Search      Hot    Newest Novel
HOME > Short Stories > The Plain Man and His Wife > 第二小节
Font Size:【Large】【Middle】【Small】 Add Bookmark  
 The interesting point about the whole situation is that the plain man seldom or never asks himself a really fundamental question about that appointed path of his—that path from which he dare not and could not wander.  
Once, perhaps in a parable1, the plain man travelling met another traveller. And the plain man demanded of the traveller:
“Where are you going to?”
The traveller replied:
“Now I come to think of it, I don’t know.”
The plain man was ruffled2 by this insensate answer. He said:
“But you are travelling?”
The traveller replied:
The plain man, beginning to be annoyed, said:
“Have you never asked yourself where you are going to?”
“I have not.”
“But do you mean to tell me,” protested the plain man, now irritated, “that you are putting yourself to all this trouble, peril3, and expense of trains and steamers, without having asked yourself where you are going to?”
“It never occurred to me,” the traveller admitted. “I just had to start and I started.”
Whereupon the plain man was, as too often with us plain men, staggered and deeply affronted4 by the illogical absurdity5 of human nature. “Was it conceivable,” he thought, “that this traveller, presumably in his senses—” etc. (You are familiar with the tone and the style, being a plain man yourself.) And he gave way to moral indignation.
Now I must here, in parenthesis6, firmly state that I happen to be a member of the Society for the Suppression of Moral Indignation. As such, I object to the plain man’s moral indignation against the traveller; and I think that a liability to moral indignation is one of the plain man’s most serious defects. As such, my endeavour is to avoid being staggered and deeply affronted, or even surprised, by human vagaries7. There are too many plain people who are always rediscovering human nature—its turpitudes, fatuities8, unreason. They live amid human nature as in a chamber9 of horrors. And yet, after all these years, we surely ought to have grown used to human nature! It may be extremely vile—that is not the point. The point is that it constitutes our environment, from which we cannot escape alive. The man who is capable of being deeply affronted by his inevitable10 environment ought to have the pluck of his convictions and shoot himself. The Society would with pleasure pay his funeral expenses and contribute to the support of his wife and children. Such a man is, without knowing it, a dire11 enemy of true progress, which can only be planned and executed in an atmosphere from which heated moral superiority is absent.
I offer these parenthetical remarks as a guarantee that I shall not over-righteously sneer12 at the plain man for his share in the sequel to the conversation with the traveller. For there was a sequel to the conversation.
“As questions are being asked, where are you going to?” said the traveller.
The plain man answered with assurance:
“Oh, I know exactly where I’m going to. I’m going to Timbuctoo.”
“Indeed!” said the traveller. “And why are you going to Timbuctoo?”
Said the plain man: “I’m going because it’s the proper place to go to. Every self-respecting person goes to Timbuctoo.”
“But why?”
Said the plain man:
“Well, it’s supposed to be just about unique. You’re contented13 there. You get what you’ve always wanted. The climate’s wonderful.”
“Indeed!” said the traveller again. “Have you met anybody who’s been there?”
“Yes, I’ve met several. I’ve met a lot. And I’ve heard from people who are there.”
“And are their reports enthusiastic?”
“Well—” The plain man hesitated.
“Answer me. Are their reports enthusiastic?” the traveller insisted, rather bullyingly.
“Not very,” the plain man admitted. “Some say it’s very disappointing. And some say it’s much like other towns. Every one says the climate has grave drawbacks.”
The traveller demanded:
“Then why are you going there?”
Said the plain man:
“It never occurred to me to ask why. As I say, Timbuctoo’s supposed to be—”
“Supposed by whom?”
“Well—generally supposed,” said the plain man, limply.
“Not by the people who’ve been there?” the traveller persevered14, with obstinacy15.
“Perhaps not,” breathed the plain man. “But it’s generally supposed—” He faltered16. There was a silence, which was broken by the traveller, who inquired:
“Any interesting places en route?”
“I don’t know. I never troubled about that,” said the plain man.
“But do you mean to tell me,” the traveller exclaimed, “that you are putting yourself to all this trouble, peril, and expense of trains and steamers and camel-back without having asked yourself why, and without having satisfied yourself that the thing was worth while, and without having even ascertained17 the most agreeable route?”
Said the plain man, weakly:
“I just had to start for somewhere, so I started for Timbuctoo.”
Said the traveller:
“Well, I’m of a forgiving disposition18. Shake hands.”

All The Data From The Network AND User Upload, If Infringement, Please Contact Us To Delete! Contact Us
About Us | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Tag List | Recent Search  
©2010-2018, All Rights Reserved