NCERT Textbook - A Shady Plot Class 10 Notes | EduRev

Literature Reader Class 10

Class 10 : NCERT Textbook - A Shady Plot Class 10 Notes | EduRev

 Page 1


CBSE
33
4 4
UNIT UNIT
Fiction
F.4     A Shady Plot
By Elsie Brown
1. Given below is a list of words related to ghosts and ghost stories with their 
jumbled up meanings against them. Match the words/expressions with their 
correct meanings: 
Apparition a feeling of anticipation of or anxiety over a future event
Poltergeist a reanimated corpse that is believed to rise from the grave at 
night to suck the blood of sleeping people
Clairvoyance a conjurer who expels evil spirits by conjuration
Crystal Ball a spelling board device intended to communicate with and 
through the spirit world, obtaining answers to questions
Eerie beyond the range of normal experience or scientific 
explanation
Medium any of a set of 22 playing cards bearing allegorical 
representations, used for fortune telling
Transmigration a supernatural appearance of a person or thing, a ghost, 
spectre or phantom
Psychic so mysterious, strange, or unexpected as to send a chill up 
the spine
Ouija Board the supposed power to see objects or events that cannot be 
perceived by the senses
Exorcist a person through whom the spirits of the dead are alleged to 
be able to contact the living
Premonition a globe of quartz crystal in which images, believed to portend 
the future, are supposedly visible to fortune tellers
Page 2


CBSE
33
4 4
UNIT UNIT
Fiction
F.4     A Shady Plot
By Elsie Brown
1. Given below is a list of words related to ghosts and ghost stories with their 
jumbled up meanings against them. Match the words/expressions with their 
correct meanings: 
Apparition a feeling of anticipation of or anxiety over a future event
Poltergeist a reanimated corpse that is believed to rise from the grave at 
night to suck the blood of sleeping people
Clairvoyance a conjurer who expels evil spirits by conjuration
Crystal Ball a spelling board device intended to communicate with and 
through the spirit world, obtaining answers to questions
Eerie beyond the range of normal experience or scientific 
explanation
Medium any of a set of 22 playing cards bearing allegorical 
representations, used for fortune telling
Transmigration a supernatural appearance of a person or thing, a ghost, 
spectre or phantom
Psychic so mysterious, strange, or unexpected as to send a chill up 
the spine
Ouija Board the supposed power to see objects or events that cannot be 
perceived by the senses
Exorcist a person through whom the spirits of the dead are alleged to 
be able to contact the living
Premonition a globe of quartz crystal in which images, believed to portend 
the future, are supposedly visible to fortune tellers
CBSE
Fiction
34
Paranormal to pass into another body after death: going from one state of 
existence or place to another 
Tarot Card capable of extraordinary mental processes, such as 
extrasensory perception and mental telepathy
Vampire German word, meaning "noisy ghost"-a troublesome spirit 
that announces its presence with unexplainable sounds and 
the creation of disorder
2. The title of the story is A Shady Plot. The dictionary defines the words as:
shady adjective 
a. Full of shade; shaded.
b. Casting shade: a shady grove.
c. Quiet, dark, or concealed; hidden.
d. Of dubious character or of questionable honesty.
plot noun
 a. i) a small piece of ground, generally used for a specific purpose: a garden plot.
          ii) a measured area of land
b. a ground plan, as for a building; a diagram.
c. storyline- the plan, scheme, or main story of a literary or dramatic work, as a play, 
novel, or short story
d. a secret plan to accomplish a hostile or illegal purpose; a scheme.
Based on the definitions above can you predict what the story will be about? 
Make a brief note of your prediction in your notebook.
3. Read the story given below. Your teacher will use a variety of techniques for 
different parts of the story. For example:
Silent reading
One student reading aloud to the whole class
Students reading in small groups
Dramatised reading in small groups
•
•
•
•
Page 3


CBSE
33
4 4
UNIT UNIT
Fiction
F.4     A Shady Plot
By Elsie Brown
1. Given below is a list of words related to ghosts and ghost stories with their 
jumbled up meanings against them. Match the words/expressions with their 
correct meanings: 
Apparition a feeling of anticipation of or anxiety over a future event
Poltergeist a reanimated corpse that is believed to rise from the grave at 
night to suck the blood of sleeping people
Clairvoyance a conjurer who expels evil spirits by conjuration
Crystal Ball a spelling board device intended to communicate with and 
through the spirit world, obtaining answers to questions
Eerie beyond the range of normal experience or scientific 
explanation
Medium any of a set of 22 playing cards bearing allegorical 
representations, used for fortune telling
Transmigration a supernatural appearance of a person or thing, a ghost, 
spectre or phantom
Psychic so mysterious, strange, or unexpected as to send a chill up 
the spine
Ouija Board the supposed power to see objects or events that cannot be 
perceived by the senses
Exorcist a person through whom the spirits of the dead are alleged to 
be able to contact the living
Premonition a globe of quartz crystal in which images, believed to portend 
the future, are supposedly visible to fortune tellers
CBSE
Fiction
34
Paranormal to pass into another body after death: going from one state of 
existence or place to another 
Tarot Card capable of extraordinary mental processes, such as 
extrasensory perception and mental telepathy
Vampire German word, meaning "noisy ghost"-a troublesome spirit 
that announces its presence with unexplainable sounds and 
the creation of disorder
2. The title of the story is A Shady Plot. The dictionary defines the words as:
shady adjective 
a. Full of shade; shaded.
b. Casting shade: a shady grove.
c. Quiet, dark, or concealed; hidden.
d. Of dubious character or of questionable honesty.
plot noun
 a. i) a small piece of ground, generally used for a specific purpose: a garden plot.
          ii) a measured area of land
b. a ground plan, as for a building; a diagram.
c. storyline- the plan, scheme, or main story of a literary or dramatic work, as a play, 
novel, or short story
d. a secret plan to accomplish a hostile or illegal purpose; a scheme.
Based on the definitions above can you predict what the story will be about? 
Make a brief note of your prediction in your notebook.
3. Read the story given below. Your teacher will use a variety of techniques for 
different parts of the story. For example:
Silent reading
One student reading aloud to the whole class
Students reading in small groups
Dramatised reading in small groups
•
•
•
•
CBSE
Fiction
35
A SHADY PLOT
1. So I sat down to write a ghost story.
2. Jenkins was responsible.
3. "Hallock," he had said to me, "give us another on the supernatural this time. Something 
to give 'em the horrors; that's what the public wants, and your ghosts are live 
propositions."
4. Well, I was in no position to contradict Jenkins, for, as yet, his magazine had been the 
only one to print my stuff. So I had said, "Precisely!" in the deepest voice I was capable 
of, and had gone out.
5. I hadn't the shade of an idea, but at the time that didn't worry me in the least. You see, I 
had often been like that before and in the end things had always come my way--I didn't 
in the least know how or why. It had all been rather mysterious. You understand I didn't 
specialize in ghost stories, but more or less they seemed to specialize in me. A ghost 
story had been the first fiction I had written. Curious how that idea for a plot had come to 
me out of nowhere after I had chased inspiration in vain for months! Even now 
whenever Jenkins wanted a ghost, he called on me. And I had never found it healthy to 
contradict Jenkins. Jenkins always seemed to have an uncanny knowledge as to when 
1
the landlord or the grocer was pestering me, and he dunned me for a ghost. And 
2
somehow I'd always been able to dig one up for him, so I'd begun to get a bit cocky as 
to my ability.
6. So I went home and sat down before my desk and 
sucked at the end of my pencil and waited, but 
nothing happened. Pretty soon my mind began to 
wander off on other things, decidedly unghostly 
and material things, such as my wife's shopping 
and how on earth I was going to cure her of her 
alarming tendency to take every new fad that 
came along and work it to death. But I realized that 
would never get me any place, so I went back to 
staring at the ceiling.
7. "This writing business is delightful, isn't it?" I said 
sarcastically at last, out loud, too. You see, I had 
reached the stage of imbecility when I was talking 
to myself.
8. "Yes," said a voice at the other end of the room, "I should say it is!"
1. dunned : persistently ask for something that is overdue 
2. cocky : overconfident
Page 4


CBSE
33
4 4
UNIT UNIT
Fiction
F.4     A Shady Plot
By Elsie Brown
1. Given below is a list of words related to ghosts and ghost stories with their 
jumbled up meanings against them. Match the words/expressions with their 
correct meanings: 
Apparition a feeling of anticipation of or anxiety over a future event
Poltergeist a reanimated corpse that is believed to rise from the grave at 
night to suck the blood of sleeping people
Clairvoyance a conjurer who expels evil spirits by conjuration
Crystal Ball a spelling board device intended to communicate with and 
through the spirit world, obtaining answers to questions
Eerie beyond the range of normal experience or scientific 
explanation
Medium any of a set of 22 playing cards bearing allegorical 
representations, used for fortune telling
Transmigration a supernatural appearance of a person or thing, a ghost, 
spectre or phantom
Psychic so mysterious, strange, or unexpected as to send a chill up 
the spine
Ouija Board the supposed power to see objects or events that cannot be 
perceived by the senses
Exorcist a person through whom the spirits of the dead are alleged to 
be able to contact the living
Premonition a globe of quartz crystal in which images, believed to portend 
the future, are supposedly visible to fortune tellers
CBSE
Fiction
34
Paranormal to pass into another body after death: going from one state of 
existence or place to another 
Tarot Card capable of extraordinary mental processes, such as 
extrasensory perception and mental telepathy
Vampire German word, meaning "noisy ghost"-a troublesome spirit 
that announces its presence with unexplainable sounds and 
the creation of disorder
2. The title of the story is A Shady Plot. The dictionary defines the words as:
shady adjective 
a. Full of shade; shaded.
b. Casting shade: a shady grove.
c. Quiet, dark, or concealed; hidden.
d. Of dubious character or of questionable honesty.
plot noun
 a. i) a small piece of ground, generally used for a specific purpose: a garden plot.
          ii) a measured area of land
b. a ground plan, as for a building; a diagram.
c. storyline- the plan, scheme, or main story of a literary or dramatic work, as a play, 
novel, or short story
d. a secret plan to accomplish a hostile or illegal purpose; a scheme.
Based on the definitions above can you predict what the story will be about? 
Make a brief note of your prediction in your notebook.
3. Read the story given below. Your teacher will use a variety of techniques for 
different parts of the story. For example:
Silent reading
One student reading aloud to the whole class
Students reading in small groups
Dramatised reading in small groups
•
•
•
•
CBSE
Fiction
35
A SHADY PLOT
1. So I sat down to write a ghost story.
2. Jenkins was responsible.
3. "Hallock," he had said to me, "give us another on the supernatural this time. Something 
to give 'em the horrors; that's what the public wants, and your ghosts are live 
propositions."
4. Well, I was in no position to contradict Jenkins, for, as yet, his magazine had been the 
only one to print my stuff. So I had said, "Precisely!" in the deepest voice I was capable 
of, and had gone out.
5. I hadn't the shade of an idea, but at the time that didn't worry me in the least. You see, I 
had often been like that before and in the end things had always come my way--I didn't 
in the least know how or why. It had all been rather mysterious. You understand I didn't 
specialize in ghost stories, but more or less they seemed to specialize in me. A ghost 
story had been the first fiction I had written. Curious how that idea for a plot had come to 
me out of nowhere after I had chased inspiration in vain for months! Even now 
whenever Jenkins wanted a ghost, he called on me. And I had never found it healthy to 
contradict Jenkins. Jenkins always seemed to have an uncanny knowledge as to when 
1
the landlord or the grocer was pestering me, and he dunned me for a ghost. And 
2
somehow I'd always been able to dig one up for him, so I'd begun to get a bit cocky as 
to my ability.
6. So I went home and sat down before my desk and 
sucked at the end of my pencil and waited, but 
nothing happened. Pretty soon my mind began to 
wander off on other things, decidedly unghostly 
and material things, such as my wife's shopping 
and how on earth I was going to cure her of her 
alarming tendency to take every new fad that 
came along and work it to death. But I realized that 
would never get me any place, so I went back to 
staring at the ceiling.
7. "This writing business is delightful, isn't it?" I said 
sarcastically at last, out loud, too. You see, I had 
reached the stage of imbecility when I was talking 
to myself.
8. "Yes," said a voice at the other end of the room, "I should say it is!"
1. dunned : persistently ask for something that is overdue 
2. cocky : overconfident
CBSE
Fiction
36
9. I admit I jumped. Then I looked around.
10. It was twilight by this time and I had forgotten to turn on the lamp. The other end of the 
room was full of shadows and furniture. I sat staring at it and presently noticed 
something just taking shape. It was exactly like watching one of these moving picture 
cartoons being put together. First an arm came out, then a bit of sleeve of a stiff white 
3
shirtwaist , then a leg and a plaid skirt, until at last there she was complete,--whoever 
she was.
11. She was long and angular, with enormous fishy eyes behind big bone-rimmed 
spectacles, and her hair in a tight wad at the back of her head (yes, I seemed able to see 
right through her head) and a jaw--well, it looked so solid that for the moment I began to 
doubt my very own senses and believe she was real after all.
12. She came over and stood in front of me and glared--yes, positively glared down at me, 
although (to my knowledge) I had never laid eyes on the woman before, to say nothing 
of giving her cause to look at me like that.
13. I sat still, feeling pretty helpless I can tell you, and at last she barked: "What are you 
gaping at?"
14. I swallowed, though I hadn't been chewing anything.
15. "Nothing," I said. "Absolutely nothing. My dear lady, I was merely waiting for you to tell 
me why you had come. And excuse me, but do you always come in sections like this? I 
should think your parts might get mixed up sometimes."
16. "Didn't you send for me?" she crisped. 
17. Imagine how I felt at that!
18. "Why, no. I--I don't seem to remember----"
19. "Look here. Haven't you been calling on heaven and earth all afternoon to help you write 
a story?"
20. I nodded, and then a possible explanation occurred to me and my spine got cold. 
Suppose this was the ghost of a stenographer applying for a job! I had had an 
advertisement in the paper recently. I opened my mouth to explain that the position was 
filled, and permanently so, but she stopped me.
21. "And when I got back to the office from my last case and was ready for you, didn't you 
4
switch off to something else and sit there drivelling so I couldn't attract your attention 
until just now?"
22. "I--I'm very sorry, really."
3. shirtwaist : a woman's blouse shaped like a man's shirt 
4. drivelling : speak nonsense 
Page 5


CBSE
33
4 4
UNIT UNIT
Fiction
F.4     A Shady Plot
By Elsie Brown
1. Given below is a list of words related to ghosts and ghost stories with their 
jumbled up meanings against them. Match the words/expressions with their 
correct meanings: 
Apparition a feeling of anticipation of or anxiety over a future event
Poltergeist a reanimated corpse that is believed to rise from the grave at 
night to suck the blood of sleeping people
Clairvoyance a conjurer who expels evil spirits by conjuration
Crystal Ball a spelling board device intended to communicate with and 
through the spirit world, obtaining answers to questions
Eerie beyond the range of normal experience or scientific 
explanation
Medium any of a set of 22 playing cards bearing allegorical 
representations, used for fortune telling
Transmigration a supernatural appearance of a person or thing, a ghost, 
spectre or phantom
Psychic so mysterious, strange, or unexpected as to send a chill up 
the spine
Ouija Board the supposed power to see objects or events that cannot be 
perceived by the senses
Exorcist a person through whom the spirits of the dead are alleged to 
be able to contact the living
Premonition a globe of quartz crystal in which images, believed to portend 
the future, are supposedly visible to fortune tellers
CBSE
Fiction
34
Paranormal to pass into another body after death: going from one state of 
existence or place to another 
Tarot Card capable of extraordinary mental processes, such as 
extrasensory perception and mental telepathy
Vampire German word, meaning "noisy ghost"-a troublesome spirit 
that announces its presence with unexplainable sounds and 
the creation of disorder
2. The title of the story is A Shady Plot. The dictionary defines the words as:
shady adjective 
a. Full of shade; shaded.
b. Casting shade: a shady grove.
c. Quiet, dark, or concealed; hidden.
d. Of dubious character or of questionable honesty.
plot noun
 a. i) a small piece of ground, generally used for a specific purpose: a garden plot.
          ii) a measured area of land
b. a ground plan, as for a building; a diagram.
c. storyline- the plan, scheme, or main story of a literary or dramatic work, as a play, 
novel, or short story
d. a secret plan to accomplish a hostile or illegal purpose; a scheme.
Based on the definitions above can you predict what the story will be about? 
Make a brief note of your prediction in your notebook.
3. Read the story given below. Your teacher will use a variety of techniques for 
different parts of the story. For example:
Silent reading
One student reading aloud to the whole class
Students reading in small groups
Dramatised reading in small groups
•
•
•
•
CBSE
Fiction
35
A SHADY PLOT
1. So I sat down to write a ghost story.
2. Jenkins was responsible.
3. "Hallock," he had said to me, "give us another on the supernatural this time. Something 
to give 'em the horrors; that's what the public wants, and your ghosts are live 
propositions."
4. Well, I was in no position to contradict Jenkins, for, as yet, his magazine had been the 
only one to print my stuff. So I had said, "Precisely!" in the deepest voice I was capable 
of, and had gone out.
5. I hadn't the shade of an idea, but at the time that didn't worry me in the least. You see, I 
had often been like that before and in the end things had always come my way--I didn't 
in the least know how or why. It had all been rather mysterious. You understand I didn't 
specialize in ghost stories, but more or less they seemed to specialize in me. A ghost 
story had been the first fiction I had written. Curious how that idea for a plot had come to 
me out of nowhere after I had chased inspiration in vain for months! Even now 
whenever Jenkins wanted a ghost, he called on me. And I had never found it healthy to 
contradict Jenkins. Jenkins always seemed to have an uncanny knowledge as to when 
1
the landlord or the grocer was pestering me, and he dunned me for a ghost. And 
2
somehow I'd always been able to dig one up for him, so I'd begun to get a bit cocky as 
to my ability.
6. So I went home and sat down before my desk and 
sucked at the end of my pencil and waited, but 
nothing happened. Pretty soon my mind began to 
wander off on other things, decidedly unghostly 
and material things, such as my wife's shopping 
and how on earth I was going to cure her of her 
alarming tendency to take every new fad that 
came along and work it to death. But I realized that 
would never get me any place, so I went back to 
staring at the ceiling.
7. "This writing business is delightful, isn't it?" I said 
sarcastically at last, out loud, too. You see, I had 
reached the stage of imbecility when I was talking 
to myself.
8. "Yes," said a voice at the other end of the room, "I should say it is!"
1. dunned : persistently ask for something that is overdue 
2. cocky : overconfident
CBSE
Fiction
36
9. I admit I jumped. Then I looked around.
10. It was twilight by this time and I had forgotten to turn on the lamp. The other end of the 
room was full of shadows and furniture. I sat staring at it and presently noticed 
something just taking shape. It was exactly like watching one of these moving picture 
cartoons being put together. First an arm came out, then a bit of sleeve of a stiff white 
3
shirtwaist , then a leg and a plaid skirt, until at last there she was complete,--whoever 
she was.
11. She was long and angular, with enormous fishy eyes behind big bone-rimmed 
spectacles, and her hair in a tight wad at the back of her head (yes, I seemed able to see 
right through her head) and a jaw--well, it looked so solid that for the moment I began to 
doubt my very own senses and believe she was real after all.
12. She came over and stood in front of me and glared--yes, positively glared down at me, 
although (to my knowledge) I had never laid eyes on the woman before, to say nothing 
of giving her cause to look at me like that.
13. I sat still, feeling pretty helpless I can tell you, and at last she barked: "What are you 
gaping at?"
14. I swallowed, though I hadn't been chewing anything.
15. "Nothing," I said. "Absolutely nothing. My dear lady, I was merely waiting for you to tell 
me why you had come. And excuse me, but do you always come in sections like this? I 
should think your parts might get mixed up sometimes."
16. "Didn't you send for me?" she crisped. 
17. Imagine how I felt at that!
18. "Why, no. I--I don't seem to remember----"
19. "Look here. Haven't you been calling on heaven and earth all afternoon to help you write 
a story?"
20. I nodded, and then a possible explanation occurred to me and my spine got cold. 
Suppose this was the ghost of a stenographer applying for a job! I had had an 
advertisement in the paper recently. I opened my mouth to explain that the position was 
filled, and permanently so, but she stopped me.
21. "And when I got back to the office from my last case and was ready for you, didn't you 
4
switch off to something else and sit there drivelling so I couldn't attract your attention 
until just now?"
22. "I--I'm very sorry, really."
3. shirtwaist : a woman's blouse shaped like a man's shirt 
4. drivelling : speak nonsense 
CBSE
Fiction
37
23. "Well, you needn't be, because I just came to tell you to stop bothering us for 
assistance; you ain't going to get it. We're going on strike!"
24. "What!"
25. "You don't have to yell at me."
26. "I--I didn't mean to yell," I said humbly. "But I'm afraid I didn't quite understand you. You 
said you were----"
27. "Going on strike. Don't you know what a strike is? Not another plot do you get from us!"
28. I stared at her and wet my lips.
29. "Is--is that where they've been coming from?"
30. "Of course. Where else?"
31. "But my ghosts aren't a bit like you----"
5
32. "If they were, people wouldn't believe in them." She draped herself on the top of my 
desk among the pens and ink bottles and leaned towards me. 
33. "In the other life I used to write."
34. "You did!"
35. She nodded.
36. "But that has nothing to do with my present form. It might have, but I gave it up at last for 
that very reason, and went to work as a reader on a magazine." She sighed, and rubbed 
6
the end of her long eagle nose with a reminiscent finger. "Those were terrible days; 
the memory of them made me mistake purgatory for paradise, and at last when I 
attained my present state of being, I made up my mind that something should be done.
37. I found others who had suffered similarly, and between us we organized 'The Writer's 
Inspiration Bureau.' We scout around until we find a writer without ideas and with a mind 
soft enough to accept impression. The case is brought to the attention of the main 
office, and one of us assigned to it. When that case is finished we bring in a report."
38. "But I never saw you before----"
39. "And you wouldn't have this time if I hadn't come to announce the strike. Many a time 
I've leaned on your shoulder when you've thought you were thinking hard--" I groaned, 
and clutched my hair. The very idea of that horrible scarecrow so much as touching me! 
And wouldn't my wife be shocked! I shivered. "But," she continued, "that's at an end. 
We've been called out of our beds a little too often in recent years, and now we're 
through."
5. draped : sat in an indolent manner; lolled 
6. reminiscent : with one's mind full of memories
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