Chapter XX

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Chapter XII
Chapter XIII
Chapter XlV
Chapter XV
Chapter XVI
Chapter XVII
Chapter XVIII
Chapter XIX
Chapter XX
Chapter XXI
Chapter XXII

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Chapter XX

HARRIET AMES

When evening came, Stuart still sat by the river. He had a light supper: a cheese sandwich and a drink of water. He slept that night in the warm grass, and the sound of the river was in his ears.

In the morning the sun was warm and bright and Stuart went to swim again. After breakfast he left his car under a cabbage leaf and walked to the post-office. He wanted to fill his fountain-pen from the ink-well in the post-office. When he climbed to the table where the ink-well was, he saw that the door opened, and a girl came in. She was about two inches high. She wore a pretty dress and walked with her head held high. 1

"That must be Harriet Ames!" thought Stuart and hid behind the ink-well.

The girl went to the mail-boxes, 2 opened her mail-box and took out her letters. She was very pretty and it was the first time that Stuart saw a person who wasn't taller than himself. He wanted to get down to the floor and speak to her, but he was afraid to speak to a girl whom he didn't know.

Аll his boldness left him, and he stayed behind the ink-well. Only when Harriet was out of sight 3 Stuart went out of the post-office and ran to the store.

"Have you any letter paper?" he asked his friend the storekeeper. "I must write a letter."

The storekeeper helped Stuart to climb up to the counter and found some nice letter-paper for him. Stuart took out his fountain-pen, set down on a box of matches and began a letter to Harriet.

"MY DEAR MISS AMES," he wrote. "I am a young person of modest proportions. 4 I was born in New York City, but at the present moment I am travelling on business. My travels have brought me to your town. Yesterday the storekeeper in the general store told me about you."

At that moment Stuart's pen ran dry. 5 "Oh, dear! I have forgotten to fill my fountain-pen!" cried Stuart. "Please give me a bottle of ink," he said to the storekeeper. The storekeeper brought a bottle of ink, but it was so big that Stuart could not reach the top of it. So the storekeeper took Stuart by the tail and lowered him, head first, 6 into the bottle. Stuart filled his pen and went back to his letter.

"Forgive me, Miss Ames, for my boldness, but there are very few people in the world who are only two inches high. I say 'two inches', but I am a little taller than that. 7 My only drawback is that I look like a mouse. If you want to meet me, come to the river tomorrow about five o'clock. Don't tell anything to your parents about my letter. I am afraid that they won't like my letter and my mouselike appearance. 8 But you know better your father and mother than I do and I need not give you advice.

"I am staying by the river in a beautiful place at the foot of the hill. Would you like to go for a row in my canoe tomorrow afternoon? 9 At sundown the river flows quietly in the long shadows of the trees and these spring evenings are the best time for boatmen. I like the water, dear Miss Ames, and my canoe is like an old good friend."

Stuart forgot in his excitement 10 that he had no canoe. "So I shall wait for you at the river about five o'clock. And now I must finish my letter.

"Yours very truly, 11

STUART LITTLE."

Stuart put the letter into the envelope and turned to the storekeeper.

"Where can I get a canoe?" he asked. "Here," said the storekeeper. He went to the souvenir counter 12 and took down a little birchbark canoe. Stuart looked at it for a long time.

"Does it leak?" he asked.

"It is a nice boat," said the storekeeper. "It will cost you seventy-five cents."

Stuart took out his money and paid the man. Then he looked inside the boat, but did not see any paddles. "What about paddles?" 13 he asked.

The storekeeper searched among the souvenirs, but he could not find any paddles. So he went to the ice-cream counter and came back with two little cardboard spoons for ice-cream.

"You can use these spoons instead of paddles," he said.

Stuart took the spoons, but he did not like them.

"Of course, I can use them instead of paddles, but I don't want to meet an American Indian when I have one of these things in my hand," he said.

The storekeeper carried the canoe and the paddles out in front of the store and set them down in the street. Stuart took a piece of rope from his pocket, tied the paddles to the canoe, put the canoe up on his head and walked away. He was proud that he could handle boats so easily, and liked to show off. 14

 

 

1 walked with her head held high — шла, высоко подняв голову

2 the mail-boxes — ящики для писем (адресату могут доставлять письма не домой, а в почтовое отделение, в специальный ящик с его номером)

3 was out of sight — скрылась из виду

4 I am a young person of modest proportions. — Я молодой человек скромных размеров.

5 Stuart's pen ran dry - в ручке Стюарта кончились чернила

6 lowered him, head first - опустил его вниз головой (букв, головой вперед)

7 I am a little taller than that — я немного повыше

8 my mouselike appearance — моя мышиная наружность

9 Would you like to go for a row in my canoe tomorrow afternoon? — He хотите ли завтра после обеда покататься со мной в челноке?

10 in his excitement — от волнения

11 Yours very truly — Искренне ваш

12 souvenir counter — прилавок с памятными подарками

13 What about paddles? — А где же весла? (букв. А как насчет весел?)

14 liked to show off — любил покрасоваться

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