Monday, September 02, 2013


One of the Great Pleasures of Life

Samuel Butler (1835-1902), The Way of All Flesh, chapter LXXX:
For my own part I reckon being ill as one of the great pleasures of life, provided one is not too ill and is not obliged to work till one is better. I remember being ill once in a foreign hotel myself and how much I enjoyed it. To lie there careless of everything, quiet and warm, and with no weight upon the mind, to hear the clinking of the plates in the far-off kitchen as the scullion rinsed them and put them by; to watch the soft shadows come and go upon the ceiling as the sun came out or went behind a cloud; to listen to the pleasant murmuring of the fountain in the court below, and the shaking of the bells on the horses' collars and the clink of their hoofs upon the ground as the flies plagued them; not only to be a lotus-eater but to know that it was one's duty to be a lotus-eater. "Oh," I thought to myself, "if I could only now, having so forgotten care, drop off to sleep for ever, would not this be a better piece of fortune than any I can ever hope for?"

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