O. Henry. A Retrieved Reformation (in English, for upper-intermediate with tasks and translation)

Рассказ «Обращение Джимми Валентайна» (A Retrieved Reformation) — один из лучших рассказов  американского писателя О. Генри. Рассказ предлагается читать на английском языке на уровне upper-intermediate (только некоторые сложные выражения заменены). Для вашего удобства рассказ разбит на 7 частей. После каждой части есть перевод текста и предлагаются задания. Приятного чтения! Enjoy reading in English!

Если вы ищите рассказ «Обращение Джимми Валентайна (на русском языке), читайте —  A Retrieved Reformation»  by O. Henry (на русском языке в сокращении)

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O. Henry «A Retrieved Reformation» (intermediate с переводом и заданиями)

  1. Part One
  2. Part Two
  3. Part Three
  4. Part Four
  5. Part Five
  6. Part Six
  7. Part Seven

Тонкости перевода: Как перевести «a retrieved reformation» на русский язык?

Сначала давайте разберемся с названием этого рассказа, которое переводится как «Обращение Джимми Валентайна».  Кажется, что за странный перевод такой: откуда-то взялось слово  Джимми Валентайн, а ведь слово reformation переводится  как «реформация». Вообще перевод названий —  дело довольно тонкое. Любое название должно передавать суть, смысл, основную идею. Ну, попробуем разобраться. Итак, начнем с «reformation» — перевод этого слова (второй в словаре) «исправление, перевоспитание», а «retrieved» — это «возвращение в обратное состояние». То есть «a retrieved reformation» можно перевести как  «исправление обратно в первоначальное состояние», а именно «превращение в хорошего человека, каким был раньше», а это и есть «обращение». И чтобы совсем понятно было, о ком идет речь, добавили имя главного героя Джимми. Вот так.

O. Henry «A Retrieved Reformation». Part 1

1. A guard came to the prison shoe-shop, where Jimmy Valentine was stitching uppers (тачал заготовки), and escorted him to the front office. There the warden handed Jimmy his pardon, which had been signed that morning by the governor. Jimmy took it in a tired kind of way. He had served nearly ten months of a four year sentence. He had expected to stay only about three months, at the longest. When a man had as many friends on the outside as Jimmy Valentine did it is hardly worthwhile to cut his hair.

“Now, Valentine,” said the warden, “you’ll go out in the morning. Make a man of yourself. You’re not a bad fellow at heart. Stop cracking safes, and live straight.”

“Me?” said Jimmy, in surprise. “Why, I never cracked a safe in my life.”

“Oh, no,” laughed the warden. “Of course, not. Let’s see, now. How was it you happened to get sent up on that Springfield job? Was it simply a case of a mean old jury that had it in for you? It’s always one or the other with you innocent victims.”

“Me?” said Jimmy. “Why, warden, I never was in Springfield in my life!”

“Take him back, Cronin!” said the warden, “and fix him up with outgoing clothes. Unlock him at seven in the morning, and let him out. Better think over my advice, Valentine.”

Перевод текста:

Закрытый контент сайта, доступен по подписке в БОКОВОМ МЕНЮ.

Задания к тексту:

1. Try to guess the meaning of the words in bold:

  1. escort
  2. hand a pardon

2. Выпишите подчеркнутые слова в словарь (14), прослушайте их произношение и выучите.

3. Ответьте на вопросы. Будьте внимательны, вы не сможете изменить свой ответ.

1.How long did Jimmy expect to stay in prison?

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2. What does it mean "to receive pardon"?

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3. Was he glad or disappointed to receive his pardon?

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4. Активизируйте лексику. In your notebook write what happened in this paragraph in some sentences. Be ready to say it.

Use the words: safecracker, be released from, stay in prison, be disappointed

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O. Henry. A Retrieved Reformation. Part 2 (read in English)

2. At a quarter past seven on the next morning Jimmy stood in the warden’s outer office. He had on a suit of the terribly fitting, ready-made clothes and a pair of the stiff, squeaky shoes.

The clerk handed him a railroad ticket and the five-dollar bill with which the law expected him to rehabilitate himself into good citizenship. The warden even gave him a cigar, and shook hands. Valentine, 9762, was chronicled on the books “Pardoned by Governor,” and Mr. James Valentine walked out into the sunshine.

Paying no attention to the song of the birds, the waving green trees, and the smell of the flowers, Jimmy headed straight for a restaurant. There he tasted the first sweet joys of liberty in the shape of a broiled chicken and a bottle of white wine. From there he went straight to the railway station. He tossed a quarter into the hat of a blind man sitting by the door, and got on his train. In three hours he got off in a little town near the state line. He went to the cafe of one Mike Dolan and shook hands with Mike, who was alone behind the bar.

“Sorry we couldn’t make it sooner, Jimmy, my boy,” said Mike. “The governor nearly refused. Feeling all right?”

“Fine,” said Jimmy. “Got my key?”

He got his key and went upstairs, unlocking the door of a room at the back of the house. Everything was just as he had left it. There on the floor was still Ben Price’s collar-button that had been torn from that detective’s shirt when they had overpowered Jimmy to arrest him.

Pulling out from the wall a folding-bed (складную кровать), Jimmy slid back a panel in the wall and dragged out a dust-covered suit-case. He opened this and gazed fondly at the finest set of burglar’s tools in the East. It was a complete set, made of specially tempered steel, the latest designs in drills, punches, braces and bits, jimmies, clamps, and two or three novelties, invented by Jimmy himself, in which he took pride. Over nine hundred dollars they had cost him to have made at a place where they make such things for the profession.

In half an hour Jimmy went downstairs and through the cafe. He was now dressed in tasteful and well-fitting clothes, and carried his dusted and cleaned suit-case in his hand.

“Got anything on?” asked Mike Dolan.

“Me?” said Jimmy, in a puzzled tone. “I don’t understand. I’m representing the New York Short Snap Biscuit Cracker and Wheat Company.”

This statement delighted Mike to such an extent that Jimmy had to take a seltzer-and-milk on the spot. He never touched “hard” drinks.

Перевод текста:

Закрытый контент сайта, доступен по подписке в БОКОВОМ МЕНЮ.

Задания к тексту:

1. Try to guess the meaning of the word: rehabilitate
2. Выпишите подчеркнутые слова в словарь (пассивная лексика ), прослушайте их произношение и выучите.

3. Answer the questions:

  1. Describe Jimmy’s first activities after releasing from the prison.
  2. What did he look like?
  3. Was he going to resume his business?

4. Translate the story

* * *

O. Henry. A Retrieved Reformation. Part 3 (read in English)

3. A week after the release of Valentine, 9762, there was a neat job of safe-burglary done in Richmond, Indiana, with no clue to the author. A eight hundred dollars was all that was stolen. Two weeks after that a patented, improved, burglar-proof safe in Logansport was opened like a cheese to the tune. Fifteen hundred dollars was gone. That began to interest the rogue-catchers (ищейки). Then an old-fashioned bank-safe in Jefferson City became active and threw out of its crater an eruption of bank-notes amounting to five thousand dollars. The losses were now high enough to bring the matter up into Ben Price’s class of work. By comparing notes, a remarkable similarity in the methods of the burglaries was noticed. Ben Price investigated the scenes of the robberies, and was heard to remark:

“That’s Dandy Jim Valentine’s autograph. He’s resumed business. Look at that combination knob—jerked out as easy as pulling up a radish in wet weather. He’s got the only clamps that can do it. And Jimmy never has to drill but one hole. Yes, I guess I want Mr. Valentine. He’ll do his bit next time without any short-time.”

Ben Price knew Jimmy’s habits. He had learned them while working on the Springfield case. Long jumps, quick get-aways, no accomplices, and a taste for good society—these ways had helped Mr. Valentine to escape. It was said that Ben Price had taken up the trail of the elusive cracksman, and other people with burglar-proof safes felt more at ease.

Перевод текста:

Закрытый контент сайта, доступен по подписке в БОКОВОМ МЕНЮ.

Задания к тексту:

1. Задание: выпишите подчеркнутые слова в словарь (пассивная лексика ), прослушайте их произношение  и выучите.

2. Answer the questions:

  1. What things started to happen after Jimmy had been freed?
  2. Who was Ben Price?

3. Translate the story, trying to guess the meaning of the unknown words.

* * *

O. Henry. A Retrieved Reformation. Part 4 (read in English)

4. One afternoon Jimmy Valentine and his suit-case climbed out of the mail coach in Elmore, a little town five miles off the railroad down in country of Arkansas. Jimmy, looking like an athletic young senior just home from college, went down the board side-walk toward the hotel.

A young lady crossed the street, passed him at the corner and entered a door over which was the sign “The Elmore Bank.” Jimmy Valentine looked into her eyes, forgot what he was, and became another man. She lowered her eyes and colored slightly. Young men of Jimmy’s style and looks were rare in Elmore.

Jimmy collared a boy that was loafing on the steps of the bank and began to ask him questions about the town, giving him dimes at intervals. By and by the young lady came out, looking unconscious of the young man with the suit-case, and went her way.

“Isn’t that young lady Miss Polly Simpson?” asked Jimmy slyly.

“No,” said the boy. “She’s Annabel Adams. Her pa owns this bank. What’d you come to Elmore for? Is that a gold watch-chain? I’m going to get a bulldog. Got any more dimes?”

Jimmy went to the Planters’ Hotel, registered as Ralph D. Spencer, and booked a room. He said he had come to Elmore to look for a location to go into business. How was the shoe business, now, in the town? He had thought of the shoe business. What were the chances?

The clerk was impressed by the clothes and manner of Jimmy and cordially gave him information.

Yes, there ought to be good chances to open a shoe line. There wasn’t a shoe-store in the place. The dry-goods and general stores handled them. Business in all lines was fairly good. Hoped Mr. Spencer would decide to settle in Elmore. He would find it a pleasant town to live in, and the people very sociable.

Mr. Spencer thought he would stop over in the town a few days and look over the situation.

Перевод текста:

Закрытый контент сайта, доступен по подписке в БОКОВОМ МЕНЮ.

Задания к тексту:

1. Выпишите подчеркнутые слова в словарь (пассивная лексика ), прослушайте их произношение  и выучите.

2. Answer the questions:

  1. What happened to Jimmy one day?
  2. How did the event change Jimmy?

3. Translate the story, trying to guess the meaning of the unknown words.

* * *

O. Henry. A Retrieved Reformation. Part 5 (read in English)

5. So, Mr. Ralph Spencer, the phoenix that arose from Jimmy Valentine’s ashes -—ashes left by the flame of a sudden attack of love— remained in Elmore, and prospered. He opened a shoe-store and started business.

Socially he was also a success, and made many friends. And he accomplished the wish of his heart. He met Miss Annabel Adams, and became more and more captivated by her charms.

At the end of a year the situation of Mr. Ralph Spencer was this: he had won the respect of the community, his shoe shop was flourishing, and he and Annabel were engaged to be married in two weeks. Mr. Adams, the typical country banker, approved of Spencer. Annabel’s pride in him almost equaled her affection. He was as much at home in the family of Mr. Adams as if he were already a member.

One day Jimmy sat down in his room and wrote this letter, which he addressed to of one of his old friends in St. Louis:

Dear Old Pal:
I want you to be at Sullivan’s place, in Little Rock, next Wednesday night, at nine o’clock. I want you to help me. And, also, I want to make you a present of my kit of tools. I know you’ll be glad to get them. Say, Billy, I’ve quit the old business—a year ago. I’ve got a nice shop. I’m making an honest living, and I’m going to marry the finest girl on earth two weeks from now. It’s the only life, Billy—the straight one. I wouldn’t touch a dollar of another man’s money now for a million. After I get married I’m going to sell out and go West, where there won’t be so much danger of having old scores brought up against me. I tell you, Billy, she’s an angel. She believes in me; and I wouldn’t do another crooked thing for the whole world. Be sure to be at Sully’s, for I must see you. I’ll bring along the tools with me.
Your old friend,

Перевод текста:

Закрытый контент сайта, доступен по подписке в БОКОВОМ МЕНЮ.

Part 5 (in Russian)

5. Так, Ральф Спенсер, феникс, восставший из пепла Джимми Валентайна – пепла, оставленного пламенем неожиданного всплеска любви – остался в Элморе, и преуспел здесь. Он открыл обувной магазин и начал свой бизнес.

Он также имел успех в обществе и завел много друзей. И сбылось то, о чем он мечтал. Он встретил мисс Аннабель Адамс и все больше и больше очаровывался ею.

На конец года положение мистера Ральфа Спенсера было таково: он завоевал расположение в обществе, его обувной магазин процветал, а они с Аннабель обручились и собирались пожениться через две недели. Мистер Адамс, типичный сельский банкир, очень хорошо относился к нему. Аннабель не только гордилась им, но и любила его. Ральф Спенсор чувствовал себя как дома в семье мистера Адамса, как будто уже был ее членом.

Однажды Джимми сел в своей комнате и написал это письмо, которое адресовалось одному из его старых друзей в Сент Луисе:

«Мой дорогой друг,
Мне нужно, чтобы ты приехал в Салливан, Литтл Рок, в следующую среду вечером, в девять часов. Мне нужна твоя помощь. А еще я хочу подарить тебе мой набор инструментов. Я знаю, ты будешь рад его получить. Кстати, Билли, я завязал со старым, год назад. У меня теперь магазин. Я живу честно и собираюсь жениться на самой лучшей девушке на земле через две недели. Это и есть жизнь, Билли – настоящая жизнь. Я теперь не притронусь к чужим деньгам даже за миллион. После женитьбы я хочу все продать и отправиться на Запад, где не будет опасности расплаты за старые грехи. Говорю тебе, Билли, она ангел. Она верит в меня; и я не сделаю ничего дурного ни за что на свете. Обязательно приезжай в Салли, я должен повидаться с тобой. Я возьму инструменты с собой.
Твой старый друг,


Задания к тексту:

1. Выпишите подчеркнутые слова в словарь (пассивная лексика ), прослушайте их произношение  и выучите.

2. Answer the questions:

  1. Who is Mr. Ralph Spencer?
  2. Describe him.
  3. Who was the letter addressed to? Why?

3. Translate the story, trying to guess the meaning of the unknown words.

* * *

O. Henry. A Retrieved Reformation. Part 6 (read in English)

6. On the Monday night after Jimmy wrote this letter, Ben Price came into Elmore. He lounged about town in his quiet way until he found out what he wanted to know. From the drug-store across the street from Spencer’s shoe-store he got a good look at Ralph D. Spencer.

“Going to marry the banker’s daughter are you, Jimmy?” said Ben to himself, softly. “Well, I don’t know!”

The next morning Jimmy took breakfast at the Adamses. He was going to Little Rock that day to order his wedding-suit and buy something nice for Annabel. That would be the first time he had left town since he came to Elmore. It had been more than a year now since those last professional “jobs,” and he thought he could safely venture out.

After breakfast quite a family party went downtown together—Mr. Adams, Annabel, Jimmy, and Annabel’s married sister with her two little girls, aged five and nine. They came by the hotel where Jimmy still stayed, and he ran up to his room and brought along his suit-case. Then they went on to the bank. There stood Jimmy’s horse and a car and Dolph Gibson, who was going to drive him over to the railroad station.

All went into the banking-room— Jimmy included, for Mr. Adams’s future son-in-law was welcome anywhere. The clerks were pleased to be greeted by the good-looking, agreeable young man who was going to marry Miss Annabel. Jimmy set his suit-case down. Annabel, whose heart was bubbling with happiness and lively youth, put on Jimmy’s hat, and picked up the suit-case. “My! Ralph, how heavy it is. Feels like it was full of gold bricks,”- said Annabel.

“Lot of nickel-plated shoe-horns in there,” said Jimmy, coolly, “that I’m going to return and save travel charges by taking them up. I’m getting awfully economical.”

The Elmore Bank had just put in a new safe and vault. Mr. Adams was very proud of it, and insisted on an inspection by everyone. The vault was a small one, but it had a new, patented door. It fastened with three solid steel bolts thrown simultaneously with a single handle, and had a time-lock. Mr. Adams beamingly explained its workings to Mr. Spencer, who showed a courteous but not too intelligent interest. The two children, May and Agatha, were delighted by the shining metal and funny clock and knobs.

While they were thus engaged Ben Price walked in and leaned on the railings at the entrance. He said that he didn’t want anything; he was just waiting for a man he knew.

Перевод текста:

Закрытый контент сайта, доступен по подписке в БОКОВОМ МЕНЮ.

Задания к тексту:

1. Выпишите подчеркнутые слова в словарь (пассивная лексика ), прослушайте их произношение  и выучите.

2. Answer the questions:

  1. Why did Mr. Adams invite his family to inspect the safe?
  2. Where was Jimmy going after the inspection?
3. Translate the story, trying to guess the meaning of the unknown words.

* * *

O. Henry. A Retrieved Reformation. Part 7 (read in English)

7. Suddenly there was a scream or two from the women, and a commotion. Unperceived by the elders, May, the nine-year-old girl, in a spirit of play, had shut Agatha in the vault. She had then shot the bolts and turned the knob of the combination as she had seen Mr. Adams do.

The old banker sprang to the handle and tugged at it for a moment. “The door can’t be opened,” he groaned. “The clock hasn’t been wound nor the combination set.”

Agatha’s mother screamed again, hysterically.

“Hush!” said Mr. Adams, raising his trembling hand. “All be quite for a moment. Agatha!” he called as loudly as he could. “Listen to me.” During the following silence they could just hear the faint sound of the child wildly shrieking in the dark vault in a panic of terror.

“My precious darling!” wailed the mother. “She will die of fright! Open the door! Oh, break it open! Can’t you men do something?”

“There isn’t a man nearer than Little Rock who can open that door,” said Mr. Adams, in a shaky voice. “My God! Spencer, what shall we do? That child—she can’t stand it long in there. There isn’t enough air, and, besides, she’ll go into convulsions from fright.”

Agatha’s mother, terrified now, beat the door of the vault with her hands. Somebody wildly suggested dynamite. Annabel turned to Jimmy, her large eyes full of anguish, but not yet despairing. To a woman nothing seems quite impossible to the powers of the man she worships.

“Can’t you do something, Ralph—try, won’t you?”

He looked at her with a queer, soft smile on his lips and in his keen eyes.

“Annabel,” he said, “give me that rose you are wearing, will you?”

Hardly believing that she heard him alright, she unpinned the flower from the bosom of her dress, and placed it in his hand. Jimmy stuffed it into his vest-pocket, threw off his coat and pulled up his shirt-sleeves. With that act Ralph D. Spencer passed away and Jimmy Valentine took his place.

“Get away from the door, all of you,” he commanded, shortly.

He set his suit-case on the table, and opened it out flat. From that time on he seemed to be unconscious of the presence of anyone else. He laid out the shining, queer tools swiftly and orderly, whistling softly to himself as he always did when at work. In a deep silence and immovable, the others watched him as if under a spell.

In a minute Jimmy’s pet drill was biting smoothly into the steel door. In ten minutes—breaking his own burglarious record—he threw back the bolts and opened the door.

Agatha, almost collapsed, but safe, was gathered into her mother’s arms.

Jimmy Valentine put on his coat, and walked toward the front door. As he went he thought he heard a far-away voice that he once knew call “Ralph!” But he never hesitated.

At the door a big man stood somewhat in his way.

“Hello, Ben!” said Jimmy, still with his strange smile. “Got around at last, have you? Well, let’s go. I don’t know that it makes much difference, now.”

And then Ben Price acted rather strangely.

“Guess you’re mistaken, Mr. Spencer,” he said. “Don’t believe I recognize you. Your car’s waiting for you, isn’t it?”

And Ben Price turned and walked down the street.

Закрытый контент сайта, доступен по подписке в БОКОВОМ МЕНЮ.

Задания к тексту:

1. Выпишите подчеркнутые слова в словарь (пассивная лексика ), прослушайте их произношение и выучите.

2. Answer the questions:

  1. Did the story have a surprise ending, in your opinion?
  2. What can you say about Jimmy Valentine?
  3. What can you say about Ben Price?

3. Retell the story.

Поздравляем! Вы прочитали один из лучших рассказов американского писателя О. Генри «A Retrived Reformation» на английском языке уровень intermediate.

2 thoughts on “O. Henry. A Retrieved Reformation (in English, for upper-intermediate with tasks and translation)
  1. Volokh says:

    Along with I started to read, according to the beginning, I thought that the story would end in a predictable way. Don’t think like this! O. Henry is definitely a master who made masterpieces by unexpected endings. I highly recommend it to have been read.

    • Volokh says:

      You really die into this story, exploring the changes in the main character’s personality and sharp turns of events.

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