Lesson 22 By heart熟记台词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，狱卒决定与他的同事开一个玩笑，看看他反复演出这么多场之后，是否已将信的内容记熟了。大幕拉开，最后一幕戏开演，贵族独自一人坐在铁窗后阴暗 的牢房里。这时狱卒上场，手里拿着那封珍贵的信。狱卒走进牢房，将信交给贵族。但这回狱卒给贵族的信没有像往常那样把全文写全，而是一张白纸。狱卒热切地 观察着，急于想了解他的同事是否记熟了台词。贵族盯着纸看了几秒钟，然后，眼珠一转，说道：“光线太暗，请给我读一下这封信。”说完，他一下子把信递给狱 卒。狱卒发现自己连一个字也记不住，于是便说：“陛下，这儿光线的确太暗了，我得去眼镜拿来。”他一边说着，一边匆匆下台。贵族感到非常好笑的是：一会儿 工夫，狱卒重新登台，拿来一副眼镜以及平时使用的那封信，然后为那囚犯念了起来。
New words and expressions 生词和短语
run (ran, run)
cast (cast, cast)
Notes on the text课文注释
1 on end，连续不断的。
2 in many ways，在许多方面。
3 go on repeating，继续重复。go on加上现在分词是“继续干”的意思。
4 Yet this is not always the case.然而情况并非总是如此。
5 in the role of...，充当...角色。
7 insisted that it should be written out in full, insist后面所接的宾语从句，常用虚拟语气“should+动词原形”，而should又经常可以省略。
8 play a joke on...，拿……开玩笑。
10 Much to the aristocrat's amusement，使贵族感到非常可笑的是...。
much为副词，此处修饰其后的介词短语to the aristocrat's amusement。 much to+sb.'s sth.是一个常见的状语短语，有“给某人带来很大的…”的意思。