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HOME > Short Stories > The Plain Man and His Wife > 第五小节
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 “Odd thing,” said Alpha, “that I should have been at Omega’s just as I was sickening for appendicitis1. He’s great on appendicitis, is Omega.”  
“Has he had it?”
“Not he! He’s never had anything. But he informed me that before he went to Mexico last year he took the precaution of having his appendix removed, lest he might have acute appendicitis in some wild part of the country where there might be no doctor just handy for an operation. He’s like that, you know. I believe if he had his way there wouldn’t be an appendix left in the entire family. He’s inoculated2 against everything. They’re all inoculated against everything. And he keeps an elaborate medicine-chest in his house, together with elaborate typewritten instructions which he forced his doctor to give him—in case anything awful should happen suddenly. Omega has only to read those instructions, and he could stitch a horrible wound, tie up a severed3 artery4, or make an injection of morphia or salt water. He has a thermometer in every room and one in each bath. Also burglar-alarms at all doors and windows, and fire extinguishers on every floor. But that’s nothing. You should hear about his insurance. Of course, he’s insured his life and the lives of the whole family of them. He’s insured against railway accidents and all other accidents, and against illness. The fidelity5 of all his clerks is insured. He’s insured against burglary, naturally. Against fire, too. And against loss of rent through fire. His plate-glass is insured. His bunch of keys is insured. He’s insured against employers’ liability. He’s insured against war. He’s insured against loss of business profits. The interest on his mortgage securities is insured. His wretched little automobile6 is insured. I do believe he was once insured against the eventuality of twins.”
“He must feel safe,” I said.
“Not the least bit in the world,” replied Alpha. “Life is a perfect burden to him. That wouldn’t matter so much if he didn’t make it a perfect burden to all his family as well. They’ve all got to be prepared against the worst happening. If he fell down dead his wife would know just what to do. She knows all the details of his financial position exactly. She has to; he sees to that. He keeps her up to date in them every day. And she has to show him detailed7 accounts of the house as though it was a business undertaking8, because he’s so afraid of her being left helpless and incapable9. She just has to understand that ‘life is real, life is earnest,’ and death more so.
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