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A History of the French Novel, Vol. 1

Of course is not Philidaspes at all


TO JUPITER GUARDIAN OF TROPHIES,

and lies beside it as well as he can. The false news deceives for a short time, but when the stipulated advance to the field takes place on both sides, the discovery of the surviving victor introduces a new complication, from which we may for the moment abstain.

The singlestick rattle of compliment in the interview first given, and the rather obvious and superfluous meditations of the second, may seem, if not exactly disgusting, tedious and jejune. But the "Fight of the Four Hundred" is not frigid; and it is only fair to say that, after the rather absurd passage of _chasse croise_ on ship-board quoted or at least summarised earlier, the capture of Artamene by numbers and his surrender to the generous corsair Thrasybulus are not ill told, while there are several other good fights before you come to the end of this very first volume. There is, moreover, an elaborate portrait of the Princess, evidently intended to "pick up" that vaguer one of Madame de Longueville in the Preface, but with the blue of the eyes here fearlessly specified. Here also does the celebrated Philidaspes (most improperly, if it had not been for the justification to be given later, transmogrified in the above-mentioned passage by Major Bellenden into "Philip Dastus? Philip Devil") make his appearance. The worst of it is that most, if not the whole, is done by the _recit_ delivered,

as noted above, by Chrisante, one of those representatives of the no less faithful than strong Gyas and Cloanthus, whom imitation of the ancients has imposed on Scudery and his sister, and inflicted on their readers.

[Sidenote: The abstract resumed.]

The story of the Cappadocian-Pontic fight[163] is continued in the second volume of the First Part by the expected delivery of harangues from the two claimants, and the obligatory, but to Artane very unwelcome, single combat. He is, of course, vanquished and pardoned by his foe,[164] making, if not full, sufficient confession; and it is not surprising to hear that the King of Pontus requests to see no more of him. The rest--for it must never be forgotten that all this is "throwing back"--then turns to the rivalry of Artamene and Philidaspes for the love of Mandane, while she (again, of course) has not the faintest idea that either is in love with her. Philidaspes, who (still, of course) is not Philidaspes at all, is a rough customer--(in fact the Major hardly did him injustice in calling him "Philip Devil"--betraying also perhaps some knowledge of the text), and it comes to a tussle. This rather resembles what the contemptuous French early Romantics called _une boxade_ than a formal duel, and Artamene stuns his man with a blow of the flat. Cyaxares[165] is very angry, and imprisons them both, not yet realising their actual fault. It does not matter much to Artamene, who in prison can think, aloud and in the most beautiful "Phebus," of Mandane. It matters perhaps a little more to the reader; for a courteous jailer, Aglatidas, takes the occasion to relate his own woes in a "History of Aglatidas and Amestris," which completes the second volume of the First Part in three hundred and fifty mortal pages to itself.

The first volume of the Second Part returns to the main story, or rather the main series of _recits_; for, Chrisante being not unnaturally exhausted after talking for a thousand pages or so, Feraulas, another of Artamene's men, takes up the running. The prisoners are let out, and Mandane reconciles them, after which--as another but later contemporary remarks (again of other things, but probably with some reminiscence of this)--they become much more mortal enemies


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