Critical Miscellanies, Vol 2, Essay 1
as 'very noble, in truth, but slightly barbarous,' this criticism was peculiarly striking. A great many years afterwards Voltaire was surprised in the same way, to find that an officer could write such a book as the _Félicité Publique_ of the Marquis de Chastellux. To Vauvenargues he replied with many compliments, and pointed out with a good deal of pains the injustice which the young critic had done to the great author of Cinna. '_It is the part of a man like you,_' he said admirably, '_to have preferences, but no exclusions._' The correspondence thus begun was kept up with ever-growing warmth and mutual respect. 'If you had been born a few years earlier,' Voltaire wrote to him, 'my works would be worth all the more for it; but at any rate, even at the close of my career, you confirm me in the path that you pursue.'
The personal impression was as fascinating as that which had been conveyed by Vauvenargues' letters. Voltaire took every opportunity of visiting his unfortunate friend, then