Vain and egotistical, supple and proud, libertine and gourmand, grasping from the pressure of debt, discreet as a tomb out of which nought issues to contradict the epitaph intended for the passer's eye, bold and fearless when soliciting, good-natured and witty in all acceptations
of the word, a timely jester, full of tact, knowing how to compromise others by a glance or a nudge, shrinking from no mudhole, but gracefully leaping it, intrepid Voltairean, yet punctual at mass if a fashionable company could be met in Saint Thomas Aquinas,--such a man as this secretary- general resembled, in one way or another, all the mediocrities who form the kernel of the political world.
But I deny that I can abstract from one another, or conceive separately, those qualities which it is impossible should exist so separated; or that I can frame a general notion, by abstracting from particulars in the manner aforesaid--which last are the two proper acceptations
It is enough to say, without applying this poetical rhapsody to Aouda, that she was a charming woman, in all the European acceptation
of the phrase.
And Stepan Arkadyevitch was not merely an honest man--unemphatically--in the common acceptation
of the words, he was an honest man--emphatically--in that special sense which the word has in Moscow, when they talk of an "honest" politician, an "honest" writer, an "honest" newspaper, an "honest" institution, an "honest" tendency, meaning not simply that the man or the institution is not dishonest, but that they are capable on occasion of taking a line of their own in opposition to the authorities.
Because he had voluntarily relinquished a title that was distasteful to him, and a station that was distasteful to him, and had left his country--he submitted before the word emigrant in the present acceptation
by the Tribunal was in use--to live by his own industry in England, rather than on the industry of the overladen people of France.
We are just beginning to discern that certain conceptions of our relations to our fellow-men, once formulated in generalities which met with a dramatic acceptation
from the world, and were then rejected by it as mere rhetoric, have really a vital truth in them, and that if they have ever seemed false it was because of the false conditions in which we still live.
"We are not even friends, in the ordinary acceptation
of the word.
Not only had he put himself beyond the pale of human laws, but he had made himself independent of them, free in the strictest acceptation
of the word, quite beyond their reach!
To say that Ralph loved or cared for--in the most ordinary acceptation
of those terms--any one of God's creatures, would be the wildest fiction.
A house in Lant Street would not come within the denomination of a first-rate residence, in the strict acceptation
of the term; but it is a most desirable spot nevertheless.