6. oblivious [R'blIvIRs] 12. resonant ['reznRnt]
Exercise 2. Read the following extract:
Jane lay curled on the board platform she and Ken Sanderson had built (three years ago now!) in the dig walnut tree behind the garage. Sun filtered through the leaves to caress her bare arms and legs, and the breeze made a dry, rustling sound among the branches, saying that summer was on the wane.
Closing her book, she sighed and stretched. “Jane Eyre,” she repeated in a whisper. A romantic name, so different from Jane Howard, which had a sturdy, plain sound.
I wouldn’t trade lives, though, she thought lazily, then chuckled at the very idea. Book life was so different from real life that you couldn’t even compare the two. Whenever it occurred to her that some day she’d like to be a writer, she always said to herself, “But how could I, coming from Brookfield? Nothing ever happens here. And a writer has to have experiences.”
She lay on her back for a while, looking up through the leaves at the sky, which seemed extra blue today, just as the grass seemed extra green, and decided she didn’t really want experiences. Nor did she really want to grow up, if it came to that. She liked things just as they were, uncomplicated and familiar.
At this particular moment Jane became aware that she was happy, as though happiness were an almost tangible thing. She tried to analyze the feeling, but it was compounded of too many things: the book she had just finished, the vibration of the Sandersons’ lawn mower, the warm languor of the August air, the peace and privacy of the tree roost combined with the nearness of the house.
The house ... Jane turned on her stomach and stared down at its square white clapboard bulk, embellished by a long side porch, homely but comfortable. The house was home, and she hoped they would never have to leave it, never move away. Right now she knew her mother was arranging the zinnias she had just cut in the garden and her younger sister, Belinda, was undoubtedly washing her hair.
That was all Linda seemed to do nowadays – wash her hair. Only yesterday, it seemed, a rather grubby little girl who never wanted to stop playing, Belinda suddenly had become obsessed by soap and water. Jane was completely baffled by this mania, but her mother just laughed and said it was part of growing up.
It was next to impossible for Jane to imagine Linda’s growing up. Always the baby of the family, although there was little more than two years between the sisters, Linda would be entering high school in a few short weeks. It seemed very odd indeed.
A few weeks? A fortnight. Jane moved her shoulders impatiently. Why did summer always go so fast?
Raising her head to crane her neck a like a turtle, Jane peered down through the leafy branches. “I’m up here, Ken,” she called to the boy on the opposite side of the hedge. “What d’you want?”
“I’ve got a splinter in my finger. And there’s nobody home at our house. I just thought...”
“Come on up,” Jane invited him, squirming to a sitting position. “I’ll see what I can do.”
She could see Ken’s long legs leap the hedge and cross the stretch of grass. Then, monkey like, he swung from branch to branch until his lean, sunburned face appeared over the edge of the platform. “How could you get a splinter running the power mower?” she asked curiously.
“It’s a metal splinter, not wood. I didn’t like the sound of the motor, and I was tinkering –” He broke off and thrust out a hand. “Here. See?”
Jane whistled softly. “It’s a deep one. I ought to have a sterilized needle.”
“I’ve got a pin,” Ken offered. “And a match.” Scrambling to a position next to the tree trunk, he extracted both from his jeans pocket and presented them with oil-stained fingers.
“You might,” commented Jane good-naturedly, “have washed your hands.”
Ken shrugged, and blew out the match she had lighted. “They’re not that dirty.” Then, as Jane attacked the splinter, he yelped, “Ouch!”
“Hold still,” Jane commanded. “If you jerk it’s only going to take longer and hurt worse.”
For almost a minute there was silence in the tree house. When Jane’s hair fell forward over her eyes, Ken held it back so that she could see.
A few seconds later Jane said, “It’s coming.”
“Good.” Ken gritted his teeth and tried not to wince.
“There!” Finally Jane held forth a sliver of metal.
“Wow!” Ken sucked his finger. “You’re not gentle, but you’re competent.”
“If you’d just stop fooling around engines...”
Ken grinned, then said reprovingly, “you might as well tell me to stop breathing.”
“I know.” Jane watched the boy untangle his long legs and prepare to climb down. “What’s this I hear about your buying a car?”
“Who, me?” Ken tried to look innocent.
“Yes, you. The whole neighbourhood’s buzzing.”
“By that I suppose you mean Bob Wright. He’s the only one who knows about it.” Abandoning his assumed nonchalance, Ken became suddenly alert. “Say, Jane, have you got any money?”
“Money?” Jane said the word as though she’d never heard it before.
“M-o-n-e-y,” spelled Ken. “The long green.”
“Well ...” Jane said hesitantly. “I’ve got thirteen dollars and sixty-five cents. Why?”
Ken changed his mind about leaving. He gathered his legs between his arms and edged around so that his chin rested on his knees. “It’s this way,” he confessed. “Down at Hannum’s garage they’ve got this Caddy, a real beat-up job but with a pretty fair engine, and it’s only three hundred bucks.”
Jane had stopped listening in midsentence. “A what?” she asked, disbelief written on her expressive face.
“A Cadillac,” Ken elaborated. “Now don’t act like my mother! What’s wrong with a Cadillac, for Pete’s sake?”
Jane started to giggle, then threw back her head and laughed. “So you want to borrow my thirteen dollars to buy a Cadillac! Oh, Ken, you really dream up the wildest schemes.”
“What’s wild about it, I’d like to know?”
“What does your father say?” Jane countered. “Pop’s off on another business trip,” said Ken, “but I’m going to phone him tonight.”
Ken’s frown and the forward thrust of his chin told Jane that this was a serious affair. With quick solicitude she suggested, “Don’t you think you’d stand more of a chance if you proposed something like ... say, a Ford?”
“A Ford!” Ken sounded disgusted. “Everybody has a Ford. A Caddy’s something different, a little special.”
“I’ll say it is,” murmured Jane.
“Look.” Ken leaned forward and fixed her with his intense brown eyes. “Why do you think I’ve been working like a beaver all summer, cutting grass, laying flagstone, doing any darned thing that came up? I’ve got two hundred and seventy dollars saved, and with your thirteen—“
“Just a minute!” interrupted Jane.
“I’ll pay it back. I always have, haven’t I?”
“Yes,” Jane admitted, “but even so ...”
“Come on, be a sport,” Ken urged her, his eyes unexpectedly softening, “Gosh, Janey, if I can’t count on you ...”
All the years of their childhood were recalled in that unfinished sentence. The days of sand-pile villages, the electric-train era, the time they had brought home a stray cat that immediately produced five kittens. Jane remembered, almost as though it were yesterday, Ken’s excitement over his first English bike, and the day-long rides they had taken together, with picnic lunches shared and sandwiches traded. Ken never cared much for ham, so she always gave him her lettuce-and-tomato, which got squishy travelling.
“If I can’t count on you ...” It was a phrase at once friendly and importunate. Jane felt an unexpected stirring of emotion, a warmth which swept up from the very soles of her feet. Embarrassed, even half-ashamed of this strange sensation, Jane dropped her eyes and pretended to give in grudgingly. “Oh, all right,” she said.
Ken patted her clasped hands. “Good girl!”
Jane’s head snapped up, and because she didn’t feel in the least stern, she tried to look it. “I’ll lend you the money; that is, if your father says yes. Which I don’t for a minute expect.”
Quite unalarmed by this warning, Ken let himself down through the branches and went off, whistling. Jane watched him until he was out of sight. He always could get around me, she thought to herself, even when he was eight years old. Without in the least approving of the car, she still hoped he’d manage to get it, because he wanted it so much.
That was typical of Ken wanting things desperately. He would fix his mind on a single project and launch himself toward it like a torpedo, oblivious to anything else. Yet in spite of his single-mindedness, which could become pretty exhausting, Jane liked him. He was uncomplicated and honest and full of genuine enthusiasm. And he hadn’t changed, the way most of the boys had, as he grew older. He still treated a girl like a person. He was a mighty good friend.
Gathering up her book, Jane climbed down from the tree unhurriedly and went into the house by the back door. The kitchen and the bay-windowed dining room were empty, but in the living room Belinda was sitting beside her mother.
Mrs. Howard was standing with two pink zinnias in her hand, considering the effect of a bowl of flowers on the secretary.
“Don’t tell me you’ve been all this time ...” started Jane.
Mrs. Howard laughed, then nodded without turning. “I don’t know why my arrangements never look like I want them to… What do you think, Linda?”
Belinda did not react. She had occasional spells of being taciturn and remote, when her delft-blue eyes, rounded cheeks, and sweetly curving smile were like a pretty mask.
“Tired, sweetie?” Mrs. Howard asked, and Jane, looking at her mother, thought how very pretty she was, with her fluffy short hair and bright eyes, which tilted upward at the corners.
Linda shook her head. “When you were young did you want to grow up?” she asked her mother.
Mrs. Howard thought for a minute. “I can’t honestly remember.”
“I’d like to be seventeen right now and then stay there forever,” said Belinda firmly.
“Seventeen? Why seventeen?”
Belinda looked as though such a question must be merely rhetorical. “I think it’s the perfect age,” she said.
Jane could sense that her mother was finding the interchange far from stimulating. She pushed back her chair and said lightly, “I thought I’d go to the movies with Audrey Sanderson. What are you girls planning to do?”
Linda and Jane exchanged glances. “The dishes, I suppose” Jane replied, “is that what you had in mind?”
Mrs. Howard smiled disarmingly. “Well ... if you want me to put it bluntly...” With a quick, light step that always looked young and carefree, she left the room.
The dishes didn’t take ten minutes, but Belinda grumbled automatically. “I don’t see why we don’t get a dishwasher. Everybody else has one.”
“There’s something about the plumbing. This house is pretty old.”
“Forty years, I think.”
“That’s ancient,” Linda said, in a shocked voice. “I wish we were rich, so we could move to one of those new houses over Indian Hill way. I think they’re neat.”
“I don’t.” said Jane loyally. “I like it here. We know everybody and everybody knows us.”
“Oh, Jane, you’re an old stick-in-the-mud,” Linda remarked petulantly. “When I’m your age I’m not going to be a bit serious. I’m going to have lots of boy friends and go out every night.”
“Very interesting,” Jane murmured, in what she hoped was a sophisticated manner. She told herself it was just so much childish prattle, but Belinda’s criticism rankled. As she went through the dining room on her way to the front of the house, she found herself looking into the mirror over the sideboard and not liking what she saw. A plain face. Freckles across the bridge of a straight nose. Wide-set greenish eyes that might be called intelligent, but never beautiful. No-color hair with scarcely a wave to it. For the first time it occurred to Jane that Belinda had inherited all the looks in the family. It was a rather disconcerting thought.
But Jane’s introspection was routed, almost at once, by the ring of the telephone. Ken’s voice came over the wire. “Come on over and lend me moral support,” he begged.
“All right,” Jane promised with a chuckle. She understood, without asking, that Ken was referring to the telephone call he was planning to make to his father. “Got your speech ready? Maybe you’d better write it down.”
Then, without bothering to apply fresh lipstick, Jane sauntered across the yard and leapt the hedge as lightly as a boy. From an upstairs window a child’s voice piped, “Hi, Jane! Coming to stay with me?”
“Not tonight, Georgie,” Jane called to Ken’s four-year-old brother, who regarded his most frequent baby sitter with a sense of proprietorship.
“Ken’s home. Remember?”
“Oh, yes.” The little boy pouted. “And don’t call me Georgie!”
“Georgie-Porgie, puddin’ and pie,” Jane teased.
“You heard me!” The shrill voice warned that its owner brooked no opposition. He was commonly known as a «handful» among his parents’ friends.
“What’ll I call you? Apple Dumpling?” Jane laughed back, unperturbed. “Or Vinegar Stew?”
This tickled the child’s sense of humor. “Vinegar Stew!” he shouted. “I like that.”
From the first floor came Ken’s resonant order.
“George! You’re to get in bed and go to sleep. At once!”
Jane tiptoed into the house and found Ken peering up the stair well. “Yes, Mother,” she piped meekly, and he whirled around and retorted, “Oh, shut up.”
Grinning, Jane flung herself into a worn red leather chair. The Sandersons’ living room had a cluttered, masculine look. Magazines and books were stacked haphazardly on tables and radiators. Newspapers from days past were stuffed into a fireside bucket, and the flowers on the deep window sills were long past their prime. “Audrey is a dreadful housekeeper,” Jane’s mother had once said, “but she has the disposition of a saint.”
Ken came over and slumped on the edge of the coffee table, his big, thin-wristed hands dangling helplessly between his knees.
“What’s the matter? Got stage fright?” Jane asked.
“If I have, you gave it to me.”
Ken’s reply was another question. “Why don’t you think Pop will go along with this deal?”
“It doesn’t sound logical, that’s why,” Jane said slowly. “I think he’d understand your wanting a hot rod. After all, you’ve been car-crazy for a couple of years now. But a Cadillac ... well!”
“It’s only three hundred dollars.”
“Only,” Jane murmured.
“That’s dirt-cheap,” Ken protested. “And another guy’s after it. Gosh, I wish Pop was home. I know I could talk him into it if I could see him face to face.”
Jane was dubious. “A Cadillac,” she repeated, trying to put herself into Mr. Sanderson’s place. “What do you need a Cadillac for?”
“Because I’ve got a job lined up for this winter. But it takes a guy with a car.”
“What’s the job?” Jane asked.
“Delivering flowers for Teasdale’s. And you know yourself you can’t make any time on a bike.”
Jane smiled, remembering the years when Ken’s bike had been the fastest, the greatest, the love of his life. But she could change with the times as well as he could.
“Not to mention balancing a basket of chrysanthemums or a potted palm,” she said.
“Golly,” murmured Ken, his eyes widening appreciatively. “I never thought of that.” He straightened up and slapped his knee. “That’s a clincher, don’t you think?”
Reluctant to quell such enthusiasm, Jane didn’t answer, but she didn’t think it a clincher at all. She listened patiently while Ken rehearsed his arguments once more; then she tucked her feet under her and sat curled in a corner of the big chair while Ken put in his long-distance call.
“Person to person. Mr. Benjamin K. Sanderson, Warwick Hotel, Philadelphia.” Ken spelled Sanderson. “No. S as in Samuel. Yep, that’s right.” His voice cracked a little on the last word, reminding Jane of the time when it had been completely unreliable, squeaking embarrassingly one minute and dropping to new low depths in the next.
“Wish me luck.” Ken crossed his fingers and looked anxious.
Their eyes met with candor and understanding. When it came to anything really important, Jane and Ken always backed one another up. There was a minute’s wait; then the operator said, “Here’s your party,” and Ken gulped and called, “Hello! Hi, Pop?”
Jane sat with clasped hands and listened to Ken’s side of the conversation, sharing his nervousness, anticipating Mr. Sanderson’s objections, hoping against hope ...
“You know the money I’ve been saving? Pop, I’ve got a big deal on. I’ve spotted a car.” There was a pause, during which Ken swallowed hard. “No, it’s a Cadillac.”
Jane could hear Mr. Sanderson’s whoop at the other end of the wire, and she instinctively stiffened.
“Look, Pop,” Ken was saying, “it isn’t funny. It’s a real good buy. Only three hundred bucks, and I can get a delivery job at Teasdale’s if I have a car.” There was a long pause, while Mr. Sanderson’s voice rasped indistinguishably and Ken looked increasingly miserable. “It isn’t ridiculous,” he interrupted at one point. “You ought to see it, Pop. Honest, it’s a pip!”
There was another long pause. “No,” Ken said miserably. “No, I won’t ... Look, Pop, will you do this? Will you just think it over? Over night, I mean, because another guy’s after it and I’ve only got until tomorrow.”
Mr. Sanderson’s reply was short. “O.K.,” Ken said. “Yeah, it’s hot here, too, but I guess nothing like Philly. O.K. Good-by.”
He slapped the receiver back on the cradle and swung around, his eyes cloudy with disappointment. “Talk about blowing your top!” he muttered. “Don’t you suppose my father was ever young?”
Exercise 3. Find the following words and word combinations in the text you have read. Write out and learn the pronunciation. Give the Russian equivalents:
Exercise 4. Reproduce the situations from the text in which the above expressions are used. Exercise 5. Translate into Russian:
1. Sun filtered through the leaves to caress her bare arms and legs, and the breeze made a dry, rustling sound among the branches, saying that summer was on the wane. 2. Abandoning his assumed nonchalance, Ken became suddenly alert. 3. He would fix his mind on a single project and launch himself toward it like a torpedo, oblivious to anything else. 4. Belinda had occasional spells of being taciturn and remote, when her delft-blue eyes, rounded cheeks, and sweetly curving smile were like a pretty mask. 5. Reluctant to quell such enthusiasm, Jane didn’t answer, but she didn’t think it a clincher at all.
Exercise 6. Paraphrase:
1. Jane was completely baffled by this mania. 2. …they’ve got this Caddy, a real beat-up job. 3. “Why do you think I have been working like a beaver all summer?” 4. “Well… if you want me to put it bluntly…” 5. The shrill voice warned that its owner brooked no opposition. 6. This tickled the child’s sense of humor 7. “Because I’ve got a job lined up for this winter.” 8. Jane was dubious… 9. “That’s a clincher, don’t you think?” 10. “And you know yourself you can’t make any time on a bike.”
Exercise 7. Comment or explain:
1. She told herself it was just so much childish prattle, but Belinda’s criticism rankled. 2. It occurred to Jane that Linda had inherited all the looks in the family. 3. “Audrey is a dreadful housekeeper but she has the disposition of a saint.” 4. When it came to anything really important, Jane and Ken always backed one another up. 5. “Talk about blowing your top!” he muttered. “Don’t you suppose my father was ever young?”
Exercise 8. Get ready to answer the following questions using the words in brackets.
1. What is Jane like?
(romantic name; to have a plain sound; to trade lives; book life; to occur to smb; to have experiences; to grow up; uncomplicated)
2. Is she happy? What is happiness for her?
(to become aware; a tangible thing; to be compounded of; lawn mower; a languor; peace; privacy; homely; move away)
3. Who is Belinda? What changes has she undergone lately?
(a grubby girl; to stop doing; to be obsessed by; to be baffled; the baby of the family; to enter a high school; to seem odd)
4. What happened to Ken? How did Jane help him?
(a splinter; to leap the hedge; to swing from branch to branch; to run a mower; to tinker; to extract from; to present with smth; to jerk; to grit one’s teeth; to be competent)
5. What did Ken want to borrow from Jane for?
(to become alert; to change one’s mind; to confess; a beat-up job; a fair engine; to dream up; to fix smb with one’s eyes; to work like a beaver; to come up; to count on)
6. Describe Jane and Ken’s relationship. Why could Ken count on her?
(to recall; sand-pile; a stray cat; one’s excitement over smth; to take rides; to share; care for; friendly; importunate; to be embarrassed; to pretend to do; to approve of; to manage)
7. What kind of a man is Ken? Why does Jane like him? Why does she think him to be a mighty good friend?
(to approve of; to be typical of; to fix one’s mind on; to launch oneself toward; to be oblivious to smth; one’s single-mindedness; uncomplicated; to be full of enthusiasm; to treat smb as)
8. What are Belinda’s views on life? What does she criticize Jane for?
(to stay forever; a perfect age; to grumble; to move to; an old stick-in-the-mud; to be one’s age)
9. Did Belinda’s criticism rankle Jane? Describe Jane. Is she critical about her appearance?
(childish prattle; look into the mirror; a plain face; freckles; wide-set eyes; no-colour hair; to occur; to inherit; a disconcerting thought)
10. Why did Ken get stage fright before the conversation with his father? Did Jane share his nervousness?
(to get along with; to sound logical; to be car-crazy; to be after smth; to talk smb into…; to be dubious; to cross one’s fingers; to back up; to anticipate)
11. What did Ken need a Cadillac for? What arguments did he try to make for buying such a car?
(to deliver; not to make any time on; to change with the times; not to mention; a clincher; to spot; a delivery job; ridiculous; to be a pip; to think over; to be after smth) Exercise 9. Talking points.
I. Explain what is meant by the following quotations from the text. Get ready to express your opinion of the point. Answer the questions which follow the quotation. Support your viewpoint.
“Come on, be a sport,” Ken urged her. “Gosh, Jenny, if I can’t count on you…”
1. What kind of people could you count on?
2. Have you ever helped other people in difficult situations? Do you think your friends consider you someone to count on?
II. Answer the following questions.
1. What is happiness for you?
2. Is it a good idea to borrow from friends or lend them? Do you agree with the saying: “If you want to keep a friend, never borrow, never lend”? Can you give examples to illustrate it?
3. What age in your opinion can be considered the perfect one? Can you agree that any age is good?
4. Do you think Ken was right asking for his father’s permission to buy a car for the money he had saved?
Exercise 10. Translate into English. Check yourself by the key.
1. Кен был просто одержим идеей купить «Кадиллак».
2. Джейн посмотрела вниз сквозь зеленые ветки и позвала Кена.
3. Было очень больно, но Кен только стиснул зубы и постарался не морщиться от боли.
4. Кен знал, на Джейн всегда можно положиться.
5. Кен похлопал Джейн по плечу, стараясь успокоить ее.
6. - Не дразни свою сестру, - строго сказала мать.
7. Кен был уверен, что сможет уговорить отца купить ему машину.
8. Когда-то Кен больше всего на свете любил свой велосипед, но со временем его вкусы изменились.
9. Джейн попыталась поставить себя на место Кена, но все равно не могла понять, зачем ему нужен этот «Кадиллак».
10. Еще какой-то парень хотел купить машину, и у Кена была только ночь на раздумья.
Exercise 11. Write a summary of the extract.