1.The dinner party
I first heard this tale in India, where is told as if true -- though any naturalist would know it couldn't be. Later someone told me that the story appeared in a magazine shortly before the First World War. That magazine story, and the person who wrote it, I have never been able to track down.
The country is India. A colonial official and his wife are giving a large dinner party. They are seated with their guests -- officers and their wives, and a visiting American naturalist -- in their spacious dining room, which has a bare marble floor, open rafters and wide glass doors opening onto a veranda.
A spirited discussion springs up between a young girl who says that women have outgrown the jumping-on-a-chair-at-the-sight-of-a-mouse era and a major who says that they haven't.
"A woman's reaction in any crisis," the major says, "is to scream. And while a man may feel like it, he has that ounce more of control
than a woman has. And that last ounce is what really counts."
The American does not join in the argument but watches the other guests. As he looks, he sees a strange expression come over the face of the hostess. She is staring straight ahead, her muscles contracting slightly. She motions to the native boy standing behind her chair and whispers something to him. The boy's eyes widen: he quickly leaves the room.
Of the guests, none except the American notices this or sees the boy place a bowl of milk on the veranda just outside the open doors.
The American comes to with a start. In India, milk in a bowl means only one thing -- bait for a snake. He realizes there must be a cobra in the room. He looks up at the rafters -- the likeliest place -- but they are bare. Three corners of the room are empty, and in the fourth the servants are waiting to serve the next course. There is only one place left -- under the table.
His first impulse is to jump back and warn
the others, but he knows the commotion would frighten the cobra into striking. He speaks quickly, the tone of his voice so commanding that it silences everyone.
"I want to know just what control everyone at this table has. I will count three hundred -- that's five minutes -- and not one of you is to move a muscle. Those who move will forfeit 50 rupees. Ready?"
The 20 people sit like stone images while he counts. He is saying "...two hundred and eighty..." when, out of the corner of his eye, he sees the cobra emerge and make for the bowl of milk. Screams ring out as he jumps to slam the veranda doors safely shut.
"You were right, Major!" the host exclaims. "A man has just shown us an example of perfect self-control."
"Just a minute," the American says, turning to his hostess. "Mrs. Wynnes, how did you know that cobra was in the room?"
A faint smile lights up the woman's face as she
replies: "Because it was crawling across my foot."
2.lessons from jefferson
Jefferson died long ago, but may of his ideas still of great interest to us.
Lessons from Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States, may be less famous than George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, but most people remember at last one fact about him: he wrote the Declaration of Independence.
Although Jefferson lived more than 200 years ago, there is much that we learn from him today. Many of his ideas are especially interesting to modern youth. Here are some of the things he said and wrote:
Go and see. Jefferson believed that a free man obtains knowledge from many sources besides books and that personal investigation is
important. When still a young man, he was appointed to a committee to find out whether the South Branch of the James River was deep enough to be used by large boats. While the other members of the committee sat in the state capitol and studied papers on the subject, Jefferson got into a canoe and made on-the-spot-observations.
You can learn from everyone. By birth and by education Jefferson belonged to the highest social class. Yet, in a day when few noble persons ever spoke to those of humble origins except to give an order, Jefferson went out of his way to talk with gardeners, servants, and waiters. Jefferson once said to the French nobleman, Lafayette, "You must go into the people's homes as I have done, look into their cooking pots and eat their bread. If you will only do this, you may find out why people are dissatisfied and understand the revolution that is threatening France."
Judge for yourself. Jefferson refused to
accept other people's opinions without careful thought. "Neither believe nor reject anything," he wrote to his nephew, "because any other person has rejected or believed it. Heaved has given you a mind for judging truth and error. Use it."
Jefferson felt that the people "may safely be trusted to hear everything true and false, and to form a correct judgment. Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter."
Do what you believe is right. In a free country there will always be conflicting ideas, and this is a source of strength. It is conflict and not unquestioning agreement that keeps freedom alive. Though Jefferson was for many years the object of strong criticism, he never answered his critics. He expressed his philosophy in letters to a friend, "There are two sides to every question. If you take one side with
decision and on it with effect, those who take the other side will of course resent your actions."
Trust the future; trust the young. Jefferson felt that the present should never be chained to customs which have lost their usefulness. "No society," he said, "can make a perpetual constitution, or even a perpetual law. The earth belongs to the living generation." He did not fear new ideas, nor did he fear the future. "How much pain," he remarked, "has been caused by evils which have never happened! I expect the best, not the worst. I steer my ship with hope, leaving fear behind."
Jefferson's courage and idealism were based on knowledge. He probably knew more than any other man of his age. He was an expert in agriculture, archeology, and medicine. He practiced crop rotation and soil conservation a century before these became standard practice, and he invented a plow superior to any other in existence. He influenced architecture throughout America, and he was constantly producing
devices for making the tasks of ordinary life easier to perform.
Of all Jefferson's many talents, one is central. He was above all a good and tireless writer. His complete works, now being published for the first time, will fill more than fifty volumes. His talent as an author was soon discovered, and when the time came to write the Declaration of Independence at Philadelphia in 1776, the task of writing it was his. Millions have thrilled to his words: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…"
When Jefferson died on July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of American independence, he left his countrymen a rich legacy of ideas and examples. American education owes a great debt to Thomas Jefferson, Who believed that only a nation of educated people could remain free.
3.my first job
Trying to make some money before entering university, the author applies for a teaching job. But the interview goes from bad to worse...
My First Job
While I was waiting to enter university, I saw advertised in a local newspaper a teaching post at a school in a suburb of London about ten miles from where I lived. Being very short money and wanting to do something useful, I applied, fearing as I did so, that without a degree and with no experience in teaching my
chances of getting the job were slim.
However, three days later a letter arrived, asking me to go to Croydon for an interview. It proved an awkward journey: a train to Croydon station; a ten-minute bus ride and then a walk of at least a quarter to feel nervous.
The school was a red brick house with big windows, The front garden was a gravel square; four evergreen shrubs stood at each corner, where they struggled to survive the dust and fumes from a busy main from a busy main road.
It was clearly the headmaster himself that opened the door. He was short and fat. He had a sandy-coloured moustache, a wrinkled forehead and hardly any hair.
He looked at me with an air of surprised disapproval, as a colonel might look at a private whose bootlaces were undone. 'Ah yes,' he grunted. 'You'd better come inside.' The narrow, sunless hall smelled unpleasantly of stale cabbage; the walls were dirty with ink marks; it was all silent. His study, judging by the crumbs
on the carpet, was also his dining-room. 'You'd better sit down,' he said, and proceeded to ask me a number of questions: what subjects I had taken in my General School Certificate; how old I was; what games I played; then fixing me suddenly with his bloodshot eyes, he asked me whether I thought games were a vital part of a boy's education. I mumbled something about not attaching too much importance to them. He grunted. I had said the wrong thing. The headmaster and I obviously had very little in common.
The school, he said, consisted of one class of twenty-four boys, ranging in age from seven to thirteen. I should have to teach all subjects except art, which he taught himself. Football and cricket were played in the Park, a mile away on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons.
The teaching set-up filled me with fear. I should have to divide the class into three groups and teach them in turn at three different levels; and I was dismayed at the thought of teaching
algebra and geometry-two subjects at which I had been completely incompetent at school. Worse perhaps was the idea of Saturday afternoon cricket; most of my friends would be enjoying leisure at that time.
I said shyly, 'What would my salary be?' 'Twelve pounds a week plus lunch.' Before I could protest, he got to his feet. 'Now', he said, 'you'd better meet my wife. She's the one who really runs this school.'
This was the last straw. I was very young: the prospect of working under a woman constituted the ultimate indignity.
进入大学之前，尽力去攒一些钱。作者申请了一个教书职业。但是面试变得越来越糟。我的第一份工作, 在我等着进大学期间，我在一份地方报纸上看到一张广告，说是在伦敦某郊区有所学样要招聘一名教师. 离我住处大约十英里, 我因为手头很拮据，同时也想干点有用的事，于是便提出了申请，在提出申请的同时我也担心，自己一无学位，二无教学经验，得到这份工作的可能性是微乎其微的。然而，三天之后，却来了一封信，