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What makes one city different from another city? Is it
the buildings, the weather, the people? It is the people
who make a city, and to know a city, you must know its
people. You must know what makes them laugh and
cry, know the small details of their everyday lives.
What kind of people lived in New York at the
beginning of the twentieth century? Are New Yorkers
different now from a hundred years ago? Cities grow
bigger with the years, new buildings are put up and old
buildings are pulled down, horses are replaced by cars
and buses, fashions change. But people do not change.
The New Yorkers in these stories are very different
from each other, but the hopes of a tramp are as
important as the hopes of a lawyer; the love of a
waitress is as exciting as the love of an actress. And we
see that people's hopes and fears and dreams do not
change with the years.

The Christmas Presents


ne dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all.
Every day, when she went to the shops, she spent
very little money. She bought the cheapest meat, the
cheapest vegetables. And when she was tired, she still
walked round and round the shops to find the cheapest
food. She saved every cent possible.
Delia counted the money again. There was no
mistake. One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was
all. And the next day was Christmas.

She couldn't do anything about it. She could only sit
down and cry. So she sat there, in the poor little room,
and she cried.
Delia lived in this poor little room, in New York,
with her husband, James Dillingham Young. They also
had a bedroom, and a kitchen and a bathroom - all
poor little rooms. James Dillingham Young was lucky,
because he had a job, but it was not a good job. These
rooms took most of his money. Delia tried to find
work, but times were bad, and there was no work for
her. But when Mr James Dillingham Young came

home to his rooms, Mrs James Dillingham Young
called him 'Jim' and put her arms round him. And that
was good.
Delia stopped crying and she washed her face. She
stood by the window, and looked out at a grey cat on a
grey wall in the grey road. Tomorrow was Christmas
Day, and she had only one dollar and eighty-seven
cents to buy Jim a Christmas present. Her Jim. She
wanted very much to buy him something really fine,
something to show how much she loved him.
Suddenly, Delia turned round and ran over to look
in the glass on the wall. Her eyes were bright.
Now, the James Dillingham Youngs had two very
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