Saturday, September 28, 2013


The Best People

Joseph Wood Krutch (1893-1970), Samuel Johnson (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1944), p. 157:
Many persons of that time freely admitted to a conviction which it has since become customary to conceal—the conviction, that is to say, that, certain extravagances of Christian theory notwithstanding, the "best people" socially and intellectually are also the "best people" spiritually. Thus the Duchess of Buckingam—genuinely shocked by the Wesleyan insistence that all mankind (even including the nobility) had corrupt hearts—could write in righteous protest to the pious Countess of Huntingdon: "It is monstrous to be told that you have a heart as sinful as the common wretches that crawl on the earth. This is highly offensive and insulting, and I cannot but wonder that your ladyship should relish any sentiment so much at variance with high rank and good breeding."

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