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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

The Enfant Terrible of Literature    199

asked about his work. It seemed he had made a monument
to Nelson in Westminster Abbey. Of course I saw he meant
Stevens, who had made a monument to Wellington in St.
Paul's. I cross-questioned him and found I was right.

Suppose that in some ancient writer I had come upon a
similar error about which I felt no less certain than I did
here, ought I to be debarred from my conclusion merely
by the accident that I have not the wretched muddler at
my elbow and cannot ask him personally ? People are
always getting things wrong. It is the critic's business to
know how and when to believe on insufficient evidence
and to know how far to go in the matter of setting people
right without going too far; the question of what is too far
and what is sufficient evidence can only be settled by the
higgling and haggling of the literary market.

So I justify my emendation of the " grotta del toro "
at Trapani. [The Authoress of the Odyssey, Chap. VIII.]
" II toro macigna tin tesoro di oro." [The bull is grinding
a treasure of gold] in the grotto in which (for other reasons)
I am convinced Ulysses hid the gifts the Phoeacians had
, given him. And so the grotto is called " La grotta del toro J>
[The grotto of the bull]. I make no doubt it was originally
called "La grotta del tesoro" [The grotto of the treasure],
but children got it wrong, and corrupted " tesoro " into
" toro " ; then, it being known that the " tesoro " was in it
somehow, the " toro " was made to grind the " tesoro."