В художественном произведении могут встречаться повторы и аналогичные друг другу эпизоды. Если мы не имеем дело с тавтологией и недостатком авторской фантазии, если писателем достигается эстетический эффект, то речь идет о сознательном применении повтора как художественного приема. Композиционно в рассказе, как и в музыкальном произведении, целые части могут дублировать или напоминать («отражать») друг друга. Это и называется зеркальной композицией.
В рассказе ‘The man in black’ дважды описана сцена нападения таинственного незнакомца в черном на Эйба Андерсона. Дублируются действия нападающего (он тычет в спину Эйба твердым предметом, ведет его в темный переулок) и его характеристики (резкий запах табака, глубокий низкий голос). Но нельзя сказать, что все происходящее в зеркальных сценах одинаково. Если в первую встречу незнакомец забирает счастливую монетку, то во второй раз отдает ее.
The man in black by Robert Cates
For three days Abe Anderson had noticed a figure in a dark shirt, dark britches, and a black hat watching him wherever he went. The strain of not knowing who it was or what he wanted was beginning to tell.
"Dag nab you," Abe whispered, as he watched the fellow lounging against the feed store hitching rack across the street, "1 wish I could get a hold of you for a minute.
Abe had been an assessor in Wayne С ounty f or f our сonsecutive terms and now with elections coming up again, and a pretty fair opponent for a change, he was spending all his free time shaking hands and renewing old friendships. He loved his electioneering but the ominous figure of this stranger in black had taken most of the joy out of it for him these last three days. He felt relieved though, when he saw the familiar figure of the sheriff Ben hanks among the usual loafers in front of the grocery store. Now he was bound to find out just who this fellow was, and what was ailing him.
"Howdy, Ben," Abe hailed the sheriff. "How's the world's worst checker player?"
"Well, sir, I don't rightly know," said the sheriff, stroking his scraggly gray goatee thoughtfully, "... but you're lookin' good, Abe."
The loafers laughed at that one but Abe, who would normally have been thinking of a quick comeback, scarcely noticed that his old friend had bested him.
"Listen, Ben," he said, in a sincere tone, "who's that feller over by the feed store?"
The sheriff at first thought Abe was joking, but a glance at his worried expression revealed that he wasn't. Ben leaned forward in his chair, pushed his bifocals up on his forehead and looked.
"Why, that's Oliver Johnson," he said. "You know him."
"No, not him," Abe said, turning around. "The feller down by..." His gaze fell on Oliver, who stood in the doorway of the store cutting a chaw from his plug with a pocket knife, and then dropped to the hitching rack. There was one wagon hitched to it, but the man was gone.
Abe stood and watched the old, skinny sorrel and the fair-to-middlin' bay stomping and swishing at flies, and wondered what in the world the fellow in black could be up to.
“Where, Abe?” asked Ben, still squinting at the store.
“He’s gone now.”
The sheriff grinned expansively, “Never figured you for lettin’ a voter get away, Abe,” he said loudly, for the benefit of his little audience. "Guess you'll have to put some salt on his tail feathers."
"Oh, I'll get by," Abe assured the chuckling group, "as long as I can count on fellers like you that votes twice anyways."
"The friendly bantering had made Abe feel better and as he started for his buggy his thought began returning to the elections at hand. Before he reached the buggy, however, he sensed the presence of someone close behind him. He started to turn but as he did he was gouged in the ribs with 'a hard object and a deep voice said, "Jis keep on a walkin’ an' you won't get yourself hurt." Abe walked.
A short walk brought them to the alley behind the grocery store, and the man shoved Abe into the dark, narrow passage way. Abe stood apprehensive, afraid to look back.
The man leaned close to him and Abe could detect the acrid odor of chewing tobacco. “Know where I can get you three votes for fifty cents apiece,” he said meaningfully.
Abe relaxed a little. He wasn't sure what he had expected but it was something worse than a dollar and fifty cent shakedown. He reached into his pocket and discovered that he had but a single silver dollar. He handed it over his shoulder to the man.
"Three," the man said, as if Abe had misunderstood.
“Well, I ain’t got but...”
“Three,” he repeated, jabbing Abe in the back again.
Abe jammed his hands back into his pockets frantically hoping that he had missed some money. He hadn't. Then he thought of his good luck piece in his watch pocket. He fumbled it out of the little pocket. It was an old, worn half dollar but he hadn't considered it money since it had seen him safely through the war. He handed it back.
"That's better," said the man, sounding pleased. "Now; jis' you stay put for about a minute and you'll be a lot the wiser for it." Abe heard running feet but he didn't turn around until he was sure he was alone.
Abe somehow felt relieved now that, he knew what the fellow's game was, but he promised himself that if he ever laid eyes on him again he'd turn him right over to Ben. But he decided that, just for the time being, it'd save a lot of misplaced humor if he didn't tell Ben and the boys about what had happened. And in the heat of. the campaigning of the next few days he forgot about the incident.
On the morning the polls opened, Abe was out making his presence felt among the voters when he noticed .Walter Baylor, the feed store proprietor, putting a padlock on his front door.
"What's the matter, Walt?" Abe asked. 'How's come you're lockin' up so early in the day?"
Walt turned a frantic glance on Abe, "The boy jis' rode in to tell me my missus is took down bad sick," he said, "I got to go an' get Doc an’ get out to the place."
"That's sure a shame, Walt," sympathized Abe. "If there's anything I can do..."
"Thanks, Abe, but..." Walt began, then he suddenly brightened, "Oh, say, there is somethin'," he said. "Would you run over to the bank and give 'em this." He handed Abe a cigar box. "It's my day's receipts. I jis' ain't got the time to fool with it right now."
"Sure, Walt, glad to oblige."
Walt ran to his rig and whipped the team out onto the street and headed for the doctor's office and Abe turned and started toward the bank. He hadn't taken more than a dozen paces, however, when he felt a familiar object in his back. The smell of tobacco juice assaulted his ’ nose.
"Jis' keep on walkin’," the deep voice advised. Abe tried to think of some way of getting rid of the cigar box full of Walt’s money as he walked but no opportunity presented itself. No rig went past them ;as they crossed the street. No one happened within hailing distance as they walked. Abe was at his wits' end.
They followed much the same route they had before and wound up behind the grocery store again. Finally, as he was pushed into the dark little alley, Abe decided to try to bluster his way through and see if he could scare the fellow off by threatening to get the sheriff after him. Abe had his speech all made up, but before he could open his mouth the man in black spoke.
"Listen," he said, "I couldn't get but two of them votes." He shoved something in Abe's hand and Abe always kept that old half dollar. It was his good luck piece.
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