Here to return to the previous page
Sino-Canadian International College, Guangxi University, Online English Lesson Plans, Lesson Material and Ideas
for Semester 2 Reading Lessons...
Reading: Speed Reading - "The Hitchhiker"
Read the story in the
time given then answer the questions without looking at the story
As Andrea turned off the motorway onto the road to Brockbourne, the
small village in which she lived, it was four o'clock in the
afternoon, but already the sun was falling behind the hills. At this
time in December, it would be completely dark by five o'clock.
Andrea shivered. The interior of the car was not cold, but the trees
bending in the harsh wind and the patches of yesterday's snow still
heaped in the fields made her feel chilly inside. It was another ten
miles to the cottage where she lived with her husband Michael, and
the dim light and wintry weather made her feel a little lonely. She
would have liked to listen to the radio, but it had been stolen from
her car when it was parked outside her office in London about two
weeks ago, and she had not got around to replacing it yet.
She was just coming out of the little
village of Mickley when she saw the old lady, standing by the road,
with a crude hand-written sign saying "Brockbourne" in her
hand. Andrea was surprised. She had never seen an old lady
hitchhiking before. However, the weather and the coming darkness
made her feel sorry for the lady, waiting hopefully on a country
road like this with little traffic. Normally, Andrea would never
pick up a hitchhiker when she was alone, thinking it was too
dangerous, but what was the harm in doing a favor for a little old
lady like this? Andrea pulled up a little way down the road, and the
lady, holding a big shopping bag, hurried over to climb in the door
which Andrea had opened for her.
When she did get in, Andrea could see
that she was not, in fact, so little. Broad and fat, the old lady
had some difficulty climbing in through the car door, with her big
bag, and when she had got in, she more than filled the seat next to
Andrea. She wore a long, shabby old dress, and she had a yellow hat
pulled down low over her eyes. Panting noisily from her effort, she
pushed her big brown canvas shopping bag down onto the floor under
her feet, and said in a voice which was almost a whisper,
"Thank you dearie -- I'm just going to Brockbourne."
"Do you live there?" asked
Andrea, thinking that she had never seen the old lady in the village
in the four years she had lived there herself.
"No, dearie," answered the
passenger, in her soft voice, "I'm just going to visit a
friend. He was supposed to meet me back there at Mickley, but his
car won't start, so I decided to hitchhike -- there isn't a bus
until seven, and I didn't want to wait. I knew some kind soul would
give me a lift."
Something in the way the lady spoke,
and the way she never turned her head, but stared continuously into
the darkness ahead from under her old yellow hat, made Andrea uneasy
about this strange hitchhiker. She didn't know why, but she felt
instinctively that there was something wrong, something odd,
something....dangerous. But how could an old lady be dangerous? it
Careful not to turn her head, Andrea
looked sideways at her passenger. She studied the hat, the dirty
collar of the dress, the shapeless body, the arms with their thick
Hairy arms? Andrea's blood froze.
This wasn't a woman. It was a man.
At first, she didn't know what to do.
Then suddenly, an idea came into her racing, terrified brain.
Swinging the wheel suddenly, she threw the car into a skid, and
brought it to a halt.
"My God!" she shouted,
"A child! Did you see the child? I think I hit her!"
The "old lady" was clearly
shaken by the sudden skid. "I didn't see anything dearie,"
she said. "I don't think you hit anything."
"I'm sure it was a child!"
insisted Andrea. "Could you just get out and have a look? Just
see if there's anything on the road?" She held her breath.
Would her plan work?
It did. The passenger slowly opened
the car door, leaving her bag inside, and climbed out to
investigate. As soon as she was out of the vehicle, Andrea gunned
the engine and accelerated madly away. The car door swung shut as
she rounded a bend, and soon she had put a good three miles between
herself and the awful hitchhiker.
It was only then that she thought
about the bag lying on the floor in front of her. Maybe the bag
would provide some information about the real identity about the old
woman who was not an old woman. Pulling into the side of the road,
Andrea lifted the heavy bag onto her lap and opened it curiously.
It contained only one item -- a small
hand axe, with a razor-sharp blade. The axe, and the inside of the
bag, were covered with the dark red stains of dried blood.
Andrea began to scream.
Questions – “The Hitchhiker”
1. Where did Andrea
d) the text doesn't say
2. How was Andrea
feeling as she drove home?
3. Why didn't she
listen to the radio?
a) The radio had been stolen from her car.
b) She liked peace and quiet.
c) The radio was broken.
d) There was a strike at the radio station.
4. Why did she stop
to give the old lady a ride?
a) It was a cold evening.
b) Andrea felt lonely.
c) She felt sorry for the lady.
d) All of the above.
5. Where did the lady
want to go?
d) The text doesn't say
6. What made Andrea
afraid when she looked at the old lady?
a) She had a moustache.
b) She had a hard voice like a man.
c) She had a shopping bag.
d) She had hairy arms.
7. Why did Andrea
suddenly stop the car?
a) She thought she had hit a child in the road.
b) She skidded on some ice in the road.
c) She wanted to trick the passenger into getting out.
d) She was so afraid that she couldn't concentrate, and she nearly
had a crash.
8. What did Andrea do
when the "old lady" got out?
a) waited for her
b) drove away quickly
c) opened her bag
d) switched off the engine
9. Why did Andrea
look in the old lady's bag?
a) She wanted to steal what was in it.
b) She wanted to find her address so that she could send the bag
back to her.
c) She wanted to borrow the old lady's tools.
d) She wanted to find out who the strange passenger was.
10. What was the
"old lady" probably going to do to Andrea?
b) kill her
c) give her an axe
d) visit her in Brockbourne