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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

378   The Life of the World to Come

have had much the same and that the soundest theories
have come unsought and without much effort.

The conclusion, then, of the whole matter is that scientific
and literary fortunes are, like money fortunes, made more by
saving than in any other wayŚmore through the exercise of
the common vulgar essentials, such as sobriety and straight-
forwardness, than by the more showy enterprises that when
they happen to succeed are called genius and when they fail,
folly. The streets are full of sovereigns crying aloud for
some one to come and pick them up, only the thick veil of our
own insincerity and conceit hides them from us. He who
can most tear this veil from in front of his eyes will be able to
see most and to walk off with them.

I should say that the sooner I stop the better. If on my
descent to the nether world I were to be met and welcomed by
the shades of those to whom I have done a good turn while I
was here, I should be received by a fairly illustrious crowd.
There would be Giovanni and Gentile Bellini, Leonardo da
Vinci, Gaudenzio Ferrari, Holbein, Tabachetti, Paracca and
D'Enrico; the Authoress of the Odyssey would come and
Homer with her; Dr. Butler would bring with him the
many forgotten men and women to whom in my memoir I
have given fresh life; there would be Buff on, Erasmus
Darwin and Lamarck ; Shakespeare also would be there and
Handel. I could not wish to find myself in more congenial
company and I shall not take it too much to heart if the
shade of Charles Darwin glides gloomily away when it sees
me coming.