Once a month
would get on a train and travel to Baltimore to visit her
old Aunt Maude. At least that was what she told her husband. What
she really did was see a gentleman
the Colonel and spend all her time in Baltimore in his company.
The Colonel was
and lived in a
house just outside of town. He had no wife and no family, only a
loyal servants, and in Mrs. Bixby's absence
amused himself by riding horses and
Year after year the pleasant friendship between Mrs. Bixby and the
continued without a problem, and
once did Mrs. Bixby's dentist husband suspect the truth.
Then, after one visit just before Christmas, Mrs. Bixby was
standing at the station in Baltimore, waiting for the train to
take her back to New York. It had been a
thoroughly enjoyable visit and Mrs. Bixby was thinking how
different it all was from her
husband at home, when suddenly one of the Colonel's servants
through the crowd and presented her with a large cardboard box.
Mrs. Bixby: "Good heavens! What's he brought? What a big box! Was
there a message?"
There had been no message, and as soon as she was on the train,
Mrs. Bixby found a place where she could open the box
Mrs. Bixby: "How exciting! A Christmas present from the Colonel...
I think it's a dress.
even be two dresses. Or it might be a lot of beautiful
look. I'll just feel around and try to guess what it is.
I'll try to guess the color as well, and exactly
how much it cost...
Good heavens! It can't be true."
What the Colonel had given her was the most magnificent
coat she had ever seen. The fur was almost pure black, with
a touch of blue in it, as well, as deep rich blue. But what had it
dared to think. Then she saw there was a letter in the box,
farewell note from the Colonel! He had heard her say once
how fond she was of
mink and asked her to accept it as a farewell gift. For
his own personal reasons he would not be able to see her anymore.
Mrs. Bixby: "Well! Imagine that! Well, I've lost one thing, but
gained another. Wait... there's something written on the other
side: 'Just tell them that nice generous aunt of yours gave it
to you for
Christmas'." "The man must be mad! Aunt Maude doesn't have
that sort of money...
couldn't possibly give me this... but if Aunt Maude didn't,
then who did?"
In the excitement of finding the coat and
it on, she had completely forgotten the most important
detail. In a couple of hours she would be in New York, and even a
man like her husband Cyril would start asking questions if his
in from a weekend wearing a fabulous new mink coat.
Mrs. Bixby thought to herself: "I think he's done this
purpose just to annoy me. He knew perfectly well I wouldn't
be able to keep it. But I must have this coat! I must! Very well,
my dear. You shall have the coat, my dear. But don't be afraid.
still and keep calm and start thinking.
fooled him before. The man has never been able to
understand very much apart from his business. So sit absolutely
still and think."
Some time later Mrs. Bixby
off the train in New York and walked quickly to the
She was wearing her old red coat again, and was carrying the box
in her arms. She
for a taxi.
Mrs. Bixby: "Driver, do you know of a
pawnbroker that is still open around here? Stop at the
first one you see, will you please?"
At the pawnbroker's Mrs. Bixby told the driver to wait for her.
a story about losing her
and all her money, and left the fur coat with the pawnbroker in
exchange for fifty dollars in cash and a
which she insisted have no name or address on it, but simply the
word 'ARTICLE.'" The important thing was not to lose that
ticket. Anyone finding it could go there and claim the coat. But
about to let that happen. She would tell her husband that
she'd found the ticket in the back seat of the taxi and could
hardly wait to claim whatever it was on the following Monday
morning. A most
ingenious plan... if it hadn't been for her husband.
Mrs. Bixby: "Wouldn't it be wonderful
if it were a
Mr. Bixby: "We can't know what it is yet, my dear. We shall just
have to wait and see."
Mrs. Bixby: "I think it's absolutely wonderful! Give me the ticket
immediately on Monday morning and
Mr. Bixby: "I think I'd better do that.
pick it up on my way to work."
Mrs. Bixby: "But it's my ticket! Please let me do it. Why should
you have all that fun?"
Mr. Bixby: "I'd rather
didn't handle it if you don't mind."
Mrs. Bixby: " But I found it. It's mine. Whatever it is, it's
mine, isn't that right?"
Mr. Bixby: "I suppose you haven't thought that it might be
something for a man, a pocket watch, for example."
Mrs. Bixby: "In that case, I'll give it to you for Christmas. But
if it's a woman's thing, I want it myself.
Mr. Bixby: "That sounds fair. Why don't you come with me when I
pick it up?"
She was about to say yes to this, but stopped herself just in
time. She had no wish to be greeted like and old customer by the
pawnbroker in her husband’s presence.
Mrs. Bixby: " Uhh... no, I don't think I will. You see, it'll be
more exciting if I stay here and wait"
Monday morning came at last, and as Mr. Bixby was about to leave
for the pawnbroker's on his way to work, his wife made him promise
to telephone her if
turned out to be something really nice. About an hour later,
when the phone rang, Mrs. Bixby
to answer it before the first ring had finished.
Mr. Bixby (on the telephone): "I've got it!"
Mrs. Bixby: "You have? Oh, Cyril, what is it? Was it something
Mr. Bixby: "Good? It's wonderful. You wait till you see this.
Mrs. Bixby: "Darling, what is it? Tell me quickly."
Mr. Bixby: "You're a lucky girl, that's what you are."
Mrs. Bixby: "It's for me then?"
Mr. Bixby: "Of course it's for you,
I can't understand how it was
for fifty dollars.
go crazy when you see it."
Mrs. Bixby: " What is it?"
Mr. Bixby: "Try to guess."
But Mrs. Bixby couldn't guess. Instead she
on going down to her husband's office herself to get it,
even though it might disorganize his day. Later when she rang his
bell, her husband in his white dentist's coat opened the door
Mrs. Bixby: "Oh, I'm so excited."
Mr. Bixby: "So you should be. You're a lucky girl, did you know
We´re through for
now. Go and have your lunch, Miss Pulteney. You can
finish that when you get back."
This last was directed to his assistant, who was busy putting his
instruments away. He waited until the girl had gone, then
a cupboard that he used for hanging up his clothes and stood in
front of it, pointing with his finger.
Mr. Bixby: "It's in there. Now shut your eyes for a moment... all
right now. You can look!"
Mrs. Bixby: "I
don't dare to."
Mr. Bixby: "Go on, have a look... mink! Real mink!"
At the sound of the magic word she opened her eyes quickly, and at the
same time she started forward to grab the coat in her arms. But there
was no coat. There was only a stupid little
fur neckpiece in her husband's hand. Mrs. Bixby put a hand up
to her mouth and started to back away. She was sure she was going
Mr. Bixby: "What's the matter, my dear" Don't you like it?"
Mrs. Bixby: Why, yes... I... I think it's very nice... beautiful..."
Mr. Bixby: "It
quite took your breath away for a moment, didn't it?"
Mrs. Bixby: "Yes, it did."
Mr. Bixby: Very good quality. Fine color, too. Here.
on... it's perfect.
really suits you.
It isn't everyone who has a mink, my dear."
Mrs. Bixby: "No, it isn't."
Mr. Bixby: "I'm afraid you mustn't expect anything else for
Christmas. Fifty dollars was rather more than I was going to spend,
anyway. Go and buy yourself a nice lunch, my dear."
Mrs. Bixby moved towards the door. She was going to go over to
that pawnbroker's and throw that miserable neckpiece right into
his face and if he refused to give her back her coat, she would
Mr. Bixby: "Did I tell you that I was going to be late tonight?
It'll probably be at least 8:30, it may even be 9:00"
Mrs. Bixby: "Yes, all right. Good-bye."
Mrs. Bixby went out closing the door
behind her. At that exact moment, Miss Pulteney, her husband's
sailing past her on her way to lunch and greeted Mrs. Bixby,
smiling brightly. She walked in a very proud and confident way, and she
looked like a
exactly like a queen in the beautiful black mink coat that the
Colonel had given to Mrs. Bixby.
got as a salary
around the middle of a scale of evaluation
she would get
she used to take
(se subía a, tomaba)
he occupied, he had fun(se
pursuing wild animals for sport(cazando)
never once did Mrs. Bixby's dentist husband suspect:
emphatic use of auxiliar DID
(ni una sola vez sospechó el esposo dentista de la Sra. Bixby)
(aburrido, poco interesante)
appeared = turned up
(a solas, en privado)
might even be:
it could also be
(incluso podrían ser)
won't look = I don't want to look
(no quiero mirar, me niego a mirar)
it looks like:
how nice it is
(cómo es, de qué se trata)
much it cost = what its price was
(cuánto costó, cuál fue su precio)
fur coat made from the soft lustrous fur of minks
(abrigo de visones)
didn't almost act
(apenas se atrevía a)
farewell note = a farewell letter
(una carta de despedida)
fond she was of mink:
how much she liked mink
(cuánto le atraía el visón)
couldn't possibly give me this:
there's no possibility of her giving this to me
(no existe la más remota posibilidad de que ella me regalara esto)
trying it on:
putting it on to see how well it fitted
went inside her house
purpose just to annoy me:
with the intention of annoying me
(a propósito para incomodarme)
you've fooled him before:
you've cheated him before
(lo has engañado antes)
opening to leave or to go out
made signs to
(llamó, hizo señas a)
a person who lends money at interest in exchange for personal
property that is deposited as security
up = invented
(cartera de mujer)
a pawnbroker's receipt for articles taken as security
(boleta o recibo de empeño)
not about to let that happen:
was not going to allow it
(no iba a permitir que eso ocurriera)
WERE used instead of WAS for hypothetical situations
go over = I'll go there
(iré hasta allí)
pick it up:
I'll fetch it
(iré a buscarlo)
you didn't deal with
(que no te ocuparas)
that agreed? = Do we both agree?
(¿Estamos de acuerdo?)
turned out to be:
if it really was
(si resultara ser)
rushed = hurried
(se apuró, corrió)
you'll pass out
(te vas a desmayar)
though = although
deposited as security
you'll go crazy:
you'll get mad
(vas a enloquecer)
insisted on going down:
insisted on going to his office
(insistió en ir al consultorio) INSIST ON > ING verb
we're through for now:
we have finished our work for the moment being
(hemos terminado por el momento)
walked over to:
(se dirigió hacia)
don't dare to:
I'm not courageous enough to
(no me atrevo)
a garment like a boa or a scarf, especially one made of fur
(boa o bufanda de piel)
scream = to shout
quite took your breath away: you were unable to speak
(te quitó la respiración)
check whether it fits you
really suits you:
it really looks nice on you
(realmente te queda bien)
isn't everyone who has = not everybody has
(no todo el mundo tiene)
with a bang
(de un portazo)
sailing past her:
came past her with pride
(pasó orgullosa a su lado)