Back to: CBSE Class 12th English Summary
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Refuge From This World
The narrator (Charley) claimed that he had been to the third level of the Grand Central Station, but there were only two. He told his psychiatrist friend about the third level, but his friend disagreed.
The psychiatrist told Charley that there was no third level and that he only wanted to escape the fear, insecurities, and worries of the modern world. Charley disagreed, but the psychiatrist labeled the narrator’s hobby of stamp collection as a temporary refuge from this insecure world.
The Invisible Level
One day, while Charley came from the office late, he decided to take Grand Central’s subway. He wanted to get home fast to Louisa (his wife). Earlier in his life, Charley had forgotten the route to his destination multiple times.
While going home, he entered a corridor that was angling left and then slanting downward. However, Charley kept going. He ended up on the third level of Grand Central Station. For one moment, Charley thought that he was on the second level.
However, as he observed, the rooms were smaller, and the information booth was wooden and old-looking. The lights were old-school. Everybody had dressed like people used to in the eighteenth century.
To make sure, he went to the newsboy and checked out the newspaper. The paper was The World, and the date on that newspaper was June 11, 1894. He decided to buy some tickets so that he and his wife would travel to Galesburg.
When he was about to pay the fare for the tickets, the man at the ticket counter refused to take that currency as he demanded old currency notes, which Charley did not have. Charley got out fast from there.
The next day, Charley withdrew three hundred dollars from his bank account and traded them for old currency notes. He could only get two hundred dollars in old currency notes, but he was not worried as things were cheap in the good old days.
Charley was unable to find the third corridor. He went home and started to collect stamps again. His friend Sam Weiner had gone missing, and nobody knew where he was.
A Blast From the Past
While checking his collection of stamps, he found a letter from Sam. In the letter, Sam had written that he was at Galesburg and it was a very exciting place.
Sam went on to the stamp shop and found that Sam bought old currency notes worth eight hundred dollars. Charley knew that he was in Galesburg but was sure that Sam would not start his old business because Sam was his psychiatrist friend.