Johnny was born in the loomery of a mill. The noise of the looms was the first sound he heard.
When he was six he looked after his younger brothers and sisters.
At seven he began to work at the mill. His job was very easy. He was to look after the cloth that came out of the machine, and helped it pass over a hot roller. He always sat in the same place. He became a part of the machine. He was very happy at this job and he was full of dreams. But he earned very little to help his family.
But when he was nine years old he lost his job, because he fell ill. When he was well again, he found work at a glass factory. He earned more, but the work was more difficult.
He held the bottles between his knees to work with both hands. In this way he sat all day to tie 300 dozen (3600) bottle stoppers a day. His chest became weak as he sat ten hours each day. This was not good for his lungs, but he worked like a machine to earn more to help his family.
His cough became worse and worse, then he caught pneumonia and lost his job at the glass factory.
After recovering, he returned to the jute mill. He worked well, he was a good worker, he did not dream any longer and all the days were alike for him.
There were few interesting things in his life. One was when his mother bought some California prunes. The other two times were when she baked pies.
Once he found a silver coin in the street. That was also an interesting event in his life.
He celebrated his 16th birthday by working on a loom. At the end of three months he was working on two looms, and later — three and four.
At the end of the second year he was making more cloth than any other worker and began to earn much more. He gave his mother all the money he earned, but the children needed more to it. And they went to school, and school books cost money. Even the rent cost more.
He grew taller and thinner. Also, he became more nervous.
The children were afraid to play near him. There was no joy in his life.
At the end of the 18th century, science in the newly created United States was isolated by the Atlantic Ocean from scientific thought and research in Europe. In addition, the United States was a relatively poor nation. There were neither public nor private funds for large-scale scientific research.
However America had certain advantages for scientists from other lands. American science was closely linked with the needs and feelings of the people. Many of the leaders of the new nation were enthusiastic about science and warmly welcomed scientists and technologists from other lands.
One of the first to come was the British chemist, Joseph Priestley. Though Priestley was one of the leading scientists of his day, his work wasfrequently ridiculed in Britain because his political opinions were different from those of the government.
Priestley was the first of thousands of world-known scientists that have come to the United States looking for a free creative environment. Other scientists came to the United States to share in the nation's quick growth and the-opportunity to apply new scientific ideas to practical uses. Alexander Bell moved from Canada to patent and commercially develop the telephone and also to work on related inventions. Charles Steinmetz came to America for the opportunity to develop new electrical systems at General Electric. Later, other scientists came to share in the nation's new outstanding research facilities. In the early decades of the 20th century, financial resources for the support of scientific research were plentiful and scientists working in the United States could hope for considerable material, as well as intellectual rewards.
The Last Inch
Ben was forty-three. His wife went back to the USA and led the life she liked. He had to join her before the summer but he knew he could never get another flying job at his age not only in the USA but even in Canada. So Ben had to work as a pilot in Egypt.
He had a boy. His boy, Davy, was ten years old. At ten Davy already understood that his mother had no interest in him, and that his father was a stranger who couldn't talk to him and was too sharp with him when they were together, and they were seldom together.
Ben had the boy with him in the plane when they were over the Red Sea coast.
«Are you afraid? »
«A little, » the boy answered. He had rather a shy and serious voice for a North-American boy.
Davy was airsick, and Ben was sorry that his son was with him.
Once Ben showed the boy how to fly a plane. Davy understood everything well enough, but when his father corrected his mistakes loudly in the training plane, the boy began to cry.
« Don't cry Ben told him now. «There is no need to cry. Get your head up, Davy! Get it up! »
Davy kept his head down, and Ben was all the more sorry that Davy was with him. He watched the Red Sea coast, this line a thousand miles long that divided the deserts from the green seas. It was lifeless and dead.
«Look attentively, he told Davy, «if you want to see how to put the plane down».
He knew how sharp his own voice could be; but it surprised him that he hardly knew how else to speak to the boy. Davy's head came up. He looked attentively.
«How do you know where the wind is? » the boy asked.
Tom Whitewashes His Aunt's Fence
After Mark Twain
On Saturday morning the summer weather was bright and fresh and full of life. There was a song in everybody's heart and if the heart was young, music came to the lips. Everybody's face smiled and it was so nice to walk. The locust trees were in bloom and the smell of the flowers filled the air. In such a morning Tom came out on the sidewalk with a bucket of whitewash and a brush with a long handle. He looked at the fence, and all the gladness left his face, and he became sad. Thirty yards of broad fence, nine feet high. He was sorry for himself and thought that his life was very difficult. He dipped his brush and whitewashed the highest board; then he repeated the action; did it again; looked at the small piece of board that he whitewashed, and sat down on a box.
Jim, the Negro boy, came jumping out of the gate with a water bucket and singing a song. Tom always disliked to bring water from the town pump, but now he did not think so. He remembered that there were always white, mulatto and Negro boys and girls at the pump waiting for their turn, resting, playing, quarrelling or fighting.
Say, Jim, I'll fetchthe waterifyouwhitewash.
Jim shook his head and said:
«I can't, Master Tom. Old Mrs. told me to get the water quick and don't stop with anybody.
«Oh, never mind what she said, Jim, she always talks. Give me the bucket I'll be back in a minute. She will not find out».
«Oh, I am afraid, Master Tom, the old Mrs. will feather me. Honestly I am afraid».
«She! She never beats anybody. She hits them over the head with her thimble, who is afraid of that. She talks awful, but talk doesn't hurt. Jim, I'll give you a marble.
Miss Carrington was a famous actress. She began her life in a small village named Cranberry. But that was long ago. Now she was to perform the leading part in a new comedy. A capable young actor Highsmith by name dreamt of being Miss Carrington's partner in the new play. He said it to the manager. The manager explained to the young actor that if he wanted to play the part he had to persuade Miss Carrington to accept him as her partner. The young actor knew very well that it was the part of a young farmer. The next day he went to Cranberry where he stayed for three days and gathered much information about the life and the people of that small village. Then he returned to the village and went to one of the restaurants where actors usually gathered after the performance. He saw a small party sitting at the table. The star of the party was Miss Carrington. She noticed a poorly dressed man enter the restaurant. He approached the famous actress, greeted her and told her a lot of interesting news about her relatives and friends from Cranberry. The way he spoke madeher believe every word hesaid. She was sure he was a fanner. In the end he told the famous actress, that her mother wanted to see her again before she died. Then he gave her a rose he picked up from a bush in front of her house in Cranberry. Miss Carrington was so touched that she couldn't help crying. She thanked the young man and invited him to see her again at the hotel before he left the city. The next morning the young actor, dressed in the latest fashion went to the hotel. He was sure Miss Carrington would agree to take him as her partner in the play if he told her everything. To his surprise he was told that Miss Carrington had left for her native village forever. Highsmith realized that he had acted too well.
The Valuable Fence
After H. A. Smith
The Greggs were coming back from their first trip to Europe. On board the Queen Elizabeth they got acquainted with a Frenchman. His English was good and soon they got quite friendly. The Frenchman told the Greggs that he was an artist and his name was Lautisse. He asked them to keep it a secret. He did not like publicity. The Greggs didn't know any artist whose name was Lautisse. So they talked to the ship's librarian and found out that their new friend was the world's famous artist whose pictures were very valuable and expensive. The librarian found a book with a biographical sketch and a photograph. The sketch said that the artist had retired at fifty-three to a villa on the Rivera. He said he would never touch a brush again. Lautisse was going to spend a month in New York. Mrs. Gregg suggested that he come to their place for the weekend. The artist accepted the invitation and made them promise not to invite any other people to their place and not to speak to him about art. At the appointed time Lautisse arrived at the Greggs and they were happy to see him. Mr. Gregg and his wife did their best to entertain the famous artist, but he did not want to go for a swim or walk in the wood. He wanted to sit and relax. The next morning Mr. Gregg got up very early as he wanted to paint the fence around the vegetable garden. He took a brush and was about to begin painting when Lautisse approached him. As soon as he saw the brush, he seized it from Mr. Gregg and began painting the fence. The same day Lautisse started for New York.
WHERE IS LONDON AIRPORT?
Last summer I got a letter from my Italian friend Giovanni. He saidhe was coming to England, and he asked me to meet him at London Airport on Friday, June 25th at 5:30 a.m. I wrote and told him to look for me at the airport. London Airport (at Heathrow) is quite a long way from the centre of London, but there are special buses which come and go between the air terminal in Central London and the airport outside London. But I live quite near the air terminal. I went to bed at 9:30 on June 24th and I got up at 3 o'clock in the morning. I got dressed in a hurry and walked to the air terminal. I got a ticket and got on the first bus to the airport. The airport is very big. There are several different buildings and they are full of shops and airline offices and there are hundreds of people there, even early in the morning. I did not know where to go. At last somebody took me to the Italian Airline office. The young lady there told me there were no flights from Italy. I showed her Giovanni's letter. She asked me, "Is your friend a student?" "Yes", I said.
"Well", she said. "Students' flights usually go to Luton Airport". "Oh dear", I said. "It's a quarter to five now. Can I get to Luton before 5:30?"
"No," she said. "It's too far away". I was very unhappy. I got the next bus back to the air terminal and went back home. I got very hungry on the bus. I was having break fast when the telephone rang. It was Giovanni. It was a good thing I did not go to Luton Airport because Giovanni was phoning me from Gatwick Airport. I arranged to meet him at the underground station.
His Rich Aunt
After Cyril Hare
Hilary Smith belonged 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 earn 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 belonged to a good family and soon spent it. When all the money had been spent, Hilary could do one 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 the 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 feeling much better than usual and asked her for the 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 gets married, an earlier will loses its value. A new will must be made, the money goes to the nearest relation. His future was safe. Hilary badly needed money, he owed a lot to shopkeepers, who trusted him because his aunt was rich. It was impossible for Hilary to speak to 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 somebody else. So he took a decision. Every night his aunt took some medicine to make her sleep. Hilary decided to double the portion. He could put her to sleep forever. He put some more medicine into the glass. His aunt took the glass and looked at Hilary. She thanked her nephew and said:
«If Iamalive tomorrow, Ishall changethe will in your favour. IfIdietonight, youwill getnothing».
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 inventing dynamite Swedish-born Alfred Nobel became a very rich man. However he foresaw its universally destructive power too late. Nobel preferred not to be remembered as the inventor of dynamite. So in 1895 just two weeks before his death, he created a fund to be used for awarding prizes to people who had made worth-while contributions to mankind. Originally there were five awards: literature, physics, chemistry, medicine and peace. Economics was added in 1963, just sixty-seven years after the first awards ceremony. Nobel's original legacy of nine million dollars was invested and the interest on this sum is used for the awards which vary from 30.000 to 125.000. Every year on December 10, the anniversary of Nobel's, the awards (gold medal, diploma and money) are presented to winners. Sometimes politics plays an important role in the judge's decisions. Americans have won numerous science awards, but relatively few literature prizes. Some people have won two prizes, but this is rare, others have shared their prizes.