Mr. Jones says that “Butler’s judgments were arrived at by thinking the matter out for himself.” I don’t know what judgments he means: in the context he is talking about “other writers.” Among such he would not, perhaps, include Dante, Virgil or Charles Lamb. If he includes Homer and Shakespeare there would be a good deal to say. I don’t believe he had thought about the authorship of the Odyssey at all until he had assumed what he afterwards spent his time and pains in supporting. As to Shakespeare’s age when he wrote his Sonnets, I don’t myself find that the Sonnets support him. Those which he quotes in particular show that W.H. was a youth, but not that the author was. But there, again, he was arguing a priori. He desired to prove what he set out to prove, and the scholars disregarded him. Mr. Bridges, in a letter which Mr. Jones has the candour to quote, puts the matter as neatly as may be. “I am very sorry indeed that you have been so clever as to make up so good (or bad) a story: but I willingly recognise that no one has brought the matter into so clear a light as you have done. You are always perspicuous, and nothing but good can come of such conscientious work as yours. Still, you must remember that you proved Darwin to be an arch-impostor; and there was no fault in your logic. It is not the logic that fails in this book.” No. It was not the logic.
Eleven o’clock in the morning found the village at its field and household affairs, with birds abroad and dogs at home assisting in various ways. The plovers wove black and white webs over the water-meadows, gulls were like drifting snow behind the plow. In a cottage garden the dog, high on his haunches at the length of his chain, cocked his ears towards the huswife in the wash-house, hoping against hope for a miracle. Luxuriously full, the cat slept on the window-ledge. Meantime a roadman was cleaning a gutter, a thatcher pegged down his yelm; a milkmaid, driving up the street in a float, stopped, threw the reins over the pony’s quarters, and jumped down, very trim in her overall and breeches. The church clock struck eleven.
She turned, as if shot, and stood facing the church whose flag streamed to the south. The roadman straightened himself and leaned upon his mattock; the huswife shut the back door, and the dog crept into his barrel. The schoolyard, accustomed at that hour to flood suddenly with noise, remained empty. But the milkmaid’s horse drew to the hedge for a bite, the birds on the hillside settled about the halted plow, and the cat slept on.