Thomas Hardy. To Please His Wife (for upper-intermediate)

Thomas Hardy. To Please His Wife  Intermediate

Мы продолжаем чтение английской классики и на этот раз предлагаем вам начать читать рассказы Томаса Гарди, последнего писателя Викторианской эпохи. Прочитав рассказ «В угоду жене», который адаптирован до уровня «средний», вы узнаете, чем заканчивается замужество «не по любви», к чему приводит зависть и что можно принести в жертву, желая жить «не хуже других»…  Довольно современная история. Не сильно изменился мир, а ведь прошло уже более 200 лет, рассказ написан в 1894 году. Итак, продолжаем читать классику на английском языке. И, конечно, изучать английский язык. Присоединяйтесь!

Thomas Hardy. To Please His Wife  (in English, reading for upper-intermediate)



Сложные слова и выражения:

  • my narrow escape from shipwreck — чудом избежать кораблекрушения
  • there was a tender understanding between them. — между ними возникло нежное чувство

It was getting darker in Havenpool Town. The Sunday service in the church had just ended and the people were rising with relief from their knees to leave.

For the moment the silence was so complete that the sea could be heard outside the harbour. Then it was broken by the footsteps and the dark figure of a man in a sailor’s clothes appeared against the light in the doorway.

The parson looked up from his little prayer-book and stared at the stranger.

“I beg your pardon, sir,’” said the sailor in a clear voice, addressing the parson, «I have come here to offer thanks for my narrow escape from shipwreck. I understand that it is a proper thing to do if you have no objection?»

The parson, after a moment’s pause, said that he had no objection and the clerk directed the sailor to the page in the prayer-book. The sailor knelt down and all people mechanically did the same. The parson began reading the prayer and the sailor repeated the words after him in a distinct voice. The figure of the sailor who stood on his knees, facing the east and saying the prayer was clearly seen against the wall.

When his thanksgiving had come to an end, he rose; the people rose too, and all went out of church together. As soon as the sailor came out, the light fell upon his face and the old inhabitants recognized him as Shadrach Jolliffe, a young man who had not been seen at Havenpool for several years. His parents had died when he was quite young and he had early gone to sea.

He talked with this and that man as he walked, telling them about his sailing in the sea since the time he had left his native place years before and become the captain and owner of a small boat. Soon he came near to two girls who were going out of the churchyard in front of him. One was a slim and gentle creature, the other a tall, large-framed, girl. Captain Jolliffe looked at the curls of their loose hair, their backs and shoulders, down to their heels, for some time.

«Who are those girls?» he whispered to his neighbour.

«The little one is Emily Hanning; the tall one is Joanna Phippard.»

«Ah! I recollect them now.»

The sailor came closer to them and addressed to the shorter one, «Emily, you don’t know me?»

«I think I do, Mr. Jolliffe,» said Emily, looking at him shyly.

The other girl looked straight at him with her dark eyes.

«The face of Miss Joanna I don’t remember so well,» he continued.

They walked and talked together till they reached the corner of Sloop Lane where Emily Hanning lived, and, with a smile, she left them. Soon the sailor parted also with Joanna, and, having nothing to do, turned back towards Emily’s house. She lived with her father, who kept a little stationery-shop. On entering, Jolliffe found father and daughter about to begin tea.

«O, I didn’t know it was tea-time,» he said. «Ay, I’ll have a cup with much pleasure.»

He was warmly invited to sit at the table and all the evening was telling them the sea tales. Somehow Emily Hanning lost her heart to the sailor that Sunday night, and within a week or two there was a tender understanding between them.

  • to win him away from her rival- отбить его у своей соперницы
  • There’s a dear. — Вот умница.

CHAPTER ONE (продолжение)

One moonlight evening in the next month Shadrach was walking out of the town to a suburb when he saw a figure before him whom, from her back, he took for Emily. But, on coming up, he found that it was Joanna Phippard. He gave a gallant greeting, and walked beside her.

«Go away,» she said, «or Emily will be jealous!»

But he didn’t go away. What was said and what was done on that walk never could be clearly remembered by Shadrach; but in some way or other Joanna was manage to win him away from her gentler and younger rival. Since then Jolliffe was seen more and more with Joanna Phippard and less in the company of Emily; and it was soon rumoured that captain Jolliffe, who had come home from sea, was going to marry Joanna Phippard, to the great disappointment of her friend.

When Joanna heard the rumours, she felt guilty about winning him away. She guessed that her friend was in deep sorrow and one day she started for Emily’s house.

To tell the truth, Joanna was not completely satisfied with the sailor. She liked his attention, and she wanted to be married; but she had never been deeply in love with Jolliffe. For one thing, she was ambitious, and, as you know, good marriage was always a chance of an attractive woman. As for Shadrach, socially his position was not so good as her own. So, she would not strongly object to give him back again to Emily if her friend loved him. She wrote a letter to Shadrach and carried it in her hand, intending to send it if she saw in person that Emily was suffering.

Joanna entered the stationery-shop which was in Sloop Lane. Emily’s father was never at home at this hour of the day, and it seemed as though Emily were not at home either. There was nobody in the room and Joanna waited, looking around, till she saw a figure outside the window. It was Shadrach Jolliffe who looked through the window apparently to make sure if Emily was alone. Joanna didn’t wish to meet him here, so she quickly went into the backroom and closed the door. Being Emily’s friend for many years, she was a welcome guest in her house and knew the layout of the rooms very well.

Jolliffe entered the shop. Through the chink she could see that he was disappointed at not finding Emily there. He was about to go out again, when Emily appeared in the doorway. At the sight of Jolliffe she started back.

«Don’t run away, Emily; don’t!» said he. «What can make you afraid?»

«I’m not afraid, Captain Jolliffe. Only—only I saw you all of a sudden, and—it made me jump!» Her voice showed that her heart had jumped even more than the rest of her.

«I was passing by and I decided to come in,» he said.

«For some paper?» She quickly went behind the counter.

«No, no, Emily; why do you get behind there? Why not stay by me? You seem to hate me.»

«I don’t hate you. How can I?»

“Then come out, so that we can talk like Christians.”

Emily obeyed with a nervous laugh, till she stood again beside him in the open part of the shop.

There’s a dear,” he said.

“You mustn’t say that, Captain Jolliffe; because the words belong to somebody else.”

“Ah! I know what you mean. But, Emily, I have the best of feelings for Joanna, but I know that from the beginning she hasn’t cared for me more than in a friendly way; and I see now the one I ought to have asked to be my wife. You know, Emily, when a man comes home from sea after a long voyage he’s as blind as a bat—he can’t see who’s who in women. They are all alike to him, beautiful creatures, and he takes the first that comes easy, without thinking if she loves him, or if he might not soon love another better than her. From the first I liked you most, but you were so shy that I thought you didn’t want me to bother you, and so I went to Joanna.»

«Don’t say any more, Mr. Jolliffe, don’t!» said she quickly. «You are going to marry Joanna next month, and it is wrong to—to—»

«O, Emily, my darling!» he cried, and clasped her little figure in his arms before she was aware.

Joanna seeing that, turned pale, trying not to watch, but could not.

«It is only you I love as a man ought to love the woman he is going to marry; and, as for Joanna,  she has said, that she will willingly let me off! She wants to marry higher I know, and only said Yes to me out of kindness. A fine, tall girl like her isn’t the sort for a plain sailor’s wife: you be the best suited for that.»

He kissed her and kissed her again.

«I wonder—are you sure—Joanna is going to break off with you? O, are you sure? Because—»

«I know she would not wish to make us miserable. She will release me.»

«O, I hope—I hope she will! Don’t stay any longer, Captain Jolliffe!»

He stayed, however, till a customer came and only then he left.

At the sight of that caress Joanna changed her mind. Now she could not let Shadrach go. Green envy  had captured her. She noiselessly went into the passage, and then to the back door of the house, where she could get into the street without being seen.  On coming home, she burnt the letter, and told her mother that if Captain Jolliffe came, she was too unwell to see him.

Shadrach, however, did not come. He sent her a note, in which he tried to explain his feelings, and, having hope that her feelings were little more than friendly, asked her to release him and cancel the engagement.

He waited and waited in his lodgings for an answer, looking out upon the harbour and the island beyond, but it did not come. He couldn’t wait any longer and finally he went up the High Street to learn his fate.

Her mother said her daughter was too unwell to see him, and added that she had been very upset by his letter, which put them in a very painful position. Shadrach, feeling guilty, said he probably had misunderstood her feelings towards him, and if he was wrong, she was to think of the letter as if it had never been written.

Next morning he got a message from Joanna, in which she asked him to go for a walk that evening. This he did, and while walking from the Town Hall to her door, with her hand in his arm, she said:

«It is all the same as before between us, isn’t it, Shadrach? Your letter was sent in mistake?»

«It is all the same as before,» he answered, «if you say it must be.»

«I wish it to be,» she said and, her face hardened, as she thought of Emily.

Shadrach was a religious and honest man, who respected his word as his life. Shortly afterwards the wedding took place. Jolliffe told Emily as gently as possible that he had been wrong to think that Joanna didn’t love him.

* * *


Some months passed and Joanna’s mother died. Now even more she didn’t wish her husband to go to sea again, but the question was what he could do at home. They thought and finally decided to start a business. They bought a grocer’s shop in High Street and though both of them knew very little about shopkeeping, they hoped to learn.

They started to do the grocery business and continued to do it for some years but without any success. Soon Joanna gave birth to two sons and although she had never really loved her husband, she adored her boys. She wanted them to get good education but the shop did not give much money, and her large dreams died away in the face of realities. The boys’ schooling was the plainest, and they spent a lot of time on the shore like other poor boys in the neighbourhood.

As for Emily, she had been seen and loved by a thriving merchant of the town, a widower, some years older than her. At first Emily had declared that she could never marry anyone; but Mr. Lester was insistent and at last he won her. Two children also were the fruits of this union, and, as they grew and prospered, Emily often said that she had never thought that she could be so happy.

It happened so that the married life of Emily interested Joanna very much. The merchant’s home, a large brick mansion, stood on the High Street, nearly opposite to the grocery shop of the Jolliffes, and it now became the pain of Joanna to see the wealth of her former friend whose place she had taken out of jealousy. Their business was going down, so Joanna had to serve in the shop herself. It made her angry that Emily Lester, sitting in her large drawing-room, could watch her trying to please rare customers, while she could watch Emily walking along with her children and her governess and talking with the wealthy people of the town. And all this happened because she hadn’t realized Shadrach Jolliffe, whom she had so faintly loved!

Shadrach was a good and honest man, and he had been faithful to Joanna. Time passed and his love for Emily had given place to his devotion to the mother of his boys: he had quite forgotten his earlier fancy, and Emily had become for him nothing more than a friend. It was the same with Emily’s feelings for him. If Emily felt jealous, Joanna would almost be satisfied. But Emily and Shadrach were quite happy about their life and this made her angry.

Shadrach wasn’t shrewd for a businessman and didn’t know how to do business in the face of many competitors. So, their things went from bad to worse. One summer day Joanna looking across at Emily’s door where a wealthy visitor’s carriage had drawn up, told her husband, ‘Shadrach, the truth is that you can’t do business. You just were not brought up to shopkeeping, and it is impossible for a man to make a fortune at an occupation he has jumped into, as you did into this.’

Jolliffe agreed with her, in this as in everything else.

«Not that I care about making a fortune,» he said cheerfully. «I am happy enough, and we can get by somehow.»

She looked again at the great house of Emily.

«Get by—yes,» she said bitterly. «But see how well off Emmy Lester is, who used to be so poor! Her boys will go to College, no doubt; and think of yours—they had to go to the Parish School!»

Shadrach’s thoughts had flown to Emily.

«Nobody,» he said good-humouredly, «ever did Emily a better turn than you did, Joanna, when you put an end to that little nonsense between us, so as to leave it in her power to marry.» «Don’t speak of the past!» she said angrily. «But think, for the boys’ and my sake, if not for your own, what shall we do to get richer?»

«Well,» he said, becoming serious, «to tell the truth, I have always felt myself unfit for this business, though I’ve never liked to say so. But I could get rich as well as any man, if I tried my own way.»

«I wish you would! What is your way?»

«To go to sea again.»

She had never wanted him to go to sea since their marriage but now her ambition was stronger than her and she said: «Do you think success really lies that way?»

«I am sure it lies in no other.»

«And do you want to go, Shadrach?»

«Not for the pleasure of it, I can tell you. There’s no such pleasure at sea, Joanna, as I can find in my house here. But if it comes to a question of a fortune for you and the lads, it is another thing. That’s the only way to it for a born sailor as I.»

«Would it take long to earn?»

«Well, that depends; perhaps not.»

The next morning Shadrach pulled from a chest of drawers the sea jacket he had worn during the first months of his return and walked down to the quay. The port still did a fair business in the sea trade, though not so much as before.

It was not long after that he bought a part-ownership in a brig, of which he was appointed captain. A few months passed and in the spring the brig sailed for Newfoundland.

CHAPTER TWO (продолжение)

  • treble — утроить
  • was inclined to it — склонялась к этому
  • put into the enterprise — вложено в дело
  • was to be undertaken — предстояло предпринять

Joanna lived on at home with her sons, who were now growing up into strong lads, and occupying themselves in various ways about the harbour and quay.

‘Never mind, let them work a little,’ their fond mother said to herself. ‘But when Shadrach comes home they will be only seventeen and eighteen, and they shall never go to the port, and they will be taught by a tutor; and with the money they’ll have they will perhaps be as near to gentlemen as Emmy Lester’s sons, with their algebra and their Latin!’

The date for Shadrach’s return drew near and arrived, and he did not appear. Joanna was sure that there was no cause for anxiety and she was right. One evening, about a month after the calculated time, the ship was announced, and soon Shadrach`s step sounded in the passage, and he entered. The boys had gone out and had missed him, and Joanna was sitting alone.

As soon as the first emotion of the meeting had passed, Jolliffe explained that the delay had resulted in a great deal of money.

«I did not want to disappoint you,» he added and pulled out an enormous canvas bag, untied it, and shook gold coins out into her lap as she was sitting in her low chair by the fire.

«There!» said Shadrach satisfied. «I told you, dear, I would do it; and have I done it or no?»

But her face, after the first excitement of possession, showed disappointment.

«It is a lot of gold, indeed,’ she said. ‘And—is this ALL

«All? Why, dear Joanna, do you know you can count to three hundred in that heap? It is a fortune!»

«Yes—yes. A fortune—judged by sea; but judged by land—»

The boys came and she became silent. But a few days later he asked her why she did not seem so satisfied as he had hoped.

‘Well you see, Shadrach,’ she answered, ‘ we count by hundreds; THEY count by thousands,” nodding towards the other side of the Street. My dear Shadrach, you don’t know how the world moves. However, we’ll do the best we can with it. But they are rich, and we are poor still!’

Life went on. The year was spent for nothing. As usual she moved sadly about the house and the shop, and the boys were still occupying themselves in and around the harbour.

«Joanna,» said Shandra one day, «I see that the money I had brought is not enough.»

«Yes, it is not enough,» said she. «My boys will have to live by steering the ships that the Lesters own; and I was once above her!»

Jolliffe didn’t like to argue, he only said that he could make another voyage.

He thought for several days, and coming home from the quay one afternoon said suddenly, «You will be able to count by thousands instead of hundreds. I could do it for you, dear, in one more trip, for certain, if—if—»

«If what?»

«If I might take the boys.»

She turned pale.

«Don’t say that, Shadrach,» she answered quickly.


» don’t like to hear it! There’s danger at sea and I couldn’t let them risk their lives. O, I couldn’t ever, ever!»

«Very well, dear, it shan’t be done.»

Next day, after a silence, she asked a question, ‘If they go with you, it will make a great difference, I suppose, to the profit?’

»It would treble the money that I could get alone. Under my eye they would be as good as two more of myself.’

«And is it very dangerous at sea; now, too, there are rumours of war?» she asked uneasily.

«O, well, there are risks. Still . . . »

But the more she thought about the idea, the more she was inclined to it. Her mother’s heart was crushed. Emmy was growing richer and richer; and she could not bear it any more. She could not stand the comparative poverty of her family. So at last she gave the word: the young men might accompany their father.

All that the Jolliffes possessed in the world was put into the enterprise. The grocery stock was cut down to the least that possibly could let Joanna live through during the absence. The ship was loaded with boots and shoes, ready-made clothing, butter, cheese, sailcloth, and many other goods; and was to bring back oil, furs, skins, fish, cranberries, and what else came to hand. Much trading to other ports was to be undertaken on the way and so much money was to be made.

* * *


Сложные слова и выражения:

  • a gleam of triumph — выражение торжества
  • maintained herself by the shop — жила на деньги, которые давал магазин
  • may bring back a fortune — возможно, привезут домой состояние
  • Nothing will repay me — ничто не возместит мне
  • it was not yet pleased — просто Господу еще не угодно

The brig sailed away one morning in spring; but Joanna did not see its departure. Shadrach had known that she could not bear to see them leaving and told her that they would sail about the noon next day. However, she suddenly woke up at five the next morning and heard them moving downstairs but did not go down. She was lying in bed, trying to nerve herself.  When at last she went downstairs, she saw words «Good- bye, mother!» written in chalk upon  the face of the cupboard; but no husband or sons.

She ran to the quay but she could see only the sails of the Joanna; and no human figures. »It is me who has sent them!’ she cried wildly, and burst into tears. When she came home the chalked ‘Good-bye’ nearly broke her heart. But when she had looked through the window at Emily’s house, a gleam of triumph appeared on her thin face.

As for Emily Lester, she was quite a kind, modest and generous woman. She was, of course, more well off than Joanna, she never wanted to show off. On the contrary, every time the two met, Emily always tried to hide the difference. So, her superiority was mainly the result of Joanna’s imagination.

The first summer passed away; and Joanna maintained herself by the shop. Emily was, in truth, her only large customer; she was ready to buy anything and everything without asking questions about the quality and this hurt Joanna. She felt very lonely and often glanced with wet eyes at the chalked words of farewell on the face of the bureau. Then she decided to turn the bureau to the wall to protect them, for she could never rub them out. The long winter moved on and Emily’s handsome boys came home for the Christmas holidays. Joanna lived as if she were under a spell,  only one summer more, and the ‘spell’ would end. Once Emily came to see her former friend. She had heard that Joanna began to feel worried; she had received no letter from husband or sons for some months. Seeing Emily’s silk dress, Joanna looked pale.

“You are all success, and I am all the other way!” said Joanna.

“But why do you think so?” said Emily. “They may bring back a fortune, I hear.”

“Ah! will they come?  All three in one ship—think of that! And I have not heard of them for months!”

“But the time is not up. You should not think so.”

Nothing will repay me for the grief of their absence!”

“Then why did you let them go? You were doing fairly well.”

“I made them go!” she said, turning angrily upon Emily. “And I’ll tell you why! I could not bear that you so rich and thriving! Now I have told you, and you may hate me if you will!”

“I shall never hate you, Joanna.”

And she proved the truth of her words afterwards. The end of autumn came, and the brig should have been in port; but the Joanna never appeared. It was now really time to be uneasy. Every evening Joanna sat by the fire, thinking about the sea; to her it was a treacherous, restless, slimy creature. “Still,” she said to herself, “they must come!”

She remembered that Shadrach had said before leaving that if they returned safe and sound, he and his sons would go to the church, and offer sincere thanks for their coming back. Now she went to church regularly in the morning and in the afternoon. Her eyes were mostly fixed on that step, where Shadrach had knelt twenty years. God was good. Surely her husband must kneel there again: a son on each side as he had said; George just here, Jim just there. By long watching the spot it became as if she saw the three returned ones there kneeling; the two slim outlines of her boys, the more bulky form between them; their hands clasped, their heads shaped against the eastern wall. The fancy grew almost to an hallucination: she could never turn her worn eyes to the step without seeing them there.

Nevertheless they did not come. Heaven was merciful, but it was not yet pleased to relieve her sufferings. This was her punishment for the sin of making them the slaves of her ambition. She was in despair. Months had passed since the brig had not returned.

Joanna was always hearing or seeing evidences of their arrival. When on the hill behind the port, she could see a little speck on the horizon, she felt sure that it was the Joanna’s mast and cried with joy: »This is they!’

But it was not. The visionary figures knelt every Sunday afternoon in the church, but not the real. She became apathetic and, stopping to take in the smallest supplies for the shop, thus had sent away her last customer.

Emily Lester tried by every means in her power to help Joanna; but she was always met with words: «I don’t like you! I can’t see you!»

“But I want to help, Joanna,” Emily would say.

“You are a lady, with a rich husband and fine sons! What can you want with a unhappy old woman like me!”

“Joanna, I want this: I want you to come and live in my house, and not stay alone in this lonely place any longer.”

“And they come and don’t find me at home? You wish to separate me and mine! No, I’ll stay here. I don’t like you, and I can’t thank you, whatever kindness you do me!”

However, as time went on Joanna could not afford to pay the rent of the shop and house. Now she was sure that there was no hope of the return of Shadrach and his sons, and reluctantly agreed to move to the Lesters’ house. Here she was given a room of her own on the second floor, and went and came as she chose, without contact with the family. Her hair greyed and whitened, deep lines appeared on her forehead. But she still expected the lost ones, and when she met Emily on the staircase she would say sadly: “I know why you’ve got me here! They’ll come, and won’t finding me at home, and perhaps go away again. You want to revenge on me for my taking Shadrach away from you!’

Emily Lester heard these words from silently. She was sure—all the people of Havenpool were sure—that Shadrach and his sons could not return. The Joanna had gone to the bottom.

Nevertheless, Joanna often woke up at night and looked at the shop opposite, listening to any noise and make sure that they hadn’t arrived.

It was a damp and dark December night, six years after the departure of the brig Joanna. Joanna had prayed her usual prayer for the absent ones and had fallen asleep about eleven. It must have been between one and two when she suddenly woke up. She had certainly heard steps in the street, and the voices of Shadrach and her sons calling at the door of the grocery shop. She got up ran downstairs and out of the house into the street. In a moment she was near the shop. But nobody stood there. The unhappy woman walked wildly up and down with her bare feet—there was not a soul. She returned and knocked with all her might at the door which had once been her own.

Several minutes later the young man who now kept the shop looked out of an upper window, and saw the skeleton of something human standing below half-dressed.

“Has anybody come?” asked the form.

“O, Mrs. Jolliffe, I didn’t know it was you,” said the young man kindly, for he knew how her vain her hope was. “No; nobody has come.”

June, 1891.


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