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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

and of Life and Habit           47

NOTE.óWe were asked by a learned brother philosopher
who saw this article in MS. what we meant by alluding to
rudimentary organs in machines. Could we, he asked, give
any example of such organs ? We pointed to the little pro-
tuberance at the bottom of the bowl of our tobacco pipe.
This organ was originally designed for the same purpose as
the rim at the bottom of a tea-cup, which is but another form
of the same function. Its purpose was to keep the heat of
the pipe from marking the table on which it rested. Originally,
as we have seen in very early tobacco pipes, this protuberance
was of a very different shape to what it is now. It was broad
at the bottom and flat, so that while the pipe was being
smoked, the bowl might rest upon the table. Use and disuse
have here come into play and served to reduce the function
to its present rudimentary condition. That these rudimentary
organs are rarer in machinery than in animal life is owing to
the more prompt action of the human selection as compared
with the slower but even surer operation of natural selection.
Man may make mistakes ; in the long run nature never does
so. We have only given an imperfect example, but the
intelligent reader will supply himself with illustrations.

Lucubratio Ebria
[From the Press, 29 July, 1865]

There is a period in the evening, or more generally towards
the still small hours of the morning, in which we so far un-
bend as to take a single glass of hot whisky and water. We
will neither defend the practice nor excuse it. We state it as
a fact which must be borne in mind by the readers of this
article; for we know not how, whether it be the inspiration
of the drink, or the relief from the harassing work with which
the day has been occupied, or from whatever other cause,
yet we are certainly liable about this time to such a pro-
phetic influence as we seldom else experience. We are rapt
in a dream such as we ourselves know to be a dream, and
which, like other dreams, we can hardly embody in a distinct
utterance. We know that what we see is but a sort of in-
tellectual Siamese twins, of which one is substance and the
other shadow, but we cannot set either free without killing
both. We are unable to rudely tear away the veil of phantasy