Skip to main content

Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

See other formats

to Alps and Sanctuaries          265

"Then you shall like much the works of Washington
Irving ? "

I was grieved to say that I did not; but I dislike Washington
Irving so cordially that I determined to chance another " No."

" Then you shall like better Fenimore Cooper ? "

I was becoming reckless. I could not go on saying " No "
after " No," and yet to ask me to be ever so little enthusiastic
about Fenimore Cooper was laying a burden upon me heavier
than I could bear, so I said I did not like him.

" Oh, I see/' said the boy ; " then it is Uncle Tom's Cabin
that you shall like ? "

Here I gave in. More " Noes " I could not say, so, thinking
I might as well be hung for a sheep as for a mutton chop, I
said that I thought Uncle Tom's Cabin one of the most
wonderful and beautiful books that ever were written.
Having got at a writer whom I admired, he was satisfied, but
not for long.

" And you think very much of the theories of Darwin in
England, do you not ? "

I groaned inwardly and said we did.

" And what are the theories of Darwin ? "

Imagine what followed!

After which :

" Why do you not like poctr}*' ?—You shall have a very
good university in London ? " and so on.

Sunday Morning at Soglio

The quarantine men sat on the wall, dangling their legs
over the parapet and singing the same old tune over and over
ag'iin and the same old words over and over again. " Fu
tradito, fu tradito da una donna." To them it was a holiday.

Two gnomes came along and looked at me. I asked the first
how old it was ; it said fourteen. They both looked about
eight. I said that the flies and the fowls ought to be put into
quarantine, and the gnomes grinned and showed their teeth
till the corners of their mouths met at the backs of their heads.

The skeleton of a bird was nailed up against a barn, and I
said to a man : " Aquila ? "

He replied : " Aquila/' and I passed on.

The village boys came round me and sighed while they