The Basic Teacher
The Greens were moving in at Number Two, Springfield Square."Where are we gong to make a start ?" said Susan Green after looking at the masses of boxes, bags, pictures, books, tables, chests of drawers, and so on in all the rooms. "It will take at least a week to get thee rooms clear and put everything away." "It's not a bas as it seems," said John Green, "but don't let's make an attempt to do everything today. Wouldn't it be best to do the living room first ?" Susan was in agreement with John's suggestion.
When they had made a decision about what to keep in the room, everything which was not needed there had to be moved into other rooms. John did most of the moving by himself, but sometimes he had t get help from Susan. They had trouble in getting a chest full of papers over the step at the door. John gave it a lift at one end, and pulling hard while Susan gave a push at the other end he was able to get it through the door. It was warm work, but the air in the unheated house was cold, and Susan put her hands in front of her mouth to make them warm with her breath.
When they had got the floor clear by putting as much as possible against the wall, Susan gave it a brush, but it was so dirty that she said nothing but soap and water would get it clean. John went to get a bucket of water and came back with the news that there was no water because there had been a burst in one of the pipes. This news gave poor Susan a shock, but she was comforted when John said that they would be able to get water for washing and cooking from another house, and that he would get someone to come and put the pipe right in the morning. Some of the floor-boards were rough. John said he would make them smooth with his plane later and give them a new coat of paint.
They quickly got the seats and tables and cupboards in their right positions, and when some ornaments had been placed about the room and Susan had got out the cushions and put a silk shade on the electric light the place seemed quite different. The bookshelves had to be fixed to the wall with screws, and this took a longer time. The first screw John put in came up against a brick and had to be exchanged for a shorter one. Another one was put into the wall at a point where it was a hollow and there was nothing for the screw to go into. Every turn of the screw made the hole greater, so that the screw became looser. At last the shelves were ready, however, and Susan was able to put the books on them.
John said that while Susan was doing this he would put the curtains up. The window was a high one and they had no steps. He got up on a seat but he wasn't very tall and it wasn't high enough. The table was higher, but its polished wood might have got marked by his shoes, so he put some boxes one on top of another and got up on these. Susan said that the structure was not very strong. "Keep away from the edge," she said. "If your foot gives a slip you may have a bad fall." "I'm safe enough if I take care," said John, and went on with his work. When he had almost put one curtain up there was a loud crack and his foot went through the box. He put his hand on the curtain-rail to keep his balance, but the supports which kept the rail up gave way and he came down on his back. There was the sound of a smash. Susan was at John's side in a second, crying, "I said those boxes weren't safe." He got up, rubbing his head. "I'm all right," he said, "but the damage would have been much more serious if John had not made a clear space round the window before starting work.
A painted board which was across the top of the window had been pulled off and a glass ornament was in bits on the floor, but the damage would have been much more serious if John had not made a clear space round the window before starting work.
John had a look for the two screws with which the supports for the curtain-rail had been fixed, but they didn't seem to be anywhere about. "We may come across them later," he said. "They are quite a common size and I probably have some in my box." The box had divisions in it so that screws of different sizes might be kept in separate places, but it had gone on the floor at the time of John's fall and the screws had got mixed. They had to be sorted again before he came across two of the size he was looking for.
This time John took his shoes off and go up on the table. When the rail was fixed he had to put up the board. Susan gave him a hammer and some nails and he did not take long to get it nailed up. When the curtain had been hooked to the rings Susan was very pleased with the look of it. The curtains were new. John had said he wouldn't have enough money for new curtains that month, but Susan got them from a store which gave her credit, and later, when the time came for payment, John would be better off.
"Now let's put some pictures up," said Susan. "Then we'll see a little less of this common wallpaper. It give me memories of summers at the seaside when we were very young." John put up a picture on the wall opposite the window. It was an old picture of a brass vessel and a tray with some fruit on it and was the work of a Dutch painter. It had been given to them when they got married. "How's that ?" said John when he had put it up, turning to Susan for her opinion. It seemed to Susan that the top of the picture was not quite parallel with the picture-rail, so John let one side down a little to make it straight. "Where are we going to put these horns ?" he said, pointing to the horns of a great animal which were fixed to a bit of polished wood. They had been given to John by his father after a journey to India. Susan said that the only possible place for them was over the fireplace. When John took the ornament up he saw that one chain for hanging it by had come off, so Susan gave him a bit of thick cord which had been round one of the boxes. It was strong though not very beautiful.
When John had put up the horns and taken away the boxes in which the books had come, he was ready for a rest. Susan said she would put a match to the fire and then get him some food. She had put some sticks and coal in the fireplace earlier in the day. When the fire was lighted, clouds of smoke came out into the room. "Quick, get the window open," she said to John, who was coughing because of the smoke. John went to the window but the lock was very stiff and he was unable to get it open. He took out his knife and put the blade in the lock and gave a push. It had no effect. Then he put a drop of oil on it and after working for some time he got it loose. He gave a pull and the window came down with a loud noise. John took a deep breath. "That's better," he said, "but we'll have to do something about this window. The cord is broken, I see. It'll be hard to get the window shut again." There was no answer from Susan, who hadn't given much attention to what he was saying. She was much more troubled by the fact that the smoke had made her clean cushions and covers black and that her hands and nails were dirty and she had no way of washing them. At this minute she was regretting bitterly that she ad let John take her away from their small, bright, electrically heated flat to this cold, dirty house which had smoking coal fires and no water.
Springfield Square : A square or oblong space with houses round is called a square.
chests of drawers : The chest is an anatomical box enclosing the lungs, and so, by expansion, a large box is called a chest. The chest of drawers is a chest-like bit of furniture with drawers in it.
get those rooms clear : Clear here means 'free from obstruction'. The connection between this use and the root sense, which means 'providing no obstruction to vision', is obvious.
put everything away == tidy up. To put something away is generally either to put it in its right place, as here, or to put it out of sight, specially for safe-keeping.
in agreement with : Agreement is used for 'condition of agreeing' as well as for 'statement of what is agreed to', and so it is natural to talk of being in agreement. Note the use of with.
by himself : By oneself == alone, without company or, as here, without assistance.
this news gave poor Susan a shock : A sudden unpleasant disturbance of the mind or feelings that resembles the physical disturbance called a shock is also described as a shock.
in the morning == next morning. In the morning may be used by itself to refer to the morning of tomorrow, or of the day after the day alluded to.
a new coat of paint : A layer of substance covering something is frequently called a coat. One talks of a coat of paint, a coat of wax, a coat of powder, and so on.
a silk shade : A piece of material, etc., for shutting out or softening the effect of light is a shade.
come up against : Another use of up for emphasis. Compare with dressed up.
had to be exchanged for : Exchanging one thing for another is 'replacing it by, giving it in exchange for, another'.
they had no steps : The steps here referred to are clearly portable steps, that is a 'step-ladder'.
tall : When speaking of the height of human beings, we use tall instead of high and short instead of low. (Tall is sometimes also applied to structures, etc., as tall buildings, but not generally, so the learner had better confine himself to high. (which is never wrong.)
one on top of another : The phrase on top is frequently used instead of on the top.
gives a slip : Note that the operator give is used with slip when the subject is not a person. When it is, however, we use have (if John has a slip).
a loud crack : by expansion, a crack is a noise such as something made when a crack is formed in something.
curtain-rail == rail at top of window for attaching curtains to.
to keep his balance : To keep one's balance is to 'remain balanced, avoid a fall'.
gave way : If an army retreats before the enemy, it gives a way to the enemy for his advance. From this sort of situation there has developed the idiom give way, meaning 'collapse' or 'yield'.
crying " I said those boxes weren't safe" : Crying == giving a cry, 'shouting'. It may have as an object the words shouted. Safe means either 'not in danger' or 'affording safety, not causing danger'.
the leg of the table : a leg-like supporting part of anything, such as a table, is called a leg.
in bits == smashed, not whole, or with parts not together.
much more serious : Here, serious is used in its expanded sense of 'grave, such as to cause a serious face'.
comes across : An idiom meaning 'find, discover, meet by chance'.
I probably have == it is probable that I have.
when the time care for payment John would . . . : Payment is used by expansion for the act of paying as well as for the sum paid. The tenses here are the same as would be used after said because though not strictly reported speech, the statement clearly represents something said or thought in the past.
common wallpaper : Wallpaper is paper pasted on a wall as a covering. By an obvious expansion, common may be used in the sense of 'vulgar'.
It gives me memories : Though the root sense of memory is 'power of remembering', it is also used, as here, for 'recollection, memory-image'.
the work of a Dutch painter : That which is produced by a person's work is called is work.
turning : Turning may be either 'giving one's body a turn or 'giving (something) a turn.
picture-rail == a strip of wood round the top of a wall for hanging pictures on.
fireplace == place constructed in a room for a fire.
a bit of thick cord : Note that cord ( and similarly thread and wire) may be used as a substance word.
clouds of smoke : Cloud is used for any mass resembling a cloud.
because of the smoke : Note this construction, which enables the reason for something to be expressed by a noun instead of by a statement.
the lock was very stiff : Lock is loosely used for various fastenings not operated by keys. A thing which is stiff is hard to bend, and so a mechanism which is hard to move is also described as stiff.
took a deep breath : a breath is a single act of breathing, and a deep breath is naturally one taking the air deep into the lungs. Note that take is the operator used.
clean cushions and covers : The covers here referred to are the coverings fitted over upholstered chairs, etc.
hands and nails : The horny substance covering the point of a finger or toe is called a nail, no doubt because, when uncut, it is hard and pointed like a metal nail.
regretting bitterly : a bitter taste is frequently acutely unpleasant, and so bitter comes to be used in describing feelings or experiences as acutely disagreeable or unhappy.
electrically : Note that the ending which makes electric into an adverb is -ally, not -ly.
1 . In each of the pictures on the previous page there is something foolish or inaccurate. Say what it is, giving your answer in Basic.
2 . What is there in common about the connection between the expansions of these words and their root senses.
(a) mail (d) leg
(b) cloud (e) coat
(c) shock (f) chest
3 . Define in Basic the expansions of these words :
(a) memory (c) agreement
(b) serious (d) work
4 . Give some examples in Basic of :
(a) structures (c) instruments
5 . Give the opposites of the following :
(a) having company (c) tall
(b) in danger
6 . Describe in Basic some of the things that may go wrong when one is moving into a new house.
7 . Complete these sentences by filling in the blanks with a phrase :
(a) My friend _____ these verses when he was going through some papers.
(b) I give my head a shake as a sign that I was not _____ his statement.
(c) The sailor made an attempt to get across to the island but was unable to do so _____ the bad weather.
(d) This wall is not very safe. If it _____ the roof will come down.
(e) When the warm weather came their winter clothing was _____ in a chest.
8 . Translate into Basic : Teacher Link
9 . Answer in Basic
a . How did Susan get her hands warm ?
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Step 33 >
b . What suggestion of John's was Susan in agreement with ?
c . Why was John unable to get any water ?
d . How did John and Susan get the chest through the door ?
e . What did John say he would do to the floor-boards ?
f . Why did the first screw which he put into the bookshelves have to be exchanged for another ?
g . What other trouble did he have before he got the bookshelves fixed ?
h . Why did John put his hand on the curtain-rail and what effect did it have ?
i . Why did Susan say "Keep away from the edge" when she saw John on top of the boxes ?
j . Why did the screws have to be sorted ?
k . Why didn't John go on looking for the screw which had gone on the floor ?
l . What help did Susan give John when he was putting up the board across the top of the window ?
m . How was Susan able to get new curtains ?
n . What was put over the fireplace ?
o . What did John do to the lock on the window ?
p . Why were the horns put up with the cord ?