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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

Material for Rrewhon Revisited    291

and for having shown too obvious signs of thinking for
himself.

Let them attach disgrace to any who do not rapidly become
obscure after death.

Let them have a Professor of Mischief. They found that
people always did harm when they meant well and that all the
professorships founded with an avowedly laudable object
failed, so they aim at mischief in the hope that they may miss
the mark here as when they aimed at what they thought
advantageous.

The Professor of Worldly Wisdom plucked a man for buying
an egg that had a date stamped upon it. And another for
being too often and too seriously in the right. And another
for telling people what they did not want to know. He
plucked several for insufficient mistrust in printed matter.
It appeared that the Professor had written an article teeming
with plausible blunders, and had had it inserted in a leading
weekly. He then set his paper so that the men were sure to
tumble into these blunders themselves ; then he plucked them.
This occasioned a good deal of comment at the time.

One man who entered for the Chancellor's medal declined
to answer any of the questions set. He said he saw they were
intended more to show off the ingenuity of the examiner than
either to assist or test the judgment of the examined. He
observed, moreover, that the view taken of his answers would
in great measure depend upon what the examiner had had for
dinner and, since it was not in his power to control this, he
was not going to waste time where the result was, at best, so
much a matter of chance. Briefly, his view of life was that the
longer you lived and the less you thought or talked about it
the better. He should go pretty straight in the main himself
because it saved trouble on the whole, and he should be guided
mainly by a sense of humour in deciding when to deviate from
the path of technical honesty, and he would take care that his
errors, if any, should be rather on the side of excess than of
asceticism.

This man won the Chancellor's medal.

They have a review class in which the pupils are taught not
to mind what is written in newspapers. As a natural result
they grow up more keenly sensitive than ever.

Round the margin of the newspapers sentences are printed