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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

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Mind and Matter               91

if they are watched closely, than can be detected on first
inspection. There is not the same violent perturbation that
there was on the previous occasions, but the tone of the
palace is lowered. A dinner party has to be put off; the
cooking is more homogeneous and uncertain, it is less highly
differentiated than when the scullery-maid was ^ well; and
there is a grumble when the doctor has to be paid and also
when the smashed crockery has to be replaced.

If Croesus discharges his kitchen-maid and gets another,
it is as though he cut out a small piece of his finger and re-
placed it in due course by growth. But even the slightest
cut may lead to blood-poisoning, and so even the dismissal
of a kitchen-maid may be big with the fate of empires. Thus
the cook, a valued servant, may take the kitchen-maid's
part and go too. The next cook may spoil the dinner and
upset Croesus's temper, and from this all manner of conse-
quences may be evolved, even to the dethronement and death
of the king himself. Nevertheless as a general rule an injury
to such a low part of a great monarch's organism as a kitchen-
maid has no important results. It is only when we are at-
tacked in such vital organs as the solicitor or the banker that
we need be uneasy. A wound in the solicitor is a very serious
thing, and many a man has died from failure of his bank's

It is certain, as we have seen, that when the kitchen-maid
lights the fire it is really Croesus who is lighting it, but it is
less obvious that when Croesus goes to a ball the scullery-maid
goes also. Still this should be held in the same way as it
should be also held that she eats vicariously when Croesus
dines. For he must return the balls and the dinner parties
and this comes out in his requiring to keep a large establish-
ment whereby the scullery-maid retains her place as part of
his organism and is nourished and amused also.

On the other hand, when Croesus dies it does not follow
that the scullery-maid should die at the same time. She
may grow a new Croesus, as Croesus, if the maid dies, will
probably grow a new kitchen-maid, Croesus's son or successor
may take over the kingdom and palace, and the kitchen-maid,
beyond having to wash up a few extra plates and dishes at
coronation time, will know little about the change. It is as
though the establishment had had its hair cut and its beard