Skip to main content

Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

See other formats

Elementary Morality             35

managed our education that we go in even greater danger
of losing the money than other people are.


Is there any religion whose followers can be pointed to
as distinctly more amiable and trustworthy than those
of any other? If so, this should be enough. I find the
nicest and best people generally profess no religion at all,
but are ready to like the best men of all religions.

Heaven and Hell

Heaven is the work of the best and kindest men and women.
Hell is the work of prigs, pedants and professional truth-
tellers. The \vorld is an attempt to make the best of both.


The essence of priggishness is setting up to be better
than one's neighbour. Better may mean more virtuous,
more clever, more agreeable or what not. The worst of it
is that one cannot do anything outside eating one's dinner
or taking a walk without setting up to know more than
one's neighbours. It was this that made me say in Life
and Habit [close of ch. ii.] that I was among the damned
in that I wrote at all. So I am ; and I am often very sorry
that I was never able to reach those more saintly classes
who do not set up as instructors of other people. But one
must take one's lot.


He was a prig. In the bedroom scene with Elsa he should
have said that her question put him rather up a tree but that,
as she wanted to know who he was, he would tell her and would
let the Holy Grail slide.


People ask complainingly what swells have done, or do,
for society that they should be able to live without working.
The good swell is the creature towards which all nature has.