Swanilda & Franz (Love Story)
It was dark now and the square was empty. Everybody had gone to supper. Suddenly the door of Swanilda’s house opened and a fair head began slowly to appear. It was Swanilda herself. Without a sound she ran across the square to the black house. She seemed nervous. Where was Swanilda all day? Why did Swanilda come to Dr. Coppelius’s house so secretly? Why didn’t she want to be seen?
As it was said before, strange things went on inside the black house. Coppelius had lived there alone for a long time but one day a girl appeared in his house. The people said that she was beautiful, she was pretty, and she was charming. But nobody knew who she was, and where she came from. Some people said she was his daughter, and some people were sure she was his foster-daughter.
The girl was sitting on the balcony with a book in her lap from morning till night. No one had ever seen her leave the house. No one had ever heard her speak. Her face was pale and calm. Her eyes were sad. Her hair was black and shining like a starry night sky. Those who passed the house couldn’t help admiring the girl’s beauty. The young men of the town came to the black house specially to gaze at the girl. Almost all of them lost their head over her and talked about nobody else.
Swanilda heard that one of the admirers who often came to the house and stood under the window longer than any of the other young men was Franz. Swanilda loved Franz very much. She knew that it couldn’t be true. She knew it might be silly gossip. She knew her dear Franz would never deceive her. But she wanted to be sure, so she came to the black house.
Swanilda looked up at the balcony. Coppelia was there. She was sitting with a book in her lap, as usual. Swanilda noticed a lock of black hair against the white of her neck. Coppelia looked so beautiful that it was difficult to take her eyes off her.
“But what if … But what if her mysterious beauty had intrigued Franz …” thought Swanilda. “But why didn’t she come out and join the girls by the fountain or sit and talk under the trees in the evening?” she asked herself. “We’ll go out into the countryside, and I’ll show her the castle, the deer-park, and the summer house on the top of the hill,” said Swanilda.
Swanilda was so wrapped up in her thoughts that she almost forgot why she had come to the black house. She was looking for Franz! Swanilda looked around but Franz wasn’t there. Her thoughts came back to Coppelia. Swanilda wanted to attract her attention.
“Miss Coppelia, can you hear me?” Swanilda called very quietly. The girl remained motionless. Swanilda called louder. But Coppelia didn’t budge. “How can I make her lift her head?” asked Swanilda herself. “What about dancing a bit? If I dance, I’ll catch her attention”
Swanilda began to dance. Swanilda could dance better than any other girl in town. Like a pink petal of apple blossom floating to the ground on the breeze … Like a glittering blue dragonfly darting over the lake … Like a snowflake, sparkling and twirling round the lantern on a snowy day… That was how Swanilda was dancing.
Swanilda stopped dancing and looked at the balcony curiously. Coppelia hadn’t notice anything. She, proud and mysterious, sat motionless, her eyes on her book. Coppelia paid no attention.
“She looks down her nose at me, the stuck-up thing!” said Swanilda angrily and added loudly: “Miss Stuck-Up!”
Just then Swanilda heard the footsteps she knew so well. They came from the other side of the square but she recognized them. When she used to go to school she always knew without turning around that Franz was following her.
Franz walked across the square towards Swanilda’s house. “He is going to me! He wants to see me, not Miss Stuck-Up! What a silly girl I am! How could I have believed all those gossips!” thought Swanilda. She was ready to run to her sweetheart but he turned away from Swanilda’s house and was going to cross the square. Swanilda went to the bushes and hid behind them. The bushes hid her completely from the passers-by and from Franz. He came up to Coppelia’s house and looked at the balcony where Coppelia was still sitting and reading. He was gazing up at the girl. It was clear that Franz was enchanted by Coppelia.
So it was true, after all! Swanilda felt so wretched, she was sure she was the most unhappy person in the world!
Franz stood beneath the balcony. He gave a deep bow and said: “Good evening, Miss Coppelia.” That was all he said, but the way he said it! He sounded warm and passionate. He had never spoken to Swanilda like that.
There was a sound coming from the balcony. Swanilda couldn’t believe her ears! Miss Coppelia noticed Franz. Her beautiful black head turned towards Franz with a slight nod, and she even waved her hand to greet him. Then she slowly turned back to her book.
Franz stood beneath the balcony and wasn’t able to move. His heart was overflowing with joy and happiness.
Swanilda felt as if she had been turned to stone. Tears rolled down her cheeks. Suddenly the huge figure appeared in the window. It was Dr Coppelius himself. He wanted to know to whom his daughter waved. He leaned out, looked straight at Franz, and laughed loudly. Franz, who had been standing like a pillar of salt, came to life and stammered a respectful greeting.
Swanilda thought: “If Dr Coppelius sees Franz as a future son-in-law… Well, Franz, good luck! I shall not stand in your way.” Swanilda burst into tears and rushed from behind the bushes where she had hidden. Swanilda’s eyes were blinded with tears and she ran away as quickly as she could. She reached the fountain and sat on its edge. She looked miserable. The tears ran down her cheeks into the pool around the fountain.
Franz noticed Swanilda. He was frightened and surprised at the same time. But he didn’t feel guilty. Why was Swanilda there? What was she doing there? What happened?
Franz came up to the fountain, then he put his hand on her shoulder and began awkwardly: “Why are you crying? Have you hurt yourself? Whatever has happened?”
Swanilda shook herself free. She wanted to say something, to throw his betrayal in his face but she couldn’t utter a single word. Hadn’t he asked to marry her? Hadn’t he bought her a real sapphire ring? The ring? Swanilda tore it from her finger. The sapphire shone like a tear as it flashed into the water.
“What are you doing, Swanilda? I can never reach the bottom, it’s too deep!” cried Franz, and added rudely in a moment: “Stop howling.”
“He was sorry for the ring not me! He doesn’t love me! He has never loved me!” thought Swanilda. She covered her face with her hands and continued sobbing. “He isn’t my sweetheart! It seems as though somebody has cast a spell on him. Franz has been changed a lot. How I could love this rude fellow!” She uncovered her face and said proudly: “I never want to see that ring again, or you either!”
ACTIVITIES AND EXERCISES
I. Comprehension Task. Read the sentences below and put them in the order in which they occur in the chapter.
|__ She wanted to say something, to throw his betrayal in his face but she couldn’t utter a single word.|
|__ He came up to Coppelia’s house and looked at the balcony where Coppelia was still sitting.|
|__ She covered her face with her hands and continued sobbing.|
|__ Just then Swanilda heard the footsteps she knew so well.|
|__ The sapphire shone like a tear as it flashed into the water.|
|__ The bushes hid her completely from the passers-by and from Franz.|
|__ Franz walked across the square towards Swanilda’s house.|
|__ Suddenly the door of Swanilda’s house opened and a fair head began slowly to appear.|
|__ Almost all of them lost their head over her and talked about nobody else.|
|__ Swanilda was so wrapped up in her thoughts that she almost forgot why she had come to the black house.|
Answers: 8; 7; 10; 4; 9; 6; 5; 1; 2; 3
II. Grammar. Adjective or adverb? Choose the correct word.
1. She seemed nervous/nervously.
2. Coppelia looked so beautiful/beautifully that it was difficult to take the eyes off her.
3. Swanilda stopped dancing and looked at the balcony curious/curiously.
4. She, proud and mysterious, sat motionless/motionlessly, her eyes on her book.
5. Just then Swanilda heard the footsteps she knew so good / well.
6. He sounded warmly/warm and passionate/passionately.
7. He leaned out, looked straight at Franz, and laughed loud/loudly.
8. Swanilda’s eyes were blinded with tears, and she ran away as quick/quickly as she could.
9. She looked miserable/miserably.
10. But he didn’t feel guilty/guiltily.
Answers: 1. nervous; 2. beautiful; 3. curiously; 4. motionless; 5. well; 6. warm, passionate; 7. loudly; 8. quickly; 9. miserable; 10. guilty
III. Pronunciation task. The words below have “ou” that mostly sounds [au]. Use your dictionary to check the pronunciation. Underline the words which are odd-sounding. Practice saying these words.
house, without, ground, nervous, could, young, about, would, thought, fountain, out, countryside, around, loud, curiously, proud, mysterious, sound
Answers: nervous, could, young, would, thought, countryside, curiously, mysterious
IV. Vocabulary. Compound nouns. Take one word from column A and one word from column B to form a compound noun. Compound words are written:
– as two words;
– as one word;
– as two words joined by a hyphen.
Find these words in the text to check your answers.
|1. summer||a) park|
|2. some||b) flake|
|3. deer||c) side|
|4. foot||d) heart|
|5. snow||e) fly|
|6. country||f) thing|
|7. every||g) house|
|8. sweet||i) by|
|9. dragon||j) body|
|10. passers||k) step|
Answers: 1. g; 2. f/j; 3. a; 4. k; 5. b; 6. c; 7. f/j; 8. d; 9. e; 10. i
V. Speaking. There are some questions below. All of them begin with “why”. Answer the questions using “because”.
1. Why did the young men come to Coppelius’s house?
2. Why did Swanilda come to Coppelius’s house that evening?
3. Why was Swanilda dancing under the balcony where Coppelia was?
4. Why did Coppelia pay no attention?
5. Why did Swanilda call Coppelia “Miss Stuck-Up”?
6. Why did Swanilda recognize the footsteps?
7. Why did Swanilda hide behind the bushes?
8. Why did Franz turn away from Swanilda’s house and was going to cross the square?
9. Why did Swanilda feel herself the most unhappy girl in the world?
10. Why did Coppelius appear in the window?
11. Why did Swanilda run away as quickly as she could?
12. Why did Swanilda shake herself free when Franz put his hand on her shoulder?
13. Why did Swanilda tear the ring from her finger and throw it into the water?
14. Why was Franz very rude?
15. Why did Swanilda want to see neither the ring nor Franz?
1. …because they were enchanted by Copplia, and almost all of them lost their head over her.
2. …because she wanted to be sure that Franz didn’t come to Coppelius’s house to gaze at Coppelia.
3. …because she wanted to catch Coppelia’s attention.
4. …because Coppelia was wrapped up in her reading.
5. …because Coppelia didn’t notice anything, didn’t budge, and didn’t lift her head. She sat motionless.
6. …because she had known Franz’s footsteps very well from her early childhood.
7. …because the bushes hid her completely from the passers-by and from Franz.
8. …because he was going to Coppelius’s house.
9. …because she saw that Franz had fallen in love with Coppelia.
10. …because he wanted to know to whom his daughter waved.
11. …because she thought that Coppelius wanted his daughter to marry Franz and saw him as a future son-in-law. She didn’t want to stand in their way, wished them good luck, and ran away.
12. …because of his betrayal.
13. …because she was very upset and proved to Franz that she didn’t want to be with him any longer.
14. …because he didn’t feel guilty. He was fond of Coppelia, and he prefered to stay under the balcony and gaze at Coppelia than to stay with Swanilda.
15. …because Franz deceived her and she couldn’t forgive him. Swanilda had changed her mind and now didn’t want to marry him.