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Ausable did not fit any description of a secret agent Fowler had ever read. Following him down the musty corridor of the gloomy French hotel where Ausable had a room, Fowler felt let down. It was a small room, on the sixth 11 of 13 and top floor, and scarcely a setting for a romantic adventure. Ausable was, for one thing, fat. Very fat. And then there was his accent. Though he spoke French and German passably, he had never altogether lost the American accent he had brought to Paris from Boston twenty years ago. “You are disappointed,” Ausable said wheezily over his shoulder. “You were told that I was a secret agent, a spy, dealing in espionage and danger. You wished to meet me because you are a writer, young and romantic. You envisioned mysterious figures in the night, the crack of pistols, drugs in the wine.” 

(The Midnight Visitor)

i. Which of these describes how Fowler felt at the beginning of the extract? 

A. His heart sank. 

B. He was shaken up. 

C. His stomach was in knots. 

D. He was at the end of his rope. 

ii. State one observation about Ausable based on the way he handled Fowler's disappointment with him.  

iii. How did the atmosphere of the French hotel influence Fowler's mood? Answer in 40 words. 

iv. Which of these means the same as 'romantic' in the line below? 

It was a small room, on the sixth and top floor, and scarcely a setting for a romantic adventure. 

A. great 

B. exciting 

C. idealistic 

D. passionate 

1 Answer

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Best answer
(i) A. his heart sank

[The extract mentions that Fowler felt 'let down'. Option A is correct as 'his heart sank' implies that Fowler was 'disappointed' or 'let down'.]

(ii) We can infer that:

♦ Ausable was perceptive and observant as he noticed Fowler's disappointment as well as the cause of it.

♦ Ausable was confident. He didn't feel the need to apologise for disappointing Fowler. He accepted his disappointment without judgement.

♦ He was experienced enough in his field to understand that the reality of being a spy differs from perceptions of it.

♦ He was smart and quick-witted in the way he responded to Fowler's disappointment.

(iii) The French hotel is described as 'gloomy', 'musty' and 'small'. This sombre atmosphere of the hotel added to Fowler's feeling of disappointment. He expected a grand atmosphere of mystery and danger, and was disappointed by the reality of the situation.

(iv) B. exciting

[The word 'romantic' in the context given means 'mysterious and exciting'. Thus 'exciting' can replace 'romantic' in the given sentence.]
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