Skip to main content

Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

See other formats

88                 Mind and Matter

whereon the cracks have opened some minute fraction of an
inch wider.

Of this we see nothing. All we note is that a score of years
have gone by and that the cracks are rather wider. So,
doubtless, if the materials of which the bank is built could
speak, they would say they knew nothing of the varied
interests that sometimes coalesce and sometimes conflict
within the building. The joys of the rich depositor, the
anguish of the bankrupt are nothing to them ; the stream of
people coming in and going out is as steady, continuous a
thing to them as a blowing wind or a running river to our-
selves ; all they know or care about is that they have a trifle
more weight of books and clerks and bullion than they once
had, and that this hinders them somewhat in their effort
after a permanent settlement.

The Unity of Nature

I meet a melancholy old Savoyard playing on a hurdy-
gurdy, grisly, dejected, dirty, with a look upon him as though
the iron had long since entered into his soul. It is a frosty
morning but he has very little clothing, and there is a dumb
despairing look about him which is surely genuine. There
passes- him a young butcher boy with his tray of meat upon
his shoulder. He is ruddy, lusty, full of life and health and
.spirits, and he vents these in a shrill whistle which eclipses
tlae hurdy-gurdy of the Savoyard.

The like holds good with the horses and cats and dogs
which I meet daily, with the flies in window panes and with
plants, some are successful, other have now passed their
prime. Look at the failures per se and they make one very
unhappy, but it helps matters to look at them in their
capacities as parts of a whole rather than as isolated.

I cannot see things round about me without feeling that
they are all parts of one whole which is trying to do some-
thing ; it has not perhaps a perfectly clear idea of what it is
trying after, but it is doing its best. I see old age, decay and
failure as the relaxation, after effort, of a muscle in the cor-
poration of things, or as a tentative effort in a wrong direction,
or as the dropping off of particles of skin from a healthy limb.
This dropping off is the death of any given generation of our