An Angel in Disguise Summary by T.S. Arthur

Treasure Trove Poems and Short Stories Workbook Answers

An Angel in Disguise Summary by T.S. Arthur

An Angel in Disguise Summary About the Author

T.S. Arthur (6 June 1809-6 March 1885), was a popular 19th century American author. He had a distinguished writing career during which he wrote more than 150 novels. His work was basically moralistic in nature. His most famous work is his essay, ‘The Nights in a Bar-Room and What I Saw There’ (1854). He was a strong proponent of temperance.

An Angel in Disguise Summary

‘An Angel in disguise’ is an emotional story which highlights the theme of love and kindness. It takes place in a small village. A pauper woman dies at the threshold of her house due to excessive alcoholism. Her three children are left orphaned. The lady was despised by the villagers and so had no family or friend. But after her death, pity replaced anger. The villagers take up a collection and put together a modest funeral. As for the children, farmer Jones adopts John, a stout 12 year old boy, because he would help him in fieldwork.

The second born child, 10 year old Kate, a bright and active girl, was taken by Mrs. Ellis, who has looking for a bound girl. Then there was Maggie, the youngest and paralyzed one. She had fallen from the window and seriously injured her spine. She was bedridden so no one wanted to take her. They think of sending her to the poorhouse.

Mr. Joe Thompson, who worked as a wheelwright, takes pity on her. He likes children, though he is childless. His heart melts when the helpless child pleads with him. He knew his strict wife will be angry still he carries her home. He tells her that he would take her to the poorhouse the next day, somehow he manages to keep her despite of her hard hearted attitude.

Mr. Thompson requests his wife to think of Maggie’s dead mother, her loneliness, helplessness and sufferings in her life. Mrs. Thompson tried to hide her hostility while communicating with Maggie. But gradually the feeling of love and compassion emerged in her heart. She became kinder with the sweet sick girl. Maggie becomes a speck of happiness in the life of childless Thompson couple. She is a little girl with a pure, clear and light soul. They never discuss to take her to the poorhouse again. She turns out to be an angel in disguise for them.

An Angel in Disguise Summary Word Meanings:

1 Intemperance : Excessive drinking
2. Wretched : Very unhappy
3. Threshold : Door
4. Despised : Disliked
5. Scoffed at : Scorned, shown contempt
6. Denounced : Criticized harshly and publicly
7. Tumble-down : Collapsed
8. Interment : Burial
9. Stout : Brave and strong
10. Wan : Looking sick or pale
11. Soiled : Unclean, dirty
12. Hovel : A small, poorly built and often dirty house
13. Pauper : Poor
14. Ere : Before
15. Wheelwright : A maker and repairer of wheels
16. Vague : Unclear
17. Penetrated : To pass into or through
18. Brat An ill-mannered annoying child
19. Countenance : A person’s expression
20. Indignation : Anger
21. Irrepressible : Uncontrolled
22. Unwonted : Unwanted

An Angel in Disguise Summary Question and Answer

Question 1.
How did the fate of the three children change in the story, ‘An Angel in Disguise’?
A poor woman, who is hated throughout her life by all the village people, dies in a drunken state on the threshold of her own house. Her three miserable children witness the death of their mother. The villagers take pity on her sudden death and the orphaned children, she has left behind. Suddenly, their world has changed. The villagers collect to decide on their fate.

12 years old John, is old enough to work. Farmer Jones adopts him because John would be helpful in field work. Mrs. Ellis begrudgingly adopts Kate, who is still a few years too young to go to work in a factory. Mrs. Ellis complains about the burden involved in taking responsibility of an undisciplined orphan. But no one comes up to adopt Maggie, the youngest child, as she is bedridden due to an injury which she suffered by falling down from the window and hurting her back. The villagers talk about taking her to the poorhouse.

Question 2.
How does Maggie prove to be an Angel in Disguise and for whom? 8
Maggie, is the youngest child of a woman who died of intoxication, leaving her three young children in a wretched and miserable condition, on the mercy of others. Maggie is crippled and bed ridden after she fell and hurt her spine severely, two years back. Her other two siblings, John and Kate, are adopted by the former Jones and Mrs. Ellis respectively. But none is ready to take the liability of helpless Maggie. Some villagers assume that she will have to be taken to the poorhouse as she has no one to look after and care for her.

Mr. Joe Thompson, who is a wheelwright, takes pity on Maggie and takes her to his home. She is an embodiment of innocence, and purity. But he knows it would be very difficult to convince is wife. He draws on the Bible in order to appeal to Jane’s compassion. Seen as a burden at the first glance, Maggie turns out to be a blessing in the Thompson-home. Initially, he states the fact that he plans on taking her to the poor house possibly the next day, she agrees somehow but after spending a day and night with the small child, Mrs. Thompson’s heart grew with every moment tending to the small orphan girl. Not having a child of her own or any interests or things to take care of, lead her to become less compassionate.

Caring for the child gives her a sense of purpose and meaning in her otherwise dull housewife’s life. Thus, the little girl not only changed her attitude towards them but also brought light and joy into their home. She becomes extra careful for Maggie and gives up the idea of sending her to poorhouse. She accepts her as her child and carries her in her heart as well as arms. From a rude, ill-tempered and selfish lady, Mrs. Thompson becomes a living and compassionate person. Thompson household is filled with boundless joy which they had never experienced before. Thus Maggie, becomes an Angel in disguise’ for the Thompsons.

An Angel in Disguise Summary Extract Based Questions

Question 1.
Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow.
“What is to be done with the children?”
That was the chief question now.
(i) Who are these ‘children’? Why is something to be done with them?
(ii) Whaf effect does Maggie’s condition have on the villagers?
(iii) Describe the three children? Who among them was the most wretched? Why? What decision is taken for
the children?
(iv) According to the villagers, what type of place was the poorhouse? How will it be for Maggie?
(v) What melted Farmer Joe’s heart and what did he do?
(i) The children are the innocent orphaned children of a pauper woman who died due to intoxication. The three children are left with no guardian and they cannot fend for themselves. In spite of the hatred they had for the woman, they gather at her cottage, arrange for her funeral and now discuss about the fate of the children.

(ii) The villagers looked at Maggie with pitying glances and troubled thought. Mother brought her old dirty clothes and dressed her in clean attire. They were touched by the gloomy eyes and calm face of the little girl but none was ready to take a sick bedridden girl to their home.

(iii) The eldest boy John, is 12 years and old enough to work. Farmer Jones adopts the boy because he will be of good use in fieldwork.
Kate is a bright and active girl who is begrudgingly adopted by Mrs. Ellis as she is too young to work. The most wretched among them was Maggie, the youngest child who is crippled for life due to a spine injury that happened two years back. She is bedridden. Unable to decide what to do about Maggie, the villagers assume she will have to be taken to the poorhouse.

(iv) As per the villagers, the poor house was a sad place for a sick and helpless child but as far as Maggie was concerned, it would be a blessing because there she would be kept clean, have healthy food, and be doctored, something which she lacked in the past.

(v) After John and Kate were taken away, Maggie was left all alone. Joe sympathies with her and the blacksmith’s wife suggests him to take her to the poorhouse. After thinking for a while Joe entered the hovel, where Maggie was sitting upright after some painful effort, but terrorized due to her loneliness. She urged Mr. Thomson not to leave her there all alone.

Question 2.
Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow.
“A bond had already corded itself around them both, and love was springing into life.”
(i) Who are the ‘both’ referred in the above lines? What type of a bond corded between them and when?
(ii) Does he expect to be warmly welcomed by his wife? What happens when he reaches home?
(iii) What explanation does Joe give to his wife for his action?
(iv) What instructions were given to the speaker by the listener? How does Mrs. Joe behave in Joe’s absence and presence?
(v) How does Maggie emerge as an ‘Angel in Disguise’ for the Thompson couple?
(i) One of them is the poor crippled orphan girl Maggie and the other is Mr. Joe Thompson, a wheelwright. After Maggie’s mother’s funeral, the villagers return to their daily work. Maggie’s siblings are taken away and she is left alone in her bed in the hovel. Joe, who still lingers there, feels pity when the child pleads with him in fear. He decides to take her home. As he wraps the child in bedclothes and carries her in his arms some tender feeling of affection enters deep into his heart.

(ii) Joe’s wife Jane Thompson is a stern lady with ‘vinegar’ temperament. She is irritated and displeased at the arrival of the girl. She calms down only when Joe tactfully convinces her that he would carry the girl to the poorhouse the next day.

(iii) Joe told his wife that women’s heart are sometimes so hard that every woman at the funeral turned away from the sick helpless child and walked off, discarding her in the old hut, presuming to be sent to a poorhouse. And as she could not go there on her own, Joe carried her to his house till the formalities at the poorhouse were completed.

(iv) Earlier Joe had instructed his wife to be kind to Maggie while looking to her, keeping in mind the death of her mother, her grief, pain and lonliness, that will always be a part of her life. Joe observes secretly that Jane had developed a soft comer for the little girl. In his absence she spent time with her, tending her softly and compassionately. But when Joe came, she portrayed a veil of coldness and indifference. This gives, Joe a sort of relaxation and thinks not to interfere in the bond that was developing between the two.

(v) Being childless and not having any interests or things to take care of, had made Mrs. Jane less compassionate. Caring for the orphaned girl gave a sense of purpose and meaning to her otherwise dull housewife life. Thus, her attitude towards life and the little girl changed. Her heart melts. This little girl brings light and joy in the life of the Thompson’s. Maggie becomes honey to Jane’s soul whom she carries in her arms like a precious burden.

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