5American short story writer, was born William Sydney Porter in 1862 and died of tuberculosis at the age of forty-seven. O. Henry is one of the most widely published of modern writers. He has been called “The American De Maupassant”. His works have been translated into many languages and have run into innumerable editions in his own country.
6The Main Ideas1. A policeman is on the beat in a street in New York at about ten o’clock at night.2. A man in the darkened doorway of a hardware store is waiting to see a friend.3a. The man tells the policeman about the appointment he made with a friend twenty years before.
73b. “Jimmy Wells” comes to fill the appointment with Bob --- excitement and exchange of news. 4. Bob is arrested by the plain-clothes man who was disguised as Jimmy Wells.5. Jimmy Wells’ note explains to Bob that he has identified him as the man wanted in Chicago and has asked the plain-clothes man to arrest him.
8language points: The policeman on the beat The policeman who was on the route he was ordered to patrol.Beat is the usual path followed by a policeman on duty.
9the time was barely 10 o’clock at night it was only just / hardly ten o’clock at night.Barely means “almost not, only just, hardly”.She spoke so softly that her voice was barely audible.We left in a hurry and we brought barely enough food for the picnic.
10…turning now and then to cast his watchful eye down the peaceful thoroughfare,… eye --- the power of seeingThe little girl’s eye fell on the teddy bear as soon as she entered the room.To great sculptor’s eye, a young muscular archer ready to shoot an arrow would make a good statue.
11His scarfpin was a large diamond, oddly set. oddly-set --- (which was) fixed in a peculiar pattern
12I was to start for the West to make my fortune I would go to the West to earn a lot of money.He is to be discharged from the hospital next week.I heard that they were to move into a new residential area pretty soon.
13we lost track of each other we no longer knew what was happening to each other. The opposite of lose track of is keep track of.Try to keep track of what is going on around you.
14I’ve had to compete with some of the sharpest wits going to get my pile. I must compete with some of the most unscrupulous businessmen there are to make my fortune.That’s the best computer going.He’s the biggest fool going.Pile is an informal word meaning “a very large amount of money”.
15Going to call time on him sharp? Are you expecting him to come at exactly 10 o’clock?
16The other, submerged in his overcoat, listened with interest. submerged in his overcoat --- who was buried in his overcoatAt the corner stood a drugstore, brilliant with electric lights.brilliant with electric lights --- which was brilliantly lit up electric lightsThe take-away lunch, packed in boxes, was delivered to the railway station at once.
17“You’re not Jimmy Wells,” he snapped. snap --- say something suddenly and sharply“Mind your own business,” snapped the man.The superintendent snapped out his order. “Go to the playground immediately!”
18you may have dropped over our way you may have come to stay at our place without telling us beforehand.Tom dropped in on me one evening.Drop by when it is convenient to you.
19Questions1. What kind of people were the two characters Bob and Jimmy?2. Was Bob successful in his career? Why?
203. Are there hints in the story to indicate that Bob was no longer a respectable man? What are they? He stood in the doorway of a darkened hardware store, with an unlighted cigar in his mouth. When the policeman walked up to him, he spoke up quickly, and explained that it was “all” straight. This showed that he had a guilty conscience.His scarfpin was a large diamond, oddly set, which hinted that he could be an upstart who had made his fortune by dishonest means.
21His appearance --- a square-jawed face with a scar near his right eyebrow --- suggested that he had been hurt in a fight of some kind.He kept hustling around in the West and had to compete with some of the sharpest wits. In other words, he must be very sharp himself. He may have got his “pile” by clever but dishonest means.
224. What was implied when the patrolman asked “Going to call time on him sharp”? Why did he ask the man from the West this question?The patrolman asked this question because he wanted to be certain how long the man would wait there and whether he would have sufficient time to ask a plain-clothes man to arrest him.
235. Why did the plain-clothes man ask “Is that you, Bob?”doubtfully? Because he had never seen Bob before and he was not sure whether he was speaking to the right person. As he was asked to arrest the man waiting in the doorway of a hardware store, he had to make sure that he was the very person whom the police in Chicago wanted.
246. What is the implied meaning of “I was certain I’d find you here if you were still in existence”? The surface meaning of the sentence is obvious: I was sure that I’d find you here if you were still alive. It was quite natural for Bob to hear “Jimmy” say so, and this way it would not arouse any suspicion on the part of Bob. But the plain-clothes man was asked to arrest Bob. So perhaps his implied meaning was: “So long as Bob was alive in New York, he would be found and arrested.” So what he said actually had a double meaning.
257. Why did the plain-clothes man listen with interest when Bob outlined the history of his career to him?Bob was the man wanted by Chicago. Since he was willing to talk about what he had been doing in the past twenty years, about the history of his career, the plain-clothes man was only too eager to listen with interest. What he said would serve as his own confession and the most effective piece of evidence at the trial.
268. Why was Bob’s hand trembling a little by the time he had finished reading Jimmy’s note? It never occurred to Bob that the policeman he talked to some half an hour ago was Jimmy Wells himself and that it was Jimmy who had identified him as the man wanted by Chicago police. Bob had had great faith in Jimmy, thinking that Jimmy was a staunch friend. It was a shock to Bob that it was Jimmy who had “betrayed” him and sent a plain-clothes man to arrest him.
28Questions1. Before you read this passage, what is the image of a detective in your mind?2. Why do you think a policeman should know nearly as much law as a professional lawyer?3. What kind of crimes do real policemen deal with daily?4. When does a real policeman actually start to work? What is the difference between a real policeman and one on TV on this point?5. What makes the policemen cynical?