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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

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Lord, What is Man ?



WE are like billiard balls in a game played by unskilful
players, continually being nearly sent into a pocket, but hardly
ever getting right into one, except by a fluke.


We are like thistle-down blown about by the wind—up
and down, here and there—but not one in a thousand ever
getting beyond seed-hood.


A man is a passing mood coming and going in the mind of
his country ; he is the twitching of a nerve, a smile, a frown,
a thought of shame or honour, as it may happen.


How loosely our thoughts ir st hang together when the
whiff of a smell, a band playing in the street, a face seen in
the fire, or on the gnarled stem of a tree, will lead them into
such vagaries at a moment's warning.


When I was a boy at school at Shrewsbury, old Mrs.
Brown used to keep a tray of spoiled tarts which she sold
cheaper. They most of them looked pretty right till you
handled them. We are all spoiled tarts.


He is a poor creature who does not believe himself to be
better than the whole world else. No matter how ill we may