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  • Miss Martha Meacham kept the little bakery on the corner (the one where you go up three steps, and the bell tinkles1 when you open the door).

    Miss Martha was forty, her bankbook showed a credit of two thousand dollars, and she possessed2 two false teeth and a sympathetic heart. Many people have married whose chances to do so were much inferior to Miss Martha's.

    Two or three times a week she received a customer in whom she began to take an interest. He was a middle-aged3 man wearing spectacles and a brown beard trimmed to a careful point. He spoke4 English with a strong German accent. His clothes were worn and darned in places, and wrinkled and baggy5 in others, but he looked neat and had very good manners. He always bought two loaves of stale bread--fresh bread was five cents a loaf and stale ones were two for five. Never did he call for anything but stale bread.

    On one occasion, Miss Martha noticed a red and brown stain on his fingers and decided6 that he was a struggling artist. No doubt he lived in a garret, where he painted pictures and ate stale bread and thought of the good things to eat in Miss Martha's bakery. Her sympathetic heart beat faster at the picture. In order to test her theory as to his occupation, Miss Martha brought from her room one day a painting that she had purchased at a sale and set it conspicuously7 against the shelves behind the bread counter. It was a Venetian scene, with a perfectly8 splendid marble palazzo and a lady in a gondola9 trailing her hand in the water. No artist could fail to notice it.

    Two days afterward10 the customer came in again, and he did notice the picture. "You haf here a fine bicture, madame."

    "Yes?" said Miss Martha, reveling in her own cunning white wrapping the stale loaves. "I do so admire art and paintings.., you think it is a good picture?"

    "Der balance," said the customer, "is not in good drawing. Der bairspective of it is not true. Goot morning, madame."

    He took the stale bread, bowed politely, and hurried out; Miss Martha carried the picture back to her room. How gentle and kindly11 his eyes shone behind his spectacles! To be able to judge perspective at a glance-- and to live on stale bread! But Miss Martha realized that, unfortunate though it is, genius often has to struggle before it is recognized.

    Following that incident, the gentle-mannered artist (for so she thought of him now) would chat for a while. He continued to order the stale bread never a cake, never a pie, never one of the other delicious pastries12 in the showcase. He was beginning to look thinner and very discouraged. Miss Martha became concerned; her sympathetic heart ached to add some delicacy13 to his meager14 purchase, but her courage failed. She did not dare affront15 him, for she understood the pride of artists.

    Miss Martha * took to wearing her blue-dotted silk waist behind the counter. One day the customer came in as usual, laid his nickel on the showcase, and called for his stale loaves. While Miss Martha was reaching for them there was a great tooting and clanging, and a fire engine came lumbering16 past.

     11级    心灵鸡汤 


    1 tinkles [ˈtɪŋkəlz] fb07959851aba224c2042a63f3d07571   第10级
    丁当声,铃铃声( tinkle的名词复数 ); 一次电话
    • Small drips, tinkles, and bubbles are what birds like. ——小水滴、叮当响声和小泡沫才是鸟类所喜欢的。
    • Tinkles: Is the puppy alive or not? 丁克斯:那只小狗还活着吗?
    2 possessed [pəˈzest] xuyyQ   第12级
    • He flew out of the room like a man possessed. 他像着了魔似地猛然冲出房门。
    • He behaved like someone possessed. 他行为举止像是魔怔了。
    3 middle-aged ['mɪdl eɪdʒd] UopzSS   第8级
    • I noticed two middle-aged passengers. 我注意到两个中年乘客。
    • The new skin balm was welcome by middle-aged women. 这种新护肤香膏受到了中年妇女的欢迎。
    4 spoke [spəʊk] XryyC   第11级
    n.(车轮的)辐条;轮辐;破坏某人的计划;阻挠某人的行动 v.讲,谈(speak的过去式);说;演说;从某种观点来说
    • They sourced the spoke nuts from our company. 他们的轮辐螺帽是从我们公司获得的。
    • The spokes of a wheel are the bars that connect the outer ring to the centre. 辐条是轮子上连接外圈与中心的条棒。
    5 baggy [ˈbægi] CuVz5   第8级
    • My T-shirt went all baggy in the wash. 我的T恤越洗越大了。
    • Baggy pants are meant to be stylish, not offensive. 松松垮垮的裤子意味着时髦,而不是无礼。
    6 decided [dɪˈsaɪdɪd] lvqzZd   第7级
    • This gave them a decided advantage over their opponents. 这使他们比对手具有明显的优势。
    • There is a decided difference between British and Chinese way of greeting. 英国人和中国人打招呼的方式有很明显的区别。
    7 conspicuously [kən'spikjuəsli] 3vczqb   第7级
    • France remained a conspicuously uneasy country. 法国依然是个明显不太平的国家。
    • She figured conspicuously in the public debate on the issue. 她在该问题的公开辩论中很引人注目。
    8 perfectly [ˈpɜ:fɪktli] 8Mzxb   第8级
    • The witnesses were each perfectly certain of what they said. 证人们个个对自己所说的话十分肯定。
    • Everything that we're doing is all perfectly above board. 我们做的每件事情都是光明正大的。
    9 gondola [ˈgɒndələ] p6vyK   第12级
    • The road is too narrow to allow the passage of gondola. 这条街太窄大型货车不能通过。
    • I have a gondola here. 我开来了一条平底船。
    10 afterward ['ɑ:ftəwəd] fK6y3   第7级
    • Let's go to the theatre first and eat afterward. 让我们先去看戏,然后吃饭。
    • Afterward, the boy became a very famous artist. 后来,这男孩成为一个很有名的艺术家。
    11 kindly [ˈkaɪndli] tpUzhQ   第8级
    • Her neighbours spoke of her as kindly and hospitable. 她的邻居都说她和蔼可亲、热情好客。
    • A shadow passed over the kindly face of the old woman. 一道阴影掠过老太太慈祥的面孔。
    12 pastries ['pəistriz] 8f85b501fe583004c86fdf42e8934228   第8级
    • He gave a dry laugh, then sat down and started on the pastries. 杜新箨说着干笑一声,坐下去就吃点心。 来自子夜部分
    • Mike: So many! I like Xijiang raisins, beef jerky, and local pastries. 麦克:太多了。我最喜欢吃新疆葡萄干、牛肉干和风味点心。
    13 delicacy [ˈdelɪkəsi] mxuxS   第9级
    • We admired the delicacy of the craftsmanship. 我们佩服工艺师精巧的手艺。
    • He sensed the delicacy of the situation. 他感觉到了形势的微妙。
    14 meager ['mi:gə] zB5xZ   第10级
    • He could not support his family on his meager salary. 他靠微薄的工资无法养家。
    • The two men and the woman grouped about the fire and began their meager meal. 两个男人同一个女人围着火,开始吃起少得可怜的午饭。
    15 affront [əˈfrʌnt] pKvy6   第10级
    • Your behaviour is an affront to public decency. 你的行为有伤风化。
    • This remark caused affront to many people. 这句话得罪了不少人。
    16 lumbering ['lʌmbəriŋ] FA7xm   第7级
    • Lumbering and, later, paper-making were carried out in smaller cities. 木材业和后来的造纸都由较小的城市经营。
    • Lumbering is very important in some underdeveloped countries. 在一些不发达的国家,伐木业十分重要。

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