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[194] language comes next to it, could we only outgrow the impression that there is no honesty in anything but a knock-down blow, and that all finer touches are significant of sin; that boxing is a manly exercise, in short, while fencing is not. It is a curious fact, however, that as the best American manners incline to the French and not the English model, so the tendency of American literary style is to the finer methods, quicker repartees, and more delicate turns. People complain, and with some justice, of a certain thinness in the material of Mr. Howells's conversations; but his phrases are not so thin as the edge of a Damascus blade, and where the life itself is to be reached, this keenness has a certain advantage. We are constantly told by English critics that in real life people do not talk in this way, to which the answer is, that the scene of his novels is not laid in England. Lightness of touch is the final test of power. Ou il n'y a point de delicatesse, il n'y a point de literature. Joubert goes on to add that where there is shown in literary style only the attribute of strength, the style expresses character alone, not training. There has come lately a

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Joseph Joubert (1)
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