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  1. Spot and the Chickens.
  2. The Dog and His Bone.
  3. The Crow and Her Children.
  4. Dickon Runs Away to Sherwood Forest
  5. A Story About a Parrot.
  6. David Copperfield Runs Away.
  7. David Copperfield Finds His Aunt.
  8. In the Land of Boobies. Part I.
  9. In the Land of Boobies. Part II.
  10. Tom As King.
  11. The Black Cat.
  12. Robin Hood.
  13. How Robin Hood Won the Golden Arrow.
  14. The Strange Baby (Stuart Little)
  15. The Practical Princess.
  16. The Very Clever Device
  17. My Naughty Little Sister. We Go Fishing.
  18. My Naughty Little Sister Makes A Bottle Tree.
  19. My Naughty Little Sister At The Birthday Party.
  20. Pluto, The Wonderful Cat.
  21. Swift And His Lazy Servant.
  22. A Happy Mans Shirt.
  23. Diamonds Maker.
  24. Prisoners Dog.
  25. The Best Policy.
  26. Old Country Advice.
  27. Witchess Loaves.
  28. Mr. Travers First Hunt.
  29. A Railway Incident.
  30. How We Kept Mothers Birthday.
  31. Unemployment.
  32. The Story Of An Hour
  33. The Last Unicorns
  34. A Place of My Own ( A Conversation. Conditional II.)

British authors

  1. Arnold Bennet
  2. Charlotte Bronte
  3. Robert Burns
  4. Dickens
  5. John Donne
  6. John Galsworthy
  7. Samuel Johnson
  8. 8.William Langland
  9. Somerset Maugham
  10. John Milton
  11. George Bernard Shaw
  12. Robert Louis Stevenson
  13. Oscar Wilde

American authors

  1. F. Scott Fitzgerald
  2. Jerome David Salinger
  3. Kurt Vonnegut
  4. E. B. White
  5. Walt Whitman

Spot and the chickens

Spot is a little dog. He is black and white. His head is white. His tail and legs are black. His nose is black, too. Spot lives in the yard in a little doghouse. He likes to play.

Spot is in the yard. He wants to play. He sees three yellow chickens in the yard. He wants to play with the chickens.

Now he is running after the chickens. The chickens are running away from Spot. They say, Peep, peep, peep. . .

Mother Hen runs up to the chickens. She wants to help her children.

She runs up to Spot and pecks him on his black nose. Spot says, Bow-wow-ow. . .

Now Spot does not want to play with the chickens.

I. Answer the questions:

1. Is Spot a dog or a cat?

2. Where does he live?

3. What does he like to do?

4. Are the chickens black?

5. Who pecks Spot on his nose?

6. What games do you like to play?

II. Write 1) three words that you pronounce like run.

2) three words that you pronounce like hen.

3) three words that you pronounce like lake.

III. Make sentences using these words:

1) are, from, the, running, Spot, chickens, away

2) with, now, Spot, not, does, to, want, chickens, play, the

3) you, have, any, home, got, pets, at, ?

The dog and his bone

This is a story about a silly and greedy dog. His name is Noodle. He is not big, he is little. He is white, black, brown and grey. His head is white, his ears are brown, his tail is grey, his legs are black. His little nose and his little eyes are black, too. His ears are long. His tail is short. He is a funny little dog.

He like bones very much. One day he goes for a walk to look for bones. He walks and walks and walks. Then he sees a bone. He takes the bone in his mouth. He wants to take it home.

Now he is walking home with the bone in his mouth. He comes up to a river. In the river he sees a dog with a bone. Noodle wants to have the other dogs bone, too. He wants to have two bones.

So he jumps into the water. As he does so, his bone falls into the water. Noodle looks for his bone, but he cant find it. Then he looks for the other dogs bone, but he cant find it.

Now Noodle doesnt have a bone because he is greedy.

I. Answer the questions:

1. What is the dogs name?

2. Are his ears long or short?

3. What does he like to eat?

4. Why cant he find his bone? Where is it?

5. Noodle is greedy, isnt he?

6. What is your favourite food?

7. Who gives you your food?

II. 1) Write five colours that you know.

2) Write five animals that you know.

III. Make sentences with these words:

1) is, a, bone, doesnt, he, Noodle, have, because, now, greedy.

2) little, too, are, little, his, and, nose, his, eyes, black

3) you, do, usually, for, have, breakfast, what, ?

THE CROW AND HER CHILDREN

A Crow once said to her children, Its high time for you to look for your own food, it is indeed. With that she turned them out of her nest and took them to the fields.

But the Crows children did not like the idea. We would rather go back to our nest! they cried. Its so nice when you bring our food to us.

Indeed! said their mother. But youre big enough to feed yourselves. My mother turned me out of the nest when I was much younger, I can tell you that! And I had to take care of myself.

But people will kill us with their guns, said the young crows.

No fear of that, answered their mother. Before people shoot, they take aim, and that takes time. When you see them raising their guns, to their faces, ready to shoot, you must just fly away.

We can do that, said the children, but if someone throws a stone at us, he wont have to take aims.

Well, then he went will have to bend down to pick up the stone, said the Crow, and when you see this, fly away.

But it he carries a stone in his hand ready?

Why, if you are clever enough to think of that, said the mother, you are clever enough to take care of yourselves.

And with that she flew away and left them.

DICKON RUNS AWAY TO SHERWOOD FOREST

(From the book Bows Against the Barons by G. Trease)

The book describes the life of the poor people of England 800 years ago. Dickon, one of the heroes of this book, is a boy of fifteen. He, his mother and his three younger brothers are all serfs. They work for their lord from early morning till late at night, but still they are very poor and often starve.

Evening was falling. Dickon was returning home from the fields, tired and hungry. He passed by the cottages, saying good night to his neighbours who stood by their doors. His own cottage was at the far end of the village near the forest.

Where have you been so late? asked his mother. She was a tired, grey little woman who had too much work and too little food.

She put a wooden plate of vegetables in front of him and a piece of bread.

Have you seen what the deer have don outside? she went on.

No. Have they destroyed the crops again?

Yes. They have destroyed a months food in one night.

Dickon became terribly angry. I should like to kill one of the deer!

Hush! said the mother. Somebody may hear you. You know what it means to touch the Kings deer!

I know, thats true. We can starve, but the Kings deer become fatter. Its not right.

It has always been so and it always will be. The lords dont care how poor we are.

It is high time to teach them! cried Dickon.

Boys words! said his mother.

Dickon finished his supper and lay down on the floor where his three younger brothers were already sleeping.

After midnight he was awaken by a loud noise. He listened for a moment. The noise came from outside. He caught up his bow and arrows, opened the door and looked out. About fifteen deer were eating their crops! This was too much! He took aim and shot his arrow at the biggest one. The deer fell dead.

The rest of the deer disappeared in the forest. He was alone with the dead deer under the moon.

Oh, what have I done! he thought. I have killed one of the Kings deer! I know the punishment. My hand or my ears will certainly be cut off!

Dickon looked at the dark forest. Sherwood Forest! Only there he could be safe. Only Robin Hood could save him.

I must run away to Robin Hood! he decided. I will not tell Mother. If she does not know anything, she will not be punished.

And with a last look at the village and his home, he ran towards Sherwood Forest.

 

A STORY ABOUT A PARROT

There was once a man who had a parrot. The parrot was taught to say the words: "There is no doubt about it." It could not say anything else and it used to repeat these words all day long: "There is no doubt about it. There is no doubt about it."

Every time it was asked a question, it used to give the same answer: "There is no doubt about it."

One day the man decided to sell the bird; so he went to the market with it.

"Twenty pounds for a very clever bird!" he cried.

A man who was passing by heard this and turned to the parrot. "Are you worth twenty pounds?" he asked.

"There is no doubt about it!" answered the parrot.

"What a clever parrot!" said the man and he was so pleased that he bought the bird. 'You are certainly worth twenty pounds."

Some days later, looking at the parrot, the man said: "What a fool I was to throw away so much money. Twenty pounds!"

"There is no doubt about it!" cried the bird.

And this time the parrot was right.

DAVID COPPERFIELD RUNS AWAY

(From "David Copperfield" by Ch. Dickens)

David lived with his mother and stepfather, Mr. Murdstone. When he was nine years old, his mother died, leaving David with his stepfather, who was very unkind to him. Mr. Murdstone sent David to London to work. The work was very hard. David had to wash dirty bottles from morning till night, and got almost nothing for his work. Nobody taught him anything, nobody took care of him, He began to think about running away.

I decided to run away to my aunt, Miss Betsy. I had never seen her but I had heard of her from my mother. She often spoken about Miss Betsy calling her a strange but kind woman. I though of it again and again and a hundred times again since the night when this idea had first come to me. I did not even know where Miss Betsy lived, I only remembered that it was somewhere near the town of Dover. But where else could I go?

So one evening after work I went to my room to take my box. I had prepared all my things the day before. On my way home I looked for somebody to help me to carry the box to the coach office, for I had saved enough money to go to Dover by coach. There was a long-legged young man with a little donkey-cart standing on the corner of the street.

Do you want a job? I asked him.

What job? said the long-legged young man.

To move a box, I answered.

What box? said the long-legged young man.

I told him it was mine, and asked him to carry it to the Dover coach office for sixpence. The young man agreed and shouted, Done for sixpence!

I took him upstairs to my room and we brought the box down, and put it on his cart.

I was afraid to lose my money, so I put it into my mouth. Suddenly the long-legged young man hit me under the chin and my money flew out of my mouth into his hand.

You give me my money back, if you please, said I, very much frightened.

But the young man jumped into the cart, sat upon my box and drove away. I burst into tears and ran after him as fast as I could. Now I lost him, now I saw him, now I lost him again. I fell down, got up again and ran on.

At last, tired and frightened, I left the young man with my box and money, and, crying, started out for Dover on foot.

DAVID COPPERFIELD FINDS HIS AUNT

For a whole week David walked to the town of Dover. He had no money, so he sold his coat to buy bread. At night he slept in the fields. On the seventh day he reached Dover, tired and weak with hunger. His clothes were torn and dirty. All day long he walked about Dover. He asked everybody if they knew Miss Betsy Trotwood.

At last, after I had walked for a long time I saw some houses before me. I went into a little shop and asked if they knew where Miss Trotwood lived. A young woman who was buying something at that moment turned round quickly.

My mistress? she said. She asked what I wanted with her mistress.

I answered that I wanted to speak to Miss Trotwood. Taking her little basket, the young woman walked out of the shop and told me to follow her. She said she would show me where Miss Tortwood lived.

I followed the young woman. I was so tired and hungry that my legs shook under me. Soon we came to a pretty little cottage with a small garden full of flowers in front of it

The young woman said that it was Miss Trotwoods house. She hurried into the cottage and left me standing at the gardens gate.

By this time my shoes, my shirt and trousers, and my hat were torn and terribly dirty. My face, neck and hands were dark brown. I was covered with dust from head to foot.

I stood still some time, when a lady came out of the house. A handkerchief was tied over her cap, she had gardening gloves on her hands and was carrying a great knife.

I knew at once that the lady was Miss Betsy, because she looked exactly as my mother had described her.

Go away, said Miss Betsy, shaking her head, go away, no boys here!

Shaking from head to foot I watched her. She marched to a corner of her garden and bent down to dig up a flower. I went in quietly and stood behind her.

If you please, Aunt, I began.

Eh, cried Miss Betsy in great surprise.

If you please, Aunt, I am your nephew.

Oh, Lord! said my aunt. And she sat right down in the garden path.

I began to tell her I was David Copperfiled, that I had been very unhappy since my mother died, that nobody had taught me anything, that my stepfather had been very unkind to me and had sent me to work. I said that all this had made me run away to her because I hoped she would protect me. Here I burst into tears.

While I was talking, my aunt sat on the ground looking at me in great surprise till I began to cry. Then she got up in a great hurry and took me into her house, repeating Oh Lord! every moment.

IN THE LAND OF BOOBIES

(From the book Pinocchio by C. Collodi)

Pinocchio is the hero of this book. You all know him as Buratino. Pinocchios friend Candlewick tell him that there is a land where nobody has to study. He invites Pinocchio to come with him to that land. At first Picnocchio refuses but then he agrees. They start for this land which is called the Land of Boobies.

Early in the morning, when the sun was rising, Pinocchio arrived in the Land of Boobies.

It was quite an unusual country, it was not like any country in the world. Only boys lived there. The oldest were fourteen, the youngest about eight years old.

In that country nobody ever studied. On Thursdays there were no lessons, and every week consisted of six Thursdays and one Sunday. The holidays began on the first of January and were over on the last day of December. So there were schools or books. Instead of schools there were theatres and circuses in every square. Crowds of boys filled the streets. Some were playing hide-and-seek, some were simply running about or riding bicycles, some were walking on their hands with their feet in the air; others were shouting, laughing, and whistling.

Pinocchio looked around in surprise. On the walls of many housed he noticed the words:
Long live games! Down with Arithmetic! and other thing like that, all in bad spelling.

In a few days Pinocchio made friends with almost everybody. He felt that he was the happiest among them all.

That is the country for me! How lucky I am! he thought.

Like all the other boys Picnochio enjoyed life, he played from morning till night.

In this way the hours, the days, and the weeks passed swiftly. Pinocchio was never tired of playing.

Pinocchio was very glad that he had come there. Oh, what a wonderful land! he used to say to his friend Candlewick.

I told you that we should be happy here. You see, I was right, wasnt I? And you wanted to return home. You were afraid of coming here, you did not believe me. You even refused to come at first.

And Picnocchio thanked his friend who had brought him there!

This wonderful life went on for five months.

IN THE LAND OF BOOBIES

Part II

One fine morning Pinocchio woke up and to his surprise discovered that his ears had grown! He remembered that his ears had always been very small. He at once began to look for a mirror. But as he could not find one, he took a pail and poured some water into it. Looking at himself in this mirror he saw that he had a pair of donkeys ears!

Imagine poor Pinocchios shame and fear! He burst into tears and pulled his ears crying, Oh what shall I do? What shall I do? I am the most unhappy boy in the world.

He decided to go and see Candlewick. He hoped that Candlewick would be able to help him. He took a big cal and pulled it on his head to cover his huge ears. Then he started out.

When he came to Candlewicks house, he knocked at the door.

Who is there? asked Candlewick in a frightened voice. It is me, answered Pinocchio. Wait a minute and I shall let you in. Pinocchio had to wait a long time. When the door was opened at last, Pinocchio was very much surprised to see his friend with a big cap pulled over his ears.

They looked at each other in silence.

Then, smiling, Pinocchio asked, Why have you got a cap on?

Candlewick answered, The doctor told me to put it on, because I have hurt my arm. And why have you got a cap on that covers your ears?

The doctor told me to put it on because I have hurt my foot.

Then Pinocchio asked Candlewick to show him his ears. Candlewick agreed but said that Pinocchio must also show his. They both pulled off their caps and discovered that both of them had huge donkeys ears.

At first they burst into laughter and laughed, and laughed, and laughed, but suddenly they noticed that they were not able to stand on their feet any more. They could only stand on their hands and feet. But the worst moment came when their tails grew. They both turned pale with terror and burst into tears.

Now they understood everything: all boys who are lazy, who do not want to study, who spend all their time on games, are sooner or later punished: they become little donkeys!

How sorry they were that they had come to the Land of Boobies, but it was too late!

TOM AS KING

(Adapted from a story by Mark Twain)

On his fourth day in the palace, Tom was taken to a large hall, where he always met great lords. He went to a window and looked out. Suddenly he saw a big crowd of men, women and children. They were coming towards the gates.

What is the matter? said Tom.

The Captain of the Guard was sent for and told to go and find out what was the matter.

In a few minutes he came back to say that the crowd was following a woman and a child who were to be executed for some crime.

Tom looked out of the window at the poor woman and the child. Death - got these unhappy people. For the moment he forgot that he was not the real king and gave the order:

Bring them here!

In a few minutes the prisoners were brought into the hall.

What have they done? asked Tom.

Your Majesty, they have sold themselves to the devil - that is their crime.

Where was this done? And when? asked Tom.

At midnight, in December, in an old church, Your Majesty.

Who was present?

Only these two, Your Majesty, and the devil.

Then how was it known?

Some people saw them when they were going to the church, Your Majesty, and thought that something was wrong. Soon after that the women and the child, with the help of the devil, caused a terrible storm.

Tom thought for a while and then said:

Did this woman also suffer from the storm?

Yes, she did, Your Majesty, she has lost her house, and she and her child are homeless now.

Then I do not understand why she caused a storm from which she herself has suffered. Is she mad? If she is, she does not know what she does.

Everybody was surprised at the cleverness of the king.

The woman had stopped crying and was looking at Tom with hope.

Tom saw this and felt sorry for her.

How did they cause the storm? he asked.

By taking off their stockings, Your Majesty.

Now it was Toms turn to be surprised.

How strange! he said. Then he turned to the woman:

Show us your power. I should like to see a storm.

Oh, my lord the king, said the woman, I have no power.

Dont be afraid, said Tom. Make a storm for me. Do this and you will be allowed to go out free with your child.

The woman fell at his feet and cried that she had no power to make a storm.

Again the woman was told to make a storm, but she only cried and said that she could not do it.

At last Tom said:

I think the woman is telling the truth. You are free, good woman, you and your child. And now take off your stockings. Make me a storm and you will be rich.

The woman took off her stockings and her little girls too, but nothing happened.

Then Tom said

It is true; you have no power. Well. Go your way in peace and if the power comes back to you, do not forget to come and make a storm for me.

 

THE BLACK CAT

(Adapted from a story by W. W. Jacobs)

The whole story began when the captain brought a grey parrot on board the ship. The mate and all the sailors were against the new passenger. They were sure that sooner or later there would be trouble between the ships cat Satan and the parrot.

The mates wife had given the cat to the sailors when it was a kitten, and it had grown up on the ship. For two days the men, who loved the cat very much, kept it away from the parrot. On the third day, however, the cat got into the captains cabin and nearly killed the bird. When the captain came down to his cabin, he immediately discovered what had happened. He grew terribly angry and ordered Sam to find the cat and kill it.

No, sir, said Sam, I shall not kill a black cat. Perhaps you can laugh at such things, but I knew a man who killed a black cat, and he went mad.

The captain stood silent for a moment, because, though he did not say so, he was, in fact, superstitious.

Thats all nonsense, he said at last. Joe, he said turning to the cook, tie something heavy to that cat and throw it overboard.

No, I shant, said the cook. I dont want to see any ghosts.

The captain did not know what to do. At that moment a man came and said that the parrot felt better.

Well, said the captain, I shall wait and see. But dont forget, if the parrot dies, the cat goes overboard.

When the ship reached London, the bird was still alive. But everybody was sure that it would soon die. So, a few days later, when the ship was ready to leave, the men held a meeting to decide what to do. Suddenly the cook, who had gone ashore to buy bread, came in with a sack on his shoulder. He looked about him like a member of a secret society, and then sat down with the sack between his knees.

This idea came to me suddenly, said the cook in a whisper. I had just bought the bread and was leaving the shop when I saw a big black cat sitting on the road. You look like Satan, I sad to myself. And if the captain wants to kill a cat, let him kill you! and I picked it up and threw it into this sack. He carefully opened the sack and took out his cat. Then Satan was brought and the two cats were compared.

They are exactly alike! exclaimed Sam. What a joke we shall play on the captain! ...Cook, you have done something wonderful. Ill make a few holes in the boys box and put Satan in. You dont mind, Billy, do you? he said to the boy. Of course, he doesnt, said the other men. So Satan was put into the box, and Billy watched the cats until the ship started and was some distance from shore. Then the sack was opened, and the new cat was brought on deck.

After a short time the captain came on deck carrying the dead parrot. He threw the bird overboard and then seized the poor cat and threw into the sea. After that he went to his cabin.

Luckily for the cat, it was picked up by some men in a boat and taken on shore.

When the captain came on deck the next morning, old Sam said to him:You cant kill a black cat like that. Something bad will happen.

 

CHARLES DICKENS

(1812-1870)

Charles Dickens is one of the greatest novelists in the English language. He wrote about the real world of Victorian England and many of his characters were not rich, middle-class ladies and gentlemen, but poor and hungry people.

DICKENS THE CHILD

His family lived in London. His father was a clerk in an office. It was a good job, but he always spent more money than he earned and he was often in debt. There were eight children in the family, so life was hard.

Charles went to school and his teachers thought he was very clever. But suddenly, when he was only eleven, his father went to prison for his debts and the family went, too. Only Charles didnt go to prison. He went to work in a factory, where he washed bottles. He worked ten hours a day and earned six shillings (30 p) a week. Every night, after work, he walked four miles back to his room. Charles hated it and never forgot the experience. He used it in many novels, especially David Copperfield and Oliver Twist.

DICKENS THE WRITER

When he was sixteen, he started work for a newspaper. He visited law courts and the Houses of Parliament. Soon he was one of the Morning Chronicles best journalists. He also wrote short stories for magazines. These were funny descriptions of people that he met. Dickens characters were full of colour and life - good people were very, very good and bad people were horrible. His books became popular in many countries and he spent a lot of time abroad, in America, Italy, and Switzerland.

DICKENS THE MAN

Dickens had ten children, but he didnt have a happy family life. He was successful in his work but not at home, and his wife left him. He never stopped writing and travelling, and he died very suddenly in 1870.

 

Answer the questions.

1. How old was Dickens when he died?

2. How many brothers and sisters did he have?

3. Was he good at school?

4. Why did he leave school when he was eleven?

5. Who was in prison?

6. What did Charles do in his first job?

7. What was his next job?

8. Was he happy at home?

9. When did he stop writing?

 

ROBIN HOOD

Robin Hood is a legendary hero who lived in Sherwood Forest, in Nottingham, with his band of followers. Stories about him and his adventures began to appear in the fourteenth century, but the fact behind the legend are uncertain. One writer thinks Robin was born in 1160, at a time when there were many robbers living in the woods, stealing from the rich but only killing in self-defence.

Everyone knows that Robin Hood robbed the rich to give to the poor. He chose to be an outlaw, that is, someone who lives outside the law, but he had his own ideas of right and wrong. He fought against injustice, and tried to give ordinary people a share of the riches owned by people in authority and the Church. He had many qualities - he was a great sportsman, a brave fighter, and was very good with his bow and arrow.

He dressed in green, lived in the forest with his wife, Maid Marion, and his men, among them Friar Tuck, Allen a Dale, Will Scarlet, and Little John. For food, they killed the Kings deer, and many days were spent eating, drinking, and playing games. He robbed the rich by capturing them as they travelled through the forest and inviting them to eat with him. During the supper, someone looked in their bags to see how much to ask for!

His main enemy was the Sheriff of Nottingham, who was always trying to capture Robin but never managed to do it. Some stories say that he killed Robin by poisoning him. In his dying moments, he shot a final arrow from his famous bow, and asked Little John to bury him where the arrow landed.

 

HOW ROBIN HOOD WON THE GOLDEN ARROW

In the 11th century England was conquered by the Normans who had come from the north of France. They began to take away lands and homes from the Saxons, the native population of the British Isles. The Saxons suffered very much from the Normans and hated their new masters. Many of them had to run away into the forests and become outlaws.

There are many legends and songs about one of these outlaws - Robin Hood. Legends say that Robin Hood and three hundred men lived in Sherwood Forest, not far from the town of Nottingham. He often attacked and robbed the rich Normans and helped the poor people.

Stories of Robin Hood and his merry men began to reach the ears of the Sheriff of Nottingham. He heard how Robin Hood robbed the rich and helped the poor, and he decided to catch the bold outlaw.

As it was difficult to find Robin Hood in Sherwood Forest, the Sheriff thought of a plan. People were told that a shooting match would be held in Nottingham and that the best archer would get a prize - an arrow of gold. He was sure that Robin Hood, who was an excellent archer, would certainly wish to take part in such a match and would come to Nottingham.

At last the day of the shooting match came. The match was held in a large field. Crowds of people came to see it, and many archers took part in it.

The Sheriff sat in an arm-chair and carefully watched the archers in order to find out whether Robin Hood was among them. Each of the archers was given a bow and several arrows, and the match began.

After some time three archers were chosen as the best. One of them was a beggar dressed in a ragged coat and with a patch over one eye.

Can one of these men be Robin Hood? the Sheriff asked one of his men.

No, replied the man. None of them looks like Robin Hood.

Meanwhile the match went on. One of the archers shot first, but his arrow hit the target a few inches from the centre. The second took careful aim and shot his arrow. It hit the target not more than a fingers width from the centre.

Then the beggar stepped up. He quickly took aim and the arrow whistled through the air. It sank right into the centre of the target.

A great shout went up from the crowd. That was really excellent shooting!

What is your name? the Sheriff asked as he handed the golden arrow to the beggar.

Men call me Locksley, was the answer.

Join my service, Locksley, said the Sheriff. I shall give you a good coat, and you will eat at my table.

That I cannot do, replied the beggar. I am a free man and no one will be my master.

With these words he turned and was lost in the crowd.

That night the merry outlaws gathered under a large oak-tree in Sherwood Forest. They ate and drank and laughed heartily at the joke they had played on the Sheriff. At last Robin said: It was a fine joke we have played on the Sheriff. But we can play still another joke. We shall let him know that it was Robin Hood who won the golden arrow...

The next evening, as the Sheriff was about to go to bed, an arrow suddenly whistled through the open window of his bedroom and sank into the door on the other side of the room. A note was tied to the arrow. The Sheriff was frightened to death. With trembling fingers he took the piece of paper and read the following:

Thank you for the golden arrow. It was a good prize for my shooting. Robin Hood.

 

THE STRANGE BABY

(After E.B.White)

 

Mr. Little and his family lived in New York City. Mr. Little worked in an office. His wife, Mrs. Little, took care of the house. She was a kind woman and liked animals. She kept a white cat called Snowball. She also liked to play the piano. Mr. and Mrs. Little had a son called George, who went to school and liked to play ping-pong. In every way it was quite a usual family. But one day something very unusual happened to them, and that was when Mrs. Littles second son was born.

When he was born, everybody saw that he was no bigger than a mouse. The baby looked very much like a mouse in every way. He was only two inches high, he had a sharp nose, a long tail and whiskers. Before he was many days old he began to walk just like a mouse. Mr. and Mrs. Little called him Stuart, and made him a bed out of a cigarette box.

Mrs. Little saw at once that baby clothes were not good for Stuart. So she made him a fine blue suit with a pocket in which he could keep his handkerchief. She also gave him a grey hat and a small stick.

Very soon Stuart could not only walk, but also run, jump and climb lamps by the cord. And that even before he was a month old!

When Stuart was month old he was still so small and light that his mother sent for the doctor. The doctor liked Stuart very much and said that it was very unusual for an American family to have a mouse. He listened to his heart and looked into his ears. Everything was all right, and Mrs. Little was very glad to hear it.

Feed him up! said the doctor and went away.

THE PRACTICAL PRINCESS

(After Jay Williams)

Princess Bedilia was as lovely as the moon shining upon a lake full of water lilies. She was as graceful as a cat leaping. And she was also extremely practical, always ready to take actions instead of daydreaming.

When she was born, three fairies came to her cradle to give her gifts as was usual in that country. The first fairy gave her beauty. The second gave her grace. But the third, who was a wise old creature, said, I give her common sense.

I dont think much of that gift, said King Ludwig, raising his eye-brows. What good is common sense to a princess? All she need is charm.

But, when Bedilia was eighteen years old, something happened that made the king change his mind.

A dragon moved into the neighbourhood. He settled in a dark cave on top of a mountain, and the first thing he did was to send a message to the king. I must have a princess to eat up, the message said, or I shall breathe out my fire and destroy the kingdom.

Sadly, King Ludwig called together his councilors, chosen to give advice, and read them the message. Perhaps, said the Prime Minister, we had better send for a knight to kill the dragon. That what is generally done in these cases.

Im afraid we havent time, answered the king. The dragon has only given us time until tomorrow morning. There is no help for it. We shall have to send him the princess.

Princess Bedilia had come to the meeting because, as she said, she liked to mind her own business, and this was certainly her business. Rubbish! she said. Dragons cant tell the difference between princesses and anyone else. Use your common sense. Hes just asking for me because hes a snob.

That may be so, said her father, but if we dont send you along, hell destroy the kingdom.

Right! said Bedilia. I see Ill have to deal with this myself. She left the room in which the council sat. She got the largest and brightest of her state dress, filled it with straw, and into the centre of the bundle she packed about a hundred pounds of gunpowder. She got two strong young men to carry it up the mountain for her. She stood in front of the dragons cave and called:Come out! Heres the princess! The dragon appeared looking out of the darkness with curiosity. Seeing the bright dress covered with gold and silver embroidery, and hearing Bedilias voice, he opened, he his mouth wide.

At once, at Bedilias signal, the two young men threw the dress right down the dragons throat. Bedilia threw herself flat on the ground and the two young men ran.

As the gunpowder met the flames inside the dragon, there was a great explosion.

Bedelia got up, dusting herself off. Dragons, she said, are not very bright.

She left the two young men sweeping up the pieces, and she went to the castle to have her geography lesson, for as you know, she was very practical!

THE VERY CLEVER DEVICE

Mary was a little bored as she walked down the wooden sidewalk to her job. She was a little tired of the work, of sitting up all day. She like horseback riding and running with her three brothers and telling stories to her little sisters at home.

At first Mary was proud of having a job and earning something. She had thought her new job would be the best she could ever want. Her brothers and sisters and friends were greed with envy when she told them she had been chosen to be the towns switchboard operator.

All she had to do was to sit at a desk and connect the towns telephones when their owners wanted to speak to each other. For a while, answering the ringing bells in her best speaking voice was fun.

But there were only five telephones in Guntown so far, and Mary did not have much to do. It was getting to be summer in Mississippi and the little switchboard room was becoming hot.

Mary yawned. The switchboard was quiet. Mary opened up her adventure story and started to read. The heroine was on a ship going around the Cape of Good Hope in stormy weather, and Mary was sure that there would be an exciting adventure. At that moment a bell rang.

She looked and saw it was the bell connecting her with the next town.

Hello, Guntown Telephone Company, she said in her most beautifully polite telephone voice.

Mary, is that you? it was her friend Iris, who was the switchboard girl in Saltillo.

Oh, its so hot, Mary started to complain.

I know, but never mind! You cant guess! An automobile is coming through our town, and it will go right on to yours after!

What? Mary exclaimed. Her father and brothers had been talking about automobiles for the last few months, so they knew what they were. A neat new invention, her papa had said, using some kind of engine to drive a little cart over the road with nothing pulling it. No horses of any kind.

When? Do you know what time? Mary asked, very excited.

About noon. It should be through Guntown around noon, Iris said. Sorry! Mrs. Cabots is ringing.

Iris rang off, and Mary immediately began making phone calls. This was important. She had to tell the whole town.

By noon everyone who could walk lined the streets. There were little kids - one of them her little sister. Mary found one of her brothers in the store and told him to go home and tell Mama and Papa, so her family wouldnt miss out the sight. Shopkeepers had closed their businesses to watch the thing go by.

The whole town was watching the road when the automobile appeared as a little black spot on the horizon. Covered with thick Mississippi dirt, it moved slowly up the road on its wire wheels to where everyone was waiting.

Two men sat in the front seat and two women in the back. The townspeople stood quietly on the sidewalk, looking with their mouths open, as the people in the car drove slowly down the main street, pretending not to notice the crowd. The women in the back seat looked neither to the right nor to the left, but held on to their big picture hats with both hands, their faces hidden behind thick veils that kept out the dirt.

But I wouldnt want to own one, Marys brother Travis said later at dinner.

No, theres nothing as beautiful as a good horse, Papa agreed. The automobile is a very clever device. It took a lot of doing to think of such a thing, and then actually make it. We dont need to hurt Mr. Fords feelings by telling him that well always prefer the horse.

And you did well to tell everyone, Mary, said Mama. I dont imagine an automobile will ever be seen in Mississippi again.

MY NAUGHTY LITTLE SISTER

We Go Fishing

I am an English girl. My name is Mary Brown.

One day, when my little sister was four years old, some children came to our house. They all had fishing-nets.

Mary, lets go fishing, they said to me.

May I go fishing? I asked my mother.

Yes, you may, said my mother.

She gave me a fishing-net, some bread and butter and a bottle of milk.

Then my naughty little sister said:

I want to go! I want to go too!

You may go, Nancy, said my mother to my little sister. But you cant catch fish. You mustnt go into the water.

So she did not give my sister a fishing-net. But my sister liked to pick up little stones, and my mother gave her a little bag to put them in. Then she gave her some bread and butter and a little bottle of milk and a big apple, too.

Nancy mustnt go into the water. You must look after her, my mother said to me.

All right, Mother, I said.

We went to the little river. Then my friends and I took off our shoes and socks and went into the water to fish with out fishing-nets. It was summer, and the water was warm.

You mustnt go into the water, I said to my sister. Dont take off your shoes. You cant fish. Pick stones and put them into your bag.

We fished and fished, but we did not catch any fished. Then one boy said: Look, your sister is in the water.

We saw my naughty little sister in the water with her shoes and socks on.

Get out of the water! I shouted.

No, said my naughty little sister.

I wanted to catch her, but she ran away and fell down in the water. Her dress was wet, too.

We pulled her out of the water.

She may catch cold, said all the children.

Go and sit in the sun! they said to her.

We took off her wet things and put them all on the grass to dry. My sister began to cry.

We gave her some bread and butter, and she ate it all up. She ate all her bread and butter and my bread and butter. She drank her milk and my milk, too. Then she ate her apple.

When her dress and her shoes and socks were dry, she put them on and we went home.

Your sister was in the water, said my mother.

How did you guess, Mother, I said. We dried all her things.

Yes, you dried them, but you did not iron them.

At supper I did not get any cake. Mother said:

Only bread and butter for you. You did not look after your sister very well.

So I got only bread and butter.

My sister went to bed, and my mother gave her some hot milk.

But you know what my mother found in the little bag?

She found a little fish! Yes, a little fish!

Look! said my mother. Your little sister caught a fish with her bag.

MY NAUGHTY LITTLE SISTER MAKES A BOTTLE-TREE

One day my little sister got up very early. My mother was in the kitchen. She wanted to make breakfast for the family, and she did not see that my little sister was not in her bed.

My naughty little sister went to the shed and took a little spade. Then she went to the garden. It was autumn. There was many red and yellow leaves in the garden. There were many pretty flowers in the garden, too. My little sister went to the flowerbed.

But she did not look at the beautiful flowers which my father liked to plant. She trampled the flowers under her feet and made a hole in the flowerbed.

Do you know why my little sister made the hole in the flowerbed? She wanted to plant an acorn. She had a nice brown acorn in her hand. So she made a hole in the flowerbed and put the acorn in the hole. Then she put a short stick near it.

Do you know why she did that?

She wanted to know the place where the acorn was. She was a clever little girl, wasnt she?

My little sister went to this place after breakfast and before dinner and after dinner. She took the acorn out and then she put it back again.

Do you know why she took the acorn out? She wanted to see it grow.

In the evening Father came home and he saw the flowers. He was very angry.

You bad, bad girl, said my father. Why did you trample my flowers?

I didnt want to trample your flowers. I wanted to plant my acorn. I wanted to see it grow. And my little sister began to cry.

Your acorn wont grow if you take it out, said my father. Give it to me.

Father took a bottle, put some water in it and then put the acorn into it.

Now you can see it grow, said Father.

My little sister put the bottle with the acorn at the window. She looked at it all the time, but it did not grow. She put the bottle near her bed and looked at it in the morning and in the evening. But it did not grow.

Put the bottle at the window and go and play with your doll, said my mother.

My little sister put the bottle at the window and went toe play with her doll. Soon she forgot about the bottle.

One day she looked at the bottle and saw a little green shoot.

I see a little green shoot, cried my sister.

She was very glad and showed her bottle-tree to everybody.

Now we can plant the acorn, said my father.

He went to the shed, took the spade and planted the acorn near our house.

The bottle-tree grew and grew, and now it is a big tree, bigger than my sister who is also be now.

MY NAUGHTY LITTLE SISTER AT THE BIRTHDAY PARTY

There was a little boy who lived in our street. His name was Tom. My little sister liked to play with him. But Tom was a naughty little boy, and my sister was a naughty little girl.

So they often played in our yard and in our garden. They trampled flowers and picked green apples, broke their toys and broke my toys. One day they washed my doll in dirty water and the next day they put Toms teddy-bear on the flowerbed.

One day Tom came to our house with a letter for my sister. He said to Nancy:

This is a letter for you from my mother. Please come to my birthday party. We shall have tea and a big birthday cake.

I like birthday cakes, said my little sister.

She put on her best dress and her white socks and white shoes.

Dont forget to say Please and Thank you, said my mother.

When my little sister came to the birthday party, she said to Toms mother:

How do you do? I want a birthday cake.

Toms mother laughed and said:

Soon all the children will come, and then you can have the birthday cake.

Then the other children came and played in the garden. They played hide-and-seek. They sang songs and danced. But my little sister did not want to play. She did not want to dance or to sing. And Tom did not want to play.

I can show you the birthday cake, he said.

So they went to the dining-room, and there on the table they saw a beautiful birthday cake with chocolate roses on it.

Oh, I like chocolate roses very much, said my naughty little sister.

I can give you a little rose, said Tom.

He gave my sister one rose, and she ate it up. Then he took one rose and ate it up. My sister ate three roses, and Tom ate three roses. They took the roses with their hands, and there was chocolate on their hands and on their faces. Then they went to the garden to play with the other children.

When Toms mother saw them, she did not ask any questions. She went to the dining-room and looked at the birthday cake. She was very angry.

Toms mother told Tom to go to bed, for he was a very naughty boy. And she told my naughty little sister to go home. Nancy was sick all night.

My sister is not a little girl now, but she does not like chocolate roses event today.

 

THE STRANGE BABY

(After E.B.White)

 

Mr. Little and his family lived in New York City. Mr. Little worked in an office. His wife, Mrs. Little, took care of the house. She was a kind woman and liked animals. She kept a white cat called Snowball. She also liked to play the piano. Mr. and Mrs. Little had a son called George, who went to school and liked to play ping-pong. In every way it was quite a usual family. But one day something very unusual happened to them, and that was when Mrs. Littles second son was born.

When he was born, everybody saw that he was no bigger than a mouse. The baby looked very much like a mouse in every way. He was only two inches high, he had a sharp nose, a long tail and whiskers. Before he was many days old he began to walk just like a mouse. Mr. and Mrs. Little called him Stuart, and made him a bed out of a cigarette box.

Mrs. Little saw at once that baby clothes were not good for Stuart. So she made him a fine blue suit with a pocket in which he could keep his handkerchief. She also gave him a grey hat and a small stick.

Very soon Stuart could not only walk, but also run, jump and climb lamps by the cord. And that even before he was a month old!

When Stuart was one month old he was still so small and light that his mother sent for the doctor. The doctor liked Stuart very much and said that it was very unusual for an American family to have a mouse. He listened to his heart and looked into his ears. Everything was all right, and Mrs. Little was very glad to hear it.

Feed him up! said the doctor and went away.

 

I. Answer the questions.

1.Where did the Littles live?

2. What happened to them one day?

3. They gave the baby a human name, didnt they?

4. Was Stuart weak or was he rather athletic?

5. Did the doctor examine the baby carefully?

6. Why do you think the Littles did not throw the mouse away?

II. Find and write out 1) three nouns; 2) three verbs; 3) three adjectives; 4) three pronouns.

III. Define the tense:

1) The doctor went away.

2) Mrs. Little has had a baby!

3) One day when Stuart was doing his morning exercises Snowball, the cat, talked to him.

4) Have you seen the film Stuart Little?

SWIFT AND HIS LAZY SERVANT

Swift, the famous English writer, was one day travelling on horseback with a servant. The weather was bad; it was raining and the roads were muddy. In the evening the two men came to an inn. Before going to bed, Swift told his servant to clean his boots, as they were very dirty. But the servant was very lazy and did not do what he his master had said. The next morning when Swift saw the dirty boots, he asked the servant why he had not cleaned the boots. The servants answered that he had not cleaned the boots because they would soon become dirty again.

The roads are muddy. What is the use of cleaning the boots now? They will soon be dirty again, he said.

Swift did not say anything and soon told his servant to get ready because they would start at once. The servant looked very displeased and said that he had not had his breakfast yet.

Swift answered that they would go without any breakfast.

What is the use of eating now? You will soon be hungry again, he said.

Answer the questions:

1. Who is the story about?

2. What were they doing one day?

3. Was the weather nice?

4. Did the two men stay at an inn or at a hotel?

5. Did the servant do what his master had told him? Why?

6. How was he punished for his laziness?

7. Do you think Swift was right?

 

PLUTO, A WONDERFUL CAT

(From C. E. Eckersley, Essential English, Book Two)

The cat, a black one named Pluto, belonged to Aunt Aggie and she thought he was wonderful. If Aunt Aggie was doing anything, Pluto did the same. When she washed herself, the cat washed itself; when she looked at herself in the mirror, it looked at itself in the same mirror; if she talked to herself (as she sometimes did), the cat opened its mouth just like someone talking to himself. This gave Aggie an idea; she decided to try to teach Pluto to talk. (Aggie was always getting funny ideas.) She thought, Ill give Pluto the same food as I have myself; Im sure that will help him to speak. And very soon the cat was sitting on a chair at the table and was eating bread and butter (cut thin), roast potatoes and Christmas pudding, and was drinking tea with sugar in it. One day Aggies nephew came to see his aunt, and there was Pluto. He was drinking coffee and was smoking a cigarette.

Well, Pluto was certainly enjoying himself; in fact they were both enjoying themselves, but still he did not speak. Then Aggie had another idea. She had an old parrot that was always talking. It talked to itself, it talked to Aggie, it talked to Pluto. Aggie was getting tired of this everlasting talk, so she thought to herself, If Pluto eats the parrot, Im sure he cant help talking. So she killed the parrot, cooked it in butter (the best quality butter) and gave it, with fried potatoes and boiled cabbage, to Pluto.

Pluto sat at the table and helped himself, very politely with a knife and fork, to the roast parrot, the fried potatoes and the cabbage, and he finished every bit of it. Then, suddenly he turned to Aunt Aggie and shouted Look out! Aunt Aggie was looking at him in such astonishment that she hardly noticed what he said, and the next moment a big piece of the ceiling fell down on her head. Pluto said, She has spent five years getting me to talk, and then when I speak the fool doesnt listen.

I. Answer the questions.

1. What gave the woman the idea to teach her cat to talk?

2. What was the first thing she did to realize her idea?

3. Did her first plan work or did it fail?

4. Why did the woman decide to kill the parrot?

5. That new food helped Pluto to talk, didnt it?

6. Do you think this is a true story?

7. Would you like animals to be able to talk like people?

II. Name the tenses:

1. She has spent five years getting me to talk.

2. A big piece of the ceiling fell down on her head.

3. He was drinking coffee and was smoking a cigarette.

4. I speak but the fool doesnt listen.

III. Write out 1) three nouns; 2) three verbs; 3) three pronouns; 4) three adjectives.

A HAPPY MANS SHIRT

(From C. E. Eckersley, Essential English, Book Three)

Once upon a time, and in a country a long way off, there was a king who was very ill. All the doctors of the court attended him but, in spite of all they could do, he got worse instead of better. At last in despair they called in a famous doctor from another country. He came, looked at the king, and then, looking very grave, said: Your Majesty, there is only one thing that can cure you.

:What is that? said the king. Whatever you want shall be brought for you.

You must sleep for one night , said the doctor, in the shirt of a happy man!

So the king sent two of his chief servants to find a happy man and, when they had found him, to bring back his shirt.

Well, they went first to the richest man in the city, and asked him if he was a happy man.

Happy! he said, when I never know whether my ships are going to be wrecked next day, when thieves are always trying to break into my house. How can a man be happy with all these worries?

So they went to the kings Chief Minister, the most powerful man in the country, except for the king.

Are you a happy man? they said.

Dont be silly, he said. Theres Ruritania threatening to make war on us any day. Theres that villain Popoff trying to push me out of power, the workers are wanting to have more money, and the wealthy wanting to pay less taxes. How do you think a Chief Minister can be a happy man?

So they went all over the country looking high and low for a happy man but never finding one.

They were returning home, tired and miserable (for they quite expected that the king would have them put to death for not finding what he wanted), when they saw a beggar, sitting by the roadside. He had made a little fire, and was frying some sausages in a frying-pan, and singing merrily as he watched his supper cooking.

They looked at each other. Had they found what they were looking for? They went up to him and one of them said, You sound very happy, my friend.

Of course, Im happy, he said.

They could hardly believe their ears. With one voice they said, We want your shirt.

The beggar roared with laughter.

Im sorry, gentlemen, he said, but I havent got a shirt.

I. Answer the questions.

1) Where does the action take place?

2) What was the unusual remedy that might cure the Kings illness?

3) Why did the kings servants go first to the richest and then to the most powerful man in the city?

4) Were those men happy? Why not?

5) Why do you think the beggar was happy?

6) Who would you call a happy person?

7) What would you need to feel happy?

H.G.WELLS

1866-1946

THE DIAMOND MAKER

I had worked in the office till nine oclock in the evening and was very tired. I wanted fresh air and decided to walk home. I was a warm night. My way lay along the river. Night is the best time there. You see the lights on the black river and a warm wind brings you the smell of the far-off sea. I walked along slowly, and at last stopped to look at the black water of the river.

A warm night, said a voice at my side.

I turned my head, and saw the profile of a man standing near me. He, too, was looking at the river. He had a thin, pale face, and wore a dirty old coat. He was unshaven and his hair was in disorder.

I looked at him curiously. Who was he? If I answered him, would he ask me for some money for his breakfast?

Very warm, said I.

Yes, he said looking at the water, it is fine here. It is good to find such a quiet place after a day of hard work in London. You, too, must know a little of hard work or you would not be here having an evening walk like me. But I dont think you have ever been so tired as I am now. In fact I sometimes think the game is not worth the candle. But I cannot leave it. . .

He stopped. I looked at him in astonishment. This strange man spoke about hard work. What could his work be? Where did he work? I asked him.

You will not believe me, I know, said he, but I will tell you. I have a big undertaking on hand, a very big undertaking. I have invented . . . how to make diamonds . . . .

He took a small bag out of his pocket. Then he opened it, took out a kind of brown pebble and gave it to me. I have a little knowledge of physics and mineralogy, so I looked at the pebble with some interest. Indeed the thing was like an uncut diamond of the darker sort, but very large. I took a penknife out of my pocket and tried to make a line on it, but I could not. Then I went nearer to the gas-lamp and tried the thing on my watch-glass. It left a white line on the pebble, showing that the glass was softer.

It was strange.

Where did you get it? I asked the man.

I tell you, I made it, he said. Give it back to me.

He quickly put it into the bag again. I will sell it to you for one hundred pounds, he said.

Things were getting stranger and stranger. Could it really be a diamond? Of course it looked like one, but . . . And if it was a diamond where had he got it, and why did he want to sell it for only a hundred pounds? A diamond of such size was worth many thousands of pounds. But who would buy a diamond from a tramp and by gas-light?

How did you get it? I asked once more.

I made it, he said. Now let me tell you a little about myself. He made a pause. But will you believe me? he asked anxiously. Im afraid you wont believe me!

Go ahead, I said.

Chemists have known for years, he began, that diamonds can be made by the crystallisation of carbon. But the problem always was to find the right flux in which to melt the carbon and also the right pressure for getting the best results. Well, the diamonds made by chemists until now were dark and very small. Now, I decided to make beautiful big diamonds. I have given up my life to this problem. I began to work on it when I was seventeen and now I am thirty-two. Of course, I knew from the beginning it would be hard work. But I thought the game was worth the candle.

I had, he continued, about a thousand pounds when I was twenty-one, and I thought that this money and a little teaching would be enough for my living and my research work. I spent a year or two in study and then continued my experiments. I wanted secrecy. So I worked alone. I conducted my experiments in a small room in Kentish Town, where I slept on the floor beside my apparatus. Every day I had less money left. I tried to give lessons but I am not a very good teacher, and I have no university degree; and then you know, there are already so many teachers out of work. I only lost time looking for teachers jobs. Three years ago, I settled the problem of the flux. After that I concentrated my energy on the pressure problem. I worked three years more as hard as I could and then I settled that problem too. But I had no money left to live on. I hardly know what I have done these three years to get money. I have sold newspapers, held horses, and opened cab-doors. For many weeks I addressed envelopes. During the last months I have had absolutely nothing to do, and I have begged. What a time it has been!

Well, three weeks ago my last experiment came to an end and I found three big diamonds and five small ones in my apparatus. At the same moment my door opened and my neighbour came in. He was drunk - as he usually is.

Anarchist, said he.

You are drunk, said I. Go away.

But he did not leave the room and told me that he had gone to the police that morning and that he had told them about my work. I did not want to tell the police my secret, so I took the diamonds and went away. The evening newspapers called my room a Bomb Factory. And now I have no room, no food, no money. The diamonds are here but I cannot sell them.

If I go to the jewellers they usually ask me to wait and they send a clerk to call a policeman; and then I say I cannot wait. I tried to sell one to a man who was buying stolen things, but he simply took the diamond and did not give it back to me.

You are the first person to whom I have told my story. But I like your face and I am so tired of this life, you know.

He looked into my eyes.

I cannot buy your diamonds, said I; I have no money with me. But I more than half believe your story. I will do this: come to my office tomorrow. . .

And you will tell the police, said he. No, I shall not come.

Here is my card, come when you wish, said I, and gave him my card and a half-crown.

He took my card and the money.

I will pay you back your half-crown with interest some day, said he. But please dont tell anybody my secret and dont follow me.

With these words he went away. I never saw him again.

PRISONERS DOG

After Albert Maltz. (1908-85)

Last year, in London, I was asked to have to tea with some friends - Hugh Stuart and his wife, Libby. It was there that I met a man named Edmund Donat, Polish by birth. He looked about fifty-five, and I was surprised to learn later that he was ten years younger. Libby told us that he had been a prisoner in a concentration camp.

Now, Libby liked dogs and thought very highly of them while her husband did not.

Dogs can be taught certain things, my dear, Hugh said,but they dont reason, and so cannot be intelligent.

I believe, said Donat, there is a great difference in the intelligence of dogs, just as there is in men. There surely are some dogs that are able of reasoning. I once saw a dog that reasoned about what was best to do. Donat stopped; but when Libby asked to tell all about it, he continued.

There was a house on the farm where we usually spent our holidays. I was a good friend of the two sons of the farmer. One of them, Antek, was a year older than I, he was almost eighteen. They had a dog whose name was Pani. Pani loved everyone in the family but above all she was Anteks dog. Between Pani and Antek there was real understanding.

In December, 1939, when the Germans had occupied Poland, they ordered that every thoroughbred dog was to be turned over to them. All other dogs were to be killed.

Why killed? Libby asked.

Why not? Donat answered with a smile. They needed certain dogs for guard duty; all others were useless to them. In fact, they looked upon people more or less the same way. Well, when Antek heard of it, he hid Pani in the barn. He did more that just hide her - he built a hiding-place under the floor that would be difficult to find.

About a week later, an army truck with SS men came to the farm. They asked for dogs, but were told that there were none. Then the corporal walked up to Antek and put a pistol to his face. Ill count till ten. If you dont say where the dog is , Ill kill you. Before he began to count, the mother shouted, The dogs in the barn! So the father was sent to bring Pani.

Soon Pani came. She was a beautiful big dog, though not thoroughbred. There was so much intelligence in her brown eyes that the Germans were impressed with her. Pani was taken away.

Eight months later Antek and I joined the partisans, and one night were arrested. We were kept a month in Warsaw, and then were sent to the concentrated camp of Auschwitz. The work we had was to build a road to a new airfield. We worked from sunrise till sunset seven days a week, and the food was very bad.

One morning, in August, Antek suddenly saw Pani guarding another work group. Late that evening he told me, Pani is here, and she doesnt remember me!

But first you must understand something about the way we worked there; every group had about forty men and was guarded by two SS men and three dogs. If a prisoner approached the line nearer than three or four meters, the dog on that side would be on its feet with a snarl that would make the bravest afraid. At two meters the dog would jump at the prisoner.

That morning Antek saw Pani not far from him. He was afraid to call to her. What surprised him then was to see Pani suddenly turn her head and look at him. He said she looked at him attentively for about thirty seconds without showing in any way that she knew him. Then her guard moved her away. Yet, as Antek said, Pani was a dog, not a human being, and if she had forgotten him, it was impossible that she wouldnt react to him.

About a week later, our group had a change of guards. With one of the new SS men came Pani. By the second day I saw that there was something strange in her: each time Anteks work brought him anywhere near her, I had a feeling that she was watching him.

Hugh said, Are you telling us that she knew Antek but was not showing it? Thats hard to believe.

Antek noticed the same thing, and neither of us knew what to believe. Well, after a week of this, Antek said to me one morning, Im sure Pani does know. Im going to find out. That day, as Antek did his work, he moved nearer to her and kept saying her name in a low voice. When he reached the line, Pani jumped up. And then something strange happened, she didnt snarl at him or get ready to jump, but looked over at the guard who was her guard - and then she turned back to Antek and watched him. When Antek moved away, she lay down again.

So you are telling us she knew him, but was hiding it, Hugh said, but Donat continued.

That night Antek told us that not only was he sure that Pani knew him; but he was sure that Pani knew she was a prisoner of the Germans, just like him. Im made to build a road for them, he told me, and shes a prisoner made to do guard duty. And we both know that were prisoners. Then he added, Pani and I are going to run away.

One of the coming days a man in our group fell ill. He was carried to the truck. When the guards eyes were on the truck, Antek suddenly ran to the field of sunflowers. When he was about two metres to Pani, I head him shout, Pani, come! Pani jumped up with a terrible snarl. In the next second I thought she would jump at Antek. And then, as if something had suddenly pulled her back, she stopped where she was.

Antek disappeared into the thick forest of plants. The guard behind started shooting. Two large dogs ran into the field - and then one of the two guards also ran into the field carrying a gun.

For a few seconds Pani stood where she was without moving. In the next moment Pani let out a howl that made me think she had been wounded. And in the very second she disappeared into the sunflowers. Was she running away with Antek, or was she running to tear him into pieces? I did not know.

The field of flowers was probably six hundred metres deep. It ran down away from us so that I could see on the other side some farm buildings. Behind was a mountain. Antek surely would try to go there, I thought. Then, suddenly, from the field, there was the most terrible howling of dogs. Theyve caught him, I thought. The howling went on, and then there were shots. Suddenly, there was quiet, like the quiet of death. And then I saw Antek running near the farm buildings. Everyone saw him, but the SS man couldnt do anything because his gun had no effect at that distance. Antek ran behind a barn, and when we saw him next he was moving up the mountain to the trees.

After a moments silence Libby asked, And Pani? Was she with Antek?

No. Just then out of the field came the SS man. His left arm was wounded and his clothes torn. By his side came one of the dogs, also wounded. I didnt know German, but there were others who did. They said that Pani had gone mad, killed one of the dogs, wounded another, and then, when the SS man came, she attacked him too. He had shot her.

There was silence in the room. Then High said quietly, Do you know what happened to Antek?

Yes, I do. He made his way to a group of partisans. He is a farmer again. Sometimes I get letters from him.

THE BEST POLICY

After F. F. Molnar

One morning, Monsieur Bayout, President of the National Farmers Bank, sent for his secretary.

Tell me, Philip, he said, who is this man Floriot down at our Perpignan Branch?

Thats the cashier. Hes acting as a manager temporarily. You remember, after the old manager had died we put Floriot temporarily in this place. So he is looking after business there. There isnt very much work in Perpignan, I think.

The President took out a letter from his desk, and handing it over to his secretary, said, Read it, its from Perpignan.

The following lines were written on a sheet of paper:

Dear Monsieur Bayout

We, farmers, are putting our hard-earned savings in your bank at Perpignan, and one day we shall wake up and find it has gone bankrupt, as the cashier, Monsieur Floriot, has been embezzling money for months past. He must have put away a tidy sum of money now. . .

The letter was not signed, it was anonymous.

The President told his secretary to send an inspector down to Perpignan.

But tell him to be tactful, for there is probably no foundation for the story, he added.

Floriot, temporary manager of the Perpignan Branch, looked at the inspector from Paris with horrified amazement.

Inspect my books? he asked. Now? In the middle of the month? Its a bit unusual, isnt it?

The inspector, who felt sorry for the cashier, tried to calm him by saying that there was nothing unusual about it as they did it at all their branches from time to time.

Everything was in perfect order, not a single sum missing at the Perpignan Branch.

On learning the results of the inspection, the President said: We really ought not to pay any attention to anonymous letter-writers.

But a month later the President again summoned his secretary and told him that he had got another anonymous letter to the following effect: the books had not bee properly examined, they ought to have gone into the matter more thoroughly.

Do we have to make another investigation? asked the secretary.

Yes, answered the President, it is our duty we own to our clients. Suppose there is something in it and people will find out that we were warned, therell be a nasty scandal. The only thing to so is to send there another inspector and ask him to so the job in no hurry.

The inspector carried out a thorough investigation of Mr. Floriots accounts. During the several hours of the inspection the poor little cashier looked quite upset.

And again nothing was missing. On arriving in Paris the inspector said to the President: I wished things were as satisfactory in all our branches, as they are in Perpignan.

A week later Floriot came to Paris and handed in his resignation.

Whats that? Your resignation? asked the President. You cant mean that, my dear Floriot!

You found it necessary to have my books examined twice running, said Floriot sorrowfully, it caused a lot of talk. My reputation is ruined and I have to resign.

The President was deeply moved and he promised: Dont let that worry you, Ill make it my personal responsibility to see that your name is cleared.

As the managers post in Perpignan Branch was still vacant he offered it to Floriot.

No one can doubt your honesty now, can they? he added with a kind smile.

Back at his home in Perpignan, Floriot said to his wife in a good-humoured tone: I might have gone on being cashier for years and the people at head office would never have known how honest I was.

Yes, said his wife smiling, those letters were a wonderful idea of yours.

OLD COUNTRY ADVICE TO THE AMERICAN TRAVELLER

By William Saroyan

One day my uncle Melik travelled from Fresno to New York. Before he got aboard the train, his uncle Garro paid him a visit and told him about the dangers of travel.

When you get on the train, the old man said, choose your seat carefully, sit down and dont look about.

Yes, sir, my uncle said.

Several moments after the train begins to move, the old man said, two men wearing uniforms will come down the aisle and ask you for your ticket. Ignore them. They will be impostors.

How shall I know? my uncle said.

You will know, the old man said. You are no longer a child.

Yes, sir, my uncle said.

Before you have travelled twenty miles, an amiable young man will come to you and offer you a cigarette. Tell him you dont smoke. The cigarette will be doped.

Yes, sir, my uncle said.

On your way to the diner a very beautiful young woman will run into you on purpose and almost embrace you, the old man said. She will be extremely apologetic and attractive, and you natural wish will be to become friends with her. Dont do this, go into the diner and eat. The woman will be an adventuress.

A what? my uncle said.

A whore, the old man shouted. Go in and eat. Order the best food, and if the diner is crowded, and the beautiful young woman sits at your table, do not look into her eyes. If she speaks, pretend to be deaf.

Yes, sir, my uncle said.

Pretend to be deaf, the old man said. That is the only way out of it.

Out of what? my uncle said.

Out of the whole trouble, the old man said. I have travelled. I know what I, talking about.

Yes, sir, my uncle said.

Lets talk no more about it, the old man said.

Yes, sir, my uncle said.

On your way back to your seat from the diner, the old man said, You pass through the smoker. There you will find a game of cards in progress. The players will be three middle-aged men with expensive-looking rings on their fingers. They will nod at you pleasantly and one of them will invite you to join the game. Tell them, I dont speak English.

Yes, sir, my uncle said.

That is all, the old man said.

Thank you very much, my uncle said.

One thing more, the old man said. When you go to bed at night, take your money out of your pocket and put it in your shoe. Put your shoe under the pillow, keep your head on the pillow all night and dont sleep.

Yes, sir, my uncle said.

That is all, the old man said.

The old man went away and the next day my uncle Melik got aboard the train and went to New York. The two men in uniform were not impostors, the young man with the doped cigarettes did not appear, the beautiful young woman did not sit at his table in the diner, and there was no card game in progress in the smoker. My uncle put his money in his shoe and put the shoe under the pillow and put his head on the pillow and didnt sleep all night the first night, but the second night he abandoned the hoe ritual.

The second day he himself offered another young man a cigarette which the man accepted. In the diner my uncle went to sit at a table with a young lady. He started a poker game in the smoker, and long before the train got to New York my uncle knew everybody aboard the train and everybody knew him. While the train was travelling Ohio my uncle and the young man who had accepted the cigarette and two young ladies sang American songs together.

The journey was a very pleasant one.

When my uncle Melik came back from New York, his uncle Garro visited him again.

I see you are looking all right, he said. Did you follow my instructions?

Yes, sir, my uncle said.

I am very pleased, he said, that someone has profited by my experience.

WITCHES LOAVES

After O. Henry

 

Miss Martha Meacham kept the little bakery on the corner.

Miss Martha was forty, she had two thousand dollars in a bank, two false teeth and a kind heart.

Many people have been married who had less possibilities to do so than Miss Martha.

Two or three times a week a man came into her shop to buy bread and very soon she began to take an interest in him. He was a man of middle age with spectacles and a short brown bread. His clothes were poor, but he looked clean and had very good manners.

He always bought two loaves of stale bread. Fresh bread was five cents a loaf. Stale loaves were two for five. He never bought anything but stale bread.

Once Miss Martha saw red and brown stains on his fingers. She was sure then that he was an artist and very poor. Of course he lived in a little room where he painted pictures and ate stale bread, and thought of the good things in Miss Marthas bakery.

Often when Miss Martha sat down to eat her good dinner, she thought about the poor artist and wanted him to share her meal instead of eating his stale bread.

Miss Marthas heart, as you have been told, was a very kind one.

In order to find out his profession, she brought from her room one day a painting that she had once bought and put it against the shelves behind the bread counter.

It was an Italian painting. A beautiful palace stood near a lake. Miss Marthat was sure that an artist would notice it.

Two days later the man came into the shop.

Two loaves of stale bread, if you please.

You have a fine picture here, madam, he said while she was getting the bread.

Really? said Miss Martha. I love art and (she could not say artists) and paintings, she added. You think it is a good picture?

The palace, said the man, is not in good drawing. The perspective of it is not true. Good morning, madam.

He took the bread and hurried out.

Yes, he must be an artist. Miss Martha took the picture back to her room.

How kind his eyes were behind his spectacles! What a broad forehead he had! To be an artist - and to live on stale bread! But genius often has to struggle before it is recognised.

How good would it be for art if genius was helped by two thousand dollars in the bank, a bakery, and a kind heart too - but these were only dreams, Miss Martha.

Often now when he came, he talked for some time with Miss Martha. And he continued buying stale bread, never anything else.

She thought he was looking thinner. She wanted to add something good to eat to his stale bread, but she had no courage to it. She knew the pride of artists.

Miss Martha began to wear her best silk blouse almost every days. In the room behind the shop she cooked some mixture for her face.

One day the man came as usual, and asked for his stale loaves. While Miss Martha was getting them, there was a great noise in the street and the man hurried to the door to look. Suddenly Miss Martha had a bright idea.

On the shelf behind the counter was some fresh butter. With a bread knife Miss Martha made a deep cut in each of the stale loaves, put a big piece of butter there, and pressed the loaves together again.

When the man turned to her, she was putting the loaves into a paper bag.

When he had gone, after a very pleasant little talk, Miss Martha smiled to herself, and her heart beat very fast.

For a long time she could not think of anything else. She imagined his face when he would discover her little secret. He would stop painting and lay down his brushes. There would stand his picture in which the perspective was perfect. He would prepare for his meal of stale bread and water. He would take a loaf - ah!

Miss Martha blushed. Would he think of the hand that had put it there as he ate? Would he -

The front bell rang loudly. Somebody was coming in, making very much noise.

Miss Martha hurried into the shop. Two men were there. One was a young man smoking a pipe - a man she had never seen before. The other man was her artist.

His face was very red, his hat was on the back of his head, his hair was falling all over his face. He shook his two fists angrily at Miss Martha. At Miss Martha!

Fool! he shouted very loudly.

The young man tried to draw him away.

I shall not go, he said angrily, before I tell her. He beat his fists on Miss Marthas counter. You have spoilt my work, he cried, I will tell you. You are a stupid old cat!

Miss Martha stood back against the shelves and laid one hand on her heart. The young man took his companion by the arm.

Come one, he said, you have said enough.

He drew the angry man out into the street and then came back.

I think I must tell you, maam, he said, why he is so angry. That is Blumberger. He is a draughtsman. I work in the same office with him.

He worked very hard for three months drawing a plan for a new City Hall. It was a prize competition. He finished it yesterday. You know, a draughtsman always makes his drawing in pencil first. When it is finished, he rubs out the pencil lines with stale bread. That is better than indiarubber.

Blumberger always bought the bread here. Well, today - well, you know, maam, that butter isnt - well, Blumbergers plan isnt good for anything now.

Miss Marthat went into the back room. She took off the blue silk blouse and put on the old brown one she had worn before. Then she poured the mixture made for her out of the window.

MR. TRAVERSS FIRST HUNT

After Richard H. Davis

Young Travers, who had been engaged to a girl down on Long Island for the last three months, met her father and brother a few weeks before the day set for the wedding. The father and son owned fast horses. Old Mr. Paddock (the father of the girl to whom Travers was engaged) had often said that when a young man asked for his daughters hand he would ask him in return, not if he lived straight, but if he could ride straight. And on his answering this question in the affirmative depended his gaining her parents consent.

Travers had met Miss Paddock and her mother in Europe, while the men of the family were at home. He was invited to their place in the autumn when the hunting season opened, and spent the evening most pleasantly with his fiancee in the corner of the drawing-room.

But as soon as the women had gone, young Paddock joined him and said: You ride, of course?

Travers had never ridden, but he had been prompted how to answer by Miss Paddock, and so said that there was nothing he liked better.

Thats good, said the young Paddock. Ill give you Satan tomorrow morning. Ever since he killed Wills, the second groom, last year, none of us cared to ride him. But you can manage him, no doubt.

The next morning young Travers came downstairs looking very miserable indeed. Satan had been taken to the place where they were to meet, and Travers viewed him on his arrival there with a sickening sense of fear as hesaw him pulling three grooms off their feet.

Travers waited until all riders were well away: then he clenched his teeth and scrambled up on the saddle. His feet fell quite by accident in the stirrups, and the next instant he was off after the others. Satan had passed all the horses in less than five minutes. Travers had taken hold of the saddle with his left hand to keep himself down, and swayed on the reins with his right. He shut his eyes whenever Satan jumped, and never knew how he happened to stick on; but he did stick on and was so far ahead that no one could see in the misty morning just how badly he rode. Fences and trees passed by Travers like a panorama run by electricity, and he only breathed by accident.

There was a broad stream in front of him, and a hill just on the other side. Travers could only gasp and shut his eyes. He remembered the fate of the second groom and shivered.

At that moment the horse rose like a rocket lifting Travers so high in the air that he thought Satan would never come down again, but he did not come down on the opposite side of the stream. The next instant he was up and over the hill, and had stopped panting.

And then Travers hastily produced his cigar-case, and when all the hunters came over the bridge and around the hill, they saw him seated on his saddle, puffing critically at a cigar and giving Satan patronising pats on the head.

My dear girl, said old Mr. Paddock to his daughter as they rode back, if you love that young man of yours, make him promise to give up riding. A more reckless and more brilliant horseman I have never seen. But he will break his neck sooner or later, that' why he ought to be stopped.

Young Paddock was so delighted with his prospective brother-in-laws great riding that that night he made a present of Satan in the presence of all the guests.

No, thank you, said Travers gloomily, I cant take him. Your sister had asked me to give up what is dearer to me than anything next to herself, and that is my riding.

A chorus of sympathetic remonstrances rose from the guests.

Yes, I know, said Travers to young Paddock, it is rough, forgive me, but it just shows what sacrifices a man will make for the woman he loves!

A RAILWAY INCIDENT

After M. Twain. Mistaken Identity

Year ago I arrived one day at a Salamanca railway station near New York. I was to take the sleeper train there. There were crowds of people on the platform and they were all pushing into the long sleeper train which was already full.

I asked the young man in the ticket office if I could have two tickets, and he answered sharply No! and shut the window in my face. This was a terrible blow to my dignity; but at the same time it was necessary for me to have the tickets.

Having found a local official, I asked him if I couldnt have some poor little corner somewhere in a sleeping-car; but he cut me short with a sharp No, you cant. Every corner is full. Now, dont trouble me any more, and he turned his back on me and walked off.

My dignity was in a state now which could not be described. I was so offended at having received such answers that I said to my companion: They talk to me like this because they dont know who I am. If they knew. . .

But my companion cut me short there: Dont talk such foolishness, he said. If they knew who you were, do you think it would help you to get a vacant seat in a train which has no vacant seats in it? and he turned his back on me. That was too much.

I found the same local official and said very politely that my name was Mark Twain and could I have. . . But he cut me short again: I told you not to trouble me any more, and again he turned his back on me.

I looked around helplessly and saw that my companion had been watching the whole scene.

The shame which I felt cannot be described. I said: He may not have heard my name, but my companion cut me short again: He must have heard your name well enough. He does not care, thats all.

I dont know what would have happened next, but just then I noticed that the young porter of a sleeping car had his eye on me. He whispered to the conductor, nodding towards me, and the conductor at once turned and came to me, full of politeness.

Can I be of any service to you, sir? he said. Will you have a place in the sleeper?

Why, certainly, I said. But I have asked that man on the platform and he said that every corner was full and told me not to trouble him.

Oh sir, he cant have said such a thing! He cant have spoken like that to you, sir! I am sorry, sir, but you must have misunderstood him . . . Here, Tom, take these cases to the big family compartment.

The porter took our suit-cases and we moved to the car. I wanted to say just a few words to my companion, but I waited. Having made us comfortable in the large compartment, Tom said with many smiles: Now, is there anything you want, sir? Because you can just have anything you want. It does not matter what it is.

Well, this lamp is rather too high. Can I have another lamp just at the head, so that I can read comfortably?

Yes, sir, you can, Ill do it myself. Yes, sir, and you can just ask for anything you want, and this whole railway will be turned inside out to get it for you. That all. And he disappeared.

Here I smiled at my companion and said politely: Well, what will you say now?

Well, said my companion, you were right. I am sorry I have said all those things to you on the platform. I am glad I have come here with you. If I had been without you, I should never have received a ticket. But I dont understand.

At this moment Toms smiling face appeared at the door again, and this speech followed: Oh, sir, I recognized you in a minute. I told the conductor so. I recognized you the minute I saw you.

Is that so, my boy? (giving him a double fee) Who am I?

You are Mr. Mc. Clennan, Mayor of New York, and he disappeared again.

HOW WE KEPT MOTHERS BIRTHDAY

After S. Leacock

This year we decided to have a special celebration of Mothers Birthday.

So we decided that wed make a holiday for all the family, and do everything we could to make Mother happy. Father decided to take a holiday from his office; my sister Anne and I stayed home from college classes, and Mary and my brother Will stayed home from school.

The two girls thought it would be a nice thing to dress in our very best for such a big day, and so they both got new hats. Father had bought four ties for himself and us boys. We were going to get Mother a new hat too but she said she liked her old hat better than a new one, and both the girls said that it was becoming her.

Well, after breakfast we decided that we would get a car and take her for a beautiful drive into the country. Mother is hardly able to have anything like that because she is busy in the house all the time. And of course the country is so lovely now that it would be wonderful for her to have a morning there.

But on the very morning of the day we changed the plan a little, because Father said that it would be much better for Mother if we took her fishing. Father said that as the car was hired and paid for, we might just as well use it for a drive up into the hills where the streams are. So we all fell that it would be nicer for Mother to go fishing. Father got a new rod, and he said that Mother could use it if she wanted to.

So everything was ready for the trip. Mother had made up the lunch in case we got hungry, though we were to come home to a big dinner in the middle of the day, just like some big holiday.

Well, when the car came to the door, we saw that there was not as much room in it as we had supposed, and it was clear that we couldnt all get in.

Father wanted us to go right up into the hills and be happy and not to mind him. He said that he could stay home and work all day, and he said he had been a fool to think there would be any holiday for him.

But of course we all felt that we couldnt let Father stay at home. The two girls, Anne and Mary, would gladly have stayed and helped the maid get dinner. Only it was such a pity to, on a lovely day like that, having their new hats. Will and I would have stayed but we wouldnt have been any use getting the dinner.

So it was decided that Mother would stay home and have a lovely day round the house, and get the dinner. Mother didnt care for fishing, and it was a little cold and fresh out-of-doors.

Father said he would never forgive himself if he let Mother take cold at a time when she might be having a beautiful rest. He said it was our duty to let Mother get all the rest and quiet that she could, after all that she had done for all of us. He said that young people seldom realize how much quiet means to people who are getting old.

So we all drove away, saying good-bye to Mother, and Mother stood and watched us from the gate for as long as she could see us. We had the loveliest day and Father caught many big fishes. Will and I fished too, and there were some young men friends of the girls that they met and talked to, and so we all had a wonderful time.

It was quite late when we got back, but Mother guess that we would be late, so she did everything to have the dinner ready for us. Only first she had to get towels and soap for Father and clean clothes for him to put on, and that kept Mother busy a little time.

But at last everything was ready, and we sat down to the most wonderful kind of dinner like on Christmas. Mother had to get up and down many times, but at the end Father noticed it and said she simply mustnt do it.

When the dinner was over all of us wanted to help Mother to wash up the dishes, only Mother said that she would do it herself, and so we left her because we wanted just for once to please her.

It was quite late when it was all over, and when we all kissed Mother before going to bed she said it had been the most wonderful day in her life, and I think there were tears in her eyes.

UNEMPLOYMENT

After J. Galsworthy. The White Monkey

When Toony Bicket came to work the foreman told him that he had been dismissed. There were a million and a half out of work, and Bicket had become one of them.

Going home Bicket thought of how to tell Victorine, his wife that he had lost his job but he could not think of anything. It was necessary to speak very carefully because Victorine had been ill for a long time and was very weak after her illness.

He examined his pockets, and found very little money there. He tried to remember how much money he had left at home that morning. The sum was very small.

Well, we have a fortnights keep, anyhow, and by the end of the fortnight, perhaps, I shall find another job.

Tony knew that it was impossible for him to find another job in a fortnight with a million and a half out of work.

He was near his house now. Somebody was standing at the door - it was the landlady. He had not paid the rent. Better pay it, he thought, and have a roof over Vics head till she is well.

He gave the money to the landlady. Then he turned to his door and thought of Victorine. They had been married only a year before, and Bicket had often wondered why she had fallen in love with him, eight years older than herself. She was lying there, hardly able to move. And he had lost his job!

Suddenly another thought flashed across his mind: What shall we do if I dont find a job?

When Bicket entered, his wife was sitting before the fire-place looking into the low fire. She turned to him quickly. She was glad he had come though his coming so early was unusual.

Well, Tony? - she said. Her face was so thin and pale that Tony could not tell her that he had lost his job. Instead of answering her he took out of his pocket the receipt which the landlady had given him and showed it to Victorine saying: Look, Ive paid the rent. Out of the other pocket he took a tin of meat jelly. Ive bought this tin for you, this is very good jelly, he said cheerfully. Sit down and try it.

He himself ate bread and margarine; he had said that he had no appetite. When she had eaten, she noticed how tired he looked.

Why are you so pale, Tony? she asked. Has anything happened?

News isnt bright, he said. I have lost my job, Vic.

Oh Tony! Why?

Business is slow and they are dismissing workers. They have already dismissed half of the workers there. I am not the first.

What shall we do, then?

Dont worry, Ill get something, Bicket said.

Have they given you a reference?

No, they have not, he said and quickly added: Shall I tell you what Id like to do? Id like to go to Central Australia with you. I have recently read a book about Central Australia. It is a wonderful country, Central Australia; theres so much sun there. Id like to show you new places. You have never been out of England, have you?

No, she said, I have never been out of England. I have hardly ever been out of London . . . But how much does it cost to get to Australia?

A lot more than we can get, thats the trouble. And another trouble is that England is about done. There are too many unemployed here.

Victorine got up, lay down and soon fell asleep; she was very weak after her illness. Tony sat looking at her. He knew that there was no chance for him to get any job.

THE STORY OF AN HOUR

Kate Chopin

1851-1904

Knowing that Mrs. Mallard was afflicted with a heart trouble, great care was taken to break to her as gently as possible the news of her husbands death.

It was her sister Josephine who told her, in broken sentences; veiled hints that revealed in half concealing. Her husbands friend Richards was there, too, near her. It was he who had been in the newspaper office when intelligence of the railroad disaster was received, with Brently Mallards name leading the list of killed. He had only taken the time to assure himself of its truth by a second telegram, and had hastened to forestall any less careful, less tender friend in bearing the sad message.

She did not hear the story as many women have heard the same, with a paralyzed inability to accept its significance. She wept at once, with sudden, wild abandonment, in her sisters arms. When the storm of grief had spent itself she went away to her room alone. She would have no one follow her.

There stood, facing the open window, a comfortable, roomy armchair. Into this she sank, pressed down by a physical exhaustion that haunted her body and seemed to reach into her soul.

She could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life. The delicious breath of rain was in the air. In the street below a peddler was crying his wares. The notes of a distant song which someone was singing reached her faintly, and countless sparrows were twittering in the eaves.

There were patches of blue sky showing here and there through the clouds that had met and piled one above the other in the west facing her window.

She sat with her head thrown back upon the cushion of the chair, quite motionless, except when a sob came up into her throat and shook her, as a child who has cried itself to sleep continues to sob in its dreams.

She was young, with a fair, calm face, whose lines bespoke repression and even a certain strength. But now there was a dull stare in her eyes, whose gaze was fixed away off yonder on one of those patches of blue sky. It was not a glance of reflection, but rather indicated a suspension of intelligent thought.

There was something coming to her and she was waiting for it, fearfully. What was it? She did not know; it was too subtle and elusive to name. But she felt it, creeping out of the sky, reaching toward her through the sounds, the scents, the color that filled the air.

Now her bosom rose and fell tumultuously. She was beginning to recognize this thing that was approaching to possess her, and she was striving to beat it back with her will - as powerless as her two white slender hands would have been.

When she abandoned herself, a little whispered word escaped her slightly parted lips. She said it over and over under her breath:free, free, free! The vacant stare and the look of terror that had followed it went from her eyes. They stayed keen and bright. Her pulses beat fast, and the coursing blood warmed and relaxed every inch of her body.

She did not stop to ask if it were or were not a monstrous joy that held her. A clear and exalted perception enabled her to dismiss the suggestion as trivial.

She knew that she would weep again when she saw the kind, tender hands folded in death: the face that had never looked save with love upon her, fixed and gray and dead. But she saw beyond that bitter moment a long procession of years to come that would belong to her absolutely. And she opened and spread her arms out to them in welcome.

There would be no one to live for her during those coming years; she would live for herself. There would be no powerful will bending hers in that blind persistence with which men and women believe they have a right to impose a private will upon a fellow creature. A kind intention or a cruel intention made the act seem no less a crime as she looked upon it in that brief moment of illumination.

And yet she had loved him - sometimes. Once she had not. What did it matter! What could love, the unsolved mystery, count for in face of this possession of self-assertion which she suddenly recognized as the strongest impulse of her being!

Free! Body and soul free! she kept whispering.

Josephine was kneeling before the closed door with her lips to the keyhole, imploring for admission. Louise, open the door! I beg; open the door - you will make yourself ill. What are you doing, Louise? For heavens sake open the door.

Go away, I am not making myself ill. No; she was drinking in a very elixir of life through that open window.

Her fancy was running riot along those days ahead of her. Spring days, and summer days, and all sorts of days that would be her own. She breathed a quick prayer that life might be long. It was only yesterday she had thought with a shudder that life might be long.

She arose at length and opened the door to her sisters importunities. There was a feverish triumph in her eyes, and she carried herself unwittingly like a goddess of Victory. She clasped her sisters waist, and together they descended the stairs. Richards stood waiting for them at the bottom.

Someone was opening the front door with a latchkey. It was Brently Mallard who entered, a little travel-stained, composedly carrying his little gripsack and umbrella. He has been far from the scene of accident, and did not know there had been one. He stood amazed at Josephines piercing cry; at Richardss quick motion to screen him from the view of his wife.

But Richards was too late.

When the doctors came they said she had died of heart disease - of joy that kills.

1.elixir of life - An imaginary substance thought by medieval alchemists to prolong life indefinitely.

  1. gripsack - A small bag for holding clothes.

Recalling

  1. Why is great care taken to break the news of Brently Mallards death to Mrs. Mallard as gently as possible.
  2. (a) How does Mrs. Mallard first react to the news of her husbands death? (b) How does her reaction change?
  3. (a) Who opens the front door toward the end of the story? (b) How does Mrs. Mallard react when she sees him?

Interpreting

  1. At the beginning of the story, when Chopin states that Mrs. Mallard was afflicted with heart trouble, she seems to be referring to a medical problem. Considering Mrs. Mallards response to her husbands death, what other meaning do you think this statement might have?
  2. How do the details of the scene outside Mrs. Mallards room foreshadow the feelings that gradually sweep over Mrs. Mallard as she sits in her armchair?
  3. What has Mrs. Mallard apparently resented about her marriage?
  4. Why do you think Chopin chooses to reveal little about Mrs. Mallards personally aside from her feelings concerning her marriage, her husband, and her independence?
  5. What do you think is the actual reason for Mrs. Mallards death?
  6. What do you think is the significance of the storys title?

Applying

  1. Mrs. Mallard realizes, There would be no one to live for her during these coming years; she would live for herself. Do you think that it is important for people to live for themselves? Explain your answer.

Recognizing Irony

Irony is a contrast between what is stated and what is meant, or between what is expected to happen and what actually happens. Situational irony and dramatic irony are two of the types of irony used in literature. An example of situational irony occurs in The Story of an Hour, when, after you have been led to expect that Mrs. Mallard will be deeply disturbed by the news of her husbands death, she is actually overcome by a sense of joy.

1.Why is Mrs. Mallards sudden death also an example of situational irony?

  1. Why is the diagnosis of the cause of Mrs. Mallards death an example of dramatic irony?

Recognizing Details of Irony

A writer creates situational irony by including details that create certain expectations. For example, in The Story of an Hour, Chopin leads you to expect that Mrs. Mallard will be upset by the news of her husbands death by mentioning that Josephine and Richards take great care to break the news to her as gently as possible.

Find two details that help create the situational irony of Mrs. Mallards death.

The Last Unicorns

Edward D. Hoch

The rain was still falling by the time he reached the little wooden shack that stood in the center of the green, fertile valley. He opened his cloak for an instant to knock at the door, not really expecting a reply.

But it opened, pulled over the roughness of the rock floor by great hairy hands. "Come in," a voice commanded him. "Hurry! Before this rain floods me out."

"Thank you," the traveler said, removing the soggy garment that covered him and squeezing out some of the water. "It's good to find a dry place. I've come a long way."

"Not many people are about in this weather," the man told him, pulling at his beard with a quick, nervous gesture.

"I came looking for you."

"For me? What is your name?"

"You can call me Shem. I come from beyond the mountains."

The bearded man grunted. "I don't know the name. What do you seek?"

Shem sat down to rest himself on a pale stone seat. "I hear talk that you have two fine unicorns here, recently brought from Africa."

The man smiled proudly. "That is correct. The only such creatures in this part of the world. I intend to breed them and sell them to the farmers as beast of burden."

"Oh?"

"They can do the work of strong horses and at the same time use their horns to defend themselves against attack."

"True," Shem agreed. "Very true. I ... I don't suppose you'd want to part with them ... ?"

"Part with them! Are you mad, man?" It cost me money to bring them all the way from Africa!"

"How much would you like for them?"

The bearded man rose from his seat. "No amount, ever! Come back in two years when I've bred some. Until then, begone with you!"

"I must have them, sir."

"You must have nothing! Begone from here now before I take a club to you!" And with these words he took a menacing step forward.

Shem retreated out the door, back into the rain, skipping lightly over a rushing stream of water from the higher ground. The door closed on him, and he was alone. But he looked out into the fields, where a small barnlike structure stood glistening in the downpour.

They would be in there, he knew.

He made his way across the field, sometimes sinking to his ankles in puddles of muddy water. But finally he reached the outbuilding and went in through a worn, rotten door.

Yes, they were there ... Two tall and handsome beasts, very much like horses, but with longer tails and with that gleaming, twisted horn shooting straight up from the center of their foreheads. Unicorns - one of the rarest of God's creatures!

He moved a bit closer, trying now to lure them out of the building without startling them. But there was a noise, and he turned suddenly to see the bearded man standing there, a long staff upraised in his hands.

"You try to steal them," he shouted, lunging forward.

The staff thudded against the wall, inches from Shem's head. "Listen, old man ..."

"Die! Die, you robber!"

But Shem leaped to one side, around the bearded figure of wrath, and through the open doorway. Behind him, the unicorns gave a fearful snort and trampled the earthen door with their hoofs.

Shem kept running, away from the shack, away from the man with the staff, away from the fertile valley.

After several hours of plodding over the rain-swept hills, he came at last upon his father's village, and he went down among the houses to the place where the handful of people had gathered.

And he saw his father standing near the base of the great wooden vessel, and he went up to him sadly.

"Yes, my son?" the old man questioned, unrolling a long damp scroll of parchment.

"No unicorns, Father."

"No unicorns," Noah repeated sadly, scratching out the name on his list. "It is too bad. They were handsome beasts ..."

Questions.

1. What does Shem request of the bearded man?

2. What does Shem attempt to do after the bearded man refuses his request?

3. How does the bearded man react to Shem's attempt?

4. What does Shem do after his failure to get the unicorns?

5. "The Last Unicorns" is based on an allusion to the Biblical story of Noah and the flood (Genesis 6-8), in which Noah took two of every animal onto his ark before a flood destroyed everything but his ark. What does Shem know that the bearded man does not know?

6. Why doesn't Shem tell the bearded man why he must have the unicorns?

7. What is the purpose of the references to the weather?

8. What details and situation are taken from the Biblical story?

9. How might you have approached the man with your request if you were Shem?

 

A PLACE OF MY OWN

(Conditional 2)

Jenny: Hello, Rick. Its me. Jenny.

Rick: Oh... hi.

Jenny: You sound strange. Whats the matter?

Rick: Mmm? Oh, I bumped into a friend of mine on the way home. He left school last year. Hes found a job on the other side of town, and hes just got a flat of his own.

Jenny: A flat! He must be earning a lot of money then.

Rick: Well, its not a big flat, its a bed-sit, really. But it must be great. I wish I could leave school and get my own flat.

Jenny: You couldnt afford it.

Rick: Id have to get a job.

Jenny: What sort of job?

Rick: I dont know. Anything. If I had my own place, I could stay late and play records whenever I wanted and have breakfast in bed...

Jenny: Breakfast in bed! And who would cook it for you?

Rick: Id do it myself. Id learn.

Jenny: I think youd better start leaning now. Why dont you cook your breakfast tomorrow?

Rick: Dont be funny. Im quite serious.

Jenny: Im sorry, Rick. But its true. You never cook anything at home, so how would you manage in your own flat?

Rick: Well, I could always get a take-away, or fish and chips, or a few tins...

Jenny: Not for breakfast! And how would you keep the flat clean? If your Mum didnt clean and tidy your room for you, youd never find anything. And what about washing your clothes?

Rick: Oh, for goodness sake, Jenny! If I had my own place, I wouldnt need to tidy it. Nobody would see it. And havent you ever heard of launderettes?

Jenny: They dont iron your shirts, though.

Rick: If I didnt go to school, I wouldnt have to wear ironed shirts! Id work in a garage. Id wear T-shirts and overalls!

Jenny: Oh, Rick, youre hopeless! I give up!

 

ENGLISH WRITERS

Arnold Bennett (1867-1931) came from Staffordshire, from a district called "The Potteries", which he used as the setting of some of his novels, and which puts him among the "regionalist" or "district writers" .He depicted, with sympathy, the lower-middle classes and the simple experiences of normal family. He respected the older form of the novel, and his best works (Anna of the Five Town (1902), The Old Wives' Tale (1908), may still be read with interest, though they offer no innovation in technique.

HARLOTTE BRONTE

(1816-55)

daughter of Patrick Bronte, an Irishman, perpetual curate of Haworth, Yorkshire, from 1820 till his death in 1861. Charlotte's mother died in 1821, leaving five daughters and a son. Four of the daughters were sent to a clergy daughters' boarding-school (of which Charlotte gives her recollection in the Lowood of 'Jane Eyre'), an unfortunate step which may have hastened the death of Charlotte's

two elder sisters. In 1831-2 Charlotte was at Miss Wooler's school at Roehead, whither she returned as a teacher in 1835-8. She was subsequently a governess, and in 1842 went with her sister Emily to study languages at a school in Brussels, where during 1843 she was employed as teacher. In the next year Charlotte was back at Haworth, and in 1846 appeared a volume of verse entitled 'Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell', the pseudonyms of Charlotte, Emily, and Anne. "The Professor", Charlotte's first novel, was refused by publishers, and was not published until 1857; while Emily's 'Wuthering Heights' and Anne's 'Agnes Grey' were accepted and published in 1848. Charlotte's 'Jane Eyre' was published in 1847 and achieved immediate success. Fresh sorrows now descended on the author: her brother, whose vicious habits had caused the sisters much distress, died in September 1848, Emily before the end of the same year, and Anne in the following summer, and Charlotte

alone survived of the six children. She produced two more novels, 'Shirley' and 'Villette'. Charlotte married in 1854 the Revd. A. B. Nicholls, her father's curate, but died a few months later.

'Jane Eyre'. The heroine, a penniless orphan, has been left to the care of her aunt, Mrs.Reed. Harsh and unsympathetic treatment rouses the spirit of the child, and a passionate outbreak leads to her consignment to Lowood Asylum, a charitable institution, where after some miserable years she becomes a teacher. Thence she passes to be a governess at Thornfield Hall to a little girl, the natural daughter of Mr.Rochester, a man of grim aspect and sardonic temper. In spite of Jane Eyre's plainness, Rochester is fascinated by her elfish wit and courageous spirit, and falls in love with her, and she with him. Their marriage is prevented at the last moment by the relation that he has a wife living, a raving lunatic, kept in seclusion at Thornhill Hall. Jane flees from the Hall, and after nearly perishing on the moors is taken in and cared for by the Revd. St.John Rivers and his sisters. Under the influence of the strong personality of Rivers, she nearly consents (in spite of her undiminished love for Rochester) to marry him and accompany him to India. She is prevented by a telepathic appeal from Rochester, and sets out for Thornhill Hall, to learn that the place has been burnt down, and that Rochester, in vainly trying to save his wife from the flames, has been blinded and maimed, She finds him in utter dejection, becomes his wife, and restores him to happiness.

In Lowood Asylum Miss Bronte depicted the school at Cowan Bridge where she spent some unhappy years, and where her sisters Maria (portrayed in Helen Burns) and Elizabeth contracted the consumption of which they died.

 

JANE EYRE

The heroine, a penniless orphan, has been left to the care of her aunt, Mrs. Reed. Harsh and unsympathetic treatment rouses the spirit of the child, and a passionate outbreak leads to her consignment to Lowood Asylum, a charitable institution, where after some miserable years she becomes a teacher. Thence she passes to be a governess at Thornfield Hall to a little girl, the natural daughter of Mr. Rochester , a man of grim aspect and sardonic temper. In spite of Jane Eyre's plainness, Rochester is fascinated by her elfish wit and courageous spirit, and falls in love with her, and she with him. Their marriage is prevented at the last moment by the revelation that he has a wife living, a raving lunatic, kept in seclusion at Thornfield Hall. Jane flees from the Hall, and after nearly perishing on the moors is taken in and cared for by the Revd. St. John Rivers and his sisters. Under the influence of the strong personality of Rivers, she nearly consents (in spite of her undiminished love for Rochester) to marry him and accompany him to India. She is prevented by a telepathic appeal from Rochester, and sets out for Thornfield Hall, to learn that the place has burnt down, and Rochester, in vainly trying to save his wife from the flames, has been blinded and maimed. She finds him in utter dejection, becomes his wife, and restores him to happiness.

In Lowood Asylum Miss Bronte depicted the school at Cowan Bridge where she spent some unhappy years, and where her sisters Maria (portrayed in Helen Burns) and Elizabeth contracted the consumption of which they died.

Burns Night

Small societies of admirers often honour great writers by putting up monuments and statues in their birthplaces or in cities like London. But Robert Burns is regarded by the whole Scottish people as their national poet. His birthday is celebrated every year in cities, towns and villages by all kinds of clubs and associations. The main event at these celebrations is a Burns Supper, opening with the traditional toast, To the Immemorial Memory of Robert Burns.

Literary critics are not the only people in Scotland with a profound and broad knowledge of the poets life and work. The speakers at the supper may include a farmer (as was Burns himself), a shopkeeper, a doctor or a policeman. All are equally eloquent in expressing their love and admiration.

Burns poems and songs, written in a dialect often very unlike English, combine tenderness and rich humour with unusual lyric beauty. He wrote from his own experience as a village inhabitant: his love of nature, together with his independence and love of freedom, have won him the foremost place in Scottish hearts.

Moscow News weekly, No. 50, 1982

THE BURNS COUNTRY

The Tam oShanter Inn in High Street, Ayr, once the haunt of the original of Tam, now houses many Burns relics.

The mausoleum of Robert Burns in the churchyard of Saint Michaels, Dumfries. Originally buried in a modest grave nearby, the poets remains were moved when the mausoleum was completed in 1815.

The Burns Country is the title shared by the twin counties of Ayrshire and Dumfriesshire. The life of the poet Robert Burns was shared between them. In the early part of his life he lived in Alloway and on three different Ayrshire farms. In the latter part he lived on a Dumfriesshire farm, in Dumfriees itself, and travelling around the Solway villages looking for smugglers as an exciseman, or customs official. No title is more deserved, for Burns has chronicled almost every blade of grass in the area.

Andrew Fergus

Moscow News, 1987

ROBERT BURNS

1759-1796

No other name is more synonymous with the title "The voice of Scotland" than that of the poet Robert Burns. A farmer and a farmer's son, Burns was born at Alloway, in Ayrshire, and spent his early years in the two-room clay cottage his father had built. Although poverty prevented Burns from receiving a formal education, with his father's encouragement he read widely, studying the Bible, Shakespeare, and Alexander Pope on his own. His mother, though herself illiterate, instilled in him a love of Scottish folk songs, legends, and proverbs.

In 1786 Burns published his first collection of poems at a small local press. Although the collection, which included "To a Mouse", was successful, Burns only first came to the attention of the public at large the following year when a fuller collection, Poems: Chiefly in Scottish, was published at Edinburgh. He was invited to the Scottish capital, where he was swept into the social scene, if only as something of a rustic curiosity. He left Edinburgh in 1788, to explore the English border region and the Highlands.

Later that year he married Jean Armour, his sweetheart of many years, and returned to the farm to work the land. The soil proved unproductive, however, and so to supplement his income he took a position with the Excise Service - Scotland's department of taxation. All the while he continued to refine his poetic style, turning out some of his finest verses. At the outbreak of the French Revolution, he became an outspoken supporter of the republican cause, a move that threatened his job and alienated many of his friends. His spirits low and his health taxed by a weak heart he had had since childhood, Burns contracted a fever from which he never recovered. Thousands of people from all social levels followed his coffin to the grave, and he was acclaimed the national poet of Scotland.

Burn's numerous adventures produced many lyrics that figure among the most natural and spontaneous the English language has produced. His poems, written for the most part in dialect, are characterized by innocence, honesty, and simplicity. First and last a people's poet, Burns crafted poetic "melodies" that speak to "the sons and daughters of labor and poverty" - and for them. Though some of the poet's had its origin in folk tunes, "it is not", as James Douglas wrote, "easy to tell where the vernacular ends and the personal magic begins.".

In the eighteenth century, the belief was widespread among writers that only formal diction was acceptable in poetry. Rules were thus developed concerning the subjects and styles that were thought to be appropriate for poetry. Common life and colloquial language were almost always excluded from the poet's domain. Robert Burns rebelled against these rules, both with his use of Scottish dialect and his celebration of the rural and working life. Like so many poets of the age that ushered in the Romanticism of the next generation, Burns strived to capture in words the language and experiences of the human heart.

Dialect is a collection of speech habits and patterns belonging to a specific group, class, or region. Often, a dialect will possess its own unique grammar, pronunciation, and vocabulary. One of the first poets to write using the Scottish dialect of English, Robert Burns placed himself in direct opposition to the poetic standards of the eighteen century.

Robert Burns, often described as the "peasant poet", was born in a clay cottage at Alloway, in Ayrshire, Scotland. The eldest of seven children of a poor farmer, he was soon obliged to work as a labourer on his father's farm, leading a life which he himself described as "the cheerless gloom of a hermit, and the unceasing toil of a galley slave".

His education, however, was not neglected. He was not an unlettered peasant, as he has sometimes been portrayed. Since his childhood he had been very fond of reading, often carrying books into the fields to read them in his rare leisure moments. So, though he did not have a regular schooling, he was able to pick up a fairly good knowledge of the classics and of the main 18th-century English poets. It was, however, from his illiterate mother and his country fellows that he learnt Scottish folk songs.

He began writing very early, but his real awakening as a poet took place in 1784-85, when he discovered the collections of vernacular Scottish poetry by Allan Ramsay (1688-1758) and the works of Robert Fergusson (1750-1774), with their vivid, racy descriptions of the life and amusements of the Edinburgh poor. For the first time Burns realized the potential wealth of his native dialect as a literary language; following his two original models, he began writing about the world and the life around him. He quite often thought up his poems while working at his plough. Then, at night, back home, he would sit down in his garret and write them down.

In 1786, impelled by his reckless, rebellious nature, he planned to emigrate to Jamaica, in the West Indies. Before leaving, however, he decided to publish his poems, among other things to obtain the passage-money for the voyage. The publication, known as the Kilmarnock Edition, made him very famous and, instead of Jamaica, it took him for a time to Edinburgh. Here on the wake of the fashionable veneration for Rousseau's ideas, he soon became the darling of Edinburgh's literary circles, which, ignoring the real extent of his literary knowledge, hailed him as the "Heaven-taught plowman".

Back home, thanks to the money earned with the second edition of his poems, he bought and eventually sold a farm, married Jean Armour, one of his many loves, found a job in the excise service and spent his spare time collecting some of the extant traditional Scots songs.

His radical sympathies for the French Revolution, when it broke out, caused him some troubles, as he was even charged with seditious speeches, which almost cost him his excise job. Though he overcame the storm, his already poor health began declining and, in 1796, he died of heart disease.

A Red, Red Rose

A Man's A Man For A'That

For the Sake o'Somebody

Charlie He's My Darling

Corn Rigs (The Rigs of Barley)

Comin Thro' The Rye

Parting Song To Clarinda

Had we never lov'd so kindly,

Had we never lov'd so blindly,

Never met - or never parted,

We had ne'er been broken-hearted.

That there is a falsehood in his looks,

I must and will deny:

They tell their master is a knave,

And sure they do not lie.

A Man's A Man For A'That.

Sending this to Thomson, in Jan1795, the poet remarks: "A great critic on songs says that Love and Wine are the exclusive themes for song-writing. The following is on neither subject, and consequently is no song; but will be allowed, I think, to be two or three pretty good prose thoughts inverted into rhyme... I do no give you the song for your book, but merely by way of vive la bagatelle; for the choice is not really poetry." That may be so, and the sentiments may smack of Tom Payne; but it may well be questioned whether any other poem from his pen has been so frequently quoted to the honour of Robert Burns.

What placed Burns in direct opposition to the poetic standards of the eighteenth century

What are the main themes of his poetry?

What do they have in common with those of the Romanticism of the next generation?

What are the general characteristics of Burns' poems?

Did the poet have an eventful life? Who were his parents?

Ian Grimble

ROBERT BURNS

1759-96

Of all the newly-printed poems the most familiar throughout the world is the address To a Haggis, a dish of the poor that consists in the offal of the sheep, cooked in its stomach with oatmeal and onions. Today, thanks to Burns, it has become fashionable, and his poem is recited at every Burns Night supper that commemorates his birthday, when it is brought to the table.

Dr Hugh Blair, who had helped to foist the bogus Ossian epics on the bard and so many besides, evidently dissuaded him from including that marvelously authentic celebration of low life, the cantata of The Jolly Beggars. It was not published until after his death, and its very survival in manuscript it something of a wonder.

Another notable omission is Holy Willie's Prayer, perhaps the most consummate satire ever composed in the English language: and it is composed in the English language, with only minimal concessions to local pronunciation. The subject of it was an identifiable Elder of the Church, and it is a withering attack on the doctrine of Election upheld by Calvinist fundamentalists. This suffices to account for its suppression until it appeared anonymously in a pamphlet of 1789.

The Kilmarnock edition had transformed Burns into Caledonia's Bard: the Edinburgh one advanced him rapidly to the rank of one of the world's poets. It was issued simultaneously in London and soon afterwards in America.

He wrote to Clarinda, and described his meeting with Jean. 'I am disgusted with her; I cannot endure her! I, while my heart smote me for the profanity, tried to compare her with my Clarinda; 'twas setting the expiring glimmer of a farthing taper beside the cloudless glory of the meridian sun. Here was tasteless insipidity, vulgarity of soul, and mercenary fawning; there, polished good sense, heaven-born genius, and the most generous, the most delicate, the most tender Passion. I have done with her, and she with me.' As the world knows, they had done no such thing.

Despite what he had said a few days earlier about the farthing taper, and although Jean Armour was within a few weeks of her confinement, Burns wrote of her to Robert Ainslie on 3 March: I have taken her to my arms: I have given her a mahogany bed: I have given her a guinea; and I have f-d her till she rejoiced with joy unspeakable and full of glory. But - as I always am on every occasion - I have been prudent and cautious to an astounding degree; I swore her, privately and solemnly, never to attempt any claim on me as a husband, even though anybody should persuade her she had such a claim, which she has not, neither during my life, nor after my death. She did all this like a good girl, and I took the opportunity of some dry horselitter, and gave her such a thundering scalade that electrified the very marrow of her bones.' He wrote those words on the day Jean was once again delivered of twins, and it is hardly surprising that neither of these survived.

In the case of John Anderson my Jo it can be seen that he transformed some rather indecent verses into a moving celebration of love and loyalty in old age.

CHARLIE IS MY DARLING

Twas on a Monday morning,

Right early in the year,

When Charlie came to our town,

The young Chevalier.

Oh, Charlie is my darling,

My darling, my darling;

Oh, Charlie is my darling,

The young Chevalier.

As he came walking up the street,

The city for to view,

O there he spied a bonnie lass

The window looking through.

Oh, Charlie is my darling, &c

Sae lights he jumped up the stair,

And tirld at the pin;

And wha sae ready as herself,

To let the laddie in?

Oh, Charlie is my darling, &c

He set his Jenny on his knee,

All in his Highland dress;

For brawly well he kend the way,

To please a bonnie lass.

Oh, Charlie is my darling, &c

Its up yon heathery mountain,

An down yon scroggie glen,

We daur na gang a milking,

For Charlie and his men.

Oh, Charlie is my darling &c

Chevalier - a favourite son.

Bonie lass - a pretty girl

sae - so

tirld at the pin - knocked at the door

laddie - diminutive of lad

brawly or brawlies, very well; finely

ken - to know

dour - dare

gang - to go

scroggie or scroggy - thickly grown with stunted shrubs

CHARLES DICKENS

(1812-1870)

Charles Dickens is one of the greatest novelists in the English language. He wrote about the real world of Victorian England and many of his characters were not rich, middle-class ladies and gentlemen, but poor and hungry people.

DICKENS THE CHILD

His family lived in London. His father was a clerk in an office. It was a good job, but he always spent more money than he earned and he was often in debt. There were eight children in the family, so life was hard.

Charles went to school and his teachers thought he was very clever. But suddenly, when he was only eleven, his father went to prison for his debts and the family went, too. Only Charles didnt go to prison. He went to work in a factory, where he washed bottles. He worked ten hours a day and earned six shillings (30 p) a week. Every night, after work, he walked four miles back to his room. Charles hated it and never forgot the experience. He used it in many novels, especially David Copperfield and Oliver Twist.

DICKENS THE WRITER

When he was sixteen, he started work for a newspaper. He visited law courts and the Houses of Parliament. Soon he was one of the Morning Chronicles best journalists. He also wrote short stories for magazines. These were funny descriptions of people that he met. Dickens characters were full of colour and life - good people were very, very good and bad people were horrible. His books became popular in many countries and he spent a lot of time abroad, in America, Italy, and Switzerland.

DICKENS THE MAN

Dickens had ten children, but he didnt have a happy family life. He was successful in his work but not at home, and his wife left him. He never stopped writing and travelling, and he died very suddenly in 1870.

 

Answer the questions.

1. How old was Dickens when he died?

2. How many brothers and sisters did he have?

3. Was he good at school?

4. Why did he leave school when he was eleven?

5. Who was in prison?

6. What did Charles do in his first job?

7. What was his next job?

8. Was he happy at home?

9. When did he stop writing?

 

harles Dickens, Great Expectations

Chapter 21

Casting my eyes on Mr. Wemmick as we went along, to see what he was like in the light of day, I found him to be a dry man, rather short in stature, with a square wooden face, whose expression seemed to have been imperfectly chipped out with a dull-edged chisel. There were some marks in it that might have been dimples, if the material had been softer and the instrument finer, but which, as it was were only dints. The chisel had made three or four of these attempts at embellishment over his nose, but had given them up without an effort to smooth them off. I judged him to be a bachelor from the frayed condition of his linen, and he appeared to have sustained a good many bereavements; for he wore at least four mourning rings, besides a brooch representing a lady and a weeping willow at a tomb with an urn on it. I noticed, too, that several rings and seals hung at his watch-chain, as if he were quite laden with remembrances of departed friends. He had glittering eyes - small, keen, and black - and thin wide mottled lips. He had had them, to the best of my belief, from forty to fifty years.

Charles Dickens

1835 became reporter of debates in the Commons

1836-7 Sketches by Boz, Illustrative of Every-Day Life and Every-Day People.

The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club

1837-8 Oliver Twist

1838-9 Nicholas Nickleby

1840-1 Master Humphrey's Clock containing Old Curiosity Shop and Barnaby Rudge

1842 American Notes

1843 A Christmas Carol, Martin Chuzzlewit

1846-8 Dombey and Son

1849-50 David Copperfield

1852-3 Bleak House

1854 Hard Times

1855-7 Little Dorrit

1859 A Tale of Two Cities

1860-1 Great Expectations

1864-5 Our Mutual Friend

1870 Edwin Drood

 

JOHN DONNE

1572-1631

J D's reputation has changed over time. He was very popular during his lifetime, but his writings went out of favor soon after his death. At the beginning of the 20th c, however, interest in his works revived. Now Donne occupies a major position in literature. Modern critics place him with William Shakespeare and John Milton at the very pinnacle of English poetry.

Donne was raised by his widowed mother, who was a devoted Catholic and a member of the family of St. Thomas More. At the time, being Catholic was difficult, for Roman Catholics were severely discriminated against in Queen Elizabeth's England. Indeed, Donne later recanted his Catholicism and joined the Anglican Church. Scholars are divided as to his motives. They wonder whether he experienced a genuine conversion or made a shrewd move to gain advancement in courtly society.

Donne' s life is generally described as falling into two parts. The first is often thought of as the "wild youth of Jack Donne, ambitious man about town". Bright, clever, and charming, Donne was welcomed into the most exclusive courtly circles and served as private secretary to one of the Queen's highest-ranking officials. He was so charming that he wooed and won the hand in marriage of Anne More, his employer's niece.

As with his religious conversion, some scholars have questioned Donne's motives. Cynics thought that through this marriage Donne had made a shrewd move to advance his career. However, the marriage did not work out that way. Because of the opposition of Anne's father, Donne's marriage ruined his chances for advancement. As a consequence, the devoted couple and their many children experienced seventeen years of poverty, illness, and despair. During these years Donne eked out a living as a writer of religious tracts and as the temporary secretary of several aristocrats. He also became during this difficult period one of the most widely read and influential poets of the age.

Later Donne was ordained and made dean of St. Paul's Cathedral in London. He now entered the second part of his life, which has been described as the "sacred calling of Dr .John Donne, Dean of St.Paul." From this time until his death, Donne was the most popular preacher in England; his meditations and sermons were published during his life and went through several editions.

Donne was a leading writer of what has come to be called metaphysical poetry because of its concern with philosophical and religious issues. This kind of poetry is characterized by the extensive use of paradoxes and conceits.

Paradox. In literature, a paradox is an apparent self-contradiction that reveals a kind of truth. One of the most famous literary paradoxes is present in Donne's Holy Sonnet 14:"Take me to You, imprison me, for I/ Except You enthral me, never shall be free." Finding "freedom" in prison or in slavery would seem to many people a contradiction. But here, "prison" and "enthral" (enslave) are metaphors for submissive devotion to God, which to the deeply religious person represents true freedom.

Metaphysical Conceit. A conceit is an extended, fanciful metaphor that males a surprising or unexpected comparison of the moon with a languishing lover in Sonnet 31. The metaphysical poets, such as John Donne and Andrew Marvell, wrote ingenious, often shocking conceits in which very dissimilar objects are compared.

Donne's works reflect not only the contradictions of his time, but of his life as well. His literary production, in fact, is a mixture of sacred and profane, including: satires, elegies, epigrams, verse letters.

(Better than kisses letters mingle souls)

Songs and Sonnets

Holy Sonnets.

Donne began writing his love poems when the vogue for sonnets on Petrarchan themes and Platonic idealizing on the subject of love were at their height. He deliberately goes counter to these ideals in many of his poems and seeks to shock and amuse the reader by his cleverly desecrating, sensuous, analytical, and realistic attitude towards love.

Donne's versification stresses above all the spoken language. In this he contrasts with the dominant style of Elizabethan lyric poetry, which tended to be mellifluous, musical, and to suggest the sound of the singing voice. Donne's lyrics, instead, replace the sentimental and somewhat conventional lyricism of Sidney and Spenser with a more vigorous and cerebral type; they evoke the natural rhythms of a man speaking in a state of deep feeling, and in this respect they are close to contemporary dramatic verse. Donne refuses the regular, precise metres of previous poetry as inappropriate for his inner conflicts, and is deliberately "irregular" in his versification; he ignores metrical regularity because he wants to give the impression of the varied and complex rhythms typical of speech.

He searched for a freer, more pliant language, and found an answer to his quest in the language of drama. His poetry became, therefore, "dramatic" in the sense that it exploited the immediacy, the broken expressions and even the exclamations typical of a play. Many of Donne's poems open, in fact, with an abrupt, dramatically colloquial exclamation, which then develops into an argument, a debate conducted with another person.

Poetry in the Jacobean Age

With the accession of James I to the throne, the tension and contradiction that had already marked the end of the century increased. The stability and self-confidence of early Elizabethan times were replaced by uncertainty and mistrust, which also affected poetry and made it more meditative and intellectual.

The poets that best represented this sense of uneasiness and anxiety belonged to a group known as the Metaphysical Poets. The term was used by Samuel Johnson who, in "The Life of Cowley" wrote:

"The metaphysical poets were men of learning, and to show their learning was their whole endeavour; but, unluckily resolving to show it in rhyme, instead of writing poetry they only wrote verses, and very often such verses as stood the trial of the finger better than of the ear; for the modulation was so imperfect, that they were only found to be verses by counting the syllables."

To Johnson, then, the word "metaphysical", far from meaning "supernatural", meant "abstruse" and "incongruous"; so the term sounded like a reproach to those poets who, in his opinion:

- wanted to show off;

- wished at any cost to be original and striking;

- filled their poems with "enormous and disgusting hyperboles";

- privileged ingenuity instead of emotion and feelings;

- were excessively concerned with particulars and details, and unable to catch 'great thoughts which are always general and consist... in descriptions not descending to minuteness.";

- were too analytic and fragmentary;

- made too much use of wit, which he defined as a "kind of discordia concors, a combination of dissimilar images or discovery of occult resemblances in things apparently unlike".

It is obvious that a classicist like Johnson was prejudiced against this kind of intellectual poetry, which was full of metaphors, paradoxes and conceits, i.e. conceptions or allusions or fanciful images containing complex, astonishing analogies, where the syntax was condensed, the thought subtly disguised in compressed images and the versification often irregular, uneven and obscure. His negative judgement was of course shared by his contemporaries in the 18th c., and for more than a century the Metaphysical Poets were ignored.

Then, in the early 19th c, the situation began to change; but it was only in the 20th that they were fully appreciated, as their metrical irregularities, their "rugged" verses were found to voice the same moral and material crisis, the same anxiety, the same uneasiness and uncertainty as those that followed the First World War.

Their greatest admirer was T. S. Eliot, who, in his review of an anthology published by Grierson (1921), exalting those qualities that Johnson had criticized, wrote:

"When a poet's mind is perfectly equipped for its work, it is constantly amalgamating disparate experience; the ordinary man's experience is chaotic, irregular, fragmentary. The latter falls in love, or reads Spinoza, and these two experiences have nothing to do with each other, or with the noise of the typewriter or the smell of cooking; in the mind of the poet these experiences are always forming new wholes"

T. S. Eliot, in other words, praised the fusion of though and emotion, i.e. the fusion of the various elements of experience typical of the Metaphysical Poets.

Some of the writers who are grouped under the name "Metaphysical" belong chronologically to the reign of Charles I. But John Donne, the poet who is usually regarded as the father of the movement and who, in a way, sums up all its characteristics, wrote his best works in the Jacobean period.

Donnes poems were collected by his son John and published in 1633. His Satires and Elegies were written in the 1590s, his love lyrics (his Songs and Sonnets) were written at various times and his Holy Sonnets, begun about 1610, but mostly finished after 1621. While his career can be seen as divided into two halves - Jack Donne, the lover of ladies and the theatre, and Dr. John Donne, the great preacher - there is nevertheless remarkable consistency in the style of his poems and prose. Not only physical vigorous and intellectually complex, his writing has considerable dramatic force and contains a wide variety of moods. Thomas Carew (1595-1640), a friend and fellow poet, described him as a king that ruled as he thought fit/ The universal monarchy of wit. Frequently nowadays, Donnes prose - in the incredibly powerful sermons and Devotions - are used to exemplify the strength of the unified sensibility of English writing before rational prose objectives became separated from imaginative poetic ones.

Joan van Emden, The Metaphysical Poets.

Metaphysics is theoretical philosophy of being and knowing.

Metaphysical is based on abstract general reasoning; over-subtle; incorporeal.

Donne and his fellows could not labelled metaphysical in the usual sense, least of all incorporeal. They are not poets who write of philosophical speculations, as Lucretius, the Roman philosopher and poet, or John Milton did. Yet they are intensely interested in the speculations current in their time, and they use philosophy, theology and popular science in their imagery.

These poets lived at a time of intellectual excitement, and they shared the interests of the educated men and women of their day: medicine, psychology, scientific discovery and geographical exploration were subjects of discussion and debate, and the lively, energetic mind of a man like Donne found the subjects fascinating in themselves and a rich source in his poetry.

Experience is observed from as many different aspects as possible. It will be viewed by the intellect, analyzed, dissected, thought through; it will be felt by the emotions, intensely, personally and also at arms length; it will be linked with the wider question of mans existence, not only with his relationships to other people and other knowledge, but his place in the universe, his place in the time/eternity paradox, his relationship with God.

Donnes treatment of his constant theme, love, may be seen in this way. The most famous example of Metaphysical wit is probably his comparing lovers to a pair of compasses. It is an outrageous, fantastic piece of imagination, and yet it is carefully and logically thought out; the image develops in an intellectually precise way, as if it grows in the mind as the poet is writing and has to be analysed even in the act of creation. At the same time, it is emotionally satisfying: such wilt thou be to me is immediately moving in its simplicity. Not only does the image fulfil all these requirements, but its very outrageousness is entertaining and gives intellectual pleasure. It is witty in the modern sense.

The logic may indeed be fallacious, but the dialectic method ( a training in argument by debating opposed points of view and resolving them), in which Donne and his contemporaries were educated flowed into the imagination of their writing.

The conceit is a particular form of wit: an image which is explored and developed at length, demanding great control and precision on the part of the writer.

In contrast to many of his predecessors, Donne uses a direct and often colloquial diction, and simplicity of language is especially marked in the later poets George Herbert and Henry Vaughan.

Show a striking dramatic urgency

the frequenter of plays caught something of the vitality of the drama.

The conversational, dramatic opening of The Good-morrow:

I wonder by my troth, what thou and I

Did, till we lovd?

and the emphatic b sound which so often begin his poems (such as The Sun Rising and Holy Sonnet XIV) represent a sharp contrast to the regular, smooth-flowing lyrical poetry of the earlier Elizabethan poets such as Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, or Sir Philip Sydney. Conventional subject-matter: the remote, unattainable lady, the passionate lover, the impossibility of union, all tended to inspire generalised comment and wearisome cliche; lyrical and pleasant though some of the sonnets were, they too readily led to a stalemate in literary development. The contrast with Donnes Holy Sonnets is marked. These have the same immediacy and sense of personal involvement as have his secular poems, and the techniques so recognisable as his (wide-ranging imagery, dramatic openings, a liking for lists which produce a cumulative effect) are equally clear in his sonnets.

In each of the Metaphysical poets, there is a sensitivity to the patterns of ordinary speech.

If it were possible to sum up the essential quality of metaphysical poetry in one word, that word would be energy. There an energy of mind and emotion in all four poets which demands a similarly energetic response in the reader.

The poetry bursting forth with a vitality which provokes the readers emotion:

Busie old foole, unruly Sunne,

Why dost thou thus,

The metaphysical poets bind the ultimate and the everyday, fusing intellect and imagination and refining both through experience. The multi-faceted life which they express demands an energetic response of mind, body and soul. The modern reader may not be prepared for such a challenge, but if we accept it we will surely find our energy stimulated and our vision of the wholeness of life enriched.

 

The Good-morrow

The themes of this poem were standard to many earlier poets; what is interesting is the dramatic life and vitality which Donne gives them, and the sense of unity in love, strong in much of his poetry.

1. Which themes are not original? (You finish these phrases, you may get some hints: life worth living if...; previous loves seem only...; the lovers, gazing into each others eyes, are the ......to one another)

2. What makes its opening both conversational and dramatic?

I wonder by my troth, what thou and I

Did, till we lovd?

Which word carries an enormous stress? What does this word sum up?

3. With whom is the poet holding a conversation?

4. Donne then looks more closely at the past. What sort of life was it? Which words sound unpoetic? Which comparison makes a transition from the homely to the wider comment?

5. From which words does the verse become lyrical and flowing?

6. Which part of his confession can be called a sudden and perhaps rather tactless honesty?

7. Which lines prove that this love is mutual and deeply trusting?

8. Which simile creates a vision of duality existing alongside unity?

9. The poet has moved from conversation with his beloved to an analysis of the need for (...) in love to an awareness of that (...) as the basis for continuing love. What is the missing word?

The world to which the lovers waken may change and decay, but the quality of their love ensures that it will not. They will still share the wonder at whatever they did, before they loved.

and the emphatic b sound which so often begin his poems (such as The Sun Rising and

In contrast to many of his predecessors, Donne uses a direct and often colloquial diction, and simplicity of language is especially marked in the later poets George Herbert and Henry Vaughan.

John Galsworthy (1867-1933) also wrote several plays, but he is mostly remembered for one work of fiction, 'The Forsyte Saga' (1906-21), of which the main theme is the possessive instinct, embodied to an exasperated degree as Soames Forsyte, a man with a passion for acquiring all things desirable, and for exercising his proprietary rights to the utmost, even over his reluctant wife.

SAMUEL JOHNSON

1709-1637

Boswell's Life of Johnson.

Boswell (1740-95)

Men are to ask, women are to deny.

B: Why then meet at table?

J: Why, to eat and drink together, and to promote kindness.

Died in the toils and duties of his calling.

But of futurity we know but little.

J was a great dabbler in physic.

Addison and Parnell drank too freely, drank to excess.

On Lord S's property: B: One should think that the proprietor of all this must be happy. - J.: Nay, sir, all this excludes but one evil - poverty.

Mrs B: It is true, all this excludes only one evil; but how much good does it let in?

Happiness should be cultivated as much as we can.

It has been a very agreeable world to me.

To cultivate kindness is a valuable part of the business of life.

Both Goldsmith's comedies were once refused; his first by Garrick, his second by Colman, who was prevailed on at last, by much solicitation, nay, a kind of force, to bring it on. His 'Vicar of Wakefield,' I myself did not think would have had much success. It was written and sold to a bookseller, before his 'Traveller' but published after - so little expectation had the bookseller from it. Had it been sold after 'The Traveller', he might have had twice as much money for it, though sixty guineas was no mean price. The bookseller had the advantage of Goldsmith's reputation from the 'Traveller' in the sale, though G. had it not in selling the copy.

Sir Joshua Reynolds: "'The 'Beggar's Opera' affords a proof how strangely people will differ in opinion about a literary performance. Burke thinks it had no merit." J.: "It was refused by one of the houses; but I should have thought it would succeed, not from any great excellence in the writing, but from the novelty, and the general spirit and gayety of the piece, which keeps the audience always attentive, and dismisses them in good humour."

It was observed, that avarice was inherent in some dispositions. J: "No man was a miser, because no man was born to possession. Every man is born cupidos - desirous of getting, but not avarus - desirous of keeping." B: I have heard old Mr. Sheridan maintains, with much ingenuity, that a complete miser is a happy man; a miser who gives himself wholly to the one passion of saving." J: "That is flying in the face of all the world, who have called an avaricious man a miser, because he is miserable. No, Sir, a man who both spends and saves money is the happiest man, because he has both enjoyments."

The conversation having turned on Bon-mots, he quoted, from one of the Ana, an exquisite instance of flattery in a maid of honour in France, who being asked by the Queen what oclock it was, answered, "What your Majesty pleases."

A man cannot with propriety speak of himself, except he relates simple facts.

All our ladies read now, which is a great extension.

We must read what the world reads at the moment. A man will have more gratification of his vanity in conversation, from having read modern books, than from having read the best works of antiquity.

We talked of antiquarian researches. J: "All that is really known of the ancient state of Britain is contained in a few pages. We can know no more than what the old writers have told us; yet what large books have we upon it, the whole of which... is all a dream.

Education in England has been in danger of being hurt by two of its greatest men, Milton and Locke. Milton's plan is impracticable, and I suppose has never been tried. Locke's, I fancy, has been tried often enough, but is very imperfect; it gives too much to one side, and too little to the other; it gives too little to literature.

To James Boswell, Esq.

London, July 3, 1783

Dear Sir,

Your anxiety about my health is very friendly, and very agreeable with your general kindness. I have, indeed, had a very frightful blow. On the 17th of last month, about three in the morning, as near as I can guess, I perceived myself almost totally deprived of speech. I had no pain. My organs were so obstructed that I could say no, but could scarcely say yes.

I live but in a melancholy way.

How small a quantity of REAL FICTION there is in the world; and that the same images, with very little variation, have served all the authors who have ever written.

Disease produces much selfishness. A man in pain is looking after ease.

He called to us with a sudden air of exultation, as the thought started into his mind, "Oh! Gentlemen, I must tell you a very great thing. The Empress of Russia has ordered 'The Rambler' to be translated into the Russian language: so I shall be read on the banks of the Wolga. Horace boasts that his fame would extend as far as the banks of the Rhone; now the Wolga is farther from me than the Rhone was from Horace.

He bore the journey very well, and seemed to feel himself elevated as he approached Oxford, that magnificent and venerable seat of Learning, Orthodoxy, and Toryism.

I am always for getting a boy forward in his learning, for that is a sure good. I would let him at first read any English book which happens to engage his attention; because you have done a great deal when you have brought him to have entertainment from a book. He'll get better books afterwards.

On Monday, October 4, I called at his house before he was up. He sent for me to his bed-side, and expressed his satisfaction at this incidental meeting, with as much vivacity as if he had been in the gaiety of youth. He called briskly, "Frank, go and get coffee, and let us breakfast in splendour."

What we are told about the great sums got by begging is not true; the trade is overstocked.

Is not the Giant's Causeway worth seeing? - J: Worth seeing? Yes; but not worth going to see."

The great direction which Burton has left to men disordered like you, is this - Be not solitary; be not idle: which I would thus modify; - If you are idle, be not solitary; if you are solitary be not idle.

Never impose tasks upon mortals. To require two things is the way to have them both undone.

Having told you what has happened to your friends, let me say something to you of yourself. You are always complaining of melancholy, and I conclude from those complaints that you are fond of it. No man talks of that which he is desirous to conceal, and every man desires to conceal that of which he is ashamed.

He would allow no settled indulgence of idleness upon principle, and always repelled every attempt to urge excuses for it. A friend one day suggested, that it was not wholesome to study soon after dinner. J: Ah, Sir, don't give way to such a fancy. At one time of my life I had taken it into my head that it was not wholesome to study between breakfast and dinner."

No man is a hypocrite in his pleasures.

In my present state, I am desirous to make a struggle for a little longer life and hope to obtain some help from a softer climate. Do for me what you can.

How low is he sunk whose strength depends upon the weather!

My diseases are an asthma and a dropsy, and, which is less curable, seventy-five.

Do not write about the balloon, whatever else you may think proper to say.

Such was his intellectual ardour even at this time, that he said to one friend, "Sir, I look upon every day to be lost, in which I do not make a new acquaintance;" and to another when talking of his illness, I will be conquered; I will not capitulate."

Full of Days, and matured in Virtue, He died... (Johnson on Dr. Adams)

My dear friend, life is very short and very uncertain; let us spend it as well as we can.

Be well when you are not ill, and pleased when you are not angry.

His great fear of death, and the strange dark manner in which Sir John Hawkins imparts the uneasiness which he expressed on account of offences with which he charged himself, may give occasion to injurious suspicions, as if there had been something of more than ordinary criminality weighing upon his conscience. On that account, therefore, as well as from the regard to truth which he inculcated, I am to mention (with all possible respect and delicacy, however,) that his conduct, after he came to London, and had associated with Savage and others, was not so strictly virtuous, in one respect, as when he was a younger man. It was well known that his amorous inclinations were uncommonly strong and impetuous. He owned to many of his friends, that he used to take women of the town to taverns, and hear them relate their history. In short, it must not be concealed, that, like many other good and pious men, among whom we may place the apostle Paul upon his own authority, Johnson was not free from propensities which were ever "warring against the law of his mind,"- and that in his combats with them, he was sometimes overcome.

WILLIAM LANGLAND (1332? - 1400?)

Langland was the second great poetic voice of the fourteenth century, close to Wycliff in his view of life as well as to Chaucer in his powerful verse. The image he conveys in his long allegorical work 'The Vision of Piers Plowman', complete what is lacking in Chaucer and contribute to creating a full picture of English medieval social life.

We know very little about him. He may have been born in the neighbourhood of Malvern (Worcesterchire) and worked first as a shepherd on the fields. He was then sent to school at Malvern Priory, and probably took Minor Orders but, being married, he could not make a career in the Church.

The poem first appeared in 1362, about fifteen years before 'The Canterbury Tales' , but was later on revised and enlarged by other writers It deals with an important question: how can man win salvation? The answer can be summed up in a few words: by loving God and working honestly. Yet the poem is not that simple, for one thing because the presence of allegories makes it difficult to work out a real plot.

It can roughly divided into two parts, which are indeed two "visions". In the first vision, after falling asleep on a summer day on the Malvern Hills, Langland imagines seeing in a dream a lot of people on a plain, belonging to all social conditions. This is a pretext for attacking and denouncing the general corruption of the times. The second vision deals with the problem of the individual in his search for truth and perfection.

The form of the poem is strange: as an allegory it reveals the influence of French works, while the language of the original represents a revival of Old English poetic technique, with its alliteration and unrhymed verses. In spite of its difficult construction, it seems to have been very famous in its time, placing its author among the first and best innovators that England has produced.

Langland is a writer full of energy and fire and reveals a rare understanding of the social and political problems of his time.

Like Wycliff, he is very harsh with the corrupt clergy and advocates a return of the Church to poverty, adding that the priest is subject to the King in non-religious

matters. Forshadowing the Puritans, he insists on work as a remedy for beggary. By warming people against the risks of injustice, he seems to foresee the Peasants' Revolt, which was to break out in 1381.

Like Chaucer, he gives us a true picture of Medieval England but, unlike him, he is more deeply concerned with the political situation of his time, as he often refers to contemporary kings and princes as well as to the Black Death and the Hundred Years' War. Moreover, unlike Chaucer, he also introduces into his "vision" social classes that are absent in 'The Canterbury Tales', which makes his picture more realistic.

SOMERSET MAUGHAM

1874-1965

Commercial success on a huge scale was the keynote of W.Somerset Maugham's career. First as a playwright in the early years of the century, then as short-story writer, novelist and essayist, he enjoyed the golden touch. Success also brought him critical contempt: even in his heyday he was accused by the intelligentsia of vulgarity, of bad style, and of pandering to popular taste. But he was supremely professional, and many writers have been influenced by his technical virtuosity, by his uncommon talent for encapsulating a situation in a short story, and by his tremendous flair for plot and narrative. These were the qualities which gave pleasure to millions of ordinary readers, and later to moviegoers.

Maugham was over ninety when he died in 1965. His life spanned several generations; born in the Victorian age, he knew the affluent pre-First World War period in England, the glittering twenties in London, New York and Paris, the declining years that followed the Second World War. He was also an inveterate traveller, getting ideas for his work in remote parts of the Orient, on ocean.liners, in European spas. He was equally at home in England, the United States and France, the country of his birth.

Though he was an acclaimed public figure, he was extremely reticent about his private life; only since his death has this reticent been pierced.

W .S. Maugham was born on 25 January at the British Embassy in Paris. His father was solicitor to the Embassy; he and his wife already had three sons. William was to be their last. Mrs. Maugham gave birth to her child within the precincts of the Embassy so that he might enjoy the privilege of being born on British soil.

Mrs. Maugham was very small and very beautiful. She had large brown eyes and her hair was of a rich, reddish gold. Her husband was very ugly. Yet he was a man of lively mind and temperament. He was twenty years older than his wife. Someone once asked the beautiful Mrs. Maugham why she continued to be faithful to that ugly little man, her husband. She replied that he had never hurt her feelings. They were known in Paris as Beauty and the Beast.

When William was eight years old his mother died in childbed. He never ceased to adore her. Even as an old man he would say, 'I shall never get over her death, I shall never get over it'. The tragedy was compounded by the death of his father only two years later. The small boy was an orphan. Accompanied by his nurse, he was soon shipped to England, the native land whose language he could hardly speak. The boy was wished upon his uncle, the stiff and childless man. The nurse was sent away the next day. He found himself in a strange land, at the chilly mercy of a snobbish, joyless couple no happier to see him than he was to see them.

He was sent to a preparatory school at Canterbury where he encountered the practised cruelty of the English schoolboy. He stammered, and the boys laughed at him. His school career, which might have been expected to culminate with entrance into Cambridge, was interrupted by a lung infection. He was sent to a resort in the South of France to recover. He had a tutor there who helped the boy to discover French literature, in particular the stories of Guy de Maupassant.

The Mediterranean air clear his lungs and he was able to go back to the King's school for his last year. He was still wretched, but he was armed with a new , secret weapon: a growing familiarity and ease with words.

It was time to consider his profession. His uncle, the Reverend Henry, considered very few vocations suitable for a gentleman. The young Maugham' stammer further limited the choice. Secretly, he had already chosen: he would be a writer. His uncle thought the Church more suitable. The local doctor suggested he try medicine. In 1892, he enrolled as a medical student at St Thomas's Hospital, London. He felt no vocation for medicine, but he possessed a strong desire to lead a London life.

He was not a dedicated medical student. All the time he could spare was devoted to reading. He passed his exams regularly, however, and in 1893 he became a clerk in the Outpatients Department. Here he began to encounter life at first hand. In 1895, he spent three weeks as an obstetric clerk in the slums of Lambeth. His first novel "Liza of Lambeth" was published in 1897. Its author was twenty-three and his advance was L20. Critics found the book 'emphatically unpleasing'. A reviewer felt that he had 'taken a mud bath in all the filth of a London street'. The book sold like hot cakes. William Somerset Maugham was an author. A few weeks later he was also a doctor. But there was no medicine like writing. Henceforth he would devote himself to literature.

1898-1903Travelled in Spain and Italy. His novels and short stories met with little success.

1907 -successful plays performed by London theatres.

1915- publication of "Of Human Bondage"

1917 - was sent to St Petersburg by British Intelligence in an attempt to bolster the Provisional Government of Kerensky.

1919 - publication of "The Moon and Sixpence". Second visit to the South Seas. Maugham began a decade of travelling in the Far East, the United States, Europe and North Africa. His short stories, plays, novels and travel-sketches brought him increased fame and popularity.

1928 - bought the Villa Mauresque in the South of France.

1940 -Denounced personally by Goebbels, fled from Nice. Left London for the United States where he remained for the duration of the war.

1944 - Publication of "The Razor's Edge"

1946 - Returned to the Villa Mauresque.

1952 - Awarded Doctorate by Oxford University.

1959 - Last visit to the Far East.

1965 - Died at his villa on 16 December.

was unable to subscribe to the cosy sexual and religious morality of a country still convinced that God was an English gentleman

saw Wilde's star falter at the zenith and plunge into the gutter

M's lifelong terror of being branded as a homosexual was reinforced by the pathetic end of his aesthete brother

one morning in October 1907, at the age of thirty-three, M. woke up and found himself famous

if the comparison with Shakespeare was premature (on being informed of it, his brother Frederick, already a successful lawyer, replied that he had only one piece of advice, 'On no account attempt the sonnets') WSM was now abruptly and forever a man of substantial income

the days when he was rated high by intellectuals were gone; if money adorned him the eyes of the world, it damned him in the sight of the intelligentsia.

discovered the trick of pleasing th public

still said some hard things, but he said them charmingly

The epigram is a useful weapon; it enables one to be both sardonic and entertaining and it is most appreciated by the people at whom its barbs are aimed

Max Beerbohm, whose experience of the theatre had been that of a reluctant, if often perspicuous critic, once remonstrated with him, saying that Maugham had a mind too delicate, a sensitiveness too refined, ever to succeed in the 'vulgar scramble of the stage'. Maugham remarked dryly: 'He little knew.'

Its title was taken from one of the sections which compose Spinoza's Ethics: Of Human Bondage.

I was but just firmly established as a popular playwright when I began to be obsessed by the teeming memories of my past life. The loss of my mother and then the break-up of my home, the wretchedness of my first years at school for which my French childhood had so ill-prepared me and which my stammering made so difficult, the delight of those days, monotonous and exciting days in Heidelberg, when I first entered upon the intellectual life, the irksomeness of my few years at the hospital and the thrill of London; it all came back to me so pressingly, in my sleep, on my walks, when I was rehearsing plays, when I was at a party, it became such a burden to me that I made up my mind that I could only regain my peace by writing it all down in the form of a novel.

Of Human Bondage is a Bildungsroman written in a harshly realistic style, with little formal structure or plot development, though with a wealth of incident. The autobiographical element is paramount.

JOHN MILTON

(1608-74)

John Milton stands next to Shakespeare among English poets; his writings and his influence

are a very important part of the history of English literature, culture, and libertarian thought. He is

best known for his long epic poem Paradise Lost, in which his "grand style" is used with superb

power; its characterization of Satan is one of the supreme achievements of world literature. Milton's

prose works, however, are also important as a valuable interpretation of the Puritan revolution, and

they have their place in modern histories of political and religious thought.

GEORGE BERNARD SHAW

1856-1950

Things have not happened to me: on the contrary, it is I who have happened to them; and all my happenings have taken the form of books and plays. Read them, or spectate them; and you have my whole story: the rest is only breakfast, lunch, dinner, sleeping, wakening and washing, my routine being just the same as everybodys routine.

With this statement George Bernard Shaw, the prolific and successful Irish dramatist introduced his autobiography and then went on to write several hundred pages of fascinating details about his life, which was certainly not the same as everybodys routine.

Shaw was born in Dublin in 1856 in what he described as a house with a kitchen and a drawing room and always at least one servant who lodged in the basement. His childhood ended when at the age of fourteen he joined the office of an estate agent as a clerk. He moved to London a year or so later to join his mother who had gone there to teach music. Since he considered himself a half-educated, shy young man, in the five years he spent many hours studying in the Reading Room of the British Museum. During this period he also attended lectures, self education classes and debates and found time to write five novels, none of which were accepted for publication.

Nevertheless it was in these years that George Bernard Shaw began to find himself. He conquered his natural shyness and became an outstanding speaker and questioner at the numerous public meetings and debates which were part of London life. In time he acquired enough intellectual experience to review first books, then music, and eventually he became a well-known speaker.

Shaw was a man with a grievance - he hated the injustices in society at the turn of the century. But he didnt just shout about them - he was committed enough to get himself elected to his local council in Paddington. As a councillor he spoke in public and sat on tedious committees in the hope of getting better conditions for working people. He joined the Fabians - Britains first socialist party and worked hard at lecturing and writing pamphlets for them. The socialism of Fabians aimed at transforming society not through revolution but by bringing socialist ideas into all aspects of intellectual and political life. Out of all this came the material for Shaws first play, Widowers Houses, a critical expose of slum housing, then Mrs Warrens Profession, a play about prostitution which was banned by the Lord Chamberlain until 1925.

Shaw used to protest that his plays were only vehicles for his message. But his varied and unorthodox education, together with his Irish background of voluble talk and humour, produced a wit and perception which dominated the plays and attracted audiences in spite of the message. Shaw realised that he could use his talents as a dramatist to make people think about the social problems which concerned him. He began to write more plays and developed an impudent, irreverent and witty style which became extremely successful. He called these his Plays Pleasant. Arms and the Man is included in this category. In it Shaw satirizes the false romantic views of love and war. He wrote these popular plays to provide the income to enable him to write other plays. These other plays were intended to make society face facts about itself, and point out societys complicity in its own evils. He called these his Plays Unpleasant. Through his plays in West End theatres featuring famous actresses of the day, Shaw could speak to the rich and powerful - people who would never come to the small public meetings which he spoke at in his youth.

As he grew older Shaw became fascinated with the behaviour of people in society, their attitudes, prejudices and hypocrisies. In many plays Shaw has fun with the artificialities of life while appearing to be concerned with basic relationships - between men and women, the monarchy and the people, etc. Particular examples of this are Man and Superman and The Apple Cart, both of which were revived and had long and successful runs on the London stage a few years ago.

But Shaw did not concentrate only on play-writing. He had an enormous appetite for life and was prepared to devote all his energy and make sacrifices for any causes he considered important. He protested and wrote against the 1914-18 War saying that both sides were at fault an that negotiations could bring peace. This attitude made him very unpopular and he was thrown out of the Dramatists Club in London, even though he was one of its leading members. Shaw felt that aspirations were essential to living and devotion to a cause, a mighty one preferably, was the purpose of life: being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.

A fierce-looking, red-haired, wiry man, with penetrating eyes and a ragged beard G. B. S. dominated the British scene in the early years of this century, laughing at the pretensions of the establishment and preaching the gospel of socialism, causing occasional uproars (which he enjoyed) and pursuing his vision of an improved society. Until the heart and mind of the people is changed. . . there can be no progress beyond the point already attained and fallen headlong from at every attempt at civilisation.

Until he died in 1950, a thin, white-bearded old gentleman, Shaw was rarely quiet. He made occasional broadcasts and became obsessed with a plan to establish a British alphabet of forty letters, a cause to which he left a large sum of money in his will.

Maureen Stack

From BBC Modern English

Robert Louis (Lewis) Balfour Stevenson

1850-1894

Thomas Stevenson, a lighthouse engineer

It was hoped he would become a lighthouse engineer, following the family profession, but poor health made this impossible.

Margaret Stevenson, his mother.

Miss Alison Cunningham, Cummy, his nurse.

'My dear Cummy, the real reason why you have been more in my mind than usual is because of some little verses that I have been writing, and that I mean to make a book of. The real reason of this letter is that I have just seen that the book in question must be dedicated to Alison Cunningham, the only person who will really understand it. This little book, which is all about my childhood, should indeed go to no other reason but you, who did so much to make that childhood happy.'

R .L. Stevenson

Writings

'Pentland Rising of 1666', printed 1866

the story of a real battle in the Pentland Hills, near Edinburgh.

'Inland Voyage', a canoe tour in Belgium and France, published 1878

'Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes', a tour taken in 1878, p.1879.

Essays, short stories contributed to various periodicals.

'The New Arabian Nights', 1882

'The Pavilion on the Links', 'Prince Otto'

'Treasure Island', 1883 in book form

'The Strange Case of Dr.Jekyll and Mr Hyde', 1886

A series of romances: 'Kidnapped', 1886, 'Catriona', its sequel, 1893, 'The Black Arrow', 1888, 'The Master of Ballantrae', 1889

In collaboration with Lloyd Osbourne - 'The Wrong Box', 'The Wrecker'. 'The Ebb-Tide', 'A Footnote to History', 1892.

'A Child's Garden of Verses', 1885, 'Underwoods', 1887.

A few dramas (with Henley)

'The letters of R.L.S.'

Happy Thought

The world is so full of a number of things,

I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings.

Being a consumptive, his life was a pitiful attempt to find a climate in which he could survive. An invalid and a man of action, he struggled for life and kept cheerful.

The key word to his poetry was 'happiness'.

Happy hearts and happy faces,

Happy play in grassy places -

That was how, in ancient ages,

Children grew to kings and sages.

He lived 'for love of lovely words'.

was kept indoors to clear up a cold

The climate was damp and cold.

'The pleasant land of counterpane'.

an only child, frail from birth, he received little regular schooling

was weak, the boys made fun of him at school

was everybody's darling at home

dictated his first story to his mother

was spoiled by his family, had a pony and a dog

had colds, bronchitis, was sick and feverish, coughing and coughing, wrapped up in his shawl

made frequent journeys in search of health

tuberculosis

at school was a problem boy, mocked at; never played football or cricket

read adventure stories, Arabian Nights, Robin Hood, Sir Walter Scott and Alexander Dumas

travelled to London, France, Italy. Travel is as educational as school is, his parents believed

Edinburgh University

the best thing he got from his education as an engineer, - went down in a diver's suit

made his last big effort for engineering, wrote a paper 'On a New Form of Intermittent Light for Lighthouse'

The ancestral love of the sea was in him. It was hoped that he would become a lighthouse engineer, following the family profession, but poor health made this impossible.

studied law dutifully but never practised it. Instead, he began to write in rhyme and training himself as narrator and essayist

an essay 'On Roads', an article on Victor Hugo, age 23, on his way to a literary career

travel was the best cure for Stevenson

went abroad for warmth and sunshine.

sailed canoes in Belgium an France

In France he met Mrs. Fanny Osbourne, an American widow, ten years older than him; a daughter of seventeen and a son; followed her to California, in 'the bright face of danger'.

11 days crossing the Atlantic Ocean

read six volumes of American history

from New York, an overcrowded train

a country of surprise, the plains of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois

changed trains at Chicago

dog-tired, feverish

in Utah changed trains again

reached California at last

odd jobs on his way, slept in haylofts

his strength was gone

working as cowboy, fell out of the saddle and lay on the ground for three days almost unconscious

a rancher (a goat farmer) carried him home; a bear hunter, an Indian neighbour

was kept in bed, wrote a travel story, recovered

found Fanny, got married on May 19, 1880, a short honeymoon in the California mountains

lived in a mining camp, money came in dribs and drabs

wrote articles on American personalities: Henry David Thoreau, Benjamin Franklin, William Penn

Scotland, Switzeland, Scotland

'Treasure Island" for Lloyd (age 13), his first literary success

although tales and travel stories had been well received, it was not until the publication of 'Treasure Island" that he became popular. Three years later his fame was definitely established with the "The Strange Case of Dr Jekyl and Mr Hyde".

At the age of 35 Stevenson published "A Child's Garden of Verses". The collection he hesitated to offer to the public has grown to be a universal favourite, second only to 'Mother Goose' in its appeal to every generation.

Fighting his ever-progressing disease, Stevenson traveled through America. Arrived in America in 1887, reporters bombarded him with questions. A talk with Mark Twain in New York.

Went to a sanatorium at Saranac Lake up in New York State.

ink frozen solid

was in a bad state, could hardly see, was not permitted to speak, his right arm was fastened to his side

wrote with his left hand

"Requiem", meant it for his epitaph

"I love my wife better than ever and admire her more; and I cannot think what I have done to deserve so good a gift."

went to the South Pacific (the South Seas)

rented a yacht, Casco, 70 tons, two tall sails, 98 feet long

the Marquesas, the Island of Tahiti

The Princess Moe, a special Tahitian recipe: bits of raw fish covered with sauce made from the wild coconuts and some tropical herbs

the Hawaiian Islands, Honolulu, Samoa

He left San Francisco for a voyage among the islands of the South Sea, and what was intended to be an excursion became a voluntary exile.

Samoa became his home forever

Vailima - five waters

political troubles, the chieftains took different sides, wrote articles to Great Britain and the USA about the political situation on the Islands

rode back and forth between the two camps trying to make peace

Death found him on December 3. Took his hand to his forehead. "Do I look strange?"

Sixty natives carried him to a peak on the Pacific and there a tablet was placed carved with the lines from his "Requiem" which Stevenson always intended as his epitaph.

 

 

Herbert George Wells (1866-1946),

the son of a small tradesman and professional cricketer, was apprenticed to a draper in early life, a period of which reflections may be seen in some of his best novels ('The History of Mr.Polly', 'Kipps', 'The Wheels of Chance').He became a teacher at Midhurst Grammar School and subsequently graduated at the Normal School of Science, South Kensington. He followed the teaching profession until 1893, when he definitely adopted that of letters. A vivid light is thrown on the circumstances of his life and mental development by his interesting 'Experiment in Autobiography'(1934).

Wells' s novels divide themselves broadly into three groups: (I) fantastic and imaginative romances, in which, after the manner of Swift in 'Gulliver's Travels', the author projects himself to a distant standpoint - the moon, the future, the air - and views our life from outside, e.g. as an angel sees it (The Wonderful Visit');(2) novels of character and humour, of which 'The History of Mr. Polly' (1910) is the type; (3) discussion novels - discussion, that is, in the main, of human ideals and progress - to which Wells's essay on 'The Contemporary Novel' serves as a general introduction.

Wells's publications include: 'The Time Machine' and 'The Wonderful Visit' (1895), 'The Invisible Man'(1897), 'The War of the Worlds'(1898), 'When the Sleeper Wakes' (1899), 'Love and Mr.Lewisham' (1900), 'The First Men in the Moon'(1901), 'The Food of the Gods'(1904), 'A Modern Utopia' and 'Kipps' (1905), 'The War in the Air'(1908), 'Tono-Bungay'(1909, one of Wells's most remarkable works), 'The History of Mr Polly' (1910), 'The Country of the Blind'(short stories, 1911), 'Mr Britling sees it through'(1916), 'The Outline of History'(1920), 'The Science of Life'(1929), 'The Shape of Things to Come' (1933).

Wells used fiction as a vehicle for his ideas, just as Shaw had used his plays to break away from old Victorian attitudes and prejudices.

"Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.

The Outline of History.

 

 

Edwardian fiction. (King Edward VII reigned 1901-10)

Among the writers who were born during the last years of the Victorian Age, but lived well into the 20th century and who are known as Edwardians, three in particular are to be remembered: Galsworthy, Bennett and Wells. They were contemporaries of Joseph Conrad, Henry James, Virginia Woolf and James Joyce, but were very dissimilar in their form and subject matter.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)

Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was born in Dublin, Ireland. His father was a well-known surgeon, his mother was a fervent nationalist and a somewhat eccentric woman.

He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, where his love for the classics won him a Gold Medal and a scholarship for Magdalen College, Oxford. He spent in Oxford four happy years, soon establishing a reputation as an anticonformist, a wonderful entertainer and a brilliant talker.

Among his teachers at Oxford he was particularly impressed by John Ruskin and Walter Pater, who influenced both his life and works very deeply. Ruskin attracted him with his socialist ideas, Pater taught him a new conception of art, quite devoid of any moral responsibility. Wilde carried both "teachings" to extremes, in keeping with his extravagant character.

When he graduated from Oxford in 1878, he was already well known as a poet since, in the same year, he had won the Newdigate Prize for poetry. Wilde settled in London. To shock the bourgeoisie and to draw attention to himself, he dressed in a gorgeous, eccentric way (knee-breeches, black silk stockings, a velvet coat, an exotic flower in the buttonhole): he could occasionally be seen walking up and Piccadilly with a sunflower in his hands. This showing off was ridiculed in 'Punch', but his wit and brilliant conversation as well as the sweetness of his temper also earned him frequent invitations to best houses of London.

After his lecturing tour to the United States he returned to Europe and spent three months in Paris, where he met writers and painters like Daudet, Mallarme, De Goncourt, Degas and Pissarro, and was impressed by the works of Flaubert and Huysmans.

In 1884 he married Constance Lloyd who bore him two sons.

In 1885 he became a book-reviewer to the 'Pall Mall Gazette' and then, from 1887 to 1889, editor of the magazine 'The Woman's World', though he never stopped writing works of his own.

In spite of the violent reaction aroused by his novel 'The Picture of Dorian Gray'(1891), his literary prestige increased thanks to the success of his so-called "society plays", which, from 1892 to 1895, brought him wealth and fame.

But the wheel of fortune was about to turn. At the peak of his career he sued the Marquis of Queensberry, who had accused him of a homosexual relationship with his son, Lord Alfred Douglas. Unfortunately the accusations were proved true, and Wilde was arrested, tried and sentenced to two years' hard labour. Actually , he was condemned long before being sentenced, since, while he was still on trial, public opinion turned against him, his plays and books were withdrawn and he became the target of fierce ostracism. His financial ruin was complete.

While in prison, he suffered every day of humiliation. Only towards the end of his imprisonment he was allowed to read and write. His autobiographical work in prose, 'De Profundis' was written in prison.

When he was released he was a broken man; he adopted the name of Sebastian Melmoth (the surname being inspired by Maturin's Gothic novel 'The Wanderer', while the forename recalled not only the Christian martyr transfixed with arrows but also the arrows printed on his prison uniform). He spent some time in Naples and Switzerland, writing against the brutality of prison life. Then he settled in Paris where, almost forgotten by everyone, he died on November 30, 1900, after embracing Roman Catholicism just before dying.

As a dramatist Wilde has often aroused contrasting opinions, some critics underrating other overpraising him. His plays have in turn been called superficial, unreal, satirical, witty, elegant, stylish, mediocre, farcical, delightful, barren, and delusive. These definitions cannot be generalized, since there is a remarkable difference between his early plays and the last ones. Even the so-called "society plays" are not alike. The first three, in keeping with the Victorian audience's expectations, are more sentimental and melodramatic; conventional morals are still present, though wittily ridicule "The Importance of Being Earnest", instead, appears much more original, brilliant and unconventional. The theatrical ingredients are perfectly balanced. Sentimentalism and melodrama have been dropped. The characters are vividly sketched. The language is sparkling and rich in witticisms, epigrams, paradoxes and nonsensical sallies. No moral judgment ever intrudes but only gentle, unobtrusive satire of upper-class English people. One of the best English comedies, it ranks with the eighteenth-century plays by Congreve, Goldsmith and Sheridan, with whom Wilde shares the same high spirits and the same sense of humour.

The plot turns on a misunderstanding resulting from the lies of two upper-class young men, John Worthing (also known as Jack) and Algernon Moncrieff. When a child, Jack was found in a black leather handbag in the cloakroom at Victoria Station by Mr Worthing, an old gentleman who adopted him and gave him his own name. Now he is living in the country, but he often goes to London on the pretext of visiting a fictitious brother, Ernest. While In London(where everybody knows him as Ernest) he falls in love with Gwendolen Fairfax, whose mother, Lady Bracknell, opposes their marriage on the grounds of John's unknown origins. Algernon, in his turn, lives in London, but he often goes to the country on the pretext of visiting a fictitious invalid friend Bunbury. In the country he falls in love with Cecily Cardew, Mr.Worthing's grand-daughter and Jack's ward. Mistaken identity causes funny and misleading situations, but all ends well to everybody's satisfaction.

Walter Pater:

For all art comes to you, proposing frankly to give nothing but the highest quality to your moments as they pass, and simply for those moments' sake.

To burn always with this hard, gemlike flame, to maintain this ecstasy, is success in life.

Oscar Fingall OFlahertie Wills Wilde

My name has two Os, two Fs and two Ws. A name which is destined to be in everybodys mouth must not be too long. It comes expensive in the advertisement.

Nothing that is worth knowing can be taught. We teach people how to remember, we never teach them how to grow.

Nature is so uncomfortable. Grass is hard and lumpy and damp and is full of dreadful black insects. . . Lying as the telling of beautiful untrue things is the proper aim of art.

So he sailed for New York and here his statement at the custom house that he had nothing to declare but his genius tickled the public fancy.. . . People said that had been nothing like it since Dickens.

The actor Coquelin.

I am always at home about nine oclock.

Good. Then I will come on one of these evenings.

But, Monsieur, I mean nine oclock in the morning.

My dear M. Coquelin, said Wilde stepping back and regarding the actor with admiration. you are really a remarkable man. I am much more bourgeois than you. I could never stay awake as late as that. Really you are a remarkable man.

Wilde, whom people had many strange things to say about, had the heart of a little child. . . In the tales Wilde glorifies not only the beauty of nature (?) or artificial beauty, but the beauty of sincere human feelings. He makes us love true kindness, generosity, unselfishness and disapprove (?) callousness, indifference to the sufferings of the poor.

Dorian proclaims: If it were I who was to be always young and the picture that was to grow old. For that - for that - I would give everything. . . . I would give my soul for that!

Scribe and Sardou introduced the vogue of the well-made play on the continent as well as on the English stage. Wildes comedies... Their verbal complexity saves them from being shallow or dull.

During this period the domestic comedies of Henry Arthur Jones and the problem plays of Arthur Wing Pinero flourished. Wilde directed his caustic irony against the morals and manners of Victorian society.

Wilde was called Prince Paradox.

Wildes first comedy Lady Windermeres Fan, was written in 1891 and produced at St. James Theatre on February 20, 1892.

Mrs. Erlynne

Life, as Lord Darlington says, is too complex a thing to be settled by these hard and fast rules, moreover life is far too important a thing to talk seriously about. By seriously he means dogmatically.

Lady Windermere comes to the authors understanding of reality: There is the same world for all of us, and good and evil, sin and innocence, go through it hand in hand.

A Woman of No Importance, Mrs. Arbuthnot, Lord Illingworth who conveys the idea that everyone must strive for his own private happiness, search for new sensations and enjoy life to the full at all costs. His talent is directed toward refining the art of living. He declares that saints have a past, sinners have a future.

The third comedy, the Ideal Husband Sir Robert Chilterns past. Mrs. Cheveley, Lord Goring.

Lord Goring plays with life and is on perfectly good terms with the world.

The Importance of Being Earnest, 1894

uses the formulas of stock situations, the motif of mistaken identity, the twin brothers (?), concealed information about birth. The sequence of the plot is simple, the comedy principally centres on the juggling with homonyms Ernest and earnest. The game played with the double meaning of these two words controls the progression of the plot.

The game of paradox and topsy-turvy characterizes individual speeches the peculiar idoms of Jack, Algernon, Cecily and Gwendolen.

In 1895 Oscar Wilde was brought to trial and sentenced to two years in prison for immorality. Society praised him for being idle and persecuted him savagely for an aberration which it had better have left unadvertised, thereby making a hero of him. - Bernard Shaw.

 

AMERICAN AUTHORS

F. SCOTT FITZGERALD

(1896-1940)

Fitzgerald was both a representative of his era and a severe critic of society. "Many American critics have agreed that Fitzgerald's ability to participate in a story and to analyze that participation simultaneously gives his work maturity and power."(Jackson Bryer and John Kuehl).

During the 1920's many Americans lived with reckless abandon, attending wild parties, wearing glamorous clothing, and striving for personal fulfilment through material wealth. Yet this quest for pleasure was often accompanied by a sense of inner despair. In his short stories and novels, F. Scott Fitzgerald captured both the gaiety and the emptiness of the time.

F.Scott Key Fitzgerald was born in St .Paul, Minnesota, into a family with high social aspirations but little wealth. He entered Princeton University in 1913, but he failed to graduate. In 1917 he enlisted in the army. He was stationed in Mongomery, Alabama, where he fell in love with Zelda Sayre, a young southern belle. Shortly after being discharged from the army, Fitzgerald published his first novel, "This Side of Paradise"(1920). The novel earned him instant fame and wealth, which enabled him to persuade Zelda to marry him.

The Fitzgeralds soon became a part of the wealthy, extravagant and hedonistic society that characterized the Roaring Twenties. Spending time in both New York and Europe, the glamorous couple mingled with rich and famous artists and aristocrats, attending countless parties and spending money recklessly. Despite his wild lifestyle, Fitzgerald remained a productive writer. During the twenties he published dozens of short stories and his most successful novel, "The Great Gatsby" (1926), the story of a self-made man whose dreams of love and social acceptance lead to scandal and corruption and ultimately end in tragedy. The novel displayed both Fitzgerald's fascination with and growing distrust of the wealthy society he had embraced.

Following the stock market crash in 1929, Fitzgerald's life changed dramatically. His wife suffered a series of nervous breakdowns, his reputation as a writer declined, and financial difficulties forced him to seek work as a Hollywood screenwriter. Despite these setbacks, however, he managed to produce many more short stories and a second fine novel, "Tender is the Night"(1934). Focusing on the decline of a young American psychiatrist following his marriage to a wealthy patient, the novel reflected Fitzgerald's awareness of the tragedy that can result from an obsession with wealth and social status.

Fitzgerald died of a heart attack in 1940. At the time he was in the midst of writing "The Last Tycoon" (1941), a novel about a Hollywood film mogul.

,

- born in St.Paul,Minn., where part of his youth was spent until he went to Princeton (1913). There he was a leader in theatrical and literary activities until he left because of academic difficulties, and then, after a brief return, to enter the army (1917). While being trained in U.S. camps he wrote the initial draft of his first novel, "This Side of Paradise" (1920), set at his alma mater and an expression of a new generation and its jazz age. His book having caught the flavor and interests of the changing era, his stories were in great demand by both the popular "Saturday Evening Post" and the critical "Sribner's" as he became a chronicler of the manners and moods of the time. From these journals came his next works, "Flappers and Philosophers"(1920) and "Tales of Jazz Age" (1922), the latter including "The Diamond as Big as the Ritz". In keeping with the tone of the stories, he himself became a character of the period, the handsome, witty, charming author married to a glamorous girl named Zelda, and both living life as though it were one great party. His lesser, second novel, "The Beautiful and Damned" (1922), was a minor work telling of a rich, aristocratic young artist and his wife foundering in dissipation, suggesting something of the Fitzgeralds own extravagant life. This was followed by his satirical play, "The Vegetable; or, From President to Postman"(1923), reissued (1976) with previously cut scenes. Then came "The Great Gatsby"(1925), the finest novel, a sensitive and symbolic treatment of themes of contemporary life related with irony and pathos to the legendary of the "American dream". Although he continued to write stories, collected in "All the Sad Young Men"(1926) and later in "Taps as Reveille"(1935), and worked ahead on his most extensive novel, "Tender Is the Night" his personal life suffered the tragedies of his wife's nervous breakdown and his own loss of security as he became sick and saw his critical esteem and public reception deteriorate, leading him to write the touching essays posthumously collected in "The Crack-Up"(1945).

JEROME DAVID SALINGER

(1919- )

a New York-born writer, resident in New Hamphshire, began to publish stories in the early 1940s; and after service as an infantry sergeant in Europe during World War II he wrote more stories, but has not chosen to collect them from journals. His first book was "The Catcher in the Rye" (1951), about an unhappy teenage boy, Holden Caulfield, who runs away from his boarding school as part of his disgust with "phoniness", and who because of his feelings and the idiom in which he communicated them became, particularly for a generation of high-school and college students, a symbol of purity and sensitivity. In "Nine Stories" (1953), printing stories written beginning in 1948, including "A Perfect Day for Bananafish", Salinger introduced his chronicle of an eccentric, warm-hearted family named Glass, continued in his next books of stories. "Fanny and Zooey"(1961) presents two members of the Glass family, sister and brother, in two long stories. Fanny, a college senior, visits her boyfriend on a football weekend which is made desperately unhappy because she is dissatisfied with him, herself, and life. Zooey, her older brother, a television actor, tries to ease her feelings after this weekend, and his sensitive aid is first described by their still older brother, Buddy, whom the author calls his "alter ego'. "Raise High the Roof-Beam, Carpenters" and "Seymour: An Introduction" (1963), a single volume, reprints stories from "The New Yorker" (1955, 1959), in which Buddy Glass tells, first, of his return to New York during the war to attend his brother

Seymour's wedding and of Seymour' jilting of the bride and then of their later elopement; and, second, after Seymour's suicide, of Buddy's own brooding, to the point of breakdown, upon Seymour's virtues, human and literary. In the early 1960s Salinger retired to his rural home, withdrew from the literary scene, and has not published since June,1965.

James D,Hart, The Concise Oxford Companion to American Literature.

VONNEGUT, KURT, JR.

(1922 - )

born in Indianapolis, studied biochemistry at Cornell before being drafted into the infantry in World War II. Captured by the Germans, he was housed in the underground meat locker of a slaughterhouse in Dresden when that city was annihilated by U.S. and British bombs. He emerged to find "135,000 Hansels and Gretels had been baked like gingerbread men". After the war V. studied anthropology at the University of Chicago and worked in public relations for General Electric. His first novel, "Player Piano" (1952), satirizes the tyrannies of automation observed at G.E. and his second, "The Sirens of Titan"(1959). uses the mode of science fiction. "Mother Night"(1961) presents an American spy in Germany during WWII who transmits secret messages via open pro-Nazi, anti-Semitic radio talks; its moral, V. declared, was that "We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be". "Cat's Cradle"(1963), like his other novels, uses science fiction concepts for quietly satirical consideration of mankind and its need for sympathy and compassion, proposing that we live by "foma", lies that make for human happiness. "God Bless You, Mr.Rosewater"(1965), in a similar vein, is also marked by freedom of form and by fanciful black humor in presenting the duplicity and absurdity of modern life and its lack of generosity and gentleness. "Slaughterhouse-Five; or the Children's Crusade"(1969), inspired by his Dresden experience, also uses the vein of surrealism and science fiction, and is marked by the dark comedy, philosophic meditation, and brief, impressionistic scenes of the sort that characterized "Cat's Cradle". "Breakfast of Champions; or, Goodbye Blue Monday!"(1973) is a lesser, though popular, novel that in chronicling the fantastic adventures of several Americans makes nihilistic comment upon contemporary society. "Slapstick; or, Lonesome No More!"(1976), also a slighter novel, as a broad comedy treats the problem of loneliness. "Jailbird"(1979) is a more straightforward novel portraying the fanciful life of a fictitious participant in the Watergate conspiracy as it satirizes American politics. "Deadeye Dick"(1982) deals with the accidental explosion of a neutron bomb in Ohio. "Welcome to the Monkey House"(1968) collects stories and essays, and "Wampeters, Foma and Granfaloons"(1974) is a volume of essays, reviews, and speeches, whose title employs words used in "Cat's Cradle". "Palm Sunday"(1981) is a similar collection. "Happy Birthday, Wanda June"(1970) is a play that satirically presents the afterlife (on earth and in heaven) of two American military heroes who dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki, and "Between Time and Timbuktu"(1973) is a television script drawing upon "Cat's Cradle" and "The Sirens of Titan".

ELWYN BROOKS WHITE (1899-1985)

was born and brought up in Mount Vernon, New York. He wrote for "The New Yorker" magazine from the time it began in 1925, until his death. His humorous, topical essays helped to establish "The New Yorker" as one of the nation's most successful general-interest magazine. "The Second Tree from the Corner" and "The Points of My Compass" are two collections of his magazine writings. He also wrote three best-selling children's books - "Stuart Little"(1945), "Charlotte's Web"(1952), and "The Trumpet of the Swan"(1971). His work as an essayist combines humor, honesty, insight, and a remarkable sense for the correct word.

What makes White's three books written for children outstanding is that he has written them in the classical tradition of children's stories - the tradition of Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland", Mary Molesworth's "The Cuckoo Clock", Kenneth Grahame's "The Wind in the Willows", and Alan Alexander Milne's "Winnie-the-Pooh". Children learn a great deal about loyalty, honesty, love, sadness, and happiness. White's books have become classics.

White: Stuart Little came into being as the result of a journey I once made. In. the late twenties, I took a train to Virginia, got out, walked up and down in the Shenandoah Valley in the beautiful springtime, then returned to NY by rail. While asleep in an upper berth, I dreamed of a small character who had the features of a mouse, was nicely dressed, courageous, and questing. When I woke up, being a journalist and thankful for small favors, I made a few notes about this mouse-child - the only fictional figure ever to have honored and disturbed my sleep.

WALT WHITMAN

(1819-1892)

stands out in American literature as a great poet who possessed the kind of art and vision upon which new epochs are founded.

His intuition told him that the time had come for many barriers to fall, barriers to the well-being and self-expression of the individual which he valued above all. Well in advance of the "new psychology" he emphasized the unity of the personality and the importance of all personal experience.

He exalted the values of the common, the beauty of nature even in its humblest creatures, the nobility of hard work and of the body's sweat ("I Hear America Singing); he described the city swarming with people and busy at work ("Crossing Brooklyn Ferry"), the wonders of technology ("To a Locomotive in Winter"). He was equally drawn by the lure of the past and can be considered a defender of American tradition: his philosophical thought sprang from the tradition of Emerson, which is the exaltation of the individual ("Song of Myself", "Songs of Parting").

In the shadow of the Mexican War, he conceived of a book to express American democratic idealism as he had experienced it; it was to be a revolutionary poem both in form and content. In 1855 he gave up his newspaper work and began writing "Leaves of Grass" into which he poured his ideals of democracy and his love of his country, also in its geophysical aspects of magnitude and majesty, which to him were strictly correlated and pantheistically reflected in the character of its inhabitants and in the quality of its social development.

This passionate patriotism together with a sometimes rhetorical style may sound outdated today, but they were sincere, responded to the needs of the time and represented clear evidence of the nation's urgent desire for unity.

His emphasis on everyday language and the adoption of a free blank verse for wider comprehension responded to European romantic theories of the democratic expansion of literature, while his attitude toward industrialization and its evils differs from that of the English Romantics, also in view of the vastness of American spaces which prevented the concentration of factories and delayed the sense of crowding and its expression in literature.

The poet often regards himself as a prophet of the nation and considers it his duty to give the country a moral as well as a poetical direction..

Whitman exhorts his countryman: "this is what you shall do: love the earth and the sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown, or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your soul..."(Preface to the 1855 Edition of "Leaves of Grass")

How much of this moral code is still valid today is for the reader to judge; what is certain is that Whitman left a lasting mark on American thought and literature, especially on poets like Carl Sandburg.

...read the Bible, Shakespeare, Ossian, Homer, and something of the Greek and Hindu poets, the Nibelungenlied, and Dante, all of which, either in rhythm or thought, influenced his later writing.

entered politics as a Democrat

after 1841 was actively associated with at least ten newspapers and magazines in New York and Brooklyn.

poems...conventional and mediocre

contributed many thin, sentimental, melancholy stories

Leaves of Grass grew out of a slow and conscious effort to employ his experiences and his own maturity. Although he consistently celebrated himself as an average man, he was probably feeling his unique qualities more definitely than ever. Divided between faith in democratic equality and belief in the individual rebel against society's restrictions , he combined the figure of the average man and the superman in his conception of himself. He certainly differed in the hypersensitivity that made him as zealous in pursuing emotional freedom through love as he had been in pursuing social freedom through democracy. He differed also in his frequent, forceful declarations of his democratic love for man.

Such abnormal sensitivity and extreme sensuousness appear to be primary forces in his poetry. Other influences included Goth's autobiography, which showed him a man surveying the universe in terms of himself; Heel's philosophy, which supplied the idea of a cosmic consciousness evolving through conflict and contradiction toward a definite objective; and Carlisle's "Heroes and Hero Worship", which suggested that a superior individual is a power above man-made laws. Above all literary influences was that of the Transcendentalists, particularly Emerson, from whom he learned that the individual was not merely an eccentric but an impersonal seer at one with Nature, perceiving what is permanent in flux and revealing its development. He was affected by the typical interest of his period in science, although he considered it cold and intellectual as compared with faith in a divine purpose.

Although Wh. uncritically accepted many divergent philosophies and seems at first to have been unconscious of any unifying purpose in Leaves, he eventually worked out the belief that it was to show how man might achieve for himself the greatest possible freedom within the limits of natural law, for the mind and body through democracy, for the heart through love, and for the soul through religion.

Although his ideas of prosody were also refined later, he already illustrated his belief in a simple style devoid of the ordinary usages of rhyme, meter, or ornament, and distinguished by a natural organic growth, with each part in proportion with the whole. He himself compared his poetry with the "liquid, billowy waves", and some of its most distinctive features are the use of repetition, parallelism, rhetorical mannerisms, and the employment of the phrase instead of the foot as a unit of rhythm, to create forms later called free verse.