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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

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
them.

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
please.