An Angel in Disguise Questions and Answers ICSE Class 9 and Class 10

Extract Based Questions

Read the extracts given below and answer the questions that follow.

Extract – I

Idleness, vice, and intemperance had done their miserable work, and dead mother lay cold and still amid her wretched children. She had fallen upon the threshold of her own door in a drunken fit, and died in the presence of her frightened little ones. Death touches the spring of our common humanity. This woman had been despised, scoffed at, and angrily denounced by nearly every man, woman, and child in the village; but now as, the fact of, her death was passed from lip to lip, in subdued tones, pity took the place of anger, and sorrow of denunciation.

Question 1 : Describe the opening of the story.

Answer : The story begins by highlighting the sad state in which the mother has left behind her little children in poverty and without care. By highlighting vices such as idleness and drunkenness, the story tires to showcase the devastation caused by them, which is both annoying as well as pitiable.

Question 2 : Whose death is being described and what are the reasons behind her death?

Answer : A poor and anonymous woman has died at the door of her own hut. She has died due to excessive drinking and now her body lies at the door in a cold state. The young and unfortunate children are left alone and didn’t know what to do with the dead mother who lies there.

Question 3 : What were the reasons of hatred towards the dead woman?

Answer : The people hated the dead woman while she was alive because she devoted herself not to hard work but to idleness. Despite having three children to look after, the woman rather than working to earn a living to provide for her children spent her days drinking alcohol and perhaps troubling everyone around. That is why everyone hated and taunted her.

Question 4 : What led to the transformation of the village folks?

Answer : Though the village folks hated the dead woman while she lived and scoffed her, her death roused pity in them. The spring of humanity could not be stopped for death as it is a universal truth. The village folks, therefore, who earlier avoided the dead woman came rushing to her hut with an aim to provide her a decent burial and to console and look after her children.

Question 5 : Why were the children called wretched here? What does it indicate?

Answer : The children were called ‘wretched’ because their condition was miserable. The only person who took care of them, had died leaving them on their fate. The woman herself was a drunkard and jobless so she was not feeding her children properly. After her death , there was no one left to look after the children who were starving due to extreme poverty. Moreover, the children were too young to take care of themselves.

Extract – II

Two years before a fall from a window had injured her spine, and she had not been able to leave her bed since, except when lifted in the arms of her mother. “What is to be done with the children?” What was the chief question now. The dead mother would go underground and be forever beyond all care or concern of the villagers. But the children must not be left to starve. After considering the matter, and talking it over with his wife, farmer Jones said that he would take John, and do well with him, now that his mother was out of the way; and Mrs Ellis, who had been looking out for a bound girl, concluded that it would be charitable in her to make choice of Kate, even though she was too young to be of much use for several years.

Question 1 : Who were the old siblings of Maggie?

Answer : Maggie had two other siblings. Her brother, John, was twelve years old and her sister, Kate, was ten to eleven years old. Her brother was a healthy and robust boy, who was capable of earning a living with any farmer. Kate, too, was bright and active girl, capable of doing something worthwhile, if guided properly.

Question 2 : What did the villagers decided about the children?

Answer : After the death of the mother the biggest question was what to do with those three orphan children. The villagers discussed between themselves and it was decided that John would be taken by farmer Jones, who would help him work on his fields. Mrs Ellis, seeing that no one was willing to take Kate, thought of taking Kate along with her. Maggie, however, managed to touch many people’s hearts, but no one was willing to take her. As she was a bedridden child.

Question 3 : What had happened with Maggie? Why was no one willing to adopt her?

Answer : Maggie had fallen from a window two years ago. She had injured her spine and was unable to leave the bed on her own. She needed someone to carry her from one place to another and usually it was her mother who carried Maggie in her arms. No one was willing to adopt Maggie because no one wanted the burden of a bedridden child.

Question 4 : What did the neighbourhood women bring for Maggie? What did they believe?

Answer : The neighbourhood women brought old clothes for Maggie. They changed her dirty and torn clothes with cleaner ones. People were worried about her, they pitied her, they were keen on giving her food and clothes, but most believed that she was ‘hopelessly diseased’ and therefore a burden. Despite receiving the pity of the neighbours, she was left alone.

Question 5 : What can we deduce about the neighbours ?

Answer : The readers can easily believe that though the neighbours were charitable and full of sympathy towards the tree orphans of the dead drunken woman, while deciding the fate of the children they had their own interests in mind too. That is why John and Kate managed to find caretakers for themselves on the ohter hand, Maggie being a diseased child, was left. However, knowing the times in which the story is set, it would not be wrong to state that though death managed to rouse the humanity of neighbours but, poverty left them with meaner choices.

Extract – III

For a little while the man stood with a puzzled air; then he turned back, and went into the hovel again. Maggie with painful effort, had raised herself to an upright position and was sitting on the bed, straining her eyes upon the door out of which all had just departed, A vague terror had come into her thin white face.
“O , Mr Thompson!” she cried out, catching her suspended breath, “don’t leave me here all alone!” Though rough in exterior, Joe Thompson, the wheelwright, had a heart and it was very tender in some places.

Question 1 : What decision was taken for Maggie by the neighbours? Where was she about to be put?

Answer : The neighbours decided that Maggie must be sent to the poorhouse as her physical condition was not good. A poorhouse was a sad place, but most villagers though it to be suitable for Maggie because she was a poor and diseased child. They felt that she would get better treatment in the poorhouse.

Question 2 : Why did Mr Thompson stand puzzled outside Maggie’s hut?

Answer : Mr Thompson stood puzzled outside Maggie’s hut because her was not convinced that a poorhouse was a place where Maggie should be sent. Even though the villager’s believed that she would receive food, clothing and medical treatment in the poorhouse, Mr Thompson felt it cruel to leave Maggie alone. He was puzzled with all these thoughts , thinking about what to do.

Question 3 : Describe Maggie’s state of mind after the villagers left.

Answer : On seeing all the neighbours going back all knowing that her brother, John and sister, Kate, had left already, Maggie grew worried. She was patiently waiting for someone to take her too, but was getting scared that she might be left all alone, with no help.

Question 4 : What reactions Maggie showed after she saw Mr Thompson? What did Maggie ask of Mr Thompson?

Answer : Maggie had her eyes positioned on the door from where she saw everything leaving. At that moment, when she saw Joe Thompson entering her hut, she breathed a sigh of relief and hoped that he would understand her fear. She called Mr Thompson, and asked him not to leave her alone.

Question 5 : What kind of person was Joe Thompson? What factors influenced him in talking the decision regarding Maggie?

Answer : Joe Thompson was a wheelwright. He appeared a rough man from outside, but in reality  he was a man of tender heart. Almost like a mother, his affections of Maggie arose when he saw that everyone  had abandoned her. He was a childless man and was fond of children. He thought that if he took Maggie to his own house. Maggie would find a safe refuge and his empty house too would be lit with a child’s innocent laughter.

Extract – IV

Joe Thompson’s wife, who happened to be childless, was not a woman of saintly temper, nor much given to self-denial for others’ good, and Joe had well-grounded doubts touching the manner of greeting he should receive on his arrival. Mrs Thompson saw him approaching from the window and with ruffling feathers met him a few paces from the door, as he opened the garden gate, and came in. He bore a precious burden, and he felt it to be so. As his arms held the sick child to his breast, a sphere of tenderness went out from her, and penetrated his feelings.

Question 1 : What kind of woman was Mrs Thompson?

Answer : Mrs Thompson was a woman, who did not have good temper, She was hardhearted, ill-tempered and an irritable woman. Also, it was known that she was not a person who could lay down her comfort for the sake of others.

Question 2 : Why was Mr Thompson afraid of introducing Maggie to his wife?

Answer : Mr Thompson had well placed doubts about introducing Maggie to Mrs Thompson for he was aware of her nature. She was ill-tempered woman, quick to give in to anger. He knew that she would not receive Maggie with kindness and would want her to be dropped to the poorhouse.

Question 3 : What does the phrase ‘ruffling feathers’ mean? Why did Mrs Thompson come out to meet her husband?

Answer : The phrase ‘ruffling feathers’  means with great or extreme anger. On seeing her husband approaching with Maggie in his arms. Mrs Thompson impatiently came out to stop her husband from bringing the girl to their house. She could not wait for the explanation her husband had to offer on entering the house.

Question 4 : Describe Mr Thompson’s state of mind as he carried Maggie in his arms.

Answer : Mr Thompson’s embrace around Maggie was similar to that of a mother’s embrace around her child. With great love and affection, he carried Maggie in his arms. Though, he was afraid of his wife’s temper, a bond between him and Maggie had already been formed and he was prepared to confront his wife for Maggie’s sake.

Question 5 : What tone did Joe adopt to pacify his wife? Who did it affect Mrs Thompson?

Answer : Joe Thompson was well aware of his wife’s temper. However in Maggie’s case he had decided to keep her in his house. For once he adopted a firm stance which was clear through his determined eyes. Mrs Thompson had never seen her husband in such form. So, instead of getting angry, she remained silent.

Extract – V

I read in the Bible sometimes, and find much said about little children. How the Savior rebuked the dsiciples who would not receive them; how the took them up in his arms, and blessed them; and how he said that “whoever gave them even a cup of cold water should not go unrewarded.” Now, it is a small thing for us to keep this poor motherless little one for a single night; to be kind to her for a single night.” The voice of the strong, rough man shook, and he turned his head away, so that the moisture in his eyes might not be seen. Mrs Thompson did not answer, but a soft feeling crept into her heart.

Question 1 : Why did Mr Thompson use examples from the Bible?

Answer : Mr Thompson used examples from the Bible to convince his wife to give shelter to Maggie in their house. He believed that listening to the word of God would make his wife less harsh towards the little child.

Question 2 : What message did he intend to give to his wife?

Answer : Mr Thompson wished his wife to be kind towards Maggie and look after her in his absence. Therefore, he adopted the Biblical tone to make his point. He wanted his wife to follow after the saviour and serve little children as he did.

Question 3 : Why did Mr Thompson look away? What did he not want?

Answer : Mr Thompson, after having given his sermon, looked away from Mrs Thompson in order to hide his emotions. The conviction and determination with which he spoke to his wife was giving desired results. He did not want her to see him crying.

Question 4 : Did Mr Thompson’s sermon have the desired effect?

Answer : Mr Thompson’s sermon had the desired results as his wife’s temper and anger reduced. A soft and tender feeling that had gone from Maggie to Mr Thompson , crept into Mrs Thompson’s heart too. She was not angry now and her heart softened a little towards Maggie.

Question 5 : What did Mrs Thompson do after her husband left for work? What does it show?

Answer : After Mr Thompson left for work, Mrs Thompson went to interact with the child. She tried to comfort and console Maggie by talking to her. She even gave her food to eat, and milk to drink. Mr Thompson’s trick had worked. It appeared that Mrs Thompson and Maggie were getting along well.

Short Questions

Question 1 : Describe the woman who was dead now. What were her main vices?

Answer : The woman who was dead now was a poor lazy lady and mother of three children. She never worked hard to provide sufficient food to her children. Her main vices were drunkenness and idleness and probably under the influence of alcohol, she must have fought with people in the village. That’s why she was despised by the village people.

Question 2 : What brought a change in the attitude of the neighbours in the story ‘An Angel in Disguise’?

Answer : The news of the poor woman’s death roused the pity and humanity of the neighbours. Even though they did not like the woman, they hastily came to her hut carrying with them food and clothes for the children as well as a garment for the dead woman’s decent burial. The villagers were kindhearted people and they were worried about the future of these children who were now orphans.

Question 3 : Why were the neighbors convicted that a poorhouse was a good place for Maggie?

Answer : The villagers knew that the poorhouse was a sad place for a sick and helpless child. However, they felt that for disabled child, like Maggie, it would prove a blessing. She would receive healthy food, decent clothing and even doctors in the poorhouse. The neighbours convinced themselves of all this because they were not willing to take her responsibilty.

Question 4 : Why did Joe Thompson not see the guardians of the poor girl ever?

Answer : Mr Thompson had made an excuse for keeping Maggie in his house for a day. He was hopeful for that on interacting with Maggie, his wife might want to keep Maggie for a longer period. The fact that he had to take the permit from the guardians of the poor girl was his trick to buy sometime, which worked well in his favour. Mr Thompson was never required to meet them because neither her nor his wife ever wanted to part with Maggie.

Question 5 : How did Mr Thompson convince his wife to not send Maggie to the poorhouse?

Answer : Seeing his wife’s temper rising, Mr Thompson, very smartly , mocked the hardheartedness of woman in general . This gave him a certain control over his wife, who now wanted to prove herself otherwise. He, next, quoted examples from the Bible saying that Lord rewards those who look after children well and are kind to them. Lastly, he left Maggie and his wife together allowing the child’s innocence to work its charm over Mrs Thompson.

Question 6 : What did Mr Thompson notice on returning from work that evening?

Answer : On returning from work that evening, Mr Thompson saw his wife talking to Maggie. Though Mrs Thompson had her back towards the window and Mr Thompson could not see her face, he noticed the expression on Maggie’s face. He saw Maggie’s eyes fixed upon his wife and even when he eyes were sad, there was no pain or bitterness. Mr Thompson was relieved seeing his wife and Maggie getting along well with each other.

Long Questions

Question 1 : Write a character sketch of Maggie.

Answer : Maggie is the youngest of the three orphans, who were left in a desolate state after the death of their mother due to drunkenness. Following are the various points that describe her character in the story.

A bedridden Child : Maggie was bedridden and hopelessly diseased. Two years ago, she had fallen from a window and hurt her spine. Therefore, she could not stand on her own and had to be carried in her mother’s arms.

Well Mannered : In the story, there was no one who wanted to bear the responsibility of a diseased child. However, Maggie proves that the societal assumptions about here were not entirely true. She was well behaved and well mannered. When her brother and sister left her, she was patiently waiting for something to come to her rescue, though she was afraid to be left alone, all by herself. She always spoke to Mr Thompson in a respectable manner.

Bearer of Love and Compassion : With her childlike innocence, she managed to arouse love and compassion in Mr Thompson’s render heart. Even, the hardhearted and ill-tempered Mrs Thompson could not remain untouched by her gentleness. While the society believed her to be a burden, she was in reality a blessing for the Thompsons. From the story, especially having read its ending , it appears that more than Maggie, it were the Thompsons’s who were need of her. The innocence of a child’s heart lit their house with cheer forever. She was truly an angel in disguise.

Question 2 : Describe Mrs Thompson’s transformation.

Answer : The narrator introduces Mrs Thompson as a childless woman, and on who des not have a very amiable temper. Following are the points that describe transformation of Mrs Thompson from an ill-tempered to a kindhearted woman.

Hardhearted and ill-tempered : She is hardhearted, ill-tempered, and irritable. Mr Thompson, therefore, has well placed doubts about taking Maggie to his home. Note to her husband’s surprise , one seeing Maggie, Mrs Thompson becomes furious and asks her husband to drop Maggie at one of the poorhouses.

Process of Transformation : As the story progresses, we see a very different Mrs Thompson. On being reminded by her husband that Maggie has just lost her mother and has been separated from her siblings and having received a few quotations from Bible, Mrs Thompson’s heart melts too. Soon, she is seen conversing with the child, comforting her, getting her food and water, and so on.

Motherly Feelings : The tender motherly feelings that had remained buried deep within her heart are soon aroused by Maggie and to such an extent that she no longer wishes to be parted with Maggie. In Mrs Thompson, Maggie is able to find the comfort she found in her mother’s arms, for Mrs Thompson’s temper has been fully transformed.

Question 3 : Which character is perfect for describing TS Arthur’s message of humanity?

Answer : The character of Mr Thompson, a rough man from appearance having a tender heart is perfect for describing message of humanity. Following are the various points describing Mr Thompson as the perfect character in the story.

Perfect Character : Joe Thompson’s character is a symbol of unconditional love and compassion. For the style of writing in which the author, TS Arthur has championed, the fiction, Mr Thompson is its perfect creation.

His Concern for Maggie : He finds it cruel to leave Maggie all by herself after the death of her mother and having been separated from her brother and sister. Knowing that poorhouses are not good places and do not offer much comfort to children, he is not convinced to leave Maggie in one such place. Therefore, despite knowing the temper of his wife, he decides to take the alone child to his house to provide her love and comfort.

His Reasons for the Decision : The depths of his love can be understood in the firm tone he adopts while speaking to his wife about Maggie’s stay with them. The conviction in his tone puts an end to Mrs Thompson’s questions about Maggie. He seems to be following the message of the Bible and demonstrates to his wife the love and compassion of Jesus Christ towards children. He is no less than a saviour for Maggie.

Noble Result of his Noble Work : Though Mr Thompson is described as a rough man in the story, his humanity proves him to be a very kind man and his decision to bring Maggie to his house proves noble both for Maggie as well as for him and his wife.