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Now, style In writing is a weapon far more delicate and more formidable than the latest form of needle-gun. It will not merely kill a man's body at the range of a thousand yards, but his reputation at a distance of centuries. Nay, it will not only kill, but it will keep alive, which may be worse; keep the stained memory in existence beyond the possibility of a happy oblivion—and so also with memories of good. So long as it remains crude and undeveloped, language has not acquired this capability; but every added refinement of touch, every improved note of precision, will expand and perfect this carrying power. The blunt repartee of the mining-camp may furnish as good a prelude as any other for drawing a revolver from the hip pocket; but the effect of the saying dies with the duel and the funeral. It takes the fine rapier of Talleyrand's wit to impale all opponent for a hundred years upon a single delicate phrase, intervening between the smile and the snuff-box.

The French language has doubtless a peculiar capacity in this direction, sharpened by the steady practice of generations; but the English

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C. M. Talleyrand (1)
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