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Reading skills - HOLIDAY INCIDENT


Klausimas #1


HOLIDAY INCIDENT

     It happened while Harris and his wife were riding through Holland during their holidays. They were riding on one of those bicycles for two people, what they call a tandem bicycle. The road was very stony and without turning his head, Harris said to his wife, 'Hold on!"
     But Mrs Harris thought he said "Jump off!" Why she thought he said "Jump off' when he said 'Hold on", is difficult to say. He insists that she didn't hear him right, and she insists that he didn't tell her clearly what to do. Mrs. Harris thought she heard him tell her to jump off, and she jumped off, while Harris went on, not knowing that she was no longer behind him.
     At first she thought he wanted to go up the hill alone, with the purpose of showing what a fine cyclist he was. She thought he would jump off when he came to the top of the hill and wait for her. But when she saw him pass the top without stopping, she was surprised, then angry and at last worried. She shouted, but he went on and never turned his head.   Suddenly, she felt she was all alone in the world, and she sat down and began to cry. She had no money and she did not know the Dutch language. People passed and looked at her kindly. She tried to make them understand what had happened. They thought she had lost something, but could not understand what. They took her to the nearest village and found a policeman for her. She tried to tell him what had happened, but the only thing he understood was that a man had taken her bicycle. A boy was discovered riding a lady's bicycle in a village not far away, and they brought him to her. But as she didn't want the boy or his bicycle, they let him go.
      All this time, Harris continued on his way with much enjoyment. It seemed to him that he had suddenly become a stronger and in every way a better cyclist.
     He decided to show his wife how fast he could go. He went on for about five miles, moving very fast, when a strange feeling that something was wrong began to grow in him. He turned his head and looked behind him; but there was only space there, nothing else. He jumped off and looked back up the road; there was nobody there. He got on the bicycle and rode back up the hill as fast as he could. In ten minutes, he came to a place where three roads met. He got off and tried to remember which road he had taken on his way down.
     As nobody could help him, Harris got on the bicycle again and took the middle road. Half-way up, he met two young women and asked if they had seen his wife. They asked him what site looked like. He did not know enough Dutch to describe her; all he could tell them was that she was a very beautiful woman. This was not enough for them, they thought many women were beautiful. They asked him how she was dressed, but he could not remember what she was wearing that day. They young women told him to go to the police station in the next town. Harris found the place at last.
     The police told him to write dawn a full description of his wife and when and where he had lost her. He did not know. All he could tell them was the name of the village where they had had lunch. He knew that he had had her with him then, and that they had started from there together.
     Quite naturally, the police began to ask several questions. First, was she really his wife? Second, had he really lost her? Third, why had he lost her?
     But they didn't refuse to help him. In the evening, they brought her to him. The meeting was not a pleasant one. Mrs Harris had never been a good actress and had always had a great difficulty in controlling her feeling. This time, she herself says, she did not even try.

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