Page:Studies of a Biographer 2.djvu/106

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STUDIES OF A BIOGRAPHER

too. In the same book he speaks most respectfully of the opposite or prosaic method. Zeuss, the great Celtic scholar, is praised because he uses a scientific test to determine the age of documents. This test is that in Welsh and Irish the letters p and t gradually changed into b or d (as if the Celts had caught a cold in their head); that map became mab, and coet, coed. This, says Arnold, is a verifiable and scientific test. When Arnold is himself trying to distinguish the Celtic element in Englishmen, he starts by remarking that a Frenchman would speak of German bêtise, but of English gaucherie: the German is balourd, and the Englishman empêtré; and the German niais, while the Englishman is mélancolique. We can hardly say that the difference of meaning between balourd and empêtré is as clear as the difference of sound between t and d: and Arnold is, perhaps, too much inclined to trust to his intuitions, as if they were equivalent to scientific and measurable statements. The same tendency shows itself in his curious delight in discovering catch-words, and repeating them sometimes to weariness. He uses such phrases as 'sweetness and light' with a certain air of laying down a genuine scientific distinc-