In a pleasant spring afternoon Ella MeCarthy sat on a green painted chair in Kensington looking passively around. She was waiting for her boyfriend. Bertie Heasant in whose absence the pleasant spring atmosphere seemed gloomy to her.
Her mood changed when Bertie came and the lover had a cordial and intimate talk. Ella thanked him for his present of the handkerchiefs, which he had sent to her but at the same time she seriously objected to the behavior of Mrs. Heasant mother of Bertie who ws in the habit of opening all the private letters addressed to Bertie by his friends specially his girl friends. She thus posed as a big hurdle in the Ella-Bertie affair and Ella could not dare to write letters to Bertie and Bertie also was afraid to promote his pen friendship with Ella.
By chance Bertie discussed his problem by one of his sincere friend Clovis Sangrail. Clovic made a separate scheme to set right the matter of Bertie’s mother undue interference in his personal affairs. One fine day he sent a set of cunning letters on the address of Bertie Heasant. The first letter was sent in a scented cover from an imaginary girl friend of Bertie namely Clotilde in which there was mentioned about jewels and Bertie was asked to be courageous to handle them. As usual on receipt of this letter, Mrs. Heasant opened that letter. Bertie was not at home and when he came she made a great fuss on this letter and pestered Bertie by a large number of questions, scolding and threatening and made it difficult for him to breathe comfortably. He rushed into his room and closed it from inside.
After an hour another letter was received in the name of Bertie, which really proved to be a bomb blast in the House of Heasant, which has been opened by Mrs. Heasant. This letter had a mysterious message to the simpleton Bertie. The letter said:
“So you have really done it — poor girl! Poor Dagmart you wicked boy, the servants all think that she killed herself and there will be best not to touch the jewels yet.”
Apparently when Mrs. Heasant read the above letter she was almost became hysteric. For her the life of his son seemed to be at stake. She suspected the theft of jewels and murder of a girl Dagmart was committed by Bertie. She ran to the room of Bertie upstairs and started to beat at the door madly. “Miserable boy what have you done to Dagmart.” She yelled and wept and scolded Bertie non-stop.
Bertie was also confused because he did not know as to who was the witch Clotilde who has haunted his life and was bent upon to destroy him and the entire House of Heasant.
In the evening a third letter arrived from Bertie’s fast-friend Clovis Sangrail which solved all the mystery and he apologized for causing all the inconvenience by his first two letters disturbing and shaking the very foundation of Heasant who was in the habit of opening the private letters of Bertie.
By this time Mrs. Heasant was so much badly tortured mentally and psychologically perplexed that she virtually repented for her bad habit of opening the private letters of Bertie and creating scenes in the house.
- Inaudibly —————- which cannot be heard
- Conscious —————- aware
- Confess —————— admit some fault
- Fetch ——————– go and bring
- Drag ——————— to pull someone or something
- Astonishing ————– surprising
- Improbable ————— unlikely
- Opportunity ————– chance
- Reference —————- hint
- Eagerness —————- keenness
- Existence —————- being; life
- Anxiously —————- worried
QUESTION AND ANSWERS
Q.1 Why did Ella McCarthy’s dull afternoon suddenly brighten up?
Ans. Ella was sitting alone on a chair in Kensington Garden. There was no one to keep her company. That’s why spring afternoon seems dull to her. The she say Bertie coming towards her. He was Ella’s friend. On seeing Bertie, Ella’s dull afternoon immediately turned bright.
Q.2 List three of Bertie’s mother qualities. Give examples.
Ans. Bertie’s mother’s three qualities were maternal, interfering and inquisitive. She had a bad habit of opening others letters and reading them. Bertie’s mother actually wanted to search for signs of youthful troubles and difficulties by reading her children’s letters so that she could help them out. Reading others’ letters however is basically regarded as interference in their private lives. Bertie and his sisters had quarreled with her about it a number of times but she did not care about it. When she received Clovis’s letter to Bertie in the name of a girl, she became curious and started inquiring.
Q.3 What role did Clovis play in resolving Bertie’s problem?
Ans. Clovis solved Bertie’s problem by sending three thrilling letters in one day. In the first letter he wrote to Bertie to be brave enough to get the jewels under the false name of girl Clotilde. In the second letter, Bertie was congratulated on carrying out the act of killing the girl effectively and warning him not to touch the jewels yet but to wait for some time. The third letter clarified the whole situation so that person reading the private letters of others might stop doing so and it certainly happened. In this way Clovis was triumphant at his attempt of helping Bertie.
Q.4 Who is most interesting character in this story?
Ans. I think Bertie is the most interesting character of this story. He is about twenty but he can’t solve a simple domestic problem. He could not convince his mother not to read his private letters. He is sorry about it in front of his girl friend Ella and states the problem to his friend Clovis. Bertie is, however, lucky to have a friend like Clovis who helps him get rid of his problem.
Q.5 Why did Bertie’s mother read all the letters that came to her home?
Ans. She thought it maternal to know each and everything about her children in order to same them from any trouble of youth. She might also be of inquisitive nature.