Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/18

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Some Emotions and a Moral

may not be better to live a satisfied hog than a dissatisfied philosopher? Some days I have almost succeeded in not feeling—almost persuaded myself that after all there is nothing either good or honest—almost doubted my own sincerity in hoping I was mistaken. I suppose that because it has only been a case of 'almost' I have not felt happier."

"Everything depends on what you call being happy," said Golightly." The word 'happiness' seems to play the writing on the wall to each man's Belshazzar, and each Belshazzar thinks himself a Daniel. From your point of view, Provence, I should say it simply meant the craving for a new sensation. As for myself—at the risk of appearing frigid—I think there is much to take hold of in the Greek notion: that man is happiest to whom from day to day no evil happens."

Provence rose from his chair and began to pace the floor.

"If I could tell you what I meant by happiness," he said, "I should not want it. I have no pretty talent for definitions. There are some men, I know, who can analyze their first love and wonder with Hume if their passion is the appetite for generation sandwiched between the appreciation for beauty and a generous kindness. They can reduce their God to a diagram and their emotions to a system. If that is philosophy, I have not the first makings of a philosopher. But I know this: I cannot be happy merely because I am not unhappy. It is this unending evenness, this everlasting dulness, which overwhelms me. If I may have nothing better, give me seven devils: one could not be dull with seven devils!"