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Theory:

     I stood appalled, the key in my hand. Was it true? Was it a lie? I had spent all my savings on the funeral, and was poorer than ever.
 
     Remembering the old man’s oddity, his malice, his cleverness in mechanic arts, and the patent explosive which had helped to make him rich, I began to feel how very likely it was that he had told the truth in this cruel letter.
 
     I carried the iron box away to my lodgings, set it down with care in a closet, laid the key on it, and locked the closet.
 
     Then I sat down, as yet hopeful, and began to exert my ingenuity upon ways of opening the box without being killed. There must be a way.
 
     After a week of vain thinking I bethought me, one day, that it would be easy to explode the box by unlocking it at a safe distance, and I arranged a plan with wires, which seemed as if it would answer. But when I reflected on what would happen when the dynamite scattered the rubies, I knew that I should be none the richer. For hours at a time I sat looking at that box and handling the key.
Explanation:
 
The narrator held the key in his palm and stood shockingly. The reason behind his expression was because of the information given in the letter. Later, he thought that whatever was given in the letter was accurate or fake.

The narrator had spent all of his savings on his uncle's funeral and was now poorer than he had ever been. The narrator then reflected on his uncle's strangeness, cruelty, technical genius, and the patent explosive that had helped him become wealthy. Here the term "patent explosive" means an exclusive right granted for an invention such as dynamite. He then thought how likely his uncle had exposed the truth in this dreadful letter.
 
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Dreadful letter

The narrator then carries his uncle's iron box to his home. He placed it safely in his cupboard. Later, he laid the key on the iron box and shut the cupboard. The narrator then sat down with hope in his mind. He then decided to use his intellect to open the box without being harmed. He then thought there had to be a way to open the iron box.

After a week of hopelessness, the narrator had an idea. He considered putting the box in a distant area and opening it later. He thought that if the dynamite burst, he'd be safe. So he designed a wire technique that appeared to work. He realised that the rubies within would also explode if the box burst. As a result, he believes that the rubies will be wasted and that he will not be wealthy. After considering the consequences, he abandoned the plan. The narrator then held the key in his hands for hours, wondering how he could open the box without exploding.
 
Meanings of the difficult words:
 
S.No
Words
Meanings
1
AppalledHaving strong feelings of shock or disapproval
2
Patent The official legal right to make or sell an invention for a particular number of years
Reference:
State Council of Educational Research and Training (2018). Term-1 English Standard-10. A Dilemma - Silas Weir Mitchell (pp. 205-211). Published by the Tamil Nadu Textbook and Educational Services Corporation.