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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

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Pictures and Books               95


All words are juggles. To call a thing a juggle of words is
often a bigger juggle than the juggle it is intended to complain
of. The question is whether it is a greater juggle than is
generally considered fair trading.


Words are like money; there is nothing so useless, unless
when in actual use.


Gold and silver coins are only the tokens, symbols, out-
ward and visible signs and sacraments of money. When not
in actual process of being applied in purchase they are no
more money than wTords not in use are language. Books are
like imprisoned souls until some one takes them down from
a shelf and reads them. The coins are potential money as
the words are potential language, it is the power and will to
apply the counters that make them vibrate with life; when
the power and the will are in abeyance the counters lie dead
as a log.

The Law

The written law is binding, but the unwritten law is much
more so. You may break the written law at a pinch and on
the sly if you can, but the unwritten law—which often com-
prises the written—must not be broken. Not being written,
it is not always easy to know what it is, but this has got to be


They are like shadows—substantial enough until we try
to grasp them.


The fact that every mental state is intensified by expres-
sion is of a piece with the fact that nothing has any existence
at all save in its expression.


All things are like exposed photographic plates that have
no visible image on them till they have been developed.