Thursday 25 May 2023

The Midnight Visitor

The Midnight Visitor

                                       By Robert Arthur


·       The chapter ‘The Midnight Visitor’ written by Robert Arthur is a short story embedded with mystery, suspense, wit and humour.

·       ‘The Midnight Visitor’ is the story of Mr. Ausable, a witty, clever and smart secret agent though he looked fat, lazy and inactive, and doesn’t fit into the typical description of a secret agent according to the magazine reporter, Mr. Fowler.

·       It is an interesting and humorous story in which a secret agent Max demands the protagonist, Mr. Ausable who is also a secret agent to hand over the freshly arrived report on the new missiles but the tables are turned on him as he is trapped due to Ausable’s cool attitude, witty personality and presence of mind. He outsmarts Max by fooling him and creating a fiction about a balcony which wasn’t there, ever.

·       It is the clever and smart Ausable who had the last laugh when he fooled Max into believing that the police is waiting outside. Eventually Max jumps down in the balcony and falls down from the sixth floor as there was no balcony.

·       The story brings out that intelligence, cool attitude and presence of mind can help us come out of even the trickiest of situations.

·       Smart moves of Ausable, Fowler’s comparison of Ausable with the detectives in fictions and foolishness of Max maintain the element of humour throughout the story making it an interesting and hilarious story through and through.

Summary  /  Synopsis

·       The story begins with Mr. Fowler, a reporter, entering the hotel where Mr. Ausable, a smart and witty secret agent was staying secretly in a small and dusty room of a French hotel as he was going to receive a report about a missile. Mr. Fowler found Ausable just contrary to his belief and knowledge as he was very fat and didn’t look witty, smart and adventurous enough to be a detective. Fowler wanted to take interview and gather knowledge about Ausable’s life style and profession for his magazine.

·       The story took an interesting turn when another secret agent, Max entered the scene. He was already there inside Ausable’s room waiting for him and the report on new missiles. He wnated to harm the protagonist, Mr. Ausable if his request was denied. Max warned Ausable to hand over the newly arrived report, but the tables were turned completely as he was trapped due to Ausable’s cool attitude, witty personality and presence of mind.

·       Instantly, Ausable created a story that thieves keep entering his room through a balcony attached to another room, next to his. He showed his anger to the management who didn’t do anything despite his several complaints. Max didn’t know about the balcony and entered the room using a passkey. Ausable described the balcony so well and looked so distraught that Max started believing the fiction about the balcony which wasn’t there, ever.

·       As they were waiting for the report to arrive, there was a knock at the door. Another smart move of Ausable outwitted Max when Ausable told him that he had called the police for the safety of the reports. Hearing this Max became frightened and wanted to hide somewhere till the police leaves the place after safe exchange of the reports.

·       It is the clever and smart Ausable who had the last laugh when he fooled Max into believing that the police is waiting outside of hotel room. Eventually, Max jumps onto the balcony to escape from the police but falls down from the sixth floor as there was no balcony. A loud and painful cry is heard, and that was probably the last cry of Max.

·       Ausable opened the door after the second knock and found Henry, a waiter at the gate. Ausable himself called him for drinks and was expecting him at the gate. But the fiction of police was a smart move of Ausable to get rid of Max.


The story brings out the message that we should keep our calm and use our presence of mind which would help us come out of the gravest problems or difficulties the way Ausable has done. The story teaches us to maintain patience, calmness and composite nature even in adverse times. 

Important Question Answers

Q1. How was Ausable successful in fooling Max and get rid of him?

Ans. Ausable described balcony so minutely and confidently as if it has always been there. He told Max that his room was a part of an apartment, which was later divided into smaller units. He also added that using the balcony someone entered his room earlier, too. He was expecting Harry, a waiter at the gate, so hearing the doorbell he created a story that police was at the gate, and said that he had called the cop for security of papers. Out of fear Max jumped down in the balcony which was never there. He made a good use of intelligence, maturity, patience, confidence and presence of mind and got rid of Max.

Q2. Ausable was a successful secret agent. What qualities can be attributed to him ? Give examples.

Ans. Ausable was a successful secret agent pertaining to his admirable qualities despite his uninteresting looks and plump physique. He was a smart, intelligent, quick witted, patient and clever creature. Most importantly he possessed the attribute of thinking in critical moments and great presence of mind.

Even in front of Max holding a gun he could think of the idea of a balcony and described it with incredible authenticity on face, right expressions and irritating tone that Max believed him.

After the knock at gate he invented another story that the police is at the gate which helped him get rid of Max.

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