Ainsley, a post-office sorter, turned the envelope over and over in his hands. The letter was addressed to his wife and had an Australian stamp.
Ainsley knew that the sender was Dicky Soames, his wife's cousin. It was the second letter Ainsley received after Dicky's departure. The first letter had come six months before, he did not read it and threw it into the fire. No man ever had less reason for jealousy than Ainsley. His wife was frank as the day, a splendid housekeeper, a very good mother to their two children. He knew that Dicky Soames had been fond of Adela and the fact that Dicky Soames had years back gone away to join his and Adela's uncle made no difference to him. He was afraid that some day Dicky would return and take Adela from him.
Ainsley did not take the letter when he was at work as his fellow-workers could see him do it. So when the working hours were over he went out of the post-office together with his fellow workers, then he returned to take the letter addressed to his wife. As the door of the post-office was locked, he had to get in through a window. When he was getting out of the window the postmaster saw him. He got angry and dismissed Ainsley. So another man was hired and Ainsley became unemployed. Their life became hard; they had to borrow money from their friends.
Several months had passed. One afternoon when Ainsley came home he saw the familiar face of Dicky Soames. "So he had turned up," Ainsley thought to himself.
Dicky Soames said he was delighted to see Ainsley. "I have missed all of you so much," he added with a friendly smile.
Ainsley looked at his wife. "Uncle Tom has died," she explained "and Dicky has come into his money".
"Congratulation," said Ainsley, "you are lucky."
Adela turned to Dicky. "Tell Arthur the rest," she said quietly. "Well, you see," said Dicky, "Uncle Tom had something over sixty thousand and he wished Adela to have half. But he got angry with you because Adela never answered the two letters I wrote to her for him. Then he changed his will and left her money to hospitals. I asked him not to do it, but he wouldn't listen to me!" Ainsley turned pale. "So those two letters were worth reading after all," he thought to himself. For some time everybody kept silence. Then Dicky Soames broke the silence, "It's strange about those two letters. I've often wondered why you didn't answer them?" Adela got up, came up to her husband and said, taking him by the hand. "The letters were evidently lost." At that moment Ainsley realized that she knew everything.
Answer the questions to the text:
1) What was Ainsley?
2) Who was Dicky Soames?
3) What was the main reason for Ainsley's hiding Dicky's letters from Adela?
4) How did Ainsley behave when the second letter arrived?
5) What happened as a result of his behaviour?
6) Was Adela's uncle a rich person? Prove it.
7) Did he want Adela to come into his money and why did he have to change his will?
8) What did Ainsley mean saying, "Those two letters were worth reading"?
9) What proves that Ainsley's wife guessed everything?
10) Why do you think she said that the letters had been lost?
True or false
1) Ainsley read Dicky's letters before throwing them into the fire.
2) Adela often gave reason for jealousy.
3) It was a long time since Dicky Soames had gone away to Australia to join his uncle.
4) This fact made Ainsley forget his jealousy.
5) When the working hours were over Ainsley took the letter and left the post-office together with his fellow-workers.
6) The postmaster saw Ainsley getting out of the window and thinking that he had stolen something dismissed him.
7) Ainsley envied Dicky when he learned that the latter had come into his uncle's money.
8) When Ainsley understood that he was to blame for everything he told the truth.
"Adela was as frank as the day" – what does it mean? There are a lot of idioms of the same kind. Explain their meaning, try to give the corresponding Russian expressions and use these idioms in the sentences of your own.
as strong as an ox
as fresh as a cucumber
as strong as nails
as busy as a bee
as sure as fate (as certainly as)
as thick as thieves (very friendly)
as hungry as a hunter
as old as the sea
as slow as a snail
Give a character sketch of the main hero.
Discuss the following:
What is the main idea of the story?
What is your attitude towards the main character of the story?
What are your emotions after reading the story? Did you like the plot?
Retell the story in short.
Find grammatical phenomena and structures which you have studied during the semester.