Samuel Butler: The Way of All Flesh

23. CHAPTER XXIII (continued)

I did not then foresee how closely my godson's life and mine were in after years to be bound up together; if I had, I should doubtless have looked upon him with different eyes and noted much to which I paid no attention at the time. As it was, I was glad to get away from him, for I could do nothing for him, or chose to say that I could not, and the sight of so much suffering was painful to me. A man should not only have his own way as far as possible, but he should only consort with things that are getting their own way so far that they are at any rate comfortable. Unless for short times under exceptional circumstances, he should not even see things that have been stunted or starved, much less should he eat meat that has been vexed by having been over-driven or underfed, or afflicted with any disease; nor should he touch vegetables that have not been well grown. For all these things cross a man; whatever a man comes in contact with in any way forms a cross with him which will leave him better or worse, and the better things he is crossed with the more likely he is to live long and happily. All things must be crossed a little or they would cease to live--but holy things, such for example as Giovanni Bellini's saints, have been crossed with nothing but what is good of its kind,

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