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The Life of the World to Come   371

by anything %vhich was essential in the nature of things;
most, if not all of them, have been due to faults of heart and
head on my own part and on that of others which, one would
have thought, might have been easily avoided if in practice it
had not turned out otherwise.

For many years I was in a good deal of money difficulty,
but since my father's death I have had no trouble on this
scoreógreatly otherwise. Even when things were at their
worst, I never missed my two months' summer Italian trip
since 1876, except one year and then I went to Mont St.
Michel and enjoyed it very much. It was those Italian
trips that enabled me to weather the storm. At other limes
I am engrossed with work that fascinates me. I am surrounded
by people to whom I am attached and who like me in return
so far as I can judge. In Alfred [his clerk and attendant] I
have the best body-guard and the most engaging of any man
in London. I live quietly but happily. And if this is being
ill-used I should like to know what being well-used is.

I do not deny, however, that I have been ill-used. I have
been used abominably. The positive amount of good or ill for-
tune, however, is not the test of either the one or the other;
the true measure lies in the relative proportion of each and
the way in which they have been distributed, and by this I
claim, after deducting all bad luck, to be left with a large
balance of good.

Some people think I must be depressed and discouraged
because my books do not make more noise; but, after all,
whether people read my books or no is their affair, not mine.
I know by my sales that few read my books. If I write at all,
it follows that I want to be read and miss my mark if I am
not. So also with Narcissus. Whatever I do falls dead, and
I would rather people let me see that they liked it. To this
extent I certainly am disappointed. I am sorry not to have
wooed the public more successfully. But I have been told that
winning and wearing generally take something of the gilt off
the wooing, and I am disposed to acquiesce cheerfully in not
finding myself so received as that I need woo no longer. If I
were to succeed I should be bored to death by my success in
a fortnight and so, I am convinced, would my friends. Retire-
ment is to me a condition of being able to work at all. I would
rather write more books and music than spend much time