Additional Telephone Conversations
Дополнительные телефонные разговоры
Two Sisters on the Telephone
JOYCE: Well, what have you been up to (1) since I saw you first?
KATE: I haven't been up to anything, I'm afraid.(2 ) Just the usual grind. (3) Have you been doing anything?
JOYCE: No. James is off to Italy again tomorrow for his firm. He rings me every night from Turin, which is a comfort.
KATE: So you'll be absolutely tied again with the children?
JOYCE: Of course.
KATE: The firm would never pay for you to go to Italy as well, I suppose?
JOYCE: As a matter of fact, that's just come up (4) for the first time. There's a big job of entertaining coming off (4) in about a fortnight - all the possible buyers and their wives are invited to Turin for a demonstration and a party afterwards, and they say they'd pay for me to go and play hostess5 and look nice, but of course, with the children... And anyway, what have I got to look nice in?
KATE: I say, ducky, I've just got an idea. When is this do at Turin? (6) It wouldn't be at a weekend by any chance?
JOYCE: It's to be a Saturday - best time for a party.
KATE: Well, look here, (7) why don't I come and look after (8) Michael and Jane for the weekend? They're not such demons (9) as you seem to think, you know. We usually get on fine.(10)
JOYCE: Oh - it's terribly sweet of you, but I couldn't.
KATE: Yes, you could. Now sort it out with James (11) this evening before he goes. I'll come over (12) on the Friday night, and I'll stay over the Monday too - I'll get the day off from the office -so you needn't get back till late on Monday and you can see a bit of Italy as well.
JOYCE: No, I can't really... Really you shouldn't.
KATE: Now shut up. No more nonsense. It's settled. Just see the frig (13) is full of food. I'll take them to the Zoo on Saturday. And what's wrong with that trouser suit? You look splendid in it.
JOYCE: Do you really think I could? I never thought of a trouser suit for the party...
- to be up to something - usually implies something not altogether permissible, or at least surreptitious. "What have you been up to this time?" implies something likely to involve punishment. So the phrase is used jocularly, from one friend to another, implying that he or she must have been doing something out of the ordinary or at least interesting.
- I'm afraid - implies no fear, only regret that she has nothing more interesting to tell.
- Just the usual grind - is a way of describing monotony; nothing severe or otherwise unpleasant is implied.
- come up - two idioms with come: come up meaning "to arise, to occur" and come off meaning "to take place"
- play hostess - play is often used as here to mean "fulfil the function of"
- this do at Turin - do, used as a noun, is one of the many colloquial words for a social occasion
- Well, look here - is more emphatic than I say, to begin a new statement.
- Why don't I come and look after... - this is a more forceful phrase than Why shouldn't I? It contains the hint of a firm offer which ought not to be refused.
- demons - lively children are conventionally referred to as young demons - a phrase conveying admiration for their vitality but at the same time sympathy for the trouble which they can cause
- get on - means "get on well together", "like each other and are good companions"
- sort it out with James - discuss this question with James
- I'll come over - simply means "I'll come to you".
- frig - refrigerator