Jack London. The Apostate (adapted for pre-intermediate)

Part 2

Copyright  © Englishstory.ru, 2016

New Words to Learn:

  1. due to – из-за
  2. although – хотя
  3. indifferent – безразличный
  4. settle down – установиться
  5. darkness – темнота

It was clear and cold outside. The stars were still in the sky, and the city laid in darkness. Both Johnny and his mother were walking silently.

After fifteen minutes, his mother turned to the right. «Don’t be late,» was her final words from out of the dark.

He didn’t answer, going his way. The doors of the factory were open. He joined other workers and soon took his place at one of the machines.

overseer — надсмотрщик

Johnny was a perfect worker and some time ago he was proud of that.  But it didn’t mean anything to him anymore. Now from the perfect worker he had become the perfect machine. When his work went wrong, it was with him as with the machine, due to bad material.

The boy working next to Johnny hated the overseer who kept watching him from a distance. He said terrible words although the overseer didn’t hear them because of the noise.

Johnny was indifferent. He knew that it was useless to hate the overseer. Machines were made to go in certain ways and to perform certain tasks. It was the same with the overseer.

At eleven o’clock there came the director of the factory, accompanied by a young man. He was well-dressed and wore a white shirt.

He looked at the boys working. Sometimes he stopped and asked questions. When he did so, he had to shout to make himself heard.

to make himself heard – чтобы его было слышно

When he came up to Johnny, he caught him by the arm and got him out of the machine. His arm was pretty skinny. The director noticed that.

«Look at those legs. The boy’s got the rickets. »

rickets — рахит

Johnny listened, but did not understand. He was not interested in future ills.

«Now, my boy, I want you to tell me the truth,» the inspector shouted, getting close to the boy’s ear. «How old are you?»

«Fourteen,» Johnny lied. He said that so loudly that he started to cough.

«Looks sixteen at least,» said the director.

«Or sixty,» said the inspector.

«He’s always looked that way.»

They passed on, and Johnny returned to his work. The monotony settled down again. The long morning and the longer afternoon finished. The whistle meant the work was over. Darkness fell when Johnny went out through the factory gate.

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