Техника активного чтения в контексте формирования познавательных УУД

O. Henry. The Court and the Wedding Guest

Andy Donovan was a boarder at Mrs. Scott’s boarding-house. One evening he came to dinner and Mrs. Scott introduced him to a new boarder, a young girl, Miss Con-way.

Miss Conway was small and quite simple. She wore a plain brown dress. After the introduction she did not speak to Andy Donovan. She sat looking at her plate and he forgot Miss Conway almost at once. Two weeks later Andy was sitting on the front steps of the boarding-house, smoking a cigar. Suddenly somebody came out. He turned his head… and his head turned.

Miss Conway was coming out of the door. She wore a beautiful black dress and a beautiful black hat. Her shoes and her gloves were black too. Her rich golden hair and her large grey eyes made her almost beautiful. She stood looking above the houses across the street up into the sky. Her eyes were sad. All in black, and that sad far-away look and the golden hair shining under the black veil…

Mr. Donovan threw away his unfinished cigar.

«It’s a fine, clear evening, Miss Conway», he said.

«Yes, it is,» answered Miss Conway, «but not for me, Mr. Donovan».

«I hope none of your family is…,» said Andy.

Miss Conway was silent. At last she said:

«Not my family. Death has taken from me somebody who was very, very dear to me… Now I am alone in the world. And I have no friends in this city».

Andy Donovan did not ask any more questions and their conversation came to an end. The more Andy thought of Miss Conway the more he was sorry for her.

Once he said to her at table:

«It’s hard to be alone in New York. You should go out sometimes to forget your trouble. Do you wish to take a walk in the park, Miss Conway? If you allow me…»

«Thank you, Mr. Donovan,» said Miss Conway. «I shall be very glad to have your company. You are very kind» .

While walking in the park Miss Conway told Andy her sad story.

«His name was Fernando Mazzini and he was an Italian Count. He had a lot of land and a villa in Italy. We were going to get married next spring. Fernando went to Italy to make his villa ready for us. After he left I came to New York to get a job. Three days ago I received a letter from Italy. It says that Fernando is dead. He was killed in a gondola accident. That is why I am wearing black. That is why I am always sad. I cannot take an interest in anybody. If you wish to walk back to the house, Mr. Donovan, let’s go.»

Andy Donovan did not wish to walk back to the house.

«I’m very sorry», he said softly. «No, we won’t go back to the house, not yet. And don’t say that you have no friends in this city, Miss Conway. I’m very, very sorry for you. And you must believe that I’m your friend».

«I have a small photograph of him with me,» said Miss Conway. «I have never shown it to anybody. But I will show it to you, Mr. Donovan, because I believe that you are my friend.»

Mr. Donovan looked at the photograph with much interest and for a long time. The face of Count Mazzini was an interesting one. It was a clever face of a strong man.

«I have a larger photo of him in my room,» said Miss Conway. «When we get back to the house I’ll show it to you. I look at it many times a day. He will always be present in my heart».

When they came into the hall of the boarding-house she ran up to her room and brought down a big photograph of the dead man.

«A fine-looking man», said Donovan. «I like his face very much. Miss Conway, may I ask you to come to the theatre with me next Sunday?».

A month later they told Mrs. Scott that they were going to get married. But in spite of this Miss Conway continued to wear black.

One evening Mr. Donovan and Miss Conway were sitting in the park. It was a fine clear night. The moon shone brightly on the green leaves. Everything around them was very beautiful. But Donovan was silent. He had been so silent all day that Miss Conway at last decided to ask him a question.

«What is the matter, Andy?»

«Nothing, Maggie.»

«But you never looked so unhappy before. What is it?»

«It’s nothing much, Maggie.»

«I want to know, Andy. I am sure you are thinking about some other girl. Well, why don’t you go to her if you love her? Take your arm away, please!»

«All right, I’ll tell you,» said Andy. «I have a friend. His name is Mike Sullivan. Do you know him?»

«No, I don’t,» said Maggie. «And I don’t want to know him if you are so unhappy because of him.»

«He is a good friend, Maggie,» continued Andy. «I saw him yesterday and I told him I was going to get married in two weeks. ‘Andy’, says he, ‘I want to be present at your wedding. Send me an invitation and I’ll come.’»

«Well, why don’t you invite him then if he wants so much to come?» said Maggie.

«There is a reason why I can’t invite him,» said Andy sadly. «There is a reason why he must not be present at our wedding. Don’t ask me any more questions now, because I can’t answer them.»

«You must! You must tell me everything,» said Maggie.

«All right,» answered Andy. «Maggie, do you love me as much as you loved your… your Count Mazzini».

He waited a long time, but Maggie did not answer. Suddenly she turned to him and began to cry.

«There, there, there!», repeated Andy. «What is the matter now?».

«Andy», said Maggie at last, «I have lied to you, and you will never marry me. You will never love me any more. But I feel that I must tell you everything. Andy, there was no count in my life. There was nobody who loved me in all my life. All the other girls always talked about love and marriage. But nobody loved me. Nobody wanted to marry me. So at last I thought of a plan. I went to a photographer and bought that big photo which I showed you. He also made a small one for me. Then I invented that story about the Count and about the gondola accident so that I could wear black. I look well in black, and you know it. But nobody can love a liar. And you will now leave me, Andy, and I shall die for shame. You are the only man I loved in my life. That’s all».

But instead of leaving her, Andy put his arms about her and looked into her face. She looked up and saw how happy he was.

«Can you… can you forget it, Andy?», she asked. «Of course, I can», said Andy.

«I’m glad you have told me everything, Maggie».

They were silent for some time. Then Maggie said «Andy, did you believe all that story about the Count?».

«Well, not all of it,» said Andy, «because the photograph you have shown me is the photograph of my friend, Mike Sullivan.»

1. Answer the following questions.

1. How many persons are mentioned in this story? Who are they?

2. In what kind of a place are they staying?

3. Where does the introduction take place?

4. What time of day is it?

5. How is the girl dressed all the time?

6. What does she tell Andy while walking in the park?

7. In what way does she look beautiful?

8. What effect does this have on Andy?

9. What colour is the girl’s hair?

10. How does Andy feel about what he has been told?

11. What takes place in the end?

12. What did Miss Conway badly need?

13. What did she do to draw Andy’s attention to herself?

14. What does Andy do instead of leaving her?

15. What tells you that Miss Conway isn’t a liar?

2. Discussing the Story

1. Say why:

1. Andy Donovan forgot Miss Conway immediately after the introduction.

2. His head turned when he saw Miss Conway coming out of the door.

3. Andy Donovan was sorry for Miss Conway.

4. Andy invited her to take a walk in the park.

5. Miss Conway showed Andy the photograph.

6. Andy looked at the photograph with much interest and for a long time.

7. Miss Conway continued to wear black after she and Andy had decided to get married.

8. Andy could not invite his friend for the wedding.

9. Miss Conway began to cry.

10. Miss Conway invented that story.

2. Prove that:

1. Miss Conway was lonely.

2. Andy Donovan was a kind-hearted man.

3. Andy and Miss Conway loved each other.

3. Make up and act out the talk between:

• Andy and Miss Conway (on the steps of the boarding-house).

• Andy and Miss Conway (after she told him her story).

• Andy and Miss Conway (a month later sitting in the park).

4. Imagine that you are:

Mrs. Scott.

a) Introduce Andy to a new boarder.

b) Say what you think of a young girl.

c) Say what you think of Andy Donovan.

d) How you took the news of their wedding.

Miss Conway. Say why:

a) you had come to New York;

b) you didn’t talk to Andy after the introduction;

c) you invented your sad story.

Andy Donovan. Say why:

a) you didn’t pay any attention to Miss Conway first;

b) your head turned when you saw her all in black;

c) invited her for a walk;

d) you were happy with her.

5. What do you think?

1. Do you think Miss Conway invented her story because she wanted to, draw Andy’s attention to herself or because she had loved him already, or do you have your own idea on this score? Give reasons.

2. Do you think Andy knew the truth from the very beginning or it came later? Give reasons for your answer.

3. Where do you think they had their wedding: at the boarding-house, at a fine restaurant, or some other place? Give reasons for your choice.

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