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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

366   The Life of the World to Come

guilt of an action varies inversely as the squares of its distances
in time and space, social, psychological, physiological or
topographical, from ourselves. Not so its moral merit:
this loses -no lustre through time and distance.

Good is like gold, it will not rust or tarnish and it is rare,
but there is some of it everywhere. Evil is like water, it
abounds, is cheap, soon fouls, but runs itself clear of taint.

Myself and My Books

Bodily offspring I do not leave, but mental offspring I
do. Well, my books do not have to be sent to school and
college and then insist on going into the Church or take to
drinking or marry their mother's maid.

My Son

I have often told my son that he must begin by finding
me a wife to become his mother who shall satisfy both himself
and me. But this is only one of the many rocks on which we
have hitherto split. We should never have got on together ;
I should have had to cut him off with a shilling either for
laughing at Homer, or for refusing to laugh at him, or both,
or neither, but still cut him off. So I settled the matter long
ago by turning a deaf ear to his importunities and sticking
to it that I would not get him at all. Yet his thin ghost
visits me at times and, though he knows that it is no use
pestering me further, he looks at me so wistfully and
reproachfully that I am half-inclined to turn tail, take my
chance about his mother and ask him to let me get him after
all. But I should show a clean pair of heels if he said " Yes."

Besides, he would probably be a girl.

Obscurity

When I am dead, do not let people say of me that I suffered
from misrepresentation and neglect. I was neglected and
misrepresented ; very likely not half as much as I supposed
but, nevertheless, to some extent neglected and misrepre-
sented. I growl at this sometimes but, if the question were
seriously put to me whether I would go on as I am or become