The latest book of my poemshas not been selling very well —in fact 122 of my personal friends and relations tell me they've bought it, but the publishers say only 84 copies have been sold. So the general public seem to have received it rather coldly.
"The trouble is," said Edith, "that nobody has ever heard of you; and those who have heard of you don't want to' again. What you need is a little advertisement.2 Let people know that you exist and that you write poetry, and they will rush along to the libraries and ask for your latest book."
"But I can't just put an advertisement in the newspaper saying I'm a poet."
Edith thought for a moment and then she said she had a bright idea.
"Why not put an advertisement in The Times9," she said, "saying that you recommend as butler4 in a small family a man who has been in your employment6 for twenty years?"
"But I haven't had anybody in my employment for twenty years," I said. "And I've never kept a butler of any sort, as you know very well. And how can I sell more copies of my poems by pretending that I wanted to find work for a nonexistent butler who hasn't been in my employment for twenty years?''
"You're not very bright this morning." said Edith. "Don't you know that the most successful6 sort of advertisement is the sort that doesn't look like an advertisement? You ought to do something like this."
She got a piece of paper and a pen and wrote the following:
"Mr. L. Conkleshill, the poet (author of Raspberry Bushes and Other Poems), strongly recommends as butler in a small family his present head man, who has been with him for twenty years.''
"The idea is not bad," I said, "but I refuse todo anything so dishonest.7 And if the plan didn't work, it would mean money thrown away. I won't do it myself, and moreover I absolutely forbid you to do it..."
As a matter of fact(in __ fact, but the same, the fact is (was) that) I secretly rather liked the idea; and I thought that when I absolutely forbade Edith to do it, she would pay the money herself and send in the advertisement. I could then speak to her severely about disobeying my orders, save my money and sell my books.
For some days, however, she did nothing, although I was careful to keep reminding her that I absolutely forbade her to send in the advertisement.
• "I expect to be obeyed in such matters," I said several times a day. Nearly always this sort of treatment produces the desired effect, but you can never depend on a woman. Although I looked in The Times every morning, the advertisement didn't appear. Edith went away to stay with a sick aunt, and I forgot all about the matter.
Then came the event of The Man With The Dog.
He was a big man, and the dog was a big dog, and they both stood outside the front door and made noises at me.
"I'll take the money now, "said the man in a bad-tempered(loud, low, angry, thin)voice.
"What money is this?" I said politely. "Something due for milk supplied?"
"Nonsense," said the man. "Two pounds I wantforthe dog."
"I don't want a dog," I said uncertainly.8 Ours was a lonely sort of road, and the man was a big sort of man, and it would perhaps be wiser to buy the dog.
"Don't want the dog!" said the man in an unpleasant voice. "You calmly let me come here all the way from Hamp-stead9 with this cursed dog, and then tell me that you don't want him ..."
At last I bought the dog for thirty shillings. I was weak, perhaps, but Edith had been saying for a long time that we ought to have a dog. In any case, I was in the middle of writing a poem, and if the man had knocked me down I shouldn't have been able to catch the five o'clock post.
I gave the dog some meat and locked him in the kitchen, and went back to my poem. Then the bell rang again, and I found two men on the step, both with large dogs.
This time I didn't argue. I just shut the door and went and looked at myself in the glass. I was worried. Were the
dogs real, or were they the result of that last glass of whisky? I went up to my bedroom10 and looked down the long road that leads to the station. I could see six men with six dogs.
Then the solution of the problem came to me, and I looked at the Lost and Found advertisements" in The Times.
"Mr L. Conkleshill offers £2 reward for the return of his faithful dog Ogo, who first awakened the ideas in Faithful Eyes in his new book of poems.''
Edith said afterwards that I hadn't told her she mustn't put in an advertisement about a dog.
1. ... don't want to again. The particleto is often used elliptically at the end of a sentence, with the verb omitted when it has been previously mentioned. E. g. He asked me to go to dinner, but I don't want to, don't care to, haven't time to, etc. (go to dinner understood).
2. advertisement: used without an article it stands for "the. act of advertising" ðåêëàìà, with the article it means "a printed notice about things to be sold or things that are needed" ðåêëàìíîå îáúÿâëåíèå. Compare: government óïðàâëåíèå, ôîðìà ïðàâëåíèÿ; a / the government ïðàâèòåëüñòâî, âëàñòü
3. The Times: London daily newspaper; has been published since 1785
4. butler: chief manservant
5. employment: use of services of others. The suffix-mentforms nouns expressing verbal action or result of this, as in treatment, settlement, disappointment, etc.
6. successful: resulting in a desired effect. The suffix-fulforms adjectives from nouns and means "full of," "characterized by," as in careful, shameful, beautiful, plentiful, etc.
7. dishonest: not honest. The prefixdis- often expresses negation, the opposite of the meaning expressed by the basic form, as in disobey, disagree, disbelieve, etc.
8. uncertainly: in a manner showing that a person is not sure of himself or of the facts. The prefix-un is purely negative, and usually expresses simply "not" when used before adjectives or adverbs, as .in unpleasantly), unsuccessfully), etc.
9. Hampstead: a district of London
10. I went up to my bedroom: An ordinary English one-family house has two storeys: downstairs and upstairs. The bedrooms are usually upstairs.
11. Lost and Found advertisements: a special column in the newspaper
I. Answer the following questions.
1. How did the general public receive the author's latest book of poems? 2. How did Edith, the author's wife, explain his failure? 3. What did the author need to win popularity? 4. What kind of advertisement did Edith advise him to put in The Times? 5. Why did she suggest The Times? 6. What objections did the author have to the plan? 7. What were the author's secret hopes? 8. Why was the author unprepared for the visit of the man with the dog? 9. What made him think that it would perhaps be wiser to buy the dog? 10. Why did he get worried when he found another two men with dogs on his door step? 11. What made the author think of looking up the Lost and Found advertisements in The Times? 12. How did the advertisement, about a dog find its way into the newspaper?