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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

166                    The Position

should be " entune the sky " and it sounds as though he
were right.

Myself and " Unconscious Humour "

The phrase " unconscious humour " is the one contribu-
tion I have made to the current literature of the day. I am
continually seeing unconscious humour (without quotation
marks) alluded to in Times articles and other like places, but
I never remember to have come across it as a synonym for
dullness till I wrote Life and Habit.

My Humour

The thing to say about me just now is that my humour is
forced. This began to reach me in connection with my
article " Quis Desiderio . . . ? " [Universal Review, 1888] and
is now, [1889] I understand, pretty generally perceived even
by those who had not found it out for themselves.

I am not aware of forcing myself to say anything which
has not amused me, which is not apposite and which I do not
believe will amuse a neutral reader, but I may very well do
so without knowing it. As for my humour, I am like my
father and grandfather, both of whom liked a good thing
heartily enough if it was told them, but I do not often say a
good thing myself. Very likely my humour, what little there
is of it, is forced enough. I do not care so long as it amuses
me and, such as it is, I shall vent it in my own way and at
my own time.

Myself and My Publishers

I see my publishers are bringing out a new magazine with
all the usual contributors. Of course they don't ask me to
write and this shows that they do not think my name would
help their magazine. This, I imagine, means that Andrew
Lang has told them that my humour is forced. I should not
myself say that Andrew Lang's humour would lose by a
little forcing.

I have seen enough of my publishers to know that they
have no ideas of their own about literature save what they