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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

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160                   The Position

tread on the corns of a great many of those who live at the same
time with him, however little he may wish to do so. He must
not expect these people to help him on, nor wonder if, for
a time, they succeed in snuffing him out. It is part of the
swim that it should be so. Only, as one who believes himself
to have practised what he preaches, let me assure any one
who has money of his own that to write fearlessly for posterity
and not get paid for it is much better fun than I can imagine
its being to write like, we will say, George Eliot and make
a lot of money by it. [1883.]


People say that there are neither dragons to be killed
nor distressed maidens to be rescued nowadays. I do not
know, but I think I have dropped across one or two, nor
do I feel sure whether the most mortal wounds have been
inflicted by the dragons or by myself.

Trying to Know

There are some things which it is madness not to try to
know but which it is almost as much madness to try to know.
Sometimes publishers, hoping to buy the Holy Ghost with
a price, fee a man to read for them and advise them. This
is but as the vain tossing of insomnia. God will not have any
human being know what will sell, nor when any one is going
to die, nor anything about the ultimate, or even the deeper,
springs of growth and action, nor yet such' a little thing as
whether it is going to rain to-morrow. I do not say that the
impossibility of being certain about these and similar matters
was designed, but it is as complete as though it had been not
only designed but designed exceedingly well.

Squaring Accounts

We owe past generations not only for the master discoveries
of music, science, literature and artófew of which brought
profit to those to whom they were revealedóbut also for
our organism itself which is an inheritance gathered and