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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

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2i8            Higgledy-Piggledy

that if the business man makes a mistake, he commonly has
to suffer for it, whereas it is rarely that scientific blundering,
so long as it is confined to theory, entails loss on the blunderer.
On the contrary it very often brings him fame, money and a
pension. Hence the business man, if he is a good one, will
take greater care not to overdo or underdo things than the
scientific man can reasonably be expected to take.


There are two classes, those who want to know and do
not care whether others think they know or not, and those
who do not much care about knowing but care very greatly
about being reputed as knowing.

Scientific Terminology

This is the Scylla's cave which men of science are preparing
for themselves to be able to pounce out upon us from it, and
into which we cannot penetrate.

Scientists and Drapers

Why should the botanist, geologist or other-fet give him-
self such airs over the draper's assistant ? Is it because
he names his plants or specimens with Latin names and
divides them into genera and species, whereas the draper
does not formulate his classifications, or at any rate only
uses his mother tongue when he does ? Yet how like the
sub-divisions of textile life are to those of the animal and
vegetable kingdoms! A few great families—cotton, linen,
hempen, woollen, silk, mohair, alpaca—into what an infinite
variety of genera and species do not these great families
subdivide themselves ? And does it take less labour, with
less intelligence, to master all these and to acquire familiarity
with their various habits, habitats and prices than it does
to master the details of any other great branch of science ?
I do not know. But when I think of Shoolbrcd's on the one
hand and, say, the ornithological collections of the British
Museum upon the other, I feel as though it would take me
less trouble to master the second than the first.