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Tamilnadu Samacheer Kalvi 12th English Solutions Supplementary Chapter 4 The Midnight Visitor
Study the title of the story ‘The Midnight Visitor’. Discuss in groups what the story is all about.
Certain professionals can be identified by their appearance.
What comes to your mind first when you think of a ‘pilot’ or a ‘traffic policeman?
Discuss in pairs and share your thoughts with the class:
A pilot controls and steers an airplane. He operates the directional flight controls. He wears milk white uniform and golden stripes on his shoulders. He wears a shiny black cap. A traffic policeman wears white stripes on his shoulders in a khaki uniform. In some states, a traffic policeman wears a white and white uniform also. He regulates traffic, fines people who violate traffic rules. He prevents accidents by monitoring over speeding vehicles and by discouraging drunken driving.
Let us try to picturise people in a few interesting professions (based on common perception there can be exceptions).
Form groups of four and draw a picture of one or two of the following:
In your attempt to sketch you may include the following:
- typical dress
- hair style
Samacheer Kalvi 12th English The Midnight Visitor Textual Questions
1. Answer in a sentence or two the following questions.
Mention two features of Ausable that were uncharacteristic of a detective.
Ausable’s fat body and American accent were the two uncharacteristic features of a detective.
What was Ausable waiting for?
Ausable was waiting for an important report.
Who was the Midnight Visitor? What was the purpose of his visit?
Max, a gunman was the midnight visitor. His purpose was to snatch the report on new missiles which was about to be delivered to Ausable
How had Max actually entered the room?
Max had used a duplicate key to enter Ausable’s room.
Did Max’s presence alarm Ausable?
No, he was a little startled. But he was not alarmed. He just expressed his surprise seeing Max who should have been in Berlin.
How did Ausable describe the balcony and the manner in which one could get into his room, through it?
It was not Ausable’s balcony. It belonged to the next apartment. It extends under his window now. One can get on to it two doors down as someone did last month. The hotel management, in spite of his protest, has not blocked the balcony till now.
Where did Max try to hide himself?
Max tried to hide himself in the balcony described by Mr. Ausable.
Who was Henry? Why had he visited Ausable’s room?
Henry was the waiter who entered Ausable’s room with his drinks.
What happened to Max finally?
Max foolishly, believing in the presence of a balcony, jumped from the 6th floor to his sure death.
How does Ausable say he got in?
Ausable wants to confuse Max. So he says that this is the second time in a month that somebody has got into his room through that balcony next to the window.
Was Max deserving to get a chance to accomplish a risky task?
I do not believe that Max deserved a chance to accomplish a risky task. He was not intelligent enough to understand that he was being tricked by the detective. Also, his appearance did not startle the detective.
What did so many people risk their lives for?
Ausable was waiting for a report. It contained certain important information about new missiles. This report was so important that several men and women had risked their lives to get it.
What did Mr. Ausable tell Max when he heard the knock?
Ausable told Max that it would be the police. He said that he had requested the police for extra protection as he was receiving an important information that night.
What did Ausable tell Fowler when he said that Max would soon come back from the balcony?
Ausable told Fowler that Max would never return as he knew that there was no balcony outside. He said that Max has fallen down to the ground and met his end.
2. Answer the following questions in about three to four sentences each.
Who was Fowler? Why did he meet Ausable?
Fowler was a journalist. He was assigned to write a column about a private detectives. He was disappointed on seeing a very fat man with American accent living in a small room in the 6th ’ floor. The hotel was not even well-lit.
Why was Fowler initially disillusioned with Ausable?
Fowler had a romantic notion of a private detective. Ausable did not look like Mr. Bond. He was very fat and had American accent. He lived in a small room. So, he was initially disappointed.
Fowler was thrilled when he entered Ausable’s room. Why?
As soon as Ausable closed the door behind and switched on the light, Fowler had his first authentic thrill of the day. Half way across the room a man with a small automatic pistol in hand stood.
How, according to Ausable, had Max entered the room?
Ausable did not disclose the real method Max must have adopted to enter his room. He invented a story on the spot that it was the second time in a month someone had entered his room through the neighbouring building’s balcony which extended just below his window. He made Max believe that there was another possible route of escape through the window.
How did the three men react to the knocking at the door?
Fowler jumped at the sudden knocking at the door. Ausable smiled and said it must be the police who he had asked to check on him to ensure a little extra protection. Max bit his lip nervously. He rushed to the window so that he could hide in the balcony and come back after sometime.
Was Ausable really waiting for the police? Give reasons.
No, Ausable was not waiting for the police. He had ordered his drink with waiter Henry. He was expecting him only. As the knock was heard, he decided to use the opportunity to scare away Max by casually informing that it must be the police. He added the police may fire if they see Max there.
Do you think that Ausable was a good secret agent? How?
Yes, I think that Ausable was a good secret agent. When he saw Max in his room with an automatic pistol, he didn’t get frightened at all. He diverted his attention. He made story of balcony next to the window. By his description, he made Max believe his story. All these traits show that he was a good secret agent.
Pride before a fall befits Max, who arrived at Ausable’s room to steal the important documents. Did he acquire it? What lesson can one learn from this?
Max was an overconfident and proud spy. He thought to himself that wielding a gun would give a further edge over the apparently slow Ausable. However, his pride and confidence, made Max utterly unsuccessful. Ausable conveniently outwitted him without lifting a finger. Max, jumped to his own death. Thus, one learns that one should not be too proud, and must be vigilant before attempting to do anything.
How did Max enter the room? Why did he tell this to Ausable?
Max entered the room through the door. He had a passkey. He told this to Ausable because Ausable told him that it was the second time in a month that somebody had got into his room through the balcony. He told that he had no idea about balcony.
3. Answer in a paragraph of about 150 words the following questions.
How did Ausable outwit Max?
Ausable was a shrewd private detective. He did not become panicky on seeing Max with an automatic gun in his room. Even if he were, he did not show it off. Instead, he expressed surprise that he expected him to be in Berlin. He cooked up a nice story that it was the second time someone had broken into his room through the balcony of the neighbouring apartment which reaches down under his window. He expressed his displeasure that he would raise hell with the hotel management for not blocking that balcony. This gave a strong suggestion to Max, that he could have used the balcony instead of the pass key to enter Ausable’s room.
Being a criminal or spy, a person always looks for various routes of escape in times of danger. Very rarely he starts direct encounter risking his life. When Henry, the waiter who arrived with the pre-ordered drinks, knocked, Mr. Ausable simply smiled. When Max asked who it was, he told a blatant lie that it was the police who had come for his extra protection and wouldn’t hesitate to fire as the door wasn’t locked but just closed. Max, assuming that there is a balcony extending below Ausable’s window, jumped. He never knew that it was a suicidal jump from the 6th floor. Thus, Ausable outwitted the spy, Max.
Describe the significance of the balcony.
On seeing Max, the spy, with a loaded automatic gun in his room, Ausable expressed surprise. Max disclosed his plan very clearly. He had come to receive the report on the new missile which was likely to be handed over to Mr. Ausable in a short while. Ausable, without being shocked sat heavily on an armchair. He grimly stated that he would raise hell with the hotel management because this was the second time that someone had sneaked into his room through the nuisance of the unblocked balcony. Max asks with disbelief, “balcony?” Max remarked that he did not enter through the balcony but with a pass key. Ausable explained that it was the balcony which extended from the living room of the next apartment just below his room. One could walk through two doors and enter his room.
He was not happy with the management as they had failed to block it. When there was a knock at the door, both Max and Fowler got perturbed. But Ausable smiled and said casually it must be the police whom he had informed to check on him for extra protection. Max was confused for a moment. Ausable said as the door was just closed and not locked, the police could enter even by force at any moment and fire at him. This gave Max no time to think. He jumped through the window believing he will end up in the non-existent balcony, but fell like a stone from the 6th floor with a scream. The vividly portrayed balcony led to the suicidal jump of Max, the spy who had a gun but was not smart enough to tackle Ausable’s ploy.
Ausable planned to get rid of Max the very moment he noticed him. Explain with supporting evidence from the story.
Ausable spun a story on seeing Max. Max was armed, and he was unarmed. Any wrong move would cost his life. So, he decided to be cool throughout. He feigned anger against the hotel management. His vivid word picture of a balcony extending just below his window from the next apartment makes both Fowler and Max believe that Ausable is angry and irritated. This makes Max happy for learning another possible way of escape in case any threat comes through the door. He tries to add little pieces of evidence like “the management promised to block it” to make Max believe that someone had already used the same balcony to break into
Ausable’s room earlier. Ausable knew that Henry would arrive soon with the drinks he had ordered. So, he timed his narrative in such a way that the arrival of Henry takes place soon after his vivid word portrait of the balcony to Max and Fowler. His ingenious idea of relating the knock of the waiter to a non-existent police officer is a stroke of genius. Because the fear of encountering police and a possible gun fight only goads Max to jump to his death from the 6th floor of the hotel. He thought he was jumping down on to the balcony but he was outwitted. These facts indicate that Ausable had planned to get rid of Max soon after he saw him in his room.
Sketch the character of Ausable.
Ausable does not look very handsome, worthy of being called a secret agent or a detective. He is the central character of the story “The Midnight Visitor”. He is not physically very strong. There is nothing elegant or mysterious about him. He is an American who is unable to cover up his American accent when he speaks French and German though he has lived in France for over 20 years. He is practical and shrewd. He is a well balanced individual. Even at gun point he keeps his cool and instantly cooks up a story to trap the villain, spy Max. He outwits Max without moving from his armchair. He uses his presence of mind. He tells two lies which not only save him and Fowler but also give the momentum for Max to kill himself in an attempt to hide in the non-existent balcony.
Do you think physical appearance matters most for a secret agent? Answer giving reasons in the context of the story ‘The Midnight Visitor.’
Physical appearance is important for heroes like James Bond who acts in movies or plays. They need sophisticated cars, a royal life style to flaunt about. But in reality, a detective or a secret agent is not much different from an ordinary citizen at least in appearance. He is an ordinary person who thinks and acts with extraordinary intelligence. When it comes to the question of survival, sharpness of wit and handsome looks would help a person, the disappointment of Fowler, the journalist is very obvious. The young and romantic writer envisioned mysterious figures in the night, the crack of pistols, etc.
The writer must have cherished the idea of beauties with dark eyes passing on secret notes. But he has witnessed nothing but a dull music in a French hotel with a sloppy man who made a prosaic appointment only in a prosaic telephone call. Ausable raises the expectations of both the readers and Fowler when he mentions the important paper he waited which many men and women had risked their lives to possess. The drama that ensues in the room testifies the fact that there is no correlation whatsoever with sharpness of wit and the physical appearance of a person. Only after Fowler witnesses how Ausable had outwitted Max to choose his own death without moving from his armchair, he realizes the truth.
The unexpected presence of a criminal wielding a gun triggers different reactions in the two men who entered the room. In this light, discuss the appropriacy of the title.
A visitor usually comes during the wakeful hours. Nocturnal visitors are usually thieves. They don’t inform one in advance because the purpose of their visit is never noble enough to inform in advance. People involved in shady businesses only choose midnight to break into someone’s house. In this story a spy is after an important report about missiles, a secretly guarded report, which is expected to be delivered to the private detective Ausable at 12.30 am. The spy gets the secret information from his trusted connections. So, he arrives earlier than Ausable and sneaks into his room using a pass key. The spy is brandishing his pistol to coerce the private detective to pass on the report as and when it arrives. Ausable outsmarts him by cooking up a story about a non-existent balcony beneath his window which extends from the neighbouring apartment. He connects brilliantly the knock of Henry the waiter to that of police who might fire at Max as he is armed. So, the title of the story, “The Midnight Visitor” is very pertinent.
What impression do you form about Ausable as a secret agent after reading the story ‘The Midnight Visitor’?
Ausable is a secret agent. But his appearance is not appropriate to his profession. He does not look smart and intelligent. He is very fat. But he is a very active person. He proves it throughout the story. He never takes decision in a hurry. He works with a cool mind. He is good at talking. He understands Fowler’s internal views about himself. He does not lose his temper when he finds Max in his room with pistol. He sits into an armchair and cooks up a quick story about balcony. It is his style of conversation that he easily makes Max believe about balcony. Thus, we find that Ausable is fearless, clever and fit for the job of a secret agent.
Why was Fowler disappointed after meeting Ausable? Did he change his idea at last?
Fowler was a young writer. He wrote for a magazine. He had read in the books that secret agents are mysterious and smart. So he wanted to see all these things in Ausable, a secret agent. But Ausable was a fat man. It appeared that he was not fit for a secret agent’s job. So Fowler was disappointed after meeting Ausable.
But Ausable showed his presence of mind, when he saw armed Max in his room. He misled Max and told him that there was a balcony below the window. Max came there to take an important paper relating to missiles. After this, once again Ausable showed his intelligence, when Henry knocked at the door. He told Max that it might be police to protect him. They might shoot him at sight because he is armed. Without examining the truth of Ausable’s statement, Max jumped from the window to hide himself in the balcony. But it was the end of Max.
Now Fowler was very happy to see Ausable’s intelligence.
4. Look at the following expressions used in the story. Match them with their meanings.
|let down||to complain or scold|
|chuckled to himself||try one’s luck/ take a risk|
|take cheer||become enraged|
|raise the devil||disappointed|
|black with anger||laughed softly to himself|
|take chances||to be encouraged|
|chuckled to himself||laughed softly to himself|
|take cheer||to be encouraged|
|raise the devil||to complain or scold|
|black with anger||become enraged|
|take chances||try one’s luck/ take a risk|
5. Based on your understanding of the story, complete the Graphic Organiser (GO) suitably.
6. Given below are pictures of fictitious detective characters in English & Tamil short stories. Match them with the authors who created them.
- Agatha Christie – Hercule Poirot
- Sujatha – Ganesh, Vasanth
- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – Sherlock Holmes & Dr. Watson
- Devan – Sambu
- Tamizhvanan – Sankar Lai
The Midnight Visitor About The Author
Robert A. Arthur, Jr. was a mystery and speculative fiction writer known for “The Mysterious Traveller” radio series and his “Three Investigators” series of novels. He was born on November 10, 1909. Arthur was a graduate from the University of Michigan. Between 1930 and 1940, his stories were published in Amazing Stories, Argosy All-Story Weekly, Black Mask, etc. He wrote a number of mystery books for children. Arthur, along with his writing partner David Kogan, was twice honoured by the Mystery Writers of America with an Edgar award for best radio drama. Robert Arthur, Jr. died in Philadelphia in 1969.
The Midnight Visitor Summary in English
The detective Ausable:
Ausable was a detective. But he was very fat and he did not look like a detective. He had a room on the sixth floor in a French Hotel and it was the top floor. It was a cheap accommodation unworthy of a detective’s station in life.
Fowler meets Ausable:
Fowler was a writer. He wanted to write a book on detectives. So he came to meet Ausable. But after meeting Ausable, he was quite disappointed as he did not possess the qualities like a detective like James Bond. Ausable could speak French and German. But he had an American accent. Contrary to his expectations, Ausable told Fowler that there were no beautiful girls around him. Talking to each other, they reached the room in the hotel and opened the door.
Max with a pistol:
After entering the room, Ausable told Fowler that he would see an important paper that could change the course of History. Several men and women were after it. As soon as Ausable switched on the light, they saw a man with an automatic pistol. Seeing him, Ausable said that he was shocked to see him there. He thought that he was in Berlin. At this time Fowler was much frightened.
Spinning a Romance:
To confuse Max, Ausable made a false story of balcony next to the window. He sat in an armchair and started saying that it was the second time in a month that somebody had got into his room through the balcony. It is an extension of the neighbour’s balcony reaching just below his window. The hotel management had failed to close it despite his complaint. Ausable showed anger and disappointment. Max believed him and he told that he had come to take the report about missiles.
The sound of knocking at the door:
Just then, they heard a knock at the door. Ausable immediately made a story and told that the police might have come to provide him security due to this important paper. He told Max that the police would enter the room, if he did not open the door. They might fire if they found Max armed.
Max drops from the balcony:
Max believed Ausable and he went towards the window. He caught the door frame with his free hand and put his gun over Ausable and Fowler. Then he moved his other leg up and over the window sill. The doorknob turned. Max freed himself and dropped in the balcony. He cried loudly.
A waiter enters:
After this a waiter entered the room with a bottle and two glasses. It was ordered by Ausable. Fowler was very surprised at this. He asked Ausable about Max. Ausable replied that he (Max) would never return. Thus Ausable had proved himself a true detective.
The Midnight Visitor Summary in Tamil
துப்பறியும் நிபுணர் அவுசபில்:
அவுசபில் ஒரு துப்பறியும் நிபுணர். அவர் பிரஞ் ஹோட்டலின் கடைசி மாடியில் அதாவது ஆறாவது மாடியின் அறையில் தங்கி இருந்தார். அவர் பருமனானவராய் துப்பறியும் நிபுணருக்கேற்ற தோற்றம் அற்றவராகத் தெரிந்தார். அது துப்பறியும் நபர் தன் வாழ்நாளில் தங்கக் கூடிய அறையாக இல்லாமல் மிகவும் எளிமையானதாகக் காணப்பட்டது.
பவுலர். அவுசபிலை சந்திக்கிறார்:
பவுலர் ஒரு எழுத்தாளர். அவர் துப்பறிவதை குறித்து நூல் எழுத விரும்புகிறார். ஆதலால், அவுசபிலைக் காண வருகிறார். ஆனால் அவுசபிலை பார்த்த பின்னர் அவர் ஜேம்ஸ் பாண்ட்டை | போல் எந்த விதத்திலும் தோன்றவில்லையே என | ஏமாற்றமடைந்தார். அவுசபில் பிரஞ்சு மற்றும் ஜெர்மன் மொழிகளை பேசினார். ஆனால் அமெரிக்கர்கள் பேசும் வண்ணம் பேசினார். பவுலர் எதிர்பார்த்ததிற்கு மாறாக, அவுசபில் தன்னை சுற்றி அழகான பெண்கன் எவரும் இல்லை என்றார். இருவரும் பேசிக்கொண்டே தங்கும் விடுதியை அடைந்து அறையைத் திறந்தனர்.
கையில் துப்பாக்கியுடன் மாக்ஸ்:
அறையை அடைந்த உடன் அவுசபில், | பவுலரிடம் சரித்திரத்தையே மாற்றக் கூடிய ஒரு | காகிதத்தை அவர் காணப் போவதாக கூறினார். எத்தனையோ, ஆண்களும், பெண்களும் அதன் பின்னே அலைந்தனர் என்றார். அறையின் உள்ளே நுழைந்து மின்விளக்குப் பொத்தானைத் தட்டியவுடன் ஒருவன் தானியங்கி கைத் துப்பாக்கியோடு நிற்பதை அவர்கள் கண்டனர். தான் அதிர்ந்து போய்விட்டதாக அவனிடம் அவுசபில் தெரிவித்தார். அவன் பெர்லினில்
கற்பனைக் கதை ஒன்றை புனைதல்:
மாக்ஸ்சை குழப்புவதற்காக ஜன்னலருகே பால்கனி இருப்பதாக ஒரு பொய் கதையை அவுசபில் கூறினார். சாய்வு நாற்காலியில் அமர்ந்த வண்ணம், இவ்வாறாக இரண்டு முறை அந்த பால்கனி வழியாக தன் அறை உள்ளே எவரோ நுழைந்துள்ளனர் என விவரித்தார்.
மேலும், விடுதி உரிமையாளரிடம் ஏற்கனவே இருமுறை புகார் செய்தும் பயனில்லை எனக் கோபமாகச் சொன்னார். அதை உண்மை என மாக்ஸ் நம்பினான். தான் ஆயுதங்களைப் பற்றிய குறிப்புத் | தாள்களை எடுத்துப் போக வந்ததாக உரைத்தான்.
கதவை தட்டும் சத்தம்:
அப்போது யாரோ கதவை தட்டும் சத்தம் கேட்டது. உடனே ஒரு புனைக்கதையாக, அவுசபில் தன்னிடம் ஆயுத குறிப்பு தாள்கள் உள்ளதால் போலீஸ் பாதுகாப்பு தர வேண்டி வந்திருக்கக் கூடும் என வினவினார். தான் கதவை திறக்காவிட்டால் போலீஸ் உள்ளே நுழைந்து விடுவார்கள் என மாக்ஸிடம் தெரிவித்தார். கையில் துப்பாக்கியோடு நின்றிருக்கும் மாக்சை சுட்டு விடக் கூடும் என கூறினார்.
பால்கனியிலிருந்து மாக்ஸ் குதிக்கிறான்:
அவுசபில் கூறியதை நம்பிக் கொண்டு ஜன்னல் அருகே மாக்ஸ் சென்றான். துப்பாக்கி குறி அவுசபில் மற்றும் பவுலரை நோக்கியிருக்க ஜன்னல் சட்டத்தை எட்டிப் பிடித்தான் மற்ற காலை ஊன்றி ஜன்னல் விளிம்பை எட்டிப் பிடித்தான். கதவின் கைப்பிடி அகன்றது. மாக்ஸ் தன் இடது கைப் பிடியை தளர்த்தி பால்கனி மேல் குதித்தான். குதிக்கும் போது ஒரே ஒரு முறை சத்தமாக அலறினான்.
விடுதி ஊழியன் உள்ளே நுழைகிறான்:
கதவு திறந்ததும் மதுபானம் மற்றும் இரண்டு டம்ளர்களுடன் ஹென்றி உள்ளே நுழைகிறான். அதை அவுசபில் வரவழைத்திருந்தார். இதைக் கண்டு பவுலர் மிகவும் வியந்து போனார். பால்கனியில் நிற்பவன் மீண்டும் வந்து விட்டால் என வினவினார். அவன் வரப்போவதில்லை என்றார். ஏனென்றால், அங்கு பால்கனியே இல்லை என்றார். அவுசபில் தான் ஒரு உண்மையான துப்பறியும் நிபுணர் என நிரூபித்து விட்டார்
The Midnight Visitor Glossary