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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

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Mind and Matter               87

a little nearer to the earth's centre by such and such a slight
trickle forward.

I saw my cat undecided in his mind whether he should get
up on the table and steal the remains of my dinner or not.
The chair was some eighteen inches away with its back
towards the table, so it was a little troublesome for him to
get his feet first on the bar and then on the table. He was
not at all hungry but he tried, saw it would not be quite
easy and gave it up ; then he thought better of it and tried
again, and saw again that it was not all perfectly plain
sailing; and so backwards and forwards with the first-he-
would-and-then-he-wouldn'tism of a mind so nearly in
equilibrium that a hair's weight would turn the scale one
way or the other.

I thought how closely it resembled the action of beer
trickling on a slightly sloping table.

The Union Bank

There is a settlement in the Union Bank building, Chancery
Lane, which has made three large cracks in the main door
steps, I remember these cracks more than twenty years ago,
just after the bank was built, as mere thin lines and now they
must be some half an inch wide and are still slowly widening.
They have altered very gradually, but not an hour or a minute
has passed without a groaning and travailing together on the
part of every stone and piece of timber in the building to
settle how a modus mvendi should be arrived at. This is why
the crack is said to be caused by a settlement—some parts
of the building willing this and some that, and the battle
going on, as even the steadiest and most unbroken battles
must go, by fits and starts which, though to us appearing
as an even tenor, would, if we could see them under a micro-
scope, prove to be a succession of bloody engagements
between regiments that sometimes lost and sometimes won.
Sometimes, doubtless, strained relations have got settled by
peaceful arbitration and reference to the solicitors of the
contending parts without open visible rupture; at other
times, again, discontent has gathered on discontent as the
snow upon a sub-alpine slope, flake by flake, till the last is
one too many and the whole comes crashing down—