A Cent Cut into Two Pieces
I worked at an office . I wrote short stories about life in New York. One day, as engaged at the office , Tripp came in. I didn’t know exactly where Tripp was working, but he was very poor. He was pale and unhealthy , and whenever he came I knew that he was going to ask me for a dollar , and then spend it on whisky.
This time Tripp looked more unhappy then ever.
“Well , Tripp , how are you?” said I. “Have you got a dollar, Mr. Chalmers?” asked Tripp. “Would you like a good plot for a story? I’ve got an excellent one. It will probably cost you a dollar or two.”
“ What is the story?” I asked impatiently.
“ It’s a girl. A real beauty . She had lived in a village for twenty years and has never seen New York City before. I happened to meet her in the street. I was passing by when she addressed me and asked where she could find George Brown. Asked me where she could find Gorge Brawn in New York! She comes from a little village and has seen nothing in her life but farms. I talked to her . She told me she was going to marry farmer next week. But there had been a certain Gorge Brown who had left the village some years ago and gone to the city to earn money.
He never returned to the village. But before marrying the farmer , Ada- her mane is Ada – wants to find Gorge Brown and to have a talk with him as she seems to care for him still. That is why she has come to New York … I couldn’t leave her along. She told me that she had spent all her money and that she didn’t know what to do and where to go. So I took her to a boarding house and left her there. I want you to come with me to see her.”
“ What nonsense you are talking , Tripp,” said I. “ I thought you said you had a plot of a story.”
“Oh , it will make a story , I assure you,” said Tripp. “ You can describe the girl and add a lot about true love – well , you know how to do it and it will cost you only four dollars.”
“how will it cost me four dollars?” I asked.
“ One dollar to the landlady in the boarding house,” Tripp answered , “ and two dollars to pay the girl’s fare home.”
“ And the fourth dollar?” I asked .
“One dollar to me ,” said Tripp, “ for whisky . Are you coming?”
There was nothing to be done but I said to myself that Tripp
Would never persuade me to give him his dollar for whisky. Angrily I accompanied him to the boarding house. Tripp was right; she was a beauty. We found Ada comfortably sitting in an armchair and crying. She told me everything. When she spoke about Gorge Brown tears came to her eyes. What could I do? I was not George.
“ Gorge and I ,” she went on , “ loved each other. When he was nineteen- that had six years ago – he left the village and went to New York to earn money. He said he would come back for me. But I never heard from him any more. On the day we parted Gorge and I cut a cent into two pieces. I took one piece and he took the other , and we promised to be devoted to each other. Something has happened to him , I am sure . It certainly was very silly of me to come here looking for him. I never ever suspected what a big place New York is.”
And then Tripp and I told her how important it was for her to stop looking for the unlucky Gorge and to return home at once.
I paid the landlady a dollar , and the three of us left the boarding house . I bought a ticket and a red rose for Ada. We saw her off. And then Tripp and I looked at each other. Tripp seemed even more unhappy then usual.
“ Can’t you make a story of it?” he asked me. “ not a line,” said I. “ There is nothing interesting in this little adventure : but we have helped Ada. Let us try to forget it,” said I. I did not want to give Tripp his dollar for whisky. Just as we were walking toward the bus stop, Tripp took out his handkerchief, and I saw a cheap silver watch chain. Something was hanging on the watch chain. It was a half of a cent that had been cut into halves.
‘What?” I said , looking at him with surprise. “Oh , yes,” he answered,” my real name Gorge Brown. But what’s the use?”
Without another word I took Tripp’s whisky dollar out of my pocket and put it into his hand.
( After O.Henry)
For thirty years now I have been studying my fellowmen. I do not know very much about them, and yet I suppose it by the face that for the most part we judge the persons we meet. We draw our conclusions from the shape of the jaw , the look in the eyes, the contour of the month. I wonder if we are more often fight than wrong . I shrug my shoulders when people tell me that their first impression of a person are always right. For my own part I find that the longer I know people the more they puzzle me; my oldest friends are just those of whom I can say that I don’t know anything about them.
These reflections have occurred to me because I read in this morning’s paper that Edward Hyde Burton had died at Kobe. He was a merchant and he had been in business in Japan for many years. I knew him very little , but he interested me because once he gave me a great surprise. Unless I heard the story from own lips should never have believed that he was capable of such an action. It was the more startling because both his appearance and his manner suggested a very different man.
He was a tiny little fellow , not much more than five feet four in height , and very slender, with white hair , a red face much wrinkled, and blue eyes. I suppose he was about sixty when I knew him . He was always neatly dressed , in accordance with his age and station
Though his office were in Kobe Burton often came down to Yokohama. It happened that on one occasion I had to spend o few days there , waiting for a ship, and I was introduced to him at the British club. We played bridge together. He did not talk to be much, but what he said was sensible. He had a quiet dryhumour. He seemed to be popular at the club and afterwards , when he had gone they described him as one of the best.
It happened that we were both staying at the Grand Hotel and next day he asked me too dine with him. I met his wife , fat elderly and smiling , and his two daughters . I think the chief that struck me about Burton was his kindliness. There was something very pleasing in his mild blue eyes. His voice was gentle; you could not imagine that he could raise it in anger. He liked his game of cards and his cocktail, he could tell with point a good story , and in his youth he had been something of an athlete. He was a rich man and he had made every penny himself. I suppose one thing that made you like him was that he was so small and frail; you wanted to protect him. You felt that he could not bear to hurt a fly.
One afternoon I was sitting in the lounge of the Grand Hotel.
Burton came into the lounge and caught sight of me. He seated himself in the chair next to mine.
“What do you say to a little drink?”
he clapped his hands for a boy and ordered two gin fizzes. As the boy brought them a man passed along the street outside and seeing me waved his hand.
“ Do you know Turner?” said Burton as I nodded a greeting.
“I’ve met him at the club , I’m told he’s a remittance man.”
“Yes , I believe he is . we have a good many here.”
“He plays bridge well.”
“ They generally do. There was a fellow here last year , who was the best bridge player I ever met. I suppose you never came across him in London. Lenny Burton he called himself. I believe he’d belonged to the name.”
“ No, I don’t believe I remember the mane.”
“ he was quite a remarkable player . He seemed to have an instinct about the cards. It was uncanny. I used to play with him a lot. He was in Kobe for some time.”
Burton sipped his din fizz.
(After S. Maugham)
Adam Trenton , an executive of the Detroit Auto Plant , was hurrying to his office. Although it was only 7.30 a.m. .Adam noticed a few cars parked near the executive elevator. Where a man parked was a significant prestige factor in the auto industry. The higher the rank, the less distance he was expected to walk from his car to his desk.
As Adam entered his office he saw a pile of newly delivered mail on his secretary’s desk . he never read the whole of it; that was one of the functions of his secretary – to “ filter out the most important things.”
He had hardly been in the room one minute when he heard the voice of the Product Development Vice-president , Elroy Braithwaite , from the intercom box behind his desk.
“ Good morning, Adam . I’d like you here for a while. There’ll be an informal meeting today with press. They want to know our plans for new models. Before the press conference I think we should have briefing.
Later in the day when the newspaperman arrived . Voice president Public Relations, Jake Earlham, was performing introductions. There were representatives of A.P., the Wall Street Journal and Detroit News. The man from Detroit New was bob Irvin whom Adam knew best; he wrote a daily column about automotive affairs. He was well-informed in the industry and was the first to speak.
“What has been done at your plant to introduce new non-pollution electric and steam engines?”
“Both of them are available at our test center, “ said Braithawaite “ but there is no hope to use them in cars at low cost , low weight and good convenience in the near future.”
“ But there are some people who still believe in steam power. Some plants in California are planning to get a fleet of steam cars on the road soon,” the A.P. man put in , “ and there are legislative proposals out there to ban internal combustion engines in five years from now.”
“You fail to mention that steam engines will be extremely bulky and most expensive , with low efficiency. Even if we try to produce such cars with all the problems and disadvantages., we must think of our customers and competitors,” Adam replied.
“then why do you reject electric cars?” the Wall Street Journal pointed out.
“Unfortunately, there’s little more than talk so far. We do have some experimental electric cars. At the moment , though, it would be expensive and not much more than a curiosity,” responded Elroy Braithawaite.
“ and if you’re thinking about air pollution in connection with electric cars,” Adam added, “ there’s one factor which a lot of people overlook. Whatever kind of batteries you had they’d need be a requirement for many more power stations, each polluting the air to a great extent. Since electric power plants are usually built in the suburbs , what could happen is transferring it out there.”
Adam continued, “ what we believe is that clean air , at least air not polluted by cars be achieved best and mist cheaply through refinement of the present gasoline. Maybe that is not so spectacular as the idea of steam and electric power but there is a lot of sound science behind it. Other new developments can also help to solve problem. New metals for engines would allow very high temperatures in seconds. Using that we could completely burn the fuel and avoid air pollution/”
Adam was glad that the press conference was coming to the end at last. He was eager to get back to the “ORION”- the new model which completely absorbed him at the time.
(After Wheels by A. Hailey)
“ William ,” she cried , and embraced him joyfully.
Suddenly the four girls came downstairs and embraced him too. William looked at than sorrowfully, without a world. Thinking that he was still acting , they all cried out: “ Oh, you look like a monk. Oh , just like a real monk!”
The four girls took hands with their mother and began to dance about him. “ Good , old Daddy . Brave.” They shouted. Then they stopped dance and began to applaud him. William was puzzled. He didn’t know what to do. He felt tears on his face and he could not look at the children. Then, suddenly, not knowing how else to cover his confusion , he began to bow, smiling , as if he were a real actor.
( After Ernest Bares)
Sir Arthur Conan Dole ( 1859-1930), born and educated in Edinburgh, became a medical practitioner in 1885. But then he turned to writing and became famous as author of crime and detective stories.
Tom Crabbe had just finished medical college. A brilliant career seemed to be ahead of him , as he had a deep knowledge of medicine. Crabbe went down with his young degree and a still younger wife to Brisport to start practice there.
One day to my surprise I received a telegramme from Mrs. Crabbe requesting me to come to Brisport urgently. When I arrived there I learned about their difficulties: The expenses were heavy , and patients were few. Tom wanted my advice. He said: “ If I could make myself known it would be all right , but no one seems to need my help; they all go to other doctors they know. I wouldn’t mind if these other doctors were good men, but they are not. They are at last half a cenfury behind the day.”
“You should get your name know, ” I advised.
“That’s exactly what I want , if I could only get my name into the Brisport Chronicle it would help me a lot.”
We had been talking over the matter for a while when an idea came to Tom. We drew up a plan of our actions which we revised, modified and at last accepted. Our discussion resulted that night in my moving into the Brisport Hotel.
Next day the weather was fine. The streets of Brisport were crowded with people , I went straight to the river and on my way there saw Tom Crabbe standing on the bridge. There was a boat –house near the river.
“Could I have a boat for an hour?” I asked a man there.
“Of course,” he said. “Would you want me take you down the river?”
“Yes , you’d better ,” I replied. At the end of an hour I said I wanted a bit of exercise – “Let us change places,” I said and stood up.
“Take care , sir,” cried the man, “ Look out.” But I had already fallen over into the water.
Some time later I was “ saved” by the boat-man.
“ He is dead, poor fellow,” said someone.
“Send for the doctor.”
“Feel his pulse.”
“Stop,” said an authoritative voice .”can I be of any assistance?” I am a medical man. What has happened?”
“A man drowned,” cried several voices.
‘ Stand back, make room for the doctor.”
“My name is doctor Crabbe. Take him to the hotel.”
We got to the hotel and I was undressed and put on the best bed. It seemed that news of the accident had travelled fast as there was a crowd in the street. Tom admitted only a few townspeople into the room , but issued bulletins out of the window every five minutes to the crowd below.
“ Quite dead,” I heard him shout. “ no pulse- but we still do our best ; we are obliged to try every thing.”
( After A. Conan Doyle)
It has been well said that every Englishman is an average Englishman : it’s an essential national characteristic.
What is more , no true Englishman would wish it to be otherwise. He prefer his neighbour to be an average Englishman – he prefer to be one himself. He likes what he knows.
To think is not part of the English character. Instead of thoughts , the English have traditions.
The tradition of “the Home” for instance.
Even the French have preferred not to translate this word , but to recognize it as English in origin and spirit by referring to it as “ le home”.
Yet how do the English treat “le home” – which is, theoretically and traditionally regarded as the backbone of their country?
Their first care is to remove their children from it by second them to a boarding-school almost as soon as they can walk , and keeping them there until they are old enough to be sent still farther away.
They speak , write and sing of “ Home , Sweet Home”, and by this means have built up the tradition that it is a thoroughly English institution. Once tradition is firmly established , the thing is done.
Another tradition that is firmly established not only in Britain , but in the minds of the rest of the world, is the devotion of the English to animals. Certainly , they will speak with love to and of their dogs and horses, which is more than they will do concerning their friends and family. However , the fox, the deer, the pheasant and many others would have but little to say in praise of the animal-loving English if they were consulted.
But by never thinking about it , the English firmly believe themselves to be the only nation in the world that is really kind to its animals.
Indeed, the power of believing the English have is almost phenomenal. A very short list of such beliefs comes to one’s mind almost automatically.
Most Englishman are convinced that God is in Englishman- probably educated at Eton.
that England is finest country in the world;
that all foreigners are slightly mad;
that anyone disagreeing on any of these points ought to be short;
that all men are just like children;
that children are blessing to their parents.
Enough has now perhaps been said to show that the English , whatever else they may be , are agreeably inconsistent.
(After On British Character by E.M. Delafield )
EPICAC covered almost the entire fourth floor of the physics building at Wayndotte College. He was seven tons of electronic tubes , switches , etc.
I won’t go into details about how EPICAC worked expect to say that you would set up you problem on paper , turn dials and switches that would get him ready to solve it. The answers came out Typed on a paper ribbon.
The minute EPICAC’s last tube was in place , he was put to work sixteen hours a day with two operators working eight hours each. It didn’t take long to find out that he was a good bit below his specifications . But we went ahead and used EPICAC anyway. The operator who worked with me was Pat Callaham, a brown- eyed blond mathematician . I loved Pat and Wanted to marry her , but she wouldn’t marry me because she said I wasn’t poetic.
One night after Pat had gone home , just as a joke , I typed a message for the computer: “ What can I do?” EPICAC responded : “ What’s the trouble?” I was so surprised that I laughed. Playfully I typed , “ My girl doesn’t love me.”
“What’s love ? What’s girl?” asked EPICAC.
I defined love and girl and told him that I wasn’t getting either because I wasn’t poetic. That got us on the subject of poetry which I defined for him.
“Is this poetry? He asked. He began to working again. The paper ribbon was coming out onto the floor at a great speed. I stayed there until morning decoding. When the sun came over the horizon, I had rewritten and signed my name to a too – hundred – eighty – line poem entitled “ To Pat” , I put it on the Pat’s desk and went home.
Pat was crying over the poem when I came to work the next evening. “ It’s beautiful,” she said , and she kissed me.
When I was along again I switched on the computer. EPICAC was the first to ask me a Question. “ Tell me how she look. Did she like the poem?”
It was impossible to change the subject without answering him, since he could not take up a new matter without having solved the problems before him. If he was given a problem to which there was no solution, he would ruin himself trying to solve it.
I told him what Pat looked like and assured him that his poem was a big success.
“She wants to get married,” I added.
“Good.” said EPICAC. “I’ll marry her.”
I understood . I had told EPICAC about love , about Pat. Now , automatically, he loved Pat . Sadly I told him ,”She loves me. She wants to marry me.”
“Your poem was better than mine?” EPICAC asked.
“I signed my name to your poem,” I admitted . “ Machines are built to serve men.” “Women can’t love machines,” I typed.
“Oh,” said EPICAC’s paper ribbon. He said no more, but his tubes burned brightly, showing that he was thinking about fate.
The next morning a telephone call from Dr. Ormand woke me up. He told me the terrible news that EPICAC was ruined. When I arrived at EPICAC’s room I found there wasn’t enough left of him to add two and two. On the floor I saw a paper ribbon on which the following was written:
“I don’t want to be a machine . I want Pat to love me. But fate made me a machine. That it the only problem I cannot solve. I cannot do on this way. Good luck, my friend. Love Pat well. I am going to disappear out of your lives forever. You will find on this ribbon a wedding present from your friend EPICAC.”
I had loved and won. EPICAC had loved and lost. But before he died, he had done all he could to make my marriage a happy one. EPICAC left me anniversary poems for Pat – enough for the next five hundred years!
As long she could remember Pauline had always wanted to be a film star. Straight from school she went to a London study where she hoped to get a job immediately. But the agent there told her; “There is nothing we can do for you at the moment. We are booked up for the whole season.” That did not discourage Pauline . She continued trying one studio after another. Finally she did get into films – not as a star though – she became one of the unimportant characters in the background behind the stars.
Every evening she would go round to agency to see if she was needed in film the next day. Quite often she was , but as always in the background- in a crowd. Still she was looking forward to becoming a star. Many ambitious young people want to do this. Like many other careers the middle steps are always crowded but there is room at the top. Pauline did not mind waiting for her chance.
However , nobody asked her to be a star, the telephone never ring to offer her a big part; no producer ever came to her, cigar in one hand and film contract in the other.
One evening the man at the agency rang and said : “ There’s a film for you tomorrow, Pauline. Hampton Studios. You are due there by eight o’clock. You’re a telephonist. Wear your own clothes.”
Pauline got to Hampton Studios by a quarter to eight, and gave her name at the gate.
Two hours later , one of the assistant directors told her to go and get made up and she was in. The second assistant director showed her where to sit – there were two other girls with her, and the tree had to sit at a switchboard.
“ O.k.,” said a very loud voice . “ You ready to go ?”
“ Yes , Mr. Kline,” said the first assistant.
“ Right,” said the voice . “ Let’s begin shooting the scene.”
The red light went on , the bells rang and ran the scene had to come through a door , cross the set and stop just in front of where Pauline and others girls were sitting, hesitate for a moment and then walk towards the camera.
Mr. Kline didn’t like it. “ That’s bad ,” he said turning to his assistant for help. “Put some dialogue in there. Somebody must sat something.”
The two men talked for a moment and then Mr. Kline shouted out : “Hey , you at the end of the row there!”
Pauline jumped – “ Me?” she said.
“Yes , you . I want a line from you here. I want you to look at Harry when he comes in and say , ‘ Mr. Marlower, there’s a call just come in for you .’ Can you say that?”
Pauline said she could, and they ran the scene through again. This time Mr. Kline was very pleased, and the star smiled at her. Now Mr. Kline was satisfied with the scene.
“ That’s great ,” he said , coming over to Pauline. “What’s your name?”
“You do fit the part perfectly , Pauline,” Mr. Kline said .”Thanks.”
Pauline went home that evening , feeling very happy, even triumphant. There was no reason to be so thrilled, she told herself, but she couldn’t help it. A line at last , two in fact , and the director , the great Kline , had thanked her. For week after she fought , wait, until the opening night.
She went to the opening night , not invited , but she managed to go two tickets, one for herself and one for her boy friend.
Before the film started she saw the director of the film. “Mr. Kline,” she shouted , but he didn’t hear her.
It was a good film – or at least the press said so the next morning. The star was given wide publicity. The review said that; as always , he portrayed his role with great talent. The critic expected a successful run for the film.
But there was no mention in the papers on Pauline, Her scene , in fact, together with lots of other unimportant scenes, had been cut and the name of Pauline Grant meant nothing to anyone, not even to Samuel Kline, who had very short memory
I was ten years old then , and my brother Nick was fourteen. For both of us this purchase of gift for our mother on Mother’s Day was an occasion of excitement and great importance.
Our mother worked from early morning till late night, cooking , buying, washing and looking after us in illness.
“What are you going to give her”, asked Father.
“We’re going to give separate presents”, I announced importantly.
Nick and I discussed what to buy. We became involved in a competition of taste.
“Let’s not tell each other what we’re getting “, said Nick.
After careful deliberation I bought for my mother a comb decorated with little shiny stones that could even be mistaken for diamonds. Nick came back from the store with a pleased look. He liked my gift very much and wouldn’t tell me about his. He only said :” I’ve picked a certain moment when I’ll give my gift.”
The next morning Nick kept me close and when my mother got ready to wash the floor he nodded to me and we ran get our gifts.
When I came back , Mother was , us usual , on her knees, wearily scrubbing the floor. It was the job she hated most in the world.
Then Nick returned with his present, and Mother sat back on her heels, staring unbelievingly at the gift. Her face went pale with disappointment as she looked at the new scrubbing pail with the fresh mop in it.
“ A Mother’s Day gift of a scrubbing pail” , her voice almost broke.
Tears sprang to Nick’s eyes. Without a word he picked up the scrubbing pail and mob and blindly trudged down the stairs. I put the comb in my pocket and ran after him .He was crying and I felt so bad I began to cry , too.
On the way down we met Father . Nick could not talk , so I explained.
“It’s a fine gift. A wonderful gift.”
We all went upstairs where Mother was still scrubbing the floor. Without a word Father soaked the puddle of dirty water up with the mob and showed us how to use it.
“ You didn’t let Nick finish”, he said to Mother. “ Part of his gift was that he was going to wash the floor from now on.” He looked at Nick .” Isn’t that so Nick?”
With a flush of shame Nick understood the lesson. “ Yes, yes”, he said in a low eager tone.
“ Ah , a woman can become so stupid”. She kissed Nick and he felt better. Then she turned to me: “ What is your gift?” asked Father. Nick looked at me and paled. I felt the comb in my pocket. The comb with shining stones would make the scrubbing pail , again , just a scrubbing pail. “ Half the scrubbing pail”, I said and Nick looked at me with love in his eyes.
(After Robert Zaks)
His Rich Aunt.
Hilary Smith belong to a good family. His father never failed to mention the fact. Unfortunately he had some troubles with the bank and was sent off to Australia. He did not like Australia and Australia did not like him.
Therefore he was eager to return to England. He could not warn enough money to book his passage. So he had to wait until his father and his brother died. They fortunately did it at the same time.
He received all the money that belong to a good family and soon spent of two things. He could die or work. Neither of these gave him any pleasure. Then he remembered that he had a rich aunt.
She was his father’s only sister. Hilary found out her address . The old lady was glad to see her only nephew. Unfortunately she was seriously ill. The doctor told Hilary that nothing could cure the old lady. Hilary was afraid to remain in the hard world alone. So he chose a moment when his aunt was filing much better than usual and asked her for details of her will.
The old woman told her nephew that she had made a will when she was a young girl. She was very religious and left all her money to some religious people in China. She didn’t make any other will.
The next day Hilary found out that when a woman married an earlier will lost its value . A new will must be made , the money goes to the relation. His future was safe.
Hilary badly needed money , he owed a lot of shopkeepers, who trusted him because his aunt was rich. It was impossible for Hilary to speak with his aunt about money. She got very bad and got angry when money was mentioned. One morning she told Hilary that she was going to send for her lawyer to make a new will. Hilary was afraid that she wanted to leave all her money to some medicine t o make her sleep. Hilary decided to double the portion. He could put her to sleep forever.
put some more medicine into the glass. His took
the glass and looked at Hilary. She thanked her nephew
“ If I am alive tomorrow , I shall change the will in your favour . If I die tonight , you will get nothing.”
She explained to her nephew that she had never been married , so her first will did not lose its value. Hilary tried to take the glass away but the old lady raised it and drank.
(After Cyril Hare)
How We Kept Mother’s Day
Of all the different ideas that have been started lately , I think that the very best is the notion of celebration once a year “Mother’s Day”.
We decided to have a special celebration of Mother’s Day. We thought it a fine idea. It made us realise how much Mother had done for us for years , and all the efforts and sacrifices that she had made for our sake.
So we decided that we’d make it a great day , a holiday for all the family, and do everything we could to make Mothers happy. Father decided to take a holiday, and his office, so as to help in celebrating the happy. Father decided to take a holiday from his office, so as to help in celebrating the day, and my sister Ann and I stayed home from collage classes, and Mary and my brother Will stayed home from High School.
It was our plan to make it a day just like X-mas or any big holiday , and so we decided to decorate the house with flowers. We asked Mother to do it , because she always does it.
The two girls thought it would be a nice thing to dress in our best for such a big occasion, and so they both got new hats. Father had bought silk ties for himself and us boys. We were going to get Mother a new hat too, but it turned out that she liked her old hat better than a new one.
After breakfast we decided that we would hire a motor car and take Mother for a beautiful drive away into the country. Mother is hardly ever able to have a treat like that, because she is busy in the house nearly all the time.
But on the very morning of the day we changed the plan a little bit. We all felt that it would be nicer to have a definite purpose. It turned out that Father had just got a new rod the day before , and he said that Mother could use it if she wanted to : in fact , he said it was practically for her , only Mother said she would watch him fish than fish herself.
So we dot everything arranged for the trip. Mother cut up some sandwiches and packed all up in a basket for us.
When the car came to the door , it turned out that we couldn’t all get in. Father said that he could stay at home and work in the garden. There was a lot of dirty work that he could do. He said that he wanted us to be happy and have a big day. The girls said that Mother had only to say the word and they’d gladly stay at home and work.
In the end it was decided that Mother would stay at home and have a lovely restful day round the house. It turned out anyway that Mother didn’t care for fishing and also it was just a little bit cold and fresh out-of-doors, though it was lovely and sunny , and Father was afraid that Mother might take cold if she came.
So we all drove away and Mother stood and watched us as long as she could see us.
We gad the loveliest day. Father and the boys fished , the girls met quite a lot of people. We all had a splendid time.
It was quite late when we got back. The dinner was ready. It was grand. Mother had to get up and down during the meal fetching things back and forward, but at the end Father noticed it and said she simply mustn’t do it , that he wanted her to spare herself.
When the dinner was over all of us wanted to help clear the things up and wash the dishes, only Mother said that she would really much rather do it.
It was quite late when it was all over , and when we all kissed Mother before going bed, she said it had been the most wonderful day in her life and I think there were tears in her eyes.
« Jaws », one of the most successful film ever produced, features a great white shark - one of the nature’s most effective killing machines.
« Jaws» is also an efficient entertainment machine and a great financial success. In the film a shark terrorizes a small town by attacking swimmers. Three men , including a police chief and a professional shark killer, try to kill the shark.
Steven Spielberg was twenty-six when he was selected to direct the film. For 4 years he had managed television productions and progressed to directing films. His chiller was a great success and got him the job of directing « Jaws » .
Although the film was successful , its filming took twice long as originally scheduled. The delay was due to a lot of managerial problems that Spielberg had to solve.
One of the first problem was the location for shooting the film. Martha’s Vineyard , a small island, was chosen because it looked very much like the fictional town. However the choice was made in the winter . What Spielberg did nit know then was that in summer , when the film was actually to take place, Martha’s Vineyard is one of the most popular places on the Atlantic Coast.
Hundreds of boats enter and leave the harbour each day. The filming had to be frequently interrupted. How do you maintain suspense if a family of four is picknicking only fifty feet away from a « dramatic struggle»?’
Another managerial problem was Bruce, The machanical shark. Actually there were three sharks. Each weighed 1,5 tons and coast about $ 150,000 and each was used for different movements (right-to-left, left-to-right ) and different scenes. Thirteen technicians controlled the shark by means of long cable from a special platform. The first time out Bruce sank , the second time, the hydraulic system exploded. Only constant repairs kept Bruce in action.
Planning and coordination were major managerial problems. Each day , several ships started out to sea . One ship was for Bruce. Another for the technicians. Still others were for the camera crews and actors. The travel was made six days a week from May to October. Some days they came back with no film at all. The failures were caused by Bruce, the weather and a variety of the other problems.
Real sharks were hard to find; a dead one , needed for on the finale , was finally brought by plane from Florida . It hung on the dock for four days creating a powerful stench. Local people in return left dead fish at the doors of the house where the members of the cast were living.
Almost everything that could go wrong did. Nevertheless , the daily trips continued until the last scenes were filmed.
Spielberg never left the island. He was afraid that if he did leave , he would never come back. Finally , the job was done he left island staying firmly that he would never return.
He has since directed several more films.
Letters in the Mail
In general , almost everybody likes to receive mail and probably nobody in the whole town of Stillwater likes to get letters more than Ray Buffin. However , the fact was that Ray received fewer letters in his box at the post – office than anybody else.
It had been like that almost all his life. Nobody wrote letters to him except that once a month he did get a bill from the gas and electric company and occasionally he found advertising matter in the box like everybody else in town.
Of course, since he did not correspond with anybody , he never wrote a letter himself. But once, many years before , he had written a letter to a young girl in town. He had written to tell her how beautiful and lovely he thought she was and how much he loved her. He added the letter by asking her to marry him, but he had received no answer.
In Stillwater , mail was delivered once a day. Every afternoon, expect Sundays, the bus from New Orleans stopped in the town before the post- office and delivered two or three mail bags full of letters, magazines and newspapers. Soon after they were put into the letter boxes , Ray always closed his shop, where he made very disappointed if there was no mail for him , but he always had a feeling that once of these days he would get some.
Two of the younger men in town, Guy Hodge and Ralph Barnhill, decided to play a joke on Ray. They would send him a letter signed by girl. When he received it, someone would ask him if it was a love letter , and someone else would take it from him and read it to everyone who wanted to listen. They asked Grace Brooks, the switch operator at the telephone company to write the letter . Grace was a pretty girl although not very young any more.
At first Grace said she would have nothing to do with their plan.
‘I would never do such a thing,” she said.
The men did not know that it was Grace who had received the love letter from Ray a long time ago. At that time she was very young and had no thoughts about marrying any man. That was why she had not answered the letter. In recent years there were times when she was sorry she hadn’t . She thought it was because of her that they were both lonely all these years.
“Please, Grace”, said Ralph. “ Be a good girl and write the letter for us or we will ask someone else to do it.”
“No , do not do that. I don’t want anybody else to do it. I’ll write the letter tonight. I think I know what to say.”
After the men left, Grace cried for a long time. Then she wrote a letter and in the morning mailed it in the letter-box at the post-office.
What was the surprise of Ralph, Guy and other people who came to see Ray get the letter, when they saw that after reading it he ran to the telephone exchange. When Guy and Ralph followed him they found Ray and Grace together .
“Why did the joke work out like that? Do you suppose Grace signed her name by mistake?” asked Ralph.
“I think it was not a mistake,” said Guy. “Just think of it. He had been waiting for this letter most of his life and got it only because of us!”
“A joke can go wrong sometimes; that’s all right”, said Ralph. “But the next time we play a joke, let us be sure it is doing to work.”
( After E. Caldwell)
Looking for a Hotel.
It was the Sunday before the August Bank Holiday. We were tired and hungry and when we got to Datchet we started off to look for shelter for the night.
We passed a very pretty little hotel but there was no honeysuckle about it, and for some reason or other , I had got my mind fixed on honeysuckle, and I said:
“ Oh’ don’t let’s go in there ! Let’s go on a bit further , and see if there isn’t one with honeysuckle over it.”
So we went on till we came to another hotel. That was a very nice hotel, too, and it had honeysuckle on it, but Harris did not like the look of a man who was standing near the front door. He said he didn’t look a nice man at all , so we went on the further. We went a goodish way without coming across any more hotels, and then we met a man , and asked him to tell us the way to a few .
He said “Why , you are coming away from them. There are only two hotels in the place.”
“Oh, we had been there , and didn’t like them. And no other hotels?” – Harris asked.
“None”, replied our informant.
“What are we to do ?” cried Harris.
Then George spoke up. He said Harris and I could get a hotel built for us , if we like. For his part, he was going to the hotels we had passed.
We had to follow Gorge. When we came to the hotel we had seen first , the landlord came up and said: “Good evening, gentlemen.”
“Oh , good evening,” said Gorge, “two will do. Two of us can sleep on one bad.”
“ Very sorry , sir,” repeated the landlord , ‘ “ but we really haven’t got a bed vacant in the whole house. In fact , we are putting two , even three gentlemen in one bed , as it is. Three gentlemen sleeping on the billiard-table already, and two in the coffee-room. Can’t possibly take you in tonight.”
We picked up our things, and went to the other hotel. The people at the hotel did not wait to hear us talk. The landlady met us on the doorstep with the greeting that we were the fourteenth party she had turned away within the last hour and a half. As for our weak suggestions of stables, billiard-room, or coal-cellars, she laughed them all off; all these places had been occupied long ago.
Did she know of any place in the whole village where we could get shelter for the night?
Well, if we didn’t mind it- she didn’t recommend it , but there was a little bar half a mile down the road. We waited to hear no more; we picked up our bags and ran.
Running for Governor
A few months ago I was nominated for Governor of the great State of New York ? to run against Mr. John T. Smith and Mr. Blank on an independent ticket. I felt that I had an advantage over these gentlemen? And that was – good character. It was easy to see by the newspapers that if ever they had known what it was to have a good name? That time was gone. It was evident that in the last years they had become familiar with all kinds of shameful crimes . what discomforted me was having to hear my name mentioned in connection with those of most disreputable people. Finally, I wrote my grandmother about it. Her answer came quick and sharp. She said , “ You have never done one single thing in all your life to be ashamed of – not one. Look at the newspapers – look at them and you will comprehend what sort of characters Messrs. Smith and Blank are, and then see if you are willing to lower yourself to their level and enter a political campaign with them.”
It was my very thought! I did not sleep a single moment that night. But after all what could I do? I was fully committed and must go on with the fight. As I was looking over the papers at breakfast this paragraph attracted my attention and I may truly say I never was so surprised before.
“ PERJURY – Perhaps now that Mr. Twain is before the people as a candidate for Governor, he will explain how he was charged . with perjury in Wakawak,, Cochin-China in 1863 , when he attempted to rob a poor woman and her family of their land which was their only support after the death of her husband. Mr. Twain owes it to himself as well as to the great people whose suffrage he asks , to clear this matter up. Will he do it?”
I was never so amazed, because I never had seen Cochin-China! I never had heard of Wakawak! I did not know what to do , I let the day do by without doing anything. The next morning the same paper had this- nothing more:
“IMPORTANT – Mr. Twain , it will be noticed, has said nothing about the Cochon-China perjury”.
Next came the Gazette with this:
“WANTED TO KNOW – Will the new candidate for Governor explain it certain of his fellow citizens (who are suffering to vote for him) the fact that his cabin-mates in Montana after losing things from time to time and always finding them on Mr. Twain’s person or among his belongings ,at last made him leave the camp and advised him never to return? Will he do this?”
But I was never in Montana in my life!
The next newspaper article that attracted my attention was the following:
“ A SWEET CANDIDATE- Mr. Twain , who was to make a speech at the mass meeting of the Independents last night, didn’t come . A telegram came from his doctor stating that he had been injured in an accident and had to stay in bed. The Independents tried to pretend they did not know what was the real reason of his absence. A certain man was not Mark Twain himself. The voice of the people demands: “Who was that man?”
it was incredible, absolutely incredible , that it was really my name that was connected with this shameful suspicion.
Three long years had passed over my head since I had tasted whisky , wine or beer!
By this time the leaders of my party insisted that I answer all the charges as it would be political ruin for me to remain silent any longer. Besides, the following appeared in one of the papers the very next day:
“BEHOLD THE MAN !- the Independent candidate still m maintains silence. Look upon your candidate, Independents !”
There was no possible way of these charges. But I never finished the task. For the very next morning a paper charged me with new even more shameful crimes. And , at last, as a climax , nine little children of different colour were around the legs and call me Pa!
I gave it up. I surrendered . I was not equal to the requirements of a Gubernatorial campaign in the State of New York and so I sent in my withdrawal from the candidacy.
(After Mark Twain)
( Isaac Asimov who wrote this story is also a well-known scientist. In this story he described school of 22nd century. In the opinion of children living in 22nd century , their great grandfathers must have had a lot of fun going to school.)
Margie even wrote about it that night is her diary . On the page headed 15 may 2155 she wrote, “ Today Tommy found a real book!”
It was a very old book . Margie’s grandfather once said that when he was a little boy his grandfather told him that there was time when all stories were printed on paper.
They turned the pages , and it was awfully funny to read words that stood still instead of moving the way they were supposed to – on a screen, you know.
“ Gee”, said Tommy? “ Whate a waste! When you’re though with the book , you just throw it away , I guess. Our television screen must have had a million books on it and it’s good for plenty more. I wouldn’t throw it away.
“Same with me ,” said Margie . She was eleven and hadn’t seen as many telebooks as Tommy had. He was Thirteen.
She said , “ Where did you find it?”
“In my house. In the attic.” He pointed without looking , because he was busy reading.
“ What’s it about?”
Margie was scornful. “ School? What’s there to write about school ? I hate school.”
Margie always hated school , but now she hared it more then ever. The mechanical teacher had been given her test after test in geography and she was doing worse until her mother had sent for the County Inspector who came with a box full of tools, dials and wires.
He took the teacher apart/ Margie had hoped he wouldn’t know how to put it together again, but he knew how all right and after an hour or so , there it was again , large and black with a big screen on which all lessons were shown and the questions were asked. That wasn’t so bad. The part she hated most was the slot where she had put homework and test papers. She always had to write them out in special code they had her learn when she was six years old , and the mechanical teacher calculated the mark in no time.
The Inspector said to her another , “ It’s not the little girl’s fault, Mrs. Jones . I think the geography sector was geared a little too quick. I’ve slowed it up to an average ten-year level!’
Margie was disappointed. She had been hoping they would take the teacher away altogether. The had once taken Tommy’s teacher away for nearly a month because the history sector blanked out completely.
So she said to Tommy , “ Why would anyone write about school?”
Tommy locked at her with very superior eyes. “ Because it’s not our kind of school , stupid. This is the old kind of school they had hundreds and hundreds of years ago.”
Margie was hurt. “ Well ,I don’t know what kind of school they had all that time ago.” She read the book over his shoulder for a while , then said,” Anyway, they had a teacher/”
“ Sure they had a teacher and it was a man.”
“ A man ? How could a man be a teacher?”
“Well, he just told the boys and girls things and gave them homework and asked them questions.”
“ I wouldn’t want a strange man in my house to teach me.” Tommy screamed with laughter. “You don’t know much, Margie. The teacher didn’t live in the house. They had a special building and all the kids went there.”
“ And all the kids learned the same things?”
“Sure, if they were the same age.”
Now Margie wanted to read about those funny schools. They didn’t even half finish when Margie’s mother called ,”Margie! School!”
“ May be ,” he said walking away.
Margie went into the schoolroom. It was next to her bedroom, and the mechanical teacher was on and was waiting for her. The screen was lit up and said, “ Please insert yesterday’s home work in the proper slot.”
Margie did so with a sigh. She was thinking about the old school they had when her grandfather’s grandfather was a little boy. All the kids from the whole neighborhood came , laughing and shouting in the school-yard, sitting together in the school-room , going home together at the end of the day. They learned the same things so they could help one another on the homework and talk about it. And the teacher were people…
Margie was thinking about how the kids must have loved it in the old days. She was thinking about the fun they had.
( After Issac Asimov)
The Invisible Man.
P a r t I
So I began a new life. I had no shelter and no clothes. I could tell nobody about my secret. I was thinking about one only: where to get shelter from the snow and where to find clothes. But there was no shelter for an Invisible Man in London.
Then I had idea. I went to a big department store. You know these department store, Kemp. You can get everything there: meat, furniture, clothes, clocks and watches, and many other things. I thought to take shelter there, and I had some other plans besides.
I entered the shop and looked to the right and to the left. Then I entered a department where they were selling furniture. I wanted to sit and rest a little , but could not find a good place. At last I found it in a room full of mattresses. I decided to lie down among the mattresses and wait until closing time came. My idea was to get food and other clothes in the shop. Then I could go and get my money, books and other things. After I could find a room in a London house and finish my work.
Closing time came quickly enough. By that time I had a good rest among the mattresses. Then the doors were shut from outside. I dot up and went to explore the department store. My first visit was to the department where they sold men’s things. There I got a vest, a shirt , trousers , a jacket and a hat. The vest was very nice and warm. I began to feel a man again , and my next task was to get food.
There was a cafe on the first floor, and I got cold meat there. There was some coffee too, and I warmed it up in the small kitchen of the cafe. As I could find no other food there , I went back to the mattress room and slept there. It was morning already. I opened my eyes. At first I could not understand where I was. Then I heard some people talking , and saw two men coming to the place where I lay. I got up and looked where I could hide . But as I did so , they saw me. “Who’s that ?” cried one.
“Stop there!” shouted the other. I ran round a counter past a boy of fifteen. Then I had a good idea. I hid behind a counter and began to take off clothes as fast as I could. The jacket , trousers, and shirt were not difficult to take off, but I could not take off the vest. I heard more men coming.
“This way, Policeman,” I heard somebody shouting. I ran back again to the department where they sold mattresses. There I took off my vest and stood a free man again. Then a policeman and two or tree shopmen came round the corner. They saw a vest and one of the men said, “He must be here.”
But they did not find me. I stood watching them for a time. Then I went into the cafe and drank a little milk. Then I sat down in a corner to think what to do next.
(After H.G. Wells)
She was not so young as I expected. She was in fact a woman of forty. I was frightened when the menu was brought, for the prices were a great deal higher than I had expected. But she said ,” “ I never eat anything for luncheon. I wonder if they have any salmon.”
Well, it was early in the tear for salmon and it was not on the menu , but I asked the waiter if there was any . Yes, they had a beautiful salmon. I ordered it for my guest. The waiter asked her if she would have something while it was being cooked. “No”, she answered, “I never eat more than one thing. Unless you have a caviar.”
I knew that caviar was very expensive and I could not afford it, but I could not tell her that , I told the waiter to bring caviar. For myself I chose the cheapest dish on the menu and that was a mutton chop.
Then came the question of drink.
“I never drink anything for luncheon”, she said.
“ Neither do I “, I answered quickly.
“ Expect white wine”, she went on.
“What would you like?” I asked her.
“ my doctor won’t let me drink anything but champagne.”
I order half a bottle . I said that my doctor had not allowed me to drink champagne.
“ What are you going to drink, then?”
She ate the caviar and she ate the salmon. She talked of art and literature and music. But I wondered what the bill would come to and whether I had enough to pay it I knew exactly how much money I had and if the bill came more I decided that I would put my hand in my pocket and with dramatic cry get up and say my money had been stolen. If she had not money enough to pay the bill , then the only thing to do would be to leave my watch and say I would come back and pay later. At last she finished.
“ Coffee?” I said.
“ Yes , just an ice-cream and coffee”, she answered.
So I order an ice- cream and coffee for her.
“ you know , there’s one thing I believe in “ , she said , as she ate ice-cream. “ one should always get from a meal feeling one could eat a little more.”
“Are you still hungry?” I asked.
‘Oh , no. I’m not hungry, you see, I don’t eat luncheon. I have a cup of coffee in the morning and then dinner, but I never eat more than one thing for luncheon. You see , you’ve filled yourself with a lot of meat and you can’t eat any more. But I’ve just had a snack and I shall enjoy a peach.”
The bill came and when I paid it found that I had only enough for a very small tip. Her eyes stopped for a moment on the three francs I left for the waiter and I knew that she thought me mean. But when I walked out of the restaurant I had whole month before me and not a penny in my pocket.
“ Follow my example “, she said as we shook hands,” and never eat more than one thing for luncheon.”
“I’ll do better than that , I answered. “I’ll eat nothing for dinner tonight.”
“Humorist!” she cried , jumping into a cub. “You’re quite a humorist.”
But I have had my revenge at least. Today she weighs about three hundred pounds.
( After W.S.Maugham )