Landlady 1 Essay

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What do you think happens just after the story ends? (Does Billy realise the danger he faces? If he does, is it too late, or does he escape?) Explain. Just after the story ends, Billy dies. “The tea tasted faintly of bitter almonds,..” – this indicates that the tea has been laced with potassium cyanide, a favourite poison in mystery and suspense stories. The poison is already in the tea cup when the landlady brings the tea tray into the room as she is holding it in an unusual position, “well out in front of her, and rather high up, as though the tray were a pair of reins on a frisky horse.” This is to prevent Billy from noticing that there is already something in one of the cups. Potassium cyanide is a very powerful poison. A dose of 200 to 300 mg is enough to kill an adult person. It acts extremely rapidly too. A rounded teaspoon of potassium cyanide holds about 50 times the amount needed to kill a person. Such a massive dose would cause a person to collapse almost immediately and lose consciousness in 10 to 20 seconds. The landlady must have given Billy a small dose as he is still able to continue the conversation with her for a while after drinking the tea. Because of its speed of action and toxicity, it is too late for Billy to escape once he has drunk the tea. Very early on in the story, Billy realises that everything is not quite what it seems to be. Despite being so cheap, there is no other guest. Billy thinks that “the old girl is slightly dotty”. The landlady seems to be expecting him. She is “like a jack-in-the-box”. “He pressed the bell – and out she popped!” “Everything is always ready day and night in this house..” Billy notices that “the bedspread had been taken off the bed and that the bedclothes had been neatly turned back on one side, all ready for someone to get in.” The landlady has even put a hot-water bottle between the

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