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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

52            The Germs of Srewhon

Neither rich nor poor as yet see the philosophy of the thing,
or admit that he who can tack a portion of one of the P. & 0.
boats on to his identity is a much more highly organised
being than one who cannot. Yet the fact is patent enough,
if we once think it over, from the mere consideration of the
respect with which we so often treat those who are richer
than ourselves. We observe men for the most part (admitting
however some few abnormal exceptions) to be deeply im-
pressed by the superior organisation of those who have
money. It is wrong to attribute this respect to any unworthy
motive, for the feeling is strictly legitimate and springs from
some of the very highest impulses of our nature. It is the
same sort of affectionate reverence which a dog feels for man,
and is not infrequently manifested in a similar manner.

We admit that these last sentences are open to question,
and we should hardly like to commit ourselves irrecoverably
to the sentiments they express; but we will say this much
for certain, namely, that the rich man is the true hundred-
handed Gyges of the poets. He alone possesses the full
complement of limbs who stands at the summit of opulence,
and we may assert with strictly scientific accuracy that the
Rothschilds are the most astonishing organisms that the
world has ever yet seen. For to the nerves or tissues, or
whatever it be that answers to the helm of a rich man's
desires, there is a whole army of limbs seen and unseen
attachable : he may be reckoned by his horse-poweróby the
number of foot-pounds which he has money enough to set
in motion. Who, then, will deny that a man whose will
represents the motive power of a thousand horses is a being
very different from the one who is equivalent but to the power
of a single one ?

Henceforward, then, instead of saying that a man is hard
up, let us say that his organisation is at a low ebb, or, if
we wish him well, let us hope that he will grow plenty of
limbs. It must be remembered that we are dealing with
physical organisations only. We do not say that the thousand-
horse man is better than a one-horse man, we only say that
he is more highly organised, and should be recognised as
being so by the scientific leaders of the period. A man's will,
truth, endurance are part of him also, and may, as in the
case of the late Mr. Cobden, have in themselves a power