M. Twain
I have always believed that a man must be honest. “Never ask for money you have not earned”, I always said.
Now I shall tell you a story which will show you how honest I have always been all my life.
A few days ago at my friend’s house I met General Miles. General Miles was a nice man and we became great friends very quickly.
“Did you live in Washington in 1867?” the general asked me.
“Yes, I did,” I answered.
“How could it happen that we did not meet then?” said General Miles.
“General”, answered I. “we couldn’t meet then. You forget that you were already a great general then, and I was a poor young writer whom nobody knew and whose books nobody read. You don’t remember me, I think, but we met once in Washington at that time.”
I remember it very well. I was poor then and very often I didn’t have money even for my bread. I had a friend. He was a poor writer too. We lived together. We did everything together: worked, read books, went for walks together. And when we were hungry, we were both hungry. Once we were in need of three dollars. I don’t remember why we needed these three dollars so much, but I remember well that we had to have the money by the evening.
“We must get these three dollars”, said my friend. “I shall try to get the money, but you must also try.
I went out of the house, but I did not know where to go and how to get three dollars. For an hour I was walking along the streets of Washington and was very tired. At last I came to a big hotel. “I shall go in and have a rest,” I thought.
I went into the hall of the hotel and sat down on a sofa. I was sitting there when a beautiful small dog ran into the hall. It was looking for somebody. The dog was nice and I had nothing to do, so I called it and began to play with it.
I was playing with the dog, when a man came into the hall. He wore a beautiful uniform and I knew at once that he was General Miles. I knew him by his pictures in the newspapers. “What a beautiful dog!” said he. “Is it your dog?”
I didn’t have time to answer him when he said, “Do you want to sell him?”
“Three dollars”, I answered at once.
“Three dollars?” he answered. “But that is very little. I can give you fifty dollars for it.”
“No, no. I only want three dollars.”
“Well, it is your dog. If you want three dollars for it, I shall be glad to buy your dog.”
General Miles paid me three dollars, took the dog and went up to his room.
Ten minutes later an old man came into the hall. He looked round the hall and I could see that he was looking for something.
“Are you looking for a dog, sir?” I asked.
“Oh, yes! Have you seen it?” said the man.
“Your dog was here a few minutes ago and I saw how it went away with a man”, I answered. “If you want, I shall try to find it for you.”
The man was very happy and asked me to help him.
“I shall be glad to help you, but it will take some of my time and…”
“I am ready to pay you for your time,” cried the man. “How much do you want for it?”
“Three dollars,” answered I.
“Three dollars?” asked the man. “But it is very good dog. I shall pay you ten dollars if you help me.”
“Nor sir, I want three dollars and not a dollar more,” replied I.
Then I went up to General Miles’s room. The General was playing with his new dog when I entered his room. “I came to take the dog back”, said I.
“But it’s not your dog now – I have bought it and I paid you three dollars for it,” said the General.
“I shall give you back your money, but I must take the dog back”, I answered.
“But you have sold it to me, it’s mine now.”
“I couldn’t sell it to you, sir, because it wasn’t my dog.”
“Still you have sold it to me for three dollars.”
“How could I sell it to you when it wasn’t my dog? You asked me how much I wanted for the dog, and I said that I wanted three dollars. But I never told you that it was my dog.”
General Miles was very angry now.
“Give me back my money and take the dog,” he shouted.
When I brought the dog back to its master, he was very happy and paid me three dollars with joy. I was happy too because I had the money, and I felt I earned it.
Now you can see why I say that honest is the best policy and that a man must never take anything that he hasn’t earned.
Find in the text English equivalents for the following words and expressions:
быть честным; приятный человек; которого никто не знал; даже на хлеб; к вечеру; отдохнуть; мне было нечем заняться; сразу догадался; через десять минут; готов заплатить; я должен забрать собаку; продать за три доллара; вернул собаку хозяину.
Give Russian equivalents for the following words and expressions from the text and use them in the sentences of your own:
to earn some (a lot, little) money; to become great friends; to be in need of smth.; it takes (took, will take) smb. some time to smth.; to be angry with; to look for smth/smb.; to give money back; with joy.
Answer the questions:
Whom did the author meet at his friend’s house one day?
Did General Miles recognize the author? Why couldn’t he?
Prove that the author’s life was very hard.
Why did the author find himself in the hotel one day?
Who ran into the hall suddenly?
Why did the author sell the dog to General for three dollars?
What happened ten minutes later?
What brilliant idea came to the author’s mind?
How did he managed to take the dog back?
Did the author’s behavior prove his words, “Never ask for money you haven’t earned”?
Comment on the proverb: “Honesty is the best policy”
Say how you understand it. Illustrate it by examples.
Act out the dialogues between:
General Miles and the boy;
The boy and the old man.
Retell the story on the part of:
General Miles;
The old man;
The author’s name.
Give the gist of the story in not more than ten sentences.
Grammar task
Look through the text, find all irregular verbs and give their forms.
Put questions to the words in bold type:
A few days ago at my friend’s house I met General Miles.
We did everything together: worked, read books, went for walks.
For an hour I was walking along the streets of Washington.
I shall pay you ten dollars if you find the dog for me.
I was playing with the dog when the man came into the room.
Ten minutes later an old man came into the hall.
Translate the following sentences from Russian into English.
Я всегда думал, что человек должен быть честен: «Никогда не проси денег, которых ты не заработал».
В то время, я был очень беден, и часто у меня не было денег даже на то, чтобы купить хлеб.
Я вышел из дома, но не знал, куда мне идти и как достать эти три доллара.
Я играл с собакой, когда в холл вошел человек, одетый в красивую форму.
Пожилой человек вошел в холл, осмотрелся вокруг и я понял, что он что-то искал.
Я был счастлив получить деньги, которые я чувствовал, что заработал.

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