This is most of the last paragraph from an essay reproduced in William Bywater's 1975 'rehabilitation' of Bell. I especially like: "Her literature is to English what her painting is to Italian, only more so."
From “Order and Authority, I”Athenaeum. 1919.
“France, the greatest country on earth, is singularly poor in the greatest characters—great ones she has galore. Her standard of civilization, of intellectual and spiritual activity, is higher than that of any other nation; yet an absence of vast, outstanding figures is one of the most obvious facts in her history. Her literature is to English what her painting is to Italian, only more so. Her genius is enterprising without being particularly bold or original, and though it has brought so much to perfection it has discovered comparatively little. Assuredly France is the intellectual capital of the world, since, compared with hers, all other post-Renaissance civilizations have an air distinctly provincial. Yet, face to face with the rest of the world, France is provincial herself.”(pg 172)