“Id ’urds’ you dere,” he said, “Dose big virms ’ave no self-respect.” And then, as if something had given way within him, he spoke long and bitterly. It was the only time I ever heard him discuss the conditions and hardships of his trade.
     “Dey get id all,” he said, “dey get id by advertisement, nod by work. Dey take id away from us, who lofe our boods. Id gomes to dis— bresently I haf no work. Every year id gets less. You will see.” And looking at his lined face I saw things I had never noticed before, bitter things and bitter struggle and what a lot of grey hairs there seemed suddenly in his red beard!
When the bootmaker touched his finger on an uncomfortable spot on the left boot, he enquired whether it hurt. He said major firms lack self-respect. He was implying that the leather used in big firms or the entire production was of low quality.
Gessler grew enraged upon explaining the details about the big companies as if something within him had given way. He then told the author about major firms' inferior quality products. It was the first and only time the author had ever heard him speak about the circumstances and challenges of his job. Mr. Gessler had never spoken so much, except for that one time when he spoke for a long period in a harsh tone.
His dislike for his competitive (big) firms was evident in his comments. Then he began to complain about large companies, claiming that they attract consumers through advertisements rather than through their work. Such companies are more concerned with profit than with quality. He explained to the author how big companies use advertisements to pull clients away from small businesses, putting small business owners at a disadvantage.
As a result, the bootmaker lost the majority of his customers year after year. The author then realised the challenges of the bootmaker and the difficulties of small businesses that relied on hard effort rather than marketing. Also, the author noticed things he'd never noticed before while looking at the bootmaker's wrinkled face. He observed bitter thingsbitter pain, and so many grey hairs appeared to have sprung from his red beard, indicating Gessler had gotten too old; in his struggle against the competition!
Meaning of difficult words:
BitterlyIn a way that shows you feel angry or disappointed
WrinkleA line that emerges on the skin when you become older
HardshipA situation that causes difficulty or suffering
National Council of Educational Research and Training (2007). Honeycomb. Quality - John Galsworthy (pp. 71-78). Published at the Publication Division by the Secretary, National Council of Educational Research and Training, Sri Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi.