Samuel Butler: The Way of All Flesh

70. CHAPTER LXX (continued)

He said he proposed at once taking an unfurnished top back attic in as quiet a house as he could find, say at three or four shillings a week, and looking out for work as a tailor. I did not think it much mattered what he began with, for I felt pretty sure he would ere long find his way to something that suited him, if he could get a start with anything at all. The difficulty was how to get him started. It was not enough that he should be able to cut out and make clothes--that he should have the organs, so to speak, of a tailor; he must be put into a tailor's shop and guided for a little while by someone who knew how and where to help him.

The rest of the day he spent in looking for a room, which he soon found, and in familiarising himself with liberty. In the evening I took him to the Olympic, where Robson was then acting in a burlesque on Macbeth, Mrs Keeley, if I remember rightly, taking the part of Lady Macbeth. In the scene before the murder, Macbeth had said he could not kill Duncan when he saw his boots upon the landing. Lady Macbeth put a stop to her husband's hesitation by whipping him up under her arm, and carrying him off the stage, kicking and screaming. Ernest laughed till he cried. "What rot Shakespeare is after this," he exclaimed, involuntarily. I remembered his essay on the Greek tragedians, and was more I epris with him than ever.

Next day he set about looking for employment, and I did not see him till about five o'clock, when he came and said that he had had no success. The same thing happened the next day and the day after that. Wherever he went he was invariably refused and often ordered point blank out of the shop; I could see by the expression of his face, though he said nothing, that he was getting frightened, and began to think I should have to come to the rescue. He said he had made a great many enquiries and had always been told the same story. He found that it was easy to keep on in an old line, but very hard to strike out into a new one.

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