Skip to main content

Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

See other formats

272     Material for a Projected Sequel

Next morning I saw him eating his breakfast and said
" Good-morning " to him. He was quite ready to talk. We
discussed the Woodsia Ilvensis and agreed that it was a
mythical species. It was said in botany books to grow near
Guildford. We dismissed this assertion. But he remarked
that it was extraordinary in what odd places we sometimes do
find plants; he knew a single plant of Asplenium Trichomanes
which had no other within thirty miles of it; it was growing
on a tombstone which had corne from a long distance and
from a Trichomanes country. It almost seemed as if the seeds
and germs were always going about in the air and grew
wherever they found a suitable environment. I said it was the
same with our thoughts ; the germs of all manner of thoughts
and ideas are always floating about unperceived in our minds
and it was astonishing sometimes in what strange places they
found the soil which enabled them to take root and grow into
perceived thought and action. The bishop looked up from
his egg and said :

" That is a very striking remark," and then he went on with
his egg as though if I were going to talk like that he should
not play any more.

Thinking I was not likely to do better than this, I retreated
immediately and went away down to Claro where there was a
confirmation and so on to Bellinzona.

In the morning I had asked the waitress how she liked the

" Oh ! beaucoup, beaucoup/' she exclaimed, " et je trouve
son nez vraiment noble." [1886.]

At Piora

I am confident that I have written the following note in
one or other of the earlier of these volumes, but I have searched
my precious indexes in vain to find it. No doubt as soon as I
have retold the story I shall stumble upon it.

One day in the autumn of 1886 I walked up to Piora from
Airolo, returning the same day. At Piora I met a very nice
quiet man whose name I presently discovered, and who, I have
since learned, is a well-known and most liberal employer of
labour somewhere in the north of England. He told me that
he had been induced to visit Piora by a book which had made