新编大学英语教程第四册Unit 07

Y.O.Y.O. 2008-03-28 6774 阅读
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A Sunrise on the Veld

(While walking in the bush early one morning, a young boy comes across the following scene.)

He ran closer, and again stood still, stopped by a new fear. Around him the grass was whispering and alive. He looked wildly about, then down. The ground was black with ants, great energetic ants that took no notice of him, but hurried and scurried towards the fighting shape, like glistening black water flowing through the grass.

And, as he drew in his breath and pity and terror seized him, the beast fell and the screaming stopped. Now he could hear nothing but one bird singing, and the sound of the rustling whispering ants.

He peered over at the writhing blackness that jerked convulsively with the jerking nerves. It grew quieter. There were small twitches from the mass that still looked vaguely like the shape of a small animal.

It came into his mind that he could shoot it and end its pain; and he raised the gun. Then he lowered it again. The buck could no longer feel; its fighting was a mechanical protest of the nerves. But it was not that which made him put down the gun. It was a swelling feeling of rage and misery and protest that expressed itself in the thought: if I had like this happen; they happen all the time; this is how life goes on goes on, by living thing s dying in anguish. I can’t stop it. I can’t stop it. There is nothing I can do.

He was glad that the buck was unconscious and had gone past suffering so that he did not have to make a decision to kill it. At his feet, now, were ants trickling back with pink fragments in their mouths, and there was afresh acid smell in his nose. He sternly controlled the uselessly convulsing muscles of his empty stomach, and reminded himself: the ants must eat too!

The shape had grown small. Now it looked like nothing recognizable. He did not know how long it was before he saw the blackness thin, and bits of white showed through, shining in the sun---yes, there was the sun just up, glowing over the rocks. Why, the whole thing could not have taken longer than a few minutes.

He strode forward, crushing ants with each step, and brushing them off his clothes, till he stood above the skeleton. It was clean-picked. It might have been lying there years, except that on the white bone there were pink fragments of flesh. About the bones ants were ebbing away, their pincers full lf meat.

The boy looked at them, big black ugly insects. A few were standing and gazing up at him with small glittering eyes.

“Go away!” he said to the ants very coldly. “I am not for you---not just yet, at any rate. Go away.” And he fancied that the ants turned and went away.

He bent over the bones and touched the sockets in the skull: that was where the eyes were, he thought incredulously, remembering the liquid dark eyes of a buck.

That morning, perhaps an hour ago, this small creature had been stepping proud and free through the bush, feeling the chill on its skin even as he himself had done, exhilarated by it. Proudly stepping the earth, frisking a pretty white tail, it had sniffed the cold morning air. Walking like kings and conquerors it had moved freely through this bush, where each blade of grass grew for it alone, and where the river ran pure sparkling water for it to drink.

And then---what had happened? Such a sure swift footed thing could surely not be trapped by a swarm of ants?

By Doris Lessing

Tiny Killers on the March

The savagery of the soldier ant is a legend in Africa. I once saw a rat a foot long blunder into a column. In seconds it was wriggling in agony, covered in a thick black mantle of ants. Soon ants were moving back to their nest carrying tiny chunks of bloody flesh. Five hours later only the rat’s bones remained. People groggy with sleeping sickness have been known to collapse near ants’ nests: only skeletons ate found the next day.

Ants’ nests line African rivers. On the surface of the ground, only a small indentation is visible, but below is a network of passageways that may extend as deep as ten feet. The Queen keeps court in the deepest and most secret recess of the labyrinth. More ferocious than any human king or queen, she reigns along, after killing all other active females in the group/ the males who come to fertilize her eggs are killed by her moments later.

Queens rarely make public appearances. They travel only at night, always escorted and even carried by the strongest and fastest ants.

The ants I was watching had occupied their nest for about three weeks, and were about to move. It was seven in the evening. The equatorial night descended abruptly, and the forest became still and quiet. Suddenly a nervous swarm of ants burst from the nest, and swiftly shaped themselves into a column about one and a half inches wide and moving at approximately ten feet a minute. The soldier ants formed the flanks’ the workers were in the middle. Millions of ants had already passed when, within the column, a white stream took shape. This stream was made up of the tiny larvae---newly-born ants---being carried out of the nest by the workers. It was a sign that the ants felt secure. If I was lucky the Queen would soon follow.

Almost immediately I felt a surge of restlessness run through the column: a palace guard of soldier ants appeared, their antennae raised, their mandibles bared. Behind them, at last, came the Queen. She advanced slowly, dragging he huge belly, and swinging her head from side to side. I bent low to photo graph her--- so low that the enraged soldier ants were able to leap on to my camera. As I took four or five exposures they swarmed over my face. I dropped my camera, and slapped madly at them. They died, but their task was done. When I looked at the column again, the Queen had disappeared into the black tropical night.

From The Observer Magazine
A Sunrise on the Veld (While walking in the bush early one morning, a young boy comes across the following scene.) He ran closer, and again stood still, stopped by a new fear. Around him the grass was whispering and alive. He looked wildly about, then down. The ground was black with ants, great energetic ants that took no notice of him, but hurried and scurried towards the fighting shape, like glistening black water flowing through the grass. And, as he drew in his breath and pity and terror seized him, the beast fell and the screaming stopped. Now he could hear nothing but one bird singing, and the sound of the rustling whispering ants. He peered over at the writhing blackness that jerked convulsively with the jerking nerves. It grew quieter. There were small twitches from the mass that still looked vaguely like the shape of a small animal. It came into his mind that he could shoot it and end its pain; and he raised the gun. Then he lowered it again. The buck could no longer feel; its fighting was a mechanical protest of the nerves. But it was not that which made him put down the gun. It was a swelling feeling of rage and misery and protest that expressed itself in the thought: if I had like this happen; they happen all the time; this is how life goes on goes on, by living thing s dying in anguish. I can’t stop it. I can’t stop it. There is nothing I can do. He was glad that the buck was unconscious and had gone past suffering so that he did not have to make a decision to kill it. At his feet, now, were ants trickling back with pink fragments in their mouths, and there was afresh acid smell in his nose. He sternly controlled the uselessly convulsing muscles of his empty stomach, and reminded himself: the ants must eat too! The shape had grown small. Now it looked like nothing recognizable. He did not know how long it was before he saw the blackness thin, and bits of white showed through, shining in the sun---yes, there was the sun just up, glowing over the rocks. Why, the whole thing could not have taken longer than a few minutes. He strode forward, crushing ants with each step, and brushing them off his clothes, till he stood above the skeleton. It was clean-picked. It might have been lying there years, except that on the white bone there were pink fragments of flesh. About the bones ants were ebbing away, their pincers full lf meat. The boy looked at them, big black ugly insects. A few were standing and gazing up at him with small glittering eyes. “Go away!” he said to the ants very coldly. “I am not for you---not just yet, at any rate. Go away.” And he fancied that the ants turned and went away. He bent over the bones and touched the sockets in the skull: that was where the eyes were, he thought incredulously, remembering the liquid dark eyes of a buck. That morning, perhaps an hour ago, this small creature had been stepping proud and free through the bush, feeling the chill on its skin even as he himself had done, exhilarated by it. Proudly stepping the earth, frisking a pretty white tail, it had sniffed the cold morning air. Walking like kings and conquerors it had moved freely through this bush, where each blade of grass grew for it alone, and where the river ran pure sparkling water for it to drink. And then---what had happened? Such a sure swift footed thing could surely not be trapped by a swarm of ants? By Doris Lessing Tiny Killers on the March The savagery of the soldier ant is a legend in Africa. I once saw a rat a foot long blunder into a column. In seconds it was wriggling in agony, covered in a thick black mantle of ants. Soon ants were moving back to their nest carrying tiny chunks of bloody flesh. Five hours later only the rat’s bones remained. People groggy with sleeping sickness have been known to collapse near ants’ nests: only skeletons ate found the next day. Ants’ nests line African rivers. On the surface of the ground, only a small indentation is visible, but below is a network of passageways that may extend as deep as ten feet. The Queen keeps court in the deepest and most secret recess of the labyrinth. More ferocious than any human king or queen, she reigns along, after killing all other active females in the group/ the males who come to fertilize her eggs are killed by her moments later. Queens rarely make public appearances. They travel only at night, always escorted and even carried by the strongest and fastest ants. The ants I was watching had occupied their nest for about three weeks, and were about to move. It was seven in the evening. The equatorial night descended abruptly, and the forest became still and quiet. Suddenly a nervous swarm of ants burst from the nest, and swiftly shaped themselves into a column about one and a half inches wide and moving at approximately ten feet a minute. The soldier ants formed the flanks’ the workers were in the middle. Millions of ants had already passed when, within the column, a white stream took shape. This stream was made up of the tiny larvae---newly-born ants---being carried out of the nest by the workers. It was a sign that the ants felt secure. If I was lucky the Queen would soon follow. Almost immediately I felt a surge of restlessness run through the column: a palace guard of soldier ants appeared, their antennae raised, their mandibles bared. Behind them, at last, came the Queen. She advanced slowly, dragging he huge belly, and swinging her head from side to side. I bent low to photo graph her--- so low that the enraged soldier ants were able to leap on to my camera. As I took four or five exposures they swarmed over my face. I dropped my camera, and slapped madly at them. They died, but their task was done. When I looked at the column again, the Queen had disappeared into the black tropical night. From The Observer Magazine
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