He had practised sophistries
and quibbled instead of judging; he had criticised effects and done nothing for causes; his head was full of plans such as a political party lays upon the shoulders of a leader,--matters of private interest brought to an orator supposed to have a future, a jumble of schemes and impractical requests.
With my southern temperament, warped by the life I led in Paris, I should certainly have come to look without pity on an unhappy girl betrayed by her lover; I should have laughed at the story if it had been told me by some wag in merry company (for with us in France a clever bon mot dispels all feelings of horror at a crime), but all sophistries were silenced in the presence of this angelic creature, against whom I could bring no least word of reproach.
My resolution to acknowledge everything openly, at a convenient season, vindicated the sophistries of worldly wisdom and the sagacity of my old friend.
I refuted them to the best of my power; but that power was provokingly small, at the moment, for I was too much flurried with indignation - and even shame - that he should thus dare to address me, to retain sufficient command of thought and language to enable me adequately to contend against his powerful sophistries
But, for all that, we can make some difference between a man who insults his quite clear conscience and a man with a conscience more or less clouded with sophistries
It seemed to him that he had clearly expressed his thoughts and feelings to the best of his capacity, and yet both of them, straightforward men and not fools, had said with one voice that he was comforting himself with sophistries