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Read the following extracts and answer the questions.
1. “That was a month ago and now I have only one thought, that is to get the wretched place off my hands.”
(a) Who is speaking this line and to whom?
Ans. This line has been spoken by Julliette who desperately wants to sell her villa. She is talking to her maid.
(b) What is the thought dominating the speaker’s mind?
Ans. The thought of selling the villa at any cost is dominating her mind.
(c) Why does the speaker call her house a ‘wretched place’?
Ans. She called it so because even after a month of putting up ‘for Sale’ sign, she could not get any prospective buyer.
Q2. “A maid, Madam. They prefer the real article. They say maids are born, maids are not maids. They are giving me a hundred francs a morning for doing it”.
(a) Who is the speaker here?
Ans. The speaker here is Juliette’s maid.
(b) Who is ‘they’ referred to?
Ans. ‘They’ here is referred to the people from the film industry.
(c) What is meant by ‘real article’?
Ans. Here, it is meant 'a real-life actor'.
Q3. “I tell you what I will do. I will be philanthropic and let you have it for two hundred thousand.”
(a) Who is the speaker here?
Ans. The speaker here is Julliette.
(b) What is meant by ‘philanthropic’?
Ans. It means a person who freely gives money or other help to people who need it.
(c) What is the speaker telling about selling?
Ans. The speaker is telling him that she is selling the villa for a paltry amount.
SHORT ANSWER QUESTIONS
Q1. Why is Juliette fed up of the house? What was the reaction of the people when the villa was put up for sale?
Ans. When Juliette put up the ‘Villa for Sale’ sign, she had thought that the next day the entire world would be fighting to purchase it. But it so happened that nobody turned up to buy it. It has already been one month since she put up the sign for sale. In the past two weeks, there were four people who wanted to buy it but did not. Juliette was also fed up because after putting up the sign, she felt as if the villa did not belong to her. The neighbours looked at her in such a strange way that she began to think that they were mocking at her and that the whole thing was going to lead to a great disappointment.
Q2. “They say maids are born; maids not made maids.” Explain the context of the above statement.
Ans. This line is spoken by Juliette’s maid. She has got a role to play in a film at the Joinville Studio. She has got the role of a maid. While telling Juliette about her role, she tells her that the film-makers prefer people from the same profession as the role assigned to them. She says that maids are born as they are; nobody can pretend to be one. She implies that only a maid will be able to most successfully play the role of a maid in a film, so she is most suitable for it.
Q3. How was the French Hollywood proving to be a great attraction for the people?
Ans. Everybody around the French Hollywood was vying for a role in the films because of the huge financial benefit. Everybody looked up to getting just any role they could manage. People gave up their jobs temporarily to act in the films. Whether it was the butcher who didn’t open his shop or the policemen who were missing from their duty, shooting a fight scene — all were doing some or the other role; nobody thought about anything else round there the manager was offering a thousand francs for a real beggar who had nothing to eat for two days. The films were paying everybody so well that they were bound to be attracted towards them.
Q4. What advantages of the villa are presented by Juliette?
Ans. Juliette describes the villa as ‘a most delightful place.’ She says that although it appears modest but it has a charm of its own. She says that the house possesses a great many advantages — electricity, gas, water, telephone, and drainage. She also says that the bathroom is beautifully fitted and the roof was entirely repaired the previous year only. She says that she is ready to sell it with all the furniture and fixtures, except the little picture signed by Corot.
Q5. Why does Juliette find both Gaston and Jeanne to be perfectly suited to buy the villa? [CBSE 2010 (Term I)]
Ans. Juliette had put up a ‘Villa for Sale’ sign a month ago, and there had not been much response from the customers. She was fed up with waiting for the buyers. Now when Gaston and Jeanne came as customers, and when she saw so much of eagerness on Jeanne’s part to buy the villa, she felt that they were perfectly suited to buy it. She could clearly see that Jeanne was highly impressed and so tried to flatter her so that the deal could be finalised.
Q6. Why is Gaston not tempted to buy the villa even after Juliette decreases the rate?
Ans. Gaston was not ready to buy the villa even after Juliette had decreased the rate because he did not come with the intention of buying it. In the conversation between himself and Jeanne, when they were waiting for Juliette in the villa, he had told Jeanne clearly, “I told you before we crossed the road that I didn’t want it.” The reason he gave for his disinterest in it was that he knew very well that the villa would be used by Jeanne’s parents and her sister’s children throughout the year. There was no use investing in it when they (Jeanne and Gaston) would be staying there only for one month..
Q7. What is the case of mistaken identity between Mrs. Al Smith and Gaston? [CBSE 2010 (Term I)]
Ans. When the maid brings Mrs. Al Smith inside the house, only Gaston is there. After this, the maid goes out. There was no introduction between Gaston and Mrs. Al Smith. She was in such a hurry that she took Gaston as the owner of the house. Since money was not an issue or anything else, she talked with Gaston without a break — all she wanted was to finalise the deal assuming Gaston to be the owner of the house, she gave him a cheque of three hundred thousand francs demanded by him. Gaston had understood Mrs. Smith’s ‘mistaken identity’ and cleverly remained quiet about it and made one hundred thousand francs in the deal with her.
Q8. Why does Gaston insist on taking the picture as a souvenir? [CBSE 2010 (Term I)]
Ans. The picture on the wall of the villa was a precious one as it was signed by Corot — a well-known painter, and thus had a lot of value. Gaston has already made a lot of money in the deal he had with Mrs. Smith. Now, he knows that Mrs. Smith was going to get the whole house knocked down which will destroy this painting also. He wanted to be a proud owner of it, and maybe, decided to make a lot of money by selling it as it was an antique painting.
Q9. In the play “Villa for sale,” who do you think is a better businessman and why? [CBSE 2010 (Term I)]
Ans. In the play, Gaston is a better businessman than Julliette. Julliette has no idea about real estate. She lacks the business acumen to take advantage of the fact that her villa was near French Hollywood. But Gaston was a shrewd businessman. He poses himself to be the owner of the villa to the American actor and makes a deal of thirty thousand francs. He pays Julliette twenty thousand francs for the villa and makes a net profit of one thousand francs.
Q10. Why is Gaston not interested in buying the villa in the beginning? [CBSE 2010 (Term I)]
Ans. In the beginning, Gaston was not interested in buying the villa because he knew very well that the villa would be used by Jeanne’s parents and her sister’s children throughout the year. He considered it useless in investing in it when he and Jeanne would be staying there for one month only. But in the end when he got a chance to earn one thousand francs, he at once bought the villa.
Q11. What was the suggestion given by maid to Juliette to end her financial hard up? [CBSE 2010 (Term I)]
Ans. In order to meet her financial hard up, Juliette wanted to sell her villa but was unable to get any prospective buyer. Her maid was greatly concerned with her crisis. She suggested Julliette that she should take up the role of a cook in the movie that way she would be able to earn one hundred francs a day.
Q12. Why did Ms. Al Smith want to buy the Villa? [CBSE 2010 (Term I)]
Ans. Al Smith was a big American actress. Money was not an issue for her in possessing the villa. Neither she was interested in knowing about its features. Even after buying the villa she wanted to knock it down and build a bungalow so that she was near the French Hollywood area where she was supposed to shoot for a film.
Q13. What are Jeanne and Gaston arguing about before Juliette enters the room? [CBSE 2010 (Term I)]
Ans. There is no uniformity between Jeanne and Gaston in the decision of buying the villa because Gaston is not ready to support Jeanne’s idea of buying the villa at any cost. He has come to see it with Jeanne just because she had persuaded him to see it. The reason he gives for not being interested in buying the villa is that Jeanne didn’t want it for herself and Gaston, but for her parents. Gaston was not fond of Jeanne’s parents and said that her parents would stay in the villa from April to September every year, whereas they themselves would be staying there only for one month. Moreover, he also knew that Jeanne’s parents would also bring along the ‘whole tribe’ of her sister’s children to stay there.