Topic outline

    • The Stolen Bacillus (Abridged from ‘The Stolen Bacillus’ by Herbert George Wells)

      About the passage

      A.  Read to understand

      Answer the following questions.

          1.   How had the pale-faced man gained access to the Bacteriologist and his laboratory?

            Ans. The pale-faced man forged the letter of introduction and gained access to the Bacteriologist and his laboratory.


          2.   Why did the pale-faced man call the anarchists ‘fools’?

            Ans. The pale faced man called the anarchists fool because he thought if a bottled cholera when released into a supply of drinking water causes terrible death and can devastate a city, then why they use bomb which are difficult to place and have chances to be caught.


          3.   What did the Bacteriologist say he was ‘obliged’ to do?

            Ans. Bacteriologist said he was ‘obliged’ to do because he was legally as well as morally bound to take care of living bacteria.

          4.   What possibility did he make his visitor aware of regarding the ‘bottled cholera’?

            Ans. The bacteriologist made his visitor aware regarding the bottled cholera that if it is released into water supply, it will increase and multiply and will cause mysterious, untraceable, painful and terrible death.


          5.   How did the tube containing the bacteria break? What was the man planning to do with the contents of the tube before it broke?

            Ans. In the speeding cab, he accidentally broke the tube containing the bacteria when his hand hit the door of the cab. The man was planning to poison the water of London and devastate the city.


          6.   What did the Bacteriologist reveal to his wife about the contents of the stolen tube? What did he think would be a ‘bother’?

            Ans. Bacteriologist revealed to his wife that the tube stolen by the anarchist did not contain cholera, but a strange new species of bacteria which can cause blue patches or can turn animals blue. The bother for him was that he has to go through all the trouble and expense of preparing it all over again.

      B.  Read to infer

          1.   What was the ‘disturbing thought’ that struck the Bacteriologist?

            Ans. The disturbing thought was that the visitor must have stolen the bacillus.


          2.   Why do you think the man had come to visit the Bacteriologist?

            Ans. The man had come to visit the bacteriologist to see and steal any of his new invention, discovery or bacillus which could help him to ruin the city.


          3.   Explain the line, ‘Well! I suppose I shall be the first.’

            Ans. This line means that the anarchist thought himself to be the first person to die of the bacillus.


          4.   What did the man wish ‘to make sure’? What did he intend to do?

            Ans. He had only to make sure of the water supply, and break the little tube in reservoir. He intended to poison the water of London and devastate the city.


          5.   Why did the man feel that ‘there was no further need to escape the Bacteriologist’?

            Ans. The man felt so because he had consumed the bacillus and thought that he would die soon so no one would be able to imprison him.


          6.   Why was the Bacteriologist amused at the actions of the anarchist?

            Ans. The bacteriologist got amused on the action of the anarchist because the stolen tube did not contain cholera, but a strange new microbe which he had been studying. It can only cause the blue patches or can turn the species blue if consumed.

      C.  Discuss

          1.   What do you think would have happened to the anarchist?

            Ans. I think the anarchist would have developed some blue patches or got some allergies or might nothing happen to him as the bacillus was prepared for animals only.


          2.   What do you think of the actions of the Bacteriologist in the story? Did he act responsibly or irresponsibly? Give reasons.

            Ans. He acted responsibly as when he came to know that the vial of bacteria is missing, he ran out in a panic and chased him.