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Luck by Mark Twain

Mark Twain

Mark Twain


I was at a dinner in London given in honor of one of the most celebrated English military men of his time. I do not want to tell you his real name and titles. I will just call him Lieutenant General Lord Arthur Scoresby.
I cannot describe my excitement when I saw this great and famous man. There he sat. The man himself, in person, all covered with medals. I could not take my eyes off him. He seemed to show the true mark of greatness. His fame had no effect on him.
The hundreds of eyes watching him, the worship of so many people did not seem to make any difference to him.
Next to me sat a clergyman, who was an old friend of mine. He was not always a clergyman. During the first half of his life, he was a teacher in the military school at Woolwich. There was a strange look in his eye as he turned to me and whispered, “Between you and me — he is a complete fool.” He meant, of course, the hero of our dinner.
This came as a shock to me. I looked hard at my friend. I could not have been more surprised if he had said the same thing about Napoleon, or Socrates, or Solomon.
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Pastoral after Nevil Shute

Nevil Shute

Nevil Shute

Gervase rang up Mr Ellison in the middle of the morning. She said, «This is Section Officer Robertson speaking from the aerodrome. Mr Ellison, you know everybody round here. Who lives in Kingslak House?»
«I don’t know, I could find out for you.”
«Could you? I want to know this morning, if I can.» She hesitated. «I tell you what it’s about. There’s a lake there with a lot of trout in it. Some of us were wondering if the owner of the house would let us go fishing there.»
«I get you,» he said. «Give you a ring back in half an hour.»
He telephoned later in the morning. «About those trout you want to fish,” he said. «You haven’t got a hope. Nobody’s allowed near them.»
«Who does the house belong to?”
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The boy next door by J. London

Jack London

Jack London


Sladen Morris is the boy next door. He has grown very tall now, and all the girls think he is wonderful. But I remember when he refused to comb his hair and wash his face.
Of course, he remembers me too whenever I appear in a new dress and special hair-do, he says, “Well, well, look at Betsy, she’s almost grown-up. But I remember her first party, when she was so excited that she dropped her ice-cream on her best dress, and she ran home crying.”
So when I say that Sladen Morris didn’t mean anything to me, I am quite serious. But I had known him so long that I felt I had to take care of him — just as I feel towards Jimmy, my little brother. That’s the only feeling I had — neighbourly friendship — when I tried to save Sladen from Merry Ann Milbum.
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The one who waits by Ray Bradbury

The one who waits by Ray Bradbury

The one who waits by Ray Bradbury


I live in a well. I live like smoke in the well. Like vapor in a stone throat. I don’t move. I don’t do anything but wait. Overhead I see the cold stars of night and morning, and I see the sun. And sometimes I sing old songs of this world when it was young. How can I tell you what I am when I don’t know? I cannot. I am simply waiting. I am mist and moonlight and memory. I am sad and I am old. Sometimes I fall like rain into the well. I wait in cool silence and there will be a day when I no longer wait.
Now it is morning. I hear a great thunder. I smell fire from a distance. I hear a metal crashing. I wait. I listen. Voices. Far away.
“All right!”
One voice. An alien voice. An alien tongue I cannot know. No word is familiar. I listen.
“Mars! So this is it!”
“Where’s the flag?”
“Here, sir.”
“Good, good.”
The sun is high in the blue sky and its golden rays fill the well and I hang like a flower pollen, invisible and misting in the warm light.
Voices.
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My First Date

My First Date
My First Date by L. Thomas
In the day, shaking and shining, I went up to London on the train and then by bus to the Albert Hall. There she was. Waiting for me! As though I took women out every night, I kissed her on the cheek.
Then things started to become difficult. She grumbled about sitting up in the highest seats, and complained all the way up the endless stairs. When she had gone with Cedric, she moaned, they had sat in the front stalls, just behind the conductor.
‘You don’t hear the music properly down there’, I argued with inspiration.
We sat down. It was like peering into the mouth of a volcano. ‘Up here the music floats to you.’
She kept muttering through the first half of the concert, and then horrified me in the interval by announcing that she really would like a drink. Dumbstruck, I mentally counted the money in my pocket.
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A Date by Ch. Dickenson

A Date by Ch. Dickenson

I am sixteen years and one month old and I have never had a boyfriend. Don’t get me wrong: I’ve known quite a few boys — in fact I was on quite friendly terms with most of the boys in my class, but I’ve never had a date. Not a proper kind of date — holding hands, back row of the cinema, shall-I-or-shan’t-I- let-him-kiss-me kind of date, that is. But I’ve told Jackie that I’ve got a boyfriend.
Jackie is my friend and she has taken me ‘under her wing’. I know she means well and most of the time I like her, but hell, we were at school together and now at work together and there’s hardly a thing left to say to each other that we haven’t said before. I just wanted to stop going to the coffee bar with her every evening, but when I started making excuses not to meet Jackie she kept asking why. Was I doing this, was I doing that, well, if I wasn’t, what was I doing that was so important — and so on. To make things worse the other girls at work started joining in. So the third time Jackie asked why I couldn’t meet her that night I said the first thing that came into my head.
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The end of the story by Jack London

Jack London

Jack London

Four men were playing cards at a table made of rough boards. They were sitting in their shirts, their faces were covered with sweat. But their woolen-socked and moccasined feet were frozen. Such was the difference of temperature in the small cabin. The iron stove was red-hot; yet, eight feet away, on a shelf, lay frozen meat and bacon.
The men played whist: the pair that lost would have to dig a fishing hole through the seven feet of ice and snow that covered the Yukon.
“It’s cold,” said one of the men. “What’s the temperature, Doc?”
“About fifty,” said Doc. He was a slender, dark-haired man, healthy and strong. He had black and clever eyes. His hands were fine and nervous, made for delicate work.
Suddenly there was a knock at the door and a stranger came in.
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