(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

XIV

Higgledy-Piggledy

Preface to Vol. II

ON indexing this volume, as with Vols. I and IV which are
already indexed and as, no doubt, will be the case with any
that I may live to index later, I am alarmed at the triviality
of many of these notes, the ineptitude of many and the
obvious untenableness of many that I should have done
much better to destroy.

Elmsley, in one of his letters to Dr. Butler, says that an
author is the worst person to put one of his own works through
the press (Life of Dr. Butler, I, 88). It seems to me that he
is the worst person also to make selections from his own
notes or indeed even, in my case, to write them. I cannot
help it. They grew as, with little disturbance, they now
stand ; they are not meant for publication; the bad ones
serve as bread for' the jam of the good ones; it was less
trouble to let them go than to think whether they ought not
to be destroyed. The retort, however, is obvious ; no think-
ing should have been required in respect of many—a glance
should have consigned them to the waste-paper basket. I
know it and I know that many a one of those who look over
these books—for that they will be looked over by not a few
I doubt not—will think me to have been a greater fool than
I probably was. I cannot help it. I have at any rate the
consolation of also knowing that, however much I may have
irritated, displeased or disappointed them, they will not be
able to tell me so ; and I think that, to some, such a record
of passing moods and thoughts good, bad -and indifferent
will be more valuable as throwing light upon the period to
which it relates than it would have been if it had been edited
with greater judgment.