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A Question of Trust - VICTOR CANNING

  Footprints Without Feet - A Supplementary Reader Text for 10 the class. Lesson -4: A Question of Trust - Victor Canning.  Summary, Glossar...

 Footprints Without Feet - A Supplementary Reader Text for 10 the class.

Lesson -4: A Question of Trust - Victor Canning.

 Summary, Glossary, Questions, and Answers.

Summary- The lesson, " A Question of Trust " is written by the writer Victor Canning. This lesson is a very interesting plot that highlights the theme of " Honour Among Thieves", because a good planner thief or a burglar is being deceived by a young, pretty, and beautiful lady in an easy, smooth, and natural way such that till the end or rather he is not arrested by police for robbing the jewels and not put behind the bars, does not even realize that he was being cheated.

The main character of the lesson is a burglar named Horace Danby, who is a lock and safe expert, and does his business in a more than enough manner to meet his daily needs his business can be understood from the fact that he keeps two assistants, but because of passion to read rare and expensive books, he steals from rich people once in a year to fulfill his desire of reading books.

He does all kinds of homework before robbing any particular house, when he enters such one house located on the hilltop, he meets a pretty young lady, who pretends to be the owner of the house and threatens him to hand it over to the police, she forces him to break the safe for her. He gladly accepts the offer by thinking that he does not have to face prison, but after two days, he is arrested by the police because of the complaint made by the real owner of the house, and then sitting in the prison library, he recounts the phrase that there exists no, " Honour Among Thieves".

Glossary -

1. Hay fever - an allergy to flowers and plants.

2. Shotover Grange - a farmhouse at the top of the hill.

3. Tickle - to have an uncomfortable feeling in a part of your body.

4. Burglar - a person who enters a building or a house to steal.

5. Mended - to repair.

6. Honour among thieves - It is a proverb that means dishonest people may have certain standards of behaviour which they will respect, in Hindi language, it means, " Choron ke bhi kuch usul hote hai".

7. Meticulous - giving or showing great attention to detail, very carefully.

8. Faltered - to become weak.

9. Shotover Grange - a house situated on the top of the hill.

Summary -


1. What does Horace Danby like to collect?

Ans - Horace Danby likes to collect rare and expensive books, as he was a great fond of reading such books.

2. Why does he steal every year?

Ans - He steals every year, the amount of money by which he can buy some rare and expensive books. 


1. Who is speaking to Horace Danby?

Ans - A young and beautiful lady in a red dress is speaking to Horace Danby, and she pretends to be the wife of the owner of the house.

2. Who is the real culprit in the story?

Ans - The real culprit in the story is the red-dressed young lady who pretended as the wife of the owner, and with a great trick, she convinced him to open the safe and took all the jewels kept in the safe.

Think about it -

1. Did you begin to suspect, before the end of the story, that the lady was not the person Horace Danby looked her to be? If so, at what point did you realize this, and how?

Ans - Not exactly, but because of her strange behavior, I suspect that the lady was not the real person, like at first when she looked at Horace Danby in the hall, she could have informed the police, neither she was scared of him, rather she talked to him in a very friendly and casual manner, the real lady of the house would have behaved as she behaved.

And it became firm, when she asked him to open the safe, as no real lady could ask to open her safe from a burger or a strange man. At the same, it is hard to believe that anyone could forget the number combination of the safe.

2. What are the subtle ways in which the lady manages to deceive Horace Danby into thinking she is the lady of the house? Why doesn't Horace suspect that something is wrong?

Ans - There are many instances in the story, like the dog Sherry was very friendly to her, she entered the hall from the doorway, she is worried about the safety of the people in the society when Horace asks her to let him go, her conversation with him was very natural and confident, hence she succeded to cheat him, and Horace did not suspect her personality.

3. " Horace Danby was good and respectable- but not completely honest". Why do you think this description is apt for Horace? Why can't he be categorized as a typical thief?

Ans - Yes, the above description is absolutely fit for Horace Danby, because being a lock and safe mechanic he was doing comfortably well like having two assistants, meaning his business was good enough, but not completely honest because he was fond of reading rare and expensive books, and to pursue his passion of reading, he steals once in a year and that too only rich people, and that makes him dishonest.

So he may be categorized as a typical thief because he does not steal for bread and butter, but to fulfill his passion for reading, and this attitude makes him a very rare, peculiar, and different kind of thief from the common kind of thieves.

4. Horace Danby was a meticulous planner but still, he faltered. Where did he go wrong and why?

Ans - yes, indeed, Horace Danby was a great planner, he observed and studied every single detail of the house at Shotover Grange, which is situated on the hill, like where does owner live, money or jewels in the safe, servant's daily routine, the total plan of the house, even the name of the dog, but when he saw the lady, he became nervous and careless, and moreover he was scared to go the prison, so very easily befooled by the lady.

Talk about it -

1. Do you think Horace Danby was unfairly punished, or that he deserved what he got?

Ans - No, not at all, he was punished for the genuine cause, as he was in the house to break the safe and steal the jewels, so crime is a crime, and he must get appropriate punishment for that, and can not be justified his act only because he was deceived by the lady or a another thief.

2. Do intentions justify actions? Would you, like Horace Danby, do something wrong if you thought your ends justified the means? Do you think that there are situations in which it is excusable to act less than honestly?

Ans - No, intentions can not justify actions, if a person wants to help a poor man, and if he steals money or harms somebody to help a needy man, his action can not be justified, even though his intention is very pure, but the way, he has chosen is wrong one, and such actions would never receive appreciation but it will be condemned.

No, in any situation, honesty is always worthy, whatever may be the intention, and wrong deeds are not excusable. So according to an old proverb," Ends do not justify the means".

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