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ing and wiping his sword, exclaims,)—What a frightful dream! *
(Satan here enters, followed by a number of devils carrying large brooms.)
The Galerian falling down on his knees-Oh God! oh Satan! oh heaven! oh hell!
Leoni (whipping the mitre off Notre-Dame's head and making toward a trap-door)-I shall be off for Venice.
Barnave (gazing tenderly on a little washerwoman who had just handed him a pair of clean worsted stockings.) Accursed be the first who thought of making of horror a profession and a commerce! accursed be the new poetic school with its hangmen and its phantoms; they have overturned my whole being; and here, whilst I have been observing the moral world in its most mysterious influences I have never once remarked that the pretty little "Jenny was become a woman.”†
* This is one of the 'gentillesses' of Captain Brulart. He takes opium, and has agreeable dreams, which he calls 'his life,' and he murders, tortures, and blows up people, and such like, and after these little accidents-calls outquel rêve affreux!'
+"A little washerwoman tells her customers she is going to be married." Je fus frappé comme d'un coup de foudre; il y avait six ans que je la traitais comme un C 11
The Governess with the Princess in her hand advancing to Satan and curtseying―This young Princess, please your Majesty....
Brulart (pulling his pedigree out of his waistcoat pocket and commencing a soliloquy) -"To be or not to be, that is the question." Satan-Not to be, scoundrel-here (to the devils) sweep this dust off my stage.*
Thus, much of light literature in France is what I have pointed it—a kind of phantasmogoria; not without talent, but without all that renders talent touching and respectable.†
enfant. Je poussai un profond soupir et me levant furieux "Maudit soit," m'écriai-je, "le premier qui
s'est avisé de faire de l'horreur, métier et marchandise! maudit soit la nouvelle école poétique avec ses bourreaux et ses phantômes! ils ont tout bouleversé dans mon être ; à force de me faire observer le monde moral dans ses plus mystérieuses influences, ils m'ont empêché de remarquer que cette jolie petite Jenny n'était plusun enfant."-L'Ane Mort et la Femme guillotinéeM. Janin.
* See Ahasuerus again, who has introduced this new
+ Monsieur Sue would be forcible if he were not extravagant; Monsieur Balzac graceful and affecting, if he did
But it is far more interesting to inquire into the causes and effects of this strange perversion of ability than to prolong our criticism upon the writing to which it has given birth. To what then are we to attribute these extraordinary productions-and what are they in their turn likely to produce?
In the first place, the popular style which history and other works of information have adopted, has abridged the numbers of light readers, and taken many of the soberer minded and better informed from that class to which the novelist ordinarily addresses himself. The consequences of free institutions has also been to not struggle to be fine, and degrade himself by being licentious. Monsieur Janin is clever, witty, brilliant, but without coherence in his larger works; and, dallying as it were with his own fancies, he resembles the smith, who having used the anvil with force, stops in his labours to amuse himself with the sparks. G. Sand-or, to drop a mask which nobody preserves, Madame Dudevant, is in all respects an extraordinary person, and if she merit the chastisement, wins the admiration of the critic. Her style is the most eloquent of the epoch; and though on some occasions spoilt by modern affectations, is at others tinged with that antique and sacred colouring which Rome gave to her saints, and Judea to her prophets. As wholes, her works, it is true, are false and forced, but they contain parts, natural, eloquent and true-passages rife with the emotions and the experience of their daring and beautiful authoress,
withdraw from the paths of elegant and popular literature a considerable portion of those who from their talents, and situation in life, were likely, as long as the novelist felt they were an influential portion of his readers, to moderate his extravagancies and correct his taste.
Married women, too, in France are far more occupied either in society or in the direction of their husband's affairs than with us, and unmarried women, in respectable life, are kept more strictly and more retired.
Young men, then, and kept mistresses form a vast proportion of the admirers of works of fiction; and for these, consequently, a vast proportion of such works are written. They do not therefore express the manners or feelings of society; neither do they form those feelings and manners. In old times indeed they did both; because they were then written for a higher order of persons, who, determining the ideas and habits of their time, also represented them. But these persons are now more seriously employed. Popular literature is not always to be considered as an index of the national mind; and thus, strange as it may appear, it is because the French have become more serious, more instructed and more occupied, that their lighter literature has become less creditable to the public taste.
Neglect in promoting Community of Thought between the French and the English-A Rogue of Ability and an Honest Man without Ability-Titled IncapacityPrincipal Newspapers of Paris-The ConstitutionnelThe Journal des Débats-The Gazette de France-The Quotidienne-The National-M. Armand Carrel.
IN commencing this chapter, I am obliged to call attention to the melancholy fact, that we have had ministry after ministry, prating about the advantages of a French alliance, sending ambassadors to Paris, concocting treaties with France, and neglecting the only means of establishing that sound and solid treaty with the French people, which arises from a communication of thought-an approximation towards sympathy in opinion.
The Duke of Richmond, a man of more activity and intelligence than his predecessors,