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В.А.

Кухаренко

ПРАКТИКУМ
ПО ИНТЕРПРЕТАЦИИ
ТЕКСТА
Допущено
Министерством просвещения СССР
в качестве учебного пособия
для студентов педагогических институтов
по специальности № 2103 «Иностранные языки»

МОСКВА «ПРОСВЕЩЕНИЕ» 1987


ББК 81.2 Англ
К95

Рецензенты: кафедра английской филологии ЛГПИ им. А. И.


Герцена; кандидат филологических наук, доцент МГПИИЯ им.
Мориса Тореза О. Л. Каменская
Кухаренко В. А.
КЯ5 Практикум по интерпретации текста: Учеб. пособие для студентов
пед. ин-тов по спец. № 2103 «Иностр. яз.».— Просвещение. 1987.—
176 с.
Пособие предназначено для студентов старших курсов факультетов английского языка педагогических
институтов. Оно написано в соответствии с программой по данному курсу и состоит из двух частей. Первая часть
пособия включает 6 рассказов и образцы их интерпретации. Во второй части даны 16 рассказов, представляющих
различные жанры короткой прозы писателей США, Великобритании, Австралии и Новой Зеландии, предназначенные
для самостоятельной работы студентов.

4309000000—608
103(03)—87
ББК 81.2Англ

© Издательство сПросвещение», 1987


ПРЕДИСЛОВИЕ

Настоящее издание представляет собой практическое пособие по


интерпретации текста. Оно предназначено для студентов факультетов
английского языка педагогических институтов и написано в соответствии с
Программой МП СССР по курсу языкознания.
Цель пособия — научить студентов не только умению глубоко проникать
в художественный текст, но и уметь передавать усвоенные навыки, методы и
приемы своим будущим ученикам: без повышения культуры чтения
подрастающего поколения не может быть повышения культуры общества в
целом. Это означает, что методико-педагогическая направленность обучения
интерпретации текста является непременным условием занятий по данному
курсу.
Пособие состоит из двух частей. Первая включает 6 рассказов
англоязычных писателей XX в. и образцы их возможной интерпретации. В
связи с тем, что постижение глубинной художественной информации
невозможно без абсолютного понимания линейно выраженного смысла
текста, к первым двум рассказам даны русские переводы и их интерпретация
тоже проводится на русском языке, чтобы по возможности облегчить
восприятие анализа текста не начальном этапе.
Следующие два рассказа даны без переводов, но интерпретация их
проведена также на русском языке. Последние два рассказа
интерпретируются на английском языке.
Таким образом, пособие построено по принципу нарастающей
дидактической трудности.
Вторая часть пособия включает 18 рассказов англоязычных авторов XX
века, представляющих разные жанры и индивидуальные стили короткой
прозы США, Великобритании, Австралии и Новой Зеландии.
Всем рассказам предшествует небольшое вступление, в котором
содержатся биографические и библиографические сведения о пи-
з
сателе, а также указания читателю-интерпретатору, направляющие его
внимание на наиболее важные, текстовые элементы, формирующие концепт
(идею) произведения, свидетельствующие об авторской позиции и
передающие, помимо основной, дополнительную информацию разных
типов: логическую, эмоциональную, оценочную, эстетическую.
Собственно интерпретацию — раскрытие содержания произведения во
всей полноте его семантического, прагматического, эстетического
потенциала — проводят сами студенты, а преподаватель корректирует
возможные смещения.
Основное требование, которое должно быть поставлено во главу угла
при обучении интерпретации текста, сводится к неукоснительному и
скрупулезному вниманию к тексту как материальной первооснове любой
интерпретации, ибо именно в нем заложены все сигналы, помогающие
наиболее адекватно раскрыть авторский замысел.
Знаки препинания в текстах, подлежащих интерпретации, и
правописание сохранены по оригиналам.
От автора
Часть I

Ernest Hemingway (1899


—1961)

CAT IN THE RAIN

Ernest Hemingway's importance as a creator of a unique style, as a speaker for the


"lost generation", as humanitarian and antifascist cannot be overestimated.
"Cat in the Rain", published in the first collection of his short prose (1925) remains
one of the stories most often reprinted, translated and admired by the readers. It is also
highly characteristic of his individual manner.
Following below is the story and its translation, done by L. Kislova for the first
Russian language edition of Hemingway's Complete Works in four volumes (1968).
There were only two Americans at
the hotel. They did not know any of
the people they passed on the stairs to
their room. Their room was on the
second floor facing the sea. It also
faced the public garden and the war
monument. There were big palms
and green benches in the public
garden. In the good weather there
was always an artist with his easel.
Artists liked the way the palms grew
and the bright colours of the hotels
facing the gardens and the sea.
Italians came from a long way off to
look up at the war monument. It was
made of bronze and glistened in the
rain. It was raining. The rain dripped
from the palm trees. Water stood in
pools on the gravel paths. The sea
broke in a long line in the rain and
slipped back down the beach to come
up and break again in a long line in
the rain.
В отеле было только двое
американцев. Они не знали никого
из тех, с кем встречались на
лестнице, поднимаясь в свою
комнату. Их комната была на
втором этаже, из окон было видно
море. Из окон были видны также
общественный сад и памятник
жертвам войны. В саду были
высокие пальмы и зеленые
скамейки. В хорошую погоду там
всегда сидел какой-нибудь
художник с мольбертом. Худож-
никам нравились пальмы и яркие
фасады гостиниц с окнами на море
и сад. Итальянцы приезжали
издалека, чтобы посмотреть на
памятник жертвам войны. Он был
бронзовый и блестел под дождем.
Шел дождь. Капли дождя падали с
пальмовых листьев. На по-
сыпанных гравием дорожках
стояли лужи. Волны под дождем
длинной полосой разбивались о
берег, откатывались

7
The motor-cars were gone from the набегали и разбивались под дождем
square by the war monument. Across длинной полосой. На площади у
the square in the doorway of the cafe a памятника не осталось ни одного
waiter автомобиля. Напротив, в дверях
stood looking out at the empty square. кафе, стоял официант и глядел на
опустевшую площадь.

The American wife stood at the Американка стояла у окна и


window looking out. Outside right смотрела в сад. Под самыми окнами
under their window a cat was crouched их комнаты, под зеленым столом, с
under one of the dripping green tables. которого капана вода, спряталась
The cat was trying to make herself so кошка. Она старалась сжаться в
compact that she would not be dripped комок, чтобы на нее не попадали
on. капли.
T'm going down and get that kitty/
the American wife said. —Я пойду вниз и принесу
'I'll do it/ her husband offered from киску,— сказала американка.
the bed. — Давай я пойду,— отозвался с
4
No, 141 get it. The poor kitty out кровати ее муж.
trying to keep dry under a table/ — Нет, я сама. Бедная киска!
The husband went on reading, Прячется от дождя под столом.
lying propped up with the two pillows Муж продолжал читать,
at the foot of the bed. полулежа на кровати, подложив под
'Don* t get wet,' he said. голову обе подушки.
— Смотри не промокни,—
The wife went downstairs and the сказал он.
hotel owner stood up and bowed to her Американка спустилась по
as she passed the office. He was an old лестнице, и, когда она проходила
man and very tall. через вестибюль, хозяин отеля встал
и поклонился ей. Его конторка
стояла в дальнем углу вестибюля.
'II piove,' the wife said. She liked Хозяин отеля был высокий старик.
the hotel-keeper. — II piove1, — сказала
американка. Ей нравился хозяин
'Si, si, Signora, brutto tempo. It's отеля.
very bad weather/ — Si, si, Signora, brutto tempo 2.
Сегодня очень плохая погода.

He stood behind his desk in the far Он стоял у конторки в дальнем


end of the dim room. The wife liked углу полутемной комнаты. Он
him. She liked the назад и снова нравился американке

1
Дождь идет (итал.).
2
Да, да, синьора, скверная погода (итал.).

8
deadly serious way he received any шивал все жалобы. Ей нравился его
complaints. She liked his dignity. She почтенный вид. Ей нравилось, как
liked the way he wanted to serve her. он старался услужить ей. Ей
She liked the way he felt about being нравилось, как- он относился к
a hotel-keeper. She liked his old, своему положению хозяина отеля.
heavy face and big hands. Ей нравилось его старое массивное
лицо и большие руки.
Думая о том, что он ей нра-
вится, она открыла дверь и вы-
Liking him she opened the door глянула наружу. Дождь лил еще
and looked out. It was raining harder. сильнее. По пустой площади,
A man in a rubber cape was crossing направляясь в кафе, шел мужчина в
the empty square to the cafe. The cat резиновом пальто. Кошка должна
would be around to the right. Perhaps быть где-то тут, направо. Может
she could go along under the eaves. быть, удастся пройти под карнизом.
As she stood in the doorway an Когда она стояла на пороге, над ней
umbrella opened behind her. It was вдруг раскрылся зонтик. За спиной
the maid who looked after their room. стояла служанка, которая всегда
убирала их комнату.
— Чтобы вы не промокли,—
'You must not get wet/ she smiled, улыбаясь, сказала она по-
speaking Italian. Of course, the hotel- итальянски. Конечно, это хозяин
keeper had sent her. послал ее.
With the maid holding the Вместе со служанкой, которая
umbrella over her, she walked along держала над ней зонтик, она пошла
the gravel path until she was under по дорожке под окно своей
their window. The table was there, комнаты. Стол был тут, ярко-
washed bright green in the rain, but зеленый, вымытый дождем, но
the cat was gone. She was suddenly кошки не было. Американка вдруг
disappointed. The maid looked up at почувствовала разочарование.
her. Служанка взглянула на нее.
'Ha perduto qualque cosa, —
На perduto qualque cosa,
Signora?' Signora?1
There was a cat,' said the —
Здесь была кошка,— сказала
American girl. молодая американка.
'A cat?1
'Si, il gatto.' —
Кошка?
'A cat?' the maid laughed. 'A cat in —
Si, il gatto 2.
the rain?' — Кошка? — служанка за-
Ей нравилась необычайная смеялась.— Кошка под дождем?
серьезность, с которой он выслу-
2
Вы что-нибудь потеряли синьора? (итал.)
Да, кошка (итал.).
'Yes/ she said, 'under the table/ Когда она говорила по-анг-
Then, 'Oh, I wanted it so much. I лийски, лицо служанки становилось
wanted a kitty/ напряженным.
— Пойдемте, синьора,— сказала
When she talked English the она,— лучше вернемся. Вы
maid's face tightened. промокнете.
— Ну что же, пойдем,—
'Come, Signora/ she said. 'We сказала американка.
must get back inside. You will be wet/ Они пошли обратно по усы-
'I suppose so,' said the American панной гравием дорожке и вошли в
girl. дом. Служанка остановилась у
They went back along the gravel входа, чтобы закрыть зонтик. Когда
path and passed in the door. The maid американка проходила через
1
stayed outside to close the umbrella. вестибюль, padrone поклонился ей
As the American girl passed the office, из-за своей конторки. Что-то в ней
the padrone bowed from his desk. судорожно сжалось в комок. В
Something felt very small and tight присутствии padrone она
inside the girl. The padrone made her чувствовала себя очень маленькой и
feel very small and at the same time в то же время значительной. Она
really important. She had a momentary поднялась по лестнице. Открыла
feeling of being of supreme дверь в комнату. Джордж лежал на
importance. She went on up the stairs. кровати и читал.
She opened the door of the room.
George was on the bed, reading. — Ну, принесла кошку? —
'Did you get the cat?' he asked, спросил он, опуская книгу.
putting the book down. — Ее уже нет.
it was gone.' — Куда же она девалась? —
'Wonder where it went to?' he said, сказал он, на секунду отрываясь от
resting his eyes from reading. книги.
She sat down on the bed. Она села на край кровати.
'I wanted it so much/ she said, i — Мне так хотелось ее,—
don't know why I wanted it so much. I сказала она.— Не знаю почему, но
wanted that poor kitty. It isn't any fun мне так хотелось эту бедную киску.
to be a poor kitty out in the rain!' Плохо такой бедной киске под
George was reading again. дождем.
She went over and sat in front of Джордж уже снова читал, Она
the mirror of the dressing-table подошла к туалетному столу, села
looking at herself with the hand glass. перед зеркалом и, взяв ручное
She studied her profile, first one side зеркальце, стала себя разглядывать.
and Она внимательно рассматривала
— Да, — сказала она,— здесь свой
под столиком. И потом: А мне так
хотелось ее, так хотелось киску...
1
Хозяин (итал.).
then the other. Then she studied the Джордж поднял глаза и увидел
back of her head and her neck. ее затылок с коротко остри-
'Don't you think it would be a женными, как у мальчика, воло-
good idea if I let my hair grow out?' сами.
she asked, looking at her profile again. — Мне нравится так, как сейчас.
George looked up and saw the — Мне надоело,— сказала она.
back of her neck, clipped close like a — Мне так надоело быть похожей
boy's. на мальчика.
Джордж переменил позу. С тех
'1 like it the way it is/ пор как она заговорила, он не
сводил с нее глаз.
'I get so tired of it,' she said. I get
so tired of looking like a boy.' — Ты сегодня очень хоро-
George shifted his position in the шенькая,— сказал он.
bed. He hadn't looked away from her Она положила зеркало на стол,
since she started to speak. подошла к окну и стала смотреть в
'You look pretty darn nice,' he сад. Становилось темно.
said. — Хочу крепко стянуть волосы,
She laid the mirror down on the и чтобы они были гладкие, и чтобы
dresser and went over to the window был большой узел на затылке, и
and looked out. It was getting dark. чтобы можно было его потрогать,—
T want to pull my hair back tight сказала она.— Хочу кошку, чтобы
and smooth and make a big knot at the она сидела у меня на коленях и
back that I can feel,' she said. T want мурлыкала, когда я ее глажу.
to have a kitty to sit on my lap and — Мм,— сказал Джордж с
purr when I stroke her.' кровати.
— И хочу есть за своим столом,
и чтоб были свои ножи и вилки, и
'Yeah?' George said from the bed. хочу, чтоб горели свечи. И хочу,
'And I want to eat at a table with чтоб была весна, и хочу
my own silver and I want candles. расчесывать волосы перед зер-
And I want it to be spring and I want калом, и хочу кошку, и хочу новое
to brush my hair out in front of a платье...
mirror and I want a kitty and I want — Замолчи. Возьми почитай
some new clothes.' книжку,— сказал Джордж. Он уже
'Oh, shut up and get something to снова читал.
read,' George said. He was reading Американка смотрела в окно.
again. Уже совсем стемнело, и в now and
His wife was looking out of the still raining in the palm trees.
window. It was quite dark профиль 'Anyway, I want a cat,' she said. 'I
сначала с одной стороны, потом с want a cat. I want a cat now. If I can't
другой. Потом стала рассматривать have long hair or any fun, I can have a
затылок и шею. cat.'
— Как ты думаешь, не от-
пустить ли мне волосы? — спро-
сила она, снова глядя на свой George was not listening. He was
профиль. reading his book. His wife looked out
of the window where the light had же. Если уж нельзя длинные волосы
come on in the square. и чтобы было весело, так хоть
Someone knocked at the door. кошку-то можно?
'Avanti,' George said. He looked up Джордж не слушал. Он читал
from his book. книгу. Она смотрела в окно, на
площадь, где зажигались огни.
In the doorway stood the maid.
She held a big tortoise-shell cat В дверь постучали.
pressed tight against her and swung — Avanti1, — сказал Джордж.
down against her body. Он поднял глаза от книги.
'Excuse me,' she said, 'the padrone В дверях стояла служанка. Она
asked me to bring this for the Signora.' крепко прижимала к себе большую
пальмах шумел дождь. пятнистую кошку, которая тяжело
свешивалась у нее на руках.
— А все-таки я хочу кошку,— — Простите, — сказала она.—
сказала она.— Хочу кошку сейчас Padrone посылает это синьоре.
Рассказ Э. Хемингуэя «Кошка под дождем» занимает четыре неполных
страницы текста, но при этом он в высшей степени насыщен
содержательно. Здесь каждая языковая единица, включая и
синсемантичные слова, не просто несет «квант информации», но
включается в сложную систему контактных и дистантных семантических,
эмоциональных, оценочных связей, организующих основной —
подтекстный, имплицитный — смысл повествования. Этот рассказ —
образец удивительно плотной прозы как в формальном, так и в
содержательном отношении.
В линейном развертывании текста читатель знакомится с молодой
парой, которой нечем заняться в дождливый день на модном курорте. Это,
в терминологии И. Р. Гальперина, содержательно-фактуальная
информация (СФИ) рассказа. Однако не она формирует концепт — идею,
основную мысль произведения2, которую автор проводит в своем рассказе,
хотя именно СФИ располагает сигналами, осуществляющими передачу
глубинной — содержательно-подтекстной — информации (СПИ).

1
Войдите (итал.).
2
И. Р. Гальперин называет ее содержательно-концептуальной информацией (СКИ).
См. его книгу: «Текст как объект лингвистического исследования». — М., 1981.
Русский термин «подтекст» сохранил свою внутреннюю форму и
адекватно отражает явление: подтекст — это глубина текста.
Следовательно, мы должны найти в языковой материи произведения те
сигналы, которые несут дополнительную информацию, формирующую
подтекст.
Читать рассказ следует медленно, останавливаясь на каждом таком
сигнале, чтобы окончательные выводы базировались не столько на
интуитивно-эмоциональном отношении к происходящему (что тоже очень
важно, но подвержено резким индивидуальным смещениям), сколько на
объективных, явных для всех материальных знаках.
Рассказ открывается предложением "There were only two Americans at
the hotel". Слово "only" нормативно предполагает наличие предыдущего
высказывания: «обычно... много американцев, а сейчас — только двое».
Определенный артикль, вводящий место действия, подкрепляет
создавшуюся импликацию предшествования — рассказ начинается с
середины, что характерно для Хемингуэя вообще, как и для многих его
современников и последователей.
Затем следует очень важное для дальнейшего повествования
упоминание, что они никого здесь не знали: "They did not know any of the
people they passed..." Эта фраза объясняет одну из причин настроения
героев. В самом деле, если бы у них были здесь знакомые, все могло бы
быть иначе.
Далее следует излишне подробное на первый взгляд описание номера.
Но и оно очень важно: "second floor facing the sea", "faced the public garden"
— все это говорит о том, что номер дорогой, да и отель не из дешевых, раз
он расположен в столь удачном месте и принимает помногу американцев.
Описание вида, открывающегося из окон, подтверждает фешенебельность
отеля: сад с высокими пальмами, знаменитый памятник (итальянцы
приезжали издалека, чтобы увидеть его), художники здесь пишут пейзажи.
Несколько ниже упоминается, что здесь всегда много автомобилей. Автор
намеренно употребляет определенный артикль: "The motorcars..." — «те,
которые...».
В этом же абзаце вводится слово "rain", входящее в заголовок рассказа.
Повтор заглавных слов всегда несет их семантическое осложнение. Здесь
пока разные формы слова реализуют его основное номинативное значение
— «дождь». За счет переключения грамматического времени — т. е. за счет
изменения грамматического значения, не нарушая повтор, автор от общего
описания переходит к сиюминутному сюжетному настоящему: от past
indefinite "...glistened in the rain" к past continuous — "It was raining".
14
О монотонности происходящего, о том, что дождь идет долго,
становится известно из косвенных деталей: на площади не осталось ни
одного автомобиля; хотя дорожки посыпаны гравием и, следовательно,
хорошо впитывают воду, на них стоят лужи; широколиственные пальмы
уже не защищают от дождя: "The rain dripped from the palm-trees". Глагол
"dripped" передает и характер дождя (далее будет корневой повтор
"dripping green tables'1): это не летняя гроза, а назойливый осенний сеющий
дождь. И соединение «дождя» с «морем» в одном ритмизованном
предложении, при синтаксическом параллелизме и лексическом повторе, и
аллитерации — все это подчеркивает, укрепляет ощущение нудного дня и
включается в систему причинно-следственных отношений рассказа.
Действительно, знакомых нет, погулять нельзя, остается сидеть в номере,
довольствуясь общением друг с другом.
Общение же носит чрезвычайно ограниченный характер. Из первой
фразы второго абзаца мы узнаем, что эти двое американцев — супружеская
пара. Эта информация вводится не специально, а мимоходом: "The
American wife stood... looking out". Наличие глагола восприятия позволяет
отнести описания, которые его обрамляют, к так называемым
авторизованным высказываниям Описание площади в начале рассказа и
далее стола, с которого капает вода, авторизованы: они имеют автора,
конкретное лицо, воспринимающее картину, а слово "outside", начинающее
второе предложение второго абзаца, подчеркивает наличие наблюдающего
лица, имплицитно предполагая антитезу "inside" 2.
В этом же предложении вводится второе заглавное слово — "cat". Оно
будет повторено на протяжении рассказа 13 раз. Следует также учесть, что
молодая американка использует это слово в речи, только когда объясняется
по-итальянски и в самой последней своей реплике. Во всех остальных
случаях она называет кошку киской — сначала это просто "kitty", потом
еще трижды "poor kitty", и снова "kitty" — в общей сложности 7 раз. Следо-
вательно, на протяжении маленького рассказа, насчитывающего всего 1142
словоупотребления, из которых 495 — автосемантичные слова, 20 единиц,
или 4%, отданы лексеме «кошка».
Повторы Хемингуэя знамениты. О них неоднократно писали и у нас, и
за рубежом. Даже в маленькой «Кошке под дождем» их несколько. Это
"cat", "rain", "I want", которое повторяется 11 раз в конце рассказа в
пределах одной трети страницы, и глагол "to read" (Fa—6), и обязательная
авторская ремарка "he (she) said", которой вводится даже последняя
отчаянная реплика героини.
Зачем нужны эти повторы? Возможно, они используются автором
потому, что «он не знает других слов», как сказал один рассерженный
критик? Конечно, нет. В таком случае они несут дополнительную
информацию, ибо каждое последующее употребление слова сознательно
или бессознательно присоединяется читателем к предыдущему.

1
См.: Золотое а Г. А. Очерк функционального синтаксиса русского языка.— М.,
1973.
2
В конце первого абзаца есть аналогичная структура: "...a waiter stood, looking
out...". Но о том, что обсуждаемое восприятие картины принадлежит не официанту, а
американке, свидетельствует обстоятельственный оборот — "Across the square...",
который подчеркивает, что теперь точка наблюдения находится на стороне отеля.
Семантический объем слова растет, оно приобретает новые значения,
которые в языке — в словаре — не существуют. Этой же цели служат и
повторы в данном рассказе. «Кошка под дождем» — это не рассказ о любви
к животным. За незначительной ситуацией скрываются значительные
обобщения. Так ли это? Правильно ли, т. е. в соответствии ли с авторским
замыслом, мы раскрываем истинный, концептуальный, смысл рассказа?
Справедливо ли широко распространенное мнение о том, что «Кошка под
дождем» — это символ одинокой, мятущейся тонкой натуры, непонятой и
страдающей представительницы потерянного поколения? Ответы на
интересующие нас вопросы следует искать в тексте.

Во-первых, следует выяснить, для чего состоятельная американская


пара находится на фешенебельном курорте. Туристы? Нет, туристический
сезон закончен. Дела? Судя по месту действия и поведению мужа, тоже
нет. Американские экспатрианты типа тех, которые позже появятся в
романе Э. Хемингуэя «Фиеста»? Тоже нет. Те жались друг к другу и не
удалялись от привычных кафе и баров крупных городов. Учитывая возраст
героев, тираду молодой женщины перед зеркалом, ее несомненную
физическую привлекательность для мужа ("Не hadn't looked away from
her..."; "'You look pretty darn nice/ he said..."), можно заключить, что это ™
молодожены, совершающие свадебное путешествие.
Как же ведет себя молодой муж? Постоянный повтор слова "read (ing)"
и тематически связанного с ним слова "book", взятый вне макроконтекста,
может навести на мысль, что Джордж — интеллектуал, который не может
оторваться от книги. Однако — и здесь читатель еще раз убеждается, что
каждое явление в художественном тексте следует рассматривать не
изолированно, а в текстовой систем е,— условия повтора заставляют его
прийти к диаметрально противоположному мнению. Книга в руках
Джорджа становится показателем его невоспитанности, низкой культуры.
Он не слушает жену, когда она произносит свой монолог, не вникает в
содержание ее отдельных реплик и предлагает свои услуги принести кошку
только формально, не изменяя положения в кровати: " Til do it', her husband
offered from the bed", и далее, в ответ на ее реплику "(he)... went on reading".
Учитывая глагольные времена и лексическое значение глаголов, читатель
понимает, что он предложил помощь жене, не отрываясь от чтения, и,
читая, продолжал разговаривать. Не случайно глагол "to read"
употребляется преимущественно в past continuous tense — чтение служит
постоянным фоном: "The husband went on reading", "George was on the bed
reading", "George was reading again", "George was not listening" (все время ее
монолога), "Не. was reading his book". Даже когда жена входит в комнату и
он наконец поднимает от книги глаза — это не проявление к ней интереса и
внимания — он отдыхает от чтения: "...he said, resting his eyes from reading".
Его речевая партия состоит всего из 8

16
крошечных реплик в 3—5 слов. Самая короткая — "Yeah?" — откровенное
проявление невнимания к речи жены, самая длинная — 8 слов —
начинается с оскорбительного "Shut up".
Искусству общения он действительно не обучен. Оказавшись вдвоем с
молодой женой, ее привлекательность оценить он может, а говорить не о
чем.
Ну, а она? Ее речевая партия гораздо более развернута. Что же
доминирует в ее речи? Во-первых, обращает на себя внимание очень
характерное мещански-жеманное слово «киска». Не «кошка», не
«котенок», а «киска». Далее, повтор "I want" с весьма неожиданным
набором желаемого: у нас на глазах разворачивается ассоциативный ряд,
происходит одновременный процесс мысли — речи, высказывается вслух
не заранее продуманное, а спонтанно, по ассоциации, пришедшее в голову.
Случайность и неравнозначность упоминаемых рядом объектов заставляет
воспринимать их не как серьезные, выношенные претензии и переживания,
а как каприз, обусловленный и тем, что ее капризы, наверное, ранее всеми
выполнялись (молода, хороша, богата), и тем, что сейчас тоскливо, скучно,
повеселиться не с кем, делать нечего. Общение с мужем не получается не
только оттого, что он сам этого не умеет и от отсутствия этого не страдает,
но и потому, что ее речь — это не общение в полном смысле слова (обмен
мыслями, эмоциями, суждениями), а только рамочное развитие одного
настойчивого мотива «хочу». Молодой героине можно посочувствовать, но
вряд ли можно определить ее как натуру изысканную и непонятую. Эта
богатая пара в равной степени убога духовно, и вынужденное длительное
пребывание наедине друг с другом развенчивает обоих.
В рассказе рассыпаны косвенные детали, подчеркивающие причины их
случайной изоляции: других американцев не было, с прочими
постояльцами отеля не знакомы (обратите внимание на незначительную
степень владения героев итальянским языком, что тоже ограничивает
контакты, и на то, как автор передает иностранный язык диалога), кафе
пусто (официант стоит в дверях и смотрит на улицу) — идти в него нет
смысла, погоды тоже нет.
Есть в рассказе еще один персонаж, очень важный для развития
основной мысли произведения — хозяин отеля. Его поведение — полная
противоположность Джорджу. Он снисходителен к капризу американки,
ибо понимает его истоки. Не случайно в присутствии этого старика
молодая женщина чувствует одновременно и свою женскую силу и свою
женскую слабость — то понимание, которого она безуспешно ждет от
мужа.
Итак, рассмотрев рассказ, безусловно, следует говорить о
семантическом расширении заглавных слов, о приобретении ими нового —
текстового — значения «неуютно, неприятно, нехорошо». При этом
«Кошка под дождем» сохраняет и свое исходное прямое значение и
17
выражает тот повод, который послужил отправным пунктом для
формирования содержательно-концептуальной информации произведения
(СКИ) — идеи о духовной глухоте внешне благополучных, социально и
финансово преуспевающих молодых американцев 20-х годов.
Специальных языковых средств, эксплицитно выражающих авторскую
идею, в тексте нет. СКИ накапливается постепенно — через акценты
(выраженные повторами), делаемые на определенные черты поведения и
речи персонажей, через со- и противопоставление их характеристик, через
широко и разнообразно используемую художественную деталь.
Можно сказать, что проза Хемингуэя плотно спаяна — так тесно
связаны в ней соседствующие предложения. Рассмотрите первый абзац
рассказа, и вы увидите, как разворачивается цепочка повторов,
обеспечивающая жесткую текстовую когезию.
Следует также обратить внимание на то, как вводится внутренняя речь
героини: открыв дверь, она выглянула на улицу — "looked out". Далее —
авторизованное описание того, что она увидела: "...raining... a man...
crossing". И в следующем предложении — неожиданная смена
грамматического времени и появление future in the past: "The cat would be
around... she could go along..." — будто бы глагольные времена сменились
потому, что есть вводящая фраза "She thought the cat would be... and she
couid go...". Вообще появление future in the past в авторском тексте без ка-
вычек — сигнал введения голоса персонажа, передачи изложения этому
персонажу, свидетельство перехода к внутренней или несобственно-
прямой речи.

Katherine Mansfield
(1888—1923)

THE STRANGER
Katherine Mansfield (pseudonym of Katherine Middleton Murry), in her brief
lifetime, has published only four collections of short stories, but they have set her among
the internationally renowned masters of psychological prose. An admirer of the art of
Chekhov and de Maupassant she prefers subdued tones and colours and leaves her main
message in implication.
"The Stanger", first published in 1922 in "The Garden Party" collection, is a
perfect example of her style.
Translation was made by P. Okhrimenko as far back as 1926, which explains
certain discrepancies (additions to the original text and omissions from it,' the specificity
of name-rendering). The Russian title of the story is «Чужая».
It seemed to the little crowd on time to keep them together. He was
the wharf that she was never going to something between the sheep-dog and
move again. There she lay, immense, the shepherd.
motionless on the grey crinkled water, But what a fool — what a fool he
a loop of smoke above her, an had been not to bring any glasses!
immense flock of gulls screaming and There wasn't a pair of glasses between
the whole lot of them.
'Curious thing, Mr Scott, that none
of us thought of glasses. We might
have been able to stir'em up, eh? We
might have managed a little signalling.
Don't hesitate to land, Natives
harmless. Or: A welcome awaits you.
All is forgiven. What? Eh?'
Небольшой толпе в порту
Mr Hammond's quick, eager
казалось, что пароход никогда
glance, so nervous and yet so friendly
больше не двинется. Вот лежит он,
and confiding, took in everybody on
огромный, неподвижный, на серой,
the wharf, roped in even those old
слегка волнующейся воде, столб
chaps lounging against the gangways.
дыма из труб вьется над ним,
They knew, every manjack of them,
огромная стая чаек
that Mrs Hammond was

кричит и ныряет у кормы, хва-


diving after the galley droppings in тая кухонные отбросы. На палубе
the stern. You could just see little чуть видны расхаживающие пары
couples parading — little flies — маленькие мушки лазят взад и
walking up and down the dish on the вперед по тарелке на серой смятой
grey wrinkled tablecloth. Other flies скатерти. Другие мушки сбились в
clustered and swarmed at the edge. кучу у краев. Вот на нижней палубе
Now there was a gleam of white on блеснуло что-то белое — вероятно,
the lower deck — the cook's apron or халат повара. Вот маленький
the stewardess perhaps. Now a tiny черный паук полез по лестнице на
black spider raced up the ladder on to мостик.
the bridge.
In the front of the crowd a strong- Впереди толпы, размахивая
looking, middle-aged man, dressed свернутым зонтиком, расхаживает
very well, very snugly in a grey крупный мужчина средних лет,
overcoat, grey silk scarf, thick gloves очень изящно одетый. Он как бы
and dark felt-hat, marched up and является предводителем этой
down, twirling his folded umbrella. небольшой толпы и в то же время
He seemed to be the leader of the little объединяет ее. Он представляет
crowd on the wharf and at the same
19
собой нечто среднее между The shrewd eyes narrowed again
пастухом и пастушьей собакой. and searched anxiously, quickly, the
motionless liner. Again his overcoat
was unbuttoned. Out came the thin,
butter-yellow watch pin, and for the
Но какой он дурак, какой дурак, twentieth' — fiftieth — hundredth
что не захватил с собой бинокля! time he made the calculation.
Во всей толпе не нашлось ни 'Let me see, now, it was two
одного бинокля. fifteen when the doctor's launch went
off. Two fifteen. It is now exactly,
— Странно, мистер Скотт, что twenty-eight minutes past four. That is
никто из нас не подумал о бинокле. to say, the doctor's been gone two
Мы могли бы их немножко hours and thirteen minutes. Two hours
подтолкнуть. Можно было бы and thirteen minutes! Wheeooh!' He
устроить им сигнализацию. «Не gave a queer little half-whistle and
бойтесь сходить на берег. Туземцы snapped his watch to again. 'But I
мирные». Или же: «Ожидаем с think we should have been told if there
радостью. Все забыто». А? Что? was anything up — don't you, Mr Ga-
Быстрый взгляд м-ра Гам- ven?'
монда, такой нервный и в то же
время такой дружеский и до- 'Oh, yes, Mr Hammond! I don't
верчивый, привлекает к себе всех, think there's anything
даже тех стариков, что стоят у
сходней. Все, несомненно, знают,
что жена м-ра Гам-монда находится
на борту этого

on that boat, and he was so парохода, и м-р Гаммонд был


tremendously excited it never entered настолько возбужден, что вполне
his head not to believe that this верил, что этот чудесный факт
marvellous fact meant something to имеет для всех огромное значение.
them too. It warmed his heart towards Это наполняло теплотой его сердце
them. They were, he decided, as ко всем людям в порту. «Все они
decent a crowd of people — those old очень милые люди,— думал он.—
chaps over by the gangways, too — Вон те старые моряки, какие все
fine, solid old chaps. What chests — они добрые, солидные! А какие у
by Jove! And he squared his own, них груди!»
plunged his thick-gloved hands into
his pockets, rocked from heel to toe.
'Yes, my wife's been in Europe for
the last ten months. On a visit to our «Да, вот уже десять месяцев,
eldest girl, who was married last year. как моя жена уехала в Европу,
I brought her up here, as far as чтобы навестить старшую дочь,
Crawford, myself. So I thought I'd которая вышла замуж в прошлом
better come and fetch her back. Yes, году. Я сам провожал ее до самого
yes, yes.'
Крофорда, а теперь вот выехал ей 'I expect you do,' said Mr
настречу. Да, да, да!» Hammond. 'I expect all these ladies
Острые серые глаза сузились want their tea.' And his kind, flushed,
опять и быстро, озабоченно almost pitiful glance roped them all in
ощупывали стоявший неподвижно again. He wondered whether Janey
пароход. Опять Гаммонд was having a final cup of tea in the
расстегнул пальто. Опять достал saloon out there. He hoped so; he
тонкие золотые часы и в двад- thought not. It would be just like her
цатый, пятидесятый, сотый раз not to leave the deck. In that case
принялся за вычисление. perhaps the deck steward would bring
her up a cup. If he'd been there he'd

Ну-ка, посмотрим! Было have got it for her — somehow. And
четверть третьего, когда отошел for a moment he was on deck,
баркас с доктором. Четверть standing over her, watching her little
третьего. Теперь ровно двадцать hand fold round the cup in the way she
восемь минут пятого. Значит, had, while she drank the only cup of
доктор уже на борту два часа и tea to be got on board... But now he
тринадцать минут. Два часа и was back here, and the Lord only
тринадцать минут! Фюить! — Он knew when that cursed Captain would
как-то странно свистнул и опять stop hanging about in the stream. He
схватился за часы. took another turn, up and down, up

Но, я полагаю, нам должны and down. He walked as far бы там
передать, если там что-нибудь что-нибудь... что-нибудь
случится. Не так ли, м-р Гейвен? произошло,— сказал м-р Гей-вен,

Несомненно, несомненно, м-р выбивая трубку о каблук своего
Гаммонд. Я не думаю, что башмака.— Однако...

Вот именно! Вот именно! —
вскричал м-р Гаммонд.— Просто
нет никакого терпения! — Он
быстро прошелся, взад и вперед и
to — anything to worry about,' опять остановился около м-ра и
said Mr Gaven, knocking out his миссис Скотт и м-ра Гейвена.
pipe against the heel of his shoe. —
И уже начинает темнеть.—
'At the same time —' Он помахал зонтиком, как будто
'Quite so! Quite so!' cried Mr хотел остановить наступавшую
Hammond. 'Dashed annoying!' He темноту. Но сумерки медленно
paced quickly up and down and came ползли, темной тенью расплываясь
back again to his stand between Mr по воде. Маленькая Джен Скотт
and Mrs Scott and Mr Gaven. тянула свою мать за руку.

'It's getting quite dark, too,' and he —


Хочу чаю!.. — плакала она.
waved his folded umbrella as though —
Да, да, как не захотеть? —
the dusk at least might have had the подхватил м-р Гаммонд.— Я
decency to keep off for a bit. But the думаю, все уже хотят чаю.— И
dusk came slowly, spreading like a добрым, быстрым, почти
slow train over the water. Little Jean сострадательным взглядом он опять
Scott dragged at mother's hand. окинул своих соседей. Он подумал,
'I wan' my tea, mammy!' she выпила ли чашку чаю его Дженни
wailed. на пароходе. Наверно, выпила — а
21
может быть, и нет. Вряд ли она из- air. The guils rose; they fluttered away
за чаю покинет палубу. Но, в таком like bits of white paper. And whether
случае, может быть, прислуга that deep throbbing was her engines or
принесет ей чашку чаю на палубу. his heart Mr Hammond couldn't say.
Если бы он был там, то он во что He had to nerve himself to bear it,
бы то ни стало постарался достать whatever it was. At that moment old
для нее чашку чаю. И на одну Captain Johnson, the harbour-master,
минуту он перенесся на палубу и came striding
следил, как она, изогнув, как
всегда, свою маленькую ручку,
пила чай из чашки, которую только
ему одному удалось достать... Но
он опять был здесь, на берегу, и...
«Черт знает, когда этот проклятый
капитан!» Он опять зашагал as the
cabstand to make sure his driver
hadn't disappeared; back he swerved
again to the little flock huddled in the
shelter of the banana crates. Little
Jean Scott was still wanting her tea.
Poor little beggar! He wished he had a
bit of chocolate on him.

'Here, Jean!' he said. 'Like a lift


up?' And easily, gently, he swung the
little girl on to a higher barrel. The
movement of holding her, steadying
her, relieved him, wonderfully,
lightened his heart. взад и вперед, взад и вперед. Он
'Hold on,' he said, keeping an arm прошелся до самого места стоянки
round her. извозчиков, чтобы убедиться, что
'Oh, don't worry about Jean, Mr его эпипаж на месте, и опять
Hammond!' said Mrs Scott. вернулся к толпе. Маленькая Джен
Скотт все еще просила чаю. Бедная
'That's all right, Mrs Scott. No девочка! Он пожалел, что не за-
trouble. It's a pleasure. Jean's a little хватил с собой плитки шоколада.
pal of mine, aren't you, Jean?' — Ну-ка, Джен, давай-ка я тебя
подниму,—сказал м-р Гам-монд.—
'Yes, Mr Hammond,' said Jean, Держись! — воскликнул он,
and she'ran her finger down the dent обнимая девочку и ставя ее на
of his felt hat. опрокинутую бочку.
But suddenly she caught him by
the ear and gave a loud scream. 'Lo-
ok, Mr Hammond! She's moving!
Look, she's coming in!'

Не беспокойтесь, не бе-
By Jove! So she was. At last! She спокойтесь, м-р Гаммонд,— сказала
was slowly, slowly turning round. A миссис Скотт.
bell sounded far over the water and a

Ничего, ничего, миссис
great spout of stream gushed into the Скотт. Никакого беспокойства.
Одно удовольствие. Мы с Джен — the big liner bore down on them,
друзья. Не правда ли, Джен? cutting sharp through the dark water

Да,— сказала Джен и провела so that big white shavings curled to
пальцем по полям его шляпы. the either side. Hammond and the
Но вдруг она схватила его за harbour-master kept in front of the
ухо и пронзительно завизжала: rest. Hammond took off his hat; he
— Смотри-те, смот-рите! raked the decks — they were crammed
Движется! Движется! with passengers; he waved his hat and
bawled a loud, strange 'Hul-lo!' across
Боже мой! Наконец-то! Па- the water, and then turned round and
роход медленно, медленно по- burst out laughing and said something
ворачивался. Зазвонил колокол, — nothing — to old Captain Johnson.
огромные клубы дыма повалили из 'Seen her?' asked the harbour-
труб. Чайки, поднявшись в воздух, master.
рассыпались, как листки белой 'No, not yet. Steady — wait a bit!'
бумаги. Но билось ли то его сердце And suddenly, between two great
или стучала машина на пароходе — clumsy idiots — 'Get out of the way
м-р Гаммонд не мог точно сказать. there!' he signed with his umbrella —
Во всяком случае, ему пришлось he saw a
сделать усилие, чтобы выдержать
этот стук. В эту минуту к ним
подходил старый

капитан Джонсон, начальник


порта, держа портфель под
мышкой.
down the wharf, a leather portfo- — Я подержу Джен,— сказал м-
lio under his arm. р Скотт и как раз; вовремя схватил
девочку за руку: м-р Гаммонд,
'Jean'U be all right/ said Mr Scott. совершенно забыв о Джен, побежал
Til hold her/ He was just in time. Mr навстречу капитану.
Hammond had forgotten about Jean. — Ах, капитан! — прозвучал его
He sprang away to greet old Captain резкий, нервный голос.— Наконец-
Johnson. то вы нас пожалели!
'Well, Captain,' the eager, nervous — Я не виноват, м-р Гаммонд,
voice rang out again, 'you've,taken — прорычал капитан Джонсон,
pity on us at last.' впиваясь взглядом в пароход.— А
разве миссис Гаммонд приезжает с
'It's no good blaming me, Mr этим пароходом? — спросил кто-то.
Hammond,' wheezed old Captain — Конечно, конечно! —
Johnson staring at the liner. 'You got воскликнул м-р Гаммонд, стоя
Mrs Hammond on board, ain't yer?' рядом с начальником порта.— Она
на борту. Алло! Скоро уже, скоро!
'Yes, yes!' said Hammond, and he Огромный пароход подходил к
kept by the harbourmaster's side. 'Mrs берегу. Он разрезал носом твердую
Hammond's there. Hullo! We shan't воду,— белые брызги, как стружки,
be long now!' вздымались по бокам. Гаммонд и
With her telephone ring-ringing, начальник порта стояли впереди.
the thrum of her crew filling the air, Гаммонд снял шляпу, его глаза
23
бегали по палубам, он махал him, ready for him. It struck him, as
шляпой и кричал громким the gulf of water closed, how small
странным голосом: «Алло!» Затем she looked on that huge ship. His heart
обернулся, рассмеялся и что-то was wrung with such a spasm that he
сказал, сам не зная что, старому ка- could have cried out. How little she
питану Джонсону. looked to have come all that long way
and back by herself! Just like her,
though. Just like Janey. She had the
courage of a—And now the crew had
come forward and parted the
— Что — видите? — спросил passengers; they had lowered the rails
капитан. for the gangways.
— Нет, пока нет. Но сейчас, The voices on shore and the voices
наверно, сейчас! Ах, эти пасса- on board flew to greet each other.
жиры! Стоят как идиоты! С дороги,
с дороги! — махал он зонтиком. Он
уже видел подня

тую руку в белой перчатке с


носовым платком. Еще немножко,
еще немножко... Слава богу! Слава
hand raised — a white glove богу! Вот она! Вот стоит моя
shaking a handkerchief. Another Дженни, вот стоит миссис Гаммонд
moment, and — thank God, thank — да, да, да! — стоит у перил и
God! — there she was. There was улыбается, и кивает головой, и
Janey. There was Mrs Hammond, машет платком.
yes, yes, yes — standing by the
rail and smiling and nodding arid Он не мог устоять на месте. С
waving her handkerchief. быстротой молнии он вынул
'Well, that's first class — first портсигар и протянул его капитану
class! Well, well, well!' He positively Джонсону.— Сигару, капитан!
stamped. Like lightning he drew out Берите две! Нет, вот так! — Он
his cigar-case and offered it to old сунул все свои сигары в портсигар
Captain Johnson. 'Have a cigar, капитана.— У меня еще две
Captain! They're pretty good. Have a коробки в столе.
couple! Here' — and he pressed all the
cigars in the case of the harbour-
master — 'I've a couple of boxes up at
the hotel.'
Thanks, Mr Hammond!' wheezed — Благодарю вас, м-р Гаммонд,
old Captain Johnson. — пробурчал старый капитан
Джонсон.
Hammond stuffed the cigar-case Гаммонд сунул пустой порт-
back. His hands were shaking, but сигар в карман. Его руки дрожали,
he'd got hold of himself again. He was но он уже владел собой. Теперь он
able to face Janey. There she was, уже ясно мог видеть Дженни. Вот
leaning on the rail, talking to some стоит она у перил и разговаривает с
woman and at the same time watching
какой-то дамой, но в то же время and her cool little voice — the only
наблюдает за ним. Он поразился, voice in the world for him — said,
когда разделявшее их водное 'Well, darling! Have you been
пространство замкнулось, какой waiting long?'
маленькой она казалась на этом No; not long. Or, at any rate, it
огромном пароходе. И как могла didn't matter. It was over now. But the
она, такая маленькая, одна проехать point was, he had a cab waiting at the
такой длинный путь — из end of the wharf. Was she ready to go
Австралии в Европу и обратно? Но off? Was her luggage ready? In that
она именно такая. Она обладает case they could cut off with her cabin
мужеством мужч... Вот к перилам luggage and let the rest go hang until
подошли матросы, разделив to-morrow. He bent over her and she
пассажиров. looked up with her familiar

Зрители на берегу стали


перекликаться с пассажирами на
борту.

'All well?1
'All well/
'How's mother?'
'Much better.'
'Hullo, Jean!'
'Hullo, Aun' Emily!*
'Had a good voyage?' 'Splendid!'
'Shan't be long now!'
'Not long now.'
The engines stopped. Slowly she Машина остановилась. Пароход
edged to the wharf side. причалил.
'Make way there — make way — — Дорогу, дорогу, дорогу! —
make way!' And the wharf hands Матросы на берегу быстро
brought the heavy gangways along at подвигали сходни. Гаммонд подал
a sweeping run. Hammond signed to знак Дженни, чтобы она стояла на
Janey to stand where she was. The old месте. Старый начальник порта
harbour-master stepped for-ward; he двинулся вперед. Гаммонд
followed. As to 'ladies first', or any последовал за ним. Он совершенно
row like that, it never entered his забыл о том, что «женщины в
head. первую очередь».
'After you, Captain!' he cried
genially. And treading on the old — За вами, капитан! — радостно
man's heels, he strode up the gangway воскликнул он. И, следуя по пятам
on to the deck in a bee-line to Janey, капитана, он быстро прошел
and Janey was clasped in his arms. сходни, взошел на палубу, и
'Well, well, well! Yes, yes! Here Дженни, наконец, очутилась в его
we are at last!' he stammered. It was объятиях.
all he could say. And Janey emerged, — Ну, ну, ну! Да, да, да!
Наконец мы вместе,— бормотал он.
25
Больше он ничего не мог сказать.
Дженни, высвободившись из его 'Darling Mrs Hammond! You
объятий, спросила: won't forget to write to me, will you?'
'Well, Mrs Hammond, what this
boat would have been without you!'
— Долго пришлось ждать, It was as plain as a pikestaff that
милый? she was by far the most popular
...Нет, не долго. Или, во всяком woman on board. And she took it all
случае, это не важно. Теперь это just as usual. Absolutely composed.
уже кончено. Главное — их в порту Just her little self — just Janey all
ожидает извозчик. Готова ли она? over; standing there with her veil
Как там ее багаж? Пока можно thrown back. Hammond never
взять с собой только ручной багаж,
а остальной оставить до завтра. Она
смотрела на него с легкой улыбкой
на губах, так хорошо знакомой ему.
Она ни капельки

не изменилась. Своей малень-


half-smile. She was just the same. кой ручкой она коснулась его руки.
Not a day changed. Just as he'd
always known her. She laid her small
hand on his sleeve. — Как поживают дети, Джон? —
'How are the children, John?' she спросила она.
asked. — («К черту детей!») Ве-
(Hang the children!) 'Perfectly ликолепно — здоровы, как никогда!
well. Never better in their lives!' — А разве они ничего не на-
'Haven't they sent me letters?' писали мне?
'Yes, yes — of course! I've left — Да, да, конечно! Я оставил их
them at the hotel for you to digest письма в отеле. Прочтешь потом.
later on.' — Мы не можем сейчас уехать,
'We can't go quite so fast,' said — сказала Дженни. Мне нужно кое
she. 'I've got people to say good-bye с кем попрощаться и, кроме того,
to — and then there's the Captain.' As капитан... '
his face fell she gave his arm a small Гаммонд насторожился.
understanding squeeze. 'If the Captain — Когда он сойдет с мостика, я
comes off the bridge I want you to хочу, чтобы ты поблагодарил его за
thank him for having looked after заботу о твоей жене.
your wife so beautifully.' Well, he'd Ах, теперь ему понятно! Если ей
got her. If she wanted another ten нужны еще десять минут... Ее
minutes — As he gave way she was начали окружать, и он отступил в
surrounded. The whole first-class сторону. Казалось, весь первый
seemed to want to say good-bye to класс пришел попрощаться с
Janey. Дженни.
— До свидания, дорогая миссис
'Good-bye, dear Mrs Hammond! Гаммонд! Когда будете в Сиднее,
And next time you are in Sydney I'll непременно заходите к нам.
expect you.'
— Милая миссис Гаммонд! took his hat off. There were the rugs
Надеюсь, вы не забудете писать she had taken with her; they looked
мне? Не так ли? good as new. All her luggage looked
— Миссис Гаммонд! Ну что бы fresh, perfect. The labels were written
мы делали, если бы вас не было с in her beautiful little clear hand —
нами на пароходе. 'Mrs John Hammond'.
'Mrs John Hammond!' He gave a
long sigh of content and leaned back,
crossing his arms. The strain was over.
He felt he could have sat there forever
sighing his relief at being rid of that
horrible tug, pull, grip

noticed what his wife had on. It was


all the same to him whatever she
wore. But to-day he did notice that she
wore a black 'costume* — didn't they
call it? — with white frills, trimmings
he supposed they were, at the neck
and sleeves. All this while Janey
handed him round.
'John, dear!' And then: 'I want to
introduce you to — '
Наконец она освободилась, и
Finally they did escape, and she
они направились в ее каюту. Для
led the way to her stateroom. To
него было так странно следовать за
follow Janey down the passage that
ней по коридору, так хорошо
she knew so well — that was so
знакомому ей. И как счастливо
strange to him; to part the green
забилось его сердце, когда она,
curtains after her and to step into the
раздвинув зеленые портьеры, вошла
cabin that had been hers gave him
в каюту, а он вслед за ней. Но...
exquisite happiness. But — confound
проклятие! в каюте была прислуга,
it! — the stewardess was there on the
связывавшая ее багаж.
floor, strapping up the rugs.
'That's the last, Mrs Hammond,'
— Все готово, миссис Гаммонд,
said the stewardess, rising and pulling
— сказала прислуга, поднимаясь с
down her cuffs.
пола и одергивая рукава.
He was introduced again, and then
Миссис Гаммонд удалилась с
Janey and the stewardess disappeared
ней за портьеру. Было слышно, как
into the passage. He heard
они о чем-то шептались. М-р
whisperings. She was getting the
Гаммонд решил, что она устраивает
tipping business over, he supposed.
дело с «чаевыми». Он присел на
He sat down on the striped sofa and
диван и снял шляпу. На полу лежал
27
багаж. Ярлыки были написаны ее him at all costs. He thought he'd
красивым, ярким почерком: noticed just something. She was just a
«Миссис Джон Гаммонд». touch too calm — too steady. From
the very first moment —
The curtain rang. Janey was back.
He jumped to his feet.

Он облегченно вздохнул, 'Janey, have you been ill on this


прислонился спиной к дивану и voyage? You have!'
скрестил руки на животе. На-
пряженность его прошла. Он Til?' Her airy little voice
чувствовал, что он мог бы сидеть
здесь вечно, наслаждаясь
облегчением от той боли, кото

рая сжимала его сердце. Опас-


ность миновала. Он это
on his heart. The danger was over. чувствовал. Дженни опять на
That was the feeling. They were on суше. Из-за портьеры
dry land again. But at that moment показалась голова Дженни.
Janey's head came round the corner. — Милый, я должна еще пойти
'Darling—do you mind? I just проститься с доктором.
want to go and say goodbye to the
doctor.' Гаммонд вскочил, как ужа-
Hammond started up. Til come ленный.— Я тоже пойду с тобой.
with you.' — Нет! Нет! — запротестовала
'No, no!' she said. 'Don't bother. она.— Не беспокойся. Мне нужно к
I'd rather not. I'll not be a minute.' нему одной. Только на минутку.
И она ушла. Он чуть было не
And before he could answer she бросился вслед за ней, но потом
was gone. He had half a mind to run опять присел на диван.
after her; but instead he sat down
again. В самом ли деле она будет
Would she really not be long? недолго? А который теперь час? Он
What was the time now? Out came the вынул часы, но не посмотрел на
watch; he stared at nothing. That was них. Что-то странное с Дженни.
rather queer of Janey, wasn't it? Why Разве она не могла послать
couldn't she have told the stewardess прислугу передать прощальный
to say good-bye for her? Why did she привет доктору? Она могла бы даже
have to go chasing after the ship's написать ему из отеля, если это уж
doctor? She could have sent a note так необходимо. Необходимо!
from the hotel even if the affair had Неужели она была больна в дороге,
been urgent. Urgent? Did it — could it но скрыла от него?.. Так оно и есть!
mean that she had been ill on the Гаммонд схватил шляпу. Он
voyage — she was keeping something отыщет доктора и во что бы то ни
from him? That was it! He seized his стало узнает всю правду. Недаром
hat. He was going off to find that он что-то заметил. Чересчур уж она
fellow and to wring the truth out of
казалась спокойной с самого 'For God's sake let's get off to the
начала... hotel so that we can be by ourselves.'
And he rang the bell hard for some
one to look sharp with the luggage.
Walking down the wharf together
she took his arm. He had her on his
arm again. And the difference it made
Раздвинулись портьеры, и в to get into the cab after Janey — to
каюту вошла Дженни. Гаммонд throw the red-and-yellow striped blan
вскочил с дивана.
— Дженни, ты была больна в
дороге? Несомненно, ты была
больна!
— Больна? — Она пересту

mocked him. She stepped over the пила через багаж, коснулась его
rugs, came up close, touched his руки и посмотрели ему в глаза.
breast, and looked up at him.
'Darling/ she said, 'don't frighten — Милый, не пугай меня,—
me. Of course I haven't! Whatever сказала она.— Совсем я не была
makes you think I have? Do I look больна. Почему ты так думаешь? У
ill?' меня плохой вид?
But Hammond didn't see her. He Но Гаммонд не видел ее. Он
only felt that she was looking at him чувствовал только, что она смотрит
and that there was no need to worry на него, и сразу успокоился. Она
about anything. She was here to look опять здесь, с ним.
after things. It was all right. It was all
right. Everything was.
The gentle pressure of her hand
was so calming that he put his over Нежное прикосновение ее руки
hers to hold it there. And she said: так успокаивающе действовало на
'Stand still. I want to look at you. I него, что он прижал ее руку к своей
haven't seen you yet. You've had your груди.
beard beautifully trimmed, and you — Стой спокойно,— сказала
look — younger, I think, and она.— Я хочу посмотреть на тебя.
decidedly thinner! Bachelor life Как красиво ты подстриг свою
agrees with you.' бороду, теперь ты выглядишь
гораздо моложе. К тому же ты
'Agrees with me!' He groaned for немного похудел. Жизнь холостяка,
love and caught her close again. And как видно, на тебя действует
again, as always, he had the feeling he хорошо...
was holding something that never was — Жизнь холостяка!..— Он
quite his — his. Something too изнывал от любви к ней и опять
delicate, too precious, that would fly крепко прижал ее к себе. И опять —
away once he let go. как всегда — он почувствовал, что
держит в объятиях что-то такое, что
никогда полностью не
принадлежало ему — ему одному.
Что-то слишком нежное,
29
драгоценное, что может сразу we don't want other people butting in,
улететь, стоит ему только do we? But if you like to stop here a
выпустить. bit longer — ?'
— Ради бога, едем в отель! 'Oh, no!' said Janey quickly, 'not
Когда же мы наконец останемся for the world! The day after tomorrow,
одни? — И он сильно нажал then. And the children —
кнопку, вызывая слугу взять багаж.
Идя по набережной, она взяла
его под руку. Опять их руки
соединились. А как хорошо он
почувствовал себя, когда наконец
уселся вместе с ней в экипаж,
закутал пледом ее и
свои ноги и приказал кучеру
ket round them both — to tell the спешить. Ведь они еще не пили
driver to hurry because neither of чаю. Теперь он уже не будет
them had had any tea. No more going уходить из дому без чаю, не будет
without his tea or pouring out his own. сам наливать. Его Дженни опять
She was back. He turned to her, дома. Он повернулся к ней, сжал ей
squeezed her hand, and said gently, руку и нежно сказал: —Ты рада, что
teasingly, in the 'special' voice he had вернулась домой, милая?
for her: 'Glad to be home again, Она улыбнулась, но ничего не
dearie?' She smiled; she didn't even сказала и только потихоньку отняла
bother to answer, but gently she drew руку, когда они въехали на ярко
his hand away as they came to the освещенные улицы...
brighter streets.(...)
'We've got the best room in the
hotel,' he said. 'I wouldn't be put off
with another. And I asked the
chambermaid to put in a bit of a fire in
case you felt chilly. She's a nice,
attentive girl. And I thought now we
were here we wouldn't bother to go
home tomorrow, but spend the day
looking round and leave the morning
after. Does that suit you? There's no
hurry, is there? The children will have
you soon enough... I thought a day's
sightseeing might make a nice break
in your journey — eh honey?'
'Have you taken the tickets for the
day after?' she asked.
T should think I have!' He un-
buttoned his overcoat and took out his
bulging pocket-book. 'Here we are! I
reserved a first-class carriage to
Salisbury. There it is —'Mr and Mrs
John Hammond'. I thought we might
as well do ourselves comfortably, and
Said Hammond: 'I feel I'll never have
you to myself again. These cursed
people! Janey' — and he bent his
flushed, eager gaze upon her —
'let's have

Они подъехали к отелю.


But they had reached the hotel.
The manager was standing in the
broad, brilliantly-lighted porch. He
came down to greet them. A porter ran Подбежал швейцар и взял
from the hall for their boxes. чемоданы.
'Well, Mr Arnold, here's Mrs
Hammond at last!*
The manager led them through the Управляющий отелем сам
hall himself and pressed the elevator- проводил их через зал к лифту и
bell. Hammond knew there were нажал кнопку.
business pals of his sitting at the little
hall tables having a drink before
dinner. But he wasn't going to risk
interruption; he looked neither to the
right nor the left. They could think
what they pleased. If they didn't
understand, the more fools they —
and he stepped out of the lift, un- Гаммонд вышел из лифта, отпер
locked the door of their room, and дверь своей комнаты и пропустил в
shepherded Janey in. The door shut. нее Дженни, как пропускает пастух
Now, at last, they were alone together. скотину в стойло. Дверь за ними
He turned up the light. The curtains закрылась. Наконец они были
were drawn; the fire blazed. He flung вместе. Он зажег свет. Шторы были
his hat on to the huge bed and went опущены, камин тихо потрескивал.
towards her. Он швырнул свою шляпу на
But — would you believe it! — огромную кровать и направился к
again they were interupt-ed. This time Дженни.
it was the porter with the luggage. He Но — кто может этому по-
made two journeys of it, leaving the верить?— опять им помешали! Это
door open in between, taking his time, был швейцар с багажом. Он внес
whistling through his teeth in the только половину вещей, спокойно
corridor. Hammond paced up and вернулся в коридор за остальными,
down the room, tearing off his gloves, оставив дверь открытой. Гаммонд
tearing off his scarf. Finally he flung возбужденно зашагал взад и вперед,
his overcoat on to the bedside. срывая с себя перчатки и кашне.
At last the fool was gone. The Сняв пальто, он и его швырнул на
door clicked. Now they were alone. кровать.
31
Швейцар, наконец, ушел. tucked them into her frilled blouse...
Щелкнул замок. Теперь они были She cried quickly, gaily: 'Oh, how
одни.— Мы сегодня, как видно,
никогда не останемся одни! —
воскликнул он.— Этот проклятый
нар-род! — и он устремил на нее
пристальный, возбужденный
взгляд.

dinner up here. If we go down to the —Давай пообедаем здесь


restaurant we'll be interrupted, and вдвоем. Если мы пойдем в ресторан,
then there's the confounded music' нам будут мешать, да, кроме того,
(the music he'd praised so highly, эта проклятая музыка... (Та музыка,
applauded so loudly last night!). We которую он любил и которой еще
shan't be able to hear each other вчера аплодировал.) — Мы даже не
speak. Let's have something up here in сможем поговорить. Давай закусим
front of the fire. It's too late for tea. I'll здесь, у камина. Чай пить уже
order a little supper, shall I? How does поздно. Я закажу ужин. Как тебе
the idea strike you?' нравится моя идея, Дженни?
'Do, darling!' said Janey. 'And —Пожалуйста, милый,—
while you're away — the children's сказала она.— И пока ты пойдешь
letters —' заказывать, я хотела бы... письма от
детей...
'Oh, later on will do!' said —Это потом, потом! — не-
Hammond. терпеливо сказал Гаммонд.
'But then we'd get it over,' said —Но дай мне уж покончить с
Janey. 'And I'd first have time to — этим,— сказала Дженни.— И еще
'Oh, I needn't go down!' explained мне нужно...
Hammond. 'I'll just ring and give* the —Ах, да ведь мне совсем не
order... you don't want to send me надо куда-то ходить, чтобы заказать
away, do you?' ужин! — воскликнул Гаммонд. Я
закажу по телефону... Ты ведь не
Janey shook her head and smiled. хочешь, чтобы я уходил, милая.
'But you're thinking of something Дженни кивнула головой и
else. You're worrying about улыбнулась.
something,' said Hammond. 'What is —Но ты, как видно, думаешь о
it? Come and sit here — come and sit чем-то другом. Ты как будто о чем-
on my knee before the fire.' то беспокоишься,— сказал
Til just unpin my hat,' said Janey, Гаммонд.— Скажи мне, что с
and she went over to the dressing- тобой? Подойди и сядь ко мне на
table. 'A-ah!' She gave a little cry. колени. У камина.
—Я только сниму шляпу,—
'What is it?' сказала Дженни и направилась к
'Nothing, darling. I've just found туалетному столику.— А-ах! —
the children's letters. That's all right! вдруг вскрикнула она.
They will keep. No hurry now!' She
turned to him clasping them. She —Что, что такое?
—Ничего, милый. Я только
увидела вот здесь на столике
письма от детей. Но они могут
подождать.— Она сунула письма за
пазуху и уселась к нему на колени.

typical, this dressing-table is of you!1


'Why? What's the matter with it?'
said Hammond.
'If it were floating in eternity I
should siy "John!"; laughed Janey,
staring at the big bottle of hair tonic,
the wicker bottle of eau-de-Cologne,
the two hair-brushes, and a dozen new Он подвинулся дальше в в
collars tied with pink tape. 'Is this all глубокое безобразное кресло.
your luggage?' — Скажи мне, Дженни,
'Hang my luggage!' said действительно ли ты рада, что
Hammond; but all the same he liked вернулась домой?
being laughed at by Janey. 'Let's talk. — Да, милый, очень рада,—
Let's get down to things. Tell me'— сказала она.
and as Janey perched on his knees he Но как только он обнял ее, он
leaned back and drew her into the опять почувствовал, что она как
deep, ugly chair — 'Tell me you're будто хочет улететь. Неужели в нем
really glad to be back, Janey.' вечно будет жить эта боль, это
'Yes, darling, I am glad,' she said. желание сделать Дженни настолько
But just as when he embraced her частью себя самого, чтобы для нее
he felt she would fly away, so не осталось никакой возможности
Hammond never knew — never knew жить отдельной жизнью? Он уже
for dead certain that she was as glad хотел потушить свет. Может быть,
as he was. How could he know? тогда он почувствует ее близость.
Would he ever know? Would he Вот шуршат у нее на груди письма
always have this craving — this pang детей. Ему хотелось выхватить их и
like hunger, somehow, to make Janey швырнуть в огонь.
so much part of him that there wasn't
any of her to escape? He wanted to
blot out everybody, everything. He
wished now he'd turned off the light.
That might have brought her nearer. — Дженни, — прошептал
And now those letters from the он.
children rustled in her blouse. He
could have chucked them into the fire.
'Janey,' he whispered.
'Yes, dear?' She lay on his breast,
but so lightly, so remotely. Their
breathing rose and fell together.
33
'Janey!' 'What
— Что, милый?
is it?'
— Повернись ко мне,— шептал
'Turn to me,' he whispered. A
он.— Поцелуй меня, Дженни!
slow, deep flush flowed into his
Поцелуй!
forehead. 'Kiss me, Janey! You kiss
me!'
Ему показалось, что наступила
It seemed to him there was a tiny
небольшая пауза, но достаточно
pause — but long enough for him to
длинная, чтобы он мог испытать
suffer torture — before her lips
мучительное чувство, затем ее губы
touched his, firmly, lightly — kissing
коснулись его губ,—легко,
them as she always kissed him, as
свободно поцеловала она его, как
though the kiss — how could he
будто ее поцелуй подтверждал то,
describe it? — confirmed what they
что говорили губы, как будто скреп-
were saying, signed the contract. But
ляя договор. Но это было не то, чего
that wasn't what he wanted; that
он хотел: не то, из-за чего он горел,
wasn't at all what he thirsted for. He
как в лихорадке. Внезапно он
felt suddenly, horribly tired.
почувствовал страшную усталость.
— Если бы ты знала,— тихо
'If you knew,' he said, opening his сказал он, открывая глаза,— как
eyes, 'what it's been like waiting to- тяжело было ожидать тебя. Мне
day. I thought the boat never would уже казалось, что ваш пароход
come in. There we were, hanging никогда не пристанет к берегу. Что
about. What kept you so long?' могло вас так долго задержать?
She made no answer. She was Она не отвечала и задум-
looking away from him at the fire. чиво глядела в огонь. Пламя
The flames hurried — hurried over the дрожало, пробивалось сквозь
coals, flickered, fell. угли, замирало.
'Not asleep, are you?' said
— Ты не спишь? — спросил
Hammond, and he jumped her up and
down. Гаммонд, покачивая ее на коленях.
— Нет,— сказала она. И вдруг:
'No,' she said. And then: 'Don't do
that, dear. No, I was thinking. As a — Не надо этого, милый. Я
matter of fact,' she said, 'one of the думала... Вчера вечером на
passengers died last night — a man. пароходе умер один пассажир —
That's what held us up. We brought мужчина. Вот это собственно и
him in — I mean, he wasn't buried at задержало нас. Мы похоронили его
sea. So, of course, the ship's doctor в море. Пароходный врач и доктор
and the shore doctor —' из порта...
'What was it?' asked Hammond
uneasily. He hated to hear of death.
He hated this to
— Что же это был за случай? —
прервал ее муж. Ему было страшно At that Janey turned quickly,
неприятно слы quickly searched his face.
'You don't mind, John, do

шать о смерти. Создавалось


какое-то странное чувство, точ-
но они повстречали похорон-
ную процессию на пути в отель.
have happened. It was, in some queer — Не бойся — не от заразной
way, as though he and Janey had met болезни,— сказала Дженни. Она
a funeral on their way to the hotel. говорила с трудом, полушепотом.—
'Oh, it wasn't anything in the least Это был сердечный припадок.—
infectious!' said Janey. She was Пауза.— Бедняга был совсем еще
speaking scarcely above her breath. 'It молодой человек... Он умер у меня
was heart.1 A pause. 'Poor fellow!' she на руках.
said. 'Quite young.' And she watched Уда р был настолько не
the fire flicker and fall. 'He died in my -ожиданный, что Гаммонд чуть не
arms,' said Janey. лишился чувств. Он не мог
The blow was so sudden that шевельнуть пальцем и затаил
Hammond thought he would faint. He дыхание. Ему казалось, что
couldn't move; he couldn't breathe. He последние его силы уходят от него
felt all his strength flowing — flowing — уходят в огромное черное
into the big dark chair, and the big кресло, которое захватило его и
dark chair held him fast, gripped him, держит.
forced him to bear it. — Что...— спросил он очумело.
— Что ты с-ка-зала?
'What?' he said dully. 'What's that — Кончина была такая мирная,
you say?' — тихо произнесла она.— В
'The end was quite peaceful,' said последнюю минуту,— и Гаммонд
the small voice. 'He just'— and увидел, как она подняла руку,— он
Hammond saw her lift her gentle hand только вздохнул, и его не стало.
— 'Breathed his life away at the end.' Ее рука упала.
And her hand fell.
— Кто... кто был с вами? — с
'Who else was there?' Hammond трудом выговорил муж.
managed to ask. — Никого. Я была с ним одна.
'Nobody. I was alone with him.' О, боже мой, что она говорит?
Ah, my God, what was she Что она с ним делает! Этим она
saying! What was she doing to him! убьет его, убьет непременно. А она
This would kill him. And all the while продолжала:
— Когда я заметила в нем
she spoke:
T saw the change coming and I ухудшение, я послала за доктором,
sent the steward for the doctor, but the но было уже поздно. Доктор ничего
doctor was too late. He couldn't have не мог сделать.
done anything, anyway.'
— Но почему ты, почему ты? —
'But — why you, why you?'
простонал Гаммонд.
35
Дженни быстро повернулась и — А что такое, Джон? —
посмотрела на мужа.
you?' she asked. 'You don't — It's спросила она.— Это не имеет
nothing to do with you and me.' никакого отношения ни к тебе, ни
Somehow or other he managed to ко мне.
shake some sort of smile at her. Ему как-то еще удалось
Somehow or other he stammered: 'No улыбнуться в ответ. Как-то удалось
— go — on, go on! I want you to tell произнести:
me.' — Про... продолжай! Скажи
'But, John darling —' мне все до конца.
'Tell me, Janey!' — Но, милый...

Расскажи мне все, Дженни!
'There's nothing to tell,' she said, —
Да тут нечего и рассказывать.
wondering. 'He was one of the first- Это был пассажир первого класса. Я
class passengers. как-то увидела его на палубе, он
1 saw he was very ill when j\e came показался мне очень больным. Но
on board... But he seemed to be much до вчерашнего дня ему было
better until yesterday. He had a severe гораздо лучше. Вчера же после
attack in the afternoon — excitement обеда с ним случился сильный при-
— nervousness, I think, about arriving. падок. Может быть, волнение,
And after that he never recovered.' нервность по случаю приезда. И он
'But why didn't the stewardess —' не выдержал припадка...
*Oh, my dear — the stewardess!' —
Но почему ж пароходная
said Janey. 'What would you have felt? прислуга?..
And besides... he might have wanted —
Ах, милый, прислуга! —
to leave a message... to—' прервала Дженни.— Разве ему было
легко в последнюю минуту? И,
'Didn't he?' muttered Hammond. кроме того... он, может быть, хотел
'Didn't he say anything?' 'No, darling, передать что-нибудь своим
not a word!' She shook her head softly. родным...
'AH the time I was with him he was —
Ну, и что же? — пробормотал
too weak... he was too weak even to Гаммонд.— Что он сказал?
move a finger...* —
Он не мог произнести ни
слова. Все время, пока я была с ним,
Janey was silent. But her words, so он был настолько слаб... настолько
light, so soft, so chill, seemed to hover слаб, что не мог шевельнуть
in the air, to rain into his breast like пальцем...
snow. Дженни умолкла. Но ее
The fire had gone red. Now it fell слова,казалось, носились в воздухе
in with a sharp sound and the room и падали в его душу, как снег.
was colder. Cold crept up his arms. Угли догорали. Вот они с
The room was huge, immense, треском обрушились. В комнате
glittering. It filled his whole world. сделалось холоднее. Его руки
There начали зябнуть. Комната казалась
2 Заказ 187
большой и холодной. Вот стоит
огромная кровать, на
зз
was the great blind bed, with his coat ней, растянувшись, лежит бро-
flung across it like some heartless man шенное им пальто, словно человек
saying his prayers. There was the без головы. Вот узлы и чемоданы,
luggage, ready to be carried away готовые к отъезду...
again, anywhere, tossed into trains,
carted on to boats.
...'He was too weak. He was too
weak to move a finger/ And yet he ...«И он был настолько слаб, что
died in Janey's arms. She — who'd не мог шевельнуть пальцем». Он
never — never once in all these years умер у нее на руках.
— never on one single solitary
occasion —
No; he mustn't think of it.
Madness lay in thinking of it. No, he Нет! Он не должен так думать!
wouldn't face it. He couldn't stand it. It Это сумасшествие. Он не мог бы
was too much to bear! этого перенести. Это было бы
And now Janey touched his tie свыше его сил!
with her fingers. She pinched the
edges of the tie together. Дженни коснулась пальцем его
'You're not — sorry I told you, галстука.
John darling? It hasn't made you sad?
It hasn't spoilt our evening — our — Ты не жалеешь, что я
being alone together?' рассказала тебе? Почему ты так
вдруг опечалился? Неужели это
But at that he had to hide his face. может испортить нам вечер,
He put his face into her bosom and his отравить сознание того, что мы
arms enfolded her. одни?
Spoilt their evening! Spoilt their Вместо ответа он обнял ее и
being alone together! They would спрятал свое лицо у нее на груди.
never be alone together again.
Испортить им вечер! Отравить
сознание того, что они одни!
Никогда больше они не будут одни!

38
***
Доминирующими особенностями рассказа К. Мэнсфилд «Чужая»
являются нарастание и контраст. Форма изложения постоянно меняется:
внутренняя и несобственно-прямая речь (НПР) м-ра Гаммонда, авторские
вкрапления, диалог взаимодополняют друг друга, взаимопроникают.
Последнее отражено и в строении абзаца — все типы изложения могут
быть представлены в одном абзаце, в связи с чем переход от одной точки
зрения к другой совершается незаметно и осознается ретроспективно (см.,
например, абзацы в первой части рассказа, начинающиеся словами "I
expect you do...", "No, not yet. Steady...", "Hammond stuffed the cigar case...",
и др.). Помимо главного переключения от одного типа изложения к
другому, из одного сознания в другое такая организация абзаца
существенно способствует уплотнению текстовых связей (включая
межабзацные) — все приведенные выше начала являются ответными
репликами (действиями) и связаны поэтому с предыдущими абзацами в
диалогические (повествовательные) единства.
Главным средством связи и создания единства и цельности текста,
однако, является нарастающее развитие ведущих характеристик героев,
завершающееся антиклимаксом в конце произведения.
Рассмотрим, как формируется эта ведущая линия рассказа,
включающая и характеризацию самих персонажей, и создание общей
тональности повествования.
Атмосфера взволнованного ожидания задается уже в первом абзаце.
Его создает конвергенция гипербол (never, immense), метафор (people —
flies, spiders), изобразительных глаголов (scream, race up, cluster, swarm),
парных эпитетов (tiny black, grey wrinkled, immense motionless),
неоднократно повторяемых "little" и "tiny".
С первых же слов читатель становится участником событий рассказа
при помощи местоимения "you". Вводятся разговорные элементы — "you
could just see". Создается впечатление непосредственного наблюдения,
перемещения взгляда — "Now there was a gleam...", 'Now a tiny...", т. е.,
хотя автор и не передает повествование рассказчику, оно ведется
«изнутри», из той «небольшой толпы», которая авторизует последующую
картину — "It seemeed to the little crowd...".
Ненормативное предшествование местоименного анафорического
заместителя создает «начало с середины» — в данном случае передает
информацию о длительности ожидания — люди ждали подхода корабля до
начала рассказа. Слово "boat" появляется только на второй странице1. До
этого есть лишь косвенные указания на объект ожидания — местоимение
("she was never going...") первого предложения еще очень расплывчато.
Ука-. зательным минимумом для возможной расшифровки значения
местоимения служит только "the wharf". Конкретизирующими указателями
далее выступают обозначения частей корабля — "the stern", 'the deck", "the
bridge". Собственно же обозначение "the boat" появляется вроде бы
случайно, как может появиться неоднократно упоминавшийся и
ситуативно определенный объект — в реплике персонажа.
Установив атмосферу доверительного контакта, автор вводит героя.
Здесь все его действия, высказывания, реакция прочих персонажей
направлены на то, чтобы показать его сильное волнение. Автор делает
1
Ср. с русским переводом, снимающим это впечатление общего предтекстового
опыта наблюдателей-участников и читателей, которое в английском тексте укрепляется
введением сигнала непосредственного читательского включения "you". В переводе
сохранена позиция «изнутри», которая передана повтором «вот».

акцент на то, что м-р Гаммонд — не нервозный, не владеющий собой


суетливый человек, но что его состояние вызвано переполняющими его в
данный момент чувствами.
Так создается первая оппозиция двух качеств героя. С одной стороны,
его уверенность в себе, стабильность, высокое общественное и финансовое
положение (ср. описание его одежды, форму обращения к нему начальника
порта, более позднее описание торжественной встречи в отеле,
упоминание о деловых партнерах и знакомых, сидевших в фешенебельном
и дорогом баре, характеристики каюты м-с Гаммонд, их номера в отеле,
длительное ожидание кэба, купе на двоих в поезде домой и пр.). С другой
— происходит постоянное нагнетание признаков его волнения. Они всюду
— в авторских описаниях его действий ("marching up and down";
"twirling..."; "his eyes searched..."; "Again his overcoat was unbuttoned" и
далее "deep throbbing of his heart..."; "bawled a loud, strange Hullo"; "his heart
was wrung with such a spasm..."; "he groaned for love..." и т. д.), в авторских
квалификациях ("quick, eager glance", "so nervous and yet so friendly",
"...searched anxiously", "...tremendously excited...", "quickly... made the
calculations for the twentieth — fiftieth — nundredth time" и т. д.), в его
несобственно-прямой речи, где несдержанно критикуется он сам ("what a
fool..."), капитан ("that cursed Captain"), портовый врач ("dashed annoying")
и далее — "the confounded stewardess...", "the porter at the hotel".
Его действия по отношению к другим находятся в прямой зависимости
от его отношения к м-с Гаммонд: заботливо поддержал девочку на берегу,
но мгновенно забыл о ней, как только начал двигаться корабль;
захваченный нахлынувшими чувствами при виде жены, изливает их на
начальника порта и дарит ему все свои сигары; рискуя осложнить деловые
контакты, проходит мимо знакомых, спеша остаться наедине с женой;
воспитанный человек, он стремится поскорее увезти жену, не дав ей
возможности проститься с капитаном и пассажирами; любящий отец, он
сердится, что разговор о детях может помешать его единению с женой,—
все это выдает его сильное и глубокое чувство.
Однако отношения с другими — это опосредованный способ показа
переживаний героя. Основным, непосредственным способом остается его
внутренняя и несобственно-прямая речь.
Примерно треть рассказа написана именно в этой форме. Не пе-
ресказывая, а показывая мысли и эмоции героя изнутри, с его собственной
точки зрения, К- Мэнсфилд создает образ внешне сильного, уверенного в
себе и преуспевающего, но внутренне очень неуверенного и легко
ранимого человека, который любит и мучительно сомневается в силе
ответного чувства. Этот контраст внешнего и внутреннего достигает
кульминационной точки, когда герой, обнимая столь дорогую ему
женщину, ощущает неполноту их отношений: "groaned for love...", "caught
her close..." и "had the feeling he was holding something that never was quite
his — his". Внимание читателя перемещается на вторую антитезу
произведения — между героем и героиней.
В отличие от мужа м-с Гаммонд много спокойнее после деся-
тимесячной разлуки: "her cool little voice...", "the familiar half-smile...", "she
drew his hand away" и т. д. Она помнит все мелочи протокола светского
поведения. Она очень мила с мужем, называет его "John, dear" и "darling",
что противостоит его ласкательному "Janey", но при этом никак не
высказывает того нетерпения чувств, которое сквозит в его поведении.
Может быть, она вообще менее эмоциональна? Ведь не случайно много раз
подчеркивается неизменность ее внешности и манеры поведения: "she was
just the same..."; "Just as he'd always known her..."; "as always, he had the
feeling..."; "never knew — never knew for dead certain..."; "would he always
have this craving...".
Мы готовы поверить в ее мягкое, дружеское отношение к мужу как
естественное выражение ее ровной, спокойной натуры, не способной на
страсть и ее выражение (ср. ее безупречный по форме ответ на его
пламенные реплики — "Yes, darling, I am glad").
Столь неожиданным в связи с этим оказывается ее взволнованное
признание. В ее рассказе все важно: недоговоренность, самоперебивы
(обратите внимание на частый обрыв фразы, который передается
эмфатическим тире), повторы. Здесь появляется эмоциональная интонация,
графически выраженная курсивом, эпитеты, свидетельствующие о ее
откровенном участии в молодом человеке ("Poor fellow, too weak to move a
finger"), сарказм в отношении к мнению мужа ("the stewardess!"),
единственные в ее речи междометия ("Oh, my dear..."; "Oh it wasn't..."). Она
теряет внешнее самообладание ("She was looking away from him..."; "She
was speaking scarcely above her breath..."; "her hand fell...").
Только сейчас, ретроспективно, мы понимаем значимость детали — ее
костюма: влюбленному м-ру Гаммонду не кажется странным, что любимая
выбрала для встречи с ним после долгой разлуки черный цвет. Здесь, в
конце, становится ясно, что. траур по случайному попутчику — чужому,
по сути дела, человеку — для нее оказался важнее встречи с мужем. И-
заглавие "The Stranger", которое сначала вроде бы реализуется как «чужой,
незнакомец, случайный попутчик» и выполняет роль повода для развер-
тывания имплицитного, глубинного смысла произведения, приобретает
истинный, финальный смысл: чужая, далекая женщина1. Оказывается, она
способна на сильные чувства, но они ни разу не были обращены к мужу.
1
Ср., как системные несоответствия двух языков, необходимость оформления
грамматического рода, нарушают многомерность заголовка, снимают внутреннее
напряжение, уменьшают эффект обманутого ожидания, заранее создают проспек-цию
финала в русском'переводе заголовка.
Можно сказать, что перед нами еще один контраст, который реализуется в
эффекте обманутого ожидания.

Внутренней и несобственно-прямой речи героини в рассказе нет.


Контраст ее образа создается за счет несоответствия той пресуппозиции,
которая сформировалась на основе НПР мужа и ее поведения на корабле, т.
е. за счет ожидаемого и истинно происшедшего.
Так разные средства создают взаимодействие и нарастающий конфликт
двух образов, каждый из которых выстроен по принципу контраста
внешнего и внутреннего, ожидаемого и реализуемого, проспекции и
ретроспекции.

Erskine Caldwell (b.


J903)

DAUGHTER
The literary career of Erskine Caldwell has been closely connected with the themes
and scenes of the American South, where he was born. He became the author who has
been observing and writing about the South longer than any other great writer in the
region. His numerous books, in his own words, form "a cyclorama of the South", always
keenly feeling and responding to the most urgent social issues of the region and the
country. The "Daughter" was first published in late 30-s and was often placed into
various collections and anthologies ever since.

At sunrise a Negro on his way to the big house to feed the mules had taken
the word to Colonel Henry Maxwell, and Colonel Henry phoned the sheriff. The
sheriff had hustled Jim into town and locked him up in the jail, and then he went
home and ate breakfast.
Jim walked around the empty cellroom while he was buttoning his shirt, and
after that he sat down on the bunk and tied his shoelaces. Everything that
morning had taken place so quickly that he had not even had time to get a drink
of water. He got up and went to the water bucket near the door, but the sheriff
had forgotten to put water into it.
By that time there were several men standing in the jailyard. Jim went to the
window and looked out when he heard them talking. Just then another
automobile drove up, and six or seven men got out. Other men were coming
towards the jail from both directions of the street.
"What was the trouble out at your place this morning, Jim?" somebody said.
Jim stuck his chin between the bars and looked at the faces in the crowd. He
knew everyone there.
While he was trying to figure out how everybody in town had heard about
his being there, somebody else spoke to him.
"It must have been an accident, wasn't it? Jim?"
A colored boy hauling a load of cotton to the gin drove up the street. When
the wagon got in front of the jail, the boy whipped to the mules with the
ends of the reins and made them trot.
"I hate to see the State have a grudge against you, Jim," somebody said.
The sheriff came down the street swinging a tin dinner-pail in his hand. He
pushed through the crowd, unlocked the door, and set the pail inside.
Several men came up behind the sheriff and looked over his shoulder into
the jail.
"Here's your breakfast my wife fixed up for you, Jim. You'd better eat a
little, Jim boy."
Jim looked at the pail, at the sheriff, at the open jail door, and he shook his
head.
"I don't feel hungry," he said. "Daughter's been hungry, though — awful
hungry."
The sheriff backed out the door, his hand going to the handle of his pistol.
He backed out sa quickly that he stepped on the toes of the men behind him.
"Now, don't you get careless, Jim boy," he said. "Just sit and calm yourself."
He shut the door and locked it. After he had gone a few steps towards the
street, he stopped and looked into the chamber of his pistol to make sure it had
been loaded.
The crowd outside the window pressed in closer. Some of the men rapped on
the bars until Jim came and looked out. When he saw them, he stuck his chin
between the iron and gripped his hands around it.
"How come it to happen, Jim?" somebody asked. "It must have been an
accident, wasn't it?"
Jim's long thin face looked as if it would come through the bars. The sheriff
came up to the window to see if everything was all "right.
; "Now, just take it easy, Jim boy," he said.
The man who.had asked Jim to tell what had happened, elbowed the sheriff
out of the way. The other men crowded closer.
"How come, Jim?" the man said. "Was it an accident?"
"No," Jim said, his fingers twisting about the bars. "I picked up my shotgun
and done it."
The sheriff pushed towards the window again.
"Go on, Jim, and tell us what it's all about."
Jim's face squeezed between the bars until it looked as though only his ears
kept his head from coming through.
'"Daughter said she was hungry, and I just couldn't stand it no longer. I just
couldn't stand to hear her say it."
"Don't get all excited now, Jim boy," the sheriff said, pushing forward one
moment and being elbowed away the next.
"She waked up in the middle of the night again and said she was hungry. I
just couldn't stand to hear her say it."
Somebody pushed all the way through the crowd until he got to the window.
"Why, Jim, you could have come and asked me for something for her to eat,
and you know I'd have given you all I got in the world."
The sheriff pushed forward once more.
"That wasn't the right thing to do," Jim said. "I've been working all year and
I made enough for all of us to eat."
He stopped and looked down into the faces on the other side of the bars.
"I made enough working on shares, but they came and took it all away from
me. I couldn't go around begging after I'd made enough to keep us. They just
came and took it all off. Then Daughter woke up again this morning saying she
was hungry, and I just couldn't stand it no longer."
"You'd better go and get on the bunk now, Jim boy," the sheriff said.
"It don't seem right that the little girl ought to be shot like that," somebody
said.
"Daughter said she was hungry," Jim said. "She'd been saying that for all of
the past month. Daughter'd wake up in the middle of the night and say it. I just
couldn't stand it no longer."
"You ought to have sent her over to my house, Jim. Me and my wife could
have fed her something, somehow. It don't look right to kill a little girl like her."
"I'd made enough for all of us," Jim said. "I just couldn't stand it no longer.
Daughter'd been hungry all the past month."
"Take it easy, Jim boy," the sheriff said, trying to push forward.
The crowd swayed from side to side.
"And so you just picked up the gun this morning and shot her?" somebody
asked.
"When she woke up this morning saying she was hungry, I just couldn't
stand it."
The crowd pushed closer. Men were coming towards the jail from all
directions, and those who were then arriving pushed forward to hear what Jim
had to say.
"The State has got a grudge against you now, Jim," somebody said, "but
somehow it don't seem right."
"I can't help it," Jim said. "Daughter woke up again this morning that way."
The jailyard, the street, and the vacant lot on the other side were filled with
men and boys. All of them were pushing forward to hear Jim. Word had spread
all over town by that time that Jim Carlisle had shot and killed his eight-year-old
daughter Clara.
"Who does Jim share-crop for?" somebody asked.
"Colonel Henry Maxwell," a man in the crowd said. "Colonel Henry has had
Jim out there about nine or ten years."
"Henry Maxwell didn't have no business coming and taking all the shares.
He's got plenty of his own. It ain't right for Henry Maxwell to come and
take Jim's too."
The sheriff was pushing forward once more.
"The State's got a grudge against Jim now," somebody said. "Somehow it
don't seem right, though."
The sheriff pushed his shoulder into the crowd of men and worked his way
in closer.
A man shoved the sheriff away.
"Why did Henry Maxwell come and take your share of the crop, Jim?"
"He said I owed it to him because one of his mules died about a month ago."
The sheriff got in front of the barred window.
"You ought to go to the bunk now and rest some, Jim boy," he said. "Take
off your shoes and stretch out, Jim boy."
He was elbowed out of the way.
"You didn't kill the mule, did you, Jim?"
"The mule dropped dead in the barn," Jim said. "I wasn't nowhere around. It
just dropped dead."
The crowd was pushing harder. The men in front were jammed against the
jail, and the men behind were trying to get within earshot. Those in the middle
were squeezed against each other so tightly they could not move in any
direction. Everyone was talking louder.
Jim's face pressed between the bars and his fingers gripped the iron until the
knuckles were white.
The milling crowd was moving across the street to the vacant lot. Someboby
was shouting. He climbed up on an automobile and began swearing at the top of
his lungs.
A man in the middle of the crowd pushed his way out and went to his
automobile. He got in and drove off alone.
Jim stood holding to the bars and looking through the window. The sheriff
had his back to the crowd, and he was saying something to Jim. Jim did not hear
what he said.
A man on his way to the gin with a load of cotton stopped to find out what
the trouble was. He looked at the crowd in the vacant lot for a moment, and then
he turned around and looked at Jim behind the bars. The shouting across the
street was growing louder.
"What's the trouble, Jim?"
Somebody on the other side of the street came to the wagon. He put his foot
on a spoke in the wagon wheel and looked up at the man on the cotton while he
talked.
"Daughter woke up this morning again saying she was hungry," Jim said.
The sheriff was the only person who heard him. The man on the load of cotton
jumped to the ground, tied the reins to the wagon wheel, and pushed through the
crowd to the car where all the shouting and swearing was being done. After
listening for a while, he came back to the street, called a Negro who was
standing with several other Negroes on the corner, and handed him the reins.
The Negro drove off with the cotton towards the gin, and the man went back
into the crowd.
Just then the man who had driven off alone in his car came back. He sat for a
moment behind the steering wheel, and then he jumped to the ground. He
opened the rear door and took out a crowbar that was as long as he was tall.
"Pry that jail door open and let Jim out," somebody said. "It ain't right for
him to be in there."
The crowd in the vacant lot was moving again. The man who had been
standing on top of the automobile jumped to the ground and the men moved
towards the street in the direction of the jail.
The first man to reach it jerked six-foot crowbar out of the soft earth where
it had been jabbed.
The sheriff backed off.
"Now, take it easy, Jim boy," he said.
He turned and started walking rapidly up the street towards his house.
***
"Daughter" — один из лучших рассказов Эрскина Колдуэлла
признанного мастера американской новеллистики, умеющего через
единичное событие вскрыть острый социальный конфликт. Проблемы,
вскрытые в рассказе, и его стилистические особенности подтверждают это
заключение, представляя типичный образец колдуэлловской короткой
прозы.
В рассказе имеет место экспозиция, предшествующая завязка сюжета,
однако и экспозиция, и завязка, и даже начало развития действия не дают
читателю представления о центральном событии. Действительно, первое
сообщение о несчастье (как мы это понимаем в ретроспекции, возвращаясь
к началу рассказа) вводится определенным артиклем: "had taken the word".
Те действующие лица, которые обозначены именами,— полковник
Максуэлл и Джим — включаются в повествование сразу, без экспликации
своего положения и своих отношений. Последнее осуществляется
мимоходом, в диалоге безымянных представителей толпы, во второй
половине рассказа, после определения центрального события В действие
включаются все новые лица. Уже достаточно полно охарактеризован
треугольник: Джим — толпа — шериф, а читателю все еще неясно, что же
произошло. И только когда треть рассказа позади, появляется первый
намек на начало объяснения вводится слово accident, которое опять-таки
дает лишь самое общее представление о происшествии. Вторичное его
употребление в вопросе дает первое приближение к ответу: "I picked up my
shotgun and done it". Что же такое «это» сделал Джим? Его объяснения
раскрывают истину, но автор так и не называет, что именно. Констатация
факта совершается в двух репликах из толпы — "to kill a little girl", "picked
up the gun and shot her", и происходит это уже в начале второй половины
рассказа. Во-первых, такая организация изложения постоянно нагнетает
напряжение, а во-вторых — создает эффект рассказа очевидца,
знакомящегося с происшествием в порядке его естественного
развертывания для

Автор передает функции повествователя безымянному рассказчику,


заинтересованно наблюдающему события или принимающему участие в
них. Это является характерной стилистической чертой произведений
Колдуэлла.
Толпа явно на стороне Джима, о чем свидетельствуют косвенные
показатели — предложения (увы, запоздавшие) взять голодного ребенка в
свой дом, отсутствие брани, угроз, осуждения в его адрес, возмущение
произволом полковника Максуэлла: и прямое — "it ain't right for Henry
Maxwell", повторенные трижды, и финальное единодушное решение
освободить Джима из тюрьмы.
Соответственно, на стороне Джима и рассказчик — один из тех. кто
собрался в тюремном дворе. А автор? Мы чувствуем, что Колдуэлл
целиком разделяет точку зрения рассказчика. Но как, какими средствами
создается это впечатление однонаправленного сказового повествования?
Прежде всего за счет структуры образа центрального персонажа. Автор
все время подчеркивает его растерянность, ошеломленность. Он даже не
осознает в полной мере, что совершил. Поэтому-то в его речевой партии
собственно рассказа о несчастье нет. Он вновь и вновь возвращается к
причине несчастья. "I just couldn't stand it no longer" с незначительными
вариациями повторяется 7 раз, т. е. присутствует в более чем половине
всех реплик Джима. Большую часть из них составляет предыстория убий-
ства — девочка проснулась, снова пожаловалась на голод: 8 реплик из
общего количества (всего их в рассказе 13). Это настойчивое повторение
отражает эмоционально-психическое состояние героя, доведенного до
полного отчаяния. У него полностью смещены представления о причинно-
следственных связях: он не убивал дочку, он просто заставил ее
замолчать единственным доступным ему в создавшейся ситуации
способом1. Поэтому он не говорит о дочери, как о покойнице. Даже по
поводу принесенного шерифом завтрака он сообщает, что не он голоден, а
дочка, что заставляет недалекого шерифа уверовать в сумасшествие
арестованного и срочно ретироваться. Джим действительно не в себе. Но
это состояние наступило у него не как следствие ужасного поступка, а
значительно раньше. Он потрясен тем, что его ограбил хозяин. Эта
вопиющая несправедливость—вторая, настойчиво повторяющаяся линия
его речевой партии. Здесь причина случившегося, отсюда начинается
отчаяние беспомощности,
1
Ср. с известным рассказом А. П. Чехова «Спать хочется».
крайней точкой которого явился ночной выстрел. Именно в этом
определении подлинных истоков конфликта и проявляется авторская
позиция. Он нигде прямо не называет вопиющее социальное неравенство
истинным преступником, но логика развития образа центрального
персонажа, его речевая самохарактеристика, развитие его контактов с
толпой и эволюция взглядов последней — свидетельство однозначности
авторских позиций.
Толпа — коллективный образ. Ни речь, ни поведение, ни реплики,
обращенные к Джиму и шерифу, не позволяют выделить из нее какие-либо
индивидуальные лица. Этому способствует и анонимность наименования
автором отдельных ее представителей. Толпа социально однородна,
состоит из таких же издольщиков, как и сам Джим, так же невежественна,
так же бесправна. Колдуэлл мастерски показывает эволюцию массового
сознания: сначала смятение при сообщении о факте преступления, затем
нелегкие попытки уложить ситуацию в испытанные практикой модели
поведения, интуитивный вывод о невинности героя ("but somehow, it don't
seem right") и, наконец, развязка, которая подчеркивает решительность и
единство собравшихся. Джим не стал изгоем. Акт единения массы с ним,
выражение коллективного мнения, завершающего эволюцию
собирательного образа толпы, решительный тон развязки (jumped, jerked,
jabbed) — это тоже выражение позиции автора.
Шериф, замыкающий треугольник образов, также представляет собой
чрезвычайно характерную для Колдуэлла фигуру и является действенным
средством выражения авторской позиции.
Толпа не испытывает ни уважения, ни страха по отношению к нему:
"The man... elbowed the sheriff out of the way"; "A man shoved the sheriff
away"; "He was elbowed out of the way". К нему никто не обращается, в
возбужденное обсуждение вопроса его не включают, он даже сам толком
не знает, что и как случилось, и проталкивается к окну камеры, как любой
другой из присутствующих, а не как облеченное властью лицо: "...pushing
forward one moment and being elbowed away the next"; "...trying to push
forward". По-видимому, такое обращение его не возмущает, тон всех его
восьми реплик в адрес Джима привычно доброжелателен, и все они
содержат полезные, но неуместные в данной ситуации советы. Весьма
возможно, что он даже внутренне согласен с антиюридическим вердиктом
толпы, и последнюю фразу рассказа можно было бы рассматривать как
свидетельство борьбы между чувством и долгом у блюстителя закона.
Однако последовательность развития его образа не разрешает нам этого
сделать. Борьба чувства и долга предполагает наличие моральных устоев.
Она свойственна натуре сильной и глубокой. Шериф же всем своим неза-
дачливым поведением в камере и затем в толпе проявляет себя как человек
совершенно иного склада. И его финальный шаг — это трусливый уход от
ответственности принимать решение. Препятствовать решению толпы он
не может (неравны силы, и он отнюдь не борец) и не хочет: все-таки все
эти люди — избиратели, от которых в какой-то степени зависит его судьба
во время очередных выборов в шерифы, и портить с ними отношения
нежелательно. Поддерживать же толпу еще более опасно, ибо это значит
идти против полковника Максуэлла, что уж наверняка означает потерю
теплого местечка. Так блюститель закона оказывается первым его
нарушителем. Да и какой он блюститель закона, когда закон заменен
беззаконием! К этому выводу Колдуэлл подводит читателя постепенно и
неотвратимо.
Помимо четкого и недвусмысленного выражения своих идейно-
этических позиций, писатель демонстрирует в рассказе и свои основные
эстетические принципы. Одним из них является характеристика
социально-значимого явления через внешне незначительную деталь. Так,
например, в начале завязки помещен небольшой абзац, в котором
рассказывается о молодом негре, везущем хлопок мимо возбужденной
толпы. В конце рассказа говорится о белом, тоже везущем хлопок на
переработку. Ситуации обоих абзацев идеально параллельны, но выходы
из них диаметрально противоположны: "the (coloured) boy whipped up the
mules... and made them trot*'; "the man... pushed through the crowd to... where
all the shouting and swearing was being done".
Негр, увидев толпу белых, не зная, что происходит, бежит от
возможной опасности, ибо весь предыдущий опыт многих поколений
цветных учит, что от толпы белых добра ждать не следует. Белый же в
аналогичной ситуации реагирует тоже естественным и привычным
образом: он хочет выяснить, что случилось.
Расовая проблема не находится в центре внимания писателя в данном
рассказе. Но южанин Колдуэлл отлично знаком с положением дел в своей
стране и часто пишет о нем. Здесь перед нами освещение самого больного
вопроса Америки через деталь внешнего действия, занимающую лишь
фоновую позицию в общей структуре рассказа.
Через деталь охарактеризовано и бедственное материальное положение
издольщиков, составляющих толпу. Эта деталь иного характера. Ее
включение в систему художественных средств произведения
осуществляется путем тщательного отбора языкового материала в речевую
партию толпы. Действительно, размышляя вслух о возможности взять
голодного ребенка в свой дом, каждый использует слово "something" —
"something for her to eat", "could have fed her something, somehow". Таким
образом Колдуэлл подчеркивает, что в каждом доме еле сводятся концы с
концами и прокормить лишний рот очень трудно, разве что за счет
собственных желудков. Так проблема обнищания мелкого фермера и
издольщика, постоянно волнующая Колдуэлла, тоже находит здесь свое
отражение.
Рассказ очень невелик по размерам. Автор предельно скуп в своих
квалификациях: в тексте всего 8 определений, из которых только три —
"long, thin face" и "milling crowd" — имеют определенную субъективно-
оценочную коннотацию. Это не мешает писателю затронуть ряд
острейших проблем современной ему действительности, занять
недвусмысленную позицию по каждой из них и довести ее до читателя в
высоко художественной, яркой, индивидуальной форме.

William Faulkner
(1897—1962)

CARCASSONNE1
William Faulkner, one of the greatest American writers, is the author of nearly
forty books. For his literary accomplishments he was awarded a Nobel prize in 1950. In
acceptance he made an important statement about his belief that man will not merely
endure: he will prevail and the writer's duty and obligation before mankind is to
portray it.

And me on a buckskin pony with eyes like blue electricity and a mane like
tangled fire, galloping up the hill and right off into the high heaven of the world.
His skeleton lay still. Perhaps it was thinking about this. Anyway, after a
time it groaned. But it said nothing, which is certainly not like you he thought
you are not like yourself, but I cant say that a little quiet is not pleasant.
He lay beneath an unrolled strip of tarred roofing made of paper. All of him
that is, save that part which suffered neither insects nor temperature and which
galloped unflagging on the destinationless pony, up a piled silver hill of cumulae
where no hoof echoed nor left print, toward the blue precipice never gained.
This part was neither flesh nor unflesh and he tingled a little pleasantly with its
lackful contemplation as he lay beneath the tarred paper bedclothing.
So were the mechanics of sleeping, of denning up for the night, simplified.
Each morning the entire bed rolled back into a spool and stood erect in the
corner. It was like those glasses, reading glasses which old ladies used to wear,
attached to a cord that rolls onto a spindle in a neat case of unmarked gold; a
spindle, a case, attached to the deep bosom of the mother of sleep.
He lay still, savoring this. Beneath him Rincon followed its fatal, secret,
nightly pursuits, where upon the rich and inert darkness of the streets lighted
windows and doors lay like oily strokes of broad and overladen brushes. From
the docks a ship's siren un-sourced itself. For a moment it was sound, then it
compassed silence, atmosphere, bringing upon the eardrums a vacuum in which
nothing, not even silence, was. Then it ceased, ebbed; the silence breathed again
with a clashing of palm fronds like sand hissing across a sheet of metal.
Still his skeleton lay motionless. Perhaps it was thinking about this, and he
1
Carcassonne (Fr.) — skeleton.
thought of his tarred paper bed as a pair of spectacles through which he nightly
perused the fabric of dreams:
Across the twin transparencies of the spectacles the horse still gallops with
its tangled welter of tossing flames. Forward and back against the taut roundness
of its belly its legs swing, rhythmically reaching and overreaching, each
spurning overreach punctuated by a flicking limberness of shod hooves. He can
see the saddle-girth and the soles of the rider's feet in the stirrups. The girth cuts
the horse in two just back of the withers, yet it still gallops with rhythmic and
unflagging fury and without progression, and he thinks of that riderless Norman
steed which galloped against the Saracen Emir, who, so keen of eye, so delicate
and strong the wrist which swung the blade, severed the galloping beast at a
single blow, the several halves thundering on in the sacred dust where him of
Bouillon and Tancred too clashed in sullen retreat; thundering on through the
assembled foes of our meek Lord, wrapped still in the fury and the pride of the
charge, not knowing that it was dead.
The ceiling of the garret slanted in a ruined pitch to the low eaves. It was
dark, and body consciousness, assuming the office of vision, shaped in his
mind's eye his motionless body grown phosphorescent with that steady decay
which had set up within his body on the day of his birth, the flesh is dead living
on itself subsisting consuming itself thriftily in its own renewal wilt never die for
I am the Resurrection and the Life Of a man, the worm should be lusty, lean,
haired-over. Of women, of delicate girls briefly like heard music in tune, it
should be suavely shaped, falling feeding into prettinesses, feeding. what though
to Me but as a seething of new milk Who am the Resurrection and the Life.
It was dark. The agony of wood was soothed by these latitudes; empty
rooms did not creak and crack. Perhaps wood was like any other skeleton
though, after a time, once reflexes of old compulsions had spent themselves.
Bones might lie under seas, in the caverns of the sea, knocked together by the
dying echoes of waves. Like bones of horses cursing the inferior riders who
bestrode them, bragging to one another about what they would have done with a
first-rate rider up. But somebody always crucified the first-rate riders. And then
it's better to be bones knocking together to the spent motion of falling tides in
the caverns and the grottoes of the sea.
where him of Bouillon and Tancred too
His skeleton groaned again. Across the twin transparencies of the glassy
floor the horse still galloped, unflagging and without progress, its destination the
barn where sleep was stabled. It was dark. Luis, who ran the cantina downstairs,
allowed him to sleep in the garret. But the Standard Oil Company, who owned
the garret and the roofing paper, owned the darkness too; it was Mrs
Widdrington's, the Standard Oil Company's wife's, darkness
he was using to sleep in. She'd make a poet of you too, if you did not work
anywhere. She believed that, if a reason for breathing were not acceptable to her,
it was no reason. With her, if you were white and did not work, you were either
a tramp or a poet. Maybe you were. Women are so wise. They have learned how
to live unconfused by reality, impervious to it. It was dark.
and knock my bones together and together It was dark, a darkness filled with
a fairy pattering of small feet, stealthy and intent. Sometimes the cold patter of
them on his face waked him in the night, and at his movement they scurried
invisibly like an abrupt disintegration of dead leaves in a mind, in whispering
arpeggios of minute sound, leaving a thin but definite effluvium of furtiveness
and voracity. At times, lying so while daylight slanted grayly along the ruined
pitch of the eaves, he watched their shadowy flickings from obscurity to
obscurity, shadowy and huge as cats, leaving along the stagnant silences those
whispering gusts of fairy feet.
Mrs Widdrington owned the rats too. But wealthy people have to own so
many things. Only she didn't expect the rats to pay for using her darkness and
silence by writing poetry. Not that they could not have, and pretty fair verse
probably. Something of the rat about Byron: allocutions of stealthful voracity: a
fairy pattering of little feet behind a bloody arras where fell where fell where I
was King of Kings but the woman with the woman with the dog's eyes to knock
my bones together and together
"I would like to perform something," he said, shaping his lips soundlessly in
the darkness, and the galloping horse filled his mind again with soundless
thunder. He could see the saddlegirth and the soles of the rider's stirruped feet,
and he thought of that Norman steed, bred of many fathers to bear iron mail in
the slow, damp, green valleys of England, maddened with heat and thirst and
hopeless horizons filled with shimmering nothingness, thundering along in two
halves and not knowing it, fused still in the rhythm of accrued momentum. Its
head was mailed so that it could not see forward at all, and from the center of the
plates projected a — projected a —
"Chamfron," his skeleton said.
"Chamfron." He mused for a time, while the beast that did not know that it
was dead thundered on as the ranks of the Lamb's foes opened in the sacred dust
and let it through. "Chamfron," he repeated. Living, as it did, a retired life, his
skeleton could know next to nothing of the world. Yet it had an astonishing and
exasperating way of supplying him with bits of trivial information that had tem-
porarily escaped his mind. "All you know is what I tell you," he said.
"Not always," the skeleton said. "I know that the end of life is lying still.
You haven't learned that yet. Or you haven't mentioned it to me, anyway."
"Oh, I've learned it," he said. "I've had it dinned into me enough. It isn't that.
It's that I don't believe it's true."
The skeleton groaned.
"1 don't believe it, I say," he repeated.
"All right, all right," the skeleton said testily. "I shan't dispute you. I never
do. I only give you advice."
"Somebody has to, I guess," he agreed sourly. "At least, it looks like it." He
lay still beneath the tarred paper, in a silence filled with fairy patterings. Again
his body slanted and slanted downward through opaline corridors groined with
ribs of dying Sunlight upward dissolving dimly, and came to rest at last in the
Windless gardens of the sea. About him the awaying caverns and the grottoes, and
his body lay on the rippled floor, tumbling peacefully to the wavering echoes of
the tides.
/ want to perform something bold and tragical and austere he repeated,
sharing the soundless words in the pattering silence me on a buckskin pony with
eyes tike blue electricity and a mane like tangled fire, galloping up the hill and
right off into the high heaven of the world Still galloping, the horse soars
outward; still galloping it thunders up the long blue hill of heaven, its tossing
mane in golden swirls like fire. Steed and rider thunder on, thunder punily
diminishing: a dying star upon the immensity of darkness and of silence within
which, steadfast, fading, deepbreasted and grave of flank, muses the dark and
tragic figure of the Earth, his mother.
***

Рассказ У. Фолкнера "Carcassonne" — последний, тринадцатый рассказ


из первого сборника его рассказов, который вышел В 1931 г. под названием
"These 13". Написанные в первые пять лет творческой деятельности автора,
эти рассказы отражают тематические и стилистические искания У.
Фолкнера. Они разделены на три части: часть первая (4 рассказа)
посвящена военной теме, часть вторая (6 рассказов) — расовой
дискриминации, часть третья, самая короткая, включает три очень
различных по форме и содержанию рассказа.
"Carcassonne" — сложный для восприятия рассказ, ибо в нем много
внутренней речи, развивающейся по законам ассоциативного мышления и
не рассчитанной на прием адресатом как обычная произнесенная речь.
Мастерство Фолкнера проявляется в умелом чередовании реальных
обстоятельств действия и потока сознания — то бодрствующего, то
затухающего. Мгновения сна придают зыбкость и ирреальность
описаниям, мечтам, воспоминаниям, даже тем из них, которые отчетливы и
конкретны.
Необычная пунктуация и графика — точка в середине предложения
вместо запятой, двоеточие вместо точки в его конце, полное отсутствие
знаков препинания в конце абзаца, начало предложения с маленькой буквы
и, наоборот, неожиданное появление заглавных букв в середине фразы,
постоянная смена шрифтов — все это играет очень важную роль в
создании и усилении впечатления отсутствия строгой упорядоченности
событий и мыслей, хаотичности и смешения их, ассоциативном, а не
строго логическом развертывании высказывания.
Внутренняя речь представлена курсивом или обрамлена им. Вначале
автор графически отделяет собственные высказывания от размышлений
персонажа настолько скрупулезно, что во втором абзаце даже
интерпозитивная вводящая ремарка выделяется особым шрифтом. По мере
развития повествования эта четкость разделения типов изложения уходит,
и поток сознания героя свободно вливается в авторскую речь, переходит в
несобственно-прямую речь, приобретает форму ауто-диалога: спор героя с
самим собой представлен в виде голосов его духа и его оболочки.
В тексте все время подчеркивается контраст духа ("which is neither
flesh, nor unflesh"), свободно парящего с фантастическим огненно-рыжим
конем, и плоти. Когда автор говорит об их единстве, он обозначает героя
местоимением "he" (he lay, he said, he could see, he mused и т. д.). Когда же
важно подчеркнуть свободу, вольнолюбие духа, его антагонизм со
сковывающей плотью, тогда появляется многократно повторенные в тексте
обозначения последней ("his skeleton lay", "his skeleton groaned", "the skele-
ton said", "bones might lie. knock my bones" и т. д.). Французский вариант
слова "skeleton" и вынесен в заголовок.
Последнее обстоятельство очень важно: есть в словах "carcas-sonne",
"skeleton", "bones" презрение к плоти и ее требованиям. Все, что окружает
ее, выписано очень точно и реалистически: южный портовый городок
(palm fronds, ship's siren), чердак, рулоны толя, служащие постелью,
темнота, крысы, нахально бегающие по лицу, большие, как кошки, и м-с
Виддрингтон — олицетворение плотских забот, бизнеса, стяжательства
("the Standard Oil Company's wife"), облагающая податью даже темноту ("it
was Mrs Widdrington's darkness"), не понимающая, что можно стремиться к
иным целям, чем те, которыми живет она сама ("if a reason... were not
acceptable to her, it was no reason"). Здесь нет нарушения привычной
пунктуации, графики, синтаксиса, словоупотребления.
Все это появляется при описании духа. Свободный от телесной
оболочки, он рвется на своем скакуне ввысь, он — весь дерзание, весь
стремление к свершению ("I would like to perform something", "I want to
perform something"). В эти описания вводятся архаические конструкции и
слова, придающие речи торжественность и величавость ("perused",
"riderless Norman steed", "keen of eye", "him of Bouillon", "bestrode them").
Здесь много авторских новообразований, необходимых для сохранения
заданного ритма и тона ("destinationless", "lackful", "overreach", "limber-
ness", "chamfron"), неожиданных форм ("transparencies", "cumu-lae") и
словоупотреблений ("fabric of dreams", "stable of sleep", "agony of wood").
Через весь рассказ проходит образ скакуна. Он то величав и могуч и
называется особым поэтическим словом "steed", то близко знаком
всаднику и называется ласковым "pony"; то он обозначается
телескопическим образованием "chamfron", состоящим из осколков
французского "chameau" — верблюд и "front" — Передний. Необычность
наименования подчеркивает фантастичность, нереальность «скакуна». У
него огненная грива ("a mane like tangled fire", "tossing mane in golden swirls
like fire", "its tangled welter of tossing flames"), и он не знает усталости
("unflagging gallop", "gallops with rhythmic and unflagging fury", "galloping
up the hill and right off into the high heaven of the World").
Образная система рассказа чрезвычайно щедра и может служить
прекрасным образцом единства формы и содержания, замысла и
воплощения: в сознании героя все наполнено особым Смыслом,
неодушевленные предметы живут и разговаривают, все окружающее
пропущено через призму поэтического восприятия главного персонажа.
Отсюда и центральный образ всадника и Неутомимого скакуна, отсюда и
метафора, развернутая из сравнения, где примитивная постель, на которой
человек мечтает- и видит сны, становится огромными стеклами в мир: "the
entire bed rolled back into a spool... was like those reading glasses, which old
ladies used to wear, attached to a cord that rolls onto a spindle in a neat ease of
unmarked gold; a spindle, a case, attached to the deep bosom of the mother of
sleep". И далее: "...he thought of his tarred paper bed as a pair of spectacles
through which he nightly perused the fabric of dreams: Across the twin
transparencies of the spectacles the horse still gallops..." И еще далее: "Across
the twin transparencies of the glassy floor the horse still galloped". Так же ярко
представлены образы даано умерших мечтаний и мечтателей (останки на
дне моря), и поглощающей тишину сирены, и былых подвигов скакуна на
земле обетованной, и др.
Мечты стремятся ввысь, к великим свершениям, но окружающая
действительность жестоко расправляется со свободой таланта ("somebody
always crucified the first-rate riders"). Автор проводит мысль, что жизнь
скоротечна. Этому служит в рассказе диалог духа и оболочки.
Так в рассказе звучит не только противопоставление высоких идеалов
суетной действительности, но и конфликт поэта с обществом потребления.
Многое в рассказе спрятано в подтекст, упоминается мимоходом,
представлено деталью (например, ирония по отношению к м-с
Виддрингтон, или горечь по поводу неуспеха талантливых, или картина
города, где происходит действие).
Подобная организация художественного произведения требует
чрезвычайно внимательного его прочтения. Чтобы проникнуть в глубины
замысла художника, реализованные в тексте, необходимо «уловить» и
верно оценить все намеки, детали, недосказанности. Произведение такой
структуры позволяет интерпретировать его по срезам. Первый, верхний,
срез — это тот смысл, который лежит на поверхности, заложен в
непосредственных значениях слов и их связях. Здесь определяется тема
произведения. Следующий, более глубокий, рождается из дистантного
сопоставления разных отрезков текста. Здесь выясняется его пробле-
матика. И, наконец, определив место и удельный вес отдельных элементов
в общей системе произведения, ретроспективно расставив акценты, можно
прийти к выводу об общей идее произведения.
На первый взгляд "Carcassonne" — рассказ о человеке в состоянии,
пограничном между сном и бодрствованием. Сопоставив отдельные
образы, можно понять, что речь идет об извечном конфликте между
свободным духом и сковывающей его оболочкой. Приведя в систему
разрозненные детали и высказывания, читатель видит, что основная идея
произведения — конфликт творческой личности и обывательского
общества и горечь автора в связи с обреченностью усилий поэта в этом
обществе.
Данная организация художественной структуры требует определенной
подготовки читателя для полного восприятия всей заложенной в
произведении информации и побуждает его к активной работе мысли.
Dorothy Parker
(1893—1967)

THE LAST TEA

Dorothy Parker, well known for her wry humour and witty satire in drama, poetry
and criticism, in our country is appreciated mainly for short stories, which focus on
certain dominant themes, such as frustrated love and cheated idealism in modern living.
"The Last Tea" was first published in 1932 and was, since, repeatedly included into
numerous collections of short stories and anthologies.

The young man in the chocolate-brown suit sat down at the table, where the
girl with the artificial camellia had been sitting for forty minutes.
"Guess I must be late," he said. "Sorry you been waiting."
"Oh, goodness!" she said. "I just got here myself, just about a second ago. I
simply went ahead and ordered because I was dying for a cup of tea. I was late,
myself. I haven't been here more than a minute."
"That's good," he said. "Hey, hey, easy on the sugar — one lump is fair
enough. And take away those cakes. Terrible! Do I feel terrible!"
"Ah," she said, "you do? Ah. Whadda matter?"
"Oh, I'm ruined," he said. "I'm in terrible shape."
"Ah, the poor boy," she said. "Was it feelin' mizzable? Ah, and it came way
up here to meet me! You shouldn't have done that — I'd have understood.
Ah, just think of it coming all the way up here when it's so sick!"
"Oh, that's all right," he said. "I might as well be here as any place else. Any
place is like any other place, the way I feel today. Oh, I'm all shot."
"Why, that's just awful," she said. "Why, you poor sick thing. Goodness, I
hope it isn't influenza. They say there's a lot of it around."
"Influenza!".he said. "I wish that was all I had. Oh, I'm poisoned. I'm
through. I'm off the stuff for life. Know what time I got to bed? Twenty minutes
past five, A. M., this morning. What a night! What an evening!"
"I thought," she said, "that you were going to stay at the office and work
late. You said you'd be working every night this week."
"Yeah, I know," he said. "But it gave me the jumps, thinking about going
down there and sitting at that desk. I went up to May's — she was throwing a
party. Say, there was somebody there said they knew you."
"Honestly?" she said. "Man or woman?"
"Dame," he said. "Name's Carol McCall. Say, why haven't I been told about
her before? That's what I call a girl. What a looker she is!"
"Oh, really?" she said. "That's funny — I never heard of anyone that thought
that. I've heard people say she was sort of nice-looking, if she wouldn't make up
so much. But I never heard of anyone that thought she was pretty."
"Pretty is right," he said. "What a couple of eyes she's got on her!"
"Really?" she said. "I never noticed them particularly. But I haven't seen her
for a long time — sometimes people change, or something."
"She says she used to go to school with you," he said.
"Well, we went to the same school," she said. "I simply happened to go to
public school because it happened to be right near us, and Mother hated to have
me crossing streets. But she was three or four classes ahead of me. She's ages
older than I am."
"She's three or four classes ahead of them all," he said. "Dance! Can she
step! 'Burn your clothes, baby,' I kept telling her. I must have been fried pretty."
"I was out dancing myself, last night," she said. "Wally Dillon and I. He's
just been pestering me to go out with him. He's the most wonderful dancer.
Goodness! I didn't get home till I don't know what time. I must look just simply
a wreck. Don't I?"
"You look all right," he said.
"Wally's crazy," she said. "The things he says! For some crazy reason or
other, he's got it into his head that I've got beautiful eyes, and, well, he just kept
talking about them till I didn't know where to look, I was so embarrassed. I got
so red, I thought everybody in the place would be looking at me. I got just as red
as a brick. Beautiful eyes! Isn't he crazy?"
"He's all right," he said. "Say, this little McCall girl, she's had all kinds of
offers to go into moving pictures. 'Why don't you go ahead and go?' I told her.
But she says she doesn't feel like it."
"There was a man up at the lake, two summers ago," she said. "He was a
director or something with one of the big moving-picture people — oh, he had
all kinds of influence! — and he used to keep insisting and insisting that I ought
to be in the movies. Said I ought to be doing sort of Garbo parts. I used to just
laugh at him. Imagine!"
"She's had about a million offers," he said. "I told her to go ahead and go.
She keeps getting these offers all the time."
"Oh, really?" she said. "Oh, listen, I knew I had something to ask you. Did you
call me up last night, by any chance?" "Me?" he said. "No, I didn't call you."
"While I was out, Mother said this man's voice kept calling up," she said. "I
thought maybe it might be you, by some chance. I wonder who it could have
been. Oh — 1 guess I know who it was. Yes, that's who it was!"
"No, I didn't call you," he said. "I couldn't have seen a telephone, last night.
What a head I had on me, this morning! I called Carol up, around ten, and she
said she was feeling great. Can that girl hold her liquor!"
"It's a funny thing about me," she said. "It just makes me feel sort of sick to
see a girl drink. It's just something in me, 1 guess. I don't mind a man so much,
but it makes me feel perfectly terrible to see a girl get intoxicated. It's just the
way I am, I suppose."
"Does she carry it!" he said. "And then feels great the next day. There's a
girl! Hey, what are you doing there? I don't want any more tea, thanks. I'm not
one of these tea boys. And these tea rooms give me the jumps. Look at all those
old dames, will you? Enough to give you the jumps."
"Of course, if you'd rather be some place, drinking, with I don't know what
kinds of people," she said, "I'm sure I don't see how I can help that. Goodness,
there are enough people that are glad enough to take me to tea. I don't know how
many people keep calling me up and pestering me to take me to tea. Plenty of
people!"
"All right, all right, I'm here, aren't I?" he said. "Keep your hair on."
"I could name them all day," she said.
"All right," he said. "What's there to crab about?"
"Goodness, it isn't any of my busjness what you do," she said.
"But I hate to see you wasting your time with people that aren't nearly good
enough for you. That's all."
"No need worrying over me," he said. "Г11 be all right. Listen. You don't
have to worry."
"It's just I don't like to see you wasting your time," she said, "staying up all
night and then feeling terribly the next day. Ah, I was forgetting he was so sick.
Ah, I was mean, wasn't I, scolding him when he was so mizzable. Poor boy.
How's he feel now?"
"Oh, I'm all right," he said. "I feel fine. You want anything else? How about
getting a check? I got to make a telephone call before six."
"Oh, really?" she said. "Calling up Carol?"
"She said she might be in around now," he said.
"Seeing her tonight?" she said.
"She's going to let me know when I call up," he said. "She's probably got
about a million dates. Why?"
"I was just wondering," she said. "Goodness, I've got to fly! I'm having
dinner with Wally, and he's so crazy, he's probably there now. He's called me up
about a hundred times today."
"Wait till I pay the check," he said, "and I'll put you on a bus."
"Oh, don't bother," she said. "It's right at the corner. I've got to fly. I suppose
you want to stay and call up your friend from here?"
"It's an idea," he said. "Sure you'll be all right?"
"Oh, sure," she said. Busily she gathered her gloves and purse, and left her
chair. He rose, not quite fully, as she stopped beside him.
"When'U I see you again?" she said.
"I'll call you up," he said. "I'm all tied up, down at the office and everything.
Tell you what I'll do. I'll give you a ring."
"Honestly, I have more dates!" she said. "It's terrible. I don't know when I'll
have a minute. But you call up, will you?"
"I'll do that," he said. "Take care of yourself."
"You take care of yourself," she said. "Hope you'll feel all right."
"Oh, I'm fine," he said. "Just beginning to come back to life."
"Be sure and let me know how you feel," she said. "Will you? Sure, now?
Well, good-bye. Oh, have a good time tonight!"
"Thanks," he said. "Hope you have a good time, too."
"Oh, I will," she said. "I expect to. I've got to rush! Oh, I nearly forgot!
Thanks ever so much for the tea. It was lovely."
"Be yourself, will you?" he said.
"It was," she said. "Well. Now don't forget to call me up, will you? Sure? Well,
good-by." "Solong," he said.
She walked on down the little line between the blue-painted tables.
* * *

The technique predominantly used by D. Parker makes her short stories into
short plays, with the omniscient author's function narrowed to stage directions.
'The Last Tea" is no exception: it is framed by the introductory and closing
sentences of the author, who is also given two more phrases at the close of the
story.
The introductory sentence-paragraph consists of 25 words only. But it gives
two sketchy portraits of the protagonists and sets the scene showing, through the
tense of the verb and the time indications, the disadvantage of the girl's position
— she "had been waiting for forty minutes".
Neither here, nor in the next remark the author offers any judgements. The
characters of the boy and the girl and the relations between them become clear
from their own pronouncements, on the one hand, and from the structural
sequence of their remarks, on the other. The opening phrase about the forty
minutes' wait almost immediately comes to clashes with the emphatic lie of the
girl "I just got here myself, just about a second ago", reinforced by synonymous
repetitions "I was late, myself. I haven't been here more than a minute". Opposed
to the casual remark of the young man "Guess I must be late", the girl's and the
author's initial words create the perspective of the story and establish the basic
disparity between the characters. From this moment on their psychological and
emotional inequality and their sharply contrasting attitudes towards their
relationship are speedily gathering momentum.
She is the suffering party, and though his long delay must have been a signal
of alarm, she is happy with his arrival and solicitous about his indisposition, not
knowing its cause yet. The word "hangover" is not used, and the idea is
approached in an indirect way. First appears the young man's aversion to sugar
and cakes. Take notice how subtly the author implies th,e action performed by
the girl: the man's remark can appear only as his reaction to the girl's efforts to
attend to his tea. Her performance is never mentioned but easily deduced from
his phrase. Then come all-embracing, vague indications at his general
indisposition. Their frequency and repetition, his interjections — all suggest that
he is a self-indulgent and egoistic person, focusing on his own feelings and
interests only. Cf: "...1 feel terrible... Oh, I'm ruined... I'm in terrible shape... Oh,
I'm all shot". They cause her sympathetic response, and she starts with the
emphatic exclamations — "Oh", "Ah", "Goodness", "why" — and endearing
words "Ah, the poor boy", "you poor sick thing"; the hyperbole "coming all the
way up here"; the mock-baby talk, addressing him in neuter gender "Was it
feelin' mizzable", "it came... up here", "it's so sick"; and the final supposition of
"influenza", which is "just awful".
But then comes his enlightening "I'm off the stuff for life", and at last the
explanation "I must have been fried pretty".
This reference to the party and the Fabulous Carol McCall entirely and
dramatically changes the dialogue. It loses its natural character of exchange of
stimulus-response remarks and obtains the form of two parallel streams, when
the speech of one interlocutor is replaced by that of the other only formally,
while semantically they are disconnected. At the same time, several utterances
of one protagonist are easily joined into a coherent unity. It happens so because
each of the speakers is concerned not with listening but with active self-
expression, developing one focal point: the young man untiringly praises the
new object of his admiration. The girl, her feelings hurt, her pride wounded,
manages to keep the brave front and is feverishly supplying details of her
imaginary new escort Wally Dillon and his fancied passion. They both use
exaggerated judgements and opinions, and their speech abounds in hyperboles,
highly emotional epithets, expressive interjections (Cf: "crazy Wally", "the most
wonderful dancer", "till I don't know what time", "everybody in the place", "a
million offers", etc.).
The young man is enraptured, and does not notice or pay attention to the
girl's jealousy and anguish. Exclamatory sentences with emphatic inversion —
"Can she step!", "Can that girl hold her liquor!", "Does she carry it!", etc., the
taunting pun "She's three or four classes ahead of them all", the endearing
"baby" and "little girl", expressions of utter fascination, like "There's a girl!",
"What a looker she is!" — all these and similar simply pour out of him, and he is
oblivious of the reaction of his date. When his praising of another becomes too
hard to stand the girl voices her criticism of the rival in echo-sentences and tag-
questions "Oh! Really?" and hopelessly tries to provoke his jealousy specifying
her own advantages.
The dialogue once again changes its style when she assumes that she had
mastered the situation and returns to the silly baby-talk, once again addressing
the young man in the third person singular, intentionally mispronouncing words:
"Ah, I was forgetting he was so sick... so mizzable. Poor boy. How's he feel
now?"
But her confidence dies with his words "I got to make a telephone call" and
from this sentence on the story inevitably moves to its termination. The desire
not to betray her feelings — the return to the game of fancied dates — mingles
with the flickering hope, and she actually begs him to call her: "you call up, will
you" is repeated three times, though concealed under the pretext of her anxiety
about his sickness. Their departure seems to be final.
As it was said above, the story, like most works of Dorothy Parker, is written
in the form of dialogue interrupted only by the author's "he said", "she said", two
framing sentences and two more, marking .the beginning of the end ("Busily she
gathered..."). Yet both the boy and the girl are fully characterized. Their actions
are implicitly embedded into their utterances. Take, for example the young
man's remark: "There's a girl! Hey, what are you doing there? I don't want any
more tea, thanks..." The last two sentences reflect his response not to her words
or his own thoughts, but to her actions. Though unmentioned, they are obviously
implied:
His callousness, boasting, his ill manners stand out against the girl's
desperate but futile attempts to save her face if not their relations. "The Last
Tea", thus, unfolding the sad story of betrayed affection, is another master stroke
of the author on her major theme — that of disillusionment, chagrin, frustration.
Joyce Carol Oates (b.
1932)

THE MAN THAT TURNED INTO A STATUE


Joyce Carol Oates, a well-known and prolific American author, combines her
creative activities with teaching at a Canadian university. The winner of numerous
literary awards since her debut in 1963, she has published over forty books in diverse
genres. Her admirers and critics alike claim that she is the strongest as a short story
writer. The story presented below was first published in 1966, in the collection "Upon
the Sweeping Flood" — and, among others, serves an illustration of the author's creative
credo: "I am concerned," she says, "with only one thing: the moral and social conditions
of my generation."
When reading the story pay attention to the repetitions of "bad luck", "gone
wrong", "hate"; also to the significance of tense changes (esp. the appearance of past
perfect, future in the past); to the signals of viewpoint shifts.

They emerged from the bushes at the side of the road. The girl, who was
really a child, had a sardonic dazed look that seemed frozen into her face; she
wore an orange sweater with an orange cord that tied at her waist and white
pedal pushers that were soiled. Each step she took drew wrinkles sharply across
these pedal pushers. Her clothes were too tight for her, she had grown out of
them in this past year, her body pushing up and out like a vegetable swelling
patiently in the earth. Her face was round and hard, with small pursed lips and
eyes that seemed to slant in her face like almonds; her brown hair was reckless
about her face, snarled from the wind. The man, grunting as he climbed up to the
road, was over forty: his dark hair was thin, receding back sharply from his
forehead but leaving a patch there right in the center; his face was pale and
surprised-looking, this look, too, frozen into him. It was Octpber and chilly; in
the bluish light that came at sundown in this part of the country, the narrow road
with its cracked pavement and snakelike strips of tar seemed to glow and rise
slightly up above the dirt shoulders.
"Now whatcha going to do, you're so smart?" the girl said.
Something had caught across the man's chest, a vine that was entangled in
the bush. He paused to tug at it — a slender green vine with tiny ruined flowers
— and when he could not get it off at once he tore viciously at it. The girl,
watching him with her arms folded and her legs set apart in a pretence of
confidence, saw a ripple of fear cross his face. The man muttered something. He
had a long nervous nose; his lips were always loose, always about to mutter
something, perhaps because his teeth protruded slightly and he could not quite
close his mouth.
"Now it's dark so if anybody comes we can see them first. See the
headlights," he said.
"Yeah, you're so goddamn smart," the girl said. She wiped her eyes.
"Smart enough to get us out of this, I guarantee that"
But he stood on the road, looking back and forth in both directions
and robbing his hands, and did not seem to know what to do after all.
"Spost to be in Canada by now," the girl said. "That map you showed
me
"Just bad luck," he muttered. The girl watched his hands and felt something
prod at her brain: fear, like the touch of a bat's wing. But she hardened her face
again and looked down at her shoes, which were new, red-and-white-striped
sneakers she had been seeing in the shoe store window for weeks. But this shoe
store had been too near home, it was a mistake to think of it. She wiped her eyes
again and her mouth turned into a bitter line. *i had bad luck all my life," the
man said. She had heard this before. The first time she had seen him, when he
was sitting on the steps that led down to his basement apartment, he had started
to talk about this out of nowhere, angrily and mournfully, as if his bad luck were
something he expected to get hold of with his hands. "Some people get born
with it and others don't. Those bastards you see on the expressway, driving out
of the city, they don't have it. Got jobs downtown and then drive home out of the
city; got born without it. Nobody that gets born without bad luck can understand
or give a damn about somebody that has it ..." His words ended in a murmur, as
if he were no longer paying attention to them. "Okay, come on. This way."
"You're sure, this way?" she said sarcastically.
"Come on."
They walked. It was getting dark and this long day was coming to an end at
last, but the end did not mean anything because nothing had been settled. So
much had happened, had gone wrong, they were still on foot. ...The girl
remembered suddenly, without wanting to, the door opening and the woman
rushing in: the back of the fruit store, smelly and grubby, with empty fruit
baskets piled all over, and she standing beside this man as he rifled desperately
through a tin box that was supposed to have hundreds of dollars in it but had
only a few bills scattered among papers that made no sense. Why had the
woman come in just then? She and her old husband had been carrying strips of
canvas back along the side of the building, as they did every morning, opening
the store up. They lived in two or three rooms on the second floor. But
something had gone wrong with the man's plans, though he and the girl had
watched the dilapidated back door of the building from the man's basement
window across the alley for days. Yet the man had acted like someone in a
movie, whirling around and striking the woman without even thinking, he was
so fast; the girl's mind was dazzled still at the spectacle of his fist and the
woman's surprised face, an image isolated out of the dim jumble of junk behind
it; something she would remember all her life. Thinking of it now, she glanced
at the man fondly. If only his teeth did not protrude like that and make his jaw
slant up to meet them. ...All his life, he had told her, he had tried to fight his way
up and had been pushed back down. His bad luck was like a sickness. The girl,
though only thirteen, understood vaguely the difference between her world and
the world promised her in movies and in movie magazines, and felt bitterness
side by side with her infatuation for this other world. Sitting in the movie house,
seeing a movie over for the second or third time, she had often been startled at
the way her love for the people on the screen had jerked away, suddenly, to
leave her sullen and hateful. When she went home the feeling would get worse,
and only in sleep would it vanish; but then she would have to wake up the next
morning, another school day, and lying in bed staring at the gritty windowpane,
she could feel the waiting familiar world discharge itself into her mouth and
down her throat, into her heart and stomach, turning her heavy and inert with
hate as if something had caught there, some seed, and had begun to grow.
"If we try for a ride we'll get picked up," the man said, cracking his
knuckles. "That bitch got a good look at me and you both, should of hit her
harder. ...Hell of a chance, hitching for a ride, because some bastard driving by
would go and call the cops from a garage or some-place. That's how they are.
Nobody asks why you do something or if something made you do it, they don't
give a damn. You slip off the road and can't get back on again. They might as
well take your name from you and slice off your face, because you can't make it
back up again, they don't give a damn, they never think how easy it might be to
trade places with you. ..."
The girl was not listening but dreaming of a field somewhere, of a morning
in warm weather, and of herself walking slowly toward this man, who stood
leaning against a fence waiting for her. From this distance he looked young and
not really familiar. She began to hurry through the grass — which was green and
vivid, like grass in a magazine picture — with her arms outstretched to him, her
heart racing — "Here comes a car!" the man said. He grabbed at her and they
ran clumsily through the bushes and into the ditch. The bottom of the ditch was
wet. The girl did not watch the car but stood rubbing her arm. It was not really
dark and yet everywhere objects were losing their shapes. The wild field ran
back in a tumult to a wood some distance away where trees were dissolved into
one another like water in water. The car's headlights seized upon the leaves of
the bush and then swept past. "Wonder who's riding in there, lucky bastards,"
the man muttered.
"I should hitch for a ride myself, I'm tired as hell of walking and hiding," the girl
said. "I said, I should get a ride by myself." The man turned to her. She saw in
his expression the queer tense bafflement she had seen when the woman had
walked into the back room of the store and when the vine had caught across his
chest.
"You wouldn't be safe by yourself," he said.
"Yeah?"
"You need somebody to take care of you, a little girl like you —" "Yeah,
sure."
She was ready to step away if he came toward her; he knew this and did not
move. The girl followed rules that had come to her out of nowhere — she did
not know where — and told her always what to do, when to do it, when it was
not right to do anything: in the daylight or when other people were around. She
would have been sick to her. stomach if he had forced her to break these rules,
though she did not know where she had learned them. The man, who had often
cringed before her and pressed his wet cheeks against her knees, iriurmuring
things to her she did not hear and after a while did not pay attention to, now
stared at her and cracked his knuckles. "Гт going to take good care of you, get
some food in you. You're hungry, that's all. You believe all I told you, don't
you?"
"Sure I believe you."
"I was married one time and I took care of her too," he said. "Begun all over
from a beginning but hit a snag. Three times already I begun over and this is the
fourth and last. Going to begin over again up in Canada. Don't you believe me?"
"Sure." The girl ran through the bushes and back up onto the road. A branch
had swept across her eye and made it smart, but instead of getting angry she
made herself laugh. This was only the second time that she had run away from
home. The first time had been a mistake, she had been too young, hadn't any
money; she had tried to keep going just on her hatred for her mother and father.
But it was different now. She knew what she was doing now. She would keep
her hatred for them safe, as if it were a tiny seed she carried greedily inside her,
and once away from them and across the shadowy border that separated her
from the real world she would let this hatred blossom and so get rid of it. And
they would yearn for her across this border, they would keep waiting for her to
come home, her mother would be stuffed with baby after baby and yet they
would keep waiting for her to come home. ...
"Something wrong?" the man said.
The girl turned away. She had begun to cry and was ashamed.
"Yeah, it's cold," the man said nervously, "I got to get you someplace warm
and safe. Get some food into you. Don't you worry." He slid his arm about her
shoulders and they walked along the edge of the road. The girl stared down at
the rigid strips of tar in the pavement, one after another across the road like
flattened snakes. "I'll change how we are now, don't you worry. Nothing stays
the same but has to change. Change is a fact of our life. I read you that part in
my book about the laws, didn't I? How they change every place you go and
every different person you are?" The girl had forced herself to think of that
warm sunlit field again and she resented his question. "Why are you writing that
crazy old book anyway," she said. "How the laws change before you even have
time to learn them," the man said. He was. excited now and could talk to himself
as if she were not even there. "Everything changes, won't stay fixed. When my
grandmother died I was ten, ten years old, a boy. I was a boy. I went in the
bathroom and looked at myself in the mirror for half an hour, maybe. 1 made
faces and looked at my teeth. ...Do you believe that? I was a boy but I can't
remember it, I can remember only a boy in the mirror that I couldn't possibly
have been, that was somebody else, a boy who's still a boy... not me... And when
that boy that was supposed to be me came out of the bathroom he had to think
about his grandmother again, because she was dead and the fiouse smelled of it
and there was no way to forget. Everybody smelled of it. All this is in my book
too. The Man That Turned into a Statue, that's what it's called." He touched his
coat gently; he must have been carrying the notebook there. "Remember why it's
called that?"
"Cause that's what you're trying to do," the girl sneered. "Turn into a statue!"
"My wife too, she's in there. ...She was a small woman with hair your color,
she had pierced ears. Bluish hands, as if she could never get them warm. She put
a crucifix up on the wall that I could feel watching me, tiny little blind eyes in
the crucified man, no eyes at all, really, but I could feel them watching me even
in the dark. ...I didn't want to hate her," he said angrily. "I didn't want to hate
anyone. Never. Not once. 1 was always pushed into it, like being pushed into a
fire from other people crowding up close. It was like a big whirlpool in the
ocean, the deepest part, where everything spins round and round and gets sucked
in, and you can't get away from it. If you ran your whole life in the opposite
direction you'd get sucked there anyhow, so what the hell? But I never wanted to
hate."
He hugged her clumsily and she felt a surge of gratitude. He would take care
of her. She did not understand much of what he said, did not even listen to it, but
she knew he would take care of her. These shoes she wore, right now, he had
paid for; he had not even asked for the change. He had seemed not to know there
was any change.
"Another incident in my book," he said in a different voice, a chatty voice,
"a man and woman were fighting in a bar. I was there. The man knocked her
down right by the juke box, that was all lit up different colors and playing some
song. Then he started kicking her and I went over. I said, what the hell are you
doing? I told him to stop. But he never paid any attention, and when I pulled his
arm he just pushed me away. He never paid any attention. So I went back and
sat down. That incident is in there too, with a lot of description. I'm particularly
good at description —"
Somewhere close, a dog had begun to bark. The man froze. They could hear
the dog running but in the dusk could see only the vague jumbled field beside
them. The girl began trembling. "Don't worry," the man muttered. "Bad comes
to worst I got this knife."
The dog appeared.before them: not a large dog but nervous and wiry, with a
dull black coat and dancing paws and ears cringing back alongside its head.
"Here, here boy," the man said. "It's okay, boy. We don't want no trouble. It's
okay." The dog snarled. It leaped toward them and froze; crouched low, with its
mouth twisted up into what looked like a grin. The girl stood behind the man,
shivering. She was frightened, not so much by the dog itself as by the way the
dog seemed to hate them, as if there were something wrong with them, people
the dog had never encountered before. She could feel her own face twisting into
a painful mirroring of the dog's look. "Here, boy. Nice boy. Here, here," the
man pleaded. He even extended his hand. The dog eyed them suspiciously. For
a moment it hesitated, as if thinking; then it leaped at the man's hand. They
heard its teeth click. "Bastard," the man said. The dog fell away as if yanked to
one side. The man turned to face it, cracking his knuckles. He began again,
murmuring to the dog, bending with his hand out, his shoulders hunched and
obsequious. The dog crouched snarling against the road. For some seconds it
did not move and the man straightened a little. "Maybe if we just keep on
walking," he said. "Show him we got somewhere to go. Sometimes they let you
go, then."
They walked on. The dog followed them. At first it kept some distance away
but then it came nearer; just as the girl glanced around it lunged at the man's
leg, its snarls breaking out into harsh barks that sounded like coughs.. The man
cried out and kicked it away. "The bastard, why don't it let us alone! The
bastard!" he said. His voice was profoundly sad. The dog retreated and watched
them. After a moment the man put his arm around the girl'sshoulders again, to"
protect her, and they turned to walk on. The girl kept looking back. That dog.
she thought, was the kind of dog she had always seen whining at screen doors
or looking out car windows, its ears flapping in the wind; it never barked
viciously or leaped at anyone. She had been seeing dogs like this all her life but
now something was wrong.
Then the dog leaped again. Suddenly it was close behind them and against
the man's legs, its muzzle darting from place to place and its teeth flashing. The
man kicked it away but it lunged back at once. Something seemed to enliven it,
some inexplicable energy that drove it on, snarling maliciously and desperately.
The man cried out in pain. He stooped and picked something up — a tree
branch — and slashed at the dog. The dog pranced and leaped. "Get back or I'll
kill you," the man sobbed. He tried to flick the branch across the dog's face but
the dog always ducked away. "I'll kill you, kill you," he said. He threw the
branch at the dog and took out of his pocket the knife he used to clean his
fingernails and" to pick mud off his shoes. The girl could not tell if he threw
himself down on the dog or if his knees suddenly collapsed, jerking and
terrified.
When the man got to his feet he was panting violently. He stumbled
backward. The dog lay writhing; it was bleeding from a wound in its stomach.
The man stared as if he could not remember where he was, what had happened.
66
"Well, you got him," the girl said hollowly. She touched the man and he did not
seem to notice. "He shouldn't of come after us," she said. She saw that the front
of the man's pants was speckled with blood. They would get him, then, she
thought, and when they did she would say he had kidnapped her. He had forced
her to come with.him. And they would believe her, and she would wait for
another man to come to her just as she had waited for this one...
"Let's go. Got to keep going," the man said. He began walking fast. The girl
hurried to keep up with him. In a while they saw a house ahead, with its porch
light on. "That was their dog. I spose," the man said. "Think they heard him
bark?" But no one was out on the porch. The light was an ugly yellow light that
fell upon the porch roof and slashed the floor in half, lighting up an old sofa and
some junk but leaving the rest in shadow, and lighting up the driveway and a
car parked there on a small incline.
The girl felt terror rising stupidly within her at the sight of this house. Each
window was lit, even the attic window. Someone lived up there — a child,
probably. A little bedroom. She knew they would not go past the house but
would go in, and this knowledge pressed down upon her like a giant palm on
the top of her head. Her legs were suddenly exhausted under the strain. "We had
better hurry on past here," she said.
"But we got to get some food," the man said. He was still trembling and his
voice too was trembling. She had known he would say this. "It's not like I don't
have the money to pay for it. I do. I'll pay for it. If I just didn't have this bad
luck always behind me... somebody else would be up in Canada now, all safe,
and not make you walk around at night, chased by dogs..."
"I don't want to go in that house," the girl said.
"I never asked for no dog to come, that's for sure," the man said. They were
at the end of the driveway now. The girl had stopped shivering. She saw,
brushing beriino" one of the windows, a woman's figure, a flash of color
drawing back a curtain and almost immediately releasing it. "You think they
might know about us, those people in there?" the man said. "Heard about it on
the radio or something?"
"How the hell do I know," said the girl.
"I got to take care of you. I guarantee that. ..." He took a step forward. She
wanted to pull him back but instead stared at the side of his face in fascination.
What was there about him that enchanted her, what was it in his humble
malicious face that seemed to show
how he was enchanted as well? "I bet they're eating in there. Smell it? That's food.
Do you smell it?"
"No, nothing."
She smelled something else — an odor of blood and earth and night.
"Sure you smell it. Potatoes or something. Meat. ..." He put the knife away and
went up the driveway. His feet crunched in the gravel. Tediously the girl followed;
as he approached the light she saw the bloodstains on his pants, dark wet clots. She
was too exhausted to say anything. It did not matter anyway. "We can pay for
anything we eat, that's not the trouble. I pay as I go. Always have always will. My
word is always been good, you can ask anybody that. ..."
Before he got to the porch someone was at the door, a fat man in just an
undershirt and pants. "Yeah, what do you want?" he said. He loomed up close
against the screen door so that his face was dim. "What do you two want?"
"Hello, mister," said the man in a new voice. He waited for the girl to come up
beside him; her legs had begun to ache. "We had a accident up the road and had to
walk. Had some trouble. Was wondering if we could —"
"Car trouble?"
"Car trouble, yes, and had to walk, and haven't eaten for a long time —"
A child appeared behind the man, a girl with long dark hair. The man turned and
said something to her; she went away. The girl's eyes narrowed, seeing her.
"Mister, we had a lot of bad luck and sure would appreciate some help."
The man hesitated. He had a big stomach that strained against his white
undershirt and bulged a little over his belt. Then he said, "We got no telephone
here."
"If we could have something to eat — I — I'll pay for it — "
"No."
"I got money, look here. Look, that's a fact. I'll pay for it, anything you want. My
little girl here — " "No."
The girl wondered if that fat man had seen the blood. He had begun shaking his
head, but the man continued up the driveway and went right up to the porch just the
same. He muttered all the way, right through the fat man's angry voice, as if he did
not hear it. "I don't run no roadside restaurant here," the fat man said, "I don't have
no open house for tramps! What the hell are you doing? What do you think you're
—"
Still with his shoulders bent apologetically, the man opened the screen door and
plunged the knife into the fat man's chest. The girl's eyes seemed to pinch, jerking
her head forward. The fat man

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had been talking and was now silent. He fell back into the light, his body
turning, his arms outstretched, and the girl could see now a brilliant stream of
blood emerging out of him as if his words had turned into this. Inside the house,
someone screamed. The man went right in the house, as if he were coming
home, and with the knife still in his hand ran through to the next room. He might
have known all the rooms in the house, nothing would surprise him. The girl,
leaning against the door frame, caught the screen door as it swung idly back to
her and stared at the dying man; he stared at her. Coldness enveloped her body
like a flame. The dying man gazed at her with a look of angry curiosity over the
heaving blossom of blood on his chest. From the other room there were screams;
something overturned. Crashing. Glass, dishes broken. Every sound was another
weight added to her body, making her heavy and old, so that she did not think
she would ever be able to move again.
After a minute or so the man returned, still hurrying. "Come on,'" he said.
"It's okay. I fixed it." He pulled at the girl's arm and she saw that he was trying
to smile. "Okay. Everything okay. I'll take care of you."
She stared at him. She had forgotten how to talk. "Come on," he said. "In here, I
got them dragged out back. They won't bother you now, come on. We better
hurry."
She allowed him to lead her into the kitchen. There things were knocked
about — chairs, plates, silverware on the floor, a mess of potatoes down by her
feet. They had been eating supper, apparently. Most of the dishes were still on
the table. "Come on. Sit. Sit down," the man said nervously. Blood had splashed
up onto his chest and throat, but he did not notice. There was blood smeared
faintly on his forehead. The girl, sitting at the table, looked about and saw blood
gleaming on the linoleum, by the sink. A screen door led out back into the
darknees; there was blood in great sweep strokes, like angels' wings, to this door
and out it, into nothing. The girl sat, slowly. She felt the chair hard beneath her
and the table against her cold arms, elbows. "Here, there's this," the man said.
He pushed a plate toward her: on it were a piece of meat and some mashed
potatoes with gravy on them. The gravy was greasy. She looked up to see the
man shaking salt on his food. He tried to smile, nervously, brightly, like a host
uncertain of his charm. "Okay, come on. We better hurry. Got us a car now but
we better hurry anyway. You know how it is." The girl's gaze fell back down to
the plate before her, as if it were suddenly overcome. Her hand groped for
something — a fork. She found one and picked it up. Out of the corner of her
eye she could see the man eating, his head lowered toward the plate, like a dog,
and turned also a little to the side so that he chewed with a look of precise,
methodical concentration. The girl tried to remember something but could not.
She could not remember what it was that eluded her, just as she could not get
hold of the dreams that pleased her so at night when she woke: everything
vanished, brushed away. Was something lost or had she simply passed over into
the real world, so that now old things were dismissed and new things had names
yet to be learned? She could hear the man chewing.
She poked at the rhashed potatoes with the fork. The man, raising his head
suddenly, said through a mouthful of food, "Here, it needs this," and pushed the
salt shaker at her. The salt shaker was in the form of a baby chick, bright
70
lacquered yellow. The girl picked it up and shook salt onto the half-eaten food.
She watched the tiny white granules fall; they were not lost but remained there,
waiting to be eaten. She set the salt shaker down and her fingers brushed against
the man's arm, reaching out for something else across the table. "Got to be
always in a hurry, sorry for it," he muttered, stuffing bread into his mouth, "but
it ain't always going to be like this. I guarantee that. Got us a new life coming
up." She could see the faint pale gleam of his skin beneath his hair, blank and
white, something she had never been able to see before. She felt like a bride
awakened to a body strange and new.

***
Joyce Carol Oates is well-known for the depth and subtlety of her
psychological portraits. Unlike most representatives of psychological prose, she
seemingly offers explicit characterization of personages: the past of her
protagonists which had shaped them into what they are in the story, their
preferences and desires motivating their behaviour ^re given alongside their
actions.
"The Man That Turned into a Statue" is a good example of what has just
been pointed out: the age of the man and the girl, their appearance, their
changing moods, their relations, their past stories, their plans for the future — all
is neatly laid out before the reader, so that the task of the interpreter seems
deceptively simple, almost primitive. Indeed, if all is said what is there that
demands interpreter's special attention and sophisticated analysis?
While reading a book our first priority is to reveal the author's point of view,
his evaluative perspective, the so-called "idea" of the book, its moral, ethical and
aesthetic messa-ge which explains why and what for the book was written, in the
first place. What underlies the facts of the plot, what is the conceptual
information of the book?
Approaching the story with this task in mind we realize that to give answers
to these and similar questions is not all that simple, because the author describes
the characters in detail but does not pass judgement on them. To reveal the
writer's standpoint, thus, we shall have to carefully collect and consider elements
of various levels of the text structure that might be expressive in this respect.
t

Though the story is told by the effaced author, it often shifts into the girl's
psyche. In fact, the initial accident that had set the characters on their doomed
journey is given as a piece of her recollection. It is not undesignedly that such
verbs as "to think", "to feel", "to recollect", "to remember", "to know" are
repeatedly used as predicates for the subject "she". Cf: "The girl remembered
suddenly...", "...she could feel the waiting familiar world...", "She knew what
she was doing now", "She could feel her own face twisting...", "They would get
him, she thought...", and many other cases.
The girl's viewpoint dominates most descriptions. Besides such explicit
signals as "she saw...", "she could hear...", "she could see...", "she could not
tell...", which introduce the girl as the observer, participant and narrator, in many
cases there are qualifications of events, which betray her presence in a subtler
way: "The girl felt terror rising stupidly within her...", "Someone lived up there
— a child, probably", "It was getting dark, and this long day was coming to an
end, at last". The man is watched and judged by her. The complicated mixture
of his attitudes — false self-assuredness, even bravado, alienation and
resentment against the whole world, nervousness and desperate viciousness,
fright and recklessness, tenderness and cruelty — all these conflicting moods
and feelings are censored by the girl.
She does not speak much, and when she does, it is either the monosyllabic
"Sure", or the non-grammatical, sullen and harsh retorts, so that her character is
shaped by the author mainly through various forms of the girl's interior speech,
and the blended forms of represented speech, or entrusted narrative. Her outward
pose is juxtaposed to her real inner self: clinging to the man for care and support
(cf: "She felt a surge of gratitude. He would take care of her") she, at the same
time, appraises him coldly and calmly (cf: "she was mocking him...", "...his
humble malicious face...", "she saw the bloodstains on his pants...", "she could
see the man eating... like a dog...", etc.).
The man's character, on the other hand, unfolds through external forms of
presentation. His actions are described by the omniscient, effaced (the author) or
the entrusted (the girl) narrator. His considerations are voiced in lengthy
remarks, in the open dialogue.
The juxtaposition of two characters, thus, is carried out an all levels of the
textual structure both in form and content, including not only their contrasting
roles in the plot, the secretiveness of one vs the openness of the other, but also
the difference of their compositional presentation and the function of each one in
bringing into sharper focus the author's narrative perspective, i.e. the author's
message.
At first glance thepair looks strange and incongruous, and weare baffled
looking for issues that might have brought them together. The author helps us,
introducing into the interior speech and daydreaming of one and the voiced
speech of the other the bond of unity — the constantly repeated word "hate" and
its derivatives — "hatred", "hateful". This repetition epitomizes the cause-effect
sequence of the tragedy. The girl is filled with hatred towards her drab, dull and
dreary existence. The intensity of her resentment is made clear to the reader with
a series of metaphors and similies, materializing the feeling into a physically
grasped object, discharging "itself into her mouth and down her throat...", "a tiny
seed she carried greedily inside her... she would let thes hatred blossom..."
Alienated from their world, they are uncertain of their surroundings — it is
not accidental, that such words as "fear", "nervousness", "bafflement",
"uncertainty", "terror" are used to characterize their momentary feelings. "The
girl began trembling", "The man froze", "Coldness enveloped her body like a
flame" — are their reactions to the impact of the outside world which they both
hate.
The roots of her hatred for her parents, home, school, come from the gap
between her everyday life and the reality of others, passing by luxurious cars or
living in the wonderful world of the movies. The sham made-up glitter of the
screen enters her day-dreaming, obscures the demarcation line between the
actual and the imagined. The barriers between true — false, moral — immoral,

72
possible — impossible, permitted — forbidden in this situation are destroyed,
which inevitably leads to the disintegration of a human being.
Joyce Carol Oates brings her message to the focal point in the small
fragment of the girl's represented speech: "They would get him, then, she
thought, and when they did she would say he had kidnapped her. ...and she
would wait for another man to come to her just as she had waited for this one..."
The girl is not bloodstained. All atrocities were commited by her companion.
But her degradation is deeper and more complete than his, because still
following him and calmly viewing his actions she had already betrayed him.
This eventful night shed her of all scruples and sentiments she might have had
and she emerged to a new life of aggressive, self-centered egoism and
individualism.
The story is horrifying. Not only and not so much because of the naturalistic
and macabre details of multiple murders, but because of their non-provoked,
groundless, senseless, even casual character. The final supper scene adds the last
link to the chain where social disparity breeds hatred, which leads to violence.
But murdering others, one inevitably kills oneself as a human being, loses the
right of belonging to mankind, turns to stone.
The title of the story thus is ambivalent. Its immediate direct meaning is
explained by the characters themselves — the statue looms above the crowd, the
man would catch his luck at last and would rise to the pedestal scorning all those
that remained beneath. "Turning into a statue", twice repeated, is supported by
"turning to
stone", which adds a new dimension to the meaning of the phrase, namely:
"insensitive, unfeeling, callous".
The story has an open end, the impending fate of the characters remains
unknown. But following the inner logic of their development, laid out by the
author, it is possible to prognosticate their future actions and deeds, with
adequate accuracy.
The protagonists have no names. They are referred to either as "the man"
and "the girl", or pronominally (see the first paragraph especially). This
anonymity serves to enhance their typicality, their ordinariness. Both their
outrageous and common actions are described in neighbouring sentences, their
cold blooded crime and a peaceful meal presented as one sequence of events
make both these actions conventional, which strips the protagonists of shocking
emotions, as befits those turned to stone.

Часть II

Ray Bradbury
THE ONE WHO WAITS
Ray Bradbury is one of the most significant science fiction writers of the world.
Though he has written verse, drama, books for children, journalism and several novels,
he is primarily a writer of short stories. Many of them are set in Martian landscapes.
The story following below appeared in the collection of 1964 'The Machineries of Joy".

I live in a well. I live like smoke in the well. Like vapor in a stone throat. I
don't move. I don't do anything but wait. Overhead I see the cold stars of night
and morning, and I see the sun. And sometimes I sing old songs of this world
when it was young. How can I tell you what I am when I don't know? I cannot. I
am simply waiting. I am mist and moonlight and memory. I am sad and I am
old. Sometimes I fall like rain into the well. Spider webs are startled into
forming where my rain falls fast, on the water surface. I wait in cool silence and
there will be a day when I no longer wait.
Now it is morning. I hear a great thunder. I smell fire from a distance. I hear
a metal crashing. I wait. 1 listen.
Voices. Far away.
"All right!"
One voice. An alien voice. An alien tongue I cannot know. No word is familiar.
I listen. "Send the men out!" A crunching in crystal sands. "Mars! So this is it!"
"Where's the flag?" "Here, sir." "Good, good."
The sun is high in the blue sky and its golden rays fill the well and I hang like a
flower pollen, invisible and misting in the warm light. Voices.
"In the name ot the Government of Earth, I proclaim this to be the Martian
Territory, to be equally divided among the member nations."
What are they saying? I turn in the sun, like a wheel, invisible and lazy, golden
and tireless. "What's over here?" "A well!"
"No!"
"Come on. Yes!"
The approach of warmth. Three objects bend over the well mouth, and my
coolness rises to the objects. "Great!"
"Think it's good water?" "We'll
see."
"Someone get a lab test bottle and a dropline." "I will!"
A sound of running. The return. "Here
we are." I wait.
"Let it down. Easy."
Glass shines, above, coming down on a slow line. The water ripples softly as
the glass touches and fills. I rise in the warm air toward the well mouth.
"Here we are. You want to test this water, Regent?" "Let's have it."
"What a beautiful well. Look at that construction. How old you think it is?"
"God knows. When we landed in that other town yesterday Smith said there
hasn't been life on Mars in ten thousand years." "Imagine."
"How is it, Regent? The water." "Pure as
silver. Have a glass."
The sound of water in the hot sunlight. Now I hover like a dust, a cinnamon,
upon the soft wind. "What's the matter, Jones?"

75
"I don't know. Got a terrible headache. All of a sudden." "Did you drink the
water yet?"
"No, I haven't. It's not that. I was just bending over the well and all of a sudden
my head split. I feel better now." Now I know who I am.
My name is Stephen Leonard Jones and I am twenty-five years old and I
have just come in a rocket from a planet called Earth and I am standing with my
good friends Regent and Shaw by an old well on the planet Mars.
I look down at my golden fingers, tan and strong. I look at my long legs and
at my silver uniform and at my friends.
"What's wrong, Jones?" they say.
"Nothing," I say, looking at them. "Nothing at all."
The food is good. It has been ten thousand years since food. It touches the
tongue in a fine way and the wine with the food is warming. I listen to the sound
of voices. I make words that I do not understand but somehow understand. I test
the air.
"What's the matter, Jones?"
I tilt this head of mine and rest my hands holding the silver utensils of
eating. I feel everything.
"What do you mean?" this voice, this new thing of mine, says. "You keep
breathing funny. Coughing," says the other man. I pronounce exactly.
"Maybe a little cold coming on." "Check with the doc later."
I nod my head and it is good to nod. It is good to do several things after ten
thousand years. It is good to breathe the air and it is good to feel the sun in the
flesh deep and going deeper and it is good to feel the structure of ivory, and fine
skeleton hidden in the warming flesh, and it is good to hear sounds much clearer
and more immediate than they were in the stone deepness of a well. I sit
enchanted.
"Come out of it, Jones. Snap to it. We got to move!"
"Yes," I say, hypnotized with the way the word forms like water on the
tongue and falls with slow beauty out into the air.
I walk and it is good walking. I stand high and it is a long way to the ground
when I look down from my eyes and my head. It is like living on a fine cliff and
being happy there.
Regent stands by the stone well, looking down. The others have gone
murmuring to the silver ship from which they came.
I feel the fingers of my hand and the smile of my mouth.
"It is deep," I say.
"Yes."
"It is called a Soul Well."
Regent raises his head and looks at me. "How do you know that?"
"Doesn't it look like one?"
"I never heard of a Soul Well."
"A place where waiting things, things that once had flesh, wait and wait," I
say, touching his arm.
The sand is fire and the ship is silver fire in the hotness of the day and the
heat is good to feel. The sound of my feet in the hard sand. I listen. The sound
of the wind and the sun burning the valleys. I smell the smell of the rocket
boiling in the noon. I stand below the port.
"Where's Regent?" someone says. "I
saw him by the well," I reply.
One of them runs toward the well. I am beginning to tremble. A fine
shivering tremble, hidden deep, but becoming very strong. And for the first time
I hear it, as if it too were hidden in a well. A voice calling deep within me, tiny
and afraid. And the voice cries, Let me go, let me go, and there is a feeling as if
something is trying to get free, a pounding of labyrinthine doors, a rushing
down dark corridors and up passages, echoing and screaming.
"Regent's in the well!"
The men are running, all five of them. I run with them but now I am sick
and the trembling is violent.
"He must have fallen. Jones, you were here with him. Did you see? Jones?
Well, speak up, man."
"What's wrong, Jones?"
I fall to my knees, the trembling is so bad.
"He's sick. Here, help me with him." "The
sun."
"No, not the sun," I murmur.
They stretch me out and the seizures come and go like earthquakes and the
deep hidden voice in me cries, This is Jones, this is me, that's not him, that's not
him, don't believe him, let me out, let me out! And I look up at the bent figures
and my eyelids flicker. They touch my wrists.
"His heart is acting up."
I close my eyes. The screaming stops. The shivering ceases.
I rise, as in a cool well, released.
"He's dead," says someone.
"Jones is dead."
"From what?"
"Shock, it looks like."
"What kind of shock?" I say, and my name is Sessions and my lips move
crisply, and I am the captain of these men. I stand among them and I am looking
down at a body which lies cooling on the sands. I clap both hands to my head.
"Captain!"
"It's nothing," I say, crying out. "Just a headache. I'll be all right. There. There,"
I whisper. "It's all right now." "We'd better get out of the sun, sir."
"Yes," I say, looking down at Jones. "We should never have come. Mars
doesn't want us."
We carry the body back to the rocket with us, and a new voice is calling
deep in me to be let out.
Help, help. Far down in the moist earthen-works of the body. Help, help! in
red fathoms, echoing and pleading.
The trembling starts much sooner this time. The control is less steady.
"Captain, you'd better get in out of the sun, you don't look too well, sir."
"Yes," I say. "Help," I say. "What,
sir?" "I didn't say anything." "You

77
said 'Help', sir." "Did I, Matthews,
did I?"
The body is laid out in the shadow of the rocket and the voice screams in
the deep underwater catacombs of bone and crimson tide. My hands jerk. My
mouth splits and is parched. My nostrils fasten wide. My eyes roll. Help, help,
oh help, don't, don't, let me out, don't, don't.
"Don't," I say.
"What, sir?"
"Never mind," I say. "I've got to get free," I say. I clap my hand to my
mouth.
"How's that, sir?" cries Matthews.
"Get inside, all of you, go back to Earth!" I shout. A gfun is in my hand. I
lift it. "Don't, sir!"
An explosion. Shadows run. The screaming is cut off. There is a whistling
sound of falling through space.
After ten thousand years, how good to die. How good to feel the sudden
coolness, the relaxation. How good to be like a hand within a glove that
stretches out and grows wonderfully cold in the hot sand. Oh, the quiet and the
loveliness of gathering, darkening death. But one cannot linger on.
A crack, a snap.
"Good God, he's killed himself!" I cry, and open my eyes wide, and there is
the captain lying against the rocket, his skull split by a bullet, his eyes wide, his
tongue protruding between his white teeth. Blood runs from his head. 1 bend to
him and touch him. "The fool," I say. "Why did he do that?"
The men are horrified. They stand over the two dead men and turn their
heads to see the Martian sands and the distant well where Regent lies lolling in
deep waters. A croaking comes out of their dry lips, a whimpering, a childish
protest against this awful dream.
The men turn to me.
After a long while, one of them says, "That makes you captain, Matthews."
"I know," I say slowly.
"Only six of us left."
"Good God, it happened so quick!"
"1 don't want to stay here, let's get out!"
The men clamor. I go to them and touch them now, with a confidence which
almost sings in me. "Listen," I say, and touch their elbows or their arms or their
hands.
We all fall silent.
We are one.
No, no, no, no, no, no! Inner voices crying, deep down and gone into prisons
beneath exteriors.
We are looking at each other. We are Samuel Matthews and Raymond
Moses and William Spaulding and Charles Evans and Forrest Cole and John
Sumers, and we say nothing but look upon each other and our white faces and
shaking hands.
We turn, as one, and look at the well.
"Now," we say.
No, no, six voices scream, hidden and layered down and stored forever.
Our feet walk in the sand and it is as if a great hand with twelve fingers
were moving across the hot sea bottom.
We bend to the well, looking down. From the cool depths six faces peer
back up at us.
One by one we bend until our balance is gone, and one by one drop into the
mouth and down through cool darkness into the cold waters.
The sun sets. The stars wheel upon the night sky. Far out, there is a wink of
light. Another rocket coming, leaving red marks on space.
I live in a well. I live like smoke in a well. Like vapor in a stone throat.
Overhead I see the cold stars of night and morning, and I see the sun. And
sometimes I sing old songs of this world when it was young. How can I tell you
what I am when even I don't know? I cannot.
I am simply waiting.
* * *

The story is framed by absolutely identical beginning and end. Why?


The predominant tense of narration — the present indefinite — is rather
unusual for creative prose. Why is it employed here?
The author is very evasive in his description of the fantastic entity that is
both the narrator and the protagonist, but mentions his age, memory, gives a
suggestive name to his place of habitation. Find all these and other indications
which might help in identifying this strange and alarming... what? who?
Pay attention to the numerous and widely varying verbs denoting his
strange states and actions, all of which are likened to contrasting phenomena: "I
live like smoke", "Like vapour", "I fall like rain", "I hang like a flower pollen",
"I turn like a wheel", "I hover like a dust". And above all — the multiple
repetition of the verb "wait".
Do not overlook the significance of indications at the "headache", "split
head" and "touch".
What will change if the catastrophe with the astronauts is narrated by the
third-person omniscient author: composition? wording? the general atmosphere
of unidentified danger? the conceptual information? the implied information?
Note the vagueness of the title and the role of the pronoun in it.
Can you suggest a contextual synonym for the title?

John Updike
(b. Ш2)

SEPARATING
John Updike, an important American writer, the author of almost twenty books
of prose — both novels and short story collections, also several plays, books of verse,
journalism, children's books — began his literary career in 1958 with a novel "The
Poorhouse Fair".
As he himself has said, he has tried in his writing to transcribe middleness with all
its grits, bumps and anonymities, in its fullness of satisfaction and mystery.

79
"Separating" is a poignant and subtle story of traumatic experiences undergone
by adolescents and adults alike. Later included into the series of the "Maples stories",
it was first published in 1975, in the "New Yorker".
The day was fair. Brilliant. All that June the weather had mocked the
Maples' internal misery with solid sunlight — golden shafts and cascades of
green in which their conversations had wormed unseeing, their sad murmuring
selves the only stain in Nature. Usually by this time of the year they had
acquired tans; but when they met their elder daughter's plane on her return from
a year in England they were almost as pale as she, though Judith was too
dazzled by the sunny opulent jumble of her native land to notice. They did not
spoil her homecoming by telling her immediately. Wait a few days, let her
recover from jet lag, had been one of their formulations, in that string of gray
dialogues — over coffee, over cocktails, over Cointreau1 — that had shaped the
strategy of their dissolution, while the earth performed its annual stunt of
renewal unnoticed beyond their closed windows. Richard had thought to leave
at Easter; Joan had insisted they wait until the four children were at last assem-
bled, with all exams passed and ceremonies attended, and the bauble of summer
to console them. So he had drudged away, in love, in dread, repairing screens,
getting the mowers sharpened, rolling and patching their new tennis court.
The court, clay, had come through its first winter pitted and windswept bare
of redcoat. Years ago the Maples had observed how often, among their friends,
divorce followed a dramatic home improvement, as if the marriage were making
one last strong effort to live; their own worst crisis had come amid the plaster
dust and exposed plumbing of a kitchen renovation. Yet, a summer ago, as
canary-yellow bulldozers gaily churned a grassy, daisy-dotted knoll into a
muddy plateau, and a crew of pigtailed young men raked and tamped clay into a
plane, this transformation did not strike them as ominous, but festive in its
impudence; their marriage could rendthe earth for fun. The next spring, waking
each day at dawn to a sliding sensation as if the bed were being tipped, Richard
found the barren tennis court, its net and tapes still rolled in the barn, an
environment congruous with his mood of purposeful desolation, and the
crumbling of handfuls of clay into cracks and holes (dogs had frolicked on the
court in a thaw; rivulets had volved trenches) an activity suitably elemental and
interminable. In his sealed heart he hoped the day would never come.
Now it was here. A Friday. Judith was reacclimated; all four children were
assembled, before jobs and camps and visits again scattered them. Joan thought
they should be told one by one. Richard was for making an announcement at the
table. She said, 'T think just making an announcement is a cop-out. They'll start
quarrelling and playing to each other instead of focusing. They're each individ-
uals, you know, not just some corporate obstacle to your freedom."
"О. К., О. К. I agree." Joan's plan was exact. That evening, they were
giving Judith a belated welcome-home dinner, of lobster and champagne. Then,
the party over, they, the two of them, who nineteen years before would push her
in a baby carriage along Tenth Street to Washington Square, were to walk her
out of the house, to the bridge across the salt creek, and tell her, swearing her to
secrecy. Then Richard Jr., who was going directly from work to a rock concert
in Boston, would be told, either late when he returned on the train or early
1 Cointreau (Fr.) — a kind of wine
Saturday morning before he went off to his job; he was seventeen and employed
as one of a golfcourse maintenance crew. Then the two younger children, John
and Margaret, could, as the morning wore on, be informed.
"Mopped up, as it were," Richard said.
"Do you have any better plan? That leaves you the rest of Saturday to
answer any questions, pack, and make your wonderful departure."
"No," he said, meaning he had no better plan, and agreed to hers, though to
him it showed an edge of false order, a hidden plea for control, like Joan's long
chore lists and financial accountings and, in the days when he first knew her,
her too-copious lecture notes. Her plan turned one hurdle for him into four —
four knife-sharp walls, each with a sheer blind drop on the other side.
All spring he had moved through a world of insides and outsides, of barriers
and partitions. He and Joan stood as a thin barrier between the children and the
truth. Each moment was a partition, with the past on one side and the future on
the other, a future containing this unthinkable now. Beyond four knifelike walls
a new life for him waited vaguely. His skull cupped a secret, a white face, a face
both frightened and soothing, both strange and known, that he wanted to shield
from tears, which he felt all about him, solid as the sunlight. So haunted, he had
become obsessed with battening down the house against his absence, replacing
screens and sash cords, hinges and latches — a Houdini making things snug
before his escape.

The lock. He had still to replace a lock on one of the doors of the screened
porch. The task, like most such, proved more difficult than he had imagined.
The old lock, aluminium frozen by corrosion, had been deliberately rendered
obsolete by manufacturers. Three hardware stores nad nothing that even
approximately matched the mortised hole its removal (surprisingly easy) left.
Another hole had to be gouged, with bits too small and saws too big, and the old
hole fitted with a block of wood — the chisels dull, the saw rusty, his fingers
thick with lack of sleep. The sun poured down, beyond the porch, on a world of
neglect. The bushes already needed pruning, the windward side of the house
was shedding flakes of paint, rain would get in.when he was gone, insects, rot,
death. His family, all those he would lose, filtered through the edges of his
awareness as he struggled with screw holes, splinters, opaque instructions,
minutiae of metal.
Judith sat on the porch, a princess returned from exile. She regaled them
with stories of fuel shortages, of bomb scares in the Underground, of Pakistani
workmen loudly lusting after her as she walked past on her way to dance
school. Joan came and went, in and out of the house, calmer than she should
have been, praising his struggles with the lock as if this were one more and not
the last of their chain of shared chores. The younger of his sons, John, now at
fifteen suddenly, unwittingly handsome, for a few minutes held the rickety
screen door while his father clumsily hammered and chiselled, each blow a kind
of sob in Richard's ears. His younger daughter, having been at a slumber party,
slept on the porch hammock through all the noise — heavy and pink, trusting
and forsaken. Time, like the sunlight, continued relentlessly, the sunlight slowly
slanted. Today was one of the longest days. The lock clicked, worked. He was

81
through. He had a drink; he drank it on the porch, listening to his daughter. "It
was so sweet," she was saying, "during the worst of it, how all the butcher's and
bakery shops kept open by candlelight. They're all so plucky and cute. From the
papers, things sounded so much worse here — people shooting people in gas
lines, and everybody freezing."
Richard asked her, "Do you still want to live in England forever?" Forever:
the concept, now a reality upon him, pressed and scratched at the back of his
throat.
"No," Judith confessed, turning her oval face to him, its eyes still childishly
far apart, but the lips set as over something succulent and satisfactory. "I was
anxious to come home. I'm an American." She was a woman. They had raised
her; he and Joan had endured together to raise her, alone of the four. The others
had still some raising left in them. Yet it was the thought of telling Judith — the
image of her, their first baby, walking between them arm in arm to the bridge —
that broke him. The partition between his face and the tears broke. Richard sat
down to the celebratory meal with the back of his throat aching; the champagne,
the lobster seemed phases of sunshine; he saw them and tasted them through
tears. He blinked, swallowed, croakily joked about hay fever. The tears would
not stop leaking through; they came not through a hole that could be plugged
but through a permeable spot in a membrane, steadily, purely, endlessly,
fruitfully. They became, his tears, a shield for himself against these others —
their faces, the fact of their assembly, a last time as innocents, at a table where
he sat the last time as head. Tears dropped from his nose as he broke the
lobster's back; salt flavored his champagne as he sipped it; the raw clench at the
back of his throat was delicious. He could not help himself.
His children tried to ignore his tears. Judith, on his right, lit a cigarette,
gazed upward in the direction of her too energetic, too sophisticated exhalation;
on her other side, John earnestly bent his face to the extraction of the last
morsels — legs, tail segments — from the scarlet corpse. Joan, at the opposite
end of the table, glanced at him surprised, her reproach displaced by a quick
grimace, of forgiveness, or of salute to his superior gift of strategy. Between
them, Margaret, no longer called Bean, thirteen and large for her age, gazed
from the other side of his pane of tears as if into a shop-window at something
she coveted — at her father, a crystalline heap of splinters and memories. It was
not she, however, but John who, in the kitchen, as they cleared the plates and
carapaces away, asked Joan the question: "Why is Daddy crying?"
Richard heard the question but not the murmured answer. Then he heard
Bean cry, "Oh, no-oh!" — the faintly dramatized exclamation of one who had
long expected it.
John returned to the table carrying a bowl of salad. He nodded tersely at his
father and his lips shaped the conspiratorial words "She told".
"Told what?" Richard asked aloud, insanely.
The boy sat down as if to rebuke his father's distraction with the example of
his own good manners and said quietly, "The separation."
Joan and Margaret returned; the child, in Richard's twisted vision, seemed
diminished in size, and relieved, relieved to have had the boogieman at last
proved real. He called out to her — the distances at the table had grown
immense — "You knew, you always knew," but the clenching at the back of his
throat prevented him from making sense of it. From afar he heard Joan talking
levelly, sensibly, reciting whatthey had prepared: it was a separation for the
summer, an experiment. She and Daddy both agreed it would be good for them;
they needed space and time to think; they liked each other but did not make
each other happy enough, somehow.
Judith, imitating her mother's factual tone, but in her youth off key, too cool,
said, "I think it's silly. You should either live together or get divorced."
Richard's crying, like a wave that has crested and crashed, had become
tumultuous; but it was overtopped by another tumult, for John, who had been so
reserved, now grew larger and larger at the table. Perhaps his younger sister's
being credited with knowing set him off. "Why didn't you tell us?" he asked, in
a large round voice quite unlike his own. "You should have told us you weren't
getting along."
Richard was startled into attempting to force words through his tears. "We
do get along, that's the trouble, so it doesn't show even to us —" "That we do
not love each other" was the rest of the sentence; he couldn't finish it.
Joan finished for him, in her style. "And we've always, especially, loved our
children."
John was not mollified. "What do you care about us?" he boomed. "We're
just little things you had." His sister's laughing forced a laugh from him, which
he turned hard and parodistic: "Ha ha ha"
Richard and Joan realized simultaneously that the child was drunk, on Judith's
homecoming champagne. Feeling bound to keep the center of the stage, John
took a cigarette from Judith's pack, poked it into his mouth, let it hang from his
lower lip, and squinted like a gangster.
"You're not little things we had," Richard called to him. "You're the whole
point. But you're grown. Or almost."
The boy was lighting matches. Instead of holding them to his cigarette (for
they had never seen him smoke; being "good" had been his way of setting
himself apart), he held them to his mother's face, closer and closer, for her to
blow out. Then he lit the whole folder — a hiss and then a torch, held against
his mother's face. Prismed by his tears, the flame filled Richard's vision; he
didn't know how it was extinguished. He heard Margaret say, "Oh stop showing
off," and saw John, in response, break the cigarette in two and put the halves
entirely into his mouth and chew, sticking out his tongue to display the shreds to
his sister.
Joan talked to him, reasoning — a fountain of reason, unintelligible.
"Talked about it for years... our children must help us... Daddy and I both
want..." As the boy listened, he carefully wadded a paper napkin into the leaves
of his salad, fashioned a ball of paper and lettuce, and popped it into his mouth,
looking around the table for the expected laughter. None came. Judith said, "Be
mature," and dismissed a plume of smoke.
Richard got up from this stifling table and led the boy outside. Though the
house was in twilight, the outdoors still brimmed with light, the long waste light
of high summer. Both laughing, he supervised John's spitting out the lettuce and
paper and tobacco into the pachysandra. He took him by the hand — a square
gritty hand, but for its softness a man's. Yet, it held on. They ran together up

83
into the field, past the tennis court. The raw banking left by the bulldozers was
dotted with daisies. Past the court and a flat stretch where they used to play
family baseball stood a soft green rise glorious in the sun, each weed and
species of grass distinct as illumination on parchment. "I'm sorry, so sorry,"
Richard cried. "You were the only one who ever tried to help me with all the
goddam jobs around this place." -
Sobbing, safe within his tears and the champagne, John explained, "It's not
just the separation, it's the whole crummy year, I hate that school, you can't
make any friends, the history teacher's a scud."
They sat on the crest of the rise, shaking and warm from their tears but
easier in their voices, and Richard tried to focus on the child's sad year — the
weekdays long with homework, the weekends spent in his room with model
airplanes, while his parents murmured down below, nursing their separation.
How selfish, how blind, Richard thought; his eyes felt scoured. He told his son,
"We'll think about getting you transferred. Life's too short to be miserable."
They had said what they could, but did not want the moment to heal, and talked
on, about the school, about the tennis court, whether it would ever again be as
good as it had been that first summer. They walked to inspect it and pressed a
few more tapes more firmly down. A little stiltedly, perhaps trying now to make
too much of the moment, Richard led the boy to the spot in the field where the
view was best, of the metallic blue river, the emerald march, the scattered
islands velvet with shadow in the low light, the white bits of beach far away.
"See," he said. "It goes on being beautiful. It'll be here tomorrow."
"I know," John answered, impatiently. The moment had closed.
Back in the house, the others had opened some white wine, the champagne
being drunk, and still sat at the table, the three females, gossiping. Where Joan
sat had become the head. She turned, showing him a tearless face, and asked,
"All right?"
"We're fine," he said, resenting it, though relieved, that the party went on
without him.
In bed she explained, "I couldn't cry I guess because I cried so much all
spring. It really wasn't fair. It's your idea, and you made it look as though I was
kicking you out."
"I'm sorry," he said. "I couldn't stop. I wanted to but couldn't."
"You didn't want to. You loved it. You were having your way, making a
general announcement."
"I love having it over," he admitted. "God, those kids were great. So brave
and funny." John, returned to the house, had settled to a model airplane in his
room, and kept shouting down to them, "I'm О. K. No sweat." "And the way,"
Richard went on, cozy in his relief, "they never questioned the reasons we gave.
No thought of a third person. Not even Judith."
"That was touching," Joan said.
He gave her a hug. "You were great too. Very reassuring to everybody.
Thank you." Guiltily, he realized he did not feel separated.
"You still have Dickie to do," she told him. These words set before him a
black mountain in the darkness; its cold breath, its near weight affected his
chest. Of the four children his elder son was most like a conscience. Joan did
not need to add, "That's one piece of your dirty work I won't do for you."
"I know. I'll do it. You go to sleep."
Within minutes, her breathing slowed, became oblivious and deep. It was
quarter to midnight. Dickie's train from the concert would come in at one-
fourteen. Richard set the alarm for one. He had slept atrociously for weeks. But
whenever he closed his lids some glimpse of the last hours scorched them —
Judith exhaling toward the ceiling in a kind of aversion. Bean's mute staring, the
sunstruck growth of the field where he and John had rested. The mountain
before him moved closer, moved within him; he was huge, momentous. The
ache at the back of his throat felt stale. His wife slept as if slain beside him.
When, exasperated by his hot lids, his crowded heart, he rose from bed and
dressed, she awoke enough to turn over. He told her then, "If I could undo it all,
I would."
"Where would you begin?" she asked. There was no place. Giving him
courage, she was always giving him courage. He put on shoes without socks in
the dark. The children were breathing in their rooms, the downstairs was
hollow. In their confusion they had left lights burning. He turned off all but one,
the kitchen overhead. The car started. He had hoped it wouldn't. He met only
moonlight on the road; it seemed a diaphanous companion, flickering in the
leaves along the roadside, haunting his rearview mirror like a pursuer, melting
under his headlights. The center of town, not quite deserted, was eerie at this
hour. A young cop in uniform kept company with a gang of T-shirted kids on
the steps of the bank. Across from the railroad station, several bars kept open.
Customers, mostly young, passed in and out of the warm night, savoring
summer's novelty. Voices shouted from cars as they passed; an immense
conversation seemed in progress. Richard parked and in his weariness put his
head on the passenger seat, out of the commotion and wheeling lights. It was as
when, in the movies, an assassin grimly carries his mission through the jostle of
a carnival — except the movies cannot show the precipitous, palpable slope you
cling to within. You cannot climb back down; you can only fall. The synthetic
fabric of the car seat, warmed by his cheek, confided to him an ancient, distant
scent of vanilla.
A train whistle caused him to lift his head. It was on time: he had hoped it
would be late. The slender drawgates descended. The bell of approach tingled
happily. The great metal body, horizontally fluted, rocked to a stop, and sleepy
teen-agers disembarked, his son among them. Dickie did not show surprise that
his father was meeting him at this terrible hour. He sauntered to the car with two
friends, both taller than he. He said "Hi" to his father and took the passenger's
seat with an exhausted promptness that expressed gratitude. The friends got into
the back, and Richard was grateful; a few more minutes' postponement would
be won by driving them home.
He asked, "How was the concert?" "Groovy," one boy
said from the back seat. "It bit," the other said.
"It was О. K-," Dickie said, moderate by nature, so reasonable that in his
childhood the unreason of the world had given hirn headaches, stomach aches,
nausea. When the second friend had been dropped off at his dark house, the boy

85
blurted, "Dad, my eyes are killing me with hay fever! I'm out there cutting that
mothering grass all day!"
"Do we still have those drops?"
"They didn't do any good last summer."
"They might this." Richard swung a U-turn on the empty street. The drive
home took a few minutes. The mountain was here, in his throat. "Richard," he
said, and felt the boy, slumped and rubbing his eyes, go tense at his tone, "I
didn't come to meet you just to make your life easier. I came because your
mother and I have some news for you, and you're a hard man to get ahold of
these days. It's sad news."
"That's О. K." The reassurance came out soft, but quick, as if released from
the tip of a spring.
Richard had feared that his tears would return and choke him, but the boy's
manliness set an example, and his voice issued forth steady and dry. "It's sad
news, but it needn't be tragic news, at least for you. It should have no practical
effect on your life, though it's bound to have an emotional effect. You'll work at
your job, and go back to school in September. Your mother and I are really
proud of what you're making of your life; we don't want that to change at all."
"Yeah," the boy said lightly, on the intake of his breath, holding himself up.
They turned the corner; the church they went to loomed like a gutted fort. The
home of the woman Richard hoped to marry stood across the green. Her
bedroom light burned.
"Your mother and I," he said, "have decided to separate. For the summer.
Nothing legal, no divorce yet. We want to see how it feels. For some years now,
we haven't been doing enough for each other, making each other as happy as we
should be. Have you sensed that?"
"No," the boy said. It was an honest, unemotional answer: true or false in a
quiz.
Glad for the factual basis, Richard pursued, even garrulously, the details.
His apartment across town, his utter accessibility, the split vacation
arrangements, the advantages to the children, the added mobility and variety of
the summer. Dickie listened, absorbing. "Do the others know?"
Richard described how they had been told.
"How did they take it?"
"The girls pretty calmly. John flipped out; he shouted and ate a cigarette and
made a salad out of his napkin and told us how much he hated school."
His brother chuckled. "He did?"
"Yeah. The school issue was more upsetting for him than Mom and me. He
seemed to feel better for having exploded."
"He did?" The repetition was the first sign that he was stunned.
"Yes. Dickie, I want to tell you something. This last hour, waiting for your
train to get in, has been about the worst of my life. I hate this. Hate it. My father
would have died before doing it to me." He felt immensely lighter, saying this.
He had dumped the mountain on the boy. They were home. Moving swiftly as a
shadow, Dickie was out of the car, through the bright kitchen. Richard called
after him. "Want a glass of milk or anything?"
"No thanks."
"Want us to call the course tomorrow and say you're too sick to work?"
"No, that's all right." The answer was faint, delivered at the door to his
room; Richard listened for the slam of a tantrum. The door closed normally. The
sound was sickening.
Joan had sunk into that first, deep trough of sleep and was slow to awake.
Richard had to repeat, "I told him."
"What did he say?"
"Nothing much. Could you go say good night to him? Please."
She left their room, without putting on a bathrobe. He sluggishly changed
back into his pajamas and walked down the hall. Dickie was already in bed,
Joan was sitting beside him, and the boy's bedside clock radio was murmuring
music. When she stood, an inexplicable light — the moon? — outlined her body
through the nightie. Richard sat on the warm place she had indented on the
child's narrow mattress. He asked him, "Do you want the radio on like that?"
"It always is."
"Doesn't it keep you awake? It would me." "No."
"Are you sleepy."
"Yeah."
"Good. Sure you want to get up and go to work? You've had a big night." "I
want to."
Away at school this winter he had learned for the first time that you can go
short of sleep and live. As an infant he had slept with an immobile, sweating
intensity that had alarmed his babysitters. As the children aged, he became the
first to go to bed, earlier for a time than his younger brother and sister. Even
now, he would go slack in the middle of a television show, his sprawled legs
hairy and brown. "О. K. Good boy. Dickie, listen. I love you so much, I never
knew how much until now. No matter how this works out, I'll always be with
you. Really."
Richard bent to kiss an averted face but his son, sinewy, turned and with
wet cheeks embraced him and gave him a kiss, on the lips, passionate as a
woman's. In his father's ear he moaned one word, the crucial, intelligent word:
"Why?"
Why. It was a whistle of wind in a crack, a knife thrust, a window thrown
open on emptiness. The white face was gone, the darkness was featureless.
Richard had forgotten why.

The title sets a definite expectation of the possible development of events.


The word "divorce", though, appears in the second paragraph only. Find other
indications at the expected action in the first paragraph.
Most of the story is presented from Richard's (the husband's) viewpoint. There
are many signals of his subjective attitude to the described —- evaluative words
like "this unthinkable now", "Today was one of the longest days", "this stifling
table", etc. Find more.
What is the function of Richard's repeated hopes that something would go
wrong and prevent him from picking his son up in time at the railway station?

87
(Like "The car started. He had hoped it wouldn't" or "It was on time, he had
hoped it would be late".)
Compare two parallel situations of "father — son" confessions. What
impact had the parents' decision on each of the sons? Who of them was more
deeply impressed? Find the confirmation of your suggestion in the text.
Collect all the hints, allusions and implications of the possible cause of the
divorce. Having analysed them, what is your opinion as to why the Maples had
decided to separate?

Emil L. Doctorow
(b. 1931)

THE WATER WORKS


Emil L. Doctorow became internationally known for his fourth novel "Ragtime"
(1975), after which three more books were published—two novels ("Loonlake", 1980,
and "The World's Fair", 1985) and a volume containing a novel and six stories —
"Lives of the Poets" (1984), one of which follows.

I had followed my man here. Everything he did was mysterious to me, and
his predilection for the Water Works this November day was no less so. A
square, granite building, with crenelated turrets at the corners, it stood hard by
the reservoir on a high plain overlooking the city from the north. There was an
abundance of windows through which, however, no light seemed to pass. I saw
reflected the sky behind me, a tumultuous thing of billowing shapes of gray
tumbling through vaults of pink sunset and with black rain clouds sailing
overhead like an armada.
His carriage was in the front yard. His horse pawed the stony ground and
swung its head about to look at me.
The reservoir behind the building, five or six city blocks in area, was
cratered in an embankment that went up from the ground at an angle suggesting
the pyramidal platform of an ancient civilization, Mayan perhaps. On Sundays
in warm weather, people came here from the city and climbed the embankment,
calling out to one another as they rose to the sight of a squared expanse of
water. This day it was his alone. I heard the violent chop, the insistent slap of
the tides against the cobblestone.
He stood a ways out in the darkening day; he was studying something upon
the water, my black-bearded captain. He held his hat brim. The corner of his
long coat took the wind and pressed against his leg.
I was sure he knew of my presence. Indeed, for some days I had sensed
from his actions a mad presumption of partnership, as if he engaged in his
enterprises for our mutual benefit. I climbed the embankment a hundred or so
yards to his east and faced into the wind to see the object of his attention.
It was a toy boat under sail, rising and falling in heavy swells at alarming
heel, disappearing and then reappearing all atumble, water pouring off her sides.
We watched her for several minutes. She disappeared and rose and again
disappeared. There was a rhythm in this to lull the perception, and some
moments passed before I realized, waiting for her rising, that I waited in vain. I
was as struck in the chest with the catastrophe as if I had stood on some cliff
and watched the sea take a sailing vessel.
When I thought to look for my man, he was running across the wide moat of
hardened earth that led to the rear gates of the Water Works. I followed. Inside
the building I felt the chill of entombed air and I heard the orchestra of water
hissing and roaring in its fall. I ran down a stone corridor and found another that
offered passage to the left or right. I listened. I heard his steps clearly, a metallic
rap of heels echoing from my right. At the end of the dark conduit was a flight
of iron stairs rising circularly about a black steel gear shaft. Around I went,
rising, and reaching the top story, I found the view opening out from a catwalk
over a vast inner pool of roiling water. This hellish churn pounded up a mineral
mist, like a fifth element, in whose sustenance there grew on the blackened
stone face of the far wall a profusion of moss and slime.
Above me was a skylight of translucent glass. By its dim light I discovered
him not five feet from where I stood. He was bent over the rail with a rapt
expression of the most awful intensity. I thought he would topple, so unaware of
himself did he seem in that moment. I found the sight of him in his passion
almost unendurable. So again I looked at what he was seeing, and there below,
in the yellowing rush of spumed currents and water plunging into its mechanical
harness, a small human body was pressed against the machinery of one of the
sluicegates, its clothing caught as in some hinge, and the child, for it was a
miniature like the ship in the reservoir, went slamming about, first one way and
then the next, as if in mute protest, trembling and shaking and animating by its
revulsion the death that had already overtaken it. Someone shouted, and after a
moment I saw, as if they had separated from the stone, three uniformed men
poised on a lower ledge. They were well apprised of the situation. They were
heaving on a line strung from a pulley fixed in the far wall, and by this means
advancing a towline attached to the wall below my catwalk where I could not
see. But now into view he came, another of the water workers, suspended from
a sling by the ankles, his hands outstretched as he waited to be aligned so that
he could free the flow of this obstruction.
And then he had him, raised from the water by his shirt, an urchin,
anywhere from four to eight I would have said, drowned blue, and then by the
ankles and shoes; and so suspended, both, they swung back across the pouring
currents rhythmically, like performing aerialists, till they were out of sight
below me.
I wondered, perhaps from the practiced quality of their maneuver, if the
water workers were not accustomed to such impediments. A few minutes later,
in the yard under the darkened sky, I watched my man load the wrapped corpse
into his carriage, shut the door smartly, and leap then to the high seat, where he
commanded his horse with a great rolling snap of the reins. And off it went, the
bright black wheel spokes brought to a blur as the dead child was raced to the
city.
The rain had begun. I went back in and felt the oppression of a universe of
water, inside and out, over the dead and the living.
The water workers were dividing some treasure among themselves. They
wore the dark-blue'uniform with the high collar of the city employee, but

89
amended with rough sweaters under the tunics and with trousers tucked into
their high boots. It was not an enviable employment here. I could imagine in
human lungs the same flora that grew on stone. Their faces were bright and
flushed, their blood urged to the skin by the chill and their skin brought to a
high glaze by the mist.
They saw me and made a great show of not caring. They broke out the
whiskey for their tin cups. There is such a cherishing of ritual too among
firemen and gravediggers.
***

The anonymity of the narrator and the protagonist, who are hidden by the
all-embracing pronoun and the wide semantics of "the man", is unveiled by
certain indications of their identity in the text. The description of the man's
actions (see the paragraph close to the end "1 wondered, perhaps...") allows to
name his job. What is it?
Proceeding from the kind of work the man has been doing, what can you
say about the narrator who says "my man" (see the opening sentence and the
paragraph indicated above) and on whose presence the strange reaction of the
workers is shown in the last three phrases? Who is it that retells the story in the
first person singular?

John Cheever
(1912—1982)

REUNION

John Cheever is a shrewd observer and critic of American middle class, deeply
penetrating into the realities of the disintegration of
its manners and morals, seeing beneath the glossy surface of prosperous America where
the imminent danger of failure lies like lead in the heart of a successful man, where
bright surfaces conceal the tensions, disorders, anxieties and frustrations of life.
The story which follows was published in the 1965 collection "The Brigadier and
the Golf Widow". It is the narrator's recollection about his formative years, which
reflects the complexity of "fathers — sons" relations. Pay attention to Cheever's sad
and subtle irony.

The last time I saw my father was in Grand Central Station. I was going
from my grandmother's in the Adirondacks to a cottage on the Cape that my
mother had rented, and I wrote my father that I would be in New York between
trains for an hour and a half, and asked if we could have lunch together. His
secretary wrote to say that he would meet me at the information booth at noon,
and at twelve o'clock sharp I saw him coming through the crowd. He was a
stranger to me — my mother divorced him three years ago and I hadn't been
with him since — but as soon as I saw him I felt that he was my father, my flesh
and blood, my future and my doom. I knew that when I was grown I would be
something like him; I would have to plan my campaigns within his limitations.
He was a big, good-looking man, and I was terribly happy to see him again. He
struck me on the back and shook my hand. "Hi, Charlie," he said. "Hi, boy. I'd
like to take you up to my club, but it's in the Sixties, and if you have to catch an
early train I guess we'd better get something to eat around here." He put his arm
around me, and I smelled my father the way my mother sniffs a rose. It was a
rich compound of whiskey, after-shave lotion, shoe polish, woolens, and the
rankness of a mature male. I hoped that someone would see us together. I
wished that we could be photographed. I wanted some record of our having
been together.
We went out of the station and up a side street to a restaurant. It was still
early, and the place was empty. The bartender was quarreling with a delivery
boy, and there was one very old waiter in a red coat down by the kitchen door.
We sat down, and my father hailed the waiter in a loud voice. "Kellner!" he
shouted. "Gargon! Cameriere! You!" His boisterousness in the empty restaurant
seemed out of place. "Could we have a little service here!" he shouted. "Chop-
chop." Then he clapped his hands. This caught the waiter's attention, and he
shuffled over to our table.
"Were you clapping your hands at me?" he asked.
"Calm down, calm down, sommelier," my father said. "It isn't too much to
ask of you — if it wouldn't be too much above and beyond the call of duty, we
would like a couple of Beefeater Gibsons."
"I don't like to be clapped at," the waiter said.
"I should have brought my whistle," my father said. "I have a whistle that is
audible only to the ears of old waiters. Now, take out your little pad and your
little pencil and see if you can getthis straight: two Beefeater Gibsons. Repeat
after me: two Beefeater Gibsons."
"I think you'd better go somewhere else," the waiter said quietly.
"That," said my father, "is one of the most brilliant suggestions I have ever
heard. Come on, Charlie, let's get the hell out of here."
I followed my father out of that restaurant into another. He was not so
boisterous this time. Our drinks came, and he cross-questioned me about the
baseball season. He then struck the edge of his empty glass with his knife and
began shouting again. "Gargon! Kel~ inert Cameriere! You! Could we trouble
you to bring us two more of the same."
"How old is the boy?" the waiter asked.
"That," my father said, "is none of your God-damned business." "I'm sorry, sir,"
the waiter said, "but I won't serve the boy another drink."
"Well, I have some news for you," my father said. "I have some very
interesting news for you. This doesn't happen to be the only restaurant in New
York. They've opened another on the corner. Come on, Charlie."
He paid the bill, and I followed him out of that restaurant into another. Here
the waiters wore pink jackets like hunting coats, and there was a lot of horse
tack on the walls. We sat down, and my father began to shout again. "Master of
the hounds! Tallyhoo and all that sort of thing. We'd like a little something in
the way of a stirrup cup. Namely, two Bibson Geefeaters."
"Two Bibson Geefeaters?" the waiter asked, smiling.
"You know damned well what I want," my father said angrily. "1 want two
Beefeater Gibsons, and make it snappy. Things have changed in jolly old
England. So my friend the duke tells me. Let's see what England can produce in
the way of a cocktail."

91
"This isn't England," the waiter said.
"Don't argue with me," my father said. "Just do as you're told."
"I just thought you might like to know where you are," the waiter said.
"If there is one thing I cannot tolerate," my father said, "it is an impudent
domestic. Come on, Charlie."
The fourth place we went to was Italian. "Buon giorno"2 my father said.
"Per favore, possiamo avere due cocktail americani, forti, forti. Molto gin, poco
vermut."3
"I don't understand Italian," the waiter said.
"Oh, come off it," my father said. "You understand Italian, andyou know
damned well you do. Vogliamo due cocktail americani. Subito."4
The waiter left us and spoke with the captain, who came over to our table
and said, 'Tm sorry, sir, but this table is reserved."
"All right," my father said. "Get us another table."
"All the tables are reserved," the captain said.
"I get it," my father said. "You don't desire our patronage. Is that it? Well,
the hell with you. Vada all'inferno. Let's go, Charlie."
"I have to get my train," I said.
"I'm sorry, sonny," my father said. "I'm terribly sorry." He put his arm
around me and pressed me against him. "I'll walk you back to the station. If
there had only been time to go up to my club."
"That's all right, Daddy," I said.
"I'll get you a paper," he said. "I'll get you a paper to read on the train."
Then he went up to a newsstand and said, "Kind sir, will you be good
enough to favor me with one of your God-damned, no-good, ten-cent afternoon
papers?" The clerk turned away from him and stared at a magazine cover. "Is it
asking too much, kind sir," my father said, "is it asking too much for you to sell
me one of your disgusting specimens of yellow journalism?"
"I have to go, Daddy," I said. "It's late."
"Now, just wait a second, sonny," he said. "Just wait a second. I want to get
a rise out of this chap."
"Goodbye, Daddy," I said, and I went down the stairs and got my train, and
that was the last time I saw my father.

***

The contrasting moods of the boy frame the story. Find the intermediate
signals showing the stages of the change from his exuberant expectation to
embarrassed disappointment? Why has Cheever chosen the naive narrator? Is
any judgement passed on any of the personages?
Explain the father's behaviour. Was it a consciously staged show? Was it his
nature? Prove your answer by quotations from the text. Pay attention not to
forget the phrase from the first paragraph describing the manner in which he
2 Buon giorno (Hal.) — Good afternoon
3 Per favore, possiamo avere due cocktail americani, forti, forti. Molto gin, poco vermut. (Hal.) —
Please two Beefeater Gibsons, quickly.
4 Vogliamo due cocktail americani. Subito. (Ital.) — American cocktail, please, quickly.
answered his son's request to meet. Does it explain anything about the man?
Comment on the actual meaning of the title.

Graham Greene
(b. 1904)

I SPY
Graham Green, one of the most significant English realists of the XX century,
needs no introduction. Many of his numerous novels and short stories were translated
into Russian. He is well known for both his themes and his style.
"I Spy" was written in 1930 and later published in the fourth collection of his short
prose "Nineteen Stories" in 1947.
Again, the story, told in the first person singular, touches upon the "fathers —
sons" problem and is entrusted to the naive narrator, who can observe all the facts but
cannot join them into a cause-effect sequence.

Charlie Stowe waited until he heard his mother snore before he got out of
bed. Even then he moved with caution and tiptoed to the window. The front of
the house was irregular, so that it was possible to see a light burning in his
mother's room. But now all the windows were dark. A searchlight passed across
the sky, lighting the banks of cloud and probing the dark deep spaces between,
seeking enemy airships. The wind blew from the sea, and Charlie Stowe could
hear behind his mother's snores the beating of the waves. A draught through the
cracks in the window-frame stirred his nightshirt. Charlie Stowe was frightened.
But the thought of the tobacconist's shop which his father kept down a
dozen wooden stairs drew him on. He was twelve years old, and already boys at
the County School mocked him because he had never smoked a cigarette. The
packets were piled twelve deep below, Gold Flake and Players, De Reszke,
Abdulla, Woodbines, and the little shop lay under a thin haze of stale smoke
which would completely disguise his crime. That it was a crime to steal some of
his father's stock Charlie Stowe had no doubt, but he did not love his father; his
father was unreal to him, a wraith, pale, thin, and indefinite, who noticed him
only spasmodically and left even punishment to his mother. For his mother he
felt a passionate demonstrative love; her large boisterous presence and her noisy
charity filled the world for him: from her speech he judged her the friend of
everyone, from the rector's wife to the "dear Queen", except the "Huns", the
monsters who lurked in Zeppelins in the clouds. But his father's affection and
dislike were as indefinite as his movements. To-night he had said he would be
in Norwich, and yet you never knew. Charlie Stowe had no sense of safety as he
crept down the wooden stairs. When they creaked he clenched his fingers on the
collar of his nightshirt.
At the bottom of the stairs he came out quite suddenly into the little shop. It
was too dark to see his way, and he did not dare touch the switch. For half a
minute he sat in despair on the bottom step with his chin cupped in his hands.
Then the regular movement of the searchlight was reflected through an upper
window and the boy had time to fix in memory the pile of cigarettes, the
counter, and the small hole under it. The footsteps of a policeman on the

93
pavement made him grab the first packet to his hand and dive for the hole. A
light shone along the floor and a hand tried the door, then the footsteps passed
on, and Charlie cowered in the darkness.
At last he got his courage back by telling himself in his curiously adult way
that if he were caught now there was nothing to be done about it, and he might
as well have his smoke. He put a cigarette in his mouth and then remembered
that he had no matches. For a while he dared not move. Three times the
searchlight lit the shop, while he muttered taunts and encouragements. "May as
well be hung for a sheep", "Cowardy, cowardy custard", grown-up and childish
exhortations oddly mixed.
But as he moved he heard footfalls in the street, the sound of several men
walking rapidly. Charlie Stowe was old enough to feel surprise that anybody
was about. The footsteps came nearer, stopped; a key was turned in the shop
door, a voice said: "Let him in," and then he heard his father, "If you wouldn't
mind being quiet, gentlemen. I don't want to wake up the family." There was a
note unfamiliar to Charlie in the undecided voice. A torch flashed and the
electric globe burst into blue light. The boy held his breath; he wondered
whether his father would hear his heart beating, and he clutched his nightshirt
tightly and prayed, "O God, don't let me be caught." Through a crack in the
counter he could see his father where he stood, one hand held to his high stiff
collar, between two men in bowler hats and belted mackintoshes. They were
strangers.
"Have a cigarette," his father said in a voice dry as biscuit. One of the men
shook his head. "It wouldn't do, not when we are on duty. Thank you all the
same." He spoke gently, but without kindness; Charlie Stowe thought his father
must be ill.
"Mind if I put a few in my pocket?" Mr. Stowe asked, and when the man
nodded he lifted a pile of Gold Flake and Players from a shelf and caressed the
packets with the tips of his fingers.
"Well," he said, "there's nothing to be done about it, and I may as well have
my smokes." For a moment Charlie Stowe feared discovery, his father stared
round the shop so thoroughly; he might have been seeing it for the first time.
"It's a good little business," he said, "for those that like it. The wife will sell out,
I suppose. Else the neighbours'!! be wrecking it. Well, you want to be off. A
stitch in time. I'll get my coat."
"One of us'll come with you, if you don't mind," said the stranger gently.
"You needn't trouble. It's on the peg here. There, I'm all ready."
The other man said in an embarrassed way: " Don't you want to speak to
your wife?" The thin voice was decided, "Not me. Never do to-day what
you can put off till to-morrow. She'll have her chance later, won't she?"
"Yes, yes," one of the strangers said and he became very cheerful and
encouraging. "Don't you worry too much. While there's life..." and suddenly his
father tried to laugh.
When the door had closed Charlie Stowe tiptoed upstairs and got into bed.
He wondered why his father had left the house again so late at night and who
the strangers were. Surprise and awe kept him for a little while awake. It was as
if a familiar photograph had stepped from the frame to reproach him with
neglect. He remembered how his father had held tight to his collar and fortified
himself with proverbs, and he thought for the first time that, while his mother
was boisterous and kindly, his father was very like himself, doing things in the
dark which frightened him. It would have pleased him to go down to his father
and tell him that he loved him, but he could hear through the window the quick
steps going away. He was alone in the house with his mother, and he fell asleep.
***

What historical event is the background of the story? Find indications in the
text.
Why, do you think, the narration was entrusted to a naive narrator, the child
of twelve? Comment on the opportunities such a choice gives to the author.
Try to answer Charlie Stowe's final questions — "why his father had left the
house again so late at night and who the strangers were". Do not offer random
guesses. Recollect the way the men were dressed, how they talked, what they
said.
What was Charlie's father? Collect all information about him, scattered in
the text. Think about the significance of his unreality to his son ("his father was
unreal to him..." — in the middle of the second paragraph; and "indefinite as his
movements..." — in the end of the same paragraph. Explain the father's remark
"Else the neighbours*!! be wrecking it" — why will the neighbours be so
violent that his wife will have to sell the business out? Did his wife know
anything about his true identity?

Sherwood Anderson
(1876—1941)

MOTHER
Throughout his changeable literary career Sherwood Anderson remained true to
his castigation of the standardization of life and man, brought by the rapid
development of capitalism. Most of his characters are baffled, puzzled, groping for
some way to find their indentity. There is no wonder that such words as "vague",
"insecure", "defeated", "confused" and the like can be found in most of his works.
"Mother", a story from Anderson's best known collection "Winesburg, Ohio", is a
good example of his standpoint and style. It also deals with "parents — sons" issues.
Though the title puts the mother into the centre of the narration, the father and the son
are also fully characterized.
When reading the story pay attention to Anderson's manner of characterization.

Elizabeth Willard, the mother of George Willard, was tall and gaunt and her
face was marked with smallpox scars. Although she was but forty-five, some
obscure disease had taken the fire out of her figure. Listlessly she went about
the disorderly old hotel looking at the faded wall-paper and the ragged carpets
and, when she was able to be about, doing the work of a chambermaid among
beds soiled by the slumbers of fat traveling men. Her husband, Tom Willard, a
slender, graceful man with square shoulders, a quick military step, and a black
mustache trained to turn sharply up at the ends, tried to put the wife out of his
mind. The presence of the t^ll ghostly figure, moving slowly through the halls,

95
he took as a reproach to himself. When he thought of her he grew angry and
swore. The hotel was unprofitable and forever on the edge of failure and he
wished himself out of it. He thought of the old house and the woman who lived
there with him as things defeated and done for. The hotel in which he had begun
life so hopefully was now a mere ghost of what a hotel should be. As he went
spruce and business-like through the streets of Winesburg, he sometimes
stopped and turned quickly about as though fearing that the spirit of the hotel
and of the woman would follow him even into the streets. "Damn such a life,
damn it!" he sputtered aimlessly.
Tom Willard had a passion for village politics and for years had been the
leading Democrat in a strongly Republican community. Some day, he told
himself, the tide of things political will turn in my favor and the years of
ineffectual service count big in the bestowal of rewards. He dreamed of going to
Congress and even of becoming governor. Once when a younger member of the
party arose at a political conference and began to boast of his faithful service,
Tom Willard grew white with fury. "Shut up, you," he roared, glaring about..
"What do you know of service? What are you but a boy? Look at what I've done
here! I was a Democrat here in Winesburg when it was a crime to be a
Democrat. In the old days they fairly hunted us with guns."
Between Elizabeth and her one son George there was a deep unexpressed
bond of sympathy, based on a girlhood dream that had long ago died. In the
son's presence she was timid and reserved, but sometimes while he hurried
about town intent upon his duties as a reporter, she went into his room and
closing the door knelt by a little desk, made of a kitchen table, that sat near a
window. In the room by the desk she went through a ceremony that was half a
prayer, half a demand, addressed to the skies. In the boyish figure she yearned
to see something half forgotten that had once been a part of herself re-created.
The prayer concerned that. "Even though I die, I will in some way keep defeat
from you," she cried, and so deep was her determination that her whole body
shook. Her eyes glowed and she clenched her fists. "If I am dead and see him
becoming a meaningless drab figure like myself, I will come back," she
declared. "I ask God now to give me that privilege. 1 demand it. I will pay for it.
God may beat me with his fists. I will take any blow that may befall if but this
my boy be allowed to express something for us both." Pausing uncertainly, the
woman stared about the boy's room. "And do not let him become smart and
successful either," she added vaguely.
The communion between George Willard and his mother was outwardly a
formal thing without meaning. When she was ill and sat by the window in her
room he sometimes went in the evening to make her a visit. They sat by a
window that looked over the roof of a small frame building into Main Street. By
turning their heads they could see through another window, along an alleyway
that ran behind the Main Street stores and into the back door of Abner Groff's
bakery. Sometimes as they sat thus a picture of village life presented itself to
them. At the back door of his shop appeared Abner Groff with a stick or an
empty milk bottle in his hand. For a long time there was a feud between the
baker and a grey cat that belonged to Sylvester West, the druggist. The boy and
his mother saw the cat creep into the door of the bakery and presently emerge
filled with flour dust. Sometimes he was so angry that, although the cat had
disappeared, he hurled sticks, bits of broken glass, filled with flour dust.
Sometimes he was so angry that, although the cat had disappeared, he hurled
sticks, bits of broken glass, and even some of the tools of his trade about. Once
he broke a window at the back of Sinning's Hardware Store. In the alley the
grey cat crouched behind barrels filled with torn paper and broken bottles above
which flew a black swarm of flies. Once when she was alone, and after
watching a prolonged and ineffectual outburst on the part of the baker, Elizabeth
Willard put her head down on her long white hands and wept. After that she did
not look along the alleyway any more, but tried to forget the contest between
the bearded man and the cat. It seemed like a rehearsal of her own life, terrible
in its vividness.
In the evening when the son sat in the room with his mother, the silence
made them both feel awkward. Darkness came on and the evening train came in
at the station. In the street below feet tramped "up and down upon a board
sidewalk. In the station yard, after the evening train had gone, there was a heavy
silence. Perhaps Skinner Leason, the express agent, moved a truck the length of
the station platform. Over on Main Street sounded a man's voice, laughing. The
door of the express office banged. George Willard

97
arose and crossing the room fumbled for the door-knob. Sometimes he knocked
against a chair, making it scrape along the floor. By the window sat the sick woman,
perfectly still, listless. Her long hands, white and bloodless, could be seen drooping
over the ends of the arms of the chair. "I think you had better be out among the boys.
You are too much indoors," she said, striving to relieve the embarrassment of the
departure. "I thought I would take a walk," replied George Willard, who felt
awkward and confused.
One evening in July, when the transient guests who made the New Willard
House their temporary home had become scarce, and the hallways, lighted only by
kerosene lamps turned low, were plunged in gloom, Elizabeth Willard had an
adventure. She had been ill in bed for several days and her son had not come to visit
her. She was alarmed. The feeble blaze of life that remained in her body was blown
into a flame by her anxiety and she crept out of bed, dressed and hurried along the
hallway toward her son's room, shaking with exaggerated fears. As she went along
she steadied herself with her hand, slipped along the papered walls of the hall and
breathed with difficulty. The air whistled through her teeth. As she hurried forward
she thought how foolish she was. "He is concerned with boyish affairs," she told
herself. "Perhaps he had now begun to walk about in the evening with girls."
Elizabeth Willard had a dread of being seen by guests in the hotel that had once
belonged to her father and the ownership of which still stood recorded in her name in
the country courthouse. The hotel was continually losing patronage because of its
shabbiness and she thought of herself as also shabby. Her own room was in an
obscure corner and when she felt able to work she voluntarily worked among the
beds, preferring the labor that could be done when the guests were abroad seeking
trade among the merchants of Winesburg.
By the door of her son's room the mother knelt upon the floor and listened for
some sound from within. When she heard the boy moving about and talking in low
tones a smile came to her lips. George Willard had a habit of talking aloud to himself
and to hear him doing so had always given his mother a peculiar pleasure. The habit
in him, she felt, strengthened the secret bond that existed between them. A thousand
times she had whispered to herself of the matter. "He is groping about, trying to find
himself," she thought. "He is not a dull clod, all words and smartness. Within him
there is a secret something that is striving to grow. It is the thing I let be killed in
myself."
In the darkness in the hallway by the door the sick woman arose and started
again toward her own room. She was afraid that the door would open and the boy
come upon her. When she had reached a safe distance and was about to turn a corner
into a second hallway she stopped and bracing herself with her hands waited,
thinking to shake off a trembling fit of weakness that had come upon her.

98
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The presence of the boy in the room had made her happy. In her bed, during the
long hours alone, the little fears that had visited her had become giants. Now
they were all gone. "When I get back to my room I shall sleep/' she murmured
gratefully.
But Elizabeth Willard was not to return to her bed and to sleep. As she stood
trembling in the darkness the door o{ her son's room opened and the boy's father,
Tom Willard, stepped out. In the light that streamed out at the door he stood with
the knob in his hand and talked. What he said infuriated the woman.
Tom Willard was ambitious for his son. He had always thought of himself as
a successful man, although nothing he had ever done had turned out
successfully. However, when he was out of sight of the New Willard House and
had no fear of coming upon his wife, he swaggered and began to dramatize
himself as one of the chief men of the town. He wanted his son to succeed. He it
was who had secured for the boy the position on the Winesburg Eagle. Now,
with a ring of earnestness in his voice, he was advising concerning some course
of conduct. "I tell you what, George, you've got to wake up," he said sharply.
"Will Henderson has spoken to me three times concerning the matter. He says
you go along for hours not hearing when you are spoken to and acting like a
gawky girl. What ails you?" Tom Willard laughed good-naturedly. "Well, I
guess you'll get over it," he said. "I told Will that. You're not a fool and you're
not a woman. You're Tom Willard's son and you'll wake up. I'm not afraid. What
you say clears things up. If being a newspaper man had put the notion of
becoming a writer into your mind that's all right. Only I guess you'll have to
wake up to do that too, eh?"
Tom Willard went briskly along the hallway and down a flight of stairs to
the office. The woman in the darkness could hear him laughing and talking with
a guest who was striving to wear away a dull evening by dozing in a chair by the
office door. She returned to the door of her son's room. The weakness had passed
from her body as by a miracle and she stepped boldly along. A thousand ideas
raced through her head. When she heard the scraping of a chair and the sound of
a pen scratching upon paper, she again turned and went back along the hallway
to her own room.
A definite determination had come into the mind of the defeated wife of the
Winesburg hotel keeper. The determination was the result of long years of quiet
and rather ineffectial thinking. "Now," she told herself, "I will act. There is
something threatening my boy and I will ward it off." The fact that the
conversation between Tom Willard and his son had been rather quiet and natural,
as though an understanding existed between them, maddened her. Although for
years she had hated her husband, her hatred had always before been a quite
impersonal thing. He had been merely a part of something else that she hated.
Now, and by the few words at the door, he had become the thing personified. In
the darkness of her own room she clenched her fists and glared about. Going to a
cloth bag that hung on a nail by the wall she took out a long pair of sewing
scissors and hold them in her hand like a dagger. "I will stab him," she said
aloud. "He has chosen to be the voice of evil and I will kill him. When I have
killed him something will snap within myself and I will die also. It will be a
release for all of us."

100
In her girlhood and before her marriage with Tom Willard, Elizabeth had
borne a somewhat shaky reputation in Winesburg. For years she had been what
is called "stage-struck" and had paraded through the streets with traveling men
guests at her father's hotel, wearing loud clothes and urging them to tell her of
life in the cities out of which they had come. Once she startled the town by
putting on men's clothes and riding a bicycle down Main Street.
In her own mind the tall dark girl had been in those days much confused. A
great restlessnes was in her and it expressed itself in two ways. First there was an
uneasy desire for change, for some big definite movement to her life. It was this
feeling that had turned her mind to the stage. She dreamed of joining some
company and wandering over the world, seeing always new faces and giving
something out of herself with the thought, but when she tried to talk of the
matter to the members of the theatrical companies that came to Winesburg and
stopped at her father's hotel, she got nowhere. They did not seem to know what
she meant, or if she did get something of her passion expressed, they only
laughed. "It's not like that," they said. "It's as dull and uninteresting as this here.
Nothing comes of it."
With the traveling men when she walked about with them, and later with
Tom Willard, it was quite different. Always they seemed to understand and
sympathize with her. On the side streets of the village, in the darkness under the
trees, they took hold of her hand and she thought that something unexpressed in
herself came forth and became a part of an unexpressed something in them.
And then there was the second expression of her restlessness. When that
came she felt for a time released and happy. She did not blame the men who
walked with her and later she did not blame Tom Willard. It was always the
same, beginning with kisses and ending, after strange wild emotions, with peace
and then sobbing repentance. When she sobbed she put her hand upon the face of
the man and had always the same thought. Even though he were large and
bearded she thought he had become suddenly a little boy. She wondered why he
did not sob also.
In her room, tucked away in a corner of the old Willard House, Elizabeth
Willard lighted a lamp and put it on a dressing table that stood by the door. A
thought had come into her mind and she went to a closet and brought out a small
square box and set it on the table. The box contained material for make-up and
had been left with other things by a theatrical company that had once been
stranded in Winesburg. Elizabeth Willard had decided that she would be
beautiful. Her hair was still black and there was a great mass of it braided and
coiled about her head. The scene that was to take place in the office below began
to grow in her mind. No ghostly worn-out figure should confront Tom Willard,
but something quite unexpected and startling. Tall and with dusky cheeks and
hair that fell in a mass from her shoulders, a figure should come striding down
the stairway before the startled loungers in the hotel office. The figure would be
silent — it would be swift and terrible. As a tigress whose cub had been
threatened would she appear, coming out of the shadows, stealing noiselessly
along and holding the long wicked scissors in her hand.
With a little broken sob in her throat, Elizabeth Willard blew out the light
that stood upon the table and stood weak and trembling in the darkness. The
strength that had been as a miracle in her body left and she half reeled across the
floor, clutching at the back of the chair in which she had spent so many long
days staring out over the tin roofs into the main street of Winesburg. In the
hallway there was the sound of footsteps and George Willard came in at the
door. Sitting in a chair beside his mother he began to talk. "I'm going to get out
of here," he said. "I don't know where I shall go or what I shall do but I am going
away."
The woman in the chair waited and trembled. An impulse came to her. "I
suppose you had better wake up," she said. "You think that? You will go to the
city and make money, eh? It will be better for you, you think, to be a business
man, to be brisk and smart and alive?" She waited and trembled.
The son shook his head. "I suppose I can't make you understand, but oh, I
wish I could," he said earnestly. "I can't even talk to father about it. I don't try.
There isn't any use. I don't know what I shall do. I just want to go away and look
at people and think."
Silence fell upon the room where the boy and woman sat together. Again, as
on the other evenings, they were embarrassed. After a time the boy tried again to
talk. 'T suppose it won't be for a year or two but I've been thinking about it," he
said, rising and going toward the door. "Something father said makes it sure that
I shall have to go away." He fumbled with the door knob. In the room the silence
became unbearable to the woman. She wanted to cry out with joy because of the
words that had come from the lips of her son, but the expression of joy had
become impossible to her. "I think you had better go out among the boys. You
are too much indoors," she said. "I thought I would go for a little walk," replied
the son stepping awkwardly out of the room and closing the door.
***

Elizabeth Willard is a typical figure among Anderson's gallery of failures.


Her passion for her son's success is understandable. Why, then, does she
pray "...do not let him become smart and successful"? What of her past is
given in a flashback? Has it in any way influenced her present? Has it any
connection with her decision to let the boy leave the town?
Tom Willard is quite pleased with himself. In what way does the author
transfer to the readers his negative opinion of the man?
Both mother and father urge their son "to wake up" (father) and "go out
among the boys" (mother). In what way does their attitude to the boy
characterize themselves? After whose nature and inclinations has George
Willard taken more — his mother's or his father's? Find in the text substantiation
of your opinion.
James Joyce
(1882—1941)

THE BOARDING HOUSE


One of the most significant English writers of the XX century, J. Joyce is widely
known for the "stream-of-consciousness" technique, employed by him in his major novel
"Ulysses" (1922).
His literary debut occurred in 1914, with the publication of the first and only
collection of short stories "The Dubliners".
The one which follows, like the previous story, is based on the bond between mother
and child and takes place at a small hotel. But the difference of the characters portrayed

102
by the author results in a different conflict, sets a different pace to the story and is,
consequently, aimed at evoking different thoughts and emotions of the reader.
Reading the story do not miss the author's message.

Mrs Mooney was a butcher's daughter. She was a woman who was quite able
to keep things to herself: a determined woman. She had married her father's
foreman and opened a butcher's shop near Spring Gardens. But as soon as his
father-in-law was dead Mr. Mooney began to go to the devil. He drank,
plundered the till, ran headlong into debt. It was no use making him take the
pledge: he was sure to break out again a few days after. By fighting his wife in
the presence of customers and by buying bad meat he ruined his business. One
night he went for his wife with the cleaver and she had to sleep in a neighbour's
house.
After that they lived apart. She went to the priest and got a separation from
him with care of the children. She would give him neither money nor food nor
house-room; and so he was obliged to enlist himself as a sheriff's man. He was a
shabby stooped little drunkard with a white face and a white moustache and
white eyebrows, penciled above his little eyes, which were pink-veined and raw;
and all day long he sat in the bailiff's room, waiting to be put on a job. Mrs
Mooney, who had taken what remained of her money out of the butcher business
and set up a boarding house in Hardwicke Street, was a big imposing woman.
Her house had a floating population made up of tourists from Liverpool and the
Isle of Man and, occasionally, artistes from the music halls. Its resident
population was made up of clerks from the city. She governed the house
cunningly and firmly, knew when to give credit, when to be stern and when to let
things pass. All the resident young men spoke of her as The Madam.
Mrs Mooney's young men paid fifteen shillings a week for board and
lodgings (beer or stout at dinner excluded). They shared in common tastes and
occupations and for this reason they were very chummy with one another. They
discussed with one another the chances of favourites and outsiders. Jack
Mooney, the Madam's son, who was clerk to a commission agent in Fleet Street,
had the reputation of being a hard case. He was fond of using soldiers'
obscenties: usually he came home in the small hours. When he met his friends he
had always a good one to tell them and he was always sure to be on to a good
thing — that is to say, a likely horse or a likely artiste. He was also handy with
the mits and sang comic songs. On Sunday nights there would often be a reunion
in Mrs Mooney's front drawing-room. The music-hall artistes would oblige; and
Sheridan played waltzes and polkas and vamped accompaniments. Polly
Mooney, the Madam's daughter, would also sing. She sang:
"I'm a... naughty girl. You
needn't sham: You know 1
am."
Polly was a slim girl of. nineteen; she had light soft hair and a small full
mouth. Her eyes, which were grey with a shade of green through them, had a
habit of glancing upwards when she spoke with anyone, which made her look
like a little perverse madonna. Mrs Mooney had first sent her daughter to be a
typist in a corn-factor's office but, as a disreputable sheriff's man used to come
every other day to the office, asking to be allowed to say a word to his daughter,
she had taken her daughter home again and set her to do housework. As Polly
was very lively the intention was to give her the run of the young men. Besides,
young men like to feel that there is a young woman not very far away. Polly, of
course, flirted with the young men but Mrs Mooney, who was a shrewd judge,
knew that the young men were only passing the time away: none of them meant
business. Things went on so for a long time and Mrs Mooney began to think of
sending Polly back to typewriting when she noticed that something was going on
between Polly and one of the young men. She watched the pair and kept her own
counsel.
Polly knew that she was being watched, but still her mother's persistent
silence could not be misunderstood. There had been no open complicity between
mother and daughter, no open understanding but, though people in the house
began to talk of the affair, still Mrs Mooney did not intervene. Polly began to
grow a little strange in her manner and the young man was evidently perturbed.
At last, when she judged it to be the right moment, Mrs Mooney intervened. She
dealt with moral problems as a cleaver deals with meat: and in this case she had
made up her mind.
It was a bright Sunday morning of early summer, promising heat, but with a
fresh breeze blowing. All the.windows of the boarding house were open and the
lace curtains ballooned gently towards the street beneath the raised sashes. The
belfry of George's Church sent out constant peals and worshippers, singly or in
groups, traversed the little circus before the church, revealing their purpose by
their self-contained demeanour no less than by the little volumes in their gloved
hands. Breakfast was over in the boarding house and the table of the breakfast-
room was covered with plates on which lay yellow streaks of eggs with morsels
of bacon-fat and baconrind. Mrs Mooney sat in the straw arm-chair and watched
the servant Mary remove the breakfast things. She made Mary collect the crusts
and pieces of broken bread to help to make Tuesday's bread-pudding. When the
table was cleared, the broken bread collected, the sugar and butter safe under
lock and key, she began to reconstruct the interview which she had had the night
before with Polly. Things were as she had suspected: she had been frank in her
questions and Polly had been frank in her answers. Both had been somewhat
awkward, of course. She had been made awkward by her not wishing to receive
the news in too cavalier a fashion or to seem to have connived and Polly had
been made awkward not merely because allusions of that kind always made her
awkward but also because she did not wish it to be thought that in her wise
innocence she had divined the intention behind her mother's tolerance.
Mrs Mooney glanced instinctively at the little gilt clock on the mantelpiece
as soon as she had become aware through her revery that the bells of George's
Church had stopped ringing. It was seventeen minutes past eleven: she would
have lots of time to have the matter out with Mr Doran and then catch short
twelve at Marlborough Street. She was sure she would win. To begin with she
had all the weight of social opinion on her side: she was an outraged mother. She
had allowed him to live beneath her roof, assuming that he was a man of honour,
and he had simply abused her hospitality. He was thirty-four of thirty-five years
of age, so that youth could not be pleaded as his excuse; nor could ignorance be
his excuse since he was a man who had seen something of the world. He had
simply taken advantage of Polly's youth and inexperience: that was evident. The
question was: What reparation would he make?

104
There must be reparation made in such case. It is all very well for the man:
he can go his ways as if nothing had happened, having had his moment of
pleasure, but the girl has to bear the brunt. Some mothers would be content to
patch up such an affair for a sum of money; she had known cases of it. But she
would not do so. For her only one reparation could make up for the loss of her
daughter's honour: marriage.
She counted all her cards again before sending Mary up to Mr Doran's room
to say that she wished to speak with him. She felt sure she would win. He was a
serious young man, not rakish or loud-voiced like the others. If it had been Mr
Sheridan or Mr Meade or Bantam Lyons her task would have been much harder.
She did not think he would face publicity. All the lodgers in the house knew
something of the affair; details had been invented by some. Besides, he had been
employed for thirteen years in a great Catholic wine-merchanfs office and
publicity would mean for him, perhaps, the loss of his job. Whereas if he agreed
all might be well. She knew he had a good screw for one thing and she suspected
he had a bit of stuff put by.
Nearly the half-hour! She stood up and surveyed herself in the pier-glass.
The decisive expression of her great florid face satisfied her and she thought of
some mothers she knew who could not get their daughters off their hands.
Mr Doran was very anxious indeed this Sunday morning. He had made two
attempts to shave but his hand had been so unsteady that he had been obliged to
desist. Three days' reddish beard fringed his jaws and every two or three minutes
a mist gathered on his glasses so that he had to take them off and polish them
with his pocket-handkerchief. The recollection of his confession of the night
before was a cause of acute pain to him; the priest had drawn out every
ridiculous detail of the affair and in the end had so magnified his sin that he was
almost thankful at being afforded a loophole of reparation. The harm was done.
What could he do now but marry her or run away? He could not brazen it out
The affair would be sure to be talked of and his employer would be certain to
hear of it. Dublin is such a small city: everyone knows everyone else's business.
He felt his heart leap warmly in his throat as he heard in his excited imagination
old Mr Leonard calling out in his rasping voice: "Send Mr Doran here, please."
All his long years of service gone for nothing! All his industry and diligence
thrown away! As a young man he had sown his wild oats, of course; he had
boasted of his free-thinking and denied the existence of God to his companions
in public-houses. But that was all passed and done with... nearly. He still bought
a copy of Reynold's Newspaper every week but he attended to his religious
duties and for nine-tenths of the year lived a regular life. He had money enough
to settle down on; it was not that. But the family would look down on her. First
of all there was her disreputable father and then her mother's boarding house was
beginning to get a certain fame. He had a notion that he was being had. He could
imagine his friends talking of the affair and laughing. She was a little vulgar;
sometimes she said "I seen" and "If I had've known". But what would grammar
matter if he really loved her? He could not make up his mind whether to like her
or despise her for what she had done. Of course he had done it too. His instinct
urged him to remain free, not to marry. Once you are married you are done for, it
said.
While he was sitting helplessly on the side of the bed in shirt and trousers
she tapped lightly at his door and entered. She told him all, that she had made a
clean breast of it to her mother and that her mother would speak with him that
morning. She cried and threw her arms round his neck, saying:
"O Bob! Bob! What am I to do? What am I to do at all?"
She would put an end to herself, she said.
He comforted her feebly, telling her not to cry, that it would be all right,
never fear. He felt against his shirt the agitation of her bosom.
It was not altogether his fault that it had happened. He remembered well,
with the curious patient memory of the celibate, the first casual caresses her
dress, her breath, her fingers had given him. Then late one night as he was
undressing for bed she had tapped at his door, timidly. She wanted to relight her
candle at his for hers had been blown out by a gust. It was her bath night. She
wore a loose open combing jacket of printed flannel. Her white instep shone in
the opening of her furry slippers and the blood glowed warmly behind her
perfumed skin. From her hands and wrists too as she lit and steadied her candle a
faint perfume arose.
On nights when he came in very late it was she who warmed up his dinner.
He scarcely knew what he was eating feeling her beside him alone, at night, in
the sleeping house. And her thoughtfulness! If the night was anyway cold or wet
or windy there was sure to be a little tumbler of punch ready for him. Perhaps
they could be happy together. ...
They used to go upstairs together on tiptoe, each with a candle, and on the
third landing exchange reluctant good-nights. They used to kiss. He remembered
well her eyes, the touch of her hand and his delirium. ...
But delirium passes. He echoed her phrase, applying it to himself: "What am
I to do?" The instinct of the celibate warned him to hold back. But the sin was
there; even his sense of honour told him that reparation must be made for such a
sin.
While he was sitting with her on the side of the bed Mary came to the door
and said that the missus wanted to see him in the parlour. He stood up to put on
his coat and waistcoat, more helpless than ever. When he was dressed he went
over to her to comfort her. It would be all right, never fear. He left her crying on
the bed and moaning softly: "О my God!"
Going down the stairs his glasses became so dimmed with moisture that he
had to take them off and polish them. He longed to ascend through the roof and
fly away to another country where he would never hear again of his trouble, and
yet a force pushed him downstairs step by step. The implacable faces of his
employer and of the Madam stared upon his discomfiture. On the last flight of
stairs he passed Jack Mooney who was coming up from the pantry nursing two
bottles of Bass. They saluted coldly; and the lover's eyes rested for a second or
two on a thick bulldog face and a pair of thick short arms. When he reached the
foot of the staircase he glanced up and saw Jack regarding him from the door of
the return-room.
Suddenly he remembered the night when one of the music-hall artistes, a
little blond Londoner, had made a rather free allusion to Polly. The reunion had
been almost broken up on account of Jack's violence. Everyone tried to quiet
him. The music-hall artiste, a little paler than usual, kept smiling and saying that
there was no harm meant: but Jack kept shouting at him that if any fellow tried
that sort of a game on with his sister he'd bloody well put his teeth down his
throat, so he would.
106
*

Polly sat for a little time on the side of the bed, crying. Then she dried her
eyes and went over to the looking-glass. She dipped the end of the towel in the
water-jug and refreshed her eyes with the cool water. She looked at herself in
profile and readjusted a hairpin above her ear. Then she went back to the bed
again and sat at the foot. She regarded the pillows for a long time and the sight
of them awakened in her mind secret, amiable memories. She rested the nape of
her neck against the cool iron bed-rail and fell into a rev-ery. There was no
longer any perturbation visible on her face.
She waited on patiently, almost cheerfully, without alarm, her memories
gradually giving place to hopes and visions of the future. Her hopes and visions
were so intricate that she no longer saw the white pillows on which her gaze was
fixed or remembered that she was waiting for anything.
At last she heard her mother calling. She started to her feet and ran to the
banisters.
"Polly! Polly!"
"Yes, mamma?"
"Come down, dear. Mr Doran wants to speak to you." Then she remembered
what she had been waiting for.
***
Mrs Mooney had carefully set a trap to catch a husband for her daughter.
The author never uses any such word. Find in the text words and phrases that
will allow you to piece together the picture of her intentions and behaviour.
J. Joyce several times denies Miss Mooney's open involvement into her
mother's scheming, but nonetheless the reader develops a strong conviction that
she is an accomplice in the scheme. How is this impression created?
Was Miss Mooney in love? Or Mr Doran? Will they get married eventually?
Proceeding from their characters and the nature of their relations what kind of
marriage is it going to be?
Technically, it is Mrs Mooney who is described most elaborately. Her past
and present life, her thoughts and emotions are elucidated.
Mr Doran is also given considerable attention of the author. Miss Mooney comes
third after them. Do you agree that this configuration reflects their importance
for the realization of the author's concept? Or would you rather put another
person, not Mrs Mooney, into the most significant position to convey the writer's
message to us, his readers? Why? Explain your answer proceeding from the text.

Muriel Spark
(b. 1918)

YOU SHOULD HAVE SEEN THE MESS


Muriel Spark started writing prose when she was well past forty. In the almost 30
years that have passed since she has published a dozen novels, several collections of short
stories, numerous plays, critical studies, verse, etc.
Her satire is directed against the mediocre, the conventional, the common. The story
that follows well illustrates her concerns and her style which is famous for its closeness to
the sound of live speech.
The story, told in the first person singular, produces the impression of an authentic
monologue. Watch for the words, phrases, punctuation and other means that create this
effect.

I am now more than glad that I did not pass into the Grammar School five
years ago, although it was a disappointment at the time. I was always good at
English, but not so good at the other subjects!
I am glad that I went to the Secondary Modern School, because it was only
constructed the year before. Therefore, it was much more hygienic than the
Grammar School. The Secondary Modern was light and airy, and the walls were
painted with a bright, washable, gloss. One day, I was sent over to the Grammar
School with a note for one of the teachers, and you should have seen the mess!
The corridors were dusty, and I saw dust on the window ledges, which were
chipped. I saw into one of the classrooms. It was very untidy in there.
I am also glad that 1 did not go to the Grammar School, because of what it
does to one's habits. This may appear to be a strange remark, at first sight. It is a
good thing to have an education behind you, and I do not believe in ignorance,
but I have had certain experiences, with educated people, since going out into the
world.
I am seventeen years of age, and left school two years ago last month. I had
my A certificate for typing, so got my first job, as a junior, in a solicitor's office.
Mum was pleased at this, and Dad said it was a first-class start, as it was an old
established firm. I must say that when I went for the interview I was surprised at
the windows, and the stairs up to the offices were also far from clean. There was
a little waiting room, where some of the elements were missing from the gas fire,
and the carpet on the floor was worn. However, Mr Heygate's office, into which
I was shown for the interview, was better. The furniture was old, but it was
polished and there was a good carpet, I will say that. The glass of the bookcase
was very clean.
I was to start on the Monday, so along I went. They took me to the general
office, where there were two senior shorthand-typists, and a clerk, Mr Gresham,
who was far from smart in appearance. You should have seen the mess!! There
was no floor covering whatsoever, and so dusty everywhere. There were shelves
all round the room, with old box files on them. The box files were falling to
pieces and all the old papers inside them were crumpled. The worst shock of all
was the tea cups. It was my duty to make tea, mornings and afternoons. Miss
Bewlay showed me where everything was kept. It was kept in an old orange box,
and the cups were all cracked. There were not enough saucers to go round, etc. I
will not go into the facilities, but they were also far from hygienic. After three
days, I told Mum, and she was upset, most of all about the cracked cups. We
never keep a cracked cup, but throw it out, because those cracks can harbour
germs. So Mum gave me my own cup to take to the office.
Then at the end of the week, when I got my salary, Mr Heygate . said, 'Well,
Lorna, what are you going to do with your first pay?' I did not like him saying
this, and I nearly passed a comment, but I said, 'I don't know.' He said, 'What do
you do in the evenings, Lorna? Do you watch Telly?' I did take this as an insult,
because we call it TV, and his remark made me out to be uneducated. I just
stood, and did not answer, and he looked surprised. Next day, Saturday, I told
108
Mum and Dad about the facilities, and we decided I should not go back to that
job. Also, the desks in the general office were rickety. Dad was indignant,
because Mr Heygate's concern was flourishing, and he had letters after his name.
Everyone admires our flat, because Mum keeps it spotless, and Dad keeps
doing things to it. He has done it up all over, and got permission from the
Council to re-modernise the kitchen. I well recall the Health Visitor remarking to
Mum, 'You could eat off your floor, Mrs Merrifield.' It is true that you could eat
your lunch off Mum's floors, and any hour of the day or night you will find every
corner spick and span.
Next, I was sent by the agency to a Publisher's for an interview, because of
being good at English. One look was enough!! My next interview was a success,
and I am still at Low's Chemical Co. It is a modern block, with a quarter of an
hour rest period, morning and afternoon. Mr Marwood is very smart in
appearance. He is well spoken, although he has not got a university education
behind him. There is special lighting over the desks, and the typewriters are
latest models.
So I am happy at Low's. But I have met other people, of an educated type, in
the past year, and it has opened my eyes. It so happened that I had to go to the
Doctor's house, to fetch a prescription for my young brother, Trevor, when the
epidemic was on. I rang the bell, and Mrs Darby came to the door. She was
small, with fair hair, but too long, and a green maternity dress. But she was very
nice to me. I had to wait in their living-room, and you should have seen the state
it was in! There were broken toys on the carpet, and the ash trays were full up.
There were contemporary pictures on the walls, but the furniture was not
contemporary, but old-fashioned, with covers which were past standing up to
another wash, I should say. To cut a long story short, Dr Darby and Mrs Darby
have always been very kind to me, and they meant everything for the best. Dr
Darby is also short and fair, and they have three children, a girl and a boy, and
now a baby boy.
When I went that day for the prescription, Dr Darby said to me, 'You look
pale, Lorna. It's the London atmosphere. Come on a picnic with us, in the car, on
Saturday.' After that I went with the Darbys more and more. I liked them, but I
did not like the mess, and it was a surprise. But I also kept in with them for the
opportunity of meeting people, and Mum and Dad were pleased that I had made
nice friends. So I did not say anything about the cracked lino, and the paintwork
all chipped. The children's clothes were very shabby for a doctor, and she
changed them out of their school clothes when they came home from school,
into those worn-out garments. Mum always kept us spotless to go out to play,
and I do not like to say it, but those Darby children frequently looked like the
Leary family, which the Council evicted from our block, as they were far from
houseproud.
One day, when I was there, Mavis (as I called Mrs Darby by then) put her
head out of the window, and shouted to the boy, 'John, stop peeing over the
cabbages at once. Pee on the lawn.' I did not know which way to look. Mum
would never say a word like that from the window, and I know for a fact that
Trevor would never pass water outside, not even bathing in the sea.
I went there usually at the weekends, but sometimes on weekdays, after
supper. They had an idea to make a match for me with a chemist's assistant,
whom they had taken up too. He was an orphan, and I do not say there was
anything wrong with that. But he was not accustomed to those little extras that I
was. He was a good-looking boy, I will say that. So I went once to a dance, and
twice to the films with him. To look at, he was quite clean in appearance. But
there was only hot water at the weekend at his place, and he said that a bath once
a week was sufficient. Jim (as I called Dr Darby by then) said it was sufficient
also, and surprised me. He did not have much money, and I do not hold that
against him. But there was no hurry for me, and I could wait for a man in a better
position, so that I would not miss those little extras. So he started going out with
a girl from the coffee bar, and did not come to the Darbys very much then.
There were plenty of boys at the office, but I will say this for the Darbys,
they had lots of friends coming and going, and they had interesting conversation,
although sometimes it gave me a surprise, and I did not know where to look.
And sometimes they had people who were very down and out, although there is
no need to be. But most of the guests were different, so it made a comparison
with the

110
boys at the office, who were not so educated in their conversation.
Now it was near the time for Mavis to have her baby, and I was to come in
at the weekend, to keep an eye on the children, while the help had her day off.
Mavis did not go away to have her baby, but would have it at home, in their
double bed, as they did not have twin beds, although he was a Doctor. A girl I
knew, in our block, was engaged, but was let down, and even she had her baby
in the labour ward. I was sure the bedroom was not hygienic for having a baby,
but I did not mention it.
One day, after the baby boy came along, they took me in the car to the
country, to see Jim's mother. The baby was put in a carry-cot at the back of the
car. He began to cry, and without a word of a lie, Jim said to him over his
shoulder, *Oh, shut your gob, you little bastard.' I did not know what to do, and
Mavis was smoking a cigarette. Dad would not dream of saying such a thing to
Trevor or I. When we arrived at Jim's mother's place, Jim said, 'It's a fourteenth-
century cottage, Lorna.' I could well believe it. It was very cracked and old, and
it made one wonder how Jim could let his old mother live in this tumble-down
cottage, as he was so good to everyone else. So Mavis knocked at the door, and
the old lady came. There was not much anyone could do to the inside. Mavis
said, 'Isn't it charming, Lorna?' If that was a joke, it was going too far. I said to
the old Mrs Darby, 'Are you going to be rehoused?' but she did not understand
this, and I explained how you have to apply to the Council, and keep at them.
But it was funny that the Council had not done something already, when they go
round condemning. Then old Mrs Darby said, 'My dear, I shall be rehoused in
the Grave.' I did not know where to look.
There was a carpet hanging on the wall, which I think was there to hide a
damp spot. She had a good TV set, I will say that. But some of the walls were
bare brick, and the facilities were outside, through the garden. The furniture was
far from new.
One Saturday afternoon, as I happened to go to the Darbys, they were just
going off to a film, and they took me too. It was the Curzon, and afterwards we
went to a flat in Curzon Street. It was a very clean block, I will say that, and
there were good carpets at the entrance. The couple there had contemporary
furniture, and they also spoke about music. It was a nice place, but there was no
Welfare Centre to the flats, where people could go for social intercourse, advice
and guidance. But they were well-spoken and I met Willy Morley, who was an
artist. Willy sat beside me, and we had a drink. He was young, dark with a dark
shirt, so one could not see right away if he was clean. Soon after, this, Jim said
to me, 'Willy wants to paint you, Lorna. But you'd better ask your Mum.' Mum
said it was all right if he was a friend of the Darbys.
I can honestly say that Willy's place was the most unhygienic place I have
seen in my life. He said I had an unusual type of beauty, which he must capture.
This was when we came back to his place
no
from the restaurant. The light was very dim, but I could see the bed had not been
made, and the sheets were far from clean. He said he must paint me, but I told
Mavis I did not like to go back there. 'Don't you like Willy?' she asked. I could
not deny that I liked Willy, in a way. There was something about him, I will say
111
that. Mavis said, T hope he hasn't been making a pass at you, Lorna.' I said he
had not done so, which was almost true, because he did not attempt to go to the
full extent. It was always unhygienic when I went to Willy's place, and I told
him so once, but he said, 'Lorna, you are a joy.' He had a nice way, and he took
me out in his car, which was a good one, but dirty inside, like his place. Jim said
one day, 'He has pots of money, Lorna,' and Mavis said, 'You might make a man
of him, as he is keen on you.' They always said Willy came from a good family.
But I saw that one could not do anything with him. He would not change his
shirt very often, or get clothes, but he went around like a tramp, lending people
money, as I have seen with my own eyes. His place was in a terrible mess, with
the empty bottles, and laundry in the corner. He gave me several gifts over the
period, which I took, as he would have only given them away, but he never tried
to go to the full extent. He never painted my portrait, as he was painting fruit on
a table all that time, and they said his pictures were marvellous, and thought
Willy and I were getting married.
One night, when I went home, I was upset as usual, after Willy's place. Mum
and Dad had gone to bed, and I looked round our kitchen which is done in
primrose and white. Then I went into the living-room, where Dad has done one
wall in a patterned paper, deep rose and white, and the other walls pale rose with
wood-work. The suite is new, and Mum keeps everything beautiful. So it came
to me, all of a sudden, what a fool I was, going with Willy. I agree to equality,
but as to me marrying Willy, as I said to Mavis, when I recall his place, and the
good carpet gone greasy, not to mention the paint oozing out of the tubes, I think
it would break my heart to sink so low.
***
* The title of the story establishes the tone of informal amicable chat. Find in
the text those elements that sustain this effect.
The author never introduces her own voice. All the events are presented
from one and the same viewpoint — that of the narrator. Making no explicit
appearance the author may convey her judgements and estimations only
implicitly. Who is condemned by the author? Why did you come to your
conclusion? What means are used to ensure that the author's message reaches the
reader?
Select the words and phrases which are numerously repeated by the narrator.
What is the function of the repetition?
Don't you think there is a distinct parallel between Lorna and the famous
Pussycat from a nursery rhyme, who visiting the Queen noticed only a mouse
under her chair?
How will you formulate Lorna's attitude towards those who surround her? What
background do they make for her character? Comment on the title in the context
of the whole story.

Francis Scott Fitzgerald (1896—1940)

THE SMILERS
A brilliant young man, witty, easy-going and extravagant in the beginning of his
outstanding literary career and life, seriously ill, "cracked-up", in his own words, and
insecure in his final years, Scott Fitzgerald was labelled the "bard of the jazz age". With
irony, sad compassion, keen understanding he reveals, in his novels and stories, the
modes and manners of the changing world in the 20s and 30s, with all its excitements and
frustrations.
"The Smilers" is an early story, first published under the title "A Smile for Sylvo".

We all have that exasperated moment!


There are times when you almost tell the harmless old lady next door what
you really think of her face — that it ought to be on a night-nurse in a house for
the blind; when you'd like to ask the man you've been waiting ten minutes for if
he isn't all overheated from racing the postman down the block; when you nearly
say to the waiter that if they deducted a cent from the bill for every degree the
soup was below tepid the hotel would owe you half a dollar; when — and this is
the infallible earmark of true exasperation — a smile affects you as an oil-
baron's undershirt affects a cow's husband.
But the moment passes. Scars may remain on your dog or your collar or your
telephone receiver, but your soul has slid gently back into its place between the
lower edge of your heart and the upper edge of your stomach, and all is at peace.
But the imp who turns on the shower-bath of exasperation apparently made
it so hot one time in Sylvester Stockton's early youth that he never dared dash in
and turn it off — in consequence no first old man in an amateur production of a
Victorian comedy was ever more pricked and prodded by the daily phenomena
of life than was Sylvester at thirty.
Accusing eyes behind spectacles — suggestion of a stiff neck — this will
have to do for his description, since he is not the hero of this story. He is the
plot. He is the factor that makes it one story instead of three stories. He makes
remarks at the beginning and end.
The late afternoon sun was loitering pleasantly along Fifth Avenue when
Sylvester, who had just come out of that hideous public library where he had
been consulting some ghastly book, told his impossible chauffeur (it is true that I
am following his movements, through his own spectacles) that he wouldn't need
his stupid, incompetent services any longer. Swinging his cane (which he found
too short) in his left hand (which he should have cut off long ago since it was
constantly offending him), he began walking slowly down the Avenue.
When Sylvester walked at night he frequently glanced behind and on both
sides to see if anyone was sneaking up on him. This had become a constant
mannerism. For this reason he was unable to pretend that he didn't see Betty
Tearle sitting in her machine in front of Tiffany's.
Back in his early twenties he had been in love with Betty Tearle. But he had
depressed her. He had misanthropically dissected every meal, motor trip and
musical comedy that they attended together, and on the few occasions when she
had tried to be especially nice to him — from a mother's point of view he had
been rather desirable— he had suspected hidden motives and fallen into a deeper
gloom than ever. Then one day she told him that she would go mad if he ever
again parked his pessimism in her sun-parlour.
And ever since then she had seemed to be smiling — uselessly, insultingly,
charmingly smiling.
'Hello, Sylvo,' she called.

113
'Why — how do, Betty.' He wished she wouldn't call him Sylvo — it
sounded like a — like a darn monkey or something.
'How goes it?' she asked cheerfully. 'Not very well, I suppose.' 'Oh, yes,' he
answered stiffly, T manage.' 'Taking in the happy crowd?'
'Heavens, yes.' He looked around him. 'Betty, why are they happy? What are
they smiling at? What do they find to smile at?'
Betty flashed him a glance of radiant amusement.
'The women may smile because they have pretty teeth, Sylvo.'
'You smile,' continued Sylvester cynically, 'because you're comfortably
married and have two children. You imagine you're happy, so you suppose
everyone else is.'
Betty nodded.
'You may have it, Sylvo — ' The chauffeur glanced around and she nodded
at him. 'Good-bye.'
Sylvo watched with a pang of envy which turned suddenly to exasperation
as he saw she had turned and smiled at him once more. Then her car was out of
sight in the traffic, and with a voluminous sigh he galvanized his cane into life
and continued his stroll.
At the next corner he stopped in at a cigar store and there he ran into
Waldron Crosby. Back in the days when Sylvester had been a prize pigeon in the
eyes-of debutantes he had also been a game partridge from the point of view of
promoters. Crosby, then a young bond salesman, had given him much safe and
sane advice and saved him many dollars. Sylvester liked Crosby as much as he
could like anyone. Most people did like Crosby.
'Hello, you old bag of nerves,' cried Crosby genially, 'come and have a big
gloom-dispelling Corona.'
Sylvester regarded the cases anxiously. He knew he wasn't going to like
what he bought.
'Still out at Larchmont, Waldron?' he asked. 'Right-o.'
'How's your wife?' 'Never
better.'
'Well,' said Sylvester suspiciously, 'you brokers always look as if you're
smiling at something up your sleeve. It must be a hilarious profession.'
Crosby considered.
'Well,' he admitted, 'it varies — like the moon and the price of soft drinks —
but it has its moments.'
'Waldron,' said Sylvester earnestly, 'you're a friend of mine — please do me
the favour of not smiling when I leave you. It seems like a — like a mockery.'
A broad grin suffused Crosby's countenance.
'Why, you crabbed old son-of-a-gun!'
But Sylvester with an irate grunt had turned on his heel and disappeared.
He strolled on. The sun finished its promenade and began calling in the few
stray beams it had left among the westward streets. The Avenue darkened with
black bees from the department stores; the traffic swelled in to an interlaced jam;
the buses were packed four deep like platforms above the thick crowd; but
Sylvester, to whom the daily shift and change of the city was a matter only of
sordid monotony, walked on, taking only quick sideward glances through his
frowning spectacles.
He reached his hotel and was elevated to his four-room suite on the twelfth
floor.
'If I dine downstairs,' he thought, 'the orchestra will play either "Smile,
Smile, Smile" or "The Smiles That You Gave To Me". But then if I go to the
Club I'll meet all the cheerful people I know, and if I go somewhere else where
there's no music, I won't get anything fit to eat.'
He decided to have dinner in his rooms.
An hour later, after disparaging some broth, a squab and a salad, he tossed
fifty cents to the room-waiter, and then held up his hand warningly.
'Just oblige me by not smiling when you say thanks.'
He was too late. The waiter had grinned.
'Now, will you please tell me,' asked Sylvester peevishly, 'what on earth you
have to smile about?'
The waiter considered. Not being a reader of the magazines he was not sure
what was characteristic of waiters, yet he supposed something characteristic was
expected of him.
'Well, mister,' he answered, glancing at the ceiling with all the ingeniousness
he could muster in his narrow, sallow countenance, 'it's just something my face
does when it sees four bits comin'.'
Sylvester waved him away.
'Waiters are happy because they've never had anything better,' he thought.
They haven't enough imagination to want anything.'
At nine o'clock from sheer boredom he sought his expressionless bed.

II
As Sylvester left the cigar store, Waldron Crosby followed him out, and
turning off Fifth Avenue down a cross street entered a brokerage office. A plump
man with nervous hands rose and hailed him.
'Hello, Waldron.'
'Hello, Potter — I just dropped in to hear the worst.'
The plump man frowned.
'We've just got the news,' he said.
'Well, what is it? Another drop?'
'Closed at seventy-eight. Sorry, old boy.'
'Whew!'
•Hit pretty hard?'
'Cleaned out!'
The plump man shook his head, indicating that life was too much for him,
and turned away.
Crosby sat there for a moment without moving. Then he rose, walked into
Potter's private office and picked up the phone.
'Gi'me Larchmont 838.'
In a moment he had his connection.
'Mrs Crosby there?'
A man's voice answered him.
'Yes; this you, Crosby? This is Doctor Shipman.'
'Dr Shipman?' Crosby's voice showed sudden anxiety.

115
'Yes — I've been trying to reach you all afternoon. The situation's changed
and we expect the child tonight.'
Tonight?'
'Yes. Everything's OK. But you'd better come right out.' T will. Good-bye.'
He hung up the receiver and started out the door, but paused as an idea
struck him. He returned, and this time called a Manhattan number.
'Hello, Donny, this is Crosby.'
'Hello, there, old boy. You just caught me; I was going—' 'Say, Donny, I
want a job right away, quick.' 'For whom?' Tor me.'
'Why, what's the —'
'Never mind. Tell you later. Got one for me?' 'Why, Waldron, there's not a
blessed thing here except a clerkship. Perhaps next —'
'What salary goes with the clerkship?' 'Forty —
say forty-five a week.'
'I've got you. I start tomorrow.' 'All right. But
say, old man—' 'Sorry, Donny, but I've got to
run.'
Crosby hurried from the brokerage office with a wave and a smile at Potter.
In the street he took out a handful of small change and after surveying it
critically hailed a taxi.
'Grand Central — quick!' he told the driver.

Ill
At six o'clock Betty Tearle signed the letter, put it into an envelope and
wrote her husband's name upon it. She went into his room and after a moment's
hesitation set a black cushion on the bed and laid the white letter on it so that it
could not fail to attract his attention when he came in. Then with a quick glance
around the room she walked into the hall and upstairs to the nursery.
'Clare,' she called softly.
'Oh, Mummy!' Clare left her doll's house and scurried to her mother.
'Where's Billy, Clare?'
Billy appeared eagerly from under the bed.
'Got anything for me?' he inquired politely.
His mother's laugh ended in a little catch and she caught both her children to
her and kissed them passionately. She found that she was crying quietly and their
flushed little faces seemed cool against the sudden fever racing through her
blood.
'Take care of Clare — always — Billy darling —'
Billy was puzzled and rather awed.
'You're crying,' he accused gravely.
'I know — I know I am —'
Clare gave a few tentative sniffles, hesitated, and then clung to her mother in
a storm of weeping.
'I d-don't feel good, Mummy — I don't feel good.' Betty
soothed her quietly.
'We won't cry any more, Clare dear — either of us.'
But as she rose to leave the room her glance at Billy bore a mute appeal, too
vain, she knew, to be registered on his childish consciousness.
Half an hour later as she carried her travelling bag to a taxicab at the door
she raised her hand to her face in mute admission that a veil served no longer to
hide her from the world.
'But I've chosen,' she thought dully.
As the car turned the corner she wept again, resisting a temptation to give up
and go back.
'Oh, my God!' she whispered. 'What am I doing? What have I done? What
have I done?'
When Jerry, the sallow, narrow-faced waiter, left Sylvester's rooms he
reported to the head-waiter, and then'checked out for the day.
He took the subway south and alighting at Williams Street walked a few
blocks and entered a billiard parlour.
An hour later he emerged with a cigarette drooping from his bloodless lips,
and stood on the sidewalk as if hesitating before making a decision. He set off
eastward.
As he reached a certain corner his gait suddenly increased and then quite as
suddenly slackened. He seemed to want to pass by, yet some magnetic attraction
was apparently exerted on him, for with a sudden face-about he turned in at the
door of a cheap restaurant — half cabaret, half chop-suey parlour — where a
miscellaneous assortment gathered nightly.
Jerry found his way to a table situated in the darkest and most obscure
corner. Seating himself with a contempt for his surroundings that betokened
familiarity rather than superiority he ordered a glass of claret.
The evening had begun. A fat woman at the piano was expelling the last
jauntiness from a hackneyed foxtrot, and a lean, dispirited male was assisting her
with lean, dispirited notes from a violin. The attention of the patrons was
directed at a dancer wearing soiled stockings and done largely in peroxide and
rouge who was about to step upon a small platform, meanwhile exchanging
pleasantries with a fat, eager person at the table beside her who was trying to
capture her hand.
Over in the corner Jerry watched the two by the platform and, as he gazed,
the ceiling seemed to fade out, the walls growing into tall buildings and the
platform becoming the top of a Fifth Avenue bus on a breezy spring night three
years ago. The fat, eager person disappeared, the short skirt of the dancer rolled
down and the rouge faded from her cheeks — and he was beside her again in an
old delirious ride, with the lights blinking kindly at them from the tall buildings
beside and the voices of the street merging into a pleasant somnolent murmur
around them.
'Jerry,' said the girl on top of the bus, 'I've said that when you were gettin'
seventy-five I'd take a chance with you. But Jerry, I can't wait for ever.'
Jerry watched several street numbers sail by before he answered.
'I don't know what's the matter,' he said helplessly, 'they won't raise me. If I
can locate a new job —'
'You better hurry, Jerry,' said the girl; 'I'm gettin' sick of just livin' alone. If I
can't get married I got a couple of chances to work in a cabaret — get on the
stage maybe.'
'You keep out of that,' said Jerry quickly. There ain't no need, if you just wait
about another month or two.'
T can't wait for ever, Jerry,' repeated the girl. Tin tired of stayin' poor alone.'
117
Tt won't be so long,' said Jerry clenching his free hand, 'I can make it
somewhere, if you'll just wait.'
But the bus was fading out and the ceiling was taking shape and the murmur
of the April streets was fading into the rasping whine of the violin — for that
was all three years before and now he was sitting here.
The girl glanced up on the platform and exchanged a metallic impersonal
smile with the dispirited violinist, and Jerry shrank farther back in his corner
watching her with burning intensity.
'Your hands belong to anybody that wants them now,' he cried silently and
bitterly. T wasn't man enough to keep you out of that — not man enough, by
God, by God!'
But the girl by the door still toyed with the fat man's clutching fingers as she
waited for her time to dance.

V
Sylvester Stockton tossed restlessly upon his bed. The room, big as it was,
smothered him, and a breeze drifting in and bearing with it a rift of moon
seemed laden only with the cares of the world he would have to face next day.
'They don't understand,' he thought. 'They don't see, as I do, the underlying
misery of the whole damn thing. They're hollow optimists. They smile because
they think they're always to be happy.'
'Oh, well,' he mused drowsily, Til run up to Rye tomorrow and endure more
smiles and more heat. That's all life is — just smiles and heat, smiles and heat.'
i^c ф э)с

What effect is achieved by the ample use of pronouns "we", "your", "you" in
the opening sentence and the next two paragraphs?
Why does the author want to incorporate the reader into the text?
What is the message of the story? What idea does the author convey,
arranging the story on the principle of contrast?
Comment on the way Sc. Fitzgerald expresses his opinion of the protagonist
— is it through the negative attributes? Irony? In what way Sylvo's appraisals of
other people characterize himself?
Can we say that the compositional level of the text structure participates in
the formation of the author's idea?
Henry Lawson
(1867—1922)

THE GHOSTLY DOOR Told by One


of Dave's Mates

Henry Lawson, one of the most celebrated Australian authors, began writing rather
late in life, having tried many jobs and occupations. His experience of a farmhand, clerk,
lumberman, itinerant worker, teacher, house-painter served both as the background and
foundation of his prose, verse, drama and publicism.
Note the conversational form of the story, the wry humour of the situation, the
author's manner of characterization.
Dave and I were tramping on a lonely bush track in New Zealand, making
for a sawmill where we expected to get work, and we were caught in one of
those three days' gales, with rain and hail in it and cold enough to cut off a man's
legs. Camping out was not to be thought of, so we just tramped on in silence,
with stinging pain coming between our shoulder-blades — from cold, weariness,
and the weight of our swags — and our boots, full of water, going splosh,
splosh, splosh along the track. We were settled to it — to drag on like wet,
weary, muddy working bullocks till we came to somewhere — when just before
darkness settled down, we saw the loom of a humpy of some sort on the slope of
a tussock hill, back from the road, and we made for it, without holding a
consultation.
It was a two-roomed hut built of waste timber from a sawmill, and was
either a deserted settler's home or a hut attached to an abandoned sawmill round
there somewhere. The windows were boarded up. We dumped our swags under
the little veranda and banged at the door, to make sure; then Dave pulled a
couple of boards off a window and looked in: there was light enough to see that
the place was empty. Dave pulled off some more boards, put his arm in through
a broken pane, clicked the catch back, and then pushed up the window and got
in. I handed in the swags to him. The room was very draughty; the wind came in
through the broken window and the cracks between the slabs, so we tried the
partitioned-off room — the bedroom — and that was better. It had been lined
with chaff-bags, and there were two stretchers left by some timber-getters or
other bush contractors who'd camped there last; and there was a box and a
couple of three-legged stools.
We carried the remnant of the wood-heap inside, made a fire, and put the
billy on. We unrolled our swags and spread the blankets on the stretchers; and
then we stripped and hung our clothes about the fire to dry. There was plenty in
our tucker-bags, so we had a good feed. I hadn't shaved for days, and Dave had a
coarse red beard with a twist in it like an ill-used fibre brush — a beard that got
redder the longer it grew; he had a hooked nose, and his hair stood straight up (I
never saw a man so easygoing about the expression and so scared about the
head) , and he was very tall, with long, thin, hairy legs. We must have looked a
weird pair as we sat there, naked, on the low three-legged stools, with the billy
and the ticker on the box between us, and ate our bread and meat with clasp-
knives.
'I shouldn't wonder,' says Dave, 'but this is the whare where the murder was
that we heard about along the road. I suppose if anyone was to come along now
and look in he'd get scared.' Then after a while he looked down at the flooring-
boards close to my feet, and scratched his ear, and said, That looks very much
like a blood-stain under your stool, doesn't it, Jim?'
I shifted my feet and presently moved the stool farther away from the fire —
it was too hot.
I wouldn't have liked to camp there by myself, but I don't think Dave would
have minded — he'd knocked round too much in the Australian bush to mind
anything much, or to be surprised at anything; besides, he was more than half-
murdered once by a man who said afterwards that he'd mistook him for someone
else; he must have been a very short-sighted murderer.
Presently we put tobacco, matches, and bits of candle we had, on the two
stools by the heads of our bunks, turned in, and filled up and smoked
119
comfortably, dropping in a lazy word now and again about nothing in particular.
Once I happened to look across at Dave, and saw him sitting up a bit and
watching the door. The door opened very slowly, wide, and a black cat walked
in, looked first at me, then at Dave, and walked out again; and the door closed
behind it.
Dave scratched his ear. 'That's rum,' he said. 'I could have sworn I fastened
that door. They must have left the cat behind.'
it looks like it,' I said. 'Neither of us has been on the booze lately.'
He got out of bed and up on his long hairy spindle-shanks.
The door had the ordinary, common black oblong lock with a brass knob.
Dave tried the latch and found it fast; he turned the knob, opened the door, and
called, 'Puss — puss — puss!' but the cat wouldn't come. He shut the door, tried
the knob to see that the catch had caught, and got into bed again.
He'd scarcely settled down when the door opened slowly, the black cat
walked in, stared hard at Dave, and suddenly turned and darted out as the door
closed smartly.
I looked at Dave and he looked at me — hard; then he scratched the back of
his head. I never saw a man look so puzzled in the face and scared about the
head.
He got out of bed very cautiously, took a stick of firewood in his hand,
sneaked up to the door, and snatched it open. There was no one there. Dave took
the candle and went into the next room, but couldn't see the cat. He came back
and sat down by the fire and meowed, and presently the cat answered him and
came in frorrvsomewhere — she'd been outside the window, I suppose; he kept
on meowing and she sidled up and rubbed against his hairy shin. Dave could
generally bring a cat that way. He had a weakness for cats. I'd seen him kick a
dog, and hammer a horse — brutality, I thought — but I never saw him hurt a
cat or let anyone else do it. Dave was good to cats: if a cat had a family where
Dave was round, he'd see her all right and comfortable, and only drown a fair
surplus. He said once to me, i can understand a man kicking a dog, or
hammering a horse when it plays up, but I can't understand a man hurting a cat.'
He gave this cat something to eat. Then he went and held the light close to
the lock of the door, but could see nothing wrong with it. He found a key on the
mantelshelf and locked the door. He got into bed again, and the cat jumped up
and curled down at the foot and started her old drum going, like shot in a sieve.
Dave bent down and patted her, to tell her he'd meant no harm when he stretched
out his legs, and then he settled down again.
We had some books of the 'Deadwood Dick' school. Dave was reading The
Grisly Ghost of the Haunted Gulch, and I had The Dismembered Hand, or The
Disembowelled Corpse, or some such names. They were first-class preparation
for a ghost.
I was reading away, and getting drowsy, when I noticed a movement and
saw Dave's frightened head rising, with the terrified shadow of it on the wall. He
was staring at the door, over his book, with both eyes. And that door was
opening again — slowly and Dave had locked it! I never felt anything so creepy:
the foot of my bunk was behind the door, and I drew up my feet as it came open;
it opened wide, and stood so. We waited, for five minutes it seemed, hearing
each other breathe, watching for the door to close; then Dave got out very
gingerly, and up on one end, and went to the door like a cat on wet bricks.
'You shot the bolt outside the catch,' I said, as he caught hold of the door —
like one grabs a crawfish.
Til swear 1 didn't; said Dave. But he'd already turned the key a couple of
times, so he couldn't be sure. He shut and locked the door again. 'Now, get out
and see for yourself,' he said.
1 got out, and tried the door a couple of times and found it all right. Then we
both tried, and agreed that it was locked.
I got back into bed, and Dave was about half in when a thought struck him.
He got the heaviest piece of firewood and stood it against the door.
'What are you doing that for?' I asked.
if there's a broken-down burglar camped round here, and trying any of his
funny business, we'll hear him if he tries to come in while we're asleep,' says
Dave. Then he got back into bed. We composed our nerves with the Haunted
Gulch and The Disembowelled Corpse, and after a while I heard Dave snore, and
was just dropping off when the stick fell from the door against my big toe and
then to the ground with tremendous clatter. I snatched up my feet and sat up with
a jerk, and so did Dave — the cat went over the partition. The door opened, only
a little way this time, paused and shut suddenly. Dave got out, grabbed a stick,
skipped to the door, and clutched at the knob as if it were a nettle, and the door
wouldn't come! — it was fast and locked! Then Dave's face began to look as
frightened as his hair. He lit his candle at the fire, and asked me to come with
him; he unlocked the door and we went into the other room, Dave shading his
candle very carefully and feeling his way slow with his feet. The room was
empty; we tried the outer door and found it locked.
Tt muster gone by the winder,' whispered Dave. I noticed that he said 'it.'
instead of 'he'. I saw that he himself was shook up, and it only needed that to
scare me bad.
We went back to the bedroom, had a drink of cold tea, and lit our pipes.
Then Dave took the waterproof cover off his bunk, spread it on the floor, laid his
blankets on top of it, his spare clothes, etc., on top of them, and started to roll up
his swag.
'What are you going to do, Dave!' I asked.
I'm going to take the track,' says Dave, 'and camp somewhere farther on.
You can stay here, if you like, and come on in the morning.'
I started to roll up my swag at once. We dressed and fastened on the tucker-
bags, took up the billies, and got outside without making any noise. We held our
back pretty hollow till we got down on to the road.
'That comes of camping in a deserted house,' said Dave, when we were safe
on the track. No Australian bushman cares to camp in an abandoned homestead,
or even near it — probably because a deserted home looks ghostlier in the
Australian bush than anywhere else in the world.
It was blowing hard, but not raining so much.
We went on along the track for a couple of miles and camped on the
sheltered side of a round tussock hill, in a hole where there had been a landship.
We used all our candle-ends to get a fire alight, but once we got it started we
knocked the wet bark off manuka sticks and logs and piled them on, and soon
had a roaring fire. When the ground got a little drier we rigged a bit of a shelter
from the showers with some sticks and the oil-cloth swag-covers; then we made

121
some coffee and got through the night pretty comfortably. In the morning Dave
said, Tm going back to that house.'
'What for?' I said.
'I'm going to find out what's the matter with that crimson door. If I don't I'll
never be able to sleep easy within a mile of a door so long as I live.'
So we went back. It was still blowing. The thing was simple enough by
daylight — after a little watching and experimenting. The house was built of
odds and ends and badly fitted. It 'gave' in the wind in almost any direction —
not much, not more than an inch or so, but just enough to throw the door-frame
out of plumb and out of square in such a way as to bring the latch and bolt of the
lock clear of the catch (the door-frame was of scraps joined). Then the door
swung open according to the hang of it; and when the gust was over the house
gave back, and the door swung to — the frame easing just a little in another
direction. I suppose it would take Edison to invent a thing like that, that came
about by accident. The different strengths and directions of the gusts of wind
must have accounted for the variations of the door's movements — and maybe
the draught of our big fire had helped.
Dave scratched his head a good bit.
T never lived in a house yet,' he said, as we came away — T never lived in a
house yet without there was something wrong with it. Gimme a good tent.'
***

What kind of entrusted narrative is it? In what way is the narrator


individualized? Find the proof to your suggestion in the text. Do not forget the
significance of the subtitle. How is the author's viewpoint realized in the text?
Through an explicit judgement? Through the choice of the vocabulary to form
implication? Through the arrangement of compositional elements?
Find the most humorous episodes and indicate language and compositional
means employed to achieve humorous effect. Has it any relation to the
exposition of the author's perspective?

Langston Hughes
(1902—1967)

TEMPTATION

Langston Hughes, a dedicated fighter for desegregation, a humanitarian, a


communist, was the first Black American to win international literary acclaim. Best
known as a poet, he has also written some books of prose, several collections of stories
about Harlem Negroes, Simple among them. Simple is his favourite character, a typical
Harlem Negro — uneducated, big-hearted, hardworking, philosophically-minded.
Clothed in the non-grammatical, often funny form, stories about Simple carry a strong
antiracist concept. The intentionally simplified naive manner of Simple, by contrast
brings into sharper focus the seriousness and urgency of the problems, discussed in his
talks with friends.
Reading the following stories, pay attention to Hughes' mastership in reproducing
the sound of live black speech, and do not miss the depth and significance of the content
presented in the form of the naively sophisticated dialogue.
"When the Lord said, 'Let there be light', and there was light, what I want to
know is where was us colored people?"
"What do you mean, 'Where were we colored people?'" I said.
"We must not of been there," said Simple, "because we are still dark. Either
He did not include me or else I were not there."
"The Lord was not referring to people when He said, 'Let there be light.' He
was referring to the elements, the atmosphere, the air."
"He must have included some people," said Simple, "because white people
are light, in fact, white, whilst I am dark. How come? I say, we were not there."
"Then where do you think we were?"
"Late as usual," said Simple, "old C. P. Time. We must have been down the
road a piece and did not get back on time."
"There was no C. P. Time in those days," I said. "In fact, no people were
created — so there couldn't be any Colored People's Time. The Lord God had
not yet breathed the breath of life into anyone."
"No?" said Simple.
"No," said I, "because it wasn't until Genesis 2 and 7 that God 'formed man
of the dust of the earth and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man
became a living soul'. His name was Adam. Then He took one of Adam's ribs
and made a woman.",
"Then trouble began," said Simple. "Thank God, they was both white."
"How do you know Adam and Eve were white?" I asked.
"When I was a kid I seen them on the Sunday school cards," said Simple.
"Ever since I been seeing a Sunday School card, they was white. That is why I
want to know where was us Negroes when the Lord said, 'Let there be light'?"
"Oh, man, you have a color complex so bad you want to trace it back to the
Bible."
"No, I don't. I just want to know how come Adam and Eve was white. If
they had started out black, this world might not be in the fix it is today. Eve
might not of paid that serpent no attention. I never did know a Negro yet that
liked a snake."
"That snake is a symbol," I said, "a symbol of temptation and sin. And that
symbol would be the same, no matter what the race."
"I am not talking about no symbol," said Simple. "I am talking about the day
when Eve took that apple and Adam et. From then on the human race has been
in trouble. There ain't colored woman living what would take no apple from a
snake — and she better not give no snake-apples to her husband!"
"Adam and Eve are symbols, too," I said.
"You are simple yourself," said Simple. "But I just wish we colored folks
had been somewhere around at the start. I do not know where we was when
Eden was a garden, but we sure didn't get in on none of the crops. If we had, we
would not be so poor today. White folks started out ahead and they are still
ahead. Look at me!"
"I am looking," I said.
"Made in the image of God," said Simple, "but I never did see anybody like
me on a Sunday school card."
"Probably nobody looked like you in biblical days," I said. "The American
Negro did not exist in В. C. You're a product of Caucasia and Africa, Harlem

123
and Dixie. You've been conditioned entirely by our environment, our modern
times."
, "Time have been hard," said Simple, "but still I am a child of God."
• "In the cosmic sense, we are all children of God."
"I have been baptized," said Simple, "also anointed with oil.
When I were a child I come through at the mourners' bench. I was converted, I
have listened to Daddy Grace and et with Father Divine, moaned with Elder
Lawson and prayed with Adam Powell. Also I have been to the Episcopalians
with Joyce. But if a snake were to come up to me and offer me an apple, I would
say, 'Varmint, be on your way! No fruit today! Bud, you got the wrong stud now,
so get along somehow, be off down the road because you're lower than a toad!'
Then that serpent would respect me as a wise man — and this world would not
be where it is — all on account of an apple. That apple has turned into an atom
now."
"To hear you talk, if you had been in the Garden of Eden, the world would
still be a Paradise," I said. "Man would not have fallen into sin."
"Not this man," said Simple. "I would have stayed in that garden making
grape wine, singing like Crosby, and feeling fine! I would not be scuffling out in
this rough world, neither would I be in Harlem. If 1 was Adam I would just stay
in Eden in that garden with no rent to pay, no landladies to dodge, no time clock
to punch — and my picture on a Sunday school card. I'd be a real gone guy even
if I didn't have but one name — Adam — and no initials."
"You would be real gone all right. But you were not there. So, my dear
fellow, I trust you will not let your rather late arrival on our contemporary stage
distort your perspective."
"No," said Simple.

"I have had so many hardships in this life," said Simple, "that it is a wonder
I'll live until I die. I was born young, black, voteless, poor, and hungry, in a state
where white folks did not even put Negroes on the census. My daddy said he
were never counted in his life by the United States government. And nobody
could find a birth certificate for me nowhere. It were not until I come to Harlem
that one day a census taker dropped around to my house and asked me where
were I born and why, also my age and if I was still living. I said, 'Yes, I am here
in spite of all.'
" 'All of what?' asked the census taker. 'Give me the data.'
" 'All my corns and bunions, for one,' I said. 'I were borned with corns. Most
colored peoples get corns so young, they must, be inherited. As for bunions, they
seem to come natural, we stands on our feet so much. These feet of mine have
stood in everything from soup lines to the draft board. They have supported
everything from a packing trunk to a hongry woman. My feet have walked ten
thousand miles running errands for white folks and another ten thousand trying
to keep up with colored. My feet have stood before altars, at crap tables, bars,
graves, kitchen doors, welfare windows, and social security railings. Be sure and
include my feet on that census you are taking,' I told that man.
"Then I went on to tell him how my feet have helped to keep the
American shoe industry going, due to the money I have spent on my feet. 'I have
wore out seven hundred pairs of shoes, eight-nine tennis shoes, forty-four
summer sandals, and two hundred and two loafers. The socks my feet have
bought could build a knitting mill. The razor blades I have used cutting away my
corns could pay for a razor plant. Oh, my feet have helped to make America rich,
and I am still standing on them.
" 'I stepped on a rusty nail once, and mighty near had lock-jaw. And from
my feet up, so many other things have happened to me, since, it is a wonder I
made it through this world. In my time, I have been cut, stabbed, run over, hit by
a car, tromped by a horse, robbed, fooled, deceived, double-crossed, dealt
seconds, and mighty near blackmailed — but I am still here! I have been laid off,
fired and not rehired, Jim Crowed, segregated, insulted, eliminated, locked in,
locked out, locked up, left holding the bag, and denied relief. I have been caught
in the rain, caught in jails, caught short with my rent, and caught with the wrong
woman — but I am still here!
" 'My mama should have named me Job instead of Jesse B. Semple. I have
been underfed, underpaid, undernourished, and everything but undertaken — yet
I am still here. The only thing I am afraid of now — is that I will die before my
time. So man, put me on your census now this year, because I may not be here
when the next census comes around.'
"The census man said, 'What do you expect to die of — complaining?'
" 'No,' I said, T expect to ugly away.' At which I thought the man would
laugh. Instead you know he nodded his head, and wrote it down. He were white
and did not know 1 was making a joke. Do you reckon that man really thought I
am homely?"
*
"My boss is white," said Simple. "Most
bosses are," I said.
"And being white and curious, my boss keeps asking me just what does THE
Negro want. Yesterday he tackled me during the coffee break, talking about
THE Negro. He always says 'THE Negro', as if there was not 50-11 different
kinds of Negroes in the USA," complained Simple. "My boss says, 'Now that
you-all have got the Ciyil Rights Bill and the Supreme Court, Adam Powell in
Congress, Ralph Bunche in the United Nations, and Leontyne Price singing in
the Metropolitan Opera, plus Dr. Martin Luther King getting the Nobel Prize,
what more do you want? I am asking you, just what does THE Negro want?"
" T am not THE Negro,' I says. T am me'
" 'Well,' says my boss, "you represent THE Negro.'
" T do not,' I says. T represent my own self.'
" 'Ralph Bunche represents you, then,' says my boss, 'and Thur-good
Marshal and Martin Luther King. Do they not?'
" T am proud to be represented by such men, if you say they represent me/ I
said. 'But all them men you name are way up there, and they do not drink beer in
my bar. I have never seen a single one of them mens on Lenox Avenue in my
natural life. So far as I know, they do not even live in Harlem. I cannot find them
in the telephone book. They all got private numbers. But since you say they
represent THE Negro, why do you not ask them what THE Negro wants?'
" T cannot get to them,' says my boss.
" 'Neither can I,' I says, 'so we both is in the same boat.'

125
" 'Well then, to come nearer home,' says my boss, 'Roy Wilkins fights your
battles, also James Farmer.'
" 'They do not drink in my bar, neither,' I said.
" 'Don't Wilkins and Farmer live in Harlem?' he asked.
" 'Not to my knowledge,' I said. 'And I bet they have not been to the Apollo
since Jackie Mabley cracked the first joke.'
" T do not know him,' said my boss, 'but I see Nipsey Russell and Bill Cosby
on TV.'
" 'Jackie Mabley is no him,' I said. 'She is a she — better known as Moms.'
" 'Oh,' said my boss.
" 'And Moms Mabley has a story on one of her records about Little Cindy
Ella and the magic slippers going to the Junior Prom at Ole Miss which tells all
about what THE Negro wants.'
" 'What's its conclusion?' asked my boss.
".'When the clock strikes midnight, Little Cindy Ella is dancing with the
President of the Ku Klux Klan, says Moms, but at the stroke of twelve, Cindy
Ella turns back to her natural self, black, and her blonde wig turns to a stocking
cap — and her trial comes up next week.'
" 'A symbolic tale,' says my boss, 'meaning, I take it, that THE Negro is in jail.
But you are not in jail.' " 'That's what you think,' I said.
" 'Anyhow, you claim you are not THE Negro,' said my boss.
" T am not,' I said. T am this Negro.'
" 'Then what do you want?' asked my boss.
" 'To get out of jail,' I said.
" 'What jail?'
" 'The jail you got me in.'
" 'Me?' yells my boss. T have not got you in jail. Why, boy. I like you. I am
a liberal. I voted for Kennedy. And this time for Johnson. I believe in
integration. Now that you got it, though, what more do you want?'
" 'Reintegration,' I said.
" 'Meaning by that, what?'
" 'That you be integrated with me, not me with you.' " 'Do you mean that I come
and live in Harlem?' asked my boss. 'Never!'
" T live in Harlem,' I said.
" 'You are adjusted to it/ said my boss. 'But there is so much crime in
Harlem/
" 'There are no two-hundred-thousand-dollar bank robberies, though,' I said,
'of which there was three lately elsewhere — all done by white folks, and nary
one in Harlem. The biggest and best crime is outside of Harlem. We never has
no half-million-dollar jewelry robberies, no missing star sapphires. You better
come uptown with me and reintegrate.'
" 'Negroes are the ones who want to be integrated,' said my boss.
" 'And white folks are the ones who do not want to be,' I said.
" 'Up to a point, we do,' said my boss.
" 'That is what THE Negro wants,' I said, 'to remove that point.' " 'The coffee
break is over,' said my boss."
***
What form of narrative is chosen by the author and why? What opportunities
does this form give to the author?
Proceeding from Simple's monologues, taking into consideration the lexico-
grammatical aspects of his speech characteristic, is it possible to say what kind
of man he is? Is it possible to say that his portrayal, though never done
explicitly, or in a piece, still is exhaustive? What makes you come to your
conclusion?
How, though the author never appreciates or condemns his protagonist, do
we "feel" that he likes Simple, sympathizes with him and shares his views? Find
in the text those language signals that have created your impression.

Richard Wright
(1908—1960)

THE MAN WHO SAW THE FLOOD

Having gone through the inferno of being a black, in the South of the USA,
painfully learning the truths of life, Richard Wright, a self-educated Negro, became the
first black prose writer to be widely translated into various languages of the world.
His bitterness and frustration, his disillusionment and hopelessness when he thinks
and writes about his black compatriots, are always mingled with sympathy,
understanding and compassion.
His characters are trapped by the modes and morals of the society, based on
apartheid and racism.
"The Man Who Saw the Flood" is one of the "Eight Men", his collection of eight
stories published posthumously, in 1961.
When the flood waters recede, the
poor folk along the river start from
scratch.

At last the flood waters had receded. A black father, a black mother, and a
black child tramped through muddy fields, leading a

127
tired cow by a thin bit of rope. They stopped on a hilltop and shifted the bundles on
their shoulders. As far as they could see the ground was covered with flood silt. The
little girl lifted a skinny finger and pointed to a mud-caked cabin. "Look, Pa! Ain tha
our home?"
The man, round-shouldered, clad in blue, ragged overalls looked with
bewildered eyes. Without moving a muscle, scarcely moving his lips, he said:
"Yeah."
For five minutes they did not speak or move. The flood waters had been more
than eight feet high here. Every tree, blade of grass, and stray stick had its flood
mark; caky, yellow mud. It clung to tht* ground, cracking thinly here and there in
spider web fashion. Over the stark fields came a gusty spring wind. The sky was
high, blue, full of white clouds and sunshine. Over all hung a fist-day strangeness.
"The henhouse is gone," sighed the woman.
"N the pigpen," sighed the man.
They spoke without bitterness.
"Ah reckon them chickens is all done drowned."
"Yeah."
"Miz Flora's house is gone, too," said the little girl. They looked at a clump of trees
where their neighbor's house had stood. "Lawd!"
"Yuh reckon anybody knows where they is?" "Hard t
tell."
The man walked down the slope and stood uncertainly. "There wuz a road erlong
here sornewheres," he said. But there was no road now. Just a wide sweep of yellow,
scalloped silt.
"Look, Tom!" called the woman. "Here's a piece of our gate!"
The gatepost was half buried in the ground. A rusty hinge stood stiff, like a
lonely finger. Tom pried it loose and caught it firmly in his hand. There was nothing
particular he wanted to do with it; he just stood holding it firmly. Finally he dropped
it, looked up, and said:
"C mon. Les go down n see whut we kin do." Because it sat in a slight depression,
the ground about the cabin was soft and slimy.
"Gimme the bag о lime, May," lr said.
With his shoes sucking in mud, h? .vent slowly around the cabin, spreading the
white lime with thick ringers. When he reached the front again he had a little left; he
shook the bag out on the porch. The fine grains of floating lime flickered in the
sunlight.
"tha oughta hep some," he said.
"Now, yuh be careful, Sal!" said May. "Don yuh go n fall down in all this mud, yuh
hear?" "Yessum."

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The steps were gone. Tom lifted May and Sally to the porch. They stood a
moment looking at the half-opened door. He had shut it when he left, but
somehow it seemed natural that he should find it open. The planks in the porch
floor were swollen and warped. The cabin had two colors; near the bottom it was
a solid yellow; at the top it was the familiar gray. It looked weird, as though its
ghost were standing beside it.
The cow lowed.
'Tie Pat t the pos on the en of the porch, May."
May tied the rope slowly, listlessly. When they attempted to open the front
door, it would not budge. It was not until Tom placed his shoulder against it and
gave it a stout shove that it scraped back jerkily. The front room was dark and
silent. The damp smell of flood silt came fresh and sharp to their nostrils. Only
one-half of the upper window was clear, and through it fell a rectangle of dingy
light. The floors swam in ooze. Like a mute warning, a wavering flood mark
went high around the walls of the room. A dresser sat eater-cornered, its drawers
and sides bulging like a bloated corpse. The bed, with the mattress still on it, was
like a giant casket forged of mud. Two smashed chairs lay in a corner, as though
huddled together for protection.
"Les see the kitchen," said Tom.
The stovepipe was gone. But the stove stood in the same place.
"The stove's still good. We kin clean it."
"Yeah."
"But Where's the table?" "Lawd
knows."
"It must've washed erway wid the rest of the stuff, Ah reckon."
They opened the back door and looked out. They missed the barn, the
henhouse, and the pigpen.
"Tom, yuh bettah try tha ol pump n see ef eny watah's there."
The pump was stiff. Tom threw his weight on the handle and carried it up
and down. No water came. He pumped on. There was a dry, hollow cough. Then
yellow water trickled. He caught his breath and kept pumping. The water flowed
white.
"Thank Gawd! We's got some watah."
"Yuh bettah boil it fo yuh use it," he said.
"Yeah. Ah know."
"Look, Pa! Here's yo ax," called Sally. Tom took the ax from her. "Yeah. Ah'll
need this." "N here's somethin else," called Sally, digging spoons out of the mud.
"Waal, Ahma git a bucket n start cleanin," said May. "Ain no use in waitin,
cause we's gotta sleep on them floors tonight."
When she was filling the bucket from the pump, Tom called from around the
cabin. "May, look! Ah done foun mah plow!" Proudly he dragged the silt-caked
plow to the pump. "Ah'll wash it n it'll be awright."
"Ahm hongry," said Sally.
"Now, yuh jus wait! Yuh et this mawnin," said May. She turned to Tom. "Now,
whutcha gonna do, Tom?" He stood looking at the mud-filled fields. "Yuh goin
back t Burgess?" "Ah reckon Ah have to." "Whut else kin yuh do?"

130
"Nothin," he said. "Lawd, but Ah sho hate t start all over wid tha white man.
Ah'd leave here ef Ah could. Ah owes im nigh eight hundred dollahs. N we
needs a hoss, grub, seed, n a lot mo other things. Ef we keeps on like this tha
white man'll own us body n soul."
"But, Tom, there ain nothin else i do," she said.
"Ef we try t run erway they'll put us in jail."
"It coulda been worse," she said.
Sally came running from the kitchen. "Pa!"
"Hunh?"
"There's a shelf in the kitchen the flood didn git!" "Where?"
"Right up over the stove." "But, chile, ain nothin up
there," said May. "But there's somethin on it," said
Sally. "C mon. Les see."
High and dry, untouched by the flood-water, was a box of matches. And
beside it a half-full sack of Bull Durham tobacco. He took a match from the box
and scratched it on his overalls. It burned to his fingers before he dropped it.
"May!"
"Hunh?"
"Look! Here's ma bacco n some matches!"
She stared unbelievingly. "Lawd!" she breathed.
Tom rolled a cigarette clumsily.
May washed the stove, gathered some sticks, and after some difficulty, made
a fire. The kitchen stove smoked, and their eyes smarted. May put water on to
heat and went into the front room. It was getting dark. From the bundles they
took a kerosene lamp and lit it. Outside Pat lowed longingly into the thickening
gloam and tinkled her cowbell.
"Tha old cow's hongry," said May.
"Ah reckon Ah'll have t be gittin erlong t Burgess."
They stood on the front porch.
"Yuh bettah git on, Tom, fo it gits too dark."
"Yeah."
The wind had stopped blowing. In the east a cluster of stars hung.
"Yuh goin, Tom?"
"Ah reckon Ah'll have t."
"Ma, Ah'm hongry," said Sally.
"Wait erwhile, honey. Ma knows yuh's hongry."
Tom threw his cigarette away and sighed. "Look!
Here comes somebody!" "Thas Mistah Burgess
now!"
A mud-caked buggy rolled up. The shaggy horse was splattered all over.
Burgess leaned his white face out of the buggy and spat. "Well, I see you're
back." "Yessuh."
"How things look?"
"They don look so good, Mistah."
"What seems to be the trouble?"
"Waal. Ah ain got no hoss, no grub, nothin. The only thing Ah got is tha ol
cow there..."
"You owe eight hundred dollahs at the store, Tom."
"Yessuh, Ah know. But, Mistah Burgess, can't yuh knock some-thin off of
tha, seein as how Ahm down n out now?"
"You ate that grub, and I got to pay for it, Tom."
"Yessuh, Ah know."
"It's going to be a little tough, Tom. But you got to go through with it. Two
of the boys tried to run away this morning and dodge their debts, and I had to
have the sheriff pick em up. I wasn't looking for no trouble out of you. The rest
of the families are going back."
Leaning out of the buggy, Burgess waited. In the surrounding stillness the
cowbell tinkled again. Tom stood with his back against a post.
"Yuh got t go on, Tom. We ain't got nothin here," said May. Tom looked at
Burgess.
"Mistah Burgess, Ah don wanna make no trouble. But this is jut too hard.
Ahm worse off now than befo. Ah got to start from scratch."
"Get in the buggy and come with me. I'll stake you with grub. We can talk
over how you pay it back." Tom said nothing. He rested his back against the post
and looked at the mud-filled fields.
"Well," asked Burgess. "You coming?" Tom said nothing. He got slowly to
the ground and pulled himself into the buggy. May watched them drive off.
"Hurry back, Tom!"
"Awright."
"Ma, tell Pa t bring me some 'lasses," begged Sally. "Oh, Tom!"
Tom's head came out of the side of the buggy. "Hunh?"
"Bring some 'lasses!"
"Hunhr
"Bring some 'lasses for Sal!"
"Awright!"
She watched the buggy disappear over the crest of the muddy hill. Then she
sighed, caught Sally's hand, and turned back into the cabin.
In this story, again, we see no open evaluations given by the author, but we
are quick to understand that his affections and concerns lie with the beflooded
family. How is this tone of compassion created?
Though the author is very accurate in accentuating the characters' a-
grammatical and a-phonetical speech, there is no mockery or accusation in the
story. What is the function of all the graphons and grammar violations?
The manner of narration is objectively neutral, still it is possible to say that
Wright condemns the situation. What gives us the right to come to such a
conclusion? Are there any indications in the vocabulary? Syntax? Composition?
Prove your answer by illustrations from the story.

Alice Walker (b.


1944)

STRONG HORSE TEA


Alice Walker belongs to the generation of the 40s, she is an articulate and zealous
champion of the movement in defense of Afro-American rights. She writes prose,
criticism and poetry, is doing much social work.

132
Like two previous stories "Strong Horse Tea" (first published in 1968 in "Negro
Digest") deals with poverty, destitution and hopelessness of the conditions under which
Black Americans live more than a century after slavery was abolished and they were
granted freedom and equality.

Rannie Toomer's little baby boy Snooks was dying from double pneumonia
and whooping cough. She sat away from him gazing into a low fire, her long
crusty bottom lip hanging. She was not married. Was not pretty. Was not
anybody much. And he was all she had.
"Lawd, why don't that doctor come on here?" she moaned, tears sliding from
her sticky eyes. She hadn't washed since Snooks took sick five days before, and
a long row-of whitish snail tracks laced her ashen face.
"What you ought to try is one of the old home remedies," Sarah urged. She
was an old neighboring lady who wore magic leaves around her neck sewed up
in possum skin next to a dried lizard's foot. She knew how magic came about
and could do magic herself, people said.
"We going to have us a doctor," Rannie Toomer said fiercely, walking over
to shoo a fat winter fly from her child's forehead. "I don't believe in none of your
swamp magic. The 'old home remedies' I took when I was a child come just
short of killing me."
Snooks, under a pile of faded quilts, made a small oblong mound in the bed.
His head was like a ball of black putty wedged between the thin covers and the
dingy yellow pillow. His eyes were partly open as if he were peeping out of his
hard wasted skull at the chilly room, and the forceful pulse of his breathing
caused a faint rustling in the sheets near his mouth like the wind pushing damp
papers in a shallow ditch.
"What time you reckon he'll git here?" asked Sarah, not expecting an
answer. She sat with her knees wide apart under three long skirts and a
voluminous Mother Hubbard heavy with stains. From time to time she reached
down to sweep her damp skirts away from the live coals. It was almost spring,
but the winter cold still clung to her bones, and she had to almost sit in the
fireplace to get warm. Her deep, sharp eyes had aged a moist hesitant blue that
gave her a quick dull stare like a hawk. She gazed coolly at Rannie Toomer and
rapped the hearthstones with her stick.
"White mailman, white doctor," she chanted skeptically.
"They gotta come see 'bout this baby," Rannie Toomer said wistfully.
"Who'd go and ignore a little sick baby like my Snooks?"
"Some folks we don't know well as we thinks we do might," the old lady
replied. "What you want to give that boy of yours is one or two of the old home
remedies, arrowsroot or sassyfrass and cloves, or a sugar tit soaked in cat's
blood."
"We don't need none of your witch's remedies!" said Rannie Toomer. "We
going to git some of them shots that makes people well. Cures'em of all they
ails, cleans 'em out and makes 'em strong, all at the same time." She grasped her
baby by his shrouded toes and began to gently twist, trying to knead life into him
the same way she kneaded limberness into flour dough. She spoke upward from
his feet as if he were an altar.
"Doctor'll be here soon, baby. I done sent the mailman." She left him
reluctantly to go and stand by the window. She pressed her face against the
glass, her flat nose more flattened as she peered out at the rain.
She had gone up to the mailbox in the rain that morning, hoping she hadn't
missed the mailman's car. She had sat down on an old milk can near the box and
turned her drooping face in the direction the mailman's car would come. She had
no umbrella, and her feet shivered inside thin, clear plastic shoes that let in water
and mud.
"Howde, Rannie Mae," the red-faced mailman said pleasantly, as he always
did, when she stood by his car waiting to ask him something. Usually she
wanted to ask what certain circulars meant that showed pretty pictures of things
she needed. Did the circulars mean that somebody was coming around later and
give her hats and suitcases and shoes and sweaters and rubbing alcohol and a
heater for the house and a fur bonnet for her baby? Or, why did he always give
her the pictures if she couldn't have what was in them? Or, what did the words
say? ... Especially the big word written in red "S-A-L-E!"?
He would explain shortly to her that the only way she could get, the goods
pictured on the circulars was to buy them in town and that town stores did their
advertising by sending out pictures of their goods. She would listen with her
mouth hanging open until he finished. Then she would exclaim in a dull amazed
way that she never had any money and he could ask anybody: She couldn't ever
buy any of the things in the pictures — so why did the stores keep sending them
to her?
He tried to explain to her that everybody got the circulars whether they had
any money to buy with or not. That this was one of the laws of advertising, and
he couldn't do anything about it. He was sure she never understood what he tried
to teach her about advertising, for one day she asked him for any extra circulars
he had, and when he asked her what she wanted them for — since she couldn't
afford to buy any of the items advertised — she said she needed them to paper
the inside of her house to keep out the wind.
Today he thought she looked more ignorant than usual as she stuck her
dripping head inside his car. He recoiled from her breath and gave little attention
to what she was saying about her sick baby as he mopped up the water she
dripped on the plastic door handle of the car,
"Well, never can keep 'em dry; I mean, warm enough, in rainy weather like
this here," he mumbled absently, stuffing a wad of circulars advertising hair
dryers and cold creams into her hands. He wished she would stand back from his
car so he could get going. But she clung to the side gabbing away about
"Snooks" and "pneumonia" and "shots" and about how she wanted a "real
doctor!"
To everything she said he nodded. "That right?" he injected sympathetically
when she stopped for breath, and then he began to sneeze, for she was letting in
wetness and damp, and he felt he was coming down with a cold. Black people as
black as Rannie Toomer always made Rim uneasy, especially when they didn't
smell good and when you could tell they didn't right away. Rannie Mae, leaning
in over him out of the rain, smelled like a wet goat. Her dark dirty eyes clinging
to his with such hungry desperation made him nervous.
"Well, ah, mighty sorry to hear 'bout the little fella," he said, groping for the
window crank. "We'll see what we can do!" He gave her what he hoped was a
big friendly smile. God! He didn't want to hurt her feelings; she did look so
pitiful hanging there in the rain. Suddenly he had an idea.

134
"Whyn't you try some of old Aunt Sarah's home remedies?" he suggested
brightly. He half believed along with everybody else in the county that the old
blue-eyed black woman possessed magic. Magic that if it didn't work on whites
probably would on blacks. But Rannie Toomer almost turned the car over
shaking her head and body with an emphatic NO! She reached in a wet hand to
grasp his shoulder.
"We wants us a doctor, a real doctor!" she screamed. She had begun to cry
and drop her tears on him. "You git us a doctor from town!" she bellowed,
shaking the solid shoulder that bulged under his new tweed coat.
"Like I say," he drawled patiently, although beginning to be furious with
her, "we'll do what we can!" And he hurriedly rolled up the window and sped
down the road, cringing from the thought that she had put her nasty black hands
on him.
"Old home remedies! Old home remedies!" Rannie Toomer had cursed the
words while she licked at the hot tears that ran down her face, the only warmth
about her. She turned backwards to the trail that led to her house, trampling the
wet circulars under her feet. Under the fence she went and was in a pasture
surrounded by dozens of fat whitefolks' cows and an old gray horse and a mule.
Cows and horses never seemed to have much trouble, she thought, as she hurried
home.
Old Sarah dug steadily at the fire; the bones in her legs ached as if they were
outside the flesh that enclosed them.
"White mailman, white doctor. White doctor, white mailman," she
murmured from time to time, putting the poker down carefully and rubbing her
shins.
"You young ones will turn to them," she said, "When it is us what got the
power."
"The doctor's coming, Aunt Sarah. I know he is," Rannie Toomer said
angrily.
It was less than an hour after she had talked to the mailman that she looked
up expecting the doctor and saw old Sarah tramping through the grass on her
walking stick. She couldn't pretend she wasn't home with the smoke from her
fire climbing out the chimney, so she let her in, making her leave her bag of
tricks on the porch.
Old woman old as that ought to forgit trying to cure other people with her
nigger magic. Ought to use some of it on herself she thought. She would not let
Sarah lay a finger on Snooks and warned her if she tried anything she would
knock her over the head with her own cane.
"He coming, all right," Rannie Toomer said again firmly, looking with
prayerful eyes out through the rain.
"Let me tell you, child," the old woman said almost gently, sipping the
coffee Rannie Toomer had given her. "He ain't."
She had not been allowed near the boy on the bed, and that had made her
angry at first, but now she looked with pity at the young woman who was so
afraid her child would die. She felt rejected but at the same time sadly glad that
the young always grow up hoping. It did take a long time to finally realize that
you could only depend on those who would come.
"But I done told you," Rannie Toomer was saying in exasperation, "I asked
the mailman to bring a doctor for my Snooks!"
Cold wind was shooting all around her from the cracks in the window
framing; faded circulars blew inward from the walls.
"He done fetched the doctor," the old woman said, softly stroking her coffee
cup. "What you reckon brung me over here in this here flood? It wasn't no desire
to see no rainbows, I can tell you."
Rannie Toomer paled.
'i's the doctor, child. That there mailman didn't git no further with that
message of yours then the road in front of rny house. Lucky he got good lungs
— deef as I is I had myself a time trying to make out what he was yelling."
Rannie began to cry, moaning.
Suddenly the breathing from the bed seemed to drown out the noise of the
downpour outside. The baby's pulse seemed to make the whole house shake.
"Here!" she cried, snatcning the baby up and handing him to Sarah. "Make
him well! Oh, my lawd, make him well!"
"Let's not upset the little fella unnecessarylike," Sarah said, placing the baby
back on the bed. Gently she began to examine him, all the while moaning and
humming a thin pagan tune that pushed against the sound of the wind and rain
with its own melancholy power. She stripped him of his clothes, poked at his
fiberless baby ribs, blew against his chest. Along his tiny flat back she ran her
soft old fingers. The child hung on in deep rasping sleep, and his small glazed
eyes neither opened fully nor fully closed.
Rannie Toomer swayed over the bed watching the old woman touching the
baby. She mourned the time she had wasted waiting for a doctor. Her feeling of
guilt was a stone.
"I'll do anything you say do, Aunt Sarah," she cried mopping at her nose
with her dress. "Anything you say, just, please God, make him git better."
Old Sarah dressed the baby again and sat down in front of the fire. She
stayed deep in thought for several minutes. Rannie Toomer gazed first into her
silent face and then at the baby whose breathing seemed to have eased since
Sarah picked him up.
"Do something, quick!" she urged Sarah, beginning to believe in her powers
completely. "Do something that'll make him rise up and call his mama!"
"The child's dying," said the old woman bluntly, staking out beforehand
some limitation to her skill. "But," she went on, "there might be something still
we might try..."
"What?" asked Rannie Toomer from her knees. She knelt before the old
woman's chair, wringing her hands and crying. She fastened herself to Sarah's
chair. How could she have thought anyone else could help her Snooks, she
wondered brokenly, when you couldn't even depend on them to come! She had
been crazy to trust anyone but the withered old magician before her.
"What can I do?" she urged fiercely, blinded by her new faith, driven by the
labored breathing from the bed.
"It going to take a strong stomach," said Sarah slowly. "It going to take a
mighty strong stomach, and most of you young peoples these days don't have
'em!"
"Snooks got a strong stomach," Rannie Toomer said, peering anxiously into
the serious old face.

136
"It ain't him that's got to have the strong stomach," Sarah said, glancing at
the sobbing girl at her feet. "You the one got to have the strong stomach... he
won't know what it is he's drinking."
Rannie Toomer began to tremble way down deep in her stomach. It sure was
weak, she thought. Trembling like that. But what could she mean her Snooks to
drink? Not cat's blood! and not any of the other messes she'd heard Sarah
specialized in that would make anybody's stomach turn. What did she mean?
"What is it?" she whispered, bringing her head close to Sarah's knee. Sarah
leaned down and put her toothless mouth to her ear.
"The only thing that can save this child now is some good strong horse tea!"
she said, keeping her eyes turned toward the bed. "The only thing. And if you
wants him out of that bed you better make tracks to git some!"

Rannie Toomer took up her wet coat and stepped across the porch to the
pasture. The rain fell against her face with the force of small hailstones. She
started walking in the direction of the trees where she could see the bulky
lightish shapes of cows. Her thin plastic shoes were sucked at by the mud, but
she pushed herself forward in a relentless search for the lone gray mare.
All the animals shifted ground and rolled big dark eyes at Rannie Toomer.
She made as little noise as she could and leaned herself against a tree to wait.
Thunder rose from the side of the sky like tires of a big truck rumbling over
rough dirt road. Then it stood a split second in the middle of the sky before it
exploded like a giant firecracker, then rolled away again like an empty keg.
Lightning streaked across the sky, setting the air white and charged.
Rannie Toomer stood dripping under her tree hoping not to be struck. She
kept her eyes carefully on the behind of the gray mare, who, after nearly an hour
had passed, began nonchalantly to spread her muddy knees.
At that moment Rannie Toomer realized that she had brought nothing to
catch the precious tea in. Lightning struck something not far off and caused a
cracking and groaning in the woods that frightened the animals away from their
shelter. Rannie Toomer slipped down in the mud trying to take off one of her
plastic shoes, and the gray mare, trickling some, broke for a clump of cedars
yards away.
Rannie Toomer was close enough to the mare to catch the tea if she could
keep up with her while she ran. So, alternately holding her breath and gasping
for air, she started after her. Mud from her fall clung to her elbows and streaked
her frizzy hair. Slipping and sliding in the mud she raced after the big mare,
holding out, as if for alms, her plastic shoe.

In the house Sarah sat, her shawls and sweaters tight around her, rubbirrg
her knees and muttering under her breath. She heard the thunder, saw the
lightning that lit up the dingy room, and turned her waiting face to the bed.
Hobbling over on stiff legs, she could hear no sound; the frail breathing had
stopped with the thunder, not to come again.

Across the mud-washed pasture Rannie Toomer stumbled, holding out her
plastic shoe for the gray mare to fill. In spurts and splashes mixed with rainwater
she gathered her tea. In parting, the old mare snorted and threw up one big leg,
knocking her back into the mud. She rose trembling and crying, holding the
shoe, spilling none over the top but realizing a leak, a tiny crack, at her shoe's
front. Quickly she stuck her mouth there over the crack, and ankle deep in the
slippery mud of the pasture, and freezing in her shabby wet coat, she ran home
to give the good and warm strong horse tea to her baby Snooks.
***
Which one of the three Afro-American stories produces the most tragic
impression and why?
Thought Rannie Toomer is not judged by the author, her characteristic can
be assembled from her actions, thoughts, remarks. Is the author condemning her
or sympathizing with her?
What message is carried by the old woman "the witch doctor"?
Besides the black women there is still another character — the white
mailman. What can you say about him? Is he judged and condemned by the
author? In what way is he characterized? Explicit? Implicit? Both?
Is the situation described in the story unique? Typical? Can you recollect
any other stories with a similar contrast and confrontation of the Black/White
attitudes?

Flannery O'Connor
(1925—1964)

AN EXILE IN THE EAST

Flannery O'Connor lived a short life and left only two novels and two collections of
shorj stories, which in her own words, were long in depth.
"An Exile in the East" proves her to be right: though there is no outward dynamics
in the movement of the plot, the story about the tragic loneliness of old age is really "long
in depth".
"An Exile", like her other works, is tragi-comic, which corresponds to her
statement that the maximum amount of seriousness admits the maximum amount of
comedy.
While reading the story, do no not hurry through it, "listen" to different voices,
interwoven into the narration and try to look at things through the eyes of entrusted or
represented narrators.
Old Tanner lowered himself into the chair he was gradually molding to his
own shape and looked out the window ten feet away at another window framed
by blackened red brick. The brim of his black felt hat was pulled down sharply
to shade his eyes from the grey streak of sunlight that dropped in the alley. He
was a heavy old man and he had almost ruined their chair already. He had heard
the son-in-law, in his nasal yankee whisper, call him "the cotton bale in there."
He would have liked to be thin to be less in their way. He didn't eat any more of
their food than he had to but no flesh had fallen off him since he had come. He
was still walled up in it. Since he had been here he had only got pale, or rather
yellow with brown spots, whereas at home, his spots had been red and purple.
His daughter wouldn't let him wear his hat inside except when he sat like
this in front of the window. He told her it was necessary to keep the light out of
his eyes; which it was not: the light here was as weak as everything else. He had
bought the hat new to come here in and whenever he thought how he had
actually been that foolish, he would catch both arms of the chair and lean
138
forward, gasping as if he could not get enough air. His face was large and
bloated and his pale grey eyes, far under the hat brim, were as weak as the
sunlight. His vision reached as far as the other window ledge across the alley
and stopped. He never tried to look into the other window. He waited every
morning, sitting here, for them to put their geranium on the ledge. Nothing else
they had could interest him and they had no business with a geranium as they
didn't know how to take care of it. They put it out every morning about ten and
took it in at five-thirty or so. It reminded him of the Grisby child at home who
had polio and was set out in the sun like that every morning to blink. These
people across the alley thought they had something in this sick geranium that
they didn't know how to take care of. They let the sun slow-cook it all day and
they set it so near-the edge that any sudden wind could have done for it. At
home where the sunlight was strong, the geraniums were red and tough. Every
morning after breakfast he sat down in the chair in front of the window and
waited, as if he were waiting for a performance to begin, for the pair of hands to
put the geranium in the window. He pulled a large watch from his pocket and
looked at the time. It was four minutes after ten.
His daughter came in and stood in the door, rubbing a yellow dishrag over
the botton of a pan while she watched him with her air of righteous exhaustion.
She was lean and swaybacked.
"Why don't you go out for a stroll?" she asked.
He didn't answer. He set his jaw and looked straight ahead. A stroll. He
could barely manage to stay upright on his feet and she used the word stroll.
"Well huh?" she said. She always waited to be answered and looked at as if
something could come of answering her or looking at her.
"No," he said in a voice that was wavery, almost reed-like. If his eyes began
to water, she would see and have the pleasure of looking sorry for him. She
enjoyed looking sorry1 for herself too; but she could have saved herself, old
Tanner thought, and shifted his weight so abruptly in the chair that the spring on
one side gave a raucous creak. If she'd just have let him alone and not been so
taken up with her damn duty, let him stay where he was and not been so taken
up with her damn duty, she could have spared herself this.
She gave the pan one more lingering rub and then left the door with a sigh
that seemed to remain suspended in the room for some seconds to remind him
that it was actually his own fault he was here; he hadn't had to come; he had
wanted to. This thought tightened his throat so quickly that he leaned forward
and opened his mouth as if he had to let air into himself or choke. He unbuttoned
his collar and twisted his huge neck and then his hand fell, shaking at the wrist,
on the mound of stomach that lay in his lap.
He could have got out of coming. He could have been stubborn and said to
her that helpless or not helpless he'd spend his life where he'd always spent it,
send him or don't send him a check every month, he'd continue on as he'd
continued on before. He had raised up five boys and this girl with sawmilling
and farming and one thing and another and the result of it was the five boys were
gone, two to the devil and one to the asylum and two to the government and
there was nobody left but the daughter, married and living in New York City
like a big woman, and ready, when she came home and found him the way he
was, to take him back with her. She was more than ready, he had told Coleman,
she was hog-wild. She was thirsting to have some duty to do. When she had
found him in a shack made entirely of tin and crates, but large enough for a cook
stove and a cot and a pallet for the nigger — and the nigger, she said, that filthy
Coleman, half the time in there drunk on the pallet — when she had seen this,
his deplorable conditions, she had shivered all over with duty.
"How do you stand that nigger?" she had wailed. "How do you stand that
drunk stinking nigger, right there beside you? I can't stay in that place two
minutes without getting sick!"
"I'd been dead long since if he hadn't been waiting on me hand and foot," he
said. "Who you think cooks? Who you think empties my slops?"
"You don't have to live like this," she sa-id. "If you ain't got any pride, I
have and I know my duty and I've been raised to do it."
"Who raised you?" he asked.
"Righteous people though poor," she said. "Where'd you get that awful
nigger anyway? Why's he stay with you? You can't pay him. He's the one
feeding you. Do you think I want to see my own father living off a nigger? The
both of them eating stolen chickens?"
"I give him a roof," he said. "This is my shack. I made it myself."
"It looks like you made it," she said.
It was true that he had been on a nigger's hands more or less but he had not
thought of it that way until she appeared. Before that Coleman had been on his
hands for forty years. They were both old now, him sewed up in a wall of flesh
and the other twisted double with no flesh at all. Between them they made out. It
was his shack and if he ate what the nigger could find for them to eat, he was
still providing the roof and giving the orders.
Since he had been up here he had got one post card from Coleman that said,
'This is Coleman. X. How do boss. Coleman," and the other side was a picture of
a local monument put up by the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Coleman had marked the X and got somebody to write the rest of it for him. Old
Tanner had sent him a post card in return with. "This place is alrite if you like it.
Franklyn R. T. Tanner," written on it. The other side was a picture of General
Grant's tomb. He kept Coleman's card stuck behind the inside band of his hat.
At home he had lived in a shack but here she didn't even live in a house. She
lived in a building with more other people than could be counted living in the
same building with her and that building in the middle of a row of buildings all
alike, all blackened red and grey with rasp-mouthed people hanging out their
windows looking at other windows with other rasp-mouthed people hanging out
looking back at them. And this was the way the whole city was. It kept on going
on this way for miles around itself.
Sometimes he would sit and imagine showing New York to Coleman. He
didn't imagine further than their walking down the street and his turning now
and then to say, "Keep to the inside or these people'll knock you down. Keep
right behind, me or you'll get left. Keep your hat on," and the negro coming on
with his bent running shamble, panting and muttering, "Just lemme get away
from here, just lemme get back where I was, just lemme offen this walk, just
lemme be back where I come from, why you brung me here?" and him saying,
"It was your idea. Keep your eyes on my back. Don't take your eyes off my back
or you'll get lost."
She might say he was living off a nigger but he had been putting up with
that nigger for forty years. They had first come across each other forty years ago
140
when Coleman was twice his present size and known for a trouble-maker, a big
black loose-jointed nigger who had been hanging around the edge of his sawmill
for a week, not working, just stirring up the other hands and boasting. He had
known it was no nigger to hang around his sawmill and not work, no matter how
big or black or mean. He was a thin man then and he had some disease that
caused his hand to shake. He had taken to whittling to steady the hand and he
managed his sawmill niggers entirely with a very sharp pen knife. This Coleman
finally got them all discontented enough to sit down on the job — six niggers off
in the middle of the woods, against one white man with a shaky hand — but the
other five were willing for the trouble to be between him and Coleman. They
were as sorry a crew as he had ever worked. They were willing to lie back
against the sawdust pile and watch and the big black one, Coleman, he was
willing to lean against a tree in full sight and wait until he was accosted, because
he had never been accosted before, only ignored. He thought here was one white
man afraid of him and with good reason as this didn't appear to be much of a
white man, gaunt and yellow-grey and shaking in the wrist. The others had been
content just to sit and wait and so they sat and waited and he was in no hurry
himself he remembered and the nigger against the tree was in no hurry and if
they all wanted a show, they could take their ease and wait until he was ready to
begin it.
He had eyed that nigger once and then he had started hunting on the ground
with his foot for a piece of bark to whittle on. He had found two or three and
thrown them away until he found a piece about four inches long and a few
inches wide and not very thick and then he had begun to cut, making his way
closer to that black leaning nigger all the time but not paying him any attention.
His hand with the knife in it probably worked as fast as an old woman's with a
tatting needle and it must have looked wild to the nigger. He finally got up to
him and stopped and stood there in front of him, gouging two round holes out of
the piece of bark and then holding it off a little way and looking through the
holes past a pile of shavings into the woods and on down to where he could see
the edge of the.pen they had built to keep their mules in. He began.to carve again
with the nigger watching his hand.
He rounded the holes from inside and out and the nigger never quit watching
his hand. "Nigger," he could have said, "this knife is in my hand now but it's
going to be in your gut in a few minutes," but that was not what he had said. He
had said, "Nigger, how is your eyesight?" and he hadn't waited for any answer;
he had begun to scrape around with his foot on the ground, looking for a piece of
wire. He turned over a small piece of haywire and then another shorter piece of a
heavier kind and he picked these up and began to prick out openings on either
end of the bark to attach them to. When he finished he had a large pair of pine
bark spectacles.
"I been watching you hanging around here for about a week," he said, "and I
don't think you can see so good and I hate to see anybody can't see good. Put
these on," and for the first time he had actually looked up at that nigger and what
he saw in his eyes was more' than pure admiration, it was a kind of awe for the
hand and the spectacles. That nigger had reached out for the spectacles and had
put them on his nose and attached the wire bows behind his ears in a slow
careful way and then he had stood there, looking as if he saw the white man in
front of him for the first time.
"What you see in front of you?"
"See a man," the nigger had said.
"Is he white or black?" "He
white."
"Well you treat him like he was white. Now you see better than you been
seeing?" "Yesshh."
"Then get to work," he had said, "and get these others to work because I've
took all I'm going to take from them," and the nigger had said, "Is these my
glasses now?" and he had said, "Yes, what's your name?" and the nigger had
said, "Coleman."
He had been able to make the spectacles in a few minutes but he could not
carve now at all because his hands were too swollen. By the time he had left
home, he could not do anything at all but sit and he had been fool enough to
think it would be better to sit in a new place. He couldn't even fire a gun
anymore. Coleman's hands were twisted but he could still hunt. Coleman still
had plenty he could do. All he himself could do was sit. The geranium was late
today. He pulled out the watch again and looked at the time. It was ten-thirty and
they usually had it out by ten. The shade of the window where they put it out
was always halfway down so that he never saw anything but a pair of arms
thrust it out on the ledge, sometimes a man's, sometimes a woman's. The man
always put it too near the ledge. It was the only thing he had seen growing since
he had come to the city. At home any woman could have set it out in the ground
and made something of it. We got real ones of them at home, he wanted to holler
whenever the hands stuck it out on the ledge. We'd stick theter thang in the
ground, Lady, and have us a real one.
He put the watch back in his pocket. Outside a woman shrieked something
unintelligible and a garbage can fell on one of the fire escapes and banged to the
concrete. Then inside, the door to the next apartment slammed and he heard a
sharp distinct footstep clip down the hall. "That's the nigger," he muttered,
"yonder he goes somewheres," and he sat forward as if he might get up
suddenly.
The nigger lived in the next apartment. He had been here a month when the
nigger moved in. That Thursday he had been standing in the door, looking out
into the empty hall when a big light brown baldheaded but young nigger walked
into the next apartment, which was vacant. He had on a grey business suit and a
tan tie. His collar was white and made a clear cut line across his neck and his
shoes were shiny tan and matched his skin — he was the kind rich people would
dress up for a butler but there were no rich people in this building. Then he had
seen the manager of the building come up the steps and go in the apartment
behind the nigger and then he had heard, with his own ears, the nigger rent the
apartment. For some time after he had heard it, he still didn't believe it. Then
when it finally came down on him that the nigger was actually going to rent the
apartment, he had gone and got the daughter by the arm and brought her to the
door to listen. The voices were still

142
going on in there, the manager's and the nigger's, and he had held her by the arm
in the door while they listened. Then he had shut it, and stood looking at her.
Her big square face had cracked in a silly grin and she had said, "Now don't
you go getting friendly with him. I don't want any trouble with niggers. If you
have to live next to them, just mind your own business and they'll mind theirs.
Everybody can get along if they just mind their business. Live and let live," she
said. "That's my motto. Up here everybody just minds their own business and
everybody gets along. That's all you have to do."
He had stood there, hardly able to endure looking at her. Then he had raised
his hand and tried to tighten it into a fist. He had felt the breath come wheezing
into his windpipe and he had said in a throaty squeak that should have been
thundery, "You ain't been raised thataway!" He had to sit down before he could
say any more. He had backed onto a straight chair by the door. "You ain't been
raised to live next to niggers that rent the same as you. And you think I would go
taking up with one of that kind! You ought to move. You ought to get out of this
building and go where there ain't any. You ain't been raised to live with renting
niggers just like you. You ain't been raised thataway!" Finally he had realized
that he was moving his mouth but that the sound had stopped coming.
She had stood there repeating, "I live and let live, I live and let live," as if
she were trying to remember a better argument she had and couldn't. Then it hit
her. Her face looked as if she had discovered gold. "Well, you should squawk!"
she shouted. "You should squawk! You living in the same room with that nasty
stinking filthy Coleman!"
He couldn't endure to look at her. Every day he thought he couldn't endure it
through the day if he had to look at her one more time.
He did not get out of the chair. The nigger's footsteps died away, and he sat
back. The daughter was making a clatter in the kitchen. She was always banging
something. All he could do anymore was sit and listen to her noise and wait on
the flower to be put in the window. He pulled out the watch again, impatient
with the people across the alley. He wondered if something could have happened
in there. He didn't care anything about flowers but he had got in the habit of
expecting this one to be put out and they ought to put it. The first day he had
seen it, he had been sitting there thinking that if he could ever get out of the city
far enough, a truck going South might pick him up. He would probably be dead
by the time he got halfway there but it would be better to be dead halfway home
than to be living here. And then while he was thinking this, a hand had appeared
with no.warning and put the pale pink flower in the window across the alley and
he had reached forward as if he thought it were being handed to him. After that
they put it out every day. He put the watch back in his pocket.
6 Заказ \H7 144

The daughter came in and leaned on the door facing him again. She was
never satisfied until she had got him out of the chair. A doctor had told her if he
didn't use his feet he would forget how. "Listen," she said, "do me a favor. Go
down to the second floor and ask Mrs. Schmitt to gimme back the pattern I lent
her. Take it easy and the stroll'll do you good."
She would stand there and wait until he pulled himself out of the chair and
shuffled off. It was better to get up and go than to have to turn and look at her.
He didn't want to leave until they put out the geranium but he leaned forward
and caught the arms of the chair and hoisted himself up. Once standing, he
pulled the black hat lower on his face and then moved off, watching his feet
under him as if they were two small children he was encouraging to get out of
his way.
He was always afraid that when he went creeping out into the hall, a door
would open and one of the snipe-nosed men that hung off the window ledges in
his undershirt would ask him what he was snooping around for. The door to the
nigger's apartment was cracked and he could see a dark woman with rimless
glasses sitting in a chair by the window. She didn't look like a nigger to him,
more like a Greek or a Jew or maybe she was a red Indian, he didn't give a damn
what she was anyway. He turned down the first flight of stairs, gripping the
greasy banister and lowering his feet carefully one beside the other onto the
linoleum-covered steps. As he set each foot down he felt needles floating up his
legs. The nigger's wife could be a Chinese for all what he cared; she could be
part giraffe.
A white woman, drinking something grape out of a bottle, passed him on the
flight of steps and gave him a stare without taking her mouth from around the
bottle. He had learned that you don't speak to them unless they speak to you and
that they don't speak to you unless you're in their way.
After he had gone down two flights of stairs, he found the door he was
supposed to go to and knocked on it. A foreign boy, ten or twelve years old,
opened it and said nobody was at home and gave him an appraising look out of
one eye before he shut it again.
Going up the steps was harder for him than going down. He was one flight
from the street. He could go down one more flight and be in the street and then
he could keep walking straight in front of him until in maybe a month he would
be outside the city. He did not have any money and he would not ask the
daughter for any. In other plans he had made to run away, he had decided to sell
his hat and watch. He stood for a few minutes on the second floor, looking down
the last flight of stairs and out into a crack of street, before he turned and started
back up again. The trip back to the room would probably take him half an hour.
Every time he got himself up a step, he might have just lifted a hundred-pound
sack, he thought, and if he could do that he was good for something but he was
not good for anything because he was not a hundred-pound sack. In one plan he
had made to run away, he had imagined that he would pretend he was dead and
have his body shipped back and when he arrived he would knock on the inside
of the box and they would let him out. Coleman would stand there with his red
eyeballs staring out and think he had rose from the dead.
Thinking about this appealed to him so much that he began to imagine it as
he pulled himself up one step after another in the blank hall. He saw the train
getting in early in the morning and Coleman waiting on the platform where he
had written him to wait for the body. He saw Hooten, the station master, running
with the rattling baggage wagon down to the freight end of the train. They would
shove the coffin off and inside he would feel the fresh early morning air coming
in through the cracks of the pine box but he wouldn't make a noise yet. The big
train would jar and grate and slide on off until the noise was lost in the distance
and he would feel, the baggage wagon rumbling under him, carrying him on
back up to the station. Then they would slide the coffin onto the platform where
144
Coleman was waiting and Coleman would creep over and stand looking down
on it and he would make a small noise inside and Coleman would say, "Open
hit." And Hooten would say, "Why open it? He's as dead as he's ever going to
get," and Coleman would say, "Open hit," and Hooten would go for a hammer
and all the time he would be feeling the light cool early morning air of home
coming through the cracks of the wooden box, and Hooten would come
mouthing back with the hammer and begin to pry open the lid and even before
he had the upper end pried Coleman would be jumping up and down, not saying
anything yet, only jumping up and down, panting like a horse, and then the lid
would fly back and Coleman would shout out, "Hiiiiiiieeeee!"
Old Tanner shouted it into the hollow hall. His high voice made a piercing
sound that echoed shrilly on the other floors and then in the quiet that followed,
he was aware of the clipping footsteps that had been coming all the time behind
him. He slipped and grabbed the banister and then turned his head just enough to
see the big light brown baldheaded nigger back of him, grinning.
"What kind of game are you playing, Pardner?" the big nigger asked in a
well-oiled yankee voice. He had a small trimmed mustache and a tan tie with
brown flecks in it and his collar was white.
Old Tanner turned his head again and remained bent over, looking at the
floor and clenching the banister with both hands. His hat entirely hid his face.
"Ah wouldn't be playing Indians on these steps if ah were you, old pal," the
nigger drawled in a mock Southern accent. "Now ah sho' nuf wouldn't be a-
doing that," and he patted old Tanner on the shoulder and then went up the steps.
His socks had brown flecks in them. Once around the bend, he began to whistle
"Dixie", but the sound stopped as he shut his own door behind him. Old Tanner
turned his face to the opposite wall without unbending.
There were two trickles of water running over his tight cheeks and he leaned
farther forward and let them fall on the steps as if his head were a pitcher he was
emptying. Then he began to move on up the steps, like a cotton bale with short
legs and a black hat. Finally he got to his own door and went in.
The daughter was nowhere in sight. He moved to the chair by the window
and lowered himself into it. His face was expressionless but water was still
coming out of his eyes. After a few seconds, he realized a man was sitting in the
window across the alley. The shade was up all the way and the man was sitting
in the window in his undershirt, watching him, head-on. He was leaning out, his
upper lip twisted, as if he were trying to decide if the old man were actually
crying.
"Where is thet flower?" old Tanner piped.
"Fell off," the man said.
The man couldn't see too much of old Tanner's face because the black hat
almost covered his eyes but he saw his mouth begin to work as if he were
talking. Then in a second, a high voice came out of him. "You shouldn't have put
it so near the ledge!" he said. -
"Listen, I put it where I please," the man said. "Who're you to be telling me
where I'll put it? Maybe I knocked it off? Maybe I'm sick of the damn thing?"
Old Tanner hoisted himself out of the chair and leaned over the window
ledge. The cracked pot was scattered on the concrete at the bottom of the alley.
The pink part of the flower was lying by itself and the roots were lying by the
paper bow.
"I seen you before," the man in the window said. "I seen you sitting in that
chair every day, staring out in the window into my apartment. What I do in my
apartment is my business, see? I don't like people looking at what I do." He
paused a minute and then he said, "I don't like people watching me."
It was at the bottom of the alley with its roots in the air.
"I only tell people once," the man said and stood up and pulled down the
shade all the way.
***

The story touches upon so many sides of human relationships that it is hard
to mention them all. Still, if it were possible to draw a circle with Old Tanner in
the center and connect him radially with the people and objects he comes in
contact with, what connections would you mention and in what way do they
reveal individual features of the old man's character?
Adjacent fragments of the text reflect the perspectives of different characters
— those of the old man, his daughter, the omniscient author. Will you be able to
find "the seams" joining them? What is the author's, stand and how is it
expressed?
Why was the old Southerner Tanner insulted by the inoffensive familiarity of his
Negro neighbour while he had been living with Coleman in the same shack
without any ill feelings? Find the answers in the text.
Note the choice of colours — "grey, pale, weak", on the one hand, "red,
purple, strong," on the other. What contrast do they foreground? Have you found
any more language means to stress and enhance the opposition? Who views it all
in such a light? The author? The characters? Which one of them? Justify your
answer by quotations from the text.
What function in the gradual formation of the concept is played by the
geranium? Why is the final speech of its owner interrupted by an observation
which is seemingly unnecessary in the middle of someone else's remark? Was
the old man listening to the tirade of his neighbour?
Comment on the title and its role in revealing the conceptual significance of
the story.

Janet Frame
(b. 1924)

THE BATH
Janet Frame is a well-known New Zealand prose writer.
Many of her works deal with the hopelessness of life brought about by age, loss of
love, sickness, financial and moral disasters. She is a conscious stylist carefully selecting

146
the most appropriate means to convey the true character of her personages and also her
view of them.

On Friday afternoon she bought cut flowers — daffodils, anemones, a few


twigs of a red-leaved shrub, wrapped in mauve waxed paper, for Saturday was
the seventeenth anniversary of her husband's death and she planned to visit his
grave, as she did each year, to weed it and put fresh flowers in the two jam jars
standing one on each side of the tombstone. Her visit this year occupied her
thoughts more than usual. She had bought the flowers to force herself to make
the journey that each year became more hazardous, from the walk to the bus
stop, the change of buses at the Octagon, to the bitterness of the winds blowing
from the open sea across almost unsheltered rows of tombstones; and the
tiredness that overcame her when it was time to return home when she longed to
find a place beside the graves, in the soft grass, and fall asleep.
That evening she filled the coal bucket, stoked the fire. Her movements were
slow and arduous, her back and shoulder gave her so much pain. She cooked her
tea — liver and bacon — set her knife and fork on the teatowel she used as a
tablecloth, turned up the volume of the polished red radio to listen to the
Weather Report and the News, ate her tea, washed her dishes, then sat drowsing
in the rocking chair by the fire, waiting for the water to get hot enough for a
bath. Visits to the cemetery, the doctor, and to relatives, to stay, always
demanded a bath. When she was sure that the water was hot enough (and her tea
had been digested) she ventured from the kitchen through the cold passageway
to the colder bathroom. She paused in the doorway to get used to the chill of the
air then she walked slowly, feeling with each step the pain in her back, across to
the bath, and though she knew that she was gradually losing the power in her
hands she managed to wrench on the stiff cold and hot taps and half-fill the bath
with warm water. How wasteful, she thought, that with the kitchen fire always
burning during the past month of frost, and the water almost always hot, getting
in and out of a bath had become such an effort that it was not possible to bath
every night nor even every week!
She found a big towel, laid it ready over a chair, arranged the chair so that
should difficulty arise as it had last time she bathed she would have some way of
rescuing herself; then with her night clothes warming on a page of newspaper
inside the coal oven and her dressing-gown across the chair to be put on the
instant she stepped from the bath, she undressed and pausing first to get her
breath and clinging tightly to the slippery yellow-stained rim that now seemed
more like the edge of a cliff with a deep drop below into the sea, slowly and
painfully she climbed into the bath. I'll put on my nightie the instant I get out,
she thought. The instant she got out indeed! She knew it would be.more than a
matter of instants yet she tried to think of it calmly, without dread, telling herself
that when the time came she would be very careful, taking the process step by
step, surprising her bad back and shoulder and her powerless wrists into
performing feats they might usually rebel against, but the key to controlling
them would be the surprise, the slow stealing up on them. With care, with
thought. ...
Sitting upright, not daring to lean back or lie down, she soaped herself,
washing away the dirt of the past fortnight, seeing with satisfaction how it
drifted about on the water as a sign that she was clean again. Then when her
washing was completed she found herself looking for excuses not to try yet to
climb out. Those old woman's finger nails, cracked and dry, where germs could
lodge, would need to be scrubbed again; the skin of her heels, too, growing so
hard that her feet might have been turning to stone; behind her ears where a
thread of dirt lay in the rim; after all, she did not often have the luxury of a bath,
did she? How warm it was! She drowsed a moment. If only she could fall asleep
then wake to find herself in her nightdress in bed for the night! Slowly she
rewashed her body, and when she knew she could no longer deceive herself into
thinking she was not clean she reluctantly replaced the soap, brush and flannel in
the groove at the side of the bath, feeling as she loosened her grip on them that
all strength and support were ebbing from her. Quickly she seized the nail-brush
again, but its magic had been used and was gone; it would not adopt the role she
tried to urge upon it. The flannel too, and the soap, were frail flotsam to cling to
in the hope of being borne to safety.
She was alone now. For a few moments she sat swilling the water against
her skin, perhaps as a m'eans of buoying up her courage. Then resolutely she
pulled out the plug, sat feeling the tide swirl and scrape at her skin and flesh,
trying to draw her down, down into the earth; then the bathwater was gone in a
soapy gurge and she was naked and shivering and had not yet made the attempt
to get out of the bath.
How slippery the surface had become! In future she would not clean it with
kerosene, she would use the paste cleaner that, left on overnight, gave the
enamel rough patches that could be gripped with the skin.
She leaned forward, feeling the pain in her back and shoulder. She grasped
the rim of the bath but her fingers slithered from it almost at once. She would not
panic, she told herself; she would try gradually, carefully, to get out. Again she
leaned forward; again her grip loosened as if iron hands had deliberately
uncurled her stiffened blue fingers from their trembling hold. Her heart began to
beat faster, her breath came more quickly, her mouth was dry. She moistened her
lips. If I shout for help, she thought, no-one will hear me. No-one in the world
will hear me. No-one will know I'm in the bath and can't get out.
She listened. She could hear only the drip-drip of the cold water tap of the
wash-basin, and a corresponding whisper and gurgle of her heart, as if it were
beating under water. All else was silent. Where were the people, the traffic?
Then she had a strange feeling of being under the earth, of a throbbing in her
head like wheels going over the earth above her. .
Then she told herself sternly that she must have no nonsense, that she had
really not tried to get out of the bath. She had forgotten the strong solid chair and
the grip she could get on it. If she made the effort quickly she could first take
hold of both sides of the bath, pull herself up, then transfer her hold to the chair
and thus pull herself out.
She tried to do this; she just failed to make the final effort. Pale now,
gasping for breath, she sank back into the bath. She began to call out but as she
had predicted there was no answer. No-one had heard her, no-one in the houses
or the street or Dunedin or the world knew that she was imprisoned. Loneliness
welled in her. If John were here, she thought, if we were sharing our old age,
helping each other, this would never have happened. She made another effort to
get out. Again she failed. Faintness overcoming her she closed her eyes, trying
to rest, then recovering and trying again and failing, she panicked and began to
cry and strike the sides of the bath; it made a hollow sound like a wild drumbeat.
148
Then she stopped striking with her fists; she struggled again to get out; and
for over half an hour she stayed alternately struggling and resting until at last she
did succeed in climbing out and making her escape into the kitchen. She thought,
Г11 never take another bath in this house or anywhere. I never want to see that
bath again. This is the end or the beginning of it. In future a district nurse will
have to come to attend me. Submitting to that, will be the first humiliation.
There will be others, and others.
In bed at last she lay exhausted and lonely thinking that perhaps it might be
better for her to die at once. The slow progression of difficulties was a kind of
torture. There were her shoes that had to be made specially in a special shape or
she could not walk. There were the times she had to call in a neighbour to fetch a
pot of jam from the top shelf of her cupboard when it had been only a year ago
that she herself had made the jam and put it on the shelf. Sometimes a niece
came to fill the coal-bucket or mow the lawn. Every week there was the washing
to be hung on the line — this required a special technique for she could not raise
her arms without at the same time finding some support in the dizziness that
overcame her. She remembered with a sense of the world narrowing and
growing darker, like a tunnel, the incredulous almost despising look on the face
of her niece when in answer to the comment.
— How beautiful the clouds are in Dunedin! These big billowing white and
grey clouds — don't you think, Auntie? she had said, her disappointment at the
misery of things putting a sharpness in her voice.
— I never look at the clouds!
She wondered how long ago it was since she had been able to look up at the
sky without reeling with dizziness. Now she did not dare look up. There was
enough to attend to down and around — the cracks and hollows in the footpath,
the patches of frost and ice and the pot-holes in the roads; the approaching cars
and motorcycles; and now, after all the outside menaces, the inner menace of her
own body. She had to be guardian now over her arms and legs, force them to do
as she wanted when how easily and dutifully they had walked, moved and
grasped, in the old days! They were the enemy now. It had been her body that
showed treachery when she tried to get out of the bath. If she ever wanted to
bath again — how strange it seemed! — she would have to ask another human
being to help to guard and control her own body. Was this so fearful? she
wondered. Even if it were not, it seemed so.
She thought of the frost slowly hardening outside on the fences, roofs,
windows and streets. She thought again of the terror of not being able to escape
from the bath. She remembered her dead husband and the flowers she had
bought to put on his grave. Then thinking again of the frost, its whiteness, white
like a new bath, of the anemones and daffodils and the twigs of the red-leaved
shrub, of John dead seventeen years, she fell asleep while outside, within two
hours, the frost began to melt with the warmth of a sudden wind blowing from
the north, and the night grew warm, like a spring night, and in the morning the
light came early, the sky was pale blue, the same warm wind as gentle as a mere
breath, was blowing, and a narcissus had burst its bud in the front garden.

In all her years of visiting the cemetery she had never known the wind so
mild. On an arm of the peninsula exposed to the winds from two stretches of sea,
the cemetery had always been a place to crouch shivering in overcoat and scarf
while the flowers were set on the grave and the narrow garden cleared of weeds.
Today, everything was different. After all the frosts of the past month there was
no trace of chill in the air. The mildness and warmth were scarcely to be
believed. The sea lay, violet-coloured, hush-hushing, turning and heaving, not
breaking into foamy waves, it was one sinuous ripple from shore to horizon and
its sound was the muted sound of distant forests of peace.
Picking up the rusted garden fork that she knew lay always in the grass of
the next grave, long neglected, she set to work to clear away the twitch and other
weeds, exposing the first bunch of dark blue primroses with yellow centres, a
clump of autumn lilies, and the shoots, six inches high, of daffodils. Then
removing the green-slimed jam jars from their grooves on each side of the
tombstone she walked slowly, stiff from her crouching, to the everdripping tap at
the end of the lawn path where, filling the jars with pebbles and water she rattled
them up and down to try to clean them of slime. Then she ran sparkling ice-cold
water into the jars and balancing them carefully one in each hand she walked
back to the grave where she shook the daffodils, anemones, red leaves from their
waxed paper and dividing them put half in one jar, half in the other. The dark
blue of the anemones swelled with a sea-colour as their heads rested against the
red leaves. The daffodils were short-stemmed with big ragged rather than
delicate trumpets — the type for blowing; and their scent was strong.
Finally, remembering the winds that raged from the sea she stuffed small
pieces of the screwed-up waxed paper into the top of each jar so the flowers
would not be carried away by the wind. Then with a feeling of satisfaction — I
look after my husband's grave after seventeen years. The tombstone is not
cracked or blown over, the garden has not sunk into a pool of clay. I look after
my husband's grave — she began to walk away, between the rows of graves,
noting which were and were not cared for. Her father and mother had been
buried here. She stood now before their grave. It was a roomy grave made in the
days when there was space for the dead, and for the dead with money, like her
parents, extra space should they need it. Their tombstone was elaborate though
the writing was now faded; in death they kept the elaborate station of their life.
There were no flowers on the grave, only the feathery seagrass soft to the touch,
lit with gold in the sun. There was no sound but the sound of the sea and the one
row of fir trees on the brow of the hill. She felt the peace inside her; the
nightmare of the evening before seemed far away, seemed not to have happened;
the senseless terrifying struggle to get out of a bath!
She sat on the concrete edge of her parents' grave. She did not want to go
home. She felt content to sit here quietly with the warm soft wind flowing
around her and the sigh of the sea rising to mingle with the sighing of the firs
and the whisper of the thin gold grass. She was grateful for the money, the time
and the forethought that had made her parents' grave so much bigger than the
others near by. Her husband, cremated, had been allowed only a narrow eighteen
inches by two feet, room only for the flecked grey tombstone In Memory of My
Husband John Edward Harraway died August 6th 1948, and the narrow garden
of spring flowers, whereas her parents' grave was so wide, and its concrete wall
was a foot high; it was, in death, the equivalent of a quarter-acre section before
there were too many people in the world. Why when the world was wider and
wider was there no space left?
Or was the world narrower?
150
She did not know; she could not think; she knew only that she did not want
to go home, she wanted to sit here on the edge of the grave, never catching any
more buses, crossing streets, walking on icy footpaths, turning mattresses, trying
to reach jam from the top shelf of the cupboard, filling coal buckets, getting in
and out of the bath. Only to get in somewhere and stay in; to get out and stay
out; to stay now, always, in one place.
Ten minutes later she was waiting at the bus stop; anxiously studying the
destination of each bus as it passed, clutching her money since concession
tickets were not allowed in the weekend, thinking of the cup of tea she would
make when she got home, of her evening meal — the remainder of the liver and
bacon,— of her nephew in Christchurch who was coming with his wife and
children for the school holidays, of her niece in the home expecting her third
baby. Cars and buses surged by, horns tooted, a plane droned, near and far, near
and far, children cried out, dogs barked; the sea, in competition, made a harsher
sound as if its waves were now breaking in foam.
For a moment, confused after the peace of the cemetery, she shut her eyes,
trying to recapture the image of her husband's grave, now bright with spring
flowers, and her parents' grave, wide, spacious, with room should the dead desire
it to turn and sigh and move in dreams as if the two slept together in a big soft
grass double-bed.
She waited, trying to capture the image of peace. She saw only her
husband's grave, made narrower, the spring garden whittled to a thin strip; then it
vanished and she was left with the image of the bathroom, of the narrow
confining bath grass-yellow as old baths are, not frost-white, waiting, waiting,
for one moment of inattention, weakness, pain, to claim her for ever.

It is another story of the loneliness of old age. Like the previous one, most
of it is presented from the old person's viewpoint in the form of represented or
interior speech. There is, also, a contrast here. The latter, though, is organized
differently and has a different function. If you remember, the previous contrast
specified the opposition of "home/not home", which could also be viewed as the
conflict between the past and the present, the dream and the reality.
What, in your opinion, is the meaning of the contrast, created by the change
of the weather from severe winter to mild spring? Has it any connection with the
conflict between the woman's desire of peace and rest and her will that makes
her move, and act, and live?
Why, do you think, the author so precisely describes all, even the most
habitual and insignificant actions of the woman, such as, for instance, her
detailed preparation for a bath — moving the chair, spreading the gown, etc.?
What makes "the bath" so important, that it occupies the strongest position
in the text — that of the title?
What is the concept of the story? Is it formed with the author's explicit help?
In a different way? How? Prove your answer turning to the text.

Jerome David Salinger (b.


19J9)
A PERFECT DAY FOR BANANAFISH

About a dozen stories and one short novel, all written and published between 1951
—1963, constitute the literar> output of J. D. Salinger, one of the most striking
individualities of contemporary American literature.
The story that follows first appeared in 1953 in the collection "Nine Stories". It is
very characteristic of Salinger's theme and style. When reading don't 1st your attention
waver: even most casual remarks are loaded with special significance and emotion.

There were ninety-seven New York advertising men in the hotel, and, the
way they were monopolizing the long-distance lines, the girl in 507 had to wait
from noon till almost two-thirty to get her call through. She used the time,
though. She read an article in a women's pocket-size magazine, called "Sex Is
Fun — or Hell". She washed her comb and brush. She took the spot out of the
skirt of her beige suit. She moved the button on her Saks blouse. She tweezed
out two freshly surfaced hairs in her mole. When the operator finally rang her
room, she was sitting on the window seat and had almost finished putting
lacquer on the nails of her left hand.
She was a girl who for a ringing phone dropped exactly nothing. She looked
as if her phone had been ringing continually ever since she had reached puberty.
With her little lacquer brush, while the phone was ringing, she went over the
nail of her little finger, accentuating the line of the moon. She then replaced the
cap on the bottle of lacquer and, standing up, passed her left-the-wet-hand back
and forth through the air. With her dry hand, she picked up a congested ash-tray
from the window seat and carried it with her over to the night table, on which the
phone stood. She sat down on one of the made-up twin beds and — it was the
fifth or sixth ring — picked up the phone.
"Hello," she said, keeping the fingers of her left hand outstretched and away
from her white silk dressing gown, which was all that she was wearing, except
mules — her rings were in the bathroom.
"I have your call to New York now, Mrs. Glass," the operator said.
"Thank you," said the girl, and made room on the night table for the ash-
tray.
A woman's voice came through. "Muriel? Is that you?"
The girl turned the receiver slightly away from her ear. "Yes. Mother. How
are you?" she said.
"I've been worried to death about you. Why haven't you phoned? Are you all
right?"
"I tried to get you last night and the night before. The phone here's been —"
"Are you all right, Muriel?"
The girl increased the angle between the receiver and her ear. "I'm fine. I'm
hot. This is the hottest day they've had in Florida in —"
"Why haven't you called me? I've been worried to —"
"Mother, darling, don't yell at me. I can hear you beautifully," said the girl.
"I called you twice last night. Once just after —"
"I told your father you'd probably call last night. But, no, he had to — Are you
all right, Muriel? Tell me the truth." "I'm fine. Stop asking me that, please."
"When did you get there?" "I don't know. Wednesday morning, early." "Who
drove?"
"He did," said the girl. "And don't get excited. He drove very
152
nicely. I was amazed."
"He drove? Muriel, you gave me your word of —"
"Mother," the girl interrupted, "I just told you. He drove
very nicely. Under fifty the whole way, as a matter of fact."
"Did he try any of that funny business with the trees?"
"I said he drove very nicely, Mother. Now, please. I asked him to stay close
to the white line, and all, and he knew what I meant, and he did. He was even
trying not to look at the trees — you could tell. Did Daddy get the car fixed,
incidentally?".
"Not yet. They want four hundred dollars, just to—" "Mother, Seymour told
Daddy that he'd pay for it. There's no reason for —"
"Well, we'll see. How did he behave — in the car and all?"
"All right," said the girl.
"Did he keep calling you that awful —"
"No. He has something new now."
"What?"
"Oh, what's the difference, Mother?" "Muriel, I
want to know. Your father —"
"All right, all right. He calls me Miss Spiritual Tramp of 1948," the girl said,
and giggled.
"It isn't funny, Muriel. It isn't funny at all. It's horrible It's sad, actually.
When I think how —"
"Mother," the girl interrupted, "listen to me. You remember that book he
sent me from Germany? You know — those German poems. What'd I do with
it? I've been racking my—"
"You have it."
"Are you sure?" said the girl.
"Certainly. That is, I have it. It's in Freddy's room. You left it here and I
didn't have room for it in the—. Why? Does he want it?"
**No. Only, he asked me about it, when we were driving down. He wanted to
know if I'd read it." "It was in German!"
"Yes, dear. That doesn't make any difference," said the girl, crossing her
legs. "He said that the poems happen to be written by the only great poet of the
century. He said I should've bought a translation or something. Or learned the
language, if you please."
"Awful. Awful. It's sad, actually, is what it is. Your father said last night —"
"Just a second, Mother," the girl said. She went over to the window seat for
her cigarettes, lit one, and returned to her seat on the bed. "Mother?" she said,
exhaling smoke.
"Muriel. Now, listen to me."
"I'm listening."
"Your father talked to Dr. Sivetski." "Oh?"
said the girl.
"He told him everything. At least, he said he did — you know your father.
The trees. That business with the window. Those horrible things he said to
Granny about her plans for passing away. What he did with all those lovely
pictures from Bermuda — everything."
"Well?" said the girl.
"Well. In the first place, he said it was a perfect crime the Army released
him from the hospital — my word of honor. He very definitely told your father
there's a chance — a very great chance, he said — that Seymour may completely
lose control of himself. My word of honor."
"There's a psychiatrist here at the hotel," said the girl.
"Who? What's his name?"
"1 don't know. Rieser or something. He's supposed to be very good."
"Never heard of him."
"Well, he's supposed to be very good, anyway."
"Muriel, don't be fresh, please. We're very worried about you. Your father
wanted to wire you last night to come home, as a matter of f — "
"I'm not coming home right now, Mother. So relax."
"Muriel. My word of honor. Dr. Sivetski said Seymour may completely lose
contr —"
"I just got here, Mother. This is the first vacation I've had in years, and I'm
not going to just pack everything and come home," said the girl. "I couldn't
travel now anyway. I'm so sunburned I can hardly move."
"You're badly sunburned? Didn't you use that jar of Bronze I put in your
bag? I put it right —"
"I used it. I'm burned anyway."
"That's terrible. Where are you burned?"
"All over, jdear, all over."
"That's terrible."
"I'll live."
"Tell me, did you talk to this psychiatrist?" "Well, sort
of," said the girl.
"What'd he say? Where was Seymour when you talked to him?" "In the Ocean
Room, playing the piano. He's played the piano both nights we've been here."
"Well, what'd he say?"
"Oh, nothing much. He spoke to me first. I was sitting next to him at Bingo
last night, and he asked me if that wasn't my husband playing the piano in the
other room. I said yes, it was, and he asked me if Seymour's been sick or
something. So I said —"
"Why'd he ask that?"
"I don't know, Mother. I guess because he's so pale and all," said the girl.
"Anyway, after Bingo he and his wife asked me if I wouldn't like to join them
for a drink. So 1 did. His wife was horrible. You remember that awful dinner
dress we saw in Bonwit's window? The one you said you'd have to have a tiny,
tiny —"
"The green?"
"She had it on. And all hips. She kept asking me if Seymour's related to that
Suzanne Glass that has that place on Madison Avenue — the millinery."
"What'd he say, though? The doctor."
"Oh. Well, nothing much, really. I mean we were in the bar and all. It was
terribly noisy."
"Yes, but did — did you tell him what he tried to do with Granny's chair?"
"No, Mother. I didn't go into details very much," said the girl. "I'll probably
get a chance to talk to him again. He's in the bar all day long."

154
"Did he say he thought there was a chance he might get — you know —
funny or anything? Do something to you?"
"Not exactly," said the girl. "He had to have more facts, Mother. They have
to know about your childhood — all that stuff. I told you, we could hardly talk,
it was so noisy in there."
"Well. How's your blue coat?"
"All right. I had some of the padding taken out."
"How are the clothes this year?"
"Terrible. But out of this world. You see sequins — everything," said the girl.
"How's your room?"
"All right. Just all right, though. We couldn't get the room we had before the
war," said the girl. "The people are awful this year. You should see what sits
next to us in the dining room. At the next table. They look as if they drove down
in a truck."
"Well, it's that way all over. How's your ballerina?" "It's too long. I told you it
was too long." "Muriel. I'm only going to ask you once more — are you really
all right?"
"Yes, Mother," said the girl. "For the ninetieth time." "And you don't want to
come home?" "No, Mother."
"Your father said last night that he'd be more than willing to pay for it if
you'd go away someplace by yourself and think things over. You could take a
lovely cruise. We both thought—"
"No, thanks," said the girl, and uncrossed her legs. "Mother, this call is
costing a for —"
"When I think of how you waited for that boy alt through the war — I mean
when you think of all those crazy little wives who—"
"Mother," said the girl, "we'd better hang up. Seymour may come in any
minute." "Where is he?" "On the beach."
"On the beach? By himself? Does he behave himself on the beach?"
"Mother," said the girl, "you talk about him as though he were a raving
maniac —"
"1 said nothing of the kind, Muriel."
"Well, you sound that way. I mean all he does is lie there. He won't take his
bathrobe off."
"He won't take his bathrobe off? Why not?"
"I don't know. I guess because he's so pale."
"My goodness, he needs the sun. Can't you make him?"
"You know Seymour," said the girl, and crossed her legs again. "He says he
doesn't want a lot of fools looking at his tattoo."
"He doesn't have any tattoo! Did he get one in the Army?" "No, Mother. No,
dear," said the girl, and stood up. "Listen, I'll call you tomorrow, maybe."
"Muriel. Now, listen to me."
"Yes, Mother," said the girl, putting her weight on her right leg.
"Call me the instant he does, or says, anything at all funny — you know
what I mean. Do you hear me?" "Mother, I'm not afraid of Seymour." "Muriel, I
want you to promise me."
"All right, I promise. Goodbye, Mother," said the girl. "My love to Daddy."
She hung up.
"See more glass," said Sybil Carpenter, who was staying at the hotel with
her mother. "Did you see more glass?"
"Pussycat, stop saying that. It's driving Mommy absolutely crazy. Hold still,
please."
Mrs. Carpenter was putting sun-tan oil on Sybil's shoulders, spreading it
down over the delicate, winglike blades of her back. Sybil was sitting insecurely
on a huge, inflated beach ball, facing the ocean. She was wearing a canary-
yellow two-piece bathing suit, one piece of which she would not actually be
needing for another nine or ten years.
"It was really just an ordinary silk handkerchief — you could see when you
got up close," said the woman in the beach chair beside Mrs. Carpenter's. "I wish
I knew how she tied it. It was really darling."
"It sounds darling," Mrs. Carpenter agreed. "Sybil, hold still, pussy."
"Did you see more glass?" said Sybil.
Mrs. Carpenter sighed. "All right," she said. She replaced the cap on the sun-
tan oil bottle. "Now run and play, pussy. Mommy's going up to the hotel and
have a Martini with Mrs. Hub-bel. I'll bring you the olive."
Set loose, Sybil immediately ran down to the flat part of the beach and began to
walk in the direction of Fisherman's Pavilion. Stopping only to sink a foot in a
soggy, collapsed castle, she was soon out of the area reserved for guests of the
hotel.
She walked for about a quarter of a mile and then suddenly broke into an
oblique run up the soft part of the beach. She stopped short when she reached the
place where a young man was lying on his back.
"Are you going in the water, see more glass?" she said.
The young man started, his right hand going to the lapels of his terry-cloth
robe. He turned over on his stomach, letting a sausaged towel fall away from his
eyes, and squinted up at Sybil.
"Hey. Hello, Sybil."
"Are you going in the water?"
"I was waiting for you" said the young man. "What's new?" "What?" said
Sybil.
"What's new? What's on the program?"
"My daddy's coming tomorrow on a nairiplane," Sybil said, kicking sand.
"Not in my face, baby," the young man said, putting his hand on Sybil's
ankle. "Well, it's about time he got here, your daddy. I've been expecting him
hourly. Hourly."
"Where's the lady?" Sybil said.
"The lady?" the young man brushed some sand out of his thin hair. "That's
hard to say, Sybil. She may be in any one of a thousand places. At the
hairdresser's. Having her hair dyed mink. Or making dolls for poor children, in
her room." Lying prone now, he made two fists, set one on top of the other, and
rested his chin on the top one. "Ask me something else, Sybil," he said. JThat's a
fine bathing suit you have on. If there's one thing I like, it's a blue bathing suit."
Sybil stared at him, then looked down at her protruding stomach. "This is a
yellow," she said. "This is a yellow".
"It is? Come a little closer."
Sybil took a step forward.
156
"You're absolutely right. What a fool I am."
"Are you going in the water?" Sybil said.
"I'm seriously considering it. I'm giving it plenty of thought, Sybil, you'll be
glad to know."
Sybil prodded the rubber float that the young man sometimes used as a
head-rest. "It needs air," she said.
"You're right. It needs more air than I'm willing to admit." He took away his
fists and let his chin rest on the sand. "Sybil," he said, "you're looking fine. It's
good to see you. Tell me about yourself." He reached in front of him and took
both of Sybil's ankles in his hands. "I'm Capricorn," he said. "What are you?"
"Sharon Lipschutz said you let her sit- on the piano seat with you," Sybil
said.
"Sharon Lipschutz said that?" Sybil
nodded vigorously.
He let go of her ankles, drew in his hands, and laid the side of his face on his
right forearm. "Well," he said, "you know how those things happen, Sybil. I was
sitting there, playing. And you were nowhere in sight. And Sharon Lipschutz
came over and sat down next to me. I couldn't push her off, could I?"
"Yes."
"Oh, no. No. I couldn't do that," said the young man. "I'll tell you what I did
do, though." "What?"
"I pretended she was you."
Sybil immediately stooped and began to dig in the sand. "Let's go in the
water," she said.
"All right," said the young man. "I think I can work it in." "Next time, push
her off," Sybil said. "Push who off?" "Sharon Lipschutz."
"Ah, Sharon Lipschutz," said the young man. "How that name comes up.
Mixing memory and desire." He suddenly got to his feet. He looked at the ocean.
"Sybil," he said. "I'll tell you what we'll do. We'll see if we can catch a
bananafish."
"A what?"
"A bananafish," he said, and undid the belt of his robe. He took off the robe.
His shoulders were white and narrow, and his trunks were royal blue. He folded
the robe, first lengthwise, then in thirds. He unrolled the towel he had used over
his eyes, spread it out on the sand, and then laid the folded robe on top of it. He
bent over, picked up the float, and secured it under his right arm. Then, with his
left hand, he took Sybil's hand.
The two started to walk down to the ocean. "I imagine you've seen quite a few
bananafish in your day," the young man said. Sybil shook her head.
"You haven't? Where do you live, anyway?" "I don't
know," said Sybil.
"Sure you know. You must know, Sharon Lipschutz knows where she lives
and she's only three and a half"
Sybil stopped walking and yanked her hand away from him. She picked up
an ordinary beach shell and looked at it with elaborate interest. She threw it
down. "Whirly Wood, Connecticut," she said, and resumed walking, stomach
foremost.
"Whirly Wood, Connecticut," said the young man. "Is that anywhere near
Whirly Wood, Connecticut, by any chance?"
Sybil looked at him. "That's where I live" she said impatiently. "I live in
Whirly Wood, Connecticut." She ran a few steps ahead of him, caught up
her left foot in her left hand, and hopped two or three times.
"You have no idea how clear that makes everything," the young man said.
Sybil released her foot. "Did you read 'Little Black Sambo'?" she said.
"It's very funny you ask me that," he said. "It so happens I just finished
reading it last night." He reached down and took back .Sybil's hand. "What did
you think of it?" he asked her.
"Did the tigers run all around that tree?"
"I thought they'd never stop. I never saw so many tigers."
"There were only six," Sybil said.
"Only six!" said the yourlg man. "Do you call that only?"
"Do you like wax?" Sybil asked.
"Do I like what?" asked the young man.
"Wax."
"Very much. Don't you?"
Sybil nodded. "Do you like olives?" she asked. "Olives — yes. Olives and wax. I
never go anyplace without 'em."
"Do you like Sharon Lipschutz?" Sybil asked.
"Yes. Yes, 1 do," said the young man. "What I like particularly about her is
that she never does anything mean to little dogs in the lobby of the hotel. That
little toy bull that belongs to that lady from Canada, for instance. You probably
won't believe this, but some little girls like to poke that little dog with balloon
sticks. Sharon doesn't. She's never mean or unkind. That's why I like her so
much."
Sybil was silent.
"I like to chew candles," she said finally.
"Who doesn't?" said the young man, getting his feet wet. "Wow! It's cold."
He dropped the rubber float on its back. "No, wait just a second, Sybil. Wait'll
we get out a little bit."
They waded out till the water was up to Sybil's waist. Then the young man
picked her up and laid her down on her stomach on the float,
"Don't you ever wear a bathing cap or anything?" he asked.
"Don't let go," Sybil ordered. "You hold me, now."
"Miss Carpenter. Please. I know my business," the young man said. "You
just keep your eyes open for any bananafish. This is a perfect day for
bananafish."
"I don't see any," Sybil said.
"That's understandable. Their habits are very peculiar." He kept pushing the
float. The water was not quite up to his chest. "They lead a very tragic life," he
said. "You know what they do, Sybil?"
She shook her head.
"Well, they swim into a hole where there's a lot of bananas. They're very
ordinary-looking fish when they swim in. But once they get in, they behave like
pigs. Why, I've known some bananafish to swim into a banana hole and eat as
many as seventy-eight bananas." He edged the float and its passenger a foot
closer to the horizon. "Naturally, after that they're so fat they can't get out of the
hole again. Can't fit through the door."
"Not too far out," Sybil said. "What happens to them?"
158
"What happens to who?" "The
bananafish."
"Oh, you mean after they eat so many bananas they can't get out of the banana
hole?" "Yes," said Sybil.
"Well, I hate to tell you, Sybil. They die." "Why?"
asked Sybil.
"Well, they get banana fever. It's a terrible disease."
"Here comes a wave" Sybil said nervously.
"We'll ignore it. We'll snub it," said the young man. "Two snobs." He took
Sybil's ankles in his hands and pressed down and forward. The float nosed over
the top of the wave. The water soaked Sybil's blond hair, but her scream was full
of pleasure.
With her hand, when the float was level again, she wiped away a flat, wet
band of hair from her eyes, and reported, "I just saw one."
"Saw what, my love?" "A
bananafish."
"My God, no!" said the young man. "Did he have any bananas in his
mouth?"
"Yes," said Sybil. "Six."
The young man suddenly picked up one of Sybil's wet feet, which were
drooping over the end of the float, and kissed the arch.
"Hey!" said the owner of the foot, turning around. "Hey, yourself! We're
going in now. You had enough?" "No!"
"Sorry," he said, and pushed the float toward shore until Sybil got off it. He
carried it the rest of the way.
"Goodbye," said Sybil, and ran without regret in the direction of the hotel.

"The young man put on his robe, closed the lapels tight, and jammed his
towel into his pocket. He picked up the slimy wet, cumbersome float and put it
under his arm. He plodded alone through the soft, hot sand toward the hotel.
On the sub-main floor of the hotel, which the management directed bathers to
use, a woman with zinc salve on her nose got into the elevator with the young
man.
"I see you're looking at my feet," he said to her when the car was in motion.
"I beg your pardon?" said the woman. "I said I see
you're looking at my feet."
"I beg your pardon. I happened to be looking at the floor," said the woman,
and faced the doors of the car.
"If you want to look at my feet, say so," said the young man. "But don't be a
God-damned sneak about it."
"Let me out here, please," the woman said quickly to the girl operating the
car.
The car doors opened and the woman got out without looking back.
"I have two normal feet and I can't see the slightest Goddamned reason why
anybody should stare at them," said the young man. "Five, please." He took his
room key out of his robe pocket.
He got off at the fifth floor, walked down the hall, and let himself into 507.
The room smelled of new calfskin luggage and naillacquer remover.
He glanced at the girl lying asleep on one of the twin beds. Then he went
over to one of the pieces of luggage, opened it, and from under a pile of shorts
and undershirts he took out an Ortgies calibre 7.65 automatic. He released the
magazine, looked at it, then reinserted it. He cocked the piece. Then he went
over and sat down on the unoccupied twin bed, looked at the girl, aimed the
pistol, and fired a bullet through his right temple.

***

The story has no introduction but it is possible to reconstruct the


chronological flow of events the culmination of which is described by Salinger.
What remarks of the telephone conversation characterize Muriel Glass? Her
husband Seymour Glass? Her family background?
In what way. is the beach episode connected with the longdistance call?
What is wrong with Seymour and how does- the author show it? Do you
believe the tragic end was inevitable? Justify your answer by the text.
James Aldrldge (b.
1918)

ENDURANCE FOR HONOUR

James Aldridge, a progressive English writer, journalist, literary critic, historian,


linguist, is well known in our country both as a literary and a public figure, war veteran,
fighter for peace. The majority of his works deal with the protagonist's painful -search
for values, which includes reconsidering the old principles and universally accepted life
maxims. "Endurance for Honour", which originally appeared in the author's only
collection of short stories "Gold and Sand" (I960), is devoted to one of basic problems of
man's life: what is true and what is false about such notions as Honesty, Honour, Dignity,
Heroism?

The strained, resentful growl of the twin motors pushing the D H Dove up
into a steep climb was a wavery echo of the last mechanical sounds he would
probably ever hear. So neatly caught like this — in the cocked hat of a deserted
sea, deserted desert, deserted sky — he could guess the rest.
"If I do get out of it," he said with a frivolity that did not convince him or
satisfy him at all, "I'll give flying away. I've absolutely had it this time."
Somewhere under the wreckage of a perfectly good aeroplane was the only
hope he might ever have of getting out of this wilderness. The only thing that
puzzled him was why the strange twin-engined Dove had dipped over the desert
to the north, had circled a blue hill in the desert, and then climbed off; not seeing
him, not trying to see him, and perhaps not wanting to see him. Whoever was in
the plane could not avoid noticing the great puff of white smoke he had sent up
by setting fire to the wing fabric soaked in petrol; but if they had seen him they
surely would have come nearer and circled. They looked as if they had been
making an approach to land near that blue hill, but when they saw his smoke
they had flown off as quickly as their twin-engines could go.
"Smugglers, no doubt," he told himself cynically.
160
He could afford to be cynical. He was a smuggler himself.
"Any real point to survival?" he was mumbling half-heartedly when the
plane had finally disappeared. But he knew the answer.
He had found what he was looking for in the wreckage. It was a booklet
issued during the war to pilots regularly flying this route. He had originally
saved it as a souvenir and brought it with him to Iraq. He thought its title a little
too cheerful for its purpose; Forced landings and desert survival. An aid to
walking home.
"That ought to make it easy," he decided. He looked for and found a map in
the pocket of the back cover. It showed all the positions where the.R. A. F. had
put down caches of emergency food, water, and other provisions in the Sinai.
There ought to be at least two dumps marked between his position and the coast,
if he could manage to find them, or if they were still hidden from the Bedu and
not rotted by the sun.
Even so, it was going to be a game of irony and chance. What was he going
to say when he arrived at the Egyptian coastguard out on the tip of Mirza
Mohamed, the nearest inhabited point and his best chance of survival? Let him
explain himself to the Egyptians, if he could.
"I'll look into that problem when I get there," he decided and prepared for his
journey, refusing to hurry, refusing to be absorbed into weariness by the heat,
refusing to consider one flutter of panic.
"I'm the original emotionless man," he said aloud, "and I intend to stay that
way. All I have to do now is survive."
It seemed possible. He came from a long line of survivors: pre-Norman
Englishmen, West-country family. He supposed he was the last of a long feudal
line which had won its dubious honours a little further to the north of here —
Palestine, where one wild son of the Alwyns had assisted the Crusaders' rempage
of Antioch and Tyre.
"So it wouldn't be too much of a dirty trick of fate if I ended where they
began," this Alwyn said.
The family crest said: Endurance for Honour. This was also the price of the
Crusades, when claims like that were valued at the sword's edge, at the heart's
centre.
He had abandoned them long ago himself. Too many proofs against them.
Public-school boys, impoverished aristocrats, R. A. F. pilots, and hopeful men
after wars — no such men should begin sensitive if they wanted to survive
sensitive. He had been all four and he had not really survived such rough
handling. He was a dried-up man.
This sort of thinking kept him going across the reddish desert right through
the first day, going over his school-days calmly as he tried to forget the laden
knapsack rubbing his shoulders to the bone, his shoes making blisters along the
sides of his heels, and his eyes burning away to nothing in the heat.
Public school had been hell. He had neither endured it nor felt it honourable;
he had allowed it to defeat him. He remembered it only as a process of
persecution of the spirit, adolescent degradation, rude conformity ground into
the soul, and...
"Etcetera, etcetera," he told himself on the second day, when it became
boring to recall school-days and silly suffering. His raw heel was biting at every
step now, and his face felt swollen with the sun.
Take the impoverished aristocrat, he decided, now limping a course south-west
by west across brown scorched hills that kicked up from the desert in painful
short rises, making the going slow and exhausting.
The aristocrat was impoverished and landless and no longer useful; yet he
had believed in the essentials of the caste: the gentleman who beleived the rules
to mean exactly that — a gentle man. But no gentleness could survive a war, and
every day of it had hurt, had ravished what was left of a young man who had
tried to find a gentle way, some sensitive outline to live in. That was the day the
sand blew up and found every corner between clothing and skin and began to
grate unbearably.
This took him a long way over the foot-hills of the El Tih plateau to the first
cache, which he found well marked according to the map descriptive. When he
moved stones and dirt from the massive cairn the stores were mostly gone.
Desert rats, ants perhaps, but certainly some desert diggers had burrowed in and
helped themselves.
There was one untouched tin of foul Navy biscuits left. He put it in the
rucksack to augment the rotting melting cheese he had rescued from the plane,
and the few bars of chocolate which melted into liquid in the heat of every day,
and re-solidified again in the freezing cold at night. He hoarded every crumb and
morsel as if it stored up the value of a life force, not gold and title deeds, but
gristle on the flesh to give him the energy to move.
Very valuable stuff, these mouldy biscuits.
The third day, looking for the second cache, he worried about his water
supply. There was only one remaining water well between him and the sea.
He forgot his birthright for a drop of water and remembered the days over
the North Weald when the last of the Spitfires, already too slow, had tried to
outride the Focke-Wolfes at 27,000 feet in packs above, below, and head on. The
break-away that day had turned into a shamble, and he had watched the well-
organised Focke-Wolfes stay and fight it out for a change. He had made a run
for it when his ammunition was gone, to be hit, to fall into the sea, to be picked
up in a miracle of rescue work, and never to fly that way again. He had been too
frightened, and there was no honour in that either.
The heart was simply not in it. The games and the Pilot Officers'
camaraderie had cropped all sentiments into little pieces, throwing it all out and
bringing in new responses defined with words like pranged and bogged it and
shakydo. They had grated on his nerves. His heroism, if that's what it was, had
been accidental and fleeting. At most he had loved the aeroplane, at worst he had
been afraid of it. He had been in heaven to escape it when the war was over.
"I don't think I'm going to make it," he told himself mockingly.
His body was on the rack now. His arms were burnt fiery red, his face was
untouchably raw, his legs grinding into each other along their delicate insides
with sweat and sand, his lips were cracked, and his feet were shredded with
sores. But he did find the well.
He dug it out with his bare hands and filled his bottles and canvas water-bag
with green brackish water which weighted his rucksack heavily again.
162
"If I ever do see the sea again," he decided, "I'll spend the rest of my life on
it, every day, wallowing in it. Mother of all men!" he said, to make sure he could
still make a wry, intellectual remark.
On the fourth day he was very exhausted. He lay down a great deal of the
time, preferring to move in the early morning and evening and at night. He saw
the D H Dove again. It was weaving around to the north in its mysterious way,
quite low, but too far away to attract. But he had the feeling that this time it was
looking for him. By the time he had prepared a tamarisk brush fire it had
climbed high and disappeared again.
"Up to no good," he said. "Unless Gillespie told them I was overdue and
they, whoever they are, set out looking for me. But I doubt it. No honour among
smugglers. Only money."
His last day seemed endless for its sunrises and sunsets; one an hour, if his
brain was recording correctly. He supposed there was something wrong with his
eyes, but you could not deceive the brain and it chalked them up: one sunrise
and one sunset each hour; beautiful, as they must be in the desert, far away, and
rosily sensitive. Very sensitive indeed.
That was very good stuff for the post-war man in him.
He had leapt out of the war on all fours — delighted with the future. But he
had found this the most insensible operation of all. Wives were lovely and
desirable. Good girls of good families. He had abandoned his dried-up
philosophy and gone into it unprotected by the lessons of war and public school.
He had forgotten that it was also a rough game on the spirit, and when you were
betrayed in marriage it was more than treason, it was ultimate destruction.
Betrayal, children, and tragedy — this was the last lesson that had been
learned.
Afterwards the drift became easier: not into dissolution, but back to the
simple dried-up philosophy of emotionless man. It sufficed to keep the edges
rough enough for where adventure took him. In fact he had looked for the
roughest edges to go on rubbing this lack of feeling into himself. He had sought
insensibility. He had found Gillespie in Iraq flying gold into Egypt, and
Egyptian pounds out of it; gold into Greece and drachmas out of it; money
where it was needed and gold where it was needed more. It had been half-legal
in Iraq because they had taken off a fair piece of interest for being the clearing
house. But not in Egypt. Too many wealthy man trying to get their money
abroad illegally. And at the moment he was in Egypt.
Considering his predicament, therefore, a lack of feeling was all right. The
family requirements of endurance with honour were not needed. He had long
ago drowned them for ever anyway.
But he was caught. He stumbled down the El Tih plateau and reached the
Red Sea road, still on his feet but almost delirious, having endured and survived.
But it remained to be seen whether there was a current value for honour.
What was his name? "Peter
Alwyn."
It was no use deceiving them. What had he been doing? Where had he come
from? Impossible to lie, better not to deceive. They knew anyway. He had been
flying from Iraq to the Qena mountains of Egypt.
"What for?"
"Hard to say," he told them. "I simply fly on course, land, take off and
return."
"Yes, we know that already, Mr. Alwyn," the Egyptian frontier corps
Colonel told him. "But what were you carrying into, or flying out of Egypt?"
"Can I say I don't know?" he suggested, still burned out of energy and
resistance.
The* Colonel smiled and shook his head. "I'm afraid not."
"Did you find my plane?" he asked.
"Yes. In fact we had a mysterious radio message that we must look for your
plane. Perhaps it came from your friends, who would sooner that you were
caught than die in the desert? You must be thankful."
Alwyn bowed his head gratefully in acknowledgment.
"Was that your D H Dove that was flying about?" he asked the Colonel.
"No. We have two Austers and a Gemini, not any Doves at all."
"Must be a rival company in the same business," Alwyn told himself and
supposed he was foolish for mentioning it, but he was softening down in a camp
bed with cool walls, dressed sores, and a water jug and a polite Colonel who
questioned him delicately. There was nothing much left to say.
"Of course you were smuggling," the Colonel told him.
"Not really," Alwyn said. "I was giving people a lift in and out, at cut rates.
That's all."
"Not good enough!" the Colonel laughed. "Spying, perhaps?"
"Not a chance," Alwyn shrugged calmly, drily now, knowing he was going to
be beaten in this, and not liking the Colonel's tolerance. "Definitely not spying."
"I know you weren't spying," the Colonel said, amused. 4T know quite well
that you were smuggling..."
"You may think you know," Alwyn said, "but you don't really know."
"I'm afraid I do," the Colonel said, swishing away the flies from the bed and
sighing. "You were smuggling hasheesh. Opium..."
"Hasheesh? Drugs? Oh no! Not me, Colonel. I'm sorry..." "But we know you
were." "You know no such thing."
"We have found, near your wrecked plane, a veritable hoard of hasheesh,
stored very nicely in a little cave in a blue hillside quite near your smashed
plane. It was bad luck, Mr. Alwyn, but too obvious."
"That's what that D H Dove was doing," Alwyn snarled at himself.
"Hasheesh, and tons of it, no doubt. Get out of this one, old chap. Let us see the
emotionless man survive this."
"That was nothing to do with me," he said. "I can swear to that."
The Colonel shook his head sadly. "No use swearing," he said. "We can
tolerate most things, even smuggling, but not hasheesh. You know that hundreds
of kilos of it are smuggled into Egypt every year, and that we usually shoot an
Egyptian if we catch him doing it. What are we to do with you, Mr. Alwyn?"
"I don't know. But I wasn't smuggling hasheesh."
"Can you prove it?"
"I don't know if I can or not, but I can tell you the truth." "Go ahead..."
Force and morality were neatly balanced again. Had he endured simply to
betray this last shred of an old character to a crime which would remove all

164
sensibilities, all pretences of sentiment and delicacy, and for ever this time?
Smuggling hasheesh?
"I won't admit to smuggling hasheesh," he said. "I might admit to smuggling
money."
The Colonel nodded. "I suppose that would be a point of honour with you.
Money, not drugs."
"I suppose it would be."
"And is it the truth?"
"Yes. Absolutely."
"All right, Mr. Alwyn," the Colonel said, getting up, satisfied, yet looking
down at the victim with an English and rueful air. "I shall save your honour. Г11
believe you. In any case you'll go to prison. ..."
Alwyn shrugged. "If I must."
"But did it ever occur to you," the Colonel went on thoughtfully, "that what
you were smuggling — money — corrupts the the soul? Whereas hasheesh
simply destroys the body..."
u
It "hadn't occured to me that way," Alwyn admitted. "I haven't been in
touch with the soul lately."
"Think it over," the Colonel told him as he left.
He said he would, but there was no need to think it over at all. The obvious
was already true. The Colonel may have decorated it with a nice touch of irony,
but he had already discovered it himself.
"No such thing as the emotioneless man," he told himself, looking at his
bandaged feet. "A little pain, a little shame... poof, and he's gone." He almost
winced. "I suppose I'll have to start all over again from that, in prison or out of
it."
Knowing it, he lay back and felt grateful that his real requirements of
endurance for honour had only begun.
***

Peter Alwyn is the type of a protagonist, often adhered to by Hemingway


and, later by James Aldridge.
Rough and tough at first sight he proves to be inwardly insecure and
vulnerable. The story shows this confrontation and interdependence of the
outward and the inward.
The title words are several times repeated in the text. What new meaning is
added to them by each case and what is the final meaning of the title when you
return to it having finished the story?
Alongside with "honour" and "endurance", the word "sensitive (-ity)" is also
repeated. What can you say about its semantic movement in the story and the
significance of all these repetitions for the understanding of the author's
viewpoint?
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167
Hughes L. Stories About Simple.— In: Black Voices. N. Y., Mentor Books,
1967.
Wright R. The Man Who Saw the Flood.™ In: Eight Men. N. Y., Alfred
Knopf, 1961.
Walker A. Strong Horse Tea.— In: Black and White: Stories of American
Life. N. Y., Pocket Books, 1971.
O'Connor Fl. An Exile in the East.™ In: The Best American Short Stories.
Boston, Houghton Mifflin, 1979.
Frame J. The Bath.— In: New Zealand Short Stories. London, Melbourne, N.
Y., Oxford University Press, 1975.
Salinger J. D, A Perfect Day for Bananafish.— In: Nine Stories. N. Y., 1978.
Aldridge J. Endurance for Honour.— In: Gold and Sand. London, 1960.
ОГЛАВЛЕНИЕ

Предисловие .......................................................................................

Часть I
Ernest Hemingway. Cat in the Rain......................................................
Katherine Mansfield. The Stranger........................................................
Erskine Caldwell. Daughter....................................................................
William Faulkner. Carcassonne..............................................................
Dorothy Parker. The Last Tea...............................................................
Joyce Carol Oates. The Man That Turned into a Statue

Часть II
Ray Bradbury. The One Who Waits......................................................
John Updike. Separating.........................................................................
Emil L. Doctorow. The Water Works....................................................
John Cheever. Reunion...........................................................................
Graham Greene. I Spy.............................................................................
Sherwood Anderson. Mother..................................................................
James Joyce. The Boarding House.........................................................
Muriel Spark. You Should Have Seen the Mess . . .
Scott Fitzgerald. The Smilers.................................................................
Henry Lawson. The Ghostly Door.........................................................
Langston Hughes. Temptation...............................................................
Richard Wright. The Man Who Saw the Flood . . . .
Alice Walker. The Strong Horse Tea.....................................................
Flannery O'Connor. An Exile in the East................................................
Janet Frame. The Bath............................................................................
Salinger J. D. A Perfect Day for Bananafish.........................................
Aldridge J. Endurance for Honour.........................................................

Sources of Publications.........................................................................
Валерия Андреевна Кухаренко

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