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A Street Scene in Paris
A poorly dressed man was kneeling on the pavement of the Champs Elysees the other afternoon. His clothes were not quite in rags, but nearly. He had a piece of chalk in his hand, and was drawing geometrical figures on the stones. People stopped to look, for this was not the usual artist who executes horrid “works of art” in coloured chalk, drawing a slice of salmon, or a foundering boat in an impossible sea. When the crowd was sufficiently large the man produced a little blackboard, on which he wrote the following appeal:– “I want a partner with capital for the construction and experimenting of a new kite to be fixed to aeroplanes. My invention is simple, and makes airmanship safe. Do not judge me by my broken boots.”
A little man with the red ribbon of the Legion of Honour in his buttonhole came out of a house in the Champs Elysees and read what the man had written. He laughed, and strolled off. Then, thinking better of it, he returned, and gave the man with the broken boots his visiting card and a twenty-franc piece. “Come and see me to-morrow,” he said, whistled to a taxi, and drove away. “Name of a name,” said the man with the chalk, looking at the name on the card. “it was Brazilian aviation pioneer Santos Dumont!”
Published in the DAILY EXPRESS: Monday 3rd April 1911
Reseached by Philip Battle
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