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Lesson 5

                                   Is He a Hero?

                                            Text A

    "Fire! Fire! " What terrible words to hear when one wakes up in a strange house in the middle of the night! It was a large, old, wooden house-the sort that burns beautifully---and my room was on the top floor. I jumped out of bed, opened the door and stepped out into the passage. It was full of thick smoke.


    I began to run, but as I was still only balf-awake, instead of going towards the stairs I went in thc opposite direction. The smoke grew thicker and I could see flames all around. The floor became hot under my bare feet. I found an opcn door and ran into a room to get to the window.

 But bcfore I could reach it, one of my feet caught in something soft and I fell down. The thing I had fallen over felt like a bundle of clothes , and I picked it up to protect my face from the smoke and heat. Just then the floor . gave way under me and I crashed to the floor below with pieces of burning wood all around me.


    I saw a flaming doorway in front . put the bundle over my face and ran. My feet burned me terribly, but I got through. As I reached the cold air outside, my bundle of clothes gave a thin cry. I nearly dropped it in my surprisel? Then I saw a crowd gathered in the street. A woman in a night-dress and a borrowed man's coat screamed" as she saw me and came running madly.


    "My baby ! My baby! " she cried. The crowd chcered wildly as she took the smoke-blackened bundle out of my arms. I had some difficulty in recognizing her. She was the Mayor's wife, and I had saved her baby. I was a hero!


                                              Text B

    Teresa went up to Mrs Webster's room, two stairs at a time. She was nearly at the top when she stopped and sniffed. A strong smell of gas was coming from that direction. Teresa ran up the remaining stairs and threw open the door. She put her hands over her mouth to stop a  scream. Mrs Webster was lying on the floor near the sink. Her skin and lips had a pinkish colour and she appeared to be unconscious. The room was full of gas.

                                 Additional Information

    Who doesn't love sitting beside a cosy fire on a cold winter's night? Who doesn't love to watch flames curling up a chimney? Fire is one of man's greatest friends, but also one of his greatest enemies. Many big fires are caused by carelessness. A lighted cigarette thrown out of a car or train window or a broken bottle lying on dry grass can start a fire. Sometimes,though, a fire can start on its own. Wet hay can begin burning by itself. This is how it happens: the hay starts to.rot and begins to give off heat which is trapped inside it. Finally, it bursts into flames. That's why farmers cut and store their hay when it's dry.


    Fires have destroyed whole cities. In the l7th century, a small fire which began in a baker's shop burnt down nearly every building in London. Moscow was set on fire during the war against Napoleon. This fire continued burning for seven days. And, of course, in 64 A. D. Nero fiddled while Rome burned! Even today, in spite of modern fire-fighting methods. fire causes millions of pounds' worth of damage each year both in our cities and in the countryside. It has been wisely said that fire is a good servant but a bad master.