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The Landlady

Search on the internet what the Landlady is and who Roald Dahl is.

2. The short story

The characters

1)The male character’s name is ………………………….. He is ……….. year old. He took the train from …………………… to ……………………. He arrived at his destination in the evening / at night.

2) What was the weather like? (justify with words from the text)

3) What is the Dragon and Bell? Why is this mentioned?

4) Would you say the man was handsome? Yes / No ( (justify with words from the text)

5) Find a quotation which shows that Billy wasn’t given details of where to stay by his boss.

6) Find a quotation which shows that Billy was trying to be a successful business man.

7) What do we learn about the district around the train station?

Section 2

Questions :

1. What type of lodging is Billy looking for ? Luxurious lodging / lodging with animals / lodging with a garden / inexpensive lodging

2. Billy mentally compares what he knows of B&Bs and pubs ; what are the advantages and disadvantages of both types of accomodation ?

What attracts Billy to the B and B? What aspects of the B and B makes him think it’s a good place to stay?
Why did Billy not go to the pub?

4. What was unusual about the way the landlady responded to the doorbell? Why is this significant?
5. What aspects of the landlady’s appearance and voice make her seem trustworthy?
6. What makes you feel uncomfortable in the beginning of the short story ; what foreshadowing elements did you spot ?

Section 3

‘I saw the notice in the window,’ he said, holding himself back.
‘Yes, I know.’
‘I was wondering about a room.’
‘It’s all ready for you, my dear: she said. She had a round pink face and very gentle blue eyes.
‘I was on my way to The Bell and Dragon,’ Billy told her. ‘But the notice in your window just happened to catch my eye.’
‘My dear boy: she said, ‘why don’t you come in out of the cold?’
‘How much do you charge?’
‘Five and sixpence a night, including breakfast.’
It was fantastically cheap. It was less than half of what he had been willing to pay.
‘If that is too much: she added, ‘then perhaps I can reduce it just a tiny bit. Do you desire an egg for breakfast? Eggs are expensive at the moment. It would be sixpence less without the egg.’
‘Five and sixpence is fine: he answered. ‘I should like very much to stay here.’
‘I knew you would. Do come in.’
She seemed terribly nice. She looked exactly like the mother of one’s best school-friend welcoming one into the house to stay for the Christmas holidays. Billy took off his hat, and stepped over the threshold.
‘Just hang it there: she said, ‘and let me help you with your coat.’
There were no other hats or coats in the hall. There were no umbrellas, no walking-sticks -nothing.
‘We have it all to ourselves,’ she said, smiling at him over her shoulder as she led the way upstairs. ‘You see, it isn’t very often I have the pleasure of taking a visitor into my little nest.’
The old girl is slightly dotty, Billy told himself. But at five and sixpence a night, who gives a damn about that? ‘I should’ve thought you’d be simply swamped with applicants,’ he said politely.
‘Oh, I am, my dear, I am, of course I am. But the trouble is that I’m inclined to be just a teeny weeny bit choosy and particular if you see what I mean.’
Ah, yes.’
‘But I’m always ready. Everything is always ready day and night in this house just on the off-chance that an acceptable young gentleman will come along. And it is such a pleasure, my dear, such a very great pleasure when now and again I open the door and I see someone standing there who is just exactly right.’ She was half-way up the stairs, and she paused with one hand on the stair-rail, turning her head and smiling down at him with pale lips. ‘Like you,’ she added, and her blue eyes travelled slowly all the way down the length of Billy’s body, to his feet, and then up again.
On the first-floor landing she said to him, ‘This floor is mine.’

threshold point
of entry


have lots of applicants
people wanting to
stay there
inclinedhas a
preference or
tending to (often)
do something

teeny weeny


1) Ligne 2 : ‘’Yes I know.’’ Que veut dire la logeuse ?

Elle sait qu’elle allait accueillir un invité. On a l’impression qu’elle l’espionnait sur le pas de la porte.

2) Que pense Billy du prix de la chambre ?

Il pense que la chambre est très bon marché.

3) Combien était-il prêt à payer ?

Il était prêt à payer plus du double du prix.

4) Comment pourrait-il payer moins cher sa chambre ?

Il pourrait payer moins cher en enlevant les oeufs de son petit déjeuner.

5) Pourquoi la logeuse lui semble t’elle si sympathique ?

Elle lui rappelle la mère d’un des ses amis; ce qui la lui rend sympathique.

6) ‘’We have it all to ourselves’’ Que veut dire la logeuse ?

Il n’y aura personne d’autre pour les déranger; ce qui est très étrange.

7) Comment la logeuse choisit-elle ses clients ?

Elle est très exigeante dans le choix de ses clients; elle les veut jeunes et élégants.

8) Repérez la phrase qui fait s’interroger le lecteur à propos de la logeuse.

Elle le regarde de haut en bas; elle l’évalue.

9) ‘’This floor is mine.’’ Que veut dire la logeuse ?

La logeuse ne veut pas que Billy aille fouiner dans ses affaires.