STORIES ABOUT FAMOUS PEOPLE
George Washington, the President of the United States of North America, had a friend who fought with him in the war and was in peace time his daily companion.* This friend was a pleasant man but had no talent for business.
When a high government post became vacant many people thought that Washington’s friend was sure to get it.®
But another candidate for the office appeared. This was a political opponent of Washington, a man of great talent for business.
How great was everybody’s surprise when that other man got the post.
When people asked the president to explain this appointment, he said:
“My friend is welcome to my house and to my heart;1 but with all his good qualities, he is not a man of business; the other man is. My private feelings have nothing to do with the case. I am not George Washington, but President
1 George Washington [^30:63 'wojirjtn] — Вашингтон, Джордж (1732—1799), американский государственный деятель периода борьбы североамериканских колоний за независимость (1755—83), главнокомандующий войсками колонистов, первый президент США
2 was his daily companion — был ... с ним всегда вместе
3 was sure to get it — определенно получит его (пост)
4 is welcome to my house and to my heart —(мой друг) всегда желанный гость в моем доме, и для него открыто мое сердце
5 have nothing to do with the case — не имеют ничего общего с этим вопросом
оf the United States; as George Washington I am ready to do my friend any kindness which is in my power, but as President of the United States I can do nothing.”
The Secretary’s Watch
George Washington did not like people who were always late.1 One morning his secretary came late and saw that Washington was in his office already. The secretary said that his watch was wrong that morning. Washington replied quietly: “Yes, you must get another watch, and if that does not help you, I shall get another secretary.”
An Officer who Learnt a Lesson
In the American War of Independence,4 an officer and a group of soldiers were raising a heavy tree from the ground. They needed it for a battery. There were not enough soldiers for the work; but the officer didn’t do anything; he only shouted orders. Suddenly another older officer, not in uniform, rode up on his horse.
“Hullo!”3 he cried to the officer of the group, “Why don’t you help your men to lift that tree?”
“Can’t you see that I am an officer?”4 was the reply.
“Oh, you are, are you?” * said the older officer, who then came down from his horse and joined the men. He worked till drops of sweat covered his face. When they finished the job and put the tee in its place, the older man turned to the younger officer and bowed. “Good-bye, sir. Next time when you do not have enough men for this sort of work, invite the Commander-in-Chief. I shall be happy to help you again.”
It was Washington himself, the Commander-in-Chief of the army.
1 who were always late — которые всегда опаздывали
2 the American War of Independence — см. прим. 1 на стр. 3.
3 hullo! ['hA'lou] — послушайте1
4 can’t you see that I am an officer? — разве вы не видите, что я офицер? (перевод вопросительно-отрицательных предложений обычно начинают словом „разве")
5 oh, you are, are you? — ax, вот оно что!
Absence of Mind
One evening in winter, Sir Isaac Newton1 felt very cold and drew his chair close to the grate, in which a fire was burning. Soon the heat became more intense and Newton rang the bell for his servant. The servant appeared.
“Remove the grate," cried Newton in an angry tone which was unusual for him, “remove the grate before I am burned to death."a
“Please, sir, maybe you will draw back your chair?” said the servant with a sly smile.
“Oh,” said Newton, and he was laughing as he spoke,
“I didn’t think of that!"
Sir Isaac Newton and His Dinner
One day a gentleman wanted to see Sir Isaac Newton just before dinnertime. The servant told him that Sir Isaac was working in his study.
The visitor, who wished to speak to Newton about something important, asked for permission to wait till Newton went in to dinner, and so sat down in the diningroom. After a few minutes, the servant brought in Newton’s dinner—a boiled chicken under a silver cover. An hour passed and Newton did not appear.’ The gentleman began to feel hungry. Soon he looked under the cover, saw the chicken and began to eat it. When only the bones remained he covered the dish and told the servant to boil another chicken. But before that was ready, Newton came
1 Sir Isaac Newton ['ашк 'nju:tn] — Исаак Ньютон (1642—1727), гениальный английский физик, механик, астроном и математик (sir перед именем обозначает титул)
2 before I аш burned to death — пока я совсем не сгорел
down to dinner. When he found the gentleman in the dining-room, he said, “I beg your pardon,1 Sir, I am sorry1 2 you waited so long. But just allow me to take* my short dinner first, for I am quite tired and hungry; I shall soon be at your service.” 3
After these words, he lifted the cover, but found that the dish was empty. He smiled and said, “See, Sir, what we learned people are!4 I quite forgot; it seems that I had my dinner earlier.”
Sir Isaac Newton’s temper was very mild, nothing could disturb it, as you may see from the following:
Isaac Newton had a little dog which was called Diamond.5 One evening when Newton went out of his study he left Diamond there. After a few minutes Newton returned; he saw that the lighted candle was pushed over6 on its side among some papers and that the nearly finished work of many years was in flames.7
As Newton was an old man already, the loss was ir-герагйЫе,8 but he didn’t punish the dog, he only exclaimed, “O Diamond, Diamond, you do not know the mischief that you have done.”
Franklin in his early years travelled from Philadelphia10 11 to Boston.11 On his journey he stopped at one of the inns, the landlord of which possessed all the curiosity of his countrymen. When people came from the centre everybody whom they met wanted to ask them about the purpose of their own trip and about the latest events.
1 I beg your pardon — прошу прощения
2 I am sorry — сожалею
3 at your service — к вашим услугам
4 what we learned [Тэ:шб] people are! —каковы мы, ученые!
5 Diamond ['daiamand] — кличка собаки
6 was pushed over — была опрокинута
7 was in flames — охвачена пламенем
8 was irreparable — была невозместима
9 Benjamin Franklin ['Ьепбзэшт 'fraegklin] — Бенжамен Франклин (1706—1790), видный американский политический деятель и физик
10 Philadelphia [.filo’delf js] Филадельфия (город)
11 Boston pbostan] Бостон (город)
Franklin sat down to supper1 and immediately his landlord began to torment him with questions. Franklin decided to stop the landlord at once.
He asked the landlord to call his wife, children and servants, in short, the whole household.1 2 When the landlord brought them Franklin said with a smile on his lips, “My good friends, I sent for you here because I wanted to tell you about myself: my name is Benjamin Franklin; I am a printer, nineteen years old, I live in Philadelphia* and I am now going to Boston. If you want to know more, ask me and I shall inform you. I hope that you will now permit me to eat my supper in peace.
One day Doctor Samuel Johnson,3 the famous author of the first English dictionary, was at a fishmarket with his friend. He assured him that he could make a woman who sold fish angry.4
“I shall not say even one bad word to her,* he added. Then he came up to one of these women, raised her fish to his nose and silently showed that it had a bad smell. The woman attacked him in words that I cannot repeat here.
The Doctor answered:
“You are an article, woman.”
“You are an article yourself,” she cried.
“You are a noun, woman!” Johnson continued. “You are a pronoun, I say.”
1 sat down to supper — сел ужинать
2 in short, the whole household — короче говоря, всех домочадцев
3 Doctor Samuel Johnson ['saemjual ?d3onsn] — Сэмюель Джонсон (1709—1784), писатель и составитель первого английского толкового словаря (Doctor — здесь ученая степень)
4 he could make a woman who sold fish angry — он может вывести из себя (рассердить) торговку рыбой
The old woman could not understand these words, so she shook her fist at him and called him many bad names*1
“You are a verb,” he continued, “an adverb, an adjective,” and each part of speech made her angrier and angrier because she did not know their meaning and did not know how to answer.
KOHEЦ ФPAГMEHTA КНИГИ