The Midnight Visitor: Revision Notes NCERT English Class 10

The Midnight Visitor is a short story from Robert Arthur’s anthology, Mystery and More Mystery, published in 1963. Through this story, the author makes the readers aware that one must not panic in any given situation. Instead, one should face the situation with wit.

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The Midnight Visitor Study: Summary

The Midnight Visitor Study: Solutions

The Midnight Visitor Study: MCQs


Broadly, The Midnight Visitor can be divided into:

  • About Ausable
  • Ausable and Fowler Together
  • Man with a Gun
  • Ausable confuses Max
  • The Report
  • Trickery of the Police
  • Max in the Non-existing ‘Balcony’
  • Max Drops Down
  • Waiter’s Service Inside
  • Ausable Proves Himself

About Ausable

  • Fowler, a writer, had had high expectations of Ausable, a spy. He was, however, greatly disappointed.
  • For one thing, Ausable was very fat. He also had a strong American accent. Moreover, there was absolutely no air of mystery around him.
  • So, Ausable did not fit the writer’s idea of a spy.

Ausable and Fowler Together

  • Although Ausable sensed Fowler’s disappointment, he told Fowler to take heart.
  • He led Fowler into a gloomy hotel room where he lived. He was to meet someone there and acquire an important paper which might affect the course of history.
  • Many men and women had risked their lives for this paper.
  • Saying so, Ausable entered the room and closed the door.

Man with a Gun

  • As he switched on the light, Fowler felt his first thrill of the night.
  • A man stood across the room with a gun in his hand!
  • Ausable, surprised, greeted the intruder as Max.
  • Max knew about the paper and had to come to acquire it himself.

Ausable confuses Max

  • He said he was going to complain to the hotel management because this was the second time someone had entered through the balcony.
  • Max, surprised, commented that he entered using a passkey. He didn’t know that the room had a balcony.
  • Ausable, irritated, revealed that the balcony belonged to the room next to his but was connected to his room as well.
  • Anyone could enter that room and then climb into his through the balcony.

The Report

  • Max then commanded Fowler to take a seat. They had half an hour before the appointment.
  • Ausable wanted to know how Max knew about the paper. Max, in return, wanted to know how the report was acquired by Ausable.

Trickery of the Police

  • Just then, there was a knock on the door.
  • Ausable smiled and said that he had called the police. He thought that such an important paper required extra protection.

Max in the Non-existing ‘Balcony’

  • Max, cornered, threatened Ausable. He told him to send them away while he waited on the balcony.
  • He threatened to shoot the police if they waited around.

Max Drops Down

  • The knocking grew louder. A man called for Mr. Ausable.
  • Max kept his gun pointed at Fowler and Ausable as he climbed over the balcony.
  • Then, as the doorknob turned, Max jumped on to the balcony. As he did, he screamed.

Waiter’s Service Inside

  • Now, the door opened.
  • A waiter – carrying a tray, a bottle and two glasses – entered. He set the tray on the table, uncorked the bottle and left.
  • Fowler stared as the waiter left.
  • Ausable told him that he had never called the police.

Ausable Proves Himself

  • Fowler, confused, asked him about Max who was waiting on the balcony.
  • Ausable reassured him that Max would not return.
  • After all, there was no balcony.
  • Max had unknowingly jumped from the sixth-floor window!
  • So, Ausable – like a true spy – was able to outmanoeuvre his opponent and save his life.


The major theme of the chapter is:

  • Wisdom vs Weapon
  • Appearance vs Reality

Wisdom vs Weapon

  • In the story, the character of Ausable brings out this theme strikingly.
  • Ausable’s appearance does not fit the standards of a ‘detective’, but his work and wit speak for him.
  • On the contrary, even though Max was armed, he lacked the presence of mind and was easily fooled by Ausable.

Appearance vs Reality

  • The author has infused the theme of appearance versus reality in the poem taking the characters of Ausable and Max into consideration.
  • He explains that a person should not be judged purely on the basis of his/her appearance.
  • In the story, Ausable is fat and lazy but he is the most intelligent of all, a trait essential to be a good detective.
  • Whereas Max does have an appearance of that of a detective but is easily fooled, risking his life.

Character Sketch

The main characters in the story are:

  • Fowler
  • Ausable
  • Max


Judgmental: Fowler was too quick to judge Ausable based on his appearance and aura.

Stereotypical: He had a very stereotypical notion of how a detective should look- young with an attractive personality. Fowler was disappointed to see Ausable.


Deceptive: Although Ausable is sharp and witty, he does not present himself like one would imagine a detective to look like.

Witty: He tricked Max into making him believe that there was a balcony attached to his window when there was none. Max

Gullible: Though Max appeared threatening with the gun, he was convinced that there was a balcony that probably cost him his life.

Gutsy: He stole the passkey to Ausable’s room and entered it. He waited there until Ausable returned and also threatened him at gunpoint.

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