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大学英语精读:第四册 UNIT 7

2007-03-01 17:22   来源:旺旺英语       我要纠错 | 打印 | 收藏 | | |

  A young man finds it very difficult to say no to a woman as a result he gets into trouble. The restaurant to which he has agreed to take his luncheon date is far too expensive for his small pocketbook. How, then, will he be able to avoid the embarrassing situation?

THE LUNCHEON

W.Somerset Maugham

  I caught sight of her at the play, and in answer to her beckoning I went over during the interval and sat down beside her. It was long since I had last seen her, and if someone had not mentioned her name I hardly think I would have recognised her. She addressed me brightly.

  "Well, it's many years since we first met. How time does fly! We're none of us getting any younger. Do you remember the first time I saw you? You asked me to luncheon."

  Did I remember?

  It was twenty years ago and I was living in Paris. I had a tiny apartment in the Latin Quarter overlooking a cemetery, and I was earning barely enough money to keep body and soul together. She had read a book of mine and had written to me about it. I answered, thanking her, and presently I received from her another letter saying that she was passing through Paris and would like to have a chat with me; but her time was limited, and the only free moment she had was on the following Thursday; she was spending the morning at the Luxembourg and would I give her a little luncheon at Foyot's afterwards? Foyot's is a restaurant at which the French senators eat, and it was so far beyond my means that I had never even thought of going there. But I was flattered, and I was too young to have learned to say no to a woman. (Few men, I may add, learn this until they are too old to make it of any consequence to a woman what they say.) I had eight francs (gold francs) to last me the rest of the month, and a modest luncheon should not cost more than fifteen. If I cut out coffee for the next two weeks I could manage well enough.

  I answered that I would meet my friend —— by correspondence —— at Foyot's on Thursday at half past twelve. She was not so young as I expected and in appearance imposing rather than attractive, she was, in fact, a woman of forty (a charming age, but not one that excites a sudden and devastating passion at first sight), and she gave me the impression of having more teeth, white and large and even, than were necessary for any practical purpose. She was talkative, but since she seemed inclined to talk about me I was prepared to be an attentive listener.

  I was startled when the bill of fare was brought, for the prices were a great deal higher than I had anticipated. But she reassured me.

  "I never eat anything for luncheon," She said.

  "Oh, don't say that!" I answered generously.

  "I never eat more than one thing. I think people eat far too much nowadays. A little fish, perhaps. I wonder if they have any salmon.

  Well, it was early in the year for salmon and it was not on the bill of fare, but I asked the waiter if there was any. Yes, a beautiful salmon had just come in, it was the first they had had. I ordered it for my guest. The waiter asked her if she would have something while it was being cooked.

  "No," she answered, "I never eat more than one thing. Unless you have a little caviare. I never mind caviare."

  My heart sank a little. I knew I could not afford caviare, but I could not very well tell her that. I told the waiter by all means to bring caviare. For myself I chose the cheapest dish on the menu and that was a mutton chop.

  " I think you are unwise to eat meat," she said. " I don't know how you can expect to work after eating heavy things like chops. I don't believe in overloading my stomach."

  Then came the question of drink.

  "I never drink anything for luncheon," she said.

  "Neither do I," I answered promptly.

  "Except whiter wine," she proceeded as though I had not spoken. "These French white wines are so light. They're wonderful for the digestion."

  "What would you like?" I asked, hospitable still, but not exactly effusive.

  She gave me a bright and amicable flash of her white teeth.

  "My doctor won't let me drink anything but champagne."

  I fancy I turned a trifle pale. I ordered half a bottle. I mentioned casually that my doctor had absolutely forbidden me to drink champagne.

  "What are you going to drink, then?"

  "Water."

  She ate the caviare and she ate the salmon. She talked gaily of art and literature and music. But I wondered what the bill would come to. When my mutton chop arrived she took me quite seriously to task.

  "I see that you're in the habit of eating a heavy luncheon. I'm sure it's a mistake. Why don't you follow my example and just eat one thing? I'm sure you'd feel ever so much better for it."

  "I am only going to eat one thing." I said, as the waiter came again with the bill of fare.

  She waved him aside with an airy gesture.

  "No, no, I never eat anything for luncheon. Just a bite, I never want more than that, and I eat that more as an excuse for conversation than anything else. I couldn't possibly eat anything more unless they had some of those giant asparagus. I should be sorry to leave Paris without having some of them."

  My heart sank. I had seen them in the shops, and I knew that they were horribly expensive. My mouth had often watered at the sight of them.

  "Madame wants to know if you have any of those giant asparagus," I asked the waiter.

  I tried with all my might too will him to say no. A happy smile spread over his broad, pries-like face, and he assured me that they had some so large, so splendid, so tender, that it was a marvel.

  "I'm not in the least hungry," my guest sighed, "but if you insist I don't mind having some asparagus."

  I ordered them.

  "Aren't you going to have any?"

  "No, I never eat asparagus."

  "I know there are people who don't like them. The fact is, you ruin your taste by all the meat you eat."

  We waited for the asparagus to be cooked. Panic seized me. It was not a question now how much money I should have left over for the rest of the month, but whether I had enough to pay the bill. It would be embarrassing to find myself ten francs short and be obliged to borrow from my guest. I could not bring myself to do that. I knew exactly how much I had, and if the bill came to more I made up my mind that I would put my hand in my pocket and with a dramatic cry start up and say it had been picked. Of course, it would be awkward if she had not money enough either to pay the bill. Then the only thing would be to leave my watch and say I would come back and pay later.

  The asparagus appeared. They were enormous, juicy, and appetising. I watched the wicked woman thrust them down her throat in large mouthfuls, and in my polite way I spoke about the condition of the drama in the Balkans. At last the finished.

  "Coffee?" I said.

  "Yes, just an ice-cream and coffee," she answered.

  I was past caring now, so I ordered coffee for myself and an ice-cream and coffee for her.

  "You know, there's one thing I thoroughly believe in," she said, as she ate the ice-cream. "One should always get up from a meal feeling one could eat a little more."

  "Are you still hungry?" I asked faintly.

  "Oh, no, I'm not hungry; you see, I don't eat luncheon. I have a cup of coffee in the morning and then dinner, but I never eat more than one thing for luncheon. I was speaking for you."

  "Oh, I see!"

  Then a terrible thing happened. While we were waiting for the coffee the head waiter, with an ingratiating smile on his false face, came up to us bearing a large basket full of huge peaches. They had the blush of an innocent girl; they had the rich tone of an Italian landscape. But surely peaches were not in season then? Lord knew what they cost. I knew too —— a little later, for my guest, going on with her conversation, absentmindedly took one.

  "You see, you've filled your stomach with a lot of meat" —— my one miserable little chop —— "and you can't eat any more. But I've just had a snack and I shall enjoy a peach."

  The bill came, and when I paid it I found that I had only enough for a quite inadequate tip. Her eyes rested for an instant on the three francs I left for the waiter, and I knew that she thought me mean. But when I walked out of the restaurant I had the whole month before me and not a penny in my pocket.

  "Follow my example," she said as we shook hands, "and never eat more than one thing for luncheon."

  "I'll do better than that," I retorted. "I'll eat nothing for dinner tonight."

  "Humorist!" she cried gaily, jumping into a cab. "You're quite a humorist!"

  But I have had my revenge at last. I do not believe that I am a vindictive man, but when the immortal gods take a hand in matter it is pardonable to observe the result with complacency. Today she weighs twenty-one stone.

  New Words

  luncheon

  n.& vi. (formal word for) lunch

  beckon

  vt. signal to (sb.) by a motion of the hand or head 向……招手或点头示意

  apartment

  n.  a single room; (AmE) flat or a set of rooms 房间;(美)一套公寓住房

  Latin

  a.  拉丁的

  n.  拉丁文

  quarter

  n.  division of a town, esp. one of a special class of people (都市的)区,街

  overlook

  vt. have a view of from above; fail to see or notice 俯视;忽略

  presently

  ad. soon; (AmE) at the present time 不久;(美)目前

  chat

  n., vi. (have) a friendly informal conversation 闲谈,聊天

  senator

  n.  a member of a senate 参议员,上议员

  means

  n.  money, income, or wealth, esp. large enough to afford all one needs 财富,资产

  franc

  n.  the unit of money in France, Belgium. Switzerland, and some other countries 法郎

  modest

  a.  not large in quantity, size, value, etc. 不太大的;适度的

  imposing

  a.  impressive because of size, appearance, or dignity 仪表堂堂的;宏伟的

  attractive

  a.  having the power to attract; pleasing 吸引人的;有魅力的

  charming

  a.  very pleasing; fascinating 有魅力的

  devastating

  a.  destructive; causing ruin; sweeping everything before it 毁灭性的;压倒一切的

  passion

  n.  strong feeling or enthusiasm, esp. of love or anger 激情

  impression

  n.  印象

  talkative

  a.  having the habit of talking a great deal; fond of talking 好说话的;健谈的

  inclined

  a.  likely; tending(to); encouraged 有……倾向的

  attentive

  a.  listening carefully; doing acts to satisfy the needs of another 专注的;体贴的,殷勤的

  startle

  vt. give a shock of surprise to; cause to move of jump 使吃惊,使惊跳

  fare

  n.  food, esp. as provided at a meal 食物

  bill of fare

  a list of dishes; menu 菜单

  reassure

  vt. set a person's mind at rest 使安心

  generously

  ad. with readiness to give money, help, kindness, etc. 慷慨地,大方地

  generous a.

  nowadays

  ad. at the present time, now

  salmon

  n.  鲑鱼

  menu

  n.  a list of courses at a meal or of dishes that can be served in a restaurant 菜单

  mutton

  n.  meat from a fully grown sheep 羊肉

  chop

  n.  a small piece of meat with bone in it (连骨的)块肉

  overload

  vt. put too large a load on or in; overburden 使过载消化

  digestion

  n.  消化

  hospitable

  a.  generous in the treatment of a guest 好客的

  effusive

  a.  (of feelings, signs of pleasure, gratitude, etc.) pouring out too freely; too demonstrative or emotional 热情洋溢的;感情(过多)流露的

  amicable

  a.  friendly; peaceful

  flash

  n.  a sudden, quick bright light; a sudden display  闪烁;闪现

  champagne

  n.  香槟洒

  fancy

  vt. suppose, imagine

  trifle

  n.  a thing, event, etc. of little value or importance 琐事

  forbid (forbade or forbad, forbidden)

  vt. command(sb.) not to do sth.; refuse to allow (sb.) to have, use, enter etc.禁止

  gaily

  ad. in a happy and joyous manner

  literature

  n.  文学(作品)

  airy

  a.  light-hearted; affected 轻盈的;做作的

  bite

  n.  piece cut off by biting

  asparagus

  n.  (sing. or pl.) 芦笋

  water

  vi. (of the eyes or mouth) fill with watery liquid, esp. tears or saliva

  Madame

  n.  use as a title of respect for a woman (esp. a foreign married woman)夫人

  might

  n.  power, strength, force

  will

  vt. influence or compel, by exercising the power of the mind 以意志力使

  assure

  vt. tell firmly and with confidence esp. with the aim of removing doubt 保证;使确信

  tender

  a.  delicate; not hard or difficult to bit through 柔弱的;柔嫩的

  marvel

  n.  a wonderful thing. sth. causing great surprise

  sigh

  vi. let out a deep breath slowly and with a sound (indicating sadness, tiredness, relief, etc.)叹气

  ruin

  vt. destroy or spoil (completely) 毁灭

  n.  a condition of destruction and decay

  panic

  n.  sudden, uncontrollable terror or anxiety 恐慌

  oblige

  vt. compel; require, bind (sb.) by a promise, oath, etc. 强迫,使不得不

  dramatic

  a.  of drama; sudden or exciting, like an event in a stage play

  pick

  vt. steal

  juicy

  a.  having a lot of juice  多液汁的

  appetising

  a.  arousing or exciting the desire for food 引起食欲的,美味可口的

  wicked

  a.  very bad, evil 邪恶的

  thrust

  vt. push suddenly or violently; make a forward stoke with a sword, knife, etc. 猛推;刺,戳

  throat

  n.  咽喉

  mouthful

  n.  as much (food or drink) as fills the mouth

  drama

  n.  a play for the theatre, radio or TV; composition, presentation and performance of such plays 戏剧

  head waiter

  n.  a man in charge of the waiters in a restaurant hotel, or dining car

  ingratiating

  a.  making oneself very pleasant to sb. in order to gain favour 讨好的,奉承的

  peach

  n.  桃子

  blush

  n.  reddening of the face, from shame or confusion

  innocent

  a.  (of people) simple, not able to recognize evil; not guilty 天真的;无罪的

  landscape

  n.  a wide view of natural scenery; a picture of such a scene 风景;风景画

  Lord

  n.  God 上帝,主

  snack

  n.  a small, usu. hurriedly eaten meal 小吃

  instant

  n.  a moment of time

  mean

  a.  ungenerous; unkind 吝啬的;刻薄的

  retort

  vt. make a quick, angry and often amusing answer 反驳

  humorist

  n.  a person who makes jokes in speech or writing

  humor

  n.  幽默

  cab

  n.  a carriage for public hire; taxi

  revenge

  n.  报仇,报复

  vt. 替……报仇

  vindictive

  a.  unforgiving; having or showing a desire for revenge

  immortal

  a.  living for ever 不朽的

  pardonable

  a.  that can be forgiven

  complacency

  n.  self-satisfaction 自鸣得意

  stone

  n.  the British unit of weight equal to 14 pounds (6.35 kilos)

  Phrase & Expressions

  catch sight of

  see suddenly or unexpectedly

  in answer to

  in response to

  keep body and soul together

  remain alive, esp. by  earning enough money to feed oneself 勉强维持生活

  pass through

  go through; experience 穿过;经历

  be beyond one's means

  be more than one can afford 付不起

  cut out

  leave out 停止使用,戒除

  at first sight

  when seen for the first time 乍看之下;第一眼就

  be inclined to

  be likely to; tend to 易于……的;倾向于,想

  come in

  become seasonable or available 上市;有供应

  can/could not very well

  can/could not reasonably  不好

  by all means

  certainly; at all costs 一定;务必

  a trifle

  somewhat, a little

  come to

  amount to 总计

  take(sb.) to task

  criticize (sb.)申斥(某)人

  be in the habit of

  have the habit of 习惯于

  (not) in the least

  leave as remainder (the best part having being consumed )留下,剩下

  bring oneself to

  make oneself (do); force oneself to 强迫自己

  make up one's mind

  choose what to do; decide 决定

  start up

  make a sudden movement due to surprise, alarm, pain, etc. 惊动,惊起

  speak for

  make a request for; speak on behalf of 要求得到;为……说话,为……辩护

  in season

  available, fresh for use as food 正在当令之时

  go on with

  continue doing

  take/have a hand in

  be partly responsible for; share (an activity) 参加,介入

  Proper Names

  Paris

  巴黎(法国首都)

  the Luxemb(o)urg

  卢森堡宫(巴黎)

  Foyot

  福伊约(巴黎一餐馆)

  the Balkans

  巴尔干半岛各国;巴尔干山脉

  Lord

  God; Jesus Christ

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