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Annales Bac L : Compréhension du texte

Le sujet  1996 - Bac L - Anglais LV1 - Compréhension écrite Imprimer le sujet

Hurstwood has fled to New-York with Carrie, who has now become an actress and has left him.

One day, looking down the ad. columns of the Evening World, he saw where a new play was at the Casino. Instantly he came to a mental halt. Carrie had gone ! He remembered seeing a poster of her only yesterday, but no doubt it was one left uncovered by the new signs. Curiously, this fact shook him up. He had almost to admit that somehow he was depending upon her being in the city. Now she was gone. He wondered how this important fact had skipped him. Goodness knows when she would be back now. Impelled by a nervous fear, he rose and went into the dingy (1) hall, where he counted his remaining money, unseen. There were ten dollars in all.

He wondered how all these other lodging-house people around him got along. They didn't seem to do anything. Perhaps they begged - unquestionably they did. Many was the dime he had given to such as they in his day. He had seen other men asking for money on the streets. Maybe he could get some that way. There was horror in this thought.

Sitting in the lodging-house room, he came to his last fifty cents. He had saved and counted until his health was affected. His stoutness (2) had gone. With it , even the semblance of a fit in his clothes. Now he decided he must do something, and walking about, saw another day go by, bringing him down to his last twenty-cents - not enough to eat for the morrow.

Summoning all his courage, he crossed to Broadway and up to the Broadway Central hotel. Within a block he halted, undecided. A big, heavy-faced porter was standing at one of the side entrances, looking out. Hurstwood purposed to appeal to him. Walking straight up he was upon him before he could turn away.

"My friend," he said, recognising even in his plight (3) the man's inferiority, "is there anything about this hotel that I could get to do ?"

The porter stared at him the while he continued to talk.

"I'm out of work and out of money and I've got to get something - it doesn't matter what. I don't care to talk about what I've been, but if you'd tell me how to get something to do, I'd be much obliged to you. It wouldn't matter if it only lasted a few days just now. I've got to have something."

The porter still gazed, trying to look indifferent. Then, seeing that Hurstwood was about to go on, he said :

"I've nothing to do with it. You'll have to ask inside."

Curiously, this stirred Hurstwood to further effort.

"I thought you might tell me."

The fellow shook his head irritably.

Inside went the ex-manager and straight to an office of the clerk's desk. One of the managers of the hotel happened to be there. Hurstwood looked him straight in the eye.

"Could you give me something to do for a few days ?" he said. "I'm in a position where I have to get something at once."

The comfortable manager looked at him, as much as to say : "Well, I should judge so."

"I came here," explained Hurstwood, nervously, "because I've been a manager myself in my day. I've had bad luck in a way, but I'm not here to tell you that. I want something to do, if only for a week."

The man imagined he saw a feverish gleam in the applicant's eye.

"What hotel did you manage ?" he inquired.

"It wasn't a hotel," said Hurstwood. "I was manager of Fitzgerald and Moy's place in Chicago for fifteen years."

"Is that so ?" said the hotel man. "How did you come to get out of that ?"

The figure of Hurstwood was rather surprising in contrast to the fact.

"Well, by foolishness of my own. It isn't anything to talk about now. You could find out if you wanted to. I'm "broke" now and, if you will believe me, I haven't eaten anything to-day."

The hotel man was slightly interested in this story. He could hardly tell what to do with such a figure, and yet Hurstwood's earnestness (4) made him wish to do something.

Theodore DREISER, Sister Carrie, 1900.


(1) dingy : dirty-looking, dull.
(2) stoutness < = stout : fat.
(3) flight : condition of extreme difficulty.
(4) earnestness : seriousness.



Translate into French from "My friend" to "ask inside".

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