outstanding short stones .his short stories, ... his first book of stories came out in 1839 ......

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  • Outstanding Short Stones

    Level 5Selected and retold by G. C.Thornley

    Series Editors: Andy Hopkins and Jocelyn Potter

  • P e a rso n E d u c a tio n L im ite dEdinburgh Gate, Harlow,

    Essex CM 20 2JE, England and Associated Companies throughout the world.

    ISBN: 978-1-4058-6519-7

    First published in the Longman Simplified English Series 1958 First published in the Longman Fiction Series 1993

    This compilation first published 1996 First published by Penguin Books 1999

    This edition published 2008

    5 7 9 10 8 6

    We are grateful to the following for permission to reproduce simplified versions o f copyright material: A. P. Watt Ltd on behalf o f the Royal Literary Fund for Lord Mountdrago by W Somerset

    Maugham from The M ixture as Before; the Literary Executors o f the Estate o f H. G. Wells for The Man W ho Could Work Miracles by H. G. Wells; the Trustees o f the Wodehouse Estate for

    Lord Emsworth and the Girl Friend from Blandings Castle by P. G. Wodehouse.

    Text copyright Penguin Books Ltd 1999 This edition copyright Pearson Education Ltd 2008

    Typeset by Graphicraft Ltd, Hong Kong Set in 11/14pt Bembo

    Printed in China SW TC/05

    A ll rights reserved; no part o f this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means,

    electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission o f the Publishers.

    Published by Pearson Education Ltd in association with Penguin Books Ltd, both companies being subsidiaries o f Pearson Pic

    For a complete list o f the titles available in the Penguin Readers series please write to your local Pearson Longman office or to: Penguin Readers Marketing Department, Pearson Education,

    Edinburgh Gate, Harlow, Essex CM20 2JE, England.

  • Contents

    pageIntroduction vT he M an W ho C ould W ork Miracles H . G. Wells 1T he M odel Millionaire Oscar W ilde 14Lord Em sworth and the Girl Friend P G. Wodehouse 20T he D olls H ouse Katherine Mansfield 39X -ing a Paragraph Edgar A llan Poe 47T he Courtship o f Susan Bell A nthony Trollope 53Lord M ountdrago W Somerset Maugham 79Activities 100

  • IntroductionSoon Else moved close to her sister. B y now she had forgotten the angry lady. She smiled her rare smile.

    I saw the little lamp, she said softly.Then both were silent once more.

    As m ost o f the short stories in this collection do, T he D olls H ouse ends w ith a surprise. In the final scene we see the poor little girls, w ho are ignored by everyone, w ith happy smiles on their faces. This surprising tu rn o f events gives the reader a clear understanding o f w hat is im portant in the story. Readers in the late n ineteen th - and early tw entieth-centuries enjoyed a clever twist.

    T he characters themselves are another attractive feature o f these stories. Like readers a hundred years ago, we quickly becom e involved in the fictional lives o f interesting, sometimes odd, sometimes heroic m en, w om en and children and w ant to find ou t w hat happens to them.

    T he stories were w ritten by w ell-know n w riters from Britain, Ireland, N ew Zealand and the U n ited States, and this collection presents the short story at its best. A num ber o f the w riters represented here Katherine Mansfield, Edgar Allan Poe and W. Somerset M augham are know n above all for their short stories; others are m ore famous for their plays and novels.

    T he British w rite r H erbert George Wells (18661946) began life as the son o f an unsuccessful small businessman and professional sportsman. H e was sent to w ork in a shop at an early age and w rote about this experience in several o f his novels. H e eventually became a teacher and w rote newspaper and magazine articles at the same time. H e questioned societys rules and was always an

  • im portant, independent thinker w ith m odern , original ideas.At the end o f the n ineteenth century, H .G . Wells, with Jules

    Verne, created a new type o f literature: science fiction. Wells was also a master o f the hum orous novel and the short story, and included in his fiction ideas on w om ens rights, science, progress and politics. In addition, he w rote many non-fiction books w hich m irrored the interest and excitem ent people felt about these topics at the tu rn o f the century.

    Wellss w ork continues to be popular today because many o f his books have been made into films or television programmes. These include The Tim e Machine, The War o f the Worlds, The Island o f Doctor Moreau and The Invisible M an (all o f w hich are also Penguin Readers).

    Irish-born Oscar W ilde (18541900) had great success w ith his short stories, plays and poems, but he was even m ore famous for his personality and lifestyle. His m other was a poet and society hostess, and his father was a leading ear and eye doctor. It is understandable that W ilde became a great w riter, and even more skilled at conversation.

    W ilde believed that he could make his life in to a w ork o f art, and his unusual lifestyle always attracted attention. H e was m arried and had tw o sons, but his serious friendship w ith Lord Alfred Douglas led to a separation betw een him and his wife. H e was sent to prison in 1895 for w hat was then considered a sexual crime.

    W ildes w ork continues to be popular today because he had a great gift for describing n ineteenth-century upper-class society. His plays, particularly Lady Windermeres Fan, The Importance o f Being Ernest and A n Ideal Husband (which is also a Penguin Reader), are imaginative, romantic, serious, em otional and very amusing.

    Pelham Grenville W odehouse (18811975) spent m ost o f his childhood in England in the care o f various aunts, while his

    VI

  • father w orked for the British governm ent in H ong Kong. After finishing his education, the young W odehouse tried a career in banking in H ong Kong bu t soon gave it up to becom e a writer. His first novel came out in 1902, and eventually he w rote m ore than 120 books. H e achieved international popularity w ith hum orous stories about amusing characters in difficult situations. T he best know n o f these characters are the helpless bu t likeable upper-class young m an Bertie W ooster and his servant Jeeves.

    P. G. W odehouse also w rote plays and musicals. His very successful w riting career was tem porarily stopped during W orld War II, and he was captured by the Germ ans in 1940. After the war W odehouse settled in the U nited States, becom ing an A m erican citizen in 1955. H e continued to be very popular w ith his many readers, and Q ueen Elizabeth II gave him the title Sir Pelham W odehouse for his lifes w ork shortly before his death.

    Katherine Mansfield is the pen nam e o f Kathleen Mansfield Beauchamp (18881923). She was recognized as a master o f the short story, best know n for sensitive stories w hich often feature w om en and children as m ain characters and in w hich a persons true nature is uncovered at an im portant m om ent or after an im portant event.

    B orn in N ew Zealand, Mansfield w ent to London to study music and lived in Europe for m ost o f her life. H er unhappy m arriage in 1909 was followed by several unsuccessful love affairs. She becam e well know n after w riting short stories and magazine articles, and especially after her book Bliss and Other Stories came out in 1920.

    In her later years she was struck by a disease that remained w ith her until she died at the tragically young age o f thirty-four. Some o f her collections o f short stories appeared after her death.

    T he A m erican Edgar Allan Poe (180949) lost his parents at a young age and was brought up by M r and M rs Allan. As a young m an, he argued w ith M r Allan about money, and at the age o f

    vu

  • tw enty-tw o he found him self w ith no family, no money, and no job. However, he knew that he wanted to write. Between 1827 and 1831 Poe w rote three books o f poems, bu t his real skill lay in another direction. His first book o f stories came ou t in 1839 and, m ore than any other A m erican writer, he shaped the m odern short story and is know n for in troducing the detective story.

    A lthough he was adm ired as a w riter, Poe was almost always poor and unhappy. His life sometimes m irrored the dark topics in his writing. His young wife died in 1847, and afterwards Poe suffered greatly from illnesses o f the body and the m ind. Today Poe is know n as one o f the best early w riters o f frightening stories and m urder mysteries, bu t he could also w rite light-heartedly, as in X -ing a Paragraph, the story in this collection.

    Like many o f the w riters in this collection, the great British w riter A nthony Trollope (181582) had an unhappy start in life. His father was frequently in debt and, as a result, the family was forced to move often. A lthough he w ent to good schools, his poverty made A nthony an unhappy schoolboy. After his father died, his m other supported herself and her children by w riting a num ber o f popular books.

    Trollope worked for the Post Office from 1834 to 1867 and travelled to Egypt, the West Indies and the U n ited States as part o f this job. At the same tim e he began w riting, finishing his first novel in 1847. H e w rote about sixty works, including novels, travel books and collections o f short stories. His m ost famous works were two series o f books: the Barchester series, based around the lives o f church officials and their families, and the Palliser series, set in the world o f politics and governm ent. These series cover m ore than tw enty years o f T rollopes w riting c