CPE :: Lesson 25



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Reading and writing

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ACTIVITY 117: You are going to read a magazine article about farming. After reading, choose the best alternative (A, B, C or D) to answer questions 1-5 according to what you read. Then check the correct answers.


I got used, too, to my employer's violent changes of front. There was one morning when Siegfried came down to breakfast, rubbing a hand wearily over red-rimmed eyes.
'Out at 4 a.m.,' he groaned, buttering his toast listlessly. 'And I don't like to have to say this, James, but it's all your fault.'
'My fault?' I said, startled.
'Yes, lad, your fault. This was a cow with a mild impaction of the rumen. The farmer had been mucking about with it himself for days; a pint of linseed oil one day, a bit of bicarb and ginger the next, and at four o'clock in the morning he decides it is time to call the vet. When I pointed out it could have waited a few hours more he said Mr Herriot told him never to hesitate to ring - he'd come out any hour of the day or night.'

He tapped the top of his egg as though the effort was almost too much for him. 'Well, it's all very well being conscientious and all that, but if a thing has waited several days it can wait till morning. You're spoiling these chaps, James, and I'm getting the backwash of it. I'm sick and tired of being dragged out of bed for trifles.'
'I'm truly sorry, Siegfried. I honestly had no wish to do that to you. Maybe it's just my inexperience. If I didn't go out, I'd be worried the animal might die. If I left it till morning and it died, how would I feel?'
'That's all right,' snapped Siegfried. 'There's nothing like a dead animal to bring them to their senses. They'll call us out a bit earlier next time.'
I absorbed this bit of advice and tried to act on it. A week later, Siegfried said he wanted a word with me.
'James, I know you won't mind my saying this, but old Sumner was complaining to me today. He says he rang you the other night and you refused to come out to his cow. He's a good client, you know, and a very nice fellow, but he was quite shirty about it. We don't want to lose a chap like that.'
'But it was just a chronic mastitis,' I said. 'A bit of thickening in the milk, that's all. He'd been dosing it himself for nearly a week with some quack remedy. The cow was eating all right, so I thought it would be quite safe to leave it till next day.'
Siegfried put a hand on my shoulder and an excessively patient look spread over his face. I steeled myself. I didn't mind his impatience; I was used to it and could stand it. But the patience was hard to take.
'James,' he said in a gentle voice, 'there is one fundamental rule in our job which transcends all others, and I'll tell you what it is. YOU MUST ATTEND. That is it and it ought to be written on your soul in letters of fire.'



Siegfried was not at his best on the first morning because...


A.     his breakfast was not to his liking.
B.     he had been called out during the night.
C.     he had been woken up early for breakfast.
   the farmer hadn't tried to cure the cow himself.


James was criticised that morning for being too...


A.     well-meaning.
B.     callous.
C.     careless.


James thought it was all right to leave Sumner's cow till next day because...


A.     that was what Siegfried had advised.
B.     Sumner had said there was no urgency.
C.     he knew he could do nothing to save the animal.
   Sumner never paid his bills on time.


The impression James gives of Siegfried is that of...


A.     a fairly easy-going, generous employer.
B.     someone rather pompous and unpredictable.
C.     a conscientious but senile old man.
   an insufferable, tyrannical boss.


'You must attend', in the context of the passage, means:


A.     You must follow your conscience.
B.     You must use your powers of discretion.
C.     You must go out whenever you are called.
   You must pay close attention at all times.


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