He was an old man with a white beard and huge nose andhands. Long before the time during which we will know him, hewas a doctor and drove a jaded white horse from house tohouse through the streets of Winesburg. Later he married a girlwho had money. She had been left a large fertile farm when herfather died. The girl was quiet, tall, and dark, and to manypeople she seemed very beautiful. Everyone in Winesburgwondered why she married the doctor. Within a year after themarriage she died.
The knuckles of the doctor's hands were extraordinarily large. When the hands were closed theylooked like clusters of unpainted wooden balls as large as walnuts fastened together by steel rods. He smoked a cob pipe and after his wife's death sat all day in his empty office close by a windowthat was covered with cobwebs. He never opened the window. Once on a hot day in August hetried but found it stuck fast and after that he forgot all about it.
Winesburg had forgotten the old man, but in Doctor Reefy there were the seeds ofsomething very fine. Alone in his musty office in the Heffner Block above the Paris Dry GoodsCompany's store, he worked ceaselessly, building up something that he himself destroyed. Littlepyramids of truth he erected and after erecting knocked them down again that he might have thetruths to erect other pyramids.
Doctor Reefy was a tall man who had worn one suit of clothes for ten years. It was frayed atthe sleeves and little holes had appeared at the knees and elbows. In the office he wore also a linenduster with huge pockets into which he continually stuffed scraps of paper. After some weeks thescraps of paper became little hard round balls, and when the pockets were filled he dumped themout upon the floor. For ten years he had but one friend, another old man named John Spaniardwho owned a tree nursery. Sometimes, in a playful mood, old Doctor Reefy took from his pocketsa handful of the paper balls and threw them at the nursery man. "'That is to confound you, youblithering old sentimentalist," he cried, shaking with laughter.
The story of Doctor Reefy and his courtship of the tall dark girl who became his wife and left hermoney to him is a very curious story. It is delicious, like the twisted little apples that grow in theorchards of Winesburg. In the fall one walks in the orchards and the ground is hard with frostunderfoot. The apples have been taken from the trees by the pickers. They have been put inbarrels and shipped to the cities where they will be eaten in apartments that are filled with books, magazines, furniture, and people. On the trees are only a few gnarled apples that the pickers haverejected. They look like the knuckles of Doctor Reefy’ s hands. One nibbles at them and they aredelicious. Into a little round place at the side of the apple has been gathered all of its sweetness. One runs from tree to tree over the frosted ground picking the gnarled, twisted apples and fillinghis pockets with them. Only the few know the sweetness of the twisted apples.
The girl and Doctor Reefy began their courtship on a summer afternoon. He was forty-fivethen and already he had begun the practice of filling his pockets with the scraps of paper thatbecame hard balls and were thrown away. The habit had been formed as he sat in his buggybehind the jaded grey horse and went slowly along country roads. On the papers were writtenthoughts, ends of thoughts, beginnings of thoughts.
One by one the mind of Doctor Reefy had made the thoughts. Out of many of them heformed a truth that arose gigantic in his mind. The truth clouded the world. It became terrible andthen faded away and the little thoughts began again.
The tall dark girl came to see Doctor Reefy because she was in the family way and hadbecome frightened. She was in that condition because of a series of circumstances also curious.
The death of her father and mother and the rich acres of land that had come down to her had seta train of suitors on her heels. For two years she saw suitors almost every evening. Except twothey were all alike. They talked to her of passion and there was a strained eager quality in theirvoices and in their eyes when they looked at her. The two who were different were much unlikeeach other. One of them, a slender young man with white hands, the son of a jeweler inWinesburg, talked continually of virginity. When he was with her he was never off the subject. Theother, a black-haired boy with large ears, said nothing at all but always managed to get her into thedarkness, where he began to kiss her.
For a time the tall dark girl thought she would marry the jeweler's son. For hours she sat in silencelistening as he talked to her and then she began to be afraid of something. Beneath his talk ofvirginity she began to think there was a lust greater than in all the others. At times it seemed to herthat as he talked he was holding her body in his hands. She imagined him turning it slowly about inthe white hands and staring at it. At night she dreamed that he had bitten into her body and thathis jaws were dripping. She had the dream three times, then she became in the family way to theone who said nothing at all but who in the moment of his passion actually did bite her shoulder sothat for days the marks of his teeth showed...-..-.
After the tall dark girl came to know Doctor Reefy it seemed to her that she never wanted to leavehim again. She went into his office one morning and without her saying anything he seemed toknow what had happened to her.
In the office of the doctor there was a woman, the wife of the man who kept the bookstore inWinesburg. Like all old-fashioned country practitioners, Doctor Reefy pulled teeth, and the womanwho waited held a handkerchief to her teeth and groaned. Her husband was with her and whenthe tooth was taken out they both screamed and blood ran down on the woman's white dress. The tall dark girl did not pay any attention. When the woman and the man had gone the doctorsmiled. "I will take you driving into the country with me," he said.
For several weeks the tall dark girl and the doctor were together almost every day. Thecondition that had brought her to him passed in an illness, but she was like one who hasdiscovered the sweetness of the twisted apples, she could not get her mind fixed again upon theround perfect fruit that is eaten in the city apartments. In the fall after the beginning of heracquaintanceship with him she married Doctor Reefy and in the following spring she died. Duringthe winter he read to her all of the odds and ends of thoughts he had scribbled on the bits ofpaper. After he had read them he laughed and stuffed them away in his pockets to become roundhard balls.
1.According to the story Doctor Reefy’s life seems very __________.
A. eccentric B. normal C. enjoyable D. optimistic
2.The story tells us that the tall dark girl was in the family way. The phrase “in the family way” means____________.
A. troubled B. Pregnant C. twisted D. cheated
3.Doctor Reef lives a ___________ life.
A. happy B. miserable C. easy-going D. reckless
4. The tall dark girl’s marriage to Doctor Reef proves to be a _____ one.
A. transient B. understandable C. perfect D. funny
5. Doctor Reef’s paper balls probably symbolize his ______.
A eagerness to shut himself away from society
B suppressed desire to communicate with people
C optimism about life
D cynical attitude towards life
A B B A B
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