CBSE Class 10 English The Midnight Visitor Assignment

The Midnight Visitor

INTRODUCTION—
Ausable, a secret agent, is expecting to get a very important report. Another secret agent, Max, threatens him with a pistol, demanding the report. This story tells how Ausable outwits Max by making up convincing stories.

SUMMARY—
Ausable was a secret agent in an organization. He was a fat man with a strange accent. He was an American and could speak German and French fluently. He lived in a small room on the top floor of a French hotel in Paris.
Fowler was a young and romantic writer. One day, he visited Ausable in the hope of finding some unusual happenings there. He was also a spy and dealt in espionage and danger. However, he felt disappointed at Ausable’s sight.
Ausable and Fowler spent the evening in a French music hall. Fowler was feeling bored. Ausable informed him that he would soon receive an important paper. The paper might affect the course of history. It had also made many men and women risk their lives. He had got a telephone call making an appointment in his room.
Ausable switched on the light after closing the door. There was a man with a pistol standing half way across the room. Fowler was thrilled. Ausable was surprised to see Max (another secret agent belonging to another agent’s organization) in his room. On being asked, Max informed him that he had come there at the odd hour to take from him the prospective report about some new missiles.
Ausable sat in an armchair in a serious and angry mood. He started saying that it was the second time in a month that somebody had got into his room through a balcony. Max had no knowledge about the balcony. He reported that he had a pass key. Ausable explained that the balcony belonged to the next apartment which used to be the living room. The balcony extended under his window. The management had not still blocked it off and intruders could get in from the apartment.
Max asked Fowler to sit down, rather than stand stiffly for half an hour till the report arrived. Ausable was at a loss to find how Max had learnt about the incoming report. Just then, there was a knock at the door. Fowler jumped at it. Ausable concocted another story that the Police might have come to provide him security for the important paper. Ausable told Max that the Police would enter the room any way and shoot if he did not open the door. Max got unnerved. Max got infuriated and started backing swiftly towards the window. He opened the window with one hand behind. He wanted to escape through the balcony. He informed Ausable that he would wait on the balcony. He would shoot and take his chances if Ausable did not send the Police away. The knocking became louder. Somebody called Ausable repeatedly. Max dropped to the balcony, screamed loudly and died.
A waiter entered the room with a bottle and two glasses set on a tray, the drink ordered by Ausable.Fowler got perplexed. Ausable explained that he was waiting for the waiter and not for the Police. Fowler was afraid lest Max should shoot them from the balcony. Ausable assured Fowler that Max would never return.


Short Answer Type Questions 

Question. Why did Ausable frame the story of the balcony ?
Answer. Ausable knew that Max was scared and he used his ignorance and foolishness in his own favour. He framed the story of the balcony to convince Max about the balcony which was actually non-existent. It helped Ausable to get out of a dangerous and critical situation.


Question. The balcony plays a significant role in the story 'The Midnight Visitor', How ? 

OR
How did the role of the balcony become significant in the story, "The Midnight Visitor" ?
Answer. The significance of the balcony is quite clear in the story. Actually, there is no balcony. It is just a clever strategy used by Ausable to outwit Max. Ausable created the balcony which did not exist so as to dupe Max and the police. Max thought balcony as a means to escape from the police.


Question. Why was Fowler disappointed on seeing Ausable ?

Answer. Fowler was disappointed on seeing Ausable who was unlike other secret agents. He was fat and sloppy with heavy American accent. He was not at all flashy or romantic like other agents.

 

Long Answer Type Questions 

Question. With reference to `The Midnight Visitor’, do you think the presence of mind should be developed and to what advantage? Elaborate highlighting the values possessed by Ausable.
Answer. Max was a spy who was overconfident and too proud. His pride blinded him, and he thought that wielding a gun would give a further edge over the seemingly slow Ausable. Max lay in wait for Ausable to steal the important paper from him. As Fowler observed, apart from the pointed gun he didn’t look very menacing. Even this proved useless for him as Ausable outwitted him with his presence of mind and intelligence. Ausable cleverly found out how Max had entered the room and created an extremely believable story about a non-existent balcony. He kept calm, and, hearing the waiter knock, declared it to be the police. Max, in an attempt to hide, fell to his death. Thus, Ausable got rid of Max without moving a muscle.


Question. What fake story was made by Ausable in the hotel room ? What made it a convincing story ?

Answer. Ausable was a clever secret agent. One day when he entered his room, he found Max in his room who aimed at him with a pistol. Ausable did not lose his courage. He was a quick-witted man. He fabricated a story about a balcony which extended under his room window. He said that he had informed the management to block that window as anyone might enter his room using that window but till then they hadn’t. Just then, there was a knocking at the door and Ausable said that he had called in the police to have extra protection as they were having an important paper with them. Max took the whole story as a gospel of truth. He retraced his steps, reached the window-sill and jumped down the balcony which never existed. Max wanted to hide in the balcony and take the important paper from Ausable later. He was escaping from police. But as soon as he stepped his one leg out of window sill, he fell down and died.


Question. Why did Fowler become white faced at the end of the story ?

Answer. When both, Fowler and Ausable, entered Ausable’s room, they saw Max, a man with a pistol standing halfway across the room. They were taken aback. He had come for the same report that Ausable had come to collect. It was a secret document about some missiles. Ausable cursed the balcony, under the window saying that it was the second time in the month someone had come into his room through it. Fowler gazed out of the window, but saw no balcony. Max said that he had come in through the door, with the help of a pass key. Just then, the door bell rang. Ausable said it was the police to check the extra protection ensuring safety of the papers. Max decided to jump out of the window into the balcony to evade from the police. As he jumped out, he screamed because there was no balcony to the window on the sixth floor. Ausable did not use physical force but only mind power to overcome the danger. Thus, Fowler was left white faced at the end of the story. This is how Ausable got out of such a dangerous and critical situation and killed his enemy without using any weapon.

 


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