BACCALAUREAT ANGLAIS LV1 - SERIE S - SESSION 2008 Oral du second groupe TEXT 8
Building up a New Country
The setting is a wealthy country house in England in the late nineteenth century. LadyHunstanton is entertaining1 a few guests. Among them is a young American, Hester Worsley.
LADY HUNSTANTON: I hear you have such pleasant society in America. Quite like our own in places, my son wroteto me. 5 HESTER: There are cliques2 in America as elsewhere, Lady Hunstanton. But true American society consists simply of all the good women and good men we have in our country. LADY HUNSTANTON: Whata sensible system ... I am afraid in England we have too many artificial social barriers. We don't see as much as we should of the middle and lower classes. HESTER: In America we have no lowerclasses. 10 LADY HUNSTANTON: Really? What a very strange arrangement! LADy CAROLINE: There are a great many things you haven't got in America, I am told, Miss Worsley. They say you have no ruins, and nocuriosities. HESTER: The English aristocracy supply us with our curiosities, Lady Caroline. They are sent over to us every summer, regularly, in the steamers3, and propose to us the day after they land.As for ruins, we are 15 trying to build up something that will last longer than brick or stone. LADY HUNSTANTON: What is that, dear? HESTER: We are trying to build up life, Lady Hunstanton, on abetter, truer, purer basis than life rests on here. This sounds strange to you all, no doubt. How could it sound other than strange? You rich people in England, you don't know how you are living. How couldyou know? You shut out from your society the 20 gentle and the good. You laugh at the simple and the pure. Living, as you all do, on others and by them, you sneer at self-sacrifice, and if you throwbread to the poor, it is merely to keep them quiet for a season. With all your pomp and wealth and art you don't know how to live. You love the beauty that you can see and touch and handle, the...
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