THE LEPER (Comprehension)


The grey light of early morning showed them a footpath wandering and seemed to look about; and then, at a slow pace, and bent among the gorse, upon which stood a white figure. It paused a little almost double, it began to draw near across the heath. At every step the bell clanked. Face it had none; a white hood, not even pierced with eye-holes, veiled the head; and as the creature moved it seemed to feel its way with the tapping of a stick. Fear fell upon the lads, as cold as death.

"A leper!" said Dick hoarsely.

"His touch is death," said Matcham. "Let us run."

"Not so," returned Dick. "See! He is stone-blind. He guides him- self with a staff. Let us lie still; the wind blows towards the path, and he will go by and not hurt us."

The blind leper was now about half-way towards them, and just then the sun rose and shone full on his veiled face. The dismal beating of the bell which he carried, the pattering of the stick, and the eyeless screen before his countenance filled the lads with dismay; and at every step that brought him nearer their strength and courage seemed to desert them. At last he came level with the pit, where he paused and turned his face full upon the lads for some seconds; then he began to move on again, and after crossing the remainder of the little heath disappeared into the woods.

(The Black Arrow-Robert Louis Stevenson)

1. At what time of day did this incident take place?

Ans: This incident took place at the time of early morning, as indicated by "The grey light of early morning showed them."

2. What grew on either side of the footpath?

Ans: Gorse grew on either side of the footpath.

3. What covered the head of the leper?

Ans: The head of the leper was covered by a white hood.

4. Why was this covering not even pierced with eye-holes?

Ans: The covering was not pierced with eye-holes because the leper was described as having no face, so there was no need for eye-holes.

5. How did the leper give warning of his approach?

Ans: The leper gave warning of his approach through the clanking of a bell that he carried.

6. How did he feel his way along the path?

Ans: The leper felt his way along the path with the tapping of a stick.

7. Why did Matcham want to run away?

Ans: Matcham wanted to run away because he was afraid of the leper's touch, believing it to be deadly.

8. Why did Dick consider this unnecessary?

Ans: Dick considered running unnecessary because he noticed that the leper was stone-blind and guided himself with a staff, indicating that he was unlikely to be a threat.

9. What did the leper do as he drew level with the pit?

Ans: As he drew level with the pit, the leper paused and turned his face full upon the lads for some seconds.

10. Where did the leper go after crossing the little heath?

Ans: After crossing the little heath, the leper disappeared into the woods.