Candide

1145 mots 5 pages
TSMS 3 Entraînement à la compréhension de l’écrit / type bac Polynésie, juin 99, STT STI STL SMS DATE :
Charlie

I do not think any of my family could be that certain of the exact day on which I was born, on account of the fact that my old man had spent the night in jail and my mother had died even before I drew breath. Grandpa thought it could well have been a Saturday, felt it most likely the month had been January, was confident the year was 1900, and knew it was in the reign of Queen Victoria. So we settled on Saturday, 20 January 1900. My father worked on the docks by day, lived in the pub at night and came home in the early morning. The head of the family was Grandpa Charlie, who I was named after. Grandpa - who was a costermonger1 by trade - worked the pitch2 on the corner of Whitechapel Road. Once I was able to escape from my orange box near grandpa's barrow3, I quickly discovered that he was reckoned by the locals to be the finest trader in the East End. My dad, who could sometimes earn as much as a pound a week, spent it on pint after pint of ale in the Black Bull. In fact, if it had not been for Grandpa, I would not even have been made to attend the local elementary school, and "attend" was the right word, because I did not do a lot once I had got there, other than bang the lid of my little desk and occasionally pull the pigtails of "Posh4 Porky", the girl who sat in front of me. Her real name was Rebecca Salmon and she was the daughter of Dan Salmon who owned the baker's shop of the corner of Brick Lane. Class would end at four p.m. and I could bang my lid for the last time before running all the way down the Whitechapel Road to help out on the barrow. Although I couldn't wait to leave school once and for all so that I could join Grandpa permanently, if I ever played truant for as much as an hour, Grandpa would stop me selling on the barrow in the morning.

Jeffrey ARCHER, from “As the Crow flies”, Harper & Collins, 1991.

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