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Somerset Maugham "The Man With The Scar"

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          It was on account of the scar that I first noticed him, for it ran, broad and red, from his temple to his chin. This scar spoke of a terrible wound and I wondered whether it had been caused by a sabre or by a fragment of shell. It was unexpected on that round, fat and good-humoured face. He had small features and his face went oddly with his large and fat  body. He was a powerful man of more than common height. I never saw him in anything, but a very shabby grey suit, a khaki shirt and an old sombrero. He was far from clean. He used to come into the Palace Hotel at Guatemala City every day at cocktail time and tried to sell lottery tickets. I never saw anyone buy, but now and then I saw him offered a drink. He never refused it. He walked among the tables, pausing at each table, with a little smile offered the lottery tickets and when no notice was taken of him with the same smile passed on. I think he was the most part a little drunk.

          I was standing at the bar one evening with an acquaintance when the man with the scar came up. I shook my head as for the twentieth time since my arrival he held out his lottery tickets to me. But my companion greeted him, kindly.

          "How is life, general?"
          "Not so bad. Business is not too good, but it might be worse."
          "What will you have, general?"
          "A brandy."
          He drank it and put the glass back on the bar. He nodded to my acquaintance.
          "Thank you."
          Then he turned away and offered his tickets to the men who were standing next to us.
          "Who is your friend?" I asked. "That's a terrific scar on his face."
          "It doesn't add to his beauty, does it? He's an exile from Nicaragua. He's a ruffian of course and a bandit, but not a bad fellow. I give him a few pesos now and then. He took part in a rebellion and was general of the rebellious troops. If his ammunition hadn't given out he'd have upset the government and would be minister of war now instead of selling lottery tickets in Guatemala. They captured him together with his staff, and tried him by court-martial. Such things are usually done without delay in these countries, you know, and he was sentenced to be shot at dawn. I think he knew what was coming to him when he was caught. He spent the night in jail and he and the others, there were five of them altogether, passed the time playing poker. They used matches for chips. He told me he'd never had such bad luck in his life: he lost and lost all the time. When the day broke and the soldiers came into the cell to fetch them for execution he had lost more matches than a man could use in a life-time.

          "They were led into the courtyard of the jail and placed against a wall, the five of them side by side with the firing squad facing them. There was a pause and our friend asked the officer commanding the squad what the devil they were keeping him waiting for. The officer said that the general commanding the troops wished to attend the execution and they awaited his arrival.

          "Then I have time to smoke another cigarette,' said our friend.
          "But he had hardly lit it when the general came into the courtyard. The usual formalities were performed and the general asked the condemned men whether there was anything they wished before the execution took place. Four of the five shook their heads, but our friend spoke.
          "'Yes, I should like to say good-bye to my wife.'
          "'Good,' said the general, "'I have no objection to that. Where is she?'
          "'She is waiting at the prison door.'
          "Then it will not cause a delay of more than five minutes."
          "'Hardly that, Senor General.'
          "'Have him placed on one side.'
          "Two soldiers advanced and between them the condemned rebel walked to the spot indicated. The officer in command of the firing squad on a nod from the general gave an order and the four men fell. They fell strangely, not together, but one after the other, with movements that were almost grotesque, as though they were puppets in a toy theatre. The officer went up to them and into one who was still alive emptied his revolver. Our friend finished his cigarette.

          "There was a little stir at the gateway, A woman came into the courtyard, with quick steps, and then, her hand on her heart, stopped suddenly. She gave a cry and with outstretched arms ran forward.
          "'Caramba,' said the general.
          "She was in black, with a veil over her hair, and her face was dead white. She was hardly more than a girl, a slim creature, with little regular features and enormous eyes. Her loveliness was such that as she ran, her mouth slightly open and the agony on her beautiful face, even the indifferent soldiers who looked at her gave a gasp of surprise.
          "The rebel advanced a step or two to meet her. She threw herself into his arms and with a cry of passion: 'soul of my heart,' he pressed his lips to hers. And at the same moment he drew a knife from his ragged shirt — I haven't a notion how he had managed to keep it — and stabbed her in the neck. The blood spurted from the cut vein and dyed his shirt. Then he threw his arms round her and once more pressed his lips to hers.
          "It happened so quickly that many didn't know what had occurred, but the others gave a cry of horror; they sprang forward and seized him. They laid the girl on the ground and stood round watching her. The rebel knew where he was striking and it was impossible to stop the blood. In a moment the officer who had been kneeling by her side rose.
          "'She's dead,' he whispered.
          "The rebel crossed himself.
          "'Why did you do it?' asked the general.
          "'I loved her.'
          "A sort of sigh passed through those men crowded together and they looked with strange faces at the murderer. The general stared at him for a while in silence.
          " 'It was a noble gesture,' he said at last, 'I cannot execute this man. Take my car and drive him to the frontier. I honour you, Senor, as one brave man must honour another.'
          "And between the two soldiers without a word the rebel marched to the waiting car."
          My friend stopped and for a little while I was silent. I must explain that he was a Guatemaltecan and spoke to me in Spanish. I have translated what he told me as well as I could, but I have made no attempt to change his rather high-flown language. To tell the truth I think it suits the story.
          "But how then did he get the scar?" I asked at last.
          "Oh, that was due to a bottle that burst when he was opening it. A bottle of ginger ale."
          "I never liked it," said I.


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Дата: 21.09.2010 14:48
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а где можно всю книгу скачать?

Дата: 21.09.2010 14:55
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Если речь идет о полной версии "The Man With The Scar", то такой информации у нас нет. Ничем не поможем, кроме предложения купить ее через интернет на специализированных сайтах.

Дата: 16.08.2011 15:35
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Это весь рассказ)

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