Skip to main content

Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

See other formats


372   The Life of the World to Come

over what I have already written ; nor do I se^ how I could
get retirement if I were not to a certain extent unpopular.

It is this feeling on my own partomnipresent with me
when I am doing my best to please, that is to say, whenever
I writewhich is the cause why I do not, as people say, " get
on." If I had greatly cared about getting on I think I could
have done so. I think I could even now write an anonymous
book that would take the public as much as Erewhon did.
Perhaps I could not, but I think I could. The reason why I do
not try is because I like doing other things better. What I
most enjoy is running the view of evolution set forth in Life
and Habit and making things less easy for the hacks of litera-
ture and science; or perhaps even more I enjoy taking snap-
shots and writing music, though aware that I had better not
enquire whether this last is any good or not. In fact there is
nothing I do that I do not enjoy so keenly that I cannot tear
myself away from it, and people who thus indulge themselves
cannot have things both ways. I am so intent upon pleasing
myself that I have no time to cater for the public. Some of
them like things in the same way as I do ; that class of
people I try to please as well as ever I can. With- others I have
no concern, and they know it so they have no concern with
me. I do not believe there is any other explanation of my
failure to get on than this, nor do I see that any further ex-
planation is needed. [1890.]

Two or three people have asked me to return to the subject
of my supposed failure and explain it more fully from my
own point of view. I have had the subject on my notes for
some time and it has bored me so much that it has had a good
deal to do with my not having kept my Note-Books posted
recently.

Briefly, in order to scotch that snake, my failure has not
been so great as people say it has. I believe my reputation
stands well with the best people. Granted that it makes no
noise, but I have not been willing to take the pains necessary
to achieve what may be called guinea-pig review success, be-
cause, although I have been in financial difficulties, I did not
seriously need success from a money point of view, and be-
cause I hated the kind of people I should have had to court