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Lesson 22 By heart熟記臺詞Listen to the tape then answer the question below.
Which actor read the letter in the end, the aristocrat or the gaoler?
Some plays are so successful that they run for years on end, In many ways, this is unfortunate for the poor actors who are required to go on repeating the same lines night after night. One would expect them to know their parts by heart and never have cause to falter. Yet this is not always the case.
A famous actor in a highly successful play was once cast in the role of an aristocrat who had been imprisoned in the Bastille for twenty years. In the last act, a gaoler would always come on to the stage with a letter which he would hand to the prisoner. Even though the noble was expected to read the letter at each performance, he always insisted that it should be written out in full.
One night, the gaoler decided to play a joke on his colleague to find out if, after so many performances, he had managed to learn the contents of the letter by heart. The curtain went up on the final act of the play and revealed the aristocrat sitting alone behind bars in his dark cell. Just then, the gaoler appeared with the precious letter in his bands. He entered the cell and presented the letter to the aristocrat. But the copy he gave him had not been written out in full as usual. It was simply a blank sheet of paper. The gaoler looked on eagerly, anxious to see if his fellow actor had at last learnt his lines. The noble stared at the blank sheet of paper for a few seconds. Then, squinting his eyes, he said: 'The light is dim. Read the letter to me'. And he promptly handed the sheet of paper to the gaoler. Finding that he could not remember a word of the letter either, the gaoler replied: 'The light is indeed dim, sire, I must get my glasses.' With this, he hurried off the stage. Much to the aristocrat's amusement, the gaoler returned a few moments later with a pair of glasses and the usual copy of the letter with he proceeded to read to the prisoner.
一天晚上，獄卒決定與他的同事開一個玩笑，看看他反復演出這么多場之后，是否已將信的內容記熟了。大幕拉開，最后一幕戲開演，貴族獨自一人坐在鐵窗后陰暗 的牢房里。這時獄卒上場，手里拿著那封珍貴的信。獄卒走進牢房，將信交給貴族。但這回獄卒給貴族的信沒有像往常那樣把全文寫全，而是一張白紙。獄卒熱切地 觀察著，急于想了解他的同事是否記熟了臺詞。貴族盯著紙看了幾秒鐘，然后，眼珠一轉，說道：“光線太暗，請給我讀一下這封信。”說完，他一下子把信遞給獄 卒。獄卒發現自己連一個字也記不住，于是便說：“陛下，這兒光線的確太暗了，我得去眼鏡拿來。”他一邊說著，一邊匆匆下臺。貴族感到非常好笑的是：一會兒 工夫，獄卒重新登臺，拿來一副眼鏡以及平時使用的那封信，然后為那囚犯念了起來。
New words and expressions 生詞和短語
run (ran, run)
cast (cast, cast)
Notes on the text課文注釋
1 on end，連續不斷的。
2 in many ways，在許多方面。
3 go on repeating，繼續重復。go on加上現在分詞是“繼續干”的意思。
4 Yet this is not always the case.然而情況并非總是如此。
5 in the role of...，充當...角色。
7 insisted that it should be written out in full, insist后面所接的賓語從句，常用虛擬語氣“should+動詞原形”，而should又經常可以省略。
8 play a joke on...，拿……開玩笑。
10 Much to the aristocrat's amusement，使貴族感到非常可笑的是...。
much為副詞，此處修飾其后的介詞短語to the aristocrat's amusement。 much to+sb.'s sth.是一個常見的狀語短語，有“給某人帶來很大的…”的意思。
Lesson 22 課后練習和答案Exercises and Answer