Samuel Butler's Canterbury Pieces By Samuel Butler


F.  But I fancy that, if you are to be candid, you will admit that
the fault lies rather with - Page 8
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F. But I Fancy That, If You Are To Be Candid, You Will Admit That The Fault Lies Rather With Yourself Than With The Book.

Your knowledge of natural history is so superficial that you are constantly baffled by terms of which you do not understand the meaning, and in which you consequently lose all interest.

I admit, however, that the book is hard and laborious reading; and, moreover, that the writer appears to have predetermined from the commencement to reject all ornament, and simply to argue from beginning to end, from point to point, till he conceived that he had made his case sufficiently clear.

C. I agree with you, and I do not like his book partly on that very account. He seems to have no eye but for the single point at which he is aiming.

F. But is not that a great virtue in a writer?

C. A great virtue, but a cold and hard one.

F. In my opinion it is a grave and wise one. Moreover, I conceive that the judicial calmness which so strongly characterises the whole book, the absence of all passion, the air of extreme and anxious caution which pervades it throughout, are rather the result of training and artificially acquired self-restraint than symptoms of a cold and unimpassioned nature; at any rate, whether the lawyer-like faculty of swearing both sides of a question and attaching the full value to both is acquired or natural in Darwin's case, you will admit that such a habit of mind is essential for any really valuable and scientific investigation.

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