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Sino-Canadian International College, Guangxi University, Online English Lesson Plans, Lesson Material and Ideas
for Semester 2 Reading Lessons...
Reading: Speed Reading - "The Carpet Fitter"
Read the story in the
time given then answer the questions without looking at the story
was a carpet fitter, and he hated it. For ten years he had spent his
days sitting, squatting, kneeling or crawling on floors, in houses,
offices, shops, factories and restaurants. Ten years of his life,
cutting and fitting carpets for other people to walk on, without
even seeing them. When his work was done, no-one ever appreciated
it. No- one ever said "Oh, that's a beautiful job, the carpet
fits so neatly." They just walked all over it. Eddie was sick
He was especially sick of it on this hot, humid day in August, as he
worked to put the finishing touches to today's job. He was just
cutting and fixing the last edge on a huge red carpet which he had
fitted in the living room of Mrs. Vanbrugh's house. Rich Mrs.
Vanbrugh, who changed her carpets every year, and always bought the
best. Rich Mrs. Vanbrugh, who had never even given him a cup of tea
all day, and who made him go outside when he wanted to smoke. Ah
well, it was four o'clock and he had nearly finished. At least he
would be able to get home early today. He began to day-dream about
the weekend, about the Saturday football game he always played for
the local team, where he was known as "Ed the Head" for
his skill in heading goals from corner kicks.
Eddie sat back and sighed. The job was done, and it was time for a
last cigarette. He began tapping the pockets of his overalls,
looking for the new packet of Marlboro he had bought that morning.
They were not there.
It was as he swung around to look in his toolbox for the cigarettes
that Eddie saw the lump. Right in the middle of the brand new bright
red carpet, there was a lump. A very visible lump. A lump the size
of -- the size of a packet of cigarettes.
"Blast!" said Eddie angrily. "I've done it again!
I've left the cigarettes under the blasted carpet!"
He had done this once before, and taking up and refitting the carpet
had taken him two hours. Eddie was determined that he was not going
to spend another two hours in this house. He decided to get rid of
the lump another way. It would mean wasting a good packet of
cigarettes, nearly full, but anything was better than taking up the
whole carpet and fitting it again. He turned to his toolbox for a
Holding the hammer, Eddie approached the lump in the carpet. He
didn't want to damage the carpet itself, so he took a block of wood
and placed it on top of the lump. Then he began to beat the block of
wood as hard as he could. He kept beating, hoping Mrs. Vanbrugh
wouldn't hear the noise and come to see what he was doing. It would
be difficult to explain why he was hammering the middle of her
beautiful new carpet.
After three or four minutes, the lump was beginning to flatten out.
Eddie imagined the cigarette box breaking up, and the crushed
cigarettes spreading out under the carpet. Soon, he judged that the
lump was almost invisible. Clearing up his tools, he began to move
the furniture back into the living room, and he was careful to place
one of the coffee tables over the place where the lump had been,
just to make sure that no-one would see the spot where his
cigarettes had been lost. Finally, the job was finished, and he
called Mrs. Vanbrugh from the dining room to inspect his work.
"Yes, dear, very nice," said the lady, peering around the
room briefly. "You'll be sending me a bill, then?"
"Yes madam, as soon as I report to the office tomorrow that the
job is done." Eddie picked up his tools, and began to walk out
to the van. Mrs. Vanbrugh accompanied him. She seemed a little
worried about something.
"Young man," she began, as he climbed into the cab of his
van, laying his toolbox on the passenger seat beside him,
"while you were working today, you didn't by any chance see any
sign of Armand, did you? Armand is my parakeet. A beautiful bird,
just beautiful, such colors in his feathers... I let him out of his
cage, you see, this morning, and he's disappeared. He likes to walk
around the house, and he's so good, he usually just comes back to
his cage after an hour or so and gets right in. Only today he didn't
come back. He's never done such a thing before, it's most
"No, madam, I haven't seen him anywhere," said Eddie, as
he reached to start the van.
And saw his packet of Marlboro cigarettes on the dashboard, where he
had left it at lunchtime....
And remembered the lump in the carpet....
And realised what the lump was....
And remembered the hammering....
And began to feel rather sick....
Questions – “The Carpet Fitter”
Why did Eddie hate being a carpet-fitter?
The pay was too low.
He didn't like working alone.
No-one appreciated his work.
He couldn't smoke on the job.
What did Eddie think of Mrs. Vanbrugh?
She was a kind, thoughtful lady.
She was rich and selfish.
She was always losing things.
She had good taste in furniture.
Why was Eddie called "Ed the Head" by his friends?
Because he was such an intelligent carpet-fitter.
Because he had a large head.
Because he was very proud and self-important.
Because of his footballing skills.
What did Eddie want to do when he had finished fitting the carpet?
have a cigarette
hammer the carpet flat
look for Mrs. Vanbrugh's lost bird
start work in the dining room
Why didn't Eddie remove the carpet to take out the thing that was
causing the lump?
He couldn't take the carpet up once he had fitted it.
He didn't need the cigarettes because he had some more in the van.
It would take too long to remove the carpet and re-fit it.
He intended to come back and remove the lump the next day.
What did Eddie do with the hammer?
hammered nails into the lump
fixed the coffee table
left it under the carpet
flattened the carpet
What was Mrs. Vanbrugh worried about?
Her bird was missing.
She thought the carpet was going to be too expensive.
She thought Eddie had been smoking in the house.
She couldn't find her husband Armand.
What was really under the carpet?
the missing bird
"Eddie was determined...." means that he:
had no idea
decided for sure
felt very angry
"Peculiar" in the sentence "He's never done such a
thing before, it's most peculiar..." means:
like a bird