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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

X

The Position of a Homo Unius Libri

Triibner and Myself

WHEN I went back to Triibner, after Bogue had failed,
I had a talk with him and his partner. I could see they
had lost all faith in my literary prospects. Triibner told me
I was a homo ^lniu$ libri, meaning Erewhon. He said I was
in a very solitary position. I replied that I knew I was, but
it suited me. I said :

" I pay my way; wheii I was with you before, I never
owed you money; you find me now not owing my publisher
money, but my publisher in debt to me ; I never owe so much
as a tailor's bill; beyond secured debts, I do not owe 5 in
the world and never have" (which is quite true). " I get
my summer's holiday in Italy every year ; I live very quietly
and cheaply, but it suits my health and tastes, and I have
no acquaintances but those I value. My friends stick by
me. If I was to get in with these literary and scientific
people I should hate them and they me. I should fritter
away my time and my freedom without getting a quid pro
quo: as it is, I am free and I give the swells every now and
then such a facer as they get-from no one else. Of course
I don't expect to get on in a commercial sense at present,
I do not go the right way to work for this; but I am going
the right way to secure a lasting reputation and this is what
I do care for. A man cannot have both, he must make up
his mind which he means going in for. I have gone in for
posthumous fame and I see no step in my literary career
which I do not think calculated to promote my being held
in esteem when the heat of passion has subsided."

Triibner shrugged his shoulders.    He plainly does not