The Midnight Visitor: SEBA, TBSE Class 10 English answers and extras

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Get summary, textbook solutions, questions, answers, extras, pdf of the chapter The Midnight Visitor of SEBA (Assam Board), TBSE (Tripura Board) Class 10 English (Second Language/supplementary/Footprints Without Feet). However, the given notes/solutions should only be used for references and should be modified/changed according to needs.

The Midnight Visitor
Photo by Max Kleinen on Unsplash

Introduction to the chapter The Midnight Visitor: The Midnight Visitor is a story about how a detective named Ausable used his intelligence to get rid of his opponent Max in a dangerous circumstance. Ausable was looking for certain critical files in the hotel room.  He was suddenly attacked by his adversary, Max. Max held him at gunpoint and demanded the critical papers. Ausable, on the other hand, managed to get out of the situation by using amazing cleverness.

The scenario frightened Fowler. Recognizing the seriousness of the situation, Ausable created a story about a bogus balcony. Max believed the narrative about the non-existent balcony. Ausable created another false police story. Max bought into the idea as well, and instead of eluding the cops, he plunged into the nonexistent fake balcony.

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In-text questions from The Midnight Visitor

1. How is Ausable different from other secret agents?

Answer: In terms of look and behaviour, Ausable stands apart from the other secret agents. While secret agents are thought to be athletic, suave, and secretive, Ausable was overweight and spoke with an accent that might be detected. 

2. Who is Fowler and what is his first authentic thrill of the day?

Answer: In the story The Midnight Visitor, Fowler is a teenage author who fantasises about murder mysteries involving firearms, drugs, and alcohol. His first real excitement of the day comes when he follows Ausable into his room and finds a guy waiting for them with an automatic pistol aimed at them.

3. How has Max got in? 

Answer: Max gained access by opening the door with a passkey. 

4. How does Ausable say he got in?

Answer: Max, according to Ausable, had gotten in through the nearby balcony. He claims that someone used the balcony to gain access to his room last month, leading Max to assume that there is a balcony outside his window when there is none.

Textual exercises from The Midnight Visitor

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.

Answer: Secret spies in novels and movies, in my opinion, have very different appearances. They normally wear a cap or hat on their heads, as well as a heavy coat and gloves on their hands. They are frequently depicted wearing black goggles. They are smart and intelligent individuals. When Fowler, a young writer, met Ausable in the story The Midnight Visitor, he was dissatisfied since Ausable didn’t suit the description of a covert spy. He had a quite different appearance. He was a dull, obese man who spoke French and German fluently but with a heavy American accent.

Many literature and movies depict investigators in very different ways than Ausable has been depicted in this story. To emphasise the contrast, we can go to Sherlock Homes or, for that matter, James Bond.

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 begins by expressing his anger with someone accessing his room through the balcony for the second time in a month, rather than asking Max how he got into his room. Then he goes into great detail about the balcony, including how to get to it from two stories below and use it as a convenient route into his flat. Max is convinced that Ausable’s room has a balcony because of his demeanour, manner of speech, and assurance in supplying balcony characteristics. Ausable’s depiction of the balcony, his indignation at having his chamber broken into a second time through the balcony, and his overall confidence in his speech combine for a compelling 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?

Answer: Ausable was a skilled covert spy who was sharp and quick-witted. Despite his surprise at Max’s appearance in his room, he recognised he needed to get him out. Ausable devised a plan to get rid of Max based on the fact that he had already ordered a drink and that the waiter would deliver it in a few minutes. So, between the time he walked into the room and noticed Max and the time he sat down on the sofa, he apparently worked out the overall outline of the plan. He then took advantage of the situation as it developed, expertly dismissing Max with his quick wit and laid-back demeanour.

Talk about it

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: To be done by the students. Below is an example:

In times of crisis, we must all rely on our common sense and intelligence, and act calmly but effectively. I recall behaving in a similar manner a few months ago. One of my friends slipped from the swing and was smacked hard on the head while playing in the park one day. He passed out, and his head began to bleed. We were five friends playing in the park when we noticed that no one else was present. Everyone was terrified and began to cry. I sent one of them to that boy’s residence to contact his parents, and I dashed to my bag, which contained a water bottle. My friend regained consciousness when I splashed some water on his face. His parents arrived at this point and appreciated me for acting properly in such a scenario. My parents were also awed by my effort.

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.

Answer: To be done by the students. Below are examples:

(i) In this case, I’ll turn off the regulator and turn the knob to the off position first. I’ll then open all the doors and windows and turn off the house’s main power supply. I’ll never use water to put it off; instead, I’ll use sand.

(ii) In this case, I will strive to maintain my composure and avoid panicking. First, I’ll offer the child a gentle pat on the back and some water to drink. I’ll continue to rub his back till he feels better and relieved.

(iii) A sparked electrical device is just as deadly as a kitchen fire. I’ll start by turning off the primary switch. I’m not going to touch another switch. I’ll remember to keep water away from such equipment because it might be extremely harmful and cause a fire.

(iv) I will not laugh at a cyclist who runs over a pedestrian. I’ll go over to him and assist him in standing. If he is harmed, I will try to get him to the nearest clinic or hospital and provide him first aid. If the situation is serious, I shall contact his or her parents or family.

(v) Waterlogging will occur if it rains continuously. If proper sanitary measures are not taken, the sewers will overflow. If the water is not removed, it will remain and breed mosquitoes. I’ll strive to keep my premises and drains clean so that water can flow freely.

(vi) I can become agitated if a member of my family does not return home at the normal or expected hour and I am unable to speak with him or her. Such an event would terrify me greatly. I’ll start by calling his or her coworkers and pals. Even if I do not receive any information, I shall seek assistance from my elders and search the location where he or she normally visits. If all else fails, I’ll ask my elders to file a police report as soon as possible.

Additional/extra questions and answers/solutions of The Midnight Visitor

1. Why Fowler wanted to meet Ausable? Why was he dissatisfied after meeting him?

Answer: Fowler was a writer who wished to meet Ausable, a well-known secret agent. Fowler was curious about Ausable’s approach to dangerous situations. When he saw Ausable, he was dissatisfied since he did not resemble what Fowler imagined a secret spy should look like.

2. Describe Fowler’s reaction to walking into Ausable’s hotel room.

Answer: Ausable was taken aback when he discovered Max in his room. But he remained composed. Ausable didn’t try anything shady because Max had a pistol on him. He just kept his cool and tricked Max by inventing stories.

3. Give a brief description of Ausable.

Answer: Ausable was a secret agent who had been in Paris for the past twenty years. He appeared to be overweight. He could speak German and French fluently, but only with an American accent.

4. What motivated Ausable to frame the story of the balcony?

Answer: Ausable framed the balcony narrative to counter the rival secret agent Max’s use of the pistol to scare him. If Ausable had not created this narrative, the opponent would have been able to obtain the critical report on the new missiles.

5. Describe Max’s appearance.

Answer: Max worked as a secret agent. He was skinny, not particularly tall, and had angular features that made him stand out. He appears to be as astute as a fox. He did not, however, appear to be particularly menacing. The only thing that made him appear menacing to Fowler when he first saw him was the gun he was clutching.

6. Why did Max enter Ausable’s room?

Answer: Max had learnt that Ausable was supposed to get a critical paper about missiles that evening, one that may change the path of humanity’s history. As a result, when the report arrived, he broke into Ausable’s room to steal it from him.

7. What information did Ausable give about the imaginary balcony and why?

Answer: Ausable explained how his room was part of a larger apartment and how the adjacent room had a direct link to a balcony. His remark that someone else had also broken into his workplace from that balcony added credibility to the story. Ausable did this to trick Max into thinking there was a balcony immediately outside the window because he knew the waiter bringing the beverages he had ordered would shortly knock on the door, prompting Max to jump onto the fictitious balcony to hide.

8. Ausable was a very clever spy. Can you agree? Justify.

Answer: Ausable did not resemble the stereotypical idea of a covert spy. He was short and plump. Furthermore, he spoke French and German with a lack of fluency as well as the appropriate accent; the American accent was fairly noticeable in his speech. Ausable, on the other hand, had a very bright and active mind because he made up two stories, one about a non-existent balcony outside his hotel window and the other about the police arriving to provide extra security for some vital documents he was about to receive.

He was a wise and cunning secret agent to concoct such things on the spur of the moment in the face of imminent danger in the person of Max, a rival secret agent.

9. Why did Max scream towards the end of the story The Midnight Visitor?

Answer: When he descended to the ‘balcony,’ Max shouted shrilly, for there was no balcony at all; it was all a fabrication of Ausable’s imagination. Ausable had described it so vividly, including its history and purpose, that Max believed there was a balcony right outside the window and attempted to jump upon it without looking. Max would have killed if he had fallen from such a height, considering the room was on the sixth level.

10. How did Henry help Ausable?

Answer: Ausable had taken a room at a French hotel, where Henry worked as a server. Ausable had reportedly asked for a drink before entering his room. When Ausable entered the room and saw Max with a revolver, he made up a storey about a balcony outside, and when Henry knocked on the door, he convinced Max it was the cops. Max became irritated as a result and jumped to his death through the window into the non-existent balcony. As a result, by coming on time, Henry unwittingly supported Ausable in eliminating the enemy’s covert operative, Max.

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