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HOME > Short Stories > The Plain Man and His Wife > 第四小节
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 You naturally assume that before the letter could reach him Alpha had been mortally struck down by apoplexy, double pneumonia1, bullet, automobile2, or some such enemy of joy, and that all the dreadful things which I had foreseen might happen did in fact happen, thus proving once more what a very wise friend I was, and filling me with justifiable3 pride in my grief. But it was not so. Alpha was not struck down, nor did his agreeable house topple over the metaphorical4 precipice5. According to poetical6 justice he ought to have been struck down, just to serve him right, and as a warning to others—only he was not. Not merely the wicked, but the improvident7 and the negligent8, often flourish like the green bay tree, and they keep on flourishing, and setting wisdom and righteousness at defiance9 in the most successful manner. Which, indeed, makes the life of a philosopher and sagacious adviser10 extremely difficult and ungrateful.  
Alpha never received my letter because I never sent it. There are letters which one writes, not to send, but to ease one’s mind. This letter was one of them. It would not have been proper to dispatch such a letter. Moreover, in the duties of friendship, as distinguished11 from the pleasures of friendship, speech is better, bolder, surer than writing. When two friends within hailing distance of each other get to exchanging epistles in order to settle a serious difference of opinion, the peril12 to their friendship is indeed grave; and the peril is intensified13 when one of them has adopted a superior moral attitude—as I had. The letters grow longer and longer, ruder and ruder, and the probability of the friendship surviving grows ever rapidly less and less. It is—usually, though not always—a mean act to write what you have not the pluck to say.
So I just kept the letter as a specimen14 of what I could do—if I chose—in the high role of candid15 friend.
I said to myself............
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