a question of trust
Hay fever: A fever due to allergy
Burglar alarm: alarm bell to indicate burgle
Sneeze: to bring out breathing air forcefully
Horace Danby :
Personality: good, unmarried, honest, but not completely, fifty years old, healthy (except attacks of hay fever)
Profession: makes locks with two helpers
Previous life: fifteen years old had served his first and only sentence in a prison library
Hobby: loves to read rare and expensive books. He robs every year to buy rare and expensive books .
Shotover Grange: This year his target house to be robbed.
Horace Danby had a good reputation in the society. He was about fifty and unmarried. He made locks and had two helpers. He loved rare and expensive books. Horace robbed a safe every year. He was now out on committing a robbery.
For two weeks Horace had studied the house of Shotover Grange. He had to burgle this house. Horace Danby entered the house . Horace had allergy from flower ; he started sneezeing. Then he heard a voice. The voice told him that he could cure the sneeze. It was the voice of a woman. She stood in the doorway. She was young and pretty. His first thought was to run. The lady told him that she would telephone the police. She would tell them about him. Horace Danby told him to let him go and forget she ever saw him. The lady put one condition for letting Horace go.
She told him that she had promised her husband to take her jewel to the bank. She had, however, left jewels in the safe . She told him that she wanted to wear the jewels in a party that night . She came down to get them. But she had forgotten the numbers to open the safe . So she needed his help and Horace opened the safe for her.
After two days a policeman had arrested him for the jewel robbery at Shotover Grange . Danby’s fingerprint were found all over the room. He had opened the safe without gloves. He said to the police that the landlady of the house said him to open the safe. But the lady was 60 years old woman . She said Danby's story is a nonsense.
Horace is now in prison. He often thinks of the charming and clever young lady. She was in the same profession. She had simply tricked him. Danby gets angry when anyone talks about “honour among thieves”.
short questions & answers
What is the profession of Horace Danby?
Ans: He made locks.
Where was Horace fifteen years ago?
Ans: He was in the prison library fifteen years ago.
What was his hobby?
Ans: He loves to read rare and expensive books.
Why did he rob a safe every year?
Ans: He robs a safe every year in order to buy some rare and expensive books to fulfil his hobby.
How much worth of jewels were there in the Grange`s safe?
Ans: There were about fifteen thousands pounds worth of jewels in the grange safe.
Who is Sherry?
Ans: Sherry is the pet dog at Shotover`s house.
What is the best way to keep the dog quiet?
Ans: The best way to keep the dog quiet is to call them by their right and to show them love.
Where was the safe?
Ans: The safe was in the drawing room ,behind a rather poor painting.
Who came while he was about to open the safe?
Ans: The another lady of the same profession as his pretending herself as the owner the house came elsewhere.
Why did Horace take off his gloves?
Ans: In order to please the lady and seeing her that she might help him, took-off his gloves to lit her cigarette with his lighter.
text book questions & answers
Q1 . Did you begin to suspect, before the end of the story, that the lady was not the person Horace Danby took her to be? If so, at what point did you realise this, and how?
Answer: It is difficult to guess before the story ends. The incidence of the lady calming the dog gives some hint but it is not strong enough. Her statement of getting the safe repaired can make some reader to think but this can be also be a case of fear of a strict husband.
Q2. What are the subtle ways in which the lady manages to deceive Horace Danby into thinking she is the lady of the house? Why doesn’t Horace suspect that something is wrong?
Answer: Her confident walk, her act of touching up her make-up and the ease with which she picks cigarette from the right place are enough to deceive anybody. Horace was too frightened to think properly so he didn’t suspect anything.
Q3. “Horace Danby was good and respectable — but not completely honest”. Why do you think this description is apt for Horace? Why can’t he be categorised as a typical thief?
Answer: Danby’s habits were not typical of a thief. He was fond of books. He used to steal only once in a year so he was never stealing more than his needs. Act of theft is still a crime not matter how good a thief behaves, so Danby can’t be termed as completely honest. He is not a regular offender like other thieves so he can’t be categorized as a typical thief.
Q.4. Horace Danby was a meticulous planner but still he faltered. Where did he go wrong and why?
Answer: Horace Danby failed to get enough information about real occupants of the house. He seems to be too occupied with collecting information about house map, wiring and location of valuable things. Although he was smart enough to know the dog’s actual name but overlooked getting identity of each and every occupants of the house. Once he was in problem then probably his clever mind gave way to carelessness leading him to open the safe without wearing gloves.
Q.5. Do you think Horace Danby was unfairly punished, or that he deserved what he got?
Answer: He deserved what he got. A crime is a crime no matter if it is committed a hundred times or just once.
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