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Living in expectation
Lam Anh, my best friend, worked in the advertising department of an Internet service provider. He told me that his daily task was to speak eloquently and make his message agreeable to the ears of the company’s potential customers, to give a succinct speech promising the Internet will bring the whole world right to their room.
A starry night
After the death of her mother, little Chuyen turned taciturn and became visibly depressed. Her two-year-old brother Can was the exact opposite. He cried and called out his mother’s name everyday, because he thought she had either just gone to the market or was standing behind the door playing a hide-and-seek game with him when he returned home from pre-school. Poor little thing, he did not know that after the traffic accident that day, she would never come back to him.
Trang was at the district People’s Committee headquarters waiting to have some documents notarized.
"Trang! Trang! Is that Miss Trang?" a call resounded behind her. She turned around to see a man of about fifty, with an imposing gait carrying a bundle of papers in hand, elbowing his way across the crowd.
A pasture of wonder buffaloes
In the memories of my childhood, each sunset was a parting. When there was still enough sunlight in the sky to cast red light over the rows of tram bau trees in the rice fields, when the flock of ducks were being herded home to their coops, their quacking mixed with frogs’ croaks, my father was still sitting in the doorway of the house, while I walked towards the river bank and stopped in my tracks to watch my mother pushing the boat far from the shore. She turned and said:
"Please go home, son! I’ll be back in the morning!"
"Luong, it’s your turn now" – said Mr Canh, the guard on duty, his voice echoing from downstairs.
Still combing her hair, Luong quickly twisted it into a bun and fumbled along the rail. Mr Canh was waiting for her right at the end of the stairs.
"Bed number 13. A man. Do it properly, you know."
The first class sailor
Tam Moc was a young and skilled farmer. He lived near a river, but he could not swim or row a boat; this was strange because his father was an experienced fisherman and first-class sailor with a rank similar to that of a ship’s captain. The old man had finally been forced to give up his career after his right foot was bitten off by a ferocious shark as he was trying to mend a rudder in the high sea near Nghe Cape before the boat was washed ashore. Now, leading the life of an invalid, he craved his old life on the sea. Again and again, with a walking stick in hand, he leaned against Tam Moc’s shoulder and hobbled along the bank of the Ba Ren River to contemplate where all boats might be going.
My last fishing trip
This shrimp season, our boat was the only one to use small nets to catch shrimp and small fishes, while other fishermen in our region used large nets to catch lobsters and salmon, even though sea creatures near the shore were getting more and more scarce.
In a few moments now, the roof would surely blow off! It was like a violent verbal storm was blowing through the house, Quang thought.
Once again, Thoa, the owner of Quang’s boarding house, could be heard stamping up the wooden stairs angrily in her high-heeled shoes. As usual, she was in a rage and shouting: "It’s unbearable for me!" Then she snapped at her 12-year-old daughter, who was learning in her room: "Trang, where’s Hong been all this time?"
Love – as simple as that
Boi was often called "mouldy Boi" because he had psoriasis and his skin was rough with red patches. Yet he won the heart of the most beautiful girl in Dong Nam village. Even though a lot of young handsome guys had flirted Nhuy, she married Boi and loved only him, her robust and hardworking husband.
Fanciful bang lang flower
"Hey kid, don’t be so angry!" he wrote after clicking her screen name hoabanglang in the chat room. "When I was your age, I didn’t do that, but now…," he added. He had nearly finished his advice when she signed out. Shaking his head and smiling broadly, he sent her another message, "What was that for? Just to show me how childish you are and to unintentionally ruin the pleasant moments in this virtual world? We’re only online for fun, aren’t we?" he went on.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - by Mark Twain phần 17/17
HUCK said: "Tom, we can slope, if we can find a rope. The window ain't
high from the ground."
"Shucks! what do you want to slope for?"
"Well, I ain't used to that kind of a crowd. I can't stand it. I ain't
going down there, Tom."
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - by Mark Twain phần 16/17
TUESDAY afternoon came, and waned to the twilight. The village of St.
Petersburg still mourned. The lost children had not been found. Public
prayers had been offered up for them, and many and many a private
prayer that had the petitioner's whole heart in it; but still no good
news came from the cave. The majority of the searchers had given up the
quest and gone back to their daily avocations, saying that it was plain
the children could never be found.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - by Mark Twain phần 15/17
AS the earliest suspicion of dawn appeared on Sunday morning, Huck
came groping up the hill and rapped gently at the old Welshman's door.
The inmates were asleep, but it was a sleep that was set on a
hair-trigger, on account of the exciting episode of the night. A call
came from a window:
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - by Mark Twain phần 14/17
THAT night Tom and Huck were ready for their adventure. They hung
about the neighborhood of the tavern until after nine, one watching the
alley at a distance and the other the tavern door. Nobody entered the
alley or left it; nobody resembling the Spaniard entered or left the
tavern door. The night promised to be a fair one; so Tom went home with
the understanding that if a considerable degree of darkness came on,
Huck was to come and "maow," whereupon he would slip out and try the
keys. But the night remained clear, and Huck closed his watch and
retired to bed in an empty sugar hogshead about twelve.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - by Mark Twain phần 13/17
ABOUT noon the next day the boys arrived at the dead tree; they had
come for their tools. Tom was impatient to go to the haunted house;
Huck was measurably so, also--but suddenly said:
"Lookyhere, Tom, do you know what day it is?"
Tom mentally ran over the days of the week, and then quickly lifted
his eyes with a startled look in them--
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - by Mark Twain phần 12/17
TOM was a glittering hero once more--the pet of the old, the envy of
the young. His name even went into immortal print, for the village
paper magnified him. There were some that believed he would be
President, yet, if he escaped hanging.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - by Mark Twain phần 11/17
TOM joined the new order of Cadets of Temperance, being attracted by
the showy character of their "regalia." He promised to abstain from
smoking, chewing, and profanity as long as he remained a member. Now he
found out a new thing--namely, that to promise not to do a thing is the
surest way in the world to make a body want to go and do that very
thing. Tom soon found himself tormented with a desire to drink and
swear; the desire grew to be so intense that nothing but the hope of a
chance to display himself in his red sash kept him from withdrawing
from the order.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - by Mark Twain phần 10/17
THERE was something about Aunt Polly's manner, when she kissed Tom,
that swept away his low spirits and made him lighthearted and happy
again. He started to school and had the luck of coming upon Becky
Thatcher at the head of Meadow Lane. His mood always determined his
manner. Without a moment's hesitation he ran to her and said:
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - by Mark Twain phần 9/17
THAT was Tom's great secret--the scheme to return home with his
brother pirates and attend their own funerals. They had paddled over to
the Missouri shore on a log, at dusk on Saturday, landing five or six
miles below the village; they had slept in the woods at the edge of the
town till nearly daylight, and had then crept through back lanes and
alleys and finished their sleep in the gallery of the church among a
chaos of invalided benches.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - by Mark Twain phần 8/17
AFTER dinner all the gang turned out to hunt for turtle eggs on the
bar. They went about poking sticks into the sand, and when they found a
soft place they went down on their knees and dug with their hands.
Sometimes they would take fifty or sixty eggs out of one hole. They
were perfectly round white things a trifle smaller than an English
walnut. They had a famous fried-egg feast that night, and another on
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - by Mark Twain phần 7/17
WHEN Tom awoke in the morning, he wondered where he was. He sat up and
rubbed his eyes and looked around. Then he comprehended. It was the
cool gray dawn, and there was a delicious sense of repose and peace in
the deep pervading calm and silence of the woods. Not a leaf stirred;
not a sound obtruded upon great Nature's meditation. Beaded dewdrops
stood upon the leaves and grasses. A white layer of ashes covered the
fire, and a thin blue breath of smoke rose straight into the air. Joe
and Huck still slept.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - by Mark Twain phần 6/17
ONE of the reasons why Tom's mind had drifted away from its secret
troubles was, that it had found a new and weighty matter to interest
itself about. Becky Thatcher had stopped coming to school. Tom had
struggled with his pride a few days, and tried to "whistle her down the
wind," but failed. He began to find himself hanging around her father's
house, nights, and feeling very miserable. She was ill. What if she
should die! There was distraction in the thought. He no longer took an
interest in war, nor even in piracy.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - by Mark Twain phần 5/17
AT half-past nine, that night, Tom and Sid were sent to bed, as usual.
They said their prayers, and Sid was soon asleep. Tom lay awake and
waited, in restless impatience. When it seemed to him that it must be
nearly daylight, he heard the clock strike ten! This was despair. He
would have tossed and fidgeted, as his nerves demanded, but he was
afraid he might wake Sid. So he lay still, and stared up into the dark.
Everything was dismally still. By and by, out of the stillness, little,
scarcely perceptible noises began to emphasize themselves. The ticking
of the clock began to bring itself into notice.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - by Mark Twain phần 4/17
THE harder Tom tried to fasten his mind on his book, the more his
ideas wandered. So at last, with a sigh and a yawn, he gave it up. It
seemed to him that the noon recess would never come. The air was
utterly dead. There was not a breath stirring. It was the sleepiest of
sleepy days. The drowsing murmur of the five and twenty studying
scholars soothed the soul like the spell that is in the murmur of bees.
Away off in the flaming sunshine, Cardiff Hill lifted its soft green
sides through a shimmering veil of heat, tinted with the purple of
distance; a few birds floated on lazy wing high in the air; no other
living thing was visible but some cows, and they were asleep. Tom's
heart ached to be free, or else to have something of interest to do to
pass the dreary time. His hand wandered into his pocket and his face
lit up with a glow of gratitude that was prayer, though he did not know
it. Then furtively the percussion-cap box came out. He released the
tick and put him on the long flat desk. The creature probably glowed
with a gratitude that amounted to prayer, too, at this moment, but it
was premature: for when he started thankfully to travel off, Tom turned
him aside with a pin and made him take a new direction.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - by Mark Twain phần 3/17
ABOUT half-past ten the cracked bell of the small church began to
ring, and presently the people began to gather for the morning sermon.
The Sunday-school children distributed themselves about the house and
occupied pews with their parents, so as to be under supervision. Aunt
Polly came, and Tom and Sid and Mary sat with her--Tom being placed
next the aisle, in order that he might be as far away from the open
window and the seductive outside summer scenes as possible. The crowd
filed up the aisles: the aged and needy postmaster, who had seen better
days; the mayor and his wife--for they had a mayor there, among other
unnecessaries; the justice of the peace; the widow Douglass, fair,
smart, and forty, a generous, good-hearted soul and well-to-do, her
hill mansion the only palace in the town, and the most hospitable and
much the most lavish in the matter of festivities that St. Petersburg
could boast; the bent and venerable Major and Mrs. Ward; lawyer
Riverson, the new notable from a distance; next the belle of the
village, followed by a troop of lawn-clad and ribbon-decked young
heart-breakers; then all the young clerks in town in a body--for they
had stood in the vestibule sucking their cane-heads, a circling wall of
oiled and simpering admirers, till the last girl had run their gantlet;
and last of all came the Model Boy, Willie Mufferson, taking as heedful
care of his mother as if she were cut glass. He always brought his
mother to church, and was the pride of all the matrons. The boys all
hated him, he was so good. And besides, he had been "thrown up to them"
so much. His white handkerchief was hanging out of his pocket behind, as
usual on Sundays--accidentally. Tom had no handkerchief, and he looked
upon boys who had as snobs.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - by Mark Twain phần 2/17
TOM presented himself before Aunt Polly, who was sitting by an open
window in a pleasant rearward apartment, which was bedroom,
breakfast-room, dining-room, and library, combined. The balmy summer
air, the restful quiet, the odor of the flowers, and the drowsing murmur
of the bees had had their effect, and she was nodding over her knitting
--for she had no company but the cat, and it was asleep in her lap. Her
spectacles were propped up on her gray head for safety. She had thought
that of course Tom had deserted long ago, and she wondered at seeing him
place himself in her power again in this intrepid way. He said: "Mayn't
I go and play now, aunt?"
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - by Mark Twain phần 1/17
"What's gone with that boy, I wonder? You TOM!"
The Call of the Wild - by Jack London phần 7/7
When Buck earned sixteen hundred dollars in five minutes for John
Thornton, he made it possible for his master to pay off certain
debts and to journey with his partners into the East after a
fabled lost mine, the history of which was as old as the history
of the country. Many men had sought it; few had found it; and
more than a few there were who had never returned from the quest.
This lost mine was steeped in tragedy and shrouded in mystery. No
one knew of the first man. The oldest tradition stopped before it
got back to him. From the beginning there had been an ancient and
ramshackle cabin. Dying men had sworn to it, and to the mine the
site of which it marked, clinching their testimony with nuggets
that were unlike any known grade of gold in the Northland.
The Call of the Wild - by Jack London phần 6/7
When John Thornton froze his feet in the previous December his
partners had made him comfortable and left him to get well, going
on themselves up the river to get out a raft of saw-logs for
Dawson. He was still limping slightly at the time he rescued
Buck, but with the continued warm weather even the slight limp
left him. And here, lying by the river bank through the long
spring days, watching the running water, listening lazily to the
songs of birds and the hum of nature, Buck slowly won back his
The Call of the Wild - by Jack London phần 5/7
Thirty days from the time it left Dawson, the Salt Water Mail,
with Buck and his mates at the fore, arrived at Skaguay. They
were in a wretched state, worn out and worn down. Buck's one
hundred and forty pounds had dwindled to one hundred and fifteen.
The rest of his mates, though lighter dogs, had relatively lost
more weight than he. Pike, the malingerer, who, in his lifetime
of deceit, had often successfully feigned a hurt leg, was now
limping in earnest. Sol-leks was limping, and Dub was suffering
from a wrenched shoulder-blade.
The Call of the Wild - by Jack London phần 4/7
"Eh? Wot I say? I spik true w'en I say dat Buck two devils."
This was Francois's speech next morning when he discovered Spitz
missing and Buck covered with wounds. He drew him to the fire and
by its light pointed them out.
The Call of the Wild - by Jack London phần 3/7
The dominant primordial beast was strong in Buck, and under the
fierce conditions of trail life it grew and grew. Yet it was a
secret growth. His newborn cunning gave him poise and control.
He was too busy adjusting himself to the new life to feel at ease,
and not only did he not pick fights, but he avoided them whenever
possible. A certain deliberateness characterized his attitude.
He was not prone to rashness and precipitate action; and in the
bitter hatred between him and Spitz he betrayed no impatience,
shunned all offensive acts.
The Call of the Wild - by Jack London phần 2/7
Buck's first day on the Dyea beach was like a nightmare. Every
hour was filled with shock and surprise. He had been suddenly
jerked from the heart of civilization and flung into the heart of
things primordial. No lazy, sun-kissed life was this, with
nothing to do but loaf and be bored. Here was neither peace, nor
rest, nor a moment's safety. All was confusion and action, and
every moment life and limb were in peril. There was imperative
need to be constantly alert; for these dogs and men were not town
dogs and men. They were savages, all of them, who knew no law but
the law of club and fang.
The Call of the Wild - by Jack London phần 1/7
"Old longings nomadic leap,
Chafing at custom's chain;
Again from its brumal sleep
Wakens the ferine strain."
Buck did not read the newspapers, or he would have known that
trouble was brewing, not alone for himself, but for every tide-
water dog, strong of muscle and with warm, long hair, from Puget
Sound to San Diego. Because men, groping in the Arctic darkness,
had found a yellow metal, and because steamship and transportation
companies were booming the find, thousands of men were rushing
into the Northland. These men wanted dogs, and the dogs they
wanted were heavy dogs, with strong muscles by which to toil, and
furry coats to protect them from the frost.
The Ethics of Pig - by O.Henry
On an east-bound train I went into the smoker and found Jefferson
Peters, the only man with a brain west of the Wabash River who can use
his cerebrum cerebellum, and medulla oblongata at the same time.
A Bird of Bagdad - by O.Henry
Without a doubt much of the spirit and genius of the Caliph Harun Al
Rashid descended to the Margrave August Michael von Paulsen Quigg.
to have forgotten in its growth. Fourth Avenue--born and bred in the
Bowery--staggers northward full of good resolutions.
A Retrieved Reformation - by O.Henry
A guard came to the prison shoe-shop, where Jimmy Valentine was
assiduously stitching uppers, and escorted him to the front office.
There the warden handed Jimmy his pardon, which had been signed that
morning by the governor. Jimmy took it in a tired kind of way. He had
served nearly ten months of a four year sentence. He had expected to
stay only about three months, at the longest. When a man with as many
friends on the outside as Jimmy Valentine had is received in the
"stir" it is hardly worth while to cut his hair.
After Twenty Years - By O.Henry
The policeman on the beat moved up the avenue impressively. The impressiveness was habitual and not for show, for spectators were few. The time was barely 10 o'clock at night, but chilly gusts of wind with a taste of rain in them had well nigh depeopled the streets.
The Gift Of The Magi - By O.Henry
One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher until one's cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied. Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eighty- seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas.
One Thousand Dollars by O.Henry
"One thousand dollars," repeated Lawyer Tolman,
solemnly and severely, "and here is the money."
he fingered the thin package of new fifty-dollar notes.
The Last Leaf by O.Henry
In a little district west of Washington Square the streets have run
crazy and broken themselves into small strips called "places." These
"places" make strange angles and curves. One street crosses itself
a time or two. An artist once discovered a valuable possibility in
this street. Suppose a collector with a bill for paints, paper and
canvas should, in traversing this route, suddenly meet himself
coming back, without a cent having been paid on account!
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