She was glad of the lake. Its soft, dark water helped to soothe and quiet her mind. It took her away from the noisy, stressful world of the cat-walk and let her lie untroubled at its side, listening only to the gentle lapping of its waves. She felt at peace. Alone. Unhindered and free. Free to do nothing but watch and listen and dream. London, Paris, New York - names, only names. Names that had once meant excitement, then boredom, then frustration, then slavery. Names that had brought her to the edge of a breakdown and left her doubting her own sanity. But here everything was at peace. The lake, the trees, the cottage. And she was at one with them. Here she could stay for the rest of her life. Here she would be happy to die. Across the sun hurried a darkening filter of cloud; the advance guard of a larger and even graver army. The ripples on the water, chased by a freshening wind, pushed their way anxiously from the far side of the lake until they almost bounced at her feet. Way above her a solitary rook cawed its way home - a lonely, troubled sound. And in the East there was thunder. Quickly she gathered her things together and made for the cottage. But already the rain flecked the water behind her and pattered on the leaves as she raced beneath the trees. Soaked and breathless, she ran for the cottage door, and, as she opened it, the storm burst. And there in the kitchen, skinny, cadaverous and unwelcome, stood a man. 'Hello!' It was an odd way to greet a complete stranger who had invaded her home, but it was all she could think of to say.
- cat-walk = pasarela
- rook= cuervo
- unhindered= libre, sin estorbos
1. Write a summary of the text in English, including the most important points, using your own words whenever possible (maximum 50 words).
2. Find words or phrases in the text that correspond in meaning to the words and definitions given here.
- a) to calm, pacify: soothe/ quiet
- b) small waves: ripples
- c) the noise one hears when there is a storm: thunder
- d) strange: odd
3. Complete the second sentence of each pair so that it has the same meaning as the first one.
- a) Its soft, dark water soothed her mind
- Her mind was soothed by its soft, dark water.
- b) She felt at peace. Unhindered and free.
- Not only did she feel at peace, but she also felt/ but also unhindered and free.
- c) Quickly she gathered her things together and made for the cottage.
- d) And there in the kitchen, skinny, cadaverous and unwelcome, stood a man.
- A man, who was skinny, cadaverous and unwelcome, stood in the kitchen.
4. Answer the following questions in your own words.
- a) Why does the protagonist need the peace of the lake and the cottage?
- b) What do you think the author means when s/he talks about “the advance guard of a larger and even graver army”?
WRITING5. Continue the story. Who was the mysterious man? What is going to happen? (Approximately 120 words)
- “Hello!” the stranger replied, looking at her nervously. “I need your help. I’ve just escaped from Pentonville prison, and the police are looking for me. I have to find a place to hide! I saw that your door was open, and, as this is a very lonely place, I came in. Please, please help me, or they will catch me and torture me, and take me back to prison!” “Oh, no!” she thought, “I really can’t face a thing like this”. But the man before her was wearing only a t-shirt and thin jeans, and it was beginning to pour with rain outside. Also, there was an expression in his eyes that made her feel sorry for him. “O.K.” she said, “but you can’t stay here for long. As soon as the rain stops, you must go. I don’t want problems with the police”.