The case is past arguing. Short of the systematic counterfeiting of the Limousin student,1 nearly every element that men have agreed to vituperate in preciosity is found in this insupportable idiom. And all the while we recognise it as the writing of an artist of unusual insight and originality; a novelist, if not of the very first rank, yet so powerful and so independent that to apply to him the term second-rate is not allowable. He must be classed by himself, as a master with not worse limitary prejudices than those of Balzac; with more poetic elevation than any novelist of his day; a true modern in many things, despite a fundamental unrealism in his characters and an almost puerile proclivity to old-world devices of circumstantial plot. How, then, is the egregious vice of style to be accounted for?