This short story is a poignant account of a daughter who goes in search of her mother’s belongings after the War, in Holland. When she finds them, the objects evoke memories of her earlier life. However, she decides to leave them all behind and resolves to move on.
‘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.’
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. 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. 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. 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.
‘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.
‘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.’
She nodded and cautiously closed the door as though no one inside the house should be disturbed.
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.’ 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.
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. 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. 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. She had suddenly turned up and renewed their contact. Since then she had come regularly.
1. ‘Have you come back?’ said the woman. ‘I thought that no one had come back.’ Does this statement give some clue about the story? If yes, what is it?
2. The story is divided into pre-War and post-War times. What hardships do you think the girl underwent during these times?
3. Why did the narrator of the story want to forget the address?
4. ‘The Address’ is a story of human predicament that follows war. Comment.
Please refer to attached file for NCERT Class 11 English The Address