Lucky is the man who has no “skeleton in his closet.” When a man has done something in his life that he is ashamed of, that he wants to hide, he is said to have a “skeleton in his closet.” Some people may have more than one skeleton.
As we have noted many times, it is hard to find out how these expressions begin. Sometimes, we get some hard facts. But more often we have to depend on guesswork. And that is true of this phrase, which came from England.
Before 1932,English law did not permit a doctor to cut open a dead human body for scientific examination, unless it was the corpse(尸体) of an executed(处决) criminal.
But when it became legal, more and more doctors demanded skeletons for a more scientific study of medicine. It was helping in the advance of modern medicine. The demand had become so strong that men began to rob tombs and sell skeletons to doctors at high prices.
We are told that a doctor would usually buy just one skeleton for scientific study. It became very important in his work. But he had to keep it hidden because most people objected to keeping such a thing. As a rule, the doctor would keep his skelton in some dark corner where it could not be seen, or hide it in a closet.
After a time, people began to suspect(怀疑) every doctor of hiding a skeleton in the closet. From this suspicion, the phrase “a skeleton in the colset” took on a broader, more general meaning. To describe anything that a man wanted to keep others from discovering. It could be proof of a criminal act, or something much less serious. Well, that is one theory.
One writer, however, believes that the phrase might have come from something that really happened. It is his guess that a hidden closet in some old English country home may have turned up a real skeleton, clear proof of some old family shame or crime. Well, one man's guess is as good as another. But this sounds like a story by the great French novelist, Balzac.
Baizac tells us of a man who suspected his wife of having a lover. The husband comes home by surprise. But she hears him and quickly hides her lover in the closet of her bedroom. He enters her room and asks her if she is hiding her lover. He says he will not open the door to the closet if she promises him there is no one there; He will believe her. She answers firmly that she is not hiding anyone in the closet.
The husband then begins to build a solid brick wall against the closet. His wife watches, knowing that her lover will never come out alive. But she will not change her the story and admit her guilt.
1.Which of the following situations is suitable for using the phrase “Skeleton in the closet”?
A. You have stolen something presious and don't want it discovered.
B. You are a doctor and have to keep a skeleton for research
C. If you have cut open a dead human body for scientific examination you should keep the skeleton secret.
D. You have done a crime or done something foolish, but you want to keep others from discovering it.
2.From the text we know that there are _____ theories about how the phrase “skeleton in the closet” came into being.
A. one B. two C. three D. four
3.In Chinese the world “Skeleton” means ________ .
A.尸体 B.标本 C.收藏 D.骷髅
4.Which of the following is right according to the text?
A. In the 19th century, doctors realized the importance of anatomy(解剖) in the development of medicine.
B. The doctors of the ancient times liked to collect as many skeleton as possible.
C. The thieves stole skeletons from tombs in order to help the doctors
D. It is legal that corpses of anybody are cut open for scientific examination in history.
5.From the story Balzac told we know that the wife's lover must have become _______.
A. a corpse B. a phrase C. a skeleton D. a secret
KEY: 1. D 2. B 3. D 4. A 5. C