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Theory:

     What a thunderclap these words were to me!
 
     Oh, the wretches; that was what they had put up at the town-hall!
 
     My last French lesson! Why, I hardly knew how to write! I should never learn anymore! I must stop there, then! Oh, how sorry I was for not learning my lessons, for seeking birds’ eggs, or going sliding on the *Saar! My books, that had seemed such a nuisance a while ago, so heavy to carry, my grammar, and my history of the  saints, were old friends now that I couldn’t  give up. And M. Hamel, too; the idea that he was going away, that I should never see him again, made me forget all about his ruler and how cranky he was.
 
     Poor man! It was in honour of this last lesson that he had put on his fine Sunday clothes, and now I understood why the old men of the village were sitting there in the back of the room. It was because they were sorry, too, that they had not gone to school more. It was their way of thanking our master for his forty years of faithful service and of showing their respect for the country that was theirs no more.
Explanation:
 
The narrator was shocked to hear that he could no longer learn French and remembered it was put up on the town bulletin board. The narrator regretted spending his time seeking birds' eggs and playing in the Saar (a river in Western Europe, rising in the Vosges Mountains and flowing north to the Moselle River in Germany) by not being serious about his academics.
 
saar-g56d28539e_1920.jpg
Saar river

The narrator didn't even know how to write. He had previously considered his books as unwanted weight, but now, he began to regard grammar and the history of the saints as his greatest friends, whom he could never abandon. Here one can find the narrator's change in attitude toward studying after learning that he would no longer be able to learn French. He was especially affected by the news that their teacher, M. Hamel, was leaving. He no longer considered the teacher to be irritable and strict.

M. Hamel was dressed in his fine Sunday clothes in honour of this final class. He also knew that the villagers had gathered to honour and praise M Hamel for his forty years of service at the school. The villagers had come to the class to make things right for their lack of academic achievement in their childhood. They also wanted to show their country respect and were disappointed that their mother tongue, French, would no longer be taught.
 
Meanings of the difficult words:
 
S.No
Words
Meanings
1
Thunderclap Used in similes to refer to something startling or unexpected 
2
WretchesAn unfortunate or unhappy person
3
Nuisance A person or thing causing inconvenience or annoyance
4
Faithful People who are always loyal to a particular group or organisation
5
Respect A feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements
Reference:
State Council of Educational Research and Training (2018). Term-1 English Standard-10. The Last Lesson - Alphonse Daudet (pp. 162-178). Published by the Tamil Nadu Textbook and Educational Services Corporation.