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THEY had never been to the seaside before, so you can imagine how pleased they were when Mr. Merryweather said, “I think we will go to the sea this summer, it will do the children good.”
They all began to jump about and get very excited, all except John. John had heard about the sea, but he didn’t quite believe it. So he said to his Father:
“When you go to the theathide, do you weally thee the thea?”
All the other children laughed, and Mary the eldest1, who knew everything, said, “Silly, of course you do!”
John kept his eyes on his Father, and said, “Do you weally?” And his Father said, “Yes, old boy, you do.” Then John gave a great sigh of happiness and said, “I fort2 perhaps you did.” And he walked round and round the garden, singing, “I’m going to thee the thea!{44}”
Mary went off with her Mother to talk about what sort of clothes they would all want. Mary was ten; and when you are ten and the eldest, almost everything depends upon you. John was three and the youngest, and sometimes Mary was not quite sure whether she was John’s mother or not. If you could have two mothers, then she was one of them.
“The great question,” said Mr. Merryweather next day, “is, where shall we go?”
John looked at him as if he could hardly believe. “I fort we were going to the thea,” he said, almost crying.
“Silly, of course we are,” said Mary. “But there are lots of places by the sea. Let’s go to a place where there are heaps3 of lovely shells4.”
“And sand,” said Margaret.
“And rocks,” said Joan. “And pools.”
“SHELLS—SAND—ROCKS—POOLS,{45}” wrote Mr. Merryweather on his cuff6. “Anything else?”
John tried to speak once or twice, but nothing happened.
“Yes, darling?” said his Mother.
“Thea,” said John faintly7.
“AND SEA,” wrote Mr. Merryweather. “And what do you want, Stephen?”
Stephen was four. He thought a good deal, but never said anything, so if it hadn’t been for Joan, nobody would ever have known8 what he wanted.
“Stephen wants the same as me, don’t you, Stephen?” said Joan quickly.
Stephen nodded. He was thinking of something else.
On the Monday they all went off. As soon as they got out at the station, Mr. Merryweather said, “I can smell the sea,” and Mary said, “So can I,” but she couldn’t really. John very nearly cried again, because{46} he thought the sea was something you saw, not just something you smelt9, but Mary told him that to-morrow after breakfast he would really see it, Wouldn’t he, Mother? And Mrs. Merryweather said, Yes, it was too late now; better wait till to-morrow.
So they waited till to-morrow. As soon as they had finished breakfast, and they were all too excited to eat much (except Stephen, who could think just as well, whether he was eating or whether he wasn’t), Mary took them out. Mr. Merryweather stayed behind to read his paper, and Mrs. Merryweather stayed behind to see about dinner, because they knew they could trust Mary. Joan and Stephen walked in front, Joan chattering10 to Stephen, and Stephen thinking; then came Margaret, talking eagerly over her shoulder to Mary; and then came Mary holding John’s hand, and saying, “We’re nearly there, dear.{47}”
Suddenly they turned the corner, and there they were.
Mary said proudly: “There, darling, there’s the sea.”
Margaret said: “Isn’t it lovely?”
Joan said: “Oh, look, Stephen!”
Stephen said nothing, of course.
And John opened his mouth to say something, turned very red, and burst11 into tears.
They were all very sorry for John—except Stephen, who was thinking of something else. The worst of it was that none of them knew what was the matter with him. Had he had too much breakfast? Or too little? Was he tired? Would he like Margaret to take him back? John couldn’t tell them. He didn’t know.
“What would you like to do, darling?” said Mary. “Shall we pick some lovely shells?”
John sniffed12 and nodded.{48}
They went on to the beach. There were many other children there, but they were much too happy to take any notice of the Merryweather family.
“Now,” said Mary, “let’s see who can find the prettiest shell5. Oh, look at this one!”
“Oh, and this one, Mary!” said Margaret.
“Well put them in my bag,” said Mary. “Would you like to hold the bag, darling?”
“Yeth,” said John meekly13. Afraid to look at it again, he stood with his back to the sea, and dropped the shells into the bag as they were given to him. Why had the sea made him cry like that? He didn’t know. Perhaps Stephen....
He looked at Stephen.
No, it was no good asking Stephen.


1 eldest bqkx6     
  • The King's eldest son is the heir to the throne.国王的长子是王位的继承人。
  • The castle and the land are entailed on the eldest son.城堡和土地限定由长子继承。
2 fort pi3x4     
  • The fort can not be defended against an air attack.这座要塞遭到空袭时无法防御。
  • No one can get into the fort without a pass.没有通行证,任何人不得进入要塞。
3 heaps heaps     
adv. <口>很, 非常地 名词heap的复数形式
  • They brought home heaps of travel brochures. 他们将成堆的旅行手册带回家。
  • The machine flung up great heaps of earth. 这台机器抛起了大片的土。
4 shells 6cada1b5279cf64ec485c08de4d14f53     
n.(贝、卵、坚果等的)壳( shell的名词复数 );外壳;炮弹;(人的)表面性格
  • We collected shells on the beach. 我们在海滩拾贝壳。
  • But at last the shells cracked, one after another. 最后,蛋壳一个接着一个地裂开了。 来自《简明英汉词典》
5 shell psfyX     
n.贝壳,壳,外形;v.去壳,脱落;n.[计算机] DOS命令:安装备用的COMMAND.COM文件,并改变环境尺寸
  • Please shell some peanuts for the cake.请为做点心剥点胡花生。
  • This kind of beetles have hard shell.这类甲虫有坚硬的外壳。
6 cuff 4YUzL     
  • She hoped they wouldn't cuff her hands behind her back.她希望他们不要把她反铐起来。
  • Would you please draw together the snag in my cuff?请你把我袖口上的裂口缝上好吗?
7 faintly UtTzD5     
  • Her voice was faintly mocking. 她的声音略带一丝嘲弄。
  • A beginning beard faintly shadowed his chin and lean cheeks. 从他的下巴和瘦削的面颊上可以依稀看到刚长出来的胡须。 来自《简明英汉词典》
8 known hpKzdc     
  • He is a known artist.他是一个知名的艺术家。
  • He is known both as a painter and as a statesman.他是知名的画家及政治家。
9 smelt tiuzKF     
  • Tin is a comparatively easy metal to smelt.锡是比较容易熔化的金属。
  • Darby was looking for a way to improve iron when he hit upon the idea of smelting it with coke instead of charcoal.达比一直在寻找改善铁质的方法,他猛然想到可以不用木炭熔炼,而改用焦炭。
10 chattering chattering     
n. (机器振动发出的)咔嗒声,(鸟等)鸣,啁啾 adj. 喋喋不休的,啾啾声的 动词chatter的现在分词形式
  • The teacher told the children to stop chattering in class. 老师叫孩子们在课堂上不要叽叽喳喳讲话。
  • I was so cold that my teeth were chattering. 我冷得牙齿直打战。
11 burst HSryI     
  • We all held our breath till the bomb burst.我们屏住呼吸直到炸弹爆炸。
  • She suddenly burst into song.她突然唱起歌来。
12 sniffed ccb6bd83c4e9592715e6230a90f76b72     
v.以鼻吸气,嗅,闻( sniff的过去式和过去分词 );抽鼻子(尤指哭泣、患感冒等时出声地用鼻子吸气);抱怨,不以为然地说
  • When Jenney had stopped crying she sniffed and dried her eyes. 珍妮停止了哭泣,吸了吸鼻子,擦干了眼泪。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • The dog sniffed suspiciously at the stranger. 狗疑惑地嗅着那个陌生人。 来自《简明英汉词典》
13 meekly meekly     
  • He stood aside meekly when the new policy was proposed. 当有人提出新政策时,他唯唯诺诺地站 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • He meekly accepted the rebuke. 他顺从地接受了批评。 来自《简明英汉词典》


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