The Midnight Visitor | Question and Answer |
NCERT | Class 10 | English | Footprints without Feet
Read and Find out
Question 1 How is Ausable different from other secret agents?
Answer Ausable has a small room in the musty corridor of a gloomy French hotel on the sixth and top floor and it was scarcely the setting for a romantic adventure. He was extremely fat. In spite of living in Paris for over twenty years, he spoke French and German with difficulty and had an American accent. Instead of getting messages passed secretly to him by beautiful girls, he got only a routine telephone call making an appointment. In these ways, he was different from the conventional notion of a secret agent.
Question 2 Who is Fowler and what is his first authentic thrill of the day?
Answer Fowler is a writer and he had come to meet Ausable. His first authentic thrill of the day came when he saw a man in Ausable’s room pointing a pistol towards Ausable and himself.
Question 3 How has Max got in?
Answer Max had got into the room using a passkey or master key.
Question 4 How does Ausable say he got in?
Answer Ausable said that he thought Max had got into the room through the balcony. He said that it was the second time in a month that somebody had got into his room this way.
Think About it
Question 1 “Ausable did not fit any description of a secret agent Fowler had ever read.” What do secret agents in books and films look like, in your opinion? Discuss in groups or in class some stories or movies featuring spies, detectives and secret agents, and compare their appearance with that of Ausable in this story. (You may mention characters from fiction in languages other than English. In English fiction you may have come across Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, or Miss Marple. Have you watched any movies featuring James Bond?)
Answer Secret agents in fiction are projected like ideal men, ‘Tall dark and handsome’. They are usually well-built and keep beautiful women for company. They would smoke a pipe (like Sherlock Holmes) or a cigar and execute death-defying stunts (like James Bond). Movies based on James Bond show hi-tech gadgets which assist the detective in countering villains. However, there are some exceptions to this appearance of a secret agent also. A character named Feluda was created by Satyajit Ray, the famous Bengali filmmaker. Feluda was a tall athletic figure who relied on his superb analytical ability and observation skill.
Question 2 How does Ausable manage to make Max believe that there is a balcony attached to his room? Look back at his detailed description of it. What makes it a convincing story?
Answer Ausable tell Max that some one entered his room through the balcony before also. When there was someone knocking at his door, Ausable said that it was police to give him protection as he had some important papers with him. With someone knocking on the door continuously, Max became nervous.
Question 3 Looking back at the story, when do you think Ausable thought up his plan for getting rid of Max? Do you think he had worked out his plan in detail right from the beginning? Or did he make up a plan taking advantage of events as they happened?
Answer No, I don’t think that he had worked out his plan in detail earlier. He took advantage of events as they happened. Ausable made up a story of the balcony outside the room. As there was a knock at the door, he said that it would be the police. All this made Max threatened. He became restless and without seeing below, jumped out of the window.
Talk About it
Question 1 In this story, Ausable shows great ‘presence of mind,’ or the ability to think quickly, and act calmly and wisely, in a situation of danger and surprise. Give examples from your own experience, or narrate a story, which shows someone’s presence of mind.
Answer This story refers to the play ‘If I Were You’. Gerrard was held hostage by a criminal. However, Gerrard treated the criminal as a guest and trapped him with his confidence. He managed to convince the criminal to run away as the police is behind him. He told the criminal to run through the exit door, which was actually a cupboard door. The criminal exited through the door and was trapped in the cupboard.
Question 2 Discuss what you would do in the situations described below. Remember that presence of mind comes out of a state of mental preparedness. If you have thought about possible problems or dangers, and about how to act in such situations, you have a better chance of dealing with such situations if they do arise.
• A small fire starts in your kitchen.
• A child starts to choke on a piece of food.
• An electrical appliance starts to hiss and gives out sparks.
• A bicycle knocks down a pedestrian.
• It rains continuously for more than twenty-four hours.
• A member of your family does not return home at the usual or expected time. You may suggest other such situations.
A small fire starts in your kitchen: In a kitchen there is gas cylinder which can burst due to excessive heat. The first step should be to close the regulator and try to open the windows and doors. If a small blanket is available, it should be put over the fire to shut out the air. If the fire is not due to an electrical problem, water can be thrown on it. If it is due to a short-circuit, electricity must be disconnected immediately from everything in the kitchen before taking any other measure.
A child starts to choke on a piece of food: Calm and patience are required for the handling of this situation. The child’s back must be thumped slowly until the piece of food stuck is vomited out. If need arises a glass of water can be given to drink. However, in case it continues, the child should be given trained medical aid immediately.
An electrical appliance starts to hiss and gives out sparks: Electrical fires can not be put off by throwing water. They can cause short circuit. Electricity to the appliance should be immediately disconnected. If it is plugged into a socket, the plug must be removed from the socket. One should not touch the switch with wet hands. Later on the appliance may be got repaired by an authorised person.
A bicycle knocks down a pedestrian: We should go near to the pedestrian and try to see where he/she was hurt. First aid should be given to the pedestrian at once. Public help may also be asked, if necessary. Depending on the seriousness of the injury, the affected person may be shifted to hospital and inform his relatives.
It rains continuously for more than twenty-four hours : Flooding may be caused by a heavy downpour. So all necessary precautions for saving various possessions should be taken, besides informing the concerned authorities to take preventive action.
A member of your family does not return home at the usual or expected time : A family member not returning home at the usual time should be enquired for at the place he or she was expected to visit. If he or she was with friends, these friends or the friends’ families should be contacted. If there is no result from these enquiries, as a last resort, the local police may be informed.