Question 1: What kind of a person was Evans?
Answer: Evans was a congenital kleptomaniac who was imprisoned in the Oxford Prison. He urged the prison authority to allow him to take the examination for O-level in German as it would help him gain some educational qualification. Although, a pleasant personality with no record of violence, he had managed to escape thrice from the prison.
His intelligent and conspiring mind is the focus of the story. He managed to dodge everyone with his foolproof plans. Even the Governor could not help appreciating his shrewd mind.
Question 2: What were the precautions taken for the smooth conduct of the examination?
Answer: The Governor was suspicious of the true intentions of Evans in wanting to take the exams. Fearing his fourth escape, the exam was ordered to be conducted inside the prison cell which was installed with a microphone, to keep a check on this intelligent prisoner. His cell was properly scrutinized by the prison staff who took away anything which could pose a threat in the smooth conduct of the examination. On the day of exam, the prison staff was put on high alert and special care was taken to promptly lock all doors and gates. Stephens was ordered to keep an eye on the exam proceedings. Even the invigilator, a parson, was frisked thoroughly before the examination.
Question 1: Should criminals in the prison be given the opportunity of learning and education?
Answer: No one should be denied the right to education. If the criminals in prison are provided with education and work skills, their life could turn towards a better and crime free future. Education may help them to become responsible citizens. Thus, efforts should be put in to provide opportunity of learning and education to even the criminals in prisons.
Question 1: Will the exam now go as scheduled?
Answer: Everything had been in order for the exam to start on its scheduled time, but the Governor, still apprehensive, ordered a last minute change in plan. As another precautionary measure, he ordered frisking the invigilator as well, before allowing him to carry out his assigned job. This wasted some time and the exam started at 9:25am, ten minutes later than the scheduled time.
Question 1: Did the Governor and his staff finally heave a sigh of relief?
Answer: Evans was a shrewd man who allowed only a momentary sigh of relief to the Governor and his staff. The exam was supposed to have ended peacefully, but when Stephens rechecked Evans’s cell, he was stunned to see a profusely bleeding McLeery still in the cell. He concluded that the man he had escorted to the gate was actually Evans.
Measures were taken to recapture Evans with the help of the bleeding McLeery, who was later sent off to a hospital for treatment. However, soon it was exposed that this â€˜bleeding McLeeryâ€™ was the real Evans. Finally, when the Governor traced Evans and ordered him to be taken back to the prison with a prison officer in the official van, another conspiracy unfolded. Evans fled again, as the prison officer and the van were part of his back-up plan. His flawless plans left everyone perplexed and troubled.
Question 1: Will the injured McLeery be able to help the prison officers track Evans?
Answer: Injured McLeery, showcasing his knowledge of German, reveals the supposed plan of Evans through the superimposed question paper. He proposes to guide the officials to the whereabouts of Evans. However, this is later revealed to be a part of the Evans plan to flee to safety, as it was Evans himself who was disguised as the injured McLeery. It can be, thus, noticed that the disguised McLeeryâ€™s help to the officials was fake as it was just a part of Evansâ€™s escape plan.
Question 1: Will the clues left behind on the question paper, put Evans back in prison again?
Answer: Evans escaped from the prison with the help of a clever, infallible plan. Certain clues were left behind by the shrewd fugitive which was a careless act according to the Governor. There was a superimposed question paper with directions to the supposed plan. However, it was soon seen that all of it was fake and part of the plan to misguide the officials.
But the little German the Governor knew and the ‘correction slip’ did help them to track him down.
Question 1: Where did Evans go?
Answer: After deceiving the police intelligently, Evans went to the hotel Golden Lion located in Chipping Norton.
Question 1: Reflecting on the story, what did you feel about Evansâ€™ having the last laugh?
Answer: Evans smartly devised and executed the plan of his escape. He managed to fool everyone till the end of the story. He left fake clues to misguide the officials chasing him. Even as the Governor heaved a sigh of relief after nabbing him in the Golden Lion hotel, Evans was secretly cooking and executing another path of escape. The prison officer and the van used by the Governor for transferring Evans back to the prison were forged. The Governor was happy that ultimately he was able to track him down using his intelligence and knowledge of German. However, Evans had planned a step ahead. With his successful escape, Evans definitely had a well earned last laugh.
Question 2: When Stephens comes back to the cell he jumps to a conclusion and the whole machinery blindly goes by his assumption without even checking the identity of the injured â€˜McLeeryâ€™. Does this show how hasty conjectures can prevent one from seeing the obvious? How is the criminal able to predict such negligence?
Answer: On his return, Stephens saw McLerry bleeding profusely in the cell. Presuming the man he had escorted to the gate to be Evans and not McLeery, he raised an alarm. None of the official staff tried to verify whether this McLeery was the real one. As the bleeding McLeery offered to help the police to track Evans, nobody questioned how he knew the plan. Later, when the Governor nabbed Evans and sent him back to jail with the prison officers, he did not notice that this officer was unknown to him. It was soon unearthed that the officers were Evanâ€™s own men who helped him escape again. Thus, it is definite that the gullible officials made speculations in a jiffy which amounted to their subsequent negligence.
On the contrary, a plotting criminal makes a foolproof plan taking care of the intricacies and does not make hasty assumptions. He has back-up plans ready. Also, a criminal’s mind is observant enough to predict any possible negligence on the part of the officials. Evans too must have easily observed these during his stay in the prison, and planned accordingly.
Question 3: What could the Governor have done to securely bring back Evans to the prison when he caught him at the Golden Lion? Does that final act of foolishness really prove that â€œhe was just another good-for-a-giggle, gullible governor, that was allâ€?
Answer: At the Golden Lion when the Governor arrested Evans, he should have been extra cautious in sending him back to the jail. If he knew the whereabouts of Evan, he should have taken along more police officials. Also, considering the fact that Evans had successfully fooled them earlier, he should not have taken chances by sending him in a van with just a couple of police officers whom, apparently, he did not know. As a result, Evans easily escaped once again. Ideally, the Governor should have escorted Evans himself. Thus, this final act of foolishness really proved that â€œhe was just another good-for-a-giggle, gullible governor, that was allâ€.
Question 4: While we condemn the crime, we are sympathetic to the criminal. Is this the reason why prison staff often develops a soft corner for those in custody?
Answer: â€˜Crimeâ€™ and â€˜criminalsâ€™ are usually considered synonymous. However, our perception changes when we see a criminal suffering or serving his punishment. This is what happens with the prison staff. Noticing a criminal suffer in the prison, they unwittingly develop a soft corner for him in their hearts. They look at him as a human being and not as a mere criminal. They start noticing and appreciating their mental capabilities rather than just remembering their crime.
In the story, Jackson lets Evans keep his hat after knowing that he considered it to be his lucky charm. Evans knew of the emotional side of Jackson and so hit it directly through his talk about â€œlucky charmâ€, and managed to fool the stern and practical officer. Even the Governor could not help noticing his intelligence when he caught him in the hotel. Thus, he was not cruel or stern with Evans, and regrettably, took him leniently.
Question 5: Do you agree that between crime and punishment it is mainly a battle of wits?
Answer: In every battle the stronger side wins; and this strength could be physical or mental. However, after reading the story we can conclude that between crime and punishment, it is mainly a battle of wits. The side which outsmarts the other wins. It is not always that a criminal gets punished. In the given story, although well trained, the police officials were easily fooled by the clever Evans, who managed to escape from right under their nose.
SHORT ANSWER TYPE QUESTIONS
Q1.What request did the Secretary of the Examination Board receive from the Governor of Oxford Prison?
Ans. The request was to create an examination centre in the prison for one candidate named James Roderick Evans. He had started night classes in O-Level German last September. He was the only one in the class and said that he was keen to get some sort of academic qualification. The Secretary agreed to give him a chance and promised to send all the forms and stuff.
Q2. What enquiry did the Secretary of the Examination Board make about Evans? What did the Governor tell him about Evans?
Ans. The Secretary wanted to know if Evans was a violent sort of person. The Governor told him that there was no record of violence. He was informed that Evans was quite a pleasant fellow—an amusing person. He was good at imitation and hence h star at the Christmas concert. He suffered from the desire to steal. He had this disease from birth.
Q3. What facts about Evans did the Governor of Oxford Prison not reveal to the Secretary of the Examination Board?
Ans. Evans was called ‘Evans the Break’ by the prison officers. He had escaped from prison three times already. He would have done so from Oxford Prison as well if there had pot been unrest in the maximum security establishments up north.
Q4. What issue regarding conducting the examination did the Secretary of Examination Board raise? What was he told?
Ans. The Secretary wanted to know whether a room could be arranged for holding examination. The Governor told him that Evans had a cell on his own. He could sit the exam in there. Secondly, they could easily get one of the parsons from St. Mary Mags to invigilate. The Secretary hoped that they would not have much trouble in keeping Evans without communicating with others.
Q5. Who met Evans on the eve of the examination? What does this brief interview reveal?
Ans. It was Evans’ German teacher who shook him by the hand at 8.30 p.m. on Monday, 7 June. They met in the heavily guarded Recreational Block, just across from D Wing. The teacher wished him good luck in German, which Evans failed to understand. The teacher observed that he had a remote chance of getting through. Evans remarked that he might surprise everybody. These remarks prove quite meaningful and prophetic.
Q6. Who visited Evans on the morning of the Examination? What did they visit him for?
Ans. Mr Jackson and Mr Stephens visited Evans. Jackson was the senior prison officer on D Wing and Stephens was a burly, surly-looking, new recruit. They visited him to ensure that he did not retain any potential weapon with him. Mr Stephens was asked to take away the razor after Evans had shaved himself.
Q7. What evidence do you get from the text to show that Mr Jackson and Evans “had already become warm enemies” ?
Ans. Jackson nodded curtly. He addressed Evans as “little Einstein” and mockingly enquired about him. He felt annoyed as Evans pointed out his ignorance about Einstein. Jackson genuinely loathed about the long, wavy hair of Evans. He had taken away the nail-scissors and nail-file of Evans. He used the word ‘bloody’ too often while addressing Evans.
Q8. How was the Reverend Stuart McLeery dressed and why ?
Ans. He had put on a long black overcoat and a shallow-crowned clerical hat. His spectacles had thick lenses. It was a chilly day for early June and the steady drizzle, which had set in half an hour earlier still continued. In his right hand he was carrying a small brown suitcase.
Q9. What were the contents of the small brown suitcase that McLeery carried?
Ans. It had a sealed question paper envelope, a yellow invigilation form, a special ‘authentication’ card from the Examination Board, a paper knife, a Bible, and a current copy of ‘The Church Times’. Except the last two articles, the rest were related to his morning duties as invigilator.
Q10. What was the object found in McLeery’s suitcase that puzzled Mr Jackson? How did McLeery react to Mr Jackson’s query?
Ans. There was a smallish semi-inflated rubber ring. Even a young child with a waist of about twelve inches might have to struggle into it. Jackson asked McLeery if he was thinking of going for a swim. McLeery’s amiable demeanour was slightly ruffled by this tasteless pleasantry. He answered Jackson somewhat sourly and told him he suffered from piles.
Q11. What instructions did the invigilator issue to the examiner before the examination?
Ans. He asked the examinee if he had got a watch. He would tell him when to start and again
when he had five minutes left. He asked him to write the name of the paper, 021-1, in the .
top left-hand comer, and his index number-313 in the top right-hand comer. Just below that he was to write his centre number-271.
Q12. How did the Governor, who was listening-in, react to these numbers at that time and later on after the escape of Evans?
Ans. Initially, the Governor took them as innocuous, routine information and did not pay much attention. Later on, when Evans had escaped, he consulted the Ordnance Survey Map for Oxfordshire. He found that the six-figure reference 313/271 pointed to the middle of Chipping Norton—the place of hiding for run away Evans.
Q13. What was the import of the two phone calls the Governor received after a quarter of an hour of the start of the examination?
Ans. The first phone call was from the Assistant Secretary of the Examination Board. It was about a correction slip in the O-Level German paper. The word ‘Golden Lion’ was to replace ‘Golden Lowe’. The second call was from the Magistrate’s Court. They needed a prison van and a couple of prison officers for a remand case.
Q14. How did the Governor react to the two phone calls he received in quick succession?
Ans. When the Governor received the first call, he checked it immediately by dialling the number of the Examination Board. He wanted to ascertain whether it was a fake phone call or some signal or secret message. He found the line engaged. After the second phone call, the Governor was wondering whether that could be a hoax. Then he told himself not to be so silly. His imagination was beginning to run riot.
Q15. What did Stephens notice on looking through the peep-hole of Evans’ cell?
Ans. He found Evans sitting with his pen between his lips. He was staring straight in front of him towards the door. Opposite him sat McLeery. His hair was amateurishly clipped pretty closely to the scalp. His eyes were fixed at ‘The Church Times’. His right index finger was hooked beneath the narrow clerical collar. The fingers of the left hand were slowly stroking the short black beard.
Q16. What request did Evans make about half an hour before the end of the examination? How did McLeery and Stephens react to it?
Ans. Evans made a polite request if he could put a blanket round his shoulders as it was a bit chilly there. McLeery told Evans to be quick about it. A minute later, Stephens was surprised to see a grey blanket draped round Evans shoulders.
Q17. Who was the phone call three minutes before the end of the examination meant for? How important did it prove?
Ans. The phone call was meant for Stephens. Jackson told him that the Governor wanted to speak to him. Stephens listened to the rapidly spoken orders. The phone call was important. Stephens had to accompany McLeery to the main prison gates. He was to see the door locked on Evans after McLeery had left the cell. It was also important for Evans. He could make swift changes and adjustments, in his dress and make-up.
Q18. What did* Stephens notice on coming back to the cell of Evans? What did he assume?
Ans. Stephens saw a man sprawling in Evans’ chair. The front of his closely cropped, irregularly tufted hair was covered with red blood. It had dripped already through the small black beard. It was now spreading over the white clerical collar and down into the black clerical front. He assumed that Evans had hit McLeery and left the prison impersonating McLeery.
Q19. How did the Prison machinery swing to action? What point was overlooked?
Ans. Sirens were sounded. Prison officers shouted orders. Puzzled prisoners pushed their way along the corridors. Doors were banged and bolted. Phones were ringing everywhere. Jackson and Stephens supported McLeery on either side and brought him to the prison yard. The identity of the injured “McLeery” remained unchecked. Thus, hasty conjectures prevented them from seeing the obvious.
Q20. How did the injured “McLeery’’ behave? What, do you think, did he achieve by this sort of behaviour?
Ans. The injured “McLeery” claimed to know where Evans was. He showed more interest in arrival of police than of ambulance. He drew the Governor’s attention to the German question paper. The photocopied sheet in German contained the route of escape. He diverted the attention of the prison officers and the police to the person (Evans) who had already left the prison.
Q21. What did the Governor tell Detective Superintendent Carter when he enquired about the injured “McLeery”?
Ans. Carter wondered who had hit “McLeery”. Before the Governor could explain anything, McLeery told the officer to go to Elsfield Way, where Evans… The Governor told Carter to take “McLeery” with him if he thought he would be all right. He was the only one who seemed to know what was happening. Thus, injured “McLeery” left the prison in police car as a witness.
Q22. What conclusion did the Governor arrive at after reading the German text on the question paper?
Ans. The text advised Evans to drive to the Headington roundabout from Elsfield Way. The Examinations Board was in Elsfield Way. Someone from the Board must have been involved in the escape plan from the very beginning. It was clear from the question paper and the correction slip.
Q23. What did the Governor’s questioning of Stephens reveal?
Ans. It was Stephens who had taken “Evans” to the main gates. Stephens claimed that he had acted as he had been told by the Governor on phone at about twenty past eleven just before the paper was over. The Governor said that he had not rung him. He had used the telephone at that time, unsuccessfully, to get through to the Examinations Board.
Q24. Why was the Governor angry with Jackson?
Ans. Jackson had spent two hours in Evans’s cell the previous evening. He had confidently reported that there was nothing hidden away there. Yet Evans had concealed a false beard, a pair of spectacles, a dogcollar and other material of a priest. He also had a weapon with which he hit McLeery across the head.
Q25. What did the Governor think of Evans and his plan after ringing up Detective Chief Inspec¬tor Bell?
Ans. The Governor admired clever Evans and his beautifully laid plan. He called it careless of him to leave the question paper behind. He observed that all criminals made mistakes somewhere. That is why they were nabbed. He hoped that very shortly Mr clever-clever Evans would be back inside the prison.
Q26. What did Detective Superintendent Carter inform the Governor about Evans?
Ans. Superintendent Carter informed the Governor that McLeery had spotted Evans driving off along Elsfield Way. They had got the number of the car all right. They had given chase immediately, but they had lost him at the Headington roundabout. He assumed that Evans must have doubled back into the city.
Q27. Where, according to the Governor, was Evans likely to be found and why ? What did he think about himself after this episode?
Ans. The Governor said that Evans was on his way to Newbury. He explained his reasons for believing so. The clues in the German text pointed to this. It was now a police job to arrest him. He thought he was merely a laughing stock, a credulous governor.
Q28. What truth did the enquiries about injured “McLeery” from (i) Carter and (ii) the Radcliffe reveal?
Ans. Carter said that he was in the Radcliffe. He was really groggy near the Examination offices. They rang for the ambulance from there. The accident department of the Radcliffe informed him that there was no parson named McLeery there. They had sent an ambulance to Elsfield Way, but the fellow had vanished from there by then.
Q29. Where did they find the Reverend S. McLeery and in what condition? What can you deduce from it?
Ans. A quarter of an hour later they found the Reverend S. McLeery in his study in Broad Street. He was bound and gagged securely. He said that he had been there since 8.15 a.m. when two men had called and… It is obvious that the two men were helpers of Evans and one of them acted as the Reverend S. McLeery during the Exam.
Q30. What did the inmates of the prison come to know by tea-time?
Ans. They came to know what had really happened. Earlier, it was presumed that Evans had impersonated McLeery and walked out of the prison. The truth was that Evans, impersonating McLeery, had stayed in.
Q31. What sort of hair did Evans have? How then did he personate McLeery?
Ans. Evans had long, wavy hair, whereas the hair of McLeery had been amateurishly clipped pretty closely to the scalp. Jackson had pinched Evans’s scissors. So, he had to remove his hair off his head with his only razor. Then he kept his head covered with a bobble hat to prevent detection.
Q32. Jackson had thoroughly searched Evans’s cell for two hours the previous evening. How then was Evans able to disguise himself as a parson?
Ans. Evans had really nothing hidden in the cell. It was McLeery who had worn two black fronts and two collars. Evidently, Evans put on one set of these. He used the blanket to cover his act. The parson suddenly seemed to have grown slimmer when he left the Oxford Prison.
Q33. “It was that bloody correction slip, I s’pose”. Who said this, when and why?
Ans. Evans said this when he found the Governor of Oxford Prison in his room in Hotel Golden Lion in Chipping Norton. He knew he was beaten. The details of the escape plan were there on the correction slip and he had left it there on the table.
Q34. What two purposes did the correction slip serve? Which of them did Evans consider more important?
Ans. The correction slip provided Evans the name of the hotel and its location. Secondly, it contained the exact time the exam started. The really important thing for Evans was that the phone rang just before the exam finished. Thus, he was able to get the prison officers out of the way for a couple of minutes.
Q35. “How did you know which Golden Lion it was? There’s imdreds of ’em,” said Evans. How did the Governor of Oxford Prison locate the hiding place of Evans?
Ans. The Governor told Evans that he used the same method as Evans had done. The six-figure reference 313/271 was formed by two hints—Index number 313 and Centre number 271. If one takes an Ordnance Survey Map for Oxfordshire, this number lands one bang in the middle of Chipping Norton.
Q36. “Tell me one thing before we go. How on earth did you get all that blood to pour over your head?” asks the Governor. How does Evans react to this question?
Ans. Evans looked a little happier. He said it was very clever to get a couple of pints of blood into a cell. There was none there to start off with. The “invigilator” got searched before he came in. Evans refused to disclose it as he might use that trick again. Governor then enquired if it was anything to do with a little rubber ring for piles. Evans grinned and asked if it wasn’t clever.
Q37. “Must have been a tricky job sticking a couple of pints.” “Nah! you’ve got it wrong, sir. No problem about that.” In the light of the above remarks, explain what problem regarding blood Evans faced and howjt was solved?
Ans. Storing blood in the rubber ring was not the problem. It was clotting that was the big problem. They got pig’s blood from slaughter house in Kidlington. But to stop it clotting actual blood has to be mixed with one-tenth of its volume of 3.8 per cent trisodium citrate.
Q38. How did Evans manage to plan the escape from, prison?
Ans. The Governor had taken enough precautions. Evans had no visitors. He had no letters. Evans told the Governor that he had got lots of friends. He gave the example of his German teacher. The Governor said he was from the Technical College. Evans seemed to enjoy all this and asked if he had checked it. Reluctantly, the Governor had to admit that far more was going on than he thought or imagined.
Q39. What suggestion did the handcuffed Evans make while clambering to van?
Ans. Evans observed that the Governor’s German was pretty good and asked if he knew any more of the modem languages. When the Governor said, “Not very well,” Evans grinned happily. He said that he had noticed that they had got some O-Level Italian classes coming up next September. The Governor said that perhaps he wouldn’t be with them next September. Evans pondered over these words and said that he wouldn’t.
Q40. Who, do you think, has the last laugh—the Governor or Evans? How?
Ans. The Governor is complacent that he has nabbed the run away prisoner and soon the police van will land him in prison. However, facts prove otherwise. As the van turns to the Oxford road, the silent prison officer unlocks the handcuffs and asks the driver to move on fast. The driver enquires in broad Scots accent where they should make for. Evans suggests Newbury. It is crystal clear that the two persons are accomplices of Evans. He has escaped from prison once again. Hence, it is Evans who has the last laugh.