When in an hour they crowded into a cab to go home, I strolled idly to my club. I was perhaps a little lonely, and it was with a touch of envy that I thought of the pleasant family life of which I had had a glimpse. They seemed devoted to one another. They had little private jokes of their own which, unintelligible to the outsider, amused them enormously. Perhaps Charles Strickland was dull judged by a standard that demanded above all things verbal scintillation; but his intelligence was adequate to his surroundings, and that is a passport, not only to reasonable success, but still more to happiness. Mrs. Strickland was a charming woman, and she loved him. I pictured their lives, troubled by no untoward adventure, honest, decent, and, by reason of those two upstanding, pleasant children, so obviously destined to carry on the normal traditions of their race and station, not without significance. They would grow old insensibly; they would see their son and daughter come to years of reason, marry in due course —— the one a pretty girl, future mother of healthy children; the other a handsome, manly fellow, obviously a soldier; and at last, prosperous in their dignified retirement, beloved by their descendants, after a happy, not unuseful life, in the fullness of their age they would sink into the grave.

——Excerpt from the Moon and Sixpennce by W. Somerset Maugham

一个钟头以后,这一家挤上一辆马车回家去了,我也一个人懒散地往俱乐部踱去。我也许感到有一点寂寞, 回想我刚才瞥见的这种幸福家庭生活,心里不无艳羡之感。这一家人感情似乎非常融洽。他们说一些外人无从理解的小笑话,笑得要命。如果纯粹从善于辞令这一角度衡量一个人的智慧,也许查理斯。思特里克兰德算不得聪明,但是在他自己的那个环境里,他的智慧还是绰绰有余的,这不仅是事业成功的敲门砖,而且是生活幸福的保障。思特里克兰德太太是一个招人喜爱的女人,她很爱她的丈夫。我想象着这一对夫妻的生活,不受任何灾殃祸变的干扰,诚实、体面,两个孩子更是规矩可 爱,肯定会继承和发扬这一家人的地位和传统。在不知不觉间,他们俩的年纪越来越老,儿女却逐渐长大成人,到了一定的年龄,就会结婚成家——一个已经出息成 美丽的姑娘,将来还会生育活泼健康的孩子;另一个则是仪表堂堂的男子汉,显然会成为一名军人。最后这一对夫妻告老引退,受到子孙敬爱,过着富足、体面的晚 年。他们幸福的一生并未虚度,直到年寿已经很高,才告别了人世。