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HOME > Short Stories > The Plain Man and His Wife > 第三小节
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 That luncheon1 was the latest and the most profound of a long series of impressions which had been influencing my mental attitude towards the excellent, the successful, the entirely2 agreeable Mr. Alpha. I walked home, a distance of some three miles, and then I walked another three miles or so on the worn carpet of my study, and at last the cup of my feelings began to run over, and I sat down and wrote a letter to my friend Alpha. The letter was thus couched:  
“My Dear Alpha,
“I have long wanted to tell you something, and now I have decided3 to give vent4 to my desire. There are two ways of telling you. I might take the circuitous5 route by roundabout and gentle phrases, through hints and delicately undulating suggestions, and beneath the soft shadow of flattering cajoleries. Or I might dash straight ahead. The latter is the best, perhaps.
“You are a scoundrel, my dear Alpha. I say it in the friendliest and most brutal6 manner. And you are not merely a scoundrel—you are the most dangerous sort of scoundrel—the smiling, benevolent7 scoundrel.
“You know quite well that your house, with all that therein is, stands on the edge of a precipice8, and that at any moment a landslip might topple it over into everlasting9 ruin. And yet you behave as though your house was planted in the midst of a vast and secure plain, sheltered from every imaginable havoc10. I speak metaphorically11, of course. It is not a material precipice that your house stands on the edge of; it is a metaphorical12 precipice. But the perils13 symbolized14 by that precipice are real enough.
“It is, for example, a real chauffeur15 whose real wrist may by a single false movement transform you from the incomparable Alpha into an item in the books of the registrar16 of deaths. It is a real microbe who may at this very instant be industriously17 planning your swift destruction. And it is another real microbe who may have already made up his or her mind that you shall finish your days helpless and incapable18 on the flat of your back.
“Suppose you to be dead—what would happen? You would leave debts, for, although you are solvent19, you are only solvent because you have the knack20 of always putting your hand on money, and death would automatically make you insolvent21. You are one of those brave, jolly fellows who live up to their income. It is true that, in deference22 to fashion, you are now insured, but for a trifling23 and inadequate24 sum which would not yield the hundredth part of your present income. It is true that there is your business. But your business would be naught25 without you. You are your business. Remove yourself from it, and the residue26 is negligible. Your son, left alone with it, would wreck27 it in a year through simple ignorance and clumsiness; for you have kept him in his inexperience like a maiden28 in her maidenhood29. You say that you desired to spare him. Nothing of the kind. You were merely jealous, of your authority, and your indispensability. You desired fervently30 that all and everybody should depend on yourself....
“Conceive that three years have passed and that you are in fact dead. You are buried; you are lying away over there in the cold dark. The funeral is done. The friends are gone. But your family is just as alive as ever. Disaster has not killed it, nor even diminished its vitality31. It wants just as much to eat and drink as it did before sorrow passed over it. Look through the sod. Do you see that child there playing with a razor? It is your eldest32 son at grips with your business. Do you see that other youngster striving against a wolf with a lead pencil for weapon? It is your second son. Well, they are males, these two, and must manfully expect what they get. But do you see these four creatures with their hands cut off, thrust out into the infested34 desert? They are your wife and your daughters. You cut their hands off. You did it so kindly
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