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     ‘Don’t either of you go a step,’ said mother. ‘We’ll call the police.’ Since the phone was downstairs, I didn’t see how we were going to call the police -- nor did I want the police – but mother made one of her quick, incomparable decisions. She flung up a window of her bedroom which faced the bedroom windows of the house of a neighbour, picked up a shoe, and whammed it through a pane of glass across the narrow space that separated the two houses. Glass tinkled into the bedroom occupied by a retired engraver named Bodwell and his wife. Bodwell had been for some years in rather a bad way and was subject to mild ‘attacks’. Almost everybody we knew or lived near had some kind of attacks.


In the previous paragraph, the narrator had suggested to Herman that they should go downstairs to Herman. However, it so happened the narrator took his step back, learning that Herman wasn't accompanying him.
In this paragraph, we see their mother barring them from going downstairs. She says, "Don’t either of you go a step", although it is unlikely that the duo would have gathered the courage to venture downstairs. She then suggests that they should call the police instead.
The narrator wondered how they would call the police without stepping down as the phone was placed downstairs. The narrator also explains that he didn't want to involve the cops, as he was aware that there wasn't any break-in. But, mother was determined to call the cops and had even found a way to do that without going to the ground floor. So, before the narrator could share his thoughts, mother swiftly went to her bedroom, pulled open her window that faced the bedroom windows of a neighbour's house, picked up a shoe, and threw it across the neighbour's window. The narrator explains that the mother was able to achieve the feat quite effortlessly because the space between the two houses was reasonably narrow.
Mother threw a shoe across the neighbour's window

Mother threw the shoe across, despite knowing that her action would destroy the neighbour's window. As she achieved the feat, Mr Bodwell and his wife (the neighbours) woke up to the sound of glass crashing. Mr Bodwell was a retired engraver. The narrator says that Mr Bodwell had been in a bad way for a long time and had suffered from minor 'attacks' from time to time.
The narrator observes that almost everyone they knew or lived around had some kind of "attacks".
Meanings of difficult words:
Sl. No
Incomparable Having no parallel or equal; totally different
Flung(Past tense of 'Fling') 'To move or push (something) suddenly or violently
WhamStrike something forcefully; make a loud sound as of a forceful impact
Pane A single sheet of glass in a window or door
TinkleTo make or cause to make a light, clear ringing sound
EngraverSomeone who cuts designs or words on metal, glass, or wood
AttacksHere, a sudden short bout of an illness or stress
State Council of Educational Research and Training (2019). English Standard-10. The Night the Ghost Got In - James Grover Thurber (pg. 30 - 33). Published by the Tamil Nadu Textbook and Educational Services Corporation.