"What would you do if you knew that this was the last night of the world?"

"What would I do? You mean seriously?"

"Yes, seriously."

"I don't know. I hadn't thought."

He poured some coffee. In the background the two girls were playing blocks on the parlour rug in the light of the green hurricane lamps. There was an easy, clean aroma of the brewed coffee in the evening air.

"Well, better start thinking about it", he said.

"You don't mean it!"

He nodded.

"A war?"

He shook his head.

"Not the hydrogen or atom bomb?"

"No."

"Or germ warfare?"

"None of those at all", he said, stirring his coffee slowly. "But just, let's say, the closing of a book."

"I don't think I understand."

"No, nor do I, really; it's just a feeling. Sometimes it frightens me, sometimes I'm not frightened at all but at peace." He glanced in at the girls and their yellow hair shining in the lamplight. "I didn't say anything to you. It first happened about four nights ago."

"What?"

"A dream I had. I dreamed that it was all going to be over, and a voice said it was; not any kind of voice I can remember, but a voice anyway, and it said things would stop here on Earth. I didn't think too much about it the next day, but then I went to the office and caught Stan Willis looking out the window in the middle of the afternoon, and I said, A penny for your thoughts, Stan, and he said, I had a dream last night, and before he even told me the dream I knew what it was. I could have told him, but he told me and I listened to him."

"It was the same dream?"

"The same. I told Stan I had dreamed it too. He didn't seem surprised. He relaxed, in fact. Then we started walking through the office, for the hell of it. It wasn't planned. We didn't say, Let's walk around. We just walked on our own, and everywhere we saw people looking at their desks or their hands or out windows. I talked to a few. So did Stan."

"And they all had dreamed?"

"All of them. The same dream, with no difference."

"Do you believe in it?"

"Yes. I've never been more certain."

"And when will it stop? The world, I mean."

"Sometime during the night for us, and then as the night goes on around the world, that'll go too. It'll take twenty-four hours for it all to go."

They sat awhile not touching their coffee. Then they lifted it slowly and drank, looking at each other.

"Do we deserve this?" she said.

"It's not a matter of deserving; it's just that things didn't work out. I notice you didn't even argue about this. Why not?"

"I guess I've a reason", she said.

"The same one everyone at the office had?"

She nodded slowly. "I didn't want to say anything. It happened last night. And the women on the block talked about it, among themselves, today. They dreamed. I thought it was only a coincidence." She picked up the evening paper.

"There's nothing in the paper about it."

They moved through the house and turned out the lights and went into the bedroom and stood in the night cool darkness undressing and pushing back the covers. "The sheets are so clean and nice."

"I'm tired."

"We're all tired."

They got into bed and lay back.

"Just a moment", she said.

He heard her get out of bed and go into the kitchen. A moment later, she returned. "I left the water running in the kitchen sink", she said.

Something about this was so very funny that he had to laugh.

She laughed with him, knowing that it was what she had done that was funny. They stopped laughing at last and lay in their cool night bed, their hands clasped, their heads together.

"Good night", he said, after a moment.

"Good night", she said.

 

 

Ray Bradbury, The Stories 0f Ray Bradbury (1980)


VOCABULARY

 

(l.6)  he poured some coffee = il apporta du café / il versa du café

(l.7) they were playing blocks = ils jouaient aux cubes / elles jouaient aux cubes

(l.7) on the parlor rug = le tapis du salon / le tapis du parloir

(l.10) the brewed coffee = le café moulu / le café infusé

(l.12) you don't mean it ! = pas possible ! / tu n'es pas sincère !

(l. 13) he nodded = il opina / il s'assoupit

(l.15) he shook his head = il fit non de la tête / il secoua la tête

(l.18) germ warfare = la guerre contre les Allemands / la guerre bactériologique

(l.19) stirring his coffee = en remuant son café / en sirotant son café

(l.23) it frightens me = cela m'ennuie / cela m'effraie

(l.31) it was going to be over = tout allait s'achever / tout allait continuer

(l.34) on Earth = par-terre / sur la Terre

(l.38) a penny for your thoughts = à quoi tu penses ? / je te rappelle que tu me dois de l'argent ...

(l.46) walking through the office = traverser l'office / traverser le bureau

(l.47) for the hell of it = comme cela nous chantait / pour mettre la pagaïe

(l.47) it wasn't planned = tout était soigneusement prévu / tout à l'improviste

(l.50) looking at their desks = observant leur bureau / observant leurs bureaux

(l.62) they sat awhile = ils restèrent assis un moment / ils restèrent assis une seconde

(l.63) they lifted it = ils le soulevèrent / ils le remuèrent

(l.65) do we deserve this? = on prend ce dessert? / est-ce nous méritons cela?

(l.67) things didn't work out = plus rien ne fonctionnait / cela n'a pas marché

(l.67) you didn't even argue about this = tu ne t'es même pas disputée / tu n'en as même pas discuté

(l.74) the women on the block = les femmes du quartier / les femmes du bloc

(l.76) she picked up the evening paper = elle souleva le papier / elle prit le journal

(l.82) the covers and the sheets = les draps et les couvertures / les couvertures et les draps

(l.86) they lay back = ils s'allongèrent / ils s'endormirent

(l.90) the kitchen sink = l'évier de la cuisine / le lavabo de la cuisine

(l.97) their hands clasped = ils applaudirent  / les doigts entrelacés


Compréhension audio-orale - Delete what's false

 

This document is a press article / an extract from a film's synopsis / a short-story / an interview

There are one / two / three speakers: one / two male speakers and one / two female speakers

The man's name is Stan / Ray / mentioned / not mentioned

The woman's name is Tired / Willis / mentioned / not mentioned

The characters are having a conversation / a fight / an argument / coffee

They must be good friends / husband and wife / brother and sister / neighbours

They have two / no / children / daughters / sons / pet

The main scene takes place in the morning / in the afternoon / in the evening / in the middle of the night

It is set at home / at work / at the office / in the parlour

The general atmosphere is tense / relaxed / peaceful / quiet

They are speaking of a bad dream the lady / man / girls had three / four / five days ago

This strange dream was a nightmare / a premonitory dream / a bad memory from childhood

Some colleagues at the office had the same dream / a different dream / no dream at all / no reaction

It was about the end of the holidays / the start of a new era / the end of civilization / the millennium bug

All has been announced on TV / on the radio / in the local newspaper / by the President of the USA

It seems everybody / nobody / somebody / all had the same nightmare

Eventually, they go to bed / watch some TV / have a bath / do the washing-up in the kitchen

Neither of them seems to be scared / perplexed / frightened / upset

The closing scene gives an impression of peace / serenity / resignation / tranquility