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Theory:

     Within half an hour, Francis Bennett had reached his works at Niagara, where, after using the force of the cataracts to produce energy, he sold or hired it out to the consumers. Then he returned, by way of Philadelphia, Boston and New York, to Centropolis, where his aero-car put him down about five o’clock.
 
     The waiting-room of the Earth Herald was crowded. A careful lookout was being kept for Francis Bennett to return for the daily audience he gave to his petitioners. Among their different proposals he had to make a choice, reject the bad ones, look into the doubtful ones, and welcome the good ones.
Explanation:
 
Niagara is 496 kilometres from New York City and is located between the United States and Canada. In about half an hour, Francis Bennett had arrived at his destination, i.e., his workplace in Niagara, through his aero-car. And at Francis' workplace in Niagara, energy was generated by the force of cataracts, which were sold or rented to consumers as accumulators (batteries).
 
After finishing the job at Niagara, Francis returns to Centropolis, to his office, at 5 p.m. via Philadelphia, Boston, and New York.
 
When Francis returned to the Earth Herald office, he found a large crowd waiting for him. They were waiting for Francis to arrive with their new project proposals, which they wanted to present to him for his approval. Since Earth Herald was the world's largest newspaper, one can imagine how tough the competition would be among those proposing projects for approval.
 
Among the different projects that were assigned before Francis, he was about to pick up the good projects which could benefit or make profits for 'Earth Herald'. Obviously, he rejected the bad proposals and then kept the doubtful ones on hold and welcomed the good ones. 
 
Meaning of difficult words:
  
S. No.
Words
Meaning
1.
CataractA large waterfall
Reference:
State Council of Educational Research and Training (2018). English Standard-10. A day in 2889 of an American Journalist - Jules Verne (pp. 153-157). Published by the Tamil Nadu Textbook and Educational Services Corporation.