opposite each other in the narrow space between the bunk on the one side and on the other a distempered stone wall.

Word Meaning
Leathering Applying shaving cream
Vigorously Forcefully
Distemper Type of paint

The exam was to start at 9:15 AM. It was a two hour exam. Evans was applying shaving cream on his face. Stephen brought two small tables. He put these tables between the bed and the wall. The space was narrow. The wall was painted with distemper.

Next, Stephens brought in two hard chairs, the slightly less battered of which he placed in front of the table which stood nearer the cell door.

Jackson put in a brief final appearance. “Behave yourself, laddy!”

Word Meaning
Battered Damaged
Laddy Friend

Then Stephen brought two chairs. These were without cushion. The less damaged chair was put near the table that was closer to the door of the cell. Jackson came for the last moment and told Evans to behave properly.

Evans turned and nodded.

“And these” — (Jackson pointed to the pin-ups) — “off!”

Evans turned and nodded again. “I was goin’ to take “em down anyway. A minister, isn’t ’e? The chap comin’ to sit in, I mean.”

Word Meaning
Nodded Moved head
Pin-ups Posters
Take them down Remove these
Minister A person from church

Evans looked at Jackson and nodded in agreement. Jackson asked him to remove all the posters. Evans agreed. Evans told that he was about to remove these. Evans asked if the person coming for invigilation was from a church.

“And how did you know that?” asked Jackson quietly.

“Well, I ’ad to sign some forms, didn’t I? And I couldn’t ’elp — ”

Jackson politely asked how Evans was aware of this. Evans said that he had signed some forms. He came to know through those forms.

Evans drew the razor carefully down his left cheek, and left a neat swath in the white lather. “Can I ask you something, Mr. Jackson? Why did they ’ave to bug me in this cell?” He nodded his head vaguely to a point above the door.

Word Meaning
Swath Narrow strip
Lather Foam
Bug To secretly listen
Vaguely Strangely

Evans moved his razor on his left cheek. It made a strip in white foam of shaving cream. Evans took permission from Jackson to ask a question. He asked why they were trying to listen to the talks of this cell. He looked towards a point above the door and moved his head.

“Not a very neat job,” conceded Jackson.

“They’re not — they don’t honestly think I’m goin’ to try to — ”

Word Meaning
Conceded Agreed, Accepted

Jackson agreed that it was not a good thing. Evans asked if they are thinking that he would try to (escape)

“They’re taking no chances, Evans. Nobody in his senses would take any chance with you.”

“Who’s goin’ to listen in?”

Word Meaning
Listen in Secretly listen

Jackson told that they are not taking any chances. Nobody would like to take any chance with you. Evans asked who is going to secretly listen. (To what was happening in the cell during exam.)

“I’ll tell you who’s going to listen in, laddy. It’s the Governor himself, see? He don’t trust you a bloody inch — and nor do I. I’ll be watching you like a hawk, Evans, so keep your nose clean. Clear?” He walked towards the door.

Word Meaning
Hawk Eagle
Watch like a hawk Watch constantly & carefully
keep your nose clean Not to make trouble

Jackson informs that Governor himself would be listening in during the exam. The Governor does not believe Evans at all. Jackson also does not believe Evans. Jackson says that he will be constantly watching Evans. He advises Evans not to make any mischief.

Evans nodded. He’d already thought of that, and Number Two Handkerchief was lying ready on the bunk — a neatly folded square of off-white linen.

Evans again nodded. Evans had already thought about these. He was keeping a handkerchief (Number Two Handkerchief, meaning second handkerchief) ready on his bed. It was an off-white colour square shaped cloth. Evans had folded it nicely. [Probably he had two handkerchiefs and  he was using his first handkerchief during his shaving.]

“Just one more thing, Einstein.”

“Ya? Wha’s ‘at?”

“Good luck, old son.”

Jackson sarcastically calls Evans an Einstein. He wishes good luck to Evans.

In the little lodge just inside the prison’s main gates, the Reverend S. McLeery signed his name neatly in the visitors’ book, and thence walked side by side with a silent prison officer across the exercise yard to D Wing, where he was greeted by Jackson.

Word Meaning
Lodge Room
Thence From there
Greeted by Welcomed by

There is small room at the main entrance of the prison. McLeery writes his name and signs in the visitor’s book kept there. From that room he walks to the exercise yard of D wing. An officer of prison is walking with McLeery without speaking anything. At the yard Jackson welcomes McLeery

The Wing’s heavy outer door was unlocked, and locked behind them, the heavy inner door the same, and McLeery was handed into Stephens’s keeping.

The heavy outer door of the wing was opened. People walked in . This door was closed. Same procedure was adopted for the inner door. Now responsibility of McLeery was given to Stephens.

“Get the razor?” murmured Jackson.

Stephens nodded.

“Well, keep your eyes skinned. Clear?”

Word Meaning
Keep eyes skinned Be careful

Jackson asked Stephens to take razor from Evans. He also advised Stephens to be careful.

Stephens nodded again; and McLeery, his feet clanging up the iron stairs, followed his new guide, and finally stood before a cell door, where Stephens opened the peep-hole and looked through.

“That’s him, sir.”

Word Meaning
Clanging Metallic sound

Stephens nodded. He and McLeery walked up the iron staircase. The iron stair case was making lot of metallic sound. Finally he was standing in fornt of the door of the cell. Stephens looked through the hole of the door and told McLeery that Evans was there.

Evans, facing the door, sat quietly at the farther of the two tables, his whole attention riveted to a textbook of elementary German grammar. Stephens took the key from its ring, and the cell lock sprang back with a thudded, metallic twang.

Word Meaning
Farther At a greater distance
Thud A loud sound
Twang Metallic sound

Evans’s face was towards the door. He was sitting on the table which was away from the door. His total attention was on the textbook of German language. Stephens took out the key from the key-ring. He unlocked the door. The lock opened with  a metallic sound. McLeery entered the cell. The door was locked.

It was 9.10 a.m. when the Governor switched on the receiver. He had instructed Jackson to tell Evans of the temporary little precaution — that was only fair. (As if Evans wouldn’t spot it!)

Now it was 9:10 AM. Governor switched on the receiver. He could listen to every sound made in the cell. He had installed the receiver temporarily as a precaution. The Governor had ordered Jackson to tell Evans about the receiver. (Governor thought that Evans would not notice the receiver)

But wasn’t it all a bit theatrical? Schoolboyish, almost? How on earth was Evans going to try anything on today? If he was so anxious to make another break, why in heaven’s name hadn’t he tried it from the Recreational Block? Much easier.

But it all looked like a drama. Almost like a school level drama. How Evans will try to escape today. If he once again wanted to escape, he should have tried to escape from Recreation Block. That would have been much easier.

But he hadn’t. And there he was now — sitting in a locked cell, all the prison officers on the alert, two more locked doors between his cell and the yard, and a yard with a wall as high as a haystack. Yes, Evans was as safe as houses…

Word Meaning
Hay Grass
Haystack Pile of grass

But Evans had not tried to escape from Recreation Block. Now he was sitting in a locked room. All officers of the prison were alert. Two more doors after the cell were locked. Then there was a yard . The boundary wall was very high. So Evans was as safe as one would be in house. [Means there was no opportunity for him to escape]

Anyway, it wouldn’t be any trouble at all to have the receiver turned on for the next couple of hours or so. It wasn’t as if there was going to be anything to listen to, was it?

But Governor thought it was not a problem to keep the receiver on for next some hours. He hope that  there would not be anything to listen during the exam.

Amongst other things, an invigilator’s duty was to ensure that the strictest silence was observed. But… but still that little nagging doubt! Might Evans try to take advantage of McLeery? Get him to smuggle in a chisel or two, or a rope ladder, or —

Word Meaning
Nagging Painful, Regular

It was the duty of the invigilator to strictly maintain silence during the exam. But the Governor was worried and had some doubts. Evans may try to take help from McLeery. Evans might have asked McLeery to secretly bring a chisel or a rope.

The Governor sat up sharply. It was all very well getting rid of any potential weapon that Evans could have used; but what about McLeery?

The governor suddenly sat straight because he was alarmed. It was good that he had removed from cell anything that could be used as a weapon. But he was not sure about McLeery. [Mcleery may have brought some weapon]

What if, quite unwittingly, the innocent McLeery had brought in something himself? A jack-knife, perhaps? And what if Evans held him hostage with such a weapon?

Word Meaning
Unwittingly Unintentionally
Innocent Honest, Innocous
Jack knife A small knife
Hostage Hold somebody

What will happen if honest McLeery had brought something unintentionally? May be a small knife. And Evans takes Mcleery as a hostage with that weapon.

The Governor reached for the phone. It was 9.12 a.m.

The examinee and the invigilator had already been introduced by Stephens when Jackson came back and shouted to McLeery through the cell door. “Can you come outside a minute, sir? You too, Stephens.”

Word Meaning
Examinee One who writes exam
Invigilator One who supervises exam

At 9:12 AM Governor made a phone call. By this time Evans (examinee) and McLeery (invigilator) had been introduced to each other. Jackson reached the cell and asked MacLeery and Stephens to come out of the cell.

Jackson quickly explained the Governor’s worries, and McLeery patiently held out his arms at shoulder level whilst Jackson lightly frisked his clothes. “Something hard here, sir.”

Jackson explained to McLeery worries of Governor. Mcleery raised his hands above the shoulder level so that he can be searched. Jackson checked clothes of McLeery. He felt something hard in his pocket.

“Ma reading glasses,” replied McLeery, looking down at the spectacle case.

McLeery replied that it was his spectacles. He showed the case of spectacles to Jackson.

Jackson quickly reassured him, and bending down on the landing thumb-flicked the catches on the suitcase. He picked up each envelope in turn, carefully passed his palms along their surfaces — and seemed satisfied.

Word Meaning
Reassured Not to worry
Landing Horizontal surface on stair
Thumb flicked Opened using thumbs
Catches Locks

Jackson quickly told McLeery that there was no cause for worrying. Jackson bent on landing of the stair case. He used his thumbs to open locks of suitcase. He picked each envelop. He moved his palm on every envelope and was satisfied.

He riffled cursorily through a few pages of Holy Writ, and vaguely shook The Church Times. All right, so far. But one of the objects in McLeery’s suitcase was puzzling him sorely.

Word Meaning
Riffled Turned over pages  quickly
Holy Writ Bible
Sorely Extremely, Too much

Jackson quickly turned over pages of Bible and shook the newspaper ‘The Church Times’. These seemed OK to him. But one item in the suitcase was troubling him extremely.

“Do you mind telling me why you’ve brought this, sir?” He held up a smallish semi-inflated rubber ring, such as a young child with a waist of about twelve inches might have struggled into. “You thinking of going for a swim, sir?”

Jackson found a small hollow rubber ring. It was not completely full. Its diameter was about twelve inches. Jackson asked McLeery why he had brought that ring. Was he going for swimming? [This is a sarcasm because with such a small ring none can swim]

McLeery’s hitherto amiable demeanour was slightly ruffled by this tasteless little pleasantry,

Word Meaning
Hitherto Till that time
Amiable Friendly
Demeanour Behaviour, Appearance
Ruffled Disturbed
Pleasantry Joke

Till that time behaviour of McLeery was friendly. Now he was slightly disturbed by the poor joke of Jackson.

and he answered Jackson somewhat sourly. “If ye must know, I suffer from haemorrhoids, and when I’m sitting down for any length o’ time —”

Word Meaning
Sourly Unfriendly manner
Haemorrhoids Name of a disease

He replied to Jackson in an unfriendly manner. Mcleery told Jackson that he was suffering from a disease. It was not possible for him to sit for long time. So he used to place the ring on chair and then sit.

“Very sorry, sir. I didn’t mean to, er…” The embarrassment was still reddening Jackson’s cheeks when he found the paper-knife at the bottom of the case. “I think I’d better keep this though, if you don’t mind, that is, sir.”

Word Meaning
Embarrassment Shame, Discomfort
Reddening Making red,

Jackson expressed sorry to Mcleery. His face had become red due to shame. He found a paper knife in the suitcase. He told Mcleery that he will need to remove it.

It was 9.18 a.m. before the Governor heard their voices again, and it was clear that the examination was going to be more than a little late in getting under way.

Word Meaning
More than a little late After sometime, Delayed
Getting under way Getting started

Now it was 9:18 AM. Governor again heard their voices on his receiver. He understood that exam will start after some time.

MCLEERY: “Ye’ve got a watch?”

EVANS: “Yes, sir.”

McLeery asked if Evans had a watch. Evans replied yes sir.

MCLEERY: “I’ll be telling ye when to start, and again when ye’ve five minutes left. A’ right?”


McLeery told Evans that he will tell when to start writing exam. He will inform Evans when five minutes are remaining to end time of exam.

MCLEERY: “There’s plenty more o’ this writing paper should ye need it.”


MCLEERY: “Now. Write the name of the paper, 021-1, in the top left-hand corner.”


McLeery tells that he has many more blank papers if Evans needs. He tells Evans to write 021-1 on the top of the left hand corner of the paper.

MCLEERY: “In the top right-hand corner write your index number-313. And in the box just below that, write your centre number-271. A’ right?”

Silence. 9.20 a.m.

McLeery tells Evans to write his index number 313 on the top of the right hand corner of the paper. Then to write his centre number 271.

MCLEERY: “I’m now going to — ”

EVANS: “E’s not goin’ to stay ’ere, is ’e?”

MCLEERY: “I don’t know about that. I — ”

Mcleery tells Evans that now he will ….. But Evans stops him and asks a question. Is he (Stephens) going to be in the cell or will he go out. McLeery replies that he does not know about it.

STEPHENS: “Mr Jackson’s given me strict instructions to — ”

EVANS: “How am I suppose to concentrate on my exam… with someone breathin’ down my neck? Christ! Sorry, sir, I didn’t mean — ”

Word Meaning
Breathing down my neck Remain very near

Stephens replies that he has strict instruction for Jackson to be in the cell. Evans tells that he will not be able to concentrate on his exam if Stephens stayed so near to him in the cell. Evans felt sorry for saying this.

The Governor reached for the phone. “Jackson? Ah, good. Get Stephens out of that cell, will you? I think we’re perhaps overdoing things.”

The Governor picked up phone. He asked Jackson to call Stephens out from the cell. Governor thought that they were taking too many precautions.

“As you wish, sir.” The Governor heard the exchanges in the cell, heard the door clang once more, and heard McLeery announce that the examination had begun at last.

It was 9.25 a.m.; and there was a great calm.

Jackson replied that he will do what Governor asked him to do. The governor once again heard the metallic sound of door. Now McLerry announced that finally the exam had started. It was 9:25 AM. There was total silence

At 9.40 a.m. the Examinations Board rang through, and the Assistant Secretary with special responsibility for modern languages asked to speak to the Governor. The examination had already started, no doubt? Ah, a quarter of an hour ago. Yes.

At 9:40 AM, the Governor received a phone from Examination Board. The Assistant Secretary, responsible for modern language exam had made the call. She asked if the exam had already started. The Governor replied that it started 15 minutes ago.

Well, there was a correction slip which some fool had forgotten to place in the examination package. Very brief. “Could the Governor please…?

The Assistant Secretary informed that they had forgotten to place a correction slip with the exam paper. The governor was requested to do the needful.

“Yes, of course. I’ll put you straight through to Mr Jackson in D Wing. Hold the line a minute.”

The Governor said he will surely get it done. He said he will transfer the call to Jackson who was in the D wing.

Was this the sort of thing the Governor had feared? Was the phone call a fake? Some signal? Some secret message…? But he could check on that immediately.

Governor started thinking if he should be careful about the call. Was this call was a fake call or some signal or some secret message. Governor thought that he should quickly confirm.

He dialled the number of the Examinations Board, but heard only the staccato bleeps of a line engaged. But then the line was engaged, wasn’t it? Yes. Not very intelligent, that…

Word Meaning
Staccato bleeps Intermittent beeps

Governor dialled the number of Examination Board. That number was busy. He heard the beeps of busy tone. Governor thought it was not a very intelligent way of checking but that phone was busy. He assured himself.

Two minutes later he heard some whispered communications in the cell, and then McLeery’s broad Scots voice:

Word Meaning
Scots voice Accent of Scotland

After two minutes, he heard some communication in a very low voice. [Jackson was talking to McLeery]. Then he heard the loud voice of McLeery. It had an accent of Scotland. (scots voice)

“Will ye please stop writing a wee while, Mr Evans, and listen carefully. Candidates offering German, 021-1, should note the following correction.

Word Meaning
Wee while For some time

McLeery asked Evans to stop writing for some time and listen carefully. He said that following corrections in the exam paper are to be noted.

‘On page three, line fifteen, the fourth word should read goldenen, not, goldene; and the whole phrase will therefore read zum goldenen Lowen, not zum goldene Lowen.’ I will repeat that…”

Word Meaning
zum To the
goldenen Golden
goldene Gold
lowen Lion

Mcleery asked Evans to change the word ‘goldene’ to ‘goldenen’. So now the phrase would be ‘zum goldenen Lowen’ ( To the Golden Lion) from ‘zum goldene Lowen’ (To the Gold Lion). McLeery repeated the correction.

The Governor listened and smiled. He had taken German in the sixth form himself, and he remembered all about the agreements of adjectives.

The Governor listened to the announcement and smiled to himself. He had studied German language in sixth standard. He remembered how to use adjectives. [Gold is noun and golden is adjective]

And so did McLeery, by the sound of things, for the minister’s pronunciation was most impressive. But what about Evans? He probably didn’t know what an adjective was.

Governor thought that  McLeery also understood use of adjectives. Because pronunciation of minister (priest) was very good. Governor thought that Evans did not know anything about adjectives.

The phone rang again. The Magistrates’ Court. They needed a prison van and a couple of prison officers. Remand case.

Word Meaning
Remand To take person into custody

Again the phone of Governor rang. It was from Magistrate’s Court. They wanted a van and some prison officers. A person needed to be transferred from court to prison.

And within two minutes the Governor was wondering whether that could be a hoax. He told himself not to be so silly. His imagination was beginning to run riot.


Word Meaning
Hoax Joke, Trick
To run riot Get out of control

For two minutes Governor thought if it was a trick by Evans. Then he told himself not to be a fool. He imagined that his thought were getting out of control.

Governor again started thinking about Evans.

For the first quarter of an hour Stephens had dutifully peered through the peep-hole at intervals of one minute or so; and after that, every two minutes.

For first fifteen minutes, Stephens looked into the cell at every minute through the peep-hole. After that he started looking at every two minutes.

At 10.45 a.m. everything was still all right as he looked through the peephole once more. It took four or five seconds — no more. What was the point? It was always more or less the same.

Word Meaning
More or less Approximately

At 10:45 when he looked through the peephole, everything was OK. Stephens thought that there was no point in looking for four or five seconds. Everything was approximately same.

Evans, his pen between his lips, sat staring straight in front of him towards the door, seeking — it seemed — some sorely needed inspiration from somewhere.

Word Meaning
Sorely needed Really required

Evans had put pen into his mouth. He was always staring at the door. Stephens always saw this. It seemed to Stephens that Evans was really in need of some inspiration to solve question paper.

And opposite him McLeery, seated slightly askew from the table now: his face in semi-profile; his hair (as Stephens had noticed earlier) amateurishly clipped pretty closely to the scalp;

Word Meaning
Askew Not straight, Inclined
Semi-profile Not fully seen
Amateurishly Unskillfully
Scalp Head

McLeery was sitting opposite Evans. He was not sitting straight. His full face could not be seen. His hair were unskillfully combed close to his head. Stephens had noticed this earlier when McLeery came to the prison.

his eyes behind the pebble lenses peering short-sightedly at The Church Times; his right index finger hooked beneath the narrow clerical collar; and the fingers of the left hand, the nails meticulously manicured, slowly stroking the short black beard.

Word Meaning
Pebble lenses Spectacles with round lenses
Peering Looking carefully
Short sightedly From close distance
Meticulously Carefully, Neatly
Manicured Trimmed, Cut
Stroking Rubbing

McLeery was wearing a spectacles that had thick round lenses. He was holding newspaper ‘The Church Times’ close to his face. His right index finger was always near his collar. His nails were neatly cut. His left hand was slowly rubbing his short black beard.

At 10.50 a.m. the receiver crackled to life and the Governor realised he’d almost forgotten Evans for a few minutes.

At 10;50 AM a sound came from the receiver. The governor realised that he had forgotten about Evans for a short time.

EVANS: “Please, sir!” (A whisper)

EVANS: “Please, sir!” (Louder)

EVANS: “Would you mind if I put a blanket round me shoulders, sir? It’s a bit parky in ’ere, isn’t it?”


Word Meaning
Parky Cold, Chilly

Evans was requesting MCleery. He requested McLeery to allow to put a blanket on his shoulders. He was feeling cold.

EVANS: “There’s one on me bunk ’ere, sir.”

MCLEERY: “Be quick about it.”


Evans tells that there is a blanket on his bed. McLeery tells Evans to hurry up and put the blanket.

At 10.51 a.m. Stephens was more than a little surprised to see a grey regulation blanket draped round Evans’s shoulders, and he frowned slightly and looked at the examinee more closely.

Word Meaning
Regulation Regular, Routine
Draped Wrapped
Frowned Worried, Annoyed

It is 10:51 AM. Stephens is surprised to see a grey colour blanket wrapped around shoulders of Evans. It was a regular blanket of cell. He was slightly worried and carefully looked at Evans.

But Evans, the pen still between his teeth, was staring just as vacantly as before. Blankly beneath a blanket… Should Stephens report the slight irregularity?

Evans still had pen between his teeth. He was still staring at the door. Evans had put a blanket on his shoulders and was looking blankly at the door. Stephens started thinking if he should report this minor irregular activity.

Anything at all fishy, hadn’t Jackson said? He looked through the peep-hole once again, and even as he did so Evans pulled the dirty blanket more closely to himself.

Word Meaning
Fishy Suspicious

Jackson had told Stephens to report anything suspicious. He looked once again through the door. Evans pulled the blanket closer to himself. It looked like he was feeling very cold.

Was he planning a sudden batman leap to suffocate McLeery in the blanket? Don’t be daft!

Word Meaning
Leap Jump
Suffocate To stop breathing, Lack of air
Daft Mad

Stephens thought if Evans was trying to jump on McLeery in the batman style. This way McLeery will stop breathing and die. Stephens tells himself not to be a mad person.

There was never any sun on this side of the prison; no heating, either, during the summer months, and it could get quite chilly in some of the cells.

Word Meaning
Chilly Very cold

Stephen thought that on this side of prison sun rays did not reach. So heat was not reaching the cell even during summer period. So it may become cold in some cells.

Stephens decided to revert to his earlier every minute observation.

Therefore Stephens decided to ignore this minor observation. He again started his routine of watching Evans at every one minute.

At 11.20 a.m. the receiver once more crackled across the silence of the Governor’s office, and McLeery informed Evans that only five minutes remained.

At 11:20 there was a sound from receiver in the office of Governor. McLeery informed Evans that now only five minutes were remaining to end the examination.

The examination was almost over now, but something still gnawed away quietly in the Governor’s mind. He reached for the phone once more.

Word Meaning
Gnawed Bothered

The examination was about to be completed. But something was still worrying the Governor. He once again picked up the phone.

At 11.22 a.m. Jackson shouted along the corridor to Stephens. The Governor wanted to speak with him — “Hurry, man!”

At 11:22 AM Jackson shouted from the corridor. He informed Stephens that Governor wanted to talk to him immediately.

Stephens picked up the phone apprehensively and listened to the rapidly spoken orders. Stephens himself was to accompany McLeery to the main prison gates. Understood?

Word Meaning
Apprehensively Worriedly, Anxiously
Rapidly Quickly

Stephens anxiously picked up the phone. He listened to orders of Governor. These orders were spoken quickly. Governor ordered Stephens to himself accompany McLeery upto main gate of prison.

Stephens personally was to make absolutely sure that the door was locked on Evans after McLeery had left the cell. Understood? Understood.

The governor further ordered that Stephens should personally ensure to lock door of Evans’s cell after McLeery comes out. Srephens replied that he has understood the orders.

At 11.25 a.m. the Governor heard the final exchanges.

At 11:25 the governor heard following final communication on his receiver.

MCLEERY: “Stop writing, please.”


MCLEERY: “Put your sheets in order and see they’re correctly numbered.”


Scraping of chairs and tables.

McLeery asks Evans to stop writing. He again asks Evans to put all the papers in correct sequence and to make sure that these are correctly numbered. There is sound of dragging of table and chairs.

EVANS: “Thank you very much, sir.”

MCLEERY: “A’ right, was it?”

EVANS: “Not too bad.”

MCLEERY: “Good… Mr Stephens!” (Very loud)

The Governor heard the door clang for the last time. The examination was over.

Evans thanks McLeery. McLeery asks Evans about the exam. Evans says it was not very bad. MCleery calls Stephens. The Governor heard the sound of door. The exam was over.

“How did he get on, do you think?” asked Stephens as he walked beside McLeery to the main gates. “Och. I canna think he’s distinguished himself, I’m afraid.”

Word Meaning
Distinguished himself Did well

Stephen was walking with McLeery towards the main gate. He asked MCLeery about performance of Evans. McLeery replies that he does not think that Evans has done well in the exam.

His Scots accent seemed broader than ever, and his long black overcoat, reaching almost to his knees, fostered the illusion that he had suddenly grown slimmer.

Word Meaning
Broader Noticeable
Fostered Enhanced
Illusion Wrong or false impression
Slimmer Thinner

The Scot accent of McLeery was more noticeable than in the morning. His long black overcoat was long enough up to his knees. He appeared thinner than he was in the morning.

Stephens felt pleased that the Governor had asked him, and not Jackson, to see McLeery off the premises, and all in all the morning had gone pretty well. But something stopped him from making his way directly to the canteen for a belated cup of coffee.

Word Meaning
Felt pleased Felt happy
Belated Late

Stephens was happy that Governor had asked him to see off McLeery upto the gate. He thought that everything happened correctly in the morning. He wanted to directly go to canteen to have a late coffee. But he decided not go there directly.

He wanted to take just one last look at Evans. It was like a programme he’d seen on TV — about a woman who could never really convince herself that she’d locked the front door when she’d gone to bed: often she’d got up twelve, fifteen, sometimes twenty times to check the bolts.

Stephen wanted to look at Evans one more time. This feeling was just like a TV serial he had seen. A woman was never sure that before sleeping she had locked main door of her house. She would get up about twenty times in the night to check the lock.

He re-entered D Wing, made his way along to Evans’s cell, and opened the peep-hole once more. Oh, no! CHRIST, NO!

Stephens once again went to D Wing. He went up to Evans’s cell. He looked through the peephole once again. He shouted Oh no! Christ No!

There, sprawled back in Evans’s chair was a man (for a semi second Stephens thought it must be Evans), a grey regulation blanket slipping from his shoulders, the front of his closely cropped, irregularly tufted hair awash with fierce red blood which had dripped already through the small black beard, and was even now spreading horribly over the white clerical collar and down into the black clerical front.

Word Meaning
Sprawled Lying
Semi-second Half a second
Closely cropped Cut short
Tufted Grouped into bunch
Awash Wet, Washed
Fierce Frightful

On the Evans’s chair a man was lying. Just for half a second, Stephens thought it was Evans. A grey blanket was partly on his shoulders and partly on the floor. Because of dark red coloured blood, short hair on front of his head were now in bunches. The blood had reached up to his beard. The blood was now spreading on his white collar and black coat.

Stephens shouted wildly for Jackson: and the words appeared to penetrate the curtain of blood that veiled McLeery’s ears, for the minister’s hand felt feebly for a handkerchief from his pocket, and held it to his bleeding head, the blood seeping slowly through the white linen.

Word Meaning
Wildly Loudly, Without any control
Veiled Covered
Feebly Weekly
Seep Dripping, Filtrate
Linen Cloth

Stephens loudly shouted for Jackson. His words were so loud that it pained ears of McLeery though his ears were covered by blood. With a week hand, McLeery took out a white handkerchief from his pocket. He put it on his bleeding head. The blood started dripping through the white cloth.

He gave a long low moan, and tried to speak. But his voice trailed away, and by the time Jackson had arrived and despatched Stephens to ring the police and the ambulance, the handkerchief was a sticky, squelchy wodge of cloth.

Word Meaning
Moan Groan, Sound of pain
Trailed away Stop gradually
Squelchy Very wet
Wodge Piece

McLeery made a sound as if he was in great pain. But his voice gradually stopped. Jackson arrived. He ordered Stephens to inform police and call ambulance. The handkerchief had become a very wet piece of cloth.

McLeery slowly raised himself, his face twisted tightly with pain. “Dinna worry about the ambulance, man! I’m a’ right… I’m a’ right… Get the police! I know…I know where… he…”

McLeery slowly got up. His face was twisted because of pain. He said not to worry about ambulance. I am all right. I know where he …

He closed his eyes and another drip of blood splashed like a huge red raindrop on the wooden floor.

Word Meaning
Splashed Dropped, Spread

McLeery closed his eyes. One more drop of blood fell on the floor. And blood spread on the wooden floor just like a raindrop.

His hand felt along the table, found the German question paper, and grasped it tightly in his bloodstained hand. “Get the Governor! I know… I know where Evans…”

He moved his hand on the table. There he found the German exam question paper. He held the paper tightly in his hand. His hand had stains of blood. He asked to call the Governor. I know where Evans is.

Almost immediately sirens were sounding, prison officers barked orders, puzzled prisoners pushed their way along the corridors, doors were banged and bolted, and phones were ringing everywhere.

Word Meaning
Barked Shouted
Puzzled Confused
Banged Shut loudly
Bolted Locked

Immediately sirens were started. Prison officers started giving orders in loud voice. Prisoners were confused. They stood along wall of corridors. Doors were shut loudly and then locked. Many calls were coming on phones. Evry phone of the prison was ringing.

And within a minute McLeery, with Jackson and Stephens supporting him on either side, his face now streaked and caked with drying blood, was greeted in the prison yard by the Governor, perplexed and grim.

Word Meaning
Streaked Lined
Caked Deposited
Perplexed Confused
Grim Sad

Jackson and Stephens supported McLeery to walk towards yard of the prison. Blood was flowing on the face of McLeery. Lines of blood had formed on his face. Some blood had dried and was deposited on his face. In the yard of the prison, Governor met McLeery. He was confused and sad.

“We must get you to hospital immediately. I just don’t — ”

“Ye’ve called the police?”

“Yes, yes. They’re on their way. But — ”

Governor told that McLeery should be taken to the hospital immediately. McLeery asked if police has been called. Governor said yes. Police is on their way.

“I’m a’ right. I’m a’ right. Look! Look here!” Awkwardly he opened the German question paper and thrust it before the Governor’s face. “It’s there! D’ye see what I mean?”

McLeery said that he was all right. In a strange manner, he opened the question paper and put that before Governor. McLeery said if Governor could understand what he was telling.

The Governor looked down and realised what McLeery was trying to tell him. A photocopied sheet had been carefully and cleverly superimposed over the last (originally blank) page of the question paper.

The Governor looked at the question paper and understood what McLeery was trying to tell. On the last page of the question paper photocopy of a message was pasted. This work was done carefully and cleverly.

“Ye see what they’ve done, Governor. Ye see…” His voice trailed off again, as the Governor, dredging the layers of long neglected learning, willed himself to translate the German text before him:

Word Meaning
Dredging Recollecting
Willed Motivated

McLeery asked Governor to have a look at what was done. His voice gradually stopped. Governor tried to recollect his lessons of German language. He had forgotten most of these. He motivated himself to translate the message from German to English.

Sie sollen dem schon verabredeten Plan genau folgen. Der wichtige Zeitpunkt ist drei Minuten vor Ende des Examens… “You must follow the plan already somethinged. The vital point in time is three minutes before the end of the examination but something something — something something… Don’t hit him too hard — remember, he’s a minister! And don’t overdo the Scots accent when…”

Word Meaning
Vital Main, Important
Overdo Exaggerate

The Governor was not able to read the paper completely. He was able to read – You must follow the plan already … Three minutes before end of the exam are very important. Do not hit him too hard because he is a priest. And do not exaggerate you Scot accent.

A fast-approaching siren wailed to its crescendo, the great doors of the prison yard were pushed back, and a white police car squealed to a jerky halt beside them.

Word Meaning
Wailed Long sound or cry
Crescendo Loudest,
Squealed Shrill, Shriek

Loud sound of a siren sounding at its loudest was heard. Gates of prison yard were opened. And a  white car of police stopped near them with a jerk and shriek.

Detective Superintendent Carter swung himself out of the passenger seat and saluted the Governor. “What the hell’s happening, sir?” And, turning to McLeery: “Christ!

Who’s hit him?”

Carter came out of the car. He was a detective. He saluted the Governor. He asked Governor what had happened. Carter looked at McLeery and was surprised to see his condition. Carter asked who had hit Mcleery.

But McLeery cut across whatever explanation the Governor might have given. “Elsfield Way, officer! I know where Evans…” He was breathing heavily, and leaned for support against the side of the car, where the imprint of his hand was left in tarnished crimson.

Word Meaning
Cut across Stopped
Lean To take support
Imprint Impression, Mark
Crimson Dark red
Tarnish Dirty, Not shining

But McLeery stopped any explanation from Governor by speaking first. He said Evans had gone towards Elsfield Way. McLeery was taking long breaths. He took support of the car. On the car impression of his hand was made. The dark red colour stain on the care looked dirty.

In bewilderment Carter looked to the Governor for guidance. “What — ?”

“Take him with you, if you think he’ll be all right. He’s the only one who seems to know what’s happening.”

Word Meaning
Bewilderment Surprise

Carter was surprised. He looked at the Governor for his guidance. Governor asked Carter to take McLeery with him if Carter thought that his condition was OK. He knows what was happening in the cell. Nobody else knows anything.

Carter opened the back door and helped McLeery inside; and within a few seconds the car leaped away in a spurt of gravel.

Word Meaning
Leaped Moved quickly
Spurt Movement with a jerk
Gravel Small pieces of stone

Carter opened the back door of the car. He helped McLeery to get into the car. Very soon the care quickly moved with a jerk. Some gravels on the ground got thrown because of sudden movement of car.

“Elsfield Way”, McLeery had said; and there it was staring up at the Governor from the last few lines of the German text: “From Elsfield Way drive to the Headington roundabout, where…” Yes, of course. The Examinations Board was in Elsfield Way, and someone from the Board must have been involved in the escape plan from the very beginning: the question paper itself, the correction slip…

The Governor recalled that McLeery had talked about Elsfield Way. He again read from the piece of paper – from Elsfield Way go to Headington turn where .. Governor knew that Examination Board was in Elsfield Way. So he thought that somebody from the Examination Board was helping Evans to escape. The question paper had a message photocopied on it, a correction slip was issued.

The Governor turned to Jackson and Stephens. “I don’t need to tell you what’s happened, do I?” His voice sounded almost calm in its scathing contempt.

Word Meaning
Scathing Great, Severe
Contempt Insult

Now Governor looks at Jackson and Stephens. He told them that there was  need to tell what had happened. Tone of his voice was of great insult to two officers.

“And which one of you two morons was it who took Evans for a nice little walk to the main gates and waved him bye-bye?”

“It was me, sir,” stammered Stephens. “Just like you told me, sir. I could have sworn — ”

Word Meaning
Moron Fool

Governor asked them who among the two fools, took Evans up to the main gate and said good bye to him. [They have assumed that the person who had earlier gone out of prison was Evans. He was dressed as McLeery] Stephens replied that he had done that. He further told he followed instructions of Governor.

“What? Just like I told you, you say? What the hell — ?”

“When you rang, sir, and told me to — ”

“When was that?” The Governor’s voice was a whiplash now.

“You know, sir. About twenty past eleven just before — ”

Governor says that he had never told Stephens to do that. Stephens says that Governor ordered him on phone. The Governor asked Stephens at what time he gave that order. His voice was very strong now. Stephens replied that it was at about 11:20 AM

“You blithering idiot, man! It wasn’t me who rang you. Don’t you realise — ” But what was the use? He had used the telephone at that time, but only to try (unsuccessfully, once more) to get through to the Examinations Board.

Word Meaning
Blithering Utter, Complete

Governor calls Stephens a complete fool. Governor asks Stephens to understand that he had not called. At that time Governor was trying to contact Examination Board. He was once again unsuccessful in contacting the office.

He shook his head in growing despair and turned on the senior prison officer. “As for you, Jackson! How long have you been pretending you’ve got a brain, eh? Well, I’ll tell you something, Jackson. Your skull’s empty. Absolutely empty!”

Word Meaning
Despair Unhappiness, Hopelessness
Skull Head

Governor was becoming more angry and more unhappy. He looked at the senior officer Jackson. Governor tells Jackson that he does not have brain. His head is empty. He should stop pretending that he has wisdom.

It was Jackson who had spent two hours in Evans’s cell the previous evening; and it was Jackson who had confidently reported that there was nothing hidden away there — nothing at all.

In evening before the exam, Jackson had searched the cell of Evans. He had spent two hours for this work. He had confidently told Governor that there was nothing hidden in the cell.

And yet Evans had somehow managed to conceal not only a false beard, a pair of spectacles, a dogcollar and all the rest of his clerical paraphernalia, but also some sort of weapon with which he’d given McLeery such a terrible blow across the head. Aurrgh!

Word Meaning
Conceal To hide
Paraphernalia Other items

But Evans had managed to hide a false beard, spectacles, a collar and remaining other items of a priest. He had also managed to hide some weapon with which he had hit a powerful blow on the head of McLeery.

A prison van backed alongside, but the Governor made no immediate move. He looked down again at the last line of the German: “…to the Headington roundabout, where you go straight over and make your way to…to Neugraben.” “Neugraben”?

A van of the prison stopped near Governor. But he did not get into the van immediately. He again looked at the last line written on the paper. It was written- to the Headington circle, go straight from there and go to Neugraben.

Where on earth — ? “New” something. “Newgrave”? Never heard of it: There was a “Wargrave”, somewhere near Reading, but… No, it was probably a code word, or — And then it hit him. Newbury! God, yes! Newbury was a pretty big sort of place but —

Word Meaning
It hit him He suddenly understood

Neugraben is a German word which means Newgrave. Governor had not heard of this place. He thought can this place be near the town of Reading. The he told himself there was no such place. He thought it could be a code word. He suddenly understood that it meant Newburry. It is quite big place but …

He rapped out his orders to the driver. “St Aldates Police Station, and step on it! Take Jackson and Stephens here, and when you get there ask for Bell. Chief Inspector Bell. Got that?”

Word Meaning
Rapped out Say loudly and quickly
Step on it To press accelerator fully, To be very quick

Governor loudly ordered the driver to drive the van to St Aldates Police Station. He asked driver to drive very fast. He asked Jackson and Stephens to go with the van. He further ordered them to contact Mr. Bell. He was the Chief Inspector at the police station.

He leaped the stairs to his office three at a time, got Bell on the phone immediately, and put the facts before him.

“We’ll get him, sir,” said Bell. “We’ll get him, with a bit o’luck.”

Governor jumped three steps of stair in at a time to go to his office. From there he telephoned Bill and told him everything about the incident. Bill assured that he will try to catch Evans.

The Governor sat back, and lit a cigarette. Ye gods! What a beautifully laid plan it had all been! What a clever fellow Evans was!

Governor sat in his chair and supported his back on the chair. He appreciated the plan made by Evans. He accepts that Evans was very clever.

Careless leaving that question paper behind; but then, they all made their mistakes somewhere along the line. Well, almost all of them. And that’s why very very shortly Mr clever-clever Evans would be back inside doing his once more.

But Evans was careless in leaving that paper. Almost all criminals somewhere make a mistake. Because of this reason Mr.Clever Evans will be once again brought back into the prison.

The phone on his desk erupted in a strident burst, and Superintendent Carter informed him that McLeery had spotted Evans driving off along Elsfield Way; they’d got the number of the car all right and had given chase immediately, but had lost him at the Headington roundabout; he must have doubled back into the city.

Word Meaning
Strident Loud and harsh
Spotted Seen
Chased Followed

The phone on his table suddenly started making loud and harsh sounds of ringing. Carter informed him that McLeery had seen Evans driving a car towards Elsfield Way. He noted number of that car. They chased the car but could not see the car after Headington circle. Probably Evans has come back into the city.

“No,” said the Governor quietly. “No, he’s on his way to Newbury.” He explained his reasons for believing so, and left it at that. It was a police job now — not his.

The Governor just said no. Evans had not come back to city. [He was disappointed]. Governor told Carter that Evans was going towards Newburry. He also explained the reason behind his belief. But he thought that it was job of police to catch Evans.

He was just another good-for-a-giggle, gullible governor, that was all.

“By the way, Carter. I hope you managed to get McLeery to the hospital all right?”

Word Meaning
Good for giggle Who will be laughed at
Gullible Inexperienced, Innocent

Governor thought that now people will laugh at him. He will be considered inexperienced. Governor asked Carter if he dropped MacLeery to a hospital.

“Yes. He’s in the Radcliffe now. Really groggy, he was, when we got to the Examination offices, and they rang for the ambulance from there.”

The Governor rang the Radcliffe a few minutes later and asked for the accident department.

Word Meaning
Groggy Weak

Crater said yes. McLeeery was at the Radcliffe hospital. By the time we reached Examination Office, he had become very week. So I called an ambulance for him. The Governor called the Radcilffe hospital. He said that he wanted to speak to accident department.

“McLeery, you say?”

“Yes. He’s a parson.”

“I don’t think there’s anyone — ”

“Yes, there is. You’ll find one of your ambulances picked him up from Elsfield Way about — ”

The hospital confirmed that Governor wanted to know about McLeery. Governor said that McLeery was priest. The hospital said patient with that name is not admitted in their hospital. Governor said the hospital had sent an ambulance to pick McLeery from Elsfield Way.

“Oh, that. Yes, we sent an ambulance all right, but when we got there, the fellow had gone. No one seemed to know where he was. Just vanished! Not a sign — ”

Word Meaning
Vanished Disappeared

The hospital replied that they had sent an ambulance. But they did not find any person there. They had asked other people there. No one knew about the person. He had disappeared.

But the Governor was no longer listening, and the truth seemed to hit him with an almost physical impact somewhere in the back of his neck.

But the Governor was not listening to the phone. He understood the truth. He appeared to get a physical blow on back of his neck.

A quarter of an hour later they found the Reverend S. McLeery, securely bound and gagged, in his study in Broad Street. He’d been there, he said, since 8.15 a.m., when two men had called and…

Word Meaning
Gag To stop from speaking

The Governor sent his staff to the house of McLeery. His house was on Broad Street. They found that McLeery was tied in his study room. A cloth was put on his mouth so that he could not speak. McLeery informed them that at 8:15 AM two men had come to his house. They did this to him.

Enquiries in Newbury throughout the afternoon produced nothing. Nothing at all. And by tea-time everyone in the prison knew what had happened.

In Newbury police enquired throughout the afternoon. But no information could be obtained. By tea-time of the evening, everybody in prison knew that Evans had escaped.

It had not been Evans, impersonating McLeery, who had walked out; it had been Evans, impersonating McLeery, who had stayed in.

Evans had not walked out of prison dressed as McLeery. Evans had stayed in the prison dressed as McLeery.

The fish and chips were delicious, and after a gentle stroll round the centre of Chipping Norton, Evans decided to return to the hotel and have an early night. A smart new hat concealed the wreckage of his closely cropped hair, and he kept it on as he walked up to the reception desk of the Golden Lion.

Word Meaning
Delicious Tasty
Stroll Walk
Have an early night To sleep early
Wreckage Remains, Debris
Closely cropped hair Very short hair

Evans took a walk at the centre of the area called Chipping Norton. Then he ate some fish and chips. Evans wanted to sleep early so he decided to return to his hotel Golden Lion. He was wearing a new hat to hide his remaining short hair. He reached his hotel, went to reception to collect keys of his room.

It would take a good while for his hair to regain its former glories — but what the hell did that matter. He was out again, wasn’t he?

Word Meaning
Regain Once again achieve

It will take more time for hair to once again grow. But it was not important. Now he was out of prison.

A bit of bad luck, that, when Jackson had pinched his scissors, for it had meant a long and tricky operation with his only razor blade the previous night.

Word Meaning
Pinched Took away
Long and tricky operation Difficult and time taking work

He had a bad luck when Jackson took away his scissors. In the previous night he had to cut his hair with blade of razor. It was a difficult work and took lot of time.

Ah! But he’d had his good luck, too. Just think! If Jackson had made him take his bobble hat off! Phew! That really had been a close call. Still, old Jackson wasn’t such a bad fellow…

Word Meaning
A close call Narrow escape

But Evans had some good luck also. If Jackson had forced him to remove his hat, he would have been in a problem. That was really a narrow escape. Evans does not consider Jackson a bad person.

One of the worst things — funny, really! — had been the beard. He’d always been allergic to sticking plaster, and even now his chin was irritatingly sore and red.

And putting a beard was the worst thing. Evans had allergy to gum or paste but he had to put the beard. Even now his chin was red and hurting.

The receptionist wasn’t the same girl who’d booked him in, but the change was definitely for the better. As he collected his key, he gave her his best smile, told her he wouldn’t be bothering with breakfast, ordered the Daily Express, and asked for an early-morning call at 6.45 a.m. Tomorrow was going to be another busy day.

The receptionist was not the same lady when he came to the hotel. Evans thought that new receptionist was more beautiful. He collected his keys with a smile. He told her that he would not have breakfast next morning. He took the newspaper ‘Daily Express’. He asked her to wake him up at 6:45 AM next morning. Evans knew that he will be very busy the next day.

He whistled softly to himself as he walked up the broad stairs… He’d sort of liked the idea of being dressed up as a minister dog collar and everything.

The stairs of the hotel were wide. He was whistling while walking up the stairs. He had liked the idea of dressing up as a priest with a collar etc.

Yes, it had been a jolly good idea for “McLeery’ to wear two black fronts, two collars. But that top collar! Phew! It had kept on slipping off the back stud; and there’d been that one panicky moment when “McLeery’ had only just got his hand up to his neck in time to stop the collars springing apart before Stephens… Ah!

Word Meaning
Jolly good Very good
Back stud Button at the back
Panicky moment Anxious situation
Springing apart Jumping apart

It was a very good idea that ‘McLeery’ was wearing two collars and two coats when he came in the prison. But the collar was slipping from his neck. There was an anxious moment when ‘McLeery’ had to hold his collar with his hand to prevent it from jumping apart before Stephens could note anything.

They’d got that little problem worked out all right, though: a pen stuck in the mouth whenever the evil eye had appeared at the peep-hole. Easy!

While changing dress, the problem of Stephens coming to see through the door was solved. Evans used to put his pen in mouth when Stephens came near the peep hole.

But all that fiddling about under the blanket with the black front and the stud at the back of the collar — that had been far more difficult than they’d ever bargained for…

Word Meaning
Fiddling Changing
Stud Button
Bargained for Imagined

But changing clothes under the blanket was very difficult. Particularly the collar that had its button at the back was much more difficult than they had imagined.

Everything else had gone beautifully smoothly, though. In the car he’d found everything they’d promised him: soap and water, clothes, the map — yes, the map, of course. The Ordnance Survey Map of Oxfordshire… He’d got some good friends; some very clever friends. Christ, ah!

But every other thing had happened quite smoothly. In the car he found everything his friends had promised him. He had soap, water, clothes and map in the car. It was the map of the town. Evans had some good friends. Some of his friends were very clever.

He unlocked his bedroom door and closed it quietly behind him — and then stood frozen to the spot, like a man who has just caught a glimpse of the Gorgon.

Word Meaning
Gorgon Deity who can turn anybody into stone

Evans opened door of his room, entered and locked the door again. He looked at the bed. He could not move. It seemed to him as if he had seen a Gorgon and he had become a statue of stone.

Sitting on the narrow bed was the very last man in the world that Evans had expected — or wanted — to see. “It’s not worth trying anything,” said the Governor quietly, as Evans’s eyes darted desperately around the room.

Word Meaning
Not worth useless
Darted his eyes Moved his eyes

On the narrow bed of the room, the Governor was sitting. Evans had not expected this. Evans started looking around the room. The Governor told it would be useless to try anything.

“I’ve got men all round the place.” (Well, there were only two, really: but Evans needn’t know that.) He let the words sink in. “Women, too. Didn’t you think the blonde girl in reception was rather sweet?”

Word Meaning
Sink in To understand

Governor told that his men are everywhere in the hotel. (Actually he had only two men, but did not want to tell Evans). He waited for some time so that Evans understood. The Governor told that he also has women police in hotel. The girl with golden hair at the reception is a police women.

Evans was visibly shaken. He sat down slowly in the only chair the small room could offer, and held his head between his hands. For several minutes there was utter silence.

Evans was shocked, it could be seen. He slowly sat down in the chair of the small room. He put his hands on his head. Nobody spoke anything for many minutes. There was complete or total silence.

Finally, he spoke. “It was that bloody correction slip, I s’pose.”

“We-ell” (the Governor failed to mask the deep satisfaction in his voice) “there are a few people who know a little German.”

Word Meaning
To mask To hide

Evans told that probably it was because of the correction slip.[He wants to tell that because of that correction slip he was caught] Governor told that there were people who could understand German. [He was referring to himself. His voice was full of satisfaction because he understood German and had caught Evans]

Slowly, very slowly, Evans relaxed. He was beaten — and he knew it. He sat up at last, and managed to smile ruefully. “You know, it wasn’t really a mistake.

Word Meaning
Ruefully With sadness or regret

Gradually Evans relaxed. He understood that he was defeated. At last he smiled but he was sad. Evans told it was not a mistake.

You see, we ‘adn’t been able to fix up any ‘otel, but we could’ve worked that some other way.

They had not been able to finalise any hotel earlier. So information about hotel had to be given. But we could have done it in some other method.

No. The really important thing was for the phone to ring just before the exam finished — to get everyone out of the way for a couple of minutes. So we ‘ad to know exactly when the exam started, didn’t we?”

Evans says that it was really important to make the phone call just before the exam. Because of that phone everyone moved from the cell for some minutes. So it was important for us to know when exam had started.

“And, like a fool, I presented you with that little piece of information on a plate.”

“Well, somebody did. So, you see, sir, that correction slip killed two little birds with a single stone, didn’t it? The name of the ‘otel for me, and the exact time the exam started for, er, for, er…”

Governor said that like a fool he had given that information so easily. Evans said somebody gave the information. Evans told that the correction slip served two purposes. It also gave me name of the hotel and the exact time exam had started.

The Governor nodded. “It’s a pretty common word.”

“Good job it is pretty common, sir, or I’d never ‘ave known where to come to, would I?”

“Nice name, though: zum goldenen Lowen.”

The Governor told Evans that very common words were used. Evans replied it was good that common words were used. That helped him to understand where to go. It was nice name – ‘To the Golden Lion’

“How did you know which Golden Lion it was? There’s ‘undreds of ‘em.”

Evans asked Governor how he understood which ‘Golden Lion’ it was. There are many hotels by this name.

“Same as you, Evans. Index number 313; Centre number 271. Remember? Six figures? And if you take an Ordnance Survey Map for Oxfordshire, you find that the six-figure reference 313/271 lands you bang in the middle of Chipping Norton.”

Word Meaning
Bang in the middle of Exactly in the middle of

Governor replied that he understood the way Evans understood. If the six digits of two numbers are combined it becomes 313/271. As per the map, this number is of Golden Lion situated in Chipping North.

“Yea, you’re right. Huh! We’d ‘oped you’d run off to Newbury.”

“We did.”

Evans agreed that Governor was right. They had hoped that Governor and his team would go toward Newburry. Governor said initially they had gone to that side.

“Well, that’s something, I s’pose.”

“That question paper, Evans. Could you really understand all that German? I could hardly — ”

Governor said that he wanted to ask something. Did Evans understand the German written in the question paper. Governor said he himself could not understand.

“Nah! Course I couldn’t. I knew roughly what it was all about, but we just ‘oped it’d throw a few spanners in the works — you know, sort of muddle everybody a bit.’

Word Meaning
To throw a spanner To divert attention
Muddle To confuse

Evans replied that he could not understand anything. I could approximately understand what they were asking. But we thought that the exam will divert attention of everybody. It will confuse everybody.

The Governor stood up. “Tell me one thing before we go. How on earth did you get all that blood to pour over your head?”

The Governor stood up from the bed. He asked how Evans got the blood in his cell. The blood he had poured on his head.

Evans suddenly looked a little happier. “Clever, sir. Very clever, that was — ‘ow to get a couple o’ pints of blood into a cell, eh? When there’s none there to start off with, and when, er, and when the “invigilator”, shall we say, gets, searched before ‘e comes in.

Now Evans looked happy. He said it was a clever idea. How to get some amount of blood into the cell. We were not able to find any method. Because the invigilator will also be checked before he comes into the prison.

Yes, sir. You can well ask about that, and I dunno if I ought to tell you. After all, I might want to use that particular — ”

“Anything to do with a little rubber ring for piles, perhaps?”

Evans grinned feebly. “Clever, though, wasn’t it?”

Word Meaning
Grinned Smiled
Feebly Weekly, Slightly

Evans said that Governor could ask about it, but he did not want to tell. Because I may need to use it again. Governor asks if it was brought in the rubber ring for piles. Evans smiled and said it was their clever idea.

“Must have been a tricky job sticking a couple of pints

“Nah! You’ve got it wrong, sir. No problem about that.”


Governor asks if it was a problem to pour blood into the ring. Evans said that was not a problem.

“Nah! It’s the clotting, you see. That’s the big trouble. We got the blood easy enough. Pig’s blood, it was — from the slaughter’ouse in Kidlington.

Word Meaning
Clotting of blood Blood becoming solid
Slaughter’s house Place where animals are killed

Evans said clotting of the blood is a big problem. We got blood very easily. It was blood of pig. We got it from slaughter house in Kidlington.

But to stop it clotting you’ve got to mix yer actual blood” (Evans took a breath) “with one tenth of its own volume of 3.8 per cent trisodium citrate! Didn’t know that, did you, sir?”

But to stop pig’s blood from clotting one needs to mix 10 percent of human blood. And 3.8% of trisodium citrate. Evans asked if Governor knew it.

The Governor shook his head in a token of reluctant admiration. “We learn something new every day, they tell me. Come on, m’lad.”

Word Meaning
Reluctant Unwilling
Admiration Appreciation

Governor did not want to appreciate but he appreciated through gesture of his head. He said we learn something every day. Then he asked Evans to come with him.

Evans made no show of resistance, and side by side the two men walked slowly down the stairs.

“Tell me, Evans. How did you manage to plan all this business? You’ve had no visitors — I’ve seen to that. You’ve had no letters — ”

Evans did not resist or object. Both of them together walked down the stair case. Governor asked Evans how he completed all the planning. I had assured that nobody was coming to meet you. And you did not get any letters.

“I’ve got lots of friends, though.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Me German teacher, for a start.”

Evans replied that he had many friends. Governor asked him to explain. Evans said that the German teacher was one of his friends.

“You mean — ? But he was from the Technical College.”

“Was ‘e?’ Evans was almost enjoying it all now. “Ever check up on ‘im, sir?”

“God Almighty! There’s far more going on than I — ”

Governor said but the teacher was from the technical College. Evans told did the Governor check that. He was enjoying the talk now. Governor was surprised and told this was beyond his imagination.

“Always will be, sir.”

“Everything ready?” asked the Governor as they stood by the reception desk.

“The van’s out the front, sir,” said the pretty blonde receptionist. Evans winked at her; and she winked back at him. It almost made his day.

Evans told that it will always be that way. Governor came near the desk of receptionist and asked her if everything was ready. She replied that the van was standing in front of the hotel. The receptionist and Evans winked at each other. Evans was happy.

A silent prison officer handcuffed the recaptured Evans, and together the two men clambered awkwardly into the back seat of the prison van.

Word Meaning
Clambered Climbed

A prison officer came there. He did not speak anything. He put handcuff in hand of Evans. They sat in the back seat of the prison van in a strange method.

“See you soon, Evans.” It was almost as if the Governor were saying farewell to an old friend after a cocktail party.

Governor said to Evans that they will meet soon. Governor was very friendly in saying these words to Evans. It was as if Governor was speaking to his old friend after a party.

“Cheerio, sir. I, er, I was just wonderin’. I know your German’s pretty good, sir, but do you know any more o’ these modern languages?” “Not very well. Why?”

Evans replied to Governor to be happy. He told that Governor knew German very well. But does he know any modern language. Governor said no and asked why Evans was asking that question.

Evans settled himself comfortably on the back seat, and grinned happily. ‘Nothin’, really. I just ‘appened to notice that you’ve got some O-level Italian classes comin’ up next September, that’s all.’

Evans sat comfortably in the back seat of the van, smiled and said ‘nothing’. [Meaning ‘just like that’] Evans said that Governor may need to arrange O level Italian classes in next September.

“Perhaps you won’t be with us next September, Evans.” James Roderick Evans appeared to ponder the Governor’s words deeply. “No. P’r’aps I won’t,” he said.

Word Meaning
Ponder Thought

Governor says that probably Evans will not be in his jail in September. Evans thought about how to reply Governor. He said probably he will not be there. [Evans means to say that he will escape from the jail before next September]

As the prison van turned right from Chipping Norton on to the Oxford road, the hitherto silent prison officer unlocked the handcuffs and leaned forward towards the driver, “For Christ’s sake get a move on! It won’t take ‘em long to find out —’

The prison van turned to right from the Chirping Norton towards the Oxford road. The prison officer who was silent till that time unlocked the handcuff. He leaned forward and told the driver to move fast because very soon they will find out what had happened. [Evans had once again escaped]

“Where do ye suggest we make for?” asked the driver, in a broad Scots accent. “What about Newbury?” suggested Evans.

The driver in his Scot accent asked where they should go now. Evans suggested to go to Newburry.


Important Links
Evans Tries An O-Level – Textbook Q&A Evans Tries An O-Level – Extra Q&A
On the Face of It – Explanation Memories of Childhood – Explanation
On the Face of It – Textbook Q&A Memories of Childhood – Textbook Q&A
On the Face of It – Extra Q&A Memories of Childhood – Extra Q&A
Passages Note Making
Letter Writing Notice Writing
Advertisement Writing Article Writing
Report Writing




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