J. G. Cozzens

Unit 2

Success Story

I met Richards ten or more years ago when I first went down to Cuba. He was a short, sharp-faced, agreeable chap, then about 22. He introduced himself to me on the boat and I was surprised to find that Panamerica Steel1 was sending us both to the same job. Richards was from some not very good state university engineering school2. Being the same age myself, and just out of technical college I saw at once that his knowledge was rather poor. In fact I couldn't imagine how he had managed to get this job.

Richards J. G. Cozzens was naturally likable, and I liked him a lot. The firm had a contract for the construction of a pri­vate railroad. For Richards and me it was mostly an easy job of inspections and routine paper work. At least it was easy for me. It was harder for Richards, because he didn't appear to have mastered the use of a slide rule. When he asked me to check his figures I found his calculations awful. "Boy," I was at last obliged to say, "you are undoubtedly the silliest white man in this province. Look, stupid, didn't you J. G. Cozzens ever take arithmetic? How much are seven times thirteen?" "Work that out," Richards said, "and let me have a report tomorrow."

So when I had time I checked his figures for him, and the inspector only caught him in a bad mistake about twice. In January several directors of the United Sugar Company came down to us on business, but mostly for pleasure; a good excuse to get south on a vacation. Richards and I were to accompany them around the place. One of the directors, Mr. Prosset was asking a number of questions. I knew the job well enough to J. G. Cozzens answer every sensible question - the sort of question that a trained engineer would be likely to ask. As it was Mr. Prosset was not an engineer and some of his ques­tions put me at a loss. For the third time I was obliged to say, "I'm afraid I don't know, sir. We haven't any calculations on that". When suddenly Richards spoke up.

"I think, about nine million cubic feet, sir", he said. "I just happened to be working this out last night. Just for my own interest".

"Oh," said Mr. Prosset, turning in his seat J. G. Cozzens and giving him a sharp look. "That's very interesting, Mr. -er-Richards, isn't it? Well, now, maybe you could tell me about —"

Richards could. Richards knew everything. All the way up Mr. Prosset fired questions on him and he fired answers right back. When we reached the head of the rail, a motor was waiting for Mr. Prosset. He nodded absent-mindedly to me, shook hands with Richards. "Very interesting, indeed," he said. "Good-bye, Mr. Richards, and thank you."

"Not, at all, sir," Richards said. "Glad if I could be of service to you."

As J. G. Cozzens soon as the car moved off, I exploded. "A little honest bluff doesn't hurt; but some of your figures...!"

"I like to please," said Richards grinning. "If a man like Prosset wants to know something, who am I to hold out on him?"

"What's he going to think when he looks up the figures or asks somebody who does know?"

"Listen, my son," said Richards kindly. "He wasn't asking for any information he was going to use. He doesn't want to know these figures. He won't remember them. I don't even remember them J. G. Cozzens myself. What he is going to remember is you and me." "Yes," said Richards firmly. "He is going to remember that Panamerica Steel has a bright young man named Richards who could tell him everything, he wanted — just the sort of chap he can use; not like that other fellow who took no interest in his work, couldn't answer the simplest question and who is going to be doing small-time contracting all his life."

It is true. I am still working for the Company, still doing a little work for the construction line. And Richards? I J. G. Cozzens happened to read in a newspaper a few weeks ago that Richards had been made a vice-president and director of Panamerica Steel when the Prosset group3 bought the old firm.

NOTES:

1 Sommerville — окраина Бостона

2 to get oneself established — найти работу

3 laying off hands — увольняя рабочих

4 hang on — настаивать

5 everything would be all up with me — для меня все будет кончено

6 downtown — деловая часть города

7 uptown — жилая часть города

8 as I went along — по ходу дела


go down to Cuba поехать на Кубу (при движении от центра к периферии)
a short, sharp-faced, agreeable chap остролицый приятный парень низкого роста
introduce oneself to smb представиться к-л J. G. Cozzens
on the boat на пароходе
be surprised to find that с удивлением обнаружить, что
send smb to the same job отправить к-л выполнять одинаковую работу, на одну должность
state university engineering school инженерный/машиностроительный факультет государственного университета
be the same age б. ровесниками / б. одного возраста
be just out of technical college только что окончить институт
poor knowledge плохие знания
in fact вообще-то / на самом деле
manage to-V удаваться / получаться сд. ч-л
likable приятный, милый, привлекательный
a contract for the construction договор на строительство
railroad железная дорога
inspection проверка, инспекция
routine paper work однообразная / рутинная бумажная работа J. G. Cozzens / работа с документами
at least по крайней мере
he didn't appear to have done that по-моему, он этого не делала / (о)казалось, он этого не сделал
master the use of a slide rule освоить применение логарифмической линейки / научиться пользоваться
check the figures проверить данные / расчеты
calculations расчеты
be obliged to-V б. вынужденным / должным сделать ч-л
undoubtedly без сомнения
province область, район, провинция
take arithmetic учиться арифметике / заниматься арифметикой (про обучение)
How much are seven times ten? Сколько будет семью десять?
work smt out подсчитать / определить ч-л
let me have a report tomorrow J. G. Cozzens отчитаешься завтра / а завтра доложишь
caught smb in a bad mistake поймать к-л на ошибке
on business по делам
for pleasure просто так, на отдых
a good excuse to-V уважительная причина
get south on a vacation приехать на юг отдохнуть
accompany smb around the place сопровождать / ездить с к-л по всему (место)
a number of questions ряд /несколько вопросов
sensible question разумный / осмысленный вопрос
trained engineer образованный инженер / человек с техническим образованием
be likely to-V мочь, вероятно сделать ч-л
as it was уже и так / как оказалось / вообще-то
put smb at a loss J. G. Cozzens поставить к-л в тупик / сбить с толку
for the first time в первый раз
we haven't any calculations on that мы этот показатель на рассчитывали / у нас нет (расчетных) данных об этом
speak up заговорить
just for my own interest ради интереса / для себя
turn in one’s seat повернуться, сидя на/в
give smb a sharp look посомтреть на к-л внимательно / проницательно
all the way up/down всю дорогу куда-либо (к центру/периферии, вверх/вниз/вдоль по дороге, течению)
fire questions on smb за'сыпать к-л вопросами
fire answers right back отвечать J. G. Cozzens мгновенно, не задумываясь / выпалить ответ
reach some place добраться / доехать до (место)
a motor машина, авто
to nod absent-mindedly to smb рассеянно кивнуть к-л
to shake hands with smb пожать к-л руку
Glad if I could be of service to you. Рад, если смог быть/оказаться Вам в чем-то полезным /помочь Вам.
the car moved off машина поехала / тронулась
to explode взорваться ( в т.ч. от негодования)
an honest bluff невинная ложь, блеф
it doesn't hurt это не повредит, не причинит никакого вреда
to please угождать, быть полезным
to grin ухмыльнуться, усмехнуться
to hold out on smb J. G. Cozzens увиливать, скрывать
to looks up the figures посмотреть, проверить данные (в источнике информации)
to ask for information нуждаться, требовать информации
to say firmly сказать твердо, уверенно
a bright young man named умный, блестящий молодой человек по имени
to take no interest in his work не проявлять интереса к работе
to do small-time contracting выполнять мелкую работу по договору, мелкие подряды
he was made a vice-president of the company его назначили вице-президентом компании


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