THE MILLION POUND BANK NOTE
A SHORT STORY BY MARK TWAIN
THE MILLION POUND BANK-NOTE
1. A synonym for shelter is Haven.
Not heaven. Heaven is paradise.
A haven is a shelter. Like a tax haven or shelter or a wooden haven.
Attention, le mot "heaven" signifie "paradis" mais le mot "haven" signifie abris.
L'expression a été mal traduite et cette erreur de traduction a conduit les français à parler de paradis fiscaux aux lieu d'abris fiscaux.
2. To be bound for means to go to, to be on the road for, to head towards a direction.
When you are bound to London, you are going to London. You are heading for London, you are going in the direction of London.
3. To venture means to go outside boundaries, to wander around.
In the short story, Henry ventures too far out the San Fransisco Bay and can't get back. He is rescued by another boat heading to London.
4. The sentence "I was dragging myself" is conjugated in the past continuous.
The past continuous is used to describe events that were occuring over a certain period of time in the past.
ex: As I was eating, I noticed that we had ran out of salt.
5. The child eats a bite of the pear and the pear ends up in the gutter. (le caniveau)
the road = la route
the sewer = les égouts
the sidewalk = le troitoire
6. To supplicate means to beg.
To bet means to promise to pay a sum of money if it turns out you are wrong about the outcome (= the result) of a discussion, a race, or a game.
A beggar is someone who asks other people for money.
7. A riddle is a charade, somthing you have to guess to find the solution. (une devinette)
It can also be mind-puzzler (un casse-tête).
A guess is an attempt at finding the correct answer to a question, it is not the riddle itself.
8. At the end of the story, Henry no longer needs a job because he earned money by partnering with Lloyd, a former colleague of his from San Francisco.
Henry did keep the banknote but only after Portia's step-father had it cancelled by the bank (meaning it no longer carried value as it could no longer be redeemed or cashed in).
9. Brother A is Portia's uncle.
Your step-father is your Mom's new husband.
Your father in law is your wife's father.
Your step-mother is your Dad's new wife.
Your step-brother is your half-brother.
10. Once Portia and Henry are wedded, Brother B will be Henry's father in law.
Henry and Brother B will be related by law not by blood.
THE MILLION POUND BANK-NOTE
THE MILLION POUND BANK-NOTE
Why does Henry hesistate to grab the pear?
Henry hesitates to grab the pear from the gutter because he is ashamed. There are two reasons why Henry might be ashamed: one, he may consider this steeling, two, he might think that it is beneath him to have to eat from waiste.
What was the bet between the brothers?
The brothers bet on whether or not a stranger without money could survive in London if he were given a million pound banknote that he couldn't cash in.
How much money did the brothers bet?
Notice that the currency (la monnaie) is placed before the amount in English.
Why was Henry chosen to be the subject of the bet?
Henry was chosen because he looked honest, intelligent and poor.
What did Henry do first with the money?
He went to Harris' eating place to have a meal.
What happens when Henry is first given the note?
When Henry recieves the note he rushes to an eating place to have a huge meal.
Why does Henry return to the house?
Henry goes back to the house of the two gentlemen to return the Note. He thinks (he assumes), he beleives that the Brothers meant to give him a one-pound note and wants to correct their mistake.
What happens after Henry realizes he can not return the note to the brothers?
At first Henry is confused. Then he becomes angry. Finally he decides that he will try to make the best of the situation and, after carefully weighing in his options, decides to use the banknote to live off it.
What would Henry get at the end of the 30 days if he still had the note?
At the end of the 30 days, if Henry still had the note, he would get a job at Brother B's firm (parlor).
How did Miss Langham react when Henry told her the truth about the money? Why?
Portia laughed when Henry told her his story and admitted he wasn't a real millionaire. She laughed because she knew about the bet and knew the two gentlmen who had made the bet. In fact, one of them is her step-father and the other one is none other than her uncle.
What happened to the bank note?
In the end, Portia's step-father had the note cancelled and gave it to the newly weds who framed it and hang it on their wall.
Why did Henry keep his old clothes?
Henry didn't get rid of his old clothe because he liked to wear them from time to time to go shopping and play the same trick on the salesmen that he pulled at the tailor.
List all the items Henry was able to obtain just by showing the banknote.
30 X 2 (thirty times two) Meals
A room or suite in a luxuary hotel
Suits, coats and cloaks
Background and Characters
A London-bound brig rescues an american broker called Henry Adams. He arrives in London penniless and without food or shelter.
Brother A and Brother B (as they are referred to in the story) are two very wealthy and odd/eccentric brothers who wonder what would happen if they gave the hungry, poor stranger a million pound banknote.
Because there were only two million pound banknotes ever created (one of which had already been used), if someone tried to cash in the banknote (redeem for cas, exchange for cash), suspicon would arise.
So the two questions raised by the bet are as follows:
After making the bet, the odd billionaires give Henry an envelope with the banknote and a letter that explains the bet. He realizes just how much money is in there when he tries to pay for a meal, and the restaurant can't give him change because the amount of the bill is too high.
With the prestige and respect attached to possessing this banknote, Henry manages to survive for 30 days and win the bet for Brother B.
Themes: Appearances, Fame & weatlh, the Victorian society, selfworth.