Подумать только, день-деньской на ногах, пожимаешь руки, произносишь речи или того хуже - слушаешь их сам! Кричишь "ура" королю и родине и салютуешь флагу, пока рука не онемеет!..
Несмотря на морозец, две женщины в застиранных бумазейных халатах стояли на открытом каменном крыльце -- Јжились, а стояли...
»Du,« sagte er flusternd, »gelt, du bist ja jetzt verheiratet?« »Ja, freilich.« »Eben drum...
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Isaac Asimov was a highly successful and exceptionally prolific American writer and biochemist, best known for his works of science fiction and for his science books for the layperson. He also wrote mysteries (many of which were collected in the Black Widowers books) and fantasy. In fact, he has works in every major category of the Dewey Decimal System except Philosophy.
Isaac Asimov is recognised the grand master of modern science fiction, only Arthur C. Clarke popular enough to compete with him. He was a humanist and rationalist; he did not oppose genuine religious conviction in others but was against superstitious or unfounded beliefs.
Isaac Asimov was retained in my memory due to his fascinating stories and novels, as well as due to his strange name.
I have chosen this subject for my essay with the aim of broadening and intensifying my knowledge of Isaac Asimov's life and literary creative work. This great modern writer's personality has always attracted my attention, because I am a student of English language, a fiction lover and, to some extent, Isaac Asimov's fellow-countryman.
In this essay, I want to report on Isaac Asimov's life, works, and ideas, thus detecting what the fundamental tenor of his works is and what ideas of the author it reflects.
Isaac Asimov (c. January 2, 1920 - April 6, 1992) is prodigiously famous. Even an asteroid (the 5020 Asimov) is named in his honour, as is Honda's humanoid prototype robot ASIMO. Isaac Asimov managed to combine the gift of an author with remarkable scientific abilities. He must be ranked among the world's most prolific writers: he wrote or edited over 500 volumes and an estimated 90 000 letters or postcards.
Few people know that, in spite of being American by spirit and letter, Isaac Asimov was Russian by birth and was brought to the USA, as he himself said, "in the parents' luggage".
Isaac Asimov was born in the village of Petrovichi near Smolensk, Russia, 400 km. southwest of Moscow and some 16 km east of the border between Belarus and Russia. The exact date of his birth was never recorded; officially, he was born on January 2, 1920. He may have been born as early as October 4, 1919. Asimov's mother temporarily changed the date of his birth to September 7, 1919 in order to get him into school a year earlier. When, several years later, he discovered this, he insisted that the official records be changed back. January 2, 1920 was the date he personally celebrated throughout his life. Isaac Asimov was the son of Judah Asimov (1896 - 1969) and Anna Rachel Asimov, nee Berman (1895 - 1973), a Jewish couple married in 1918. Isaac's mother named him after her father, Isaac Berman. Isaac Asimov was his parents' eldest child; he had a sister Marcia (b. 1922) and a brother Stanley (1929 - 1995).
The Asimovs emigrated to the United States of America in 1923 and settled down in Brooklyn. His father saved the money earned from several jobs during his first three years in the United States and bought a small confectionery and newsagent's, remembered affectionately as "the candy store", which his parents ran for the next forty years. His parents never made an effort to teach their children religion, and Isaac became an atheist quite early. In 1928 Asimov, SR. obtained naturalisation, which meant Isaac became citizen of the USA as well. Isaac started working in the candy store in 1929, when his mother became unable to work a full day due to her third pregnancy, and learned the steady work habits that would stay with him for the rest of his life. Isaac learned to read at the age of five or even before. He read everything, and in large quantities. At the high school, being placed in the rapid advance course, he graduated nearly at the age of fifteen. Besides other outstanding abilities, Asimov had a very good memory: having read something once, he rarely forgot it. He also was exceptionally hard working. Since 1938 he kept a diary, methodically introducing therein the news and events of his life. He kept diaries for the rest of his life, which later helped him at creating of the two-volume autobiography and diverse prefaces. Asimov's first meeting with science fiction took place in 1929, when issues of the "Amazing Stories" magazine appeared on the shelves of the "candy store". The picture on the cover astonished him. However, his father did not permit him to read the magazine, concerning fiction to be inappropriate for children to read. Later, Isaac was allowed to read a magazine called "Science Wonder Stories", having managed to persuade the father that, once there was the word "science" in the title, the magazine was definitely serious enough. Isaac Asimov became exceptionally fond of science fiction. In his mid-teens, he began to write his own stories and soon was selling them to magazines.
The leading science fiction magazine of the mid-thirties (and for the next two decades) was "Astounding Stories". In 1938, "Astounding" had a new editor in the shape of John W. Campbell, JR. and Isaac Asimov never stinted in his praise of how Campbell encouraged him as a writer: "my literary father" he calls him in the first volume of his autobiography, "In Memory Yet Green". Nevertheless, Campbell had to have something to work with and Isaac Asimov was a born writer. The need to express himself in writing on any subject flowed naturally and the ability to express himself attracted a ready readership. It only needed someone in authority to hold the reins briefly on the exuberant youth, to steer a natural writer into a professional one.
By chance, Isaac Asimov's first fiction sale was not to Campbell. He had sent a manuscript already rejected by Campbell to "Amazing Stories". "Marooned off Vesta", a rather straightforward scientific problem story, appeared in the March 1939 issue, and thus launched Isaac Asimov the writer. Isaac Asimov, however, would not feel he had been really launched until he had sold to Campbell, and it would be six months after his first sale before Campbell bought "Trends", which was published in the July 1939 "Astounding".
Isaac Asimov had made it. Although he contributed to many other science fiction magazines during the 1940s, it was his stories in "Astounding" that established him and in doing so contributed towards the creation of modern science fiction. Two and a half years later, in 1941, he published his thirty-second story, "Nightfall", based on the idea that was prompted to him by Campbell. This story brought Asimov immense fame; it was described as one of "the most famous science-fiction stories of all time"; in 1968, the Science Fiction Writers of America voted "Nightfall" the best science fiction short story ever written. Asimov subsequently wrote, "The writing of "Nightfall" was a watershed in my professional career... I was suddenly taken seriously and the world of science fiction became aware that I existed. As the years passed, in fact, it became evident that I had written a 'classic'."
After receiving his secondary education, Asimov, according to his parents' will, endeavoured to become a physician. He failed, for the sight of blood made him nauseate. After that, Isaac attempted to enter the most prestigious college of Columbia University, Columbia College, but did not pass the interview. Ultimately, he was accepted by the Brooklyn campus of Seth Low Junior College. In a year the college closed, so he continued his education at the parent institution, Columbia University. Asimov graduated from Columbia University with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry in 1939 (Columbia College graduates got a Bachelor of Arts degree, which was utterly unachievable for Asimov as a "common graduate"). He earned his Master of Arts in Chemistry in 1941 and continued in a Doctor of Philosophy program.
In 1938, Asimov partook in the founding of the Futurian Science Literary Society and made acquaintance of several science fiction authors and editors, such as Frederick Pohl, Cyril Kornbluth, James Blish and Daniel Wollheim.
Throughout the period of 1929 to 1942, he continued to work at the "candy store"; however, in May 1942 he filled a position of a junior chemist at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, which he occupied until October 1945, fellow science fiction authors Robert Heinlein and L. Sprague de Camp being his colleagues. This post prevented Asimov from mobilization during the war.
On November 1, 1945, Asimov was called up as a private soldier. He served as a clerk at an element that prepared nuclear weapon tests in the Pacific Ocean but was dispatched back to the United States the next year, in July, long before the first explosion. Asimov never flew on a plane any more owing to his fear of heights and flying.
After that gap in his research, Asimov eventually earned his Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry in May 1948. In 1948, he obtained a postdoctoral position at Columbia University, researching antimalarial compounds. In June 1949, he took a job as instructor of biochemistry at the Boston University School of Medicine, and obtained the position of assistant professor in December 1951; he was promoted to associate professor in July 1955, which provided him with tenure. Asimov gave up his teaching duties and salary at the School of Medicine in 1958, but retained his title, so that on July 1, 1958, he became a full-time writer. (He had been dismissed, he said, for choosing to be an excellent lecturer and science writer, rather than a merely mediocre researcher.) In 1979, the school promoted him to the rank of full professor.
Asimov's way to family happiness was rather thorny. He met Gertrude Blugerman on a blind date on Valentine's Day, 1942, and they married five and a half months later, on July 26, 1942. They had a son David (b. 1951) and a daughter Robyn Joan (b. 1955). This marriage was slowly collapsing for a period of numerous decades. In the autobiography, he nobly took all the blaming, saying that he had been selfish, concerned himself only with his writing and been no good husband. At a science fiction convention in New York, on September 2, 1956 Asimov met Janet Opal Jeppson, a psychiatrist. He signed an autograph for her. Later he claimed to have absolutely no recollection of that first meeting. They next met on May 1, 1959, when Janet attended a mystery writers' banquet as a guest of Veronica Parker Johnson and was seated with Isaac. That time the mutual attraction was immediate. Isaac and Gertrude finally separated in 1970 and got divorced on November 16, 1973. The divorce was excruciating and cost Asimov $50000. He moved in with Janet almost at once, and an official of the Ethical Culture Society married them at Janet's home on November 30, 1973. Asimov had no children by his second marriage.
Asimov died on April 6, 1992 of heart and kidney failure, which were complications of the HIV infection he contracted from an infected blood transfusion during his December 1983 triple-bypass operation. The revelation that AIDS was the cause of his death was not made until "It's Been a Good Life" was published in 2002. According to his will, his body was cremated and his ashes were dispersed.
Isaac Asimov once said, "If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn't brood. I'd type a little faster." He lived to write, and when he became incapable of this, he died.
Isaac Asimov's literary career can be divided into several periods. His early career, dominated by science fiction, began with short stories in 1939, when Asimov, as already said, began contributing stories to science fiction magazines. In 1942, he began his Foundation stories, later collected in the Foundation Trilogy: "Foundation" (1951), "Foundation and Empire" (1952), and "Second Foundation" (1953) - which recount the collapse and rebirth of a vast interstellar empire in a universe of the future. Taken together, they are his most famous work of science fiction, along with the Robot Series. Many years later, he continued the series with "Foundation's Edge" (1982) and "Foundation and Earth" (1986) and then went back to before the original trilogy with "Prelude to Foundation" (1988) and "Forward the Foundation" (1992).
His robot stories, some of which were collected in "I, Robot" (1950), were begun at about the same time. They promulgated the Three Laws of Robotics - a set of rules of ethics for robots and intelligent machines that greatly influenced other writers and thinkers in their treatment of the subject. Having spent much of the 1940s on the Foundation series and "I, Robot", he returned to writing short stories for science fiction magazines in the 1950s, which he refers to as his golden decade. A number of these are included in his "Best of" anthology, including "The Last Question" (1956), his personal favourite, which many consider a contender to "Nightfall". It deals with the ability of humankind to cope with and overcome entropy.
Most of Asimov's robot short stories are set in the first age of positronic robotics and space exploration. The foremost unique feature of Asimov's robots are the Three Laws of Robotics, hardwired in the robots' positronic brains, which all robots in his fiction must obey, and which ensure that robots do not turn against their creators. The Three Laws belong to one of the most famous Asimov's inventions. Asimov himself, although, claimed that the Three Laws were originated by John W. Campbell in a conversation they had on December 23, 1940. Campbell in turn maintained that he picked them out of Asimov's stories and discussions, and that his role was merely to state them explicitly. The stories were not initially conceived as a set, but rather all feature his positronic robots - indeed, there are some inconsistencies among them, especially between the short stories and the novels. They all, however, share a theme of the interaction of humans, robots and morality.
Robot novels constitute an important part of Isaac Asimov's creative work. The Elijah Baley series comprises the final four robot novels, which are mysteries starring the Terran human Elijah (Lije) Baley and his humaniform robot partner, R. Daneel Olivaw. They are set approximately 2000 years after the short stories, and focus on the conflicts between Spacers, who are descendants of human settlers from other planets, and the people from overcrowded Earth. Asimov thoroughly describes the Terran "caves of steel" - immense cities cramped under steel cupolas - and their inhabitants' suppressed life and psychology, contrasting them with those of the Spacers, who live much freer and longer than the Terrans, therefore provoking their envy. It is characteristic of Isaac Asimov that he features Terrans still clinging to religion, the Spacers having rejected it long ago. The themes and plots of the Robot novels merge with those of another Asimov's works, such as the "Mirror Image" anthology or "Mother Earth", the latter describing the Spacer worlds choose to separate themselves from Earth. Asimov later integrated the Robot Series into his all-engulfing Foundation series, making R. Daneel Olivaw appear again twelve thousand years later in the age of the Galactic Empire in sequels and prequels to the original Foundation trilogy.
The first period of Isaac Asimov's creative work, reported above, lasted until about 1958, all but ending after publication of "The Naked Sun". Following that, Asimov substantially decreased his fiction output (he published only four adult novels between "The Naked Sun" (1957) and "Foundation's Edge" (1982), two of which were mysteries). At the same time, he greatly increased his non-fiction production, writing mostly on science topics; the launch of Sputnik in 1957 engendered public concern over a "science gap", which Asimov's publishers were eager to fill with as much material as he could write. Meanwhile, the monthly invited him to continue his regular non-fiction column, begun in the now-folded bimonthly companion magazine "Venture Science Fiction", ostensibly dedicated to popular science, but with Asimov having complete editorial freedom. The first of Asimov's columns in the "Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction" appeared in November of 1958, and they followed uninterrupted thereafter, with 399 entries, until Asimov's terminal illness took its toll. These columns, periodically collected into books by his principal publisher, "Doubleday", helped make Asimov's reputation as a "Great Explainer" of science; he referred to them as his only pop-science writing in which he never had to assume complete ignorance of the subjects at hand on the part of his readers. The popularity of his first wide-ranging reference work, "The Intelligent Man's Guide to Science", also allowed him to give up most of his academic responsibilities and become essentially a full-time freelance writer.
Throughout his life, Isaac Asimov was exceedingly interested in the Bible; he published "Asimov's Guide to the Bible" in two volumes, covering the Old Testament in 1967 and the New Testament in 1969, and then combined them into one 1300-page volume in 1981. Replete with maps and tables, the guide goes through the books of the Bible in order, explaining the history of each one and the political influences that affected it, as well as biographical information about the important characters.
Asimov also wrote several essays on the social contentions of his day, including "Thinking about Thinking" and "Science: Knock Plastic".
The third period of Isaac Asimov's literary work, being concurrently the second half of his fiction career, commenced with the publication of "Foundation's Edge" in 1982. From then until his death, Asimov would publish many sequels to his existing novels, tying them together in a way he had not originally anticipated.
Much of Asimov's fiction dealt with themes of paternalism. His first robot story, "Robbie", concerned a robotic nanny. As the robots grew more sophisticated, their interventions became more wide reaching and subtle. In "Robots and Empire", a robot develops what he calls the Zeroth Law of Robotics, which states, "A robot may not injure humanity, nor, through inaction, allow humanity to come to harm". He also decides that robotic presence is stifling humanity's freedom, and that the best course of action is for the robots to phase out themselves. A non-robot story, "The End of Eternity", features a similar conflict and resolution. In The Foundation Series (which did not originally have robots), a scientist implements a semi-secret plan to create a perfect society over the course of thousand years. This series has its version of Platonic guardians, called the Second Foundation, to perfect and protect the plan. When Asimov stopped writing the series in the 1950s, the Second Foundation was depicted as benign protectors of humanity. When he revisited the series in the 1980s, he made the paternalistic themes even more explicit. "Foundation's Edge" introduced the planet Gaia, obviously based on the Gaia hypothesis. Every animal, plant, and mineral on Gaia participated in a shared consciousness, forming a single super-mind working together for the greater good. In "Foundation and Earth", the protagonist must decide whether to allow the development of Galaxia, a larger version of Gaia, encompassing the entire galaxy. Another Foundation novel, "Foundation and Earth", introduces robots to the Foundation universe. Two of Asimov's last novels, "Prelude to Foundation" and "Forward the Foundation", explore their behaviour in fuller detail. The robots are depicted as covert operatives, acting for the benefit of humanity.
Isaac Asimov's "I, Robot", a classic collection of stories written as the first in his Robot novel series, is considered his masterpiece. It deals with the relationships between human and robot. As one of Asimov's earliest novels, it introduced the Three Laws of Robotics that have set the standard for the use of robots in science fiction. In fact, Asimov was the acknowledged creator of the term "robotics."
The stories are tied together via the reminiscences of Dr. Susan Calvin, a robopsychologist for U. S. Robots and Mechanical Men, the corporation that invented and manufactured intelligent robots and computing machines. She reflects upon the evolution of these robots and discusses how little humanity really understands about the artificial intelligence it has created. Each story illuminates a problem encountered when a robot interprets the three fundamental Laws and something goes awry. One robot questions the reason for his existence. Another feels a necessity to lie. Yet another has an ego problem. The later stories introduce the reader to the Machines, powerful computing robots without the typical humanoid personalities of the working robots, that control the economic and industrial processes of the world and that stand between humankind and destruction. These stories introduce some fascinating and sometimes unsettling ideas: where does one draw the fine line between intelligent robot and human? Can man and robot form a balanced relationship? Can a robot's creator reliably predict its behaviour based upon its programming? Can logic alone be used to determine what is best for humanity?
As we can see, Asimov's robots bear great resemblance to humans. The predominant distinction is the already mentioned Three Laws of Robotics: 1) a robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm; 2) a robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law; 3) a robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law. It should be acknowledged that, due to these Three Laws, robots are rather at a considerable advantage over humans. The First Law gradually evolves into an exceptionally significant social factor; in one of the last stories, "Evidence", the reader already observes a robotic Mayor that is by far more deserving and humane than his intriguer rival who, in spite of being a human, provokes antipathy. Here the afore-named motive of paternalism appears again, as well as in "The Evitable Conflict", which describes the robots running humanity from behind the scenes, acting as nannies to the whole species.
The main heroine of the masterpiece is Susan Calvin, shown as a plain, unsociable, extremely intelligent woman, never smiling, seeing through everybody - an almost machine-like person. In the introduction, she says, "Well, I've been called a robot myself. Surely, they've told you I'm not human." However, as the narration progresses, we can notice that the robopsychologist sometimes shows her human personality, e.g. she suffers dissatisfaction because of lack of personal and family life. Maybe that is why Dr. Calvin, understanding her human weak points, feels such admiration for robots: "They're a cleaner, better breed than we are." Despite all this, the reader somehow begins to sympathise Susan Calvin. Other significant characters are Greg Powell and Mike Donovan, craftsmen supervising robots' work on space stations in the Solar system. They are simple, jovial fellows and treat robots as their collaborators.
Personally, I am very fond of "I, Robot" because of philosophical problems it deals with. I completely agree with the author that there are many things in the world that man is unable to perceive and accomplish. On the other hand, I am by far less materialistic than Isaac Asimov or Susan Calvin; therefore, I adhere to the belief that intellect and reason are not always more admirable than soul and feeling.
The way in which Isaac Asimov sought to convey his ideas did not require any literary frills. In fact, for him they were unnecessary for achieving his ultimate goal: clarity. For through this clarity was Asimov able to convey and contribute remarkable ideas to the world of science fiction. He achieves this clarity by paying special attention to diction, organisation and detail. There appears to be no substantial evidence of intentional usage of shifts in points of view and irony because they are either not necessary or reduce the clarity of his writing. The most logical (and thereby clear) way of organising a story would be to present it in a linear fashion-feeding the reader bits and pieces as they needing it; the absence of flashbacks and time shifts enables Asimov to focus on the idea in which he chooses to express. Using flashbacks or fragmenting the main story line is likely to confuse the reader. Asimov therefore omitted or minimised these stylistic devices. We can look at any of his science fiction novels and find this straightforward plot. However, it is most apparent in his Robot Series. Each of the novels is a detective and science fiction hybrid. In the example of "The Caves of Steel", you would find that first, there is the problem (most likely a murder), then clues are given, and finally a solution is derived. Note here that the reader follows the main characters in a linear fashion. Some would argue that this linear sequence gives way to dull reading. This is not the case because, due to Asimov's clarity, he is able to explain extraordinary ideas as mentioned earlier. As Asimov himself states, there is little use of specific literary elements such as allusions and personification. In addition to that, Asimov makes no special attempt at including such elements is the fact that each of his works is written in third person. With heavy dialogue, in order to make his characters more lifelike, Asimov may have been forced to use shorter sentences and a simpler vocabulary.
Asimov's writing style varies from audience to audience. This specific tailoring of writing styles to certain readers enables him to fine-tune his level of clarity. Asimov varies style through sentence length, paragraph length and sentence structure based on the intended audience to achieve the same amounts of clarity; his science fiction works are characterised by short simple sentences, while his non-fiction works move in the opposite direction. The typical Asimov sentence is short and clear. It gains length not by accumulation of dependent clauses, but by the addition of more simple sentences. His organisation of these sentences is taken in a systematic, logical approach; Asimov isolates and subdivides his arguments or ideas as to reduce the chance of loosing the reader, and the result is a highly organised paragraph that is fluid and easy to read. His global organisation of such paragraphs follows a linear model. The resulting clarity cancels the normally bland style of straightforward linear organisation. Asimov utilises these to produce works that are clear and enjoyable to read. Many other authors may have produced story lines and ideas that excel Asimov's, but, without clarity, they are no rival to him. Perhaps this is the reason why thousands today are dumbfounded by his extraordinary imagination, just as thousands had then.
A profound reader is able to find some regular scheme in Isaac Asimov's robot novels that bears a certain purpose. The character pairing is usually a human, as a detective, paired with a robotic counterpart. Thus, the sentence structure and word choice for the robots are even further reduced. As logical thinkers, Asimov's robots take the most efficient path in action and in speech. Owing to a rather limited vocabulary base and short sentences, the resulting tone across Asimov's science-fiction-based novels produces a sense of envy for the robots. In the robot series, the main character Elijah Baley learns first-hand from his robotic partner Daneel who is first mistaken by Baley as another human. In this way, the reader can associate with Baley. Asimov predicts accurately how the average person might react in the presence of a human-looking robot. First, there is fear, distrust, and then envy. Asimov conveys a sense of envy by placing Daneel and Baley in positions where essentially it is competition to see who can perform a task better, man or machine. Baley quickly comes to realise that his robotic partner has certain advantages, both physically and mentally. Nevertheless, he also recognises that the robot can do little without humans giving some sort of command. The Foundation series exhibits this envy for robots as well; it is not apparent though until one reads "Prelude to Foundation" (Asimov bridges the Robot series and the Foundation series in this novel). The very same human-looking robot Daneel turns out to be a powerful prophet that drives the plot of the Foundation novels. With the combined Robot-and-Foundation series alone, Asimov devoted ten books to strengthening this sense of envy for robots.
Despite exercising verisimilitude while depicting everyday life of his heroes, Asimov, unlike Clarke, his friend and rival at literary field, habitually uses very hardly probable, paradoxical hypotheses in his plots as a consequence of attaching great importance to outer plot entertainingness. For Isaac Asimov, it is much more important to make the reader compare fantastic, hyperbolised constructions and vivid but usual, familiar real life. For best and real fiction is the mirror that reflects our vital reality.
On the examination of Isaac Asimov's literary works "I, Robot", the Foundation and Robot series, etc. as well as his numerous autobiographies and interviews, we can clearly state that the basic, backstage theme of Isaac Asimov's work is the high mission and beneficial influence of science. Asimov was a man of highly materialistic views, he believed that intellect is the most positive and principal factor in the society and culture and its mission was to save humanity from destructive effects of dark passions, backward superstitions and bestial instincts.
Another Asimov's innovation, a consequence of the first one, is his style, simple and clear. Isaac Asimov was the first to exercise sheer simplicity of language and composition in literary works, making accuracy and naturalism instruments for attaining his literary goals and persuading the reader.
Having completed my essay, I have detected that Isaac Asimov was highly devoted to science and reason. He was a great populariser of science. In order to bring science into masses he published numberless productions on scientific themes; in order to enlighten the people, show them the necessity of science and reason he created his multitudinous science fiction works, and not in order to obtain money - he was indifferent to money. He devoted his thoughts, his life, all himself to Reason. Indeed, he deserves to be remembered!
If I had more time, I would expand my study of this brilliant author, his life and works, paying special attention to his ideas and writing style.
... Его мост, грубый и некрасивый, как первобытный грех, но «пукка» — прочный настолько, что останется стоять и тогда, когда исчезнет память даже о фермах «системы Финдлейсона». Хитчкок, помощник Финдлейсона, подъехал рысью на маленьком кабульском пони с длинным хвостом. Благодаря долговременной практике пони этот мог бы благополучно пройти по любой перекладине. Хитчкок кивнул своему начальнику. — Почти все готово, — улыбаясь, проговорил он. — Я только что думал об этом, — сказал начальник. — А ведь недурно сделано для двоих, не правда ли? — Для одного с половиной. Господи, что за глупый щенок я был, когда приехал сюда на работу! — Хитчкок чувствовал себя очень старым после разнообразных переживаний этих трех лет, которые научили его чувствовать свою власть и ответственность. — Да, вы были несколько похожи на жеребёнка, — сказал Финдлейсон. — Хотел бы я знать, как вам понравится конторское дело, когда здешняя работа окончится? — Я буду ненавидеть его! — сказал молодой человек. Его взгляд следил за направлением взгляда Финдлейсона. — Ну, разве это не чертовски хорошо? — пробормотал он. «Я думаю, что мы будем вместе продолжать службу, — мысленно сказал себе Финдлейсон. — Ты слишком хороший юноша, чтобы уступить тебя другому. Был ты щенком, а теперь ты мой помощник. Личный помощник, и будешь им и в Симле, если мне удастся это дело». Действительно, вся тяжесть работы выпала на долю Финдлейсона и его помощника, молодого человека, выбранного им именно благодаря его неопытности: таким образом легче было приспособить его к делу. Тут находилось около пятидесяти европейцев, мастеровых и подмастерьев, взятых из железнодорожных мастерских, и около двадцати надсмотрщиков, белых и метисов, управлявших по указанию первых толпами рабочих. Но никто, кроме Финдлейсона и его помощника, вполне веривших друг другу, не знал, как мало можно было доверять всем этим подчинённым. Много раз они переживали внезапные кризисы — вследствие поломки блоков, порчи кранов, ярости реки — но ни в одном из этих случаев не было среди рабочих человека, про которого Финдлейсон и Хитчкок могли бы сказать, что он работает так же усердно, как они...
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