Банковская банкнота в миллион долларов

The Million Pound Bank Note

Марк Твен (Mark Twain)

chapter one

From San Francisco to London

When I was 27 years old, I worked in an office in San Francisco. I did my job well and my future was promising. I was alone in the world and I was happy.

On Saturday afternoons I didn't work. I sailed my little sailboat on San Francisco Bay. One Saturday afternoon, I sailed out too far. The strong afternoon wind pushed my sailboat out of the bay, into the Pacific Ocean.

That night, when I had lost all hope, a small British brig saw me and took me on board. The brig was sailing to London. The voyage was long and stormy. I worked as a sailor to pay for my trip.

When I arrived in London, my clothes were old and dirty. I had only one dollar in my pocket. With this dollar, I ate and slept for the first twenty-four hours. During the next twenty-four hours, I didn't eat and didn't sleep.

At about ten o'clock the following morning, I went to Portland Place. I saw a child walking past, holding a big pear. The child ate one small piece and then threw the pear onto the street.

I stopped and looked at it.

I was very hungry and I really wanted that pear. But every time I tried to get it, someone passed by and looked at me. I quickly turned in the other direction and waited for the person to pass by. I tried again and again to get that pear, but the same thing happened. I was desperate. I decided to get the pear and not to worry about the people who saw me. At that moment, a gentleman opened a window behind me and said, "Come in here, please."

A well-dressed servant opened the door. He took me to a beautiful room.

Here, two old gentlemen were sitting and discussing something important.

Their breakfast was on the table. I was very hungry and I stared at their breakfast.

I want to tell the reader that the two gentlemen had made a bet several days before. I knew nothing about the bet until later. Let me tell you what happened.