Quotation by Samuel Butler

The Caracal lies on a shelf in its den in the Zoological Gardens quietly licking its fur. I go up and stand near it. It makes a face at me. I come a little nearer, it makes a worse face and raises itself up on its haunches. I stand and look. It jumps down from its shelf and makes as if it intended "going for" me. I move back; the Caracal has exerted a moral influence over me which I have been unable to resist. Moral influence means persuading another that one can make that other more uncomfortable than that other can make oneself.
Samuel Butler (1835–1902), British author. First published in 1912. Samuel Butler's Notebooks, p. 85, E.P. Dutton & Company (1951).
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