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Reviews And Essays in English Literature

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His criticism of the French writing fashionable in the middle of the eighteenth century, its affectations, its neologisms, its quest of Vesprit, invito, Minerva, is probably quite just ; like Ixion, he says, such writers embrace a cloud instead of the goddess they are pursu- ing ; he was right in preferring to all this the luminous and effortless precision of Voltaire. He cleverly says in French of a certain writer of the galimatias in vogue, that — " God never meant men to think after that fas...hion, any more than He meant them to walk on their hands with their feet in the air, although, by persevering effort, they have succeeded in doing both the one and the other. " His lucidity and point, unmistakably of French origin, excited the surprise and admiration, and even perhaps the genuine envy of the French correspondents on whom he returned their own native products with 62 CHESTERFIELD'S LETTERS increase ; and the same traits frequently enliven his English letters. Count Sinzendorf, for instance, the Imperial Minister, left the Hague one Sunday morn- ing, declaring with an air of mystery that he was going to see some of the province and might possibly go to Spa : " But for my own part, " writes Chesterfield to Lord Townshend, " as I know the gentleman, I do not believe the mystery is upon account of the journey, but I rather believe that he takes the journey for the sake of the mystery.

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