Samuel Butler Author of Erewhon,(1835-1902): A Memoir - Vol. 2

By Henry Festing Jones | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XL
1901 BREWHON REVISITED

BUTLER was always ready to show his MS. to any one whose opinion he valued. He showed Erewhon Revisited, on which he had been busy for some time, to Mrs. Fuller Maitland, whose opinion he valued very highly. She took exception to a passage as being likely to cause offence and he altered it.


Butler to Mrs. J. A. Fuller Maitland.

6 Feb. 1901 --Perhaps you know what the famous cook Uccetta did when the late King of Italy and his brother (then young) were dining at Fobello. Uccetta had exerted all his skill and had turned out a dinner which he fondly believed would do him credit. But alas! it was a Friday, and he had made the dinner grasso, whereas at the last moment it was discovered that the princes would only eat magro. In two hours he turned his grasso dinner into a magro one, and the princes never found out how much grasso was inevitably left in what they declared to be the most exquisite magro dinner that they had ever eaten.

This is what I have attempted to do with my book. It did not require many changes, and I am afraid some wicked grasso will still remain, but when you read the book in print you will be surprised to see how little change has effected how much.

The worst of it is that the book is far more dangerous in its present greatly less offensive form than it would have been had I failed to realize how much of what I had written would pain those whom to pain is a severe pain to myself.

Uccetta was a native of Fobello near Varallo-Sesia, and retired to his village to end his days there. Once

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