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Theory:

      After the walking had gone on for perhaps three minutes, I tiptoed to Herman’s room. ‘Psst!’ I hissed, in the dark, shaking him. ‘Awp’, he said, in the low, hopeless tone of a despondent beagle – he always half suspected that something would ‘get him’ in the night. I told him who I was. ‘There’s something downstairs!’ I said. He got up and followed me to the head of the back staircase. The steps had ceased. Herman looked at me in some alarm: I had only the bath towel around my waist. He wanted to go back to bed, I gripped his arm.

Explanation:

 
The narrator observes that the walking (aka., the footsteps) had gone on for perhaps three minutes. He then tiptoed to Herman's room to alert him. The room was dark, and his brother was fast asleep. 'Psst!', the narrator called out in a quiet but sharp tone. He shook Herman to wake him up.
 
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Herman was fast asleep in his room

'Awp,' Herman whispered, in a sad beagle's low, despairing tone. The narrator says that Herman always had a feeling that something would 'get him' in the night. So, to prevent Herman from getting all worked up, the narrator explained to his brother that it was he who had roused him. He further explained why he had woken his brother in the wee hours.
 
The narrator was visibly scared, given that he had an ill feeling about the footsteps. So, he cried out, stating that there was something downstairs. Herman, by then, was awake. He stood up and followed the narrator to the entrance of the back-stairs. However, by the time the duo got near the staircase, the footsteps had stopped. Herman gave the narrator a startled look; he must have thought that the narrator imagined things. Also, the latter wasn't dressed as he only had a bath towel draped around his waist. The scene must have looked ridiculous in the eyes of Herman, for he soon tried to return to bed. But the narrator stopped Herman by grabbing his arm.
  
Meanings of difficult words:
 
Sl. No
Words
Meanings
1
TiptoeTo walk quietly and carefully with one's heels raised and one's weight on the balls of the feet
2
PsstA way to attract someone's attention, usually when you are trying to be quiet about getting attention
3
HissTo whisper something in an urgent (or angry) way
4
AwpOften expressed as 'aww', 'awp' is an expression used to express mild disappointment
5
Despondent In low spirits from loss of hope or courage
6
BeagleA small breed of dog with a short coat, primarily used for hunting hares
7
CeaseTo stop
8
AlarmAn anxious awareness of danger
9
GripTake and keep a firm hold of; to grasp tightly
Reference:
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.