We are less credulous than we used to be. In the nineteenth century, a novelist would bring his story to a conclusion by presenting his readers with a series of coincidences -- most of them wildly improbable. Readers happily accepted the fact that an obscure maidservant was really the hero's mother. A long-lost brother, who was presumed dead, was really alive all the time and wickedly plotting to bring about the hero's downfall. And so on. Modern readers would find such naive solution totally unacceptable. Yet, in real life, circumstances do sometimes conspire to bring about coincidences which anyone but a nineteenth century novelist would find incredible.
When I was a boy, my grandfather told me how a German taxi driver, Franz Bussman, found a brother who was thought to have been killed twenty years before. While on a walking tour with his wife, he stooped to talk to a workman. After they had gone on, Mrs. Bussman commented on the workman's close resemblance to her husband and even suggested that he might be his brother. Franz poured scorn on the idea, pointing out that his brother had been killed in action during the war. Though Mrs. Busssman fully acquainted with this story, she thought that there was a chance in a million that she might be right. A few days later, she sent a boy to the workman to ask him if his name was Hans Bussman. Needless to say, the man's name was Hans Bussman and he really was Franz's long-lost brother. When the brothers were reunited, Hans explained how it was that he was still alive. After having been wounded towards the end of the war, he had been sent to hospital and was separated from his unit. The hospital had been bombed and Hans had made his way back into Western Germany on foot. Meanwhile, his unit was lost and all records of him had been destroyed. Hans returned to his family home, but the house had been bombed and no one in the neighbourhood knew what had become of the inhabitants. Assuming that his family had been killed during an air raid, Hans settled down in a village fifty miles away where he had remained ever since.
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1 We are less credulous thank we used to be. 背熟
credulous adj. 轻信的 (修饰人)
credible: 可信的，可靠的 （修饰事物）
Eg: The story he told us is credible.
Eg; He demanded for believable explanation
2 accepted the fact that an obscure maid-servant
obscure adj. 不起眼的
Eg: The bus stopped at an obscure little town
An obscure figure can be seen through the fog.
3 a novelist would bring his story to a conclusion by presenting his readers with a series of coincidences
bring ... to a conclusion "...结束"
They had made so wonderful a plan that the work was brought to a good conclusion.
介词 by 引导的介词短语作方式状语
coincidences n. 巧合
conscious adj. 感觉到的,意识到的
4 A long-lost brother, who was presumed dead, was really alive all the time and wichedly plotting to bring about the hero's downfall. And so on.
who 为关系代词, 引导非限制性定语从句, dead作从句主语的补足语
背熟：who was presumed dead, was really alive all the time and wickedly plotting to bring about the hero's downfall.
presume: 假定 (根据过去的经验和感觉作出决断) 未证实前假定是真的
assume : 武断的，把尚未证实的作为依据，与事实不相符合
Eg: Let us assume that your words are fact
suppose : 最普通的用词，猜想、陈述自己的看法
Eg: I suppose that it was my fault.
bring about 造成, 导致,引起
Gambling has brought about his ruin.
downfall: sudden & complete 毁灭性结局
5 circumstances do sometimes conspire to bring about coincidences, which anyone but a nineteenth century novelist would find incredible.
circumstances pl. 周围的环境, 情形
do 助动词, 强调作用
but 为介词, "除...之外", but + 后面的介词短语作定语, 修饰anyone
在表示此意时, 与介词except 的意思相近, 但是but 更强调意义上的完整性, except 则更着重后面的例外.
I have written all my letters but one. 我只差一封信就全写完了.
I have written all my letters except one. 我还差一封信没写.
6 While on walking tour with his wife, he stopped to talk to a workman.
While 后面省略了he was, 在表示时间, 地点, 条件, 让步等的状语从句中, 从句的主语和主句的主语相同, 常省略从句的主语和谓语.
stop to do sth. 停下来(在做的事)去做某事
stop doing sth. 停止(在做的)事
The bus stopped to take up passengers. 停下来搭客
The bus stopped taking up passengers. 停止搭客
7 After they had gone on, Mrs Bussman commented on the workman's close resemblance to her husband and even suggested that he might be his brother.背熟
commented on 对...进行评论
resemblance to 与...很像
The girl in the picture bears some distant resemblance to her.
resemblance n. 相似
bear a strong resemblance to sb. or sth.
The girl bears a strong resemblance to her sister.
such a resemblance
The two envents which happened at the same time have got similarity
similar to sth. or sb.
They have got close likeness.
suggest: 认为, 表明 (如文中), 之后的that 从句用正常时态和语气
建议, 提议 that 从句中通常用 (should)+ 动词原形的虚拟语气结构.
8 Franz poured scorn on the idea, pointing out that his brother had been killed in action during the war.
poured scorn on 对...嘲笑
Don't pour bitter scorn on thouse in miserable conditions.
scorn n. 嘲弄，挖苦
pour scorn on
pour contempt on
pour ridicule on 对......嘲弄，挖苦，斥之以鼻
Eg: He poured scorn on his wife's suggestion.
look down upon / think scorn of 藐视
Eg: His suggestion was dismissed with scorn.
His face showed the scorn he felt.
pointing out that 为现在分词短语, 在句中作伴随状语, 修饰动词poured
9 Though Mrs Bussman was fully acquainted with this story
acquaint v. 使了解
be acquainted with sth. 对......有所了解
acquaint sb. with sth. / acquaint sb. of sth. 告之某人某事
make a person acquainted with sb. 介绍某人同另一个人认识
Let me make ... acquainted with you (正式用法)
acquaintance n. 熟人
10 Hans returned to his family home, but the house had been bombed and no one in the neighbouthood knew what had become of the inhabitants
become of ==happen to 发生遭遇，不幸的事件，多用于疑问句，主语必须是what / whatever
Eg: Whatever became of that girl?
Please explain what became of you yesterday.
11 used to & would
used to & would 都可表示过去的习惯, 且现在此习惯已不存在.
Eg: I used to smoke, but I don't any more.
I would narmally spend the winter in Miami.
used to 可以用来描述过去的状态, 但是would 不行
Eg: I'm not quite as sure as I used to be.
used to 仅用于一般过去时
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