A Jury of Her Peers by Susan Glaspell (a short story for intermediate level)

Part 6 (in English)

Words for you:

  • ought to – should (следует)
  • threaded a needle – put a thread into a needle (продеть нитку в иголку)
  • lean – thin (худой)
  • tighten up – make an effort to control oneself (напрячься)
  • peer into – look with concentration at something (всматриваться)
  • get the clothes wraped – cover the clothes in paper or soft material (упаковать вещи)
  • string – a thin rope (бечевка)
  • hold up – show (показывать)

«I don’t think we ought to touch things,» Mrs. Peters said, a little helplessly.
«I’ll just finish up this end,» answered Mrs. Hale calmly. She threaded a needle and started to replace bad sewing with good. For a little while she sewed in silence. Then, in that thin voice, she heard: «Mrs. Hale!»
«Yes, Mrs. Peters?»
«What do you suppose she was so … nervous about?»
«Oh, I don’t know,» said Mrs. Hale. «I don’t know as she was … nervous. I sew awful queer sometimes when I’m just tired.»

She cut a thread, and out of the corner of her eye looked up at Mrs. Peters. The small, lean face of the sheriff’s wife seemed to have tightened up. Her eyes had that look of peering into something. But next moment she moved, and said: «Well, I must get those clothes wrapped. I wonder where I could find a piece of paper—and a string
«In that cupboard, maybe,» suggested Mrs. Hale.

«Here’s a bird-cage,» Mrs. Peters said. «Did she have a bird, Mrs. Hale?»
«Why, I don’t know whether she did or not.» She turned to look at the cage Mrs. Peter was holding up. «I’ve not been here in so long.» She sighed. «There was a man round last year selling canaries cheap—but I don’t know as she took one. Maybe she did. She used to sing real pretty herself.»

Mrs. Peters looked around the kitchen. «Seems kind of funny to think of a bird here.» She half laughed. «But she must have had one—or why would she have a cage? I wonder what happened to it.»

«I suppose maybe the cat got it,» suggested Mrs. Hale.
«No, she didn’t have a cat. She was afraid of them. When they brought her to our house yesterday, my cat got in the room, and she was very upset and asked me to take it out.»

«My sister Bessie was like that,» laughed Mrs. Hale.
The sheriff’s wife did not reply. She was examining the bird-cage. «Look at this door,» she said slowly. «It’s broke.»

Part 6 (in Russian)

* * *

Part 6 (in English, continuation)

Words for you:

  • rough – wild (грубый)
  • reproach – blame (винить, упрекать)
  • harshly – unkindly (мрачно)
  • shiver – shake (вздрогнуть)
  • Like a raw wind that gets to the bone. – feel unpleasant (Как стоять на холодном ветру.)
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2 thoughts on “A Jury of Her Peers by Susan Glaspell (a short story for intermediate level)
  1. I read to the end but didn’t understand why the man was strangled?

    • Tatiana says:

      You mean, why did she murder him? Looking around her kitchen, the women made their own investigation. In contrast to the men’s words that «nothing in the kitchen would point to any motive» they little by little found some evidence of their friend’s unhappiness: half done things, a bad stove, shabby clothes, rough sewing and the last straw — an empty broken cage. They thought that there must be a dead bird somewhere and when they found it they guessed right. Her husband had been murdering her slowly. But she didn’t want to be dead like her bird!

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