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They say that blood is thicker than water, that
our relatives are more important to us than others.
Everyone was so kind to the old lady on her birthday.
Surely her daughter would make an even bigger effort
to please her?
It was the old lady's birthday.
She got up early to be ready for the post. from the second floor flat
she could see the postman when he came down the street, and the little boy
from the ground floor brought up her letters on the rare occasions when
Today she was sure there would be something. Myra wouldn't forget
her mother's birthday, even if she seldom wrote at other times. Of course
Myra was busy. Her husband had been made Mayor, and Myra herself had
got a medal for her work f or the aged.
The old lady was proud of Myra, but Enid was the daughter she
loved. Enid had never married, but had seemed content to live with her
mother, and teach in a primary school round the corner.
One evening, however, Enid said, "I've arranged for Mrs. Morrison
to look after you for a few days, Mother. Tomorrow I have to go into hos-
pital--just a minor operation. I'll soon be home. "
In the morning she went, but never came back--she died on the oper-
ating table. Myra came to the funeral, and in her efficient way arranged for
Mrs. Morrison to come in and light the fire and give the old her break-
Two years ago that was, and since then Myra had been to see her
mother three times, but her husband never.
The old lady was eighty today. She had put on her best dress. Per
haps-perhaps Myra might come. After all, eighty was a special birthday,
another decade lived or endured just as you chose to look at it.
Even if Myra did not come, she would send a present. The old lady
was sure of that. Two spots of colour brightened her cheeks. She was ex-
cited-like a child. She would enjoy her day.
Yesterday Mrs. Morrison had given the flat an extra clean, and today
she had brought a card and a bunch of marigolds when she came to do the
breakfast. Mrs. Grant downstairs had made a cake, and in the afternoon
she was going down there to tea. The little boy, Johnnie, had been up with
a packet of mints, and said he wouldn't go out to play until the post had come.
"I guess you'll get lots and lots of presents, "he said." I did last week
when I was six. "
What would she like? A pair of slippers perhaps. Or a new cardigan.
A cardigan would be lovely. Blue's such a pretty colour. Jim had always
liked her in blue. Or a table lamp. Or a book, a travel book, with pictures,
or a little clock, with clear black numbers. So many lovely things.
She stood by the window, watching. The postman turned round the
corner on his bicycle. Her heart beat fast. Johnnie had seen him too and ran
to the gate.
Then clatter, clatter up the stairs. Johnnie knocked at her door.
"Granny, granny, "he shouted, "I've got your post: "
He gave her four envelopes. Three were unsealed cards from old
friends. The fourth was sealed, in Myra's writing. The old lady felt a pang
"No parcel, Johnnie?"
Maybe the parcel was too large to come by letter post. That was it. It
would come, later by parcel post. She must be patient.
Almost reluctantly, she tore the envelope open. Folded in the card was
a piece of paper. Written on the card was a message under the printed Hap-
py Birthday-- Buy yourself something nice with the cheque, Myra and
The cheque fluttered to the floor like a bird with a broken wing. Slow-
ly the old lady stooped to pick it up. Her present, her lovely present. With
trembling fingers she tore it into little bits.
Click the button to listen to the pronunciations of new words
not happening often 罕见的；不常发生的
special time; time when sth. happens 时刻，
chief official of a city or town 市长
satisfied; pleased 满意的；高兴的
first; earliest 首要的；最初的
make preparations; plan 作安排，筹划
not serious or important 较小的；次要的
cut the body in order to set right or remove a
diseased part 开刀，动手术
operating table n.
a special table in a hospital, where operations are
able to plan and work well 效率高的
bear (pain, suffering, etc.) 忍受,忍耐
a round area that is different from the main sur-
make bright or brighter 使发光;使发亮
either side of the face below the eye 面颊
things of the same kind that are tied together
packet n .
small parcel or box 小包(裹)
a number of rapid short knocking sounds 咔嗒声
(colloq. for) grandmother
a paper cover for a letter 信封
sudden, sharp pain 剧痛
sadness because one does not get what one hopes
bend into two or more parts 折叠
move quickly to and fro in the air 飘动
bend the body forwards and downwards 弯腰
shake uncontrollably with quick short move-
Phrases & Expressions
at other times
on other occasions 在别的时候;平时
roundaround the corner
very near in distance or time 在附近;即将来临
in spite of everything; it must be remembered 毕
be sure of
take hold of and lift up from a surface 拿起,捡起
约翰尼 (John 的昵称 )
吉姆 (James 的昵称)