The Life of the World to Come 365
—just as we tnrow our money away if the holding on to it
involves even very moderate exertion.
On the other hand, if this instinct towards prodigality
were not so great, beauty and wit would be smothered under
their own selves. It is through the waste of wit that wit
endures, like money, its main preciousness lies in its rarity—
the more plentiful it is the cheaper does it become.
The Dictionary of National Biography
When I look at the articles on Handel, on Dr. Arnold, or
indeed on almost any one whom I know anything about, I feel
that such a work as the Dictionary of National Biography adds
more terror to death than death of itself could inspire. That
is one reason why I let myself go so unreservedly in these
notes. If the colours in which I paint myself fail to please,
at any rate I shall have had the laying them on myself.
The world will, in the end, follow only those who have
despised as well as served it.
The world and all that has ever been in it will one day
be as much forgotten as what we ate for dinner forty years
ago. Very likely, but the fact that we shall not remember
much about a dinner forty years hence does not make it less
agreeable now, and after all it is only the accumulation of
these forgotten dinners that makes the dinner of forty years
Judging the Dead
The dead should be judged as we judge criminals, impar-
tially, but they should be allowed the benefit of a doubt.
When no doubt exists they should be hanged out of hand for
about a hundred years. After that time they may come down
and move about under a cloud. After about 2000 years they
may do what they like. If Nero murdered his mother—well,
he murdered his mother and there's an end. The moral