Quote for the commonplace book 008: Michael Innes, ‘Appleby and Honeybath’

Thought was an activity which, steadily over the years, he
had been addressing himself with some success to doing

—Michael Innes, ‘Appleby and Honeybath’
I love the passive-reflexive verb, “he had been addressing himself to
doing.” Michael Innes has the gift of turning a sentence which would
really sound better in French into a sprightly English bon mot.

 On second thought, it’s not that easy to translate. La pensée lui
était depuis quelques années quelque chose qu’il a à peu près reussi a
s’adresser à se manquer?
Not exactly.