While The Auto Waits (after O. Henry)

Level: B1

Activity: Reading 

Grammar: Mixed Tenses

The girl in grey came again to that quiet corner of the small park. She sat down upon the bench and began to read the book.

Her dress was grey and simple. Her face was very beautiful. She came there at the same hour yesterday, and the day before yesterday, and there was a young man who knew it.

The young man came near. At the moment her book fell on the ground. The young man picked up the book, returned it to the girl, said a few words about the weather, and stood waiting.

The girl looked at his simple coat and said, “Sit down if you like, the light is too bad for reading, let’s talk”.

“Do you know”, he said, “that you are very, very fine? I saw you yesterday”. “Don’t forget that I’m lady”, said the girl in an angry voice.

“Let’s change the subject. Now tell me about these passing people. Where are they going? Why do they hurry so? Are they happy? I come here to sit because only here I am near the masses of people. I speak to you because I want to talk to a man not spoilt by money. Oh, you don’t know how tired I am of money, money, money! And of the men who surround me! I am tired of pleasure, of travel!”

“I always had an idea”, said the young man, “that money must be a very good thing”.

“When you have so many millions? Dinners, theatres, suppers! I’m tired of it”, said the young girl.

The young man looked at her with interest.

“And I always liked,” he said, “to read and to hear about the life of reach people.”

“Sometimes I think,” continued the girl, “that I should love only a simple man. What is your profession?”

“I am a very simple man. I work at a restaurant,” he said.

“Not as a waiter?” she asked.

“I am a cashier in the restaurant that you see on the opposite side of street.”

The girl looked at her watch and rose.

“Why are you not at work?” she asked.

“My work begins in an hour. When shall I see you again?” asked the young man.

“I don’t know. Now I must go. Oh, there is a dinner and a concert tonight. Did you have notice a white automobile at the corner of the park when you came?”

“Yes, I did” said the young man.

“I always come in it. The driver waits for me there. Good night!”

“May I accompany you to the car?”

“You will remain on this bench for ten minutes.” And she went away. The young man looked at her while she was going to park gate, then he rose and followed her. When the girl reached the park gate, she turned her head to look at the white car, then passed it, crossed the street and entered the restaurant. A girl left the cashier’s desk and the girl in grey took her place.

The young man walked slowly down the street, then got into the white automobile and said the driver,

“To the club, Henry!”

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