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ESSA Y S.
VARIETIES OF HISTORY AND ART.
(FROM THE EDINBURGH REVIEW, OCTOBER 1860.)
Causeries d'un Curieux: Variétés d'Histoire et d'Art;
Tirées d'un Cabinet d'Autographes et de Dessins. Par
The title of this book is untranslatable. There is no English equivalent for causerie, which is something less formal, continuous, and pretentious than 'conversation,' something more intellectual, refined, and cultivated than “talk. An earnest preoccupied man may con
an over-excited or coarse-minded man may talk; but neither the one nor the other can causer in the precise French acceptation of the word. Boswell
says, “ Though his (Johnson's) usual phrase for conver35 sation was “talk,” yet he made a distinction ; for when
he once told me that he dined the day before at a friend's house, with “a very pretty company," and I asked him if there was good conversation, he answered,
No, sir, we had talk' but no conversation; there was nothing discussed.” On another occasion, however, when he said there had been good · talk,' Boswell rejoined, 'Yes, sir, you tossed and gored several persons.' Positiveness, loudness, love of argument and eagerness for display, are fatal to càuserie; which we take to consist in the easy, careless, unforced flow of
VOL. II. .