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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

to Alps and Sanctuaries          277

universal, equally useful. They are the principles of con-
servation and accumulation on the one hand, and of adventure,
speculation and progress on the other, each equally indis-
pensable. The money has been, and will probably always be
more persistently in the hands of the first of these two groups.
But, after all, is not money an art ? Nay, is it not the most
difficult on earth and the parent of all ? And if life is short
and art long, is not money still longer ? And are not works of
art, for the most part, more or less works of money also ? In
•so far as a work of art is a work of money, it must not complain
of being bound by the laws of money; in so far as it is a work
of art, it has nothing to do with money and, again, cannot
complain.

It is a great help to the spectator to know the subject of a
picture and not to be bothered with having to find out all
about the story. Subjects should be such as either tell their
own story instantly on the face of them, or things with which
all spectators may be supposed familiar. It must not be for-
gotten that a work exposed to public view is addressed to a
great many people and should accordingly consider many
people rather than one. I saw an English family not long
since looking at a fine collection of the coins of all nations.
They hardly pretended even to take a languid interest in the
French, German, Dutch and Italian coins, but brightened up
at once on being shown a shilling, a florin and a half-crown.
So children do not want new stories; they look for old ones.

" Mamma dear, will you please tell us the story of ' The
Three Bears ' ? "

" No, my love, not to-day, I have told it you very often
lately and I am busy."

" Very well, Mamma dear, then we will tell you the story
of 'The Three Bears/"

The Iliad and the Odyssey are only " The Three Bears "
upon a larger scale. Just as the life of a man is only the fission
of two amoebas on a larger scale. Cm non dictus Hylas <puer
et Latonia Delos ? That was no argument against telling it
again, but rather for repeating it. So people look out in the
newspapers for what they know rather than for what they do
not know, and the better they know it the more interested
they are to see it in print and, as a general rule, unless they
get what they expect—or think they know already—they are