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Unit five an unfinished story

from "A Writers's Notebook" by W. Somerset Maugham

A week ago someone told me about an incident. He said he wanted me to write a story on it, and since then I have been thinking it over. I don't see what to do. The incident is as follows.

Two young fellows were working on a tea plantation in the hills and they had to fetch the mail from a good way off so they only got it at rather long intervals. One of the young fellows, let us call him Adams, used to get a lot of letters by every mail, ten or twelve and sometimes more, but the other, Brown, never got one. He used to watch Adams enviously as he took his packet and started to read, he was eager to have a letter, just one letter, and one day, when they were expecting the mail, an idea came into his head. He said to Adams: "Look here, you always have a packet of letters and I never get any. I'll give you five pounds if you let me have one of yours." "I don't mind," said Adams. So Adams agreed to sell one of his letters, and when the mail came in he at once handed Brown his letters and told him he could take any letter he liked. Brown gave him a five-pound note, looked over the letters, chose one and returned the rest. In the evening Adams joined Brown for a whisky and soda. For some time they were silent. Then Adams, eager to find out about the letter, broke the silence, saying: "By the way, what was the letter about?" "I'm not going to tell you," said Brown. Adams was rather surprised and upset. He said: "Well, tell me at least, who it was from?" "That's my business," answered Brown. They had a bit of an argument, but Brown stood on his rights and refused to say anything about the letter that he had bought. Adams got angry, and as the weeks went by he did all he could to make Brown let him see the letter. Brown continued to refuse. At last Adams felt he could not stand it any longer and made up his mind to talk the matter over with Brown once again. One day he followed Brown into his office and said: "Look here, here's your five pounds, let me have my letter back again." "Never," said Brown. "I bought and paid for it, it's my letter and I mean to keep it."

That's all. I'm not a writer of the modern school and that is why, perhaps, I can't write it just as it is and leave it. It's against my principles. I want a story to have form, and I don't see how I can give it that if you are unable to give the story the right kind of end.

Vocabulary

fetch vt приносить; пойти за, приводить fetch a book (chair, taxi, doctor, etc); fetch help (children, etc)

rather adv довольно, до некоторой степени The story is rather sad. It took him rather long to read the book. I rather enjoyed the play.

envy vt завидовать envy sb sth He envied me my trip round the world. I don't envy you anything, envy n They say such things about him out of envy; envious n завистливый Phr be envious of sb/sth

mind n 1. ум, разум a great (strong, weak, etc) mind Phr come to one's mind (come to one's head) приходить на ум (в голову); Phr be on one's/sb's mind задумать что-н; не давать покоя (о мысли); 2. мнение, мысль We are all of the same mind. Phr to my (his, her, etc) mind no моему (его, ее и т.п.) мнению; с моей (его, ее, и т.п.) точки зрения Phr make up one's mind решить(ся); change one's mind передумать, изменить решение; mind vt/vi возражать, иметь что-н против (обычно употребляется в вопросительных и отрицательных контекстах) Do you mind if I open (my opening) the window? — I don't mind it at all. Would you mind opening the window? Откройте окно, пожалуйста. He doesn't mind the cold weather a bit. Phr Never mind! He беспокойтесь! Неважно! Phr Mind your own business! Занимайся своим делом! He лезь не в свое дело! absent-minded а рассеянный; light-minded a легкомысленный

(dis)agree vi (не) соглашаться; (не) договариваться Не agreed to do it. I can't agree with you (your idea). He agreed to the arrangement. We agreed about/(up)on the price; (dis)agreement n (не)согласие; agreement n договор, соглашение Phr come to an agreement прийти к соглашению

sell vt (sold) продавать Не sold his photo camera for a large sum of money. What does this shop sell?

hand vt давать, отдавать, передавать Hand the papers to the secretary, please. Hand (= pass) me the bread, please. Phr hand in sth подавать, сдавать, вручать Не was to hand in his report by the end of the month.

choose vt (chose, chosen) выбирать choose a book (picture, place, seat; friend, etc); choice n a good (wide, poor etc) choice Phr make a choice (с)делать выбор

return vi/vt возвращать(ся) Не promised to return soon. I'll return the book as soon as I've read it; return n Phr on one's return по возвращении

rest n остаток; остальные, другие the rest of the story (day, way, time, money, etc); the rest of the books (things; people, students, etc); The rest of the way was more difficult. The rest of the students have already come.

join vt 1. присоединяться (к) May I join you in the game (in the conversation; on the trip; for an excursion; etc); 2. вступать (в); стать членом (клуба, общества и т.п.) join a sports club (society, etc); join the army

break vt/vi (broke, broken) 1. (с)ломать, разбить break a window (pencil, cup, watch, car, etc); break one's arm (leg, nose, etc); 2. нарушать; расторгать; прерывать break one's promise (one's word, a rule, traffic regulations; an agreement, a contract, a marriage; the silence, the lesson, the journey, the work, etc)

surprise vt удивлять His answer surprised everybody; be surprised удивляться We were surprised to see him there. He was so surprised that he couldn't say a word. We were surprised at his unexpected arrival; surprise n удивление; сюрприз, неожиданность Не looked at me in (with) surprise. It was a surprise to us all.

upset vt (upset) огорчать, расстраивать The news upset her; be upset огорчаться, расстраиваться We were upset by the bad news. He was upset over (about) the mistake.

argue vi 1. спорить, обсуждать They can argue for hours; 2. утверждать, доказывать Copernicus argued that the Earth moves round the Sun; argument n 1. спор, дискуссия; 2. довод, доказательство, аргумент

right n право You have no right to speak to me like that. Phr have the right to work (rest and leisure, etc) иметь право на труд (отдых и т.п.)

refuse vt/vi отказывать(ся) They refused our help. Они отказались от нашей помощи. Не refused to join us. We asked him to go with us but he refused; refusal n

stand vt (stood) (употребляется в вопросительном и отрицательном контекстах) выносить, выдерживать; переносить I can't stand the cold.

follow vt 1. следовать, идти (за) What season follows winter? — Spring (does). He felt that somebody was following him. He followed his elder brother in everything. Phr follow sb's example (advice) (no)следовать чьему-н примеру (совету); Phr as follows следующее The letter read as follows. В письме было следующее; Phr follow the policy of peace (cooperation, etc) следовать политике мира (сотрудничества); 2. следить (за газетой, ситуацией, чьими-н словами, мыслями, речью) Не spoke very fast and it was difficult to follow him; follow the newspapers (situation, etc) Do you follow me? following adj следующий, последующий the following day (week, month, etc); the following следующее He said the following.

mean vt (meant) 1. значить, иметь значение, означать What does this word mean? What does his silence mean? Your help means a lot to us; 2. думать, намереваться; иметь в виду I never meant to upset you. He didn't mean anybody when he said it. Phr mean well иметь самые добрые намерения; meaning n

keep vt (kept) 1. держать, хранить; оставлять (себе) Where do you keep your books (clothes, money, food, etc)? Can you keep all these facts in your head? May I keep your book for two days more? Phr keep a secret (со)хранить тайну; keep a tradition хранить (поддерживать) традицию, и т.д.; 2. оставлять, удерживать, задерживать I hope he won't keep us too long. Phr keep sb waiting заставлять кого-л ждать (себя) Не didn't keep us waiting long; vt/vi 3. держать(ся), сохранять(ся), оставаться (в определенном положении, состоянии) keep quiet (silent, busy, warm, etc); I hope this fine weather keeps a little longer. The work kept him very busy. Phr Keep to the right (left)!.Держитесь правой (левой) стороны!

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