Soapy sat (сидел, sit-sat-sat) on a seat (место) in Madison Square (площадь), New York, and looked up at the sky. A dead (мёртвый, безжизненный) leaf (лист) fell (упал, fall-fell-fallen) onto his arm (рука). Winter was coming (наступала), and Soapy knew (знал, know-knew-known) that (что) he must (должен) make his plans (строить планы). He moved (двигался) unhappily (несчастливо) on his seat.
He wanted (хотел) three months in a nice (хороший), warm (тёплый) prison (тюрьма), with (с) food (еда) and good friends. This was how (вот так) he usually (обычно) spent (проводил, spend-spent-spent) his winters (зимы). And now it was time (пришло время), because (потому что), at night (ночью) on his seat in the square, three newspapers (газеты) did not (не) keep out (держать вне) the cold (холод).
So (итак, поэтому) Soapy decided (решила) to go (отправиться) to prison, and at once (сразу же) began (начал, begin-began-begun) to try (пытаться, стараться) his first (первый) plan. It (это) was (было) usually easy (легко). He ate (ел, eat-ate-eaten) dinner (ужин) in an expensive (дорогой) restaurant. Then (затем) he told (говорил, рассказывал) them (им) he had no (не имел) money (деньги) and they called (звали, звонили) a policeman (полицейский). Nice (приятно) and easy (легко), with no trouble (без проблем/беды).
So Soapy left (покинул, ушёл) his seat, and walked (пошёл) slowly (медленно) along (вдоль) the street (улица). Soon he came (пришёл, come-came-come) to a bright (яркий, великолепный) restaurant on Broadway. Ah! This was all right (хорошо). He just (просто) had to (нужно было) get to (добраться до) a table in the restaurant and sit down. That was all (всё), because, when (когда) he sat down, people could (могли, can-could-been able) only (только) see (видеть) his coat (пальто) and his shirt (рубашка), which (которые) were (были) not very old. Nobody (никто) could (мог) see (видеть) his trousers (брюки). He thought (подумал, think-thought-thought) about (о) the meal (еда) — not too (слишком) expensive, but good.
But when Soapy went into (зашёл) the restaurant, the waiter (официант) saw (увидел, see-saw-seen) Soapy’s dirty (грязный) old trousers and terrible (ужасный) shoes (туфли).
Strong (сильные) hands (руки) turned him round (развернули его) and helped (помогли) him out into the street (на улицу) again (опять).
So now he had to think of something different. Soapy walked away from Broadway and soon he found himself on Sixth Avenue. He stopped in front of a shop window and looked at it. It was nice and bright, and everybody in the street could see him. Slowly and carefully he picked up a stone and threw it at the window. The glass broke with a loud noise. People ran round the corner and Soapy was happy, because the man in front was a policeman. Soapy did not move. He stood there with his hands in his pockets, and he smiled. ‘I’ll soon be in prison now,’ he thought.
The policeman came up to Soapy. ‘Who did that?’ he asked.
‘Perhaps I did,’ Soapy replied.
But the policeman knew that people who break windows do not stop to talk to policemen. They run away. And just then the policeman saw another man, who was running to catch a bus. So the policeman ran after him. Soapy watched for a minute. Then he walked away. No luck again! He began to feel cross.
But on the opposite side of the road he saw a little restaurant. ‘Ah, that’ll be all right,’ he thought, and he went in. This time nobody looked at his trousers and his shoes. He enjoyed his meal, and then he looked up at the waiter, smiled and said, ‘I haven’t got any money, you know. Now, call the police. And do it quickly. I’m tired!’
‘No police for you!’ the waiter answered. ‘Hey! Jo!’
Another waiter came, and together they threw Soapy out into the cold street. Soapy lay there, very angry. With difficulty, he stood up. His nice warm prison was still far away, and Soapy was very unhappy. He felt worse because a policeman, who was standing near, laughed and walked away.
Soapy moved on, but he walked for a long time before he tried again. This time it looked easy. A nice young woman was standing in front of a shop window. Not very far away there was also a policeman. Soapy moved nearer to the young woman. He saw that the policeman was watching him. Then he said to the young woman, with a smile, ‘Why don’t you come with me, my dear? I can give you a good time.’
The young woman moved away a little and looked more carefully into the shop window. Soapy looked at the policeman. Yes, he was still watching. Then he spoke to the young woman again. In a minute she would call the policeman. Soapy could almost see the prison doors. Suddenly, the young woman took hold of his arm.
‘OK,’ she said happily. ‘If you buy me a drink. Let’s go before that policeman sees us.’
And poor Soapy walked away with the young woman, who still held on to his arm. He was very unhappy.
At the next corner he ran away from the woman. Suddenly he was afraid. ‘I’m never going to get to prison,’ he thought. Slowly, he walked on and came to a street with a lot of theatres. There were a lot of people there, rich people in their best clothes. Soapy had to do something to get to prison. He did not want to spend another night on his seat in Madison Square. What could he do? Then he saw a policeman near him, so he began to sing and shout and make a lot of noise. This time they must send him to prison. But the policeman turned his back to Soapy and said to a man who was standing near, ‘He’s had too much to drink, but he’s not dangerous. We’ll leave him alone tonight.’ What was the matter with the police? Soapy was really unhappy now, but he stopped making a noise. How could he get to prison? The wind was cold, and he pulled his thin coat around him. But, just then, inside a shop, he saw a man with an expensive umbrella. The man put his umbrella down near the door, and took out a cigarette. Soapy went into the shop, picked up the umbrella, and, slowly, he began to walk away. The man came quickly after him.
‘That’s my umbrella,’ he said.
‘Oh, is it?’ Soapy replied. ‘Then why don’t you call a policeman? I took it, and you say it’s your umbrella.
Go on, then. Call a policeman! Look! There’s one on the corner.’
The umbrella man looked unhappy. ‘Well, you know, perhaps I’ve made a mistake. I took it from a
restaurant this morning. If it’s yours, well, I’m very sorry . . .’
‘Of course it’s my umbrella,’ Soapy said. The policeman looked at them — and the umbrella man walked away. The policeman went to help a beautiful young girl to cross the road.
Soapy was really angry now. He threw the umbrella away and said many bad things about policemen. Just
because he wanted to go to prison, they did not want to send him there. He could do nothing wrong!
He began to walk back to Madison Square and home — his seat. But on a quiet corner, Soapy suddenly stopped.
Here, in the middle of the city, was a beautiful old church. Through one purple window he could see a soft light, and sweet music was coming from inside the church. The moon was high in the sky and everything was quiet. For a few seconds it was like a country church and Soapy remembered other, happier days. He thought of the days when he had a mother, and friends, and beautiful things in his life. Then he thought about his life now — the empty days, the dead plans. And then a wonderful thing happened. Soapy decided to change his life and be a new man. ‘Tomorrow,’ he said to himself, ‘I’ll go into town and find work. My life will be good again. I’ll be somebody important. Everything will be different. I’ll . . .’ Soapy felt a hand on his arm. He jumped and looked round quickly — into the face of a policeman!
‘What are you doing here?’ asked the policeman.
‘Nothing,’ Soapy answered.
‘Then come with me,’ the policeman said.
‘Three months in prison,’ they told Soapy the next day.
«The Christmas Presents»
«The Gift of the Magi»
One dollar and eighty-seven (87) cents (центы). That was (было, be-was/were-been) all (всё). Every day, when (когда) she went (ходила, go-went-gone) to the shops, she spent (проводила, spend-spent-spent) very little (мало) money. She bought (покупала, buy-bought-bought) the cheapest (самый дешёвый) meat (мясо), the cheapest vegetables (овощи). And when she was (была) tired (уставший), she still (всё ещё) walked (ходила) round and round (покругу) the shops to (чтобы) find (найти, find-found-found) the cheapest food (еда). She saved (копила) every cent possible (возможный). Delia counted (подсчитала) the money again (опять). There was no (никакой) mistake (ошибка). One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And the next day (на следующий день) was Christmas. She couldn’t (не могла, can-could-been able) do (сделать, do-did-done) anything (ничего) about it (по этому поводу). She could (могла) only (только) sit down (сесть, sit-sat-sat) and cry (плакать). So (поэтому/итак) she sat (сидела) there (там), in the poor (бедный) little room (комната), and she cried (плакала). Delia lived (жила) in this poor little room, in New York, with her husband (муж), James Dillingham Young. They also (также) had (имели, have-had-had) a bedroom (спальня), and a kitchen (кухня) and a bathroom (ванная комната)- all (все) poor (бедный) little rooms. James Dillingham Young was lucky (счастливый/удачливый), because (потому что) he had a job (работа), but (но) it was not (не была) a good job. These (эти) rooms took (забирали/брали, take-took-taken) most of his (большую часть его) money. Delia tried (пыталась) to find (найти) work (работа), but times (времена) were (были) bad (плохой), and there was no (не было) work for her. But when Mr James Dillingham Young came (приходил, come-came-come) home (домой) to his rooms, Mrs James Dillingham Young called (называла) him ‘Jim’ and put (клала/помещала, put-put-put) her arms (руки) round (вокруг) him (обнимала его). And that (это) was good. Delia stopped (прекращала) crying (плакать) and she washed her face (умывалась). She stood (стояла, stand-stood-stood) by the window (у окна), and looked out (выглядывала) at (на) a grey (серый) cat on a grey wall (на серой стене) in the grey road (на серой дороге). Tomorrow (завтра) was Christmas Day (Рождество), and she had only (только) one dollar and eighty-seven cents to buy (чтобы купить) Jim a Christmas (рождественский) present (подарок). Her Jim. She wanted (хотела) very much (очень) to buy him (ему) something (что-нибудь) really (действительно) fine (хороший), something to show (показать) how much (как сильно) she loved (любила) him. Suddenly (внезапно), Delia turned round (повернулась) and ran (побежала, run-ran-run) over to look (посмотреть) in the glass (стекло/зеркало) on the wall. Her eyes (глаза) were (были) bright (яркие/сияли). Now (сейчас/итак), the James Dillingham Youngs had (имел) two very special (особый) things (вещи). One was Jim’s gold (золотой) watch (часы). It (они/часы) once (однажды) belonged (принадлежали) to his father (отец), and, before that (до этого), to his grandfather (дедушка). The other (другой) special thing was Delia’s hair (волосы). Quickly (быстро), Delia let (позволила, выпустила let-let-let) down (вниз) (опустила) her beautiful (красивые), long (длинные) hair. It (они/волосы) fell down (упали вниз) her back (спина), and it was almost (почти) like (как) a coat (пальто) around (вокруг) her. Then (затем) she put her hair up (подняла свои волосы) again (опять), quickly (быстро). For a second or two she stood (стояла, stand-stood-stood) still (неподвижно), and cried a little (немного). Then (затем) she put on (надела) her old (старый) brown (коричневый) coat (пальто), and her old brown hat (шляпа), turned, and left (покинула, leave-left-left) the room (вышла из комнаты). She went (пошла, go-went-gone) downstairs (спустилась вниз по лестнице) and out (снаружи, наружу) into the road (на дорогу), and her eyes were bright.
She walked along by (проходила мимо) the shops, and stopped (останавливалась) when (когда) she came (подошла) to a door with ‘Madame Eloise — Hair’ on it.
Inside (внутри) there was a fat (полная) woman. She did not look like (не была похожа на) an ‘Eloise’.
‘Will you buy (Вы купите) my hair?’ Delia asked (спросила).
‘I buy (покупаю) hair,’ Madame replied (ответила). ‘Take your hat off (снимайте свою шляпу, take off- снимать, take-took-taken), then (тогда), and show me (покажите мне) your hair.’
The beautiful brown hair fell down (упали, fall-fell-fallen).
‘Twenty dollars,’ Madame said (сказала, say-said-said), and she touched (докоснулась) the hair with her hand (своей рукой).
‘Quick (быстро)! Cut it off (отрежьте их, cut-cut-cut- резать)! Give me (дайте мне, give-gave-given) the money!’ Delia said (сказала).
The next two hours (следующие два часа) went (прошли) quickly (быстро). Delia was happy because (потому что) she was looking round (смотрела по сторонам/оглядывалась) the shops for Jim’s present.
At last (наконец) she found (нашла, find-found-found) it. It was a gold (золотая) chain (цепочка, цепь) for The Watch. Jim loved (любил) his watch (часы), but (но) it had no (не имела) chain. When Delia saw (увидела, see-saw-seen) this gold chain, she knew (знала, know-knew-known) immediately (сразу же) that (что) it was right for (она подходила, «она была правильной/подходящей» для) Jim. She must (должна) have (иметь, have-had-had) it. The shop took (взял) twenty-one dollars from (от) her for it (за неё), and she hurried home (поспешила домой) with the eighty-seven cents. When (когда) she arrived (прибыла/пришла) there (туда), she looked at (посмотрела на) her very (очень) short hair (короткие волосы) in the glass. ‘What can I do with it (что я могу с ними сделать?)’ she thought (подумала, think-thought-thought). For the next half an hour (в следующие полчаса) she was very busy (была очень занята). Then (затем) she looked again (снова) in the glass. Her hair was now in very small curls (в очень маленьких кудрях) all over her head (по всей голове). ‘Oh, dear (о, боже). I look like (я похожа на) a schoolgirl (школьницу)!’ she said (сказала) to herself (себе). ‘What’s Jim going to say (что Джим скажет) when he sees me (когда увидит меня)?’ At seven o’clock (в 7 часов) the dinner (ужин) was nearly ready (почти готов) and Delia was waiting (ждала). ‘Oh, I hope (я надеюсь) he thinks (он подумает) that (что) I’m still (всё ещё) beautiful!’ she thought. The door opened and Jim came in (вошёл) and closed it. He looked (выглядел) very thin (худым) and he needed (ему нужно было/нуждался в) a new (новое) coat (пальто). His eyes (глаза) were (были) on (на) Delia. She could not (не могла) understand (понять) the look (взгляд) on his face, and she was afraid (боялась). He was not (не был) angry (сердитый/злой) or (или) surprised (удивлён). He just (просто) watched her (смотрел на неё), with (с) that strange (странный) look (взгляд) on his face. Delia ran (побежала, run-ran-run) to him (к нему).
‘Jim,’ she cried (закричала). ‘Don’t look at me (не смотри на меня) like that (вот так). I sold (продала, sell-sold-sold) my hair because I wanted (хотела) to give you (дать тебе) a present (подарок). It (они) will soon (будут скоро) be long (длинные) again (снова). I had to do it (я должна была сделать это), Jim. Say (скажи) «Happy Christmas», please (пожалуйста). I have a wonderful (чудесный) present for you!’
‘You’ve cut off your hair (ты обрезала свои волосы?)’ asked Jim.
‘Yes. I cut it off and sold it,’ Delia said. ‘But don’t you love me ( ты не любишь меня) any more (больше), Jim? I’m still me (этовсё ещё я) .’
Jim looked round (оглянулся) the room. ‘You say your hair has gone (исччезли/ушли/больше нет)?’ he said, almost (почти) stupidly (глупо).
‘Yes. I told (рассказала, tell-told-told) you. Because I love you! Shall I get the dinner (мне поставить ужин) now (сейчас), Jim?’
Suddenly (внезапно) Jim put his arms round (обнял) his Delia. Then he took (взял, take-took-taken) something (что-то) from his pocket (из своего кармана) and put (положил, put-put-put) it on the table.
‘I love you, Delia,’ he said. ‘It doesn’t matter (не важно) if (ли) your hair (твои волосы) is short (короткие) or (или) long (длинные). But (но) if you open that (если ты откроешь это), you’ll see (ты увидишь) why (почему) I was unhappy (несмасьлив) at first (сначала).’
Excited (взволнованная, в восторге), Delia pulled off (сняла) the paper (бумагу). Then (затем) she gave a little scream (вскрикнула «дала небольшой крик») of happiness (от счастья). But a second later (но секунду спустя) there were cries (крики) of unhappiness (несчастье). Because there were The Combs (гребешки, гребешки-заколки) — the combs for her beautiful hair. When (когда) she first (впервые) saw (увидела) these (эти) combs in the shop window (в витрине), she wanted (захотела) them. They were beautiful combs, expensive (дорогие) combs, and now they were her combs. But she no longer (больше не) had (имела) her hair! Delia picked them up (подняла их) and held (держала, hold-held-held) them. Her eyes were full of love (полны любви).
‘But my hair will soon be long again, Jim.’
And then Delia remembered (вспомнила). She jumped up (подпрыгнула) and cried (закричала), ‘Oh! Oh!’ She ran to get (достать/получить/взять) Jim’s beautiful present, and she held it out (протянула его) to him. ‘Isn’t it lovely (разве он не чудесный), Jim? I looked everywhere (везде) for it. Now you’ll want (ты захочешь) to look at (смотреть на) your watch a hundred times (100 раз) a day (в день). Give it to me! Give me your watch, Jim! Let’s see (давай посмотрим) it with its new chain (с новой цепочкой).’
But Jim did not do (не сделал) this (это). He sat down (сел), put (положил) his hands behind (за, позади) his head, and he smiled (улыбнулся). ‘Delia,’ he said. ‘Let’s keep (давай отложим, keep-kept-kept- хранить, держать, сохранять) our presents for a time (на некоторое время). They’re so nice (такие хорошие). You see (видишь ли), I sold the watch to get (чтобы получить) the money to buy (ччтобы купить) your combs. And now, let’s have dinner (давай поужинаем).’ And this was (это была) the story (история) of two young people (молодых людей) who (которые) were very much in love (очень сильно любили друг друга).
The Caliph, Cupid and The Clock by O. Henry
Prince Michael of Valleluna sat in the park on the seat he liked best. In the coolness of the night (в ночной прохладе), he felt full of life (полный жизни). The other seats (другие места) were not filled (не были заняты). Cool weather sends most people home.
The moon was rising (поднималась) over the houses on the east side (с восточной стороны) of the park. Children laughed and played. Music came softly (мягко, тихо) from one of the nearer streets. Around the little park, cabs rolled by (проезжали мимо). The trains that traveled high above the street rushed past (быстро проезжали мимо). These cabs (такси) and trains, with their wild (дикий) noises (шум), seemed (казались) like animals outside the park. But they could not enter (не могли войти). The park was safe (безопасный) and quiet (тихий). And above the trees was the great, round (круглый), shining (блестящий) face (циферблат) of a lighted (освящённый) clock in a tall old building.
Prince Michael’s shoes were old and broken (сломан). No shoemaker (сапожник) could ever make them like new again. His clothes were very torn (порван). The hair of his face had been growing (росли) for two weeks. It was all colors—gray and brown and red and green-yellow. His hat was older and more torn than his shoes and his other clothes.
Prince Michael sat on the seat he liked best, and he smiled. It was a happy thought (мысль) to him that he had enough (достаточно) money to buy every house he could see near the park, if he wished (если бы захотел). He had as much gold as any rich man (столько золота, сколько и любой богач) in this proud (гордый) city of New York. He had as many jewels (драгоценность), and houses, and land (земля). He could have sat at (он мог бы сидеть за) table with kings and queens. All the best things in the world could be his—art (искусство), pleasure (удовольствие), beautiful women, honor (честь). All the sweeter (ещё более приятные/сладкие) things in life were waiting for Prince Michael of Valleluna whenever (когда бы ни) he might ( мог бы) choose (выбрать) to take them. But instead (вместо этого) he was choosing to sit in torn clothes on a seat in a park.
For (так как) he had tasted (попробовал на вкус) of the fruit the tree of life. He had not liked the taste. Here, in this park, he felt near to the beating heart (бьющееся сердце) of the world. He hoped (надеялся) it would help (поможет ему) him to forget (забыть) that taste (вкус).
These thoughts moved like (двигались как) a dream (сон/мечта) through (через/по) the mind (разум) of Prince Michael. There was a smile across his face (на его лице) with its many-colored hair. Sitting like this (сидя вот так), in torn clothes, he loved to study (изучать) other men. He loved to do good things for others. Giving was more pleasant (приятнее) to him than owning (владение) all his riches (богатства). It was his chief pleasure (главное удовольствие) to help people who were in trouble (были в беде). He liked to give to people who needed help. He liked to surprise (удивлять) them with princely (королевский) gifts (подарки). But he always gave wisely (мудро), after careful (осторожный/внимательный) thought.
And now, as he looked at the shining face of the great clock, his smile changed (изменилась). The Prince always thought big thoughts. When he thought of time, he always felt (чувствовал) a touch (прикосновение) of sadness (немного грусти). Time controlled the world. People had to do (должны были делать) what time commanded. Their comings (приходы/приезды) and goings (уходы/отъезды) were always controlled (контролировались) by a clock (часами). They were always in a hurry (в спешке), and always afraid (боялись), because of (из-за) time. It made (это заставляло/делало) him sad.
After a little while (через некоторое время), a young man in evening clothes came and sat upon a seat near the Prince. For half an hour (в течение получаса) he sat there nervously. Then he began to watch the face of the lighted clock above the trees. The Prince could see that the young man had a trouble. He could also (также, тоже) see that somehow (каким-то образом, почему-то) the clock was part (часть) of the trouble.
The Prince rose (встал) and went to the young man’s seat.
“I am a stranger (незнакомец), and I shouldn’t (не должен/не следует) speak to you,” he said. “But I can see that you are troubled (беспокойный, встревоженный). I am Prince Michael of Valleluna. I do not want people to know who I am. That is why (вот почему) I wear (ношу) these torn clothes. It is a small pleasure of mine to help those who need help. First (сначала) I must feel sure (быть уверенным) they are worth helping (они стоят того, чтобы им помогать). I think you are. And perhaps (возможно) your trouble (беспокойство; волнение; тревога, неприятность, беда, горе; напасть) may be ended (можно закончить) if you and I together (вместе) decide (решать) what to do about it.”
The young man looked up brightly (ярко/весело) at the Prince. Brightly (весело), but he was still (всё ещё) troubled. He laughed (засмеялся), then (затем), but still the look of trouble remained (оставался). But he accepted (принял, согласился) this chance (шанс) to talk to someone.
“I’m glad to meet you (я рад встретить/видеть вас), Prince,” he said pleasantly (любезно/приветливо). “Yes, I can see you don’t want to be known (не хочешь, чтобы тебя знали). That’s easy (легко) to see. Thanks for your offer (предложение) to help. But I don’t see what you can do. It’s my own (собственная) problem. But thanks.”
Prince Michael sat down at the young man’s side (сторона/рядом). People often said no to him, but they always said it pleasantly.
“Clocks,” said the Prince, “are tied (привязаны) to the feet (к ногам) of all men and women. I have seen you watching (я видел, как ты смотрел на) that clock. That face commands us to act (действовать), whether or not we wish (хотим ли мы или нет) to act. Let me tell you (позволь сказать тебе) not to trust (не доверять) the numbers (цифрам) on that face. They will destroy (разрушат) you if they can. Stop looking at that clock. What does it know (что они (часы) знают) about living (живых) men and women?”
“I usually don’t look at that clock,” said the young man. “I carry (ношу) a watch, except (кроме) when I wear evening clothes.”
“I know men and women as I know the trees and the flowers,” said the Prince, warmly (тепло) and proudly (с гордостью). “I have studied (изучал) many years. And I am very rich. There are few troubles (мало бед) that I cannot help. I have read (прочитал) what is in your face. I have found (нашёл) honor (честь) and goodness (доброта) there, and trouble. Please accept (прими) my help. I can see that you are wise (мудрый). Show (покажи) how wise you are. Do not judge (не суди) me by my torn clothes. I am sure (уверен) I can help you.”
The young man looked at the clock again, and his face grew darker (потемнело). Then he looked at a house beside (рядом с) the park. Lights (огни) could be seen (можно было увидеть) in many rooms.
“Ten minutes before (до) nine!” said the young man. He raised (поднял) his hands and then let (позволил) them fall (упасть), as if (как буд-то) hope (надежда) had gone (ушла/исчезла). He stood up and took a quick step (быстрый шаг) or two away (прочь).
“Remain! (останься)” commanded Prince Michael. His voice was so powerful (мощный, сильный) that the young man turned (повернулся) quickly (быстро). He laughed (посмеялся) a little (немного).
“I’ll wait ten minutes and then I’ll go,” he said in a low voice (низким голосом), as if only to himself. Then to the Prince he said, “I’ll join (присоединюсь к) you. We’ll destroy (уничтожим) all the clocks. And women, too.”
“Sit down,” said the Prince softly (тихо). “I do not accept (не принимаю) that. I do not include (не учитываю/включаю) women. Women are enemies (враги) of clocks. They are born (рождены) that way. Therefore (поэтому) they are friends of those who wish (желают/хотят) to destroy clocks. If you can trust (доверять) me, tell me your story.”
The young man sat down again and laughed loudly.
“Prince, I will,” he said. He did not believe that Prince Michael was really a prince. His manner of speaking (манера говорить) proved (доказывала) that. “Do you see that house, Prince? That house with lights in three windows on the third floor? At six tonight I was in that house with the young lady I am going to—was going to (собирался) marry (жениться). I’d been doing wrong (я поступал неправильно), my dear Prince, and she heard (услышала) about it. I was sorry. I wanted her to forget it. We are always asking women to forget things like that, aren’t we, Prince?
‘I want time to think,’ she said. ‘I will either forget (я либо забуду) it forever (навсегда), or never see your face again. At half-past eight,’ she said, ‘watch the middle (средний) window on the third floor (этаж) of this house. If I decide (если я решу) to forget, I will hang out (вывешу) a long white cloth (ткань). You will know then that everything is as it was before (как и раньше). And you may (можешь) come to me. If you see nothing hanging from the window, you will know that everything between us is finished forever.’
“That,” said the young man, “is why I have been watching (смотрел на) that clock. The time was passed (прошло) twenty-three minutes ago. Do you see why I am a little troubled, my torn Prince?”
“Let me tell you again,” said Prince Michael in his soft voice, “that women are the born enemies of clocks. Clocks are bad, women are good. The white cloth may yet (всё же) appear (появиться).”
“Never!” said the young man, hopelessly (безнадёжно). “You don’t know Marian. She is always on time (во время), to the minute. That was the first thing I liked about her. At 8:31, I should have known (я должен был знать) that everything was finished. I’m going to go West. I’ll get on the train tonight. I’ll find some way to forget her. Good night—Prince.”
Prince Michael smiled his gentle (мягкий), understanding (понимающий) smile. He caught (поймал) the other’s arm. The bright light in the Prince’s eyes was softening (становился мягче). It was dream-like, clouded (затуманенный).
“Wait,” he said, “till (пока не) the clock tells the hour. I have riches and power and I am wiser than most men. But when I hear the clock tell the hour, I am afraid. Stay with me till then. This woman shall be yours. You have the promise of the Prince of Valleluna. On the day you are married I will give you $100,000 and a great house beside the Hudson River. But there must be no clocks in that house. Do you agree to that?”
“Sure,” said the young man. “I don’t like clocks.”
He looked again at the clock above the trees. It was three minutes before nine.
“I think,” said Prince Michael, “that I will sleep a little. It has been (был) a long day.”
He lay down (прилёг) on the seat, as if he had often done it before (как будто он часто делал это раньше).
“You’ll find me on this park on any (любой) evening when the weather is good,” said the Prince. “Come to me when you know the day you’ll be married. I’ll give you the money.”
“Thanks, Prince,” said the young man. “That day isn’t going to come. But thanks.”
Prince Michael fell into a deep sleep. His hat rolled (покатилась) on the ground. The young man lifted (поднял) it, placed (положил) it over the Prince’s face, and moved one of the Prince’s legs into an easier position. “Poor fellow (бедный парень)!” he said. He pulled the torn coat together (подобрал порванное пальто) over the Prince’s body.
It was nine. Loud and surprising came the voice of the clock, telling the hour. The young man took a deep breath (глубоко вздохнул), and turned for one more look at the house. And he gave a shout of joy (вскрикнул от счастья).
From the middle window on the third floor, a snow-white wonderful (чудесный) cloth was hanging (висело).
Through the park a man came, hurrying (спеша) home.
“Will you tell me the time, please?” asked the young man.
The other man took out his watch. “Twenty-nine and a half minutes after eight.”
And then he looked up at the clock.
“But that clock is wrong (неправильное)!” the man said. “The first time in ten years! My watch is always—”
But he was talking to no one. He turned and saw the young man running toward the house with three lighted windows on the third floor.
And in the morning two cops walked through the park. There was only one person to be seen—a man, asleep on a long park seat. They stopped to look at him.
“It’s Michael the Dreamer (мечтатель),” said one. “He has been sleeping like this in the park for twenty years. He won’t live much longer, I guess.”
The other cop looked at something in the sleeper’s hand. “Look at this,” he said. “Fifty dollars. I wish I could have a dream like that.”
And then they gave Prince Michael of Valleluna a hard shake, and brought him out of his dreams and into real life.