certain slovenliness into the vocabulary of Englishmen which is a sign of weakness, not of strength.
It may be meant for strength, but, like swearing, it is rather a substitute for it. When Matthew Arnold
, at the outset of his paper on Emerson
, proposes that we should ‘pull ourselves together’ to examine him, he says crudely what might have been more forcibly conveyed by a finer touch.
When Mr. Gosse
, in one of his Forum
papers, answers an objection with ‘A fiddlestick's end for such a theory!’
it does not give an impression of vigor, or of what he calls, in case of Dryden
, ‘a virile tramp,’ but rather suggests that humbler hero of whom Byron
He knew not what to say, and so he swore.
The fact that Mr. Arnold
and Mr. Gosse
have both made good criticisms on others does not necessarily indicate that they practise as they preach.
To come back once more to the incomparable Joubert
, we often find a good ear perfectly compatible with a false note.
Que de gens, en litterature, ont l'oreille juste, et chantent faux