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HOME > Short Stories > The Plain Man and His Wife > 第四小节
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 She is an amateur at her business, you say. Well, perhaps she is. But who brought her up to be an amateur? Are you not content to carry on the ancient tradition? As you meditate1, and you often do meditate, upon that infant daughter of yours now sleeping in her cot, do you dream of giving her a scientific education in housekeeping, or do you dream of endowing her with the charms that music and foreign languages and physical grace can offer? Do you in your mind’s eye see her cannily2 choosing beef at the butcher’s, or shining for your pleasure in the drawing-room?  
And then Mrs. Omicron is, perhaps, not so much of an amateur as you assume. People learn by practice. Is there any reason in human nature why a complex machine such as a house may be worked with fewer breakdowns3 than an office or manufactory? Harness your imagination once more and transfer to your house the multitudinous minor4 catastrophes5 that happen in your office. Be sincere, and admit that the efficiency of the average office is naught6 but a pretty legend. A mistake or negligence7 or forgetfulness in an office is remedied and forgotten. Mrs. Omicron—my dear Mr. Omicron—never hears of it. Not so with Mrs. Omicron’s office, as your aroused imagination will tell you. Mrs. Omicron’s parlourmaid’s duster fails to make contact with one small portion of the hall-table. Mr. Omicron walks in, and his godlike glance drops instantly on the dusty place, and Mr. Omicron ejaculates sardonically8: “H’m! Four women in the house, and they can’t even keep the hall-table respectable!”
Mr. Omicron forgets a letter at the bottom of his unanswered-letter basket, and a week later an excited cable arrives from overseas, and that cable demands another cable. No real harm has been done. Ten dollars spent on cables have cured the ill. Mrs. Omicron, preoccupied9 with a rash on the back of the neck of Miss Omicron before-mentioned, actually comes back from town without having ordered the mutton. In the afternoon she realizes her horrid10 sin and rushes to the telephone. The butcher reassures11 her. He swears the desired leg shall arrive. But do you see that boy dallying12 at the street corner with his mate? He carries the leg of mutton, and he carries also, though he knows it not nor cares, the reputation and happiness of Mrs. Omicron. He is late. As you yourself remarked, Mr. Omicron, if a leg of mutton is put down late to roast, one of two things must occur—either it will be under-cooked or the dinner will be late.
Now, if housekeeping was as simple as office-keeping, Mrs. Omicron would smile in tranquillity13 at the contretemps, and say to herself: “Never mind, I shall pay the late-posting fee—that will give me an extra forty minutes.” You say that, Mr. Omicron, about your letters,............
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