Page:The Craftsmanship of Writing.djvu/242

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THE QUESTION OF STYLE

to say it, and if his brain was so equipped that it had at command the entire contents of the unabridged dictionary then, theoretically, the one inevitable word-sequence ought forthwith to present itself to him. In practice, however, there are a hundred different ways that occur to us for saying even some quite simple thing, each of them not precisely what we want to say, but representing a compromise, a sacrifice, on the side of meaning, or of euphony, or of rhythm. The one perfect way is the dream of a visionary, a forever unattainable ideal. We may come more or less near to it in proportion to our ten talents or our two talents or our one, but it always eludes us. And the finer the artist, the more he is apt to suffer because he sees so clearly how far short he has fallen. Style, then, practically means the ability to choose the words that will give us just the right meaning, just the right harmony, just the right ca-

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