I have just received a letter from my old school, informing me that my former headmaster, Mr. Stuart Page, will be retiring next week. Pupils of the school, old and new, will be sending him a present to mark the occasion. All those who have contributed towards the gift will sign their names in a large album which will be sent to the headmaster's home. We shall all remember Mr. Page for his patience and understanding and for the kindly encouragement he gave us when we went so unwillingly to school. A great many former pupils will be attending a farewell dinner in his honour next Thursday. It is a curious coincidence that the day before his retirement, Mr. Page will have been teaching for a total of forty years. After he has retired, he will devote himself to gardening. For him, this will be an entirely new hobby. But this does not matter, for, as he has often remarked, one is never too old to learn.
devote himself to sth.
My old friend, Frank Halliday, is just such a person. He has often described to me how he picked up a masterpiece for a mere ￡50. One Saturday morning, Frank visited an antique shop in my neighbourhood. As he had never been there before, he found a great deal to interest him. The morning passed rapidly and Frank was about to leave when he noticed a large packing-case lying on the floor. The dealer told him that it had just come in, but that he could not be bothered to open it. Frank begged him to do so and the dealer reluctantly prised it open. The contents were disappointing. Apart from an interesting-looking carved dagger, the box was full of crockery, much of it broken. Frank gently lifted the crockery out of the box and suddenly noticed a miniature Painting at the bottom of the packing-case. As its composition and line reminded him of an Italian painting he knew well, he decided to buy it. Glancing at it briefly, the dealer told him that it was worth ￡50. Frank could hardly conceal his excitement, for he knew that he had made a real discovery. The tiny painting proved to be an unknown masterpiece by Correggio and was worth thousands of pounds.
我的老朋友弗兰克.哈利戴正是这样一个人。他多次向我详细讲他如何只花 50 英镑便买到一位名家的杰作。一个星期六的上午，弗兰克去了我家附近的一家古玩店。由于他从未去过那儿，结果他发现许多有趣的东西。上午很快过去了，弗兰克正准备离去，突然看见地板上放着一只体积很大的货箱。古董商告诉他那只货箱刚到不久，但他嫌麻烦不想把它打开。经弗兰克恳求，古董商才勉强把货箱撬开了。箱内东西令人失望。除了一柄式样别致、雕有花纹的匕首外，货箱内装满陶器，而且大部分都已破碎裂。弗兰克轻轻地把陶器拿出箱子，突然发现在箱底有一幅微型画，画面构图与纸条使他想起一幅他所熟悉的意大利画，于是他决定将画买了下来。古董商漫不经心看了一眼那幅画，告诉弗兰克那画值 50 英镑。弗兰克几乎无法掩饰自己兴奋的心情，因为他明白自己发现了一件珍品。那幅不大的画原来是柯勒乔的一幅未被发现的杰作，价值几十万英镑。
packing-case [ˈpækɪŋ keɪs]
prove to be……