Elementary Novels

Man from the South by Roald Dahl

It was in the evening. The main character of the book wanted to buy some beer and sit near the pool in the garden. To meet the sunset there was especially nice. He bought beer in the bar and wandered around the garden for a bit. This was a beautiful place. There were many comfortable tables and large bright umbrellas above them. At the tables there were people in bathing suits, and children were splashing merrily in the pool. The man sat at one of the tables under a yellow umbrella and poured himself some cold beer. An old man in a suit and a hat was passing by. He was short, but dressed neatly. He asked if he could sit at this table and the man allowed it. The old man turned out to be an interesting person. They talked about the other guests of the hotel, and after a while young American sailor joined this company.

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Man from the South by Roald Dahl

It was almost six o’clock, so I thought I’d buy a beer and go out and sit by the swimming pool and have a little evening sun.

I went to the bar and got the beer and carried it outside and wandered down the garden. It was a fine garden and there were plenty of chairs around the pool. There were white tables and huge brightly coloured umbrellas and sunburned men and women sitting around in bathing suits. In the pool itself there were three or four girls and about a dozen boys, all splashing about and making a lot of noise and throwing a large rubber ball at one another.

Man from the South by Roald Dahl

I stood watching them. The girls were English girls from the hotel. I didn’t know about the boys, but they sounded American, and I thought they were probably young sailors from the American ship which had arrived in harbour that morning.

I went over and sat down under a yellow umbrella where there were four empty seats, and I poured my beer and settled back comfortably with a cigarette. It was pleasant to sit and watch the bathers splashing about in the green water.

The American sailors were getting on nicely with the English girls. They’d reached the point where they were diving under the water and pulling the girls up by their legs.

Just then I noticed a small old man walking quickly around the edge of the pool. He was beautifully dressed in a white suit and a cream-coloured hat, and as he walked he was looking at the people and the chairs.

He stopped beside me and smiled. I smiled back.

‘Excuse me please, but may I sit here?’

‘Certainly,’ I said. ‘Go ahead.’

He inspected the back of the chair for safety, then he sat down and crossed his legs.

‘A fine evening,’ he said. ‘They are all fine evenings here in Jamaica.’ I couldn’t tell if his accent was Italian or Spanish, but I felt sure he was some sort of a South American. He was old, too, when you looked at him closely. Probably around sixty-eight or seventy.

‘Yes,’ I said. ‘It’s wonderful here, isn’t it?’

‘And who are all these? These are not hotel people.’ He was pointing at the bathers in the pool.

‘I think they’re American sailors,’ I told him.

‘Of course they are Americans. Who else in the world is going to make as much noise as that? You are not American, no?’…

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