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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

The Life of the World to Come   373

and kow-tow to if I went in for that sort of thing. I could
never have carried it through, even if I had tried, and in-
stinctively declined to try. A man cannot be said to have
failed, because he did not get what he did not try for. What
I did try for I believe I have got as fully as any reasonable
man can expect, and I have every hope that I shall get it
still more both so long as I live and after I am dead.

If, however, people mean that I am to explain how it is I
' have not made more noise in spite of my own indolence in
the matter, the answer is that those who do not either push
themselves into noise, or give some one else a substantial in-
terest in pushing them, never do get made a noise about.
How can they ? I was too lazy to go about from publisher
to publisher and to decline to publish a book myself if I
could not find some one to speculate in it. I could take any
amount of trouble about writing a book but, so long as I
could lay my hand on the money to bring it out with, I found
publishers' antechambers so little to my taste that I soon
tired and fell back on the short and easy method of publish-
ing my book myself. Of course, therefore, it failed to sell.
I know more about these things now, and will never publish
a book at my own risk again, or at any rate I will send some-
body else round the antechambers with it for a good while
before I pay for publishing it.

I should have liked notoriety and financial success well
enough if they could have been had for the asking, but I was
not going to take any trouble about them and, as a natural
consequence, I did not get them. If I had wanted them with
the same passionate longing that has led me to pursue every
enquiry that I ever have pursued, I should have got them
fast enough. It is very rarely that I have failed to get what
I have really tried for and, as a matter of fact, I believe I
have been a great deal happier for not trying than I should
have been if I had had notoriety thrust upon me.

I confess I should like my books to pay their expenses and
put me a little in pocket besidesóbecause I want to do more
for Alfred than I see my way to doing. As a natural con-
sequence of beginning to care I have begun to take pains,
and am advising with the Society of Authors as to what will
be my best course. Very likely they can do nothing for me,
but at any rate I shall have tried.