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大学英语精读第二册 Unit Two:The Dinner Party

时间:2005-04-20 16:00来源:互联网 提供网友:鱼尾巴   字体: [ ]
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TEXT

A heated discussion about whether men are braver than women is settled in a rather unexpected way.

The Dinner Party

I first heard this tale in India, where is told as if true -- though any naturalist1 would know it couldn't be. Later someone told me that the story appeared in a magazine shortly before the First World War. That magazine story, and the person who wrote it, I have never been able to track down.
The country is India. A colonial official and his wife are giving a large dinner party. They are seated with their guests -- officers and their wives, and a visiting American naturalist -- in their spacious2 dining room, which has a bare marble floor, open rafters and wide glass doors opening onto a veranda3.
A spirited discussion springs up between a young girl who says that women have outgrown4 the jumping-on-a-chair-at-the-sight-of-a-mouse era and a major who says that they haven't.
"A woman's reaction in any crisis," the major says, "is to scream. And while a man may feel like it, he has that ounce more of control than a woman has. And that last ounce is what really counts."
The American does not join in the argument but watches the other guests. As he looks, he sees a strange expression come over the face of the hostess. She is staring straight ahead, her muscles contracting slightly. She motions to the native boy standing5 behind her chair and whispers something to him. The boy's eyes widen: he quickly leaves the room.
Of the guests, none except the American notices this or sees the boy place a bowl of milk on the veranda just outside the open doors.
The American comes to with a start. In India, milk in a bowl means only one thing -- bait for a snake. He realizes there must be a cobra in the room. He looks up at the rafters -- the likeliest place -- but they are bare. Three corners of the room are empty, and in the fourth the servants are waiting to serve the next course. There is only one place left -- under the table.
His first impulse is to jump back and warn the others, but he knows the commotion6 would frighten the cobra into striking. He speaks quickly, the tone of his voice so commanding that it silences everyone.
"I want to know just what control everyone at this table has. I will count three hundred -- that's five minutes -- and not one of you is to move a muscle. Those who move will forfeit7 50 rupees. Ready?"
The 20 people sit like stone images while he counts. He is saying "...two hundred and eighty..." when, out of the corner of his eye, he sees the cobra emerge and make for the bowl of milk. Screams ring out as he jumps to slam the veranda doors safely shut.
"You were right, Major!" the host exclaims. "A man has just shown us an example of perfect self-control."
"Just a minute," the American says, turning to his hostess. "Mrs. Wynnes, how did you know that cobra was in the room?"
A faint smile lights up the woman's face as she replies: "Because it was crawling across my foot."

NEW WORDS

heated
a. with strong, excited, and often angry feelings 热烈的;激烈的
unexpected
a. not expected 意外的
naturalist
n. one who makes a special study of plants or animals outdoors 博物学家(尤指直接观察动植物者)
shortly
ad. Soon; (in) a little time 不久,马上
colonial]
a. of or related to a colony or colonies 殖民地的
spacious
a. big; having much space 广阔的;宽阔的
dining
n. 餐厅
bare
a. not covered (with a carpet); empty 不铺地毯的;赤裸的;光秃的
marble
n. 大理石
rafter
n. one of the sloping beams that support 椽
onto
prep. to a position or point on 到...之上; 向...之上
veranda
n. 阳台
spirited
a. full of spirit; lively
outgrow
vt. leave behind, as one grows older or more mature 长大得使...不再适用; 成长得不再要
mouse
n. 鼠
era
n. 时代,年代
major
n. 少校
crisis
n. time of difficulty, danger, etc. 危机
ounce
n. 盎司;少量
argument
n. discussion by persons who disagree; dispute 争论;辩论
hostess
n. 女主人
muscle
n. 肌肉
contract
vi. become shorter or smaller 收缩
contraction
n.
slightly
ad. a little 稍微地
slight
a.
motion
vi. give a signal by moving the hand or head 打手势;点(或摇)头示意
widen
v. make or become wider
bait
n. food used to attract fish, animals, or birds so that they may be caught 诱饵
cobra
n. poisonous snake found in India and Africa 眼镜蛇
likely
a. probable 可能的
impulse
n. sudden wish to do sth. 冲动
commotion
n. noisy confusion or excitement 混乱;骚动
tone
n. quality of voice or music 语气;音调
commanding
a. authoritative8 威严的
forfeit
vt. suffer the loss of (sth.) as a punishment (作为惩罚而)失去
rupee
n. monetary9 unit of India, Pakistan, etc. 卢比
image
n. statue 雕像
emerge
vi. come or appear (from somewhere)
emergence
n.
slam
vt. shut loudly and with force 砰地关上
host
n. man who receives guests 男主人
faint
a. weak, indistinct 微弱的;不明显的
crawl
vi move slowly by pulling the body along the ground 爬行


点击收听单词发音收听单词发音  

1 naturalist QFKxZ     
n.博物学家(尤指直接观察动植物者)
参考例句:
  • He was a printer by trade and naturalist by avocation.他从事印刷业,同时是个博物学爱好者。
  • The naturalist told us many stories about birds.博物学家给我们讲述了许多有关鸟儿的故事。
2 spacious YwQwW     
adj.广阔的,宽敞的
参考例句:
  • Our yard is spacious enough for a swimming pool.我们的院子很宽敞,足够建一座游泳池。
  • The room is bright and spacious.这房间很豁亮。
3 veranda XfczWG     
n.走廊;阳台
参考例句:
  • She sat in the shade on the veranda.她坐在阳台上的遮荫处。
  • They were strolling up and down the veranda.他们在走廊上来回徜徉。
4 outgrown outgrown     
长[发展] 得超过(某物)的范围( outgrow的过去分词 ); 长[发展]得不能再要(某物); 长得比…快; 生长速度超过
参考例句:
  • She's already outgrown her school uniform. 她已经长得连校服都不能穿了。
  • The boy has outgrown his clothes. 这男孩已长得穿不下他的衣服了。
5 standing 2hCzgo     
n.持续,地位;adj.永久的,不动的,直立的,不流动的
参考例句:
  • After the earthquake only a few houses were left standing.地震过后只有几幢房屋还立着。
  • They're standing out against any change in the law.他们坚决反对对法律做任何修改。
6 commotion 3X3yo     
n.骚动,动乱
参考例句:
  • They made a commotion by yelling at each other in the theatre.他们在剧院里相互争吵,引起了一阵骚乱。
  • Suddenly the whole street was in commotion.突然间,整条街道变得一片混乱。
7 forfeit YzCyA     
vt.丧失;n.罚金,罚款,没收物
参考例句:
  • If you continue to tell lies,you will forfeit the good opinion of everyone.你如果继续撒谎,就会失掉大家对你的好感。
  • Please pay for the forfeit before you borrow book.在你借书之前请先付清罚款。
8 authoritative 6O3yU     
adj.有权威的,可相信的;命令式的;官方的
参考例句:
  • David speaks in an authoritative tone.大卫以命令的口吻说话。
  • Her smile was warm but authoritative.她的笑容很和蔼,同时又透着威严。
9 monetary pEkxb     
adj.货币的,钱的;通货的;金融的;财政的
参考例句:
  • The monetary system of some countries used to be based on gold.过去有些国家的货币制度是金本位制的。
  • Education in the wilderness is not a matter of monetary means.荒凉地区的教育不是钱财问题。
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