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Translate the words of one of the speakers.

A: I’ve heard your sister is getting married.

B: Да, собирается, но я не очень-то рад этой свадьбе. Она ещё слишком молода, боюсь, она совершает самую большую глупость в своей жизни.

A: Come off! She’s already 20. She’s a grown-up person and she knows what she is doing. You just don’t like her fiancé, do you?

B: Я просто его мало знаю. Видел пару раз. Они знакомы-то всего полгода. Разве можно за полгода узнать человека настолько хорошо, чтобы выйти за него замуж?

A: Have you tried to talk to her? To bring her round?

B: Я говорил ей, что надо еще учиться, получить диплом, найти хорошую работу. А потом, я думаю, можно было бы и завести семью. Жених её ещё сам студент. Кто же будет содержать их семью?

A: Well, you are certainly right, but 20-year-old people don’t think about problems like these. You’d better put up with it and let them marry.


(from ‘Act of Will’ by Barbara Taylor Bradford )


Audra Crowther sat on the sofa in the living-room of her daughter’s Manhattan penthouse. She held herself tensely and clenched her hands together so hard that the knuckles shone white as she looked from her daughter Christina to her granddaughter Kyle.

The two younger women stood in the middle of the room, their faces pale, their eyes blazing as they glared at each other. Their angry words of a few minutes ago still reverberated on the warm afternoon air.

Audra felt helpless. She knew that to remonstrate with them, to attempt to make them see reason, was a waste of time, at least at this moment. Each was convinced she was right, and no amount of persuasion would make them reverse their positions or endeavour to understand the other’s point of view.

Even their clothes were like uniforms, underscoring their intrinsic differences, further separating them. Blue jeans and sneakers for Kyle, and for Christina, an expensive, beautifully cut dress and tailored jacket of matching raw silk, without doubt bearing her own couture label; the silver-grey of the silk, the perfect foil for her chestnut hair shot through with reddish-gold lights, the grey also emphasizing her lovely smoky eyes which had always been her best feature. She was slender, impeccably groomed, and not showing her forty-seven years in the least.

Tycoon versus student, mother versus daughter, Audra thought, smothering a sigh. Well, it wasn't the first time a mother and daughter were at odds with each other; that was an age-old conflict.

Suddenly Kyle broke the protracted silence when she snapped, ‘And there’s another thing, Mother. You had no right to drag poor Grandma into this debacle, drag her all the way from England...’

‘I didn’t! ’ Christina shot back. ‘It was your father who telephoned my...’

‘Oh yes, go on, blame Dad, ’ Kyle cut in, her voice scathing.

‘But it was your father who phoned my mother, ’ Christina protested. She appealed to Audra. ‘Isn’t that so, Mummy? ’

Audra focused her attention on her granddaughter. ‘That’s quite true, Kyle.’

Kyle tossed back her mop of black hair, then thrust her hands in the pockets of her jeans, her movements brusque, defiant. Her huge brown eyes, usually doe-like and soft, flashed rebelliously.

‘I suppose he thought we needed a mediator. Well, we don’t... there’s nothing to mediate.’ She brought herself up short, swung her long-limbed body towards Audra and gave her a wan half-smile.

‘Sorry, Grandma, I don't mean to be rude to you, but you shouldn’t have been forced to travel half-way around the world just because my parents have discovered they can't influence me, or handle me any more.’ Kyle let out a laugh that was abnormally harsh. ‘You see, the trouble is that my parents treat me like a child, Grandma. Anyone would think I’m nine years old, not nineteen, for God’s sake, the ridiculous way they are carrying on.’

Before Audra had a chance to comment on these strident assertions, Kyle pivoted to face Christina. Her voice rose shrilly as she rushed on, ‘Nothing will induce me to change my mind. Mother. Nothing, And nobody. Not even Grandma. I’m going to live my life the way I want. It’s my life and no one else’s. You and Dad can cut me off without a nickel. I don’t give a damn. I’ll manage somehow. I’ll get a job to support myself while I’m studying. I don’t need any help from you! ’

‘Neither your father nor I have ever said anything about cutting you off, ’ Christina exclaimed, furious that Kyle was even suggesting such a thing. ‘Your problem is your inability to discuss this matter intelligently. And calmly. You fly off the handle every time we attempt to have a reasonable conversation with you.’

‘Listen who’s talking! You’re not calm either! ’

Christina’s mouth tightened in aggravation, but she strove hard to curb her increasing exasperation with her daughter. ‘That’s not so surprising, is it? ’ she countered in her coldest tone. ‘I have built an enormous empire, an international fashion business worth millions and millions of dollars and you’re my only child, my heir. It’s always been understood that you’d succeed me, one day. Understood by all of us. Why, you’re being trained with that in mind... and now, out of the blue, you announce that you don't want the company.’

‘No, I don’t! ’ Kyle shouted. ‘Can’t you get that through your head yet, Mother? I've been saying it for days! I’m not in the least bit interested in your stupid business empire! It can go to hell, collapse, for all I care! It’s your problem, not mine! ’

Recoiling, Christina drew in her breath sharply. She was as much stunned by Kyle's vehemence as by her words.

Audra, shocked, admonished swiftly, ‘Steady on there, Kyle.’

Immediately, Kyle knew she had gone too far, and she bit her lip in embarrassment. Bright hot colour blotched her neck, sped up into her smooth young cheeks. She glanced at her grandmother, so pale and still on the sofa. She saw the sadness and disappointment reflected in Audra's candid blue eyes saw the gentle reproach on her sweet face. Discomfort tinged with shame swept over her. She recognized she had discredited herself with her grandmother, whom she adored, and this she could not bear. She burst into tears and fled before she disgraced herself further, slamming the door behind her.

Christina stared at the door speechlessly.

She was mortified, enraged, and so taut that her shoulder blades protruded through her thin silk jacket.

‘Can you believe it! ’ she exploded and took a step forward, obviously intent on following Kyle.

‘No, no, let her go, ’ Audra said firmly, pushing herself up, hurrying across the room. She took hold of Christina’s arm and led her back to the sofa.

Gently forcing her daughter down next to her, she went on, ‘There’s no point in continuing this. There's nothing to be gained. You know very well that the things we say when we're angry are difficult to retract later, and you must admit you’re both overwrought at the moment.’

‘Yes, I suppose we are.’ Distractedly, Christina ran a hand through her hair, then slumped against the cushions, feeling miserable and frustrated.



1. versus prep - used to show that two people or teams are against each other.

2. penthouse n – a very expensive and comfortable set of rooms built on top of a tall building.

3. fly off the handle informal - lose one's temper. E.g. She's always flying off the handle with the children.

4. heir, heiress n - the one who has the lawful right to receive the title or property of an older member of the family. E.g. My two brothers and I are heirs to our parents' property.


Proper Names

Audra /'O: drq/ Christina /krIs΄ tI: nq/

Crowther / ΄ kraUDq/ Kyle /kail/





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