КИЧАЕВА УМА АЛЕКСАНДРОВНА
МАХАЧКАЛА - 2016
Составитель: Кичаева Ума Александровна
Учебное пособие. – Махачкала: 2016 – 140с.
Данное учебное пособие предназначено для студентов 3 курса и нацелено на выработку навыков и умений перевода, пересказа и анализа текстов англоязычных авторов. Пособие разработано на основе произведений англоязычных авторов и включает в себя неадаптированные тексты, что дает возможность студентам почувствовать весь колорит и специфику английской речи. К каждому рассказу разработаны задания и упражнения на проверку понимания прочитанного и закрепление новой лексики.
Пособие составлено в полном соответствии с требованиями Государственных образовательных стандартов по направлению «Лингвистика и межкультурная коммуникация».
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Rain by W. Somerset Maugham
No story by O`Henry
While the Auto Waits by O`Henry
The Complete Life of John Hopkins by O`Henry
I had called upon my friend, Mr. Sherlock Holmes, one day in the autumn of last year and found him in deep conversation with a very stout, florid-faced, elderly gentleman with very red hair. With an apology for my intrusion, I was about to withdraw when Holmes pulled me abruptly into the room and close the door behind me.
“You could not possibly have come at a better time, my dear Watson,” he said cordially.
“I was afraid that you were engaged.”
“So I am. Very much so.”
“Then I can wait into the next room.”
“Not at all. This gentleman, Mr. Wilson, has been my partner and helper in many of my most successful cases, and I have no doubt that he will be of the utmost use to me in yours also.”
The stout gentleman half rose from his chair and gave a bob of greeting, with a quick little questioning glance from his small fat-encircled eyes.
“Try the settee,” said Holmes, relapsing into his armchair and putting his fingers together, as was his custom when in judicial moods.
“I know, my dear Watson, that you share my love of all that is bizarre and outside the conventions and humdrum routine of everyday life. You have shown your relish for it by the enthusiasm which has prompted you to chronicle, and, if you will excuse my saying so, somewhat to embellish so many of my own little adventures.”
“Your cases have indeed been of the greatest interest to me,” I observed.
“You will remember that I remarked the other day, just before we went into the very simple problem presented by Miss Mary Sutherland, that for strange effects and extraordinary combinations we must go to life itself, which is always far more daring than any effort of the imagination.”
“A proposition which I took the liberty of doubting.”
“You did, Doctor, but none the less you must come round to my view, for otherwise I shall keep on piling fact upon fact on you until your reason breaks down under them and acknowledges me to be right. Now, Mr. Jabez Wilson here has been good enough to call upon me this morning, and to begin a narrative which promises to be one of the most singular which I have listened to for some time.”
“You have heard me remark that the strangest and most unique things are very often connected not with the larger but with the smaller crimes, and occasionally, indeed, where there is room for doubt whether any positive crime has been committed. As far as I have heard, it is impossible for me to say whether the present case is an instance of crime or not, but the course of events is certainly among the most singular that I have ever listened to.”
“Perhaps, Mr. Wilson, you would have the great kindness to recommence your narrative. I ask you not merely because my friend Dr. Watson has not heard the opening part but also because the peculiar nature of the story makes me anxious to have every possible detail from your lips. As a rule, when I have heard some slight indication of the course of events, I am able to guide myself by the thousands of other similar cases which occur to my memory. In the present instance I am forced to admit that the facts are, to the best of my belief, unique.”
The portly client puffed out his chest with an appearance of some little pride and pulled a dirty and wrinkled newspaper from the inside pocket of his greatcoat. As he glanced down the advertisement column, with his head thrust forward and the paper flattened out upon his knee, I took a good look at the man and endeavoured, after the fashion of my companion, to read the indications which might be presented by his dress or appearance.
I did not gain very much, however, by my inspection. Our visitor bore every mark of being an average commonplace British tradesman, obese, pompous, and slow. He wore rather baggy grey shepherd’s check trousers, a not over-clean black frock-coat, unbuttoned in the front, and a drab waistcoat with a heavy brassy Albert chain, and a square pierced bit of metal dangling down as an ornament. A frayed top-hat and a faded brown overcoat with a wrinkled velvet collar lay upon a chair beside him. Altogether, look as I would, there was nothing remarkable about the man save his blazing red head, and the expression of extreme chagrin and discontent upon his features.
Sherlock Holmes quick eye took in my occupation, and he shook his head with a smile as he noticed my questioning glances.
“Beyond the obvious facts that he has at some time done manual labour, that he takes snuff, that he is a Freemason, that he has been in China, and that he has done a considerable amount of writing lately, I can deduce nothing else.”
Mr. Jabez Wilson started up in his chair, with his forefinger upon the paper, but his eyes upon my companion.
“How, in the name of good-fortune, did you know all that, Mr. Holmes?” he asked. “How did you know, for example, that I did manual labour? It’s as true as gospel, for I began as a ship’s carpenter.”
“Your hands, my dear sir. Your right hand is quite a size larger than your left. You have worked with it, and the muscles are more developed.”
“Well, the snuff, then, and the Freemasonry?”
“I won’t insult your intelligence by telling you how I read that, especially as, rather against the strict rules of your order, you use an arc-and-compass breastpin.”
“Ah, of course, I forgot that. But the writing?”
“What else can be indicated by that right cuff so very shiny for five inches, and the left one with the smooth patch near the elbow where you rest it upon the desk?”
“Well, but China?”
“The fish that you have tattooed immediately above your right wrist could only have been done in China. I have made a small study of tattoo marks and have even contributed to the literature of the subject. That trick of staining the fishes scales of a delicate pink is quite peculiar to China. When, in addition, I see a Chinese coin hanging from your watch-chain, the matter becomes even more simple.”
Mr. Jabez Wilson laughed heavily.
“Well, I never!” said he. “I thought at first that you had done something clever, but I see that there was nothing in it after all.”
“I begin to think, Watson,” said Holmes, “that I make a mistake in explaining. «Omne ignotum pro magnifico» you know, and my poor little reputation, such as it is, will suffer shipwreck if I am so candid.”
“Can you not find the advertisement, Mr. Wilson?”
“Yes, I have got it now,” he answered with his thick red finger planted halfway down the column. “Here it is. This is what began it all. You just read it for yourself, sir.”
I took the paper from him and read as follows:
“TO THE RED-HEADED LEAGUE: On account of the bequest of the late Ezekiah Hopkins, of Lebanon, Pennsylvania, U. S. A., there is now another vacancy open which entitles a member of the League to a salary of £4 a week for purely nominal services. All red-headed men who are sound in body and mind and above the age of twenty-one years are eligible. Apply in person on Monday, at eleven o’clock, to Duncan Ross, at the offices of the League, 7 Pope’s Court, Fleet Street.”
“What on earth does this mean?” I ejaculated after I had twice read over the extraordinary announcement.
Holmes chuckled and wriggled in his chair, as was his habit when in high spirits.
“It is a little off the beaten track, isn’t it?” said he. “And now, Mr. Wilson, off you go at scratch and tell us all about yourself, your household, and the effect which this advertisement had upon your fortunes. You will first make a note, Doctor, of the paper and the date.”
“It is The Morning Chronicle of April 27, 1890. Just two months ago.”
“Very good. Now, Mr. Wilson?”
“Well, it is just as I have been telling you, Mr. Sherlock Holmes,” said Jabez Wilson, mopping his forehead; “I have a small pawnbroker’s business at Coburg Square, near the City. It`s not a very large affair, and of late years it has not done more than just give me a living. I used to be able to keep two assistants, but now I only keep one; and I would have a job to pay him but that he is willing to come for half wages so as to learn the business.”
“What is the name of this obliging youth?” asked Sherlock Holmes.
“His name is Vincent Spaulding, and he’s not such a youth, either. It’s hard to say his age. I should not wish a smarter assistant, Mr. Holmes; and I know very well that he could better himself and earn twice what I am able to give him. But, after all, if he is satisfied, why should I put ideas in his head?”
“Why, indeed? You seem most fortunate in having an employé who comes under the full market price. It is not a common experience among employers in this age. I don’t know that your assistant is not as remarkable as your advertisement.”
“Oh, he has his faults, too,” said Mr. Wilson. “Never was such a fellow for photography. Snapping away with a camera when he ought to be improving his mind, and then diving down into the cellar like a rabbit into its hole to develop his pictures. That is his main fault, but on the whole he’s a good worker. There’s no vice in him.”
“He is still with you, I presume?”
“Yes, sir. He and a girl of fourteen, who does a bit of simple cooking and keeps the place clean - that is all I have in the house, for I am a widower and never had any family. We live very quietly, sir, the three of us; and we keep a roof over our heads and pay our debts, if we do nothing more.”
“The first thing that put us out was that advertisement. Spaulding, he came down into the office just this day eight weeks, with this very paper in his hand, and he says:
“I wish to the Lord, Mr. Wilson, that I was a red-headed man.”
“Why that?” I ask.
“Why,” says he, “here’s another vacancy on the League of the Red-headed Men. It is worth quite a little fortune to any man who gets it, and I understand that there are more vacancies than there are men, so that the trustees are at their wits end what to do with the money. If my hair would only change colour, here is a nice little crib all ready for me to step into.”
“Why, what is it, then?” I asked. You see, Mr. Holmes, I am a very stay-at-home man, and as my business came to me instead of my having to go to it, I was often weeks on end without putting my foot over the door-mat. In that way I didn’t know much of what was going on outside, and I was always glad of a bit of news.
“Have you never heard of the League of the Red-headed Men?” he asked with his eyes open.
“Why, I wonder at that, for you are eligible yourself for one of the vacancies.”
“And what are they worth?” I asked.
“Oh, merely a couple of hundred a year, but the work is slight, and it need not interfere very much with one’s other occupations.”
“Well, you can easily think that that made me prick up my ears, for the business has not been over good for some years, and an extra couple of hundred would have been very handy.
“Tell me all about it,” said I.
“Well,” said he, showing me the advertisement, “you can see for yourself that the League has a vacancy, and there is the address where you should apply for particulars. As far as I can make out, the League was founded by an American millionaire, Ezekiah Hopkins, who was very peculiar in his ways. He was himself red-headed, and he had a great sympathy for all red-headed men; so, when he died, it was found that he had left his enormous fortune in the hands of trustees, with instructions to apply the interest to the providing of easy berths to men whose hair is of that colour. From all I hear it is splendid pay and very little to do.”
“But,” said I, “there would be millions of red-headed men who would apply.”
“Not so many as you might think,” he answered. “You see it is really confined to Londoners, and to grown men. This American had started from London when he was young, and he wanted to do the old town a good turn. Then, again, I have heard it is no use your applying if your hair is light red, or dark red, or anything but real bright, blazing, fiery red. Now, if you cared to apply, Mr. Wilson, you would just walk in; but perhaps it would hardly be worth your while to put yourself out of the way for the sake of a few hundred pounds.”
“Now, it is a fact, gentlemen, as you may see for yourselves, that my hair is of a very full and rich tint, so that it seemed to me that if there was to be any competition in the matter I stood as good a chance as any man that I had ever met. Vincent Spaulding seemed to know so much about it that I thought he might prove useful, so I just ordered him to put up the shutters for the day and to come right away with me. He was very willing to have a holiday, so we shut the business up and started off for the address that was given us in the advertisement.”
*** *** ***
“I never hope to see such a sight as that again, Mr. Holmes. From north, south, east, and west every man who had a shade of red in his hair had tramped into the city to answer the advertisement. Fleet Street was choked with red-headed folk, and Pope’s Court looked like a coster’s orange barrow. I should not have thought there were so many in the whole country as were brought together by that single advertisement. Every shade of colour they were—straw, lemon, orange, brick, Irish-setter, liver, clay; but, as Spaulding said, there were not many who had the real vivid flame-coloured tint. When I saw how many were waiting, I would have given it up in despair; but Spaulding would not hear of it. How he did it I could not imagine, but he pushed and pulled and butted until he got me through the crowd, and right up to the steps which led to the office. There was a double stream upon the stair, some going up in hope, and some coming back dejected; but we wedged in as well as we could and soon found ourselves in the office.”
“Your experience has been a most entertaining one,” remarked Holmes as his client paused and refreshed his memory with a huge pinch of snuff.
“Pray continue your very interesting statement.”
“There was nothing in the office but a couple of wooden chairs and a deal table, behind which sat a small man with a head that was even redder than mine. He said a few words to each candidate as he came up, and then he always managed to find some fault in them which would disqualify them. Getting a vacancy did not seem to be such a very easy matter, after all. However, when our turn came the little man was much more favourable to me than to any of the others, and he closed the door as we entered, so that he might have a private word with us.”
“This is Mr. Jabez Wilson,” said my assistant, “and he is willing to fill a vacancy in the League.”
“And he is admirably suited for it”, the other answered. “He has every requirement. I cannot recall when I have seen anything so fine.”
“He took a step backward, cocked his head on one side, and gazed at my hair until I felt quite bashful. Then suddenly he plunged forward, wrung my hand, and congratulated me warmly on my success.”
“It would be injustice to hesitate,” said he. “You will, however, I am sure, excuse me for taking an obvious precaution.”
“With that he seized my hair in both his hands, and tugged until I yelled with the pain.”
“There is water in your eyes,” said he as he released me. “I perceive that all is as it should be. But we have to be careful, for we have twice been deceived by wigs and once by paint. I could tell you tales of cobbler’s wax which would disgust you with human nature.”
He stepped over to the window and shouted through it at the top of his voice that the vacancy was filled. A groan of disappointment came up from below, and the folk all trooped away in different directions until there was not a red-head to be seen except my own and that of the manager.
“My name,” said he, “is Mr. Duncan Ross, and I am myself one of the pensioners upon the fund left by our noble benefactor. Are you a married man, Mr. Wilson? Have you a family?”
“I answered that I had not. His face fell immediately.”
“Dear me!” he said gravely, “that is very serious indeed! I am sorry to hear you say that. The fund was, of course, for the propagation and spread of the red-heads as well as for their maintenance. It is exceedingly unfortunate that you should be a bachelor.”
“My face lengthened at this, Mr. Holmes, for I thought that I was not to have the vacancy after all; but after thinking it over for a few minutes he said that it would be all right.”
“In the case of another,” said he, “the objection might be fatal, but we must stretch a point in favour of a man with such a head of hair as yours. When shall you be able to enter upon your new duties?”
“Well, it is a little awkward, for I have a business already,” said I.
“Oh, never mind about that, Mr. Wilson!” said Vincent Spaulding. “I should be able to look after that for you.”
“What would be the hours?” I asked.
“Ten to two.”
“Now a pawnbroker’s business is mostly done of an evening, Mr. Holmes, especially Thursday and Friday evening, which is just before pay-day; so it would suit me very well to earn a little in the mornings. Besides, I knew that my assistant was a good man, and that he would see to anything that turned up.
“That would suit me very well”, said I. “And the pay?”
“Is £4 a week.”
“And the work?”
“Is purely nominal.”
“What do you call purely nominal?”
“Well, you have to be in the office, or at least in the building, the whole time. If you leave, you forfeit your whole position forever. The will is very clear upon that point. You don’t comply with the conditions if you budge from the office during that time.”
“It’s only four hours a day, and I should not think of leaving,” said I.
“No excuse will avail,” said Mr. Duncan Ross; “neither sickness nor business nor anything else. There you must stay, or you lose your billet.”
“And the work?”
“Is to copy out the Encyclopaedia Britannica. There is the first volume of it in that press. You must find your own ink, pens, and blotting-paper, but we provide this table and chair. Will you be ready to-morrow?”
“Certainly,” I answered.
“Then, good-bye, Mr. Jabez Wilson, and let me congratulate you once more on the important position which you have been fortunate enough to gain”.
“He bowed me out of the room and I went home with my assistant, hardly knowing what to say or do, I was so pleased at my own good fortune.”
“Well, I thought over the matter all day, and by evening I was in low spirits again; for I had quite persuaded myself that the whole affair must be some great hoax or fraud, though what its object might be I could not imagine. It seemed altogether past belief that anyone could make such a will, or that they would pay such a sum for doing anything so simple as copying out the Encyclopaedia Britannica.”
“Vincent Spaulding did what he could to cheer me up, but by bedtime I had reasoned myself out of the whole thing. However, in the morning I determined to have a look at it anyhow, so I bought a penny bottle of ink, and with a quill-pen, and seven sheets of foolscap paper, I started off for Pope’s Court.”
“Well, to my surprise and delight, everything was as right as possible. The table was set out ready for me, and Mr. Duncan Ross was there to see that I got fairly to work. He started me off upon the letter A, and then he left me; but he would drop in from time to time to see that all was right with me. At two o’clock he bade me good-day, complimented me upon the amount that I had written, and locked the door of the office after me.”
“This went on day after day, Mr. Holmes, and on Saturday the manager came in and planked down four golden sovereigns for my week’s work. It was the same next week, and the same the week after.”
“Every morning I was there at ten, and every afternoon I left at two. By degrees Mr. Duncan Ross took to coming in only once of a morning, and then, after a time, he did not come in at all. Still, of course, I never dared to leave the room for an instant, for I was not sure when he might come, and the billet was such a good one, and suited me so well, that I would not risk the loss of it.”
“Eight weeks passed away like this, and I had written about Abbots and Archery and Armour and Architecture and Attica, and hoped with diligence that I might get on to the B before very long. It cost me something in foolscap, and I had pretty nearly filled a shelf with my writings. And then suddenly the whole business came to an end.”
“To an end?”
“Yes, sir. And no later than this morning. I went to my work as usual at ten o’clock, but the door was shut and locked, with a little square of cardboard hammered on to the middle of the panel with a tack. Here it is, and you can read for yourself.”
He held up a piece of white cardboard about the size of a sheet of note-paper. It read in this fashion:
THE RED-HEADED LEAGUE
October 9, 1890
Sherlock Holmes and I surveyed this curt announcement and the rueful face behind it, until the comical side of the affair so completely overtopped every other consideration that we both burst out into a roar of laughter.
“I cannot see that there is anything very funny,” cried our client, flushing up to the roots of his flaming head. “If you can do nothing better than laugh at me, I can go elsewhere.”
“No, no,” cried Holmes, shoving him back into the chair from which he had half risen. “I really wouldn’t miss your case for the world. It is most refreshingly unusual. But there is, if you will excuse my saying so, something just a little funny about it.”
“Pray what steps did you take when you found the card upon the door?”
“I was staggered, sir. I did not know what to do. Then I called at the offices round, but none of them seemed to know anything about it. Finally, I went to the landlord, who is an accountant living on the ground floor, and I asked him if he could tell me what had become of the Red-headed League. He said that he had never heard of any such body. Then I asked him who Mr. Duncan Ross was. He answered that the name was new to him.”
“Well,” said I, “the gentleman at No. 4”
“What, the red-headed man?”
“Oh,” said he, “his name was William Morris. He was a solicitor and was using my room as a temporary convenience until his new premises were ready. He moved out yesterday.”
“Where could I find him?”
“Oh, at his new offices. He did tell me the address. Yes, 17 King Edward Street, near St. Paul’s.”
“I started off, Mr. Holmes, but when I got to that address it was a manufactory of artificial knee-caps, and no one in it had ever heard of either Mr. William Morris or Mr. Duncan Ross.”
“And what did you do then?” asked Holmes.
“I went home to Saxe-Coburg Square, and I took the advice of my assistant. But he could not help me in any way. He could only say that if I waited I should hear by post. But that was not quite good enough, Mr. Holmes. I did not wish to lose such a place without a struggle, so, as I had heard that you were good enough to give advice to poor folk who were in need of it, I came right away to you.”
“And you did very wisely,” said Holmes. “Your case is an exceedingly remarkable one, and I shall be happy to look into it. From what you have told me I think that it is possible that graver issues hang from it than might at first sight appear.”
“Grave enough!” said Mr. Jabez Wilson. “Why, I have lost four pound a week.”
“As far as you are personally concerned,” remarked Holmes, “I do not see that you have any grievance against this extraordinary league. On the contrary, you are, as I understand, richer by some £30, to say nothing of the minute knowledge which you have gained on every subject which comes under the letter A. You have lost nothing by them.”
“No, sir. But I want to find out about them, and who they are, and what their object was in playing this prank—if it was a prank—upon me. It was a pretty expensive joke for them, for it cost them two and thirty pounds.”
“We shall endeavour to clear up these points for you. And, first, one or two questions, Mr. Wilson. This assistant of yours who first called your attention to the advertisement—how long had he been with you?”
“About a month then.”
“How did he come?”
“In answer to an advertisement.”
“Was he the only applicant?”
“No, I had a dozen.”
“Why did you pick him?”
“Because he was handy and would come cheap.”
“At half wages, in fact.”
“What is he like, this Vincent Spaulding?”
“Small, stout-built, very quick in his ways, no hair on his face, though he’s not short of thirty. Has a white splash of acid upon his forehead.”
Holmes sat up in his chair in considerable excitement.
“I thought as much,” said he. “Have you ever observed that his ears are pierced for earrings?”
“Yes, sir. He told me that a gipsy had done it for him when he was a lad.”
“Hum!” said Holmes, sinking back in deep thought. “He is still with you?”
“Oh, yes, sir; I have only just left him.”
“And has your business been attended to in your absence?”
“Nothing to complain of, sir. There’s never very much to do of a morning.”
“That will do, Mr. Wilson. I shall be happy to give you an opinion upon the subject in the course of a day or two. To-day is Saturday, and I hope that by Monday we may come to a conclusion.”
*** *** ***
“Well, Watson,” said Holmes when our visitor had left us, “what do you make of it all?”
“I make nothing of it,” I answered frankly. “It is a most mysterious business.”
“As a rule,” said Holmes, “the more bizarre a thing is the less mysterious it proves to be. It is your commonplace, featureless crimes which are really puzzling, just as a commonplace face is the most difficult to identify. But I must be prompt over this matter.”
“What are you going to do, then?” I asked.
“To smoke,” he answered. “It is quite a three pipe problem, and I beg that you won’t speak to me for fifty minutes.”
He curled himself up in his chair, with his thin knees drawn up to his hawk-like nose, and there he sat with his eyes closed and his black clay pipe thrusting out like the bill of some strange bird. I had come to the conclusion that he had dropped asleep, and indeed was nodding myself, when he suddenly sprang out of his chair with the gesture of a man who has made up his mind and put his pipe down upon the mantelpiece.
“Sarasate plays at the St. James’s Hall this afternoon,” he remarked. “What do you think, Watson? Could your patients spare you for a few hours?”
“I have nothing to do to-day. My practice is never very absorbing.”
“Then put on your hat and come. I am going through the City first, and we can have some lunch on the way. I observe that there is a good deal of German music on the programme, which is rather more to my taste than Italian or French. It is introspective, and I want to introspect. Come along!”
We travelled by the Underground as far as Aldersgate; and a short walk took us to Saxe-Coburg Square, the scene of the singular story which we had listened to in the morning. It was a poky, little, shabby-genteel place, where four lines of dingy two-storied brick houses looked out into a small railed-in enclosure, where a lawn of weedy grass and a few clumps of faded laurel bushes made a hard fight against a smoke-laden and uncongenial atmosphere. Three gilt balls and a brown board with “JABEZ WILSON” in white letters, upon a corner house, announced the place where our red-headed client carried on his business.
Sherlock Holmes stopped in front of it with his head on one side and looked it all over, with his eyes shining brightly between puckered lids. Then he walked slowly up the street, and then down again to the corner, still looking keenly at the houses. Finally he returned to the pawnbroker’s, and, having thumped vigorously upon the pavement with his stick two or three times, he went up to the door and knocked. It was instantly opened by a bright-looking, clean-shaven young fellow, who asked him to step in.
“Thank you,” said Holmes, “I only wished to ask you how you would go from here to the Strand.”
“Third right, fourth left,” answered the assistant promptly, closing the door.
“Smart fellow, that,” observed Holmes as we walked away. “He is, in my judgment, the fourth smartest man in London, and for daring I am not sure that he has not a claim to be third. I have known something of him before.”
“Evidently,” said I, “Mr. Wilson’s assistant counts for a good deal in this mystery of the Red-headed League. I am sure that you inquired your way merely in order that you might see him.”
“The knees of his trousers.”
“And what did you see?”
“What I expected to see.”
“Why did you beat the pavement?”
“My dear doctor, this is a time for observation, not for talk. We are spies in an enemy’s country. We know something of Saxe-Coburg Square. Let us now explore the parts which lie behind it.”
The road in which we found ourselves as we turned round the corner from the retired Saxe-Coburg Square presented as great a contrast to it as the front of a picture does to the back. It was one of the main arteries which conveyed the traffic of the City to the north and west. The roadway was blocked with the immense stream of commerce flowing in a double tide inward and outward, while the footpaths were black with the hurrying swarm of pedestrians. It was difficult to realize as we looked at the line of fine shops and stately business premises that they really abutted on the other side upon the faded and stagnant square which we had just quitted.
“Let me see,” said Holmes, standing at the corner and glancing along the line, “I should like just to remember the order of the houses here. It is a hobby of mine to have an exact knowledge of London.
There is Mortimer’s, the tobacconist, the little newspaper shop, the Coburg branch of the City and Suburban Bank, the Vegetarian Restaurant, and McFarlane`s carriage-building depot. That carries us right on to the other block.
And now, Doctor, we’ve done our work, so it`s time we had some play. A sandwich and a cup of coffee, and then off to violin-land, where all is sweetness and delicacy and harmony, and there are no red-headed clients to vex us with their conundrums.”
My friend was an enthusiastic musician, being himself not only a very capable performer but a composer of no ordinary merit. All the afternoon he sat in the stalls wrapped in the most perfect happiness, gently waving his long, thin fingers in time to the music, while his gently smiling face and his languid, dreamy eyes were as unlike those of Holmes the sleuth-hound, Holmes the relentless, keen-witted, ready-handed criminal agent, as it was possible to conceive.
In his singular character the dual nature alternately asserted itself, and his extreme exactness and astuteness represented, as I have often thought, the reaction against the poetic and contemplative mood which occasionally predominated in him. The swing of his nature took him from extreme languor to devouring energy; and, as I knew well, he was never so truly formidable as when, for days on end, he had been lounging in his armchair amid his improvisations and his black-letter editions. Then it was that the lust of the chase would suddenly come upon him, and that his brilliant reasoning power would rise to the level of intuition, until those who were unacquainted with his methods would look askance at him as on a man whose knowledge was not that of other mortals. When I saw him that afternoon so enwrapped in the music at St. James’s Hall I felt that an evil time might be coming upon those whom he had set himself to hunt down.
“You want to go home, no doubt, Doctor,” he remarked as we emerged.
“Yes, it would be as well.”
“And I have some business to do which will take some hours. This business at Coburg Square is serious.”
“A considerable crime is in contemplation. I have every reason to believe that we shall be in time to stop it. But to-day being Saturday rather complicates matters. I shall want your help to-night.”
“At what time?”
“Ten will be early enough.”
“I shall be at Baker Street at ten.”
“Very well. And, I say, Doctor, there may be some little danger, so kindly put your army revolver in your pocket.”
He waved his hand, turned on his heel, and disappeared in an instant among the crowd.
I trust that I am not more dense than my neighbours, but I was always oppressed with a sense of my own stupidity in my dealings with Sherlock Holmes. Here I had heard what he had heard, I had seen what he had seen, and yet from his words it was evident that he saw clearly not only what had happened but what was about to happen, while to me the whole business was still confused and grotesque.
*** *** ***
As I drove home to my house in Kensington I thought over it all, from the extraordinary story of the red-headed copier of the Encyclopaedia down to the visit to Saxe-Coburg Square, and the ominous words with which he had parted from me. What was this nocturnal expedition, and why should I go armed? Where were we going, and what were we to do? I had the hint from Holmes that this smooth-faced pawnbroker’s assistant was a formidable man—a man who might play a deep game. I tried to puzzle it out, but gave it up in despair and set the matter aside until night should bring an explanation.
It was a quarter-past nine when I started from home and made my way across the Park, and so through Oxford Street to Baker Street. Two hansoms were standing at the door, and as I entered the passage I heard the sound of voices from above. On entering his room, I found Holmes in animated conversation with two men, one of whom I recognised as Peter Jones, the official police agent, while the other was a long, thin, sad-faced man, with a very shiny hat and oppressively respectable frock-coat.
“Ha! Our party is complete,” said Holmes, buttoning up his pea-jacket and taking his heavy hunting crop from the rack.
“Watson, I think you know Mr. Jones, of Scotland Yard? Let me introduce you to Mr. Merryweather, who is to be our companion in to-night’s adventure.”
“We’re hunting in couples again, Doctor, you see,” said Jones in his consequential way. “Our friend here is a wonderful man for starting a chase. All he wants is an old dog to help him to do the running down.”
“I hope a wild goose may not prove to be the end of our chase,” observed Mr. Merryweather gloomily.
“You may place considerable confidence in Mr. Holmes, sir,” said the police agent loftily. “He has his own little methods, which are, if he won’t mind my saying so, just a little too theoretical and fantastic, but he has the makings of a detective in him. It is not too much to say that once or twice, as in that business of the Sholto murder and the Agra treasure, he has been more nearly correct than the official force.”
“Oh, if you say so, Mr. Jones, it is all right,” said the stranger with deference. “Still, I confess that I miss my rubber. It is the first Saturday night for seven-and-twenty years that I have not had my rubber.”
“I think you will find,” said Sherlock Holmes, “that you will play for a higher stake to-night than you have ever done yet, and that the play will be more exciting. For you, Mr. Merryweather, the stake will be some £30,000; and for you, Jones, it will be the man upon whom you wish to lay your hands.”
“John Clay, the murderer, thief, smasher, and forger. He is a young man, Mr. Merryweather, but he is at the head of his profession, and I would rather have my bracelets on him than on any criminal in London. He is a remarkable man, is young John Clay. His grandfather was a royal duke, and he himself has been to Eton and Oxford. His brain is as cunning as his fingers, and though we meet signs of him at every turn, we never know where to find the man himself. He’ll crack a crib in Scotland one week, and be raising money to build an orphanage in Cornwall the next. I’ve been on his track for years and have never set eyes on him yet.
“I hope that I may have the pleasure of introducing you to-night. I’ve had one or two little turns also with Mr. John Clay, and I agree with you that he is at the head of his profession. It is past ten, however, and quite time that we started. If you two will take the first hansom, Watson and I will follow in the second.”
Sherlock Holmes was not very communicative during the long drive and lay back in the cab humming the tunes which he had heard in the afternoon. We rattled through an endless labyrinth of gas-lit streets until we emerged into Farrington Street.
“We are close there now,” my friend remarked. “This fellow Merryweather is a bank director, and personally interested in the matter. I thought it as well to have Jones with us also. He is not a bad fellow, though an absolute imbecile in his profession. He has one positive virtue. He is as brave as a bulldog and as tenacious as a lobster if he gets his claws upon anyone. Here we are, and they are waiting for us.”
We had reached the same crowded thoroughfare in which we had found ourselves in the morning. Our cabs were dismissed, and, following the guidance of Mr. Merryweather, we passed down a narrow passage and through a side door, which he opened for us. Within there was a small corridor, which ended in a very massive iron gate. This also was opened, and led down a flight of winding stone steps, which terminated at another formidable gate. Mr. Merryweather stopped to light a lantern, and then conducted us down a dark, earth-smelling passage, and so, after opening a third door, into a huge vault or cellar, which was piled all round with crates and massive boxes.
“You are not very vulnerable from above,” Holmes remarked as he held up the lantern and gazed about him.
“Nor from below,” said Mr. Merryweather, striking his stick upon the flags which lined the floor. “Why, dear me, it sounds quite hollow!” he remarked, looking up in surprise.
“I must really ask you to be a little more quiet!” said Holmes severely. “You have already imperilled the whole success of our expedition. Might I beg that you would have the goodness to sit down upon one of those boxes, and not to interfere?”
The solemn Mr. Merryweather perched himself upon a crate, with a very injured expression upon his face, while Holmes fell upon his knees upon the floor and, with the lantern and a magnifying lens, began to examine minutely the cracks between the stones. A few seconds sufficed to satisfy him, for he sprang to his feet again and put his glass in his pocket.
“We have at least an hour before us,” he remarked, “for they can hardly take any steps until the good pawnbroker is safely in bed. Then they will not lose a minute, for the sooner they do their work the longer time they will have for their escape. We are at present, Doctor—as no doubt you have divined—in the cellar of the City branch of one of the principal London banks. Mr. Merryweather is the chairman of directors, and he will explain to you that there are reasons why the more daring criminals of London should take a considerable interest in this cellar at present.”
“It is our French gold,” whispered the director. “We have had several warnings that an attempt might be made upon it.”
“Your French gold?”
“Yes. We had occasion some months ago to strengthen our resources and borrowed for that purpose 30,000 napoleons from the Bank of France. It has become known that we have never had occasion to unpack the money, and that it is still lying in our cellar. The crate upon which I sit contains 2,000 napoleons packed between layers of lead foil. Our reserve of bullion is much larger at present than is usually kept in a single branch office, and the directors have had misgivings upon the subject.”
“Which were very well justified,” observed Holmes. “And now it is time that we arranged our little plans. I expect that within an hour matters will come to a head. In the meantime Mr. Merryweather, we must put the screen over that dark lantern.”
“And sit in the dark?”
“I am afraid so. I had brought a pack of cards in my pocket, and I thought that, as we were a partie carrée, you might have your rubber after all. But I see that the enemy’s preparations have gone so far that we cannot risk the presence of a light. And, first of all, we must choose our positions. These are daring men, and though we shall take them at a disadvantage, they may do us some harm unless we are careful. I shall stand behind this crate, and do you conceal yourselves behind those. Then, when I flash a light upon them, close in swiftly. If they fire, Watson, have no compunction about shooting them down.”
I placed my revolver, cocked, upon the top of the wooden case behind which I crouched. Holmes shot the slide across the front of his lantern and left us in pitch darkness - such an absolute darkness as I have never before experienced. The smell of hot metal remained to assure us that the light was still there, ready to flash out at a moment’s notice. To me, with my nerves worked up to a pitch of expectancy, there was something depressing and subduing in the sudden gloom, and in the cold dank air of the vault.
“They have but one retreat,” whispered Holmes. “That is back through the house into Saxe-Coburg Square. I hope that you have done what I asked you, Jones?”
“I have an inspector and two officers waiting at the front door.”
“Then we have stopped all the holes. And now we must be silent and wait.”
*** *** ***
What a time it seemed! From comparing notes afterwards it was but an hour and a quarter, yet it appeared to me that the night must have almost gone, and the dawn be breaking above us. My limbs were weary and stiff, for I feared to change my position; yet my nerves were worked up to the highest pitch of tension, and my hearing was so acute that I could not only hear the gentle breathing of my companions, but I could distinguish the deeper, heavier in-breath of the bulky Jones from the thin, sighing note of the bank director.
From my position I could look over the case in the direction of the floor. Suddenly my eyes caught the glint of a light. At first it was but a lurid spark upon the stone pavement. Then it lengthened out until it became a yellow line, and then, without any warning or sound, a gash seemed to open and a hand appeared, a white, almost womanly hand, which felt about in the centre of the little area of light. For a minute or more the hand, with its writhing fingers, protruded out of the floor. Then it was withdrawn as suddenly as it appeared, and all was dark again save the single lurid spark which marked a chink between the stones.
Its disappearance, however, was but momentary. With a rending, tearing sound, one of the broad, white stones turned over upon its side and left a square, gaping hole, through which streamed the light of a lantern. Over the edge there peeped a clean-cut, boyish face, which looked keenly about it, and then, with a hand on either side of the aperture, drew itself shoulder-high and waist-high, until one knee rested upon the edge. In another instant he stood at the side of the hole and was hauling after him a companion, lithe and small like himself, with a pale face and a shock of very red hair.
“It’s all clear,” he whispered. “Have you the chisel and the bags? Great Scott! Jump, Archie, jump, and I’ll swing for it!”
Sherlock Holmes had sprung out and seized the intruder by the collar. The other dived down the hole, and I heard the sound of rending cloth as Jones clutched at his skirts. The light flashed upon the barrel of a revolver, but Holmes hunting crop came down on the man’s wrist, and the pistol clinked upon the stone floor.
“It’s no use, John Clay,” said Holmes blandly. “You have no chance at all.”
“So I see,” the other answered with the utmost coolness. “I fancy that my pal is all right, though I see you have got his coat-tails.”
“There are three men waiting for him at the door,” said Holmes.
“Oh, indeed! You seem to have done the thing very completely. I must compliment you.”
“And I you,” Holmes answered. “Your red-headed idea was very new and effective.”
“You’ll see your pal again presently,” said Jones. “He’s quicker at climbing down holes than I am. Just hold out while I fix the derbies.”
“I beg that you will not touch me with your filthy hands,” remarked our prisoner as the handcuffs clattered upon his wrists. “You may not be aware that I have royal blood in my veins. Have the goodness, also, when you address me always to say «sir» and «please»”
“All right,” said Jones with a stare and a snigger. “Well, would you please, sir, march upstairs, where we can get a cab to carry your Highness to the police-station?”
“That is better,” said John Clay serenely. He made a sweeping bow to the three of us and walked quietly off in the custody of the detective.
“Really, Mr. Holmes,” said Mr. Merryweather as we followed them from the cellar, “I do not know how the bank can thank you or repay you. There is no doubt that you have detected and defeated in the most complete manner one of the most determined attempts at bank robbery that have ever come within my experience.”
“I have had one or two little scores of my own to settle with Mr. John Clay,” said Holmes. “I have been at some small expense over this matter, which I shall expect the bank to refund, but beyond that I am amply repaid by having had an experience which is in many ways unique, and by hearing the very remarkable narrative of the Red-headed League.”
“You see, Watson,” he explained in the early hours of the morning as we sat over a glass of whisky and soda in Baker Street, “it was perfectly obvious from the first that the only possible object of this rather fantastic business of the advertisement of the League, and the copying of the Encyclopaedia, must be to get this not over-bright pawnbroker out of the way for a number of hours every day. It was a curious way of managing it, but, really, it would be difficult to suggest a better. The method was no doubt suggested to Clay’s ingenious mind by the colour of his accomplice’s hair. The £4 a week was a lure which must draw him, and what was it to them, who were playing for thousands? They put in the advertisement, one rogue has the temporary office, the other rogue incites the man to apply for it, and together they manage to secure his absence every morning in the week. From the time that I heard of the assistant having come for half wages, it was obvious to me that he had some strong motive for securing the situation.”
“But how could you guess what the motive was?”
“Had there been women in the house, I should have suspected a mere vulgar intrigue. That, however, was out of the question.
The man`s business was a small one, and there was nothing in his house which could account for such elaborate preparations and such an expenditure as they were at. It must then be something out of house. What could it be?
I thought of the assistant’s fondness for photography, and his trick of vanishing into the cellar. The cellar! There was the end of this tangled clue. Then I made inquiries as to this mysterious assistant and found that I had to deal with one of the coolest and most daring criminals in London. He was doing something in the cellar - something which took many hours a day for months on end. What could it be, once more? I could think of nothing save that he was running a tunnel to some other building.
“So far I had got when we went to visit the scene of action. I surprised you by beating upon the pavement with my stick. I was ascertaining whether the cellar stretched out in front or behind. It was not in front. Then I rang the bell, and, as I hoped, the assistant answered it. We have had some skirmishes, but we had never set eyes upon each other before. I hardly looked at his face. His knees were what I wished to see. You must yourself have remarked how worn, wrinkled, and stained they were. They spoke of those hours of burrowing. The only remaining point was what they were burrowing for. I walked round the corner, saw the City and Suburban Bank abutted on our friend`s premises, and felt that I had solved my problem. When you drove home after the concert I called upon Scotland Yard and upon the chairman of the bank directors, with the result that you have seen.”
“And how could you tell that they would make their attempt to-night?” I asked.
“Well, when they closed their League offices that was a sign that they cared no longer about Mr. Jabez Wilson’s presence—in other words, that they had completed their tunnel. But it was essential that they should use it soon, as it might be discovered, or the bullion might be removed. Saturday would suit them better than any other day, as it would give them two days for their escape. For all these reasons I expected them to come to-night.”
“You reasoned it out beautifully,” I exclaimed in unfeigned admiration. “It is so long a chain, and yet every link rings true.”
“It saved me from ennui,” he answered, yawning. “Alas! I already feel it closing in upon me. My life is spent in one long effort to escape from the commonplaces of existence. These little problems help me to do so.”
“And you are a benefactor of the race,” said I.
He shrugged his shoulders. “Well, perhaps, after all, it is of some little use,” he remarked.
“L`homme c`est rien—l`oeuvre c`est tout”, as Gustave Flaubert wrote to George Sand.
Vocabulary and Grammar Tasks
1. Read pp.4-12 and write out the unknown words.
2. Translate into English:
to call upon a friend, to be engaged, a successful case, be of the utmost use to smb., to share one’s love of smth., to be of the greatest interest to smb., proposition, none the less, a narrative, the opening part, peculiar nature of the story, with an appearance of some little pride, a dirty and wrinkled newspaper, to glance down the advertisement column, blazing red, impression of extreme chagrin, discontent, quick eye, manual labour, to deduce, tattoo marks, pawnbroker’s business, try the settee, as was his custom, you must come round to my view, he glanced down the advertisement column, after the fashion of my companion, it is a little off the beaten track, to apply for smth., for the sake of smth., to interfere with one’s occupations, blazing red.
3. Find the Russian equivalents in the text:
однажды осенью, навестить своего друга, тучный пожилой человек с красным оттенком лица и огненно-рыжими волосами, вопросительный взгляд, на днях, незаурядное дело, повторить свой рассказ, вдобавок, физически и умственно здоровый, домосед.
4. Answer the questions:
What are the strangest and most unique cases for Sherlock Holmes?
What impression did Mr. Jabez Wilson make on Watson?
What did Watson learn about Mt.Wilson by his dress and appearance?
What did the advertisement say?
Who was Vincent Spaulding?
5. Describe Jabez Wilson:
- a very stout, florid-faced, elderly gentleman with very red hair; obese, pompous;
- to wear baggy grey shepherd’s check trousers, a not over-clean black frock-coat, a frayed top-hat, a faded brown overcoat;
- an average commonplace British tradesman, a Freemason, to take snuff;
- a ship’s carpenter, pawnbroker’s business;
Describe Vincent Spaulding:
- assistant, smart, it’s hard to say his age, is willing to come for half wages, to learn the business.
Speak about the Red-headed League:
- Ezekiah Hopkins, a vacancy, red-headed men, above the age of twenty-one years, salary of £4 a week, for purely nominal services.
6. Translate into English:
Извинившись за вторжение, я попытался уйти.
Вы пришли, как нельзя более, кстати.
Толстяк привстал со стула и поприветствовал меня кивком головы.
Я вынужден признать, что приведенные факты действительно уникальны.
Однако я не слишком-то много извлек из моих наблюдений.
От наметанного глаза Шерлока Холмса не ускользнуло мое занятие.
Я начал свою карьеру корабельным плотником.
Моей скромной репутации грозит крушение, если я буду так откровенен...
7. Explain what is meant by:
Mr. Sherlock Holmes: “For strange effects and extraordinary combinations we must go to life itself, which is always far more daring than any effort of the imagination.”
Mr. Sherlock Holmes: “I shall keep on piling fact upon fact on you until your reason breaks down under them and acknowledges me to be right.”
Mr. Sherlock Holmes: “The strangest and most unique things are very often connected not with the larger but with the smaller crimes.”
Mr. Sherlock Holmes: “There is room for doubt whether any positive crime has been committed.”
8. Retell the given extract.
1. Read pp. 12-20 and write out the unknown words.
2. Translate into English:
to answer the advertisement, red-headed folk, different shades of colour, tint, to do smth. in despair, an entertaining experience, to disqualify, to get a vacancy, however, to be favourable to smb., to have a private word with smb., to be admirably suited for smth., requirements, to recall, to congratulate smb. on one’s success, to hesitate, to take an obvious precaution, to yell, to deceive, a wig, disappointment, a benefactor, a bachelor, duties, nominal work, to congratulate smb. on smth., to make a will, encyclopaedia, to dissolve, to move out, to gain knowledge on the subject, stout-built, very quick in his ways, excitement, earrings, a gipsy, come to a conclusion.
3. Find the Russian equivalents in the text:
заработать немного, чернила, промокашка, розыгрыш, к ч-л удивлению, объявление, домовладелец, бухгалтер, юрист, сыграть шутку с к-л. обращать ч-л внимание на, единственный претендент.
4. Answer the questions:
Who is Mr. Duncan Ross?
Did Mr. Jabez Wilson satisfy the requirement of the Leage?
Why did Mr. Duncan Ross feel upset when he knew that Jabez Wilson had no family?
What was Jabez Wilson’s daily routine at work?
What is Mr. Duncan Ross’ real name and what was he?
What does Vincent Spaulding look like?
5. Translate into English:
"О, даже и не думайте об этом!"
Мы громко расхохотались.
"Не вижу здесь ничего смешного!"
"Это имя я слышу впервые."
"И Вы очень мудро поступили!"
"Ваш случай – просто замечательный, и я счастлив, что имею возможность заняться им"
"Каков он из себя, этот Винсент Сполдинг?"
6. Speak on the following points:
Describe Fleet Street choked with red-headed folk.
Jabez Wilson is getting a vacancy.
Jabez Wilson is at his work in the Red-headed League’s office.
The Red-headed League is dissolved. Jabez Wilson’s attempt to clear it up.
1. Read pp. 21-26 and write out the unknown words.
2. Translate into English:
ответить откровенно, как правило, принять решение, внимательно смотреть на ч-л, смышленый малый, убогое местечко с жалкими претензиями на аристократический стиль, четыре ряда закопченных двухэтажных кирпичных домов смотрели на небольшой огороженный садик, дымный и смрадный воздух, сорная трава, лавровые кусты, величавые деловые здания, каретное депо, досаждать головоломками, способный исполнитель, незаурядный композитор, в такт музыке, истомный мечтательный взгляд, образ Холмса-сыщика, безжалостный преследователь преступников, удивительный характер, двойственная натура, абсолютная точность и проницательность, поэтическое и задумчивое настроение, полная апатия, блистательная сила мышления, погрузившийся в музыку, запутанное и нелепое дело.
3. Find the Russian equivalents in the text:
commonplace crimes, to drop asleep, a mantelpiece, to introspect, Come along!, to introspect, to look keenly, to explore smth., to convey, footpaths, stately business premises, poetic and contemplative mood, extreme languor.
4. Answer the questions:
Describe Saxe-Coburg Square where Jabez Wilson’s office was situated.
Why did Sherlock Holmes decide to drop at the pawnbroker’s?
What hobby did Sherlock Holmes have?
What was the dual nature of Sherlock Holmes’s character?
Where did Sherlock Holmes and Watson go that evening?
What did they decide to do next?
Why did Watson feel oppressed with a sense of stupidity before Sherlock Holmes?
Retell the given extract.
1. Read pp. 26-31 and write out the unknown words.
2. Translate into English:
ночная экспедиция, оживленная беседа, агент полиции, фрак, играть по более крупным ставкам, убийца, вор, мошенник, преступник, удивительный человек, герцог, не терять ни минуты, отделенияе одного из ведущих лондонских банков, увеличить резервы, свинцовая фольга, полнейшей тьме.
3. Find Russian equivalents in the text:
ominous words, a formidable man, in despair, to introduce smb. to smb., with a very injured expression upon his face, to examine minutely, escape, a crate.
4. Answer the questions:
What did Watson think about as he drove home?
Whom did Watson find in Baker Street?
What was Peter Jones?
What was Mr. Merryweather?
What was John Clay?
What happened in the cellar of the City branch of one of the principal London banks?
Why did the criminals take a considerable interest in this bank’s cellar?
What plan did Sherlock Holmes suggest to catch the criminals?
5. Translate into English:
Я попытался все разгадать, но, отчаявшись, бросил это и отложил разгадку до ночи, которая все разъяснит.
Я бы с большим удовольствием надел наручники на него, чем на любого другого лондонского преступника.
Я годами гоняюсь за ним, и еще ни разу его не видел.
Я вполне согласен с Вами, что он – первый в своей профессии.
Он неплохой парень, хотя совершенно ничего не смыслит в своей профессии.
У него есть одно несомненное достоинство – он отважен, как бульдог, и цепок, как рак.
Чем раньше они закончат работу, тем больше времени у них останется, чтобы сбежать.
Было нечто угнетающее и подавляющее в этом внезапном мраке и холодной сырости подземелья.
У них есть только один путь для отступления, – прошептал Холмс.
6. Describe John Clay’s personality.
7. Give a brief summary of the extract.
1. Read pp. 31-36 and write out the unknown words.
2. Make up questions that will cover the contents of the given extract.
3. Translate into Russian:
companion, distinguish, a clean-cut boyish face, an intruder, a pal, to fancy, to fix the derbies, handcuffs, snigger, your Highness, bank robbery, ingenious mind, lure, rogue, cellar, to make inquiries, skirmish, to burrow a tunnel, to solve a problem, bullion, to yawn, to shrug the shoulders.
4. Answer the questions:
What concern did the criminals have to the Red-headed League?
How could Sherlock Holmes guess the criminals’ plan?
What did Jabez Wilson’s mysterious assistant do in the cellar?
How did Sherlock Holmes learn that the criminals had borrowed a tunnel to the City Bank?
How could Sherlock Holmes learn when the criminals would make their attempt to rob the bank?
5. Translate into English:
Как медленно тянулось время!
Нервы были напряжены до предела, а мой слух обострился.
Возможно, вам неизвестно, что в моих жилах течет королевская кровь.
У меня были свои собственные счеты с мистером Джоном Клеем, сказал Холмс.
Вы обосновали все превосходно! - воскликнул я в восторге.
Вся моя жизнь – сплошное усилие избежать тоскливого однообразия нашего бытия.
Give a brief summary of the extract. (pp.31-36)
1. Review the active words from Lessons 1-5. Be ready for dictation-translation.
2. Retell the story as if you were: a)Jabez Wilson, b)Sherlock Holmes, c)Watson, d)Vincent Spaulding.
3. Make up a dialogue between Sherlock Holmes and Watson discussing the case.
4. Give a summary of the story.
by W. Somerset Maugham
It was nearly bedtime and when they awoke next morning land would be in sight. Dr Macphail lit his pipe and, leaning over the rail, searched the heavens for the Southern Cross. After two years at the front and a wound that had taken longer to heal than it should, he was glad to settle down quietly at Apia for twelve months at least, and he felt already better for the journey. Since some of the passengers were leaving the ship next day at Pago-Pago they had had a little dance that evening and in his ears hammered still the harsh notes of the mechanical piano. But the deck was quiet at last. A little way off he saw his wife in a long chair talking with the Davidsons, and he strolled over to her. When he sat down under the light and took off his hat you saw that he had very red hair, with a bald patch on the crown, and the red, freckled skin which accompanies red hair; he was a man of forty, thin, with a pinched face, precise and rather pedantic; and he spoke with a Scots accent in a very low, quiet voice.
Between the Macphails and the Davidsons, who were missionaries, there had arisen the intimacy of shipboard, which is due to propinquity rather than to any community of taste. Their chief tie was the disapproval they shared of the men who spent their days and nights in the smoking-room playing poker or bridge and drinking. Mrs. Macphail was not a little flattered to think that she and her husband were the only people on board with whom the Davidsons were willing to associate, and even the doctor, shy but no fool, half unconsciously acknowledged the compliment. It was only because he was of an argumentative mind that in their cabin at night he permitted himself to carp.
'Mrs. Davidson was saying she didn't know how they'd have got through the journey if it hadn't been for us,' said Mrs. Macphail, as she neatly brushed out her transformation. 'She said we were really the only people on the ship they cared to know.'
'I shouldn't have thought a missionary was such a big bug that he could afford to put on frills.'
'It's not frills. I quite understand what she means. It wouldn't have been very nice for the Davidsons to have to mix with all that rough lot in the smoking-room.'
'The founder of their religion wasn't so exclusive,' said Dr Macphail with a chuckle.
'I've asked you over and over again not to joke about religion,' answered his wife. 'I shouldn't like to have a nature like yours. Alec. You never look for the best in people.'
He gave her a sidelong glance with his pale, blue eyes, but did not reply. After many years of married life he had learned that it was more conducive to peace to leave his wife with the last word. He was undressed before she was, and climbing into the upper bunk he settled down to read himself to sleep.
When he came on deck next morning they were close to land. He looked at it with greedy eyes. There was a thin strip of silver beach rising quickly to hills covered to the top with luxuriant vegetation. The coconut trees, thick and green, came nearly to the water's edge, and among them you saw the grass houses of the Samoans; and here and there, gleaming white, a little church. Mrs. Davidson came and stood beside him. She was dressed in black and wore round her neck a gold chain, from which dangled a small cross. She was a little woman, with brown, dull hair very elaborately arranged, and she had prominent blue eyes behind invisible pince-nez. Her face was long, like a sheep's, but she gave no impression of foolishness, rather of extreme alertness; she had the quick movements of a bird. The most remarkable thing about her was her voice, high, metallic, and without inflexion; it fell on the ear with a hard monotony, irritating to the nerves like the pitiless clamour of the pneumatic drill.
'This must seem like home to you,' said Dr Macphail, with his thin, difficult smile.
'Ours are low islands, you know, not like these. Coral. These are volcanic. We've got another ten days' journey to reach them.'
'In these parts that's almost like being in the next street at home,' said Dr Macphail facetiously.
'Well, that's rather an exaggerated way of putting it, but one does look at distances differently in the South Seas. So far you're right.'
Dr Macphail sighed faintly.
'I'm glad we're not stationed here,' she went on. 'They say this is a terribly difficult place to work in. The steamers' touching makes the people unsettled; and then there's the naval station; that's bad for the natives. In our district we don’t have difficulties like that to contend with. There are one or two traders, of course, but we take care to make them behave, and if they don't we make the place so hot for them they're glad to go.'
Fixing the glasses on her nose she looked at the green island with a ruthless stare.
'It's almost a hopeless task for the missionaries here. I can never be sufficiently thankful to God that we are at least spared that.'
Davidson's district consisted of a group of islands to the North of Samoa; they were widely separated and he had frequently to go long distances by canoe. At these times his wife remained at their headquarters and managed the mission. Dr Macphail felt his heart sink when he considered the efficiency with which she certainly managed it. She spoke of the depravity of the natives in a voice, which nothing could hush, but with a vehemently unctuous horror. Her sense of delicacy was singular. Early in their acquaintance she had said to him:
'You know, their marriage customs when we first settled in the islands were so shocking that I couldn't possibly describe them to you. But I'll tell Mrs. Macphail and she'll tell you.'
Then he had seen his wife and Mrs. Davidson, their deck-chairs close together, in earnest conversation for about two hours. As he walked past them backwards and forwards for the sake of exercise, he had heard Mrs. Davidson's agitated whisper, like the distant flow of a mountain torrent, and he saw by his wife's open mouth and pale face that she was enjoying an alarming experience. At night in their cabin she repeated to him with bated breath all she had heard.
'Well, what did I say to you?' cried Mrs. Davidson, exultant next morning. 'Did you ever hear anything more dreadful? You don't wonder that I couldn't tell you myself, do you? Even though you are a doctor.'
Mrs. Davidson scanned his face. She had a dramatic eagerness to see that she had achieved the desired effect.
'Can you wonder that when we first went there our hearts sank? You'll hardly believe me when I tell you it was impossible to find a single good girl in any of the villages.'
She used the word good in a severely technical manner.
'Mr. Davidson and I talked it over, and we made up our minds the first thing to do was to put down the dancing. The natives were crazy about dancing.'
'I was not averse to it myself when I was a young man,' said Dr Macphail.
'I guessed as much when I heard you ask Mrs. Macphail to have a turn with you last night. I don't think there's any real harm if a man dances with his wife, but I was relieved that she wouldn't. Under the circumstances I thought it better that we should keep ourselves to ourselves.'
'Under what circumstances?'
Mrs. Davidson gave him a quick look through her pince-nez, but did not answer his question.
'But among white people it's not quite the same,' she went on, 'though I must say I agree with Mr. Davidson, who says he can't understand how a husband can stand by and see his wife in another man's arms, and as far as I'm concerned I've never danced a step since I married. But the native dancing is quite another matter. It's not only immoral in itself, but it distinctly leads to immorality. However, I'm thankful to God that we stamped it out, and I don't think I'm wrong in saying that no one has danced in our district for eight years.'
But now they came to the mouth of the harbour and Mrs. Macphail joined them. The ship turned sharply and steamed slowly in. It was a great landlocked harbour big enough to hold a fleet of battleships; and all around it rose, high and steep, the green hills. Near the entrance, getting such breeze as blew from the sea, stood the governor's house in a garden. The Stars and Stripes dangled languidly from a flagstaff. They passed two or three trim bungalows, and a tennis court, and then they came to the quay with its warehouses. Mrs. Davidson pointed out the schooner, moored two or three hundred yards from the side, which was to take them to Apia. There was a crowd of eager, noisy, and good-humoured natives come from all parts of the island, some from curiosity, others to barter with the travellers on their way to Sydney; and they brought pineapples and huge bunches of bananas, tapa cloths, necklaces of shells or sharks' teeth, kava-bowls, and models of war canoes. American sailors, neat and trim, clean-shaven and frank of face, sauntered among them, and there was a little group of officials. While their luggage was being landed the Macphails and Mrs. Davidson watched the crowd. Dr Macphail looked at the yaws from which most of the children and the young boys seemed to suffer, disfiguring sores like torpid ulcers, and his professional eyes glistened when he saw for the first time in his experience cases of elephantiasis, men going about with a huge, heavy arm or dragging along a grossly disfigured leg. Men and women wore the lava-lava.
'It's a very indecent costume,' said Mrs. Davidson. 'Mr. Davidson thinks it should be prohibited by law. How can you expect people to be moral when they wear nothing but a strip of red cotton round their loins?'
'It's suitable enough to the climate,' said the doctor, wiping the sweat off his head.
Now that they were on land the heat, though it was so early in the morning, was already oppressive. Closed in by its hills, not a breath of air came in to Pago-Pago.
'In our islands,' Mrs. Davidson went on in her high-pitched tones, 'we've practically eradicated the lava-lava. A few old men still continue to wear it, but that's all. The women have all taken to the Mother Hubbard, and the men wear trousers and singlets. At the beginning of our stay Mr. Davidson said in one of his reports: the inhabitants of these islands will never be thoroughly Christianized till every boy of more than ten years is made to wear a pair of trousers.'
But Mrs. Davidson had given two or three of her birdlike glances at heavy grey clouds that came floating over the mouth of the harbour. A few drops began to fall.
"We'd better take shelter,' she said.
They made their way with all the crowd to a great shed of corrugated iron, and the rain began to fall in torrents. They stood there for some time and then were joined by Mr. Davidson. He had been polite enough to the Macphails during the journey, but he had not his wife's sociability, and had spent much of his time reading. He was a silent, rather sullen man, and you felt that his affability was a duty that he imposed upon himself Christianly; he was by nature reserved and even morose. His appearance was singular. He was very tall and thin, with long limbs loosely jointed; hollow cheeks, and curiously high cheekbones; he had so cadaverous an air that it surprised you to notice how full and sensual were his lips. He wore his hair very long. His dark eyes, set deep in their sockets, were large and tragic; and his hands with their big, long fingers were finely shaped; they gave him a look of great strength. But the most striking thing about him was the feeling he gave you of suppressed fire. It was impressive and vaguely troubling. He was not a man with whom any intimacy was possible.
He brought now unwelcome news. There was an epidemic of measles, a serious and often fatal disease among the Kanakas, on the island, and a case had developed among the crew of the schooner, which was to take them on their journey. The sick man had been brought ashore and put in hospital on the quarantine station, but telegraphic instructions had been sent from Apia to say that the schooner would not be allowed to enter the harbour till it was certain no other member of the crew was affected.
'It means we shall have to stay here for ten days at least.' 'But I'm urgently needed at Apia,' said Dr Macphail.
'That can't be helped. If no more cases develop on board, the schooner will be allowed to sail with white passengers, but all native traffic is prohibited for three months.'
'Is there a hotel here?' asked Mrs. Macphail.
Davidson gave a low chuckle.
'What shall we do then?'
'I've been talking to the governor. There's a trader along the front who has rooms that he rents, and my proposition is that as soon as the rain lets up we should go along there and see what we can do. Don't expect comfort. You've just got to be thankful if we get a bed to sleep on and a roof over our heads.'
But the rain showed no signs of stopping, and at length with umbrellas and waterproofs they set out. There was no town, but merely a group of official buildings, a store or two, and at the back, among the coconut trees and plantains, a few native dwellings. The house they sought was about five minutes' walk from the wharf. It was a frame house of two storeys, with broad verandas on both floors and a roof of corrugated iron. The owner was a half-caste named Horn, with a native wife surrounded by little brown children, and on the ground floor he had a store where he sold canned goods and cottons. The rooms he showed them were almost bare of furniture. In the Macphails' there was nothing but a poor, worn bed with a ragged mosquito net, a rickety chair, and a washstand. They looked round with dismay. The rain poured down without ceasing.
'I'm not going to unpack more than we actually need,' said Mrs. Macphail.
Mrs. Davidson came into the room as she was unlocking a portmanteau. She was very brisk and alert. The cheerless surroundings had no effect on her.
'If you'll take my advice you'll get a needle and cotton and start right in to mend the mosquito net,' she said, 'or you'll not be able to get a wink of sleep tonight.'
'Will they be very bad?' asked Dr Macphail.
'This is the season for them. When you're asked to a party at Government House at Apia you'll notice that all the ladies are given a pillowslip to put their-their lower extremities in.'
'I wish the rain would stop for a moment,' said Mrs. Macphail. 'I could try to make the place comfortable with more heart if the sun were shining.'
'Oh, if you wait for that, you'll wait a long time. Pago-Pago is about the rainiest place in the Pacific. You see, the hills, and that bay, they attract the water, and one expects rain at this time of year anyway.'
She looked from Macphail to his wife, standing helplessly in different parts of the room, like lost souls, and she pursed her lips. She saw that she must take them in hand. Feckless people like that made her impatient, but her hands itched to put everything in the order, which came so naturally to her.
'Here, you give me a needle and cotton and I'll mend that net of yours, while you go on with your unpacking. Dinner's at one. Dr Macphail, you'd better go down to the wharf and see that your heavy luggage has been put in a dry place. You know what these natives are, they're quite capable of storing it where the rain will beat in on it all the time.'
The doctor put on his waterproof again and went downstairs. At the door Mr. Horn was standing in conversation with the quartermaster of the ship they had just arrived in and a second-class passenger whom Dr Macphail had seen several times on board. The quartermaster, a little, shrivelled man, extremely dirty, nodded to him as he passed.
'This is a bad job about the measles, doc,' he said. 'I see you've fixed yourself up already.'
Dr Macphail thought he was rather familiar, but he was a timid man and he did not take offence easily.
'Yes, we've got a room upstairs.'
'Miss Thompson was sailing with you to Apia, so I've brought her along here.'
The quartermaster pointed with his thumb to the woman standing by his side. She was twenty-seven perhaps, plump, and in a coarse fashion pretty. She wore a white dress and a large white hat. Her fat calves in white cotton stockings bulged over the tops of long white boots in glace kid. She gave Macphail an ingratiating smile.
'The feller's tryin' to soak me a dollar and a half a day for the meanest-sized room,' she said in a hoarse voice.
'I tell you she's a friend of mine, Jo,' said the quartermaster. 'She can't pay more than a dollar, and you've sure got to take her for that.'
The trader was fat and smooth and quietly smiling.
'Well, if you put it like that, Mr. Swan, I'll see what I can do about it. I'll talk to Mrs. Horn and if we think we can make a reduction we will.'
'Don't try to pull that stuff with me,' said Miss Thompson. 'We'll settle this right now. You get a dollar a day for the room and not one bean more.'
Dr Macphail smiled. He admired the effrontery with which she bargained. He was the sort of man who always paid what he was asked. He preferred to be over-charged than to haggle. The trader sighed.
'Well, to oblige Mr. Swan I'll take it.'
'That's the goods,' said Miss Thompson. 'Come right in and have a shot of hooch. I've got some real good rye in that grip if you'll bring it along, Mr. Swan. You come along too, doctor.'
'Oh, I don't think I will, thank you,' he answered. 'I'm just going down to see that our luggage is all right.'
He stepped out into the rain. It swept in from the opening of the harbour in sheets and the opposite shore was all blurred. He passed two or three natives clad in nothing but the lava-lava, with huge umbrellas over them. They walked finely, with leisurely movements, very upright; and they smiled and greeted him in a strange tongue as they went by.
It was nearly dinnertime when he got back, and their meal was laid in the trader's parlour. It was a room designed not to live in but for purposes of prestige, and it had a musty, melancholy air. A suite of stamped plush was arranged neatly round the walls, and from the middle of the ceiling, protected from the flies by yellow tissue-paper, hung a gilt chandelier. Davidson did not come.
'I know he went to call on the governor,' said Mrs. Davidson, 'and I guess he's kept him to dinner.'
A little native girl brought them a dish of Hamburger steak, and after a while the trader came up to see that they had everything they wanted.
'I see we have a fellow lodger, Mr. Horn,' said Dr Macphail.
'She's taken a room, that's all,' answered the trader. 'She's getting her own board.'
He looked at the two ladies with an obsequious air.
'I put her downstairs so she shouldn't be in the way. She won't be any trouble to you.'
'Is it someone who was on the boat?' asked Mrs. Macphail. 'Yes, ma'am, she was in the second cabin. She was going to Apia. She has a position as cashier waiting for her.'
'Oh!' When the trader was gone Macphail said:
'I shouldn't think she'd find it exactly cheerful having her meals in her room.'
'If she was in the second cabin I guess she'd rather,' answered Mrs. Davidson. 'I don't exactly know who it can be.'
'I happened to be there when the quartermaster brought her along. Her name's Thompson.'
It's not the woman who was dancing with the quartermaster last night?' asked Mrs. Davidson.
'That's who it must be,' said Mrs. Macphail. 'I wondered at the time what she was. She looked rather fast to me.'
'Not good style at all,' said Mrs. Davidson.
*** *** ***
They began to talk of other things, and after dinner, tired with their early rise, they separated and slept. When they awoke, though the sky was still grey and the clouds hung low, it was not raining and they went for a walk on the high road, which the Americans had built along the bay.
On their return they found that Davidson had just come in.
'We may be here for a fortnight,' he said irritably. 'I`ve argued it out with the governor, but he says there is nothing to be done.'
'Mr. Davidson`s just longing to get back to his work,' said his wife, with an anxious glance at him.
'We've been away for a year,' he said, walking up and down the veranda. 'The mission has been in charge of native missionaries and I'm terribly nervous that they've let things slide. They're good men, I'm not saying a word against them. God-fearing, devout, and truly Christian men-their Christianity would put many so-called Christians at home to the blush-but they're pitifully lacking in energy. They can make a stand once, they can make a stand twice, but they can't make a stand all the time. If you leave a mission in charge of a native missionary, no matter how trustworthy he seems, in course of time you'll find he's let abuses creep in.'
Mr. Davidson stood still. With his tall, spare form, and his great eyes flashing out of his pale face, he was an impressive figure. His sincerity was obvious in the fire of his gestures and in his deep, ringing voice.
'I expect to have my work cut out for me. I shall act and I shall act promptly. If the tree is rotten it shall be cut down and cast into the flames.'
And in the evening after the high tea, which was their last meal, while they sat in the stiff parlour, the ladies working and Dr Macphail smoking his pipe, the missionary told them of his work in the islands.
'When we went there they had no sense of sin at all,' he said. 'They broke the commandments one after the other and never knew they were doing wrong. And I think that was the most difficult part of my work, to instill into the natives the sense of sin.'
The Macphails knew already that Davidson had worked in the Solomons for five years before he met his wife. She had been a missionary in China, and they had become acquainted in Boston, where they were both spending part of their
leave to attend a missionary congress. On their marriage they had been appointed to the islands in which they had laboured ever since.
In the course of all the conversations they had had with Mr. Davidson one thing had shone out clearly and that was the man's unflinching courage. He was a medical missionary, and he was liable to be called at any time to one or other of the islands in the group. Even the whaleboat is not so very safe a conveyance in the stormy Pacific of the wet season, but often he would be sent for in a canoe, and then the danger was great. In cases of illness or accident he never hesitated. A dozen times he had spent the whole night baling for his life, and more than once Mrs. Davidson had given him up for lost.
'I'd beg him not to go sometimes,' she said, 'or at least to wait till the weather was more settled, but he'd never listen. He's obstinate, and when he's once made up his mind, nothing can move him.'
'How can I ask the natives to put their trust in the Lord if I am afraid to do so myself?' cried Davidson. 'And I'm not, I'm not. They know that if they send for me in their trouble I'll come if it's humanly possible. And do you think the Lord is going to abandon me when I am on his business? The wind blows at his bidding and the waves toss and rage at his word.'
Dr Macphail was a timid man. He had never been able to get used to the hurtling of the shells over the trenches, and when he was operating in an advanced dressing-station the sweat poured from his brow and dimmed his spectacles in the effort he made to control his unsteady hand. He shuddered a little as he looked at the missionary.
'I wish I could say that I've never been afraid,' he said.
'I wish you could say that you believed in God,' retorted the other.
But for some reason, that evening the missionary's thoughts travelled back to the early days he and his wife had spent on the islands.
'Sometimes Mrs. Davidson and I would look at one another and the tears would stream down our cheeks. We worked without ceasing, day and night, and we seemed to make no progress. I don't know what I should have done without her then. When I felt my heart sink, when I was very near despair, she gave me courage and hope.'
Mrs. Davidson looked down at her work, and a slight colour rose to her thin cheeks. Her hands trembled a little. She did not trust herself to speak.
'We had no one to help us. We were alone, thousands of miles from any of our own people, surrounded by darkness. When I was broken and weary she would put her work aside and take the Bible and read to me till peace came and settled upon me like sleep upon the eyelids of a child, and when at last she closed the book she'd say: "We'll save them in spite of themselves." And I felt strong again in the Lord, and I answered: "Yes, with God's help I'll save them. I must save them."'
He came over to the table and stood in front of it as though it were a lectern.
'You see, they were so naturally depraved that they couldn't be brought to see their wickedness. We had to make sins out of what they thought were natural actions. We had to make it a sin, not only to commit adultery and to lie and thieve, but to expose their bodies, and to dance and not to come to church. I made it a sin for a girl to show her bosom and a sin for a man not to wear trousers.'
'How?' asked Dr Macphail, not without surprise.
'I instituted fines. Obviously the only way to make people realize that an action is sinful is to punish them if they commit it. I fined them if they didn't come to church, and I fined them if they danced. I fined them if they were improperly dressed. I had a tariff, and every sin had to be paid for either in money or work. And at last I made them understand.'
'But did they never refuse to pay?'
'How could they?' asked the missionary.
'It would be a brave man who tried to stand up against Mr. Davidson,' said his wife, tightening her lips.
Dr Macphail looked at Davidson with troubled eyes. What he heard shocked him, but he hesitated to express his disapproval.
'You must remember that in the last resort I could expel them from their church membership.'
'Did they mind that?'
Davidson smiled a little and gently rubbed his hands.
'They couldn't sell their copra. When the men fished they got no share of the catch. It meant something very like starvation. Yes, they minded quite a lot.'
'Tell him about Fred Ohison,' said Mrs. Davidson.
The missionary fixed his fiery eyes on Dr Macphail.
'Fred Ohison was a Danish trader who had been in the islands a good many years. He was a pretty rich man as traders go and he wasn't very pleased when we came. You see, he'd had things very much his own way. He paid the natives what he liked for their copra, and he paid in goods and whisky. He had a native wife, but he was flagrantly unfaithful to her. He was a drunkard. I gave him a chance to mend his ways, but he wouldn't take it. He laughed at me.'
Davidson's voice fell to a deep bass as he said the last words, and he was silent for a minute or two. The silence was heavy with menace.
'In two years he was a ruined man. He'd lost everything he'd saved in a quarter of a century. I broke him, and at last he was forced to come to me like a beggar and beseech me to give him a passage back to Sydney.'
'I wish you could have seen him when he came to see Mr. Davidson,' said the missionary's wife. 'He had been a fine, powerful man, with a lot of fat on him, and he had a great big voice, but now he was half the size, and he was shaking all over. He'd suddenly become an old man.'
With abstracted gaze Davidson looked out into the night. The rain was falling again.
Suddenly from below came a sound, and Davidson turned and looked questioningly at his wife. It was the sound of a gramophone, harsh and loud, wheezing out a syncopated tune.
'What's that?' he asked.
Mrs. Davidson fixed her pince-nez more firmly on her nose.
One of the second-class passengers has a room in the house. I guess it comes from there.'
They listened in silence, and presently they heard the sound of dancing. Then the music stopped, and they heard the popping of corks and voices raised in animated conversation.
'I daresay she's giving a farewell party to her friends on board,' said Dr Macphail. 'The ship sails at twelve, doesn't it?' Davidson made no remark, but he looked at his watch.
Are you ready?' he asked his wife. She got up and folded her work.
Yes, I guess I am,' she answered.
It's early to go to bed yet, isn't it?' said the doctor.
'We have a good deal of reading to do,' explained Mrs. Davidson. 'Wherever we are, we read a chapter of the Bible before retiring for the night and we study it with the commentaries, you know, and discuss it thoroughly. It's a wonderful training for the mind.'
The two couples bade one another good night. Dr and Mrs. Macphail were left alone. For two or three minutes they did not speak.
'I think I'll go and fetch the cards,' the doctor said at last.
Mrs. Macphail looked at him doubtfully. Her conversation with the Davidsons had left her a little uneasy, but she did not like to say that she thought they had better not play cards when the Davidsons might come in at any moment. Dr Macphail brought them and she watched him, though with a vague sense of guilt, while he laid out his patience. Below the sound of revelry continued.
It was fine enough next day, and the Macphails, condemned to spend a fortnight of idleness at Pago-Pago, set about making the best of things. They went down to the quay and got out of their boxes a number of books. The doctor called on the chief surgeon of the naval hospital and went round the beds with him. They left cards on the governor. They passed Miss Thompson on the road. The doctor took off his hat, and she gave him a 'Good morning doc,' in a loud, cheerful voice. She was dressed as on the day before, in a white frock, and her shiny white boots with their high heels, her fat legs bulging over the tops of them, were strange things on that exotic scene.
'I don't think she's very suitably dressed, I must say,' said Mrs. Macphail. 'She looks extremely common to me.'
When they got back to their house, she was on the veranda playing with one of the trader's dark children.
'Say a word to her,' Dr Macphail whispered to his wife. 'She's all alone here, and it seems rather unkind to ignore her.'
Mrs. Macphail was shy, but she was in the habit of doing what her husband bade her.
'I think we're fellow lodgers here,' she said, rather foolishly.
'Terrible, ain't it, bein' cooped up in a one-horse burg like this?' answered Miss Thompson. 'And they tell me I'm lucky to have gotten a room. I don't see myself livin' in a native house, and that's what some have to do. I don't know why they don't have a hotel.'
They exchanged a few more words. Miss Thompson, loud-voiced and garrulous, was evidently quite willing to gossip, but Mrs. Macphail had a poor stock of small talk and presently she said:
'Well, I think we must go upstairs.'
*** *** ***
In the evening when they sat down to their high tea, Davidson on coming in said:
'I see that woman downstairs has a couple of sailors sitting there. I wonder how she's gotten acquainted with them.'
'She can't be very particular,' said Mrs. Davidson.
They were all rather tired after the idle, aimless day.
'If there's going to be a fortnight of this I don't know what we shall feel like at the end of it,' said Dr Macphail.
'The only thing to do is to portion out the day to different activities,' answered the missionary. 'I shall set aside a certain number of hours to study and a certain number to exercise, rain or fine-in the wet season you can't afford to pay any attention to the rain-and a certain number to recreation.'
Dr Macphail looked at his companion with misgiving. Davidson's programme oppressed him. They were eating Hamburger steak again. It seemed the only dish the cook knew how to make. Then below the gramophone began. Davidson started nervously when he heard it, but said nothing. Men's voices floated up. Miss Thompson's guests were joining in a well-known song and presently they heard her voice too, hoarse and loud. There was a good deal of shouting and laughing. The four people upstairs, trying to make conversation, listened despite themselves to the clink of glasses and the scrape of chairs. More people had evidently come. Miss Thompson was giving a party.
'I wonder how she gets them all in,' said Mrs. Macphail suddenly breaking into a medical conversation between the missionary and her husband.
It showed whither her thoughts were wandering. The twitch of Davidson's face proved that, though he spoke of scientific things, his mind was busy in the same direction. Suddenly, while the doctor was giving some experience of practice on the Flanders front, rather prosily, he sprang to his feet with a cry. 'What's the matter, Alfred?' asked Mrs. Davidson. 'Of course! It never occurred to me. She's out of Iwelei.'
'She can't be.'
'She came on board at Honolulu. It's obvious. And she's carrying on her trade here. Here.'
He uttered the last word with a passion of indignation. 'What's Iwelei?' asked Mrs. Macphail.
He turned his gloomy eyes on her and his voice trembled with horror. 'The plague spot of Honolulu. The Red Light district. It was a blot on our civilization.'
Iwelei was on the edge of the city. You went down side streets by the harbour, in the darkness, across a rickety bridge, till you came to a deserted road, all ruts and holes, and then suddenly you came out into the light. There was parking room for motors on each side of the road, and there were saloons, tawdry and bright, each one noisy with its mechanical piano, and there were barbers' shops and tobacconists. There was a stir in the air and a sense of expectant gaiety. You turned down a narrow alley, either to the right or to the left, for the road divided Iwelei into two parts, and you found yourself in the district. There were rows of little bungalows, trim and neatly painted in green, and the pathway between them was broad and straight. It was laid out like a garden city. In its respectable regularity, its order and spruceness, it gave an impression of sardonic horror; for never can the search for love have been so systematized and ordered. The pathways were lit by a rare lamp, but they would have been dark except for the lights that came from the open windows of the bungalows. Men wandered about, looking at the women who sat at their windows, reading or sewing, for the most part taking no notice of the passers-by; and like the women they were of all nationalities. There were Americans, sailors from the ships in port, enlisted men off the gunboats, somberly drunk, and soldiers from the regiments, white and black, quartered on the island; there were Japanese, walking in twos and threes; Hawaiians, Chinese in long robes, and Filipinos in preposterous hats. They were silent and as it were oppressed. Desire is sad.
'It was the most crying scandal of the Pacific,' exclaimed Davidson vehemently. 'The missionaries had been agitating against it for years, and at last the local press took it up. The police refused to stir. You know their argument. They say that vice is inevitable and consequently the best thing is to localize and control it. The truth is, they were paid. Paid. They were paid by the saloon-keepers, paid by the bullies, paid by the women themselves. At last they were forced to move.'
'I read about it in the papers that came on board in Honolulu,' said Dr Macphail.
'Iwelei, with its sin and shame, ceased to exist on the very day we arrived. The whole population was brought before the justices. I don't know why I didn't understand at once what that woman was.'
'Now you come to speak of it,' said Mrs. Macphail, 'I remember seeing her come on board only a few minutes before the boat sailed. I remember thinking at the time she was cutting it rather fine.'
'How dare she come here!' cried Davidson indignantly. 'I'm not going to allow it.'
He strode towards the door.
'What are you going to do?' asked Macphail.
'What do you expect me to? I'm going to stop it. I'm not going to have this house turned into-into . . .'
He sought for a word that should not offend the ladies' ears. His eyes were flashing and his pale face was paler still in his emotion.
'It sounds as though there were three or four men down there,' said the doctor. 'Don't you think it's rather rash to go in just now?'
The missionary gave him a contemptuous look and without a word flung out of the room.
'You know Mr. Davidson very little if you think the fear of personal danger can stop him in the performance of his duty,' said his wife.
She sat with her hands nervously clasped, a spot of colour on her high cheekbones, listening to what was about to happen below. They all listened. They heard him clatter down the wooden stairs and throw open the door. The singing stopped suddenly, but the gramophone continued to bray out its vulgar tune. They heard Davidson's voice and then the noise of something heavy falling. The music stopped. He had hurled the gramophone on the floor. Then again they heard Davidson's voice, they could not make out the words, then Miss Thompson's, loud and shrill, then a confused clamour as though several people were shouting together at the top of their lungs. Mrs. Davidson gave a little gasp, and she clenched her hands more tightly. Dr Macphail looked uncertainly from her to his wife. He did not want to go down, but he wondered if they expected him to. Then there was something that sounded like a scuffle. The noise now was more distinct. It might be that Davidson was being thrown out of the room. The door was slammed. There was a moment's silence and they heard Davidson come up the stairs again. He went to his room.
'I think I'll go to him,' said Mrs. Davidson.
She got up and went out.
'If you want me, just call,' said Mrs. Macphail, and then when the other was gone: 'I hope he isn't hurt.'
'Why couldn't he mind his own business?' said Dr Macphail.
They sat in silence for a minute or two and then they both started, for the gramophone began to play once more, defiantly, and mocking voices shouted hoarsely the words of an obscene song.
Next day Mrs. Davidson was pale and tired. She complained of headache, and she looked old and wizened. She told Mrs. Macphail that the missionary had not slept at all; he had passed the night in a state of frightful agitation and at five had got up and gone out. A glass of beer had been thrown over him and his clothes were stained and stinking. But a sombre fire glowed in Mrs. Davidson's eyes when she spoke of Miss Thompson.
'She'll bitterly rue the day when she flouted Mr. Davidson,' she said. 'Mr. Davidson has a wonderful heart and no one who is in trouble has ever gone to him without being comforted, but he has no mercy for sin, and when his righteous wrath is excited he's terrible.'
'Why, what will he do?' asked Mrs. Macphail.
'I don't know, but I wouldn't stand in that creature's shoes for anything in the world.'
Mrs. Macphail shuddered. There was something positively alarming in the triumphant assurance of the little woman's manner. They were going out together that morning, and they went down the stairs side by side. Miss Thompson's door was open, and they saw her in a bedraggled dressing gown, cooking something in a chafing dish.
'Good morning,' she called. 'Is Mr. Davidson better this morning?'
They passed her in silence, with their noses in the air, as if she did not exist. They flushed, however, when she burst into a shout of derisive laughter. Mrs. Davidson turned on her suddenly.
'Don't you dare to speak to me,' she screamed. 'If you insult me I shall have you turned out of here. '
'Say, did I ask Mr. Davidson to visit with me?'
'Don't answer her,' whispered Mrs. Macphail hurriedly.
They walked on till they were out of earshot.
'She's brazen, brazen,' burst from Mrs. Davidson.
Her anger almost suffocated her.
And on their way home they met her strolling towards the quay. She had all her finery on. Her great white hat with its vulgar, showy flowers was an affront. She called out cheerily to them as she went by, and a couple of American sailors who were standing there grinned as the ladies set their faces to an icy stare. They got in just before the rain began to fall again.
'I guess she'll get her fine clothes spoilt,' said Mrs. Davidson with a bitter sneer.
Davidson did not come in till they were halfway through dinner. He was wet through, but he would not change. He sat, morose and silent, refusing to eat more than a mouthful, and he stared at the slanting rain. When Mrs. Davidson told him of their two encounters with Miss Thompson he did not answer. His deepening frown alone showed that he had heard.
'Don't you think we ought to make Mr. Horn turn her out of here?' asked Mrs. Davidson. 'We can't allow her to insult us.'
'There doesn't seem to be any other place for her to go,' said Macphail.
'She can live with one of the natives.'
'In weather like this a native hut must be a rather uncomfortable place to live in.'
'I lived in one for years,' said the missionary.
When the little native girl brought in the fried bananas, which formed the sweet they had every day, Davidson turned to her.
Ask Miss Thompson when it would be convenient for me to see her,' he said.
The girl nodded shyly and went out.
'What do you want to see her for, Alfred?' asked his wife.
'It's my duty to see her. I won't act till I've given her every chance.'
'You don't know what she is. She'll insult you.'
'Let her insult me. Let her spit on me. She has an immortal soul, and I must do all that is in my power to save it.'
Mrs. Davidson's ears rang still with the harlot's mocking laughter.
'She's gone too far.'
'Too far for the mercy of God?' His eyes lit up suddenly and his voice grew mellow and soft. 'Never. The sinner may be deeper in sin than the depth of hell 1 itself, but the love of the Lord Jesus can reach him still.'
The girl came back with the message.
'Miss Thompson's compliments and as long as Rev Davidson don't come in business hours she'll be glad to see him any time.'
The party received it in stony silence, and Dr Macphail quickly effaced from his lips the smile, which had come upon them. He knew his wife would be vexed with him if he found Miss Thompson's effrontery amusing.
They finished the meal in silence. When it was over the two ladies got up and took their work. Mrs. Macphail was making another of the innumerable comforters, which she had turned out since the beginning of the war, and the doctor lit his pipe. But Davidson remained in his chair and with abstracted eyes stared at the table. At last he got up and without a word went out of the room. They heard him go down and they heard Miss Thompson's defiant 'Come in' when he knocked at the door. He remained with her for an hour. And Dr Macphail watched the rain. It was beginning to get on his nerves. It was not like soft English rain that drops gently on the earth; it was unmerciful and somehow terrible; you felt in it the malignancy of the primitive powers of nature. It did not pour, it flowed. It was like a deluge from heaven, and it rattled on the roof of corrugated iron with a steady persistence that was maddening. It seemed to have a fury of its own. And sometimes you felt that you must scream if it did not stop, and then suddenly you felt powerless, as though your bones had suddenly become soft; and you were miserable and hopeless.
Macphail turned his head when the missionary came back. The two women looked up.
'I've given her every chance. I have exhorted her to repent. She is an evil woman.'
He paused, and Dr Macphail saw his eyes darken and his pale face grow hard and stern.
'Now I shall take the whips with which the Lord Jesus drove the usurers and the money changers out of the Temple of the Most High.'
He walked up and down the room. His mouth was close set, and his black brows were frowning.
'If she fled to the uttermost parts of the earth I should pursue her.'
With a sudden movement he turned round and strode out of the room. They heard him go downstairs again.
'What is he going to do?' asked Mrs. Macphail.
'I don't know.' Mrs. Davidson took off her pince-nez and wiped them. 'When he is on the Lord's work I never ask him questions.'
She sighed a little.
'What is the matter?'
'He'll wear himself out. He doesn't know what it is to spare himself.'
Dr Macphail learnt the first results of the missionary's activity from the half-
caste trader in whose house they lodged. He stopped the doctor when he passed the store and came out to speak to him on the stoop. His fat face was worried.
'The Rev Davidson has been at me for letting Miss Thompson have a room here,' he said, 'but I didn't know what she was when I rented it to her. When people come and ask if I can rent them a room all I want to know is if they've the money to pay for it. And she paid me for hers a week in advance.' Dr Macphail did not want to commit himself.
'When all's said and done it's your house. We're very much obliged to you for taking us in at all.'
Horn looked at him doubtfully. He was not certain yet how definitely Macphail stood on the missionary's side.
'The missionaries are in with one another,' he said, hesitatingly. 'If they get it in for a trader he may just as well shut up his store and quit.' 'Did he want you to turn her out?'
'No, he said so long as she behaved herself he couldn't ask me to do that. He said he wanted to be just to me. I promised she shouldn't have any more visitors. I've just been and told her.' 'How did she take it?' 'She gave me Hell.'
The trader squirmed in his old ducks. He had found Miss Thompson a rough customer.
'Oh, well, I daresay she'll get out. I don't suppose she wants to stay here if she can't have anyone in.'
'There's nowhere she can go, only a native house, and no native'll take her now, not now that the missionaries have got their knife in her.' Dr Macphail looked at the falling rain.
'Well, I don't suppose it's any good waiting for it to clear up.' In the evening when they sat in the parlour Davidson talked to them of his early days at college. He had had no means and had worked his way through by doing odd jobs during the vacations. There was silence downstairs. Miss Thompson was sitting in her little room alone. But suddenly the gramophone began to play. She had set it on in defiance, to cheat her loneliness, but there was no one to sing, and it had a melancholy note. It was like a cry for help. Davidson took no notice. He was in the middle of a long anecdote and without change of expression went on. The gramophone continued. Miss Thompson put on one reel after another. It looked as though the silence of the night were getting on her nerves. It was breathless and sultry. When the Macphails went to bed they could not sleep. They lay side by side with their eyes wide open, listening to the cruel singing of the mosquitoes outside their curtain. 'What's that?' whispered Mrs. Macphail at last.
They heard a voice, Davidson's voice, through the wooden partition. It went on with a monotonous, earnest insistence. He was praying aloud. He was praying for the soul of Miss Thompson.
*** *** ***
Two or three days went by. Now when they passed Miss Thompson on the road she did not greet them with ironic cordiality or smile; she passed with her nose in the air, a sulky look on her painted face, frowning, as though she did not see them. The trader told Macphail that she had tried to get lodging elsewhere, but had failed. In the evening she played through the various reels of her gramophone, but the pretence of mirth was obvious now. The ragtime had a cracked, heart-broken rhythm as though it were a one-step of despair. When she began to play on Sunday Davidson sent Horn to beg her to stop at once since it was the Lord's Day. The reel was taken off and the house was silent except for the steady pattering of the rain on the iron roof.
'I think she's getting a bit worked up,' said the trader next day to Macphail. 'She don't know what Mr. Davidson's up to and it makes her scared.'
Macphail had caught a glimpse other that morning and it struck him that her arrogant expression had changed. There was in her face a hunted look. The half-caste gave him a sidelong glance.
'I suppose you don't know what Mr. Davidson is doing about it?' he hazarded.
'No, I don't.'
It was singular that Horn should ask him that question, for he also had the idea that the missionary was mysteriously at work.
He had an impression that he was weaving a net around the woman, carefully, systematically, and suddenly, when everything was ready, would pull the strings tight.
'He told me to tell her,' said the trader, 'that if at any time she wanted him she only had to send and he'd come.'
'What did she say when you told her that?'
'She didn't say nothing. I didn't stop. I just said what he said I was to and then I beat it. I thought she might be going to start weepin'.
I have no doubt the loneliness is getting on her nerves,' said the doctor. 'And the rain-that's enough to make anyone jumpy,' he continued irritably. 'Doesn't it ever stop in this confounded place?'
'It goes on pretty steady in the rainy season. We have three hundred inches in the year. You see, it's the shape of the bay. It seems to attract the rain from all over the Pacific.'
'Damn the shape of the bay,' said the doctor.
He scratched his mosquito bites. He felt very short-tempered. When the rain stopped and the sun shone, it was like a hothouse, seething, humid, sultry, breathless, and you had a strange feeling that everything was growing with a savage violence. The natives, blithe and childlike by reputation, seemed then, with their tattooing and their dyed hair, to have something sinister in their appearance; and when they pattered along at your heels with their naked feet you looked back instinctively. You felt they might at any moment come behind you swiftly and thrust a long knife between your shoulder blades. You could not tell what dark thought lurked behind their wide-set eyes. They had a little the look of ancient Egyptians painted on a temple wall, and there was about them the terror of what is immeasurably old.
The missionary came and went. He was busy, but the Macphails did not know what he was doing. Horn told the doctor that he saw the governor every day, and once Davidson mentioned him.
'He looks as if he had plenty of determination,' he said, 'but when you come down to brass tacks he has no backbone.'
'I suppose that means he won't do exactly what you want,' suggested the doctor facetiously.
The missionary did not smile.
'I want him to do what's right. It shouldn't be necessary to persuade a man to do that.'
'But there may be differences of opinion about what is right.'
'If a man had a gangrenous foot would you have patience with anyone who hesitated to amputate it?'
'Gangrene is a matter of fact.'
What Davidson had done soon appeared. The four of them had just finished their midday meal, and they had not yet separated for the siesta, which the heat imposed on the ladies and on the doctor. Davidson had little patience with the slothful habit. The door was suddenly flung open and Miss Thompson came in She looked round the room and then went up to Davidson.
'You low-down skunk, what have you been saying about me to the governor?'
She was spluttering with rage. There was a moment's pause. Then the missionary drew forward a chair.
'Won't you be seated. Miss Thompson? I've been hoping to have another talk with you.'
'You poor low-life bastard.'
She burst into a torrent of insult, foul and insolent. Davidson kept his grave eyes on her.
'I'm indifferent to the abuse you think fit to heap on me. Miss Thompson,' he said, 'but I must beg you to remember that ladies are present.'
Tears by now were struggling with her anger. Her face was red and swollen as though she was choking.
'What has happened?' asked Dr Macphail.
'A feller's just been in here and he says I gotter beat it on the next boat.'
Was there a gleam in the missionary's eyes? His face remained impassive.
'You could hardly expect the governor to let you stay here under the circumstances.'
'You done it,' she shrieked. 'You can't kid me. You done it.'
'I don't want to deceive you. I urged the governor to take the only possible step consistent with his obligations.'
'Why couldn't you leave me be? I wasn't doin' you no harm.'
'You may be sure that if you had I should be the last man to resent it.'
'Do you think I want to stay on in this poor imitation of a burg? I don't look no busher, do I?'
'In that case I don't see what cause of complaint you have,' he answered.
She gave an inarticulate cry of rage and flung out of the room. There was a short silence.
'It's a relief to know that the governor has acted at last,' said Davidson finally. 'He's a weak man and he shilly-shallied. He said she was only here for a fortnight anyway, and if she went on to Apia, that was under British jurisdiction and had nothing to do with him.' The missionary sprang to his feet and strode across the room. 'It's terrible the way the men who are in authority seek to evade their responsibility. They speak as though evil that was out of sight ceased to be evil. The very existence of that woman is a scandal and it does not help matters to shift it to another of the islands. In the end I had to speak straight from the shoulder.'
Davidson's brow lowered, and he protruded his firm chin. He looked fierce and determined.
'What do you mean by that?'
'Our mission is not entirely without influence at Washington. I pointed out to the governor that it wouldn't do him any good if there was a complaint about the way he managed things here.'
'When has she got to go?' asked the doctor, after a pause.
'The San Francisco boat is due here from Sydney next Tuesday. She's to sail on that.'
That was in five days' time. It was next day, when he was coming back from the hospital where for want of something better to do Macphail spent most of his mornings, that the half-caste stopped him as he was going upstairs.
'Excuse me, Dr Macphail, Miss Thompson's sick. Will you have a look at her?'
Horn led him to her room. She was sitting in a chair idly, neither reading nor sewing, staring in front of her. She wore her white dress and the large hat with the flowers on it. Macphail noticed that her skin was yellow and muddy under her powder, and her eyes were heavy.
'I'm sorry to hear you're not well,' he said.
'Oh, I ain't sick really. I just said that, because I just had to see you. I've got to clear on a boat that's going to 'Frisco.'
She looked at him and he saw that her eyes were suddenly startled. She opened and clenched her hands spasmodically. The trader stood at the door, listening.
'So I understand,' said the doctor.
She gave a little gulp.
'I guess it ain't very convenient for me to go to 'Frisco just now. I went to see the governor yesterday afternoon, but I couldn't get to him. I saw the secretary, and he told me I 'd got to take that boat and that was all there was to it. I just had to see the governor, so I waited outside his house this morning, and when he came out I spoke to him. He didn't want to speak to me, I'll say, but I wouldn't let him shake me off, and at last he said he hadn't no objection to my staying here till the next boat to Sydney if the Rev Davidson will stand for it.'
She stopped and looked at Dr Macphail anxiously.
'I don't know exactly what I can do,' he said.
'Well, I thought maybe you wouldn't mind asking him. I swear to God won't start anything here if he'll just only let me stay. I won't go out ofi' house if that'll suit him. It's no more'n a fortnight.'
'I'll ask him.'
'He won't stand for it,' said Horn. 'He'll have you out on Tuesday, so you may as well make up your mind to it.'
'Tell him I can get work in Sydney, straight stuff, I mean. 'Tain't asking very much.'
'I'll do what I can.'
'And come and tell me right away, will you? I can't set down to a thing till I get the dope one way or the other.'
It was not an errand that much pleased the doctor, and, characteristically perhaps, he went about it indirectly. He told his wife what Miss Thompson had said to him and asked her to speak to Mrs. Davidson. The missionary's attitude seemed rather arbitrary and it could do no harm if the girl were allowed to stay in Pago-Pago another fortnight. But he was not prepared for the result of his diplomacy. The missionary came to him' straightway.
'Mrs. Davidson tells me that Thompson has been speaking to you.'
Dr Macphail, thus directly tackled, had the shy man's resentment at being forced out into the open. He felt his temper rising, and he flushed.
'I don't see that it can make any difference if she goes to Sydney rather than
to San Francisco, and so long as she promises to behave while she’s here it’s dashed hard to persecute her.'
The missionary fixed him with his stern eyes.
'Why is she unwilling to go back to San Francisco?'
'I didn't inquire,' answered the doctor with some asperity. 'And I think one does better to mind one's own business.'
Perhaps it was not a very tactful answer.
'The governor has ordered her to be deported by the first boat that leaves the island. He's only done his duty and I will not interfere. Her presence is a peril here.'
'I think you're very harsh and tyrannical.'
The two ladies looked up at the doctor with some alarm, but they need not have feared a quarrel, for the missionary smiled gently.
'I'm terribly sorry you should think that of me, Dr Macphail. Believe me, my heart bleeds for that unfortunate woman, but I'm only trying to do my duty.'
The doctor made no answer. He looked out of the window sullenly. For once it was not raining and across the bay you saw nestling among the trees the huts of a native village.
'I think I'll take advantage of the rain stopping to go out,' he said.
'Please don't bear me malice because I can't accede to your wish,' said Davidson, with a melancholy smile. 'I respect you very much, doctor, and I should be sorry if you thought ill of me.'
'I have no doubt you have a sufficiently good opinion of yourself to bear mine with equanimity,' he retorted.
'That's one on me,' chuckled Davidson.
When Dr Macphail, vexed with himself because he had been uncivil to no purpose, went downstairs, Miss Thompson was waiting for him with her door ajar.
'Well,' she said, 'have you spoken to him?'
'Yes, I'm sorry, he won't do anything,' he answered, not looking at her in his embarrassment.
But then he gave her a quick glance, for a sob broke from her. He saw that her face was white with fear. It gave him a shock of dismay. And suddenly he had an idea.
'But don't give up hope yet. I think it's a shame the way they're treating you and I'm going to see the governor myself.'
He nodded. Her face brightened.
'Say, that's real good of you. I'm sure he'll let me stay if you speak for me. I just won't do a thing I didn't ought all the time I'm here.'
*** *** ***
Dr Macphail hardly knew why he had made up his mind to appeal to the governor. He was perfectly indifferent to Miss Thompson's affairs, but the missionary had irritated him, and with him temper was a smouldering thing. He found the governor at home. He was a large, handsome man, a sailor, with a grey toothbrush moustache; and he wore a spotless uniform of white drill.
'I've come to see you about a woman who's lodging in the same house as we are,' he said. 'Her name's Thompson.'
'I guess I've heard nearly enough about her, Dr Macphail,' said the governor, smiling. 'I've given her the order to get out next Tuesday and that's all I can do.'
'I wanted to ask you if you couldn't stretch a point and let her stay here till the boat comes from San Francisco so that she can go to Sydney. I will guarantee her good behaviour.’
The governor continued to smile, but his eyes grew small and serious.
'I'd be very glad to oblige you, Dr Macphail, but I've given the order and it must stand.'
The doctor put the case as reasonably as he could, but now the governor ceased to smile at all. He listened sullenly, with averted gaze. Macphail saw that he was making no impression.
'I'm sorry to cause any lady inconvenience, but she'll have to sail on Tuesday and that's all there is to it.'
'But what difference can it make?'
'Pardon me, doctor, but I don't feel called upon to explain my official actions except to the proper authorities.'
Macphail looked at him shrewdly. He remembered Davidson's hint that he had used threats, and in the governor's attitude he read a singular embarrassment.
'Davidson's a damned busybody,' he said hotly.
'Between ourselves, Dr Macphail, I don't say that I have formed a very favourable opinion of Mr. Davidson, but I am bound to confess that he was within his rights in pointing out to me the danger that the presence of a woman of Miss Thompson's character was to a place like this where a number of enlisted men are stationed among a native population.'
He got up and Dr Macphail was obliged to do so too.
'I must ask you to excuse me. I have an engagement. Please give my respects to Mrs. Macphail.'
The doctor left him crestfallen. He knew that Miss Thompson would be waiting for him, and unwilling to tell her himself that he had failed, he went into the house by the back door and sneaked up the stairs as though he had something to hide.
At supper he was silent and ill at ease, but the missionary was jovial and animated. Dr Macphail thought his eyes rested on him now and then with triumphant good-humour. It struck him suddenly that Davidson knew of his visit to the governor and of its ill success. But how on earth could he have heard of it? There was something sinister about the power of that man. After supper he saw Horn on the veranda and, as though to have a casual word with him, went out.
'She wants to know if you've seen the governor,' the trader whispered.
'Yes. He wouldn't do anything. I'm awfully sorry, I can't do anything more.'
'I knew he wouldn't. They daren't go against the missionaries.'
'What are you talking about?' said Davidson affably, coming out to join them.
'I was just saying there was no chance of your getting over to Apia for at least another week,' said the trader glibly.
He left them, and the two men returned into the parlour. Mr. Davidson devoted one hour after each meal to recreation. Presently a timid knock was heard at the door.
'Come in,' said Mrs. Davidson, in her sharp voice.
The door was not opened. She got up and opened it. They saw Miss Thompson standing at the threshold. But the change in her appearance was extraordinary. This was no longer the flaunting hussy who had jeered at them in the road, but a broken, frightened woman. Her hair, as a rule so elaborately arranged, was tumbling untidily over her neck. She wore bedroom slippers and a skirt and blouse. They were unfresh and bedraggled. She stood at the door with the tears streaming down her face and did not dare to enter.
'What do you want?' said Mrs. Davidson harshly.
'May I speak to Mr. Davidson?' she said in a choking voice.
The missionary rose and went towards her.
'Come right in. Miss Thompson,' he said in cordial tones. 'What can I do for you?'
She entered the room.
'Say, I'm sorry for what I said to you the other day an' for-for everythin' else. I guess I was a bit lit up. I beg pardon.'
'Oh, it was nothing. I guess my back's broad enough to bear a few hard words.'
She stepped towards him with a movement that was horribly cringing.
'You've got me beat. I'm all in. You won't make me go back to 'Frisco?'
His genial manner vanished and his voice grew on a sudden hard and stern.
'Why don't you want to go back there?'
She cowered before him.
'I guess my people live there. I don't want them to see me like this. I'll go anywhere else you say.'
'Why don't you want to go back to San Francisco?'
'I've told you.'
He leaned forward, staring at her, and his great, shining eyes seemed to try to bore into her soul. He gave a sudden gasp.
She screamed, and then she fell at his feet, clasping his legs.
'Don't send me back there. I swear to you before God I'll be a good woman. I'll give all this up.'
She burst into a torrent of confused supplication and the tears coursed down her painted cheeks. He leaned over her and, lifting her face, forced her to look at him.
'Is that it, the penitentiary?'
'I beat it before they could get me,' she gasped. 'If the bulls grab me it's three years for me.'
He let go his hold of her and she fell in a heap on the floor, sobbing bitterly. Dr Macphail stood up.
'This alters the whole thing,' he said. 'You can't make her go back when you know this. Give her another chance. She wants to turn over a new leaf.'
'I'm going to give her the finest chance she's ever had. If she repents let her accept her punishment.'
She misunderstood the words and looked up. There was a gleam of hope in her heavy eyes.
'You'll let me go?'
'No. You shall sail for San Francisco on Tuesday.'
She gave a groan of horror and then burst into low, hoarse shrieks which sounded hardly human, and she beat her head passionately on the ground. Dr Macphail sprang to her and lifted her up.
'Come on, you mustn't do that. You'd better go to your room and lie down. I'll get you something.'
He raised her to her feet and partly dragging her, partly carrying her, got her downstairs. He was furious with Mrs. Davidson and with his wife because they made no effort to help. The half-caste was standing on the landing and with his assistance he managed to get her on the bed. She was moaning and crying. She was almost insensible. He gave her a hypodermic injection. He was hot and exhausted when he went upstairs again.
'I've got her to lie down.'
The two women and Davidson were in the same positions as when he had left them. They could not have moved or spoken since he went.
I was waiting for you,' said Davidson, in a strange, distant voice. 'I want you all to pray with me for the soul of our erring sister.'
He took the Bible off a shelf, and sat down at the table at which they had supped. It had not been cleared, and he pushed the tea-pot out of the way. In a powerful voice, resonant and deep, he read to them the chapter in which is narrated the meeting of Jesus Christ with the woman taken in adultery.
'Now kneel with me and let us pray for the soul of our dear sister, Sadie Thompson.'
He burst into a long, passionate prayer in which he implored God to have mercy on the sinful woman. Mrs. Macphail and Mrs. Davidson knelt with covered eyes. The doctor, taken by surprise, awkward and sheepish, knelt too. The missionary's prayer had a savage eloquence. He was extraordinarily moved, and as he spoke the tears ran down his cheeks. Outside, the pitiless rain fell, fell steadily, with a fierce malignity that was all too human.
At last he stopped. He paused for a moment and said:
'We will now repeat the Lord's prayer.'
They said it and then, following him, they rose from their knees. Mrs. Davidson's face was pale and restful. She was comforted and at peace, but the Macphails felt suddenly bashful. They did not know which way to look.
"I'll just go down and see how she is now,' said Dr Macphail.
When he knocked at her door it was opened for him by Horn. Miss Thompson was in a rocking chair, sobbing quietly.
'What are you doing there?' exclaimed Macphail. 'I told you to lie down.'
'I can't lie down. I want to see Mr. Davidson.'
'My poor child, what do you think is the good of it? You'll never move him.'
'He said he'd come if I sent for him.'
Macphail motioned to the trader.
'Go and fetch him.'
He waited with her in silence while the trader went upstairs. Davidson came in.
'Excuse me for asking you to come here,' she said, looking at him sombrely.
'I was expecting you to send for me. I knew the Lord would answer my prayer.'
They stared at one another for a moment and then she looked away. She kept her eyes averted when she spoke.
'I've been a bad woman. I want to repent.'
"Thank God! Thank God! He has heard our prayers.'
He turned to the two men.
'Leave me alone with her. Tell Mrs. Davidson that our prayers have been answered.'
They went out and closed the door behind them.
'Gee whizz,' said the trader.
That night Dr Macphail could not get to sleep till late and when he heard the missionary come upstairs he looked at his watch. It was two o'clock. But even then he did not go to bed at once, for through the wooden partition that separated their rooms he heard him praying aloud, till he himself, exhausted, fell asleep.
When he saw him next morning he was surprised at his appearance. He was
paler than ever, tired, but his eyes shone with inhuman fire. It looked as though he were filled with an overwhelming joy.
'I want you to go down presently and see Sadie,' he said. 'I can't hope that her body is better, but her soul-her soul is transformed.'
The doctor was feeling wan and nervous.
'You were with her very late last night,' he said.
'Yes, she couldn't bear to have me leave her.'
'You look as pleased as Punch,' the doctor said irritably.
Davidson's eyes shone with ecstasy.
'A great mercy has been vouchsafed me. Last night I was privileged to bring a lost soul to the loving arms of Jesus.'
Miss Thompson was again in the rocking chair. The bed had not been made. The room was in disorder. She had not troubled to dress herself, but wore a dirty dressing gown, and her hair was tied in a sluttish knot. She had given her face a dab with a wet towel, but it was all swollen and creased with crying. She looked a drab. She raised her eyes dully when the doctor came in. She was cowed and broken.
'Where's Mr. Davidson?' she asked.
'He'll come presently if you want him,' answered Macphail acidly. 'I came here to see how you were.'
Oh, I guess I'm O.K. You needn't worry about that.'
'Have you had anything to eat?'
'Horn brought me some coffee.'
She looked anxiously at the door.
'D'you think he'll come down soon? I feel as if it wasn't so terrible when he's with me.'
'Are you still going on Tuesday?'
'Yes, he says I've got to go. Please tell him to come right along. You can't do me any good. He's the only one as can help me now.'
'Very well,' said Dr Macphail.
*** *** ***
During the next three days the missionary spent almost all his time with Sadie Thompson. He joined the others only to have his meals. Dr Macphail noticed that he hardly ate.
'He's wearing himself out,' said Mrs. Davidson pitifully. 'He'll have a breakdown if he doesn't take care, but he won't spare himself.'
She herself was white and pale. She told Mrs. Macphail that she had no sleep. When the missionary came upstairs from Miss Thompson he prayed till he was exhausted, but even then he did not sleep for long. After an hour or two he got up and dressed himself, and went for a tramp along the bay. He had strange dreams.
Davidson's restlessness was intolerable even to himself. But he was buoyed up by a wonderful exhilaration. He was tearing out by the roots the last vestiges of sin that lurked in the hidden corners of that poor woman's heart. He read with her and prayed with her.
'It's wonderful,' he said to them one day at supper. 'It's a true rebirth. Her soul, which was black as night, is now pure and white like the new-fallen snow. I am humble and afraid. Her remorse for all her sins is beautiful. I am not worthy to touch the hem of her garment.'
'Have you the heart to send her back to San Francisco?' said the doctor. 'Three years in an American prison. I should have thought you might have saved her from that.'
'Ah, but don't you see? It's necessary. Do you think my heart doesn't bleed for her? I love her as I love my wife and my sister. All the time that she is in prison I shall suffer all the pain that she suffers.' 'Bunkum,' cried the doctor impatiently.
'You don't understand because you're blind. She's sinned, and she must suffer. I know what she'll endure. She'll be starved and tortured and humiliated. I want her to accept the punishment of man as a sacrifice to God. I want her to accept it joyfully. She has an opportunity, which is offered to very few of us. God is very good and very merciful.'
Davidson's voice trembled with excitement. He could hardly articulate the words that tumbled passionately from his lips.
'All day I pray with her and when I leave her I pray again, I pray with all my might and main, so that Jesus may grant her this great mercy. I want to put in her heart the passionate desire to be punished so that at the end, even if I offered to let her go, she would refuse. I want her to feel that the bitter punishment of prison is the thank-offering that she places at the feet of our Blessed Lord, who gave his life for her.'
The days passed slowly. The whole household, intent on the wretched, tortured woman downstairs, lived in a state of unnatural excitement. She was like a victim that was being prepared for the savage rites of a bloody idolatry. Her terror numbed her. She could not bear to let Davidson out other sight; it was only when he was with her that she had courage, and she hung upon him with a slavish dependence. She cried a great deal, and she read the Bible, and prayed. Sometimes she was exhausted and apathetic. Then she did indeed look forward to her ordeal, for it seemed to offer an escape, direct and concrete, from the anguish she was enduring. She could not bear much longer the vague terrors, which now assailed her. With her sins she had put aside all personal vanity, and she slopped about her room, unkempt and dishevelled, in her tawdry dressing gown. She had not taken off her nightdress for four days, nor put on stockings. Her room was littered and untidy. Meanwhile the rain fell with a cruel persistence. You felt that the heavens must at last be empty of water, but still it poured down, straight and heavy, with a maddening iteration, on the iron roof. Everything was damp and clammy. There was mildew on the walls and on the boots that stood on the floor. Through the sleepless nights the mosquitoes droned their angry chant.
'If it would only stop raining for a single day it wouldn't be so bad,' said Dr Macphail.
They all looked forward to the Tuesday when the boat for San Francisco was to arrive from Sydney. The strain was intolerable. So far as Dr Macphail was concerned, his pity and his resentment were alike extinguished by his desire to
be rid of the unfortunate woman. The inevitable must be accepted. He felt he would breathe more freely when the ship had sailed. Sadie Thompson was to be escorted on board by a clerk in the governor's office. This person called on the Monday evening and told Miss Thompson to be prepared at eleven in the morning. Davidson was with her.
‘I’ll see that everything is ready. I mean to come on board with her myself ’
Miss Thompson did not speak.
When Dr Macphail blew out his candle and crawled cautiously under his mosquito curtains, he gave a sigh of relief.
'Well, thank God that's over. By this time tomorrow she'll be gone.'
'Mrs. Davidson will be glad too. She says he's wearing himself to a shadow,' said Mrs. Macphail. 'She's a different woman.'
'Sadie. I should never have thought it possible. It makes one humble.'
Dr Macphail did not answer, and presently he fell asleep. He was tired out, and he slept more soundly than usual.
He was awakened in the morning by a hand placed on his arm, and, starting up, saw Horn by the side of his bed. The trader put his finger on his mouth to prevent any exclamation from Dr Macphail and beckoned to him to come. As a rule he wore shabby ducks, but now he was barefoot and wore only the lava-lava of the natives. He looked suddenly savage, and Dr Macphail, getting out of bed, saw that he was heavily tattooed. Horn made him a sign to come on to the veranda. Dr Macphail got out of bed and followed the trader out.
'Don't make a noise,' he whispered. 'You're wanted. Put on a coat and some shoes. Quick.'
Dr Macphail's first thought was that something had happened to Miss Thompson.
'What is it? Shall I bring my instruments?'
'Hurry, please, hurry.'
Dr Macphail crept back into the bedroom, put on a waterproof over his pyjamas, and a pair of rubber-soled shoes. He rejoined the trader, and together they tiptoed down the stairs. The door leading out to the road was open and at it were standing half a dozen natives.
'What is it?' repeated the doctor.
'Come along with me,' said Horn.
He walked out and the doctor followed him. The natives came after them in a little bunch. They crossed the road and came on to the beach. The doctor saw a group of natives standing round some object at the water's edge. They hurried along, a couple of dozen yards perhaps, and the natives opened out as the doctor came up. The trader pushed him forwards. Then he saw, lying half in the water and half out, a dreadful object, the body of Davidson. Dr Macphail bent down-he was not a man to lose his head in an emergency-and turned the body over. The throat was cut from ear to ear, and in the right hand was still the razor with which the deed was done.
He's quite cold,' said the doctor. 'He must have been dead some time.'
One of the boys saw him lying there on his way to work just now and came and told me. Do you think he did it himself?
'Yes. Someone ought to go for the police.'
Horn said something in the native tongue, and two youths started off.
‘We must leave him here till they come,' said the doctor.
They mustn't take him into my house. I won't have him in my house.'
'You'll do what the authorities say,' replied the doctor sharply. 'In point of fact I expect they'll take him to the mortuary.'
They stood waiting where they were. The trader took a cigarette from a fold in his lava-lava and gave one to Dr Macpliail. They smoked while they stared at the corpse. Dr Macphail could not understand.
'Why do you think he did it?' asked Horn.
The doctor shrugged his shoulders. In a little while native police came along, under the charge of a marine, with a stretcher, and immediately afterwards a couple of naval officers and a naval doctor. They managed everything in a businesslike manner.
'What about the wife?' said one of the officers.
'Now that you've come I'll go back to the house and get some things on. I'll see that it's broken to her. She'd better not see him till he's been fixed up a little.'
'I guess that's right,' said the naval doctor.
When Dr Macphail went back he found his wife nearly dressed.
'Mrs. Davidson's in a dreadful state about her husband,' she said to him as soon as he appeared. 'He hasn't been to bed all night. She heard him leave Miss Thompson's room at two, but he went out. If he's been walking about since then he'll be absolutely dead.'
Dr Macphail told her what had happened and asked her to break the news to Mrs. Davidson.
'But why did he do it?' she asked, horror-stricken.
'I don't know.'
'But I can't. I can't.'
She gave him a frightened look and went out. He heard her go into Mrs. Davidson's room. He waited a minute to gather himself together and then began to shave and wash. When he was dressed he sat down on the bed and waited for his wife. At last she came.
'She wants to see him,' she said.
'They've taken him to the mortuary. We'd better go down with her. How did she take it?'
'I think she's stunned. She didn't cry. But she's trembling like a leaf.'
'We'd better go at once.'
When they knocked at her door Mrs. Davidson came out. She was very pale, but dry-eyed. To the doctor she seemed unnaturally composed. No word was exchanged, and they set out in silence down the road. When they arrived at the mortuary Mrs. Davidson spoke.
'Let me go in and see him alone.'
They stood aside. A native opened a door for her and closed it behind her. They sat down and waited. One or two white men came and talked to them in undertones. Dr Macphail told them again what he knew of the tragedy. At last the door was quietly opened and Mrs. Davidson came out. Silence fell upon them.
I'm ready to go back now,' she said.
Her voice was hard and steady. Dr Macphail could not understand the look in her eyes. Her pale face was very stern. They walked back slowly, never saying a word, and at last they came round the bend on the other side of which stood their house. Mrs. Davidson gave a gasp, and for a moment they stopped still. An incredible sound assaulted their ears. The gramophone, which had been silent for so long was playing, playing ragtime loud and harsh.
'What's that?' cried Mrs. Macphail with horror.
'Let's go on,' said Mrs. Davidson.
They walked up the steps and entered the hall. Miss Thompson was standing at her door, chatting with a sailor. A sudden change had taken place in her. She was no longer the cowed drudge of the last days. She was dressed in all her finery, in her white dress, with the high shiny boots over which her fat legs bulged in their cotton stockings; her hair was elaborately arranged; and she wore that enormous hat covered with gaudy flowers. Her face was painted, her eyebrows were boldly black, and her lips were scarlet. She held herself erect. She was the flaunting queen that they had known at first. As they came in she broke into a loud, jeering laugh; and then, when Mrs. Davidson involuntarily stopped, she collected the spittle in her mouth and spat. Mrs. Davidson cowered back, and two red spots rose suddenly to her cheeks. Then, covering her face with her hands, she broke away and ran quickly up the stairs. Dr Macphail was outraged. He pushed past the woman into her room.
'What the devil are you doing?' he cried. 'Stop that damned machine.'
He went up to it and tore the record off. She turned on him.
'Say, doc, you can that stuff with me. What the hell are you doin' in my room?'
'What do you mean?' he cried. 'What d'you mean?'
She gathered herself together. No one could describe the scorn of her expression or the contemptuous hatred she put into her answer.
'You men! You filthy, dirty pigs! You're all the same, all of you. Pigs! Pigs!'
Dr Macphail gasped. He understood.
Vocabulary and Grammar Tasks
1. Read pp.47-59 and write out the unknown words.
2. Find Russian equivalents in the text:
to settle down quietly at Apia, propinquity ,community of taste, disapproval, greedy eyes, foolishness, alertness, native, trader, ruthless stare, hopeless task, to eradicate, inhabitants, an epidemic of measles, to prohibit, half-caste, to bargain.
3. Speak about Dr Macphail:
- a man of forty, thin, with a pinched face, very red hair, red freckled skin,
- precise and rather pedantic, low quiet voice, a Scots accent
- two years at the front, a wound, to settle down at Apia.
Speak about Mr Davidson:
- has singular appearance, tall and thin, silent, rather sullen man, reseved and even morose.
4. Answer the questions:
Where did the main characters sail to?
Speak about the relations between the Macphails and the Davidsons.
What did Mrs. Davidson say about Pago-Pago?
What was Mrs. Davidson’s attitude towards dancing?
What news did the characters receive at Pago-Pago?
Why couldn’t they continue their way to Apia?
Where did they put up?
What do you know about Miss Thompson?
5. Retell the given passage.
1. Read pp. 59-67 and write out the unknown words.
2. Answer the questions:
In what way did the Davidsons try to save the natives?
What did they mean by sin?
How did they treat Fred Ohison?
3. Describe Mr. Davidson’s character. Speak on the character drawing. Is it direct or indirect?
4. Characterize the vocabulary of the text. Speak on the choice of words.
5. Characterize the syntax of the text according to the length and structure of sentences.
6. Retell the given passage.
Lesson 10, 11
1. Read pp.67-78 and write out the unknown words.
2. Answer the questions:
Why did Mr. Davidson decide that Miss Thompson was out of Iwelei?
How did Mr. Davidson react to the noise heard from Miss Thompson’s room?
How did Miss Thompson’s friends meet Mr. Davidson?
What were Mr. Davidson’s next actions?
Did Miss Thompson stop receiving guests after that? Did she set on the gramophone any more?
Make up a summary.
Lesson 12, 13
1. Read pp.78-86 and write out the unknown words.
2. Speak about the natives of Pago-Pago.
3. Answer the questions:
What step did Mr. Davidson take to get rid of Miss Thompson?
When was Miss Thompson to leave Pago-Pago?
What did Miss Thompson ask Dr. Macphail about?
What conversation took place between Mr. Davidson and Dr. Macphail?
How did Dr. Macphail promise to help Miss Thompson?
4. Make up a summary.
1. Read pp.86-95 and write out the unknown words.
2. Answer the questions:
Did the governor agreed to postpone Miss Thompson’s departure?
Why did Dr. Macphail sneak into the house by the back door?
What was unusual about Miss Thompson when she came to speak
to Mr. Davidson that evening?
What was the reason of Miss Thompson’s unwillingness to go to San Francisco?
How did Dr. Macphail react to that fact? What about Mr. Davidson?
conversation between Dr. Macphail and the governor.
change in Miss Thompson’s appearance.
Miss Thompson’s visit.
4. Make up a summary.
1. Read pp.95-103 and write out the unknown words.
2. Answer the questions:
Why did Mr. Davidson insist on Miss Thompson’s going to San Francisco and being punished?
Describe the weather.
Why did Dr. Macphail look forward to Tuesday?
Who awoke Dr. Macphail that night?
Where to did the trader bring Dr. Macphail?
Whom did Dr. Macphail find on the beach?
How did Mrs. Davidson take the news about her husband’s death?
What change had taken place in Miss Thompson?
3. How does the description of weather convey the atmosphere of the story?
4. Make up a summary of the extract.
1. Speak on the conflict that lies between the characters of the story?
- Mr. Davidson’s character
- Miss Thompson’s character.
3. Speak on the characters drawing. Is it direct or indirect? Are the characters presented statically or in development? (Do they change in the course of the story?) Are the characters true-to-life? 4. Speak on the author`s attitude to the characters.
5. Formulate your own opinion of the characters. 6. Make up a summary of the story.
To avoid having this book hurled into corner of the room by the suspicious reader, I will assert in time that this is not a newspaper story. You will encounter no shirt-sleeved, omniscient city editor, no prodigy «cub» reporter just off the farm, no scoop, no story - no anything.But if you will concede me the setting of the first scene in the reporters' room of the Morning Beacon, I will repay the favor by keeping strictly my promises set forth above.I was doing space-work on the Beacon, hoping to be put on a salary. Some one had cleared with a rake or a shovel a small space for me at the end of a long table piled high with exchanges, Congressional Records, and old files. There I did my work. I wrote whatever the city whispered or roared or chuckled to me on my diligent wanderings about its streets. My income was not regular.
One day Tripp came in and leaned on my table. Tripp was something in the mechanical department - I think he had something to do with the pictures, for he smelled of photographers' supplies, and his hands were always stained and cut up with acids. He was about twenty-five and looked forty. Half of his face was covered with short, curly red whiskers that looked like a door-mat with the «welcome» left off. He was pale and unhealthy and miserable and fawning, and an assiduous borrower of sums ranging from twenty-five cents to a dollar. One dollar was his limit. He knew the extent of his credit as well as the Chemical National Bank knows the amount of H20 that collateral will show on analysis. When he sat on my table he held one hand with the other to keep both from shaking. Whiskey. He had a spurious air of lightness and bravado about him that deceived no one, but was useful in his borrowing because it was so pitifully and perceptibly assumed.
This day I had coaxed from the cashier five shining silver dollars as a grumbling advance on a story that the Sunday editor had reluctantly accepted. So if I was not feeling at peace with the world, at least an armistice had been declared; and I was beginning with ardor to write a description of the Brooklyn Bridge by moonlight.
«Well, Tripp, » said I, looking up at him rather impatiently, «how goes it? » He was looking to-day more miserable, more cringing and haggard and downtrodden than I had ever seen him. He was at that stage of misery where he drew your pity so fully that you longed to kick him.
«Have you got a dollar? » asked Tripp, with his most fawning look and his dog-like eyes that blinked in the narrow space between his highgrowing matted beard and his low-growing matted hair.
«I have, » said I; and again I said, «I have, » more loudly and inhospitably, «and four besides. And I had hard work corkscrewing them out of old Atkinson, I can tell you. And I drew them, » I continued, «to meet a want - a hiatus - a demand - a need - an exigency - a requirement of exactly five dollars."
I was driven to emphasis by the premonition that I was to lose one of the dollars on the spot.
«I don't want to borrow any, » said Tripp, and I breathed again. «I thought you'd like to get put onto a good story, » he went on. «I've got a rattling fine one for you. You ought to make it run a column at least. It'll make a dandy if you work it up right. It'll probably cost you a dollar or two to get the stuff. I don't want anything out of it myself."
I became placated. The proposition showed that Tripp appreciated past favors, although he did not return them. If he had been wise enough to strike me for a quarter then he would have got it.
«What is the story? » I asked, poising my pencil with a finely calculated editorial air.
«I'll tell you, » said Tripp. «It's a girl. A beauty. One of the howlingest Amsden's Junes you ever saw. Rosebuds covered with dewviolets in their mossy bed - and truck like that. She's lived on Long Island twenty years and never saw New York City before. I ran against her on Thirty-fourth Street. She'd just got in on the East River ferry. I tell you, she's a beauty that would take the hydrogen out of all the peroxides in the world. She stopped me on the street and asked me where she could find George Brown. Asked me where she could find George Brown in New York City! What do you think of that?»
«I talked to her, and found that she was going to marry a young farmer named Dodd - Hiram Dodd - next week. But it seems that George Brown still holds the championship in her youthful fancy. George had greased his cowhide boots some years ago, and came to the city to make his fortune. But he forgot to remember to show up again at Greenburg, and Hiram got in as second-best choice. But when it comes to the scratch Ada - her name's Ada Lowery - saddles a nag and rides eight miles to the railroad station and catches the 6.45 A.M. train for the city. Looking for George, you know - you understand about women - George wasn't there, so she wanted him.
«Well, you know, I couldn't leave her loose in Wolftown-on-the-Hudson. I suppose she thought the first person she inquired of would say: 'George Brown? - Why, yes - lemme see - he's a short man with light-blue eyes, ain't he? Oh yes - you'll find George on One Hundred and Twentyfifth Street, right next to the grocery. He's bill-clerk in a saddleand-harness store.' That's about how innocent and beautiful she is. You know those little Long Island water-front villages like Greenburg - a couple of duck-farms for sport, and clams and about nine summer visitors for industries. That's the kind of a place she comes from. But, say - you ought to see her!
«What could I do? I don't know what money looks like in the morning. And she'd paid her last cent of pocket-money for her railroad ticket except a quarter, which she had squandered on gum-drops. She was eating them out of a paper bag. I took her to a boarding-house on Thirty-second Street where I used to live, and hocked her. She's in soak for a dollar. That's old Mother McGinnis' price per day. I'll show you the house."
«What words are these, Tripp? » said I. «I thought you said you had a story. Every ferryboat that crosses the East River brings or takes away girls from Long Island."
The premature lines on Tripp's face grew deeper. He frowned seriously from his tangle of hair. He separated his hands and emphasized his answer with one shaking forefinger.
«Can't you see, » he said, «what a rattling fine story it would make? You could do it fine. All about the romance, you know, and describe the girl, and put a lot of stuff in it about true love, and sling in a few stickfuls of funny business - joshing the Long Islanders about being green, and, well - you know how to do it. You ought to get fifteen dollars out of it, anyhow. And it'll cost you only about four dollars. You'll make a clear profit of eleven."
«How will it cost me four dollars? » I asked, suspiciously.
«One dollar to Mrs. McGinnis, » Tripp answered, promptly, «and two dollars to pay the girl's fare back home."
«And the fourth dimension? » I inquired, making a rapid mental calculation.
«One dollar to me, » said Tripp. «For whiskey. Are you on?"
I smiled enigmatically and spread my elbows as if to begin writing again. But this grim, abject, specious, subservient, burr-like wreck of a man would not be shaken off. His forehead suddenly became shiningly moist.
«Don't you see, » he said, with a sort of desperate calmness, «that this girl has got to be sent home to-day - not to-night nor to-morrow, but to-day? I can't do anything for her. You know, I'm the janitor and corresponding secretary of the Down-and-Out Club. I thought you could make a newspaper story out of it and win out a piece of money on general results. But, anyhow, don't you see that she's got to get back home before night?"
And then I began to feel that dull, leaden, soul-depressing sensation known as the sense of duty. Why should that sense fall upon one as a weight and a burden? I knew that I was doomed that day to give up the bulk of my store of hard-wrung coin to the relief of this Ada Lowery. But I swore to myself that Tripp's whiskey dollar would not be forthcoming. He might play knight-errant at my expense, but he would indulge in no wassail afterward, commemorating my weakness and gullibility. In a kind of chilly anger I put on my coat and hat.
Tripp, submissive, cringing, vainly endeavoring to please, conducted me via the street-cars to the human pawn-shop of Mother McGinnis. I paid the fares. It seemed that the collodion-scented Don Quixote and the smallest minted coin were strangers.
Tripp pulled the bell at the door of the mouldly red-brick boardinghouse. At its faint tinkle he paled, and crouched as a rabbit makes ready to spring away at the sound of a hunting-dog. I guessed what a life he had led, terror-haunted by the coming footsteps of landladies.
«Give me one of the dollars - quick! » he said.
The door opened six inches. Mother McGinnis stood there with white eyes - they were white, I say - and a yellow face, holding together at her throat with one hand a dingy pink flannel dressing-sack. Tripp thrust the dollar through the space without a word, and it bought us entry.
«She's in the parlor, » said the McGinnis, turning the back of her sack upon us.
In the dim parlor a girl sat at the cracked marble centre-table weeping comfortably and eating gum-drops. She was a flawless beauty. Crying had only made her brilliant eyes brighter. When she crunched a gum-drop you thought only of the poetry of motion and envied the senseless confection. Eve at the age of five minutes must have been a ringer for Miss Ada Lowery at nineteen or twenty. I was introduced, and a gum-drop suffered neglect while she conveyed to me a naive interest, such as a puppy dog (a prize winner) might bestow upon a crawling beetle or a frog.
Tripp took his stand by the table, with the fingers of one hand spread upon it, as an attorney or a master of ceremonies might have stood. But he looked the master of nothing. His faded coat was buttoned high, as if it sought to be charitable to deficiencies of tie and linen.
I thought of a Scotch terrier at the sight of his shifty eyes in the glade between his tangled hair and beard. For one ignoble moment I felt ashamed of having been introduced as his friend in the presence of so much beauty in distress. But evidently Tripp meant to conduct the ceremonies, whatever they might be. I thought I detected in his actions and pose an intention of foisting the situation upon me as material for a newspaper story, in a lingering hope of extracting from me his whiskey dollar.
«My friend» (I shuddered), «Mr. Chalmers, » said Tripp, «will tell you, Miss Lowery, the same that I did. He's a reporter, and he can hand out the talk better than I can. That's why I brought him with me. He's wise to a lot of things, and he'll tell you now what's best to do."
I stood on one foot, as it were, as I sat in my rickety chair.
«Why - er - Miss Lowery,» I began, secretly enraged at Tripp's awkward opening, «I am at your service, of course, but - er - as I haven't been apprized of the circumstances of the case, I - er - "
«Oh, » said Miss Lowery, beaming for a moment, «it ain't as bad as that - there ain't any circumstances. It's the first time I've ever been in New York except once when I was five years old, and I had no idea it was such a big town. And I met Mr. - Mr. Snip on the street and asked him about a friend of mine, and he brought me here and asked me to wait."
«I advise you, Miss Lowery, » said Tripp, «to tell Mr. Chalmers all. He's a friend of mine» (I was getting used to it by this time), «and he'll give you the right tip."
«Why, certainly, » said Miss Ada, chewing a gum-drop toward me. «There ain't anything to tell except that - well, everything's fixed for me to marry Hiram Dodd next Thursday evening. Hi has got two hundred acres of land with a lot of shore-front, and one of the best truck-farms on the Island. But this morning I had my horse saddled up - he's a white horse named Dancer - and I rode over to the station. I told 'em at home I was going to spend the day with Susie Adams. It was a story, I guess, but I don't care. And I came to New York on the train, and I met Mr. - Mr. Flip on the street and asked him if he knew where I could find G - G -»
«Now, Miss Lowery, » broke in Tripp, loudly, and with much bad taste, I thought, as she hesitated with her word, «you like this young man, Hiram Dodd, don't you? He's all right, and good to you, ain't he?"
«Of course I like him, » said Miss Lowery emphatically. «He’s all right. And of course he's good to me. So is everybody."
I could have sworn it myself. Throughout Miss Ada Lowery's life all men would be too good to her. They would strive, contrive, struggle, and compete to hold umbrellas over her hat, check her trunk, pick up her handkerchief, buy for her soda at the fountain.
«But, » went on Miss Lowery, «last night got to thinking about G - George, and I….»
Down went the bright gold head upon dimpled, clasped hands on the table. Such a beautiful April storm! Unrestrainedly sobbed. I wished I could have comforted her. But I was not George. And I was glad I was not Hiram - and yet I was sorry, too.
By-and-by the shower passed. She straightened up, brave and half-way smiling. She would have made a splendid wife, for crying only made her eyes more bright and tender. She took a gum-drop and began her story.
«I guess I'm a terrible hayseed, » she said between her little gulps and sighs, «but I can't help it. G - George Brown and I were sweethearts since he was eight and I was five. When he was nineteen - that was four years ago - he left Greenburg and went to the city. He said he was going to be a policeman or a railroad president or something. And then he was coming back for me. But I never heard from him any more. And I - I - liked him."
Another flow of tears seemed imminent, but Tripp hurled himself into the crevasse and dammed it. Confound him, I could see his game. He was trying to make a story of it for his sordid ends and profit.
«Go on, Mr. Chalmers, » said he, «and tell the lady what's the proper caper. That's what I told her - you'd hand it to her straight. Spiel up."
I coughed, and tried to feel less wrathful toward Tripp. I saw my duty. Cunningly I had been inveigled, but I was securely trapped. Tripp's first dictum to me had been just and correct. The young lady must be sent back to Greenburg that day. She must be argued with, convinced, assured, instructed, ticketed, and returned without delay. I hated Hiram and despised George; but duty must be done.
Noblesse oblige and only five silver dollars are not strictly romantic compatibles, but sometimes they can be made to jibe. It was mine to be Sir Oracle, and then pay the freight. So I assumed an air that mingled Solomon's with that of the general passenger agent of the Long Island Railroad.
«Miss Lowery, » said I, as impressively as I could, «life is rather a queer proposition, after all. » There was a familiar sound to these words after I had spoken them, and I hoped Miss Lowery had never heard Mr. Cohan's song. «Those whom we first love we seldom wed. Our earlier romances, tinged with the magic radiance of youth, often fail to materialize. »
The last three words sounded somewhat trite when they struck the air. «But those fondly cherished dreams, » I went on, «may cast a pleasant afterglow on our future lives, however impracticable and vague they may have been. But life is full of realities as well as visions and dreams. One cannot live on memories. May I ask, Miss Lowery, if you think you could pass a happy - that is, a contented and harmonious life with Mr.-er - Dodd - if in other ways than romantic recollections he seems to - er - fill the bill, as I might say?"
«Oh, He’s all right, » answered Miss Lowery. «Yes, I could get along with him fine. He's promised me an automobile and a motor-boat. But somehow, when it got so close to the time I was to marry him, I couldn't help wishing - well, just thinking about George. Something must have happened to him or he'd have written. On the day he left, he and me got a hammer and a chisel and cut a dime into two pieces. I took one piece and he took the other, and we promised to be true to each other and always keep the pieces till we saw each other again. I've got mine at home now in a ring-box in the top drawer of my dresser. I guess I was silly to come up here looking for him. I never realized what a big place it is."
And then Tripp joined in with a little grating laugh that he had, still trying to drag in a little story or drama to earn the miserable dollar that he craved.
«Oh, the boys from the country forget a lot when they come to the city and learn something. I guess George, maybe, is on the bum, or got roped in by some other girl, or maybe gone to the dogs on account of whiskey or the races. You listen to Mr. Chalmers and go back home, and you'll be all right."
But now the time was come for action, for the hands of the clock were moving close to noon. Frowning upon Tripp, I argued gently and philosophically with Miss Lowery, delicately convincing her of the importance of returning home at once. And I impressed upon her the truth that it would not be absolutely necessary to her future happiness that she mention her visit to the city that had swallowed up the unlucky George.
She said she had left her horse tied to a tree near the railroad station. Tripp and I gave her instructions to mount the patient steed as soon as she arrived and ride home as fast as possible. There she was to recount the exciting adventure of a day spent with Susie Adams. She could «fix» Susie - I was sure of that - and all would be well.
And then, being susceptible to the barbed arrows of beauty, I warmed to the adventure. The three of us hurried to the ferry, and there I found the price of a ticket to Greenburg to be but a dollar and eighty cents. I bought one, and a red, red rose with the twenty cents for Miss Lowery. We saw her aboard her ferryboat, and stood watching her wave her handkerchief at us until it was the tiniest white patch imaginable. And then Tripp and I faced each other, brought back to earth, left dry and desolate in the shade of the sombre verities of life.
The spell wrought by beauty and romance was dwindling. I looked at Tripp and almost sneered. He looked more careworn, contemptible, and disreputable than ever. I fingered the two silver dollars remaining in my pocket and looked at him with the half-closed eyelids of contempt. He mustered up an imitation of resistance.
«Can't you get a story out of it? » he asked, huskily. «Some sort of a story, even if you have to fake part of it?"
«Not a line, » said I. «I can fancy the look on Grimes' face if I should try to put over any slush like this. But we've helped the little lady out, and that'll have to be our only reward."
«I'm sorry, » said Tripp, almost inaudibly. «I'm sorry you're out your money. Now, it seemed to me like a find of a big story, you know - that is, a sort of thing that would write up pretty well."
«Let's try to forget it, » said I, with a praiseworthy attempt at gayety, «and take the next car 'cross town."
I steeled myself against his unexpressed but palpable desire. He should not coax, cajole, or wring from me the dollar he craved. I had had enough of that wild-goose chase.
Tripp feebly unbuttoned his coat of the faded pattern and glossy seams to reach for something that had once been a handkerchief deep down in some obscure and cavernous pocket. As he did so I caught the shine of a cheap silver-plated watch-chain across his vest, and something dangling from it caused me to stretch forth my hand and seize it curiously. It was the half of a silver dime that had been cut in halves with a chisel. «What! » I said, looking at him keenly.
«Oh yes, » he responded, dully. «George Brown, alias Tripp, what's the use?"
Barring the W. C. T. U., I'd like to know if anybody disapproves of my having produced promptly from my pocket Tripp's whiskey dollar and unhesitatingly laying it in his hand.
Lesson 17, 18
1. Read the story (pp.109-121) and write out the unknown words.
2. Answer the questions and do the following tasks:
1. Where does the action take place?
2. Who are the main characters?
3. Where does the author work? What are his duties? Does he have regular income?
4. Speak about Tripp. Describe his appearance.
5. How did Tripp decide to get money out of the author of the story?
6. Was the author intended to give a dollar to Tripp?
7. Speak about Ada Lowery`s love story.
8. How did the author understand that Tripp and George Brown was one and the same person?
9. Why did the author give Tripp a dollar?
10. Think of the title of the story.
- Tripp’s character
- Ada Lowery’s character.
4. Speak on the author’s attitude to the characters.
5. Formulate your own opinion of the characters.
6. Find stylistic devices and think of their function.
7. Make up a summary of the story.
While the Auto Waits
Promptly at the beginning of twilight, came again to that quiet corner of that quiet, small park the girl in gray. She sat upon a bench and read a book, for there was yet to come a half-hour in which print could be accomplished.
To repeat: Her dress was gray, and plain enough to mask its impeccancy of style and fit. A large- meshed veil imprisoned her turban hat and a face that shone through it with a calm and unconscious beauty. She had come there at the same hour on the day previous, and on the day before that; and there was one who knew it.
The young man who knew it hovered near, relying upon burnt sacrifices to the great joss, Luck. His piety was rewarded, for, in turning a page, her book slipped from her fingers and bounded from the bench a full yard away.
The young man pounced upon it with instant avidity, returning it to its owner with that air that seems to flourish in parks and public places - a compound of gallantry and hope, tempered with respect for the policeman on the beat. In a pleasant voice, be risked an inconsequent remark upon the weather that introductory topic responsible for so much of the world's unhappiness-and stood poised for a moment, awaiting his fate.
The girl looked him over leisurely; at his ordinary, neat dress and his features distinguished by nothing particular in the way of expression.
"You may sit down, if you like," she said, in a full, deliberate contralto. "Really, I would like to have you do so. The light is too bad for reading. I would prefer to talk."
The vassal of Luck slid upon the seat by her side with complaisance.
"Do you know," he said, speaking the formula with which park chairmen open their meetings, "that you are quite the stunningest girl I have seen in a long time? I had my eye on you yesterday. Didn't know somebody was bowled over by those pretty lamps of yours, did you, honeysuckle?"
"Whoever you are," said the girl, in icy tones, "you must remember that I am a lady. I will excuse the remark you have just made because the mistake was, doubtless, not an unnatural one - in your circle. I asked you to sit down; if the invitation must constitute me your honeysuckle, consider it with- drawn."
"I earnestly beg your pardon," pleaded the young ran. His expression of satisfaction had changed to one of penitence and humility. It was my fault, you know -I mean, there are girls in parks, you know - that is, of course, you don't know, but -"
"Abandon the subject, if you please. Of course I know. Now, tell me about these people passing and crowding, each way, along these paths. Where are they going? Why do they hurry so? Are they happy?"
The young man had promptly abandoned his air of coquetry. His cue was now for a waiting part; he could not guess the role he would be expected to play.
"It is interesting to watch them," he replied, postulating her mood. "It is the wonderful drama of life. Some are going to supper and some to other places. One wonders what their histories are."
"I do not," said the girl; "I am not so inquisitive. I come here to sit because here, only, can I be near the great, common, throbbing heart of humanity. My part in life is cast where its beats are never felt. Can you surmise why I spoke to you, Mr. -?"
"Parkenstacker," supplied the young man. Then he looked eager and hopeful.
"No," said the girl, holding up a slender finger, and smiling slightly. "You would recognize it immediately. It is impossible to keep one's name out of print. Or even one's portrait. This veil and this hat of my maid furnish me with an incog. You should have seen the chauffeur stare at it when he thought I did not see. Candidly, there are five or six names that belong in the holy of holies, and mine, by the accident of birth, is one of them. I spoke to you, Mr. Stackenpot -"
"Parkenstacker," corrected the young man, modestly.
"- Mr. Parkenstacker, because I wanted to talk, for once, with a natural man - one unspoiled by the despicable gloss of wealth and supposed social superiority. Oh! You do not know how weary I am of it - money, money, money! And of the men who surround me, dancing like little marionettes all cut by the same pattern. I am sick of pleasure, of jewels, of travel, of society, of luxuries of all kinds."
"I always had an idea," ventured the young man, hesitatingly, "that money must be a pretty good thing."
"A competence is to be desired. But when you leave so many millions that - !" She concluded the sentence with a gesture of despair. "It is the monotony of it" she continued, "that palls. Drives, dinners, theatres, balls, suppers, with the gilding of superfluous wealth over it all. Sometimes the very tinkle of the ice in my champagne glass nearly drives me mad."
Mr. Parkenstacker looked ingenuously interested.
"I have always liked," he said, "to read and hear about the ways of wealthy and fashionable folks. I suppose I am a bit of a snob. But I like to have my information accurate. Now, I had formed the opinion that champagne is cooled in the bottle and not by placing ice in the glass."
The girl gave a musical laugh of genuine amusement.
"You should know," she explained, in an indulgent tone, "that we of the non-useful class depend for our amusement upon departure from precedent. Just now it is a fad to put ice in champagne. The idea was originated by a visiting Prince of Tartary while dining at the Waldorf. It will soon give way to some other whim. Just as at a dinner party this week on Madison Avenue a green kid glove was laid by the plate of each guest to be put on and used while eating olives."
"I see," admitted the young man, humbly.
"These special diversions of the inner circle do not become familiar to the common public."
"Sometimes," continued the girl, acknowledging his confession of error by a slight bow, "I have thought that if I ever should love a man it would be one of lowly station. One who is a worker and not a drone. But, doubtless, the claims of caste and wealth will prove stronger than my inclination. Just now I am besieged by two. One is a Grand Duke of a German principality. I think he has, or has bad, a wife, somewhere, driven mad by his intemperance and cruelty. The other is an English Marquis, so cold and mercenary that I even prefer the diabolism of the Duke. What is it that impels me to tell you these things, Mr. Pockenstacker?
"Parkenstacker," breathed the young man. "Indeed, you cannot know how much I appreciate your confidences."
The girl contemplated him with the calm, impersonal regard that befitted the difference in their stations.
"What is your line of business, Mr. Parkenstacker?" she asked.
"A very humble one. But I hope to rise in the world. Were you really in earnest when you said that you could love a man of lowly position?"
"Indeed I was. But I said 'might.' There is the Grand Duke and the Marquis, you know. Yes; no calling could be too humble were the man what I would wish him to be."
"I work," declared Mr. Parkenstacker, "in a restaurant."
The girl shrank slightly.
"Not as a waiter?" she said, a little imploringly. "Labor is noble, but personal attendance, you know - valets and -"
"I am not a waiter. I am cashier in" -- on the street they faced that bounded the opposite side of the park was the brilliant electric sign "RESTAURANT" - "I am cashier in that restaurant."
The girl consulted a tiny watch set in a bracelet of rich design upon her left wrist, and rose, hurriedly. She thrust her book into a glittering reticule suspended from her waist, for which, however, the book was too large.
"Why are you not at work?" she asked.
"I am on the night turn," said the young man; it is yet an hour before my period begins. May I not hope to see you again?"
"I do not know. Perhaps - but the whim may not seize me again. I must go quickly now. There is a dinner, and a box at the play - and, oh! The same old round. Perhaps you noticed an automobile at the upper corner of the park as you came. One with a white body
"And red running gear?" asked the young man, knitting his brows reflectively.
"Yes. I always come in that. Pierre waits for me there. He supposes me to be shopping in the department store across the square. Conceive of the bondage of the life wherein we must deceive even our chauffeurs. Good-night."
"But it is dark now," said Mr. Parkenstacker, "and the park is full of rude men. May I not walk…"
"If you have the slightest regard for my wishes," said the girl, firmly, "you will remain at this bench for ten minutes after I have left. I do not mean to accuse you, but you are probably aware that autos generally bear the monogram of their owner. Again, good-night"
Swift and stately she moved away through the dusk. The young man watched her graceful form as she reached the pavement at the park's edge, and turned up along it toward the corner where stood the automobile. Then he treacherously and unhesitatingly began to dodge and skim among the park trees and shrubbery in a course parallel to her route, keeping her well in sight
When she reached the corner she turned her head to glance at the motor car, and then passed it, continuing on across the street. Sheltered behind a convenient standing cab, the young man followed her movements closely with his eyes. Passing down the sidewalk of the street opposite the park, she entered the restaurant with the blazing sign. The place was one of those frankly glaring establishments, all white, paint and glass, where one may dine cheaply and conspicuously. The girl penetrated the restaurant to some retreat at its rear, whence she quickly emerged without her bat and veil.
The cashier's desk was well to the front. A red- head girl on the stool climbed down, glancing pointedly at the clock as she did so. The girl in gray mounted in her place.
The young man thrust his hands into his pockets and walked slowly back along the sidewalk. At the corner his foot struck a small, paper-covered volume lying there, sending it sliding to the edge of the turf. By its picturesque cover he recognized it as the book the girl had been reading. He picked it up carelessly, and saw that its title was "New Arabian Nights," the author being of the name of Stevenson. He dropped it again upon the grass, and lounged, irresolute, for a minute. Then he stepped into the automobile, reclined upon the cushions, and said two words to the chauffeur:
Lesson 19, 20
1. Read the story (pp.123-129) and write out the unknown words.
2. Answer the questions and do the following tasks:
1. Speak on the setting of the story.
2. Speak about the main characters.
3. What is the idea of the story?
4. Speak on the character drawing. Is it direct or indirect? Are the characters true-to-life?
5. Formulate your own opinion of the characters. Do you feel sympathy with them?
3. Find stylistic devices and think of their function.
4. Make up a summary of the story.
There is a saying that no man has tasted the full flavor of life until he has known poverty, love and war. The justness of this reflection commends it to the lover of condensed philosophy. The three conditions embrace about all there is in life worth knowing. A surface thinker might deem that wealth should be added to the list. Not so. When a poor man finds a long-bidden quarter-dollar that has slipped through a rip into his vest lining, he sounds the pleasure of life with a deeper plummet than any millionaire can hope to cast.
It seems that the wise executive power that rules life has thought best to drill man in these three conditions; and none may escape all three.
In rural places the terms do not mean so much. Poverty is less pinching; love is temperate; war shrinks to contests about boundary lines and the neighbors' hens. It is in the cities that our epigram gains in truth and vigor; and it has remained for one John Hopkins to crowd the experience into a rather small space of time.
The Hopkins flat was like a thousand others. There was a rubber plant in one window; a flea- bitten terrier sat in the other, wondering when he was to have his day.
John Hopkins was like a thousand others. He worked at $20 per week in a nine-story, red-brick building at either Insurance, Buckle's Hoisting Engines, Chiropody, Loans, Pulleys, Boas Renovated, Waltz Guaranteed in Five Lessons, or Artificial Limbs. It is not for us to wring Mr. Hopkins's avocation from these outward signs that be.
Mrs. Hopkins was like a thousand others. The auriferous tooth, the sedentary disposition, the Sun- day afternoon wanderlust, the draught upon the delicatessen store for home-made comforts, the furor for department store marked-down sales, the feeling of superiority to the lady in the third-floor front who wore genuine ostrich tips and had two names over her bell, the mucilaginous hours during which she remained glued to the window sill, the vigilant avoidance of the instalment man, the tireless patronage of the acoustics of the dumb-waiter shaft - all the attributes of the Gotham flat-dweller were hers.
One moment yet of sententiousness and the story moves.
In the Big City large and sudden things happen. You round a corner and thrust the rib of your umbrella into the eye of your old friend from Kootenai Falls. You stroll out to pluck a Sweet William in the park - and lo! Bandits attack you - you are ambulanced to the hospital - you marry your nurse - are divorced - stand in the bread line - marry an heiress - take out your laundry and pay your club dues - seemingly all in the wink of an eye. You travel the streets, and a finger beckons to you, a handkerchief is dropped for you, a brick is dropped upon you, the elevator cable or your bank breaks, a table d'hote or your wife disagrees with you, and Fate tosses you about like cork crumbs in wine opened by an un-feed waiter. The City is a sprightly youngster, and you are red paint upon its toy, and you get licked off.
John Hopkins sat, after a compressed dinner, in his glove-fitting straight-front flat. He sat upon a hornblende couch and gazed, with satiated eyes, at Art Brought Home to the People in the shape of "The Storm " tacked against the wall. Mrs. Hopkins discoursed droningly of the dinner smells from the flat across the ball. The flea-bitten terrier gave Hopkins a look of disgust, and showed a man-hating tooth.
Here was neither poverty, love, nor war; but upon such barren stems may be grafted those essentials of a complete life.
John Hopkins sought to inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
"Putting a new elevator in at the office," he said, discarding the nominative noun, "and the boss has turned out his whiskers."
"You don't mean it!" commented Mrs. Hopkins.
"Mr. Whipples," continued John, "wore his new spring suit down to-day. I liked it fine. It's a gray with…" He stopped, suddenly stricken by a need that made itself known to him. "I believe I'll walk down to the corner and get a five-cent cigar," he concluded.
John Hopkins took his hat and picked his way down the musty halls and stairs of the flat-house
The evening air was mild, and the streets shrill with the careless cries of children playing games controlled by mysterious rhythms and phrases. Their elders held the doorways and steps with leisurely pipe and gossip. Paradoxically, the fire-escapes supported lovers in couples who made no attempt to fly the mounting conflagration they were there to fan. The corner cigar store aimed at by John
Hopkins was kept by a man named Freshmayer, who looked upon the earth as a sterile promontory.
Hopkins, unknown in the store, entered and called genially for his "bunch of spinach, car-fare grade." This imputation deepened the pessimism of Freshmayer; but he set out a brand that came perilously near to filling the order. Hopkins bit off the roots of his purchase, and lighted up at the swinging gas jet. Feeling in his pockets to make payment, he found not a penny there.
"Say, my friend," he explained, frankly, "I've come out without any change. Hand you that nickel first time I pass."
Joy surged in Freshmayer's heart. Here was corroboration of his belief that the world was rotten and man a peripatetic evil. Without a word he rounded the end of his counter and made earnest onslaught upon his customer. Hopkins was no man to serve as a punching-bag for a pessimistic tobacconist. He quickly bestowed upon Freshmayer a Colorado- maduro eye in return for the ardent kick that he received from that dealer in goods for cash only.
The impetus of the enemy's attack forced the Hopkins line back to the sidewalk. There the conflict raged; the pacific wooden Indian, with his carven smile, was overturned, and those of the street who delighted in carnage pressed round to view the zealous joust.
But then came the inevitable cop and imminent convenience for both the attacker and attacked. John Hopkins was a peaceful citizen, who worked at rebuses of nights in a flat, but be was not without the fundamental spirit of resistance that comes with the battle-rage. He knocked the policeman into a grocer's sidewalk display of goods and gave Freshmayer a punch that caused him temporarily to regret that he had not made it a rule to extend a five-cent line of credit to certain customers. Then Hopkins took spiritedly to his heels down the sidewalk, closely followed by the cigar-dealer and the policeman, whose uniform testified to the reason in the grocer's sign that read: "Eggs cheaper than anywhere else in the city."
As Hopkins ran he became aware of a big, low, red, racing automobile that kept abreast of him in the street. This auto steered in to the side of the sidewalk, and the man guiding it motioned to Hopkins to jump into it. He did so without slackening his speed, and fell into the turkey-red upholstered seat beside the chauffeur. The big machine, with a diminuendo cough, flew away like an albatross down the avenue into which the street emptied.
The driver of the auto sped his machine without a word. He was masked beyond guess in the goggles and diabolic garb of the chauffeur.
"Much obliged, old man," called Hopkins, grate- fully. "I guess you've got sporting blood in you, all right, and don't admire the sight of two men trying to soak one. Little more and I'd have been pinched."
The chauffeur made no sign that he had heard. Hopkins shrugged a shoulder and chewed at his cigar, to which his teeth had clung grimly throughout the melee.
Ten minutes and the auto turned into the open carriage entrance of a noble mansion of brown stone, and stood still. The chauffeur leaped out, and said: "Come quick. The lady, she will explain. It is the great honor you will have, monsieur. Ah, that milady could call upon Armand to do this thing! But, no, I am only one chauffeur."
With vehement gestures the chauffeur conducted Hopkins into the house. He was ushered into a small but luxurious reception chamber. A lady, young, and possessing the beauty of visions, rose from a chair. In her eyes smouldered a becoming anger. Her higharched, threadlike brows were ruffled into a delicious frown.
"Milady," said the chauffeur, bowing low, "I have the honor to relate to you that I went to the house of Monsieur Long and found him to be not at home. As I came back I see this gentleman in combat against bow you say - greatest odds. He is fighting with five - ten - thirty men - gendarmes, aussi. Yes, milady, he what you call 'swat' one - three - eight policemans. If that Monsieur Long is out I say to myself this Gentleman he will serve milady so well, and I bring him here."
"Very well, Armand," said the lady, "you may go." She turned to Hopkins.
"I sent my chauffeur," she said, "to bring my cousin, Walter Long. There is a man in this house who has treated me with insult and abuse. I have complained to my aunt, and she laughs at me. Armand says you are brave. In these prosaic days men who are both brave and chivalrous are few. May I count upon your assistance?"
John Hopkins thrust the remains of his cigar into his coat pocket. He looked upon this winning creature and felt his first thrill of romance. It was a knightly love, and contained no disloyalty to the flat with the flea-bitten terrier and the lady of his choice. He had married her after a picnic of the Lady Label Stickers' Union, Lodge No. 2, on a dare and a bet of new hats and chowder all around with his friend, Billy McManus. This angel who was begging him to come to her rescue was something too heavenly for chowder, and as for hats - golden, jewelled crowns for her!
"Say," said John Hopkins, "just show me the guy that you've got the grouch at. I've neglected my talents as a scrapper heretofore, but this is my busy night."
"He is in there," said the lady, pointing to a closed door. "Come. Are you sure that you do not falter or fear?"
"Me?" said John Hopkins. "Just give me one of those roses in the bunch you are wearing, will you?"
The lady gave him a red, red rose. John Hopkins kissed it, stuffed it into his vest pocket, opened the door and walked into the room. It was a handsome library, softly but brightly lighted. A young man was there, reading.
"Books on etiquette is what you want to study," said John Hopkins, abruptly. "Get up here, and I'll give you some lessons. Be rude to a lady, will you?"
The young man looked mildly surprised. Then he arose languidly, dextrously caught the arms of John Hopkins and conducted him irresistibly to the front door of the house.
"Beware, Ralph Branscombe," cried the lady, who had followed, "what you do to the gallant man who has tried to protect me."
The young man shoved John Hopkins gently out the door and then closed it.
"Bess," he said calmly, "I wish you would quit reading historical novels. How in the world did that fellow get in here?"
"Armand brought him," said the young lady. "I think you are awfully mean not to let me have that St. Bernard. I sent Armand for Walter. I was so angry with you."
"Be sensible, Bess," said the young man, taking her arm. "That dog isn't safe. He has bitten two or three people around the kennels. Come now; let's go tell auntie we are in good humor again."
Arm in arm, they moved away.
John Hopkins walked to his flat. The janitor's five-year-old daughter was playing on the steps. Hopkins gave her a nice, red rose and walked upstairs.
Mrs. Hopkins was philandering with curl-papers.
"Get your cigar?" she asked, disinterestedly.
"Sure," said Hopkins, "and I knocked around a while outside. It's a nice night."
He sat upon the hornblende sofa, took out the stump of his cigar, lighted it, and gazed at the graceful figures in "The Storm" on the opposite wall.
"I was telling you," said he, "about Mr. Whipple's suit. It's a gray, with an invisible check, and it looks fine."
Lesson 21, 22
1. Read the story (pp.131-138) and write out the unknown words.
2. Answer the questions and do the following tasks:
1. What are the indispensable conditions of the complete life (according to the author)? Do you think as well?
2. What does the author write about the Big City?
3. Speak about the Hopkins.
4. What were the consequences of Hopkins` decision to have a smoke? (Describe the evening in detail.)
5. Speak about Bess. Do you think she is happy?
6. What is the ending of the story?
7. Formulate the idea of the story. How does the author achieve it?
8. Formulate your own attitude to the main characters.
3. Find stylistic devices and think of their function.
4. Make up a summary of the story.
p.6 Freemasons - франкмасоны (члены тайного религиозно-философского общества)
p.7 an arc-and-compass breastpin – булавка с изображением дуги и окружности. (Дуга и окружность – тайные масонские знаки)
p.8 Omne ignotum pro magnifico - Все неведомое кажется нам великолепным. (лат.)
p.16 sovereign - соверен (золотая монета в один фунт стерлингов)
p.21 Sarasate - Сарасате (1844 – 1908) – знаменитый испанский скрипач и композитор
p.21 the City -Сити, деловой район в Лондоне; финансовые и коммерческие круги Лондона
p.26 hansom (cab) - двухколесный экипаж ( с местом для кучера сзади )
p.27 rubber - роббер (карточная игра)
p.28 в Итоне и Оксфорде находятся аристократические учебные заведения
p.30 napoleon - наполеондор (французская золотая монета = 20 франкам)
p.36 L'homme c'est rien – I'oeuvre c'est tout. - Человек - ничто, дело – все. (фр.)
p.47 the Southern Cross – созвездие Южный Крест
p.118 Noblesse oblige – Положение обязывает. (фр.)