The Midnight Visitor




1. How is Ausable different from other secret agents?
Ans. Ausable does not fit any description of a secret agent. He is very fat. Ausable has ordinary looks and he lives in a small room on the sixth and top floor.

2. Who is Fowler and what is his first authentic thrill of the day?
Ans. Fowler is a writer who envisions mysterious figures in the night, the crack of pistols and drugs in the wine. He comes to meet Ausable who is a secret agent, a spy, dealing in espionage and danger. Fowler has his first authentic thrill of the day when he sees a man standing half way across the room holding a small automatic pistol in his hand.

1. How has Max got in?

Ans. Max entered the room after unlocking it with a passkey.

2. How does Ausable say he got in?
Ans. Ausable says that this is the second time in a month that somebody has got into his room through that nuisance of a balcony. He makes Max believe that there is a balcony about which Max does not know anything.

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 language 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?)
Ans. Attempt at Class Level.

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?
Ans. Ausable says that this is the second time in a month that somebody has entered his room through balcony. He tells that it is not his balcony. It belongs to the next apartment. Ausable says that this room used to be part of a large unit and the next room used to be the living room. It had the balcony, which extends under his window now. He describes the balcony vividly and makes Max believe that there is a balcony attached to his room. His factual description makes it a convincing story.

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?
Ans. Ausable was a brilliant and smart secret agent. When he entered his room, he found a man who had a pistol in his hand. Ausable invented a story and narrated it because he wanted to buy time. He knew that the waiter would come to his room. When the waiter knocked at the door, he threatened Max that the police would arrest him. Ausable had told Max that he was the second person who entered through the balcony. Without noticing the balcony Max jumped from the floor because he was afraid of being caught. Ausable’s presence of mind helped him in getting rid of Max. He was really an intelligent secret agent.

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.
Ans. Do yourself

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.
Ans. Do yourself.

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