Книга для чтения для 8 класса общеобразовательных учреждений «Кентервильское привидение» является частью УМК «Английский в фокусе». Прекрасно иллюстрированное произведение О.Уайльда в пересказе коллектива британских и российских авторов дополнено различными упражнениями, словарем, а также пьесой для постановки учащимися. Языковой материал соответствует уровню знаний учащихся по английскому языку в 8 классе.
The Canterville Ghost
When Mr. Hiram B. Otis, the American Ambassador, decided to buy Canterville castle, everyone assured him that he was doing a terrible stupid thing – it was known that the castle is haunted.
Lord Canterville himself, a very scrupulous man, even when it came to mere trifles, did not fail to warn Mr. Otis when drawing up the bill of sale.
– We have not been drawn to this castle, – said Lord Canterville, – since my great-aunt, the Dowager Duchess of Bolton, had a nervous fit from which she never recovered. She was changing for dinner, and suddenly two bony hands fell on her shoulders. I will not hide from you, Mr. Otis, that this Ghost was also a part of many living members of my family. He was also seen by our parish priest, the Reverend Augustus Dempire, master of king’s College, Cambridge. After this trouble with the Duchess, all the younger servants had left us, and lady Canterville had no sleep at all: every night she heard strange noises in the corridor and in the library.
– Well, my Lord, – said the Ambassador, – let the Ghost go with the furniture.» I come from an advanced country that has everything money can buy. In addition, our young people are brisk, able to turn all your Old World. Our young people take away from you the best Actresses and Opera prima donnas. So, savedis in Europe at least one Ghost, it instantly found ourselves we would have in any Museum or in the traveling freak show.
– I’m afraid the Canterville Ghost does exist, – said Lord Canterville, smiling, – though it may not have been tempted by the proposals of your enterprising impresario.» It has been known for a good three hundred years — or rather, since a thousand five hundred and eighty-four-and invariably appears shortly before the death of any member of our family.
– Usually, Lord Canterville, in such cases a home doctor comes. There are no ghosts, sir, and the laws of nature, I dare say, are the same for all – even for the English aristocracy.
– You Americans are still so close to nature! Lord Canterville replied, evidently not quite understanding Mr. Otis ‘ last remark. Well, if you’re happy with a haunted house, that’s all right. Just remember, I warned you.
A few weeks later the bill of sale was signed, and at the end of the London season the Ambassador and his family moved to Canterville castle. Mrs. Otis, who at one time – still under the name of miss Lucretia R. Tappen of West 53rd street – was famous in new York for her beauty, was now a middle-aged lady, still very attractive, with wonderful eyes and a precise profile. Many American women, leaving their homeland, take the form of chronic patients, considering it one of the signs of European sophistication, but Mrs. Otis did not sin. She had a magnificent physique and an absolutely fantastic excess of energy. Really, it was not easy to distinguish her from a real Englishwoman, and her example once again confirmed that now we have all the same with America, except, of course, language. The eldest of his sons, whom his parents in a fit of patriotism dubbed Washington — which he always regretted — was a rather handsome young blond, who promised to be a good American diplomat, because he spent three consecutive seasons conducting a German quadrille in the casino of Newport and even in London has earned a reputation as an excellent dancer. He had a weakness for gardenias and heraldry, being otherwise perfectly sane. Miss Virginia E. Otis was in her sixteenth year. She was a slender girl, graceful as a DOE, with large, clear blue eyes. She rode a pony very well, and once persuading old Lord Bilton to race her twice round Hyde Park, she passed him by the statue of Achilles, one and a half times, and so delighted the young Duke of Cheshire that he immediately proposed to her, and that evening, in tears, he was sent back to Eton by his guardians. There were two other twins in the family, younger than Virginia, who were nicknamed «Stars and stripes» because they were flogged endlessly. So the nice boys were, apart from the honorable Ambassador, the only convinced Republicans in the family.
It was seven miles from Canterville castle to the nearest railway station in Ascot, but Mr. Otis had telegraphed ahead to send a carriage, and the family proceeded to the castle in good spirits.