Treasure Trove Angel in Disguise Short Stories Workbook Answers

This post is part of Exam18’s ICSE Treasure Trove Workbook Answers Series.

Book Name Story Name Story Writer
Treasure Trove Short Stories Angel in Disguise T.S. Arthur

Long-answer type questions

1. Comment on the theme of the story “An Angel in Disguise” bringing out the significance of its title.

Answer: “An Angel in Disguise” is a didactic story written by T.S. Arthur. It gives us a message of love, sympathy and charity. A poor, discarded child proves to be a ray of hope in the wretched life of a couple Mrs and Mr Thompson. The child, Maggie, had been bedridden with an injured spine after a fall from a window. When her mother dies all of a sudden, her brother and elder sister are taken care of by the neighbours but no one is inclined to take the responsibility of bringing up the youngest child, Maggie. It is in this situation that Joe Thompson brings her home and after an initial rejection by his wife, the child is accepted lovingly and this charitable act brings joy and hope in the couple’s life.

 2. Describe the miserable condition of the woman who dies leaving behind three young kids.

Answer: The poor woman is a victim of idleness, vice and drunkenness and dies at the threshold of her own house all of a sudden. She leaves behind three half-starved children who are frightened by her death. There is no one else in the family to take care of the wretched children. The news of her death spreads all around like wildfire. The woman had brought disrepute to herself by her viciousness but now the neighbourhood is ready to offer a decent burial to the wretched mother.

3. Describe the children left behind by the wretched mother and how they are taken care of after her departure.

Answer:  Three children – John, Kate and Maggie – have been left behind by the sudden misfortune which overtakes the family. John is a stout lad of twelve who is in a position to earn his living with any farmer. Kate, the second child, is a girl between ten and eleven. She is a bright, active girl who can go ahead in life with a caring guardian. But the third child, Maggie, is hopelessly diseased. She is suffering from a spinal injury and is bedridden.
“What is to be done with the children ?” Was the main question in everybody’s mind. It was farmer Jones who came forward to adopt John who would be some help to him. Mrs Ellis chose to bring up Katy who wouldn’t be an asset immediately but might shape up in a few years. She thought that Katy is used to having her own way in everything, yet she would take her up from a sense of duty. However, nobody was willing to take the responsibility of Maggie, a hopeless cripple. A rough-looking man suggested that the girl should be sent to the poorhouse because nobody was going to be bothered with her. However, a wheel-wright named Joe Thompson was kind enough to take Maggie to his house did not approve of it immediately.

4. Under what circumstances does Joe Thompson take in Maggie as his own child ?

Answer: When the poor, miserable woman dies a sudden death, two of her children – John and Kate – are taken in happily by the neighbours. But nobody is inclined to accept Maggie since she is a hopeless cripple. When everybody leaves Maggie behind Joe Thompson, The wheelwright, pauses and says to his wife :
“It’s a cruel thing to leave her so”. But his wife snaps back Then take her to the poorhouse; she’ll have to go there”.
Saying this, she leaves for her home while her husband stands there puzzled and perplexed. He goes into the hovel inspite of his wife’s reluctance and has a look at the helpless, orphaned girl. The girl appeals to him, “O Mr Thompson, don’t leave me here all alone Now,
Mr Thompson doesn’t have the heart to reject her and brings her home.

5. How does Mr Thompson bring the orphaned child, Maggie, to his home ?

Answer:  Mr Thompson hasn’t the heart to leave the helpless child alone. So he wraps her up with motherly gentleness in the clean bedclothes which some neighbour had brought. Lifting her in his strong arms, he walks across the fields to reach his home. He knows that his wife is not a woman of saintly temper and would not receive the child in a kindly manner. As soon as she sees her husband with his “precious burden”, she asks : “What have you there ?” She further asks him if he had brought that sick brat to his house. In order to cool down his wife, Joe says that the poor girl could not walk to the poorhouse on her own. He has decided to see the Guardians and seek their permission to admit the child to the poor-house. This softens the attitude of Mrs Thompson towards the child.

6. How does Joe Thompson mentally prepare his wife to accept the child in. her home ?

Answer:  Joe Thompson is very tactful in handling his wife’s anger. He quotes from the Bible in order to subdue her temper. He tells her how the Saviour rebuked the disciples who would not receive the children kindly. The Saviour himself took up the children in his arms and blessed them. The Saviour said : “Whosoever gave them even a cup of cold water should not go unrewarded.” Therefore, according to Mr Thompson, it is not a big deal for them to keep that poor motherless child for one night. It is their moral duty to look after the child and keep her comfortable. He advised his wife to speak kindly to the child. They should think of her dead mother and also her pain and sorrow in the rest of her life.

The eloquent speech of Joe Thompson has a positive effect on his wife. She goes into the room where Maggie is resting. Apparently her heart has changed towards the helpless and hapless child. Therefore Joe Thompson goes to work in his shop, leaving Maggie to the care of his wife. He knows that his wife heart has melted and now she will feel like a mother towards the child.

7. What change of behaviour did Joe Thompson notice in his wife after returning from his shop ?

Answer:  When Joe Thompson returned home from his shop he found a light shining through the little chamber windows. It was a good omen. When he peeped into the chamber, he saw Maggie lying in her bed with the lamp shining full upon her face. Mrs Thompson was sitting by the bed, talking to the child. A great weight was lifted from his heart to note that there was no sign of bitterness or pain on the face of his wife. This showed that now she was fully attached to the child and there was no sign of regret or remorse in her mind for accepting this child. The child did not seem to be any kind of burden to her any more.

8. How does Joe Thompson talk to Maggie to win over her love and affection.

Answer:  Joe Thompson knows that the child is a stranger to him. Still he tries to win her over by asking many questions about her past life. He affectionately takes her soft hand in his hand and wants to know if she has been sick quite long. She answers in the affirmative. He further asks her if the doctor had come to see her. She tells him that he used to come earlier but not now. Then he wants to know about her aching back and the extent of her pain. The poor girl tells him that she feels better in the soft bed in which she is lying now. Her voice shows that she is fuil of gratitude towards this fatherly figure who has brought her here after her mother’s death.

9. In what way the helpless girl, Maggie, proved to be “an angel in disguise” for the Thompson family ?

Answer:  An angel in disguise is somebody who proves to be an asset inspite of the poor initial impression. Mrs Thompson, the irritable wife of the wheelwright, seems to be greatly upset by his decision to bring the hopeless cripple (Maggie) to his house. When Joe tells her that the neighbours wanted to send her to the poorhouse, she retorts : “Why didn’t you let her to, then ? What did you bring her for ?” Her husband boldly remarks that she could not walk to the poorhouse and somebody in arms must carry her and his arms were strong enough for that task. Again, the irritable wife asks him why he did not take her up to the poorhouse. He calmly replies that he must see the Guardians first and gain their permission for her admission to the poorhouse. This is enough to cool down the wife. But when Joe leaves for his shop, it is Mrs Thompson who comes near the child and slowly begins to shower affection on her. She had turned into a sore, irritable, ill-tempered and self- afflicting woman in the absence of a child. Now, the entry of this child brings sunshine into her life which had been quite desolate earlier. Joe Thompson was also delighted by her sweet presence and she was indeed “an angel” who had come into his house disguised as a sick, helpless and miserable child. All the dreary chambers of their house were filled with the sunshine of love.

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Comprehension Passages

1. Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow :

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. Neighbours went hastily to the old tumble-down hut, in which she had secured little more than a place of shelter from summer heats and winter cold : some with grave-clothes for a decent interment of the body; and some with food for the half-starving children, three in number.

(i) How did the mother die ?
Answer: The mother fell upon the threshold of her own door in a drunken fit and died in the presence of her little ones.

(ii) How did the people of the village treat the woman during her life ? What was their attitude towards her after her death ?
Answer: The people of the village hated the woman and angrily denounced her during her life. Their attitude towards her changed after her death. Now they took pity on her. They were full of sorrow.

(iii) Where did the woman live ? How many children did she have ?
Answer: The woman lived in an old humble hut in which she had secured a shelter from hot summer and cold winter. She had three children – two daughters and a son.

(iv) What did people carry with them when they visited the woman’s house on her death ?
Answer: Some people carried with them grave- clothes for a decent interment of the body, while some others carried with them food for the half-starving children.

(v) Who was the dead woman’s youngest child ? How had she become a disabled person ?
Answer: Maggie, the little girl, was the dead woman’s youngest child. She had a fall from a window and had injured her spine. Thus she became a disabled person. She had not been able to leave her bed since then.

2. Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow :

But no one said “I’ll take Maggie.” Pitying glances were cast on her wan and wasted form and thoughts were troubled on her account. Mothers brought cast-off garments and, removing her soiled and ragged clothes, dressed her in clean attire. The sad eyes and patient face of the little one touched many hearts, and even knocked at them for entrance. But none opened to take her in. Who wanted a bed-ridden child ?
“Take her to the poorhouse,” said a rough man, of whom the question “What’s to be done with Maggie?” was asked. “Nobody’s going to be bothered with her.”

(i) How did the village people look at Maggie ? Why did no one want to take charge of her ?
Answer: The village people looked at Maggie with pity but no one wanted to take charge of her because she was a crippled child and was unable to leave her bed of her own. She was dependent on others.

(ii) What did the village women bring for Maggie ? How did Maggie touch many hearts ?
Answer: The village women brought cast-off garments for Maggie. They removed her soiled and ragged clothes and dressed her in clean attire. Maggie touched many hearts by her sad eyes and patient face.

(iii) What did the rough man suggest with regard to Maggie ? How would the poorhouse be a good place for Maggie ?
Answer: The rough man suggested that Maggie should be left in the poorhouse. It would be a good place for her. There she would be kept clean, have healthy food and would be provided with medical aid.

(iv) Who capte to mourn the drunken woman’s death ? Why did no one follow the dead cart ?
Answer: A few neighbours came to mourn the drunken woman’s death, but none followed the dead cart as it contained the unhonoured remains of a poor woman.

(v) What did Jones, the farmer, do ? Why did he think that he had done his part ?
Answer: Jones, the farmer, placed John, the eldest son of the dead woman, in his wagon and drove away. He was satisfied that he had done his part by taking the responsibility of John.

3. Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow :

“It’s a cruel thing to leave her so.”
“Then take her to the poorhouse: she’ll have to go there,” answered the blacksmith’s wife, springing away, and leaving Joe behind.
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!”.

(i) Explain the line “It’s a cruel thing to leave her so.”
Answer: Everyone had left Maggie, the crippled child to her fate. When the blacksmith’s wife was about to leave her alone, Joe Thompson, a kind-hearted person, told the blacksmith’s wife that it was a cruel thing to leave Maggie, the helpless girl, in such a miserable condition.

(ii) Why did Joe Thompson go to Maggie’s hovel again ? What did he observe ? What did Maggie tell Joe Thompson ?
Answer: Joe Thompson felt pity for Maggie, the crippled child. But he did not know what
to do with her. He was puzzled for a while, but then went back to Maggie’s hovel out of compassion for her. He observed that she had raised herself to an upright position and was sitting on the bed. Maggie told Joe Thompson, “Don’t leave men here all alone.”

(iii) What type of a person was Joe Thompson ? What assurance did he give Maggie ?
Answer: Though Joe Thompson was rough in exterior, he was kind-hearted from within. He liked children and loved their company. Joe Thompson assured Maggie that she would not be left alone there.

(iv) How did Joe Thompson treat Maggie ? What did he do ?
Answer: Joe Thompson treated Maggie kindly. He wrapped her in clean bed clothes and took her to his house.

(v) What type of a person was Mrs Thompson ? What doubt did her husband have about her ?
Answer: Mrs Thompson, who happened to be childless, was not a woman of saintly temper. She did not believe in doing something good for others. Joe Thompson knew that his wife would not approve of her.

4. Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow :

Then, stepping back, he shut the door, and stood face to face with his vinegar-tempered wife in the passage-way outside.
“You haven’t brought home that sick brat!” Anger and astonishment were in the tones of Mrs Joe Thompson; her face was in a flame.
“I think women’s hearts are sometimes very hard,” said Joe. Usually Joe Thompson got out of his wife’s way, or kept rigidly silent and non-combative when she fired up on any subject; it was with some surprise,
therefore, that she now encountered a firmly-set countenance and a resolute pair of eyes.
“Women’s hearts are not half so hard as men’s !”

(i) How did Mrs Thompson react when her husband reached his home with the sick child in his arms ? What type of a look did her husband give her ?
Answer: Mrs Thompson reacted angrily and astonishingly when her husband reached his home with the sick child in his arms. Her husband, Joe Thompson, gave her a firm and resolute look.

(ii) What reply did Joe Thompson give his wife when she asked him what he had brought with him ? Where did he lay Maggie ?
Answer: Joe Thompson told his wife that he thought women’s hearts were sometimes very hard. He placed Maggie in the little chamber of his house.

(iii) What was Mrs Thompson’s tone when she confronted her husband with regard to Maggie ?
Answer: Mrs Thompson’s tone was full of anger and astonishment. Her face was red with anger.

(iv) What was Joe Thompson’s general attitude towards his wife whenever she talked about some subject ?
Answer: Usually Joe Thompson remained out of his wife’s way. He kept silent and remained non-combative whenever she talked about some subject.

(v) How did Joe Thompson confront his wife with regard to Maggie ? What did he tell her about women’s hearts ?
Answer: Joe Thompson confronted his wife with firmness and resoluteness. He told her that he thought women’s hearts were some times very hard.

5. Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow.

“Jane,” said the wheelwright, with an impressiveness of tone that greatly subdued his wife, “I read in the Bible sometimes, and find much said about little children. How the Savior rebuked the disciples who would not receive them; how he took them up in his arms, and blessed them; and how he said that ‘whosoever 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; to make her life comfortable for a single night.”

(i) What did Mrs Thompson ask her husband to do at once with regard to Maggie ?
Answer: Mrs Thompson asked her husband to get the permit at once and admit Maggie in the poorhouse.

(ii) Why did Joe Thompson refer to the Bible ? What did he want to convey to his wife ?
Answer: Joe Thompson referred to the Bible in order to tell her that the Saviour rebuked those disciples who did not receive children kindly. He wanted to convey to his wife that those who loved the children and looked after them kindly would be rewarded.

(iii) How did Joe plead with his wife to keep Maggie in their home for a single night ? Why did he turn his head away ?
Answer: Joe pleaded with his wife in an impressive tone to keep Maggie in their home for a single night. He assured her that he would admit her in the poorhouse the next morning. Also he referred to the Bible to impress upon her that the Saviour had asked his disciples to love children and treat them kindly. He turned his head away so that the moisture in his eyes might not be seen.

(iv) What impact did Joe’s words have on Jane Thompson ?
Answer: Joe’s words had a positive impact on Jane Thompson. After hearing his words, she did not answer but a soft feeling crept into her heart.

(v) What did Joe say in his address to Jane ? What brought eloquence to Joe’s lips when he addressed his wife ?
Answer: Joe told her to look at Maggie kindly and speak to her kindly, and to think of her dead mother, and the loneliness, the pain, the sorrow that must be on all her coming life. The softness of his heart brought eloquence to Joe’s lips.

6. Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow.

Mrs Thompson did not reply, but presently turned towards the little chamber where her husband had deposited Maggie; and, pushing open the door, went quietly in. Joe did not follow; he saw that her state had changed, and felt that it would be best to leave her alone with the child. So he went to his shop, which stood near the house, and worked until dusky evening released him from labour. A light shining through the little chamber windows was the first object that attracted Joe’s attention on turning towards the house : it was a good omen.

(i) What did Mrs Thompson do after listening . to her husband’s impassioned plea ? Why did her husband feel that it would be best to leave her alone with the child ?
Answer: After listening to her husband’s impassioned plea, she went towards the little chamber where her husband had kept Maggie, pushed open the door and went quietly in. He observed a change in her wife’s attitude towards Maggie and so thought that it would be best to leave her alone with the child.

(ii) What attracted Joe’s attention when he returned home after day’s work ? Why was he relieved on seeing Mrs Thompson ?
Answer: A light shining through the little chamber windows was the first thing that attracted Joe’s attention when he returned after day’s work. He was relieved when he saw Mrs Thompson sitting by Maggie’s bed and talking to her.

(iii) What change did Joe Thompson notice in his wife’s attitude ? Why did he think it proper not to refer to the child ?
Answer: He found that his wife was sitting by Maggie’s bed and talking to her. He noticed that they were conversing with each other. He saw that Maggie’s eyes were fixed upon his wife, and that her expression was sad and tender but he saw nothing of bitterness or pain. This was the change that he noticed in his wife.
Joe did not go immediately to the little chamber. He found that his wife had been busy talking to Maggie. He thought it proper not to refer to the child because he did not want to show any extraordinary concern about Maggie.

(iv) How did Maggie look at Joe when he entered her little bedroom 7 What did Joe notice about Maggie in the lamp light?
Answer: Maggie looked at Joe tenderly, gratefully, and pleadingly when he entered her little bedroom. Joe noticed that Maggie had an attractive face and it was full of childish sweetness.

(v) What did Joe ask Maggie after he took her little hands in his ? How did Maggie reply to Joe ?
Answer: He asked her if her name was Maggie. She replied in the positive. While saying so, her voice struck a chord that quivered in a low strain of music.