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Английские тексты - The green door

One evening Rudolf Steiner? was slowly walking along a crowded street in central part of the city. Rudolf was young and he was a true adventurer.? Few were the evenings ? on which he did not go out in search of an adventure. He firmly believed that the most interesting thing might lie just around the next corner. Sometimes his love for adventures led him into trouble. Twice he had spent the night in a police station; more than once he had found himself the victim of clever swindlers.

The young adventurer was pleasant in appearance. By daylight ? he was a salesman in a piano-store.

Rudolf moved slowly and watchfully in the crowd. During his walk he passed a giant Negro, standing in front of a large building. The electric letters of a dentist?s sign were winking high above the next floor. The Negro, fantastically dressed in a red coat, yellow trousers and a military cap, handed the dentist?s cards to the passers-by.

The young man often went along this street, and the Negro with the dentist?s cards was a familiar sight? to him. Usually, he passed the Negro without taking any of the dentist?s cards. But to-night the African managed to put one into Rudolf?s hand. When had walked a few yards further, he glanced at the card indifferently. Surprised, he looked at it again with interest. One side of the card was blank, on the other were written in ink three words, “The Green Door”. Rudolf saw a man in front of him throw   down the card the Negro had given him. Rudolf picked it up. It was an ordinary dentist?s advertising card with the dentist?s name and address on it.

The adventurous piano-salesman stopped at the corner and thought. Then he passed the Negro again and took a second card from the black giant?s hand. He read the same mysterious words, written in exactly the same hand-writing as it was on the first card. Rudolt picked up three or four cards, thrown down by people, both in front of and behind him; each one was a denfist?s card. He passed the Negro again, but this time he received no card. It even seemed to Rudolf that the black giant turned away from him in disappointment.

Yes, it was time to act. The Negro had twice selected him out of the crowd. It was the Hand of Fate.

The young man stood aside from the crowd and looked at the building in which, as he understood, his adventure must await him. It was five stories high. A small restaurant occupied the basement. The first floor was occupied by a shop. The second floor, as the winking letters showed, was the dentist?s. Above this floor were the signs of dressmakers, musicians and doctors. Still higher up, curtains on the windows and milk bottles on the window-sills indicated flats.                                 

After Rudolf had finished his inspection of the house, he ran up the stone steps into it and then up the stairs. He paused only at the top. The landing was dimly lighted by two pale gas-lamps, one far to his right, the other nearer to his left. He looked towards the nearer lamp and saw by its pale light a green door. For one moment he hesitated. Then the true adventurer walked straight to the green door and knocked at it. His heart was beating fast;? what might not be behind this green door:? danger, death, love, disappointmen.

A light sound was heard inside, and the door slowly opened. A girl not yet twenty stood there, very pale and thin. Suddenly the girl almost fell. Rudolf caught her and laid her on an old faded sofa that stood against the wall. Then he closed the door and looked around the room. It was very clean, but poor. The girl lay  quite still,  as if in a fant.? He began to fan her with his hat. That was a clever idea because he struck her nose with it and she opened her eyes. Then the young man  knew at once that it was this face he had been looking for.?The frank grey eyes, the little nose, the brown curling hair – were the best reward of all his wonderful adventures. But the face was sadly thin and pale.

The girl looked at him calmly and then smiled.         

“I fainted, didn?t I?” she asked weakly. “Well, who wouldn?t?? You try going without anything to eat? for three days and see!”

“Good heavens!”?? exclaimed Rudoif jumpihg up.“Wait till I come back”. He threw open the green door and ran down the stairs. In twenty minutes he was back again. In both hands he was holding packets from the  restaurant. He laid them on the table – bread and butter, cakes, pies, pickles, a roasted chicken, a bottle of milk and one of red-hot tea.

“It is awful, ”said Rudolf, “to go withont eating! You must not do such foolish things any more. Supper is ready”.

He helped her to a chair?? at the table and asked: “Is there a cup for the tea?”

“On the shelf, by the window”, she answered.

When he returned with the cup, he saw her beginning upon a huge pickle. He took it from her laughingly, and poured the cup full of milk.

“Drink this, first”, he ordered, “and then you shall have some tea,?? and then a chicken wing. If you are very good, you shall have a pickle to-morrow. And now, we?ll have supper”.

He drew up the other chair. The tea brightened the girl?s eyes and brought back some of her colour.??She began to eat hurriedly like some starved wild animal. She did not seem surprised at Rudolf?s presence in her room. She took his help as a natural. But when she had finished her meal, she told him her litle story.

It was one of a thousand that happen in the city every day. The shop girl`s story of small wages and big “fines", that help to make the shop`s profit so large. A story of illness and then of lost job, of lost hope… and the knock of the adventurer upon the green door.

“To think of you going through all that”,? he exclaimed.

“It was  something awful”, said the gir.

“And you have no relatives or friends in the city?”

“None whatever”.?

"I am alone in the world too”, said Rudolf after a pause.

“I am glad of that”, said the girl, and her words pleased the young man.

Suddenly her eyes closed and she said: “I am awfully sleepy, and I feel so good”.

Rudolf rose and took his hat.

“Then I shall say good night. A long night`s sleep will be fine for you”.

He held out his hand, and she took it and said, “Good night”. But her eyes asked a question so frankly and pathetically that he answered it with words:

“Oh, I am coming back to-morrow to see how you are getting along.? You can`t get rid of me so easily.

When he was at the door, she suddenly asked: “And why did you knock at my door?” He looked at her for a moment. He remembered the cards. But he decided that she must never know the truth. He would never tell her that he knew of the strange means she had used to get help.

“One of our piano-tuners lives in this house”, he said. “I knocked at your door by mistake”.

The last thing he saw in the room before the green door closed, was her smile.

At the landing he looked with great interest about him. Then he went along the landing to its end, and coming back, went up to the next floor. Every door that he found in the house was painted green.

Wondering, he went down into the street. The Negro was still there. Rudolf went up to him, with his two cards in his hands.

“Will you tell me why you gave me these two cards and what they mean?” he asked.

The Negro smiled at him.

“Oh, it is there”, he said, pointing down the street. “But I am afraid you are late for the first act”.

Rudolf looked the way the Negro pointed,? and saw above the entrance to a theatre the electric sign of its new play, “The Green Door”.

“It is a first-rate show,? sir”, said the Negro. “The agent of the theatre gave me a dollar and asked me to hand out a few of his cards along with the dentist`s.? May I give you one of the doctor`s  cards, sir?”

At the corner of the street in which he lived, Rudolf stopped for a glass of beer and cigar. When he came out, he buttoned his coat, pushed back his hat and said very seriously to the lamp post on the corner: “All the same, I believe it was the Hand of Fate that showed me the way to find her”.

That conclusion shows that Rudolf Steiner was certainly a true adventurer.

THE GREEN DOOR

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