1. What kind of a person was Evans?
Ans. Evans was a congenital kleptomaniac and was in Oxford prison. He was an expert at escaping from prisons and was called ‘Evans the Break’. He was a genius at planning and foresight. He was also very witty and had many friends and contacts who helped him to escape. He was a very good actor too, as nobody doubted him when he was acting as McLeery.
2. What were the precautions taken for the smooth conduct of the examination? [Delhi 2012, 15]
Ans. Evans was famous for escaping from the prison. So all possible precautions were taken for the smooth conduct of the examination. The Governor himself supervised all the precautions. Senior officer Jackson and officer Stephens worked round the clock and were very vigilant. All the sharp things, including nail cutter, razor, etc. were removed from the cell of Evans. His cell was bugged so as to hear the communication between the invigilator and Evans. A vigilant check was kept on his cell during the course of the examination.
3. Did the Governor and his staff finally heave a sigh of relief?
Ans. The governor and his staff couldn’t heave a sigh of relief because immediately after the exam they found a shocking sight inside the cell of Evans. The invigilator was lying bleeding in his cell. It appeared that Evans had hurt him and escaped from the prison in the guise of McLeery.
4. Where did Evans go?
Ans. Evans went to Chipping Norton and after a stroll around the centre of Chipping Norton, he returned lit to Golden Lion hotel.
Reading with Insight
5. Reflecting upon the story, what do you feel about Evans having the last laugh?
Ans. Evans is a genius and a master in planning his escapes. He uses all his tactics, psychology, emotional display, great acting skills, convincing powers and amiability to carry out his plan. The governor, despite being over-cautious, is not able to stop his escape. Moreover, after so much of hard work, the Governor is able to trace and capture Evans and arrests him and sends him to the prison house. But at this point also, Evans outsmarts him. In fact, the prison officials are no one else but his friends in disguise. Once again Evans escapes due to the carelessness of the Governor. So Evans has the last laugh of confidence and victory over the Governor.
6. 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 ‘McLeery’. Does this show how hasty conjectures can prevent one from seeing the obvious? How is the criminal able to predict such negligence?
Ans. When Stephens comes back to the cell, he jumps to a conclusion and does not bother to check the identity of the injured McLeery. Definitely, it was a hasty conjecture on his part which prevented him from seeing the obvious. If he had identified McLeery then and there, Evans would have been caught as this man was no one but Evans himself. Evans is able to predict such negligence because he undershot the psychology of the officer and, moreover, he was smart and very observant.
7. What could have the Governor done to securely bring back Evans to prison when he caught him at Golden Lion? Does that final act of foolishness really prove that ‘he was just another good- for-a-giggle gullible governor, that was all’?
Ans. The Governor, despite being aware of the fact that Evans was very clever, did not make any security arrangements to bring back him. He could have called the prison force instead of police to take Evans back to the prison house. He should have made more elaborate security arrangements. He could have crossed-checked the identity of the officers who took Evans away or he would have personally escorted Evans back to jail.