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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

206         Unprofessional Sermons

that consciousness of love, like all other consciousness,
vanishes on becoming intense. While we are yet fully aware
of it, we do not love as well as we think we do. When we
really mean business and are hungry with affection, we do
not know that we are in love, but simply go into the love-
shop—for so any eating-house should be more fitly called—
ask the price, pay our money down, and love till we can
either love- or pay no longer.

And so with hate. When we really hate a thing it makes
us sick, and we use this expression to symbolise the utmost
hatred of which our nature is capable ; but when we know
we hate, our hatred is in reality mild and inoffensive. I,
for example, think I hate all those people whose photographs
I see in the shop windows, but I am so conscious of this that
I am convinced, in reality, nothing would please me better
than to be in the shop windows too. So when I see the
universities conferring degrees on any one, or the learned
societies moulting the yearly medals as peacocks moult
their tails, I am so conscious of disapproval as to feel sure I
should like a degree or a medal too if they would only give
me one, and hence I conclude that my disapproval is grounded
in nothing more serious than a superficial, transient jealousy.

The Roman Empire

Nothing will ever die so long as it knows what to do under
the circumstances, in other words so long as it knows its
business. The Roman Empire must have died of inexperience
of some kind, I should think most likely it was puzzled to
death by the Christian religion. But the question is not so
much how the Roman Empire or any other great thing
came to an end—everything must come to an end some time,
it is only scientists who wonder that a state should die—
the interesting question is how did the Romans become so
great, under what circumstances were they born and bred ?
We should watch childhood and schooldays rather than old
age and death-beds.

As I sit writing on the top of a wild-beast pen of the amphi-
theatre of Aosta I may note, for one thing, that the Romans
were not squeamish, they had no Society for the Prevention
of Cruelty to Animals, Again, their ladies did not write