Array Коллектив авторов: 30 лучших рассказов британских писателей / 30 Best British Short Stories

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Array Коллектив авторов 30 лучших рассказов британских писателей / 30 Best British Short Stories
  • Название:
    30 лучших рассказов британских писателей / 30 Best British Short Stories
  • Автор:
  • Издательство:
    Array Литагент «2 редакция»
  • Жанр:
    foreign_prose / на английском языке
  • Год:
    2016
  • Город:
    Москва
  • Язык:
    Английский
  • ISBN:
    978-5-699-83421-1
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    5 / 5
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30 лучших рассказов британских писателей / 30 Best British Short Stories: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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«Иностранный язык: учимся у классиков» – это только оригинальные тексты лучших произведений мировой литературы. Эти книги станут эффективным и увлекательным пособием для изучающих иностранный язык на хорошем «продолжающем» и «продвинутом» уровне. Они помогут эффективно расширить словарный запас, подскажут, где и как правильно употреблять устойчивые выражения и грамматические конструкции, просто подарят радость от чтения. В конце книги дана краткая информация о культуроведческих, страноведческих, исторических и географических реалиях описываемого периода, которая поможет лучше ориентироваться в тексте произведения. Серия «Иностранный язык: учимся у классиков» адресована широкому кругу читателей, хорошо владеющих английским языком и стремящихся к его совершенствованию.

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30 лучших рассказов британских писателей / 30 Best British Short Stories

Составление комментариев Н. Самуэльян

В оформлении обложки использована репродукция картины «Леди, читающая у окна» художника Томаса Бенджамина Кеннингтона (1856–1916)

© Самуэльян Н. А., составление комментариев, 2014

© ООО «Издательство «Эксмо», 2015

A.J. Alan

My Adventure in Norfolk

I don’t know how it is with you, but during February my wife generally says to me: ‘Have you thought at all about what we are going to do for August?’ And, of course, I say, ‘No,’ and then she begins looking through the advertisements of bungalows to let.

Well, this happened last year, as usual, and she eventually produced one that looked possible. It said: ‘Norfolk – Hickling Broad – Furnished Bungalow – Garden – Garage, Boathouse,’ and all the rest of it – Oh – and plate and linen. It also mentioned an exorbitant rent. I pointed out the bit about the rent, but my wife said: ‘Yes, you’ll have to go down and see the landlord, and get him to come down. They always do.’ As a matter of fact, they always don’t, but that’s a detail.

Anyway, I wrote off to the landlord and asked if he could arrange for me to stay the night in the place to see what it was really like. He wrote back and said: ‘Certainly,’ and that he was engaging Mrs. So-and-So to come in and ‘oblige me,’ and make up the beds and so forth.

I tell you, we do things thoroughly – in our family – I have to sleep in all the beds, and when I come home my wife counts the bruises and decides whether they will do or not.

At any rate, I arrived, in a blinding snowstorm, at about the most desolate spot on God’s earth. I’d come to Potter Heigham by train, and been driven on (it was a good five miles from the station). Fortunately, Mrs. Selston, the old lady who was going to ‘do’ for me, was there, and she’d lighted a fire, and cooked me a steak, for which I was truly thankful.

I somehow think the cow, or whatever they get steaks off, had only died that morning. It was very – er – obstinate. While I dined, she talked to me. She would tell me all about an operation her husband had just had. All about it. It was almost a lecture on surgery. The steak was rather underdone, and it sort of made me feel I was illustrating her lecture. Anyway, she put me clean off my dinner, and then departed for the night.

I explored the bungalow and just had a look outside. It was, of course, very dark, but not snowing quite so hard. The garage stood about fifteen yards from the back door. I walked round it, but didn’t go in. I also went down to the edge of the broad, and verified the boathouse. The whole place looked as though it might be all right in the summertime, but just then it made one wonder why people ever wanted to go to the North Pole.

Anyhow, I went indoors, and settled down by the fire. You’ve no idea how quiet it was; even the waterfowl had taken a night off – at least, they weren’t working.

At a few minutes to eleven I heard the first noise there’d been since Mrs. What’s-her-name – Selston – had cleared out. It was the sound of a car. If it had gone straight by I probably shouldn’t have noticed it at all, only it didn’t go straight by; it seemed to stop farther up the road, before it got to the house. Even that didn’t make much impression. After all, cars do stop.

It must have been five or ten minutes before it was borne in on me that it hadn’t gone on again. So I got up and looked out of the window. It had left off snowing, and there was a glare through the gate that showed that there were headlamps somewhere just out of sight. I thought I might as well stroll out and investigate.

I found a fair-sized limousine pulled up in the middle of the road about twenty yards short of my gate. The light was rather blinding, but when I got close to it I found a girl with the bonnet open, tinkering with the engine. Quite an attractive young female, from what one could see, but she was so muffled up in furs that it was rather hard to tell.

I said:

‘Er – good evening – anything I can do.’

She said she didn’t know what was the matter. The engine had just stopped, and wouldn’t start again. And it had! It wouldn’t even turn, either with the self-starter or the handle. The whole thing was awfully hot, and I asked her whether there was any water in the radiator. She didn’t see why there shouldn’t be, there always had been. This didn’t strike me as entirely conclusive. I said, we’d better put some in, and see what happened. She said, why not use snow? But I thought not. There was an idea at the back of my mind that there was some reason why it was unwise to use melted snow, and it wasn’t until I arrived back with a bucketful that I remembered what it was. Of course – goitre.

When I got back to her she’d got the radiator cap off, and inserted what a Danish friend of mine calls a ‘funeral.’ We poured a little water in.... Luckily I’d warned her to stand clear. The first tablespoonful that went in came straight out again, red hot, and blew the ‘funeral’ sky-high. We waited a few minutes until things had cooled down a bit, but it was no go. As fast as we poured water in it simply ran out again into the road underneath. It was quite evident that she’d been driving with the radiator bone dry and that her engine had seized right up.

I told her so. She said:

‘Does that mean I’ve got to stop here all night?’

I explained that it wasn’t as bad as all that; that is, if she cared to accept the hospitality of my poor roof (and it was a poor roof – it let the wet in). But she wouldn’t hear of it. By the by, she didn’t know the – er – circumstances, so it wasn’t that. No, she wanted to leave the car where it was and go on on foot.

I said:

‘Don’t be silly, it’s miles to anywhere.’

However, at that moment we heard a car coming along the road, the same way as she’d come. We could see its lights, too, although it was a very long way off. You know how flat Norfolk is – you can see a terrific distance.

I said:

‘There’s the way out of all your troubles. This thing, whatever it is, will give you a tow to the nearest garage, or at any rate a lift to some hotel.’

One would have expected her to show some relief, but she didn’t. I began to wonder what she jolly well did want. She wouldn’t let me help her to stop where she was, and she didn’t seem anxious for anyone to help her to go anywhere else.

She was quite peculiar about it. She gripped hold of my arm, and said:

‘What do you think this is that’s coming?’

I said:

‘I’m sure I don’t know, being a stranger in these parts, but it sounds like a lorry full of milk cans.’

I offered to lay her sixpence about it (this was before the betting-tax came in). She’d have had to pay, too, because it was a lorry full of milk cans. The driver had to pull up because there wasn’t room to get by.

He got down and asked if there was anything he could do to help. We explained the situation. He said he was going to Norwich, and was quite ready to give her a tow if she wanted it. However, she wouldn’t do that, and it was finally decided to shove her car into my garage for the night, to be sent for next day, and the lorry was to take her along to Norwich.

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