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TEXT. A FRESHMAN'S EXPERIENCE From "Daddy Long-Legs" by Jean Webster

The book "Daddy Long-Legs" by an American writer Jean Webster (1876-1916) is a novel written in the form of letters. The author of these letters, a young girl, Judy by name, writes them to her guardian, a rich man whom she has never seen.

Judy was brought up in an orphan asylum where her life was hard. The children were wholly dependent on charity. They were badly fed and had to wear other people's cast-off clothes. Judy was a very bright girl and when she finished school, her guardian sent her to college.

Judy feels very happy about it. She hopes to become a writer and pay back the money spent on her education by her guardian. About the latter the girl knows almost nothing: she knows that he is a very tall man. That is why she jokingly calls him Daddy Long-Legs.

This text is one of her letters giving us a glimpse of her early college impressions.

October, 25th

Dear Daddy Long-Legs,

College38 gets nicer and nicer, I like the girls and the teachers and the classes and the campus39 and the things to eat. We have ice-cream twice a week and we never have corn-meal mush.

The trouble with college is that you are expected to know such a lot of things you've never learned. It's very embarrassing at times. I made an awful mistake the first day. Somebody mentioned Maurice Maeterlinck,40 and I asked if she was a freshman.41 The joke has gone all over college.

Did you ever hear of Michaelangelo? He was a famous artist who lived in Italy in the Middle Ages. Everybody in English Literature seemed to know about him, and the whole class laughed because I thought he was an archangel. He sounds like an archangel, doesn't he?

But now, when the girls talk about the things that I never heard of, I just keep still and look them up in the encyclopedia. And anyway, I'm just as bright in class as any of the others, and brighter than some of them!

And you know, Daddy, I have a new unbreakable rule: never to study at night, no matter how many written reviews are coming in the morning. Instead, I read just plain books — I have to, you know, because there are eighteen blank years behind me. You wouldn't believe what an abyss of ignorance my mind is; I am just realizing the depths myself.

I never read "David Copperfield", or "Cinderella", or "lvanhoe", or "Alice in Wonderland", or "Robinson Crusoe", or "Jane Eyre". I didn't know that Henry the Eighth was married more than once or that Shelley was a poet. I didn't know that people used to be monkeys, or that George Eliot was a lady. I had never seen a picture of the "Mona Lisa" and (it's true but you won't believe it) I had never heard of Sherlock Holmes.

Now I know all of these things and a lot of others besides, but you can see how much I need to catch up.

November, 15th

Your five gold pieces were a surprise! I'm not used to receiving Christmas presents. Do you want to know what I bought with the money?

1. A silver watch to wear on my wrist and get me to recitations in time.

2. Matthew Arnold's42 poems.

3. A hot-water bottle.

4. A dictionary of synonyms (to enlarge my vocabulary).

5. (I don't much like to confess this last item, but I will.) A pair of silk stockings.

And now, Daddy, never say I don't tell all!

It was a very low motive, if you must know it, that prompted the silk stockings. Julia Pendleton, a sophomore, comes into my room to do geometry, and she sits crosslegged on the couch and wears silk stockings every night. But just wait — as soon as she gets back from vacation, I shall go in and sit on her couch in my silk stockings. You see the miserable creature that I am — but at least I'm honest; and you knew already, from my asylum record, that I wasn't perfect, didn't you?

But, Daddy, if you'd been dressed in checked ginghams all your life, you'd understand how I feel. And when I started to the high shool, I entered upon another period even worse than the checked ginghams. The poor box.6

You can't know how I feared appearing in school in those miserable poor-box dresses. I was perfectly sure to be put down in class next to the girl who first owned my dress, and she would whisper and giggle and point it out to the others.

To recapitulate (that's the way the English instructor begins every other sentence), I am very much obliged for my presents.

I really believe I've finished. Daddy. I've been writing this letter off and on for two days, and I fear by now you are bored.

But I've been so excited about those new adventures that I must talk to somebody, and you are the only one I know. If my letters bore you, you can always toss them into the waste-basket.

Good-bye, Daddy, I hope that you are feeling as happy as I am.

Yours ever, Judy.


1. bright adj 1. яркий, светлый, е.g. The leaves of the trees are bright green in spring. Polished steel is bright.

2. умный, способный, смышленый, е.g. There are several bright pupils in her class. The boy had a bright face.

3. остроумный, е.g. Everybody was bright and gay at the party.

bright(ly) adv ярко, ясно, живо, остроумно, е.g. She stood in the doorway smiling brightly after him. The fire shines bright.

brighten υi/t проясняться; придавать блеск, делать светлее: улучшать, е.g. The sky is brightening. This wallpaper will brighten our room. What can you do to brighten the life of the sick man?

brightness n яркость, блеск, живость ума

2. plain adj 1. ясный, очевидный, понятный, е.g. The meaning of the word is quite plain, isn't it? I like her plain speech. She spoke plain English.

Syn. clear

2. простой, обыкновенный; гладкий, без рисунка (о тканях), е.g. They like what they call plain food. She looked very pretty in her plain white dress. She bought a plain blue material.

Syn. simple

N о t e: The difference in the meanings of the synonyms plain — clear and plain — simple is so slight that we may often use one instead of the other, е.g. plain (clear) meaning, plain (simple} food, plain (simple) man. Yet, there are some cases when only one of the two synonyms may be used, е.g. to speak plain English; to make a clear statement; to live a simple life; to get a simple task.

3. некрасивый, е.g. He liked her plain, but honest face.

Cf.: ugly некрасивый (безобразный)

3. blank adj пустой, незаполненный, as a blank sheet of paper; a blank page (form, etc.). Also fig., е.g. There was a blank look on her face.

blankly adv, е.g. She looked at me blankly. He sat on the edge of the bed staring blankly before him.

blank n 1. пустое место, пропуск, е.g. Leave a blank after each word. Fill in this blank.; 2. бланк, е.g. She bought two telegraph blanks.

Note: The Russian word пустой has several equivalents in English: 1. пустой (незаполненный) blank sheet (page); 2. пустой (ничего не содержащий) empty room (box, bottle); 3. пустой (поверхностный) shallow person (ideas, interests); 4. пустой (незанятый) vacant room (house, flat).

4. ignorance n невежество; незнание, неведение, е.g. Judy's ignorance made the girls laugh. He did it from (through) ignorance.

ignorant adj невежественный, не знающий, е.g. The boy has never been to school and is quite ignorant. I am ignorant of his plans.

5. prompt υt. 1. побуждать, внушать, е.g. What prompted you to look for him in our town?

2. подсказывать; суфлировать, е.g. She'll prompt you if you forget the words. No prompting, please.

prompt n, е.g. Aren't you ashamed to wait for a prompt?

prompter n суфлер; подсказчик

6. re`cord of 1. записывать, регистрировать, е.g. Не recorded all the events of the day.

2. записывать на пластинку, на пленку, е.g. On the very day of his arrival they recorded his speech.

`record n 1. запись, протокол, отчет; характеристика, сведения, е.g. A careful record was made of all those absent. The boy's school record leaves much to be desired.

2. граммофонная пластинка, е.g. Have you got any records of Bach?

cassette(tape)-recording n звукозапись, е.g. I'd rather make use of cassette-recording to review the material.

cassete (tape)-recorder n магнитофон, е.g. Something has gone wrong with the cassette-recorder, it doesn't work.

7. point υt 1. показывать пальцем, указывать (to), е.g. Не pointed to the monument. The needle of the compass points to the North.

2. направлять, нацелить (at), е.g. The boy pointed a stick at the dog.

to point out smth., е.g. The teacher pointed out our mistakes.

to point out that, е.g. He pointed out that all the college rules should be obeyed.

8. bore υt надоедать, докучать, е.g. Your friend bores me.

to bore to death by smth. до смерти наскучить, е.g. I was bored to death.

bore n скучный, нудный человек, скучное занятие, е.g. I don't want to see him again, he is such a bore.

boring adj скучный, е.g. This is a very boring book.

boredom n скука

9. excite υt 1. возбуждать, волновать, волновать, е.g. The patient is very ill and must not be excited.

to be excited by, е.g. Everybody was excited by the news.

to get excited about (over), е.g. It's nothing to get excited about. Don't get excited over such trifles.

Сf.: There's nothing to worry about. She always worries about little things.

2. вызывать интерес (восхищение и т.д.), е.g. The newcomer excited everybody's interest.

exciting adj возбуждающий, волнующий, захватывающий, е.g. What exciting news you've brought! I could hardly get over that exciting moment. She told such an exciting story.

excited pp взволнованный

excitement n возбуждение, волнение, usu. to cause excitement, е.g. The decision to keep Mother's Day caused great excitement in the family.

excitedly adv, взволнованно



blank adj, n excite υ item n

bore υ, n excitement n plain adj

boring adj exciting adj point υ

boredom n excited pp prompt υ

bright adj excitedly adv 'record n

bright(ly) adv experience n re'cord υ

brighten υ freshman n recorder n

brightness n ignorance n sophomore n

confess υ ignorant adj

Word Combinations

the trouble with ... is that... next to

at times to point out smth. (that)

to keep still every other (sentence, day, etc.)

you wouldn't believe what (how)... to be much obliged to smb., for smth.

to be a surprise to smb. to be bored (to death)

to enlarge one's vocabulary to cause excitement


I. Read the text and do the following (A. Grammar, B. Word usage):

A. 1. Search the text for passive voice constructions and classify them according to tense groups. 2. Compare the "if-clauses" used in the text and explain their meaning. 3. Identify the function of the -ing- forms used in the text. 4. Select examples to illustrate the compound predicate. 5. Explain why there is no article in with college, from vacation, in class.

B. 1. Explain the difference between the following words used in the text: dictionary vocabulary, giggle laugh, toss throw, pair couple. 2. Search the text for the verb get, translate the sentences. 3. What is the most favourite word in Judy's vocabulary? Would you recommend your pupils to use it?

II. Choose two or three paragraphs from the text of Unit Five for translation. Reason your choice and discuss possible variants of the translation.

III. Answer the following questions:

1. What did Judy mean by classes and campus? 2. Why did Judy mention ice-cream and соrn-meal mush in her letter? 3. What did Judy think was the trouble with college? 4. What joke had gone all over college? 5. Why did Judy keep still when the girls spoke about things she didn't know? 6. Why didn't Judy study at night, no matter how many written reviews were coming in the morning? 7. In what way did Judy want to catch up with the group? 8. What did Judy mean by saying that she was at least honest? 9. What did Judy mean by saying writing this letter off and on for two days? 10. Where had Judy studied before college? 11. Why did Judy feel embarrassed at times? 12. What did Judy mean by blank years and abyss of ignorance? 13. What shows that the text was written by an American writer?

IV. Write an outline of die letter. (Differentiate between significant and insignificant events described in the letter. Leave out the insignificant ones.)

V. Try your hand at teaching:

A. Preparation. Search the texts of Units One, Two (I), Three (I), Four (I), Five (I) for polysyllables43 with two stresses, practise their pronunciation.

B. Work in Class. a) Pronounce distinctly each word fixing the students' attention on the stresses.

b) Make the students repeat the words after you.

c) Ask the students individually and correct their mistakes. (See "Classroom English", Section VIII.)

VI. Study Vocabulary Notes and translate the illustrative examples into Russian.

VII. Explain (in English) what is meant by and give Russian equivalents of:

A. blank wall, blank look, blank verse, blank sheet, blank form, blank cheque, blank years, blank mind, blank face;

B. empty room, shallow interests, vacant house, shallow girl, bright dress, bright face, bright child, bright eyes, ignorant person, incomparable bore.

VIII. Paraphrase the following sentences:

1. He stared at her in utter astonishment. 2. He opened his eyes for a short while but then lost his consciousness again. 3. A faint smile enlivened her face for a moment. 4. There was a gap in my memory. 5. There are many interesting items in the newspaper today. 6. The silk stockings caused Judy's envy. 7. He used to be a capable pupil. 8. The letter aroused great interest. 9. At times she felt very unhappy. 10. The trouble with him is that he is a light-minded person. 11. This fruit is quite eatable, I'd say. 12. Your friend differs much from what he was years ago.

IX. a) Write 20 questions about the second part of the text of Unit Five using the following words and phrases:

1. Christmas present; 2. to be a surprise; 3. wrist; 4. to get to (one's) recitations; 5. a hot-water bottle; 6. to enlarge one's vocabulary; 7. to confess; 8. a low motive; 9. to do geometry; 10. to sit cross-legged; 11. a miserable creature; 12. to know (from); 13. to be very much obliged for; 14. every other sentence; 15. to be bored; 16. to be excited about; 17. to toss into the waste-basket; 18. to talk to (smb.); 19. at least.

b) Ask your fellow-students to give their responses.

X. Translate the following sentences into English:

1. Вы хорошо знаете свою роль или вам нужен суфлер? 2. Конечно, у Джуди были недостатки, но она по крайней мере была честна. 3. Она очень волновалась, так как именно ее доклад был первым. 4. Девушкам не разрешалось выходить с территории колледжа после того, как колокол пробьет десять. 5. Оливер Твист воспитывался в работном доме (work-house). С раннего возраста детям приходилось много работать, одеваться в чужие обноски и есть одну овсянку. Большинство учителей, невежественные люди, очень жестоко обращались с детьми, 6. Не подсказывайте. Она знает урок и просто немного волнуется. 7. Вам нужно заполнить бланк и расписаться вот здесь. 8. Простое белое платье Джеммы очень шло ей. 9. Княжна Марья была некрасива, но улыбка, освещавшая ее лицо, была прелестна. 10. Ирэн всегда одевалась просто, но с большим вкусом. 11. Глаза мальчика блестели от возбуждения. 12. Джуди поняла свою ошибку только тогда, когда ее подруги начали смеяться. 13. Свежий воздух и простая пища — вот что ему нужно сейчас. 14. Временами ей казалось, что она не сможет вынести такого горя. Но у нее был сын, о котором надо было заботиться. 15. Я еще не привык работать с магнитофоном. 16. Беда в том, что я потеряла билеты и не могу их найти.

XI. a) Retell the contents of Judy's letter in Indirect Speech.

b) Retell the contents of Judy's letter as her guardian might describe it to a friend of his.

c) Describe Judy's first steps in college as Julia Pendleton might be describing them to a friend of hers.

d) Give a summary of the text


ХII. Insert prepositions or adverbs where necessary:

i. The trouble ... the book is that it's boring me ... death. 2. It will take me ... least a month to catch......the group. 3. What did you buy... the money you got... your father? 4. I need an alarm clock to wake me up ... time. 5. I've been writing the letter ... and......two days, now I've finished it... last. 6. I was perfectly sure to be put......the desk next... the girt whom I didn't like to sit.... 7. His visit was a surprise ... me, I didn't know he was ... town. 8. When I come ... some English words which I don't know I always look them......the dictionary. 9. In his speech he pointed ... all the drawbacks ... our work. 10. The drills on the English sounds bore me ... times, but I know that they are very useful. 11. He helped me a lot... my mathematics and I'm much obliged ... him ... it.

XIII. Revise Essential Vocabulary (I) and translate the following:

1. Вы должны догнать группу, как бы много ни пришлось вам работать. 2. Он до смерти надоел мне рассказами о своих приключениях. 3. У него по крайней мере пять ошибок в каждой контрольной. 4. Вся беда в том, что у меня с собой только 50 копеек. Что я могу купить на эти деньги? 5. Как бы много новых слов ни было в тексте, я все их смотрю в словаре. 6. Вы делаете ошибки в каждом втором предложении. 7. Я не раз говорила Борису Петрову, студенту второго курса, что, если он хочет выдержать экзамен, ему надо больше заниматься. 8. Предполагается, что все студенты знают, когда начинаются экзамены, 9. Трудно признаваться в том, что ты не прав, но он был вынужден сделать это. 10. Я знаю, что поступила плохо, но по крайней мере я осознала, что мне не следовало так поступать. 11. Этот живой, сообразительный мальчик очень понравился Оливеру, и они стали друзьями. 12, Я вам признателен за помощь. 13. Вы должны читать больше, это позволит вам значительно расширить ваш запас слов. 14. Он смотрел на меня непонимающим взглядом, как будто не слышал, что я говорю. 15. С какой стати вам так волноваться из-за мелочей? 16. Учитель указал на наиболее грубые ошибки в диктанте, просто и ясно объяснил правила, которыми нужно пользоваться, чтобы избежать их. 17. Подробно опишите свои впечатления от этой поездки. 18. Мне нравились в нем ясный ум и простая речь. 19. Что привело класс в такое возбуждение? — Волнующая для них новость; у них будет новый учитель по геометрии. 20. Они были когда-то хорошими друзьями. Просто не могу себе представить, почему они поссорились. 21. Старик указал на картину, которая висела на противоположной стене.

XIV. Compose 20 sentences about the text, using modal verbs must, can, may, ought, might with the perfect infinitive:

Models: a) Judy's guardian must have (never) read her letters (должно быть, (не) читал).

b) Judy could have bought some other things with her guardian's money (могла бы купить...).

c) Judy's guardian might have seen Judy somewhere (он, возможно, видел ее...).

d) Don't you think that Judy's guardian ought to have answered her letter (ему следовало бы ответить на ее письмо).

XV. a) Translate the text into Russian:

Dear Daddy Long-Legs,

You never answer any questions, you never show the slightest interest in anything I do. I haven't a doubt that you throw my letters into the waste-basket without reading them. Hereafter I shall write only about work.

My re-examinations in Latin and Geometry came last week. I passed them both and am now a Sophomore.

I came up a fortnight ago, sorry to leave the farm, but glad to see the campus again. It is pleasant to come back to something familiar, I am beginning to feel at home in college.

I am beginning chemistry, a most unusual study. I've never seen anything like it before. I am also taking logic. Also history of the whole world. Also plays of William Shakespeare. Also French.

I should rather have elected Economics than French, but I didn't dare, because I was afraid that unless I re-elected French, the Professor would not let me pass — as it was. I just managed to squeeze through the June examinations. But I will say that my high-school preparation was not very good.

And here is news for you. I have begun to be an author. A poem entitled "From my Tower" appears in the February "Monthly" — on the first page, which is a very great honour for a Freshman. My English instructor stopped me on my way out. of college last night, and said it was a charming piece of work except for the sixth line, which had too many feet.

But sometimes a dreadful fear comes over me that I'm not a genius.

Yours truly, Judy

(^ From "Daddy Long-Legs" by Jean Webster)

b) Comment on the letter above. Point out in what it differs from Judy's earlier letters (see the text). Explain the last line of this letter. Is Judy quite serious here?

XVI. Speak about Judy. Describe her as fully as you can. When pointing out this or that trait in her character, give your reasons. (See the text of Unit Five and Ex. XV.).


XVII. Compose dialogues and perform them in class:

1. between Judy and Julia Pendleton about Judy's guardian;

2. between two of Judy's fellow-students about Judy;

3. between Judy and the English instructor.

XVIII. Write a composition in the form of a letter describing some of your (or your friend's) experiences as a fresher. Use words and phrases from Essential Vocabulary (I). See also Judy's letter (Ex. XV).


XIX. Try your hand at teaching.

1. Say what you would do in the teacher's positions

Once, after having hastily written an assignment on the blackboard the teacher left the class alone for a few minutes. Upon her return she found several words on the blackboard were circled with coloured chalk. At the bottom was written, "Careless writing, please do over."

2. Practise your "Classroom English".

a) Every teacher is faced with the problem of keeping discipline in the classroom, A teacher should know how to do it to goad English. Describe the teacher's reaction in the following situation:

1) Ann is not paying attention.

2) Ted is standing up.

3) George — you can see only the back of his head.

4) Steve — finds it impossible to be silent for more than a minute at a time.

5) Jenny — is not looking at the blackboard.

6) Peter — is sprawled out across his desk.

7) Alison — is disturbing the girl sitting next to her.

8) Beth — is copying the answer from somebody else.

9) Alan and Paul — are arguing about something.

10) Andy — the slowest and dreamiest boy in the class.

b) Play the part of a young teacher describing a lesson in a very unruly class to his/her fellow teachers. (See "Classroom English", Section VII.)


1. Listen to the text "A Freshman's Experience", mark the stresses and tunes, repeat the text following the model.

2. Paraphrase the given sentences.

^ 3. Extend the given sentences.

4. Write a spelling-translation test Check it with the key.

5. Translate the sentences into English. Check them with the key.

6. listen to the text 'Town and Gown" or some other text on the history of English Education. Write the summary of the text. Comment on it in class.
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