TO THE NORTH
Stuart slept under the canoe that
night. He woke up at four o'clock. The rain had stopped. 1
The birds began to sing in the trees. Stuart looked up. He always looked at
all birds because he hoped to find Margalo among them. But Margalo was not
He got into his car and drove off. At
the end of the town he found a filling station and stopped to buy some gas,
"Five, please," he said to the owner
of the filling station.
The man looked at the tiny automobile
"Five what?" he asked.
"Five drops," said Stuart. But the man
shook his head and said that he could not sell five drops of gas.
"Why can't you?" asked Stuart. "You
need the money and I need the gas."
The owner of the filling station
thought a little, then he went inside and came back with a dropper. Stuart
opened the tank of his car and the man put in five drops of gas. "I have never
done such a thing before," he said.
everything was over, Stuart paid the money. Then he got in the car, pressed
the starter button and drove off.
The sky was bright, and a cloud of
morning mist hung over the river. The town was still asleep. Stuart's car went
fast along the streets and Stuart was glad to be on the road again.
When he drove out of town he saw two
roads. One road led to the west, the other road led to the north. Stuart
decided to think the situation over. He stopped his car and got out.
Suddenly he saw a man sitting in a
ditch by the side of the road. The man had a heavy leather belt on, and there
were spurs on his legs. So Stuart understood that he was a repair-man of the
"Good morning," said Stuart in a
friendly voice. The repair-man raised one hand to his head in a salute.
2 Stuart sat down in the ditch beside him and took a deep
breath of the fresh, sweet air. 3 "It's going to be a fine
day," 4 he said.
"Yes," answered the repair-man, "a
fine day. It is nice to climb poles on such a fine day."
"I wish you good weather," said
Stuart. "By the by, do you ever see birds at the tops of your poles?"
"Yes, I see a lot of birds," said the
"Well, if you meet a bird named
Margalo," said Stuart, "please write to me. Here's my card."
"What does she look like? Describe
her," said the repairman and took out a pencil and a notebook.
is brown," said Stuart. "Brown with a yellow breast."
"Where does she come from?"
"She comes from fields once tall with
wheat, from pastures deep in fern and thistle; she comes from vales of
meadowsweet and she loves to whistle."
The repairman wrote it all down
quickly: "Fields—wheat— pastures, fern and thistle. Vales, meadow-sweet. Likes
to whistle." Then he put his notebook and Stuart's card back in his pocket.
"I'll keep my eyes open,"
5 he promised.
Stuart thanked him. They sat for a
while in silence. Then the man spoke.
"Which way are you going?"
6 he asked. "North," said Stuart.
"North is nice," said the repair-man.
"I always like to go north. Of course, south-west is good, too."
"Yes, I think it is," said Stuart
"And east is also good," continued the
man. "But I think you are right if you go north. There is something about
north, 7 something unusual. I think that a person who is
going north is not making a mistake."
"I think so, too," said Stuart. "From
now on I shall travel north 8 until I find my friend Margalo."
"You are a brave fellow," said the
repair-man. "By the by, when I am repairing a broken telephone line, I
sometimes find wonderful places," continued the repair-man. "Swamps where
cedars grow and turtles lie in the sun. I go across fields, and I eat my lunch
in pastures covered with fern and thistle, under blue sky. I have spent winter
nights in thick woods, where the snow was deep and soft. I know lakes in the
north where there is nothing but fish and birds and, of course, the telephone
lines. I know all these places well. They are a long way from here,
9 don't forget that. And a person who is looking for
something does not travel very fast."
"That is true," said Stuart. "Well, it
is time to go. Thank you for your friendly talk."
"Not at all," said the repair-man. "I
hope that you will find that bird."
Stuart got out of the ditch, climbed
into his car, and drove along the road that led toward the north. He saw the
rising sun above the hills on his right. 10 As he looked
ahead into the great land that lay before him, the way seemed very long. But
the sky was bright, and Stuart felt that it was the right way to go.
1 The rain had
stopped. - Дождь прошел.
2 in a salute — в знак
3 took a deep breath
of the fresh, sweet air — глубоко вдохнул свежий душистый воздух
4 It's going to be a
fine day - Прекрасный будет денек
5 I'll keep my eyes
open — Буду смотреть во все глаза
6 Which way are you
going? — Куда держите путь?
7 There is something
about north — В севере есть что-то такое
8 From now on I shall
travel north — Отныне я буду двигаться все дальше на север
9 They are a long way
from here — До них отсюда далеко
10 on his right —
справа от него
11 that it was the
right way to go — что он на верном пути