English CBSE Class 11 NCERT Snapshot Chapter 2 The Address Line by Line Explanation and Meaning of Difficult Words
Author – Marga Minco
Narrator of this story is a woman who is daughter of Mrs S. After the World War was over, she had gone to her home town to meet Mrs Dorling. Before world war Mrs Dorling used to come to their house. The narrator had gone to meet Mrs Dorling to collect belongings of her mother.
‘DO you still know me?’ I asked.
The woman looked at me searchingly. She had opened the door a chink. I came closer and stood on the step.
‘No, I don’t know you.’
‘I’m Mrs. S’s daughter.’
|Chink||A small amount|
The narrator asked the woman if she knew her. The woman looked at me carefully. She did not open the door fully. It was opened only slightly. I came near the door and stood on the step. I told her that she did not know me. I am daughter of Mrs. S.
She held her hand on the door as though she wanted to prevent it opening any further. Her face gave absolutely no sign of recognition. She kept staring at me in silence.
She had put her hand on the door. It seemed to me that she did not want to open the door any more. From her face I understood that she did not recognize me. She continued to stare at me.
Perhaps I was mistaken, I thought, perhaps it isn’t her. I had seen her only once, fleetingly, and that was years ago. It was most probable that I had rung the wrong bell.
|Fleetingly||For a short duration|
|I had rung the wrong bell||I had come to wrong house|
Probably I had made a mistake. Probably this house was not the house of Mrs. Dorling. I had seen her only once and that too for a short time only. Most probably I had come to the wrong house.
The woman let go of the door and stepped to the side. She was wearing my mother’s green knitted cardigan. The wooden buttons were rather pale from washing.
|Let go of the door||Removed hand from the door|
The woman removed her hand from the door to open it. She moved to the side of the door. She was wearing a green cardigan that was knitted by my mother. The wooden buttons of the cardigan had become yellowish because of washing of cardigan.
She saw that I was looking at the cardigan and half hid herself again behind the door. But I knew now that I was right.
‘Well, you knew my mother?’ I asked.
The woman realsied that I was looking at the cardigan. So she partially hid herself behind the door. I understood that I was right. The cardigan belonged to my mother. I asked her if she knew my mother.
‘Have you come back?’ said the woman. ‘I thought that no one had come back.’
A door opened and closed in the passage behind her. A musty smell emerged.
The woman asked if we had come back. She thought that no one had come back. I replied that only I had come back. In the passage behind the woman, a door opened and again closed. A stale smell came from the passage.
‘I regret I cannot do anything for you.’
‘I’ve come here specially on the train. I wanted to talk to you for a moment.’
‘It is not convenient for me now,’ said the woman. ‘I can’t see you. Another time.’
The woman said that she was sorry that she could not do anything for me. I replied I had come here by train for a specific purpose. I want to talk to you for some time. The woman replied that it was not convenient for her to talk to me now. She asked me to come some other time.
She nodded and cautiously closed the door as though no one inside the house should be disturbed.
|Nodded||Moved her head|
She moved her head and carefully closed the door. It appeared that she did not want to disturb anybody in the house.
I stood where I was on the step. The curtain in front of the bay window moved. Someone stared at me and would then have asked what I wanted. ‘Oh, nothing,’ the woman would have said. ‘It was nothing.’
|Bay window||A projected window in wall of a house|
I was still standing on the steps of the house. A curtain in front of the bay window was moved. Someone stared at me from the window. She would have asked me what I wanted. And the woman standing at the door would have replied on my behalf. She would have said that I did not want to meet anybody.
I looked at the name-plate again. Dorling it said, in black letters on white enamel. And on the jamb, a bit higher, the number. Number 46.
I looked at the name plate on the house. Dorling was written on the name plate. Little higher on the frame of the door number of the house of written. Number 46.
The narrator wants to say that she had come to the correct house.
As I walked slowly back to the station I thought about my mother, who had given me the address years ago. It had been in the first half of the War.
While slowly walking back to the station I thought about my mother. She had given me this address. It was during the first half of the World War.
I was home for a few days and it struck me immediately that something or other about the rooms had changed. I missed various things. My mother was surprised I should have noticed so quickly.
I had come to my home only for some days. It immediately understood that something had changed in the rooms of the house. I did not see many things in our house. My mother was surprised because I had noticed it quickly.
Then she told me about Mrs Dorling. I had never heard of her but apparently she was an old acquaintance of my mother, whom she hadn’t seen for years.
|Apparently||Seemingly, Evidently, Probably|
Then my mother told me about Mrs. Dorling. I had never heard about her. Probably she was known to my mother since long time. But my mother had not met her since many years.
She had suddenly turned up and renewed their contact. Since then she had come regularly.
|Turned up||Came, Was seen|
Mrs. Dorling had come back unexpectedly and she had renewed her friendship with my mother. Then she started coming to our house frequently.
‘Every time she leaves here she takes something home with her,’ said my mother. ‘She took all the table silver in one go. And then the antique plates that hung there.
My mother told me that whenever Mrs. Dorling comes, she takes something from our house to her house. At one time she took all the sliver utensils from the dining table. Then she took our very old plates that we were hanging on the wall.
She had trouble lugging those large vases, and I’m worried she got a crick in her back from the crockery.’ My mother shook her head pityingly.
|Pityingly||Full of pity|
Mrs. Dorling had lot of trouble in carrying the large utensils to her house. Mother was worried that Mrs. Dorling got a sprain in her back while carrying crockery. My mother shook her head with lot of pity towards Mrs. Dorling.
‘I would never have dared ask her. She suggested it to me herself. She even insisted. She wanted to save all my nice things. If we have to leave here we shall lose everything, she says.’
My mother had not asked Mrs. Dorling to take things from our house. Mrs. Dorling had made that suggestion to my mother. She wanted to take away every nice thing from our house. Mrs. Dorling told my mother that if my mother had to leave the house my mother will lose everything.
‘Have you agreed with her that she should keep everything?’ I asked.
I had asked my mother if she had agreed that Mrs. Dorling can keep everything of our house.
‘As if that’s necessary,’ my mother cried. ‘It would simply be an insult to talk like that. And think about the risk she’s running, each time she goes out of our door with a full suitcase or bag.’
My mother cried and told me that it was not necessary. It would have been an insult to talk in that manner. Mrs. Dorling was taking lot of risk while taking things from our house. She took things in a bag or a suitcase.
My mother seemed to notice that I was not entirely convinced. She looked at me reprovingly and after that we spoke no more about it.
|Reprovingly||Disapprovingly, With mild scolding|
My mother realised that I was not fully convinced by her line of thought. She looked at me as if to scold me mildly. After that I did not talk about this matter with my mother.
Meanwhile I had arrived at the station without having paid much attention to things on the way.
By this time I had reached the station. I did not pay any attention to things along the way.
I was walking in familiar places again for the first time since the War, but I did not want to go further than was necessary. I didn’t want to upset myself with the sight of streets and houses full of memories from a precious time.
After the World War, for the first time I was walking in this place which was familiar to me. But I did not want to know about it more than required. I had memory about every street, house and the precious time I had spent in that village. I did not want to recall those and upset myself.
In the train back I saw Mrs Dorling in front of me again as I had the first time I met her. It was the morning after the day my mother had told me about her.
In the train I imagined Mrs. Dorling sitting in front of me. She looked exactly same as I had seen her on the first day. My mother had told me about her. Mrs Dorling had come the next day .
I had got up late and, coming downstairs, I saw my mother about to see someone out. A woman with a broad back.
‘There is my daughter,’ said my mother. She beckoned to me.
|With broad back||Thick person|
That day I had got up late and was coming down the stairs of my house. I saw that my mother was about to see off someone. She was a thick woman. My mother signalled towards me and said to Mrs. Dorling that I was her daughter.
The woman nodded and picked up the suitcase under the coat-rack. She wore a brown coat and a shapeless hat.
|Coat rack||A frame to hang coat, Hanger|
The woman nodded. She picked up the suitcase and the hanger of her coat. She was wearing a brown coat and a hat that did not have proper shape.
‘Does she live far away?’ I asked, seeing the difficulty she had going out of the house with the heavy case.
I asked my mother if Mrs. Dorling lived at a distance far from our house. I asked this question because she was having difficulty in carrying the heavy suitcase.
‘In Marconi Street,’ said my mother. ‘Number 46. Remember that.’
My mother replied that Mrs. Dorling lived at Number 46 in Marconi Street. She advised me to remember the address.
I had remembered it. But I had waited a long time to go there. Initially after the Liberation I was absolutely not interested in all that stored stuff, and naturally I was also rather afraid of it.
I remembered the address. But I did not go there earlier. After end of the World War I was certainly not interested in the things that were taken away and stored by Mrs. Dorling. Actual I was afraid to look at those things.
Afraid of being confronted with things that had belonged to a connection that no longer existed; which were hidden away in cupboards and boxes and waiting in vain until they were put back in their place again; which had endured all those years because they were ‘things.’
|In vain||Un-necessary, Without any success|
I was afraid to see things that would remind me of my mother. I had tried not to recall memories of my mother too often. Presently things of her memories were hidden in cupboards, boxes. These things were yet to be taken out from boxes. I had not taken these out. These wanted to be put back at their original place. These had tolerated their neglect because these were things.
But gradually everything became more normal again. Bread was getting to be a lighter colour, there was a bed you could sleep in unthreatened, a room with a view you were more used to glancing at each day.
|Bread was getting to be lighter colour||Quality of bread and life improved|
|Unthreatened||Without any danger|
Slowly everything once again became normal. Quality of food and quality of life improved. We could sleep in our houses without any danger. The view out of our house became familiar. Meaning that instances of destruction had reduced.
And one day I noticed I was curious about all the possessions that must still be at that address. I wanted to see them, touch, remember.
One day I realised that I was eager about all those things that must be at the address my mother had told me. I wanted to see, touch and recall those things.
After my first visit in vain to Mrs Dorling’s house I decided to try a second time. Now a girl of about fifteen opened the door to me. I asked her if her mother was at home.
My first visit to the house of Mrs. Dorling was unsuccessful. I could not see any of those things. I decided to make a second attempt. This time a girl of about 15 years old opened the door for me. I asked her if her mother was at home.
‘No’ she said, ‘my mother’s doing an errand.’
‘No matter,’ I said, ‘I’ll wait for her.’
|Doing an errand||Gone out for a short time|
The girl replied that her mother had gone out of the house for a short time. I said that I would wait for her to return.
I followed the girl along the passage. An old-fashioned iron Hanukkah candle-holder hung next to a mirror. We never used it because it was much more cumbersome than a single candlestick.
I went behind the girl along the passage of the house. A candle-holder of very old Hanukkah type was hanging near the mirror. We had never used it in our home. It was more difficult to light this candle stand than a single candle.
‘Won’t you sit down?’ asked the girl. She held open the door of the living-room and I went inside past her. I stopped, horrified. I was in a room I knew and did not know.
The girl asked me to sit down. She had opened the door of the living room. I went inside the room ahead of her. I stopped. I was shocked. The room looked familiar to me. And I did not know about this room. Author wants to say that the room was different but things in the room were familiar to her.
I found myself in the midst of things I did want to see again but which oppressed me in the strange atmosphere.
|Oppressed||Harsh treatment, Troubled|
|Strange||Weird, Unusual, Odd|
The things around me were so familiar to me. I was in the middle of things I did not want to see. These things troubled me a lot in an unusual manner.
Or because of the tasteless way everything was arranged, because of the ugly furniture or the muggy smell that hung there, I don’t know; but I scarcely dared to look around me.
|Tasteless||Improperly, Not to someone’s liking|
|That hung there||That was around|
Or I was uncomfortable because things were not arranged to my liking or because of ugly furniture or because of unpleasant smell in the house. But I did not have the courage to look around the house.
The girl moved a chair. I sat down and stared at the woollen table-cloth. I rubbed it. My fingers grew warm from rubbing. I followed the lines of the pattern. Somewhere on the edge there should be a burn mark that had never been repaired.
|Moved a chair||Gave a chair to sit|
The girl asked me to sit on chair and I sat. I looked at the woollen table cloth spread on the table. I moved my fingers on it. My fingers grew warm. The author had recongnised that it was their table cloth. She felt the warmth of memory.
Her hand moved along the design made on the table cloth. She remembered that at the edge of the table cloth there was a mark of a burn. This burn mark was not repaired.
‘My mother’ll be back soon,’ said the girl. ‘I’ve already made tea for her. Will you have a cup?’
The girl said that her mother would come back soon. She told that she had already made tea for herself. She asked me if I would like to have some tea. I thanked her. Author had agreed to have tea.
I looked up. The girl put cups ready on the tea-table. She had a broad back. Just like her mother. She poured tea from a white pot. All it had was a gold border on the lid, I remembered. She opened a box and took some spoons out.
I looked in front of me and towards the girl. She had already put some cups on the tea-table. Just like her mother, she was slightly thick person. She poured tea into cups from a white tea-pot. The tea pot had a golden border on its lid. I recalled it. It was ours. Then she opened a box and took out some spoons.
‘That’s a nice box.’ I heard my own voice. It was a strange voice. As though each sound was different in this room.
I said that it was nice box. My voice sounded peculiar to me. It appeared as if the voice was coming from another room.
‘Oh, you know about them?’ She had turned round and brought me my tea. She laughed. ‘My mother says it is antique. We’ve got lots more.’ She pointed round the room. ‘See for yourself.’
The girl asked me if I knew about those cutlery. She turned her face toward me and brought tea. She told that her mother had informed that these cutlery are antique pieces. We have many more such pieces. She asked me to have a look at those.
I had no need to follow her hand. I knew which things she meant. I just looked at the still life over the tea-table. As a child I had always fancied the apple on the pewter plate.
|Pewter||A type of alloy|
|Pewter plate||A plate made of pewter|
I did not need to look in the direction her hand was pointing to. I knew about which things she was talking about. I looked at the tea table. A pewter plate was lying on the tea table. During my childhood, I liked to eat an apple in that plate.
‘We use it for everything,’ she said. ‘Once we even ate off the plates hanging there on the wall. I wanted to so much. But it wasn’t anything special.’
The girl said that they use all the cutlery that could be seen. Once we ate in the plates that are hanging on the wall. I was very eager to eat in those plates. But I did not find anything special in those plates.
I had found the burn mark on the table-cloth. The girl looked questioningly at me.
I had located the burn mark on the table cloth. The girl looked at me as if she wanted to ask a question.
‘Yes,’ I said, ‘you get so used to touching all these lovely things in the house, you hardly look at them anymore. You only notice when something is missing, because it has to be repaired or because you have lent it, for example.’
I told her that one gets used to touching every lovely thing of one’s own house. Hence one would not notice any difference. You would notice their importance when those things are not with you. For example if those are to be repaired or have been given to somebody else.
Again I heard the unnatural sound of my voice and I went on: ‘I remember my mother once asked me if I would help her polish the silver.
Once again voice of narrator was unnatural. because she was trying to remember her old days. I said that once my mother had asked me to help her in cleaning silver utensils of our house.
It was a very long time ago and I was probably bored that day or perhaps I had to stay at home because I was ill, as she had never asked me before.
It was long ago from this time. Either I was getting bored on that day. Or I had not gone to school because I was sick. She had never asked me to do this work prior to that day.
I asked her which silver she meant and she replied, surprised, that it was the spoons, forks and knives, of course. And that was the strange thing, I didn’t know the cutlery we ate off every day was silver.’
I asked her mother which silver utensils she wanted me to clean. I was surprised when she told me to clean spoon, forks and knives. I found it very strange. Because I did not know that those cutlery of daily use were made of silver.
The girl laughed again.
‘I bet you don’t know it is either.’ I looked intently at her.
‘What we eat with?’ she asked.
‘Well, do you know?’
|Looked intently||Looked carefully, Gazed|
The girl again laughed. I told the girl that probably she also did not know about it. I gazed at her. She asked if I meant about the cutlery they were using daily. I again asked her if she knew about those pieces.
She hesitated. She walked to the sideboard and wanted to open a drawer. ‘I’ll look. It’s in here.’
|Sideboard||A shelf with drawers|
She hesitated for a moment. Then she walked to the shelf kept in the room and opened a drawer. She said she will look at those pieces. They all are in this drawer.
I jumped up. ‘I was forgetting the time. I must catch my train.’
She had her hand on the drawer. ‘Don’t you want to wait for my mother?’
Suddenly I got up. I said that I had forgotten about the time. It is time to catch my train. She had placed her hand on the drawer. She asked me if I wanted to wait till her mother comes back.
‘No, I must go.’ I walked to the door. The girl pulled the drawer open. ‘I can find my own way.’
As I walked down the passage I heard the jingling of spoons and forks.
I told her that it was necessary for me to go. Saying this I walked to the door. I had told the girl that I will go alone. She need not see me off from her house.
In the mean while the girl had pulled the drawer. As I walked through the passage of the house I could hear the metallic sound of forks and spoons.
At the corner of the road I looked up at the name-plate. Marconi Street, it said. I had been at Number 46. The address was correct. But now I didn’t want to remember it any more.
At the turn of the road I looked up at the sign board. It read Marconi Street. I had gone to house Number 46. The address given by my mother was correct. But I did not want to remember it now. Author wants to forget about every memory of the past.
I wouldn’t go back there because the objects that are linked in your memory with the familiar life of former times instantly lose their value when, severed from them, you see them again in strange surroundings.
|Linked in memory||Attached to memory,|
|Strange Surroundings||Another place, Another perspective|
I do not want to go there once again. Because your memory of past life immediate loses its value, when you move away from those things. Now you look at those things in a different perspective.
And what should I have done with them in a small rented room where the shreds of black-out paper still hung along the windows and no more than a handful of cutlery fitted in the narrow table drawer?
|Handful||Very small quantity|
And those cutlery were of no use to me. I was presently living in a small room I had taken on rent. I had put pieces of black papers on windows as curtains. The drawer of my table was very small. It could accommodate only small quantity of cutlery.
I resolved to forget the address. Of all the things I had to forget, that would be the easiest.
I decided to forget the address. This should be the easiest thing to forget. Author does not want to live in her past. She wants to forget about it. A powerful message indeed.