title

Custom Search

 

[ Correct English | Common Errors | Words Differentiation | Sample Letters | Glossary of Correct Usage | Common Sentences | Q & A ]

[ English Compositions | Movie Reviews | High School Vocab | Advertisements ]

Sponsored Links

<<Prev

Comprehension

Next>>

   
TOEFL Vocabulary
English Conversation
English Grammar
American Idioms
English Comprehension
English Summary
English News
Business Idioms
 
David Powlett-Jones, a teacher in Bamfylde School became a hero when he risked his life to save two Indian boys from a fire.

It was twenty minutes after midnight and Towser's long, spine-chilling howls made me jump out of the armchair. I shouted, 'What is it, Towser? What's up?' The dog stopped howling and began to whine. I felt my own flesh crawl as my senses grappled with various possibilities. A ghost? Boys, perhaps out on the prowl? That was more likely. I reached the door in three strides and flung it open.

The stench and unmistakable sounds that greeted me were more frightening than any ghost. Something was burning! Leaping down the stone stairs, with the terrified dog at my heels, I tore open the heavy door of the passage, grabbed the bell and swung it. Seconds later I was half-way up the stairs leading to the dormitories. A stream of boys collided with me, some in their dressing gowns, some in their pyjamas, all pouring down the steps in a flood so that I had to grab the iron rail to prevent myself being carried away with the rush. I managed to grab Dobson somewhere in the middle of the bunch, and bellowed, 'Junior dorm ... boys beyond? Are they all out?' Dobson shouted back, 'Yes, sir! Think so! Ridgeway was there counting them ' and then Dobson was swept away. Ridgeway, the duty prefect appeared just above me bawling, 'Steady, there! .... Take it easy! The stairs can't burn ... !'

I fought my way up. I grabbed Ridgeway by the shoulders and shouted, 'Counted' the juniors? They're all out?' Ridgeway replied, 'Counted eighteen, sir! That's the lot in there, but the annexe ...! The two Kassavas sleep in there! I'm almost sure they didn't pass me!' At once I said, 'Go down and line 'em up and send someone over to the head's house to phone the brigade.'

'Yes, sir,' and Ridgeway was gone, leaving me alone on the stairs. The smoke was thickening and the glow beyond it spreading. What obsessed me now was the safety of the two Kassava brothers. I thought, with a sickening fatality, 'They probably don't even know the geography of the building!' Clapping a handkerchief to my face, I dashed into the disordered senior dormitory. But here, I was checked. The adjacent junior dormitory was blazing end to end. I could not go on but I was terribly unwilling to leave. I stood there, dithering a moment. Then somebody coughed at my elbow and in the light of the flames I saw Boyer, who gasped, 'They're out on the roof, sir! Ridgeway's shouting to them to move along .... Better go, sir ... before the floor caves in!'

When I was at the quadrangle, I saw Ridgeway pointing to the roof. I could see two small figures, peering down and right below them some senior boys were carrying a tarpaulin. I realized that the Kassava brothers would never jump; they had to be pushed. So, I grabbed Boyer by the arm, saying, 'The rope in the gym ... the one with the hook ... we'll have to get it!'

We ran across the quadrangle, elbowing boys out of the way and in ninety seconds were back with the rope. I said, 'I could make it from the window. There's all that creeper and the drainpipe. Keep that tarpaulin team in position.' Then I ran to the window. I lifted one foot and wedged it into a clutch of creeper, then hoisted myself up another foot or two, with the rope around my neck. The drainpipe was rusty under my palms but the creeper seemed tough. At last I was on the roof. I managed to secure the hook under a window ledge. Now I had to persuade the boys to trust themselves to the rope. I addressed the elder Kassava. 'It's the rope from the gym, strong enough to support a horse. Can you shin down it? If you slip, there's a tarpaulin to catch you.' Kassava's voice seemed steady enough as he said, 'I'll do it, sir ... but the kid ....'

He was right, of course. The younger Kassava, only a boy of eleven, was rigid with terror. Nothing would induce him to go over the edge of the gutter. I made up my mind on the spot. 'We'll have to lower him .... Explain what he has to do ... he'll take it better from you.' Above the roar of the flames, I could hear the elder Kassava repeating, 'It'll be all right, Jimmy .... Do what sir says .... Just do what he says.' Between us, we managed to slip the loop over the child's shoulders and tighten it round his waist. However, the boy clung to the gutter with both hands and refused to move. I did not know what to do but at that moment, I saw the bigger boy's right hand move, just once and very swiftly, up and then down. Then, he lifted his brother and lowered him down.

There was no time to peer down to see that the boy had made a safe landing. Showers of sparks shot from the windows and smoke was thickening. I might not have realized I was alone up on the roof had not the roar from the crowd announced the plucky elder Kassava's arrival thirty feet below. I tested the anchorage of the rope before I climbed down. After what seemed like ages, I reached almost the ground and felt myself half-lifted and carried away. The next thing I knew was that I was sharing a sofa with the elder Kassava. He was grinning and rubbing the knuckles of his right hand. I asked, 'Where's your brother, Kassava?' He replied, almost apologetically, 'He's still unconscious, sir. I had to do it.' He looked up, grinned again and held up his bruised knuckles for inspection.

Sometime passed after the incident. One day I received a wrapped package bearing a New Delhi postmark. Inside was a slim, very elegant pen, inscribed with my initials and a card that read, 'In deepest appreciation', from S.E. Kassava, M.D. (Edin.), F.R.C.S.

   
  Questions
   
      From paragraph 1 :
  1.   From the evidence in paragraph state what made the author jump from his armchair.
       
      From paragraph 2 :
  2.   What did the author do to alert the boys as soon as he discovered the fire ?
       
      From paragraph 4 :
  3.   The author was prevented from searching for the two Kassava brothers.
      (i) What obstructed him ?
      (ii) What was the author's reaction ?
       
      From paragraph 5 :
  4.   What action of the senior boys showed that they had initiative in trying to save the Kassava boys ?
       
      From paragraph 6 :
  5.   From the evidence in paragraph 6 state two things which helped the author to climb up the roof.
       
      From paragraph 8 :
  6.   Give two reasons to explain why the author tested the anchorage of the rope.
       
      From paragraph 9 :
  7.   How do we know that the author was appreciated for his efforts in saving the boys ?
       
Sponsored Links

 

       
  Answers
       
  1.   The dog's spine-chilling howls.
       
  2.   He rang the bell.
       
  3.   (i) The adjacent junior dormitory was blazing end to end./The fire was spreading.
      (ii) He was reluctant to leave./He was hesitant./He stood there dithering for a moment.
       
  4.   They carried a tarpaulin.
       
  5.   -- the creeper
      -- the drainpipe
       
  6.   He wanted to make sure that the rope was safe.
       
  7.   He received a gift.
           
 
 
 
 
 

301    302    303    304    305    306    307    308    309    310    311    312    313    314    315    316    317    318    319    320    321    322    323    324    325    326    327    328    329    330    331    332    333    334    335    336    337    338    339    340    341    342    343    344    345    346    347    348    349    350    351    352    353    354    355    356    357    358    359    360    361    362    363    364    365    366    367    368    369    370    371    372    373    374    375    376    377    378    379    380    381    382    383    384    385    386    387    388    389    390    391    392    393    394    395    396    397    398    399    400    401    402    403    404    405    406    407    408    409    410    411    412    413    414    415    416    417    418    419    420    421    422    423    424    425    426    427    428    429    430    431    432    433    434    435    436    437    438    439    440    441    442    443    444    445    446    447    448    449    450    451    452    453    454    455    456    457    458    459    460    461    462    463    464    465    466    467    468    469    470    471

Comprehension 1

 

Sponsored Links

 

 
 
American Slang
English Proverbs
English Exercises
Common English mistakes
Ancient Chinese stories
Junior English essays
High school English essays
Lower Secondary English essays