Skip to main content

Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

See other formats

to Alps and Sanctuaries         285

" Ah ! that is a true word."

" Besides/' I continued, " suppose you marry a woman with
whom you think you are in love and then find out, after you
have been married to her for three months, that you do not
like her. This would be a very painful situation."

" Ah, yes, indeed ! that is a true word."

" And if you had children who were good and dutiful, it
would be delightful; but suppose they turned out disobedient
and ungrateful—and I have known many such cases—could
anything be more distressing to a parent in his declining
years ? "

" Ah ! that is a true word that you have spoken."

" We have a great Imaum," I continued, " in England ; he
is called the Archbishop of Canterbury and gives answers to
people who are in any kind of doubt or difficulty. I knew one
gentleman who asked his advice upon the very question that
you have done me the honour of propounding to myself."

" Ah ! and what was his answer ? "

" He told him," said I, " that it was cheaper to buy the
milk than to keep a cow."

" Ah ! ah ! that is a most true word."

Here I closed the conversation, and we began packing up
to make a start. When we were about to mount, I said to
him, hat in hand :

" Sir, it occurs to me with great sadness that, though you
will, no doubt, often revisit this lovely spot, yet it is most
certain that I shall never do so. Promise me that when you
come here you will sometimes think of the stupid old English-
man who has had the pleasure of lunching with you to-day,
and I promise that I will often think of you when I am at
home again in London."

He was much touched, and we started. After we had gone
about a mile, I suddenly missed my knife. I knew I should
want it badly many a time before we got to the Dardanelles,
and I knew perfectly well where I should find it: so I stopped
the cavalcade and said I must ride back for it. I did so, found
it immediately and returned. Then I said to Ismail:

" Sir, I understand now why I was led to leave my knife
behind me. I had said it was certain I should never see that
enchanting spot again, but I spoke presumptuously, forgetting
that if Allah" (and I raised my hand to Heaven) "willed it I