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Upper Intermediate - Advanced: reading exercise

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'The Story-Teller' by Saki

Read the first paragraph from 'The Story -Teller' by Saki, then, try and answer the questions below. Some of the words have been linked to the Cambridge online dictionary.  Read  the whole of the  paragraph first and then check the meaning of any new words.

"It was a hot afternoon, and the railway carriage was correspondingly sultry, and the next stop was at Templecombe, nearly an hour ahead.  The occupants of the carriage were a small girl, and a smaller girl, and a small boy.  An aunt belonging to the children occupied one corner seat, and the further corner seat on the opposite side was occupied by a bachelor who was a stranger to their party, but the small girls and the small boy emphatically occupied the compartment.  Both the aunt and the children were conversational in a limited, persistent way, reminding one of the attentions of a housefly that refuses to be discouraged.  Most of the aunt's remarks seemed to begin with "Don't," and nearly all of the children's remarks began with "Why?"  The bachelor said nothing out loud.  "Don't, Cyril, don't," exclaimed the aunt, as the small boy began smacking the cushions of the seat, producing a cloud of dust at each blow."


If you are interested in reading the whole story, you can find it here 

Reading: Wedding vocab and matching exercise

  • How many people are in the carriage?

  • Bachelor means...

  • Which best describes the conversation in the carriage?

  • The man...

  • What were the children doing?

  • What can we guess about the aunt?