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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

90                 Mind and Matter

her, though knowing no more what he is doing than we know
when we digest, but still doing it as by what we call a reflex
action. Qui facit per alium facit per $e, and when the back-
kitchen fire is lighted on Croesus's behalf, it is Croesus who
lights it, though he is all the time fast asleep in bed.

Sometimes things do not go smoothly. Suppose the
kitchen-maid to be taken with fits just before dinner-time;
there will be a reverberating echo of disturbance throughout
the whole organisation of the palace. But the oftener she
has fits, the more easily will the household know what it is
all about when she is taken with them. On the first occasion
Lady Croesus will send some one rushing down into the
kitchen, there will, in fact, be a general flow of blood (i.e.
household) to the part affected (that is to say, to the scullery-
maid) ; the doctor will be sent for and all the rest of it. On
each repetition of the fits the neighbouring organs, reverting
to a more primary undifferentiated condition, will discharge
duties for which they were not engaged, in a manner for which
no one would have given them credit, and the disturbance
will be less and less each time, till by and by, at the sound of
the crockery smashing below, Lady Croesus will just look up
to papa and say :

" My dear, I am afraid Sarah has got another fit."

And papa will say she will probably be better again soon,
and will go on reading his newspaper.

In course of time the whole thing will come to be managed
automatically downstairs without any reference either to
papa, the cerebrum, or to mamma, the cerebellum, or even
to the medulla oblongata, the housekeeper. A precedent or
routine will be established, after which everything will work
quite smoothly.

But though papa and mamma are unconscious of the reflex
action which has been going on within their organisation,
the kitchen-maid and the cells in her immediate vicinity
(that is to say her fellow-servants) will know all about it.
Perhaps the neighbours will think that nobody in the house
knows, and that because the master and mistress show no
sign of disturbance therefore there is no consciousness. They
forget that the scullery-maid becomes more and more conscious
of the fits if they grow upon her, as they probably will, and
that Croesus and his lady do show more signs of consciousness,