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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

Unprofessional Sermons          205

and we often do not depart from evil simply becal^s^we do
not know that what we are cleaving to is evil.

Loving and Hating

I have often said that there is no true love short of eating
and consequent assimilation ; the embryonic processes are
but a long course of eating and assimilation—the sperm
and germ cells, or the two elements that go to form the new
animal, whatever they should be called, eat one another up,
and then the mother assimilates them, more or less, through
mutual inter-feeding and inter-breeding between her and
them. But the curious point is that the more profound
our love is the less we are conscious of it as love. True, a
nurse tells her child that she would like to eat it, but this
is only an expression that shows an instinctive recognition
of the fact that eating is a mode of, or rather the acme of,
love—no nurse loves her child half well enough to want
really to eat it; put to such proof as this the love of which
she is so profoundly, as she imagines, sentient proves to be
but skin deep. So with our horses and dogs: we think we
dote upon them, but we do not really love them.

What, on the other hand, can awaken less consciousness
of warm affection than an oyster ? Who would press an
oyster to his heart, or pat it and want to kiss it ? Yet nothing
short of its complete absorption into our own being can in
the least satisfy us. No merely superficial temporary con-
tact of exterior form to exterior form will serve us. The
embrace must be consummate, not achieved by a mocking
environment of draped and muffled arms that leaves no
lasting trace on organisation or consciousness, but by an en-
folding within the bare and warm bosom of an open mouth—
a grinding out of all differences of opinion by the sweet
persuasion of the jaws, and the eloquence of a tongue that
now convinces all the more powerfully because it is inarticu-
late and deals but with the one universal language of aggluti-
nation. Then we become made one with what we love—
not heart to heart, but protoplasm to protoplasm, and this
is far more to the purpose.

The proof of love, then, like that of any other pleasant
pudding, is in the eating, and tested by this proof w* see