Мне кажется, выбирать новый отрывок надо загодя, а не в середине месяца. Может, обсудим - что будем переводить в марте? Предлагадю отрывок из 15-й главы ‘The Girl on the Boat’:
Dignity is a sensitive plant which flourishes only under the fairest conditions. Sam's had perished in the bleak east wind of Billie's note. In other circumstances he might have resented this intrusion of a stranger into his most intimate concerns. His only emotion now, was one of dull but distinct gratitude. The four winds of heaven blew chilly upon his raw and unprotected soul, and he wanted to wrap it up in a mantle of sympathy, careless of the source from which he borrowed that mantle. If Webster, the valet, felt disposed, as he seemed to indicate, to comfort him, let the thing go on. At that moment Sam would have accepted condolences from a coal-heaver.
«I was reading a story—one of the Nosegay Novelettes; I do not know if you are familiar with the series, sir?--in which much the same situation occurred. It was entitled 'Cupid or Mammon!' The heroine, Lady Blanche Trefusis, forced by her parents to wed a wealthy suitor, despatches a note to her humble lover, informing him it cannot be. I believe it often happens like that, sir.»
«You're all wrong,» said Sam. «It's not that at all.»
«Indeed, sir? I supposed it was.»
«Nothing like it! I—I—«
Sam's dignity, on its death-bed, made a last effort to assert itself.
«I don't know what it's got to do with you!»
«Precisely, sir!» said Webster, with dignity. «Just as you say! Good afternoon, sir!»
He swayed gracefully, conveying a suggestion of departure without moving his feet. The action was enough for Sam. Dignity gave an expiring gurgle, and passed away, regretted by all.
«Don't go!» he cried.
The idea of being alone in this infernal lane, without human support, overpowered him. Moreover, Webster had personality. He exuded it. Already Sam had begun to cling to him in spirit, and rely on his support.
«Certainly not, if you do not wish it, sir.»
Webster coughed gently, to show his appreciation of the delicate nature of the conversation. He was consumed with curiosity, and his threatened departure had been but a pretence. A team of horses could not have moved Webster at that moment.
«Might I ask, then what...?»
«There's been a misunderstanding,» said Sam. «At least, there was, but now there isn't, if you see what I mean.»
«I fear I have not quite grasped your meaning, sir.»
«Well, I—I—played a sort of—you might almost call it a sort of trick on Miss Bennett. With the best motives, of course!»
«Of course, sir!»
«And she's found out. I don't know how she's found out, but she has. So there you are!»
«Of what nature would the trick be, sir? A species of ruse, sir,--some kind of innocent deception?»
«Well, it was like this.»
It was a complicated story to tell, and Sam, a prey to conflicting emotions, told it badly; but such was the almost superhuman intelligence of Webster, that he succeeded in grasping the salient points. Indeed, he said that it reminded him of something of much the same kind in the Nosegay Novelette, «All for Her,» where the hero, anxious to win the esteem of the lady of his heart, had bribed a tramp to simulate an attack upon her in a lonely road.
«The principle's the same,» said Webster.
«Well what did he do when she found out?»
«She did not find out, sir. All ended happily, and never had the wedding-bells in the old village church rung out a blither peal than they did at the subsequent union.»
Sam was thoughtful.
«Bribed a tramp to attack her, did he?»
«Yes, sir. She had never thought much of him till that moment, sir. Very cold and haughty she had been, his social status being considerably inferior to her own. But, when she cried for help, and he dashed out from behind a hedge, well, it made all the difference.»
«I wonder where I could get a good tramp,» said Sam, meditatively.
Webster shook his head.
«I really would hardly recommend such a procedure, sir.»
«No, it would be difficult to make a tramp understand what you wanted.»
«I've got it! You pretend to attack her, and I'll....»
«I couldn't, sir! I couldn't really! I should jeopardise my situation.»
«Oh, come! Be a man!»
«No, sir, I fear not. There's a difference between handing in your resignation—I was compelled to do that only recently, owing to a few words I had with the guv'nor, though subsequently prevailed upon to withdraw it—I say there's a difference between handing in your resignation and being given the sack, and that's what would happen—without a character, what's more, and lucky if it didn't mean a prison cell. No, sir; I could not contemplate such a thing.»
«Then I don't see that there's anything to be done,» said Sam morosely.
«Oh, I shouldn't say that, sir,» said Webster, encouragingly. «It's simply a matter of finding the way. The problem confronting us—you, I should say....»
«Us,» said Sam. «Most decidedly us.»
«Thank you very much, sir. I would not have presumed, but if you say so—The problem confronting us, as I envisage it, resolves itself into this. You have offended our Miss B. and she has expressed a disinclination ever to see you again. How, then, is it possible, in spite of her attitude, to recapture her esteem?»
«Exactly,» said Sam.
«There are several methods which occur to one....»
«They don't occur to me!»
«Well, for example, you might rescue her from a burning building as in 'True As Steel'....»
«Set fire to the house, eh?» said Sam, reflectively. «Yes, there might be something in that.»
«I would hardly advise such a thing,» said Webster, a little hastily—flattered at the readiness with which his disciple was taking his advice, yet acutely alive to the fact that he slept at the top of the house himself.
«A little drastic, if I may say so. It might be better to save her from drowning, as in 'The Earl's Secret'.»
«Ah, but where could she drown?»
«Well, there is a lake in the grounds....»
«Excellent!» said Sam. «Terrific! I knew I could rely on you. Say no more! The whole thing's settled. You take her out rowing on the lake, and upset the boat. I plunge in ... I suppose you can swim?»
«Oh? Well, never mind. You'll manage somehow, I expect. Cling to the upturned boat or something, I shouldn't wonder. There's always a way. Yes, that's the plan. When is the earliest you could arrange this?»
«I fear such a course must be considered out of the question, sir. It really wouldn't do.»
«I can't see a flaw in it.»
«Well, in the first place, it would certainly jeopardise my situation....»
«Oh, hang your situation! You talk as if you were Prime Minister or something. You can easily get another situation. A valuable man like you,» said Sam, ingratiatingly.
«No, sir,» said Webster firmly. «From boyhood up I've always had a regular horror of the water. I can't so much as go paddling without an uneasy feeling.»
The image of Webster paddling was arresting enough to occupy Sam's thoughts for a moment. It was an inspiring picture, and for an instant uplifted his spirits. Then they fell again.
«Well, I don't see what there is to be done,» he said, gloomily. «It's no good making suggestions, if you have some frivolous objection to all of them.»
«My idea,» said Webster, «would be something which did not involve my own personal and active co-operation, sir. If it is all the same to you, I should prefer to limit my assistance to advice. I am anxious to help, but I am a man of regular habits, which I do not wish to disturb. Did you ever read 'Footpaths of Fate,' in the Nosegay series, sir? I've only just remembered it, and it contains the most helpful suggestion of the lot. There had been a misunderstanding between the heroine and the hero—their names have slipped my mind, though I fancy his was Cyril—and she had told him to hop it....»
«To leave her for ever, sir. And what do you think he did?»
«How the deuce do I know?»
«He kidnapped her little brother, sir, to whom she was devoted, kept him hidden for a bit, and then returned him, and in her gratitude all was forgotten and forgiven, and never....»
«I know. Never had the bells of the old village church....»
«Rung out a blither peal. Exactly, sir. Well, there, if you will allow me to say so, you are, sir! You need seek no further for a plan of action.»
А на апрель, наверное, можно дать поэзию? Что думают коллеги?