About manulodeanxelo

I am a man who likes to study English

Cousin Phyllis by Elizabeth Gaskell

Cousin Phyllis ia a novel written by Elizabeth Gaskell in 1864. It was published in four parts, and it’s said to be one of  Elizabeth Gaskell’s most mature works.

The story is about Paul Manning, a youth of nineteen who arrives in Elthan full of enthusiasm to work as a clerk to Mr. Haldsworth, a railway engineer. In Ethan Paul meets his mother’s family, the learned Reverend Holman and his daughter Phillis who is confused by her own placement at the age of adolescence. They gave Paul a warm welcome into their home (The Hope Farm).  When Mr. Holdworth, a handsome and experienced young man, meets the Holmans, they get captive by his wit and knowledge of the world. They become regular visitors that enchanted summer, until Mr. Holdsworth decides going to work to Canada. In Canada Mr. Holdworth meets a French woman, Lucille Ventadur, and decides to marry her. The novel depicts the changes in society which were taking place in the last eighties, when a modern industrialized word was starting to develop.

Other important characters are, Cousin Holman, Ibenezzer Holman, who is the Minister’s wife (Mr. Holman’s) and Phillis’ mother. And the new master, the person who comes in the place of Mr. Holdworth when he went to Canada.

I found this novel gripping, quite moving and easy reading, even if it contains old-use words like ‘thy’, (meaning your), that make a dictionary to be useful. I recommend it to readers who like short entertaining love stories.



An impressing building

One building that has impressed me is the monastery of Santa María de Valdedios. It is located in the Asturian council of Villaviciosa, and belongs to the Catholic Parish of Puelles.

I visited it last year during a stage of Santiago’s Pilgrimage which I did with other students from the School of Languages.

What strikes me most is how people in those days were capable of carving such big stones and assemble them in order to build enormous vaults and arches’ supported by high plasters with beautiful figures carved in the capitals. From my point of view, it must be God who helped them to do these wonders.

by Manuel


Dick lived with his parents in a beautiful house next to the heat of the city. He was very obedient and of course, he was a very good student, too. He never failed his exams. His parents were proud of him.

One day his parents decided to give Dick a present. It was Dick’s birthday and his parents decided to reward him. ‘Because you’re very successful in your studies’, his father said, ‘mother and I have decided to give you this key. This key has a surprise, please read carefully the instructions manual’.

He couldn’t believe his eyes when he read the paper. ‘With this key you’ll open a box that you’ll find in a corner somewhere in the house’, it read. Dick went to the box quickly and in less than one minute the box was opened. It contained an entertaining game called Magic Sword which made Dick eyes shine with pleasure.

‘You’re going to spoil the boy’, said grandfather, ‘he wouldn’t study anymore’. Fortunately grandfather was wrong; Dick never gave up his studies although he loved playing the game. After having ended the course successfully he was given a new game. A modern one called PS3.

Although Dick had such entertaining modern games he never failed his studies. He always wanted to be a celebrity. Perhaps he realized that if you want to achieve goals it’s necessary to work hard.



Fleming’s accidental discovery and isolation of penicillin in September 1928 marks the start of modern antibiotic. His discovery of penicillin had changed the world of modern medicine by introducing the age of useful antibiotics; penicillin has saved, and is still saving, millions of people around the world.

Sir Alexander Fleming was born at Lochfield near Darvel in Ayrshire, Scotland on August 6th, 1881. After having attended London Moor School, Darvel School and Kilmarmock Academy, he moved to London where he attended the Polytechnic. He spent four years in a shopping office and then he entered St. Mary`s Medical School, London University, where he qualified with distinction in 1906.

Early in his medical life, Fleming became interested in the natural bacterial action of the blood and in antiseptics. He settled to work on antibacterial substances which would not be toxic to animal tissues. In 1921, he discovered an important bacteriolytic substance which he named Lysozyme. By 1928 Fleming was investigating the properties of staphyllococci. He had a reputation as a brilliant researcher, but his laboratory was often untidy. On 3 September 1928, Fleming returned to his laboratory having spent August on vacation with his family. Before leaving he had stacked all his cultures of staphyllococci on a bench in a corner of his laboratory. On returning, Fleming noticed that one culture was contaminated with a fungus, and that the colonies of staphyllococci that had immediately surrounded it had been destroyed, whereas other colonies further away were normal. Fleming identified the mould that had contaminated his culture plates as being from the Penicillium genus, and named the substance it released Penicillin on 7 March 1929.

“When I woke up just after dawn on September 28, 1928, I certainly didn’t plan to revolutionize all medicine by discovering the world’s first antibiotic, or bacteria killer” Fleming said later “But I guess that was exactly what I did.”  Modern antibiotics are tested using a method similar to Fleming’s discovery.

by Manuel