New Words to Learn:
- patience – терпение
- annoyed – раздраженный (от annoy – раздражать)
- liveliness – живость, веселость
- be in one’s debt – быть у кого-то в долгу
- ungrateful – неблагодарный
- punch – ударить
- ought to – должен
Supper was the family meal of the day — the one meal at which Johnny met his younger brothers and sisters. They were too young. He had no patience with their young age. He did not understand it. His own childhood was too far behind him. He was like an old man, annoyed by their silly talks and liveliness. He looked silently over his food and thought that they would soon have to go to work.
After the meal was over, Jonny went out. He sat down on the stairs, his elbows on his knees and the palms of his hands supporting his chin. He was not thinking, he was just resting. His brothers and sisters came out, and played noisily about him. He paid no attention. Then they started to dance around and sing songs. Johnny was silent.
His brother Will, next to him in age, was 10 years old. Johnny did not like him very much. Some time ago, in his own childhood, he took care of Will because their mother was at work in the factory like now. Will was a baby then and Johnny was a little father and little mother for Will. Since then he had a feeling that Will was in his debt and was ungrateful about it.
Will was strong, as tall as his elder brother and even bigger. He looked healthy.
The children came closer and the noise rose louder. Will danced, putting his tongue out. Suddenly Johnny caught his brother’s neck with his left arm and at the same time punched his bony fist to Will’s nose. Then Johnny kicked him downward in the dirt.
The other children started crying and the mother came out, worried.
«Why can’t he leave me alone?» was Johnny’s reply to her. «Can’t he see I’m tired?»
«I’m as big as you,» Will stood in her arms, his face a mess of tears, dirt, and blood. «I’m as big as you now, and I’m going to get bigger. Then I’ll beat you — see if I don’t.»
«You ought to be to work, seeing how big you are,» Johnny answered. « You ought to be to work. I was younger than him when I started to work. Why mother?»