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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

Elementary Morality             37

A Luxurious Death

Death in anything like luxury is one of the most expensive
things a man can indulge himself in. It costs a lot of money
to die comfortably, unless one goes off pretty quickly.

Money, Health and Reputation

Money, if it live at all, that is to say if it be reproductive
and put out at any interest, however low, is mortal and
doomed to be lost one day, though it may go on living through
many generations of one single family if it be taken care of.
No man is absolutely safe. It may be said to any man,
11 Thou fool, this night thy money shall be required of thee."
And reputation is like money: it may be required of us with-
out warning. The little unsuspected evil on which we trip
may swell up in a moment and prove to be the huge, Janus-
like mountain of unpardonable sin. And his health may be
required of any fool, any night or any day.

A man will feel loss of money more keenly than loss of
bodily health, so long as he can keep his money. Take his
money away and deprive him of the means of earning any
more, and his health will soon break up ; but leave him his
money and, even though his health breaks up and he dies,
he does not mind it so much as we think. Money losses are
the worst, loss of health is next worst and loss of reputation
comes in a bad third. All other things are amusements
provided money, health and good name are untouched.

Solicitors

A man must not think he can save himself the trouble
of being a sensible man and a gentleman by going to his
solicitor, any more than he can get himself a sound consti-
tution by going to his doctor; but a solicitor can do more
to keep a tolerably well-meaning fool straight than a doctor
can do for an invalid. Money is to the solicitor what souls
are to the parson or life to the physician. He is our money-
doctor.