NCERT Class 9 Beehive Page No. 144
Thinking about the Text
I. Answer these questions.
1. “At last a sympathetic audience.”
(i) Who says this?
(ii) Why does he say it?
(iii) Is he sarcastic or serious?
(i) Gerrard says this.
(ii) He says it because the intruder asks him to speak about himself.
(iii) He is being sarcastic.
All Chapters: CBSE Class 9 English Syllabus 2020-21
2. Why does the intruder choose Gerrard as the man whose identity he wants to take on?
The intruder chooses Gerrard as the man whose identity he wanted to take on because he is of the same build as Gerrard. He is a murderer. As Vincent Charles Gerrard, he will be free to go places and do nothing. He can eat well and sleep without having to be ready to run away at the sight of a cop.
3. “I said it with bullets.”
(i) Who says this?
(ii) What does it mean?
(iii) Is it the truth? What is the speaker’s reason for saying this?
(i) Gerrard says this.
(ii) It means that when things went wrong, he had to use his gun to shoot someone to escape.
(iii) No, it is not the truth. He just wants the intruder to believe that he himself is a crook and he has also killed someone and escaped. Thus, the speaker says this to save himself from getting shot by the intruder.
4. What is Gerrard’s profession? Quote the parts of the play that support your answer.
Gerrard is a playwright. Some parts of the play that suggest his profession as a playwright are:
- “This is all very melodramatic, not very original, perhaps, but…”
- “At last a sympathetic audience!”
- “In most melodramas the villain is foolish enough to delay his killing long enough to be frustrated”.
- “I said, you were luckier than most melodramatic villains.”
- “That’s a disguise outfit; false moustaches and what not”.
- “Sorry I can’t let you have the props in time for rehearsal, I’ve had a spot of bother – quite amusing. I think I’ll put it in my next play.”
5. “You’ll soon stop being smart.”
(i) Who says this?
(ii) Why does the speaker say it?
(iii) What according to the speaker will stop Gerrard from being smart?
(i) The intruder says this.
(ii) The speaker says it to frighten Gerrard as he doesn’t seem to be affected by his (speaker’s) gun.
(iii) According to the speaker, the realisation of being killed will stop Gerrard from being smart.
NCERT Class 9 Beehive Page No. 145
6. “They can’t hang me twice.”
(i) Who says this?
(ii) Why does the speaker say it?
(i) The intruder says this line.
(ii) The intruder tells Gerrard that he has already murdered one man and that he will not hesitate to kill him too. Because the police can not hang him twice for two murders.
7. “A mystery I propose to explain.” What is the mystery the speaker proposes to explain?
The mystery that Gerrard proposes to explain is a story that he makes to fool the intruder by making him believe that he is also a dangerous man. He tells him that he himself is a criminal. He asks the intruder that why doesn’t he meet any tradespeople and be a bit of a mystery man here today and gone tomorrow. He further adds to the mystery by telling him that the game is up as things went wrong with him when he had to murder someone to escape. Unfortunately, one of his men has been arrested and certain things are found with him which he should have burnt. Gerrard tells the intruder that he is expecting some trouble tonight and therefore, his bag is packed and he is ready to escape.
8. “This is your big surprise.”
(i) Where has this been said in the play?
(ii) What is the surprise?
(i) This has been said twice in the play. At first time, the intruder says this to Girrard while revealing his plan to kill him. Secondly, Gerrard says these words when he is about to reveal his fictitious identity to the intruder.
(ii) When intruder says this line, the surprise is his plan to kill Gerrard and take on his identity. On the second occasion, when Gerrard says this, the surprise is his fictitious identity that he is going to reveal to make the intruder believe that he himself is a crook like the intruder.
Thinking about the Language
I. Consult your dictionary and choose the correct word from the pairs given in brackets.
1. The (site, cite) of the accident was (ghastly/ghostly).
2. Our college (principle/principal) is very strict.
3. I studied (continuously/continually) for eight hours.
4. The fog had an adverse (affect/effect) on the traffic.
5. Cezanne, the famous French painter, was a brilliant (artist/artiste).
6. The book that you gave me yesterday is an extraordinary (collage/college) of science fiction and mystery.
7. Our school will (host/hoist) an exhibition on cruelty to animals and wildlife conservation.
8. Screw the lid tightly onto the top of the bottle and (shake/shape) well before using the contents.
1. The site of the accident was ghastly.
2. Our college principal is very strict.
3. I studied continuously for eight hours.
4. The fog had an adverse effect on the traffic.
5. Cezanne, the famous French painter, was a brilliant artist.
6. The book that you gave me yesterday is an extraordinary collage of science fiction and mystery.
7. Our school will host an exhibition on cruelty to animals and wildlife conservation.
8. Screw the lid tightly onto the top of the bottle and shake well before using the contents.
II. Irony is when we say one thing but mean another, usually the opposite of what we say. When someone makes a mistake and you say, “Oh! That was clever!” that is irony. You’re saying ‘clever’ to mean ‘not clever’.
Expressions we often use in an ironic fashion are:
• Oh, wasn’t that clever!/Oh that was clever!
• You have been a great help, I must say!
• You’ve got yourself into a lovely mess, haven’t you?
• Oh, very funny!/How funny!
We use a slightly different tone of voice when we use these words ironically.
Read the play carefully and find the words and expressions Gerrard uses in an ironic way. Then say what these expressions really mean. Two examples have been given below. Write down three such expressions along with what they really mean.
What the author says
What he means
Why, this is a surprise, Mr – er –
He pretends that the intruder is a social visitor whom he is welcoming. In this way he hides his fear.
At last a sympathetic audience!
He pretends that the intruder wants to listen to him, whereas actually the intruder wants to find out information for his own use.
What the author says
What he means
You won’t kill me for a very good reason.
Gerrard, while pretending to be unaffected by the intruder’s threats of killing him says that the intruder would not kill him until he had a major reason to do so.
You have been so modest.
Here, Gerrard means that it is immodest on the part of the intruder to know so much about him without disclosing his own identity.
With you figuring so largely in it, that is understandable.
Gerrard says that by seeing the intruder’s behaviour, he can understand that the reason for intruder entering his house would be shocking.
If I Were You Extra Questions and Answers Class 9 English Beehive
If I Were You Extra Questions and Answers Short Answer Type
Briefly describe Gerrard’s appearance.
Gerrard is a man of medium height and wears horn-rimmed glasses. When the play opens, he is dressed in a lounge suit and a great coat. He talks in a cultured voice and his demeanour is confident.
Who was the Intruder in Gerrard’s house? Why did he break into his house?
The Intruder, who broke into Gerrard’s house, was a criminal. He had murdered a cop and was being chased by the police. He broke into Gerrard’s house with the intention of murdering him and taking on his identity to evade the police.
How did Gerrard behave on seeing a gun-toting stranger in his cottage?
Gerrard kept his cool and remained absolutely unruffled when he saw the gun-totting stranger in his cottage. There was neither any panic nor any ring of tension in his voice. He remained his normal self and talked to him casually.
Why does the Intruder intend to kill Gerrard?
The Intruder is a criminal who is being chased by the police for having murdered a cop. As per his plan, the Intruder intends to kill Gerrard in order to take on his identity and escape capture by the police. In this way, he can lead a peaceful life without living in constant fear of arrest and punishment.
Why does the Intruder not kill Gerrard immediately?
The Intruder does not kill Gerrard immediately because he first wants to get all the necessary information from him. Without this information, his plan to take on Gerrard’s identity will not succeed.
What impression do you form of the Intruder as he comes in? Give examples to illustrate.
The Intruder is similar in build to Gerrard enters from the right silently – revolver in hand. He is flashily dressed in an overcoat and a soft hat. He seems to be a dangerous person as he is carrying a pistol and threatens Gerrard. He claims to have killed a cop. He is mean, heartless and crafty, for he plans to kill Gerrard and assume his identity in order to escape the police. He is over-confident because he claims that Gerrard is no match for him.
“You’ll soon stop being smart.” Why did Intruder think that Gerrard was being smart?
The Intruder thought that Gerrard was being ‘smart’ or clever and facetious because he did not show any fear at the sight of an armed man enter his house and threaten him. To the contrary, he was giving the Intruder smart answers to his questions.
How did the Intruder threaten Gerrard?
The Intruder threatened Gerrard by saying that he would soon stop being smart. He would make Gerrard crawl.
“I want to know a few things, see.” What sort of information did the Intruder want from Gerrard?
The Intruder wanted personal details from Gerrard like whether he lived alone, what his Christian name was, whether he had a car and whether people visited him. All this information was necessary for the execution of his plan to dodge the police by killing Gerrard and taking on his identity.
Why did the Intruder say, “They can’t hang me twice?”
The Intruder said this because he was already wanted for having murdered a cop. If he managed to kill Gerrard, as per his plan, and was later arrested, it would not matter as the punishment for this murder, too, would be a hanging. They could not hang him for the two murders twice.
How did Gerrard convince the Intruder that he was also wanted by the police?
When Gerrard came to know about the Intruder’s plan, he kept his cool. He cooked a story to outwit him. He said he is also a murderer who was in hiding and that is why he was a mystery man who never met anyone including the tradespeople. So, if the Intruder took on his identify, he would not gain anything. He would anyway be accused of murder.
Why has the Intruder chosen Gerrard as the man whose identify he wants to take?
Gerrard is of the same height and build as the Intruder. There is some similarity in their Appearance. Moreover, Gerard was something of a mystery man who lived alone in the house and very few people visited him. He phoned in his orders, did not meet any tradespeople, and had irregular hours and habits, going away suddenly and coming back just the same. So, the Intruder thought if he killed Gerrard and took on his identity, he would not get caught. He would gain his freedom and would be free to go places. He could live without the fear of cops.
What did Gerrard tell the Intruder about his childhood and his present life? Was he telling the truth? Why/Why not?
Gerrard told the Intruder that as a child, he was stolen by the gypsies and now in his thirties he was all alone in life. He was not telling the truth; he was just being funny as he wished to make it clear that he was not afraid of a gun-totting criminal. In fact, Gerrard had already started concocting stories about himself.
What made Gerrard ask the Intruder, “Are you an American”?
Gerrard asked the Intruder if he were an American as he had told him to ‘Put those paws up! ’ and had called him a ‘wise guy’. ‘Paws’ for hands and ‘guy’ for a man are colloquial American expressions. Hence, the usage of these words by the Intruder made Gerrard ask him this question.
The Intruder announced, “I’m going to kill you”. Was Gerrard nervous? How would you describe Gerrard’s reactions?
Confident of his presence of mind and his ability to keep his cool in a difficult situation, Gerrard remained unruffled on being threatened by the Intruder. He remained so calm and nonchalant that the Intruder was irritated. His sense of humour also enraged the Intruder. Thus, Gerrard reacted in a calm and composed way.
Where did Gerrard live? Why was it a suitable place for the Intruder’s plan?
Gerrard lived in a lonely cottage in a secluded place in the wilds of Essex. With hardly any population around, it was easy for one to commit a crime without getting detected. In addition, the place was visited by only a few people. Therefore, it was suitable for the Intruder to carry out his plan successfully over here.
The Intruder calls himself ‘a poor hunted rat’. Why does he do so?
The Intruder describes himself as ‘a poor hunted rat’ because he is being chased by the police for having killed a cop and he has to keep dodging them to escape punishment. He feels he is like a rat being chased by a cat.
Why has the criminal been called an Intruder all through the play
An Intruder is a who enters a place without permission in order to commit a crime. The Intruder is called an Intruder throughout the play as he has forced his way into Gerrard’s cottage, with criminal intent. He has come to murder Gerrard and to steal his identity.
Bring out the contrast between the Intruder and Gerrard.
The Intruder is flashy, coarse, crude, boastful and an irritable egoist. He is overconfident and thinks that he is very smart. On the other hand, Gerrard is pleasant, cool-headed, cultured, witty and very intelligent. Despite . all this he is a modest and humble person. Although Gerrard does not brag, he proves to be much smarter and more intelligent than the Intruder and is able to outwit him.
Why did very few people come to Gerrard’s house? Who were the few people who visited him?
A playwright, Gerrard needed his solitude and congenial surroundings. So, he lived all alone in a secluded place. His theatrical performances made his schedule irregular and he would go away suddenly and come back just the same. Moreover, very few people came to his house. He was visited only by his regular suppliers like the baker, the greengrocer and the milkman, but he did not meet them.
Gerrard tells the Intruder “A mystery I propose to explain.” What is the mystery that he proposes to explain?
The Intruder has just told Gerrard that the people in Aylesbury refer to him as a “mystery man”. Gerrard proposes to explain the mystery about his mysterious life, his sudden comings and goings, his irregular routine, and his refusal to see the tradesmen. Gerrard has already concocted a story attributing his strange behaviour to his being a criminal wanted in many, cases of crime.
“This is your big surprise”. Who says these words in the play? What and where? What is the surprise?
Gerrard says these words when the Intruder asks him to clarify how he could still be hanged after assuming Vincent Charles Gerrard’s identity. This is a surprise for the Intruder who never suspected Gerrard of being a criminal. According to his information, Gerrard seemed to be the perfect person who could be easily eliminated and then impersonated. However, Gerrard has just turned the tables on him by claiming to be a criminal on the run.
Why and how did Gerrard persuade the Intruder to get into the cupboard?
Gerrard concocted a story about his own criminal background. He gave the Intruder the impression that the police were looking for him and he expected a telephone call from a friend, posted as a lookout, informing him of the police’s arrival. So when the telephone rang, he hurried the Intruder into the cupboard and told him that it was connected to the garage which was an escape route.
How does Gerrard propose to use the Intruder’s episode?
Being a playwright, Gerrard is amused at being able to turn the tables on the Intruder. He finds the episode of outwitting a criminal by a clever but an innocent man amusing enough to use it as a plot for his next play.
Gerrard describes this encounter with the Intruder as ‘an amusing spot of bother’? What light does this attitude reflect on Gerrard?
Any other person in Gerrard’s place would have been paralysed with fear when faced with a gun-totting stranger who has entered one’s house to kill him and steal his identity. But Gerrard finds it ‘a amusing spot of bother’ as his cool and unflappable approach makes him handle the situation comfortably and outwit the Intruder with ease.
What is Gerrard’s profession? Quote the parts of the play that support your answer.
Gerrard is associated with theatre as a writer, producer and director. He also supplies props and make-up materials to other theatre agencies. The following facts reveal his profession clearly.
- He tells the Intruder that his actions are ‘melodramatic’ but not ‘very original’.
- He welcomes the Intruder as a ‘sympathetic audience’.
- He comments on the Intruder’s ‘inflection of voice’.
- He tells someone over the phone that he cannot deliver the props in time.
- He also tells that person that he had ‘an amusing spot of bother’ which he might put into his next play.
Why was Gerrard’s schedule so irregular?
Having a theatrical background, Gerrard devoted time to writing, producing and directing the plays. He also supplied other theatre companies with props and make-up items. Therefore, his schedule was irregular as it had to suit the requirements at the theatres.
Gerrard said, ‘You have been so modest’. Was Gerrard being ironical or truthful?
Gerrard’s remark ‘you have been so modest’ was ironical. The Intruder had been boasting of his intelligence and smartness. Hence, Gerrard ironically commented on his modesty and asked him to say something about himself.
What information has the Intruder gathered about Gerrard?
The Intruder only knows Gerrard by his last name. He has learnt that, he is the owner of the house in the wilds of Essex. Also, he is a kind of mystery man, who keeps to himself and does not meet anyone. Not many people know about him or visit him.
How did Gerrard fool the Intruder with his false story?
Gerrard told the Intruder that he, too, was a criminal on the run. One of his recent crimes had gone wrong and one of his men had been caught. The things which should had been burnt had been found. So, due to that he expected trouble that night. That’s why, he wanted to clear off at the earliest.
How did Gerard lock the Intruder in the cupboard?
Having convinced the Intruder that he himself was being wanted by cops and that police could any time break into his home, Gerrard advised the Intruder to escape in his car. When he saw that the Intruder was ready to come with him in his car, Gerrard opened the door of his cupboard and, as the Intruder stepped into the cupboard thinking it was an exit door, Gerrard gave him a push and locked the door from outside.
What precautions did Gerrard take while calling the police?
Gerrard was smarter than the Intruder. Having locked the Intruder inside the cupboard, he knocked the revolver out of his hand. To make sure that the Intruder would not break out of the cupboard, Gerrard went to the phone, where he stood with the gun pointed at the cupboard door.
If I Were You Extra Questions and Answers Long Answer Type
Why was Gerrard packing a bag at the beginning of the play? How did it help him to outwit and trap the Intruder?
Gerrard was packing a bag in the beginning of the play as he had to deliver some props to some theatrical company for rehearsal. When the Intruder broke into his cottage and threatened to kill him and steal his identity, Gerrard did not lose his cool. He spontaneously concocted a story that he himself was a criminal and was trying to dodge the police. This story was supported by the aura of mystery that surrounded him, his reclusive lifestyle, the bag he had been packing, the disguise outfit, false moustaches etc.
All this misled the Intruder into believing that Gerrard was speaking the truth. He did not doubt Gerrard any longer and unsuspectingly got ready to escape along with him. When Gerrard indicates the door that leads straight to the garage, the Intruder walks into a trap. Hence, the bag played an important role in convincing the Intruder that Gerrard, too, was a criminal like him and was preparing to flee when he broke into his cottage.
Bring out Gerrard’s intelligence, presence of mind and sense of humour. How did these traits help him outwit the Intruder?
An intelligent and level-headed person, Gerrard did not show even the slightest of nervousness at the sight of the gun-totting criminal enter his house and threaten to kill him. He knew that his wit and presence of mind would not only help him to manage the crisis but would also contribute towards unnerving the Intruder, and getting the better of him. Keeping the atmosphere light and lively with his sense of humour and funny remarks, Gerrard surprised the Intruder, who had expected him to be afraid.
Once he found out the Intruder was wanted for murder and had been on the run, and thus living in fear, he instantly cooked up a story about his own criminal background. Convincing the Intruder that police would arrive any minute to nab him, he impressed upon the Intruder that they would have to escape immediately. Cleverly, he made him peep into the cupboard saying that it was an escape route.
The moment the Intruder leaned forward to inspect it, Gerrard pushed him into the cupboard and knocked the revolver out of his hand. He closed and locked the door. Thus, his intelligence, sense of humour, and presence of mind turned the tables on the Intruder.
Why did the Intruder find Gerrard’s cooked up story of criminal background convincing?
In the beginning, the Intruder suspected every move made by Gerrard. He snubbed him when Gerrard tried to begin a conversation regarding the Intruder’s identity and curtly told him to answer only what was asked. However, he was gullible enough to unsuspiciously walk into Gerrard’s trap because the latter did not lose his cool, and employed his presence of mind to cook up the story that he, too, was wanted by the police.
Actually, Gerrard supported his claim of being a criminal by showing the Intruder his bag, and his disguise outfits and false moustaches etc. The Intruder did not know about the theatrical background of Gerrard and he found his story convincing. He believed that Gerrard was actually trying to evade the police. Hence, the unsuspecting Intruder walked into Gerrard’s trap. This indicates that although he claimed to be the smartest person around, he was in fact not very intelligent. He was outwitted by a smart Gerrard who foiled his plan.
If I Were You Extra Questions and Answers Reference to Context
Read the extracts given below and answer the questions that follow.
Why, this is a surprise, Mr— er—
(a) Who speaks these words and to whom?
Vincent Gerrard speaks these words to the Intruder.
(b) Where are they at the time?
They are in Gerrard’s cottage, in his sitting room, at the time. The Intruder, who is carrying a revolver has just entered Gerrard’s cottage.
(c) What is the speaker’s tone at the time?
The speaker is speaking in a very pleasant tone.
(d) What does this tell you about the speaker?
The speaker is a level-headed person. He should have been afraid of the Intruder who was holding a gun, but he was talking in a normal, pleasant manner.
I’m glad you ’re pleased to see me. I don’t think you ’ll be pleased for long. Put those paws up!
(a) Who is speaking these lines and to whom? Where is the conversation taking place?
The Intruder is speaking to Gerrard. The conversation is taking place in Gerrard’s lonely cottage situated in the wilds of Essex.
(b) Why is ‘the speaker’ so sure that ‘his listener’ won’t be pleased for long?
The speaker is sure that his listener, Gerrard, will not be pleased for long because the speaker plans to kill him and steal his identity.
(c) What does ‘paws’ mean here? Why does the Intruder use the expression?
‘Paws’ here stands for ‘hands’. The Intruder wants to convey to Gerrard that he is an American gangster.
(d) Why is the speaker asking the listener ‘to put those paws up’?
The Intruder asks Gerrard to put his ‘paws up’ to threaten and intimidate him. He wants to ensure that Gerrard is not able to use his hands for self-defence.
Thanks a lot. You ’ll soon stop being smart. I’ll make you crawl. I want td know a few things, see.
(a) Who is the speaker? Why is he thanking the listener?
The Intruder is the speaker here. He is thanking the listener, Gerrard, as the latter had helped him while he was fumbling for a word and Gerrard had suggested the word ‘nonchalant’.
(b) Why does the speaker think that the listener is trying to be smart?
The Intruder feels that Gerrard is trying to be smart because instead of displaying any signs of fear, he acts casual and helps the Intruder complete his sentence when the former fails to find the right word.
(c) Why does the speaker expect the listener to soon stop being smart?
The speaker feels that Gerrard will be frightened out of his wits the moment he discloses his intention of killing him and will then forget all the witty retorts that he had been making till then.
(d) What does the speaker mean by ‘I’ll make you crawl’?
The speaker means that he would bring the listener down on his knees and make him beg for mercy.
At last a sympathetic audience!
(a) Who speaks these words? To whom?
Gerrard, the protagonist of the play, speaks these words. He is speaking to the Intruder.
(b) Why does he say it?
He wants to throw the Intruder off course by showing him that he does not feel threatened by his presence.
(c) Is he sarcastic or serious?
He is certainly sarcastic because he knows that the Intruder wants to gather information about him only to misuse it and he plans to give incorrect information.
(d) Why does the listener wish to know the story of the speaker’s life?
The listener is a criminal who resembles Gerrard and wishes to impersonate him. So he wants to know more about him.
I’m sorry. I thought you were telling me, not asking me. A question of inflection; your voice is unfamiliar.
(a) Who is the speaker and who does he speak to?
The speaker is Gerrard. He is speaking to the Intruder.
(b) What had the listener asked the speaker?
The listener had asked the speaker if he lived in the cottage all by himself.
(c) What does ‘inflection’ mean here? What logic does the speaker give for misinterpreting the inflection of his voice?
‘Inflection’ here means ‘tone of voice’. Gerrard says that since the Intruder’s voice was unfamiliar, he couldn’t know whether he was asking a question or telling something.
(d) What do these lines tell us about the speaker?
These lines show that the speaker is a very cool-headed man who can think of many ways to elude a question.
That, ’s a lie. You ’re not dealing with a fool. I’m as smart as you and smarter, and I know you run a car. Better be careful, wise guy!
(a) Who is the speaker? Which Tie’ is he talking about?
The Intruder is the speaker here. He is talking about the Tie’ that Gerrard told him about not running a car.
(b) Why did the speaker think he was smarter than the listener?
The Intruder considered himself smarter because to succeed in his plan of taking on Gerrard’s identity, he had already gathered as much information about Gerrard as he could from the local people.
(c) Why did he warn the listener to be careful?
The Intruder wanted to make it clear that Gerrard could not be fool him by telling a lie.
(d) What does the extract reveal about the Intruder?
The extract reveals that the Intruder is over-confident about his abilities and that he also under-estimates Gerrard, who is not afraid of him.
You seem to have taken a considerable amount of trouble. Since you know so much about me, won’t you say something about yourself? You have been so modest.
(a) Who speaks these words and to whom?
Gerrard speaks these words to the Intruder.
(b) What is his tone when he speaks these words?
He is being sarcastic at the time.
(c) Why does he want to know more about the Intruder?
He wants to find out more about the Intruder to see if he can get the better of him. He also wants to keep him talking till he receives his telephone call.
(d) What light does this throw on the speaker’s character?
The speaker is a quick-thinking person, who does not give way to fear but is looking for a way out of the situation he finds himself in.
I could tell you plenty. You think you ’re smart, but I’m the top of the class round here. I’ve got brains and I use them. That’s how I’ve got where have.
(a) Who speaks these words to whom and in what context?
These words are spoken by the Intruder to Gerrard. He utters these words when Gerrard asks him to tell him something about himself
(b) Why does the speaker say “I could tell you plenty”?
The Intruder says so because he is over-confident and thinks that he is smart enough to get the better of Gerrard.
(c) What does he mean by ‘the top of the class round here’?
The Intruder means to say that no one else is as smart as he is and thatbGerrard, too, is no match for him.
(d) What is his tone at the moment?
There is a ring of pride in his words and his ego makes him over-estimate himself and his abilities.
My speciality’s jewel robbery. Your car will do me a treat. It’s certainly a dandy bus.
(a) What does the speaker do? Why does he call it his ‘speciality’?
The speaker is a criminal who robs jewellery. He calls it his speciality because robbing jewellery was a pursuit or skill to which he had devoted much time and effort and in which he was an expert.
(b) What does he call ‘a dandy bus’? What does he mean?
He calls Gerrard’s car a dandy bus. He means to say that it is a splendid or outstanding car. It will be useful for him and will suit his purpose very well.
(c) What do his words tell you about the speaker?
The speaker has made his plans carefully and has found out information about the listener.
(d) What does the speaker intend to do?
The speaker uses his brains by planning and committing crimes without getting caught by the police. He now intends to kill Gerrard and assume his identity to escape the law further.
I’m not taking it for fun. I’ve been hunted long enough. I’m wanted for murder already, and they can’t hang me twice.
(a) What ‘step’ is the speaker talking about taking? Why is he taking it?
The speaker is talking about taking the ‘step’ of murdering Gerrard. He claims that he is not taking the step for fun but because of his need to escape the police.
(b) By whom has the speaker been hunted? Why?
The speaker has been hunted by the police because he is a criminal. He killed a policeman when something went wrong with the job that he did in the town quite a while ago, but since then he is dodging the police.
(c) Why does he say “they can’t hang me twice”?
The Intruder has just told Gerrard that he had murdered one man, and that he would not shy away from murdering him too. This is because the police could not hang him twice for two murders.
(d) What light do these lines reflect on the speaker’s state of mind?
The lines reveal that the Intruder does not have any conscience to prick him. He is in a desperate situation now as he fears the punishment he is likely to get if captured.
I’ve got freedom to gain. As for myself I’m a poor hunted rat. As Vincent Charles Gerrard I’m free to go places and do nothing. I can eat well and sleep and without having to be ready to beat it at the sight of a cop.
(a) Why is the speaker a ‘hunted rat’?
The Intruder is being chased by the police for having killed a policeman. The fear of being arrested by the police keeps him on the run and he feels that his condition is as miserable as that of a rat being chased.
(b) Why has he chosen to take on Gerrard’s identity?
He has chosen to take on Gerrard’s identity because the have a similar height and build and because Gerrard, being a loner, does not meet many people who may catch him out.
(c) Why does the speaker have to run at the sight of a cop?
Having killed a cop, the Intruder lives in constant fear of being caught by the police. So, he has to run at the sight of a cop in order to avoid being caught.
(d) What advantage will the speaker have once he impersonates Gerrard?
As Gerrard the Intruder will be able to dodge the police. This way he will be able to live in peace and without any fear of the cops.
It brought me to Aylesbury. That’s where I saw you in the car. Two other people saw you and started to talk.
I listened. It looks like you ’re a bit queer — kind of a mystery man.
(a) What is ‘it’? Where did it bring him?
‘It’ here refers to the speaker’s dodging the police. While escaping the police he reached Aylesbury.
(b) What did the speaker overhear about the listener? From whom?
He overheard two men discuss Gerrard. They referred to him as being strange and a mystery man about whom nothing much was known.
(c) What made the two men conclude that the listener was a mystery man?
The two men concluded Gerrard was a mystery man because they did not know much about him. He kept to himself and ordered his supplies on the phone. He did not meet even the tradespeople who delivered the orders. He sometimes went away suddenly and came back just the same.
(d) How did this suit the Intruder’s purpose?
This suited the Intruder’s purpose as no one knew Gerrard well enough to recognise him if the Intruder took on his identity. Also, the Intruder would be able to come and go suddenly as Gerrard did.
Don’t be a fool. If you shoot, you ’ll hang for sure. If not as yourself then as Vincent Charles Gerrard.
(a) Why did the speaker say that the listener will be hanged?
The speaker said that even if he shot him and took on the speaker’s identity, the listener would be hanged as Gerrard because he was wanted by the police.
(b) What surprise did the speaker give to the listener?
Gerrard surprised the Intruder by telling him that he was also a criminal and wanted for murder.
(c) What proof does the speaker give the listener about his being a criminal?
Gerrard told the Intruder that he did not meet any trades people and was a bit of a mystery man here today and gone tomorrow because he was a criminal on the run.
(d) What do you think was the speaker’s tone as he spoke to the listener?
The speaker’s tone was serious and confidential. The listener was taken in by the speaker.
This is your big surprise. I said you wouldn’t kill me and I was right. Why do you think I am here today and gone tomorrow, never see tradespeople? You say my habits would suit you. You are a crook. Do you think I am a Sunday-school teacher?
(a) What was the big surprise given by the speaker?
Gerrard told that the Intruder that he too lived under the threat of being arrested as he too was involved in crime. The Intruder was naturally surprised at this revelation since he was not aware about this aspect of his victim.
(b) What was the speaker right about? Why was he right?
Gerrard, the speaker here, was right about the statement that he had made earlier that the Intruder wouldn’t kill him. He was right because the Intruder intended to kill an ordinary person and impersonate him to evade the police. But Gerrard turned out to be a criminal like him. So, killing and impersonating a criminal would not serve the Intruder’s purpose,
(c) Explain the phrase Sunday school teacher? What does the speaker imply by his words?
A Sunday school teacher is not just an instructor but is also the responsibility for the spiritual welfare of the students. As such, the Sunday school teacher is an important member of the church and one of high moral standing. By saying he is not a Sunday school teacher, the speaker implies he is a crook.
(d) What light does it throw on the character of the speaker and the listener?
The speaker is a quick-thinking cool-headed person, who has retained his presence of mind and lays a trap for the Intruder. He is able to convince the listener. On the other hand, the listener is a gullible person and is taken in by Gerrard’s words.
“I said it with bullets and got away ”.
(a) Who says this?
Gerrard, the protagonist of the play ‘If I Were You’, says this.
(b) What does it mean?
Gerrard means that he committed a murder with a gun for his escape because things had gone wrong.
(c) Is it the truth? What is the speaker’s reason for saying this?
No, it is not the truth. The speaker has concocted a story to befool the Intruder. He shows himself to be a wanted criminal on run from the police so that the Intruder should give up his plan of killing him and taking up his identity.
(d) How was he in imminent danger from the police?
One of his men had been caught by the police with some documents.
I have got a man posted on the main road. He’ll ring up if he sees the police, but I don’t want to leave… (telephone bell rings,) Come on! They ’re after us. Through here straight to the garage.
(a) Whose call had Gerrard been expecting?
Gerrard had told the person he was speaking to in the beginning to tell someone to call him at once. So, he had been expecting that call.
(b) Whose call had told the Intruder he was expecting?
He told the Intruder he was expecting trouble, and had posted a man on the look out who would tell him if the police were coming.
(c) What did he show the Intruder to convince him that he was going to run away?
He showed him the packed bag and disguise outfit; false moustaches and what not to show he was ready . to run away.
(d) What is his tone like as he says these words?
He says these words in a tone of urgency.
For God’s sake clear that muddled head of yours and let’s go. Come with me in the car. I can use you. If you find it’s a frame, you’ve got me in a car, and you still have your gun.
(a) What does the speaker call the listener’s head “muddled”?
The Intruder, who has come to Gerrard’s house to kill him and steal his identity, is told by Gerrard that he, too, is a criminal on the run. The Intruder is thus looking confused.
(b) Where does the speaker invite the other person?
The speaker Gerrard is inviting the other person to accompany him in the car and help him escape
(c) What assurance does he give the listener?
He tells the Intruder that he has the gun so he can over-power him whenever he feels he has been trapped.
(d) What is in the speaker’s mind?
The speaker wants to get the Intruder into a trap where he can hand him over to the police.