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All Quiet on the Western Front / На Западном фронте без перемен. Книга для чтения на английском языке
Эрих Мария Ремарк

All Quiet on the Western Front / На Западном фронте без перемен. Книга для чтения на английском языке
Erich Maria Remarque

Чтение в оригинале (Каро)Modern Prose
Эрих Мария Ремарк – один из самых известных немецких писателей ХХ века. Роман «На Западном фронте без перемен» рассказывает о поколении, которое погубила война, о тех, кто стал ее жертвой, даже если спасся от пуль. Это отчет о реальных событиях Первой мировой войны, рассказ о солдатском товариществе.

Книга предназначена для широкого круга читателей, владеющих английским языком, для студентов языковых вузов, а также может быть рекомендована всем, кто самостоятельно изучает английский язык.

Erich Maria Remarque / Эрих Мария Ремарк

All Quiet on the Western Front / На Западном фронте без перемен. Книга для чтения на английском языке

This book is intended neither as an accusation nor as a confession, but simply as an attempt to give an account of[1 - to give an account of – изложить, рассказать о] a generation that was destroyed by the war – even those of it who survived the shelling.

Copyright © The Estate of the late Paulette Remarque 1929

English translation copyright © Jonathan Cape 1994

Afterword  copyright © Brian Murdoch

© КАРО, 2019

I

We are in camp five miles behind the line. Yesterday our relief arrived; now our bellies are full of bully beef[2 - bully beef – мясные консервы] and beans, we’ve had enough to eat and we’re well satisfied. We were even able to fill up a mess-tin for later, every one of us, and there are double rations of sausage and bread as well – that will keep us going. We haven’t had a stroke of luck[3 - a stroke of luck – счастливый случай] like this for ages; the cook-sergeant, the one with the ginger hair, is actually offering to dish out food, beckoning with his serving ladle to anyone who comes near him and giving him a massive helping. He’s getting a bit worried because he can’t see how he’s going to empty his cooking pot. Tjaden and Muller have dug out a couple of washing bowls from somewhere and got him to fill them up to the brim[4 - to fill them up to the brim – наполнить их до краев] as a reserve supply. Tjaden does things like that out of sheer greed[5 - out of sheer greed – исключительно из жадности]; with Muller it’s a precaution. Nobody knows where Tjaden puts it all. He’s as thin as a rake and he always has been.

The most important thing, though, is that there are double rations of tobacco as well. Ten cigars, twenty cigarettes and two plugs of chewing tobacco for everyone, and that’s a decent amount. I’ve swapped my chewing tobacco with Katczinsky for his cigarettes, and that gives me forty. You can last a day on that.

And on top of it all, we’re not really entitled to this lot. The army is never that good to us. We’ve only got it because of a mistake.

Fourteen days ago we were sent up the line as relief troops[6 - relief troops – запасные войска]. It was pretty quiet in our sector, and because of that the quartermaster drew the normal quantity of food for the day we were due back, and he catered for the full company of a hundred and fifty men. But then, on the very last day, we were taken by surprise by long-range shelling from the heavy artillery[7 - heavy artillery – крупнокалиберная (тяжелая) артиллерия]. The English guns kept on pounding our position, so we lost a lot of men, and only eighty of us came back.

It was night-time when we came in, and the first thing we did was get our heads down so that we could get a good night’s sleep. Katczinsky is right when he says that the war wouldn’t be nearly as bad if we could only get more sleep. But there is no chance of that at the front, and two weeks for every spell in the line is a long time.

It was already midday when the first of us crawled out of the huts. Within half an hour every man had his mess-tin in his hand and we were fining up by the cookhouse, where there was a smell of proper food cooked in good fat. Needless to say, the hungriest were at the front of the queue: little Albert Kropp, who is the cleverest of us, and was the first one to make it to acting lance-corporal. Then Muller – one of the five boys called that at our school – who still lugs his textbooks about with him and dreams about taking his school leaving diploma later under the special regulations. He even swots up physics formulae when there is a barrage going on. Then Leer, who has a beard, and is obsessed with the girls from the officers-only knocking-shops[8 - officers-only knocking-shops – бордели для офицеров]; he swears that they are obliged by army regulations to wear silk slips, and that they have to take a bath before entertaining any guest with the rank of captain or above. And fourthly me, Paul Baumer. All four of us are nineteen years old, and all four of us went straight out of the same class at school into the war.

Close behind us are our friends. Tjaden, a skinny locksmith who is the same age as us and the biggest glutton in the company. He’s thin when he sits down to eat and when he gets up again he’s got a pot-belly; Haie Westhus, the same age, a peat-digger, who can quite easily hold an army-issue loaf in one great paw and ask, ‘Guess what I’ve got in my hand?’; Detering, a farmer, who thinks about nothing but his bit of land and his wife; and finally Stanislaus Katczinsky, leader of our group, tough, crafty, shrewd, forty years old, with an earthy face, blue eyes, sloping shoulders and an amazing nose[9 - an amazing nose – необыкновенный нюх] for trouble, good food and cushy jobs[10 - cushy jobs – тепленькое местечко].

Our group was at the head of the grub queue[11 - grub queue (разг.) – очередь за харчами]. We were getting impatient, because the cook-sergeant didn’t know what was going on and was still standing there waiting.

In the end Katczinsky shouted to him, ‘Come on, mate, open up your soup kitchen[12 - soup kitchen – походная кухня]! Anyone can see the beans are done!’

But he just shook his head dozily. ‘You’ve all got to be here first.’

Tjaden grinned. ‘We are all here.’

The cook-sergeant still didn’t get it. ‘That would suit you nicely, wouldn’t it. Come on, where are the rest?’

‘They won’t be getting served by you today. It’s either a field hospital or a mass grave for them.’

The cook was pretty shaken when he heard what had happened. He wasn’t so sure of himself any more. ‘But I cooked for a hundred and fifty men.’

Kropp elbowed him in the ribs. ‘So for once we’ll get enough to eat. Right, get on with it!’

Suddenly a light dawned in Tjaden’s eyes. His pointed, mouselike face positively glowed, his eyes narrowed with cunning, his cheeks twitched and he moved in closer. ‘Bloody hell[13 - bloody hell (разг.) – черт возьми!], then you must have drawn bread rations for a hundred and fifty men as well, right?’

The cook-sergeant nodded, confused and not thinking.

Tjaden grabbed him by the tunic. ‘Sausage, too?’

Another nod from Ginger.

Tjaden’s jaw was trembling. ‘And tobacco?’

‘Yes, the whole lot.’

Tjaden looked round, beaming all over his face. ‘Christ Almighty[14 - Christ Almighty – Господь всемогущий!], now that’s what I call a bit of luck! Then all that stuff has to be for us! Everyone gets – hang on – right, exactly double of everything!’

When he heard that the ginger-headed cook-sergeant realized what was up, and told us that it wasn’t on.

By now we were getting a bit restive, and pushed forward. ‘Why isn’t it on, carrot-top[15 - carrot-top (разг.) – рыжий, рыжеволосый человек]?’ Katczinsky wanted to know. ‘Eighty men can’t have the rations for a hundred and fifty.’ ‘We’ll soon show you,’ growled Muller.

‘I wouldn’t mind about the meal, but I can only give out the other rations for eighty,’ insisted Ginger.

Katczinsky was getting annoyed. ‘Is it time they pensioned you off, or what? You didn’t draw provisions for eighty men, you drew them for В Company[16 - B Company – вторая рота (тактическое военное подразделение, насчитывающее от 100 до 150 человек)], and that’s that. So now you can issue them. We are В Company.’

We started to crowd him. He wasn’t too popular – it was thanks to him that in the trenches we’d more than once got our food far too late, and cold into the bargain, just because he didn’t dare bring his field kitchen close enough in when there was a little bit of shellfire; and that meant that our men had to make a far longer trip to fetch the food than those from other companies. On that score Bulcke, from A Company[17 - A Company – первая рота], was much better. It’s true that he was as fat as a hamster in winter, but he used to carry the cooking-pots right to the front line himself if he had to.

We were just about in the right mood and there would certainly have been trouble if our company commander hadn’t turned up. He asked what the argument was about, and for the moment all he said was, ‘Yes, we had heavy losses yesterday —’

Then he looked into the cooking-pot. ‘Those beans look good.’ Ginger nodded. ‘Cooked in fat, with meat, too.’

Our lieutenant looked at us. He knew what we were thinking. He knew a lot of other things as well, because he had come to the company as an NCO[18 - NCO = non-commissioned officer – унтер-офицер (категория младшего командного и начальствующего состава в вооруженных силах)] and grown up with us. He took the lid off the pot again and had a sniff. ‘Bring me a plateful as well. And give out all the rations. We can do with them.’

Ginger made a face. Tjaden danced around him.

‘It’s no skin off your nose![19 - It’s no skin off your nose! (зд.) – С тебя не убудет!] He acts as if the supplies depot[20 - supplies depot – склад снабжения] was his own personal property. So get on with it now, you old skinflint, and make sure you don’t get it wrong —’

‘Go to hell,’ spat Ginger. He was beaten – this was simply too much for him – everything was turned upside down. And as if he wanted to show that he just didn’t care any more, he gave out half a pound of ersatz honey per head, off his own bat[21 - off his own bat – добровольно].

It really is a good day today. There is even mail, nearly everyone has a couple of letters and newspapers. So we wander out to the field behind the barracks. Kropp has the round lid of a big margarine tub under his arm.

On the right-hand edge of the field they have built a huge latrine block, a good solid building with a roof. But that is only for new recruits, who haven’t yet learned to get the best they can out of everything. We want something a bit better. And scattered all around are small individual thunder-boxes with precisely the same function. They are square, clean, made of solid wood, closed in, and with a really comfortable seat. There are handles on the sides so that they can be carried about.

We pull three of them together in a circle and make ourselves comfortable. We shan’t be getting up again for the next couple of hours.

I can still remember how embarrassed we were at the beginning, when we were recruits in the barracks and had to use the communal latrines. There are no doors, so that twenty men had to sit side by side as if they were on a train. That way they could all be seen at a glance – soldiers, of course, have to be under supervision at all times.

Since then we’ve learnt more than just how to cope with a bit of embarrassment. As time went by, our habits changed quite a bit.

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