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was possible that a woman, for bêtes ; mais le plus bête des mépris whom he had done everything, est le mépris de la bête ! ” should have betrayed him for a " It is in this point above all that wretched creature like the lover the wisdom of the animals, who are whom she had preferred to him, our instructors, is made apparent, as the doctor crosses his legs, and well as the follies of the Sylvain with perfect calm explains :

Berjacs, who flatter themselves that

they can explain, as survivals, our “. My dear neighbour,' he said, excesses, our immodesties, all our un'you are a bad reader; you have restrained appetites. The animals, as not learned to decipher the Scrip

a great thinker has said, are always tures : otherwise Darwin would have well regulated in their conduct. . taught you what is meant by a sur

the animals, man-and vival. Horses, you are aware, have who says man says also womanthe power of moving certain portions possesses the fatal gift of limitless of their skin by a contraction of the desire. And to what does he owe muscles; and some men, by a similar

this? To his accursed imagination, contraction, of which you and I have which he has too much cultivated, not the secret

, move at their pleasure and which represents to him all that the skin of the head. It is a pretty him with vain hopes and chimeras,

is possible and impossible, amuses accomplishment, and an evident survival. I have told you man is the disgusts him with what he has while one being out of order (le grand adorning all that is new with lying déclassé) in creation, sometimes as- charms, tyrannises over his will, urges piring to ethereal regions, sometimes him to exceed his strength, to underpiteously retrogressing towards his take what is beyond his power, and humble origin. There are also women persuades him that the unknown rewhose life is a survival (des femmes has refused. Let us beware of the

serves joys for him which the known a reversions)."

intemperance of our imaginations,' At this period the much-musing said Sir John. There is not an

• hero encounters in a railway car

excess, not a disorder which the best

man in the world has not committed riage an old schoolfellow, a philo- in his dreams.'. . . Sir John added, sophical vagabond, a certain Théo- We shall never be equal to the dule Blandol, just returned from animals, who have nothing to repent roaming about the world with an- of: but, failing instinct, we have a other vagabond (but rich) philo. reasonable foresight; let this serve sopher, a certain English Sir John

us to forestall our repentances.' Almond, who has filled him with It is impossible, though very maxims and reasonings for every tempting, to enter into the philosoccasion. Sylvain asks his old ophy of Sir John Almond, as set friend to dinner, and Théodule forth by his faithful disciple. The establishes himself as a permanent worship of the mystic Mylitta, with visitor, from whence arises again her double characteristics, is, we much philosophising and many confess, beyond us, as well as a litdiscussions. This new authority tie beyond the all-receptive Sylvain; will hear nothing of the theory but the shadow of the whimsical of survivals. Quoting his great philosopher, who has an answer to authority,—"The great sage whom every objection, and whose scheme I have had the honour of rubbing of the universe is so fully reasoned against, and who has had the kind- out, is thrown upon the canvas ness to give me a small, a very with just the exaggeration and small pension to recompense me faint uncertainty which such a refor having been his disciple," flection requires, and is done with he exclaims, “Tous mes mépris sont the greatest success and power.

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The momentary introduction of the how he falls ill, and, on his resage himself is perhaps a mistake, covery, finds Théodule and the but it is so very brief as to do little Darwinian doctor both received as harm. Théodule, with his “ petite constant visitors at the young très petite pension" of a hundred lady's house, and both paying and fifty pounds; his satisfaction their addresses to her in her new in settling down in the house of position of heiress; and how, final. his friend, and easy assumption of ly, her father tricks the two inits management ; his intellectual tended suitors into an exhibition superiority, his flute, even the col- of their true motives, and assures ourless complexion of the blondin, the happiness of the really excelwith too little blood in his veins lent Sylvain,-is in reality the least to concern himself about other important part of the book. It is people's opinions of him,-is also a concession to the requirements extremely good and characteristic. of the reader, who wants a story,

The book is half ended amidst all or something like a story, in everythese philosophisings before, ac- thing that calls itself a novel; and companied by another philosopher, it is very pleasant, and comes to a her father, the heroine comes upon conclusion which has something the scene. She is not much want touching and sacred in its joy :

a heroine, but she is a but this is not the object of the good example of the very delighi- book. The philosophisings are reful, sprightly, and sweet young sumed with still greater force when woman, full of French vivacity M. Havenne, a scientific and learn. and charm—a being totally differ- ed personage, is added to the little ent from the frightened and silent circle of Sylvain's instructors, and girl who, we are told, represents la bête becomes again the subject the unmarried element in French of discussion. M. Havenne begins female society—which some French the following conversation with a writers have learned to put in as little discourse upon the swallows the high light in their pictures. and their migrations, and their forWe have not ourselves encounter- getfulness, in obeying this social ed in real life many specimens of instinct, of the domestic instinct the suppressed and silent girl. which up to this time had kept Nothing could be more charming them busy with their families :than Louise Havenne; and the

“ Animals have rarely two ideas hero has the good sense at once to at the same time. One nail drives see and perceive, notwithstanding out another. Man alone has the the hitherto very indifferent spe dangerous faculty of combining concimens of womankind that have trary sentiments so that the stronger crossed his path, that here at last does not kill the weaker: he is the is one with whom safety and hap- himself and of supporting for a time

only being capable of carrying within piness lies.

How, always reflec- the most irreconcilable contradictions. tive and cautious, he goes off, on He suffers from this often, and somethe eve of declaring himself, in times even dies of it. order once more to think over this "I don't know if the swallows all-important step, and coming have a conscience,' said Théodule, back hears that Louise has fallen but I know that ours is a very odd heiress to a

machine. great fortune, and that to declare himself now will cel, striking his fist against his knee,

««• Conscience,'cried the Abbé Ponbe to expose himself to the impu- 'is the protest of God against the tation of seeking that and not her ; devil.'

". Conscience,' said Dr Hervier, 'is moral rule to keep us from injuring the judgment which a perfected brain those we love? Monsieur le Curé, i forms against an animal body which am a sad unbeliever; but I prefer an is not perfectible.'

Augustine to an Altruist. That which “Ah, permit me,' answered M. they have done yesterday answers to Havenne; when the animal part of us me for what they will do to-day; and is innocent (sage), which happens now whatever may be their faults, I prefer and then, our reason is too reasonable those upon whom one can rely.' to despise it and its pleasures.' “Conscience, which I call the

We have given perhaps too other,' I asked him, 'is it something much space to this book, and its natural, or is it acquired ?'

*. It is something,' he replied, arguments perhaps do not lead to which one learns without knowing any very clear decision; but they are how.'

extremely interesting, with a min“«Conscience, cried Théodule, 'is gling of character and epigram a watch which every man regulates which keeps the reader's attention. according to the clock of his dis. There are episodes, we must add, trict.'

which seem quite unnece:sary and He proceeds to tell the story of out of place in such a work, which a traveller to whom a savage chief M. Cherbuliez must surely have sends among other presents his added to please the vulgar among daughter-a gift which the vis- his audience, to whom a spice of itor's scruples prevent him from immorality is the necessary salt to taking advantage of—and ends tempt the palate. The disgusting with Sir John Almond's opinion wise and her lover were perhaps as on the subject, which is that these much a necessity as the epigrams, scruples were justly offensive to and divorce is the delightful new the chief, and that “ Altruism, expedient in fiction of which the properly understood, commands us weary novelist is so glad to avail sometimes to sacrifice our own himself

. But what conscience to the conscience of to the little scene—very brief, others.” The word rouses the it must be allowed-in which the wrath not only of the priest but young wife of his friend, who apof the other philosopher.

parently has no harm in her but a

little coquetry, as good as offers "• Altruism !' said the Abbé Pon

herself to the hero?

He is a very cel, crumpling his soutane. A horrid word, a horrid this invented to Joseph, and no harm happens; and take the place of charity!'

the lady turns out the best of “It costs me little to range my- wives and mothers, a fact for self on your side, M. le Curé,' said M. which he modestly takes credit to Havenne, who was wroth with Théo- himself. A similar accident hapdule for interrupting him. You are pens afterwards with a pretty but right, a thousand times: their famous

bold girl in the village. If Frenchsympathy, with which they deafen us, is but a poor invention, and I defy men think this sort of thing probthem to draw morality from it. You able, it behoves Frenchwomen at cannot build upon a bog. Eh! par- least to look to it. If ever there bleu, sympathy is but a sentiment, was occasion for a feminine proand sentiment is a small matter. It test, surely this is one. The immay induce me sometimes to make putation is easy, and suits the myself agreeable to those who please depraved atinosphere which is me; it will never render me just towards a man whom I dislike, or in breathod, at least in the world whom I may find a rival, which is of imagination, in France;. but the real question. Do we want a we do not for a moment believe


we say


little respectabilities, his shabby partiality and tremendous force Court, and the indiscriminate ad- of exposition which he devotes to mission of everybody to his un- the still more odious scenes in sacred presence; yet there has been which La Cousine Bette is the no king in France whose age has administrator and servant. The been one of greater distinction. In seventh commandment is broken the particular branch to which we freely, and with very little regard have already directed the reader's to any squeamish objections; but attention, France had done little he does not dedicate himself to all before his time. The endless tomes the phenomena of that breaking, of the Grand Cyrus, the brilliant as is the custom of his successors. fables of Voltaire, the too ethereal The wonderful and terrible history romances of Bernardin de St Pierre of Père Goriot, for example, is not and his school, were escapades of written for the sake of the passions the imagination from the oppres- and intrigues of the daughters, sion of a period surcharged with but to elucidate that horrible, luxury and wretchedness, and tragical self-sacrifice of paternal those contrasts of splendour and love which respects nothing and depravity, of wild display and of retains nothing, throwing all the hideous suffering, which produce laws of morality and all the inthe cynic and the sentimentalist - stincts of self-preservation to the he who scoffs at all possibility of winds, in order that his children virtue, and he who evaporates it may have what pleases them. into something too fine for flesh The picture is appalling, and with and blood. The great school of aching hearts we allow ourselves French novelists who rose together to hope that such a mixture of the in the calm days of Louis Philippe highest and lowest is impossible ; were not moralists; they were given but it is written for the sake of up to no idolatry of virtue—perhaps this tragic figure, the old bourrather that nature to which they geois, with his pride and his love, held up the mirror was one to to whom the world contains nowhich vice has never appeared so thing worth a thought but the vicious as to the soberer peoples daughters who accept all from of the north: and there was no him, and leave him to die alone. literary tradition


them Their amours come in by the way. against the pictorial use of im- but it is not for them the book is. morality when they found it. But Alexandre Dumas, the most deit cannot be said of these great lightful of story-tellers, is of the writers that they selected revolt- same mind. He is not afraid to ing subjects, or pretended to find call a spade a spade, nor does he in them the natural incidents of avoid vice when it comes in his life; neither did they represent to way, He treats it with that imus a society in which everything partiality which is the strange turned upon unlawful love, and characteristic of his nation, not the sole motives worth taking ashamed or reluctant to render into account

the excite- upon his canvas any scene that ments of sensual passion. Balzac, may occur; but in this point he is for example, devotes his extraor- like his graver and greater contemdinary power to the harpies who, porary. He is occupied with the in shameless greed and rapac- big stirring life of incident and ity, devour Le Cousin Pons and adventure round him, as the other his inheritance, with the same im- is with the mysteries of that ter


rible Comédie humaine which he from the good days in which the investigates without cease. The French novel was in reality a frail wife and the deceived husband, work of genius. That time is the frantic raptures and miseries past; the skies of our neighbours of one generally degrading passion, have narrowed—their world has are not the principal objects of contracted. It is not the cheerful, their art.

bustling universe of Dumas, any And with what power, what more than it is the great world, splendour and wealth and variety, seething with a thousand contrathat great band of romancers did dictory passions and sentiments, their work! From the gloomy as in Balzac—or big with fate, grandeur of that medieval Paris, and tragic, irresistible preordinafull to overflowing with the life tion, against which man's utmost and inspiration of the past, though ingenuity is powerless, as with already touched with that point Victor Hugo. That large existof the grotesque from which Vic-ence has shrunk into a monotontor Hugo rarely emancipated him- ous, often-repeated, never-exhaustself—to the fresh and breathing ed tale,—the tale so called of innocence of those rural idyls, to love ; the record of a passion often which, in her happy moments, no in its latest phase brutal — nay, one could give so exquisite a bestial; at its best, a thing of touch as George Sand, how full guilt and imposture, limiting the is their range, how amazing their mental as well as infecting the power! The impression of bound- moral atmosphere. All this great less resource, of endless variety, world reduced to a little apartof a flood and stream of animation, ment in Paris, where a young man incident, and interest that never rages against the bad woman who flags, has had a curious effect upon enslaves him, and blasphemes bethe mind of at least the English cause he cannot get rid of her, and reader—an effect which perhaps is falls back under the disgusting the result of a little slowness of influence whenever she smiles upon national intellect, mingled with him ; or a desecrated house, where that faithfulness to an impression a woman and her lover seek feveronce formed, which is one of the ishly for opportunities of meeting, special characteristics of our coun- and stave off as long as they can trymen. The intellectual classes, the inevitable discovery. In alor those who so consider them- most every case the pair loathe selves, the clever people in society, each other before they are done, and everybody who hopes to be their passion changing into disgust counted among them, almost with- and horror—or a weariness and out exception own an admiration monotony far more appalling in its for the French novel,—a conviction dulness than that of the dullest of its superiority—which is, in respectable household that scientific language, a survival of was known. And this is life acthe oddest description. Putting cording to our neighbours. And aside that section of the commun- this is what the English reader, ity which really enjoys filth, and slow but sure, having got into his considers the analysis of passion head the conviction of French not much better than bestial, to be greatness in fiction from the age a high triumph of art, this gen- of Balzac, Hugo, and George erally expressed and quite honest Sand, carried on with faith into belief is nothing but a reflection the age of Zola and his innumer



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