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A Question of Trust Extra Questions and Answers English Footprints without Feet Chapter 4
‘A question of trust’, is an exciting and gripping story, penned by Victor Canning. He emphasizes on the following themes throughout the story:
- You must set a thief to catch a thief.
- There is honour among thieves, or is there?
- Never trust people blindly.
The chapter revolves around the well-off, unmarried 50 year old protagonist Horace Danby. He was a locksmith, had two helpers in business, and seemed like a good and respectable citizen to everyone. Horace suffered from hay fever attacks during summer, because of which, his housekeeper often worried about his health.
But unlike everybody’s opinion of him, Horace wasn’t really a completely honest man; he had served his first and only sentence in a prison library about 15 years ago. He robbed a safe every year, to pursue his love of buying rare and expensive books secretly through an agent.
It was July and there were three very interesting books coming up for sale in the autumn. Horace prepared and studied the house at Shotover Grange for his next robbery while examining its rooms, its electric wiring, its paths and its garden. Horace felt happy, as one afternoon, he finally found the house empty and unprotected. The family went to London and both the servants just left for a movie.
He wore a pair of gloves and carefully took the keys off from the kitchen door to avoid leaving fingerprints. He dealt with Sherry, the dog, easily and continued to the drawing room’s safe which had fifteen thousand pounds’ worth of jewels. The safe was behind a rather poor painting, Horace wondered if he should rather collect paintings, but soon rejected the idea as they took up more space.
The flowers in the bowl on the table made Horace’s nose tickle, he gave a little sneeze, after he tampered with the wires, he sneezed once again and quite loudly this time. He covered his nose with a handkerchief as he thought about the foolish magazine article which even mentioned the safe along with the whole layout of the house.
A quite yet firm female voice questioned him about his hay fever, to which he blankly replied, only to be shocked a moment later from the unexpected presence, he turned to see the woman in the doorway. She wasn’t frightened and was rather ready to press charges.
Horace begged the woman to let him go. She agreed to do so, only on one condition, she wanted to put the jewels in the bank, for which she had to open the safe and she failed to remember the code. Hoarce promised to open the safe if she let him go, and he quickly got rid of the situation and escaped imprisonment, or so he thought.
On the very third day, at about noon, police came to his house and arrested him for stealing the jewels, and his fingerprints were found on the safe as he forgot to put on gloves. No one believed his story about the woman, as the wife of the owner was herself a 60 year old, gray haired lady who called it complete nonsense.
Hoarce became assistant librarian in the prison and often thought of the charming and clever woman, who outwitted the thief through her impressive pretence, and got her way as well as the jewels.
Hoarce gets furious when anyone talks about ‘honour among thieves’ now, as he had been tricked and disillusioned by someone from his same profession.
Multiple Choice Questions
1.) What disease did Horace Danby suffer from?
c.) Hay fever
2.) What did Horace Danby steal every year?
b.) Rare, expensive books
3.) How long were the owners of the house gone to London?
a.) A week
b.) A month
c.) A year
4.) What did the pretty, young lady steal?
b.) Rare, expensive books
5.) What was the name of the dog?
Very Short Answer Questions
1.) Who is the author of the chapter – “A Question of Trust”?
Ans. Victor Canning
2.) Who is the protagonist of the chapter – “A Question of Trust”?
Ans. Horace Danby – a fifty year old unmarried man is the protagonist of the chapter – “A Question of Trust”.
3.) What made Horace Danby sneeze in the drawing room of the house?
Ans. Flowers kept in a vase on the table of the drawing room made Horace Danby sneeze.
4.) Where was safely hidden?
Ans. The safe was hidden behind a painting in the drawing room.
5.) How did Horace Danby come to know about the position of the safe?
Ans. A magazine article mentioned the layout of the house and also wrote about the safe. From the article Horace Danby came to know about the position of the safe.
6.) Why did Horace remove his gloves?
Ans. Horace removed his gloves to offer his cigarette lighter to the pretty, young lady whom he thought to be the owner of the house.
7.) What is the current profession of Horace?
Ans. Horace is the assistant librarian in the prison.
Short Answer Questions
1.) What did the pretty young lady ask Horace to do?
Ans. Horace was asked to break the safe. This was done in agreement that the lady would not complain to the police against him and he would have his freedom.
2.) What was Horace Danby convicted of?
Ans. Horace Danby was convicted of stealing jewellery at Shotover Grange, which was confirmed by his presence of fingerprints on the safe.
3.) What was the information Horace gathered by studying the house at Shotover Grange?
Ans. Horace studied the house for two weeks and gathered that the owners were in London and there were two servants who took care of the house. He collected the knowledge of the rooms, its electric wiring, its paths and its gardens. Later on the day of theft, he saw that the servants had hung the keys on a hook outside before they left for the movies.
4.) What reason did the young lady give to break the safe?
Ans. The young lady pretended to be the wife of the owner. She said that her husband had asked her to shift the jewels in the bank before they went to London. But she forgot to do so then and now she forgot the code of the safe. This was the reason provided by the lady to break the safe.
5.) What opinion do you form of the young lady?
Ans. The young lady was a very good con-artist. She was smart, confident and knew her way into a person’s mind. Even when she saw Horace was already present in the house, she did not back out. She made use of Horace’s anxiety and skill to break the safe so that she can put the blame entirely on Horace. She was calm and possessed a sharp presence of mind.
6.) How did Horace Danby survive before his imprisonment?
Ans. Horace Danby loved rare and expensive books. So, to survive himself each year he robbed a safe. The money helped him last a year and also helped him buy books through an agent. But to show society, he owned a business where he made locks with the help of two helpers.
7.) “Horace Danby was good and respectable – but not completely honest” – explain the statement from your point of view.
Ans. Horace Danby was a thief. He was obsessed with rare and expensive books. To fulfill his obsession, he would rob a safe every year that would last him almost a year. He would then buy books through an agent. But for society, he was a small business who made locks and had a meager income. So, Horace Danby was not completely honest.
But as a thief, he was robbed by another thief. And then the blame was put on him for which he suffered a prison sentence for fifteen years. As bizarre as it may sound, there is honesty among thieves. They would not let another thief suffer because of them. And Horace Danby also believed and followed this principle. So accordingly we may say, Horace Danby was good and respectable – among the society of thieves.
Long Answer Questions
1.) Briefly describe how the pretty, young lady tricked and accused Horace Danby for the theft.
Ans. Horace Danby was studying the house for two weeks. The owners of the house had left for London and there were two servants who took care of the house. So, when the servants went to watch a movie, Horace saw it as the perfect opportunity to lay his plan into action. He climbed the wall to enter, having his bag of tools with him. Then he entered the drawing room with the keys which the servants had left on the hook outside.
Horace was good at what he did. He wore gloves so that he would not leave any fingerprints behind. But the flowers in the drawing room made him sneeze as he was also suffering from hay fever. While he was working his way through the safe, he heard a female’s voice talking to him calmly but firmly. He got nervous. The lady was young and pretty and introduced herself as the owner of the house.
As the young lady was talking to him in a friendly manner, he thought he might have a chance to walk out of the situation unharmed. So, he tried to reason with her to not complain about him to the police. While doing so, he even removed his gloves and offered the lady his lighter. Finally, the lady considered his appeals and made an agreement. She asked Horace to break the safe so that she can transfer the jewels to the bank locker (as was told to her by her husband before they left for London). She did not remember the code of the safe and asked him to break it.
Horace, dipped in anxiety, started doing as he was told. And later, went home thinking he was saved. But two days later, police arrested him for stealing jewels from the same house, with proof being his fingerprints present on the safe. When he told the police that it was the owner of the house who asked him to do so, he was faced with the fact that the lady was a sixty year old woman. His story was marked as completely illogical and nonsense.
This was how the young lady tricked Horace Danby for the crime he actually did not commit.
2.) Do you think Horace Danby deserved the punishment which he received? Why?
Ans. I am a firm believer in karma. And so yes, I think he deserved the punishment which he received.
What goes around comes around. Horace Danby was an ardent lover of rare, expensive books. To fulfill his desires, he would rob a safe every year. This robbery would help him last a year and would also help him buy the books he desired through an agent. Horace Danby was a meticulous planner and thief and would get away with his theft without being caught. So, in the given case, though he actually did not steal the jewels, but his intentions were to do the same. Had he been not caught by the lady, he would have stolen the jewels and left, without leaving any evidence behind. So, because of the crimes committed before and for the crime he was intended to do, yes he deserved the punishment he received.
Horace Danby got angry when someone talked about “honor among thieves”. This was because he got cheated by a person belonging from the same profession. He believed that thieves should help each other and not let them be caught by the police. But in his case, the opposite happened. I believe that, it is also something which he deserved. Horace owned a small business where he made locks. He had two people work under him. He deceived the people of the society where he lived. He was one of the people and deceived them with his deeds. And so the same happened to him when he got deceived by a young, pretty lady belonging to the same profession as his.