... ... ...

The Third Level

by Jack Finney

Introduction to Chapter

Have you come across such an incident that others find it hard to believe? Does it happen that you wanted to go somewhere else but by mistake in a confusion you turn somewhere else and then you realise that you are on a wrong way? This is, what is happening these days with us. We, most of the time, now a days, at the present world, are full of insecurity, fear, anxiety. We live in unconscious mind. This is what this lesson is all about. As the name suggests, it is combination of fantasy and reality. In this lesson, first and second levels are very much reality and third level is fantasy. This is the subject; Jack Finney has mastered. Time Travel is main subject for him. Here, protagonist Charlie has a desire to live in the past. He wants to avoid the complexities of the present by travelling in 1894 at Galesburg. This story is a blend of fiction and reality. It also expresses man’s desire to escape from the realities of life.

See Video for Explanation and Summary of the Chapter

Summary In English

The narrator Charley is not ready to accept that there are only two levels at Grand Central Station as the president is saying. They all are saying that only two are there. But Charley is adamant that there is third level and he had been there. His psychiatrist friend is denying him by saying that it is his waking-dream wish fulfilment. His other friends also say that he is not happy with his present, he wants an escape from present time, he wants to go in the past at third level. At this, he says that everybody in this world wants an escape but why third level is visible to him only, why not to others. All are worried, feared. His friends relate this with his work, stamp collecting, that's why he wants a temporary refuge from reality but Charley here points out that his grandfather started this stamp collecting but he never been to third level. He further says that President Roosevelt used to collect stamps but he was happy in his present, he never wished to go to past. Charley starts by telling the actual story of his that one day he was in a hurry and he had to go to his wife Louisa. He decided to go to second level where subway trains can be caught for home to go quickly than the time taken by buses. When he was going from second level and he was in a confusion why it was happening with him. He is just thirty-one years and he saw people there very much like him and no one was different from him, he did not run away of anyone. He went to first level. Whenever he passed through any corridor, he lost control of his mind. He accepts that he was ordinary but passing through corridors and tunnels had always remained a problem with him. He gives two examples. Once he went to a hotel and another example, he gives that once he went to wrong corridor, he entered forty-sixth floor of a hotel. He was going through corridors, angling in slanting. He knew that he was going wrong but he kept going on, he turned to left and all of a sudden, he found himself in a hollow space. He saw there was the third level. He could see railway station. He felt as if he was once again at second level but he felt that it was not second level because there was totally different atmosphere. Small rooms, scene, images, all were totally different. Ticket counters were few and information booth was wooden one. Lights were flickering very much like nineteenth century. Brass spittoons were kept there. He found a man having a watch noticing the time and putting it back into his vest pocket. People were wearing old fashioned dresses. People had moustache, long beard and sideburns. He had never seen such people ever in his life. He took notice of one thing that locomotive was funnel shaped. Its smoke was making clothes of all the people dirty. Jack Finney here paints a beautiful picture of hundred year back story, he is master of time travel. Charley wants to confirm that he was in the past. He


goes to a boy who was selling a newspaper “The World”. Charlie goes there and sees the headlines. That newspaper was not being published in the present. He decided to go to ticket window as he wanted to buy two tickets for Louisa and himself. He wanted tickets so that they could go anywhere to visit US. He confirmed the fare. He counted the currency and when he was about to give to clerk. Clerk refused to accept by saying that it was fake currency. He would be handed over to the police. Charley had a glance in the drawer. He saw that the size of the old currency notes, was doubled of the modern-day currency notes. He was afraid of being arrested and going to jail and he knew that 1894 jails were worst thing in the world. He rushed towards the second level. Once again, he was back in the present time. Charley himself had studied in the college at Galesburg. He was impressed by Galesburg beauty. He wanted that he should go to hundred years back in Galesburg. He says that Galesburg had big farm houses, people stay there. Women and men used to sit there in lawns in the evening. Men enjoying cigars and ladies enjoying palm leaf fans sitting in the lawns talking silently can be seen. Branches of trees covered both sides of the


road which look beautiful. Peace, quietness is there in the Galesburg. Charley wanted to be there. He wanted to buy two tickets to go there and so he wanted to live there. He remembered that 1894 was twenty years away from world war I and forty years away from world war II in future. Jack Finney here says that whatever we think in the day, we think of that at night in our dreams. This is consciousness of mind. Charlie was unhappy with his present. He wanted to go to past. There was quite nice. There was peace. No sign of fear, anxiety, worry was there. When he was back to his wife Louisa, he decided that he would withdraw all his life saving from bank and he would buy old currency notes so that he can buy tickets for Galesburg. He can go with his wife but unfortunately, he could not see the third level again. He was disappointed. Louisa was worried on Charley’s condition. She told him to forget all that. Now a curious thing happened. Sam, his friend disappeared. Charley kept himself busy in his stamp collecting. One day, while fussing with his work, he found a “first day cover”. When a stamp is issued, stamp collectors buy the first ticket. They paste it on an envelope, post it to themselves putting a blank slip in it. Postmaster stamps it on the same date and they keep it with them. It is a record that they use the stamp first time. This is called “first day cover”. When he saw that first day cover, he was surprised to see because it was sent on his own address which was written on first day cover. It should not have been there. But it was there. 18 July 1894 date was mentioned on that envelope. It was from Galesburg. It was addressed to Charley and was written by Sam. In the letter Sam was telling them that Charlie and Louisa should come. Reading that letter, Charley remembered that once Charley had told Sam about Galesburg. Description was given to him. Sam was impressed by that description. Perhaps due to this Sam also wanted to go away from present day, where insecurity and tensions are. Charley was surprised to read that same Sam was calling him to be a day-dreamer but he himself is now accepts this that there is the third level and he is inviting him to be there to join him at the third level. Sam himself was in insecurity, fear, worry despite being psychiatrist, he was suffering from all that. When Charley checked the authenticity of the letter, he found that Sam had withdrawn $800 from all his bank accounts and converted into old currency notes so that he can go to 1894 Galesburg and he can start hay, feed and grains business. He wrote that he had started and it was nice there. Charley took it as an evidence that people were not believing him, now they will believe him that there is the third level. Sam himself was not happy with the present world, he was of the view that if he goes to 1894 Galesburg, he can start hay and feed business. Because psychiatrist was not a good business at that time in 1894. In modern day, it can be. At last, Charley revealed secret that Sam was his psychiatrist friend. Story tells that not only ordinary people like Charley, even psychiatrist like Sam is also looking for escape from harsh reality of present time. Jack Finney has proved his mastery over the subject, time travel.

Summary In Hindi

वर्णनकर्ता चार्ली यह मानने को तैयार नहीं है कि ग्रैंड सेंट्रल स्टेशन पर थर्ड लेवल नहीं है जैसा कि उसे सभी समझाने का प्रयास कर रहे हैं यह कहकर कि यहां पर सिर्फ दो ही लेवल है। लेकिन चार्ली अडिग है कि नहीं थर्ड लेवल है और वह वहां पर जाकर भी आया है।


उसका मनोवैज्ञानिक दोस्त भी मना करता है कि तुम दिन में स्वपन देख रहे हो और यह चाह रहे हो कि वह पूरा हो। उसके दूसरे मित्र भी उसे समझाते हैं कि वर्तमान समय में तुम खुश नहीं हो और वर्तमान से भागना चाह रहे हो, तुम्हें भूतकाल में जाना उचित लग रहा है इसलिए तुम थर्ड लेवल की बात कर रहे हो। वह कहता है कि आज के समय में चिंतित तो सभी हैं तो थर्ड लेवल सिर्फ उसे ही क्यों दिखाई देता है, दूसरों को क्यों नहीं। साथ ही उसके मित्र उसके कार्य स्टेंप कलेक्टिंग को भी वजह मानते हैं कि आप वास्तविकता से दूर भागना चाहते हो इसलिए थर्ड लेवल की बात करते हो। चार्ली यहां पर भी तर्क देता है कि उसके दादा ने यह स्टेंप कलेक्टिंग का कार्य शुरू किया था उन्हें तो कभी थर्ड लेवल पर जाने की जरूरत नहीं हुई और राष्ट्रपति रूजवेल्ट भी स्टांप इकट्ठा किया करते थे वह तो वर्तमान में ही खुश रहते थे उन्होंने तो कभी भूतकाल में जाने की नहीं सोची। चार्ली अपनी कहानी शुरू करता है कि एक दिन उसके साथ क्या हुआ, जो कि थर्ड लेवल के बारे में है। उसे दफ्तर से अपने घर जाने में जल्दी है क्योंकि वह पहले ही देरी से है। वह निर्णय लेता है कि वह दूसरे तल पर जाएगा, जहां से भूमिगत रेल सेवा शहर के लिए चलती है और वह बस से लिए जाने वाले समय से कम समय लेती है। जब वह द्वितीय तल से जा रहा होता है अपने बारे में कन्फ्यूजन में होता है कि मैं भी तो 31 साल का युवक ही हूं, अन्य व्यक्तियों की तरह हूं। मैं देख रहा हूं औरों को भी द्वितीय तल पर। यह सब मेरे जैसे ही हैं। पहले वह पहली मंजिल पर जाता है और कॉरिडोर में प्रवेश करता है। उसकी यह हमेशा से ही समस्या रही है कि जब वह कॉरिडोर में जाता है तो दिमाग पर नियंत्रण नहीं रहता है। वह दो उदाहरण भी देता है कि कैसे एक बार वह इस तरह से कॉरिडोर में चलते-चलते एक होटल में पहुंच गया था और दूसरी बार वह एक और होटल के 46वीं मंजिल पर पहुंच गया था। वह चलता जा रहा है द्वितीय तल पर जो कि मुड़ रहा है। उसे प्रतीत होता है कि वह गलत जा रहा है लेकिन फिर भी वह चलता रहता है। रास्ता बाएं मुड़ता है, तभी अचानक अपने आप को वह खुले स्थान पर आता है। वह देखता है कि यह तो कोई तीसरा तल है। वहां पर उसे रेलवे स्टेशन दिखाई देता है। उसे प्रतीत होता है कि यह दूसरा तल है। लेकिन वह देखता है कि यहां तो सब कुछ बदला बदला है। कमरे भी छोटे छोटे हैं। दृश्य भी भिन्न हैं। टिकट काउंटर भी थोड़े से हैं। सूचना कक्ष भी लकड़ी का बना हुआ है जो पुराने ढंग से बना है। वहां पर प्रकाश भी 19वीं सदी की तरह टिमटिमा रहा है । वहां पर थूकदान रखे हुए हैं जो ब्रास के बने हैं। वह देखता है कि एक आदमी अपने अस्तन में से घड़ी निकालता है, समय देखता है और वापस उसको अपने अस्तन में डालता है। वह देखता है कि लोग पुराने तरह के वस्त्र पहने हुए हैं, लंबी-लंबी मूछें हैं, लंबी दाढ़ी है और दोनों तरफ कान के नीचे कलमें हैं। ऐसे लोग उसने जिंदगी में पहले कभी नहीं देखे थे। एक और बात वह जो नोटिस करता है इंजन के बारे में जो कि त्रिकोण आकार का होता है और उसके धुएँ से सभी लोगों के कपड़े खराब हो रहे होते हैं। यहां पर जैक फीने एक सुंदर तस्वीर प्रस्तुत करता है, जिसकी उसे टाइम ट्रेवल में महारत हासिल है। चार्ली सोचता है कि मैं पास्ट में आ गया हूं। वह इसे कंफर्म करना चाहता है। वह अखबार बेचने वाले लड़के के पास जाता है। वह देखता है कि द वर्ल्ड नामक अखबार बेचा जा रहा है जो आजकल छपता भी नहीं है। दूसरा वह टिकट विंडो पर जाकर दो टिकटें लूसा और अपने लिए खरीदना चाहता है ताकि वह अमेरिका में किसी स्थान पर घूमने जा सके। वह भाड़े के बारे में पूछता है और जब वह मुद्रा को गिन रहा होता है क्लर्क अपना सिर हिलाता है कि यह नकली नोट है। आपको पुलिस के हवाले किया जाएगा। चार्ली एक नजर दराज में पड़े हुए नोटों की ओर देखता है कि वह वर्तमान की मुद्रा से लगभग दौगुना बड़े हैं। उसे डर लगता है कि कहीं उसे गिरफ्तार न कर लिया जाए क्योंकि उसे याद आता है कि 1894 की जेलें संसार की सबसे बुरी चीज होती है। वह बचने के लिए वहां से भाग खड़ा होता है और द्वितीय तल पर आ जाता है। एक बार फिर वह वर्तमान में आ जाता है। चार्ली गैल्सबर्ग में महाविद्यालय में पढ़ा होता है। वह गेल्सबर्ग के सौंदर्य से बहुत प्रभावित होता है। उसे याद आते हैं गेल्सबर्ग के बड़े-बड़े घर, लोग उन में रहते हैं। महिलाएं व पुरुष लोन में बैठकर शाम को पुरुष सिगार पीते हैं और महिलाएं पंखों से हवा करती हुई बाहर लोन में धीमे धीमे स्वर में बातें करती है। गेल्सबर्ग में पेड़ की शाखाएं सड़क के दोनों ओर से सड़क को पूरा ढके रखती हैं। बहुत सुंदर प्रतीत होता है। वह वहां जाना चाहता है। इसलिए वहां के लिए टिकट खरीदना चाहता था। उसे याद आता है कि कैसे अभी पहला विश्व युद्ध 20 साल दूर है और द्वितीय विश्व युद्ध की 40 वर्ष दूर है जैक फिनी यह कहते हैं। जो भी हम दिन में सोचते हैं रात को उन्हीं के हमें सपने आते हैं। यह हमारा Consciousness of mind है। चार्ली वर्तमान में खुश नहीं था। वह भूतकाल में जाना चाहता था। जहां पर सब अच्छा है, शांति है। वहां चिंता, एंग्जाइटी बिल्कुल भी नहीं है। वह अपनी पत्नी के साथ वहां जाकर जीवन बिताना चाहता है। इसलिए वह बैंक से अपनी सारी बचत की पूंजी निकलवा कर पुरानी मुद्रा को खरीदने का फैसला करता है कि वह अपनी पत्नी के लिए टिकट खरीद कर जा सके। परंतु दुर्भाग्य से उसे कभी भी थर्ड लेवल प्राप्त नहीं होता है। दोबारा दिखाई नहीं देता है। वह निराश है। लूसा को चार्ली की इस हालत पर चिंता है। तभी एक घटना घटती है चार्ली का मित्र सैम गायब हो जाता है। चार्ली अपने आपको उस स्टांप कलेक्टिंग में व्यस्त कर लेता है।


एक दिन उसे एक फर्स्ट डे कवर प्राप्त होता है। फर्स्ट डे कवर क्या होता है कि जब कोई स्टैंप छपती है तो मुद्रा एकत्रण करने वाले चाहते हैं कि सबसे पहले स्टैंप को जिस लिफाफे पर लगाया जाए। वह पोस्ट होकर उनके पास आए और उस पर पोस्ट मास्टर की मुहर भी लगी होती है। वे उसे अपने पास रखते हैं तो इसलिए वे स्टैंप को सबसे पहले खरीद कर एक लिफाफे पर लगा देते हैं और लिफाफे में खाली स्लिप डाल देते हैं। पोस्टमास्टर उसको स्टंप लगाता है और उसकी तिथि भी उस पर आ जाती है। फिर वह रिकॉर्ड के रूप में उसे अपने पास रखते हैं कि यह स्टांप जिस टाइम छपी सबसे पहले हमारे पास चिट्ठी आई। जब चार्ली ने वह फर्स्ट डे कवर देखा वह हैरान हुआ कि उस पर उसका पता लिखा हुआ है जो कि वहां नहीं होना चाहिए था लेकिन वह फर्स्ट डे कवर वहां था। उस लिफाफे पर 18 जुलाई 1894 लिखा हुआ था और यह गेल्सबर्ग से था।


यह चार्ली को लिखा गया था और लिखने वाले थे सैम। चार्ली और लूसा को गैल्सबर्ग आने के लिए आमंत्रित करते हैं। उस पत्र को पढ़कर चार्ली सोचता हैं कि कभी तो सैम उसे दिवास्वप्न बारे कहता था। उस पत्र को पढ़कर चार्ली याद करता है कि कैसे उसने सैम को गेल्सबर्ग के बारे में बताया था और वह गेल्सबर्ग के बारे में सुनकर बहुत प्रभावित हुआ था। शायद इसी कारण से सैम भी चार्ली की तरह वर्तमान से दूर भागना चाहता था। क्योंकि वर्तमान में असुरक्षा है, चिंता है। चार्ली यह पढ़कर हैरान होता है कि जो सैम उसे दिवास्वप्न कहता था आज वह खुद मान रहा है कि थर्ड लेवल है। और वह गैल्सबर्ग आने के लिए टिकट लो, प्रयास जारी रखो। वह अर्थ निकलता है कि सैम स्वयं असुरक्षा, भय, चिंता से ग्रस्त था। मनोवैज्ञानिक होते हुए भी वह खुद पीड़ित था। जब चार्ली इस पत्र की वैधता को जांचना चाहता है वह पाता है कि सैम ने $800 अपने बैंक के खाते से निकाले हैं और ओल्ड करेंसी नोट में परिवर्तित किए हैं ताकि वह गैल्सबर्ग में 1894 में जाकर अनाज का व्यापार शुरू कर सके। उसने लिखा कि उसने ऐसा कर भी दिया है। चार्ली इस पत्र को एक सबूत के तौर पर रख लेता है कि पहले लोग उसका विश्वास नहीं करते थे अब करेंगे कि थर्ड लेवल है। सैम स्वयं वर्तमान से खुश नहीं था उसका मानना था कि वह गैल्सबर्ग जाए और अनाज का व्यापार शुरू करें क्योंकि 1894 के गेल्स वर्ग में मनोविज्ञान का कार्य ज्यादा अच्छा नहीं था जितना कि आज है। अंत में चार्ली यह रहस्य उद्घाटित करता है कि सैम ही उसका साइकैटरिस्ट दोस्त है। कहानी हमें बताती है कि ना केवल आम आदमी, मनोवैज्ञानिक भी आज की विषम वास्तविकता, कड़वी वास्तविकता जो वर्तमान समय की है, उससे भागना चाहते हैं। जैक फिनी ने इस कहानी के माध्यम से टाइम ट्रेवल विषय पर अपनी पकड़ का परिचय दिया है।

Lesson is explained fully here on YouTube:

Full Explanation with Word Meanings

Have you ever had any curious experience which others find hard to believe? The presidents of the New York Central and the New York, New Haven and Hartford railroads will swear on a v stack of timetables that there are only two. But I say there are three, because I’ve been on the third level of the Grand Central Station. Yes, I’ve taken the obvious step: I talked to a psychiatrist friend of mine, among others. I told him about the third level at Grand Central Station, and he said it was a waking-dream wish fulfilment. He said I am unhappy. That made my wife kind of mad, but he explained that he meant the modern world is full of insecurity, fear, war, worry and all the rest of it, and that I just want to escape. Well, who doesn’t? Everybody I know wants to escape, but they don’t wander down into any third level at Grand Central Station.

  • Swear-oath
  • Stack-pile, heap
  • Obvious-apparent
  • Psychiatrist-mental problems expert, Psychologist
  • Waking-dream -day dreaming
  • Insecurity-lack of protection
  • Wander-to roam
  • Lesson starts when Charlie arguing with the New York Grand Central Station authorities that there is third level to which they denied that there are only two. However, Charlie claims that he had been to the third level of Grand Central Station. Later, he talks with his psychiatrist friend even he agreed that there are only two and it was due to his escape from this modern world which is full of insecurity, feal, war, worries and anxieties that we want an escape from all this. That's why he wants to go to any such place for peace. To this, Charlie replies that who is there who does not want all this but why only him, wander down the third level, why not anyone else?

    But that’s the reason, he said, and my friends all agreed. Everything points to it, they claimed. My stamp collecting, for example; that’s a ‘temporary refuge from reality.’ Well, maybe, but my grandfather didn’t need any refuge from reality; things were pretty nice and peaceful in his day, from all I hear, and he started my collection. It’s a nice collection too, blocks of four of practically every U.S. issue, first-day covers, and so on. President Roosevelt collected stamps too, you know.

  • Points- indicates
  • Claimed-asserted
  • Refuge-shelter
  • Blocks-solid piece
  • Issue-giving out
  • In this passage, Charlie once again is counting the reasons being given to him by his psychiatrist friend that stamp collecting is the reason that he needs a temporary refuge from reality to which Charlie replies by saying that his grandfather started collecting stamps but he never felt like that. He gives example of President Roosevelt, that he also collected stamps but he had never been to third level, then why him, only him?

    Anyway, here’s what happened at Grand Central. One-night last summer I worked late at the office. I was in a hurry to get uptown to my apartment so I decided to take the subway from Grand Central because it’s faster than the bus. Now, I don’t know why this should have happened to me. I’m just an ordinary guy named Charley, thirty-one years old, and I was wearing a tan gabardine suit and a straw hat with a fancy band; I passed a dozen men who looked just like me. And I wasn’t trying to escape from anything; I just wanted to get home to Louisa, my wife. I turned into Grand Central from Vanderbilt Avenue, and went down the steps to the first level, where you take trains like the Twentieth Century. Then I walked down another flight to the second level, where the suburban trains leave from, ducked into an arched doorway heading for the subway — and got lost. That’s easy to do. I’ve been in and out of Grand Central hundreds of times, but I’m always bumping into new doorways and stairs and corridors. Once I got into a tunnel about a mile long and came out in the lobby of the Roosevelt Hotel. Another time I came up in an office building on Forty-sixth Street, three blocks away.

  • Uptown-residential area
  • Apartment-flat
  • Subway-underground way
  • Guy-fellow/man
  • Tan-yellowish brown
  • Gabardine-a cloth
  • Fancy-fashionable
  • Band-strip
  • Flight-stairs between two landings
  • Ducked-dived
  • Arched-curved
  • Bumping into-coming across unexpectedly
  • Lobby-waiting hall
  • In these passages, Charlie who is 31 years old, wearing tan gabardine, gives detail about his wearing as he is walking towards the railway platform where he finds dozen men and he was not trying to escape from anything and he is remembering that curious incident, what happened with him that one day he was already late from the office and he decides to take the subway from Grand Central Station being faster than the buses. He remembers he was turning towards grand station, he was going down to the first level where people can have Twentieth Century train, after that going down, it was second level where sub-urban trains can be caught. He remembers that he most often gets lost in confusion of subways. He remembers how once a mile long tunnel he was going through and when he came out into the lobby of Roosevelt hotel and another example, he remembers that he came up in an office building of 46 Street three blocks away.

    Sometimes I think Grand Central is growing like a tree, pushing out new corridors and staircases like roots. There’s probably a long tunnel that nobody knows about feeling its way under the city right now, on its way to Times Square, and maybe another to Central Park. And maybe—because for so many people through the years Grand Central has been an exit, a way of escape—maybe that’s how the tunnel I got into...... But I never told my psychiatrist friend about that idea. The corridor I was in began angling left and slanting downward and I thought that was wrong, but I kept on walking. All I could hear was the empty sound of my own footsteps and I didn’t pass a soul. Then I heard that sort of hollow roar ahead that means open space and people talking. The tunnel turned sharp left; I went down a short flight of stairs and came out on the third level at Grand Central Station. For just a moment I thought I was back on the second level, but I saw the room was smaller, there were fewer ticket windows and train gates, and the information booth in the centre was of wood and old-looking. And the man in the booth wore a green eyeshade and long black sleeve protectors. The lights were dim and sort of flickering. Then I saw why: they were open-flame gaslights. There were brass spittoons on the floor, and across the station a glint of light caught my eye; a man was pulling a gold watch from his vest pocket. He snapped open the cover, glanced at his watch and frowned. He wore a derby hat, a black four-button suit with tiny lapels, and he had a big, black, handlebar moustache. Then I looked around and saw that everyone in the station was dressed like eighteen-ninety-something; I never saw so many beards, sideburns and fancy moustaches in my life. A woman walked in through the train gate; she wore a dress with leg-of-mutton sleeves and skirts to the top of her high-buttoned shoes. Back of her, out on the tracks, I caught a glimpse of a locomotive, a very small Currier Ives locomotive with a funnel-shaped stack. And then I knew.

  • Pushing out-spreading
  • Exit-outlet
  • Corridor-passage to a building
  • Angling-turning
  • Slanting-sloping
  • Ahead-in front
  • Booth-stall
  • Flickering-waving
  • Spittoons-vessel to spit into
  • Glint-flash
  • Vest-waist coat
  • Lapels-front coat collars
  • Sideburns-whiskers on either side of face
  • Tracks-railway line
  • Locomotive-railway engine
  • Stack-chimney
  • In these passages, Charlie remembers that those tunnels and staircases of Grand station is growing like a tree and there might be a long tunnel that nobody even knows about and he remembers here his experience of the third level. He tells that once going towards the Grand station he aligned left and he was going slanting downwards. He was in a perplexity but he kept walking on and he could hear sound of his footsteps and then the tunnel had a sharp left turn where a short flight of stairs was there at the Grand Central Station. He starts thinking that he was back at the second level but he finds himself in a totally different atmosphere where we could see rooms were smaller and there were few ticket windows and train gates were like they used to be in railway stations in the past. An information booth was made of wood and it was an old fashioned one. He sees a man there who was wearing a green eye shade and black silky protectors. He observes that lights were flickering. He sees gaslights there and brass items were kept on the floor. He was in a surprise finding all these things there. Charlie looks around and finds everyone there was in 1890 dresses. They were all having long beards, sideburns, fancy moustache. He sees a woman who was walking wearing a leg-of-mutton sleeves and skirts. He observes locomotive there which was of a funnel shaped. This way, he finds totally different atmosphere at the third level. He was in a perplexation.

    To make sure, I walked over to a newsboy and glanced at the stack of papers at his feet. It was ‘The World’ and ‘The World’ hasn’t been published for years. The lead story said something about President Cleveland. I’ve found that front page since, in the Public Library files, and it was printed June 11, 1894. I turned toward the ticket windows knowing that here — on the third level at Grand Central — I could buy tickets that would take Louisa and me anywhere in the United States we wanted to go. In the year 1894. And I wanted two tickets to Galesburg, Illinois. Have you ever been there? It’s a wonderful town still, with big old frame houses, huge lawns, and tremendous trees whose branches meet overhead and roof the streets. And in 1894, summer evenings were twice as long, and people sat out on their lawns, the men smoking cigars and talking quietly, the women waving palm-leaf fans, with the fire-flies all around, in a peaceful world. To be back there with the First World War still twenty years off, and World War II over forty years in the future.... I wanted two tickets for that. The clerk figured the fare — he glanced at my fancy hatband, but he figured the fare – and I had enough for two coach tickets, one way. But when I counted out the money and looked up, the clerk was staring at me. He nodded at the bills. “That isn’t money, mister,” he said, “and if you’re trying to skin me, you won’t get very far,” and he glanced at the cash drawer beside him. Of course, the money was old-style bills, half again as big as the money we use nowadays, and different-looking. I turned away and got out fast. There’s nothing nice about jail, even in 1894.

  • Glanced-looked at
  • Staring-looking intently
  • Lead story-main news
  • Huge-big
  • Tremendous-big
  • Fire-flies-glow worms
  • Figured-calculated
  • Fare-cost of conveyance
  • Nodded-swung head lightly
  • Bills-currency notes
  • Skin-to cheat
  • Get very far-escape
  • Charlie is perplexed as he finds himself in a totally different world. He tries to make it sure. He wants to make it confirm to be true that he is at the third level. He goes to a boy who was selling newspaper. He sees that he was selling “The World” which is not published these days. Second, he wants to confirm it by going to ticket window. He wants to buy two tickets where he and Louisa can go anywhere in the United States and the place, he wants to go is Galesburg of 1894 era. Charlie talks about how beautiful place that was. Galesburg was away from worries, fear of the modern world. He says that it was a wonderful town with big old frame house. People used to sit in their lawns. Men smoking cigars and women talking and waving Palm leaf fans. One could see fireflies everywhere. So, he paints a picture of peaceful world which is away from fear, worries, anxieties, tension of modern-day world. He remembers the time 1894 from first world war was still 20 years and the World War two over forty years in the future. He says that he wants to buy two tickets for Louisa and himself. So, he goes to the clerk asking the fare as he wanted two tickets. When he counts the notes, clerk nodes that these are fake currency notes and that if he is trying to befool him, he will be handed over to the police because these notes are different one. When Charlie got a chance to look into the drawer, he sees old-style bills those were big in size and on the threatening of clerk of handing over Charlie to the police. He rushes from that place because he knew that in 1894 jails were the worst place.

    And that was that. I left the same way I came; I suppose. Next day, during lunch hour, I drew three hundred dollars out of the bank, nearly all we had, and bought old-style currency (that really worried my psychiatrist friend). You can buy old money at almost any coin dealer’s, but you have to pay a premium. My three hundred dollars bought less than two hundred in old-style bills, but I didn’t care; eggs were thirteen cents a dozen in 1894. But I’ve never again found the corridor that leads to the third level at Grand Central Station, although I’ve tried often enough. Louisa was pretty worried when I told her all this, and didn’t want me to look for the third level any more, and after a while I stopped; I went back to my stamps. But now we’re both looking, every weekend, because now we have proof that the third level is still there. My friend Sam Weiner disappeared! Nobody knew where, but I sort of suspected because Sam’s a city boy, and I used to tell him about Galesburg—I went to school there—and he always said he liked the sound of the place. And that’s where he is, all right. In 1894.

  • Premium-sum paid in addition
  • Cents-one hundredth part of a dollar
  • Pretty-very much
  • Disappeared-vanished
  • Suspected-doubted
  • Next day, he decides to buy old style currency notes on a premium and thus he buys two hundred dollars of old currency bills for three hundred old currency notes. It was nothing for him because at that time, everything was available at cheaper prices. He gives example of eggs which were available for thirteen cents a dozen in 1894. But he feels sorry that he could not find that corridor ever again at Grand Central Station. Louisa was worried that Charlie sees the third level. She wants that he should stop talking about the third level. Charlie decides to do so and he goes back to his stamp collecting. Now a mysterious thing happens, his friend Sam Weiner disappears. He knows that he is in Galesburg as he liked the place very much as Charlie had discussed with him that Charlie was at school at Galesburg in 1894.

    Because one night, fussing with my stamp collection, I found—Well, do you know what a first-day cover is? When a new stamp is issued, stamp collectors buy some and use them to mail envelopes to themselves on the very first day of sale; and the postmark proves the date. The envelope is called a first-day cover. They’re never opened; you just put blank paper in the envelope. That night, among my oldest first-day covers, I found one that shouldn’t have been there. But there it was. It was there because someone had mailed it to my grandfather at his home in Galesburg; that’s what the address on the envelope said. And it had been there since July 18, 1894—the postmark showed that—yet I didn’t remember it at all. The stamp was a six-cent, dull brown, with a picture of President Garfield. Naturally, when the envelope came to Granddad in the mail, it went right into his collection and stayed there—till I took it out and opened it.


    941 Willard Street Galesburg,Illinois
    July 18,1894

    Charley, I got to wishing that you were right. Then I got to believing you were right. And, Charley, it’s true; I found the third level! I’ve been here two weeks, and right now, down the street at the Daly’s someone is playing a piano, and they’re all out on the front porch singing ‘Seeing Nelly Home.’ And I’m invited over for lemonade. Come on back, Charley and Louisa. Keep looking till you find the third level! It’s worth it, believe me!
    The note is signed Sam.
    At the stamp and coin store I go to, I found out that Sam bought eight hundred dollars’ worth of old-style currency. That ought to set him up in a nice little hay, feed and grain business; he always said that’s what he really wished he could do, and he certainly can’t go back to his old business. Not in Galesburg, Illinois, in 1894. His old business? Why, Sam was my psychiatrist.

  • Fussing with-going through
  • Postmark-mark of post office
  • Blank-unwritten
  • Mailed-sent by post
  • Naturally-off course
  • Lemonade-lemon drink
  • Worth-value
  • On his wife’s suggestion Charlie was trying to come out of the third level incident. He was trying to keep himself busy with the stamp collection. One day what he finds “first day cover” and he tells what a first day cover is. Mentions here that it is general tendency with stamp collectors that whenever a stamp is issued, they like it to be the first user of that stamp and what they do, they buy that stamp and paste it on an envelope and simply post it putting a blank paper in it, never to open it. He finds a first day cover which he says it should not have been there but it was there. He remembers that it was mailed to his grandfather at his home in Galesburg and since July 18 1894 it was lying there and it was only today that Charlie got an opportunity to open and read that. It was not empty. It was having a letter which was written by Sam. It was signed as Sam and it was addressed to Charlie. It was having the address of Galesburg and that was July 18, 1894, the era he used to talk to Sam about Galesburg and he is saying that he is playing piano and its great here at Galesburg. You and Louisa should come here and join us and Charlie is once again perplexed. He tries to find the truth behind it. He finds that Sam had bought $800 of old currency notes and because he wants to set a business of hay, feed and grain there in 1894 at Galesburg. It was his old business and here Charley reveals that Sam was his psychiatrist. As the story is about the worries, tension and anxiety which we want an escape from. Sam was his psychiatrist. It is proving that even psychiatrist is not left without being worried, they too are in pain in fear and so the story end with this note.


    Question and Answers

    Q:1. What does the third level refer to?
    Ans. Charley believed that there was a third level at the New York Central in New York. One day, when he has to catch a train, unknowingly he took a wrong turn and reached the third level. He was surprised to find everything present there belonged to the past. Then he realised that he had reached the nineteenth century, the past. So, the third level refers to the past here.
    Q:2. How can you say that Charley keeps losing his way?
    Ans. In order to catch the train to his home, he used to go to station. He often loses his way and bumps into new corridors. Once he got into a mile-long tunnel and came up in the lobby of a hotel. One day, he was surprised found himself in an office building.
    Q:3. How does Charley reach the third level?
    Ans. Charley goes to the first level of the Grand Central to catch a subway train. Then he walks down to the second level. He enters a corridor which turns left and then begins to slant downward. He is perplexed but keeps on walking and reaches the third level of Grand Central Station.
    Q:4. How is the atmosphere on the third level different?
    Ans. Charley finds totally different atmosphere there. The room is smaller, fewer ticket windows and train gates. The information booth there is made of wood and is old looking. The lights are dim and flickering. These are naked gaslights. There are brass spittoons on the floor. People are with long beards and old-fashioned costumes.
    Q:5. How are people at the third level different from the first and second level?
    Ans. At the third level he finds that people have pocket watches. They have sideburns, long beards and fancy moustaches. They were wearing old fashioned clothes.


    Q:6. What does Charley do to make sure he has reached the past?
    Ans. To confirm this, he walks to a newsboy and glances at the stack of newspapers. The boy was selling the newspaper ‘The World’. Charley knows that ‘The World’ has not been published for many years. He reads the headline. It is about President Cleveland.
    Q:7. Would Charley ever go back to the ticket-counter on the third level to buy tickets to Galesburg for himself and his wife?
    Ans. No, Charley would never be able to go back to the third level. He had once been there. He wanted to go there again. He tried very hard but could not go back to third level again. So, he would not be able to buy tickets for himself and his wife for Galesburg.
    Q:8. Do you think that the third level was a medium of escape for Charley? Why?
    Ans. Yes, the third level was definitely a medium of escape for Charley. It was all in his imagination. We can judge from the story that Charley was facing life’s worries and tensions. Going to the third level gave him satisfaction and he could forget his worries for some time. His psychiatrist friend also said the same thing.


    Q:9. What is a first- day cover?
    Ans. There is a practice among stamp collectors that when a new stamp is issued, they buy some stamps. Then they use these stamps to mail envelopes to themselves on the first day of sale. The postmark on the envelope proves the date. The envelope is called the first-day cover. These are never opened. People just put blank papers in them.


    Q:10. What do you infer from Sam’s letter to Charley?
    Ans. Sam who is Charley’s psychiatrist, Charley tells him about the third level. Sam does not believe it. Says it to be only an imagination of Charley. He dreams of the third level in order to escape the worries and tensions of his life. But later Sam himself searches for the third level and finds it. He slips into the past and reaches the Galesburg of 1894. From there Sam writes a letter to Charley. As he too is in worries and tensions. His letter reveals, in 1894, life in Galesburg is peaceful and without any tensions. In his letter he asks Charley to keep searching for the third level and come to Galesburg as soon as possible.
    Q:11. ‘The modern world is full of insecurity, fear, war, worry and stress.’ What are the ways in which we attempt to overcome them?
    Ans. We want an escape from the worries and stress of the modern world. We want to go into another world, real or imaginary. In the real world, some people take interest in games. Others devote their time to reading books. People have hobbies like painting, stamp collection, singing, listening to music, etc. These hobbies or games give us temporary escape from the harsh realities of the world. These divert our mind from tensions for some time.
    Q:12. How is the third level different from the first and second levels?
    Ans. Atmosphere there is totally different. Perplexed Charley finds room smaller rooms, fewer ticket windows and train gates. “The information booth in the centre is made of wood and is old looking. The lights are dim and flickering. These are naked gaslights. There are brass spittoons on the floor. People have pocket watches. They have sideburns and fancy moustaches. They are wearing old fashioned clothes. Even the locomotive belongs to the past. It has a funnel-shaped stack. Then Charley realizes that he has reached the past. To confirm this, he walks to a newsboy and glances at the stack of newspapers. The boy is selling the newspaper ‘The World’. Charley knows that ‘The World’ has not been published for many years. He reads the headline. It is about President Cleveland. Later he finds from the Public Library files that it was printed on June 11, 1894.

    To enjoy Detailed Explanation of these questions refer the video

    Multiple Choice Questions

    Q1. Who wrote the story ‘The Third Level’?
    (A) Fack Jinney
    (B) Anees Jung
    (C) Krack Jinney
    (D) Tishani Doshi
    Ans. (B) Jack Finney

    Q2. Who, amongst these, is the central character of the story ‘The Third Level’?
    (A) Saheb
    (B) Mukesh
    (C) Charley
    (D) Betty
    Ans. (C) Charley

    Q3. What happened with Charley when once he got into a mile-long tunnel?
    (A) he came up in the lobby of a hotel
    (B) he reached a school
    (C) he remained there
    (D) he reached a park
    Ans. (A) he came up in the lobby of a hotel

    Q4. What does Charley not admit?
    (A) that the earth is round
    (B) that the sun rises in the east
    (C) that the Grand Central Station has only two levels
    (D) that the Grand Central Station is in New York
    Ans. (C) that the Grand Central Station has only two levels

    Q5. What is the information booth at the third level made of?
    (A) Copper
    (B) steel
    (C) wood
    (D) cloth
    Ans. (C) wood

    Q6. What happens when one day Charley is in a hurry to catch the train?
    (A) he misses the train
    (B) he reaches the third level
    (C) he reaches heaven (D) he reaches a village
    Ans. (B) he reaches the third level

    Q7. How does Charley confirm that he has reached the past?
    (A) he asks a passenger
    (B) the policeman tells him
    (C) he sees the date on the current newspaper
    (D) he sees the signboards
    Ans. (C) he sees the date on the current newspaper

    Q8. What does Charley realize when he finds everyone wearing old fashioned clothes?
    (A) that people are old fashioned
    (B) that he reached the past
    (C) that he has reached Africa
    (D) that they are actors
    Ans. (B) that he reached the past

    Q9. Charley lived in Galesburg. When?
    (A) when he worked in an office
    (B) in his college days
    (C) in his childhood
    (D) in his old age
    Ans. (C) in his childhood

    Q10. Which place, Charley wants to purchase tickets to go to?
    (A) Balesgurg
    (B) Galesburg
    (C) Sindhudurg
    (D) Garhmukateshwar
    Ans. (B) Galesburg

    Q11. Which year of the past does Charley want to go in?
    (A) 1857
    (B) 1900
    (C) 1894
    (D) 1760
    Ans. (C) 1894

    Q12. Where does he want to go in the past
    (A) to Chicago
    (B) to Pakistan
    (C) to Sindh
    (D) to Galesburg, in Illinois
    Ans. (D) to Galesburg, in Illinois

    Q13. How does Charley come back to the present?
    (A) he calls police for help
    (B) he rushes from the booking window
    (C) his wife calls him
    (D) the booking clerk pushes him
    Ans. (B) he rushes from the booking window

    Q14. Why does the booking clerk threaten to get Charley arrested?
    (A) he thinks he is robber
    (B) Charley tried to rob him
    (C) he thinks that the notes offered by Charley were fake
    (D) he thinks Charley is a thief
    Ans. (C) he thinks that the notes offered by Charley were fake

    Q15. What does Charley’s psychiatrist friend think about Charley when he talks about the third level?
    (A) Charley has gone mad
    (B) Charley is trying to be oversmart
    (C) Charley has been day-dreaming
    (D) Charley is ill
    Ans. (C) Charley has been day-dreaming

    Q16. To whom does Charley talk about the third level?
    (A) his psychiatrist friend, Charley
    (B) his wife
    (C) a policeman
    (D) a leader
    Ans. (A) his psychiatrist friend, Charley

    Q17. Why does Charley buy old currency notes?
    (A) he likes such notes
    (B) he wants to use the notes in the third level for buying tickets to Galesburg
    (C) he wants to give the notes to one of his friends
    (D) he is fond of collecting old notes
    Ans. (B) he wants to use the notes in the third level for buying tickets to Galesburg

    Q18. Who is Sam in the story?
    (A) Charley’s brother
    (B) Charley’s psychiatrist friend
    (C) Charley’s son
    (D) Charley’s cousin
    Ans. (B) Charley’s psychiatrist friend

    Q19. One of Charley’s friends disappears. What is his name?
    (A) Tom
    (B) Louisa
    (C) Sam Weiner
    (D) Saheb
    Ans. (C) Sam Weiner

    Q20. How does Charley come to know that Sam Weiner has slipped into the past?
    (A) from his wife
    (B) from another friend
    (C) from an old day postage cover, the first day cover
    (D) from the police
    Ans. (C) from an old day postage cover, the first day cover

    Check your progress:
    थैंक्यू। बेस्ट ऑफ लक।
    *मेरे चैनल को सब्सक्राइब करने के लिए 👇*
    *Channel link 👇*
    *दोस्तों और Classmates को जरूर भेज देना। ठीक है।*
    *:Vijay Kumar*
    *Learning is fun here*
    *JOIN our WhatsApp & TELEGRAM (at 9466707359) groups where we teach English syllabus.*