Короткий английский текст для практики чтения и перевода.
Foreigners have souls; the English haven’t. On the Continent you will find any amount of people who sigh deeply for no evident reason, suffer and look in the air exteremely sadly. This is soul.
The worst kind of soul is the great Slav soul. People who suffer from it are usually very deep thinkers. They may say things like this: “Sometimes I am so merry and sometimes I am so sad. Can you explain why?” (You cannot, do not try.) Or they may say: “I am so mysterious … I sometimes wish I were somewhere else than where I am.” (Do not say: “I wish you were.”) Or: “When I am alone in a forest at nighttime and jump from one tree to another, I often think that life is so strange.”
All this is very deep: and just soul, nothing else.
The English have no soul: they have the understatement instead. If a Continental youth wants to declare his love to a girl, he kneels down, tells her that she is the sweetest, the most charming person in the world, that she has something in her, something peculiar and individual which only a few hundred thousand other women have and that he would be unable to Jive one more minute without her. Often, to give a little more emphasis to the statement, he shoots himself on the spot.
This is a normal, week-day declaration of love in the more temperamental Continental countries. In England the boy pats his adored one on the back and says softly: “I don’t object to you, you know, in fact.”
If he wants to marry a girl, he says:
“I say . . . . would you? …. ”
If he wants to make an indecent proposal :
“I say . . . . . what about. . .. ”
Overstatement, too, plays a considerable part in English social life. This takes mostly the form of someone remarking: ” I say . . . ” and then keeping silent for three days on end.
From “How to Be an Alien” by George Mikes