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S.A. Bent, comp. Familiar Short Sayings of Great Men. 1887.


  • [Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve, an eminent French critic; born at Boulogne, Dec. 23, 1804; studied and practised medicine for some years in Paris; wrote a “History of Port Royal,” 1840–62; contributed “Causeries du Lundi” to the “Constitutionnel” from 1851 to 1857; member of the Academy, and senator; died October, 1869.]
  • It is quite sufficient to run the risk of my life, without the chance of catching cold into the bargain.

  • When his holding an umbrella over his head while fighting a duel on a rainy day was objected to. Victor Hugo, in his description of the coup d’état (“Histoire d’un Crime”), says that Jules Favre, who was in danger of arrest by the agents of the prince-president, tied a handkerchief round his neck while he and other deputies were going to a place of safety, early on the morning of Dec. 2, 1851; saying, “I am willing to be shot, but I object to catching cold” (Je veux bien être fusillé, mais je ne veux pas m’enrhumer).
  • Sainte-Beuve said in a letter to M. Duruy, minister of public instruction, Dec. 9, 1865, “If I had a device, it would be the True, the True only, leaving the Beautiful and the Good to settle matters afterwards as best they could.”
  • When the poet Longfellow was in Paris, he asked Sainte-Beuve’s opinion of the comparative merits of Lamartine and Victor Hugo: “Charlatan pour charlatan,” replied the critic, “I prefer Lamartine.”