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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

264     Material for a Projected Sequel

Heckmann : we had not the smallest reason for thinking this
but we settled it at once. The middle one of these was like
Beethoven also. On Easter Sunday, after dinner, when he
was a littleówell, it was after dinner and his hair went rather
madóJones said to me :

" Do you see that Beethoven has got into the posthumous
quartet stage ? " [1885.]

Silvio

In the autumn of 1884, Butler spent some time at Protnon-
togno and Soglio in the Val Bregaglia, sketching and making
notes. Among the children of the Italian families in the
albergo was Silvio, a boy of ten or twelve. He knew a little
English and was very fond of poetry. He could repeat, (< How
doth the little buzzy bee" The poem which pleased him best,
however, was:

Hey diddle diddle,

The Cat and the Fiddle,

The Cow jumped over the Moon.

They had nothing, he said, in Italian literature so good as
this. Silvio used to talk to Butler while he was sketching.

" And you shall read Longfellow much in England ? "

" No," I replied, " I don't think we read him very much."

" But how is that ?   He is a very pretty poet."

" Oh yes, but I don't greatly like poetry myself."

" Why don't you like poetry ? "

" You see, poetry. resembles metaphysics, one does not
mind one's own, but one does not like any one else's."

" Oh !   And what you call metaphysic ? "

This was too much. It was like the lady who attributed
the decline of the Italian opera to the fact that singers would
no longer " podge " their voices.

" And what, pray, is ' podging' ? " enquired my informant
of the lady.

" Why, don't you understand what ' podging ' is ? Well,
I don't know that I can exactly tell you, but I am sure Edith
and Blanche podge beautifully."

However, I said that metaphysics were la filosofia and this
quieted him. He left poetry and turned to prose.