The picture moved on the wall for no apparent reason.
“What on earth made it move like that?” Betty asked.
We all looked at Grandmother’s picture and offered explanations.
“Wind,” said Father.
It was a calm day. There was not a breath of wind, and anyway all the doors and windows were closed.
“An earthquake,” I suggested, proud that at the age of seven I knew such a long word.
“An earthquake? In Britain?” said my sister Betty. “Don’t be silly.”
“But,” I replied defensively, “earthquakes do happen sometimes even in Britain. Don’t they, Daddy?”
“We would have felt it,” my father said.
“Do you suppose Grandma is all right?” Betty asked anxiously.
Grandma was a tough old woman, fitter than most people half her age. Of course she was all right, but Betty persisted, “Perhaps it’s a sign …”
“A sign of what?” I asked, looking for a chance to retaliate. “A sign that you’re stupid?”
“Stop it, you two!” Mother said wearily. “I’m sure there is a perfectly natural explanation. Now, finish your meal. Come on, eat up your vegetables, you two, or there will be no dessert for you.”
Then, the picture moved again, this time so violently that we all saw it. When it stopped, it was no longer straight. Grandma looked as if she was about to slip off her chair. This time, nobody spoke. It wasn’t funny any more. I felt really scared, but of course did not show it. My sister Betty had gone pale. Mother got up and went over to the picture. She straightened it and came back to the table. “There,” she said, “now, let’s get on with our meal.”
“But, Mommy, why did Grandma’s picture move like that?”
“Oh, I expect, well, as I said, there’ll be a perfectly natural explanation.”
Betty and I were sent to bed early that evening, but we crept downstairs and sat on the bottom step trying to catch what our parents were talking about.
“… silly idea … frightened us all … apologize …”
“… just a joke … don’t make such a fuss … explain to them in the morning …”
I was up early in the morning, and found the piece of thread still hanging from Grandma’s picture where my father had tied it. So, Dad had moved the picture! What a good trick! It had certainly fooled everyone. Good old Dad! As we sat having breakfast, I looked at him and winked to let him know I had understood. He winked back at me, but said nothing.
My mother was in the kitchen when the phone rang. She answered it, and then came into the room where we were having breakfast. She was as white as a sheet.
“That was Cousin Lucy,” she said. “Grandma died peacefully during the night.”
同時通訳者 横山カズ先生によるスピーキングセミナー 13:30～14:00