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3178 kochetkova i.k angliyskie rasskazi

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Stories
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Библиотека для домашнего чтения
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рассказь
Москва «Высшая школа» 1993
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j^ ч
'Ь Ч
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Англ
А64
Ф I
*
Рекомендовано
Комитетом по высшей школе Министерства
школы и технической политики РоссийскЫ Федерации
для использования в учебном процессе
Составитель, автор предисловия
и комментария И. К. Кочеткова
Рецензенты:
кафедра иностранных языков Московского института радиотех­
ники. электроники и автоматики (зав. кафедрой канд. филоп. наук
канд. фятгол. наук М. R. Лапшина (Санкт-Петербургский государственный университет)
а
А64
Английские рассказы / Сост., предисл., коммент,
И. К. Кочетковой. — М.: Высш. шк., 1993.
95 с.
(Б-ка для дом. чтения). — На англ. яз.
На обл.: English Stories
ISBN 5-06-002633-7
в сборник вошли рассказы известных английских писателей,
-теров жанра короткого рассказа: Д. Лоуренса, К. Мэнсфилд,
Джойса, У. Сомерсета Моэма, О. Хаксли, И. Во, Д. Уэйна,
С. Чаплина. Приводятся сведения о жизни и творчестве авторов,
задания для контроля и понимания прочитанного и для обсуждения
в аудитории.
Для изучающих английский язык в институтах и на факультетах
иностранных языков и для всех начинающих читать английскою
прозу в подлиннике.
4602(M0000(«W000000) К
001(01) — 93
ISBN 5-06-002633-7
ОП
_
4И(Англ)
® Составление, предисловие, комментарий
И. К. Кочеткова, 1993
о т СОСТАВИТЕЛЯ
Целью данного пособи>т является развитие навыка изучающего чтения, а
также умения интерпретировать и оценивать произведения художественной
литературы. Внимание читателя направляется на целостное восприятие
произведения (в данном случае рассказов), единство формы и содержания,
художественных средств, используемых писателем и смысла, который он
вкладывает в описание природы, событий или внешности, характера и
поступков своих героев.
Пособие предназначено для изучающих английский язык в институтах и
на факультетах иностранных языков, а также для всех начинающих читать
английскую прозу в подлиннике.
Пособие включает классические образцы современного английского
рассказа, знакомя читателя с наиболее выдающимися и известными предста­
вителями этого жанра, такими, как К. Мэнсфилд, Д. Лоуренс, Д. Джойс, О.
Хаксли, С, Моэм, И, Во, Д. Уэйн, С. Чаплин. Отобранные рассказы дают
определенное представление об особенностях этого жанра в литературе
Англии и о его развитии.
Структура сборника определяется следующими соображениями; нам
представлялось целесообразным прежде всего заинтересовать читателя
фигурой автора, значительностью его места в истории национальной литера­
туры, а также “настроить" на определенный жанр рассказа, на ту жизненную
ситуацию, с которой знакомит его писатель.
Каждый рассказ предваряется краткой статьей о писателе, где сообща­
ются основные факты его жизни и творчества и дается представление о
вкладе писателя в английскую литературу. Следующее затем краткое
введение к самому рассказу имеет цел^ю создать определенный эмоционально-психологический настрой, который будет способствовать более полному и
глубокому пониманию прочитанного.
Рассказы сопровождаются заданиями, направленными на развитие у
читателя умения определить тему и основную идею рассказа, понять под­
текст, оценить содержание с точки зрения его исторической, нравственной,
социальной значимости, увязать прочитанное с личным опытом.
Рассказы могут быть рекомендованы как для индивидуального чтения,
так и для фронтального -1тения всеми студентами группы с последующим
обсуждением прочитанного во время занятия с преподавателем.
\
CONTENTS
The Portrait by Aldous Huxley..............................................
Вокг(1ш( House by 3uxtc$ Joyce
The Rodlms-Hot* Wmoa t y D.H. Lawrence .....................
Fei^k d*AlbuB by КагЬегше MansflekL............................
Tactical fcxrrcae by Etelyn Wau*h......................................
ТЫ Виш by W Someisei Ма1Ц(Наш......................................
Manhood by John Wain. .........................................
Grvee feye* by Sul Chaptifv ......................................... ..
The Plan Ы Dacwamg a Si<»y ......................................... •
CkscuiSMW» Aclivitiei............................ ............................. • •
5
22
37
43
53
Ь2
72
77
N e t » .....................................................................................................
I
t
THE PORTRAJT
hy Aldous Huxley
Aldom HuxJcv (1894-1963) is a well-known contemporary English
novelist who is particularly noted for his social fantasies about the future.
He was the son of a well-known biologist Thomas Henry Huxley and a
nephew oi a celebrated literary critic Matthew Arnold. He was getting his
education at Oxford when a serious disease of the eye causing virtual
blindness interrupted his medical studies. On his partial recovery he
completed his degree in English and became a journaUst and drama critic.
For most of the 20ies he lived in Italy writing fiction and there became a
friend of D.H. Lawrence. In 1934 Huxley travelled in Central America and
in 1937 settled permanently in California.
His early novels '’Crome Yellow” (1921), "Antic Hay” (1923) and
"Those Barren Leaves” (1925) are clever, and ironical evocation of the life of
the upper-middle class and the intellectuals. Huxley was greatly fascinated
by the idea of psychological "conditioning” of life, that is by the fear that
the futm e development of science and industry will make it possible to
actually control and change whenever and however necessary the psycho­
logy of every individual and of the masses of people. This fear underlies
much of his fantasy writing particularly "Brave New World” (1932). It is a
horrible and pessimistic picture of the results of the controlled reproduction
of humanity. Later though, it was followed by a less pessimistic continua­
tion "Brave New World Revisited” (1939).
Huxley had a typical English intellectuals' irreconcilable dilemma of
idealizing art and seeing reality as something that may produce nothing but
physicaHy and physiologically disgustful things. This state of mind led him
to the study of mysticism, to the search of the true God.
Besides novels his literary heritage includes a number of collections of
stories and essays on art, literature, science and culture.
The composition of the story you'll read is somewhat unusual: it is a stor/
within a story. The outside story is devoted to a prosaic affair, the inside one is a
romantic love story with a traditional triangle of the old and ugly husband, the
young and handsome lover and the young and flirtatious wife.
But did the inside story really happen or was it cleverly invented for a уету
practical reason? And is there anything in common between these two stories?
1
’’Pictures,” said Mr Bigger; you want to see some pictures?
Well, we have a very interesting mixed exhibition of modern stuff
in our galleries at the moment. French and English, you know.
The customer held up his hanu, shook his head. ”No, no.
Nothing modern for m e ,” he declared, in his pleasant northern
5
English. ” I w ant real pictures, old pictures. R em b ran d t* and Sir
Joshua Reynolds* and th a t sort of thing!”
’’Perfectly.” Mr Bigger nodded. ’’Old Masters. Oh, of course
we deal in the old as well as th e m o d e rn .”
The fact is,” said th e other, ’’th a t I’ve just bought a rath er
large house - a Manor H ouse,” * he added, in impressive tones.
2 Mr Bigger smiled; th ere was an ingenuousness about this
simple-minded fellow which was most engaging. He w ondered
how he had made his m oney. ” A M anor H ouse” . The way he had
said it was really charming. Here was a m an who h ad w orked his
way up from serfdom to th e lordship of a m anor, from th e broad
base of th e feudal pyram id to th e narrow summit. His own history
and all th e history of classes h ad b een implicit in th a t awed proud
emphasis on th e ”M a n o r” . But th e stranger was ru n n in g on; Mr
Bigger could not allow his thoughts to w ander farther.
”In a house of this s ty le ,” h e was saying, ’’an d with a position
like mine to k e ep up, one must have a few pictures. Old Masters,
you know; R em b ran d t and W hat’s-his-name.”
”0 f course,” said Mr Bigger, an ’’Old Master is a symbol of
social superiority.”
’’T h a t’s ju s t,” cried th e other, beam ing, ’’y o u ’ve said just
what I w anted to s a y .”
3 Mr Bigger bowed and smiled. It was delightful to find
someone who took o n e ’s little ironies as sober seriousness.
” 0 f course, we should only n eed Old Masters downstairs in
the reception-room. It would be too m uch of a good thing to have
them in the bedrooms too.”
’’Altogether too m uch of a good th in g ,” Mr Bigger assented.
” As a m atter of fac t,” the Lord of th e M anor w ent on, ” my
daughter —she does a bit of sketching. And very p re tty it is. I’m
having some of h e r things fram ed to h a n g in th e bedrooms. It’s
useful having an artist in th e family. Saves you b u y in g pictures.
But of course, we must have som ething old dow nstairs.”
4 ”I think I have exactly w hat you w a n t.” Mr Bigger got up
and rang th e bell. ”My d au g h ter does a little s k e tc h in g ” - he
pictured a large, blonde, barm aidish personage, thirty-one and
not y et m arried, ru n n in g a bit to seed. His secretary ap p eared at
the door. ’’Bring me th e V enetian portrait. Miss Pratt, th e one in
th e back room. You know which I m e a n .”
’’Y ou’re very snug in h e r e ,” said th e Lord of th e Manor.
’’Business good, 1 h o p e .”
Mr Bigger sighed. ’’T he slu m p ,” h e said. ”V/e art dealers feel
it worse th an an y o n e .”
6
”Ah, the slum p.” The Lord of the Manor chuckled. ”I foresaw
it all the time. Some people seemed to think the good times were
going to last for ever. What fools! I sold out of everything at the
crest of the wave. T h a t’s why I can buy pictures now .”
5 Mr Bigger laughed too. This was the right sort of customer.
”Vlish I’d had an y th in g to sold out during the boom,” he said.
The Lord of the Manor laughed till the tears rolled down his
cheeks. He was still laughing when Miss Pratt reentered the room.
She carried a picture, shieldwise, in her two hands before her.
”Put it on the easel. Miss Pratt,” said Mr Bigger. ’’Now,” he
turned to the Lord of the Manor, ’’what do you think of th a t? ”
6 The picture that stood on the easel before them was a
halflength portrait. Plum-faced, white-skinned, high-bosomed in
her deeply scallopped dress of blue silk, the subject of the picture
seemed a typical Italian lady in th e middle eighteenth century. A
little complacent smile curved the lips, and in one hand she held a
black mask, as though she had just taken it after a day of carni­
val.
7 ’’Very n ic e ,” said the Lord of the Manor; but he added
doubtfully, ”It isn’t very like Rembrandt, is it? It’s all so clear and
bright. G enerally in Old Masters you can never see anything at
all, th e y ’re so dark an d foggy.”
’’Very tr u e ,” said Mr Bigger, ’’but not all Old Masters are like
R em b ran d t.”
”I suppose n o t.” The Lord of the Manor seemed hardly to be
convinced.
’T h is is eighteenth-century Venetian. Their colour was
always luminous, Giangolini was the painter. He died young, you
know. Not more th an a dozen of pictures are known. And this is
o n e .”
The Lord of the Manor nodded: He could appreciate the value
of rarity.
8
’’One notices at a first glance the influence of Longhi,”* Mr
Bigger went on airily. ’’And there is something of the morbidezza* of Rosalba* in th e painting of the face.”
The Lord of the Manor was looking uncomfortably from Mr
Bigger to the picture and from the piclure to Mr Bigger. There is
nothing so embarrassing as to be ialked at by someone possessing
more knowledge than you do. Mr Bigger pressed his advantage.
Curious,” he went on, ’’that one cces nothing of Tiepolo’s
m anner in this. D on’t you think so?”
The Lord of the Manor nodded. His face wore a gloomy
\
expression. The corners of b a b y ’s mouth drooped. One almost
expected him to burst into tears.
7
9 ’’It’s p le a sa n t,” said Mr Bigger, relenting at last, ”to talk to
somebody who really knows about painting. So few people do.
”Well, I c a n ’t say I’ve ever gone into th e subject very deep­
l y ,” said the Lord of th e Manor modestly. ’’But I know what I like
when 1 see it .” His face brightened again, as he felt himself on
safer ground.
”A n a tu ra l instinct,” said Mr Bigger, ’’T h a t’s a very precious
gift, I could see by y o u r face you had it; I could see th a t the
moment you came into th e gallery.
10 The Lord of th e M anor was delighted, ’’Really, n o w ,” he
said. He felt himself growing larger, more im portant.
’’R e a lly ,” he cocked his head critically on one side. ”Yes. I
must say I th in k t h a t ’s a very fine bit of painting. V ery fine. But
th e fact is, I should rath er have liked a more historical piece, if
you know w hat I m ean. Something more ancestor-like, you know.
A portrait of somebody with a story like A nne Boleyn,* or Nell
Gwynn,* or th e D uke of Wellington,* or someone like t h a t .”
’’But, m y dear sir, I was going to tell you. This picture has a
sto ry .” Mr Bigger leaned forward and tapped th e Lord of th e
M anor on th e k n ee. His eyes tw inkled with benevolent and
amused brightness u n d e r his bushy eyebrows. T h ere was a
knowing kindliness in his smile. ”A most rem arkable story is
connected with th e painting of th a t p ic tu re .”
’’You d o n ’t say so?” The Lord of th e M anor raised his e y e ­
brows.
11 Mr Bigger leaned back in his chair. ’’The lady you see
t h e r e ,” h e said, indicating th e portrait with a wave of h a n d ’’was
th e wife of th e fourth Earl Hurtmore. The family is now extinct.
The n in th Earl died only last y ear. I got this picture w hen th e
house was sold up. It’s sad to see the passing of old ancestral
h om es.” Mr Bigger sighed. T he Lord of the M anor looked solemn,
as though he w ent in church. T here was a m om ent’s silence; th en
Mr Bigger w ent on in a changed tone.
”From his portraits, which I have seen, th e fourth Earl seems
to have been a long-faced, gloomy, grey-looking fellow. One can
never imagine him young; h e was th e sort of man who looks
p erm an en tly fifty. His chief interests in life were music and
Roman antiquities. T h e re ’s one portrait of him holding an ivory
flute in h an d and resting the other on a fragm ent of Roman
carving. He spent at least half his life travelling in Italy, looking
for antiques and listening to music. W hen he was about fifty-five
he suddenly decided th a t it was about time to get married. This
was the lady of his choice,” Mr Bigger pointed to th e picture.
8
t
12 ’’His m oney a r d his title must have made up for m any
deficiences. One c a n ’t imagine, from her appearance, that Lady
Hurtmore took a great deal of interest in Roman antiquities. Nor, I
should think, did she care much for th e sciences and history of
music. She liked clothes, she liked society, she liked gambling,
she liked flirting, she liked enjoying herself. It doesn’t seem that
the newly wedded couple got on too well. But still, they avoided
an open breach. A year after the marriage Lord Hurtmore decided
to pay another visit to Italy. T hey reached Venice in the early
autum n. For Lord Hurtmore, Venice m eant unlimited music. It
meant G aluppi’s* daily concerts at the orphanage of the Misericordia.* It m eant Piccinni* at Santa Maria.* In m eant new operas
at the San Moise; it m eant delicious cantatas at a h u n d red ch u r­
ches. It m eant private concerts of amateurs; it m eant Porpora* and
the finest singers in Europe; it m eant Tartini* and the greatest
violinists.
13 For Lady Hurtmore, Venice m eant something rather
different. It m eant gambling at the Ridotto,* masked balls, gay
supperparties, all the delights of the most amusing city in the
world. Living their separate lives, both might have been happy
here in Venice almost indefinitely. But one day Lord Hurtmore
had the disastrous idea of having his wife’s portrait painted.
Young Giangolini was recommended to him as the promising, the
coming painter. Lady Hurtmore began her sittings. Giangolini was
handsome and dashing. Giangolini was young. He had an amoro­
us technique as perfect as his artistic techniques. Lady Hurtmore
would have been more th an hum an if she had been able to resist
him. She was not more than h u m a n .”
14 ”None of us are, e h ? ” The Lord of the Manor dug his
finger into Mr Bigger’s ribs and laughed.
Politely Mr Bigger joined in his mirth; when it subsided, he
went on. ”ln the end th e y decided to run away together across
the border. They would live at Vienna - live on the Hurtmore
family jewels, which the lady would be careful to pack in her
suitcase. T hey were worth upwards of tw enty thousand, the
Hurtmore jewels; and in Vienna, under Maria-Theresa,* one
could live handsom ely on the interest of tw enty th o u san d .”
15 ’’The arrangem ents were ea<:ily made, Giangolini had a
friend who did everything for them - got them passports under an
assumed nam e, hired horses to be in waiting on the mainland,
placed his gondola at their disposal. They decided to flep on the
day of the last silting. The day came. Lord Hurtmore, according to
his usual custom, brought his wife, to Giangolini’s studio in a
'9
gondola, left h e r there, perched on a high-backed m o d e rs throne,
and went off again to listen to G aluppi’s concert at th e Misericordia. It was th e time of full carnival. Even in broad daylight people
went about in masks. Lady Hurtmore wore one of black silk - you
see her holding it, there, in th e portrait. Her hu sb an d , though he
was no reveller and disapproved of carnival ju n k etin g s, preferred
to conform to the grotesque of his neighbours rath er th a n attract
attention to himself by not conform ing.”
16 ’’T he long black cloak, th e three-cornered black hat, th e
long-nosed mask of white paper were th e ordinary attire of every
V enetian gentlem an in these carnival weeks. Lord Hurtm ore did
not care to be conspicuous; he wore th e same. T h e re must have
been som ething richly absurd and incongruous in th e spectacle of
this grave and solemn-faced English milord dressed in th e clow n’s
uniform of a gay V enetian m asker. ‘Pantaloon* in th e clothes of
Pulcinello,’* was how th e lovers described him to one another; the
old dotard of th e eternal comedy dressed up as th e clow n.”
17 Well, this morning, as I have said. Lord Hurtm ore came as
usual in his hired gondola, bringing his lady with him. And she in
her turn was bringing, u n d e r the folds of h e r capacious cloak, a
little leather box w herein, snug on their silken bed, reposed the
Hurtm ore jewels. Seated in th e little cabin of th e gondola th e y
w atched th e churches, th e richly fretted palazzi, th e high mean
houses gliding past them . From u n d e r his P u n c h ’s* mask Lord
H urtm ore’s voice spoke gravely, slowly, im perturably.
’’The learned F ather M attin i,” h e said, ’’has promised to do
me th e honour of coming to dine with us tomorrow. I doubt if a n v
man knows more of musical history th a n he, I will ask you to be at
pains to do him special h o n o u r.”
’’You m ay be sure I will, m y lord.” She could h a rd ly contain
th e laughing ex citem en t th a t bubbled up within her. Tomorrow at
dinner-tim e she would be far aw ay - over th e frontier, beyond
Gorzia, galloping along the V ienna road. Poor old Pantaloon! But
no, she w asn’t in th e least sorry for him. After all, he had his
music, h e h ad his odds and ends of broken marble. U nder her
cloak she clutched th e jewel-case more tightly. How intoxicatingly am using h e r secret was!”
18 Mr Bigger clasped his hands, pressed them dram atically
over his heart. He was enjoying himself. He tu rn e d his long, foxy
nose towards th e Lord of th e Manor, and smiled benevolently.
T he Lord of th e M anor for his part was all attention.
”Well?” h e inquired.
Mr Bigger unclasped his hands, and let them fall on to his
knees.
10
”Well,” he said, ’’the gondola draws up at Giangolini’s door,
Lord Hurtmore helps his wife out, leads her up to the painter’s
great room on th e first floor, commits her into his charge with his
usual polite formula, and th en goes off to hear Galuppi’s morning
concert at the Misericordia. The lovers have a good two hours to
make their final preparations.
19 ’’Old Pantaloon safely out of sight, up pops the painter’s
useful friend, masked and cloaked like every one else in the
streets and on th e canals of this carnaval Venice. There follow
embracements and handshakings and laughter all round; every­
thing has been so marvellously successful, not a suspicion roused.
From u n d er Lady Hurtm ore’s cloak comes the jewel-case. She
opens it, and there are loud Italian exclamations of astonishment
and admiration. The brilliants, the pearls, th e great Hurtmore
emeralds, the ru b y clasps, the diamond ear-rings - all these
bright, glittering things are lovingly exam ined, knowingly
handled. Fifty thousand sequins at the least is the estimate of the
useful friend. The two lovers throw themselves ecstatically into
one a n o th e r’s arms.
20 ”T he useful friend interrupts them; there are still a few
last things to be done. T hey must go and sign for their passports at
the Ministry of Police. Oh, a mere formality; but still it has to be
done. He will go out at the same time and sell one of the lad y ’s
diamonds to provide th e necessary funds for the jo u rn e y .”
Mr Bigger paused to light a cigarette. He blew a cloud of
smoke, and went on.
”So th e y set out, all in their masks and capes, the useful
friend in one direction, th e painter and his mistress in another.
Ah, love in Venice!” Mr Bigger turned up his eyes in ecstasy.
’’Have you ever been in Venice and in love, sir?” he inquired of
the Lord of the Manor.
’’Never farther th an D ieppe,” said the Lord of the Manor,
shaking his head.
21 ”Ah, th e n y o u ’ve missed one of hfe’s great experiences.
You can never fully and completely understand what have been
the sensations of little Lady Hurtmore and the artist as th ey
glided down th e long cannals, gazing at one another through the
eyeholes of their masks. Sometimes, perhaps, th e y kissed though it would have been difficult to do that without unmasking,
and there was always th e danger that someone might have
recognized their n ak ed faces through the windows of their little
cabin. No, on the w hole,” Mr Bigger concluded reflectively, ”I
expect th ey confined themselves to looking at one another. But in
11
\
Venice, drowsing along the canals, one can almost be satisfied
with looking - just looking.”
22 He caressed th e air with his h a n d and let his voice droop
away into silence. He took two or th ree puffs at his cigarette
without saying an y th in g . W hen h e w ent on his voice was very
quiet and even.
23 ’’About half an h o u r after th e y h ad gone, a gondola drew
up at Giangolini’s door an d a m an in a paper mask, w rapped in a
black cloak and wearing on his h ead th e inevitable three-corner­
ed h at, got out an d w ent upstairs to th e p a in te r’s room. It was
em pty. T he portrait smiled sweetly and a little fatuously from the
easel. But no painter stood before it and th e m odel’s th ro n e was
u n te n a n te d . T he long-nosed mask looked about th e room with an
expressionless curiousity. T he w andering glance cam e to rest at
last on th e jewel-case th a t stood w here th e lovers had caressly left
it, open on th e table. Deep-set and d ark ly shadowed beh in d th e
grotesque mask, th e eyes dwelt long an d fixedly on this object.
Long-nosed Pulcinella seem ed to be w rapped in meditation.
sound
24
th e stairs, of two voices laughing together. T he m asker tu rn e d
away to look out of th e window. B ehind him th e door opened
noisily; d ru n k with excitem ent, with gay, laughable irresponsibi­
lity. The lovers burst in.
” Aha, cara amica!* Back already. What with th e diamond?!
T he cloaked figure at th e window did not stir; Giangolini
rattled gaily on. T here h ad been no trouble w hatever ab o u t th e
signatures, no questions asked; h e h ad th e passports in his pocket.
T hey could start at once.
25 ’’Lady Hurtm ore su d d en ly began to laugh uncontrollably;
she co u ld n ’t stop.
’’‘W hat’s th e m atter?’ asked Giangolini, laughing too.
” ‘I was th in k in g ,’ she gasped betw een th e paroxysm of her
mirth, I was th in k in g of old Pantaloon sitting at th e Misericordia,
solemn as an owl, listening, she almost choked, a n d th e words
came out shrill and forced as though she were speaking through
tears - ’listening to old G aluppi’s boring old can tatas’.
26 ’’The m an at th e window tu rn e d round, ’U nfortunately,
m adam ,’ h e said, ’th e learn ed maestro was indisposed this mor­
ning. T h ere was no co n cert.’ He took off his mask. ’And so I took
th e liberty of retu rn in g earlier th a n usual. ’The long grey unsm i­
ling face of Lord Hurtm ore confronted them.
27 ’’T he lovers stared at him for a m om ent speechlessly. T he
Lady Hurtm ore put h e r h an d to h e r heart; it h ad given a fearful
12
jump, and she felt a horrible sensation in the pit of her stomach.
Poor Giangolini had gone as white as his paper mask. Even in
these days of cicisbei,* of official gentlemen friends, there were
cases on record of ontraged and jealous husbands resorting to
homicide. He was unarm ed, but goodness only knew w hat wea­
pons of destruction were concealed under th a t enigmatic black
cloak. But Lord Hurtmore did nothing brutal or undignified.
Gravely and calmly, as he did everything, he walked over to the
table, picked up th e jewel-case, closed it with th e greatest care,
and saying, ‘My box, I th in k ,’ put it in his pocket and walked out
of the room. The lovers were left looking questioningly at one
another.
There was a silence.
28 ”What hap p en ed th e n ? ” asked the Lord of the Manor.
’T h e anti-clim ax,” Mr Bigger replied shaking his head
mournfully. ’’Giangolini had bargained to elope with fifty th o u ­
sand sequins. Lady Hurtmore didn’t on reflection, much relish the
idea of love in a cottage. Woman’s place, she decided at last, is the
home - with the family jewels. But would Lord Hurtmore see the
matter in precisely the same light? T h at was the question, the
alarming, disquieting question. She decided to go and see. She got
back just in time for dinner. ’His Illustrissimous Excellency is
waiting in the dining-room,’ said the majofdomo. The tall doors
were flung open before her; she swam in majestically, chin held
high - but with what a terror in her. soul! Her husband was
standing by the fireplace. He advanced to meet her.
29 ” ’I was expecting you, m adam ,’ he said, and led her to her
place.
"T hat was the only reference he ever made to the incident. In
the afternoon h e sent a servant to fetch the portrait from the
p a in te r’s studio. It formed part of their baggage when, a month
later, th ey set for England. The story has been passed down with
th e picture from one generation to the next. I had it from an old
friend of th e family when I bought the portrait last y e a r .”
30 Mr Bigger threw his cigarette end into the grate. He
flattered himslef that he had told that tale very well.
’Very interesting,’ said the Lord of the Manor, ’’very interes­
ting indeed. Quite historical, isn’t it? One could hardly do better
with Nell G wynn or A nne Boleyn, could o n e ? ”
Mr Bigger smiled vaguely, distantly. He was thinking of
Venice - th e Russian countess staying in his pension, the tufted
free in the courtyard outside his bedroom, then strong, hot scent
she used (it made you catch your breath when you first smelt it),
13
and there was the bathing on th e Lido,* and th e gondola, and the
dome of the salute against th e h azy sky, looking just as it looked
when Guardi* painted it. How enorm ously long ago and far it all
seemed now! He was hardly more th a n a boy th e n , it h ad been his
first great adventure. He woke up with a start from his reverie.
31 The Lord of th e M anor was speaking. ’’How m uch, now,
would you want for p ic tu re ? ” h e asked. His tone was detached,
off-hand; he was a rare one for bargaining.
"Well,” said Mr Bigger, quitting with reluctance th e Russian
countess, the paradisiacal Venice .of five-and-twenty years ago,
”I’ve asked as m ush as a thousand for less im portant works th an
this. But I don’t mind letting this go to you for seven-fifty.”
The Lord of th e M anor whistled, ’’Seven-fifty?” h e repeated.
’’It’s too m u c h .”
’’But my dear sir,” Mr Bigger protested, ’’th in k w hat y o u ’d
have to pay for a R em b ran d t of this size and quality - tw enty
thousand at least. Seven h u n d re d and fifty isn’t at all too much.
On th e contrary, it’s very little considering th e im portance of the
picture y o u ’re getting. You have a good en o u g h judgm ent to see
that this is a very fine work of a r t.”
”0 h . I’m not d en y in g t h a t ,” said th e Lord of th e Manor. ’’All
I say is th a t seven-fifty’s a lot of m oney. Whe-ew! I’m glad my
daughter does sketching. T h in k if I’d had to furnish th e bedrooms
with pictures at seven-fifty a tim e!” He laughed.
32 Mr Bigger smiled, ’’You must also rem em b er,” he said
’’that y o u ’re m aking a very good investment. Late V enetians are
going up. If I had a n y capital to s p a r e - ” The door opened and
Miss P ratt’s blonde and frizzy h ead popped in.
”Mr Crowley wants to know if h e can see you, Mr Bigger.”
Mr Bigger frowned, ’’Tell him to w a it,” he said irritably. He
coughed and tu rn e d back to th e Lord of th e Manor. ”If I h ad any
capital to spare. I’d put it all into late V enetians. Every p e n n y . ”
33
He w ondered, as h e said th e words, how often h e h ad to
people th a t h e ’d put all capital, if h e h ad a n y , into primitives,
cubism, nigger sculpture, Japanese prints...
In th e end th e Lord of th e M anor wrote him a c h e q u e for six
h u n d re d and eighty.
’’You might let me have a typew ritten copy of th e s to ry ,” he
said, as h e put on his hat. ”It would be a good tale to tell o n e ’s
guests at d in n er, don’t you think? I’d like to have th e details
quite correct.”
” 0 h , of course,” said Mr Bigger, ’’the details are most impor­
t a n t .”
14
He ushered the little round man to the door. ’’Good morning.
Good m orning.” He was gone.
34 A tall, pale youth with side whiskers appeared in the
doorway. His eyes w e’’e dark and melancoly; his expression, his
general appearance, were romantic and at th e same time a little
pitiable. It was young Crowley, the painter.
’’Sorry to have kept you waiting,” said Mr Bigger. ”What did
you want to see me for?
Mr Crowley looked embarrassed, he hesitated. How he hated
having to do this sort of thing! ’’The fact is,” he said at last, ”I’m
horribly short of money. I wondered if perhaps you wouldn’t
mind - if it would be convenient to you - to pay me for that thing
I did for you the other day. I’m awfully sorry to bother you like
th is.”
”Not at all, my dear fellow,” Mr Bigger felt sorry for this
wretched creature who didn’t know how to look after himself.
Poor young Crowley was helpless as a baby. ’’How much did we
settle it was to be?
’’Tw enty pounds, I think it was,” said Mr Crowley timidly. Mr
Bigger took out his pocket-book. ”We’ll make it twenty-five,” he
said.
”0 h no, really, I couldn’t. Thanks very m u c h .” Mr Crowley
blushed like a girl. ”I suppose you w ouldn’t like to have a show of
some of my landscapes, would y o u ?” h e asked, emboldened by
Mr Bigger’s air of benevolence.
”T h e re ’s no m oney in modern stuff. But I’ll take an y num ber
of those sham Old Masters of y o u rs.” He drummed with his fingers
on Lady Hurtm ore’s sleeky painted shoulder. ’’Try another
V en etia n ,” he added. ’’This one was a great success.”
THE BOARDING HOUSE
by James Joyce
James Joyce (1882—1941) - an Irish novelist and short-story writer who
is considered to be the founder of English modernism both in form and
ideas. He was bom and educated in Dublin. At the university he began to
distinguish himself academically. He spent some time under Jesuit tutelage
considering the vocation of a priest. Later however he left the college and
then abandoned Roman catholic churrh itself. Instead he chose an artistic
career, he wrote a play which did not survive, did translations, wrote some
literary criticism and began writing some lyric poems, later collected in
15
"Chamber Music” (1907). From 1905 till 1915 Joyce lived in Trieste and
worked as a teacher of English. There he completed "Dubliners”, a collec­
tion of 15 stories he had begun in Dublin. The book was published in 1914
by which tim e he nearly completed his autobiographical novel ”A Portrait of
the Artist as a Young Man”. The novel was published serially in the
magazine ”The Egoist”. By this time he had begun a novel of epic propor­
tions ”Ulysses”. During the First World War he lived in Switzerland where
he worked steadily at "Ulysses”. After the War he moved to Paris which was
to remain his home between the two wars, "Ulysses” was
completed
and published in 1922. In 1923 he began the composition of ”Finnigan*s
Wake” which was to engross the remaining 17 years of his life. Throughout
these years Joyce was suffering from prolonged periods of eye trouble which
were painful, required m ultiple operations and resulted in a nearly comp­
lete blindness. ”Finnigan*s Wake” was published in 1939, in 1940 he moved
again to neutral Switzerland and died there the same year.
Joyce’s writing incorporates the extremes of satire and symbolism.
"Dubliners” developed the more realistic side of his talent. In ”A Port­
rait...” he introduced stream-of-consciousness technique but still it*s a
rather realistic description of life of Stephen Dedalus, "Ulysses” has an
astounding technical virtuosity, each chapter is written in a different style
which is in addition penetrated by complicated symbolism. You get the
impression that the writer was not only telling a story but a large number of
ways that a itory can be told.
He enjoys the reputation of a very able experimentalist who sought
new artistic means and methods that could adequately express new ideas
about man and society.
That search resulted in a most complicated style of writing that still
remains the reading for the elite and that gave birth to a great number of
guides and commentaries which are several tim es greater in volume than
the works of Joyce him self.
The story that follows may be called a character story. The central heroine is
a determined lady and usually has her way. What is interesting though is how
other people turn out to be entangled in her designs and realize that they are being
used when it is too late to change anything.
Another interesting point about the story is that the situations and the
characters are mostly drawn through the memories, thoughts and feelings of the
personages of the story, which later became quite a typical elem ent of the 20th
century literature.
1 Mrs M ooney was a b u tc h e r ’s daughter. She was a woman
who was quite able to k eep things to herself; a determ ined
woman. She h ad m arried her fa th e r’s foreman and opened a
b u tc h e r’s shop n ear Spring Gardens. But as soon as his father-inlaw was dead Mr M ooney began to go to th e devil. He drank,
plundered th e till, ran head-long into debt. It was no use m aking
him take th e pledge: h e was sure to break out again a few days
after. By fighting his wife in th e presence of customers an d by
buying bad m eat he ru in ed his business. One night h e w ent for
his wife with the cleaver and she had to sleep in a n e ig h b o u r’s
house.
16
2 After that th e y lived apart. She went to the priest and got a
separation from him with care of th e children. She would give him
neither m oney nor food nor house-room; and so he was obliged to
enlist himself as a sheriff’s man. He was a shabby stooped little
drunkard with a white face and a white moustache and white
eyebrows, pencilled above his little eyes, which were pink-veined
and raw; and all day long sat in the bailiff’s room, waiting to be
put on a job. Mrs Mooney, who had taken what rem ained of her
m oney out of th e butcher business and set up a boarding house in
Hardwicke Street, was a big imposing woman. Her house had a
floating population made up of tourists from Liverpool and the Isle
of M an and, occasionally, artistes from the music halls. Its resi­
dent population was made up of clerks from the city. She gover­
ned the house cunningly and firmly, knew when to give credit,
w hen to be stern and w hen to let things pass. All the resident
young men spoke of her as The Madam.
3 Mrs M ooney’s young men paid fifteen shillings a week for
board and lodgings (beer or stout at dinner excluded). They
shared common tastes and occupations and for this reason they
were very chum m y with one another. T hey discussed with one
another the chances of favourites and outsiders. Jack Mooney, the
M adam ’s son, who was a clerk to a commission agent in Fleet
Street, h ad th e reputation of being a hard case. He was fond of
using soldiers’ obscenities; usually h e came home in the small
hours. When h e met his friends he had always a good one to tell
them and h e was always sure to be on to a good thing - that is to
say, a likely horse or a likely artiste. He was also h a n d y with the
mitts and sang comic songs. On Sunday nights there would often
be a reunion in Mrs M ooney’s front drawing-room. The music-hall
artistes would oblige; and Sheridan played waltzes and polkas and
vamped accompaniments. Polly Mooney, the M adam’s daughter,
would also sing. She sang;
”Г т a ... naughty girl.
You needn’t sham:
You know I am.”
4 Polly was a slim girl of nin eteen ; she had light soft hair and
a small full mouth. Her eyes, which were grey with a shade of
green through them , had a habit of glancing upwards when she
spoke with anyone, which made her look like a little perverse
m adonna. Mrs M ooney had first sent her daughter to be a typist in
a corn-factor’s office* but, as a disreputable sheriff’s man used to
come every other day to the office, asking to be allowed to say a
17
4
•
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« ...
Jv
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/
word to his daughter, she had ta k e n her d au g h ter hom e again and
set her to do housework. As Polly was very lively th e intention
was to give her the run of the young m en. Besides, young men
like to feel that th ere is a young woman not very far away. Polly,
of course, flirted with th e young m en but Mrs M ooney, who was a
shrewd judge, knew that th e young m en were only passing th e
time away: n o n e of them m ean t business. Things w ent on so for a
long time and Mrs M ooney began to th in k of sending Polly back
to typewriting w hen she noticed th a t som ething was going on
betw een Polly and one of th e young m en. She w atched the pair
and k e p t her own counsel.
5 Polly knew that she was being w atched, but still her
m o th er’s persistent silence could not be misunderstood. There
h ad been no open complicity betw een m other an d daughter, no
open understanding but, though people in th e house began to
talk of th e affair, still Mrs M ooney did not intervene. Polly began
to grow a little strange in her m a n n e r an d th e young man was
evidently perturbed. At last, w hen she ju d g ed it to be th e right
m om ent, Mrs M ooney intervened. She dealt with moral problems
as a cleaver deals with meat: and in this case she h ad m ade up her
mind.
6 It was a bright S u n d a y morning of early summer, promising
heat, but with a fresh breeze blowing. All th e windows' of th e
boarding house were open and th e lace curtains ballooned gently
towards th e street b e n e a th th e raised sashes. T he belfry of
George’s Church sent out constant peals and worshippers, singly
or in groups, traversed th e little circus before th e church, reveal­
ing their purpose by their self-contained d em ean o u r no less th an
by th e little volumes in their gloved hands.
7 Breakfast was over in th e boarding house an d th e table of
th e breakfast-room was covered with plates on which lay yellow
streaks of eggs with morsels of bacon-fat and bacon-rind. Mrs
M ooney sat in th e straw arm-chair and w atched th e servant M ary
remove th e breakfast things. She m ade M ary collect th e crusts
and pieces of broken bread to help to m ake T u e sd a y ’s bread-pudding.
8 W hen the table was cleared, th e broken bread collected, th e
sugar and b u tter safe u n d e r lock and k e y , she began to recon­
struct th e interview which she had had the n ig h t before with
Polly. Things were as she h ad suspected: she had been frank in
her questions an d Polly h ad been frank in her answers. Both had
been som ew hat aw kw ard, of course. She h ad been made awkward
by her not wishing to receive th e news in too cavalier a fashion or
18
t
to seem tc have connived and Polly had been made awkward not
merely because allusions of th a t kind always made her awkward
but also because she did not wish it to be thought that in her wise
innocence she had divined the intention behind her m other’s
tolerance.
9
Mrs Mooney glanced instinctively at the little gilt clock on
the mantelpiece as soon as she had become aware through her
revery th a t th e bells of George’s Church had stopped ringing. It
was seventeen minutes past eleven: she would have lots of time to
have the matter out with Mr Doran and th en catch short twelve at
Marlborough Street. She was sure she would win. To begin with
she had all th e weight of social opinion on her side; she was an
outraged mother. She had allowed him to live beneath her roof,
assuming th a t h e was a man of honour, and he had simply abused
her hospitality. He was thirty-four or thirty-five years of age, so
that youth could not be pleaded as his excuse; nor could igno­
rance be his excuse since he was a man who had seen something
of the world. He h ad simply taken advantage of Polly’s youth and
inexperience; th a t was evident. The question was; What repara­
tion would he make?
10 T here must be reparation made in such case. It is all very
well for th e man; he can go his way as if nothing had happened,
having had his moment of pleasure, but the girl has to bear the
brunt. Some mothers would be content to patch up such an affair
for a sum of money; she had know n cases of it. But she would not
do so. For her only reparation could make up for the loss of her
d a u g h te r’s honour; marriage.
11 She counted all her cards again before sending Mary up to
Mr D oran’s room to say that she wished to speak with him. She
felt sure she would win. He was a serious young man, not rakish
or loud-voiced like the others. If it had been Mr Sheridan or Mr
Meade or Bantam Lyons her task would have been much harder.
She did not th in k he would face publicity. All the lodgers in the
house knew something of the affair; details had been invented by
some. Besides, he had been employed for thirteen years in a great
Catholic w ine-m erchant’s office and publicity would mean for
him, perhaps, the loss of his job. Whereas if he agreed all might be
weU. She knew he had a good screw for one thing and she sus­
pected he had a bit of stuff put by.
12 Nearly the half-hour! She stood up and surveyed herself in
the pier-glass. The decisive expression of her great florid face
satisfied her and she thought of some mothers she knew who
could not get their daughters off their hands.
13 Mr Doran was very anxious indeed this S u n d a y morning.
He had made two attem pts to shave but his h a n d had been so
u n stead y th a t he had been obliged to desist. T hree d ay s’ reddish
beard fringed his jaws and every two or th ree m inutes a mist
gathered on his glasses so th a t h e h ad to ta k e them off an d polish
them with his pocket-handkerchief. T he recollection of his
confession of th e night before was a cause of acute pain to him;
th e priest had draw n out every ridiculous detail of the affair and
in the en d had so magnified his sin th a t h e was almost th an k fu l
at being afforded a loophole of reparation.
14 The harm was done. What could he do now but m arry her
or ru n away? He could not brazen it out. T he affair would be sure
to be talked of and his em ployer would be certain to h e a r of it.
Dublin is such a small city; everyone knows everyone else’s
business. He felt his h eart leap warmly in his throat as he heard in
his excited imagination old Mr Leonard calling out in his rasping
voice: ’’Send Mr Doran h e re , p lease.”
15 All his long years of service gone for nothing! All his
industry an d diligence throw n away! As a young man he had
sown his wild oats*, of course; he had boasted of his free-thinking
and denied th e existence of God to his companions in public-houses. But th a t was all passed an d done with... nearly. He still
bought a copy of R e y n o ld ’s Newspaper* every w eek but he
atten d ed to his religious duties and for nine-tenths of th e year
lived a regular life. He h a d m oney en o u g h to settle down on; it
was not that. But th e family would look down on her. First of all
th ere was his disreputable father and th e n h e r m o th er’s boarding
house was beginning to get a certain fame. He h ad a notion that
he was being had. He could imagine his friends talking of the
affair and laughing. She was a little vulgar; sometimes she said ” f
s e e n ” and ” If I h a d ’ve k n o w n ” . But w hat would grammar m atter
if h e really loved her? He could not m ake up his mind w h eth er to
like her or despise her for w hat she h ad done. Of course h e had
done it too. His instinct urged him to rem ain free, not to marry.
Once you are m arried you are done for, it said.
16 While h e was sitting helplessly on the side of th e bed in
shirt and trousers she tapped lightly at his door and en tered . She
told him all, th a t she h a d m ade a clean breast of it to her m other
and th a t h e r m other would speak with him th a t morning. She
cried and threw her arms round his neck, saying:
”0 Bob! Bob! W hat am I to do? What am 1 to do at all?”
She would p u t an end to herself, she said.
He comforted h e r feebly, telling her not to cry, th a t it would
20
be all right, never fear. He felt against his shirt the agitation of
her bosom.
17 It was not altogether his fault that it had happened. He
remembered well, with the curious patient memory of the celiba­
te, the first casual caresses her dress, her breath, her fingers had
given him. Then late c n e night as he was undressing for bed she
had tapped at his door, timidly. She w anted to relight her candle
at his for hers had been blown out by a gust. It was her bath
night. She wore a loose open combing jacket of printed flannel.
Her white instep shone in the opening of her furry slippers and
th e blood glowed warmly behind her perfumed skin. From her
hands and wrists too as she lit and steadied her candle a faint
perfume arose.
18 On nights when he came in very late it was she who war­
med up his dinner. He scarecely knew what he was eating feeling
her beside him alone, at night, in th e sleeping house. And her tho­
ughtfulness! If th e night was an y w ay cold or wet or windy there
was sure to be a little tumbler of punch ready for him. Perhaps
th ey could be h a p p y together...
19 T h ey used to go upstairs together on tiptoe, each with a
candle, and on th e third landing exchange reluctant good-nights.
They used to kiss. He rem em bered well her eyes, the touch of her
h an d and his delirium...
20 But delirium passes. He echoed her phrase, applying it to
himself: ”What am I to do?” The instinct of the celibate warned
him to hold back. But the sin was there; even his sense of honour
told him that reparation must be made for such a sin.
21 While he was sitting with her on the side of the bed Mary
came to th e door and said that the missus wanted to see him in the
parlour. He stood up to put on his coat and waistcoat, more
helpless th an ever. When he was dressed h e went over to her to
comfort her. It would be all right, never fear. He left her crying on
the bed and moaning softly: ”0 my God!”
22 Going down th e stairs his glasses became so dimmed with
moisture th a t he had to take them off and polish them. He longed
to ascend through the roof and fly away to another country where
he would never hear again of his trouble, and yet a force pushed
him downstairs step by step. The implacable faces of his employer
and of th e Madam stared upon his discomfiture. On the last flight
of stairs he passed Jack Mooney who was coming up from the
p an try nursing two bottles of Bass. They saluted coldly; and the
lover’s eyes rested for a second or two on a thick bulldog face and
a pair of thick short arms. When he reached the fool of the
21
staircase h e glanced up and saw Jack regarding him from th e door
of the return-room.
23 Suddenly h e rem em bered th e night w hen one of the
music-hall artistes, a little blond Londoner, had m ade a rath er free
allusion to Polly. The reunion h a d been almost broken up on
account of Ja c k ’s violence. Everyone tried to quiet him. The
music-hall artiste, a little paler th a n usual, k ep t smiling and
saying th a t there was no harm m eant: b u t Jack k e p t shouting at
him that if a n y fellow tried th a t sort of a game on with his sister
h e ’d bloody well p u t his te e th down his throat, so h e would.
24 Polly sat for a little time on th e side of the bed, crying.
T hen she dried her eyes and w ent over to the looking-glass. She
dipped th e end of the towel in th e water-jug and refreshed her
eyes with th e cool water. She looked at herself in profile and
readjusted a hairpin above her ear. T h en she w ent back to the
bed again and sat at the foot. She regarded the pillows for a long
time and the sight of them aw ak en ed in her m ind secret, amiable
memories. She rested th e n a p e of her neck against the cool iron
bed-rail and fell into a revery. T h ere was no longer a n y p e rtu r­
bation visible on her face.
She waited on patiently, almost cheerfully, w ithout alarm,
her memories gradually giving place to hopes and visions of the
future. Her hopes and visions were so intricate th a t she no longer
saw the white pillows on which her gaze was fixed or rem em bered
that she was waiting for an y th in g .
At last she heard her m other calling. She started to her feet
and ran to the banisters.
“ Polly! Polly!”
“ Yes, m am m a?”
“ Come down, dear. Mr Doran wants to speak to y o u .”
T hen she rem em bered w hat she had been waiting for.
THE ROCKING-HORSE WINNER
by D.H. Lawrence
D.H. Lawrence (1885—1930) — a novelist and a poet who influenced a
great deal the development of the English literature of the 20th century. He
was born in Nottinghamshire in the family of a minor, whose wife was a
former schoolteacher. His childhood and green years and later his outlook
was notably coloured by the conficts in the family that were brought on by
the contradictory interests of his parents: the father’s powerful working
22
character and his mother’s restless aspirations to social and moral
refinement. Another important factor that influenced his outlook a great
deal was the clashing of industrialization with the older agricultural life. In
1898 Lawrence won a scholarship to the Boys’ High School in Nottingham
and finally after some years of work and studies he became a qualified
teacher in 1908. In 1911 he published his first novel ”The White Peacock”.
This book and the two which followed it in 1912 ”The Trespasser” and in
1913 "Sons and Lovers” introduced a number of themes and ideas that the
writer later developed in all his other works: a man should live and actually
lives by instinct and impulse rather than by conscious mind; that every man
suffers from some unfulfilled ambition; that man
becomes morally de­
stroyed and provincial life becomes physically ruined by industrialization.
“Sons and Lovers” can also be read as a solid evocation of working class life.
Lawrence and his wife who was German by nationality were in
England when the First World War broke out and Lawrence opposed it.
They were subjected to local persecution and finally expelled from the
country. After 1919 Lawrence travelled a lot looking for a place to settle in.
He visited Sardinia, Ceylon and Australia. In 1922 he went to Mexico, New
York and London. In 1923 he wrote a novel "Kangaroo” which is largely
autobiographical. From 1926 he lived mainly in Italy. His later novels are
coloured with mysticism, symbolism and ideas of God.
His last novel ”Lady Chatterley*s Lover” (1928) was very much
criticized and actually banned from publication for its being overloaded
with sex.
Besides noveh Lawrence published some collections of short stories,
several volumes of poetry and some plays which have recently been revived
on the stage successfully. He was also doing some painting.
The plot of the story ”The Rocking-Horse Winner” seems to be quite extraor­
dinary — a little boy developing the power to foretell things.
But such an improbable plot serves to emphasize quite real aspects of life —
happiness and luck are often equated with money and the impact of the power of
money on the vulnerable soul of a child may be really disastrous.
1
There was a woman who was beautiful, who started with
all the advantages, y e t she had no luck. She married for love, and
the love tu rn ed to dust. She had bonny children, y et she felt th ey
had been thrust upon her, and she could not love them. They
looked at her coldly, as if th ey were finding fault with her. And
hurriedly she felt she must cover up some fault in herself. Yet
what it was that she must cover up she never knew. Nevertheless,
w hen her children were present, she always felt the center of her
h eart go hard. This troubled her, and in her m anner she was all
th e more gentle and anxious for her children, as if she loved them
very much. Only she herself knew that at the center of her heart
was a hard little place that could not feel love, no, not for a n y ­
body. Everybody else said of her: ’’She is such a good mother. She
adores her children. ’’Only she herself, and her children them ­
selves, knew it was not so. T hey read it in each o th e r’s eyes.
23
2 T here were a boy and two little girls. T h ey lived in a
pleasant house, with a garden, and th ey had discreet servants,
and felt themselves superior to a n y o n e in th e neighborhood.
3 Although th ey lived in style, th e y felt always an a n x ie ty in
the house. There was never enough m oney. The mother had a
small income, and th e father had a small income, b u t not n early
enough for the social position which th ey had to k eep up. The
father went in to town to some office. But though h e h a d good
prospects, these prospects never materialized. T here was always
the grinding sense of th e shortage of m oney, though th e style was
always kept up.
4 At last the mother said: ”1 will see if I c a n ’t m ake some­
th in g .” But she did not know w here to begin. She racked her
brains, and tried this thing and then other, but could not find
an y th in g successful. The failure made deep lines come into her
face. Her children were growing up, th e y would have to go to
school. There must he more m oney, th ere must be more m oney.
The father, who was always very handsom e an d expensive in his
tastes, seemed as if h e never would be able to do a n y th in g worth
doing. And the m other, who had a great belief in herself, did not
succeed a n y bc;tter, and h e r tastes were just as expensive.
5 And so the house came to be h a u n te d by th e unsp o k en
phrase: T h ere must be more money! T here must be more money!
The children could hear it all the time, though nobody said it
aloud. T h ey heard it at Christmas, w hen th e expensive- and
splendid toys filled the nursery. Behind the shining modern
rocking-horse, beh in d the smart doll’s-house, a voice would start
whispering: ’’T h ere must be more money! T h ere must be more
m oney!” And th e children would stop playing, to listen for a
moment. T hey would look into each o th e r’s eyes, to see if th e y
had all heard. And each one saw in th e eyes of th e other two th a t
th e y too h ad heard. ’’T h ere must be more money! T h e re must be
more m o n ey !”
6 It came whispering from th e springs of th e still-swaying
rocking-horse, and even th e horse, bending his wooden, cham ping
head, heard it. T he big doll, sitting so pink and smirking in her
new pram, could h ear it quite plainly, and seemed to be smirking
all th e more self-consciously because of it. T he foolish p u p p y , too,
th a t took th e place of the teddy-bear, he was looking so ex trao r­
dinarily foolish for no other reason but th a t h e heard th e secret
whisper all over th e house: ’’T h ere must be more m o n ey !”
7 Yet nobody ever said it aloud. T he whisper was everyw here,
and therefore no one spoke it. Just as no one ever say<:: ”We are
24
breathibg!” in spite of the fact that breath is coming and going all
the time.
8
’’M other,” said the boy Paul one day, ’’why don’t we keep a
car of our own? Why do we always use u n cle’s, or else a taxi?
>r
Because w e’re the poor members of the fam ily,” said the
mother.
’’But w hy are we, m o th er? ”
”Well - I suppose,” she said slowly and bitterly, ’’it’s because
your father has no luck.
The boy was silent for some time.
”Is luck m oney, m o th er?” he asked, rather timidly.
”No, Paul. Not quite. It’s what causes you to have m o n ey .”
”0 h ! ” said Paul vaguely. ”I thought when Uncle Oscar said
filthy lucker, it m eant m o n e y .”
’’Filthy lucre does mean m o n e y ,’' said the mother. ’’But it’s
lucre, not lu c k .”
”0 h ! ” said th e boy. ’’Then w hat is luck, m other?”
’’It’s what causes you to have money. If y o u ’re lucky you
have m oney. T h a t’s w hy it’s better to be born lucky than rich. If
y o u ’re rich, you may lose your money. But if y o u ’re lucky, you
will always get more m o n e y .”
”0 h ! Will you? And is father not lucky?
Very u n lu ck y , I should s a y ,” she said bitterly.
The boy watched her with unsure eyes.
W hy?” h e asked.
”I don’t know. Nobody ever knows why one person is lucky
and another u nlucky.
Don’t they? Nobody at all? Does nobody know ?”
Perhaps God. But He never tells.”
He ought to, then. And a re n ’t you lucky either, mother?
”I c a n ’t be, if I married an u n lu c k y husband.
’’But by yourself, a re n ’t y o u ? ”
55
I used to th in k I was, before I married. Now I think I am very
55
u n lu c k y indeed.
”W hy?”
”Well - never mind! Perhaps I’m not really ,” she said.
The child looked at her, to see if she m eant it. But he saw, by
th e lines of her m outh, that she was only trying to hide something
from him.
”Well, a n y h o w ,” he said stoutly, ”I’m a lucky person.”
”W hy?” said his mother, with a sudden laugh.
He stared at her. He didn’t even know w hy he had said it.
”God told m e ,” he asserted, brazening it out.
25
” I hope He did, dear!” she said, again with a laugh, but
rather bitter.
”He did, m other!”
"E xcellent!” said th e m other, using one of h e r h u s b a n d ’s
exclamations.
9 T he boy saw she did not believe him; or, rath er, that she
paid no attention to his assertion. This angered him somewhat,
and made him w ant to compel her attention.
He w ent off by himself, vaguely, in a childish way, seeking
for the clue to ”lu c k ” . Absorbed, taking no h eed of other people
he w ent about with a sort of stealth*, seeking inw ardly for luck.
He w anted luck, he w anted it, h e w anted it. W hen th e two girls
were playing dolls in th e n u rsery , he would sit on his big rockinghorse, charging m adly into space, with a frenzy th a t m ade the
little girls peer at him uneasily. Wildly th e horse careened, the
waving dark hair of th e boy tossed, his eyes had a strange glare in
them. The little girls dared not speak to him.
10 W hen he h ad ridden to th e en d of his mad little jo u rn e y ,
he climbed down and stood in front of his rocking-horse, staring
fixedly into its lowered face. Its red m outh was slightly open, its
big eye was wide an d glassy-bright.
Now!” h e would silently command th e snorting steed. ”Now,
tak e me to w here th e re is luck! Now tak e m e!”
And he would slash th e horse on the n eck with th e little
whip he h ad asked Uncle Oscar for. He k n ew th e horse could tak e
him to w here th ere was luck, if only h e forced it. So h e would
m ount again, and start on his furious ride, hoping at last to get
there. He knew he could get there.
11 "Y ou’ll break your horse, Paul!” said th e nurse.
”H e’s always riding like that! I wish h e ’d leave off!” said his
elder sister Joan.
down
up. She could m ake nothing of him. Anyhow h e was growing
beyond her.
12 One day his m other and his Uncle Oscar came in w hen h e
was on one of his furious rides. He did not speak to them .
Hallo, you young jockey! Riding a w in n e r? ” said his uncle.
A re n t’t you growing too big for a rocking-horse? Y o u ’re not
a very little boy a n y longer, you k n o w ,” said his m other.
But Paul only gave a blue glare from his big, ra th e r close-set
eyes. He would speak to nobody w hen h e was in full tilt*. His
m other w atched him with an anxious expression on her face.
13 At last h e suddenly stopped forcing his horse into the
m echanical gallop, and slid down26
”^ е Ч , I got th ere!” he announced fiercely, his blue eyes still
flaring, t'nd his sturdy long legs straddling apart.
"Where did you get to?” asked his mother.
"Where I w anted to go,” he flared back at her.
’T h a t ’s right, son!” said Uncle Oscar. ’’Don’t you stop till you
get there. W hat’s the horse’s n am e?”
”He doesn’t have л n a m e ,” said the boy.
’’Gets on w ithout all right?” asked the uncle.
”Well, he has different names. He was called Sansovino last
w e e k .”
’’Sansovino, eh? Won the Ascot*. How did you know his
nam e?”
”He always talks about horse-races with Bassett,” said Joan.
14
The uncle was delighted to find that his small nephew was
posted with all the racing news. Bassett, the young gardener, who
had been w ounded in the left foot in the war and had got his
present job through Oscar Cresswell, whose batm an he had been,
was a perfect blade of th e ’’tu rf” .* He lived in the racing events,
and the small boy lived with him.
Oscar Cresswell got it all from Bassett.
Master Paul comes and asks me, so I c a n ’t do more th an tell
him, sir,” said Bassett, his face terribly serious, as if he were
speaking of religious matters.
And does he ever put an y th in g on a horse h e fancies?
”Well - I don’t want to give him away - h e ’s a young sport, a
fine sport, sir. Would you mind asking him himself? He sort of
takes a pleasure in it, and perhaps h e ’d feel I was giving him
away, sir, if you d o n ’t mind.
Bassett was serious as a church.
15 The uncle w ent back to his nephew , and took him off for a
ride in th e car.
’’Say, Paul, old man, do you ever p u t an y th in g on a horse?”
th e uncle asked.
T he boy w atched th e handsome man closely.
”Why, do you think I o u g h tn ’t to?” he parried.
’’Not a bit of it! I thought perhaps you might give me a tip for
th e Lincoln.”
16 The car sped on into the country, going down to Uncle
Oscar’s place in Hapshire.
’’Honor b right?”* said the nephew .
’’Honor bright, son!” said the uncle.
”Well, then, Daffodil.”
’’Daffodil! I doubt it, sonny. What about M irza?”
yy
yy
27
”I only know th e w in n e r,” said th e boy. ’’T h a t’s Daffodil.”
’’Daffodil, e h ? ”
T here was a pause. Daffodil was an obscure horse com para­
tively.
’’Uncle!
Yes, son?
You w on’t let it go an y further, will you? I promised Bas­
se tt.”
’’Bassett be dam ned, old man! W hat’s h e got to do with it? ”
”We’re partners. W e’ve been partners from the first. Uncle,
h e lent me my first five shillings, which I lost. I promised him,
honor bright, it was only betw een me and him; only you gave me
th a t ten-shilling note 1 started winning with, so I th o u g h t you
were lucky. You w on’t let it go a n y further, will y o u ? ”
17
The boy gazed at his uncle from those big, hot, blue eyes,
set rath er close together. T he uncle stirred an d laughed uneasily.
’’Right you are, son! I’ll k eep your tip private. Daffodil, eh?
How m uch are you p utting on him ?”
’’All ex cep t tw en ty p o u n d s,” said th e boy. ”I k eep th a t in
reserve.”
The uncle th o u g h t it a good joke.
’’You k eep tw enty pounds in reserve, do you, you young
rom ancer? What are you betting, th e n :
I’m betting th ree h u n d r e d ,” said th e boy gravely. ’’But it’s
>9
betw een you and me. Uncle Oscar! Honor bright?
The uncle burst into a roar of laughter.
’’It’s betw een you and me all right, you young Nat C o u ld * ,”
he said, laughing. ’’But w h e re ’s your three h u n d r e d ? ”
Bassett keeps it for me. We’re p a rtn e rs.”
You are, are you! And w hat is Bassett p utting on Daffodil?”
He w on’t go quite as high as I do, I expect. Perhaps h e ’ll go
a h u n d re d and fifty.
”What, p e n n ie s? ” laughed th e uncle.
’’Pounds,” said the child, with a surprised look at his uncle.
Bassett keeps a bigger reserve th a n I do.
18
Between wonder an d am usem ent Uncle Oscar was silent
He pursued the m atter no further, but h e determ ined to tak e his
nephew with him to th e Lincoln races.
’’Now, so n ,” he said, ” I’m putting tw enty on Mirza, an d Г11
p u t five for you on a n y horse you fancy. W hat’s your pick?
’’Daffodil, u n c le .”
”No, not th e fiver on Daffodil!”
”I should if it was my own fiver,” said th e child.
yy
yy
yy
28
Gcod! Good! Right you are! A fiver for me and a fiver for
you on Daffodil.
19 The child had never been to a race-meeting before, and his
eyes were blue fire. He pursed his m outh tight, and watched. A
Frenchm an just in front had put his m oney on Lancelot. Wild with
excitem ent, h e flayed his arms up and down, yelling ’’Lancelot!
Lancelot!” in his French accent.
20 Daffodil came in first, Lancelot second, Mirza third. The
child, flushed and with eyes blazing, was curiously serene. His
uncle brought him four five-pound notes, four to one.
”What am I to do with these?” he cried, waving them before
the boy’s eyes.
1 suppose w e’ll talk to Bassett,” said the boy. ”I expect I
have fifteen h u n d re d now; and tw enty in reserve; and this
tw e n ty .”
His uncle studied him for some moments.
”Look here, son!” he said. ’’You’re not serious about Bassett
and th a t fifteen h u n d red , are y o u ? ”
’T e s , I am. But it’s betw een you and me, uncle. Honor
bright!
”Honor bright all right, son! But 1 must talk to Bassett.”
If y o u ’d like to be a partner, uncle, with Bassett and me, we
would all be partners. Only, y o u ’d have to promise, honor bright,
uncle, not to let it go beyond us three. Bassett and I are lucky,
and you must be lucky, because it was your ten shillings 1 start­
ed winning with.
21 Uncle Oscar took both Bassett and Paul into Richmond
Park for an afternoon, and there th e y talked.
’’It’s like this, you see, sir,” Bassett said. ’’Master Paul would
get me talking about racing events, spinning yarns*, you know,
sir. And h e was always keen on knowing if I’d made or if I’d lost.
It’s about a y ear since, now, th a t I put five shillings on Blush of
Dawn for him - and we lost. T hen the luck turned, with th a t ten
shillings h e h ad from you, that we put on Singhalese. And since
that time, it’s been pretty steady, all things considering. What do
you say, Master Paul?”
22 ”We’re ail right when w e’re s u re ,” said Paul. ’’It’s when
w e’re not quite sure that we go dow n.”
”0 h , but w e’re careful th e n ,” said Bassett.
’’But w hen are you su re?” smiled Uncle Oscar.
’’It’s Master Paul, sir” said Bassett, in a secret, religious voice.
’’It’s as if he had it from heaven. Like Daffodil, now, for the
Lincoln. T hat was as sure as eggs.” *
yy
29
’’Did you put a n y th in g on Daffodil?” asked Oscar Cresswell.
”Yes, sir. I m ade my b it.”
’’And my n e p h e w ? ”
Bassett was obstinately silent, looking at Paul.
”I made twelve h u n d re d , d id n ’t I, Bassett? I told uncle 1 was
putting th ree h u n d re d on Daffodil.
’’T h a t’s rig h t,” said Bassett, nodding.
’’But w h e re ’s th e m o n e y ? ” asked th e uncle.
”I keep it safe locked up, sir. Master Paul he can have it a n y
m inute he likes to ask for it.
”What, fifteen h u n d re d p o u n d s?”
’’And twenty! And forty, th a t is, with th e tw en ty he made on
th e course.
It’s am azing!” said th e uncle.
If Master Paul offers you to be partners, sir, I would, if I
were you; if y o u ’ll excuse m e ,” said Bassett.
Oscar Cresswell th o u g h t about it.
”Г11 see th e m o n e y ,” h e said.
23 T h ey drove hom e again, an d sure enough, Bassett came
round to th e garden-house with fifteen h u n d re d pounds in notes.
The tw en ty pounds reserve was left with Joe Glee, in th e Turf
Commission deposit.
’’You see, it’s all right, uncle, w hen I’m sure! T h en -w e go
strong, for all w e’re worth. D on’t we, Bassett?”
”We do that. Master P au l.”
” And w hen are you s u re ? ” said th e uncle, laughing.
”0 h , well, sometimes I’m absolutely sure, like about Daffo­
dil,” said th e boy; ’’and sometimes I have an idea; and sometimes
I h a v e n ’t even an idea, have I, Bassett? T h en w e’re careful,
because we mostly go d o w n .”
’’You do, do you! And w hen y o u ’re sure, like about Daffodil,
w hat m akes you sure, so n n y ? ”
” 0 h , well, I don’t k n o w ,” said th e boy uneasily. ”I’m sure,
you know , uncle, t h a t ’s a ll.”
’’It’s as if h e had it from heaven, sir,” Bassett reiterated.
”I should say so!” said th e uncle.
24 But he becam e a p artner. And w hen th e Leger was coming
on, Paul was ’’s u re ” about Lively Spark, which was a quite
inconsiderable horse. T he boy insisted on p utting a thousand on
th e horse, Bassett went for five h u n d re d , and Oscar Cresswell two
h u n d red . Lively Spark cam e in first, and th e betting h ad b een ten
to one against him. Paul h a d m ade ten thousand.
You, s e e ,” h e said, ”I was absolutely sure of h im .”
4
30
E \e n Oscar Cresswell had cleared two thousand.
”Look here, son,” he said, ’’this sort of thing makes me
nervous.
У9
It n e e d n ’t, uncle! Perhaps I s h a n ’t be sure again for a long
time.
yy
But what are you going to do with your m oney?” asked the
uncle.
”0 f course,” said th e boy, ”I started it for mother. She said
she had no luck, because father is u nlucky, so I thought if I was
lucky, it might stop whispering.”
”What might stop whispering?”
”Our house. I hate our house for whispering.”
”What does it whisper?”
”Why - w h y ,” the boy fidgeted, ”why, I don’t know. But it’s
always short of m oney, you know, uncle.
T
I know it, son, I know it.
’’You know people send m other writs, don’t you, u n c le ? ”
”I’m afraid I do,” said th e uncle.
”And th en the house whispers, like people laughing at you
behind your back. It’s awful, th a t is! I thought if I was lu c k y ...”
’’You might stop it ,” added the uncle.
25 The boy watched him with big blue eyes, that had an
u n c a n n y cold fire in them, and he said never a word.
"Well, th e n !” said the uncle. ”What are we doing?
”I shouldn’t like mother to know I was lu c k y ,” said the boy.
’TVhy not, son?”
'She’d stop m e .”
I don’t th in k she w ould.”
Oh!” - and the boy writhed in an odd way - ”I don’t want
her to know, uncle.
’’All right, son! We’ll m anage it without her know ing.”
26 T hey m anaged it very easily. Paul, at the o th er’s sugges­
tion, h an d ed over five thousand pounds to his uncle, who deposit­
ed it with the family lawyer, who was then to inform Paul’s
mother that a relative had put five thousand pounds into his
hands, which sum was to be paid out a thousand pounds at a time,
on th e m o th er’s birthday, for the n e x t five years.
”So sh e ’ll have a birthday present of a thousand pounds for
five successive y e a rs,” said Uncle Oscar. ”I hope it won’t make it
all the harder for her la te r.”
27 Paul’s mother had her birthday in November, The house
had been ’’w hispering” worse th an ever lately, and, even in spite
of his luck, Paul could not bear up against it. He was very anxious
yy
yyt
lA
yy
yy
yy
yy
yy
31
to see the effect of the b irthday letter, telling his m other about
the thousand pounds.
When there were no visitors, Paul now took, his meals with his
parents, as h e was beyond th e n u rse ry control. His m other went
into town every day. She h ad discovered th a t she h ad an odd
k n ack of sketching furs and dress materials, so she worked secret­
ly in the studio of a friend who was the chief ’’artist” for th e lead­
ing drapers. She drew th e figures of ladies in furs and ladies in
silk and sequins for th e new spaper advertisements. This young
woman artist earned several thousand pounds a y ear, but P aul’s
m other only m ade several h u n d red s, and was again dissatisfied.
She so w anted to be first in something, and she did not succeed,
even in m aking sketches for drapery advertisements.
28 She was down to breakfast on th e morning of her birthday.
Paul w atched her face as she read her letters. He k n ew the
law yer’s letter. As his m other read it, h e r face h a rd e n e d and
became more expressionless. T h en a cold, determ ined look came
on her m outh. She hid th e letter u n d er th e pile of others, and said
not a word about it.
29 ’’D idn’t you have a n y th in g nice in the post for your
birthday, m o th er?” said Paul.
’’Quite m oderately n ic e ,” she said, her voice cold and absent.
She w ent aw ay to town w ithout saying more.
30 But in th e afternoon Uncle Oscar appeared. He said Paul’s
m other h ad h ad a long interview with th e lawyer, asking if the
whole five thousand could not be advanced at once, as she was in
debt.
’’W hat do you th in k , u n c le ? ”
” I leave it to you, so n .”
” 0 h , let her have it, then! We can get some more with th e
o th e r,” said th e boy.
” A bird in th e h a n d is worth two in th e bush, laddie!” said
Uncle Oscar.
’’But I’m sure to know for th e G rand National; or th e Lincoln­
shire; or else th e D erby. I’m sure to know for one of th e m ,” said
Paul.
31 So Uncle Oscar signed th e agreem ent, and P aul’s m other
touched th e whole five thousand. T hen som ething very curious
h ap p en ed . T he voices in th e house suddenly w ent mad, like a
chorus of frogs on a spring evening. T h ere were certain new
furnishings, and Paul had a tutor. He was really going to Eton, his
fa th e r’s school, in th e following a u tu m n . T here were flowers in
the winter, and a blossoming of th e lu x u ry P aul’s m other had
32
been ised to. And yet the voices in the house, behind the sprays
of min.osa and almond blossom, and from under the piles of
iridesceLt cushions, sipmly trilled and screamed in a sort of
ecstasy. There must be more money! Oh-h-hj there must be more
money. Oh, now, now-w! - Now-w-w- there must be more money!
- more th an ever! More than ever!”
32 It frightened Paul terribly. He studied away at his Latin
and Greek with his tutors. But his intense hours were spent with
Bassett. The Grand National had gone by: he had not ’’k n o w n ”,
and had lost a h u n d re d pounds. Summer was at hand. He was in
agony for the Lincoln. But even for the Lincoln he didn’t ’’k n o w ” ,
and h e lost fifty pounds. He became wild-eyed and strange, as if
something were going to explode in him.
’’Let it alone, son! Don’t bother about it!” urged Uncle Oscar.
But it was as if th e boy couldn’t really hear what his uncle was
saying.
’’I’ve got to know for the Derby! I’ve got to know for the
D erby!” the child reiterated, his big blue eyes blazing with a sort
of madness.
33 His m other noticed how overwrought he was.
’’Y ou’d better go to the seaside. W ouldn’t you like to go now
to the seaside, instead of waiting? I think y o u ’d b e tte r,” she said,
looking down at him anxiously, her heart curiously heavy
because of him.
But the child lifted his u n c a n n y blue eyes.
”I couldn’t possibly go before the Derby, m other!” he said. ”I
couldn’t possibly!”
”Why n o t? ” she said, her voice becoming heavy when she
was opposed. ”W hy not? You can still go from the seaside to see
the Derby with your Uncle Oscar, if th a t’s what you wish. No
need for you to wait here. Besides, I think you care too much
about these races. It’s a bad sign. My family has been a gambling
family, and you won’t know till you grow up how much damage it
has done. But it has done damage. I shall have to send Bassett
away, and ask Uncle Oscar not to talk racing to you, unless you
promise to be reasonable about it; go away to the seaside and
forget it. You’re all nerves!”
34 ”I’ll do what you like, mother, so long as you don’t send
me aw ay till after the D e rb y ,” the boy said.
’’Send you away from where? Just from this h o u se?”
” Yes,” he said, gazing at her.
”Why, you curious child, what makes you care about this
house so m uch, suddenly? I never knew you loved it!”
2 — 600
33
Не gazed at her without speaking. He had a secret within a
secret, something he had not divulged, even to Bassett or to his
Uncle Oscar.
35 But his m other, after standing undecided and a little bit
sullen for some moments, said:
’’Very well, then! D on’t go to th e seaside till after th e Derby,
if you don’t wish it. But promise me you w on’t let your nerves go
to pieces. Promise you w on’t th in k so m uch about hbrse-raping
and events, as you call th em !”
”0 h , n o ,” said th e boy casually. ”I w on’t th in k m uch about
them, m other. You n e e d n ’t worry. I w ouldn’t worry, m other, if I
were y o u .”
”If you were me and I were y o u ,” said his m other, ”I wonder
what we should do!”
’’But you know you n e e d n ’t worry, m other, d o n ’t y o u ? ” the
boy repeated.
”1 should be awfully glad to know it,” she said wearily.
'Oh, well, you can, you know , I m ean, you ought to know
you n e e d n ’t w orry,” he insisted.
’’O ught I? T h en I’ll see about it,” she said.
36 Paul’s secret of secrets was his wooden horse, th a t which
had no name. Since h e was em ancipated from a nurse and a
nursery-governess, h e had had his rocking-horse removed to his
own bedroom at th e top of th e house.
’’Surely, y o u ’re too big for a rocking-horse!” his m other had
rem onstrated.
”Well, you see, m other, till I can have a real horse, I like to
have some sort of animal a b o u t,” had been his q u ain t answer.
”Do you feel h e keeps you co m p an y ?” she laughed.
”0 h , yes! H e’s very good, h e always keeps me com pany,
w hen I’m t h e r e ,” said Paul.
So th e horse, rath er shabby, stood in an arrested prance in
th e boy’s bedroom.
37 T he D erby was drawing n ear, and th e boy grew more and
more tense. He h ard ly heard w hat was spoken to him, he was very
frail, and his eyes were really u n c a n n y . His m other h ad sudden
strange seizures of uneasiness about him. Sometimes, for half-anhour, she would feel a su d d en a n x ie ty about him th a t was almost
anguish. She w anted to rush to him at once, an d know h e was
safe.
38 Two nights before th e Derby, she was at a big p arty in
town, w hen one of h e r rushes of a n x ie ty ab o u t her boy, her
first-born, gripped her h eart till she could h ard ly speak. She
34
fought with the feeling, might and main, for she believed in
common sense. But it was too strong. She had to leave the dance
and go downstairs to telephone to the country. The children’s
nursery-governess was terribly surprised and startled at being
rung up in the night.
’’Are the children all right, Miss Wilmot?”
”0 h , yes, th e y are quite all right.”
"Master Paul? Is he all right?”
”He went to bed ai right as a trivet*. Shall I run up and look
at him ?”
”No,” said P aul’s mother reluctantly. ”No! Don’t trouble. It’s
all right. Don’t sit up. We shall be home fairly soon.” She didn’t
want her son’s privacy intruded upon.
’’Very good,” said the governess.
39 It was about one o’clock when Paul’s mother and father
drove up to their house. All was still. Paul’s mother went to her
room and slipped off her white fur cloak. She had told her maid
not wait up for her. She heard her husband downstairs, mixing a
whisky-and-soda.
And then, because of the strange a n x ie ty at her heart, she
stole upstairs to her son’s room. Noiselessly she went along the
upper corridor. Was there a faint noise? What was it?
40 She stood, with arrested muscles, outside his door, listen­
ing. T here was a strange, heavy, and y et not loud noise. Her
heart stood still. It was a soundless noise, y et rushing and power­
ful. Something huge, in violent, hushed motion. What was it?
What in God’s nam e was it? She ought to know. She felt that she
knew the noise. She knew what it was.
Yet she could not place it. She couldn’t say what it was. And
on and on it went, like a madness.
Softly, frozen with a n x iety and fear, she turned the door­
handle. •
The room was dark. Yet in the space near the window, she
heard and saw something plunging to and fro. She gazed in fear
and am azem ent.
41 Then suddenly she switched on the light, and saw her son,
in his green pajamas, m adly surging on th e rocking-horse. The
blaze of light suddenly lit him up, as he urged the wooden horse,
and lit her up, as she stood, blonde, in her dress of pale green and
crystal, in th e doorway.
Paul!” she cried, ”Whatever are you doing?”
It’s M alabar!” h e screamed, in a powerful, strange voice.
’’It’s M alabar!”
УГ
УГ
35
His eyes blazed at her for one strange and senseless second,
as he ceased urging his wooden horse. T hen h e fell with a crash to
the ground, and she, all her torm ented m otherhood flooding upon
her, rushed to gather him up.
42 But he was unconscious, and unconscious h e rem ained,
with some brain-fever. He talked and tossed, and his m other sat
stonily by his side.
’’Malabar! It’s Malabar! Bassett, Bassett, I know! It’s Mala­
Э5
bar!
So th e child cried, trying to get up and urge th e rocking-horse
that gave him his inspiration.
”What does he m ean by M alabar?” asked the heart-frozen
mother.
”I don’t k n o w ,” said the father stonily.
”What does he m ean by M alabar?” she asked her brother
Oscar.
’’It’s one of th e horses ru n n in g for the D e rb y ,” was the
answer.
43 And, in spite of himself, Oscar Cresswell spoke to Bassett,
and himself p u t a thousand on Malabar: at fourteen to one.
The third day of th e illness was critical; th e y were waiting for
a change. The boy, with his rath er long, curly hair, was tossing
ceaselessly on th e pillow. He n eith er slept nor regained conscious­
ness, an d his eyes were like blue stones. His m other sat, feeling
her h eart h ad gone, tu rn e d actually into a stone.
44 In th e evening, Oscar Cresswell did not come, but - Bassett
sent a message, saying could h e come up for one moment, just one
moment? P au l’s m other was very angry at th e intrusion, but on
second th o u g h t she agreed. The boy was th e same. Perhaps
Bassett might bring him to consciousness.
45 The gardener, a shortish fellow with a little brown mous­
tache, and sharp little brown eyes, tiptoed into th e room, touched
his im aginary cap to P au l’s m other, and stole to th e bedside,
staring with glittering, smallish eyes, at th e tossing, dying child.
’’Master Paul!” he whispered. ’’Master Paul! M alabar cam e in
first all right, a clear win. I did as you told me. Y ou’ve m ade over
seventy thousand pounds, you have; y o u ’ve got over eighty
thousand. M alabar came in all right. Master Paul.
46 ’’Malabar! Malabar! Did I say M alabar, mother? Did I say
Malabar? Do you th in k I’m lucky, m other? I knew Malabar,
didn’t I? Over eighty thousand pounds! I call th a t lucky , d o n ’t
you, m other? Over eighty thousand pounds! I knew , d id n ’t I know
I knew ? M alabar cam e in all right. If I ride my horse till I’m sure,
36
then I tell you, Bassett, you can go as high as you like. Did you go
for all you were worth, Bassett?’’
’I v e n t a thousand on it, Master Paul.”
I never told you, mother, that if I can ride my horse, and get
there, then I’m absolutely sure - oh, absolutely! Mother, did I
ever tell you? I am lu ck y !”
”No, you never d id ,” said the mother.
But the boy died ш the night.
And even as he lay dead, his mother heard her brother’s
voice saying to her; ”My God, Hester, y o u ’re eighty-odd th o u ­
sand to th e good, and a poor devil of a son to the bad. But poor
devil, poor devil, he s best gone out of a life where he rides his
rocking-horse to find a w in n er.”
FEUILLE D ’ALBUM*
by
Katherine Mansfield
Katherine N aiufield
who enjoys the reputation of being an English Cheicov. She was born in
New Zealand in the family of a prominent Wellington businessrnan. She
planned a musical career but her marriage ruined her plans. The marriage
turned out unfortunate and soon broke up. A period of unhappiness and
disillusion in Germany that followed the break up resulted in the bitter
sketches of German life that made up ”ln a German Pension” (1911). She
returned to London and began contributing stories for ”The New Age” and
other periodicals.
The death of her brother in 1915
in World War One turned her
thoughts and emotions back to New Zealand childhood and she wrote a
number of stories with New Zealand setting. The best of them entered the
collections "Prelude” (1912); "Bliss and other stories” (1920) and others. It is
at that tim e that her reputation as an individual and brilliant short-story
writer was established.
She was very delicate in health and in 1917 she developed tuberculosis,
in 1922 she stopped writing and died suddenly in January 1923. After her
death several other collections of stories and a number of poems and letters
were published.
The peculiar features of her stories are the symbolic use of ob>ects and
incidents and accuracy of detail. She is usually concerned not so much with
the development of the plot but with evoking a certain atmosphere of a
certain emotional colouring. Describing her characters she doesn’t so much
stress what they do, but what they are and what they feel. She is more
preoccupied with their inner life, which is naturally revealed through their
behavior. She is a master of a psychological short-story and that is what she
has in common with Chekov.
You*ll read a story written by a British lady-writer, who is known as a great
37
master of short-story. In fact K. Mansfield was not once referred to as the English
Chekov. It’s left to you to say to what extent the judgement is true, if at all. But
one thing, however, is obvious: the author’s main concern is with and the focus of
her attention is on the psychological insight into the character.
The story you’ll read is not a story of adventure. Rather, it’s a character story,
about a young painter and his first love. But was it really love, or only loneliness of
a person in a strange and alien world?
1 He really was an impossible person. Too shy altogether.
With absolutely nothing to say for himself. And such a weight.
Once he was in your studio h e never knew w hen to go, but would
sit on and on until you n e a rly screamed, and b u rn ed to throw
something enormous after him w hen he did finally blush his way
out - something like th e tortoise stove. The strange thing was that
at first sight h e looked most interesting. Everybody agreed about
that. You would drift into th e cafe one evening and there you
would see, sitting in a corner, with a glass of coffee in front of
him, a thin dark boy, wearing a blue jersey with a little grey
flannel jack et buttoned over it. And somehow that blue jersey
and the grey ja c k e t with th e sleeves th a t were too short gave him
th e air of a boy th a t has m ade up his mind to ru n aw ay to sea.
Who has ru n away, in fact, and will get up in a m om ent and sling
a knotted h a n d k e rc h ie f containing his night-shirt and his
m o th er’s picture on th e end of a stick, and walk out into th e night
and be drowned... Stumble over th e wharf edge on his way to the
ship, even... He had black close-cropped hair, grey eyes with
long lashes, white cheeks and a m outh pouting as though he were
determ ined not to cry... How could one resist him? Oh, o n e ’s
heart was w rung at sight. And, as if th a t were not enough, there
was his trick of blushing... W henever th e waiter came n e a r him he
tu rn e d crimson - h e might have been just out of prison and the
waiter in th e know...
2 ’Who is he, my dear? Do you k n o w ? ”
’Yes. His nam e is Ian French. Painter. Awfully clever, they
say. Someone started by giving him a m o th er’s tender care. She
asked him how often he heard from home, w h eth er h e had
en o u g h blankets on his bed, how m uch milk he d ran k a day. But
w hen she went round to his studio to give an e y e to his socks, she
rang an d rang, and though she could have sworn she heard
someone breathing inside, the door was not answered... Hopeless!’
3 Someone else decided that he ought to fall in love. She
sum m oned him to her side, called him ’b o y ’, leaned over him so
that he might smell th e e n c h a n tin g perfum e of her hair, took his
arm, told him how marvellous life could be if one only had the
38
courc'ge, and went round to his studio one evening and rang and
rang... Hopeless.
4 ’\^ h a t the poor boy really wants is thoroughly rousing,’ said
a third. So off th e y went to cafes and cabarets, little dances,
places where you drank something that tasted like tinned apricot,
juice, but cost twenty-seven shillings a bottle and was called
cham pagne, other places, too thrilling for words, where you sat in
the most awful gloom and where someone had always been shot
the night before. But he did not turn a hair. Only once he got
very d ru n k , but instead of blossoming forth, th ere he sat, stony,
with two spots of red on his cheeks, like, my dear, yes, th e dead
image of that rag-time* thing th e y were playing, like a ’Broken
Doll’. But when she took hiin back to his studio he had quite
recovered, and said ’good n ig h t’ to her in the street below, as
though th e y had walked home from church together... Hopeless.
5 After heaven knows how m any more attempts - for the
spirit of kindness died very hard in women —th e y gave him up. Of
course, th ey were still perfectly charming, and asked him to their
shows, and spoke to him in the cafe but that was all. When one is
an artist one has no time simply for people who won’t respond.
Has one?
6 ’And besides 1 really think there must be something rather
fishy somewhere ... don’t you? It c a n ’t all be as innocent as it
looks! Why come to Paris if you want to be a daisy in the field?
No, I’m not suspicious. But - ’
7 He lived at the top of a tall mournful building overlooking
the river. One of those buildings that look so romantic on rainy
nights and moonlight nights, when the shutters are shut, and the
heavy door, and th e sign advertising ’a little apartm ent to let
im m ediately’ gleams forlorn beyond words. One of those build­
ings that smell so unrom antic all the year round, and where the
concierge lives in a glass cage on the ground floor, wrapped up in
a filthy shawl, stirring something in a saucepan and ladling out
tit-bits to the swollen old dog lolling on a bed cushion... Perched
up in the air th e studio had a wonderful view. The two big win­
dows faced the water; he could see the boats and the barges
swinging up and down, and the fringe of an island planted with
trees, like a round bouquet. The side window looked across to
another house, shabbier still and smaller, and down below there
was a flower market. You could see t^’e tops of huge umbrellas,
with frills of bright flowers escaping from them, booths covered
with striped awning where they sold plants in boxes and clumps
of wet gleaming palms in terra-cotta* jars. Among the flowers the
39
old women scuttled from side to side, like crabs. Really th ere was
no need for him to go out. If he sat at the window until his white
beard fell over th e sill he still would have found som ething to
draw...
8 How surprised those tender women would have been if th e y
had m anaged to force th e door. For he k ep t his studio as n eat as a
pin. Everything was arranged to form a pattern, a little ’still life’
as it were - the saucepans with their lids on th e wall behind the
gas stove, the bowl of eggs, milk-jug and teapot on th e shelf, the
books and th e lamp with the crinkly paper shade on th e table. An
Indian curtain that had a fringe of red leopards m arching round it
covered his bed by day, and on the wall beside th e bed on a level
with your eyes w hen you were lying down th ere was a small
n eatly printed notice: GET UP AT ONCE.
9 Every day was m uch the same. While th e light was good he
slaved at his painting, th e n cooked his meals and tidied up the
place. And in th e evenings he w ent off to th e cafe, or sat at home
reading or m aking out th e most complicated list of expenses
headed: ’What I ought to be able to do it on’, and ending with a
sworn statem ent... ’I swear not to exceed this am ount for n e x t
m onth. Signed, Ian F re n c h .’
Nothing very fishy about this; but those far-seeing women
were quite right. It w asn’t all.
10 One evening h e was sitting at th e side window eating some
prunes and throwing th e stones on to th e tops of th e h u g e um brel­
las in th e deserted flower m arket. It had been raining - th e first
real spring rain of th e y ear had fallen - a bright sprangle h u n g on
everything, and th e air smelled of buds and moist earth. M any
voices sounding languid and content rang out in th e dusky air,
and th e people who had come to close their windows and fasten
th e shutters leaned out instead. Down below in the m arket the
trees were peppered with new green. What kind of trees were
they? he wondered. And now came th e lamplighter. He stared at
the house across th e way, the small, shabby house, and suddenly,
as if in answer to his gaze, two wings of windows opened and a girl
came out on to th e tin y balcony carrying a pot of daffodils. She
was a strangely thin girl in a dark pinafore, with a pink h a n d k e r­
chief tied over her hair. Her sleeves were rolled up almost to her
shoulders and her slender arms shone against the dark stuff.
11 ’Yes, it is quite warm enough. It will do them good,’ she
said, putting down th e pot and tu rn in g to someone in th e room
inside. As she tu rn e d she put her hands up to th e h an d k erch ief
and tucked away some wisps of hair. She looked down at the
40
deserted m arket and up at the sky, but where he sat there might
have l e e n a hollow in the air. She simply did not see the house
opposite. And th en she disappeared.
12 His heart fell out of the side window of his studio, and
down to th e balcony of th e house opposite — buried itself in the
pot of daffodils under the half-opened buds and spears of green...
That room with the balcony was the sitting-room, and the one
n e x t door to it was the kitchen. He heard the clatter of the dishes
as she washed up after supper, and then she came to the window,
knocked a little mop against the ledge, and hung it on a nail to
dry. She never sang or unbraided her hair, or held out her arms to
the moon as young girls are supposed to do. And she always wore
the same dark pinafore and the pink handkerchief over her hair...
Whom did she live with? Nobody else came to those two windows,
and y et she was always talking to someone in the room. Her
mother, he decided, was an invalid. They took in sewing. The
father was dead... He had been a journalist - very pale, with long
moustaches, and a piece of black hair falling over his forehead.
13 By working all day th e y just made enough m oney to live
on, but th e y never went out and th ey had no friends. Now when
he sat down at his table he had to make an entirely new set of
sworn statements... Not to go to the side window before a certain
hour: signed, Ian French.
14 It was quite simple. She was the only person he really
wanted to know, because she was, he decided, the only other
person alive who was just his age. He couldn’t stand giggling girls,
and he had no use for grown-up women... She was his age, she
was - well, just like him. He sat in his dusky studio, tired, with
one arm hanging over the back of his chair, staring in at her
window and seeing himself in there with her. She had a violent
temper; th e y quarrelled terribly at times, he and she. She had a
way of stamping her foot and twisting her hands in her pinafore...
furious. And she very rarely laughed. Only when she told him
about an absurd little kitten she once had who used to roar and
pretend to be a lion when it was given meat to eat. Things like
that made her laugh... But as a rule they sat together very quiet­
ly; he, just as he was sitting now, and she with her hands folded in
her lap and her feet tucked under, talking in low tones, or silent
and tired after the d a y ’s work. Of course, she never asked him
about his pictures, and of course he made the most wonderful
drawing of her which she hated, because he made her so thin and
so dark... But how could he get to know her? This might go on for
years...
41
15 T hen he discovered that once a week, in th e evenings, she
vfent out shopping. On two successive Thursdays she came to the
window wearing an old-fashioned cape over th e pinafore, and
carrying a basket. From w here he sat he could not see th e door of
her house, but on the n e x t T hursday evening at th e same time he
snatched up his cap and ran down th e stairs. T h ere was a lovely
pink light over everything. He saw it glowing in th e river, and the
people walking towards him had pink faces and pink hands.
16 He leaned against th e side of his house waiting for her and
he had no idea of w hat he was going to do or say. ’Here she
comes,’ said a voice in his head. She walked very quickly, with
small, light steps; with one h an d she carried th e basket, with the
other she k ep t th e cape together... What could h e do? He could
only follow... First she went into th e grocer’s and spent a long
time in there, and th e n she went into th e b u tc h e r’s w here she had
to wait her turn. T hen she was an age at th e d ra p e r’s m atching
something, an d th e n she w ent to th e fruit shop and bought a
lemon. As h e w atched her h e knew more surely th a n ever he must
get to know her, now. Her composure, her seriousness and her
loneliness, th e very way she w alked as though she was eager to be
done with this world of grown-ups all was so n a tu ra l to him and
so inevitable.
’Yes, she is always like th a t,’ he thought proudly. ’We have
nothing to do with these people.’
17 But now she was on her way home and h e was as far off as
ever... She su d d en ly tu rn e d into th e dairy and h e saw h e r thro­
ugh th e window buying an egg. She picked it out of th e basket
with such care - brown one, a beautifully shaped one, th e one he
would have chosen. And w hen she cam e out of th e dairy he went
in after her. In a m om ent h e was out again, an d following her past
his house across th e flower m arket, dodging among th e huge
umbrellas and treading on th e fallen flowers and th e round marks
w here th e pots had stood... T hrough her door h e crept, and up the
stairs after, taking care to tread in time with her so th a t she woulcT
not notice. Finally, she stopped on th e landing, and took th e k ey
out of her purse. As she put it into th e door h e ran up and faced
her.
Blushing more crimson th a n ever, but looking at her severely
h e said, almost angrily: ’Excuse me, Mademoiselle, you dropped
this.’
And h e h a n d e d her an egg.
42
TACTICAL EXERCISE
by Evelyn Waugh
Eyelyn Waugh (1903—1966) is one of most considerable creators of
social satires, who developed the tradition of the great satiric writers of the
XIX century SmoUet and Thackeray. He was the son of a well-known
publisher and literary critic. He got his education in Oxford where he read
modern history. At Oxford however he paid little attention to his studies
and led in his own phrase ”an idle, dissolute and extravagant life”. On
leaving Oxford he studied art in London and then spent a short time
teaching in a private school. During the 30ies he travelled widely in Europe,
Africa, the Near East, West Indies, Mexico and published records of his
travels as well as short stories.
In 1928 his first novel “Decline and Fall” was published. His second
novel "Vile Bodies” (1930) was the first financial success. It was during the
30ies that his reputation as a most considerable satiric novelist in England
since Ch. Dickens was established.
In 1930 he became a Roman Catholic.
He became a war-conespondent in 1935 and during the Second World
War he served with the Royal Marines in the Middle East. In 1944 he was a
member of the British Military Mission to Yugoslavia. He wrote a trilogy of
novels about the war called ”Sward of Honour” (1965).
Many of his novels convey the atmosphere of the decline and fall of
the upper class in England whose way of life both attracted and disgusted
the author. His novels and short stories are noted for the biting satire, some
may be called black comedies, some others are written like pure farce. His
later novels (”The Loved One” (1948), ”Love Among the Ruins”) are full of
contempt to modern life.
E.
Waugh was a many-sided and industrious author. Besides his
novels he created a lot of short stories, a book of essays, two biographies and
the first volume of his autobiography.
The title of the story you*U read is suggestive of some war experience. But, in
actual fact, the situation described by the writer is an "operation” planned by the
husband against his wife. So the war is a family war and is waged by one side only.
When a conflict of thi5 kind is involved we usually try to uncover the root
causes of it. Was it the unbearable, intolerable situation in the family or was it the
husband’s utter inability to come to terms with surrounding reality?
1 John V erney married Elizabeth in 1938, but it was not until
the winter of 1945 that he came to hate her steadily and fiercely.
There had been countless brief gusts of hate before this, for it was
a thing which came easily to him. He was not what is normally
described as a bad-tempered man, rather the reverse; a look of
fatigue and abstaction was the only visible sign of the passion
which possessed him, as others are possessed by laughter or
desire, several times a day.
2 During th e war he passed among those he served with as a
43
phlegmatic fellow. He did not have his good or his bad days; th e y
were all uniformly good or bad; good in th a t h e did what had to be
done, expeditiously without ever ’getting in a flap’ or ’going off
the deep e n d ’; bad from th e interm ittent, invisible sheet-lighting
of hate which flashed and flickered deep inside him at every
obstruction or reverse. In his orderly room w hen, as a com pany
commander, h e faced th e morning procession of defaulters and
malingerers; in th e mess when th e subalterns disturbed his
reading by playing th e wireless; at the Staff College w hen the
’sy n d icate’ disagreed with his solution; at Brigade H.Q. w hen the
staff-sergeant mislaid a file or the telephone orderly m uddled a
call; w hen th e driver of his car missed a turning; later, in hospital,
when the doctor seemed to look curiously at his wound and th e
nurses stood gossiping ja u n tily at th e beds of more likeable
patients instead of doing their d u ty to him - in all th e a n n o y a n ­
ces of arm y life which others dismissed with an oath and a shrug,
John V e rn e y ’s eyelids dropped wearily, a tin y grenade of h ate
exploded, and th e fragments rang an d ricocheted round the steel
walls of his mind.
3 T here h ad been less to a n n o y him before th e war. He had
some m oney and th e hope of a career in politics. Before marriage
h e served his apprenticeship to th e Liberal p arty in two hopeless
by-elections. T he Central Office th e n rewarded him with a
constituency in outer London which offered a fair chance in the
n e x t general election. In th e eighteen months before th e war he
nursed this constituency from his flat in Belgravia* and travelled
frequently on th e C ontinent to study political conditions. These
studies convinced him th a t war was inevitable; h e denounced th e
M unich agreem ent p u n g en tly and secured a commission in the
Territorial Army.
4 Into th e peacetim e life Elizabeth fitted unobtrusively. She
was his cousin. In 1938 she had reached th e age of twenty-six,
four years his junior, w ithout falling in love. She was a calm,
handsom e young woman, an only child, with some m oney of he^
own and more to come. As a girl, in h e r first season, an injudicious
rem ark, let slip and overheard, got her th e reputation of clever­
ness. Those who knew her best ruthlessly called her ’d e e p ’.
5 Thus condem ned to social failure, she languished in the
ballrooms of Pont Street* for an o th er y ear and th e n settled down
to a life of concert-going and shopping with her m other, until she
surprised h e r small circle of friends by m arrying John V erney.
Courtship and consum m ation were tepid, cousinly, harmonious.
T h e y agreed, in face of coming war, to rem ain childless. No one
44
I.
knevf what Elizabeth felt or thought about anything. Her judgemex-'ts were m ainly negative, deep or dull as you cared to take
them . L'he had none of the appearance of a woman likely to
inflame great hate.
6 John V erney was discharged from the Army early in 1945
with a M.C.* and one leg, for th e future, two inches shorter than
th e other. He found Elizabeth living in Hampstead with her
parents, his uncle and aunt. She had kept him informed of the
changes in h e r condition, but, preoccupied, h e had not clearly
imagined them. Their flat had been requisitioned by a govern­
m ent office; their furniture and books sent to a repository and
totally lost, partly burned by a bomb, partly pillaged in a clandes­
tine branch of the Foreign Office.
7 Her p a re n t’s house had once been a substantial Georgian
villa overlooking th e Heath*. John V erney arrived there early in
the morning after a crowded n ig h t’s journey from Liverpool. The
wrought-iron railings and gates had been rudely torn away by
the salvage collectors, and in the front garden, once so neat,
weeds and shrubs grew in a rank jungle trampled at night by
courting soldiers. The back garden was a single, small bombcrater; h eap ed clay, statuary, and the bricks and glass of ruined
greenhouses; dry stalks of willow-herb stood breast high over the
mounds. All th e windows were gone from the back of the house,
replaced by shutters of card and board, which put the main rooms
in perpetual darkness. “Welcome to Chaos and Old N ight” ,* said
his uncle genially.
8 There were no servants; the old had fled, th e young had
been conscribed for service. Elizabeth made him some tea before
leaving for her office.
9 Here he lived, lucky, Elizabeth told him, to have a home.
F urniture was unprocurable, furnished flats commanded a price
beyond their income, which was now taxed to a bare wage. They
might have found something in the country, but Elizabeth, being
childless, could not get release from her work. Moreover, he had
his constituency.
10 This, too, was transformed. A factory wired round like a
prisoner-of-war camp stood in the public gardens. The streets
surrounding it, once the trim houses of potential Liberals, had
been bombed, patched, confiscated, and filled with an immigrant
proletarian population. Every day he received a heap of complain­
ing letters from constituents exiled in provincial boarding-hou­
ses. He had hoped that his decoration and his limp might earn him
sym pathy, but he found the new inhabitants indifferent to the
45
fortunes of war. Instead th e y showed a sceptical curiosity about
Social Security. “T h e y ’re nothing but a lot of reds,” said the
Liberal agent.
11 ’’You m ean I s h a n ’t get in ? ”
"Well, w e’ll give them a good fight. The Tories are putting up
a Battle-of-Britain pilot. I’m afraid h e ’ll get most of w h a t’s left of
th e middle-class vote.”
12 In the event John V erney came bottom of the poll, badly.
A rancorous Jewish school-teacher was elected. T he Central
Office paid his deposit, b u t th e election had cost him dear. And
when it was over th ere was absolutely nothing for John V erney to
do.
13 He rem ained in Hampstead, helped his a u n t m ake th e beds
after Elizabeth h ad gone to her office, limped to th e green-grocer
and fishmonger, and stood, full of h ate, in th e queues, helped
Elizabeth wash up at night. T h ey ate in th e k itch en , w here his
a u n t cooked deliciously th e scanty rations. His uncle went three
days a week to help pack parcels for Java. Elizabeth, th e deep
one, never spoke of her work.
14 One evening at a restaurant, a m an came and spoke to her,
a tall young man whose sallow aquiline face was full of intellect
and hum our. ’’T h a t’s th e head of m y d e p a rtm e n t,” she said.
”H e’s so am using.”
’’Looks like a Je w .”
I believe h e is. H e’s a strong Conservative and hates the
w o rk ,” she added hastily, “for since his defeat in th e election
John had become fiercely anti-Semitic.”
’’T h ere is absolutely no need to work for th e State n o w ,” he
said. ’’The w ar’s over.”
’’Our work is just beginning. T h e y w on’t let an y of us go. You
must u n d erstan d w hat conditions are in this c o u n try .”
15 It often fell to Elizabeth to explain ’conditions’ to him.
Strand by strand, k n o t by knot, through th e coalless winter, she
exposed th e vast n e t of govermental control which had been
woven in his absence. He had been reared in traditional LiberaUsm and th e system revolted him. More th a n this, it had him
caught, personally, tripped up, tied, tangled; wherever h e w anted
to go, w hatever h e w anted to do or have done, h e found himself
baffled and frustrated. And as Elizabeth explained she found
herself defending. This regulation was necessary to avoid th a t ill;
such a co u n try was suffering, as Britain was not, for having
neglected such a precaution; and so on, calmly and reasonably.
16 ”I know it’s m addening, John, but you must realize it’s
th e same for e v e ry o n e .”
4Й
’T h a t ’s what all you bureaucrats w ant,” he said. ’’Equality
throut’h slavery. The two-class state - proletarians and officials.”
17 Elizabeth was part and parcel of it. She worked for the
State and the Jews. She was a collaborator with the new, alien,
occupying power. And as th e winter wore on and the gas burned
feebly in the stove, and the rain blew in through the patched
windows, as at length spring came and buds broke in the obscene
wilderness round the house, Elizabeth in his mind became
something more important. She became a symbol. For just as
soldiers in far-distant camps think of their wives, with a ten d er­
ness th ey seldom felt at home, as the embodiment of all the good
things th e y have left behind, wives who perhaps were scolds and
drabs, but in th e desert and jungle become transfigured until
their trite air-letters become texts of hope, so Elizabeth grew in
John V ern ey ’s despairing mind to more th an hum an malevolence
as the archpriestess and m aenad of the century of the common
man.
18 ”You a re n ’t looking well, Jo h n ,” said his aunt. ’’You and
Elizabeth ought to get away for a bit. She is due for leave at
Easter.”
’T h e State is granting her a supplem entary ration of her
h u sb a n d ’s company, you mean. Are we sure she has filled in all
the correct forms? Or are commissars of her rank above such
things?”
19 Uncle and a u n t laughed uneasily. John made his little
jokes with such an air of weariness, with such a drop of the
eyelids that th ey sometimes struck chill in that family circle.
Elizabeth regarded him gravely and silently.
20 John was far from well. His leg was in constant pain so that
he no longer stood in queues. He slept badly; as also, for the first
time in her life, did Elizabeth. T h ey shared a room now, for the
winter rains had brought down ceilings in m any parts of the
shaken house and the upper rooms were thought to be unsafe.
T hey had twin beds on th e ground floor in what had once been
her fath er’s library.
21 In the first days of his home-coming John had been
amorous. Now he never approached her. They lay night after
night six feet apart in the darkness. Once when John had been
awake for two hours he turned on the lamp that stood on the table
betw een them. Elizabeth was lying with her eyes wide open
staring at the ceiling.
”I’m sorry. Did I wake y o u ? ”
”I h av en ’t been asleep.”
47
I thought I’d read for a bit. Will it disturb you?
’’Not at a ll.”
She tu rn ed away. John read for an hour. He did not know
w hether she was aw ake or asleep when he tu rn e d off th e light.
Often after th a t h e longed to put on th e light, but was afraid
to find her aw ake and staring. Instead, h e lay, as others lie in a
luxurious rap tu re of love, hating her.
22 It did not occur to him to leave her; or, rather, it did occur
from time to time, but he hopelessly dismissed the thought. Her
life was bound tight to his; her family was his family; their
finances were intertangled and their expectations lay together in
the same quarters. To leave her would be to start fresh, alone and
n ak ed in a strange world; an d lame and w eary at the age of
thirty-eight, John V erney h ad not th e h eart to move.
He loved no one else. He had now here to go, nothing to do.
Moreover h e suspected, of late, th a t it would not h u rt her if he
went. And above all, th e single steadfast desire left to him was to
do her ill. ” I wish she were d e a d ,” he said to himself as he lay
aw ake at night. ”I wish she were d e a d .”
23 Sometimes th e y w ent out together. As th e winter passed,
John took to dining once or twice a week at his club. He assumed
th a t on these occasions she stayed at hom e, b u t one morning it
transpired th a t she too had dined out th e evening before. He did
not ask with whom, but his a u n t did, and Elizabeth replied, ’’Just
someone from th e office.”
’’The Jew ?” John asked.
”As a m atter of fact, it w as.”
”I hope you enjoyed it.”
’’Quite. A beastly dinner, of course, but h e ’s very am using.”
24 One night w hen he re tu rn e d from his club, after a dismal
little dinner and two crowded Tube journeys, he found EUzabeth
in bed and deeply asleep. She did not stir w hen he entered.
Unlike her norm al habit, she was snoring. He stood for a m inute,
fascinated by this new and unlovely aspect of her, her head
thrown back, her m outh open and slightly dribbling at the corner.
T hen he shook her. She m uttered something, tu rn e d over and
slept heavily and soundlessly.
Half an hour later, as h e was stiring to compose himself for
sleep, she began to snore again. He tu rn e d on th e light, and
looked at her more closely and noticed with surprise, which
suddenly changed to joyous hope, th a t th ere was a tube of
unfamiliar pills, half em pty, beside her on th e bed table.
He exam ined it. ‘24 Comprimes narcotiques, hypnotiques
JJ
48
he r^ad, and th e n in large scarlet letters, ‘NE PAS DEPASSER
D E U y’*. He counted those which were left. Eleven.
25 With tremulous butterfly wings hope began to flutter in his
heart, became a certainty. He felt a fire kindle and spread inside
him until he was deliciously suffused in every limb and organ. He
lay, listening to the snores, with the pure excitem ent of a child on
Christmas Eve. ”I shall wake up tomorrow and find her dead,” he
told himself, as once he had felt the flaccid stocking at the boot of
his bed and told himself, ’’Tomorrow I shall wake up and find it
full.” Like a child, he longed to sleep to hasten the morning and,
like a child, he was wildly ecstatically sleepless. Presently he
swallowed two of the pills himself and almost at once was uncons­
cious.
26 Elizabeth always rose first to make breakfast for the
family. She was at the dressing-table when sharply, without
drowsiness, his memory stereoscopically clear about the incidents
of th e night before, John awoke. ’’Y ou’ve been snoring,” she said.
Disappointment was so intense that at first he could not
speak. Then h e said, ’’You snored, too, last n ig h t.”
”It must be th e sleeping-tablet I took. I must say it gave me a
good n ig h t.”
'Only one?
”Yes, two’s th e most th a t’s safe.
”Where did you get th em ?”
” A friend at the office - the one you called the Jew. He has
them prescribed by a doctor for when h e ’s working too hard. I told
him 1 w asn’t sleeping, so he gave me half a bottle.”
’’Could he get me some?”
I expect so. He can do most things like that.
27 So he and Elizabeth began to drug themselves regularly
and passed long, vacuous nights. But often John delayed, letting
the beatific pill lie beside his glass of water, while knowing the
vigil was term inable at will, he postponed the joy of unconscious­
ness, heard Elizabeth’s snores, and hated her sumptuously.
28 One evening while the plans for the holiday were still
under discussion, John and Elizabeth went to the cinema. The
film was a m urder story of no great ingenuity but with showy
scenery. A bride m urdered her husband by throwing him out of a
window, down a cliff. Things were made easy for her by his
taking a lonely lighthouse for their honeym oon. He was very rich
and she w anted his money. All she had to do was to confide in the
local doctor and a few neighbours that her husband frightened
her by walking in his sleep; she doped his coffee, dragged him
49
from th e bed to the balcony - a feat of some strength - w here she
had already broken away a yard of balustrade, and rolled him
over. Then she went back to bed, gave th e alarm the n e x t m orn­
ing, and wept over th e mangled body which was presently
discovered half awash on th e rocks. R etribution overtook her
later, but at the time the thing was a complete success.
”I wish it were as easy as th a t,” th o u g h t John, and in a few
hours th e whole tale had floated aw ay in those lightless attics of
the mind w here films and dreams and fu n n y stories lie spidershrouded for a lifetime unless, as sometimes happens, an intruder
brings them to light.
29 Such a thing h ap p en ed a few weeks later w hen John and
Elizabeth went for their holiday. Elizabeth found th e place.
It belonged to someone in her office. It was nam ed Good Hope
Fort, and stood on th e Cornish coast.* ’’It’s only just been d e re q u i­
sitioned,” she said; ”I expect we shall find it in p retty bad
condition.”
”We’re used to th a t,” said John. It did not occur to him that
she should spend her leave an y w h ere but with him. She was as
m uch a part of him as his maimed and aching leg.
30 T h ey arrived on a gusty April afternoon after a train
jo u rn e y of norm al discomfort. A taxi drove them eight miles from
the station, through deep Cornish lanes, past granite cottages-and
disused, archaic tin-workings. T h ey reached th e village which
gave th e houses its postal address, passed through it and out along
a track which suddenly emerged from its high banks into open
grazing land on th e cliff’s edge, high, swift clouds and seabirds
wheeling overhead, th e turf at their feet alive with fluttering wild
flowers, salt in th e air, below them th e roar of th e Atlantic b re a k ­
ing on th e rocks, a middle-distance of indigo and white tum bled
waters and beyond it the serene arc of th e horison. Here was the
house.
31 ’’Your fa th e r,” said John, ’’would now say, ’Your castle
h a th a pleasant seat’.” *
”Well, it has rather, h a s n ’t it? ”
It was a small stone building on th e very edge of th e cliff,
built a c e n tu ry or so ago for defensive purposes, converted to a
private house in the years of peace, ta k e n again by the Navy
during th e war as a signal station, now once more reverting to
gentler uses. Some coils of rusty wire, a mast, th e concrete
foundations of a h u t, gave evidence of its former masters.
T h ey carried their things into th e house an d paid th e taxi.
32 ”A woman comes up every m orning from th e village. I said
50
we shouldn’t want her this evening. I see sh e’s left us some oil for
the UTnps. S h e ’s got a fire going too, bless her, and plenty of
wood. Oh, and look what I’ve got as a present from father. I
promised not to tell you until we arrived. A bottle of whisky.
Wasn’t it sweet of him. He’s been hoarding his ration for three
m onths...” Elizabeth talked brightly as she began to arrange the
luggage. ’’T h e re ’s a room for each of us. This is the only proper
hving-room, but th e re ’s a study in case you feel like doing any
work. I believe we shall be quite comfortable...”
33 The living-roon.' was built with two stout bays, each with a
French window opening on a balcony which over-hung the sea.
John opened one and th e sea-wind filled the room. He stepped
out, breathed deeply, and th en said suddenly; ’’Hullo, this is
dangerous.”
At one place, betw een the windows, the cast-iron balustrade
had broken away and th e stone ledge lay open over the cliff. He
looked at th e gap and at th e foaming rocks below, momentarily
puzzled. The irregular polyhedron of memory rolled uncertainly
and came to rest.
34 He had been here before, a few weeks ago, on the gallery
of th e lighthouse in that swiftly forgotten film. He stood there
looking down. It was exactly thus that the waves had come
swirling over th e rocks, had broken and dropped back with the
spray falling about them. This was the sound th ey had made; this
was the broken ironwork and the sheer edge.
35 Elizabeth was still talking in th e room, her voice drowned
by wind and sea. John retu rn ed to the room, shut and fastened
th e door. In th e quiet she was saying ” ... only got the furniture
out of the store last week. He left the woman from the village to
arrange it. S h e ’s got some queer ideas, I must say. Just look where
she p u t ...”
”What did you say this house was called?”
’’Good H ope.”
”A good n a m e .”
36 That evening John drank a glass of his father-in-law’s
whisky, smoked a pipe, and planned. He had been a good tactici­
an. He made a leisurely, mental ’appreciation of the situation’.
Object: murder.
When th e y rose to go to bed, he asked: ’’You packed the
tablets?”
9Г
'Yes, a new tube. But I am sure I sh a n ’t want an y tonight.”
'Neither shall 1,” said John, ’’the air is wonderful.”
37 During the following days he considered the tactical
51
problem. It was entirely simple. He had th e ’staff-solution’*
already. He considered it in th e words and form he had used in
th e Army. ” ... Courses open to the en em y ... achievem ent of
s u r p r is e ... consolidation of success’. The staff-solution was
exem plary. At the beginning of the first week, he began to put it
into execution.
38 Already, by easy stages, he had m ade himself know n in
th e village. Elizabeth was a friend of th e owner; he, th e re tu rn e d
hero, still a little strange in civvy street. The first holiday m y wife
and I have had together for six years, he told them in th e golf club
and, growing more confidential at th e bar, hinted that th e y were
thinking of m aking up for lost time and starting a family.
On another evening he spoke of war-strain, of how in this
war the civilians had had a worse time of it th a n th e services. His
wife, for instance; stuck it all through th e blitz; office work all
day, bombs at night. She ought to get right away, alone some­
w here for a long stretch; her nerves had suffered; nothing serious,
but to tell th e truth, h e w asn’t quite h a p p y about it. As a matter
of fact he had found her walking in her sleep once or twice in
London.
His companions knew of similar cases; nothing to worry
about, but it w anted watching; d id n ’t w ant it to develop into
an y th in g worse. Had she seen a doctor?
Not yet, John said. In fact she d id n ’t know she had been
sleep-walking. He had got her back to bed w ithout waking her.
He hoped th e sea air would do her good. In fact, she seem ed m uch
better already. If she showed a n y more signs of th e trouble when
th e y got hom e, he knew a very good man to tak e her to.
39 The golf club was full of sym pathy. John asked if there
were a good doctor in th e neighbourhood. Yes, th e y said, old
M ackenzie in th e village, a first-class man wasted in a little place
like this; not at all stick-in-the-mud. R ead th e latest books,
psychology and all that. T h ey couldn’t th in k w hy Old Mack hart
never specialized and made a nam e for himself.
”I th in k I might go and talk to Old Mack about it ,” said John.
”Do. You co u ld n ’t find a better fellow.”
40 Elizabeth h ad a fortnight’s leave. T here were still three
days to go w hen John w ent off to th e village to consult Dr M ack­
enzie. He found a grey-haired, genial bachelor in a consulting
room that was more like a law yer’s office th a n a p h ysician’s,
book-lined, dark, perm eated by tobacco smoke.
Seated in the sh ab b y leather arm chair he developed in more
precise language th e story h e had told in th e golf club. Dr M ack­
enzie listened w ithout comment.
I
52
’’It’s the first time I’ve run against anything like this,” he
concladed.
At length Dr M ackenzie said: ’’You got pretty badly knocked
about in the war, Mr V e rn e y ? ”
”My k n ee. It still gives me trouble.”
Bad time in hospital?”
T hree months. A beastly place outside R om e.”
T h e re ’s always a good deal of nervous shock in an injury of
th a t kind. It often persists when the wound is h ealed .”
”Yes, but I don’t quite u n d erstan d ...”
”My dear Mr V erney, your wife asked me to say nothing
about it, but I think I must tell you th a t she has already been here
to consult me on this m a tte r.”
"About her sleep-walking? But she c a n ’t...” Then John
stopped.
”My dear fellow, I quite understand. She thought you didn’t
know. Twice y o u ’ve been out of bed and she had to lead you
back. She knows all about it.”
John could find nothing to say.
It’s not th e first tim e,” Dr Mackenzie continued, ’’that I’ve
been consulted by patients who have told me their symptoms and
said th e y had come on behalf of friends of relations. Usually it’s
girls who think t h e y ’re in a family way. It’s an interesting feature
of your case that you should want to ascribe the trouble to
someone else, probably the decisive feature. I’ve given your wife
th e nam e of a man in London who I think will be able to help you.
M eanwhile I can advise plenty of exercise, light meals at n ight...”
41 John V erney limped back to Good Hope Fort in a state of
consternation. Security had been compromised; the operation
must be cancelled; initiative had been l o s t ... all the phrases of the
tactical school came to his mind, but he was still num b after this
u n ex p ected reverse. A vast and n ak ed horror peeped at him and
was thrust aside.
42 When he got back Elizabeth was laying the supper table.
He stood on th e balcony and stared at th e gaping rails with eyes
smarting with disappointment. It was dead calm that evening. The
rising tide lapped and fell and m ounted again silently among the
rocks below. He stood gazing down, then he turned back into the
room.
T here was one large drink left in the whisky bottle. He
poured it out and swallowed it. Elizabeth brought in the supper
and th e y sat down. Gradually his mind grew a little calmer. They
usually ate in silence. At last he said: ’’Elizabeth, why did you
tell the doctor I had been walking in my sleep?”
53
ф
She quietly put down the plate she had been holding and
looked at him curiously. ’'W hy?” she said gently. ’’Because I was
worried, of course. 1 d id n ’t th in k you knew about it .”
’’But have I b e e n ? ”
”0 h , yes, several times - in London and here. I d id n ’t think
it m attered at first, but th e night before last I found you on the
balcony, quite n ear that dreadful hole in the rails. I was really
frightened. But it’s going to be all right now. Dr M ackenzie has
given me th e nam e ...”
It was possible, thought John V erney; nothing was more
likely.
43
He had lived night and d ay for ten days thinking of tha
opening, of th e sea and rock below, th e ragged ironwork and the
sharp edge of stone. He suddenly felt defeated, sick an d stupid, as
he had as he lay on th e Italian hillside with his smashed k n ee.
T hen as now he had felt weariness even more th a n pain.
’’Coffee, darling.”
Suddenly he roused himself. ”N o ,” he almost shouted. ”No,
no, n o .”
Darling, w hat is th e m atter? Don’t get excited. Are you
feeling ill? Lie down on the sofa n e a r th e window.
He did as he was told. He felt so w eary th a t h e could barely
move from his v:hair.
Do you th in k coffee would k eep you aw ake, love? You look
quite fit to drop already. T here, lie d o w n .”
He lay down, like th e tide slowly m ounting among th e rocks
below, sleep rose and spread in his mind. He nodded and woke
with a start.
’’Shall I open th e window, darling, and give you some a ir? ”
’’E lizab eth ,” h e said, ”I feel as if 1 have been d ru g g ed .” Like
th e rocks below th e window - now awash, now emerging clear
from falling water; now awash again deeper; now barely visible,
m ere patches on the face of gentle eddying foam - his brain was
softly drowning. He roused himself, as children do in nightm are,
still scared, still half asleep. ” I c a n ’t be d ru g g ed ,” h e said loudly,
” I never touched th e coffee.”
’’Drugs in th e coffee?” said Elizabeth gently, like a nurse
soothing a fractious child. ’’Drugs in th e ’’coffee”? W hat an
absurd idea. T h a t’s the kind of thing th a t only happens on th e
films, darling.”
He did not h ear her. He was fast asleep, snoring stertorously
by the open window.
54
THE BUM
by W. Somerset Maugham
W. Somerset Maugham (1874—1965) is one of th e most popular and
widely read English writers who is at the same time somehow looked down
upon by the English critics. The reason is th at they consider him to be a
story-teller rather than a writer, an entertainer rather than an interpreter
of life.
He wrote novek, short stories and plays and most of them had a great
commercial success. Ke was the son of a solicitor at the British Embassy in
Paris and was bom there. His very early life in the French speaking society
gave him a special mastery of th at language and a special feeling for the
great French writers of the 19th century whom he had been studying very
carefully and admiring greatly.. He lived in Paris till he was ten and then on
the death of his parents he went to England and was educated by a relative.
He studied medicine at St. Thomases Hospital but though he qualified, he
never practised. The success of his first novel ”Liza of Lambeth” (1897)
persuaded him to give up medicine and devote his life to writing.
Just before and immediately after the First World War S. Maugham
had considerable success as a playwright and several of his plays were
received enthusiastically on the London stage. His novels ”0 f Human
Bondage” (1915) and ”Cakes and Ale” (1930) proved that he was a master of
sharp observation and antiromantic pen. He also won acclaim as a shortstory writer.
What brought success to his short stories was an economical, exact and
expressive style and a mastery of constructing a story. The author knew
how to keep his reader in suspence. Yet, he never tried to tackle a root
problem, to look into the very heart of the matter, of the situation that ha
could so skillfully describe, which helps us understand why he gained the
reputation of a primary among the secondary.
From 1930 he lived in the South of France and died there.
You*U read a story which is not simple to classify. It*s a sort of biographical
story, a story of life though the most significant part of it is left untold and wrap­
ped up in mystery. It*s about something that seems very prosaic — a meeting with a
bum, a beggar, a man who*s a complete wreck. And at the same time it’s a meeting
with a tradegy which is in the background and which makes the story unique and
poetic.
You’ll enjoy the story more if you read it carefully since S. Maugham makes
some interesting observations about life, art, people and books. And they are worth
thinking over.
And when you’ve read the story please think and guess what could have
happened to the man that made him an utter wreck.
1
God knows how often 1 had lam ented that I had not half the
time I needed to do half the things I wanted. I could not remem­
ber when last 1 had had a moment to myself. I had often amused
my fancy with th e prospect of just one w eek ’s complete idleness.
Most of us when not busy working are busy playing; we ride, play
tennis or golf, swim or gamble; but 1 saw myself doing nothing at
55
ф
all. I would lounge through th e morning, dawdle through the
afternoon, and loaf through th e evening. My mind would be a
slate and each passing hour a sponge th a t wiped out th e scribblings written on it by th e world of sense. Time, because it is so
fleeting, time because it is beyond recall, is th e most precious of
h u m an goods and to squander it is th e most delicate form of
dissipation in which man can indulge. Cleopatra dissolved in wine
a priceless pearl, but she gave it to A ntony to drink; w hen you
waste th e brief golden hours you take th e beaker in which the
gem is melted and dash its contents to th e ground. The gesture is
grand and like all grand gestures absurd. T h at of course is its
excuse.
2 In th e week I promised myself I should n a tu ra lly read, for
the habitual reader reading is a drug of which h e is th e slave;
deprive him of printed m atter and he grows nervous, moody and
restless; th e n , like th e alchoholic bereft of b ran d y who will drink
shellac or m eth y lated spirit, h e will m ake do with th e advertise­
ments of a paper of five years old; he will m ake do with a telephone
directory. But th e professional writer is seldom a disinterested
reader. I wished my reading to be but another form of idleness. I
m ade up my mind th a t if ever th e h a p p y d ay arrived w hen 1 could
enjoy u n troubled leisure I would complete an enterprise th a t had
always tem pted me, but which hitherto, like an explorer m aking
reconnaissances into an undiscovered country, I had done little
more th a n en ter upon: I would read th e entire works of Nick
Carter.
3 But I h ad always fancied myself choosing m y m om ent with
surroundings to my liking, not having it forced upon me; and
w hen I was suddenly faced with nothing to do and h ad to m ake
th e best of it (like a steamship acquaintance whom in th e wide
waste of the Pacific Ocean you have invited to stay with you in
London and who turns up w ithout w arning and with all his
luggage) I was not a little ta k e n aback. 1 had come to Vera Cruz*
from Mexico City to catch one of th e Ward C om pany’s white coni
ships to Y ucatan;* and found to my dismay that, a dock strike
having been declared over-night, my ship would not put in. I was
stuck in Vera Cruz. I took a room in the Hotel Diligencias over­
looking the plaza, and spent the m orning looking at th e sights of
th e town.
4 I w andered down side streets and peeped into q u ain t courts.
I sau n tered through th e parish church; it is picturesque with its
gargoyles and flying buttresses, and th e salt wind and th e blazing
sun have patined its harsh and massive walls with the mellowness
of age; its cupola is covered with white and blue tiles.
56
•S T hen I found that I had seen all that was to be seen and I
sat dO'vn in the coolness of the arcade th a t surrounded the square
and ordered a drink. The sun beat down on the plaza with a
mercilest: splendour. The cocopalms drooped dusty and bedrag­
gled. Great black buzzards perched on them for a moment uneasi­
ly, swooped to the ground to gather some bit of offal, and then
with lumbering wings flew up to the church tower. I watched the
people crossing the square; Negroes, Indians, Creoles, and Span­
ish, th e motley peopie of th e Spanish Main*; and th ey varied in
colour from ebony to ivory. As the morning wore on, the tables
around me filled up, chiefly with men, who had come to have a
drink before luncheon, for the most part in white ducks,* but
some not withstanding the heat in the dark clothes of professional
respectability. A small band, a guitarist, a blind fiddler, and a
harpist, played rag-time and after every other tu n e the guitarist
came round with a plate. I had already bought the local paper and
I was adam ant to the newsvendors who pertinaciously sought to
sell me more copies of the same sheet. 1 refused, oh, tw enty times
at least, the solicitations of grimy urchins who wanted to shine my
spotless shoes; and having come to th e end of my small change I
could only shake my head at the beggars who importuned me.
They gave one no peace. Little Indian women in shapeless xags,
each one with a baby tied in the shawl on her back, held out
skinny hands and in a whimper recited a dismal screed; blind men
were led up to my table by small boys; the maimed, the halt, the
deformed exhibited the sores and the monstrosities with which
n atu re or accident had afflicted them; and half naked, underfed
children whined endlessly their demand for coppers. But these
kept their eyes open for the fat policeman who would suddenly
dart out on them with a thong and give them a sharp cut on the
back or over th e head. Then th ey would scamper, only return
again when, ex h au sted by the exercise of so much energy, he
relapsed into lethargy.
6
But suddenly my attention was attracted by a beggar who,
unlike the rest of them and indeed the people sitting round me
sw arthy and black-haired, had hair and beard of a red so vivid
that it was startling. His beard was ragged and his long mop of hair
looked as though it had not been brushed for months. He wore
only a pair of trousers and a cotton singlet, but they were tatters,
grimy and foul, that barely held together. I have never seen
a n y o n e so thin; his legs, his n ak ed arms were but skin and bone,
and through th e rents of his singlet you saw every rib of his
wasted body; you could count the bones of his dustcovered feet.
57
Of that starveling band h e was easily th e most abject. He was not
old, he could not well have been more th a n forty, and I could not
but ask myself what had brought him to this pass. It was absurd to
think that he would not have worked if work h e had been able to
get. He was th e only one of th e beggars who did not speak. The
rest of them poured forth their litan y of woe and if it did not bring
th e alms th e y asked continuedly until an im patient word from
you chased them away. He said nothing. I suppose h e felt th a t his
look of destitution was all the appeal h e need ed . He did not even
hold out his h an d , he m erely looked at you, but with such w ret­
chedness in his eyes, such despair in his attitude, it was dreadful;
h e stood on and on, silent an d immobile, gazing stead-fastly, and
th e n , if you took no notice of him, h e moved slowly to th e n e x t
table. If he was given nothing h e showed n e ith e r disappointm ent
nor anger. If someone offered him a coin h e stepped forward a
little, stretched out his claw-like h an d , took it w ithout a word of
thanks, and impassively w ent his way. 1 had nothing to give him
and w hen he came to me, so th a t h e should not wait in vain, I
shook my head.
” ‘Dispense listed por Dios,’* ” I said, using th e polite Castillian formula with which th e Spaniards refuse a beggar.
But he paid no attention to w hat I said. He stood in front of
me, for as long as he stood at th e other tables, looking at me with
tragic eyes. I have never seen such a wreck of h u m a n ity . There
was som ething terrifying in his appearance. He did not look quite
sane. At length he passed on.
7 It was one o’clock and I had lunch. W hen I awoke from my
siesta it was still very hot, but towards evening a b reath of air
coming in through th e windows which I h ad at last ventured to
open tem pted me into th e plaza. I sat down u n d er my arcade and
ordered a long drink. Presently people in greater num bers filtered
into th e open space from the surrounding streets, th e tables in the
restaurants round it filled up, and in th e kiosk in th e middle the
band began to play. The crowd grew thicker. On the free benches
people sat h u d d led together like dark grapes clustered on a stalk.
T here was a lively hum of conversation. T he big black buzzards
flew screeching overhead, swooping down w hen th e y saw some­
thing to pick up, or scurrying away from u n d e r th e feet of the
passers-by. As twilight descended th e y swarmed, it seem ed from
all parts of th e town, towards th e ch u rch tower; th e y circled
heavily about it and hoarsely crying, squabbling, and jangling,
settled themselves uneasily to roost.
8 And again bootblacks begged me to have my shoes cleaned,
58
newsboys pressed dank papers upon me, beggars whined their
plainave dem and for alms. I saw once more that strange, red-beard­
ed fe ln w and watched him stand motionless, with the crushed
and pittous air, before one table after another. He did not stop
before mine. I supposed he remembered me from the morning and
having failed to get anything from me th en thought it useless to
try again. You do not often see a red-haired Mexican, and
because it was only in Russia that I had seen men of so destitute
mien I asked myself if he was by chance a Russian. It accorded
well enough with th e Russian fecklessness that he should have
allowed himself to sink to such a depth of degradation. Yet he had
not a Russian face; his emaciated features were clear-cut, and his
blue eyes were not set in the head in a Russian manner; 1 won­
dered if he could be a sailor, English, Scandinavian, or American,
who had deserted his ship and by degrees sunk to this pitiful
condition. He disappeared. Sines there was nothing else to do, I
stayed on till I got hu n g ry , and when I had eaten came back. I sat
on till the thinning crowd suggested it was bed-time. I confess
that the day had seemed long and 1 wondered how m any similar
days 1 should be forced to spend there.
9 But I woke after a little while and could not get to sleep
again. M y room was stifling. I opened the shutters and looked out
at the church. There was no moon, but the bright stars faintly lit
its outline. The buzzards were closely packed on the cross above
the cupola and on the edges of the tower, and now and then th ey
moved a little. The effect was u n can n y . And then, I have no
notion why, th a t red scarecrow recurred to my mind and I had
suddenly a strange feeling that I had seen him before. It was so
vivid th a t it drove away from me the possibility of sleep. I felt sure
that I had come across him, but when and where I could not tell. 1
tried to picture the surroundings in which he might take his
place, but I could see no more than a dim figure against a background of fog. As the dawn approached it grew a little cooler and I
was able to sleep.
10 I spent my second day at Vera Cruz as I had spent the first.
But I watched for the coming of the red-haired beggar, and as he
stood at th e tables n ear mine 1 exam ined him with attention, I felt
certain now that I had seen him somewhere. 1 even felt certain
that I had know n him and talked to him, but I still could recall
none of the circumstances. Once more he passed my table without
stopping and when his eyes met mine I looked in them for some
gleam of recollection. Nothing, 1 wondered if 1 had made a
mistake and thought I had seen him in the same way as some«
___
59
times, by some q u eer motion of th e brain, in the act of doing
something you are convinced th a t you are repeating an action
that you have done at some past time. I could not get out of my
head th e impression th a t at some m om ent h e h ad en tered into my
life. I racked my brains. I was sure now th a t h e was either English
or American. But I was shy of addressing him. I went over in my
mind th e possible occasions w hen I might have met him. Not to be
able to place him exasperated me as it does w hen you try to
rem em ber a nam e th a t is on th e tip of y o u r tongue and y et eludes
you. T he day wore on.
11 A nother day came, another morning, another evening. It
was S u n d ay and the plaza was more crowded th a n ever. The
tables u n d e r th e arcade were packed. As usual th e red-haired
beggar came along, a terrifying figure in his silence, his th re a d ­
bare rags, and his pitiful distress. He was standing in front of a
table only two from m ine, m utely beseeching, but w ithout a
gesture. T h en I saw th e policeman who at intervals tried to protect
the public from th e im portunities of all these beggars sneak round
a column and give him a resounding w hack with his thong. His
th in body winced, but he made no protest and showed no re se n t­
ment; h e seem ed to accept th e stinging blow as in th e ordinary
course of things, and with his slow movements slunk aw ay into
the gathering night of th e plaza. But th e cruel stripe has whipped
my mem ory and suddenly I rem em bered.
12 Not his nam e, th a t escaped me still, b u t everything else.
He must have recognized me, for 1 have not ch an g ed very m uch in
tw en ty years, and th a t was w hy after th a t first morning he had
never paused in front of my table. Yes, it was tw en ty years since I
had know n him. I was spending a winter in Rome and every
evening I used to dine in a restau ran t in th e Via Sistina w here
you got excellent macaroni and a good bottle of wine. It was
freq u en ted by a little band of English and American art students,
and one or two writers; an d we used to stay late into th e night
engaged in interm inable argum ents upon art and literature. He
used to come in with a young painter who was a friend of his. He
was only a boy th e n , he could not have b een more th a n twentytwo; an d with his blue eyes, straight nose, and red hair h e was
pleasing to look at. I rem em bered th a t h e spoke a great deal of
Central America, he h ad a job with the American Fruit Company,
but had throw n it over because he w anted to be a writer. He was
not popular among us because h e was arrogant an d we were none
of us old en o u g h to tak e th e arrogance of y o u th with tolerance.
He th o u g h t us poor fish and did not hesitate to tell us so. He
60
wou)d not show us his work, because our praise m eant nothing to
him t n d he despised our censure. His vanity was enormous. It
irritated us; but some of us were uneasily aware that it might
perhaps be justified. Was it possible that the intense consciousness
of genius that h e had, rested on no grounds? He had sacrificed
everything to be a writer. He was so certain of himself that he
infected some of his friends with his own assurance.
13 I recalled his high spirits, his vitality, his confidence in the
future, and his disinterestedness. It was impossible that it was the
same man, and y et I was sure of it. I stood up, paid for my drink,
and went out into the plaza to find him. My thoughts were in a
turmoil. 1 was aghast. I had thought of him now and th en and idly
wondered what had become of him. I could never have imagined
that he was reduced to this frightful misery. There are hundreds,
thousands of youths who enter upon the hard calling of the arts
with extravagant hopes; but for the most part th ey come to terms
with their mediocrity and find somewhere in life a niche where
th e y can escape starvation.
14 This was awful. I asked myself what had happened. What
hopes deferred had broken his spirit, what disappointments
shattered him, and what lost illusions ground him to the dust? I
asked myself if nothing could be done. I walked round the plaza.
He was not in the arcades. There was no hope of finding him in
the crowd that circled round the band-stand. The light was
waning and I was afraid I had lost him. Then I passed the church
and saw him sitting on the steps. 1 cannot describe what a lam en­
table object he looked. Life had ta k e n him, rent him on its racks,
torn him limb from Umb, and th en flung him, a bleeding wreck,
on th e stones of that church. I went up to him.
” Do you rem em ber R om e?” I asked.
15 He did not move. He did not answer. He took no more
notice of me th an if I were not standing before him. He did not
look at me. His vacant blue eyes rested on the buzzards that were
screaming and tearing at some object at the bottom of the steps. I
did not know what to do. 1 took a yellow-backed note out of my
pocket and pressed it in his hand. He did not give it a glance. But
his h an d moved a little, th e thin claw-like fingers closed on the
note and scrunched it up; h e made it into a little ball and then
edging it on to his thum b flicked it into the air so that it fell
among th e jangling buzzards. I turned my head instinctively and
saw one of them seize it in his beak and fly off followed by two
others screaming behind it. When I looked back the man was
gone.
61
16 I stayed three more days in Vera Cruz. I never, saw him
again.
MANHOOD
by John Wain
John Wain (b. 1925) has the reputation of a talented and versatile
man of letters. He is a well-known novelist and a distinguished poet, he is a
short-story writer and a literary critic who pronounces very sound judge­
ments about individual authors and literature as such.
He got his education at Oxford and for some tim e was a Fellow of St.
John’s College of Oxford. Later he became a lecturer in English Literature
at Reading University.
Up to now he published four volumes of verse and is characterized by
the British criticism as a dry, w itty and rather clever poet. His first novel
"Hurry on Down” (1953) was an original work th at revealed his considerable
satiric power. This novel p ut him among the Angry Young Men, a group of
writers forming a literary trend in England in the 50ies. The writers
themselves though (and John Wain, too) never recognized their belonging to
any specific literary group or trend.
John Wain is a realistic writer aware of social problems and social
conflicts of today. Such novels as ”Strike the Father Dead” (1962), "The
Smaller S ky” (1967), ’’Winter in the Hills” (1970) m ay prove this point. At
the same u m e ” A Travelling Woman” (1959) and ”The Young Visitors”
(1965) seem to be focused more on personal dilemmas.
Besides his novels Wain published a volume of autobiography, some
essays on literature and some collections of short stories.
His later fiction includes "The Pardoner^s Tale” (1979) and ”The
Young Shoulders” (1982).
The story you’ll read is about something which is very traditional for litera­
ture - father - son relationship. The w riter’s attention is focused on one aspect of
this relationship - what th e father wants his son to be and how the son responds to
the father’s urging.
Both father and son try to m ake each other happy, in the best way they know
how to do it. And w hat comes out of it you’ll see when you read the story.
1
Swiftly free-wheeling, their b reath coming easily, th e m a
and th e boy steered their bicycles down the short dip which led
them from woodland into open country. T hen th e y looked ahead
and saw th a t th e road began to climb.
"Now, R o b ,” said Mr Willison, settling his plum p h a u n c h e s
firmly on th e saddle, ”just up th a t rise and w e’ll get off and have
a good re st.”
62
’’Can’t we rest now ?” the boy asked. ”My legs feel all funny.
As if th e y ’re turning to water.
Rest at the top,” said Mr Willison firmly. ’’Remember what I
told ybu? The first thing any athlete has to learn is to break the
fatigue c a rrie r.”
“ I’ve broken it already. I was feeling tired when we were
going along the main road and I 2
’TVhen fatigue sets in, th e thing to do is to keep going until
it wears off. T hen you get your second wind and your second
e n d u ra n c e ,”
”Гуе already done th a t.”
” Up we go,” said Mr Willison, ”and at the top we’ll have a
good rest.” He panted slightly and stood on his pedals, causing his
m achine to sway from side to side in a laboured manner. Rob,
falling silent, pushed doggedly at his pedals. Slowly, the pair
wavered up the straight road to the top. Once there, Mr Willison
dismounted with exaggerated steadiness, laid his bicycle careful­
ly on its side, and spread his jacket on the ground before sinking
down to rest. Rob slid hastily from the saddle and flung himself
full-length on the grass.
3 ”Don’t lie th e r e ,” said his father. ”You’ll catch cold.
I’m all right. I’m w arm .”
"Come and sit on this. When y o u ’re over-heated, th a t’s just
when y o u ’re prone to - ”
I’m all right, Dad. I want to lie here. My back aches.”
Your back needs strengthening, th a t’s why it aches. It’s a
pity we don’t live n ear a river where you could get some rowing.”
4
The boy did not answer, and Mr Willison, aware that he was
beginning to sound like a nagging, over-anxious parent, allowed
himself to be defeated and did not press the suggestion about
R ob’s coming to sit on his jacket. Instead, he waited a moment
and th en glanced at his watch.
yy
T w enty to twelve. We must get going in a minute.
yy
”What? I thought we were going to have a rest.
”Well, we’re having one, a re n ’t w e?” said Mr Willison reason­
ably. ”I’ve got my breath back, so surely you must have.”
”My back still aches. I want to lie here a b it.”
’’Sorry,” said Mr Willison, getting up and moving over to his
bicycle. ”We’ve got at least twelve miles to do and lunch is at
o n e .”
”Dad, why did we have to come so far if w e’ve got to get back
for one o’clock? I know, le t’s find a telephone box and ring up
Mum and tell her we - ”
9У
63
yj
Nothing doing. T h e re ’s no reason w hy two fit men sh o u ld n ’t
cycle twelve miles in an hour and ten minutes.
’’But w e’ve already done about a million miles.”
”We’ve done about fourteen, by my estim ation,” said Mr
Willison stiffly. "W hat’s th e good of going for a bike ride if you
don’t cover a bit of distance?”
5 He picked up his bicycle and stood waiting. Rob, with his
h an d over his eyes, lay motionless on th e grass. His legs looked
thin and white among th e rich grass.
’’Come in, R o b .”
The boy showed no sign of having heard. Mr Willison got on
to his bicycle and began to ride slowly away. ” R o b ,” h e called
over his shoulder, ”I’m going.”
Rob lay h k e a sullen corpse by th e roadside. He looked
horribly like th e victim of an accident, u n m a rk e d b u t dead from
internal injuries. Mr Willison cycled fifty yards, th e n a h u n d re d
th e n tu rn e d in a short, irritable circle and came back to w here his
son lay.
6 ”Rob, is th ere som ething th e m atter or are you just being
aw kw ard?”
The boy removed his h a n d and looked up into his fath er’s
face. His eyes were surprisingly mild: there was no fire of rebel­
lion in them .
”Гш tired and my back aches. I c a n ’t go on y e t .”
’’Look, R ob,” said Mr Willison gently, ”I w asn’t going to tell
you this, because I m ean t it to be a surprise, but w hen you get
home y o u ’ll find a present waiting for you.
”What kind of p resen t?”
’’Something very special I’ve bought for you. The m a n ’s
coming this morning to fix it up. T h a t’s one reason w hy I suggest­
ed a bike ride this morning. H e’ll have done it by n o w .”
7 ”What is it?”
” Aha. It’s a surprise. Come on, get on y o u r bike and le t’s go
home and s e e .”
Rob sat up, th e n slowly clam bered to his feet. ’’Isn’t there a
short cut h o m e?”
”I’m afraid not. It’s only twelve miles.”
Rob said nothing.
’’And a lot of t h a t ’s dow nhill,” Mr Willison added brightly.
His own legs were tired and his muscles fluttered u n p leasan tly . In
addition, h e suddenly realized he was very thirsty. Rob, still
w ithout speaking, picked up his bicycle, and th e y pedalled away.
8 ”Where is h e ? ” Mrs Willison asked, coming into th e garage.
64
’’Cone up to his room,” said Mr Willison. He doubled his fist
and gavo the punch-ball a thudding blow. ’’Seems to have fixed it
pretty firmly. You gave him the instructions, I suppose.”
”W hat’s he doing up in his room? It’s lunch-time.
”He said he wanted to rest a bit.”
”I hope y o u ’re satisfied,” said Mrs Willison. ”A lad of thir­
teen, nearly fourteen years of age, just when he should have a
really big appetite, and when the lunch is put on the table h e ’s
resting - ”
’’Now look, I know what I’m - ”
’’Lying down in his room, resting, too tired to eat because
y o u ’ve dragged him up hill and down dale on one of your
’We did nothing th a t couldn’t be reasonably expected of a
boy of his a g e .”
’’How do you k n o w ?” Mrs Willison demanded. ’’You never
did an y th in g of that kind when you were a boy. How do you
know what can be reasonably 9
’’Now look,” said Mr Willison again. ”When I was a boy, it
was study, study, study all the time, with the fear of unem ploy­
m ent and insecurity in everybody’s mind. I was never able to do
anything to develop my physique. It was just work, work, work,
pass this exam , get that certificate. Well, I did it and now I’m
qualified and in a secure job. But you know as well as I do that
th ey let me down. Nobody encouraged me to build myself u p .”
”Well, what does it matter? You’re all right - ”
’’Grace!” Mr Willison interrupted sharply. ”I’m not all right
and you know it. I am under average height, my chest is flat and
I’m - ”
”What nonsense. You’re taller than I am and I’m - ”
No son of mine is going to grow up with the same wretched
physical heritage that I 10 ”No, h e ’ll just have heart disease through overtaxing his
strength, because you haven’t got the common sense to - ”
’’His heart is one h u n d red per cent all right. Not three weeks
have gone by since the doctor looked at h im .”
”Well, w h y does he get so over-tired if h e ’s all right? Why is
he lying down now instead of coming to the table, a boy of his
ag e?”
11 A slender shadow blocked part of the dazzling sun in the
doorway. Looking up simultaneously, the Willisons greeted their
son.
’’Lunch ready, Mum? I’m hungry.-”
’’R eady when you a r e ,” Grace Willison beamed. ’’Just wash
your hands and come to the ta b le .”
65
3—600
’’Look, R o b ,” said Mr Willison. ”If you hit it with your left
h an d and th e n catch it on th e rebound with your right, it’s excel­
lent ring tra in in g .” He dealt th e punch-ball two am ateurish
blows. ’’T h a t’s w hat th e y call a right cross,” h e said.
12 ” I th in k it’s fine. I’ll have some fun with it ,” said Rob. He
w atched mildly as his father peeled off th e padded mittens.
’’Here, slip these o n ,” said Mr Willison. ’’T h e y ’re just training
gloves. T h ey h ard e n your fists. Of course, we can get a pair of
proper gloves later. But these are specially for use with th e b all.”
’’L u n c h ,” called Mrs Willison from th e house.
’’T ake a p u n c h at it,” Mr Willison urged.
’’Let’s go an d e a t .”
”Go on. One p u n ch before you go in. I h a v e n ’t seen you hit it
Rob took th e gloves, put on th e right-hand one, and gave the
punch-ball one conscientious blow, aiming at the exact centre.
’’Now le t’s go i n ,” he said.
13 ’’L u n ch !”
’’All right. We’re com ing...”
’’Five feet eight, R o b ,” said Mr Willison, folding up the
wooden ruler. ’’Y ou’re taller th a n I am. This is a great la n d m a rk .”
’’Only just taller.”
’’But y o u ’re growing all th e time. Now all you have to do is to
start growing outwards as well as upwards. We 11 have you in the
middle of th a t scrum. T h e heaviest forward in th e p a c k .”
14 Rob picked up his shirt and began u n c e rta in ly poking his
arms into th e sleeves.
”W hen do th e y pick th e te a m ? ” Mr Willison asked. ”I should
have th o u g h t t h e y ’d have done it by n o w .”
T h ey have done it ,” said Rob. He bent down to pick up his
socks from u n d e r a chair.
’’T h ey have? And you
”1 w asn’t selected,” said th e boy looking in ten tly at th e socks
as if trying to detect m inute differences in colour and weave.
15 Mr Willison opened his m outh, closed it again, and stood
for a moment looking out of th e window. T h e n h e gently laid his
h a n d on his son’s shoulder. ’’Bad lu c k ,” h e said quietly.
”I tried h a r d ,” said Rob quickly.
I’m sure you d id .”
I played my hardest in th e trial gam es.”
” It’s just bad lu c k ,” said Mr Willison. ”It could h a p p e n to
a n y b o d y .”
T here was silence as th e y both continued with their dressing.
66
А faint smell of frying rose into the air, and th ey could hear Mrs
Willison laying the table for breakfast.
’T h a t ’s it, then, for this season,” said Mr Willison, as if to
himself.
г
16
”1 forgot to tell you, th o u g h ,” said Rob. ”I was selected for
the boxing team.
’’You were? I didn’t know the school had o n e .”
’’It’s new. Just formed. T hey had some trials for it at the end
of last term. I found my punching was better th an most people’s
because I’d been getting plenty of practice with the ball.”
Mr Willison put out a hand and felt Rob’s biceps. ’’Not bad,
not bad at all,” he said critically. ’’But if y o u ’re going to be a
boxer and represent the school, y o u ’ll need more power up there.
I tell you what. We’ll train together.”
JV
T h a t’ll be f u n ,” said Rob. ”I’m training at school too.”
”What weight do th e y put you in ?”
”It isn’t weight, it’s age. Under fifteen. Then when you get
over fifteen you get classified into weights.”
17
”Well,” said Mr Willison, tying his tie, ’’y o u ’ll be in a good
position for th e under-fifteens. You’ve got six months to play
with. And th e re ’s no reason w hy you shouldn’t steadily put
muscle on all the time. I suppose y o u ’ll be entered as a team, for
tournam ents and things?”
yy
Yes. T h e re ’s a big one at the end of n ex t term. I’ll be in
th a t.”
Confident, joking, th e y went down to breakfast. ’’Two eggs
for Rob, M um ,” said Mr Willison. ”H e’s in training. He’s going to
be a heavyweight.
” A heavyweight w h at?” Mrs Willison asked, teapot in hand.
’’B oxer,” Rob smiled.
18
Grace Willison put down the teapot, her lips compressed,
and looked from one to the other. ’’Boxing?” she repeated.
’’Boxing,” Mr Willison replied calmly.
’’Over my dead b o d y ,” said Mrs Willison. ’’T h a t’s one sport
I’m definite that h e ’s never going in for.”
’’Too late. T h e y ’ve picked him for the under-fifteens. H e’s
had trials and ev ery th in g .”
”Is this true, R ob?” she demanded.
”Yes,” said the boy, eating rapidly.
”Well, you can just tell them y o u ’re dropping it. Baroness
Summerskill - ”
19
”To hell with Baroness Summerskill!” her husband shout­
ed. ”T he first time he gets a chance to something, the first time he
67
gets picked for a team and given a chance to show what h e ’s made
of, and you have to bring up Baroness Summerskill.
”But it injures their brains! All those blows on th e front of the
skull. I’ve read about it - ”
Injures their brains!” Mr Willison snorted. ’’Has it injured
Ingemar Johansson’s brain? Why, h e ’s one of th e acutest business
m en in th e world!”
20 ”R o b ,” said Mrs Willison steadily, “ w hen you get to
school, go and see th e sports master and tell him y o u ’re giving up
b o x in g .”
’’T here isn’t a sports master. All th e masters do bits of it at
different tim es.”
’’T here must be one w ho’s in charge of th e boxing. All you
have to do is tell him - ”
"Are you ready, R o b ?” said Mr Willison. ’’Y ou’ll be late for
school if you don’t go.”
”I’m in p len ty of time. Dad. I h av en ’t finished my breakfast.
’’Never mind, push along, old son. Y ou’ve had your egg and
bacon, th a t’s what matters. I w ant to talk to your mother.
21 Cramming a piece of dry toast into his m outh, th e boy
picked up his satchel an d w andered from th e room. H usband and
wife sat back, glaring hot-eyed at each other.
The quarrel began and continued for m a n y days. In th e end
it was decided th a t Rob should continue boxing until h e had
represented th e school at the to u rn a m en t in M arch of th e follow­
ing y ear, an d should th e n give it up.
22 ”Ninety-six, ninety-seven, ninety-eight, n in ety -n in e, a
h u n d r e d ,” Mr Willison counted. ’’Right, th a t’s it. Now go and take
your shower and get into b e d .”
”I don’t feel tired, h o n e stly ,” Rob protested.
”Who’s m anager h e re , you or m e?” Mr Willison asked bluffly.
”I’m in charge of training and you c a n ’t say my methods don’t
work. Fifteen solid weeks and you start questioning my decision
on th e very night of the fight?”
”It just seems silly to go to bed w hen I’m not - ”
”My dear Rob, please trust me. No boxer ever went into a big
fight w ithout spending an hour or two in bed, resting, just before
going to his dressing-room.”
All right. But 1 bet n o n e of th e others are bothering to do all
th is.”
T h a t’s exactly w hy y o u ’re going to be better th a n the
others. Now go and get your shower before you catch cold. Leave
th e skipping-rope, I’ll put it away.
68
23 After Rob had gone, Mr Willison folded the skipping-rope
into a n eat ball and packed it away in the case that contained the
boy’s gloves, silk dressing gown, lace-up boxing boots, and
trunks with the school badge sewn into the correct position on the
right leg. There would be no harm in a little skipping, to limber
up and conquer his nervousness while waiting to go on. Humming,
he snapped down th e catches of the small leather case and went
into th e house.
24 Mrs Willison did not lift her eyes from the television set as
he entered. ’’All ready now. M other,” said Mr Willison. ”He’s
going to rest in bed now, and go along at about six o’clock. I’ll go
with him and wait till the doors open to be sure of a ringside
se a t.” He sat down on the sofa beside his wife, and tried to put his
arm round her. ’’Come on, love,” he said coaxingly. ’’Don’t spoil
my big n ig h t.”
She tu rn ed to him and he was startled to see her eyes brimm­
ing witn angry tears. ”What about my big n ig h t?” she asked, her
voice harsh. ’’Fourteen years ago, remember? When he came into
th e world.”
25 ”Well, what about it? ” Mr Willison parried, uneasily aware
that the television set was quacking and signalling on the fringe
of his attention, turning the scene from clumsy tragedy into a
clumsier farce.
”Why didn’t you tell me th e n ? ” she sobbed. ”Why did you
let me have a son if all you were interested in was having him
p u n ch ed to death by a lot of rough bullet-headed louts who - ”
’T a k e a grip on yourself, Grace. A punch on the nose won’t
h u rt h im .”
’’Y ou’re an u n n atu ral fa th e r,” she keened. ” I don’t know
how you can bear to send him into that ring to be beaten and
hum ped - Oh, why c a n ’t you stop him now? Keep him at hom e?”
’’There is a law. The unalterable law of n atu re that says that
the young males of the species indulge in m anly trials of strength.
Think of all th e other lads who are going into the ring tonight.
D ’you think their mothers are sitting about crying and kicking up
a fuss? No - t h e y ’re proud to have strong, masculine sons who can
stand up in th e ring and take a few p u n c h e s.”
26 ”Go away, please,” said Mrs Willison, sinking back w'th
closed eyes. ’’Just go right away and don’t come near me untii it’s
all over.”
’’Grace!”
’’Please. Please leave me alone. 1 c a n ’t bear to look at you
and I c a n ’t b^ar to hear y o u .”
69
’’Y ou’re h y sterical,” said Mr Willison bitterly. Rising, he
went out into th e hall and called up th e stairs. ”Are you in bed,
Rob?”
27
T here was a slight pause and th e n R ob’s voice called
faintly, ’’Could you come up, D ad?”
Come up? Why? Is som ething th e m a tte r? ”
’’Could you come u p ? ”
Mr Willison ran up th e stairs. ”What is it? ” h e p an ted . ’’D’you
want som ething?”
I th in k I’ve got appendicitis,” said Rob. He lay squinting
among th e pillows, his face suddenly narrow and crafty.
I don’t believe y o u ,” said Mr Willison shortly. ”I’ve su p e r­
vised your training for fifteen weeks and I know you re as fit as a
fiddle. You c a n ’t possibly have a n y th in g wrong with y o u .”
28
”I’ve got a terrible pain in my side,” said Rob. ’’Low dow
on th e right-hand side. T h a t’s w here appendicitis comes, isn’t
it?”
Mr Willison sat down on th e bed. ’’Listen, R o b ,” he said.
’’D on’t do this to me. All I’m asking you to do is to go into th e ring
and have one bout. Y ou’ve b een picked for th e school team and
everyone’s depending on you.
I ’ll die if you don’t get th e doctor.” Rob su d d e n ly hissed.
”M um !” h e shouted.
29 Mrs Willison came bounding up the stairs. ”What is it, my
p e t? ”
”My stomach hurts. Low down on th e right-hand side.”
’’Appendicitis!” She whirled to face Mr Willison. ’T h a t ’s
w hat comes of your foolishness!
”I d o n ’t believe it,” said Mr Willison. He w ent out of th e
bedroom an d down th e stairs. T he television was still jabbering in
th e Hving-room, and for fifteen m inutes Mr Willison forced
himself to sit staring at th e strident puppets, glistening in metallic
light, as th e y enacted their Lilliputian rituals. T h en h e w ent up to
th e bedroom again. Mrs Willison was bathing R ob’s forehead.
’’His te m p e ra tu re ’s n o rm al,” she said.
Of course his tem p eratu re is n o rm al,” said Mr Willison. ”He
doesn’t w ant to fight, th a t’s all.
30 ’’Fetch th e doctor,” said a voice from u n d e r th e cold
flannel th a t sw athed R ob’s face.
”We will, pet, if you don’t get better very soon,” said Mrs
Willison, darting a m urderous glance at her husband.
Mr Willison slowly w ent downstairs. For a m om ent h e stood
looking at th e telephone, th e n picked it up and dialled the
70
n u m b rt of th e grammar school. No one answered. He replaced the
receiver, went to the foot of the stairs and c a l l e T
L
nam e of the master in charge of this to u rn am en t’ ”
I don t k n o w ,” Rob called weakly
Grangers in , h l
on у one „ a s М.Д. - T h a t’s h im ,” said M, WiUlson W ithTacI
his heart and ice in his fingers, he dialled the num ber
Yes, he taught at the
” i ’f a h o n t
^ h a t could he do for Mr Willison?
It s about tonight s boxing tournam ent ”
’Sorry, what? The line’s b a d .”
’T o n ig h t’s boxing to u rn am en t.”
’’Have you got th e right person?
it’s a Z u t thP hn
in tonight.”
~
"
’^^ell,
h e ’s supposed to be taking part
’TVhere?”
u n d e r ^ e n s . ”'
^^P^^^^nting the
32
There was a pause. ”I’m not quite sure what mistake
you re making, Mr Willison, but I think y o u ’ve got hold of the
wrong end of at least one stick .” A hearty, defensive laugh. ”If
f to a boxing-club it’s certainly news to me, but in
n y case it can t be an y th in g to do with the school. We don’t go
in for boxing.”
®
’’D on’t go in for it? ”
don t offer it. It’s not in our curriculum .”
I
Willison. ”0 h . Thank you. I must have - well
thank you.
’
Not at all. I’m glad to answer an y queries. Everything’s all
right, I trust?”
Б ^ au
right
Willison, ”yes, thanks. Everything’s all
He put down the telephone, hesitated, then turned and began
slowly to climb the stairs.
GREEN EYES
by Sid Chapiin
Sid Chaplin (b. 1916) was bom in the North-East of England in the
family of a miner. He was fourteen when he had to give up schooling and
start mining. He was a miner when the General Strike of 1926 broke out and
it influenced his outlook considerably.
He failed to get any regular education though he studied for one year
at special courses for workers and then at a special worker’s college. He
gained most of his knowledge from reading. He considered himself to be
particularly endebted to Dickens, Fielding, Tolstoy and Gorky. He also got
a lot from the miners some of whom were excellent story-tellers. When he
began writing short stories he tried to follow their way of telling a story.
In 1939 Chaplin was elected the head of th e local branch of the
National Miners’ union. In 1950 he began contributing for the magazine
”Coal” and sometime later he got on the stuff of the Coalmining National
Administration of the two big counties.
He began writing in the 40ies. His first collection of stories ”The
Leaping Lad” was published in 1948. But he was actually recognized as a
writer when he published the novel ”The Day of th e Sardine” in 1961 and
”The Watchers and the Watched” in 1962. He also wrote an autobiographical
story ”The Thin Seam” (1951). The novel ”Sam in th e Morning” was
published in 1965. Sid Chaplin’s short stories are mostly about th e miners.
The writer describes their life, their problems, worries and joys with
profound understanding, great sym pathy and respect. The stories of Sid
Chaplin are also noted for peculiar hum our and irony th a t m ake some геаДу
dramatic stories not sound sombre. The writer is not so much concerned
with the plot b u t w ith the characters who are always flesh-and-blood and
true to life,
’’Green Eyes” is a character story. It portrays a m an who seems to be hating
all and hated and feared by everybody.
But th e im portant thing is if there is still something hum an and kind left in
the m an ’s heart.
There is one more question th at you can’t b ut ponder over while reading and
having read th e story: w hat makes people become like the one who is described by
Sid Chaplin in his story?
1 My Uncle Bill is th e right lad for a fight. ” A fight a d a y ,” he
says, ’’keeps th e doctor a w a y .” Fight! h e ’ll fight a n y time,
a n y w h ere, th e result of having th e disposition of a bull-terrier.*
W hen he sees a face h e doesn’t h k e , or hears a voice th a t grates
on his nerves, look out! th e fight’s due to start a n y m inute. As my
A unt Sally says every time he comes up th e street with a black
e y e and a bloody nose, an d the other m an goes th e opposite way
on a stretcher. ”God help us all, h e re he comes again. Oh, w hat a
one is my man!
2 And, tru e, w hat a one is he. Getting on for fifty now, but
still with a waist like a w hippet and muscles like whipcord. And
72
his f a a ' a bit broken up with blows that got there in some of his
fights, and the blue pock-marks of blasting-powder, for my Uncle
Bill is a miner.
3 Don’t think h e ’s a common corner-end rowdy. Oh no!
Always a faithful husband and a good father to his kids, although
h e ’s had to move around a bit, from pit to pit because sometimes
he hits out down pit as well. Once knocked a manager flat on his
back, th en sat him in a barrel of axle-grease for his sins. He went
to goal for that bit of work, and th a t’s how he stared here, at the
Deepdown Pit.
4 T he day he came out of goal, he had a good square meal
first of all, the kind my A unt makes plate piled up with new
taties;* brussels-sprouts, Yorkshire pudding and slices of beef;
th en he packed up his bag, gave her a big kiss, and one each for
the bairns,* th en took the road with a pound note from the kitty
in his pocket.
5 He w andered up the dale from colliery to colliery, but it was
the same tale everywhere he went. No work for him. He was
black-listed. And all the time he was wandering further away
from home. Eventually he crossed the Pennines* into another
county, and one day found his way to Deepdown. It stood on the
banks of the river, the old pulley-wheels spinning in the sunshine
and the long black greasy ropes cutting through the air, from the
engine-house, built of great squares of stone, to the wheels and
th en down through the black shaft that pierced the strata. The
village was older th an the pit, built of Hmestone, the houses
dotted the hillside. He went straight down to the colliery offices
and got a job. The m anager was a proper sport, he said. A little
fellow who said, ’’th o u ” , a Q uaker born and bred. He found
lodgings and started work th e n e x t day. The men were chummy,
th e m oney was good. He sent for Aunt Sally and the bairns; then
later for my Da and Ma.
6 Uncle Bill lived at the top of the hill in a street called High
Row; Da got a house beside the river; we were flooded out every
spring. My earliest memory is of the water swilling into the
back-kitchen, and Ma putting me on the table out of the way.
7 For a long time my Uncle Bill had no fights. High words
often, and some of them with my Ma, and for a long time Uncle
Bill and my Da never spoke to each other. Until one morning,
going to work, a man told Uncle Bill that my Da had a worry. ”A
w orry?” said Uncle. ”Vn'hat and who’s this w orry?” ’’S kim py,”
said the man. ’’T he big brute, h e ’s always in the backshift when
your young ’un is in the fore-shift. That means he gets in from
4
73
work as your brother goes to bed. But not to sleep. Skim py gets
washed, th e n plays his gram ophone till th re e o’clock i’ the
morning. This happens every night, and your F re d ’s fit to drop
w hen work-time comes. Walks to work wi’ his eyes shut. O ne day
your Fred goes n e x t door and politely asks Skimpy to stop playing
his m achine so m uch, but Skim py laughs and throws him over the
garden gate. So your Fred is off works a coupla days,* h e s got so
m any bruises.
8 ’’N ext day F red ’s missus knocks at the door, b u t Skim py
won’t let her talk. Tells her to scram while th e scram m ing’s good.
So scram she does, but only after sh e ’s called him every nam e
u n d er th e sun from a filthy goat to h u m an ape. But th e more she
says, the more h e laughs. So th a t’s th at, but another w eek or two
and your F red ’s a nervous wreck an d in the hospital or the
asy lu m .”
9 My Uncle Bill was in a sweat. Being th e eldest brother he
felt he was responsible for Da; b u t this Skim py was a hard n u t to
crack. Skim py had been a prisoner-of-war in G erm any. After
half-killing two or th ree of th e guard, th e y p u t him in th e m ine to
work, w ithout a n y boots, th e y say, as a special form of p u n ish ­
ment. A nyw ay, he once worked a shift at Deepdown barefooted to
win a bet. After th e war h e went to the devil.
10 One mild form of his devilry was poaching. Of course
everybody around h ere does a bit of poaching now and again, but
he d id n ’t play th e game properly at all. A ny d ecent poacher
keeps out of th e k e e p e rs’ way; w h a t’s an odd rabbit or two? But
Skimpy h ad to flaunt his poaching, bragged about it in th e Black
Bull* in front of th e keepers. As bold a n d as brazen as brass. And
th e y d id n ’t like it, n atu rally . So one night, two or th ree of them
set a trap for him, gave him a good hiding, took his bag of rabbits
and sent him packing.
11 The same night he w alked into th e Black Bull, w ent over
to th e head k eep er, an d told him h e ’d get his own back before
long. T he k eep er said nothing, being a wise man, just finished his
pint and w alked out. Half-an-hour later Skim py walked out too.
The n e x t morning th e k e e p e r was missing. T h e y found him lying
in a ditch with his h ead k n o ck ed in. Skim py was arrested and
charged with m urder. But th e y co u ld n ’t pin a n y th in g on to him.
Everybody believed him guilty, and w h en h e was released
everybody sh u n n e d him. So from th a t day to this h e ’d lived alone,
silent, morose and savage.
12 This was th e man m y Uncle Bill had to deal with. And, as
luck would have it, who should pass them but Skimpy. It was
74
three o’clock in the morning and the electric street lights lit up
his face. My Uncle Bill swallowed something in his throat, then
shouted, ”Hey, y o u !” The great hulking figure of a man stopped
and growled, ”Well, what d’ye w ant?” Uncle walked up to him,
put his h an d on to Skim py’s arm (a good way of finding out what
Skim py’s muscles am ounted to) and said, ”Ah* want a word or
two with y o u .” ”Carry o n ,” said Skimpy. ”Well, it’s this w ay ,” he
said, ”my brother happens to live n e x t door to you, and you
happen to be a pretty poor kind of a neighbour. He c a n ’t get to
sleep for this gramophone of yours goin’ the hurdy-gurdy busi­
ness all night. And when he asks you to stop it, you thro\.’ him over
the garden g a te .” All the time Uncle is saying this h e ’s half-paralysed with fright. For Skimpy had a face fit to frighten the bravest
man alive. He was completely bald, his head was for all the world
like a ball of lard in the grocer’s shop. His eyelashes were missing
and his eyes were Ике green scummy wells. And the arm that
Uncle felt was like a steel rod.
13 ”T h a t’s an old ta le ,” said Skimpy. ”What d’ye think
y o u ’re gonna do about it?”
’’Blast th e bloody livin’ daylights out of y o u ,” said my Uncle
Bill. All he could see was that great round hairless face; all his
fear was gone; his greatest ambition was to smash it into a bloody
pulp there and then.
14 Skim py’s eyes never flickered. Not one tell-tale muscle
twitched. But the eyes cleared of the scummy clouds, and for a
moment a murderous resolve showed like a danger light.
’’A h’ll see ye at shift’s e n d ,” he said. He gently freed himself
from Uncle’s h an d and left him standing.
15 He was waiting at the pit-head when Uncle finished.
’’Come here, C um m erland,”* he said.
”No,” said my Uncle. ’’T h ere’s a quiet spot down by the
river.”
’’For w h a t? ” asked Skimpy. ’’It’s for talking, my lad, not
fighting.” And all the while swinging his heavy pit-lamp, and my
Uncle watching him Uke a cat watching a mouse. You can ima­
gine them , both as black as night, with their eyes shining; Skimpy
like some great hairless ape and Uncle straight as a die, leaning
forward ever so slightly and his feet set to get in the first one.
16 And th en he nearly dropped with the surprise of it.
’’Listen,” said Skimpy, ’’Ah’ve been thinking all t’shift. You’re
right. A h’m wrong. Your brother’ll get his sleep in future. Satis­
fied?” And before my Uncle Bill could stammer out ”A y e” , he was
gone. And for the first time in a fighting life my Uncle was
75
pleased at not having to fight. He knew Skim py could lick him
with one h a n d tied up, b u t it w asn’t th a t th a t h ad worried him. It
was th e blazing hell that h e ’s seen for a m om ent in S kim py’s
eyes; hell u n d er the hatches. And he couldn’t reckon it up, w hy
Skimpy, should apologise as quiet as an old sheep. He w ent about
in a k in d of daze all th e rest of th e day, th e n , after supper,
decided to clear things up with a pint of am ber ale. So aw ay to the
Bull he went.
17 The Bull was packed. Darts, dominoes and beer competed,
with beer an easy w inner. But one corner was em pty, as if a ring
had been drawn around it and a notice put up. Trespassers Will Be
Prosecuted. S kim py’s corner. And there, silent as ever, feet
sprawled out, and th e pint glasses all in a row in front of him, sat
Skimpy.
18 He looked up and saw Uncle. ’’Come here, C u m m erland,”
he said. Now for th e fun, th o u g h t m y Uncle Bill. Now h e ’s in his
cups, it’s me for th e good old flat on the back. He w alked into
S kim py’s reservation, his body in a cold sweat. But no ru n n in g
aw ay for my Uncle Bill.
”Sit d o w n ,” said Skim py. ’’T h a n k s ,” said Uncle, and obeyed.
S kim py’s head was down now. He could see th e whole whitishyellow expanse of it, with a blue vein ticking and throbbing.
”M eb b e,” * said Skimpy, ’’y o u ’ve th o u g h t A h ’m yellow, e h ? ”
19 ’’C an ’t say I h a v e ,” answered Uncle.
"Would you like to know th e reason Ah d id n ’t lash th e hide
off y e t this morning, C um m erland?”
’’W ouldn’t mind k n o w in g ,” said Uncle.
’’For this simple reaso n ,” said Skimpy. ”Ye* rem inded me of
tw en ty years gone. Ah once looked at a m an th e way y e looked at
me this morning. Same way. T h a t’s w hy Ah d id n ’t tan th e hide
off ye, se e ? ”
20 He looked m y Uncle Bill square in th e face, ’’Have a pint
on m e?” Once again m y Uncle looked into those green eyes. And
h e saw som ething th ere th a t m ade him u n d erstan d ; th e eyes of
Skim py were the eyes of the crucified.
’’T hanks, m a te ,” he said, ’’reckon I will,” an d lifted th e glass,
’’Cheers!”
And th e Black Bull becam e as quiet as th e transept of a
cathedral as all eyes left darts an d dominoes and am ber ale to see
th e first smile for years breaking like Eastertide over S kim py’s
hairless face as h e re tu rn e d th e compliment.
76
'у
THE PLAN OF DISCUSSING A STORY
V
I. Identifying the main elements of a story:
the theme or the subject-matter - What does the story deal
with?
the plot and the (historical and social) background —
When and where is the scene laid and what happens in the
story?
the characters - Who are the main characters of the story?
II. Sharing o n e ’s impressions of a story, o n e’s emotional response
the story evokes: Did you enjoy the story?
the them e - Is the story interesting? Is it involving, cuptivating?
the plot - Is the plot dynamic?
the characters - Do the characters seem to you true to life,
are th e y flesh and blood?
the style - Does the story read well?
III. Assessing the story:
the message of the story - What conclusions about life and
people does the story lead to?
the h u m an and social value of the story - How much dCes
the story help readers understand hum an n atu re and psychology
of people, the n a tu re of conflicts th ey face?
the them e - Is the them e significant in hum an, social or other
terms?
the plot and th e background - Does the story seem convinc­
ing? Does the background seem authentic?
the characters - Do the characters seem typical and represen­
tative of their social stratum?
DISCUSSION ACTIVITIES
T h e Portrait
1, Discms some problem-questions.
1. Does Mr Bigger seem to you a typical art-dealer and his
customer a typical bourgeois? What qualities of one an d the other
does the author seem to emphasize? Do you th in k there is some­
thing symbolic or ironic in the nam e of th e art-dealer and the
fact th a t the Lord of th e Manor is not given a n y nam e?
2. With what character of th e story are th e sym pathies of th e
author?
3. Do th e inside story and th e outside story have a n y th in g in
common? Does th e inside story seem to be in accordance with the
taste and th e expectations of the Lord of th e Manor?
4. W hy did Mr Bigger suddenly rem em ber his first real
adventure in Venice, w hen h e was selling the portrait?
5. Do people often appreciate pieces of art not for their
artistic value but for some story beh in d them ? What is this the
indication of?
6. W hen and w hy did high art, collecting books, paintings, etc,
become attributes of social status rath er th a n promoters of culture
and h u m an progress?
2. Explain how th e characters of th e story become rerealed in th e following
episodes.
M anor
about Old Masters (2, 7); 3. th e way he was hstening to Mr Bigg e r’s story at th e m ention of Earl Hurtmore (11)
Mr Bigger 1. his assessment of his customer (2); 2. his m ental
picture of his custom er’s d au g h ter (4); 3 .th e way he was m en tio n ­
ing some Old Masters (7, 8); 4. his rem ark about his custom er’s
’’n a tu ra l in stin ct” (9); 5. his thoughts about w hat h e had told his
customers (33)
3. Say how th e w riter’s attitu d e to his characten becomes rerealed in the
following quotations.
1.
to th e Lord of th e M anor - His face wore a gloomy ex p re
sion. T he corners of b a b y ’s m outh drooped. One almost expected
him to burst into tears. (8)
78
1 to Mr Bigger - There was a knowing kindliness in his smile
(10). He tu rn ed his long foxy nose toward the Lord of the Manor
and smiled benevolently. (18)
3.
to Lady Hurtmore and Giangolini - Giangolini had bar­
gained to elope with fifty thousand sequins. Lady Hurtmore
didn’t on reflection, much relish the idea of love in a cottage. (28)
4, Which of the follovring could be said to be:
1. the theme of the story
Love and money.
Art and money.
Commercialization of art.
2. the message of the story
He that is full of himself is very empty.
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
An ass louded with gold climbs to the top of the castle.
Speak on or write an essay about уош assessment
impression
The Boarding House
1. Discuss some problemntuestions.
1. Judging by the character of Mrs Mooney, do you think it
was partly her fault that her husband began to go to the devil?
2. Does Polly seem to be taking after her mother?
3. Why was Mrs Mooney so sure that her plan would m ateria­
lize? Was she a good schemer?
4. What do you think of Mr Doran? Do you feel sorry that he
fell a victim to Mrs M ooney’s scheme?
5. Is the marriage of Polly and Mr Doran likely to be happy?
main chaiacten of the story become rercaled
following.
Mrs Mooney I. ’’She dealt with moral problems as a cleaver
deals with m e a l.” (5) 2. ’’She made Mary collect the crusts and
pieces of broken bread to help to make T uesday’s bread-pudd in g .” (6) 3. in ’’the interview ” with Polly that she had had the
night before. (6)
79
Polly 1. ’’Her eyes, which were grey with a shade of green
through them , had a habit of glancing upwards w hen she spoke
with an y o n e, which made her look like a little perverse m adon­
n a . ” (4) 2. in her ’’interview ” with Mrs Mooney. (8) 3. in her affair
with Mr Doran. (17, 18, 19) 4. in her talk with Mr Doran. (16)
5. w hen she sat waiting in Mr D oran’s room. (24)
Mr Doran 1. Mrs M ooney’s thoughts about him. (11) 2. how
anxious he was this S unday morning. (13) 3. his confession. (13)
4. his fear of the employer. (14) 5. his past as compared with his
present. (15) 6. his thoughts about Polly. (15) 7. ”He longed to
ascend through th e roof and fly away to an o th er co u n try w here
h e would never h ear again of his trouble, and y e t a force pushed
him downstairs step by step .” (22)
3. Say if you agree or disagree with the following obserration of Mr Doran.
’’Once you are married you are done for.” (15)
4. Which of the following phrases could be said to be:
1. th e th e m e of th e story
A way to get your d au g h ter off your hands.
As th e tree, so th e fruit - like m other, like daughter.
T he survival of th e fittest.
2. th e message of th e story
It’s most advisable to try and right th e wrong in time.
Nothing venture nothing won.
If you cannot have th e best m ake th e best of w hat you have
Speak on or write an essay about your assessment
impression
T he Rocking-Horse W inner
1. Discuss some problem-questions.
1. Does th e family described in the story seem to you a
typical English middle-class family or not and why?
2. W hy was th e boy so anxious to believe th a t he was lucky?
Did he hope to change his m o th er’s mood and h e r attitu d e to the
children?
3. Why was it racing th a t th e boy became so m uch interested
in.'
80
4. What role did Uncle Oscar play in th e life of the little boy?
Why did not he put an end to Paul’s betting as soon as he noticed
something u n c a n n y about the boy?
5. Does the situation described in the story seem quite
probable or entirely improbable to you? Do the elements of
extraordinary emphasize something quite ordinary or quite
realistic?
6. What made the mother keep the news about her unusual
birthday present all to herself?
7. What do ’’th e voices in the house” , the whispering stand as
a symbol of?
8. What was it that brought on Paul’s brain-fever? What was
th e true cause of his death?
characters of the story become revealed in the following
quotations and episodes
th e M other 1. ”In her m anner she was all the more gentle and
anxious for her children, as if she loved them very much. Only
she herself knew that at the center of her heart was a hard little
place that could not feel love, no, not for a n y b o d y .” (1) 2. ” ... her
tastes were just as expensive.” (4) 3. In her talk with Paul about
luck. (8) 4. ’’She so wanted to be first in something, and she did
not succeed...” (27) 5. ”He knew the law yer’s letter. As his
m other read it, her face hardened and became more expression­
less. Then a cold, determ ined look came on her mouth. She hid
th e letter u n d er the pile of others, and said not a word about it.”
(28) 6. ”Why n o t? ” she said, her voice becoming heavy when she
was opposed.” (33)
Paul 1. In his talk with the mother about luck. (8) 2. ’’Absorb­
ed, taking no heed of other people, he went about with a sort of
stealth, seeking inwardly for luck. ... he would sit on his big
rocking-horse, charging madly into space, with a frenzy... his
eyes had a strange glare about th em ...” (9) 3. ”So he would mount
again, and start on his furious ride, hoping at last to get there. He
knew he could get th e re .” (10) 4. ”I started it for mother. She said
she had no luck, because father is unlucky, so 1 thought if I was
lucky, it might stop whispering.” (24) 5. ’’Paul handed отег five
thousand pounds to his uncle, who deposited it with the family
lawyer, who was then to inform Paul’s mother that a relative had
put five thousand pounds at a time, on her m other’s birthday, for
the n e x t five y e a rs .” (26)
81
3. Speak mi the «tm evbeic in die houK швА its effect on РаЫ ceosidanag the
foUewinc quotiticaia.
I.
Everybody else said of her; ”She is such a good mother
She adores her c h ild re n .” Only she herself and her children
themselves, knew it was not so. They read it in each o th e r’s eyes.
(1) 2. "Although th e y hved in style, they felt always an a n x iety
in th e h o u se .” (2) 3. ”So the house cam e to be h a u n te d by the
unspoken phrase: There must be more money! There must be
more money! The children could hear it all th e time, though
nobody said it aloud. (5) 4. It came w h is p e rin g .... Yet nobody ever
said It aloud. T h e whisper was everyw here ... . (6, 7) 5. The house
had been ’’w hispering” worse th a n ever lately, an d . even in spite
of his luck, Paul could not bear up against it. (27) 6. And yet the
voices Ш the house, behind the sprays of mimosa and almond
blossom, and from u n d er th e piles of iridescent cushions, simply
trilled and screamed in a sort of ecstasy: ’T h e r e must be more
money I»
Wtucb ^ Uh feU otnac pktMCS co«14 be MUI
1- the theme of the story
The atm osphere in the family and Its effect on a child.
Where there is a will th ere is e way.
Love, luck and m oney.
M oney IS never enough.
2. the meaoage of the story
There is no gain without a loss. ’’Y ou’re eighty-odd thousand
to th e good, a poor devil of a son to the b a d .”
Misfortunes tell what fortune is.
M oney often u n m ak es the men who m ake it.
Nothing is impossible to a willing heart.
ю «г wHtc en «М Г *b«ut f m u ш я ш в т т Х o f tfa« rtery
ш р гм я п я of i t
FeuilJe d’Album
1.
Docs the boy seem a typical budding painter, th e kind o
person we usually associate with art?
82
2.\What do the largely external descriptions of the girl tell
about her probable character and way of life?
3. Do you think the young painter really fell in love with the
girl or was it more the need of a companion, of a friend that made
him think of th e girl all the time?
4. What, do you think, will the girl’s response to the boy’s
words at the end of the story be? Think of a possible way to
continue it.
5. Why is th e story entitled ’’Feuille d’album ”?
2. Speak on how the chaiftcter of the boy becomes revealed in 1) the incidents
mentioned in paragraphs 2, 3; 2) the way he kept his studio (8); 3) the way
he made the list of expenses (9); 4) his fantasies about the girl (14).
Say if the description of the boy at the beginning of the story suggests
something a) furmy; b) mysterious; c) extraordinary about him. Choose one
characteristic and explain how it^s materialized in the further development
of the story.
4. Explain what the writer means saying:
1. Why come to Paris if you want to be a daisy in the field? (6)
2. His heart fell out of the side-window of his studio. (12) 3 .... the
very way she walked as though she was eager to be done with this
world of grow n-ups... (16)
5. Say if you agree or disagree with the following statements of the author and
why.
1.
When one is an artist one has no time simply for people
who won’t respond. (5)
2 .... the spirit of kindness dies very hard in women. (5)
6. Which of the following phrases could be said to be the theme of the story
Loneliness in a big city.
A painter needs an inspiration which is just right for him.
The need for companionship is a very real need.
7. Speak on or write an essay about your assessment of the story and your
impressions of it.
83
Tactical Exercise
L Discuss some problemniuestions.
1. How did th e war affect John V erney, his wife and their
relationship?
2. Why did th e reputation of cleverness condem ned Elizabeth
to social failure? Is th e attitude to women who are considered
clever or ’’d e e p ” still the same?
3. Why did John V erney h a te his wife so m uch? Did h e h ate
her as a woman, as a person or as a symbol of changed and
changing life? What was th e root cause of his hatred?
4. Why is this c e n tu ry referred to (in J o h n ’s thoughts) as ’’the
c e n tu ry of th e common m a n ”? (17)
5. For w hat effect did th e writer use military terms in the
story? (36, 37, 41)
6. As y o u ’ve observed th e events of th e story are mostly
shown th e way th e y appeared to John V erney. But was th e real
state of things actually like John V erney saw it?
7. Do you <‘i.nd th e end of th e story suggestive of a n y follow
up?
8. Who of th e two, John or Elizabeth, seems a more sy m p a th e ­
tic character to you and why? With whom, to y o u r mind, are the
sym pathies of th e author?
2. Explain how the nuin chaiacters become revealed in the episodes described
in paragraphs pointed out in brackets.
Elizabeth - her first season (4); how she tried to explain to
John th e post-war situation in th e co u n try (15-16); in th e way she
told her hu sb an d about her visit to th e doctor (42).
Jo h n - th e days in th e arm y (2); th e fact th a t he married
Elizabeth (5); his thoughts during th e sleepless nights (21-22); the
visit to th e doctor (40).
3, Explain what the writer means.
1. giving th e nam e of ’’Good Hope F o rt” to th e place w here
Elizabeth and John w ent for their holiday. (29)
2. describing spring in th e following way: ”at length spring
came an d buds broke in th e obscene wilderness round th e h o u s e .”
(17) ”T h e y arrived on a gusty April afternoon after a train jour­
n e y of norm al discomfort.” (30) What atm osphere or w hat mood
do th e attributive words create?
84
3.
The irregular polyhedron of memory rolled uncertainly
and came to rest. (33)
duagree with the following obserrations
author and why.
1 .... soldiers in far-distant camps think of their wives with a
tenderness th e y seldom felt at home. (17)
2.
— in a few hours th e whole tale had floated away in those
lightless attics of the mind where films and dreams and funny
stories lie spider-shrouded for a lifetime, unless, as sometimes
happens, an intruder brings them to light. (28)
5. Explain which of the following phrases could be said to be:
1. the theme of the story
Your home is what you m ake it.
The outgoing class is inherently incapable to come to grips
with the changing world.
War and its effect on a m a n ’s mind.
2. the message of the story
Those who are unable to accommodate the change will be
damned.
It’s hum an to think other people responsible for the faults of
our own.
War is a crime because it cripples people’s minds.
Speak on or write an essay about your assessment
impressions of it.
The Buj
1. Discuss some problem-questions
1. What does the writer portray at the beginning of the story
(1 -5 )? W hat’s the role of this part for the developing the central
idea of the story?
2. What feeling does the description of the beggars evoke in
the reader - anger, pity, shame, repulsion, sorrow or an y other?
And w hat did the writer feel watching them? Is such state of
poverty still characteristic of Central American countries?
3. W hat’s the a u th o r’s idea of the Russian national character
85
as it’s revealed in paragraph 8? Do you th in k th ere is something
in the a u th o r’s words or is he m istaken?
4. What could have h a p p e n e d to the red-haired m an, to your
mind?
5. Do you th in k that th e description of th e buzzards th a t the
author mentions several times is only a part of the landscape or
does it create a certain atm osphere in the story?
Sum UD the author’s statements about 1) Time (1); 2) Reading
text which in your opinion will best sum
own
you а£гее with the new expressed by the
author.
3. Explain what the writer mean^.
1. describing the bum as ”a wreck of h u m a n ity ” (6)
2. when h e says: ’’Life had ta k e n him, ren t him on its racks,
torn him limb from limb, an d th e n flung him, a bleeding wreck,
on th e stone steps of th a t c h u rc h .” (14)
disagree with the following observations of the writer.
these obserrations connected with the central problem
red
throw
haired man?
1. The gesture is grand and like all grand gestures absurd. (1)
2. T here are h u n d red s, thousands of youths who en ter upon
th e hard calling of th e arts with extravagant hopes; b u t for the
most part th e y come to terms with their mediocrity an d find
somewhere in life a niche w here th e y can escape starvation. (13)
Speak on how the bum’s response to the sudden attack of the policeman
and his firml gesture with the banknote characterize him.
6. Explain which of the following phrases could be said to be:
1. th e th e m e of th e story
T he arrogance of youth.
Never cheat on life or life will cheat on you.
U nexpected things always h ap p en .
2. th e message of th e story
Grand gestures are absurd.
It takes more th a n arrogance to be a somebody.
One must know how to compromize.
8£
Sv'eak on or write an essay about your assessment
impressions
Manhood
1. Discuss some problem-questions.
1. What were the relations betw een the three members of the
family? Does the attitude of the father and the mother to Rob
seem typical to you?
2. Do fathers and mothers usually have different views on
how to bring up a child?
3. Is the m other’s attitude to boxing usual for women?
4. Why was the father so k een on making an athlete out of
Rob?
5. Why did Rob make up a story about his going in for
boxing? Do you think it was proper of him? clever of him?
6. What will the father do, to your mind, after the telephone
talk with the teacher?
2. Explain how the characten of the father and the son become rerealed in
the following quotations.
th e father - 1. Mr Willison dismounted with exaggerated
steadiness, laid his bicycle carefully on its side, and spread his
jacket on the ground before sinking down to rest. (2) 2. Mr
Willison, aware that he was beginning to sound like a nagging,
over-anxious parent, allowed himself to be defeated and did not
press th e suggestion about Rob’s coming to sit on his jacket. (4)
3. When I was a boy ... it was just work, work, work, pass this
exam, get that certificate. Well, I did it and now I’m qualified and
in a secure job. But you know as well as I do that th e y let me
down. (9) 4. No son of mine is going to grow up with th e same
wretched physical heritage. (9) 5. You’re taller th an I am. This is a
great landm ark. (13) 6. ’’Come on, love,” he said coaxingly.
’’Don’t spoil my big n ig h t.” (24) 7. With lead in his heart and ice
in his fingers h e dialed the num ber. (31)
th e son - 1. Rob, falling silent, pushed doggedly at his
pedals. (2) 2. His eyes were surprisingly mild; there was no fire of
rebellion in them. (6) 3. Rob took the gloves, put on the righthand one, and gave the punch-ball one conscientious blow. (12)
4. Rob picked up his shirt and began uncertainly poking his arms
87
into the sleeves. (14) 5. ”Г11 die if you don’t get the doctor!” Rob
suddenly hissed. ”M um!” he shouted. (28)
3. Say what the writer is trying to emphasize in the following description.
” Rob, with his h a n d over his eyes, lay motionless on the
grass. His legs looked thin and white among th e rich grass... Rob
lay like a sullen corpse by the roadside. He looked horribly like
the victim of an accident, u n m a rk e d but dead from internal
injuries.” (5)
4, Explain what the implication of the following is:
1. the title of the story.
2. Mr Willison parried, uneasily aware th a t th e television set
was quacking and signalling on the fringe of his attention,
turning th e scene from clumsy tragedy into a clumsier farce. (25)
5. Say if you agree or disagree with the following statements of the characters
and giye your reasons.
1. But it (boxing) injures their brains! All those blows on th e
front of th e skull. (19)
2. T here is a law. The u n alterable law of n a tu re th a t says th a t
the young males of th e species indulge in m anly trials of
strength. (25)
6. Say which of the following phrases could be said to be:
1. th e th em e of th e story
G eneration gap.
What we w ant our children to be.
Life of a family and a family conflict.
2. th e message of th e story
Every family is u n h a p p y in its own way.
Every m an has his own life to live.
You can tak e a horse to th e water but you cannot m ake him
drink.
D on’t m ake out of your child a compensation for your own
losses.
Speak on or write an essay about your assessment of the story and your
impressions of it.
88
Green Eyes
-'.Discuss some problem-questions.
1. Does Uncle Bill seem to be just a quarrelsome fellow or did
he fight because he couldn’t let wiong-doers get awav with their
sins?
2. What were the relations between the families of the two
brothers and why?
3. Do you th in k fighting is an appropriate way to right and
wrong? Why was fighting an every day affair among miners?
4. If you compare the two main characters do you find
anything in common between them? Do th ey seem to be specially
contrasted by the author?
5. What was it that made a self-interested savage out of
Skimpy? W hy did he treat his fellow-vlllagers the way he did?
6. Why did he decide not to fight with Uncle Bill?
7. What, do you think, is th e au th o r’s attitude to his main
characters? Do you share the au th o r’s feelings?
I
Explain what the m ain conflict
ing and пте your reasons.
Skimpy
Skimpy
Skimpy
Skimpy
and
and
and
and
the miners.
Fred.
the world.
Uncle Bill.
3. Explain how the character of Skimpy and the attitude of his fellow-Tillagers to him become rerealed in the following.
Skim py - 1. Skimpy had been a prisoner-of-war in Germany.
After half-killing two or three of the guards, th ey put him in the
mine to work. (9) 2. ... he once worked a shift at Deepdown
barefooted to win a bet. (9) 3. Skimpy had to flaunt his poaching.
(10) 4. S kim py’s eyes never flickered. Not one tell-tale muscle
twitched. (14) 5. ...all eyes left darts and dominoes and amber ale
to see the first smile for years breaking like Eastertide over
Skim py’s hairless face. (20)
th e attitude to Skim py of his fellow-villagers - 1. But Skimpy
had to flaunt his poaching ... And they d id n ’t like it naturally. So
one night, two or three of them set a trap for him, gave him a good
89
hiding, took his bag of rabbits and sent him packing. (10) 2.
Everybody beUeved him guilty an d w hen he was released every­
body sh u n n e d him. (11) 3. But one corner was em pty, as if a ring
had been drawn around it an d a notice put up. Trespassers Will Be
Prosecuted. S kim py’s corner. (17) 4. And th e Black Bull became
as quiet as the transept of a cathedral as all eyes left darts and
dominoes and am ber ale to see th e first smile for years breaking
like Eastertide over S kim py’s hairless face ... (20).
4. Explain what the implication of the following is.
1.
T he title of the story. 2. ”M eb b e,” said Skim py, ’’y o u ’ve
thought A h ’m yellow, e h ? ” (18) 3. ” ... th e eyes of Skim py were
th e eyes of th e crucified” . (20) 4. ” ... th e first smile for years
breaking like Eastertide over S kim py’s hairless face” . (20)
5- Which of the following phrases could be said to be
1. the theme of the story
A m an is w hat life m akes him.
Bravery is th e capacity to perform properly even w hen scared
half to death.
Like cures like.
2. the message of the story
T here is som ething good in every man.
He th a t respects not is not respected.
We can treat a man with a dose of his own medicine.
To err is h u m a n , to forgive divine.
Speak on or write an essay about уош assessment of the story and your
impressions of i t
NOTES
The Portrait
p. 6
R em brandt - 1606-1669, well-known Dutch painter
Sir Joshua Reynolds - 1723-1792, well-known English painter
a Manor Н ош е - the house of the lord of a manor that is of an
estate administered t s a unit
p. 7
Longhi - 1702-1785, well-known Italian portrait-painter
morbidezza - the delicate, subtle and lifelike rendering of flesh in
painting, sculpture or engraving
Rosalba - 1675-1757, Italian portrait and miniature painter
Tiepolo - 1696-1770, a Venetian painter
p. 8
Anne Boleyn - about 1507-1536, second wife of Henry VIII of
England, mother of Q ueen Elizabeth
Nell G wynn - 1650-1687, English actress, mistress of Charles II
D uke of Wellington - 1769-1852, First Duke, known as The Iron
Duke
p. 9
Galuppi - 1706-1785, Italian composer
Misericordia - Italian bural society, rendering service to all
Piccinni - 1728-1800, Italian musician and composer, known as
th e rival of Gliik
Santa Maria - a well-known church in Venice
Porpora - 1686-1768, Italian composer and singing teacher
Tartini - 1692-1770, Italian composer and violinist, created the
well-known ”The Devil’s S onata”
Ridotto - the hall where a musical and dancing entertainm ent is
given
Maria-Theresa - 1717-1780, wife of Emperor Francis I, Q ueen of
H ungary and Bohemia
p. 10
Pantaloon - a traditional character in Italian comedy, also the
patron saint of Venice
91
Pulcinello - or Punchinello, a comic character in Italian burles­
q u e or pu p p et show, same as th e English Punch
P unch - Панч (Петрушка)
p. 12
сага arnica - ит. д орогой д р у г
p. 13
cicisbeo {pi. cicisbei) - ит. к а в а л е р , постоян н ы й с п у т н и к д а ­
мы
р. 14
Lido - ап Italian island in th e Adriatic South East of Venice,
fashionable seaside resort
G uardi - 1712-1793, V enetian painter know n for his scenes of
Venice
T h e Boarding House
p. 17
com -factor’s office - office of an agent in charge of trading corn
p. 20
wild
R e y n o ld ’s Newspaper - a
policy of th e Labour party
T h e Rocking-Horse W in n er
p. 26
with a sort of stealth - зд. со сво ей тайной
to be in full tilt - быть н а к л о н е н н ы м до п р ед ел а
p. 27
Ascot - the famous race-course and horse races at Ascot H eath in
Birkshire, England
blade of th e ”t i u f ” - зд. за в с е гд а т а й с к а ч е к
Honogr bright - разг. честное сл о в о
p. 28
N at Gould - a famous financier
92
p. 29
t
spinning y a m s - разг. небылицы
as sure as eggs - з д . вер н о е д ел о
p. 35
as right as a trivet - разг. зд. в полном п о р я д к е
Feuille D ’Albiu
p. 37
Feuille d ’£ilbiun - фр. листок из альбома
p. 39
rag-time - music of American negro origin, which was very
popular as dance-music in th e 1920s
terra-cotta - a red substance made from a m ixture of clay and
sand
Tactical Exercise
p. 44
Belgravia - th e smart and very expensive residential area of
London
Pont Street - a street in London associated with wealthy upper
middle-class society
%
p. 45
M.C. - Military Cross, a decoration
th e H eath - Hampstead Heath parkland in a London suburb
"Welcome to Chaos and Old N ight” - a reference to the words of
Milton in his poem ’T aradize Lost” (Book I, line 540)
p. 48
’24 Comprimes narcotiques, hypnotiques’ - фр. 24 таблетки
снотворного
p. 49
’Ne pas dёpasser d e u x ’ - фр. не более д в у х
93
\
S
\
/
p. 50
th e Cornish coast - situated in Cornwall, in th e south-west of
England
’Your castle h a th a pleasant seat’ —a quotation from Macbeth by
Shakespeare
p. 52
staff-solution —th e official answer to a problem set by instructors
at the Army Staff College
T he Bum
p. 56
V era Crus - a port on th e East coast of Mexico
YucataB - a region in th e south-east of Mexico
p. 57
th e Spanish Main - Caribbean Sea
w hite ducks - trousers m ade of white sailcloth material
p. 58
"Dispense Usted per Dios” - ucn. прости м е н я , Господи
G reen Eyes
p. 72
buli-terrier - a breed, supposed to have developed from crossing
th e bulldog and the white English terrier
p. 73
ta ty - диал. к ар то ф ел ь
b a im - шотл. р еб ен о к
Permines - P en n in e Chain, m ountains in th e North of England
p. 74
a coupla days = a couple of days
Black Bull - the nam e of a pub
94
p. 75
Ah = t
Cununerland - шотл. п ри ятель
p. 76
m ebby = may be
y e = you
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