A kind of bastard infallibility

From Leslie Stephen’s essay on Horace Walpole in Hours in a Library.  I just like the phrasing.

In truth Walpole has no pretensions whatever to be regarded as a great original creator, or even as one of the few infallible critics. The only man of his time who had some claim to that last title was his friend Gray, who shared his Gothic tastes with greatly superior knowledge. But he was indefinitely superior to the great mass of commonplace writers, who attain a kind of bastard infallibility by always accepting the average verdict of the time; which, on the principle of the vox populi, is more often right than that of any dissenter.

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