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Unit Seven
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A young man finds it very difficult to say no to a 
woman and as a result he gets into trouble. The 
restaurant to which he has agreed to take his luncheon 
date is far too expensive for his small pocketbook. 
How, then, will he be able to avoid the embarrassing 
W. Somerset Maugham 

I caught sight of her at the play, and in answer to her beckoning I
went over during the interval and sat down beside her. It was long since I
had last seen her, and if someone had not mentioned her name I hardly 
think I would have recognised her. She addressed me brightly.
"Well, it's many years since we first met. How time does fly! We're 
none of us getting any younger. Do you remember the first time I saw you? 
You asked me to luncheon. "
Did I remember?

It was twenty years ago and I was living in Paris. I had a tiny apart-
ment in the Latin Quarter overlooking a cemetery, and I was earning barely 
enough money to keep body and soul together. She had read a book of mine 
and had written to me about it. I answered, thanking her, and presently I 
received from her another letter saying that she was passing through Paris
and would like to have a chat with me; but her time was limited, and the 
only free moment she had was on the following Thursday; she was spending 
the morning at the Luxembourg and would I give her a little luncheon at 
Foyot's afterwards? Foyot's is a restaurant at which the French senators
eat, and it was so far beyond my means that I had never even thought of 
going there. But I was flattered, and I was too young to have learned to say
no to a woman. (Few men, I may add, learn this until they are too old to 
make it of any consequence to a woman what they say.) I had eighty francs
(gold francs ) to last me the rest of the month, and a modest luncheon 
should not cost more than fifteen. If I cut out coffee for the next two 
weeks I could manage well enough.

I answered that I would meet my friend --- by correspondence --- at 
Foyot's on Thursday at half past twelve. She was not so young as I expect-
ed and in appearance imposing rather than attractive. She was, in fact, a 
woman of forty ( a charming age, but not one that excites a sudden and 
devastating passion at first sight), and she gave me the impression of hav-
ing more teeth, white and large and even, than were necessary for any 
practical purpose. She was talkative, but since she seemed inclined to talk
about me I was prepared to be an attentive listener.

I was startled when the bill of fare was brought, for the prices were a
great deal higher than I had anticipated. But she reassured me.

"I never eat anything for luncheon, " she said. 

"Oh, don't say that ! " I answered generously.

"I never eat more than one thing. I think people eat fax to much 
nowadays: A little fish, perhaps. I wonder if they have any salmon. " 

Well, it was early in the year for salmon and it was not on the bill of
fare, but I asked the waiter if there was any. Yes, a beautiful salmon had
just come in, it was the first they had had. I ordered it for my guest. The
waiter asked her if she would have something while it was being cooked.
"No, " she answered, "I never eat more than one thing. Unless you have
a little caviare. I never mind caviare. "

My heart sank a little. I knew I could not afford caviare, but I could
not very well tell her that. I told the waiter by all means to bring 
caviare. For myself I chose the cheapest dish on the menu and that was a 
mutton chop.

"I think you are unwise to eat meat, " she said. "I don't know how you 
can expect to work after eating heavy things like chops. I don't believe in
overloading my stomach. "

Then came the question of drink.

"I never drink anything for luncheon, " she said. 

"Neither do I, " I answered promptly.

"Except white wine," she proceeded as though I had not spoken. "These 
French white wines are so light. They're wonderful for the digestion . "

"What would you like?" I asked, hospitable still, but not exactly effu-

She gave me a bright and amicable flash of her white teeth. 
"My doctor won't let me drink anything but champagne. "

I fancy I turned a trifle pale. I ordered half a bottle. I mentioned 
casually that my doctor had absolutely forbidden me to drink champagne. 

"What are you going to drink, then?"
"Water. "

She ate the caviare and she ate the salmon. She talked gaily of art and
literature and music. But I wondered what the bill would come to. When my
mutton chop arrived she took me quite seriously to task.

"I see that you're in the habit of eating a heavy luncheon. I'm sure 
it's a mistake. Why don't you follow my example and just eat one thing? 
I'm sure you'd feel ever so much better for it. "

"I am only going to eat one thing, " I said, as the waiter came again
with the bill of fare.

She waved him aside with an airy gesture.

"No, no, I never eat anything for luncheon. Just a bite, I never want
more than that, and I eat that more as an excuse for conversation than any-
thing else. I couldn't possibly eat anything more unless they had some of
those giant asparagus. I should be sorry to leave Paris without having some
of them. "

My heart sank. I had seen them in the shops, and I knew that they 
were horribly expensive. My mouth had often watered at the sight of them.

"Madame wants to know if you have any of those giant asparagus, " I 
asked the waiter.

I tried with all my might to will him to say no. A happy smile spread 
over his broad, priest-like face, and he assured me that they had some so
large, so splendid, so tender, that it was a marvel.

"I'm not in the least hungry, " my guest sighed, "but if you insist I 
don't mind having some asparagus. "

I ordered them.

"Aren't you going to have any?" 

"No, I never eat asparagus. "

"I know there are people who don't like them. The fact is, you ruin 
your taste by all the meat you eat. "

We waited for the asparagus to be cooked. Panic seized me. It was not
a question now how much money I should have left over for the rest of the 
month, but whether I had enough to pay the bill. It would be embarrassing
to find myself ten francs short and be obliged to borrow from my guest . I
could not bring myself to do that. I knew exactly how much I had, and if
the bill came to more I made up my mind that I would put my hand in my 
pocket and with a dramatic cry start up and say it had been picked. Of 
course, it would be awkward if she had not money enough either to pay the 
bill. Then the only thing would be to leave my watch and say I would come
back and pay later.

The asparagus appeared. They were enormous, juicy, and appetising. I 
watched the wicked woman thrust them down her throat in large mouthfuls, 
and in my polite way I spoke about the condition of the drama in the 
Balkans. At last she finished.

"Coffee?" I said.

"Yes, just an ice-cream and coffee, " she answered.

I was past caring now, so I ordered coffee for myself and an ice-cream
and coffee for her.

"You know, there's one thing I thoroughly believe in, " she said, as
she ate the ice-cream. "One should always get up from a meal feeling one 
could eat a little more. "

"Are you still hungry?" I asked faintly.

"Oh, no, I'm not hungry; you see, I don't eat luncheon. I have a cup 
of coffee in the morning and then dinner, but I never eat more than one 
thing for luncheon. I was speaking for you. "

"Oh, I see! "

Then a terrible thing happened. While we were waiting for the coffee 
the head waiter, with an ingratiating smile on his false face, came up to us 
bearing a large basket full of huge peaches. They had the blush of an inno-
cent girl; they had the rich tone of an Italian landscape. But surely 
peaches were not in season then? Lord knew what they cost. I knew too - a
little later, for my guest, going on with her conversation, absentmindedly
took one.

"You see, you've filled your stomach with a lot of meat" --- my one 
miserable little chop--- "and you can't eat any more. But I've just had a 
snack and I shall enjoy a peach. " 

The bill came, and when I paid it I found that I had only enough for a
quite inadequate tip . Her eyes rested for an instant on the three francs 
I left for the waiter, and I knew that she thought me mean. But when I 
walked out of the restaurant I had the whole month before me and not a 
penny in my pocket. 

"Follow my example, " she said as we shook hands, "and never eat more
than one thing for luncheon. "

"I'll do better than that, " I retorted. " I'll eat nothing for dinner
tonight. "

"Humorist!" she cried gaily, jumping into a cab. "You're quite a hu- 
morist ! "

But I have had my revenge at last. I do not believe that I am a vindic-
tive man, but when the immortal gods take a hand in the matter it is par-
donable to observe the result with complacency. Today she weighs twenty- 
one stone.

Click the button to listen to the pronunciations of new words
New Words
luncheon n. & vi.
(formal word for) lunch
beckon vt.
signal to (sb. ) by a motion of the hand or
head 向...招手或点头示意
apartment n.
a single room; (AmE) flat or a set of rooms
Latin a.
quarter n.
division of a town, esp. one of a special
class of people (都市的) 区 , 街
overlook vt.
have a view of from above; fail to see or
notice 俯视;忽略
presently ad.
soon; (AmE)at the present time 不久;(美)目前
chat n. , vi.
(have) a friendly informal conversation 闲谈, 聊天
senator n.
a member of a senate 参议员, 上议员
means n.
money, income, or wealth, esp. large enough
  to afford all one needs 财富, 资产
franc n.
the unit of money in France, Belgium. Switzer-
land, and some other countries 法郎
modest a.
not large in quantity, size, value, etc.不
太大的; 适度的
imposing a.
impressive because of size, appearance, or
dignity 仪表堂堂; 宏伟的
attractive a.
having the power to attract; pleasing 吸引
charming a.
very pleasing; fascinating 有魅力的
devastating a.
destructive; causing ruin; sweeping every-
thing before it 毁灭性的; 压倒一切的
passion n.
strong feeling or enthusiasm, esp. of love
or anger 激情
impression n.
talkative a.
having the habit of talking a great deal;
fond of talking 好说话的; 健谈的
inclined a.
likely; tending (to) ;encouraged 有…倾向的
attentive a.
listening carefully; doing acts to satisfy
the needs of another 专注的;体贴的,殷勤的
startle vt.
give a shock of surprise to; cause to move
or jump 使吃惊, 使惊跳
fare n.
food, esp. as provided at a meal 食物
bill of fare
a list of dishes; menu 菜单
reassure vt.
set a person's mind at rest 使安心
generously ad.
with readiness to give money, help, kindness,
etc. 慷慨地,大方地
generous a.
nowadays ad.
at the present time, now
salmon n.
menu n.
a list of courses at a meal or of dishes
that can be served in a restaurant 菜单
mutton n.
meat from a fully grown sheep 羊肉
chop n.
a small piece of meat with bone in it (连骨
overload vt.
put too large a load on or in; overburden
digestion n.
hospitable a.
generous in the treatment of a guest 好客的
effusive a.
(of feelings, signs of pleasure, gratitude,
etc.) pouring out too freely; too demons-
trative or emotional 热情洋溢的; 感情(过
amicable a.
friendly; peaceful
flash n.
a sudden, quick bright light; a sudden
display 闪烁; 闪现
champagne n.
fancy vt.
suppose, imagine
trifle n.
a thing, event, etc. of little value or
importance 琐事
forbid (forbade
command (sb. ) not to do sth. ; refuse to
or forbad ,
allow (sb.) to have, use, enter, etc.禁止
forbidden ) vt.
gaily ad.
in a happy and joyous manner
literature n.
airy a.
light-hearted; affected 轻盈的;做作的
bite n.
piece cut off by biting
asparagus n.
(sing. or pl. ) 芦笋
water vi.
(of the eyes or mouth) fill with watery
liquid, esp. tears or saliva
Madame n.
used as a title of respect for a woman (esp.
a foreign married woman) 夫人
might n.
power, strength, force
will vt.
influence or compel, by exercising the power
of the mind 以意志力使
assure vt.
tell firmly and with confidence esp. with
the aim of removing doubt 保证;使确信
tender a.
delicate; not hard or difficult to bite
through 柔弱的;柔嫩的
marvel n.
a wonderful thing, sth. causing great surprise
sigh vi.
let out a deep breath slowly and with a
sound (indicating sadness, tiredness, relief,
etc.) 叹气
ruin vt.
destroy or spoil (completely) 毁灭
a condition of destruction and decay
panic n.
sudden, uncontrollable terror or anxiety恐慌
oblige vt.
compel; require, bind ( sb. ) by a promise,
oath, etc. 强迫;使不得不
dramatic a.
of drama; sudden or exciting, like an event
in a stage play
pick vt.
juicy a.
having a lot of juice 多液汁的
appetising a.
arousing or exciting the desire for food 引
起食欲的 ,美味可口的
wicked a.
very bad, evil 邪恶的
thrust vt.
push suddenly or violently; make a forward
stroke with a sword, knife, etc.猛推;刺,戳
throat n.
mouthful n.
as much (food or drink) as fills the mouth
drama n.
a play for the theatre, radio or TV; composi-
tion, presentation and performance of such
head waiter n.
a man in charge of the waiters in a
restaurant, hotel, or dining car
ingratiating a.
making oneself very pleasant to sb. in order
to gain favour 讨好的, 奉承的
peach n.
blush n.
reddening of the face, from shame or confu-
innocent a.
(of people) simple, not able to recognize
evil; not guilty 天真的; 无罪的
landscape n.
a wide view of natural scenery; a picture
of such a scene 风景 ;风景画
Lord n.
God 上帝, 主
snack n.
a small, usu. hurriedly eaten meal 小吃
instant n.
a moment of time
mean a.
ungenerous; unkind 吝啬的; 刻薄的
retort vt.
make a quick, angry and often amusing answer
humorist n.
a person who makes jokes in speech or
humor n.
cab n.
a carriage for public hire; taxi
revenge n.
vindictive a.
unforgiving; having or showing a desire for
immortal a.
living for ever 不朽的
pardonable a.
that can be forgiven
complacency n.
self-satisfaction 自鸣得意
stone n.
the British unit of weight equal to 14
pounds (6.35 kilos)
Phrases & Expressions
catch sight of
see suddenly or unexpectedly
in answer to
in response to
keep body and soul together
remain alive, esp. by earning enough money to feed oneself
pass through
go through ; experience 穿过 ; 经历
be beyond one's means
be more than one can afford 付不起
cut out
leave out 停止使用, 戒除
at first sight
when seen for the first time 乍看之下;第一眼就
be inclined to
be likely to; tend to 易于…的; 倾向于, 想
come in
become seasonable or available 上市; 有供应
can/could not very well
can/could not reasonably 不好
by all means
certainly; at al1 costs 一定; 务必
a trifle
somewhat, a little
come to
amount to 总计
take ( sb. ) to task
criticize ( sb. ) 申诉( 某人 )
be in the habit of
have the habit of 习惯于
(not) in the least
(not) at al1
leave over
leave as a remainder ( the best part having
being consumed) 留下 , 剩下
bring oneself to
make oneself (do) ; force oneself to 强迫自己
make up one's mind
choose what to do; decide 决定
start up
make a sudden movement due to surprise, alarm,
pain, etc. 惊动,惊起
speak for
make a request for; speak on behalf of 要求得
in season
available, fresh for use as food 正在当令之时
go on with
continue doing
take/have a hand in
be partly responsible for; share (an activity)
参加, 介入

Proper Names
the Luxemb(o)urg
the Balkans
God; Jesus Christ
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