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A miserable and merry Christmas? How could it be?
A Miserable, Merry Christmas
Christmas was coming. I wanted a pony. To make sure that my parents understood, I declared that I wanted noting else.
"Nothing but a pony?" my father asked.
"Nothing," I said.
"Not even a pair of high boots?"
That was hard. I did want boots, but I stuck to the pony. "No, not even boots."
"Nor candy? There ought to be something to fill your stocking with, and Santa Claus can't put a pony into a stocking,"
That was true, and he couldn't lead a pony down the chimney either . But no. "All I want is a pony," I said. "If I can't have a pony, give me nothing, nothing."
On Christmas Eve I hung up my stocking along with my sisters.
The next morning my sisters and I woke up at six. Then we raced downstairs to the fireplace. And there they were, the gifts, all sorts of wonderful things, mixed-up piles of presents. Only my stocking was empty; it hung limp; not a thing in it; and under and around it -- nothing. My sisters had knelt down, each by her pile of gifts; they were crying with delight, till they looked up and saw me standing there looking so miserable. They came over to me and felt my stocking: nothing.
I don't remember whether I cried at that moment, but my sisters did. They ran with me back to my bed, and there we all cried till I became indignant. That helped some. I got up, dressed, and driving my sisters away, I went out alone into the stable, and there, all by myself, I wept. My mother came out to me and she tried to comfort me. But I wanted no comfort. She left me and went on into the house with sharp words for my father.
My sisters came to me, and I was rude. I ran away from them. I went around to the front of the house, sat down on the steps, and, the crying over, I ached. I was wronged, I was hurt. And my father must have been hurt, too, a little. I saw him looking out of the window. He was watching me or something for an hour or two, drawing back the curtain so little lest I catch him, but I saw his face, and I think I can see now the anxiety upon on it, the worried impatience.
After an hour or two, I caught sight of a man riding a pony down the street, a pony and a brand-new saddle; the most beautiful saddle I ever saw, and it was a boy's saddle. And the pony! As he drew near, I saw that the pony was really a small horse, with a black mane and tail, and one white foot and a white star on his forehead. For such a horse as that I would have given anything.
But the man came along, reading the numbers on the houses, and, as my hopes -- my impossible hopes -- rose, he looked at our door and passed by, he and the pony, and the saddle. Too much, I fell upon the steps and broke into tears. Suddenly I heard a voice.
"Say, kid," it said, "do you know a boy named Lennie Steffens?"
I looked up. It was the man on the pony, back again.
"Yes," I spluttered through my tears. "That's me."
"Well," he said, "then this is your horse. I've been looking all over for you and your house. Why don't you put your number where it can be seen?"
"Get down," I said, running out to him. I wanted to ride.
He went on saying something about "ought to have got here at seven o'clock, but--"
I hardly heard, I could scarcely wait. I was so happy, so thrilled. I rode off up the street. Such a beautiful pony. And mine! After a while I turned and trotted back to the stable. There was the family, father, mother, sisters, all working for me, all happy. They had been putting in place the tools of my new business: currycomb, brush, pitchfork -- everything, and there was hay in the loft.
But that Christmas, which my father had planned so carefully, was it the best or the worst I ever knew? He often asked me that; I never could answer as a boy. I think now that it was both. It covered the whole distance from broken-hearted misery to bursting happiness -- too fast, A grown-up could hardly have stood it.
a. causing unhappiness; very unhappy 悲惨的
a. cheerful, full of lively happiness, fun, etc. 欢乐的，愉快的
n. a small horse 矮种马；小马
n. (AmE) sweets 糖果
a. (different things) put together 混合的，混杂的
a. soft; not stiff or firm 软的；松沓的
v. go down or remain on the knee(S) 跪下
a. angry at sth. unfair 气愤的；愤慨的
n. building for keeping and feeding animals, esp. horses 马厩
v. cry 哭泣；流泪
a. not at all polite 粗鲁的，不礼貌的
vt. treat unjustly 委屈
conj. for fear that 唯恐，以免
n. fear caused by uncertainty about sth. 焦虑
n. inability to wait calmly 不耐烦，急躁
a. entirely new and unused 崭新的
n. that part of the face above the eyes and below the hair 前额
v. speak quickly and confusedly (from excitement, etc.) 语无伦次地说
ad. hardly, almost not 几乎不，简直不
vt. excite greatly 使非常激动
vi. run or ride slowly, with short steps （马）小跑
n. a special comb used to rub and clean a horse 马梳
n. dried grass 干草
n. a room over a stable, where hay is kept 草料棚
a. filled with grief; very sad 心碎的；极其伤心的
n. the state of being very unhappy, poor, ill, lonely, etc. 悲惨；不幸；苦难
n. the state of being happy 快乐；幸福
a. & n. (of) an adult person 成人（的）
PHRASES & EXPRESSIONS
ct so as to make something certain 确保；查明
nothing other than; only 除了...以外没有什么；仅仅，只不过
refuse to give up or change 坚持，不放弃
fix (sth,) at a high place so that it does not touch the ground 挂起
(used when the speaker is not sure) 诸如此类
catch sight of
see suddenly or for a moment 看到，发现
mover near 接近
suddenly start (to cry, laugh, etc.) 突然...起来
in the right place 在适当的位置