The Midnight Visitor, Explanation, Line by Line, Meaning of Difficult Words, English CBSE Class 10 NCERT Footprints without Feet Chapter 3


(Explanation and Meaning of difficult words)

Author – Robert Arthur


Word Meaning
Secret Agent Detective, Spy
Following him Walking behind
Musty Having stale smell
Gloomy Dark, having less light
Let down Disappointed

Ausable is a detective whose appearance is not similar to what Fowler had read in stories about  other detectives. Fowler was walking behind Ausable in the corridor of a French hotel. The corridor had a smell of dampness and it did not have proper light. Fowler was disappointed.




Word Meaning
Scarcely Barely, Just enough
Romantic adventure Normal comfort

Ausable’s room was on sixth and top floor. The room was just enough for a normal comfort. Ausable was fat, very fat.




Word Meaning
Accent Style of speaking
Altogether Completely
Passably Just enough

Ausable had a peculiar (strange) style of speaking. His spoken French and spoken German was just good enough. His accent continued to be that of an American. Although twenty years ago, Ausable had shifted to Paris from Boston. [Boston is a place in America and Paris is a place in France]




Word Meaning
Wheezily Breathing with a sound
Espionage Spying

Ausable spoke with a sound of breathing in his voice. You are disappointed. Somebody told you that I was a detective. I was working on spying and dangerous things. You wanted to meet me because you are a young and energetic writer.



Word Meaning
Envisioned Imagined
Mysterious Strange looking
Crack of pistols Firing from pistols

Ausable continues to speak.

You had imagined to meet a strange person tonight. You thought that there would be sounds of pistol and wines mixed with drug will be served.




Word Meaning
Sloppy Careless, Not serious
Prosaic Ordinary, Conventional

Ausable continues to speak.

But you spent a boring evening in hall of French hotel. You met a careless and fat person. He did not get paper messages from beautiful ladies. But he made an appointment with someone (Fowler) through an ordinary telephone call to meet in his room.




Word Meaning
Chuckled Laughed without a sound
Frustrated Annoyed, Depressed, Unsatisfied

Ausable continues to speak.

You were bored. The fat man (Ausable) laughed a bit and opened the lock of his door. He stood at the side to allow his annoyed guest to enter first into the room.




Word Meaning
Disillusioned Disappointed
Take cheer Be happy

Assuable told Fowler that Fowler was disappointed. But be happy my dear friend. Very soon you will see that a very important paper is getting delivered to me. Many men and women have risked their life to obtain that paper.




Very soon someday that paper will make a new history. Thinking about this possibility is very exciting. Assuage also entered the room and closed the door. Then he switched on the light.




Word Meaning
Authentic Real, Genuine
Thrill Excitement, Action, Surprise
Blinked Shut and opened eyes quickly

When lights were switched on, Fowler saw the first real action of the day. Because in the middle of the room, a man was standing. He had an automatic pistol in his hand. Ausable blinked his eyes.




Word Meaning
Give a start To surprise

Asuable spoke with sound of breathing. Max, you have surprised me. I thought you were in Berlin. What are you doing in my room?





Word Meaning
Slender Thin
Less than tall Not very tall
Crafty Nice, Good looking
Countenance Expression of a face
Aside from Except
Menacing Dangerous

Max was thin and not very tall person. His features and face indicated that he was clever like a fox. Except the gun, he did not look dangerous.




Word Meaning
Murmur Speak in a low voice, Whisper

Max spoke in low voice. The report about some new missile will be delivered to you tonight. I want to take that report from you. The report will be safer with me. [Max had come to steal that report from Asuable]




Word Meaning
Raise the devil Take up the problem
Grimly Seriously

Asuable went toward a chair that had arm-rests.. He sat down in that chair with a jerk.  Ausable seriously told that he will raise the problem with the management of the hotel. You can be sure about it.





Word Meaning
Nuisance Troublesome, Problematic

Today, second time in a month, a person has entered into my room through that troublesome balcony. Fowler turned his eyes towards the only window of the room. It was an ordinary window. Through window he could see  darkness of the night.




Word Meaning
Inflection Way of speaking
Rising inflection Speak loudly
Passkey Master key

Max spoke very loudly ‘Balcony’. I came using a master key. I did not know about balcony. If I knew about balcony, it would have been less troublesome to come into the room.




Word Meaning
Irritation Feeling angry or annoyed
Explanatorily While explaining
Glanced Looked

With great annoyance, Asuable told that it was not his balcony. The balcony was for the next room. He looked at Fowler while explaining.




Please understand that this room was a part of a big flat. These two rooms were connected through a door. The next room was the living room. That living room had a balcony. That balcony is up to my room.



There is an empty room after two rooms. Anyone can come to the balcony from that room. The hotel management had promised that they would stop that entry to my balcony. But till now they have not done.




Word Meaning
Commanding Ordering
Gesture Signal
Stiffly Straight, Not bending

Max looked at Fowler. Near Ausable, Fowler was standing straight. Max pointed the pistol to Fowler, and ordered him to sit down. Max said that probably they would need to wait for half an hour.



Ausable angrily said that they would need to wait for thirty one minutes. The appointment was fixed for twelve-thirty. Ausable asked Max how he came to know about the report.




Word Meaning
Evilly Wickedly, Naughtily

Max smiled wickedly. Max wanted to know how people of Ausable got the report. But no damage has been done yet. I will get back the report tonight. Max asked who had come to the door. Somebody was knocking the door.



Fowler was surprised to listen to knocking at the door. Ausable smiled and said that police was at the door. I thought that I should take some extra precaution and protection for a very important paper. I had told police to come to my room. This is to ensure that everything was OK.



Max became nervous. He bit his lips. The knock on the door came once again. Ausable asked max what he would do. If I did not open the door, they will surely come in. The door is not locked. And police will surely shoot.




Word Meaning
Backed Moved back
Swiftly Quickly
Sill Bottom portion of a window

Max became very angry. His face became black because of anger. He quickly moved towards window. He put his one leg over the sill of window. He gave a warning to Ausable to send police back. Max said he will wait in the balcony. If police do not go back I will shoot them to take the report.



Now the door was being knocked more loudly. Somebody call out the name of Mr Ausable.




Word Meaning
Grasped Held, Caught

Max kept his gun pointed towards Ausable (the fat man) and Fowler (his guest). Now his body was slightly bent. He caught frame of the window with his other hand. Then he put his other leg also over the window sill.




Word Meaning
Screamed Shouted
Shrilly Very loudly

The knob of the door started turning. [Meaning that somebody was opening the door] Quickly Max released his hand and body from the window and he jumped on the balcony. While jumping in the balcony he shouted very loudly.




Word Meaning
Deftly Skillfully
Uncorked Opened

The door opened. A waiter came in the room. He had a tray, two glasses and a bottle of wine with him. He put these on the table. He told Ausable that he had brought the drink Ausable had ordered while he was coming to room. The waiter went out of the room.




Word Meaning
Stammered Speak with pause

Face of the Fowler had become white because of fear. But what about the police? Ausable replied that he had not called police. Only Henry the waiter had come. I expected him to come any moment.



Fowler said would the man in the balcony come in. Ausable said that the man would never come back. Please understand my friend that there is no balcony. [Max had fallen to the ground from sixth floor]





Important Links
The Midnight Visitor – Textbook Q&A The Midnight Visitor – Extra Q&A
The Thief’s Story – Explanation A Question of Trust – Explanation
The Thief’s Story – Textbook Q&A A Question of Trust – Textbook Q&A
The Thief’s Story – Extra Q&A A Question of Trust – Extra Q&A
Re-arrange Exercises Error Finding Exercises
Active-Passive Rules Gap Filling Exercises
Passages Direct-Indirect Speech Rules
Story Writing Tips Letter Writing




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