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Mark Twain(whose real name was
Samuel Clemens) was born in Missouri
in 1835 and grew up close to the banks
of the Mississippi River. Clemens
started out as a printer, setting type in
Iowa, New York City, Philadelphia, and
other cities.
Clemens then turned to piloting a
steamboat on the Mississippi River until
the American Civil War.
    In 1861, Clemens served briefly as a
soldier in the Confederate army. Later
that year, Clemens moved to Nevada and
began writing articles as a newspaper
In 1863, Clemens began signing his
articles with the pseudonym(pen name)
Mark Twain. In 1865, Twain finished his
first story, The Celebrated Jumping Frog
of Calaveras County“《卡拉维拉县有名的跳
蛙》, which became an instant hit.
Twain‘s masterpiece The Adventures of
Huckleberry Finn(1884)《哈克贝利.费恩历
险记》 remains an icon(偶像) of
American literature.
In his later years, Twain became a
celebrity(famous person), becoming
known for wearing white suits wherever
he went. Although known mainly as a
humorist during his life, scholars now
regard his work as some of the best and
most authentic(worthy of trust) in
American literature. His portraits of pre-
civil war America, and his use of spoken
language in his novels dominate Twain's
When you are reading, try to find out the
answers to the following questions.
1.When and where was Mark Twain
2.What was his first story, what was his
3.Where was the £1,000,000 Bank-note
from? Why did brothers give it to a
4.What happened to the young man with
the £1,000,000 bank-note?
  About the £1,000,000 Bank-note
The Bank of England once issued two
notes of a million pounds each, to be
used for a special purpose connected
with some public transaction (交易)
with a foreign country. For some reason
or other only one of these had been used
and canceled; the other still lay in the
vaults of the Bank.
Well, the brothers, chatting along, happened
to get to wondering what might be the fate of
a perfectly honest and intelligent stranger
who should be turned adrift(漂泊的) in
London without a friend, and with no money
but that million-pound bank-note, and no
way to account for (说明)his being in
possession of it. Brother A said he would
starve to death; Brother B said he wouldn't.
Brother A said he couldn't offer it at a bank
or anywhere else, because he would be
arrested on the spot. So they went on
disputing till Brother B said he would bet
twenty thousand pounds that the man
would live thirty days.
They thought "me" to be the right
person, a poor, honest and intelligent
stranger. They handed me an envelope
that contained £1,000,000 Bank-note.
"I", dressed in rag, with nothing but a
bank-note,got into an eating house. "I"
took the bank-note to pay for the bill and
asked for the change, the boss who
looked down upon me at first changed
his attitude completely. he flattered me
that I could have anything I wanted, any
time I chose, and let the account run as
long as I pleased. They all treated me as
a honoured guest.
  Then "I" got into a tailor's shop, the same
thing happened.
  "I "drifted naturally into buying
whatever I wanted, and asking for
change. "I" owned the respect and fell
in love with a girl , Portria. Everything
went well having £1,000,000 bank-note
on " me".
After a month, Brothers returned , to my
surprise, one of them was My Portia's
papa ,He took that friendly and
hospitable bill back to the Bank of
England and cashed it; then the Bank
canceled it and made him a present of it,
and he gave it to us at our wedding.
Imagine you win a million American
dollars! What will you do with it? Will
you keep it all? Give some of it away?
Give it all away? Stop working? Stop
studying? Go on a holiday? Buy a
castle? Start a business? Put it in the
bank? Or under your mattress?
servant       Mark Twain
Henry Adams   bow
stare at      jealous
play (n.)     restaurant
confident     silly
go ahead      bank-note
honest        scream
wolf          businessman
permit        make a bet
envelope      scene