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cloth cases; a dressing-case; a box ashamed of his doubts, happy in with her writing-materials; a satchel his shame, relieved of the most for her purse, her handkerchief, her horrible of fears, sits patient and book; and besides, a bottle for hot listens, is very fine and touching. water on which to place her feet, two cushions, and a carriage-clock in an
The tremendous duel which takes open case.
place after, prolonged from inter“ As I put her into the carriage view to interview, between André she added, “There is still a bonnet- and Termonde, the little French box and a trunk.' She half smiled in Hamlet struggling into proof and saying this to make me smile in my certainty: and the final scene in turn. It was an old subject of little which, that certainty being atquarrels between us, the quantity of small and useless packages with which tained, André calls upon the murshe encumbered herself. In any other derer to kill himself, or else given condition of mind, I should have suf- up to justice, is gloomy and terfered to find in her, even while she rible enough to make it unpleasant gave me so great a mark of affection reading late at night or in a lonely in coming, the constant traces of fri- place. But much the highest note volity. But that very frivolity was in the book is struck in the scene sweet to see at this moment. This was, then, the woman whom I had with the mother. Revenge is apt imagined to myself as arriving with to be tedious, and the record of the gloomy purpose of searching mental struggles must be made through the papers of my dead aunt, more or less in a monotone ; but to steal or destroy the accusing pages the fine discrimination of such a which might be found among themsketch is possible only to a fine This was the woman whom I had
artist. represented to myself that very morn
We are compelled by space to ing as a criminal bending under the weight of a cowardly murder. What put aside several books which dea tranquilising power was in that mand notice, and which we had folly, that gentle weakness! I held intended to add to the handful of my mother's hand. I longed to ask the newest efforts of French fiction. her pardon, to kiss the hem of her Madame Henry Greville, who is robe, to tell her that I loved her.
an established favourite in EngShe saw my emotion, and attributed it to the grief with which I had
land, gives us in been stricken. She was sorry for me.
sketch of American manners as Several times she said to me, Mon they appear to a stranger, which André !' It was so rare to me to find no doubt is as true as a stranger's her thus, all mine, and in exactly the ideas on such a subject can be, and sympathy of heart of which I had illustrate the wonderful
girl ” of that great country with The poor lady confirms this some originality and power ; but gentle impression both by her we have so many of these studies natural emotion and by her simple at first hand, that it is scarcely self-indulgences. She sits by the necessary to choose the reflection fire and cries, and tells him how when the original is so easily obhis father brought her to this tainable. The work with which house on their marriage, and the we shall conclude is one which has whole story of that marriage, which made a sensation of another than he had never heard before. In the a literary kind. midst of the gloom of the book, A military book is by no means this picture of the innocent wom- a rarity, but a book which really an, disculpating herself with every tells us something about soldiers is. unconscious word, while her son, Tales of military adventure are
common enough, and there will al- tions; from the pacific National ways be far too great a supply of Guard, reluctant even to defend sketches of garrison life and its the town he lives in, to the fierce humours; but we scarcely know heroism of the peasant volunteers. where a genuine description of But, at any rate, no one has yet the soldatenleben, the interior life touched the barrack life in time of the soldier, is to be found. of peace, which is the study of M. This is the more remarkable in Abel Hermant. France, where, as the author of Trooper Miserey's experiences the • Cavalier Miserey'i says, are so entirely in time of peace, “ Nous
tous dormi sous that he finds it hard to realise that la couverture grise et dans les there is any such thing as war, or, lits étroits de la chambrée," -- at any rate, that his regiment where every one, or almost every should ever have to take part in one, has served his time in the it. The idea strikes him with army, and is liable to be called astonishment when he notices the upon to serve again in case of names of battles inscribed on the emergency.
For us it is differ- walls of the school of arms. He ent. We grumble enough when only knows the last one, at which we have to pay taxes to keep up his father, who had risen from the the army, reserving the right to ranks to be lieutenant in the same crouch behind it in times of dan- regiment, was present. ger; and when our soldiers return victorious from distant climes, it
• The 21st had charged at Niederis open to us to wave our hats bronn, and Miserey, the father, got
a scar across his face, and won his and shout, or sit at the club win
stripes there. As for the other names, dow and sneer, according to our -Jemmapes, Austerlitz, Puebla,-he different temperaments; but as a remembered that they were the names, rule we can remain placidly un- of battles inscribed on the colours. conscious of their existence. In And for the first time he began to France, the military service forms think that there were really battles a real part of the national life; the death. No one had yet spoken
and charges, and men who fought to yet, even there, M. Hermant tells
10 him of any such things since he us he can find nothing but “Chau- had joined the regiment. He asked vinist tirades, conventional carica- himself if it was not all stories. tures, the sentimental reminiscences Fancy the 21st charging! He could of one year men, the indiscretions understand his comrades in their of fashionable officers whispered fatigue-jackets, at their work, quiet at the confessional of the - Vie and contented. He could understand Parisienne,' or mere flying pages,
them in full uniform, pipeclayed up
to the nines, capable of keeping their picturesque bits caught by ama- ranks fixed and immovable for an teurs” in contemporary literature. hour; but how about really sharpened We do not exactly see under which swords, — swords that strike someof these heads fall the delightful thing else than the Turk's head, points works of MM. Erckmann - Chat- that prick and edges that cut? Berian, who have presented to
sides, what would be the good of it many types of military life,—from than to get up at the réveillé, to go to
all ? Has one any other duty to do the enthusiasts of the first
the instruction, to rub one's horse publican armies to the unwilling down, to eat one's rations, and sleep soldier of Napoleon's conscrip- at night? And then he read again
1 Le Cavalier Miserey, 21° Chasseurs. Par Abel Hermant.
on the wall, Honneur et patrie-Gloire learns it by chance, that their coloà la France; and he had a confused nel is leaving them, go in a body kind of notion that these things were to salute him at a small station not included in the system—that he which his train must pass. Their was not taught that.
silent muster in the early morning The reception of the recruit by is thus described :his new comrades, the kindness
• There were no more stars in the and consideration with which the sky. The day was breaking over the older soldiers initiate him into his silent streets of the slumbering quarduties, the gradual absorption of ter of St Sever. From time to time the individual into the community the gallop of a horse was heard on till he loses all consciousness of the stones. Then the sound of the himself except as a part of his gallop grew fainter, and died away in troop, are minutely described by called out to each other, 'Are you
the distance. Officers met each other, our author, and form, with some going ?-You too?' and they galloped rough sketches of character and a
on side by side. A group had halted few distinct scenes, the principal in front of the barracks. Pimpernel subject of the earlier part of the shouted, “This way, gentlemen! The book. The officers of the regiment, others are here.' Captain de Simard with their different little peculiar- Place des Chartreux.
was waiting on the grass-plot in the ities,—Simard, with his stutter
“ At the same moment Commanding “ Ahé, ahé;" Weber, with his
ant de Marcy la Tour appeared in the catchword of “C'est embêtant; Place. He did not slacken the speed Coudougnan, with his scraps of of his horse; he said simply, as he Latin,-give one more the idea of passed, “Come, gentlemen.' And he faithful portraits than of fancy started first. Coudougnan came up sketches; and, indeed, we believe behind, crying, “Here I am, here i that the publication of the Cava- road but the gallop of the close troop
am!' Nothing more was heard on the lier Miserey,' besides causing a con- of horses. siderable sensation in the French “ The road was straight, the counarmy, has induced certain officers, try bare and unbroken. The thirty who believed themselves to be officers galloped on in a light cloud of personally caricatured, to defy M. dust. The morning sun was pale, and Hermant to mortal combat-a con
the blue dolmans looked very light in sequence which our English auth- themselves in their black cloaks
colour. Some officers had wrapped ors fortunately have no need to Swift had his little cape with its fear.
hood. Perhaps the most remarkable They passed through a village; figure is that of the colonel of the they saw the Seine far off, and the regiment, the Comte de Verman- hills draped in mist, as in the folds of dois—one of those excellent law- a white robe. Marcy la Tour looked abiding citizens whom a paternal haste. They quickened their pace,
at his watch, and said, 'Let us make Government has lately expelled and at last they caught sight of Oissel
, from France for the crime of being the station, and the level crossing. descended from its former sover. They grouped themselves by the paleigns. The departure of the Prince ing. Their horses were covered with from his regiment, when the order sweat, their necks and hind-quarters for his dismissal has been resolved smoking. On the platform, porters upon, is one of the most striking with astonishment at the brilliant
and peasants, men and women, looked scenes in the book, and has prob- troop of officers. An electric bell ably a foundation in fact. His
was tinkling in a continuous and irriofficer
by Miserey, who tating fashion; the telegraph wires
vibrated, and birds perched upon manoeuvres. Gresset is an Althem, and plumed themselves with gerian veteran, much dreaded for their beaks.
his severity, and he commences by “A horn sounded. The white smoke of the train rose in the air, and finding fault with everything. the sound of the carriages rolling on “But suddenly
were the rails was heard. A sudden agita- amazed to hear his monotonous voice tion came upon all the men. As the tremble and falter. engine passed the horses started and had only suffered what I have sufshied. The train stopped. The fered.' And he began to relate to Prince's head was seen behind the them in simple phrase, with expreswindow of a carriage. He, too, sions they could understand, how caught sight of his officers at once. he had left the country, crossed the He turned pale, then his face lighted sea, and for six months had not slept up; he let down the glass, and showed in a bed, for six months sleeping in himself, and saluted ceremoniously. holes dug in the burning sand, where Then all saluted him with the same one woke up in the morning chilled to stiff, military gesture, carrying the the bone by the dew,a whole campaign right hand up to their caps, rigid and without receiving a single letter from erect in their saddles like simple home, exile and loneliness at eighteen. troopers in their ranks. Then the And his eyes filled with tears.' He Colonel drew back, and the Countess explained to these men, all grouped de Vermandois appeared in her turn, round him now and listening atienand waved a greeting to them. And tively, that he was afraid he had all the officers uncovered, and re- lost his natural goodness of heart mained bare headed till the departure through intense suffering. He asked of the train.
their forgiveness for the way he had “ After the train had gone, they worried and punished them,—asked stayed still a moment, looking after for pardon in the name of the great it. Then they turned their horses, sufferings he had endured, and the and came back at a foot pace, without obscure labours he had gone through. exchanging a word."
And then the ardour of eighteen re
turned to him. He regretted that The relations between officers accursed and beloved land of Africa, and men are much closer than in where the hardship of exile is largely our army. This is to some extent compensated by the joy of battle and explained by the fact that all hard blows. He spoke to them of
his Spahi's cloak and his olive-wood classes alike must serve their time
saddle. He declaimed against the in the ranks. It would certainly dull existence of an officer in time of seem strange to us to think of a peace, the demoralising influence of trooper going in full uniform to garrison life. And the men, call upon his captain at his house in longer able to distinguish clearly the town. It is true that Miserey among all these complicated matters, was in a peculiar position, as being of the narrative, and imagined, at the
yielded to the illusion and the pathos the son of a former officer of the sight of their packed saddles, of the regiment; but there seems to be forage-carts and ambulance wagons nothing out of the way about this which blocked up the square, and the visit. Many little details strike bedding folded as if for a start, that us as strange,—such as the whole they were actually going off on a regiment on the march singing genuine expedition. They stood catches, led by one of the captains, with the grave joy of duty accom
there serious, with eyes moistened · Perhaps the queerest scene of all plished and the sadness of a fare
is that following the sudden ir- well." ruption of Gresset, an officer, into one of the bedrooms, the night The story of the book consists of before the regiment starts for the the rise and fall of Miserey,--the
The Old Saloon : French Contemporary Novelists.
earlier part, which is purely mili- srom the army as unworthy to bear tary, and by far the most interest- arms. He is marched along the ing, treating of his gradual ad- head of the regiment, drawn up vancement till he receives his in line to witness his degradation. promotion. From that point he begins to fall. The author ap- “On the quay he turned right pears by this time to have ex- round as if he had been shot. They hausted his originality, and falls pushed him on, but it was impossible back upon the stock subject of fast like a stone built in to the pave
to make him go further. He stood his confrères, whose motto usually
ment. seems to be that it is no matter “ The 21st marched past,-first how dull a book may be, provided the trumpeters, then the first troop, it be sufficiently indecent. We then the second, then the others, four do not suppose that a French abreast. The regiment passed before novelist of the present day, except Miserey, proud as it stood long ago in with
the barrack-square, under the kingly a very firmly established
glance of the Comte de Vermandois, reputation, would venture to pub- triumphant as in the plains of Pacy. lish a book in which there was Miserey stretched out his hands to it nothing risqué, but we may be one last time in despairing supplicaallowed to regret that we cannot tion. But it passed inflexible, living have one break in that long mono- and glorious, in the apotheosis of its tony of cheerless dirt which char- sounding trumpets and its triumphal
flourishes." acterises contemporary fiction in France. So M. Hermant ploughs We have scarcely touched at all his way along through the mire till upon the reigning school of French he shakes himself free at last, and fiction in these notes upon some of regains his former liveliness and the books of the day. It is an reality of description in the final agreeable surprise even to the scene of all, when Miserey, in the writer to find so many which can face of his regiment, is expelled be handled without contamination.