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LONG ANSWER QUESTIONS
Q1. Give a character sketch of Juliette.
Ans. Juliette seems to be a fickle-minded person. She gets a strange feeling that since nobody was coming to buy a house, even after one month of advertising it, she was a real fool to have bought it. She is also an opportunist. She was ready to sell it for a sum of a hundred thousand francs but when she got the customers in Gaston and Jeanne, she quoted its price to two hundred thousand fifty francs. She particularly wanted to take advantage of Jeanne’s liking of the house. Her fickle-mindedness is also evident from the way she got irritated at Gaston’s remarks and said that she didn’t want to sell the house, but the next moment when she saw that Gaston was ready to get up and go, she began speaking in a pleading manner.
Q2. Discuss the character traits of Mrs Al Smith. What is her significance in the context of the lesson? [CBSE 2010 (Term I)]
Ans : Mrs. Al Smith is a rich, busy woman who is proud of being an American. She seems to have a superiority complex for the American race as compared to the Europeans. Throughout her very brisk, short conversation that she had with Gaston, a number of times, she mentioned about the superior ways of thinking and working of the Americans, so much so that she suggested that Europeans must copy the Americans more often. So, her conversation was a racially inclined one. Secondly, she seems to be very rich as she simply wanted Gaston to quote the price of the house; she had no hesitation in paying anything!
There is a lot of significance of her role in the lesson. The way Gaston made a fortune for himself through her within no time, has given a turning twist to the lesson and has made it extremely interesting. Mrs. Smith’s entry into the scene suddenly changed the direction of the story and added wonder and humour in it.
Q3. What were the attempts made by Juliette to sell the villa?
Ans : To sell the villa, Juliette, first of all, put up a signboard outside her house. She feels quite tensed when she doesn’t get any customers. Finally, when Gaston and Jeanne turn up, she tries every possible way to have the deal finalised. She tries all her tactics — flattery, bargain, pressure — and is finally successful in selling the house, without realising even a little bit as to what had happened behind the scenes between Gaston and Mrs. Al Smith. She tells Jeanne about all the facilities being provided along with the house, i.e. electricity, gas, water, telephone, drainage as well as all the fixtures. She even tries to psychologically impress Jeanne by saying that even before buying the house, she seems to be already belonging to it.
Q4. Why is Gaston not interested in buying the villa? How does he convince his wife – first in backing out of the deal and later in sealing the deal? [CBSE 2010 (Term I)]
Ans. Gaston is not interested in buying the villa because he knows that most of the year, the villa would be used by Jeanne’s parents and her sister’s children, and they themselves would be staying there only for a month. He is not very fond of his wife’s family and doesn’t wish to make any investments there. He tells his wife that in no way he is interested in buying the house. He argues with his wife that he was never interested in even talking about the house. He even talks in a very dry manner with Juliette to discourage any deal between her and Jeanne.
After Gaston has made his profit of one thousand francs, his stance regarding the villa changes completely. Jeanne is shocked at this, but he convinces her that now he has changed his mind and wants to buy the villa to please her, that he has no problem even if her parents stayed there, and that the villa would be useful for them in their old age.
Q5. Who is better in business – Juliette or Gaston? Why?
Ans : For doing business, one has to be business-minded. When it is a game of profits, investments, losses, one has to be hard-core, unscrupulous and manipulative. Qualities like human considerations, honesty go for a toss. What wins the day is foresight, opportunism and the ability to outsmart others. That is where Gaston scores over Juliette. Juliette wishes to sell the villa to cut her losses, whereas it is Gaston who walks away with the chunk of profit with his shrewdness.
Julliette has no idea about real estate. She curses herself for spending so much money to buy it. When she wishes to sell it, hardly any customers turn up. To get her due, Juliette tries her best to bargain, to hard-sell the house. She presents the villa in such a positive light and psychologically blackmails the couple into buying the house. She uses all the business tactics – flattery, bargain, pressure etc. Juliette lacks the business acumen to take advantage of the fact that her villa was near French Hollywood.
It is also sheer luck that Gaston is there to reap the harvest, which others have sown. When Mrs Al Smith shows interest, Gaston leads her on, never contradicting, and lets the case of mistaken identity go on. He is quick, decisive, smart and seals the deal with Mrs Al Smith, before the real owner appears. He takes three hundred thousand francs from Mrs Al Smith, gives two hundred thousand to Juliette and walks away with a neat profit of one hundred thousand. He has pleased his wife in the bargain, along with Juliette. The villa that was a losing proposition now becomes most lucrative along with the antique painting, the value of which was not known to anyone.
Q6. Gaston, being a keen observer, made mental notes about Mrs. Al Smith, her behaviour and her opinions. Describe Mrs. Al Smith and your meeting with her to your business partner in a letter, telling him about the profitable deal that you made. [CBSE 2010 (Term I)]
I had been thinking of writing to you for a long time but was just busy with my daily routine work. There is something very interesting that I want to tell you. You will be amazed to know that I have made one hundred thousand francs without putting in any efforts or investments at all!
It so happened that I went with my wife to see a villa which was for sale. When my wife went with the owner to see the first floor, I stayed back. Can you guess what happened then? A lady called Al Smith came to buy the house, and mistaking me to be the owner of the house, struck a deal with me. She was in a great hurry and didn’t even want to know anything about the house. She is from films and very rich. The owner, Juliette had cited its price to us as two hundred thousand francs. I told Mrs. Smith that I would sell it to her for three hundred thousand francs. She agreed and then and there gave me a cheque. Can you imagine I made a clear profit of one hundred thousand francs in just five minutes as I bought the house from Juliette for two hundred thousand francs. I’m myself amazed at my smartness and my happiness knows no bounds.
See you then. Do reply soon.
Q7. Juliette’s maid is witness to the activities that take place in the Villa that day. She is in dilemma whether to tell Juliette how Gaston sold the Villa before buying it or to keep quiet about it as the money has been paid. She writes a page in her diary expressing her feelings. Write her diary. [CBSE 2010 (Term I)]
I am greatly depressed. I really want to pour out my feelings to someone. I am in a dilemma whether to tell Juliette how Gaston sold the villa before buying it or keep quiet as money has been paid and the deal has been finalised. Both ways Julliette will be greatly hurt and I do not want that. But at the same time, I do not want to keep her in the dark as I love her so much. If she comes to know of the same from somebody else, and that I knew the facts, she would start hating me and I do not want to earn her hatred and mistrust. I am feeling disgusted with Gaston who had befooled Juliette by playing a trick upon her. Had I known his intentions earlier I would never had let him do so. Oh God! please show me the way.
Q8. Jeanne is unable to understand Gaston’s reason for buying the Villa after objecting so much; she comes home and quickly writes a letter to her mother sharing her anxiety, jubilation and relief at the purchase. Write her letter. [CBSE 2010 (Term I)]
I am so happy today that I am unable to contain my happiness. Now listen with your fingers crossed, Gaston has bought the villa I wanted to buy for you and papa. It was not easy for me to persuade him because he was reluctant to invest his life’s savings just to buy a villa where we could live for one month only in a year. But mother when I told him that you, papa and Julia’s children will live in the Villa throughout the year since you want a house to live in, he readily agreed. Mummy, guess! how dearly Gaston loves you all. I am also very happy for you people. Now you don’t have to spend the fag end of your life in that dilapidated house. You can shift in the Villa as soon as we get the possession and get the renovation done. Tell Papa also that I love him.