A NEW TOY FOR CURIE’S DARGHTER
Marie Curie, in a simple, dark evening dress, glanced down the long banquet table. The English ladies seated between the gentlemen at the dinner wore such beautiful jewels that Marie could not take her eyes off them. (来源：英语聊天室 http://chat.EnglishCN.com)
But, although Marie herself wore no jewelry, everybody else’s eyes were on her. She and Pierre were guests of honor at this banquet. They had come to England at the invitation of the Royal Institution. This important group of scientists had asked Pierre Curie to give them a lecture on radium.
The lecture had been a big success. And now everyone on London wished to meet Professor and Madame Curie and entertain them at parties and dinners.
Marie turned to Lord Kelvin, an old friend and fellow scientist, who was seated beside her. “Everyone is so kind,” she said to the old gentleman. “Pierre and I are not used to having a fuss made of us. We rarely go out at all. We never seem to have the time”.
“I can understand that,” Lord Kelvin said, smiling. “But you must remember that you are now a very famous lady. You are the first woman who was ever invited to the sessions of the Royal Institution. In fact, I would say that right now you are the only famous woman scientist in the world.”
Marie looked a little shocked when Lord Kelvin said that. She didn’t feel famous and she didn’t want to be. It would take too much of her time. She glanced at Pierre.
He had just given a magnificent talk on radium. Now he was quietly answering the questions of the famous scientists who sat near him. Even in his rusty black evening clothes, it seemed to Marie that he was the most distinguished looking man in the room.
In the carriage going back to their hotel, Pierre started to chuckle.
“What are you laughing at , mon cher ?” Marie asked him.
“I saw you looking at the ladies’ jewels,” Pierre told her. “I, too, was looking at them. But not with so much admiration as you did. I was playing a little game.”
“I was trying to guess how much money each necklace and bracelet was worth. And how big a laboratory I could build if I had that much money to spend. And do you know, Marie,” he laughed, “ before I knew it, I had a group of buildings as large as the Sorbonne!”
Marie laughed, too, but she patted his hand tenderly. “Pierre, you must have the laboratory you have wanted for so long,” she sighed. “All these honors are very nice, but we would so much rather have a decent place to work in. Someday we’ll get it, won’t we?”
“Yes,” agreed Pierre. “I’m sure we will.”
In November, a few months after their return to Paris, Pierre made another trip to London. This time it was so receive the Davy Medal. This great honor had been awarded to Pierre and Marie by the Royal Society of London.
When he came home, Marie and little Irene met him at the door of the apartment. Irene, who had been told that her father was bringing home a prize, danced up and down with excitement.
“Papa!” she cried, after he had lifted her up and kissed her. “Let me see it, let me see it !”
Her father rummaged in the valise he had been carrying. “Now where did I put that thing?” he exclaimed. “I’m sure I brought it home with me —I think.”
“Is this it, Pierre?” Marie had picked up a rather heavy package that lay under Pierre’s hat on the table.
“Yes, that’s it.” Pierre unwrapped the package and lifted the leather lid of the case. He held up a heavy gold medal on which were engraved the names: PIERRE AND MARIE CURIE.
“Why, it’s a great big gold penny!” Irene cried. “It’s pretty, isn’t it, Mé?”
“Yes, it’s very pretty,” Marie answered. “But what on earth will we do with it ?”
“Perhaps we could put it on the table here, for a paper weight,” Pierre suggested. “Or maybe we could —well—hang it on the wall.”
He took up the medal to see how it would look over the manel. It slipped out of his hands and fell to the floor with a thud.
Irene darted to picked it up and stood feeling the ridges in the engraving. Then, laughing with glee, she began to roll it along the carpet like a hoop.
A happy smile spread over Pierre Curie’s gentle face. “See, lrene loves her new toy,” he said to Marie. “ So, we have found a use for the medal after all.”