Page:Journey Round my Room by Xiavier de Maistre trans. Henry Attwell.djvu/38

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A Journey Round my Room.

retaliation, the animal makes the soul act contrary to its own inclination. The one, as a rule, has the legislative, the other the executive power, but these two are often at variance. The great business of a man of genius is to train his animal well, in order that it may go alone, while the soul, delivered from this troublesome companion, can raise herself to the skies.

But this requires illustration. When, sir, you are reading a book, and an agreeable idea suddenly enters your imagination, your soul attaches herself to the new idea at once, and forgets the book, while your eyes follow mechanically the words and lines. You get through the page without understanding it, and without remembering what you have read. Now this is because your soul, having ordered her companion to read to her, gave no warning of the short absence she contemplated, so that the other went on reading what the soul no longer attended to.