Skip to main content

Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

See other formats

374   The Life of the World to Come

One reason, and that the chief, why I have made no noise,
is now explained. It remains to add that from first to last
I have been unorthodox and militant in every book that I
have written. I made enemies of the parsons once for all
with my first two books. \Erewhon and The Fair Haven.]
The evolution books made the Darwinians, and through them
the scientific world in general, even more angry than The
Fair Haven had made the clergy so that I had no friends,
for the clerical and scientific people rule the roast between

I have chosen the fighting road rather than the hang-on-to-
a-great-man road, and what can a man who does this look for
except that people should try to silence him in whatever way
they think will be most effectual ? In my case they have
thought it best to pretend that I am non-existent. It is no
part of my business to complain of my opponents for choosing
their own line; my business is to defeat them as best J can
upon their own line, and I imagine I shall do most towards
this by not allowing myself to be made unhappy merely
because I am not fussed about, and by going on writing more
books and adding to my pile.

My Work

Why should I write about this as though any one will wish
to read what I write ?

People sometimes give me to understand that it is a piece
of ridiculous conceit on my part to jot down so many notes
about myself, since it implies a confidence that I shall one
day be regarded as an interesting person, I answer that
neither I nor they can form any idea as to whether I shall be
wanted when I am gone or no. The chances are that I shall
not. I am quite aware of it. So the chances are that I shall
not live to be 85 ; but I have no right to settle it so. If I do
as Captain Don did [Life of Dr. Butler, I, opening of Chapter
VIII], and invest every penny I have in an annuity that
shall terminate when I am 89, who knows but that I
may live on to 96, as he did, and have seven years without
any income at all ? I prefer the modest insurance of
keeping up my notes which others may burn or no as they