Лучшие смешные рассказы / Best Funny Stories
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Should Married Men Play Golf?
People know that we Englishmen attach too much importance to sport, it is well-known, indeed. One can wait: some day some English novelist1
I once heard of a young couple. They went for their honeymoon4
She was young and did not know much, and thought, maybe, he had a liver-ache. She had heard much about liver from her father. The next morning he borrowed more clubs, and went out, this time before breakfast, returning late and even more angry than before. That was the end of their honeymoon. He meant well,5
Many people, I think, heard about the golfing priest, who was always swearing when he lost.
“Golf and the ministry don’t seem to go together,” his friend told him.“Take my advice before it’s too late, and give it up, Tammas.7
give it up, Tammas – брось это, Тэммас
A few months later Tammas met his friend again.
“Then what are you doing with that sack of clubs?” inquired Jamie.
“What am I doing with them?” repeated the puzzled Tammas. “I am going to play golf with them! Great Heavens,9
The Englishman does not understand how to play. He makes a life-long labour of his sport, and to it sacrifices mind and body. The health resorts of Europe draw half their profits from the playing fields of Eton10
They are pitiable people. They can read only sport news, books are of no use to them. They never trained much their mind, and, apparently, have lost the ability to think. They don’t care for12
The foreigner is taking our sports; we hope he will be warned by our example. Football is gaining favour more and more throughout Europe. But yet the Frenchman prefers to play with his head, not with his legs. He would rather catch the ball upon his head than score a goal. He does not seem to care what happens with the ball. Anybody can have the ball; he has had his game and is happy.
They talk of introducing cricket into Belgium;13
Tennis is firmly established from St. Petersburg15
Your partner’s game astonishes you. His ball runs outside the field constantly. The joyous laughter of the spectators explain everything. Your partner was trying to hit a man in the next court who was busy with his shoe-lace. With his last ball he has succeeded. He has hit the man in the small of the back,17
But the Frenchman forgets his shoe, he forgets his game. He gathers together all the balls that he can find; his balls, your balls, anybody’s balls. And then commences the return match. At this point it is better to quit. Most of the players follow this plan; they go to the club-house, and, finding themselves there, order coffee and light up cigarettes. After a while both players appear to be satisfied.
In about half-an-hour or so, when everybody is tired completely, the game – the original game – is resumed. You demand the score; your partner promptly says it is “forty-fifteen.” Both your opponents rush up to the net, and apparently there is going to be a duel. After a while they suggest a compromise. The discussion is concluded by calling it deuce.20
To the earnest player,21
But all this will no doubt soon be changed. There are some excellent French and Belgian players. The Frenchman is young in the game. He will also learn to keep the balls lower.
I suppose it is the continental sky.22
Generally speaking, a tennis ground abroad is a pretty sight. The women pay more attention to their costumes than do our lady players. The men are usually in white. The ground is often in a wonderful place, the club-house is picturesque; there is always laughter and joy. The play may not be so good to watch, but the picture is delightful. I accompanied a man a little while ago to his club on the outskirts of Brussels.23
It was a glorious spring afternoon. The courts were crowded. The red earth and the green grass formed a background against which the women, in their new Parisian toilets,24
Just nearby a group of peasants were working in the field. An old woman and a young girl, with ropes about their shoulders, were drawing a harrow,25
Was there any thought, I wonder, passing through their brains? The young girl – she was very nice in spite of her ugly garments. The woman – she had a wonderfully fine face: clear, calm eyes under a square broad brow.
The old man bent again over the guiding ropes. They moved forward up the hill. It is Anatole France,26
1. Выберите правильный вариант:
1. Baseball is gaining favour more and more throughout Europe.
2. Hockey is gaining favour more and more throughout Europe.
3. Football is gaining favour more and more throughout Europe.
4. Basketball is gaining favour more and more throughout Europe.
Football is gaining favour more and more throughout Europe.
2. Who won greater applause from the crowd?
3. Anatole France
3. Who does not understand how to play?
1. The Englishman
2. The Frenchman
3. The German
4. The Spanishman
ОТВЕТ: The Englishman
4. How many peasants were working in the field?
5. What is a club?
1. It is a round object.
2. It is a stick used to hit a golf ball.
3. It is a piece of equipment used to play tennis.
4. It is a hollow rubber ball.
ОТВЕТ: It is a stick used to hit a golf ball.
6. What does an English novelist do?
1. He teaches English.
2. He plays golf.
3. He writes novels.
4. He reads novels.
ОТВЕТ: He writes novels.
7. Выберите правильный вариант:
1. Tennis and the ministry don’t seem to go together.
2. Golf and shopping don’t seem to go together.
3. Football and the ministry don’t seem to go together.
4. Golf and the ministry don’t seem to go together.
ОТВЕТ: Golf and the ministry don’t seem to go together.
8. What does the Frenchman prefers to play with?
1. The Frenchman prefers to play with his head.
2. The Frenchman prefers to play with his legs.
3. The Frenchman prefers to play with his hands.
4. The Frenchman prefers to play with his fingers.
ОТВЕТ: The Frenchman prefers to play with his head.
9. Where did a young couple go for their honeymoon?
1. to Belgium
2. to England
3. to Scotland
4. to France
ОТВЕТ: to Scotland
10. Выберите нужный глагол:
At dinner-time he noticed that it seemed a pretty place they __________ found, and suggested to stay there another day.
11. Выберите нужные глаголы:
Fat men, between paroxysms of coughing, _______ you of the goals they _______ when they were extraordinary forwards.
1. told, score
2. tell, score
3. had told, scored
4. tell, scored
ОТВЕТ: tell, scored
12. Выберите нужный предлог:
He makes a life-long labour _________ his sport, and to it sacrifices mind and body.
13. Ответьте на вопросы:
1. Who tells the story?
2. What is the name of the famous French writer mentioned in the story?
3. What have you learned about golf?
4. What do you like and what don’t you like in golf?
5. What would you do if you were playing golf?
6. What is the end of the story?
7. How can you explain the title of the story?
8. Retell the story.
14. Заполните таблицу:
Should We Say What We Think, or Think What We Say?
A mad friend of mine says that the main word of the age is Make-Believe.28
“Oh, damn!” says the man.
The man creeps upstairs on tiptoe and enters his study room. The woman tries not to show her feelings, and then enters the living-room with a smile. She looks as if an angel has arrived. She says how delighted she is to see the Bores – how good it was of them to come. Why did they not bring more Bores with them? Where is naughty Bore junior? Why does he never come to see her now? She will have to be really angry with him. And sweet little Flossie30
The Bores, who had hoped that she was not at home – who have only come because the etiquette book told them that they had to come at least four times in the season, explain how they have been trying and trying to come.
“This afternoon,” says Mrs. Bore, “we decided to come for sure. ‘John, dear,’ I said this morning, ‘I shall go and see dear Mrs. Bounder this afternoon, no matter what happens.’”
It looks like the Prince of Wales,31
“And how is Mr. Bounder?” asks Mrs. Bore.
Mrs. Bounder remains mute for a moment. She can hear how he goes downstairs. She hears how the front door softly opens and closes.
And thus it is, not only with the Bores and Bounders, but even with us who are not Bores or Bounders. Any society is founded on the make-believe that everybody is charming; that we are delighted to see everybody; that everybody is delighted to see us; that it is so good of everybody to come; that we are desolate at the thought that they really must go now.
What will we prefer – to stop and finish our cigar or to hasten into the living-room to hear Miss Screecher’s songs? Miss Screecher does not want to sing; but if we insist – We do insist. Miss Screecher consents. We are trying not to look at one another. We sit and examine the ceiling. Miss Screecher finishes, and rises.
“But it was so short,” we say. Is Miss Screecher sure that was the end? Didn’t she miss a verse? Miss Screecher assures us that the fault is the composer’s.33
Our host’s wine is always the best we have ever tasted. No, not another glass; we dare not – doctor’s orders, very strict. Our host’s cigar! We did not know they made such cigars in this world. No, we really cannot smoke another. Well, if he insists, may we put it in our pocket? The truth is, we do not like to smoke.
Our hostess’s coffee! Will she tell us her secret?
The baby! The usual baby – we have seen it. To be honest, we do not like babies a lot. But this baby! It is just the kind we wanted for ourselves.
Little Janet’s recitation:34
Every bride is beautiful. Every bride looks charming in a simple dress of – for further particulars see local papers. Every marriage is a cause for universal rejoicing. With our wine-glass in our hand we picture the best life for them. How can it be otherwise? She, the daughter of her mother. (Cheers.) He – well, we all know him. (More cheers.)
We carry our make-believe even into our religion. We sit in church, and say to the God, that we are miserable worms – that there is no good in us. It does us no harm, we must do it anyway.
We make-believe that every woman is good, that every man is honest – until they show us, against our will, that they are not. Then we become very angry with them, and explain to them that they are such sinners, and are not to mix with us perfect people.
Everybody goes to a better world when they have got all they can here. We stand around the open grave and tell each other so. The clergyman is so assured of it that, to save time,35
When I was a child, I was very surprised that everybody went to heaven. I was thinking about all the people that had died, there were too many people there. Almost I felt sorry for the Devil, forgotten and abandoned. I saw him in imagination, a lonely old gentleman, sitting at his gate day after day, doing nothing. An old nurse whom I told my ideas was sure that he would get me anyhow. Maybe I was an evil-hearted boy. But the thought of how he will welcome me, the only human being that he had seen for years, made me almost happy.
At every public meeting the chief speaker is always “a good fellow.” The man from Mars, reading our newspapers, will be convinced that every Member of Parliament was a jovial, kindly, high-hearted, generous-souled saint. We have always listened with pleasure to the brilliant speech of our friend who has just sat down.
The higher one ascends in the social scale,36
Once upon a time a certain good and great man became ill. I read in the newspaper that the whole nation was in grief. People dining in restaurants dropped their heads upon the table and sobbed. Strangers, meeting in the street, cried like little children. I was abroad at the time, but began to return home. I almost felt ashamed to go. I looked at myself in the mirror, and was shocked at my own appearance: there was a man who had not been in trouble for weeks. Surely, I had a shallow nature. I had had luck with a play in America, and I just could not look grief-stricken. There were moments when I found myself whistling!
On Dover platform a little girl laughed because a lady dropped a handbox on a dog; but then children are always callous – or, perhaps, she had not heard the news.
What astonished me most, however, was to find in the train a respectable looking man who was reading a comic journal. True, he did not laugh much; but what was a grief-stricken citizen doing with a comic journal, anyhow? I had come to the conclusion that we English must be a people of wonderful self-control. The day before, as newspapers wrote, the whole country was in serious danger of a broken heart. “We have cried all day,” they had said to themselves, “we have cried all night. Now let us live once again.” Some of them – I noticed it in the hotel dining-room that evening – were returning to their food again.
We make believe about quite serious things. In war, each country’s soldiers are always the most courageous in the world. The other country’s soldiers are always treacherous and sly; that is why they sometimes win. Literature is the art of make-believe.
“Now all of you sit round and throw your pennies in the cap,” says the author, “and I will pretend that there lives in Bayswater38
And then, if there are some pennies in the cap, the author pretends that Angelina thought this and said that, and that Edwin did all sorts of wonderful things. We know he is making it all up.42
The manager bangs his drum.
“Come here! come here!” he cries, “we are going to pretend that Mrs. Johnson43
So Mrs. Johnson, pretending to be a princess, comes out of a paper house that we agree to pretend is a castle; and old man Johnson, pretending to be a pirate, is swimming in the thing we agree to pretend is the ocean. Mrs. Johnson pretends to be in love with him, but we know she is not. And Johnson pretends to be a very terrible person; and Mrs. Johnson pretends, till eleven o’clock, to believe it. And we pay money to sit for two hours and listen to them.
But as I explained at the beginning, my friend is a mad person.
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